Archive for the ‘Women’s Lives’ Category

A few of many...

A few of many…

Some of us are old enough to remember sock hops… but that’s going back a long, long ways. That’s the first thing I thought of when I heard the words blog hop. On the very day that I resurrected my blog by writing my Reviving Ariadne post, my friend and fellow blogger Karin Schluter Lonegren wrote to tell me about blog hopping, and asked my permission to feature me, in essence tagging me to join in this social dance of words and images. How could I refuse? It felt like a delightful sign that the universe was applauding my return to blogging! I so love a good flash of synchronicity!

So first, here’s Karin Schluter Lonegren to tell you about herself:

KarinGlamourShot I was born in The Netherlands in 1954. I moved to Glastonbury in 1997. I have five fabulous children, six grandchildren, and a beautiful husband. And a cat. I knit. I find inspiration in nature and I recharge myself by walking, yoga and meditation, and inner work. “I give healing/coaching sessions. I offer on-line and “in real life” trainings in Deepening Consciousness, retreats for women, and workshops. Over 900 clients have found their way to these healing sessions and workshops on personal/spiritual growth. I teach spiritual healing in the UK, The Netherlands, and in the USA. I live in Glastonbury, UK, and in The Netherlands. It’s a curious exercise, living in two countries! This is my website, with a link to my blog:”

Thank you for gifting me with this invitation to talk about my writing, Karin! I always enjoy talking about my writing process because for me writing is far more process and practice than product. Nevertheless, I am delighted to have my writing recognized and enjoyed.

What am I working on/writing? I have just launched a new long-term project that weaves together my fascination with the ageing process and my sense that I really want to leave an organized legacy from my time on this planet. I have been blessed with incredible good fortune and opportunity, and I somehow want to say thank you for that by taking time to look over my life while I am still young and vital enough to birth something new out of the retrospective. It all started by digging out my stacks (and stacks) of old journals and personal writings. In typical Give-a-Mouse-a-Cookie style, that led to spring cleaning my desk, then our office, and finally to a sort-out of my collection of old jewelry en route to an actual writing session. My way in to the project has been a nostalgic look at the charm necklace that has grown (and aged) along with me over the decades. The stories of those charms has introduced both my eras and my interests.

How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre? My writing is deeply personal and intensely conversational.  I write as if I were sitting with my reader, speaking heart to heart about what matters in that moment. It is a very spontaneous style that seems to come from somewhere beyond me. My writing secret is that I don’t always recognize what I have written because it has come from someplace so much deeper than my own headspace!

Why do I write what I do? I write to make sense of my world. Writing is my spiritual practice, letting me know what I really think of the world and my place in it; I need to read what my pen has to say.

How does my writing process work? I warm up to most days by sitting in bed with coffee, pen, and notebook in hand. I write in longhand, relaxing into the rhythm and freedom of my pen scrawling across the page. Those pages are my safe place, the place where I am most completely and freely myself. By the end of three pages, what matters most has surfaced, and I ground it with either a prayer or a haiku (is there a difference?).  I am a list-maker; while I scrawl, I also make lists, and the lists I generate in the margins of morning then inform and shape the day ahead.

Some days I make it to my desk, others find me detouring into what I call my kitchen alchemy, stirring my creative process by cooking. Or I knit. On my writing days, I circle into myself, dropping deeper into some quiet space inside myself where I can weave my words. It is a tender place, and fickle. Once there, I am easily called away by outside noises and distractions, so I wear headphones but rarely turn on any music, instead whispering into the vacuum as if reading to my invisible audience, knowing that my words must land both audibly and visually in my reader’s consciousness.

Today’s social media fascinates me; its potential for community-building is without precedent. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn, and from there connect to the various pages I administrate for community, craft, and labyrinth. You can also connect to me via the Labyrinthos website.

Enough about me. Blog hopping now allows me to introduce you to a couple of my favorite bloggers and invites me to ask them the same questions I’ve just answered. So, without further ado, let me introduce you to two passionate women who blog about their work, their lives, and their interests. I hope you’ll hop on over to their sites….

Robin Bradley HanselRobin Bradley Hansel spends her days “rooted and grounded in a love of words.” Through her company, Green Treehouse Media, LLC, she designs personalized writing projects for small business owners, non-profit organizations and large corporations. Clients trust her to manage their social media accounts, blogs and newsletters on a daily basis. She’s passionate about ocean and environmental conservation and often lends her unique voice to “green” causes in her South Florida community and beyond.

Robin enjoys freelance writing on a wide variety of topics. She brings over twenty years of focused professional experience to her health, fitness and Pilates magazine articles as a licensed physical therapist.  Additionally, she takes personal wellness to a deeper level by facilitating meditational walks and retreats for a variety of individuals and groups through her other company, Labyrinth Wellness, LLC.

As a Louisville native, she still can’t hear “Run for the Roses” in May without getting a little teary-eyed. Married longer than she was alive before they met (but who’s counting?), Robin and her husband learn on a daily basis – with help from their teenage son – how little they know about anything. If her coffee cup is empty and the WiFi’s off, you’ll find her searching for sea glass with their yellow Lab, Lily.

Connect with Robin on TwitterFacebookWordPressLinkedInPinterest, Google+ and Instagram.

head shot 1Laura Diana Lopez is passionate about choosing a nourishing life. Her deep commitment to Integrative Wellness is evidenced by both her education and her personal story. Certifications in Intuitive Energy Medicine, Conscious Bodywork, Reiki, Yin Yoga and Holistic Health Coaching, and advanced degrees in psychology give her a multi-faceted approach to transformation.  Her twenty-five years of front-line professional experience in corporate cultures bring every-day practicality to making enduring change.

Laura mentors her clients in daily living in alignment with their best self, through implementing choices today that create a lifetime of balance in their tomorrows. She can help you reach your health goals in areas such as releasing extra weight, reducing food cravings, managing stress, and maximizing energy. Her clients say they are motivated by working with a coach who has firsthand experience of shifting to a healthier lifestyle.

Laura blogs at Mia Pancia: It’s All About the Belly. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn


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KnoSnkGds400I write to make sense of my world, to know my own truth.

It’s been nearly a year since I last published a blog post. I’ve written any number of posts, but haven’t published them, not feeling sure how to best shape my online presence. I travel in different circles, each of which represents a different aspect of my many involvements, and the truth is that I want Ariadne’s Thread to reflect my personal eclecticism and evolving interests. I am a pilgrim who knits, cooks, walks labyrinths, writes and philosophizes. The tapestry of my life is too complex for me to happily or successfully tease out and separate the individual threads that have been woven together to form the bigger picture of my life.

Moreover, I am now 59 years old and I am absolutely fascinated by the process of my ageing and the prospects of celebrating my next milestone birthday with a joyous and inclusive heart. I want to shout from the mountaintops that I love where my Path has brought me and that I treasure the lessons I’ve learned along the way.

If you’re reading this post, I congratulate you on your patience and tenacity, and thank you for all the kind notes that have encouraged me to return to my blogging. I’m back at my desk, baring my soul, and spinning my thread!

(And yes, I know the Snake Goddess of Knossos isn’t Ariadne, but to me, she belongs on this page, and I welcome her wisdom…)

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Visiting Saffron Walden with a dear friend yesterday  gave me the chance
to see the familiar labyrinth with fresh eyes and an open heart.

SW Boy

We walk together
following the old pathways,
peace blows in the breeze.

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Joyous Jubilee,
Sixty years, a passing age,
Diamond-hearted love.

In 2005, I made the momentous decision to become a British citizen and to swear allegiance to Queen Elizabeth, something I am allowed to do without forfeiting my American citizenship and loyalty. I am proud to be an adopted daughter of Britannia, and felt blessed to take time this past weekend to appreciate the constancy and commitment of our Queen. And believe me… no one puts on a show like the Brits! Although we considered going into London to join in the festivities, the rather relentless rain kept us home where we enjoyed the extensive BBC coverage of  the Jubilee in comfort and style… snapping photos of the television just for fun, and to give us some colorful memories.

Please visit the Friday rendezvous of the
haiku my heart community at recuerda mi corazon

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May is always a magical month, where winter’s dreams of warm sunshine and spring travels begin to come true. This year is shaping up as a summer of houseguests and homeland adventure, but we managed a quick trip over to the Continent to celebrate World Labyrinth Day with friends from our labyrinth community. Once abroad, who could resist the chance to indulge in an extra bit of European culture and gastronomie?

Sparked by an invitation for Jeff to speak at the Wereldmuseum in Rotterdam, we planned a rendezvous with our dear friend Lea Goode-Harris, literally picking her up at the airport on our way to catch the night ferry from Harwich to Hoek van Holland…. and it didn’t take long for the magic to start!

Lea and I hadn’t seen each other for six months, but had been in daily contact in that delightful way that technology affords. There is nothing like seeing a plan come together, though; first there were hugs, and then there were gifts, laced with the special magic that can only be sparked in the presence of a long and deep friendship and a uncanny sense of kinship:


A hand-painted silk scarf that exactly matched the salmon-y pink shoes I had only just purchased for the trip… How did she know? An amazing accessory for my first pair of post-boot shoes!Eyeliner

The perfect green-gold eyeliner, one that only a really close friend would know how to choose (perhaps reflecting the many hours we’ve spent together at cosmetic counters over the years).

Zentangle Kit

And an Official Zentangle Kit of my very own!
Don’t know what that is? Prepare to be amazed!

In Harwich we feasted on freshly-caught fish and watched our Stena line ferry slide past the window as it came in to dock. Once checked-in and onboard, we reveled in the coziness of our sweet little cabins then headed to the bar for a celebratory drink before retiring for the night. It felt a bit like we were setting off on a mini-cruise, knowing we’d be on the other side of the North Sea by the time we awoke. If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is….

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My ankle must be healing…. I am beginning to think clearly and care about things again. Last night as I was looking through the photos on Jeff’s camera, I found the one I’ve been wishing I had taken; greeting us as we arrived at the hospital in Glastonbury was this carved stone:

No kidding!

Despite the pain and drama,  this bit of welcoming magic assured me that this seeming accident must surely hold some deeper meaning for me to discover….

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It was a-maze-ing! I know that the Knitted Maze was only one of the attractions of Saffron Walden’s weeklong Maze Festival, and as a knitter I might be a bit biased… but I was profoundly moved by the experience of seeing the grand old turf maze swathed in handcrafted fibre. In this case, the turf labyrinth, which is one of 8 surviving historical examples here in England, is called a maze despite the fact that it is actually labyrinth by modern definition… it has a single path leading all the way to the center, with no choices or dead ends.

It made for a stunning view, looking on from the raised banks surrounding the labyrinth… long strips of color covering the walls and flanking the paths, each section showcasing someone’s handwork. Walking the paths of the maze brought me in close enough to appreciate each person’s choices and contribution of colour, pattern, and fibre.  

Some bits were plain

some fancy,

 and some still in progress….

I wanted to wander endlessly, appreciating, enjoying the detail… but then stepping away to view it as a whole brought a new perspective, and I felt like I was looking at a long line of unique characters holding hands to provide a show for the audience. For me, it was a tangible experience of individuality blending into cohesive community. It was quite marvelous to witness the results of  personal creativity weaving into a new and wider tale. Each piece told a story which gave richness and depth to the overall effect.

As a knitter, I was pleased with my involvement, and proud of my bit… but to be honest, the most exciting part of my participation was watching my little piece take on a life of its own, down there in the far corner.

And the rest of the weekend… equally wonderful, colorful, and diverse! As always the labyrinth wove its own magic as disparate characters, interests and expressions came together in celebration of an age-old symbol.

Curious about just who might dream up such a zany project? Meet Sophie, the Wonder Woman behind it all…

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Today I showed up

in the four directions that matter most:

I reached in, to feel my heart,

and out, to connect with others,

down to dig for truth,

and up, to God.

Tonight I can sleep in peace,

secure in my faith,

believing in promises kept.

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Jeff at work on his day’s fossil finds…

When I showed her this photograph, my friend Winter said, It looks old, must be the sepia color, or Jeff’s soul coming through. And that captures my intent perfectly. This is what I love about our days together, the quiet moments when we share space as we go about our individual pursuits.

I’ve decided to celebrate February by challenging myself to take a photograph every day this month. My reasons for this are twofold… not only do I want to hone my skills as a photographer, but it also occurs to me that accepting this challenge will get me out each day in search of something beautiful or meaningful.

I won’t be sharing every photograph on this blog; my challenge is about art not publication… but I certainly hope that this practice will feed my blog as I sharpen my perspective on the world by letting my soul dance with the lens of my camera.

With Imbolc just gone, we can really see the gradual lengthening of the days now, and with it, hopefully we’ll begin to notice the results of the deep soul work that is often done in the depths of winter’s darkness.

What is stirring deep within you? What new sprout in you is making its way tenderly toward the light of day?

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With the New Year comes the need to tidy away the decorations and clear the piles of accumulated paper off my desk in anticipation of returning to the post-holiday real world… I’m sure everyone reading this knows the feeling all too well! For the first time in a long time, I feel ready to reach out, to become productive once more.

I’ve been using crockpots extensively lately, and the obvious metaphor seems particularly appropriate. Just as our dinners have been simmering in the background, so has my energy and creativity. With our unusually cold December weather, our roads have been too icy to bother venturing out, so we lit the woodstove, gathered up some good books and settled in to enjoy the cozy warmth… and it has been bliss!

I figure we have enough food to last us another couple of days,  but then we really are going to have to head to a grocery store — and with another snowstorm predicted for Thursday, stocking up sounds like a pretty good idea! Meanwhile, I want to share my crockpot inspiration with you, both in link and book form, as well as my pirated and tweaked version of a traditional New Year recipe.

One of the reasons why I’ve never let myself fall in love with, or even use, my crockpot is that it seemed so unhealthy. Most recipes instruct opening cans and mixing processed foods. Yecch! I knew there had to be a better way to do it, but the general lack of imaginative guidance turned me away. If you’ve harbored the same dim view of these dated old kitchen appliance, I have good news! In 2008, Stephanie O’Dea set herself the challenge of cooking in her crockpot every day for a year…. and over the course of the year, she blogged faithfully and fell well-and-truly in love with both her crockpot and her own creativity. She has generously posted every recipe on her blog but the whole recipe collection is now available in real cookbook form in Make It Fast, Cook It Slow, published by Hyperion Books.

As Stephanie is busy having a new baby this month, I’m hoping she won’t mind that I’ve pirated one of her recipes to share here.  I give her full credit for inspiring the delicious smells now emanating from my kitchen! Black-Eyed Peas are a new year tradition in southern states, where it is considered imperative to eat them on New Year’s Day to bring luck for the coming year. I missed the January 1 goal by a few days, but the idea of a good bean-y soup sounded so good and wintry that I decided to use what I could find in my shrinking larder to make my own version to serve to a friend who is coming to lunch tomorrow. May the Gods of Luck overlook our bit of delinquency… Enjoy!

New Year’s Soup

  • 1  can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed or 1/2 cup dried peas, soaked overnight and drained (I only had canned beans on hand this morning)
  • a carrot or two, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced or chopped
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1 large or several small cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1/2 – 1 cup sausage meat, cooked and drained or several sausages cooked and sliced
  • 2-1/2 cups (625 ml) chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp each dried marjoram, oregano, chili flakes
  • pinch of dried sage

Measurements refer to standardized (American) cups and teaspoons. Mix all ingredients together  in a small crockpot and cook on high for 8-10 hours. If you only have a large crockpot, scale the recipe up. And feel free to use what you find in your kitchen; this is a perfect place to be creative!

Using an immersion blender, blend  briefly so that the soup becomes slightly creamy from the beans, but not smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, put a cup of soup in your regular blender or food processor, blend, then return to the pot. Stir well before serving.

In coming posts, I will be writing about the inspiration I’ve found some of the books I’ve been enjoying during the quiet inward months since I last blogged. Sometimes I just need to let myself simmer along undisturbed for a while, and this seems to be especially so as autumn winds down towards the dark depths of the winter solstice. I honour the descent that comes so naturally at this time of year, and love the fertile nature of this deep season.

I loved 2009 — for me it was a year of great adventure and personal accomplishment, but I’m looking forward to the coming year and all that it holds…May 2010 be a year of happiness and creativity for us all!

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