Updates and Reflections


From a tiny vase at my elbow, the season’s first gardenia perfumes the air as I type. Citrus blossoms, gardenias, jasmine, lily of the valley and stargazer lilies have, for me, the very same utterly intoxicating scent vibration: a feast for my nose and spirit!

Two red-tail hawks floating on thermals in what seems to be a daily courting dance have been calling to each other all through every day this week. Whenever the local coyotes call to each other, I can’t help but grin or laugh out loud. When the hawks call to each other as they play in the air, my chest expands with joy and the fantasy of soaring as they do. I so want to be a hawk in my next life!

In the garden, the last of the first flush of roses has wilted in the intense heat we had a couple of days this week. Purple and white and purple and yellow gremlin petunias grinningly overflow their pots while the pink and rose striped supertunias keep sending up more trumpet flowers. Bright red nasturtiums escape over the edges of their pots spreading across the patio. The lavenders and gloriosa daisies are coming back in lush abundance as this year’s stalks of kangaroo paws start emerging.

New lettuces and kales (from starts) are doing well as I slowly sidle toward planting seeds of bok choi and mustard among them. I couldn’t bear to see totally empty pots for as long as it might take the seeds to sprout, sigh. So, I decided to mix baby greens with the seeds. Persian cucumber starts are taking off and some cherry tomatoes are already ripening. Alas, still only flowers that die without producing tomatoes on the beefsteak vines. Mints and oregano flagrantly spread over the rims of their pots.

The garden is filled with humming and seed-feeding birds and a family of squirrels joins a flock of doves to clean up the scatter-spilled birdseed. One large blue jay has figured out how to perch on the hinges of the close-when-big-birds-land-on-them perches of the seed feeders. From there he acrobatically leans over to peck at the seed holes and gorge himself. It’s a riot to watch his ingenious maneuvers.

Day lilies in yellow, cantaloupe, dark orange and deep red as well as geraniums of every color bloom in many of the front yards along the way of my walks to town. The magnolia trees at the senior-living complex around the corner sport huge still-tight creamy buds while the fruits on the stone fruit trees along the way are slowly getting bigger day by day. So many delights to see and all around us the magical mountains against gorgeous blue, white-cloud-bedecked skies. Paradise!

It took much less time than I’d thought it would, two and a half weeks ago, to proofread all the texts on the new forthelittleones website. In the process, I discovered that, even on this hundredth and something rereading of the book (which is where the site is coming from now), I absolutely love every bit of it. I wouldn’t change a thing. In fact, each time I reread it, I love it more! What so intrigues me is that I feel deeply connected to all the vivid memories in the tales at the same time that I feel no ownership of any of it. “Being-published” has not changed a thing about how I see or feel about my self. I continue to be astonished that the book finally actually exists; that the Grandmothers were able to use my life experiences and my willingness to tell these stories as a way to put their reminders from the Sacred Feminine out into the world. It’s all quite remarkable.

Since completing the proofreading, I’ve been reveling in the back-to-normalness of my slow-lane life. Enjoying the lull and sense of completion after finishing the last of my used-to-be-year-end rituals: This week I updated the Letter of Instruction (that goes with my will, designation of conservators, powers of attorney and advance directive) for my (hopefully long in the future) Executor. So many new accounts for the book and at the bank had to be added. My formerly simple life has gotten a bit more complex, sigh!

The exciting news (which you already know if you’re reading this column there) is that the redesigned, mobile device friendly forthelittleonesinside.com website is up and running. Barbara, my amazing-collaborator-in-charge-of-everything, has done a stellar job. It’s absolutely beautiful, a lovely variation on the style of the compassionateink.com site. I love that each of the four Pathways now has the images of all the related Rememberings cards on it. The Tale-Finder, listing brief summaries of the stories for each of the Rememberings cards was a great addition. And, the presence of a search function makes it easy to find just the stories you might need to read in any moment. If you’re reading this journal on the compassionateink site, do go visit the forthelittleones site, you’re in for a treat!

In case you’ve wondered why Barbara hasn’t been visibly active with the social media sites (even though I wrote last month that she’s in charge of them), she wanted me to make sure you understood that we’d agreed that the more pressing priority was to get the new forthelittleones site up and running smoothly. Now that it’s done and she’s going further into the design of the Journaling Book, she’ll gradually begin to put fresh energy into our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. pages. Even as I slow down, her plate keeps getting more full! She, miraculously, doesn’t seem to mind one bit.

At our meet today, Barbara took some in-the-garden photos of Shelley Buonauito’s Grandmother Wind sculpture to add to the photos she recently took of the circle of four other of Shelley’s laughing-Grandmothers-sitting-on-pillows sculptures that now live on my coffee table. Gladys, Lucy and Amah (Shelley’s names for them) have come to join Shelley’s Namina (the Grandmother sitting on the altar in the cover photo of the book and the Journaling Book-to-be).

Here they are! 


Grandmothers' Circle

Whenever I walk into the main room of my cottage, there they all are: miniature elders having an uproarious time together. Sooo life-like it’s hard not to believe I can actually hear their voices and their laughter. What continues to amaze me is that Shelley, an artist I didn’t know – way off in Fayetteville, Arkansas – was creating images of the very same multi-ethnic, hilarious and zany Grandmothers that have lived in my head since 1984. It’s more than a little spooky! Such a perfect gift-to-my-self to celebrate birthing the book out into the world. Do visit her amazing website: alittlecompany.net.

A sweet friend who moved back home to Massachusetts after a few short years in Ojai connected me with Jeff Ferrannini – creator, producer and host of Planetary Spirit, an internet radio program committed to providing (as he describes them) "in-depth (spiritual not religious) interviews." In the past, among others, it turns out he’s interviewed my friends Karen Drucker (new thought artist and musician), Susan Kennedy (SARK) and Justine Toms (co-founder and host of New Dimensions Radio).

Because Jo Anna talked with him about me and the book when she met him, he’s scheduled a live (by phone) interview with me on Tuesday June 11 at 1-2 Eastern time (10-11 Pacific time). You can listen to it on the web as we do it at etinradio.org the broadcast studios of Emerson College. The interview will also then be available – for listening to online or for downloading – in the archives at Jeff’s www.planetary-spirit.com site approximately two weeks later.

He’ll read the book the weekend before and it’s anyone’s guess what he’ll want to talk about. Though, it’s clear from the other interviews that he’s interested in exploring his guests’ spiritual journeys. More to be revealed on the 11th.

Just after I last wrote here (two and a half weeks ago) my dear friend Justine (who I mentioned above) got in touch to set up an interview with me for New Dimensions Radio. New Dimensions Media/Radio is Justine and her late husband Michael’s series of talks “exploring the emerging possibilities for personal and global transformation…addressing the cultural shifts and changing landscapes in our society.” They’ve been broadcasting continuously (and been syndicated to public radio stations in the States and around the world) for almost 40 years. We’re set to tape a show (in person, in Petaluma, California) on June 28th that will be then be aired sometime in late summer or early fall.

It’s so thrilling to anticipate being interviewed by/having an on-air conversation with a dear and special friend who – in the lodge/council circles we sat in together during the late 80s and early 90s – witnessed and influenced significant parts of my journey. And, to be interviewed by her for New Dimensions Radio with its long history of conversations with many of the most well-known movers and shakers on the planet (Joseph Campbell, Buckminster Fuller, Maya Angelou, Wangaari Maarhai, Thich Nhat Hanh, Alice Walker, the Dalai Lama) is an astonishing and miraculous honor. I feel blessed and so grateful for these magical opportunities to share publicly (though still sort of invisibly) about the book.

It used to crack me up that my friend Susan (SARK) would often – on her Inspiration Line – intersperse quotes from the Rememberings and Celebrations Cards among quotes from Rumi and other similarly famous folks. Now my friend Justine will be including me in the company of these other quite famous people she’s interviewed. It tickles me that these things can happen while I mostly stay invisible in my little corner of Paradise leading life as a sort of gregarious hermit and sending my stories out into the larger world on their own.

I’m hopeful that these two radio adventures will let more people connect with the book over time. Since the conversation will unfold spontaneously (at least for me), there’s no need to prepare in any way. All I have to do is show up and be present in the moment; whatever needs to be spoken will surely emerge without any efforting or planning on my part – always, for me, the best way. When I know the date the New Dimensions program will air, I’ll let you know here and on the Compassionate Ink Facebook page.

For several years now, I’ve been working with only a small number of currently ongoing clients. These few, along with various members of the community of my former clients who randomly call in for tune-ups or re-vitalizing of their inner-Robyn voice (as many of them call these return appointments) have always provided me with sufficient income to cover my quite modest lifestyle. I’ve sort of viewed the slowing of my practice as an organic progression into even more of a retirement than my two-day every other week schedule constitutes. As my two workdays have been gradually becoming less full, I’ve rather enjoyed the growing amount of unscheduled time in my life. Certainly, through the past four years of dealing with my dad’s decline into death and my sister’s sudden death with its aftermath of having to dismantle her hoarder’s apartment and then all the work of getting the book birthed into the world, it’s been a boon to have so few commitments to juggle in my work life. And, I loved using some of the freed-up time on those shortened days for the series of women’s talk/sharing wisdom circles I hosted on those evenings.

Suddenly, in the past month, five new clients have turned up wanting to do some work with me. None of them came because of the book’s being out in the world. Two had been reading the forlittleonesinside website for several years, one is the daughter of a woman I’d worked with a dozen years ago and the last two are connected (a friend and a niece) to one of my closest friends. All five women are exactly the sorts of women I adore working with! I feel blessed to have the honor of walking with them for a while as they journey. Still, it’s been a bit perplexing and disconcerting to have my workdays full-to-brimming after so long a while with so few hours committed on them.

As always, I find my way to walk in balance with what the Grandmothers/Spirit brought into my life. Having so few other things (finally!) on my plate this past month or so has given me the open time I need – between the workdays – to drift along and replenish my self. And, there’s much delight for me in working with these amazing young women. It’s just different than it’s been for quite a while.

So, that’s about the size of things just now. With the new version of the old website I may be writing these journal-updates more often; we’ll see how it goes. Certainly (at Barbara’s instigation) there’ll be more visuals showing up with the tales of my journeying.