The Eye of the Peacock

When you practice gratefulness, there is a sense of respect toward others.

Dalai Lama

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Every afternoon as the sun begins to set; I receive the gift of seeing elegant peacocks gracefully gliding across the ranch in which I live.  Their majestic blue hue sets off the stately tail feathers that emulate every prism color of the rainbow.   Just by observing these beautiful creatures it is obvious they are a gift from the heavens.

I had to know where these divine creatures come from and their significance of their existence.

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In Greco-Roman mythology the Peacock tail has the “eyes” of the stars. In Hinduism, the Peacock is associated with Lakshmi who represents patience, kindness and luck. In Persia the Peacock is seen as a guardian to royalty, and is often seen in engravings upon their thrones. In Christianity the Peacock represents the “all-seeing” church. The Peacock also represents resurrection, renewal and immortality within the spiritual teachings of Christianity. Themes of renewal are also linked to alchemical traditions too, as many schools of thought compare the resurrecting phoenix to the modern-day Peacock.

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The Peacock has been linked to Kuan Yin and it is this deity that is supposedly the creator of the beautiful colors of the Peacock’s signature tail feathers. Legend tells us Kuan Yin could have been immortal but stayed because she wished to aid humanity in their spiritual evolution. Kuan Yin taught people, through her own compassionate spirit, to live together as friends. When she decided to go to the heavens she appointed a guardian to keep the earth peaceful. She called a bird, with dull brown feathers, to her. She rubbed her face and brushed her hands down the length of its feathers, which created a kaleidoscope of colors and beautiful eyes on the end of each long feather. The Peacock feathers remind us that Kuan Yin is compassionately watching over us.

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In ancient days, it was believed that a male peacock doesn’t have intercourse with a female peacock (peahen to be precise) for progeny. Ancients observed that instead, the peacock only sits on peahen and brings its eye closer to peahen’s eye, and it was believed that perhaps the peacock’s eye drop lands in peahen’s eyes and that is how pregnancy is conceived. Consequently, the peahen is unsullied by the peacock, and the peacock remained ‘pure’ since it had no intercourse. Sri Krishna always maintained a peacock feather on his hair/helmet to highlight this fact that his 16,000 wives were always unsullied by him and he is always pure and beyond the bodily pleasures of humans.

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Modern science discovered that peacocks do not have a penis. Instead, their behind (called cloaca) kisses the behind of the peahen for peahen to become pregnant. Ancients observed the meeting of heads & eyes, and we now know that it was really meeting of the behinds (called a cloacal kiss), but either way, the male does not enter the female, and as such the peahen is unsullied, unlike in mammals and other species of life.

 

These tail feathers, or coverts, spread out in a distinctive train that is more than 60 percent of the bird’s total body length and boast colorful “eye” markings of blue, gold, red, and other hues. The large train is used in mating rituals and courtship displays. It can be arched into a magnificent fan that reaches across the bird’s back and touches the ground on either side. Females are believed to choose their mates according to the size, color, and quality of these outrageous feather trains.

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Peacock symbolism: Vision, Royalty, Spirituality, Awakening, Guidance, Protection, & Watchfulness.

It is no wonder the Peacock has the pride of no other bird.  Their noble presence speaks volumes no words could ever describe.

I shall accept my gift of their presence and hold dear in my heart what this gracious animal means to me.

 

With Hugs and Hope

Diane

 

Info on the peacock: nationalgeographic.com and mindbodyspirit.com

 

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Moving in the Right Direction

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.

Melody Beattie

home 9

Somewhere in the middle of Somewhere, Texas, watching the redbirds, squirrels and lizards.  Off in the distance, you can hear the Peacocks feeding and strutting their stuff.    This is Paradise.  I don’t want to be anywhere else.

The occasional passerby walking their dog on the gravel dirt road that surrounds our home.  It’s a little hot today, we had to close the windows and door and turn on the A/C.  The furbabies are napping.  Mama, next to me, Olive on the couch and Peanut making sure my feet and toes are clean.

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It was time for a change.  I don’t belong in the city.  I don’t belong in an apartment.  It felt like concrete jail.  I felt like life wasn’t going to get better than that.  Staying on high alert 24/7 for the safety of my babies and me, can’t trust anyone.  Everyone seemed to have a personal agenda.   I was intent on living out the rest of my life, being mom to my kids and furbabies.   My circle of friends becoming smaller and smaller; lashing out on social media, my job that didn’t quite turn out like I had hoped.

home 1

I knew something needed to give, I really thought it was going to be me.  In one of my wine therapy moments- my best friend of 20 years reached out to me.  Damn near demanded to know what the hell was going on with me.

We talked and decided I should come down and visit for a bit.  So, I bought a train ticket.

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He picked me up from the train station about an hour and a half away from his place.  Not seeing each other for about 10 years or more, he was there at the gate with a beautiful Lilly flower.   We hugged; it felt like coming back home.

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For the next 5 days, we toured the beautiful region of Hill Country.  Everything so lush and green, you could see nothing for miles except mountains, trees and sky.

 

We kindled a spark neither one of us knew we had. 

 

Talked about the messes I managed to get myself into over the last decade, I could see the love and concern in his compassionate caring eyes.

We both knew, my current situation was not a healthy one.  I needed a safe place.  I needed comfort and guidance.  I needed to be home.

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He took me to the train station when it was time for me to go back.  It was storming that morning and the train was over 4 hours late due to a tree falling on the tracks.  Even Mother Nature herself didn’t want me to leave.

 

I arrived at my apartment that evening.  Back to overpopulated apartment buildings, stray dogs, the homeless.  Back to the area of divergence.

Within a week, me and my furbabies were back home.  Back to Hill Country.  Back in the arms of my best friend.  My soulmate.

The only thing I need to worry about now are stickers and rattlesnakes.

 

With Hugs and Hope

Diane

 

 

 

Panama City

 

 

I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.

 Rosalia de Castro

panama 4

 

It was her first trip to Panama by herself since she’s lived here.  She made it through customs without a hitch.  After a $20 taxi, she finally made it to her prepaid hostel at 3 AM- A welcome feeling indeed.

The next day, she got dressed and went out to explore her new surroundings with camera in hand, prepared to take pictures in a light that only she can see.

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I get a phone call from a frantic girl, an uneasy feeling swept over her.  She didn’t feel like exploring any more.  She got swindled her last $40 that she was using to get back home and to eat with.

She had some friends that lived by the border; she was going to take a bus there.  I let her know, I would wire her some cash.  That was the last time I heard from her. For 18 hours.  Silence.   No social media posts.  Nothing.

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At first, I was just concerned.  Maybe she was just in an area with no signal.  As the hours passed, my mama sense started really kicking in. Later that evening, I sent her a text ‘Please let me know you are safe’

As I paced the floor, I did prayers and mantras all through the night, praying for her protection- the visions that filled my head.

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What if this person that swindled her cash was a human trafficker and she took the bait.  What if this was the last time, I was ever going to hear or see her ever again?  What if she was going to be just another statistic of the people that go missing each and every day?

At one point, during the night, I message her stepmom to see if her father heard from her.

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As soon as it was light again, I made myself a cup of coffee and was getting ready to make a game plan to try to locate her.  Do I call the local police? Do I call the Embassy?  Does she have to be missing for a certain amount of time before they do anything?

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Am I completely overreacting?  Maybe she is safe with her friends and is just in a remote area with no signal.

But, I couldn’t shake the feeling something was wrong.

At 7:30 AM, I receive a text.   ‘Mom I am okay, I know you were worried.’  ‘I met a nice lady and she took me in and fed me.’

‘I feel like this is a Liam Neeson movie, what happened?  I was so scared.’  ‘I know you were worried mom’

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I soon saw beautiful pics of her and breathtaking landscapes once again.  The next day, she was safely  home in Ciudad Cortés, Puntarenas.

I could finally rest.

I still don’t know what happened during those 18 hours of silence……

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I had a dream, she was a little girl going on her first plane ride.  Her, wanting to be a big girl, did it all by herself.  Somewhere between the gate and the tarmac, she got on the wrong plane.  After days of her being missing, I see this girl climbing down from a mountain. Tear streaks running down the dirt on her cheeks.  She runs to me, and we just hold each other and cry. 

With Hugs and Hope

Diane

 

 

 

Crossing Borders and Boundaries

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.

Ernest Hemingway

find comfort sunrise

It’s been quite a year.  It’s only April.  My furbabies are curled up on either side of me as I sip my coffee and write these words.

It’s been quite a week.  I am ready for a new one.  Blame it on the planets or the ocean waves or the storm that just blew through.

riptide

My daughter lives in Costa Rica.  The adventure she is living is enough to write a book all on its own.  She keeps this mama on her toes-She went to Panama by herself for the first time.  Nothing stops this girl

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I spent the entire week hunkered in from the storms brewing outside.  Just like the days gone past living in the mountains of California.  Sometimes even going days without electricity.

 

At times like these, the best place to play, is in the attic, pulling out relics from the boxes of memories that are stored there. Good memories.  The best memories.   Since I also have a penchant for good wine, this was the perfect opportunity.

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Sometimes people show up in our lives to show us how strong our boundaries are.  Mine were not set in place like they should be, and the Universe was screaming at me, telling me.

You give someone an inch, they take a mile. 

The storms outside were whipping and hollering…calling out to me….begging me to get caught up in the eye of the hurricane.

adventure

No.  I am safe in the attic, with my memories.  They fill my mind, my heart, my soul of the promises of the sun and warmth that comes when the storm finally passes.

I could faintly hear the scratching of the fingers of treacherous winds that were retching and seething outside my door.  But, my door was securely locked and bolted from such storms that cross this path.

The hours became days, the days became a week.  Finally, it gave way.

find comfort blankie

I survived the storm with the comfort of my fondest memories wrapping their arms around me like my favorite blanket.  The clouds have cleared. The sun is shining.

For today anyway…

Until the storm shows itself once again.

 

With Hugs and Hope

Diane

 

Some Not So Interesting Facts about Tax Time

 

In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.

Benjamin Franklin

ben franklin

 

Every year about this time we have to mentally prepare ourselves for tax season.  For some, a refund is in your future; for others, a chunk of change is doled out to the dreaded IRS.

tax checklist

This got me thinking, when did this yearly chore begin, and why?

 

So I went to IRS.gov and researched a little history about this annual affair.  Maybe with these tidbits of information, April 15th won’t be such a stressful event.

1862

A brief history

The roots of IRS go back to the Civil War when President Lincoln and Congress, in 1862, created the position of commissioner of Internal Revenue and enacted an income tax to pay war expenses. The income tax was repealed 10 years later. Congress revived the income tax in 1894, but the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional the following year.

16th amend

16th Amendment

In 1913, Wyoming ratified the 16th Amendment, providing the three-quarter majority of states necessary to amend the Constitution. The 16th Amendment gave Congress the authority to enact an income tax. That same year, the first Form 1040 appeared after Congress levied a 1 percent tax on net personal incomes above $3,000 with a 6 percent surtax on incomes of more than $500,000.

In 1918, during World War I, the top rate of the income tax rose to 77 percent to help finance the war effort. It dropped sharply in the post-war years, down to 24 percent in 1929, and rose again during the Depression. During World War II, Congress introduced payroll withholding and quarterly tax payments.

IRS

Today

The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 prompted the most comprehensive reorganization and modernization of IRS in nearly half a century. The IRS reorganized itself to closely resemble the private sector model of organizing around customers with similar needs.

tax prep

Well, there you have it in a nutshell.  Income taxes are still a stress factor in our lives, but to be an upstanding citizen (and not go to jail) we must do our part to participate in this event.  And maybe this was interesting to the history buffs and Tax Preparers’ out there.

With Hugs and Hope

Diane

 

 

 

Down the Rabbit Hole

A rebirth out of spiritual adversity causes us to become new creatures.

James E. Faust

spring blossom

A beautiful Spring morning.   I woke up feeling that familiar feeling  of fresh air that awakens all of your senses from a long winter’s nap.

I remembered who I am.  Why I am here, right now, in the here and now.

I decided it was the perfect day to spend in the Gardens.  It has certainly been a while.  Too long actually;   My path got distracted.

rainbow

I took my furbabies for their special walk, letting them breathe it in as well, strolled back to the apts for their scooby snack.  Threw on a hoodie and some jeans with flip flops.  Hair in an unwashed messy bun first woke up.  No teeth brushing or breakfast.  It was time to go out.

this way

Time to go see my trees and feel the dirt in between my toes.

Springtime, time to shake off the past and feel the warm comfort of the now and the future.

time

While on the Spur to one of my favorite destinations; the water gardens.  Second nature to home.  This man named Jeff, was in the Navy for 8 years, retired from Social Work and knew Spirit.  We talked the whole way to downtown.  He went on to the Botanic Gardens as I stayed in town for the water gardens.

tea party

As I walked, I kept seeing the number 17.  If that means anything to anyone, I do not know, I am not an expert in this realm…

Being Good Friday; kids are out, the usual spots filled with children and spring love.

Me under an old shady tree, with my shoes off

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Life takes you on journeys, you sometimes don’t quite understand until the journey has ended.

Down the rabbit hole.  My favorite place.  This is where I explore thoughts and meanings.

alice

Memories flood my head as I put together past thoughts, and watch the children on Easter Break, enjoy the flowers, the grass, the waters that flow fast or stand still.

 

Holding on to things that keep me anchored from moving forward.  It was time to let go….time to let go so I can push beyond the fears that kept anchored in a particular place and time.

memory

Time to plant new seeds.  Harvest new fruit and explore new adventures.

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Easter has many meanings in many cultures.  But deep down, no matter our upbringing or influence; it all interprets the same.   Hope, renewal and new life.

 

With Hugs and Hope

Diane

Life is a Journey

I travel, I read, I write, I have other lives. But when I have a camera, I know that’s my country, my island.

Leos Carax

costa rica 3

 

I woke up this morning with allergies in full swing, which let me know Spring is in full progression.  Which means the weather is getting warmer and the Summer months are just around the corner.

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The travel bug has hit, and it doesn’t help that my beautiful daughter, who lives in Costa Rica sends her breathtaking pics and posts them all over my social media page.

costa rica 1

Surviving on a budget like we do, can make the idea of a vacation seem financially daunting, and the  expense of travel can blow our budget through the sky and seemingly out of reach.  Here are some ideas, that might help this dream become more attainable and maybe the trip can be an adventure in itself!

airplane

The flight:   The cost of flying can be so unpredictable, and does require planning and shopping around for the best deals.  Spirit Airlines offers very low rates, the planes are smaller, so you are sitting closer to your neighbor, and if you are checking in luggage, they charge for every bag.  This is a good way to fly if you just have a carryon.  And since we are traveling on a budget, who needs all that luggage anyway?  Also, Spirit is a fairly new airline, and has minimal destinations, but they are continually adding new stops.  I actually used Spirit in the past to get to Chicago, and my daughter used Spirit to get to Costa Rica.  The flight is a little rough, but the staff is very friendly.

I also came across Cheapoair.com.  It works basically like Cheapflights.com or Priceline.com.  Just put in your destination and dates and it spits out a list of airlines and prices.  Speaking of Priceline, if you aren’t committed to a time frame for your vacation, you can use the Name your Price option to get that flight on the cheap.

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Getting around:  Renting a car can get expensive and inconvenient, and taxis run up the budget meter in no time flat; check schedules for local transportation, like the bus or transit system- it can be exhilarating!   In some areas they offer moped or bicycle rentals for short journeys, much easier to maneuver especially in an unfamiliar town or country.   Each town is different as far as local transport.  I couldn’t find a one stop shop for this, it all depends on where you are going; just look up local transportation for that area.

motor scooter

Where to stay:  This can be an adventure on its own!  There are many options out there for the thrifty traveler; Hostels can be a great way to meet new people. In Europe, this is very common; sharing a room and facilities with others.  They can be same sex or mixed, depending on your preference.  Hostels.com, Hostelworld.com and KAYAK.com are some of the websites I found to reserve your bunk.  Airbnb.com is also another option.

hostel

If you really want to be boho chic, there is couch surfing.  This is basically staying in someone’s home and ‘sleeping on their couch’.   I know some hippie chicks that have done this.  Just carry your back pack and travel across country and couch surf on a student’s budget.  There are websites you can register to be a host or to find a couch to sleep on.  Of course, safety is a priority.  Sites like couchsurfing.com have a page dedicated to safety.

couch surf (3)

If you plan on staying somewhere for a while and want to save your pennies; there is the option of house sitting.  You basically stay at their house for free while they go on vacation, and take care of their animals, garden, etc.  I  know a retired woman who does this and has for years.  She has stayed all over Europe and parts of the States.  Each job can last a week up to a few months. Housesittersamerica.com is a good place to start if this is the way to go.

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There are so many options out there to travel on the cheap.  Just a little creativity and an adventurous spirit can send you on your way to a memorable vacation!

With Hugs and Hope

Diane