The Tower of Hope #WritePhoto #SueVincent

For Sue Vincent’s  #writephoto prompt, “Tower.”

An ancient tower

Source: Sue Vincent

She thought the climb would be worse than the descent. Instead, the air buoyed her above the bracken, and her bare feet hardly touched the broken stone. The hem of her green skirt swept the dew-laden grasses, and she felt their kisses linger as she pushed open the door at the base of the tower. He had told her, Go within to find the key, yet she felt doubt.

Columns of white light split the black space around her, as Grace stepped beyond the threshold and heard the heavy thud of the door shutting her inside. She had cried for weeks until the ocean inside of her became an arid desert. There is life in the void, he had said before death took away his last breath, but you have to open to it. 

The air inside the tower smelled of sulfur, as though someone had lit a fire inside to ward off the damp, but no flames remained. Grace tried her best to stay inside the columns of filtered light as she made her way to the altar in the center. A book lay open on a dais, its width greater on the right side than on the left. He hadn’t told her there would be a book.

There was no script on the pages, only a foreign matrix of symbols that Grace had never seen before. Yet, her cells stirred with energy as she gazed at the parchment. Triangles overlapped with more triangles bisected by circles, and in the center of it all there was a tiny crystalline stone glowing with a blue light. Grace has hardly aware of her hand reaching toward the stone, and before she could take stock of what she had done, the stone was inside of her mouth.

Grace felt heat pressing against her tongue. Swallow it, a voice that sounded like his filled her mind and her throat convulsed to bring the crystal into her belly.  She felt the floor gave way beneath, but instead of pain, Grace felt bliss as she fell through time. In the black abyss surrounding her, visions of the past swirled by, and she watched without need as her body burned through its layers from within.

And then, suddenly, there was only light. Grace’s cells were no longer her own. They had become photons in a galaxy that knew no division. Individual thoughts become one harmonious stream of song, and in that instant that felt like eternity, there was nothing else.

Grace felt her own life return to her with a hiccup, opening her eyes to catch the blue stone in the palm of her hand. The inside of the tower was the same as she had left it, and Grace was surprised, although not disappointed, to feel the cool earthen floor once again beneath her feet. Before she turned toward the door, she looked again at the book opened upon the dais. Its weight, she noted, appeared to be unchanged in its distribution, but the spread pages were now blank. Impulsively, she lifted the page on the right and turned it over. It too was blank, and she knew the rest to follow it would be also.

The sigh that escaped her throat was not of despair, but of hope, as Grace glanced up toward the winding staircase she no longer felt a desire to climb. When the time was right, she knew she would see him again, and Grace pushed open the door, blinking to take in the brilliance of a sun that had parted the clouds.




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Solstice of the Moon: The Butcher’s Stone…

Sue Vincent’s post speaks to our collective humanity and the choices that seem so vitally necessary right now…

““Culloden,” he said, the whispered word an evocation of tragedy.”
Outlander: Voyager, Diana Gabaldon

We had turned off the main road to Inverness, and were heading down the ‘B’ roads in search of an ancient site we wanted to visit. As we drove, a young stag leaped out into the road in front of us, his emerging antlers still rounded and covered with velvet. I was glad that I was not driving at speed as we followed the brown signs that said ‘Culloden’; there have been more than enough deaths there without adding to their number. But that was  one place we were not going. The battlefield of Culloden has too many tales of horror and too many uneasy ghosts still haunt moor and memory. I had no desire to feel them… and, as a sassenach myself, there is a lingering sense of shame for the actions of the Duke of Cumberland.

As it was, our road led us too close for comfort to the place where so many were slaughtered in battle and with cruel and merciless abandon in the aftermath. All unsuspecting, we pulled into a parking spot beside a huge boulder, over five feet high and over fifty-three feet in circumference… and just a few hundred yards from the battlefield of Culloden.

Read the rest of Sue’s post here:

Source: Solstice of the Moon: The Butcher’s Stone…

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Memoir Q & A (Part 1)

I have received several questions from readers of my memoir, A Girl Named Truth, so I thought I would start a Q & A series on my blog. Many of the questions share the same themes, and also, I feel, point to our collective universal search for peace and healing. Here are three that were posted via my author Facebook page:

A white spiral shell

A shell spirals to the center. Image credit:

Have the pains that you suffered went away?

When I read this question, I realize how loaded it is. There are many layers of “pain” that are encased in the story of A Girl Named Truth. There is the pain of the physical body, which eventually manifested in the form of two years of debilitating IBS as an adult, and there are the emotional “pains” that were brought on by divorce, family estrangement, a difficult childhood, and an adolescent filled with bullying and insecurities. Yet, these are all connected, and the body of pain is the physical manifestation of the mind’s trauma. We often trap our stories in our bodies, and the emotions that go with them linger and can lead to dis-ease, and various diseases.

In my memoir, I reveal that on Mother’s Day of 2008 I experienced my last night of interrupted sleep curtesy of my body’s battle with IBS. In his book, Quantum Healing, Deepak Chopra talks about the intimate connection the mind has to the body. It is so intimate, he shows us, that the mind is ultimately what heals the body. By mind I am referring to an awareness and decision to heal that often surpasses the brain’s logic and comprehension. Herein lies the concept of miracle healings and cures. I believe that on  Mother’s Day of 2008, I had forged an agreement with my mind and body that it was time to heal, and I did.

Although the nightly episodes of IBS stopped that night, the healing, in essence, had just begun. The contract I had made between my mind and my body, I came to realize, included the release of the stories that I had so long held trapped inside of my belly. And so I began to write. As I wrote, I healed, layer by layer, and I am still healing. I believe life is like spiral back to the center, and with each turn of the circle, as we walk closer to true being, we heal another layer of our story of life.

So, to answer this question in more simple form, I would have to say yes, and also no. The physical pain of IBS is no longer playing out in my body, and with it I have reduced much of the emotional pain. Yet, I still walk the spiral, and with each turn I visit another layer that wants to be exposed, examined and healed. For example, even though I have come to the place of acceptance, I still feel the inner child’s yearning for unconditional mother-love. In additional, old patterns around self-worth and rejection still resurface in new forms, and I am reminded that I am a human who is still learning how to be whole.

What is your current relationship with your father?

Without giving away too much of the already written story, I will say that the memoir was deliberately written to form a symbolic circle. In essence, it begins and ends with my relationship to my father, but there is no epilogue. Also a deliberate choice, as I wanted to inspire a forum for discussion, such as this one, and the story is still being played out.

I have seen my father only once since the time period covered in the book, but I have talked with him often. Although we are still learning about what it means to form a father-daughter relationship as adults, we continue to inch our way closer to the center. Our reunion has been one of the greatest and most healing gifts of this journey. Although we have lived through a troubled past, mostly individually, he was able to accept my gift of my story with grace and gratitude. There has been no judgement or animosity. Instead, he has thanked me, as well as shown compassion and a willingness to help, in his own way, to weave back more of the threads of separation. He knows I love him, and I know he loves me, and that now underlies everything else. Its has become our new foundation in the journey we share together.

Do you have peace after completing the book?

Another loaded question. The simple answer is yes. It took me nine years, from when I started writing my stories, to the release of the book into the world. Even after I wrote them down, I began to realize I was still holding them close. They were no longer inside of me, but they were like a cloak, covering me. It was an act of protection, and releasing them into the world was both necessary and incredibly vulnerable. I knew I needed to release the cloak, but I didn’t realize how naked I would feel. Yet, the day after I hit the button to release the book out into the world, I found myself sitting quietly on my sofa and realizing that all I felt was peace. A deep, quiet and profound feeling of inner peace.  I had birthed my book into being, and now it was no longer just mine. Like a child, I could continue to grow with it, but it was now ready to take on a life of its own.  And, like most children, it has received acceptance from some, and not from others. What matters most though, is that I have let it go, and hopefully it will find a healing place in the world.


want to thank my readers for their questions, and welcome the sending of more. Questions can be posted here, on my Facebook page, or sent directly to me at  

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Wish you were here?

Upcoming workshops for the Silent Eye School of Consciousness. I promise you they are wonderful:

Source: Wish you were here?

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The Stability of the Trunk

Pine tree in NH

A pine tree divides at the base

My lower back gave out on Monday morning, after a weekend of yoga teacher training. Ironically, we covered the root chakra during one of the classes. Tragically, the night before my back gave out, more than fifty people were shot in Las Vegas in a horrific act of gun violence.

Our 1st chakra, the Muldahara, is also called our Root Chakra. It is associated with the color red, the color of blood. It is our support system, and our tribal chakra. The root chakra connects us to each other. When there is instability, or disease, in an individual, the wellbeing and health of all of us are compromised.

All week I’ve been thinking about the stability of the base and what it means to the individual and the whole. We may think that we are birthed into individuality, but if we hold on too tightly to this belief, we become estranged from all that binds us together.

Surrounding my house there are trees, and each day I walk in the town’s forests with my two dogs and walk amid more trees. There is perhaps no better analogy than a tree to describe the interdependence of life. Science has shown that beneath the ground, where the eye does not often travel, there is a complex network of communication that is shared among tress through their systems of roots. Nutrients and water are exchanged, and warning signals are released when pests and fire are near.

Life does not thrive in isolation. Nor does it thrive when fear, anger, greed and arrogance try to separate out the individual from the group.  When a tree divides itself to form multiple trunks, their is an increased risk of collapse. Without a strong base of support, an individual trunk will often break off into decay.

Without strong roots the crown cannot grow toward the light.

What is true for the tree, is also true for us. How can we collectively evolve and thrive, if we keep striving for separation in favor of unity? In the aftermath of tragedy, individuals often come together in a collective empathy. After months have passed, though, a status quo of individuality often returns.

When my back gave out, I experienced the discomfort of having to rely upon others for support. The ego mind wanted to hold onto its illusion of individual strength, yet when I surrendered to the slow-time that came with acceptance, gratitude took its place. It became almost silly in my mind to think I might have wanted, or preferred, to stand alone. To support myself when there exists a network of support in the form of my tribal unity, or family, around me.

The air I breathe mingles with the air you breathe. Each inhale collects the breath of all life and brings it, for a moment, into the body before it is exhaled to rejoin the whole. The heart cannot beat without the shared breath of life. So why to we try to breathe alone?



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Keats, Truth & Bubbles

Golden sunset

Divine Alchemy: The sky kisses water with light

This morning, while taking a much needed detox bath, I found myself watching the bubbles at my feet crack into air like cells releasing fear. How this brought my mind to Keats, I cannot honestly tell you, but that is where it decided to go. My daughter tells me she gets her greatest ideas while she showers and bathes. I tell that’s because water is the keeper of memories and opens our awareness to what is stored inside.

Perhaps this is why the water surrounding my body opened my mind to Keats and his poem, “Ode on Grecian Urn.” I still have my copy from college, penciled with my notes. For a while, as I bathed, I thought about my obsession with the romantic poet, and how I had written my honor’s thesis about his love letters to Fanny Brawne. A few days ago I had come across the thesis while going through old things.

honor's thesis on John Keats and Fanny Brawne

My honor’s thesis on John Keats

While I soaked in the tub, feeling the tension held inside my muscles give way to the warm water, my mind explored the young poet’s deeper search for love and truth. I thought about how many of Keats’ poems play with ideas greater than the death of the body he knew would lead to his early demise. The last lines of his famous poem, and the words he held within quotes, “‘Beauty is truth, truth is beauty,’ — that is all/ Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know” played out of the cells of my memory.

Annotated copy of Ode on a Grecian Urn

My annotated copy of “Ode On A Grecian Urn” by John Keats from his Selected Poems, Gramercy Books, New York

Below these words, I my college hand wrote the words, “truths are individual & not set & unchanging. What is beautiful to an individual is truth for that individual.”  Considered to be one one of the most quoted lines of poetry, there is also much debate over what Keats meant by this statement about beauty and truth. My own interpretation, written many years ago, addresses the subjective nature of beauty and truth, but fails to delve into the deeper Truth of what the dying poet seemed to be striving for. Whether he knew this, or not, is also probably up for debate.

Yet there are clues in his earlier lines, that hints that he must have. Keats begins his famous poem with, “Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness,” then follows it with, “Thou foster-child of silence and slow time.” The poet appears to be yearning for a state that goes beyond the mortal mind. A state of truth, perhaps, that can be reached through “silence” and “slow time,” (or no-time). While Keats may have been referring to the immortality of death, he might also have been searching for it through life.

Is this not the truth he speaks of in the last lines? A greater truth that surpasses the subjective and goes straight to the inherent beauty of Life, which I have capitalized because it extends beyond the death of the body? A state of knowing and awareness that can be reached when the chattering of the mind releases to stillness and the silent melody of the universe is reachable to the inner ears. “Heard melodies are sweet,” Keats writes, “but those unheard/ Are sweeter.” “Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone,” he urges before he begins to lament the impermanence of life in all its earthly forms.

An Italian urn with succulents

An urn filled with life. Image source: Pixabay

Is an urn not also a chalice of life, as well as a container of death? The very shape speaks of the womb. I’d like to think this is what Keats was trying to show us through his ode. That beneath the impermanence and subjectivity of truth and beauty, there always exists a greater, unchangeable Truth, which is inherently beautiful. I believe he, like many do, glimpsed it on the eve of his death. Yet, we need not be on the brink of death to reach this state, we need only to free the bound mind and listen to the Truth of the “unheard melodies” that sing though the heart. Then, perhaps, the impermanence of life will be easier for us to accept, as well as the subjective nature of truth.

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The Roots of the Circle

My mind is still ruminating on the circle. Last night I dreamt of water surrounding me on all sides, getting ever closer to my body. I fled before I could be stranded, not wanting to become an island, cut off, with a relentless tide washing over me.

Later, in my dreams, I found myself in a classroom as a student with my husband. The teacher was giving us assignments, and my husband and I were to write an essay about the root chakra. He told me he wanted to write about a place he calls “Blueberry Mountain,” and I found myself wondering how this related to the first chakra, where we hold our sense of stability and our fears of instability. Yet I relented, agreeing to partner with him on our shared task. While we were writing, there were interruptions. A girl I’ll call Margot, because that’s the name I gave her in my memoir, who was also in the class with us, teased and taunted, trying to disrupt the flow of our work. Trying to cut us off from our collaboration.

When I return to the circle, I think about the space in the center that is shared by all who form the perimeter. I think of the energy mingled into one collective body that is the source of all life. And, I think of an invisible network of roots feeding and nursing life.

A tree, upended, will eventually starve and wither away.

Why did my dream mind lead me to the classroom with my husband and Margot, I wondered when I woke, until I began to think about the upending of my own roots.

I met my husband when I was seventeen. In the years preceding our relationship, I had experienced multiple compromises to my family and social networks. My structure of tribal unity, held within my root chakra, was severely compromised by the time I met my future husband. It had left me feeling compromised, fearful and distrustful. Then, one day, I sat in the library of St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH, and found myself falling in love with a boy from Manchester who was writing an essay about a place he called “Blueberry Mountain.” Maybe you can go there with me someday, he told me.

The individual who finds him or herself cut off from the circle, whether willingly or unwillingly, can always return to a place of unity.

Just over 26 years ago, while siting in the library with a boy I barely knew, I began to reclaim and regrow my network of roots. I began to realize that I was not, in fact, an island of one struggling to survive amid stormy seas. I began to trust in love again.

In the center of the circle, which is also the self, there is Love.

For the past month I have been feeling naked and vulnerable. The birth of my memoir, A Girl Named Truth, has called into question my very stability. When I find myself succumbing to old patterns of thought, fear slips in and threatens to topple my roots. I temporality forget that I am not an island, even though I feel, in many ways, raw and alone. This, though, is a temporary feeling, a cruel game of the ego’s mind. When I settle my thoughts into peace, I feel the presence of all life. I feel the Light at the core, and I remember that I am never alone. That at any moment I can rejoin the circle of invisible hands and feel whole again.

Beneath the veil of fear, the body is always searching for the breath of love. When the veil is removed, nothing else exists. Without fear, the roots reach and mingle into unity and the body bends toward light.

A wheel of life found in the woods

A Medicine Wheel in the forest near Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum with legumes in the center bending and growing toward filtered light.

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