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Walking the Unborn

Walking towards the water I feel you floating there

inside me, deep down

where the soul meets the body.


I imagine you see red, darkness

not the blackened blue waves

of this Lake,

not the yellow sugar maple

leaves, the last of fall.

I know you are the singer, the one who asks

me to sing today, who asks me to write

poetry, you are a little girl

who will sing her way from the womb

You are my rock, my salvation

you will ask of me

more than I can hope to give


and I will give it anyway

you will dive too deep

into this water

this life

and you will break my heart

joyously open

wave after crashing wave.



A Personal Creation Story

3994573757_dbf936bf5a_zThe Every One

I will tell it to you this way, my child, said the Great Father, and he swam into the air taking me by the arm and swimming me into the darkness of all time and space where everything and nothing lives until I, too, remembered my many arms and swam beside him.  He took me to a place thick and viscous and dark where I was surrounded by my brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, all creatures belonged to one another and became one another and none of us was ever alone or lonely.  Together we could do great and magical things, together we remained in a loving presence where none were left behind without being caressed by the embrace of the all-being of our transparent body and bodies.  We sang to one another beautiful songs of love and we acknowledged each for their part in the whole.  We were peaceful and affectionate, we mated by unifying our bodies completely as one becomes the other through osmosis.  We had many arms to hold one another.

Your ancestors were sent hurling through the stars in the form of a ball and landed where you are to bring peaceful vibrations to this planet you now live on.  You are carrying on this destiny and your supreme divine purpose is to love, to embrace, to become one in love with all whom you touch.  You may feel alone but you never are.  Your ancestors hold you and sing to you in your sleep.  Your brothers and sisters live in the oceans to remind you of where you come from even though you did not know it.  They visit you in your dreams to bring you comfort because you are so lonely away from your original people.  What you do on this Earth is more important than you know, and you have a great task and purpose to love and to listen deeply to the pain which you can wash away with your watery love.

You are happiest in the company of others who carry out loving acts in service to humanity.  This is your great truth.  Community is your home.  Service is your task.  Love is your food and essence.  Water is your life force.

The Inuit and the Maori come to you because they are water people from stars like ours.  You have another body in another world connected to this one, draw upon the strength and power of that giant body--you will become your true self when you breathe in unison and swim in unison and sing in unison with the All.

You need to be by the water.  New Zealand is also one of your homes on this planet.  You are right now doing to work of proving to yourself the real state of your being--One in Love.  Our God is called the One and the Every One.  It looks like the circles of a million tentacles pulsing in and out.  Our Creator made All.



Love Letter #1

Waverly This is the day
your heart became the Earth 
kissed the sun on the lips
merged its juicy red sinews
to the hips of the moon
and all this oneness revealed burst forth from the walls of the dam you constructed when you told yourself you were never nor ever would be enough and you held back the beauty and the love and the wild ache for freedom thinking you could tame a soul which never could be captive, but oh you fooled the fates or so you thought because around those banks the flowers still bloomed and wept with joy when the bees came the willows and birches still arched their backs and dipped their toes into your warmth and herons dove to smell the salmon and salmon leapt to taste the spider and spider spun her web to catch the dewdrop and dewdrop shook into your eddy and eddy swirled to lap the fallen limb and limb made a bed for the turtle and turtle painted the legends of creation on its shell and creation lived on despite this blunder despite the damning and damming of the 75% of our being we call water and you remembered, you remembered you remembered that nothing can contain you nothing can contain you nothing can contain you.

Heidi Howes © 2014



Each Rock Has a Spirit

grandfather stonesToday I woke up giving thanks. Today I offered tobacco at the foot of the maple

in my front yard, beside the rocks my daughter gathered yesterday.


You know each rock has a spirit, I said

as she loaded her heavy treasures into her patent leather purse

like they were precious friends she was carrying home.


She didn't answer when I spoke

what was still obvious to her, not yet forgotten

and if we are lucky perhaps she will be one who always remembers.


This one sparkles in the sun!, she says.

This one has stripes like a tiger.

A big dog licks my ear while I'm squatting.


How much do we miss each day

rushing from one indoors to the other?

What do the ancestors do when they speak and we don't listen?


Come to us as children, so we remember to remember

that each rock has a spirit, each tree a story,

and each day a thanksgiving.











100 Days of Poetry-Day 1


Lost like me


Do you feel lost

like I feel lost?


Because everything you were told

about life has turned out to be a lie?


And here you sit, back against the bark

of the maple tree whose name you do not know


in the front yard of a house that you call yours

but really isn’t?


What shall we do with this betrayal--

the food that once nurtured us


now the food that is killing us?

In my heart I wish to hear the voice


of this tree, crabgrass, soil, stone.

My body lost her way on asphalt paths


lined by empty plastic bags.

But who am I to find my way?


Who are we to journey deep

into darkness where everything sings,


where dragons still breathe fire

to warm the hearth of our truest home?


There is no belonging here

afloat in the ocean of untruth.


It is only a pretend map we forgot

was a game we started long ago.



Connecting the World One Bead at a Time

I recently contributed a bead to the community mala project --

108 Beads. 1 Mala. Connecting the world.

We are creating a set of community mala beads. One bead from each person - people of all walks of life and from all around the world.

Here is a touching entry from Heidi Howes on why she contributed a skull bead.

If you would like to contribute a bead and your story please contact us at 

Namaste xx

The reason I have chosen the skull bead is because I developed a particular fascination with the skull's meaning and spent a year meditating on this symbol after a near-death experience in childbirth.

Despite pop culture's use of the skull, I have come to regard it as a gateway to enlightenment.  I wore a wooden skull mala on my wrist during the year I meditated on this symbol and one morning as I played with my toddler on the wood floor, sun streaming in through the window, I glanced down at the mala and chills ran through my body.  I teared up thinking of my daughter and this precious moment, the impermanent yet perfect moment.

The meditation on impermanence reminds us to be wholly in the moment, to notice the sunshine and the ever changing beauty of this world.  Also, and sometimes more importantly, this symbol reminds us in times of darkness to be aware that "this too shall pass."  In pain and suffering, we need to remember that it is not permanent and that relief will come again.  We can breathe through it and know that it will soon be over.

After the year was finished, I decided to tattoo the mala on my wrist as a constant reminder.  I have to chuckle every time I see a black t-shirt with a skull and crossbones on it, because it inevitably brings me right back to the moment, grateful and alive.



Doing good is fun: Support Flying Horse Farms

This weekend I will be playing at a special Columbus event put on by the downtown Rotary club.  I am really happy to be a part of Music in the Round and to be supporting this fundraiser.  Music In the Round is an annual event to raise money for Flying Horse Farm. It’s a great event: an unplugged-style musicians’ round, where three very talented artists take turns writing songs and sharing stories behind them.

FLYING HORSE FARMS helps extremely sick kids have the experience of a lifetime. Watch the video:

TICKETS ARE ONLY $25, and all proceeds go directly to FHF. It’s at the Columbus Maennerchor and I hear they have cheap drinks :)

IF YOU CAN’T GO, consider buying tickets for a friend or client. IF YOU ARE ALREADY GOING, invite more people!


Have a great week and I hope to see you Saturday!



The Journey

The Journey One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice-- though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles. "Mend my life!" each voice cried. But you didn't stop. You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations, though their melancholy was terrible. It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full of fallen branches and stones. But little by little, as you left their voices behind, the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do-- determined to save the only life you could save.

~Mary Oliver



#2: Do it Anyway

All these things I feared would bruise him he caught with grace and ease Original Batik by Lisa Kattenbraker

There is a place in my gut, just about 3 inches behind and above my navel, that churns and flutters when I hear a good song. That's the feeling of anxiety that tells me it's been too long since I sat down to write, an envy that burns hot blue and lets me know I need to be doing something other than this survival thing I am doing right now, and I need to listen to my soul's hunger.

That is when I know I have a dream that is waiting to be followed, a drive that peels to be on the open road chasing down its muse.

I sat nursing my babies for four years with that engine revving inside me, wondering if I might ever be able to feed the hunger in my soul. Don't get me wrong, having children has grounded me and filled me with such fullness that I never could've known otherwise, but still, there is a hunger. My dreams won't let me be!

So now when I lie awake at night dreaming of how to accomplish everything I wish for, and wonder why the heck I am so passionate and driven about things that don't have any guarantee of putting food on my family's table, or anything to do with the laundry or the kids, I am very scared. I am scared of taking risks that to conventional wisdom are ridiculous and make no sense because they don't seem to have anything to do with necessity.

And then a voice inside my head/heart says but did you know that music can save your life? Did you know that music can be a weapon? Did you know that a story can be powerful medicine?

" 'Remember only this one thing', said Badger. 'The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away when they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put these stories in each other's memory. This is how people care for themselves.'" -Barry Lopez, Crow and Weasel.

So I write songs and poems. They wake me up and pull me over to the side of the road. I have to trust that there is a rhyme, if not a reason, for this, and carve out time to do it anyway.

This year I am dreaming big, thanks to a great x-mas present from the comet boy (who has been writing mondo beyondo lists with me for 5 years now, and his includes going to the moon, literally!). And listening to my dreams in a big intentional way.

How about you? What's your do it anyway?



Resolution #1: Listening In

I love people. I love my family, my children . . . but inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that's where you renew your springs that never dry up.--Pearl S. Buck

I have been thinking long and hard about how I want to transform my life and habits in 2010. So it's taken me a while to figure out the 6 changes I want to focus on, but this one I know for sure is numero uno: LISTEN.

I have been working on my listening skills for a few years because I know for a fact I was once really bad at listening, so I have been actively, intentionally working on it. My bff, Randall said once upon a time that I was the best listener he knew (I think his assessment may have changed when we lived in the same town for 6 months last year!). Now, I may have gotten a little better at it over the years, but I need lots and lots of work. (Here is where my husband nods emphatically).

My resolution focus is more on Listening In because this past year was pretty hectic with moving to a whole new world (from the Northwoods of WI to the metro area of Columbus, OH), starting new jobs with my freelancing/music/teaching stuff here and here and here and here, and all the insanity and excitement that comes with relocating a family of 4 across the country.

So listening in, which is also the title of a great song by my friend Nate, means specifically turning inward to that "still, small voice." I have a wonderful teacher who once told me that Life is Meaningful, It Just Takes Practice and as I saw this past year, more than ever, it is extremely vital to practice listening inward, especially when it is hardest to do so.

So I slacked on my meditation practice this past year, no biggie, I am picking up where I left off and renewing the commitment to practice meditation once a day, starting with 10 minutes. In fact, this morning my kids fought over the timer and climbed all over my lap during those 10 minutes I sat, because I woke too late and was determined to sit anyway. I think in the middle of the sitting I actually yelled at them to stop fighting! CLASSIC! Well, who ever said meditation was pretty? Or peaceful? I don't think those people ever really tried it .. .

I am a working mom, wife, creative, entrepreneur who tries to fit it all in, and meditation is no different. But meditation is also imperative to my well-being, I have found. I have studied in online classes with Buddhamom author Jacqueline Kramer of The Hearth Foundation for many years and love her take on meditation, mindfulness, and motherhood. And as my friend Lisa so aptly describes in her visual batik poetry above


How do you listen in? Let me know your thoughts!



I Used to Be a Bird

[As for me, I used to be a bird] As for me, I used to be a bird with a gentle white womb, someone cut my throat            just for laughs,            I don't know. As for me, I used to be a great albatross and whirled over the seas. Someone put an end to my journey, without any charity in the tone of it. But even stretched out on the ground I sing for you now my songs of love.


by Alda Merini / translated from the Italian by Susan Stewart • from Love Lessons: Selected Poems of Alda Merini • Princeton University Press



I Love Good News

One of my favorite writers and seers is Rob Breszny, whose horoscope updates I receive weekly in my inbox and looooove.  He has written a book about Pronoia, the antidote to Paranoia, and I just had to share these links because I love good news and am addicted to it, and this is a great list of resources!  Thanks, Rob! MORE PRONOIA RESOURCES:

Sources of good news are proliferating. In fact, their increasing abundance is proof that there's no longer any excuse for steeping yourself in the perverse life-hating obsession that infects the mainstream media.

Here's my challenge to you: For the period of one week, I dare you to refrain from sucking in the nihilism that pours out of mainstream news sources. Instead, for those seven days, get all your news from the pronoiac websites below.

Good News Network

Change the World News

Great News Network

Positive News

Ode magazine

Yes! magazine


Good News Daily

Good News Blog

Happy News

Heroic Stories

Positive Economic News

Good News Economist

NPR report on good news

New "positive change" magazines thrive