Tag Archives: spiritual

Everything Gonna Be Irie

Last night, we said goodbye to our sweet Irie. She was my first free-roaming pet—a loving companion, loyal, hilarious, “voluptuous,” and affectionate.

Irie

RIP Irie

Irie Sleeping

Pure Embodiment of Irie

In Rastafarian language, Irie means:

1: To be at total peace with your current state of being. The way you feel when you have no worries. 2: Powerful and pleasing. 3: Excellent, highest. 4: The state of feeling great. 5: IRIE stands for I Respect I Eternally. Meaning you have respect for yourself; being happy with who you are. 6: To be at peace and harmony with your self and the status quo of your existence. 7: Jamaican term for everything is good, higher self, serenity. 8: To be happy, to be high, most commonly used by Jamaicans.

Her name could not have been more fitting.

I never before could have comprehended how it feels to make the tough decision to help a pet by ending her suffering. It sucks, for real. I can’t quite look anywhere in the house without remembering how she loved to sit on the ottoman near the window, or how she’d come running when she heard the plastic bowl for her wet food come out of the cabinet.

There’s not much sense in me hashing over the details of the sad trip to the vet emergency room or describing the aftermath as Kevin and I bumble around the house, trying to adjust to the encompassing silence without her purring. We are just trying to remember the meaning of her name, for that is the gift she brought to us—A feeling of peace and harmony.

Instead, I will simply post this song—Feel Irie, by Lucky Dube:

How long shall you carry
That burden on your shoulders?
How long shall those tears
Keep running down
Your beautiful face?
We all have troubles
Now and again, know what I’m saying?

No matter how hard we try,
Trouble will find us one way or another.
People had troubles since the pope
Was an altar boy
People had worries from when the
Dead Sea was only critical
Hear those drums running and
Listen to those guitars skanking
Yeah… Put a smile on your face
Don’t let the troubles get you down
Shoop shoop doo doo
Put a smile on your face
Don’t let the troubles get you down

Let me tell you how we feel
We feel irie
Irie!
We feel irie
Irie!
We feel irie yeah yeah
Irie
We feel so irie
Irie!

Tell me,
Do you feel like we do?
Do you feel like we do?
I say,
Do you feel like we do?

No man can hide from his fears
Since they are part of him
They always know where to find him,
Come on walk tall and
Keep your head high

I tell you again and again
Put a smile on your face,
Don’t let the troubles
Get you down
Shoop shoop doo doo
Put a smile on your face,
Don’t let the troubles
Get you down

We feel irie
Irie!
We feel irie yeah
Irie!
We feel irie
Irie!
We feel irie yeah
Irie!

Tell me,
Do you feel like we do?
Do you feel like we do?
Tell me now,
Do you feel like we do?
’cause we feel irie
Irie!
We feel irie yeah
Irie!
We feel irie
Irie!
We feel so irie
Irie!

Do you feel like we do?
listen now,
Put a smile on your face,
Don’t let the troubles
Get you down
Shoop shoop doo doo

Put a smile on your face,
Don’t let the troubles
Get you down
shoop shoop doo doo

Put a smile on your face,
Don’t let the troubles
Get you down
shoop shoop doo doo


Ho’oponopono Huh?

If you ask those who know me which 5 words they would use to describe me, spiritual or religious would most likely not be included in the list. I don’t belong to any particular religion, and I would have to say that I feel most other-worldly when I am on a long hike in the woods and the least that way when I am sitting in the confines of a traditional church. However, I believe that every religion has validity for those who truly live what they believe and accept those around them for who they are. After all, the religions I’ve encountered all seem to get at the same basic principle of being a good person.

This post is not about my beliefs or lack thereof, though. It’s about an awesome opportunity I had to see a faith practice from another culture. I am lucky enough to work in an environment that embraces diversity in spiritual thought, and we are encouraged to attend events that might further our understanding of the world we live in. So, Friday and Saturday, I chose to attend a workshop on Ho’oponopono. It didn’t really seem like the appropriate venue to take tons of pictures, but this shot of the leader, Kahuna Harry Uhane Jim, captures the jovial essence of the event.

Harry Uhane Jim

Harry was quick to laugh, a genuine laugh, even when conversation was thick.

Ho’oponopono means many things to many people (as evidenced by each of us describing the concept in one word at the end of the workshop), but this definition seems to fit:

A Hawaiian word which means to correct or make right, to come to balance. In the Hawaiian culture, this also refers to a process of setting things right or bringing a person or an ohana to balance.

My brain is still working to fully understand what I learned from Harry, but as he says, “You won’t know until you need to know. You won’t remember until you need to remember.”

The twenty or so workshop attendees sat in a circle, sharing the sources of unbalance in their lives, somewhat reminiscent of a group therapy session (this initially made me cringe). Many of the people present work as body workers like Reiki healers, massage therapists, etc., so they were fairly familiar with the vocabulary of the event. I sat and absorbed it all, especially fond of Harry’s infinite supply of one-liners like these:

There are only two types of forgiveness: now and later. Now left and later is now.

Turn your beliefs into preferences.

Laughter is the sign of a master.

The world is a better place when you take a deep breath.

Adam & Eve left Eden, nothing else did. Plants & animals are still in Eden.

You have to be you. Everyone else is taken.

Stop negotiating. Start navigating.

Nobody can tell you what your soul’s path is. Not even you know until your soul tells you.

Look for the good in people, even if you have to squint. (This one was from one of his Facebook friends.)

This post may seem little vague, but I think that part of the value in the event was having to decode what was being talked about. I do know for sure, though, I am going to take Harry’s advice to plant some tulips and do a liver cleanse.


Adventuring: Columcille

Columcille Megalith Park

Last week, in the midst of the rain and dreariness that made up Labor Day weekend, my husband and I decided to venture a little bit outside of the Lehigh Valley to a place in Bangor (about 40 minutes away) rumored to be full of mystery and awe. One year ago, I had never heard of Columcille Megalith Park, but shortly after I began my current job, it came up over a lunch conversation and I knew I had to visit. Well, it took a year to get there, but when Kevin suggested going to “that stone place you were talking about” in between family visits that weekend, I jumped at the opportunity. So, we grabbed our rain coats, purchased a jug of antifreeze since I was losing a tank a day last week (all fixed now!) and hit the road.

Ascending the mountain to reach Columcille, we suddenly hit a supremely foggy patch and nearly missed the sharp turn to reach the park. Fortunately, our GPS alerted us and we found it. We crawled down the narrow road towards the park, excitedly shouting “There’s a sign!” when we found it. I had read online about a gravel parking lot, but we passed it thinking there must be a larger lot somewhere—There’s not. FYI, parking is on a gravel shoulder, head-in and at an angle.

Entering the park through the Infinity Gate, we found a board with several messages, including this one:

WARNING: ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK
COLUMCILLE IS A SPACE AND PLACE
A PLAYGROUND
WHERE THE HUMAN SPIRIT CAN BOUNCE ON A VOYAGE
INTO MYTH AND MYSTERY WITH EARTH AND SPIRIT
A LISTENING POST …
“WHERE THE VEIL IS VERY THIN”
AS YOU VOYAGE THROUGH THE INFINITY GATE
INTO INFINITY
REMEMBER THE WORDS OF ST. ORAN
“THE WAY YOU THINK IT IS MAY NOT BE THE WAY AT ALL.”
COME AS YOU ARE
GO IN PEACE

Another note invited us to visit the Voyagers’ Lounge, behind the barn, to obtain maps or make honor system donations in exchange for Columcille souvenirs. We wandered behind the barn, towards a pond and the founder’s house, to discover a small outpost serving as the Lounge. Signs invited visitors to read a book from the small library, listen to some music or make a cup of tea or coffee. We poked around for a bit, donated a few dollars and took some neat gemstones, then picked up several maps (knowing some would get soaked in the downpour outside).

The park held a fascinating mix of natural and man-made elements, echoing various Pagan and Christian traditions. Throughout its 17 acres, we discovered offerings of seashells left to female goddesses, Christian crosses, rambling streams, many piles of stones (cairns) marking significant locations, fire circles, swords in stone, hydrangeas on altars sand secluded seats in groves of trees. The fog, rain and abundance of fungi added to the mystical vibe in the park, and aside from the mosquitoes biting our bare ankles, it was an incredibly serene location. Take a look through this photo gallery to get a better sense of what we experienced:

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Two individuals were mentioned in the naming of sites at Columcille, St. Oran and St. Columba. The Columcille website tells the legend of St. Oran this way:

According to this very old island legend, Columba and his monks tried to build a chapel on Iona, but could not get the walls to stand. Frustrated, Columba turned to his friend Oran, who knew the old ways of the island. Oran suggested that he be thrown into the footers of the building to appease the ancient energies of the island. Columba did as he was told and the walls stood. But three days later, Columba had Oran dug out of the foundations. Very much alive, Oran said that he had traveled to theOther World and began to describe the many strange things he had seen.  Oran ended his story with a bit of cautionary advice for his friend, Columba. Leaning over to him, Oran whispered, “The way you think it is may not be the way it is at all.”

Columba, the proud son of an Irish chieftain, did not take the advice very well. He promptly had Oran re-interred. But the incident survived in legend and islanders enshrined Oran’s words as folk wisdom. Fourteen centuries later pilgrims who ponder Iona’s mysteries are still likely to hear, “The way you think it is may not be the way it is at all.” In the Hebrides and Ireland, when someone mentions an uncomfortable subject, it is still common to silence them with the phrase “Throw mud in the mouth of St. Oran.”

The inscription in the St. Oran Bell Tower recalls this old legend and challenges the easy certainties of our modern world. Each time the bell rings it echoes Oran’s timeless wisdom:

“The way you think it is may not be the way it is at all.”

St. Columba is another name for Colum Cille, the Gaelic Irish missionary who spread Christianity to the Picts.

Another interesting reference we found in the park was a sign saying, “Excavation Site for a Hidden Chapel” near a tomb-like rock on a hillside, marked with a Celtic cross. This cryptic poem was laminated at the site:

The Chapel Guardian Stirs

Up from disturbed ground an ancient
Turtle crawled, and in the center
Fixed her hoary bulk: and slept. By
Dawn the shell had hardened down to
A great red stone. The hands she dreamed
Built a chapel round and over
Her, as if to shell her breath in
Walls of stone and a high-pitched roof.
Years passed around that head within
To bud and hurl, drop leaves to snow,
Amid the murmur of human throats
Pouring out sweet and bitter aches.
Then something deeper stirred in her,
Flexed, sighed: A crystal boat touched shore.
She bids us seek a lower door.

David Cohea
February 12, 2004

A CALL TO EXCAVATE THE HIDDEN CHAPEL

The excavation was dedicated on June 12, 2004.

Mysterious sites like this abounded throughout the park grounds, causing one to ponder, if nothing else. I cannot say I had an extreme spiritual experience while at Columcille, but it certainly was a place of utmost calm and natural beauty. I’ll definitely be heading back on a drier day.


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