contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right.

         

123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789

email@address.com

 

You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.

Blog

Susan Marek's blog about angels, chakras, spiritual living, and more.

Montsegur

Susan Marek

Montsegur, or safe mountain, sits a top a strangely shaped mountain.  It was the last hold out in the Albigensian Crusades, with the Cathars being burned at the foot of the mountain in March of 1244. 
Montsegur from parking lot

Montsegur from monument

Most of the group took on the challenge of hiking to the top.  It is a very steep climb through a small forest which then opened to a rocky path to the summit.  We stopped first at  monument to the Cathars who were murdered at the base.
Cathar Monument, Montsegur

Half way there...
Half way there

The fortress at the top of the mountain is not the Cathar stronghold.  It is a fortress build after the Cathars were driven out.  The king must of thought it was a great place to set up shop after the Cathars held out for so long. 

fortress at Montsegur

The original building was made from stone and wood.  The outline of some of the small rooms the Cathars used can be seen below. 
Cathar rooms at Montsegur

I got a strong sense of peace here and had visions of laughing children running through these rooms while adults worked and taught.  The view was spectacular.  Except for a few cow bells in the distance, we experienced a silence that was blessed and magical.  Besides a sense of accomplishment from making it up and down the mountain without dying, I felt overwhelmed by the love and peace of this place.  It is so interesting how many of the sites we visited had such atrocities committed in their midst, yet the energy is peaceful and loving.  It is truly a testament to how love conquers all and the way in which these beautiful Cathar people lived. 

I left southern France the next day and drove up north to visit Chartres and Paris.  First stop on the way, Vezelay!

Mystery of the Black Madonna

Susan Marek

Before this trip, I had little knowledge or understanding of The Black Madonna.  These ladies sit in many churches in France (and other countries) and are misunderstood and discounted by most visitors.  There are many theories on why the Madonnas are black (or were black - many have been white-washed by the Church), but my personal feeling is that these Madonnas represent the divine feminine, an earthy, mothering, goddess aspect of I AM that brings forth creativity and renewal.  They are linked to Mary Magdalene, who also represents those qualities.  They exude love, compassion, understanding and hold secrets to not only the past, but to our present and future experience on our relationship to ourselves, each other, and the divine.  Upon returning home, I started gathering material on the Black Madonnas and am going to do some research on this lovely lady..  She fascinates me because of what she is said to represent, because the Church is SO threatened by her coloring it feels a need to paint her, and because her mystery is a source of information on a higher place. 

Alet-les-Bains

Alet-les-Bains


As if Black Madonnas weren't enough to keep me busy, I was introduced to the world of encoded stained glass windows.  I saw some of the most amazing windows in a little town called Alet-les-Bains.  The windows of this small church have Stars of David build into the supports for the windows and colorful, intricate glass within the frame.  Each tells a story, of course, but many were hard to see because of the height of the windows.  I was instantly obsessed with the symbolism in these windows and will have to add discovering their secrets to my list of things to do.  But I think, perhaps, the Madonnas and the windows have some shared secrets that are waiting to be discovered...

Black Madonna, Alet-les-Bains

Black Madonna, Notre-Dame-de-Marceille
 Oh, and we saw Nostradamus' house today.  It was a good day!

Another day, another castle...

Susan Marek

Oh, where to start today? Another chateau.  Yawn.  Another gorgeous view.  Sigh.  Just when I thought that the events of the day before were life-changing, another day came and additional miraculous places and experiences presented themselves. We started the day in Arques chateau, the beautiful remains of another Languedoc castle.  This place is extremely special energetically.  There is a lovely, divine current of energy that can be felt on this property.  The views from the tower are stunning, and the inside is cozy and light.  I am feeling somewhat selfish today with my experiences there and won't be sharing every detail, but here are some pictures which will help convey the beauty of the place.

Arques Castle

Arques Castle

view from Arques Castle

Arques Castle

Next stop was the Gorge of Galamus, a magnificent gorge near Bugarach mountain.  Built into the side of the steep rock walls is a hermitage, which houses a grotto dedicated to Mary Magdalene. 
hermitage in Gorge of Galamus

The hike into the gorge was not terribly difficult, but the rocks on the path were slippery due to the thousands of shoes that have polished them to a shine. With a small river bubbling in the background, I made my way to the entrance of the hermitage.  It was pleasantly cool inside and above, someone rang a bell, which at one time, probably called people to prayer.  Today, it beckoned me in further into the sacred space, which opened into a surprisingly large grotto.  It was breathtaking, with the high ceilings and soft candlelight.   After the requisite picture taking, I settled into a natural stone seat in the back of the grotto.  Mary Magdalene is said to have taught the Way of Love here, and from the energy that is imbued in this space, I truly believe that. 
Mary Magdalene Grotto

There is a palpable softness and feeling of love that emanates from the stone.  I had a powerful, personal experience here, which I am not ready to share, but it has left me changed.  This is a place of heaven on Earth with all of its human-ness and divinity expressed together. 

And for all you orb lovers, look closely at the last picture.  There are a few that joined us in the grotto. 

Alas, tomorrow there will be no chateaux.  But the mysteries keep coming!

Mas Cabardes' Weaver's Cross

Susan Marek

Mas Cabardes is a tiny town nestled in the mountains north of Carcassonne.  This sleepy hamlet is home to one of my favorite pieces of heretical art. Unassuming on the corner of two narrow streets sits a lovely cross.  At first glance, it looks like a normal cross, with Jesus, angels, and Mother Mary.  The addition of John the Baptist and Father God are different, but not unusual.  It takes the name 'Weaver's Cross' from the carving of the shuttle under Jesus' feet.  Cathars were shepherds, so this is said to be a nod to one of their professions.
Weaver's Cross, front

Where it gets really interesting is when you view the back of it.  The back tells the heretical side of the story.  Mary Magdalene, holding a baby (who is now decapitated) is crowned Queen of Heaven by the angels while God looks on.  On her left is Archangel Michael, protector of the Divine Feminine, and the other is unidentified, but has pen and book in hand, ready to tell her story.

Weaver's Cross, back
The church in this town is small, but mighty, having special symbolism of its own and some fabulous energy as well.  Again, we saw symbols of the divine masculine and feminine, as well as dedication to Mary Magdalene.

Nearby, on some small mountian peaks, sits the site of Lastours.  It is the site of three separate Cathar chateaux and a fourth castle built as a prize to the victors after the Cathar chateauxs were conquered.
Lastours

The view was breathtaking and the hike up to one of the towers was worth the effort on that particularly warm day. Most of the group chose to hike to Cabaret, the chateau originally owned by Etiennette du Pennautier, patroness of the troubadours and defender of the Cathars.
Cabaret (left)

There is one remaining tower that you can climb up from which to enjoy the spectacular vistas.  Many of us spent about an hour up there, singing and dancing, a fitting tribute to the woman who celebrated the arts, music and courtly love!
Me in the Cabaret Tower
Another busy day full of beauty, mystery, and the Divine.  Oh...and wine.  :)

Rennes-le-Chateau

Susan Marek

Rennes-le-Chateau is at the center of all things mystical and magical in the Languedoc region.  Rumors of Egyptian rites, time slips, and portals to other worlds abound here.  What I do know for sure is that it is full of more mysteries than answers, and beauty abounds.  The view was breathtaking from atop the mountain on which it sits.

  The streets were quiet as we approached the infamous church, which holds most of the town's secrets.  Dedicated to Mary Magdalene, this place of worship has a gorgeous statue of Mary Magdalene above the door with an interesting inscription.  At first, it seems as though it proclaims the place as "terribilis," but translated properly in this context, it means 'awesome'.  Awesome it is, indeed! 
Mary Magdalene at Rennes-le-Chateau




As I entered the church, Rex Mundi was waiting to greet me.  One would not expect to find a devil at the entrance to a church. Rex Mundi means 'king of the world,' and to me, represents the ego and our attachment to earthly things that block us from our true path. 
Rex Mundi

But on top of the statue sits four lovely angels, each making a portion of the sign of the cross, assuring you that all is well.  A fascinating statue to be sure!
Angels triumph over Rex Mundi
For me, the energy in the church was a little "swirly" (it's a technical term...). It was noticeable once I was inside the main part of the church.  There was so much to see within the church itself, like gorgeous statues of many saints, an ornate altar with a lovely relief of Mary Magdalene in it, painted by the priest, Berenger Sauniere, who brought this church back to life with a mysterious fortune at the turn of the 20th century.
altar with Mary Magdalene relief
The source of Sauniere's fortune is unknown, but the money started pouring into this small parish after he discovered something in a pillar of the old altar during a remodel.  The papers found in a hole in the top of the pillar were said to contains secrets that were never revealed by Berenger or any of the people he entrusted with them. 
altar pillar - no, it isn't upside down.  Sauniere had 'Mission 1891' carved upside down.  The hole is at the top.
Symbolism is all over the church.  There is layer upon layer of messages and secrets here.  Next to the church are the presbytery, Villa Bethania ( the home Sauniere built but never lived in) and his gardens.  The gardens contain two magnificent towers, the Magdalene Tower, which served as Sauniere's library, and the Conservatory Tower, which was a green house.  The Magdalene Tower is spectacular.  Inside, walnut bookshelves line the walls, and the spiral staircase leads to the top of the tower.  I could feel the energy swirling in the tower before I reached the door.  I had to catch myself a few times inside to keep from falling because the energy was so strong.  I didn't stay long because of it, but proceeded to the conservatory where the energy was a little calmer. 
Magdalene Tower

Conservatory Tower
After visiting the towers, the group headed to another part of the Sauniere's original garden called Jardin du Marie for lunch.  There, we ate under the sprawling branches of trees and were treated to a short talk about local lore by the restaurant owner.  A harp concert followed, and then we did some shopping at the fabulous bookstore located at the foot of the garden.  The shop items reflected the mysteries of Rennes-le-Chateau: Books, Magdalene medals, Templar crosses, Egyptian statues and shiny crystal jewelry. 


Rennes-le-Chateau brought up mixed emotions in me.  The church itself was so multi-layered in terms of energy and emotions.  A LOT has happened there, and for me that day, it was quite jumbled when picking up on energies of the past and present.  There is a definite air of mystery around the church and grounds, much more than you can see.  I came away quite melacholy because I was on energy overload and processing quite a bit.  I would love to go back after reading and learning more about the history and symbolism so I could focus on a specific area of the church or gardens.  You could spend years here and not uncover or decipher the town's secrets.  The next place we visited was quite the opposite of Rennes-le-Chateau...

Minerve - Still a Working Town

Susan Marek

Despite being the site of a Cathar massacre in 1210, Minerve is unexpectedly peaceful.

It's narrow streets wind up and down the diminutive hill on which it sits, overlooking a beautiful gorge.  It is hard to believe that is was the place that 140 Cathar "parfaits" were burned for heresy.  Energetically, Minerve had a blanket of loving energy over it, almost like a dome, protecting it and maintaining the feeling of love that so penetrated the Cathar society here once.  It felt physically soft and calm.  The group spent time walking to the Cathar memorial

and then journeyed down into the gorge, following the path of the martyrs.  While walking, I had a vision of a line of parfaits walking down into the gorge, two by two, men and women.  One pair were helping each other down when the woman slipped and the man gently caught her before she tumbled down the steep slope.  It was such a gentle, loving gesture juxtapositioned against the harsh reality that awaited them at the bottom.  There was an overwhelming feeling of sadness, which you would think wouldn't be unusual except that the sadness was not for themselves.  The Cathars were grieving the fact that their conquerors were so misguided.  The Parfaits were genuinely concerned for their persecutors!  At first, it took me by surprise, but knowing the little I know about their ways and beliefs, I should have expected nothing less.  It was actually quite lovely and a true "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do" moment.  At the site of the burning in the gorge, the group said a prayer for them and spent some time in silence.

One member of our group began to sing a song, inspired and divinely guided in that moment.  We were all moved to tears.  On our way back up to the town from the gorge, I 'saw'  that Minerve was not just a place of memories, but in actuality is still a "working" enclave of the Cathars.  There is a funnel of energy that exists over the town, that channels the Way of Love into the energy of this world. These people are still here etherically, holding a space for love to remain.  Demori!

On to Rennes-le-Chateau...

Sacred France - wine, churches, and cassoulet - Oh my!

Susan Marek

I just got back from France a few days ago and thought I had better make an attempt to put words to the amazing experiences I have had over the past two weeks.  Please be patient with me as I tell you all about my adventures. There is so much to say (and not say) about what happened that I will have have to give it to you in bits and pieces. To say that I had a great time is an understatement.  It doesn't do the experience justice to even state that it was life changing.  I am altered in a way that cannot be adequately described.  My adventure started in Toulouse, France, where I was introduced to an incredible group of people, who would become my close friends by the end of the trip.  We were whisked away to a beautiful retreat center in the Languedoc region, which is marked by fields of sunflowers and miles of grape vines.  After being welcomed with a wine tasting of a stunning array of local wines, we had a delicious dinner and went to bed.

We woke up to fresh croissants, gluten-free bread, meats, eggs, and fruit.  Ah, to be this spoiled every day...  The first stop for the day was the walled city of Carcassonne.  You may have seen it in Kevin Costner's Robin Hood movie. 





Carcassonne was energetically very interesting.  When I first walk through the gates and along the city wall, I felt nauseous.  It shifted energetically as we walked into the city to the cathedral.  As you walk into the church, you are greeted with this sign:



I love the "Roman Catholic Cult" part!  Ha! The church itself is energetically interesting.  There were both "good" and "bad" pockets of energy throughout the church.  One area in particular affected me tremendously.  It was a small chapel with a lovely statue of St. Anne teaching Mary, and there is a red book under her foot.


On the floor in front of her was the burial site of a cardinal who was sympathetic to the plight of the Cathars.  I had a very strong emotional reaction when I approached the chapel and had a vision of a young woman sprawled out over the tomb, wailing with grief.  I was overcome with the desire to shoo people off his grave marker on the floor.  The woman's relationship with this man is unknown, but she was definitely distraught over his passing.  I didn't take any pictures of the marker because it felt disrespectful and wrong to do so.  She wanted his resting place to remain sacred, I think. 

There was also excellent shopping in Carcassonne, as well as delicious duck cassoulet for lunch.  After lunch, we headed to Minerve, the site of one of the Cathar massacres in 1210 during the Albegensian Crusades.  More about Minerve tomorrow...

Something is energetically afoot...

Susan Marek

Today is yoga day.  I am usually so excited to go and stretch my muscles and mind, but today I feel differently.  Something in me is wanting me to stay home and eat chocolate chip cookies.  Not even the gluten-free kind.  I mean the gross, gooey, wheat-laden type that wreak havoc on my physical and energy bodies.  I have been fighting this feeling for a few days now.  Baking vegan Twinkies and making homemade buns didn't help either.  I feel like I am being pulled back into old habits.  Something energetic is afoot here.  I am not the only one feeling this.  Others are having similar issues.  Old injuries flaring up. Old ailments rearing their ugly head.  How about you? 

A Classic Case of Dotoomuch

Susan Marek

Well, I am finally back.  Back from where?  Back from my self-imposed hibernation of sorts.  It was a classic case of dotoomuch.  That's the official diagnosis.  Symptoms are: forgetfulness, bitchy-ness  (technical term), exhaustion, lack of interest in, well, anything, overwhelming sense of loss - loss of sanity, loss of self.  Something had to give, so out went the blog.  I have to say I wasn't sad to see it go then.  I had been writing everyday, then almost everyday, then every week, and so on.  It was quite obvious that I needed a break.  Twitter stayed, but barely.  I quit farkle and scrabble on Facebook cold turkey.  Personal obligations were dropped and I hibernated.  During my social hibernation, I discovered the I missed those outlets for my creativity and my experiences.  I slowly got back into the game with some YouTube postings, then a YouTube series.  I have tweeted a tiny bit more and have resurrected the blog.  Stay tuned for more posting, but I make no promises to frequency or content.  I may resort to discussing my latest raw detox adventure or my longing for Disneyland. It's good to be back.

Begone, Ego!

Susan Marek

Last week I was on vacation at Walt Disney World.  At the Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park, there is something called The Great Movie Ride.  It is a slow-moving car through re-creations of scenes from classic movies.  One scene you pass through is The Wizard of Oz munchkin land set.  At one point the Wicked Witch of the West pops in and threatens Dorothy.  Glinda the Good Witch comes in and saves that day, saying, "Ha, ha, ha! Rubbish! You don't have any magic powers here! Begone before someone drops a house on you too!" The Wicked Witch of the West disappears in a puff of smoke, and Dorothy begins her journey down the Yellow Brick Road.

It occurred to me that I could use that same technique with my ego.   Not the house dropping part, but reminding my lower self that it has "no magic powers here" in my heart where my higher self lives.  When you get overwhelmed with self-doubt, criticism, worries and fears, explain to your ego that it has no magic powers and to begone!  Then follow the yellw brick road.  You may meet with crazy trees and flying monkeys along your path, but in the end, the power to return to your higher self is in your hands, or in Dorothy's case, her feet.

Just say 'No!' to Resolutions in 2010!

Susan Marek

The New Year is upon us.  After recovering from a night or perhaps an entire year of overindulgence, bad habits, and unfinished business, most feel January 1st is the time to begin anew.  Sounds great.  The method of choice by most people is to make resolutions for the coming year.  I heartily disagree.  Just say 'No!' to resolutions!  Let's take apart the very word, resolution.  Re = again.  Solution = an answer to a problem.  So put it all together, kids, and what does it mean?  An answer to a problem...again!  Resolutions are always made from a place of a problem, a place of lack, a place where we see something is being wrong.  How long have you actually kept to a resolution?  Honestly.  A month? A week? A day? I have gone down this wayward path many times.  Sometimes I am able to keep it up for a month or two, but then lose my resolve and go back to the old way of doing things.  The problem is, when we make resolutions, we are coming from the same mindset that got us into the mess to begin with.  I propose a different method to affect change.  I am a firm believer in affirmations.  Look!  Even the word firm is in there.  Firm = securely or solidly fixed in place.  Positive affirmations come from a place of abundance, love, a place completely opposite from where you were.  You cannot tell me you were in a place of abundance when you were lamenting your maxed out credit cards.  Instead of "I resolve to spend less money," try "I am grateful that I have plenty of money to save." We are still talking about saving money, but the affirmation keeps us in a very uplifted, powerful place.  Instead of 'I resolve to eat healthily and exercise more," use "I love and respect my body.  I honor myself with good food.  I am energized and refreshed when I move my body."    It may not always be easy, but it can be that simple.  So celebrate the New Year and release your old habits.  Begin anew, but from a positive place.  Affirm, not resolve, and watch the changes begin.  Happy New Year!

Adventures in Food Alchemy

Susan Marek

Bread is amazing.  With basically the same 3 ingredients, you can make dozens, possibly hundreds, of types of bread.  With flour, water, yeast and time, you, too, can have a heavenly-scented kitchen.  Last night, I made bagels for the first time.  I measured, stirred...waited...kneaded...waited...waited some more...boiled, baked...waited...then ate.  There is more time waiting for these to rise, rest, and bake then there is eating them.  Baking brings me joy and satisfies an ancient urge to create.  It is food alchemy.  Three simple ingredients magically transformed into culinary bliss.  Unfortunately, these delicious morsels won't last long.  My husband has a late night tonight, so I anticipate waking up to crumbs.  My soul is satisfied, my belly full, and my home smells wonderful.  What could be better?  More bagels.

The Lord's Prayer Redux

Susan Marek

Coming from a Catholic background, I learned The Lord's Prayer, or Our Father, at a very early age.  Although I am no longer Catholic, I still find the prayer to be a beautiful way to celebrate our community with God.  It is a way to remember our divine connection and declare our gratitude and appreciation for our sacred journey with Spirit. The traditional one rubbed me the wrong way until I really meditated on the history and meaning of the words.  It also has a deep connection to ancient mystery school teachings, which I will save for another time.   I want to share the translation of the prayer from Aramaic, which would have been Jesus' native language.  I believe this is the closest to what Jesus had in mind, as it addresses the male and female aspects of the divine, as well as our divine light energy.  I prefer this version to the traditional Catholic one.  Enjoy!

The Lord's Prayer

The Aramaic Prayer of Jesus is the original Lord's Prayer as given by Jesus in the Aramaic language (Original tansliteration from the Syriac-Aramaic version of the Peshltta by Neil Douglas-Klotz)

Allahah

O Birther! Father-Mother of the Cosmos, you create all that moves in light,

Focus your light within us---make it useful as the rays of a beacon show the way.

Create your reign of unity now---through our fiery hearts and willing hands.

Your one desire then acts with ours, as in all light, so in all forms.

Grant what we need each day in bread and insight.

Loose the cords of mistakes binding us, as we release the strands we hold of others' guilt.

Don't let surface things delude us.

But free us from what holds us back.

From you is born all ruling will, the power and the life to do, the song that beautifies all,
from age to age it renews.

And so it is!

What "vibes" are you giving off?

Susan Marek

What "vibes" are you giving off?  Whenever my son starts to get mad and stomps around, I tell him to take it outside because I don't want him spewing negative energy in the house.  I have become so sensitive to energy that I can see and feel the energy in an environment. Anger begets anger.  Joy begets joy. Fear begets fear. Sadness begets sadness.  Every moment we have a choice about how be can be.  Just being gives off energy as we are light beings, made of universal energy.  We change what we give off based on our thoughts and emotions at any given moment.  Have you ever just known that a person was upset, or seen the glow around a pregnant woman?  Those are vibes that we read, the energy that we exude.  We don't give ourselves the credit we deserve at reading energy.  We do it all time, even if we don't know it.  Our ability to read energy changes every day.  If we are tired or hopped up on artificial stimulants like caffeine, our ability goes down.  When we are rested and happy, we can more easily feel the vibes from others.  It is a natural and divine gift which helps us to function as a community. 

Although we are naturally gifted in reading energy, many times we do not trust our instincts.  We disregard what we know in favor of logic.  Sometimes, the energy we are getting from someone goes against how they are behaving or what they are saying.  Trust in your gut reactions, for they are truer than what your logical mind is telling you.  Using your intuition along with your senses can give you a much richer picture of someone or a situation.  So watch your thoughts and words, as you are giving off energetically what you are thinking, feeling, and saying.  The fastest way to joy is to give joy.  So give off those happy vibes and watch what happens!

Yes, No or Maybe So? Can't decide.

Susan Marek

Not choosing is a choice.  You are choosing not to choose, which is a decision.  I have a hard time making decisions sometimes.  It could be regarding my budget, a business decision, or where to go to dinner.  I think this indecisiveness is sometimes caused by my fear of disappointing someone or fear of making the wrong decision.  If I don't decide, then I don't take the chance that I could be wrong.  What I have learned that no choice can be wrong, too.  Like when you can't decide at a restaurant between the steak and the chicken, so you make no choice and let your companion choose for you.  They choose the fish for you, and you end up eating something you hate.  Not that this has ever happened... 

Make a choice. Be decisive.  Use your intuition to guide you and then trust in your decision.  You may make some bad ones, but at least you have taken charge of your fate.  Better to be the driver and make a wrong turn than a passenger stuck in the back with no air conditioning and no say in where you are stopping to eat.  I must be hungry with all these food references.  Hmmm.  Should I have the pasta or the salad?

Creating a Personal Mission Statement

Susan Marek

Corporations have them, churches have them, even some fast food places have them posted above the deep fryer. Mission statements are one way companies define their purpose and commitment.  Why not people? What do you stand for? Who or what do you stand by? Are you ready to make a commitment to yourself around your personal mission here on Earth?   Create  a personal, empowering statement of passion, commitment, and purpose. 

This mission statement is a "living document." It can grow and change as you do, being modified to reflect your divine journey. We aren't striving for one perfect statement.  Throughout your life, your priorities will shift, circumstances will change.  You are growing and learning.  Your mission statement should reflect that.

I used an online mission statement builder to begin mine.  My statement is in its infancy, but it is a great starting point for me.  Here is the first draft of my statement:

I am at my best when I am focused on my passions.
I will try to prevent times when I feel I am going nowhere and not making a difference..
I will enjoy my work by finding employment where I can help people empower themselves and uncover their gifts.
I will find enjoyment in my personal life through reading, learning, and travel.
I will find opportunities to use my natural talents and gifts such as listening, learning, planning, teaching, writing, being a friend.
I can do anything I set my mind to. I will travel the world teaching people to harness their divine gifts to the benefit of themselves and others.
My life's journey is one of ups and downs, but always moving in the direction of divine service and community. I empower people to be their true selves, creating a sense of global community and peace.
I will be a person who has created an environment in which people feel they can be themselves, which, in turn, empowers them to create a life of service and community where love is the binding force.
My most important future contribution to others will be that I have given people the tools to empower themselves.

I will stop procrastinating and start working on:
releasing my perfectionism

I will strive to incorporate the following attributes into my life:
unbounded joy
peaceful power

I will constantly renew myself by focusing on the four dimensions of my life:
exercise and eating a good diet of life-giving foods
constant communication with Spirit and divine service always
always learning with an open mind
focus on joy and creating a life of bliss

If you would like to create your own statement using this tool, go to:


http://www.franklincovey.com/msb/


Keep your mission statement where you can read it.  Post it on your mirror, on the refrigerator, and next to your computer.  Let it remind you of who you are and where you are going. Enjoy!

Where the Hell is Matt?!!?

Susan Marek

Where the Hell is Matt?!!?  At first glance, Matt looks like your average Joe.  Cute, funny, all-American Joe.  Who likes to travel, sometimes to strange, exotic places and dance "badly" (his words). The first time I watched one of his videos, I cried like a baby.  All over the world Matt has danced with wild abandon, sometimes alone, but many times with crowds of laughing, smiling people.  He demonstrated that no matter where you live or the circumstances in which you live, people are still the same. They laugh, they cry, they smile, they dance. Matt asked people to dance with him and they came in droves.  We all are looking to find that connection with others. That is why we join book clubs, go to church, take line dancing classes, visit online chat rooms, play bingo.  And that is why we dance with Matt.

Where the Hell is Matt? 2008

A Lesson in Letting Go from the Swine Flu

Susan Marek

For the past 3 days, I have not left my bedroom.  HEY NOW!  Not because of THAT.  THAT would be infinitely better than the real reason.  I have the flu. Probably the pig flu, as my husband likes to say.  Fever, aches, cough, sore throat.  The whole nine yards.  Thank God for Hulu and iTunes.  I am all caught up on Eastwick, No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, and am currently working on season 1 of Eureka.  I know why Benjamin Button was so curious.  And what Stephen Colbert thinks of, well, many things.  All this video education I wouldn't have gotten otherwise.   I missed out on a great Halloween party and Trick-or-Treating. I haven't seen my downstairs or my dogs since Friday morning. BUT, I have learned a few things about letting go. I have let go my need to make sure the house is neat and tidy.  I can only imagine what the kitchen and family room look like with three children, one husband, and 3 dogs running amok for three days on a candy sugar high.  I am not in any position to do anything about it for a few days more, and that's OK.  I might be pleasantly surprised when I venture down there, but I am prepared for the worst.  I also have let go my need to be in control of my own needs.  I have finally said yes to help.  Instead of being stubborn and making myself sicker by doing everything for myself, I have given in and been open to my family's help with food, laundry, and my care.  I have rescheduled a few appointments instead of pushing myself to meet obligations that could potentially make me sicker.  Letting go of control of exernal factors and focusing on myself has been a learning experience.  Usually, I am so enveloped in making sure everything around me is running smoothly that I forget about me.  My calendar is detailed and full of appointments for children, husband, pets, and a few for me. My Plan A has a Plan B and C. I have obligations scheduled out through next June already.  All good things, but sometimes we need to slow down and recharge.  Perhaps I wouldn't have to if I was continually making sure I was taken care of first.  Not selfishly, but healthfully.  It has taken a virus to finally get through to me that it is ok to let go once in a while and focus on myself.  I have finally put myself first instead of last.  And that is a lesson I am grateful for.

Making Your Interior Life Your Exterior Life - Part 3

Susan Marek

Part 3 -

The seed now must awaken and begin its journey out of the shell and into the world.  It temporarily lives on the meat, the fruit of the labor of the generation before it, a gift from the universe. It slowly awakens and first sets down roots in its new home. Then, stretched its tiny, first leaves up and out beyond the remnants of the coarse shell and into the unknown. Sunlight, which has been warming the seed, unbeknownst to it, now is known in its full glory to the seedling.  Because it has grown beyond the confines of its outer shell, it can now feel the warmth of the sun on its own leaves, not through something else. The light and heat directly affects the seedling, causing interior changes that encourage and support further growth into a sapling. And so it goes on from there.  Earth feeding its needs from the roots, sun feeding its needs from the leaves.  A connection of Earth and Sky. The Tree of Life. No wonder many traditions of people choose the tree to represent this divine relationship.  They recognize the divine in a simple, beautiful tree.  And it is that simple, joyful, and profound.  Let it be that way for your life as well.  Allow.  Allow Spirit and all the divine energies in past your shell of fear, anger, sadness, and doubt.  Allow them to find that inner soul seed.  Allow the divine light to reach your sacred center and encourage the divine growth of your soul.  You already have the knowledge to take root and grow.  Allow Spirit in to support your efforts. And then reap the fruits of your labor in the fruit you bear after reaching the sunlight. 

Making Your Interior Life Your Exterior Life - Part 2

Susan Marek

Part 2 - 


When I was cracking walnuts the other day, I thought about how nuts mirrored our experience in life.  We must first crack open and remove the outer hard shell of sarcasm, pessimism, fear, despair, in order to reveal the inner meat of the matter,  the nourishment, food of life for the seed that is within. The seed itself is not substantial, but is the core of the seed. It holds all the information for the new life to begin and grow. The layers are peeled away to reveal the true purpose and nature of the seed.  Once uncovered, the seed must be nourished, fed, watered, and warmed to encourage growth.  Remove the human hand from this process and see how the natural process mirrors our own release of our spirit to the Universe.  When the nut falls from the tree, it does not immediately begin to grow.  Exterior forces must weaken the shell. Wind, rain, the harshness of the environment all contribute to the breakdown of the hard outer shell.  Some shells are harder than others, and not all will be exposed to the extreme conditions.  Although this shell serves to protect the inner, more fragile parts, it ultimately must be removed for the good of the future plant.  It will open, sometimes gradually and naturally or sometimes by force of an animal. The interior is now exposed and the growth process begun.