Category Archives: Nature

The Order of Chaos

As the earth needs the churning winds to drive the storm,

Quenching floods to feed the soil,

Volcanic outburst to craft new islands and mountains,  

and destructive earthquakes to create new landscapes,

The Universe will sometimes  bring chaos into our psyche so that we too can erect mountains  and design beautiful new landscapes that feed our souls and help us weather the passing storms.



Copyright 2013. Face the  All rights reserved

Her Legacy

You know what its like to sit unnoticed between the road and the edge of peaceful waters. To watch the small children run by, not even a glance. To the clouds in the sky you ask “Why am I here?”

“To teach”.  You know, but what and how? Your movement through their lives is so slow they can not even perceive it. You are a perfect creature of the Universe and you obey its every command. To be totally still unless moved by the wind. To shelter whatever creature chooses to tear a hole in your being. To teach the children about joy even as they break your own young limbs. And as you grow to be taller and stronger then you ever imagined that even they could be, you pull them up into your heart so that they can experience the joys of watching the world dance around them while hidden in you invisibility. 

And when they come to walk their own children by you, again without noticing you, you shower them with all of the beautiful colors they could never have imagined, until you are worn and naked, and face another winter exposed and alone but dreaming of spring.Silver_Lake Lola

Then once again after many years she strolls by, but now, with bittersweetness, she slows and turns towards you and rests her weary bones on your legacy to be one with the earth through you again. And through her you are taller than the mightiest tree still standing, as your soul joins with her’s to reach from the rooted earth to her heart and on to heaven because you have taught her that. And without her ever noticing.

 -P. Ciavardone

Copyright 2013. Face the Mountain. All rights reserved


Hope & Believe

While awakening to our own ability to create  better reality for ourselves, people seem to be moving away from the word Hope. Maybe because the word implies the possibilities of struggle and set backs. No matter how much we think we get it, we will continue to face struggle along the way. Hope is still a beautiful word in my book. Hope is what catches us when we are falling and Believing is what gives us the wings to get off the ground.

– P.Ciavardone Butterfly on pavement brighter

Copyright 2013. Face the Mountain. All rights reserved


Define success…then let it go. Like a minnow in the stream, who knows where it will go or what it will feed, but like everything else born in the stream it is part of the flow.

Build your alters in the stream, for the stream, to the steam and those too will flow away when the storm comes. Some to rest on the bottom in blissful peace and some to tumble on to be part of the next monument.

What is success? The minnow that swims with the flow of the stream? The peaceful stone awash on the bottom, looking through and feeling the flow of the water? Or the lives and the monuments we build that will ultimately also belong to the flow of the stream.


Copyright 2013. Face the Mountain. All rights reserved




Even when it seems impossible, the ordinary rises to touch the sun and the sun reaches back to touch the ordinary and then we realize this has happened again and again every second of every day forever before and forever after. We often just fail to see it and it is in the seeing  that the ordinary becomes the Extraordinary.

Rose of Sharon cropped


 Copyright 2013. Face the Mountain. All rights reserved

Almighty Silence

I asked the mountain ” Why am I here?”

The Mountain answered “to Learn”

I asked the mountain “What can you teach me? What have I journeyed all this way to learn?”

Powerfully the Mountain stood Still. The Mountain stood Silent. The Mountain stood Mighty. And the Mountain whispered “How to fit your littleness into your bigness”.


 Copyright 2013. Face the Mountain. All rights reserved

The Unseen Flower

In my minds eye I saw myself muddy, in the rain,  sitting under a leafless bush, scratchy branches poking at my head. I was delighted to see St. Francis, my guide for peace and humility, sitting beside me, also muddy and barefoot in a simple cloth tunic.

I asked St. Francis if he could help me find peace in my simpleness.  I asked what my role is when I am unable to make others see and feel the gift of inner peace. Why do I feel compelled to do something I can never accomplish. Please teach me how to feel the joy of just Being and Trusting God to use me how He chooses. To affect or not effect according to how He chooses.

He took my right hand and held it gently on my knee and  asked “What if you were the most beautiful flower God had ever created but you existed obscured deep in the bushes beside the road, never to be seen by anyone from bloom to decay? Would that make you a lesser creation of God because you had no role other than to just be that creation of God?”

My answer was ” No because God makes no lesser creations.”

St Francis then asked ” And what if God made you a magnificent butterfly that danced about from flowers to children to weary traveler bringing joy just by being such an amazing creature of God? Would that make you a greater creation of God?”

shrinking vMy answer was “No because if God makes no lesser creations he makes no greater creations.”

And as that magnificent butterfly could you find the humbleness in your heart to match the humbleness of the beautiful flower never seen?”

I didn’t think I had it in me to truthfully answer yes because my joy would be so great I might forget that it was God who created the gifts I would be sharing.

St. Francis leaned in and softly said “Then remember that you are the beautiful flower, hidden in the bushes, that feeds the magnificent butterfly, that you also are. Remember that we are all one as God’s creations designed to nurture each other just by being what God created us to be. That oneness under God’s design makes us all greater and humbled at once, in God’s eyes.



 Copyright 2013. Face the Mountain. All rights reserved 


Turtle Moon

The mass of baby turtles, no bigger than silver dollars, frantically tried to swim through the sand on the beach towards the lulling waves they heard ahead. Breaking against that same beach, the ocean’s waves licked as much of the sand as its awesome tongue could reach, rolling forward all of the debris it could pick up and on its way back devouring even more.

The mother turtles, who had laid their eggs here, had long since left them with only a Knowing.  A Knowing that the sea was their mother. Dark and loud, rushing forward then receding while bringing forth and taking away all at once. The sea was beyond their comprehension, stretching beyond their tiny horizons it must have tested their instincts to run towards this huge unknown.

It was not a quiet kind of unknown. Although the purpose of the race was an unspoken agreement among the silent runners, there were also the sounds of the frenzied spectators feeding on many of them as well as the thrashing sea to distract them from their goal. But they were born with a Knowing that they were too young to have forgotten but not old enough to fear.



Copyright 2013. Face the Mountain. All rights reserved.



The Twisted Tree


 The twisted tree danced and swam around the vortex too slowly for the human eye to see but creating a most beautiful sculpture. It coiled and dipped, sung and swooned for decades unnoticed by everyone but the charmer, Mother Earth. As she played her music, she softly guided its microscopic movements with her gentle fingertips and subtle lullabies.

Now a masterpiece, it continues to dance, still unseen in the moment, but now its charms us and calls us closer with its mystery to experience for ourselves the same gentle fingertips and the hum of the lullaby flowing through the vortex.      



Copyright 2013. Face the Mountain. All rights reserved

The Mightiest Noise

The mightiest noise,

It’s the cricket when you are trying to listen in the night,DSCF3180

The cicada when you are trying to hear rustle of the leaves,

The waves when you are waiting for the ebb of the ocean,

The thunder when you are trying to catch the lightning,

And the earth when you are trying to heed the stars.

We lose the awesomeness of the whole when we disregard the ordinary amazingness all around us.


Copyright 2013. Face the Mountain. All rights reserved

The Whale that Ate the Wind


We tend to think of whales as unexciting amorphous beings that more or less exist to float and eat. Their reputations as monsters seem to stem solely from their overwhelming size. However whales could be comparWhale that Ate the Winded to raptors of the air but their domain is the sea. They drift and circle the oceans along the very upper edge of their world, diving down to feed on prey. Among the mightiest creatures on earth, they feed on the smallest and in the millions a bite. For those tiny creatures surely monster does not even begin cover their sentiment but for the human observer even this seems somehow gentle.

So the story goes there once was a whale all too aware of his mighty stature, his mysterious imposing shape, his awesome appetite and his majestic uniqueness. But that awareness did not come from his heart. Because his heart was missing from the picture he did not know himself as God knew him. He knew himself as a creature others feared, others laughed at, separate from the world around him because he felt so different. There were so many things about himself he would change if he could but the whale didn’t understand he was what he was for a reason.

Like all of the other whales he would regularly breach the surface just enough to catch a breath and then smoothly slip back under the water. One day, in a sudden burst of energy, he leapt for his breath and his whole head breached the surface before splashing back to the sea. What a surprisingly pleasant moment that was.  He didn’t crash into the sky. He did not get hurt on his return to the ocean. He felt the wind and he wanted more.

Feeling excited about his accomplishment he planned his next leap. This time he would throw himself into the air until only the tip of his tail held him to the ocean. He was magnificent. He could feel the wind on his belly and this time he also felt the sea on his back as he crashed back down to his home. To feel the wind again and the sea he lived in for the first time must be what they call joy! How easy was that? To feel the best he had ever felt in his life just by taking these leaps.

Eventually it was time for the whale to fully release his joy and throw his whole body into the air, letting go of the sea down to his tail, and trust the sea will open up for his return. But fear started to creep back into his heart. What if once he left the sea so completely it would not take him back? Before the questions could overtake his heart he thought about how he dove for the shrimp that filled his belly and that would be his plan. He would dive into the air as if to eat the wind. If he could not return to his home in the sea he would spend the rest of his days as part of the air, the wind would fill his belly and the joy would fill his heart.   

Now with his heart full he could see that he was the sea and the air and all the magnificent creatures that filled them and he could see himself as God sees him, as part of the glory that is all of creation.


Copyright 2013. Face the Mountain. All rights reserved.




Dragonfly Dreams and Better

 Dragonfly Dreams and Better


We’ve all done this. Once in a while we’ll ask for a special experience in a dream. Maybe a chance to feel what it’s like to fly or to speak with a lost loved one. Once in a while we’ll be inspired to ask for a special indulgence, To experience something outside of what we can fully experience in our waking life, because sleep is where we are allowed to experience all possibilities without having to answer to logic. My special request had to do with the artist in me. I was feeling stagnant and stuck. I could paint a pretty picture but felt unable to create art that would inspire anyone to feel anything on an emotional level.

During a before bed meditation and prayer I put out a dream request to experience what it is like to see through the eyes of a dragonfly.  Dragonflies have a 360 degree field of vision. They see a much greater range of colors than humans starting at orange (no red but that’s not one of my favorite colors anyway) all the way up the range of UV light not visible to the human eye. What a magnificent world they must see! To experience that just briefly in a dream could teach me to see like an artist again. The first and most important part of being an artist is to see through the eyes of an artist. Any technical skills are mechanical and can be learned, or not, depending how you chose to express yourself.

When I woke up the next morning from a very sound sleep I couldn’t remember any of my dreams, let alone a dragonfly dream, but not to worry. Answers almost never come when and how you expect. Just stay open and you will recognize it later, when you are not looking for it.

Later that day we had gone through another series of earlier evening thunderstorms that were quickly dissolving as the sunset became visible. What was left of the storms created a deliciously fluffy kaleidoscope of colors. Bright burning orange cottony clouds piled along the eastern horizon, bordered by beautiful blue, purple and gray frosted outlined clouds occupying different places in the atmosphere.  At  first I just wanted to sit back and enjoy because it was wonderful just watching the colors and shapes change. Part of me wanted to grab my camera because I would probably never see those colors again but my logical mind said “Why bother? In 10 minutes there are going to be ½ a dozen pictures of the same clouds on face book.  Any more there are an infinite number of pictures of magnificent clouds on the internet”.  But something deeper inside told me the pictures were an important part of holding onto the inspiration.

The next day I downloaded the photos onto the computer for a closer look. It was then that I realized I had lived my Dragonfly dream, confirmed by the dragonfly caught very clearly flying through a photo against the brightly burning clouds in the background.

– P.Ciavardone

 click pics to enlarge

 fireglow_withDragonflydragonfly cropped

 Copyright 2013. Face the Mountain. All rights reserved.