Category Archives: Story Telling

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

 

The Waterfall

waterfall close

Sometimes just living life feels like clinging to that last slippery rock on the edge of what seems to be a great waterfall, in a driving rainstorm. You can’t see past the edge where the water drops off but you can hear the crashing water, so loud it almost drowns out the thunderous storm swirling above your head and conspiring to help push you over that edge.

 Between the rock and the safety of the shores on either side, everything that passes heads earnestly over that edge. A myriad of creations, not thinking, not struggling, but you  watch as that log slides just past the edge, dips its root end down and its arms reach once again to the sky, briefly celebrating the life it lived. Then it quickly disappears beneath the horizon that is the waterfalls’ edge into the frenzy of the nothingness below. You know nothing of that “nothingness” except your fear of it and you wonder “if that great old man of the forest succumbed so easily, what can I do?”

Your little hands clasped about the rock, while the rest of your body is pulled and tugged towards the inevitable and in a moment of terror you feel the base of the rock loosen just a little. You know any control you think youhave over this decision is running out. Your hands can’t hold to the rock forever, you are only human. Even so, if faced with an eternity of just holding on, is that what you want?

The rock you cling to is battling the rushing water rising from the storm, beaten by debris and pulled by your anchor, it cannot hold you forever. The storm that rages above will subside but others will follow and some will be even fiercer. And on either side, even the shores that cannot be reached may have meadows but surely they also have their own dark nights, hungry beasts and perilous cliffs.

So the path that is laid before you is to let go and trust. All the frightful sounds you hear ahead of you are undefined except by the stories in your own head. You have all the power to let go of the stories you have told yourself about those unknown sounds ahead and let them be what they are, which is the sound of God’s story. And the Universe is asking you to trust and be a part of that Great Story. Like the beautiful tree had shown as it flowed ahead of you and into God’s story, celebrating what it had become. Because once you find the peace to let go of the certainty ,hat only exist in your head, and  flow with the waterfall, what is on the other side becomes a story between you and God.

– P.Ciavardone

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.

 -P.Ciavardone

 

 Copyright 2013. Face the Mountain. All rights reserved 

And in that Moment…..

I remember scary. I remember it everyday. When the sun comes up and I have to do it all over again, that’s scary. Until I realize the air I breath is still there and still as sweet as God’s own breath, and I hear the beautiful songs that the birds are singing to the sun. They may go hungry today or face a fierce storm or lose a hatchling but for this moment they sing to the sun because that is their gift to God’s gift. Returning their joy to be soaked up by all who will stop and listen, in that moment, And in that moment which is all that exist, joy trumps scary because joy is everything God gives us and scary is just an impulse in our brain.

Then comes the next moment and here comes scary again. Maybe bigger and harder this time. We all face it. But do you choose the joy in the moment that God gives and will always give back whenever you stop and breathe it in or do you let scary take that moment away? Honor the battle but Honor more the joy that is yours to live.

-P.Ciavardone

exit Pluto's cave

 Copyright 2013. Face the Mountain. All rights reserved.

Knowing

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.

-P.Ciavardone

 

Copyright 2013. Face the Mountain. All rights reserved.

  

 

After 9-11

Written 09/12/2001
09.12.2001_blueNEW

Who would have thought I would have noticed the lack of contrails in the sky or the absence of air traffic noise. The world had become a surreal place overnight. The passengers on the train uncharacteristically acknowledged each other as if silently comforting each other, but no words were spoken. We were just together.

When I was a little girl I asked my mother what hell was. I couldn’t reconcile myself to the Idea that the God I grew up with  would hurt or torture people. My mom’s answers was simply that hell was the lack of the presence of God. That didn’t sound too bad to me as a child. As a child I couldn’t comprehend what that meant but it was an answer that seemed like a more gentle consequence. A choice already made by the souls that ended up there. After 9/11 I finally understood. I had never realized that God was a constant presence in my life. A part of every second of every day and I had just taken that presence for granted.

On 9/11, for the first time in my life, I felt the absence of God. He had totally left us as if he had never existed. It was the most painful, empty, frightening, lonely feeling I had ever experienced. I remembered what my mom had told me as a child and now it made perfect sense to me.

Several days later God came back to me in a sunset, a way he often shows himself to me, and started to help me heal from his absence. A slow process for all of us. I never want to be in hell again.

-P.Ciavardone

Copyright 2013. Face the Mountain. All rights reserved

The Eagle and the Mouse

After the Storm

The power was out because of the hurricane and everyone in the house had gone to bed early. The house was quiet for the loud wind beating down on the outside of the house. I was tired of reading but was not sleepy yet. What else could I do with my time, at night and without electricity?

Listening to this kind of wind was a frightening new experience and I thought this would be the perfect time and atmosphere to meditate, especially since I hadn’t meditated in a while. I closed my eyes and listened to the wind trying to soften it with my thoughts. During the meditation I felt my Native American Guide join me.

Addressing my fear of the wind he asked me to imagine the sound of the wind was the roar of the wings of a swooping eagle and that I was a tiny mouse. I slipped into the scene in my mind. The roar of the wings would send me scurrying, terrified and trying to dig into a hole to hide in but the eagle would swoop down and grab me before I could escape. As the eagle’s claws closed around me and ripped me from the ground her large talons pierced my body hastening my death as I flew in her grasp higher above the trees.

My guide asked”How did the mouse feel as he died? Was he remorseful? Was he consumed by his pain? Was he thinking ‘What if…’? Was he wishing he had done more before he died? Was he angry he didn’t have a chance at a longer better life?

I didn’t have to think about it, remembering his feelings. “No he was trying to stay alive just one more moment and then just another moment and another until he died. He was living in the present, which was all he had at that time.”

Not exactly encouraged by what I thought was a lesson in staying in the present I asked my guide “But what good did this do the mouse?” I didn’t get it. Then my Guide pointed out the real lesson. The bigger picture. “The mouse was taken to the nest and he was fed to her to the eaglets. Now he is not a little mouse but part of two great eagles.”

-P.Ciavardone

Copyright 2013. Face the Mountain. All rights reserved

 

The Twisted Tree

 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.      

snaketree4

-P.Ciavardone

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.

-P.Ciavardone

Copyright 2013. Face the Mountain. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Dragonfly Dreams and Better

 Dragonfly Dreams and Better

golden_far_with_tree

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.