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San Diego Sunset 1We just got back from a wedding celebration in San Diego. Whenever I visit or move to a new place I always adjust and ground through connecting with the nature in that place. In San Diego that grounding came through being by the ocean and watching the sun set. Reconnecting with the ocean is like a family reunion for me. You embrace in a hug that says “It’s so good to see you and be with you again.” There’s no holding emotions back. The ocean crashes on the shore and sprays you with laughter and an invitation to play.
San Diego Pelicans 1The sunset starts with hints of color then explodes into notes of joy and splendor that catch your breath and suspend time. The earth grounds, the wind teases, pelicans grace the sky with their presence. Such huge, majestic birds in flight suspend logic and reason. For a moment you can feel your oneness with all things – the ocean, the sky, the earth, the people, and the pelicans.
Healing, tree eye waterfallI believe this grounding, connecting with nature in San Diego helped anchor the rest of our trip so that we could move through the busy-ness and excitement and celebration with greater ease. San Diego is a big, busy city and there are a lot of tourists there this time of year. It’s easy to get lost in a whirlwind of energy. The nature is exalted. I was drawn to the palm trees and loved watching them move – a soft, slow gentle dance in the breeze. Every afternoon the wind kicks up. It tempers the heat, and helps the palm trees dance. If you watch them even for a minute your cares will wash away. It amazes me how they can stay tethered and yet move and bend with such ease and grace. They inspired me to do exactly that.
San Diego CaveShe stood at the railing overlooking the ocean, hundreds of tourists blurred past her. A seagull and her young one watched the singer stand in silence, listening to the ocean’s voice and the roar of people living life fully. No-one noticed the seagull. Perhaps to them it was just another bird. But if you looked really closely, camouflaged in the brush was her young one. Her brown feathers blended in with her surroundings creating safety in a strange world that whizzed by with color and noise. The seagull turned her head and subtly pointed to the south. Being observant, the singer noticed and walked in that direction. She became a blur of color and silence until she reached her destination and caught up with herself. There, a cave? A cavern? The curve of stone was carved by water through time – gentle curves, inviting curves, welcoming the ocean to explore its mystery.
When no-one was watching the singer slipped through the fence and climbed down into the cave. The water splashed and foamed around her feet. She walked in far enough so that she would not be seen. The rhythm of the ocean stirred her soul and moved her body like the wind moves the palm trees. Undulating in a figure 8, she rocked sounds out of her. She sang quiet at first, then the ocean pounded against the stone and coaxed her to open her heart and roar!
San Diego SeagullWild, wild ocean
Knocking at my door
Ease my angst
And let my soul soar
Wild, wild ocean
Chisel rough edges
Smooth splashes
Of laughter and joy
Wild, wild ocean
Bold and robust
I surrender
My roughness
Softening to your touch

Copyright © 2014, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.
San Diego photos by Vlatka and Theodore Herzberg
For eye Photo Reference: http://www.pinterest.com/storynanny/

Deer Song Story

Deer Woods, MagikMagik and I went into the woods before the day got hot and the workday got underway. Sometimes we play follow the leader, sometimes Magik follows me, today I followed Magik. He had a mission in mind, to find the crunchiest piece of bark in the forest to munch on.

We walked up one trail, down another. Earlier that morning I used a newly learned grounding technique. I ran cold water on my feet, then hot, then cold, then hot, then cold again. Walking, I felt much more connected to the earth, sure-footed.

Magik rounded the bend, I rounded the bend and to my delight I found a sleek black and white feather. A little further down the trail I found two owl feathers.

Magik hopped over and under fallen tree trunks. I followed until we got to Grandmother Oak tree with Bay Laurels for arms. I greeted Grandmother Oak, she greeted me. Magik took the opportunity to munch on bark, while I got settled. I took my crystals out and waved the feather over them and over me. I didn’t wave the feather over Magik in case he thought it was food.Deer Woods, feather I started to sing, checking in to my surroundings, finding my comfort. Mostly animals, not people visit this sacred place, so I felt comfortable to let go quickly.

When I sing, I can feel what emotions are hanging around in me, I can observe them and start to loosen them with sounds I make. Thoughts drop away and the raw feelings are exposed. I softened into sadness, a soulful sadness. When you sing sadness, you can stretch it and dive deep into it. You can be intimate with it, and you can witness it. You can sing on the outside of sadness and find joy there. You can sing sadness and joy, back and forth until you slip between into the liminal.

 

Red Rock Raven, Old Faerie WomanAn Old One came to watch her. Perhaps she was an old Faerie Queen, or maybe she was the crone, or a Shamaness who came to just sit and be with the singer. Folds of eyelids closed over bright, keen, hawk eyes. White wisps of hair feathered her face. Her nose was strong, and determined like her character. Her lips flat and used to smiling a lot. She held her head with a soft majesty. Her presence filled the liminal with peace. Together the Old One and the singer sat waiting, listening deeper. The singer wasn’t sure what she was waiting for or listening to, but that didn’t matter, she surrendered to the peace.Oak Tree Story, healing water headThe singer sang, and the Old One listened. The singer sang cascading waterfalls, and silent moments. The singer played hide-n-seek with notes that darted around the trees and back again. Somewhere in the play the Old One disappeared and the singer opened her eyes. A deer was watching her. The singer sang tender, tender gentleness to the earth. She caressed the trees with butterfly kisses. Her voice echoed through the forest, leaping and skipping, and eager to play. The deer was still, so very still for the whole song. Nary an eyelash moved. The singer lowered her voice, still circling notes, making them rise with the wind and fall with the leaves. The deer moved closer, each step purposeful, eyes focused on the singer.

Deer Woods, deerThe singer finished her song, honoring the tree, the earth, and the deer. The deer watched the singer. Their eyes held a long moment. Then the deer walked away, raising legs over brush, one leg, two leg, three leg, four. It was rhythmic, almost like a deer march. The deer made its own sounds, singing short bursts of air. One breath, two breath, three breath, four. They walked away, down the hill, leaving the singer and Magik alone, sitting before Grandmother Oak with Bay Laurel trees for arms.

Copyright © 2014, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.
For Photo References: http://www.pinterest.com/storynanny/

Air, swirling sunset
I welcome the wind,
It welcomes me.
I breathe it in,
It breathes me in.

Air, swirling rose Goddess
Surrendering to a passage of time,
Allowing -
The wind coaxes,
Plays me, pulls me
Away from thoughts that don’t serve me.
The wind blowssss.
Dead leaves drop away -
“Playyy,” it hisses,
“Danccce,” it wishes.
I laugh, I swirl, I sway!

Air, Grass Sky Goddess Golden grass sways freedom -
Freedom to think,
Freedom to feel,
Freedom to play with thoughts and feelings,
With dreams and ideas.

Air, Gilbert WilliamsHawk screeches,
Whooshes past me.
I grab it’s tail and soar!
Over golden fields we roar!
I grab my vision
With fierce majesty -
We somersault tumble on
Rolling thoughts and dreams.

I weave and bob,
Spiraling into turbulence,
Catching my breath.
The wind laughs,
Blowing circles around me.
I surrender -
“Here I am,” I exclaim.
Transcend me into possibilities eternally blooming!

Hours or days later,
Coming back to mySelf -
I think and feel new freedom,
Renewed and refreshed.

Copyright © 2014, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.

For Photo References: http://www.pinterest.com/storynanny/elements-nature-spirits/

Rainbow Story

SI ExifThe Red Rock dreams. The Red Rock calls. The Red Rock calls me from one dream into another. Deadlines, duties and obligations fall away like autumn leaves. I follow Magik on the path where the dust breathes. He marches forward like a corgi on a mission. We pass birdsong shrubs singing in the waft of breeze. We pass hawk screeching in the trees. The aquamarine sky pierces my vision and my body too. I walk that aquamarine water sky into my being until I am entirely blue with clumps of moss and oak leaves cladding my hips and shoulders. The aquamarine water sky fills Magik too. His body ripples as he marches forward towards the Red Rock. His hips and his eyes are covered with moss. I think his heart is too. Moss floats on rippling waves of Magik – closer and closer we come to the Red Rock.

Rainbow Story, Rainbow body womanHawk weaves hopes and dreams in and out of parched hills, oak and bay trees. I sit on the Red Rock and sing sylphs into the sky. The Red Rock grabs my hips and my soul blossoms. My soul sings caverns deep in the earth, and magnolias opening hearts. She sings movement in the forest. She sends scratching, jumping, darting, hopping hares across the valley.

Rainbow Story, Rainbow WomanThe hare stopped to listen. The singer’s eyes were closed. The hare’s body quivered and rippled. She changed form: Woman, Goddess, Hare – Hare, Goddess, Woman – undulating back and forth. The singer’s eyes opened and the hare ran away, but the hare was there long enough to open a door. In this world, the sky is the Goddess’ canvas. She whispers to sleeping dogs and tickles their ears, while sprites pet them tenderly with great care. In this world, the Goddess dreams rainbows of sylph curtains draping over oak and bay leaves. In this world, Gnomes keep watch as the Goddess breathes balls of light into plants. The moisture from Her breath nourishes them like newly fallen rain.

Rainbow Story, Fern water body Boundaries blurred. Two worlds overlapped. The Goddess breathed on the singer and filled her body with moisture that grew seeds into ferns. The singer’s body rippled rings of ferns – lipid, liquid, pools. The Muse captured the singer’s voice and filled the forest with its richness. Sylph faces smiling with approval floated in rainbow curtains. The forest became a lyrical voice, filled with laughing hills and spiraling trees. Voice, laughter, rainbow light all converged opening a gateway that flooded both worlds with hope. Out of that hope, a gateway was birthed. Fir trees lined either side. The sylphs danced the rainbow towards the gateway and a thousand angels sang its welcome. The singer floated towards the doorway, elated to finally arrive here.

Rainbow Story, doorThe door slammed shut! The singer’s voice stuck, a needle on the record, playing the same note over and over. Her voice cracked. Voices in the valley echoed, louder and louder they boomed. They were the voices of logic and reason making sense and science out of the Red Rock. Maybe they were uncomfortable, maybe they were afraid. Or maybe they just couldn’t see. But, had they stopped to glance at the forest, willing to see with humility, they just may have seen a rainbow gateway spiraling open to the stars.

Rainbow Story, eye vortex Copyright © 2014, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.

For Photo References: http://www.pinterest.com/storynanny/rainbow-story/

Oak Tree Story, cloud horseThe clouds feathered the turquoise sky so softly. Dragon, phoenix, nature spirits and animal spirits graced the sky. Archetypes and angels played in blue-white ecstasy. Magik and I were out seeking another adventure. We started climbing the familiar hill and Magik stopped stubborn in his tracks. It’s the Corgi way. Feeling patient, I asked him, “Do you want to go to the woods or the Red Rock?” He stared at me. I repeated myself, “Woods, or Red Rock?” I held the images of each place, pausing between both so he could “see” what I meant. He cocked his head. “The woods?” I repeated. Magik twitched his ear. “The woods it is,” I smiled.

Faerie, Tree in head spiritI followed Magik through winding oak and bay laurel trees. I followed Magik between autumn red poison oak vines. I followed Magik under hanging branches and over fallen trees until we arrived at the old oak tree with moss cloak and two young bay laurels for arms. We settled at the foot of the old oak and I began to sing. I was aware that eyes were watching us. I took out a lantern quartz crystal and placed it on the oak. I continued to sing. No-one was around, so I felt free to let go. I danced my arms, branches with leaves whispering ancient songs of remembrance. I moved my arms faster and faster, dancing with the wind, laughing with the crows. Eyes were watching. Magik felt them. He sat up, alert. I relaxed and sang soft caresses that relaxed Magik. Eyes listened hungrily to my song.

Faerie, woman with blue eyesI welcomed the nature spirits, I enticed them to play. They snuck closer, eager to participate. “Welcome,” I sang. “Welcome,” they sang back. Their voices sounding like the wind squealing. Feathered arms, cracked leaf hair, voices that croaked toads into being joined in the chorus. The wind infused the air with lavender laughter. “Be dandelion fluff gentle,” suggested a Tree spirit as she swirled around me, exhaling her arms into mine, guiding them towards Magik. Together we flowed healing energy into Magik’s hips and legs. “Sing the sounds lower,” I heard. “Sink the sound deeper into your belly.” I did, and the drop of tones burst into melodious laughter that tickled the roots of the oak.

Healing, Goddess WaterfallMagik lay still, receiving. The tree spirit lowered her brow to mine and I was filled with images of healing. Magik’s body turned into earth and flame, transmuting pain. Magik’s body turned into water, rippling, soothing, healing. “Drop the sound, set it free and let it touch the sky,” hissed and chirped the Tree Spirit as her hands directed mine. “Feel the unity, you are not separate from Magik, from the earth or me. Feel the unity, feel the healing energy that is there for you both to receive. Harness it, amplify it, release it,” sang the Tree Spirit.

My hands rippled. My body was lipid and liquid with water. Magik’s body was a universe of pools swirling with healing light. I sang dragonfly wings catching sunlight, I sang quails greeting the morning, I sang azure blue eyes watching me. I sang freedom to be Fey.

Healing, daisy woman“Wild, wild she spins,
loosening self,
being the wind,
Wild, wild she laughs,
Branches for hair,
feathers for breath,
Wild, wild she heals
hands of water
heart of fir
She is of both worlds
Boundaries blur.”
Copyright © 2014, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.

For Photo References: http://www.pinterest.com/storynanny/

Listening, child shellI started my day in Healdsburg. It’s always a pleasure to get out-of-town, even a day-trip can feel like a mini vacation. I sat in Starbucks writing as I do before my appointments. Sometimes I wonder about what my external environment mirrors inside me. Listening was on my mind. Listening to myself, listening to the whispers, listening to others, listening to everything around me. I did not have to try hard, because Starbucks was like a vortex of sound. Jazz and pop music competing with espresso machines and people expressing their views and opinions built to a crescendo. I put my earbuds on and I could still identify each sound like it was a separate note of chaos.

Listening, sun flower drenchedMy body started to get sore from sitting in my seat too long, and I listened, wrapped up what I was doing and went out for a walk. I decided to listen to my curiosity and poked inside an antique store on my way to my appointment. I listened to the shop owner speak about her passion for antiques and oddities and how she had been collecting these treasures since she was a child. I listened about her busy life and how her business evolved from selling at shows to this more intimate space where she could create and share beauty with others. She listened. I listened. We spoke about passion and creativity and how to create time to pursue both, and especially make time for things we love even if they have nothing to do with work or achieving our goals.

Listening, child cloudsI went to my appointment with my client and first appreciated how delightful she is and how blessed I feel to have her as a client. There is such a mutual sense of respect. I listened to her talk about her story and I received so many insights and a richness of the story I was helping write that I wouldn’t otherwise have received without listening. Later, the gift was returned when my client listened to my story about how my parents inspired and supported my storytelling and creativity. I would never have heard what I had to say had my client not asked me about my family.And what I said surprised and delighted me. I remembered the gems and listened with the eyes of innocence, those child like eyes and ears that see everything with a sense of wonder, everything like a brand new discovery.

Listening, SunsetLater that evening, I met with someone I am collaborating with to create workshops that help empower and nurture people. I was struck how listening to each other share our visions gave us both so many insights. Really, it was very healing and opened up many new possibilities. The meeting left me full and if I had words for it at that moment I would say I felt as full as a sunset bursting with celebration and gratitude for life. As I stepped out of the office and towards my car, I caught my breath, and paused, the sunset had a lot to say, and I chose to listen.
Listening, soulI drove home to a symphony of color. Beauty was the paintbrush, I was its canvas. It’s musical score was Deva Premal and Miten, complete with moments of silence between songs. I flew on blood-red plums that ushered me home on silent wings. The last rays of sunlight veiled me in that silence. I turned into a willow bending inward and saw those lipid, liquid eyes of soul watching me. She was listening, and I, was willing to be heard.

Copyright © 2014, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.

For Photo Referenceshttp://www.pinterest.com/storynanny/listening/

Red Rock Raven, Magik and ManzanitaIt was one of those mornings where I felt the push to get work done. My Corgi Magik who is often a gauge munched on a small branch he found in my collection of rocks. I proceeded to lecture him on how it was important that I work and that I will take him out later. He pouted and looked up at me with those big brown eyes and if he could he would have said, “relax”. I remembered that sometimes when I am frazzled busy that is exactly when I need to go into nature and my place of beauty.So off we trudged into the woods. Walking down the street, a small red rock was on the sidewalk, I picked it up and looked at it more closely. It reminded me of the large Red Rock. I hadn’t intended to go there today, too much to do. I had lectured Magik on how today was going to be a short walk, but I looked at the red rock in my hand and decided to listen. We trudged towards the woods. I was in my head and stomping my feet, moving forward, wanting to get the walk over and done with fast. Just as we climbed the hill I heard Raven’s “cawing.”

Red Rock Raven, kissingThere were two of them sitting in a tree, like sentinels, and they were making these “purring” sounds. I hadn’t heard them before. Then they started to make these “popping” sounds also new to me. I watched as they arched slightly backwards to make the low “popping” sound. It’s almost as though their tone or voice dropped lower in order to make the “popping” sound. I was struck by the uniqueness of the vocalization and that they looked like two sentinels on either branch of an oak tree. I stopped to take my camera out, go figure they flew away. “Well I guess I needed to be in the moment with them,” I thought to myself and off we trudged, although my footsteps were a little lighter and my head a little less full.

As we approached the second climb I heard the golden dry grass humming. I wasn’t sure if they were crickets all chirping at once, but something in that steady “hummm” calmed me, it was almost like a chorus of dry golden grass and crickets humming or toning together. The sky was this brilliant blue and the last of my heaviness and mental busy-ness dropped away.

Red Rock Raven, Ravens on Red RockAs we rounded the bend two ravens flew over us, “cawed” and landed on the Red Rock! I was totally awed, and full of wonder and joy! Despite feeling the urge to push myself to work I listened to Magik, listened when I found the smaller red rock, and listened when I saw the ravens. I and others call it listening to the “whispers”. I’m so glad I listened. Magik didn’t notice the ravens and traipsed up to the rock. They flew off, circling above me making that wondrous “purring” sound they made earlier. Gratitude rushed over me! I sat on my usual stone chair on the Red Rock, made myself comfy, got out my aquamarine and started to sing. It was one of those moments where I felt like I stepped out of one world and into another. There was no-one around, the sky seemed electric blue, the golden dry grass sang with me, and the sun and the salamanders seemed to be celebrating, flooding me with passion. Passion for life!

Red Rock Raven, Faerie Tree WomanI sang to the forest all mottled with light. I sang to the gnomes who tend the forest, trees and shrubs. I sang to the old woman who tends the woods with such tenderness and care. I sang to them all about the pain in the world, about the violence against women and abuse of children. I sang of regrets and mistakes that I have made. I sang compassion into all the cracks and crevices of the world and my world, to people I remembered, and to those I didn’t know. I sang peaceful blue skies to the places of violence. I sang golden singing grasses to women lost in their pain. I sang raven’s purring to children crying. I sang compassion to eyes watching me. And I sang to the earth gentle as the breeze.Red Rock Raven, Faerie Boy peeking leaves Grass “humming”, ravens “purring”, insects “buzzing”, wind “whispering”, ancient tones “droning”. Something deep from within the forest stirred. I could hear her breath. My eyes were seared shut by sunlight, but I could still see the mottled light of the forest. Red Rock Raven, bird womanI could hear the flutter of her wings, born anew. Somewhere in the heart of the forest with its mottled light, new life was being born. It was a life filled with the innocence of a deer, and a heart so tender it ached as her wings unfurled and she stepped forth on the earth for the first time. I heard last fall’s leaves cracking under her bare feet. I wondered if they bled? She stepped forth undaunted by the sunlight and caught her breath, the beauty froze her for a moment. Electric blue, golden grass, red rock beauty sang to her, this creature born anew. The wind greeted her, caressed her cheek. She spread out her wings, jumped into the sky and with open arms flew!
Red Rock Raven, flyingI stopped singing and put the aquamarine in my pocket. The wind tousled the golden grasses and the electric blue sky was still there, tangible. Magik came out of his hiding place in the shade and sat, his polite way of begging for a treat. “Not today, you had your treat, we both did.” We got up and headed back home. A shadow of wings flew over me. They were long. The bird was long. But as it flew over me I heard her feathers whisper, “thank you.”
What wildness is born out of our creative play? I would have never known had I not listened to the whispers.
Copyright © 2014, Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved. You may not reproduce materials without permission from Vlatka Herzberg.

For Photo References:http://www.pinterest.com/storynanny/

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