A shift in Focus, a sharing offered at Femme Fest 2018, Charlotte, NC

Good afternoon everyone I am so happy and pleased to be here with you at Femme Fest.

Now I want you to be kind and gentle with me this evening for I am wearing a new hat as I stand on this stage as a stage performer, actually it is my second time for I did perform last year at the Boom Festival, yet that was a collaboration with several friends. It was a cultural piece entitled A shift in our times.

So this evening again be kind it is my first time standing alone before all of you. I must share that in my 74 plus years I have worn many hats one of the earliest being when I was 8 years old I was already a small business owner. Yes, that is correct. my mom and dad and I owned a wonderful hardware store in Media,Pa. It was called Media Hardware, the complete hardware store!! I dug plants, weighed nails, waited on customers and eventually by 10 helped my mom with the deposits for the bank.

I went on to add a new hat when I became an educator in the late 60’s. Working in the schools in north Philadelphia , west Chicago and Oakland.

The next hat I dawned was some what unusual it was the hat of a world traveler. It was a DARE by my new cousin George that yes, dared me to go what would become around the world, with little money and no job in sight. Of course I went and of course it changed my life. You can read more about that in my book DARE.

My DARE changed my life and thus I added a new hat, one of a special holistic integrative therapist, it is a hat, now some 40 years later, that I continue to wear and work with today.

It was adding the hat of therapist that allowed me to dawn the hat of radio host and producer at my own community radio show, entitled, Beyond Personal Limits, which in the late 70’s I hosted in Ashland, Oregon. That project then opened the door for my next hat, one as journalist. I traveled to London , England as a visiting journalist to attend the 2nd World Symposium on Humanity.  I arrived , I participated and I made Europe my home for the next 26 years!!

On my return to the States I maintained and wore and continue to wear my hat as an educator and therapist and it is with this focus that I attended a very special event in D.C. in 2017.

In February of 2017 I attended, with a friend, Marianne Williamson’s Sister Giant. This was the first time Marianne had offered this amazing event on the east-coast.

At Sister Giant there were many speakers I knew of yet one that stood out was a woman named Vera Chalambert. Her sharing deeply touched me, for Vera shared that she had been facing some difficult unsettling experiences and feelings and she had the good fortune to see the projected image of an ancient female deity of the Hindu tradition displayed in vivid color on The Empire State Building. This image impacted Vera so deeply that she wrote about her experience and eventually was invited to speak of it at Sister Giant.

You see when we choose to live our life from an authentic truth within us we will find ourselves facing many unsettling situations, experiences and feelings. And like Vera we can work with the energies of this ancient female deity Kali to assist us at these times.

Kali has been known as the Dark Mother who brings death, destruction and ultimately resurrection and renewal.

Well when I heard Vera’s sharing it impacted so much that I shared a bit about Kali at the Boom festival and this evening I want to expand on what I have learned and continue to learn from Kali’s energizes.

Yes living an authentic life for me has to do with something I share in my book and that is to live through the lens of an adventuring spirit, that we are always on our own yellow brick road and when we live from this perspective we are bound to encounter unsettling situations which will reveal so much about ourselves.

One thing I have learned is that these unsettling experiences really assist us to see what we do not want. In turn they help refine and define what we truly do want. They help us uncover old distorted attitudes, beliefs, assumptions and expectations that no longer serve our journey. Here is our opportunity to say let them go and say good bye to them, to shed them.

Yes dear Kali , if we embrace her and are aware of her energies she may offer up so much in the breaking down of old distorted ideas about ourselves and life that she will then assist us in the building up ways that eventually allow us to continue on our way as we see new portals open and new pathways unfold.

So it is in this evening as I stand before you and share  I too am living in this moment an unsettling dynamic experience and it is a bit shaky and scary yet it has opened my heart to all of you as I  offer my gift of insight that has been growing within for more than 74 years.

And with that I close.. I journey on to live through the lens of an adventuring spirit.

thank you all….

 

 

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C View welcomes back author Estelle Toby Spike, MA, ECTP, with an interview on her book: DARE… In the late 1960s, a young woman takes a mystical journey through the East. What she discovers there will affect the rest of her life—and possibly yours. Estelle’s life changed with her mother’s death. In the aftermath of that excruciating pain and loss, her home town of Media, Pennsylvania, no longer seemed to offer what she needed, so she headed west. She landed first in San Francisco but then realized that if she went far enough west, she’d end up in the East—and there, maybe she’d actually find herself. She accepts a playfully-offered dare and takes the plunge, and so Toby sailed west to the East, traveling and living in India and Thailand and (eventually) to Europe, where she developed her calling as a transpersonal therapist. This was a journey of personal transformation and self-discovery. In Dare, Estelle offers the story of her adventurous life to others, ending each chapter with a companion section designed to help readers begin their own personal inner journeys. Estelle’s odyssey took her around the world. Where will yours lead? Estelle has spent over forty years in a holistically oriented professional practice. She is an internationally trained and certified transpersonal psychotherapist, a creative life coach, and a life activist. Estelle Toby Spike is the author of A Tale of the Heart Tree, The Shushable, and The Creative Tool: The Aware Self. Her professional abstracts and articles on holistic health and personal wellness have been published internationally. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, and maintains her connection with Portugal. CONTACT: etspike@gmail.com or (c) 704 608 3466 – Buy it Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1979856400

DARE interview on C View Quantum Network
C View welcomes back author Estelle Toby Spike, MA, ECTP, with an interview on her book: DARE… In the late 1960s, a young woman takes a mystical journey through the East. What she discovers there will affect the rest of her life—and possibly yours. Estelle’s life changed with her mother’s death. In the aftermath of that excruciating pain and loss, her home town of Media, Pennsylvania, no longer seemed to offer what she needed, so she headed west. She landed first in San Francisco but then realized that if she went far enough west, she’d end up in the East—and there, maybe she’d actually find herself. She accepts a playfully-offered dare and takes the plunge, and so Toby sailed west to the East, traveling and living in India and Thailand and (eventually) to Europe, where she developed her calling as a transpersonal therapist. This was a journey of personal transformation and self-discovery. In Dare, Estelle offers the story of her adventurous life to others, ending each chapter with a companion section designed to help readers begin their own personal inner journeys. Estelle’s odyssey took her around the world. Where will yours lead? Estelle has spent over forty years in a holistically oriented professional practice. She is an internationally trained and certified transpersonal psychotherapist, a creative life coach, and a life activist. Estelle Toby Spike is the author of A Tale of the Heart Tree, The Shushable, and The Creative Tool: The Aware Self. Her professional abstracts and articles on holistic health and personal wellness have been published internationally. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, and maintains her connection with Portugal. CONTACT: etspike@gmail.com or (c) 704 608 3466 – Buy it Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1979856400

I remembered the tree and the tree remembered me

Dear Kindred beautiful photos the photos fit the writing atmosphere. I Am new to maneuvering on this blog platform. I am Estelle Toby Spike blog beyondpersonallimits.wordpress.org I write about my experience and relation with trees all teh time. Please visit my blog, if only to prove to me that you have gotten my comment and can find me. Thank you Estelle

Kindred

We sat in the car, a full country’s length away from our normal. Years of marital problems had come to a head in the preceding weeks and, after an agreement to work on these problems and an understanding that they weren’t going to be solved overnight, nearly tangible tentativeness and awkwardness hung in the air between us. We had made it to the outskirts of Boston, my childhood home, for Christmas. As my husband drove us towards my parents’ house, I pointed out landmarks to lighten the mood.

“That’s Grant Circle… who knew that would become my name?”

“That’s the pier my Dad and I have kayaked off of.”

“That’s the bowling alley we rented for a birthday party, but it got snowed out.”

Dan jumped on that landmark.

“I didn’t know that,” he said. We’d talked about it before, so he knew birthdays were hard for me. Sweetly, he…

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DARE is live and well in my world……

DARE front cover 2 25 2018

It has been sometime since I had an opportunity to write on these pages.

I have been occupied. I have been occupied with birthing DARE. Nine years of thoughts emerging on paper as a form slowly began to take shape. Eventually that form would develop strong character and eventually have a christening.

DARE is live on Amazon.

I began blogging so that I could find a vehicle that would help me express the lens in which I view and participate in life.

DARE, the book, I feel does fulfill that promise as well.

DARE go find it on Amazon and see what you think.

The New Year of the Tree(s)…….

Golden Gingko 2009

In my book DARE I encourage readers to take heart and embrace life. To embrace life means as well to recognize and be aware of those times in which we need to acknowledge what holds us back from doing just that; our expectations and our assumptions, our beliefs and more…

With that in mind I want to ask the question. What helps bring you back to embracing life and to taking heart? Well one of the things that helps me is discovering and embracing  creative celebrations which honor life. That is why I want to share with you a special celebration and the learned scholar who has creatively written about this ancient festival. The scholar, Arthur Waskow and his  text, Seasons of our Joy!

In this text he talks about an ancient festival of the New Year of the tree(s), Tu B”shvat, the tree that sustains all life.

Waskow ingeniously shares the history and the possible direction(s) the scholars of ancient times might have been suggesting with this celebration.

As I have mentioned in the article; Grandmothers Counsel the World, that they state that being in ceremony and creative ritual are ways to honor something which you hold dear.

This holds true in Waskow’s interpretation of the different ways the festival of the New Year of the Tree has been celebrated over the years.

Waskow goes on to share how thousands creatively interpreted and implemented the heart of this festival in the 1970’s as they demonstrated their rejection of the Vietnam War by raising money to help replant the forests in Vietnam.

It is significant to note that now at mid-winter this ancient festival comes upon two other cultural celebrations.

The Celtic and Druid traditions hold the celebration of Imbolc. This is seen as time of promise of life to come in Spring which is similar to Ground Hog Day here in the USA. It is significant to observe that all three events spanning time and space all three hold a common thread, to Life!!!

To Life and its continuation. All focus on this promise of continuation in their varied ceremonies.

Of these three I am the most aligned with the New Year of the tree(s).

I wanted to share with you a special story that brings light on possibly why I am drawn to this festival.

It was more than a year, while still living in Portugal, that I had reoccurring inner images about beautiful tall majestic canopies of trees.

In Portugal this was not part of the everyday landscape. yes we have many trees mostly fruit trees; olives, figs, cork oaks. Carob, oranges, almonds, small Manza pines that bear the pine nut but not huge canopy avenues of trees.

This was not a common vista, yet this inner image repeatedly appeared in my mind’s eye throughout what would become my year of transition.

I was in awe when I first came upon the majestic trees of Charlotte. Charlotte has one of the largest tree canopies in the Untied States and it covers more than 47% of the city. Many active residents of Charlotte are working to get it to 50%.

Yes there they were my inner- image tree canopy alive and vibrant. I was and am in love with these ancient trees, these majestic elders. I respect these trees as I ride the small avenues to be among them rather than the supposedly swift moving motorways..

As my fascination and dedication to trees expands I have developed creative community events and workshops around this theme.

Thus it won’t surprise you that I have developed the Rootsack for Life and the Rooted Tree Society!

In this way I reach out to remind us of the majesty of life that surrounds us! To take heart and embrace life!

It is with this focus I share with you the tale of the Golden Ginkgo. You can find this tale in the soon to be released book, DARE. Yet I felt it appropriate to share here. Read below…

The Golden Ginkgo

Charlotte, North Carolina, Nov. 23, 2009

“Ginkgo, you are one who has graced this earth since prehistoric times. I wonder, is that why your essence is used to clear the mind so we can clearly remember?”

As I crest the hill my stride begins to lengthen. My muscles relax and I relinquish the burdensome tension accumulated around my self-imposed mental checklist of how my day has gone so far.

So far, not too great. That is why I am out here, in this gray-mantled November afternoon. Out here, seeking a revelation, an epiphany. I came to commune and seek solace as I walk among these giant elders. I ask them to soothe my ruffled soul.

Each stride becomes a moving meditation. I look up and speak to a giant golden Ginkgo. “There you are!”

      Oh Golden Autumn Ginkgo, thank you, thank youfor your giant beauty gives me what I have been requesting: an awe-inspired moment that brings me back from the edge, back to center, back to balancing in the present.

      Here you stand in your late autumn garb. You are draped in vibrant golden hues that caress your limbs and delicate branches, while the wondrous folds of your mantle lay before you as a royal train carpeting your rooted carriage. I am breathless as I stare upon your grace—caught between an inhale, a point of transition, an opportunity for initiation.

It appears that this giant being is reminding me to let go of my burdensome illusions and accept the beauty being offered. I continue to speak my awe.

Just look at you, as change has its way with your elegant stance. Do you complain about the alternations that mold your seasonal attire? Ginkgo, you are one who has graced this earth since prehistoric times. I wonder. Is that why your essence is used to clear the mind so we can clearly remember?

      Now I remember what this walk was about. It was about bringing me back from the edge of distraction and doom. I requested help and you replied. Thank you, Golden Autumn Ginkgo. Thank you!

Note: The Golden Ginkgo is one of many fascinating chapters from the inspirational memoir/personal growth book, DARE. DARE , a new release appearing later this month of February on Amazon.