• Inspiration Today: myth, magic and story

    I believe in t200470146-001he power of myth to inform our lives and illuminate our common path. Unfortunately, the myths we receive at long remove are often so sullied and shopworn that their power has ceased to flow.

    As a writer, I find I spend considerable time and effort trying to rescue the mythic spirit of the stories I tell, and then restore both shape and substance to their rightful prominence so that the myth’s inherent power can flow,

    -Stephen R. Lawhead

  • Shopping High?

    With “Black Friday” around the corner kicking off the biggest shopping season of the year (retailers and economists hope) here is one for the “born to shop” in all of us!




    Years ago when I was maybe 10, 12 tops, my mother told me a supposedly true tale about her artist friend Isabel. Now, Isabel was famous among my parent’s cadre of old chums from the Brooklyn days for being the most neurotic of them all. Ethnic food, dirty people, dirty ethnic people and actual dirt were verboten to Isabel. Being the neurotic-est was no small achievement considering the company she was judged within – after all it included my mother, she of the nervous breakdowns of which we did not discuss.

    Anyway, here is the story: Isabel was an early adopter of psychiatry as well as psychotropic medication, but one weekend none of it was working and she was going off her skull. She called her psychiatrist at home (who she was very likely having an affair with and maybe was just trying to create some drama) and he told her ‘Get into the stores and buy something!’ And my mother’s follow up commentary would be how buying something helps us cope and empowers us as women.

    Now I have always thought this story was a parable designed to alleviate any guilt about the crazed power-shopping my mother would binge on – coming home with those bargains too good to pass up as the clothes from the last episode still hung with tags on.

    But, noooooooooo! Last week’s New York Times Magazine says it is all true. In a short piece called Shopper’s High we find the Emilyland quote of the century so far:

    Any time you can buy something beautiful that you really love and fully enjoy it without the guilt you are improving your mental health,” – says Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist at Golden Gate University.

    Now I could go ahead and let my inner cynic research whether Golden Gate University is, like, you know, a mail-order degree factory or if Ms. Yarrow is on the payroll of Federated Department Stores (owners of Macy’s, Bloomingdales and g-d knows what else) but why? I’m gonna take it as truth and cut and run right there ….down to the mall that is.

  • Psyche Rises in Emilyland

    Psyche Rises in Emilyland

    Those who don’t accept it and always seek an explanation for the magic and mysterious human relations will lose the best of what life has to offer. 

    This quote is from the fabulous writer and mystic Paulo Coehlo, from a recent blog where he interpreted the Cupid & Psyche story (find it here).  That is the archetypical Greek myth where the young maiden Psyche is so beautiful that she is adored by all around her.

    The problem is she is also worshiped (which goes with adored) and thus incurs the wrath of the real goddesses (It’s not nice to worship false idols), particularly Venus.The goddess of love herself sets out to punish Psyche by asking her son Cupid (aka Eros, of the arrows of love) to make her fall for a horrible ogre. Instead, Cupid himself falls in love with Psyche and takes her away to a magic castle where they live in blissful sin (for a short while).

    The only rule is that she can’t know who he is (what was your name again?). Of course, we all know what happens when you try to keep a relationship ‘in the dark’… (how’s that working for you, divorce rate?).

    I have always been fascinated by this myth and, believe it or not, feel like I have spend much of my adult life in the Psyche drama.

    How can this be?

    Well, it’s not the too beautiful part, or having the god of love as my consort (if wishes were nickels…) or living in a castle (Jewish American Princess thing aside) that I relate to. No, it’s the next part of the deal.

    Long story short, Psyche grows restless to see who her lover really is (who wouldn’t?).

    So, when she lights a lamp, leans over, and looks in his face, a boiling drop of oil scalds him and wakes him up. Realizing her betrayal he flees her embrace. She is so heartbroken without him that she throws herself on the mercy of his mother (nice strategy). So Venus puts her to task. Three tasks, actually.

    And here is where I come in…it’s those tasks she’s put to, especially the first one – sorting seeds – that I most relate to. I am forever sorting seeds.

    What does this task mean to me and my life? Perhaps it is that I’m always trying, striving and then falling short. It seems no matter how much sorting you do, the minute you stop and get back to work, or let life go/flow by, then the seeds or beads or clutter or whatever falls quickly back into unsorted chaos. It is not a static thing. They, it, the world, the tasks…don’t stay still. Nothing stays still…

    There is never an end to my story of Psyche – I’m always still sorting it out, just like the seeds. I’m always just asking the questions and listening for the answers:

    What are the seeds? They are the kernels of creation.

    What do they grow? Food, trees, flowers, life

    Who was Psyche? Well, the word actually means soul AND butterfly, so…

    What am I evolving into, transforming towards?

    What about Eros? Where (the f*%k) did he go?

    Perhaps this is what appeals to me about the Coehlo quote. There is no point in seeking a finite explanation. The answer itself is not static. It is living in the mystery and the magic that matters.


  • We Must Be Hatched!

    Emilyland Quote for today – a commentary on change from C.S. Lewis:

    “It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for a bird to learn to fly while remaining an egg.

    We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”


  • The Healing Force!

    Today’s quote: From Chopra Center 21 Day Meditation Challenge, Day 5 meditation:

    “Beyond the domain of negative thought patterns and stuck emotions lies love…the healing force of the Universe.”


  • Turtle (Totem)Tales

    Why does the turtle cross the path?

    To get to the other side, of course – and back into the water.

    The better question might be: why did the turtle leave the water in the first place?

    The answer? Well… To give emilyland a totem animal message!

    If you are familiar with Arlington Park in Sarasota you will know that there is a tenement, a crowded ghetto of a pond brimming over with turtles. (There is also supposed to be an alligator but I suspect that’s a ruse to scare pet owners into keeping their dogs on leash – which works BTW.) Little boys feed and torture these turtles; they seem to coexist well with the ducks.


    So, this little guy making his way across the path seemed well-practiced in sensing danger. At the first sniff of my dachshund’s nose from pretty far away, he ducked his head and his tail inside his shell to wait it all out. As we passed he started back on his journey.


    What is turtle’s message?

    Animal Speaks, by Ted Andrews says:

    “It is time to get connected to your most primal essence. Go within your shell and come out when your ideas are ready to be expressed. It is time to recognize that there is an abundance out there for you. It doesn’t have to be gotten quickly and immediately Take your time and let the natural flow work for you. Too much, too soon, can upset the balance. Turtle reminds us that all we need, for all we do, is available to us, if we approach it in the right manner and time.”


    Wow. As a product of this culture and era – and probably my own wonky brain neurons – I always seem to want more, and I want it now… But all that desiring seems to do is activate feelings of dissatisfaction and dis-ease in my life. Even when I get what I want I (think I) want more, or something else…and the longing remains…

    But wait, there is more! A wonderful message of ecology also comes from Turtle.

    “Turtles remind us that the way to heaven is through the earth. In Mother Earth is all that we need. She will care for us, protect us, and nurture us as long as we do the same for her. For that to happen, we must slow down and heighten our sensibilities. We must see the connection to all things. Just as the turtle cannot separate itself from its shell, neither can we separate ourselves from what we do to the earth.”

    So today, at least, I will slow down, connect and have a happy day. How do you connect? How do we slow down the pace but not feel like we are being left behind?

  • The Order of Creativity?

    The Order of Creativity?

    …or should I say, chaos…pattern…cycle…?

    What do you think?


  • For the Snow White birds

    For the Snow White birds

    The movie, Snow White and the Huntsman, disappointed and yet intrigued. The more lingering fascination was for the role of the birds. This doesn’t say much for the film itself…

    Birds have always been part of this fairy tale. This image, of Disney’s Snow with her chirpy bluebirds, is a classic.

    The birds are still helping Kristen Stewart’s Snow (are they snowbirds? hee hee a little Florida humor there). Presumably the same bird she saved as a magical little girl is returning the favor by showing her the deadly iron nail in her jail wall, and later, the way out. Is it a bluebird? Hard to tell.

    Moving on to the part where Charlize Theron as the evil queen Ravenna subsists on a diet of bird hearts (ravens, one assumes) when she can’t get the full entree of a young innocent’s heart. She digs them out with a talon prosthetic straight out of a Goth accessories department – sucking in their life energy and leaving all those dead carcasses behind. That was kinda disturbing. She was also able to conjure creatures that appeared to be made solely of the souls of these dead avians.


    Emilyland started to wonder what was in the energy of those bird hearts? Turning to the ‘bible’ of animal totem info Animal Speaks by Ted Willams:

    Raven Keynote: magic, shape shifting, and creation

    “Raven speaks of the opportunity to become the magician, or enchantress of your life. Each of us has a magician within and it is raven which can show us how to bring that part of us out of the dark and into the light.”

    And for the sake of what? good vs., evil, innocence and experience, here is bluebird:

    Bluebird Keynote: modesty, unassuming confidence, and happiness

    Bluebird…”is symbolic of a passage, a time of movement into another level of being. Specifically it is connected to the transformation of a girl into a woman.”

    Hmmmm. Maybe the filmmakers got it right…at least for the birds!





  • Walking the Labyrinth…at the crossroads

    Walking the Labyrinth…at the crossroads

    As is not unusual, I find myself at a crossroads – that confounded mystical, magical place of decision making where the road NOT taken is as appealing as the one that could be walked. The only certainty is: indecision is afoot. If only there were a nice, friendly talking scarecrow suggesting this-a-way or that-a-way. Alas there is only one of the little birds in my head telling me either path will lead to the same place.

    Good thing I’m walking the Labyrinth tonight on the full moon. That oughta clear things up…

  • Emilyland….in lead (type)

    Emilyland….in lead (type)

    I am enjoying a friend’s purging of things from the past. Buttons, scarves and now…

    Raise your hand if you remember the days of setting lead type!


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