Empowering Women

My blog recently won a gold medal from the Coalition of visionary Resources

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Multi-Award winning Author, Julie Loar, explores feminine empowerment in today’s culture and the value of ancient wisdom…

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Shambhala Prophecy – Return of the Spiritual Warriors

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Kalki, the last incarnation of Vishnu —  Image credit — Jose-Patricio Aguirre (Chile)

The Shambhala Prophecy

as told by Joanna Macy

“I often tell this story in workshops, for it describes the work we aim to do, and the training we engage in. It is about the coming of the Kingdom of Shambhala, and it is about you, and me.”      Joanna Macy

(Joanna Rogers Macy, is an environmental activist, author, scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology. She is the author of eight books). I share this piece of her writing with the greatest of respect. It a Buddhist prophecy that calls us to “war.”

“Coming to us across twelve centuries, the Shambhala prophecy comes from ancient Tibetan Buddhism. The prophecy foretells of a time when all life on Earth is in danger. Great barbarian powers have arisen. Although these powers spend much of their wealth in preparations to annihilate each other, they have much in common: weapons of unfathomable destructive power, and technologies that lay waste our world. In this era, when the future of sentient life hangs by the frailest of threads, the kingdom of Shambhala emerges.

You cannot go there, for it is not a place; it is not a geopolitical entity. It exists in the hearts and minds of the Shambhala warriors. That is the term the prophecy used – “warriors.” You cannot recognize the Shambhala warrior when you see him or her, for they wear no uniforms or insignia, and they carry no specific banners. They have no barricades on which to climb or threaten the enemy, or behind which they can hide to rest or regroup. They do not even have any home turf. Always they must move on the terrain of the barbarians themselves.

Now the time comes when great courage – moral and physical courage – is required of the Shambhala warriors, for they must go into the very heart of the barbarian power, into the pits and pockets and citadels where the weapons are kept, to dismantle them. To dismantle weapons, in every sense of the word, they must go into the corridors of power where decisions are made.

The Shambhala warriors have the courage to do this because they know that these weapons are “manomaya.” They are mind made. Made by the human mind, they can be unmade by the human mind. The Shambhala warriors know that the dangers threatening life on Earth are not visited on us by any extraterrestrial power, satanic deities, or pre-ordained evil fate. They arise from our own decisions, our own lifestyles, and our own relationships.

So in this time, the Shambhala warriors go into training in the use of two weapons. The weapons are compassion and insight. Both are necessary, the prophecy foretells. The Shambhalla warriors must have compassion because it gives the juice, the power, the passion to move. It means not to be afraid of the pain of the world. Then you can open to it, step forward, act.

But that weapon by itself is not enough. It can burn you out, so you need the other – you need insight into the radical interdependence of all phenomena. With that wisdom you know that it is not a battle between “good guys” and “bad guys,” because the line between good and evil runs through the landscape of every human heart. With insight into our profound inter-relatedness, you know that actions undertaken with pure intent have repercussions throughout the web of life, beyond what you can measure or discern. By itself, that insight may appear too cool, conceptual, to sustain you and keep you moving, so you need the heat of compassion.

Together these two can sustain us as agents of wholesome change. They are gifts for us to claim now in the healing of our world. Many in the Tibetan lineage believe that this is the time of this ancient prophecy. If so, perhaps we are among the Shambhala warriors.”

These are powerful words and a call to action, reaching across time. We must find the strength and courage to arise and be the best we can be at this time of challenge. I stand with you, brave warriors of the heart. May we have courage. 

 

 

 

 

 

Remembering Harriet

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“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”    Anatole France

It’s taken a few months to feel ready to write this post about my kitty Harriet. On my January birthday in 2004 I went to the Humane Society thrift store to make a donation that resulted from a post-holiday clothes evaluation. I had a single-minded focus and adopting a cat was the last thing on my mind, but close to the entrance was a large wire cage, and inside was a charming grey-brown tabby cat. It hadn’t been too long since I’d lost my beloved dog Baron, and I had resolved not to have any more pets. I had convinced myself that I just couldn’t go through the loss and grief again, but it seems that Harriet and destiny had other plans.

She stood up inside the cage, came to the front, and spoke to me very clearly, “Take me home. I have chosen you.” I was stunned and promptly went into fierce denial. I handled my donation and went straight home. But of course, I couldn’t get her out of my mind, so I went back the next day to see if she was still there. Destiny has a mind of its own in such matters, and Harriett became my beloved animal companion until April of 2018.

Harriet was named by the Humane Society when she had been rescued, having been abandoned. I looked up the meaning of the name, which is “ruler of the house,” and laughed; what a perfect name for a cat. Harriet’s sweet nature and companionship helped me through some very difficult times that included a divorce, a move, and essentially starting my life over in 2007. The picture of her in front of the Christmas tree celebrated our first holiday season alone after a painful separation and a wrenching loss of my home. Her presence gave me strength, and caring for her helped me focus on moving forward. It’s impossible to adequately express the gifts and blessings our animal friends bring to our lives. We love them deeply, and the loss is hard to bear when their short lives end.

Although her last months saw a continual decline, she jumped up on the couch on our last night together, and we snuggled. I didn’t know it would be our last night, but I told her she was free to go, and tried to express what she had meant to me. The next day she left her body on her own terms when I ran out for a short errand. She spared us both the trauma of “putting her down,” and when I came home and found her she looked peaceful. I am so grateful for that miracle. Her ashes now rest in my flower garden, and I planted a purple Clematis in her honor.

This brief memorial honors not only Harriett but all of the wonderful animals who have blessed my life, the pets and wild creatures alike. I will be forever grateful for the joy they gave so unselfishly and the richness they added–they teach us so much about unconditional love and letting go. I’m not ready for a new animal companion, but if it’s meant I guess another precious creature will find and choose me.

 

 

Quintangled has arrived!

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After more than five years of deep and amazing work with my two partners, Sue Lion and Karen Stuth, Quintangled has finally arrived. It’s an indescribable thrill to see a long-held vision come to life and hold the result of intense creativity in your hands. Like life, and our game, it’s been quite a journey. Words can’t really express the gratitude expressed here to those of you who supported this effort during our crowd funding campaign–without you this dream would not have become a reality. You should have your games by now, and we’re eager to get your feedback. (If you pre-ordered a game and haven’t received it, let me know). It would be awesome if you would consider writing a review on Amazon as that makes a big difference in their selling algorithms.

And, if you weren’t able to acquire a game before, they are now available on Amazon. Click on the link to go to Amazon    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=quintangled

Quintangled: A Game of Strategy, Chance, & Destiny

Answer the herald’s call, step on a path to adventure, and enter a magical realm. A role of the eight-sided die will determine your archetypal destiny as a Knight, Lover, Jester, Healer, Dreamer, Sage, Monarch, or Priestess. Meet the Wizard, and receive Magical Aid as you cross the threshold to embark upon your journey. Along the way you’ll meet guides, guardians, and mentors as well as face perils and threats that will challenge your resolve. Magical creatures and Oracles of Wisdom will offer unexpected aid. Crossroads, choices, and tests will help you gain courage and wisdom to awaken your heroic self. On the return journey you’ll have the chance to express your heroic qualities and make a difference in your world.

Heed the call  *  Take the vow  *  Begin the quest.

Enjoy the journey!!!  Endless love and boundless gratitude.

A Gold Medal and a Writer’s Voice

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This June (2018) my blog was awarded a gold medal.

When I began my blog it was meant to be a gift to me–something I did for myself as a purely creative outlet. There would be no deadlines, no publishers, no pressure, no one criticizing my ideas (certainly with only the best of intentions I’m sure). My blog would be just my words that emerged from the crucible of my life, reflecting on events and observations that stood out in sharp relief. Of course I hoped those words might reach out across the interconnected web we share and maybe, just maybe, someone would be touched, amused, or inspired.

Writers learn about, and quest for, that illusive thing called “voice. ” A writer’s voice lives at the heart and soul of the work, embodying a unique and precious quality. I’m no different–I long to find my voice. I’m still on that journey, but it’s always deeply satisfying to receive recognition even when we are still a work-in-progress.

The life of a writer is often solitary, even insular. We spend a great deal of time in the company of our own thoughts and internal processes. Unless we are fortunate enough to have some notoriety, we usually don’t know what impact our work has, and I think we desperately want to know if it does.

Receiving an award is an external vindication that something we’ve accomplished is seen to have merit. And I have to admit, I love having a gold medal on my blog. But what means the most to me are the comments I have received from readers–you who are reading these words right now. Most of you I don’t know, but some of you have taken a moment from your busy lives to make a comment and connect in the mysterious manner of our digital world.

My life has been blessed by the words of other authors, some long gone. I have wished many times that I could send them a comment and let them know what their words have meant. Although the blog is still my gift to myself, it’s your comments that keep me going.  So in a real sense this award is shared with all of you, and I send my deep gratitude.

Thank you.

Julie Loar

Frog Blog: A Jumpin’ Good Time in Frogtown USA

“Sometimes I wonder if the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it.”  Mark Twain

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The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County is an 1865 short story by American author and humorist Mark Twain. The story was actually his first great success as a writer and brought him national attention. Something captured America’s attention and remains a compelling influence. Since 1928 an annual event inspired by Twain’s story has been held at the County Fair in Angels Camp in Northern California’s Calaveras County. Similar events are held in Indiana, Ohio, Washington, Maine, Missouri, Louisiana, New York, and also in Manitoba, Canada.

This May I witnessed the qualifying pre-trials from the bleachers as hopeful entrants coached their frogs into top performance. The contest is simple–which frog jumps the farthest in the one-minute time allowed per contestant. The record holder in Calaveras County is Rosie the Ribiter, who jumped 21 feet and 5 3/4 inches in 1986. Frog jockeys can win a $750 prize, or win the grand prize of $5,000 if a competing frog were to break Rosie’s record. It’s not clear what the frogs get out of the experience.

With 4,000 contestants in 2007, the Calaveras County contest imposed strict rules that regulate the frogs’s welfare, including limiting the daily number of a frog’s jumps, and mandating the playing of calming music in the frog’s enclosures. One assumes this is an attempt to reduce pre-game jitters. Because California’s red-legged frog is an endangered species, it’s barred from the competition. It is also forbidden for any competing frog to be weighted down by any means, as the frog in the Twain story was. Hopefully, the frogs don’t suffer too much as I worry about such things. After all, they’ve been captured and removed from their natural habitat and forced to enter into an all too human realm.

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Photo credit  Frank Schulenburg  CC BY-SA 4.0   2016

The frog jumping competition is a generous slice of American Pie. There is a whimsical quality of tradition, innocence, and plain good fun at a time when simple joys like County Fairs seem to be a thing of the past. Some frogs take the leap right away as if everything depends on the result. Others are frozen in place and never budge from the starting circle no matter the “encouragement” from their jockeys. This year’s winner jumped more than nineteen feet, certainly impressive, but not far enough to break Rosie’s record. Was it frog ambition or just sheer terror that fueled Rosie’s tremendous jump back in 1986? All the jumpers since have to go over that bar and perhaps Rosie was a unique frog at a singular moment. Maybe her frog jockey Joe Giudici had so much faith in her that his energy boosted her rockets.

I reflected on what it is that propels us to our greatest accomplishments and how can we learn to harness that propulsion at will?  Do we make quantum leaps in our own lives through grit and will, or is there something else that moves us to peak moments of achievement? We can’t always choose the arenas of tests and trials that present themselves, but we always have the choice of how we show up to meet the contests.  As we meet the challenges in our lives I believe it makes a difference if we call forth our best effort rather than refusing to try because we’re afraid we’ll miss the mark. Until we try we can’t know how we might be changed by taking the leap. And maybe we also have unseen cheerleaders whose faith in us lifts us to greater heights and longer distances once we jump. We can stay safe in the pond, or maybe become a champion–the attempt is up to us.

http://www.julieloar.com

 

 

 

Perspective – Inner and Outer Change

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 “I see myself by the light of my becoming.”      
                       Egyptian Book of Coming Forth into Day

I’m just back from my twelfth trip to Egypt since 1995. As always the experience was profound and heart opening. I took this picture of the Full Moon as our group was about to enter the Great Pyramid for two hours of private time.

Once this monumental structure was covered with white Tura limestone casing stones and crowned with a golden capstone. Even in historical times we are told it shone like a brilliant beacon in the distance. Today the exterior of the Great Pyramid is a skeleton of its former grandeur, but this last remaining wonder of the ancient world still vibrates with power and has the capacity to transform.

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I have been called back to Egypt many times, seeking answers to a lifelong pull this ancient land has tugged on my heart. The visions and memories that haunt me from former lives are in stark contrast to the Egypt of today. I have visions of glorious temples where ritual and ceremony connected with the deepest parts of my soul. I sense that my life had meaning and purpose then and that I have been searching for that kind of fulfillment ever since.

This time my transforming experience was completely unexpected. I’ve seen changes in twenty-three years–more women are working and technology has changed lives. On my early trips all the flight attendants on Egypt Air were men; likewise those who cleaned the rooms in hotels and acted as servers in restaurants were men. That has changed dramatically. This time the person who cleaned our room at the Mena House was a beautiful young Egyptian woman.

It happened that one afternoon I returned to the room and discovered her as she was working. I was transfixed as I realized she had just finished and was looking around the room inspecting her work. Her sense of pride was palpable. She turned, saw me, and her face blossomed with a radiant smile. We connected in that moment in a silent accord as she had the chance to silently share what she had done. I nearly wept. Her satisfaction at a job well done hit me like a bolt of lightening. I felt a kinship with this woman that she had found the freedom to work and a measure of independence. Our connection was silent, but it was a bond between women that is timeless–our struggle to learn who we are and what we are capable of. I won’t forget her or the brilliance of her smile and what that brief link meant to both of us.

I’ll close with a poem written by Bob Ransome, a member of our group, as it captures the spirit of our time in the pyramid.

STARING AT STONE
Staring at Stone
          Shaped by unknown hands
brings to mind possibilities
          Of what began
in ages past
           Creating a story
of lost civilizations
            Bathed in the glory
of a universe bigger
            than the mind can conceive
are we more than dust
            Created to believe
that mysteries exist
             So answers can be found?
above, below and within
              Eternal, sacred ground

 

Timeless blessings,

Julie

http://www.JulieLoar.com

 

Trusting

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   “Trust in dreams, for in them is the hidden gate to eternity.”  

Khalil Gibran

An intrinsic wisdom lives inside a seed. The small miracle trusts that if planted in rich soil, watered by rain, and warmed by sunlight, the seed will break out of its shell, sprout, and grow according to its template of hidden potential. Perhaps that potential will yield a fragrant lily or a mighty oak. The seed doesn’t doubt its future, and it unfolds and grows according to an inherent destiny.

Perhaps it is only humans who fear what is contained within our potential. For many reasons we lack the will or heart to follow the path of our own becoming. We hold back, doubting our gifts and our deep longings. Maybe we define success in the wrong way, believing we need fame and fortune, rather than joy and fulfillment, as indicators that we’ve “made it.”

I have come to believe the key to the dilemma lies in our inability to perceive the nature of our unique and individual templates. Because we don’t really know ourselves, we don’t know the nature of our “seed self.”  Therefore, we can’t comprehend the vision of our expanded expression, and we remain blind to what is possible. Or, we try very hard to become a pine tree when we are meant to be a lilac.

A teacher of mine once shared a humorous anecdote to illustrate our reluctance. A caterpillar once gazed up at a butterfly and proclaimed, “You’ll never get me up in one of those things.”  And so, rejecting the metamorphosis of the cocoon, and the exquisite creature he could become, the caterpillar continued to crawl on the ground. Sadly, the caterpillar never tasted flight or grew glorious wings. That is a loss for all of us.

What does it take to reach out of our own element and sense of safety and trust? What can be gained by risking? Sometimes, after a risk, life is never the same. Maybe we experience a loss as a result, but we are deeper, wiser, and hopefully more compassionate. Maybe the risk brings great joy. Either way we learn what we’re made of by taking the leap and seeing where we land. It’s often been said to watch where we light up, know what excites us, and when we lose a sense of time when doing something we love. This knowledge is precious.

. . . take a chance today–it could change your life . . .

Julie

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