Friday, June 17, 2016

The Cracked Pot

I was out in my garden this morning, enjoying the coolness in the air before the day heats up and the colors and shadows fade. I took a picture of my favorite cracked pot. Here is an Indian parable to accompany it:

The Cracked Pot

A water bearer in India had two large pots. He hung each on the on ends of a pole he carried across the back of his neck. One had a crack in it, while the other was perfect—always delivering a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house. But the cracked pot arrived half full, the rest of the water having leaked out on the way. 

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishment and saw itself as perfectly suited for the purpose for which it was made. But the cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection and miserable that it was only able to accomplish half of what it had been made to do. 

One day, after two years of what it perceived as bitter failure, the cracked pot spoke to the water bearer by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself and I want to apologize to you.”

“Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”

“For the past two years, I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out on the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws you have to work without getting the full value of your efforts,” the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot.  “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the side of the path.” 

As they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took special notice of the sun warmed wildflowers along the path and felt cheered. But at the end of the trail, the pot once again felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and again it apologized for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path and not on the other pot’s side?” 

The cracked pot pondered this.

“That’s because I knew about your flaw and took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them for me. For two years I have picked these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. If you were not just the way you are, he would not have such beauty to grace his house.

Moral: We can all be useful, despite our perceived defects. Find your defect and make it a strength.

Monday, June 13, 2016

How Much Coincidence?

Why the Maya?

Why did I write about the Maya and Mesoamerica (in Dancethe Dream Awake*)? Because I find the culture a constant fascination. New archaeological discoveries are made all the time, amazing me again and again. Like the river of mercury (I just learned) that was discovered in 2015 under the temple of the Feathered Serpent. 

Deep under Quetzalcoatl’s Temple at Teotihuacan, outside Mexico City, they found large quantities of liquid mercury (which held no practical purpose for ancient Mesoamericans) and is speculated may have symbolized an underworld river or lake (the underworld held great significance for them). It is believed to be a burial chamber.

Why is this so fascinating? Because in the tomb (yet to be revealed to the public) of China’s 1st Emperor, Qin Shi Huang, there is a moat or river of liquid mercury that has been undisturbed under his tomb for more than two millennia. Nobody in the world right now has the technology to properly excavate it without danger to the items inside, so China will not open it. It will remain a mystery for a long time to come.

If that were all, I probably would have thought, 'huh, very interesting coincidence,' and moved on. But when you start to put together all the other coincidences, it gets weirder and weirder to be just a coincidence.

The symbol of a snake is used world-wide in many cultures. But one from the sky? The feathered serpent was a symbol for the supreme god of the Maya (called Kukulcan) and for the Teotihuacanos and Aztecs (called Quetzalcoatl). 

In China, the winged dragon was worshipped as a supernatural power of the air, and became the symbol of the imperial authority of the emperor.

Feathered serpents AND rivers of mercury? When I put together these very unlikely findings from Teotihuacan and China I’m flabbergasted. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions. 

I'd love to know what you think.


you like stories with mystical happenings, magical stones, shamans, caves and ancient spirits, and a love story that extends from a past into present day like my novel Dance the Dream Awake,


check out my writer friend, Krista Lynn’s new novel just released, BloodStones, The Haunting of Sunset Canyon, which takes place in the Arizona desert. Our writing styles are different, but we’re both inspired by ancient cultures and the possibilities they hold. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Coyote Speaks

When you don't cover up the world with words and labels,
a sense of the miraculous returns to your life
that was lost a long time ago
when humanity,
instead of using thought,
became possessed by thought.
Eckhart Tolle

I traveled to an event this past weekend with the Central Coast Chapter of Sisters in Crime to sell books at the Zaca Mesa Winery on the California coast near Santa Barbara. A fellow writer friend, Krista Lynn, whose book was in the process of being published at the time, agreed to go with me.

On the drive, we were discussing what we can realistically expect to accomplish with one or two books, acknowledging to each other that we just have to stay focused on the writing and not be over-much taken up with the promotion side of the business.  

At that moment, a coyote trotted across the highway in front of the car. He looked straight at us before moving on, basically confirming what we were just talking about.

I try always to be open to nature when it speaks. In animal totem meaning, the coyote is the trickster, full of fun and playfulness, teaching through paradox and revealing the truth behind illusion and chaos. He was affirming our conclusion to not take things too seriously and keep more balance between wisdom and playfulness on our writer journey and we paid attention. I’m very grateful to have a friend that also believes nature speaks to us.

“The wisdom delivered by the coyote spirit animal is rarely direct. The way of the coyote is to teach through ways that do not appear straightforward. It may also use subterfuge or trickery to reach its goal or deliver its message.”  (Spirit animals and animal totems )

Morro Bay
The funny thing about this trip was that everything seemed to be out of sync from that moment on. Kris kept commenting how it seemed like we were wavering between two dimensions where things were reversed or out of order. 

We stopped at Morro Rock
The perfect example was when we got to the hotel where we were staying which I'd never been to before. We walked into the lobby—on the 4th floor, the rest of the hotel being below that going down to the 3rd, 2nd and 1st floors in that order. Then when we got to our room and opened the door, there were already people in it. How often does that happen? And breakfast was on the 3rd floor. I could never remember which to press for the elevator--up or down.

So why am I talking about this? Coyote teaches that reality is not always what it seems, or what we take it to be; he offers hidden wisdom with a sense of humor. His appearance only confirmed—that things do not always come in the order that would seem logical, and that the ‘magic’ exists in wondrous ways if we only keep our mind open to all possibilities. 

Some would say we are simply twisting what occurs to formulate a magical conclusion, but I would counter that life exists on many levels we can’t see or acknowledge unless our minds stay open.  

The closed mind cannot see outside its self-imposed parameters. (a coraism)

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.” Isaac Asimov

Did you know that the color blue was not seen until more recent times? We somehow did not see a distinction between green and blue. Now we can argue with all kinds of logical reasons for that, but the point is that there is much in our world we don’t see—for whatever reason—and staying open and flexible seems to bring that hidden ‘magic’ into our awareness.

In the words of Eckhart Tolle, use thought but don’t be possessed by thought. Stay open and observe the wonder around you. 

Have you had an animal encounter that spoke to you? Leave a comment.