Sunday, January 1, 2012

Cathedral in the Sky

In 1994 I volunteered with a Catholic social service organization and for three months I lived on the opposite side of a wall from some pretty cool nuns. No seriously, these nuns were super cool. So cool, in fact, that they took me to a Tony Bennett concert and swooned over the band, and when I gasped, "You're not supposed to do that", they shouted over the music: "We're nuns; not dead!"

In their order each woman renews her commitment annually. So, any given year a sister could choose to leave her original calling and start over. Though most finish out their lives in the order, I imagine they appreciate having choice built into the commitment process.

I like this idea of setting apart time to reconsider certain undertakings. Whether choice opens new doors or strengthens original commitments, either way we are in the driver's seat and not some sense obligation that may or may not still fit.

Inspired by the sisters, my first blog was formed with the intent that each year I'd choose whether or not it would continue. When that first blogiversary swung by in August 2010 I decided to take it into a second year. By November I regretted that decision.

That first year and a half of blogging found me in love with the entire process: the crafting of posts, the interest from family and friends, the supportive comments. Some people even asked me if I would write a book. Though I craved publication I just couldn't spare the time that would take. I wasn't someone who could write exceptional blog content every day. I strained. My process was slow. If I wrote every day nothing else would have gotten done around here, period.

But I wanted to get noticed oh so badly.
So I busted my butt with self-imposed deadlines, then spent hours scrubbing typos and disjointed sentences from posts rushed to publication, embarrassed and hoping nobody noticed. (And you know they did)

Then two extraordinary things happened that forever transformed my perspective on blogging.

Enter Carol Leigh Rice................

Around that time I met Carol Leigh Rice through the aptly named Shaman Portal . Carol is an Astrologer, Psychic, and author of the enchanted blog Silk Road Visions. We took  interest in each other's writing and I always enjoyed her comments. Moved by son's suffering, one day Carol was inspired to see what she might pick up intuitively about our situation. She left the following comment:

"Feeling the acute pain of AMR, I have been asking for something to pass along to you, and I am sure more is coming, but for now, this is what I have: If you are already doing it, then a confirmation, if not, perhaps something to try. It was to begin building a temple, a small cathedral perhaps, as beautiful as you can make it, however you would design it, for you and son, in the Sky. It seems
that you have the gifts, to be awakened, in the Temple, and son will and he apparently know "all about" the Temple, so it is almost a return..You can add all sorts of details, day by day, until it is possible to step inside, at will. But the Temple is yours to do whatever you want in it, not necessarily for 'work' and healing, though in time, you'll see.

Don't worry if son doesn't always come with you? He will most of the time, and there are things for you to do in the Temple on your own from time to time...Also, I was not given whether or not "Hubs" will come - maybe only on special occasions. This is more for you and son as your spirits are "kin" in a special way that
has to do also with genes, many lives together, down through the centuries."

I was captivated by this message, though I didn't fully understand it. And yet it made so much sense! You see, somehow Carol tapped into my passion for cathedrals. I walk into them and must resist the urge to fall to my knees in awe. It's baffling, especially since I'm not Catholic nor do I feel any pull in that direction.  Then why do I walk into a cathedral in Anywhere, U.S.A and respond as if I've just entered the Sistene Chapel?

It's weird.

So weird, in fact, that I've patterned my living room decor after cathedrals. Well, patterned my living room decor sounds a little too posh for what's happening here. It's more like the year upon year trolling of garage sales and thrift stores whereby I greedily grab up more and more fodder to feed the obsession. Remember in the movie Close Encounters when the Richard Dreyfuss character maniacally built that obelisk in his living room and the neighbors came in and were all, "Uhhhhh, What the..?"?


Well step inside and I'll give you the tour of my very own obelisk.



Okay, so this one is more Pagan than Catholic, but still spiritual.


That's a fifty-five year old Catholic Bible on a hundred and seven year old radio box. I stuffed an antique door nob in where the missing dial should be, because it fit.


Son's favorite part of the room.Photobucket

Whaaaaat? You mean you don't have a fifty pound Gothic arch mounted to your living room wall?? (In case you are wondering, yes those are real cobwebs).

There's plenty more, but you get the point.

Somehow I knew this wasn't just about Carol channeling my living room. Could this cathedral in the sky be the work of non-ordinary reality, something I'd build to the steady beat of the drum during meditation - an archetypal oasis in the continuing battle for son's health, perhaps? I decided to let the answer unfold with time. And it did.



Shortly after Carol's insight son and I made some Thanksgiving dishes and I blogged about it. Suddenly he was all about the blog, sitting at my shoulder watching me crop pictures and delighting at the sight of himself on screen with the food we made. I told him if he liked we could bake and use food pictures on the website more often. He was ecstatic.

Son's enthusiasm invigorated that strained blog to new life. I was still trying to keep deadlines and this was still aggravating, but even that couldn't halt the sea shift in my attitude towards the blog. It wasn't just a place about me anymore - it was a point of connection with my Autistic son over a shared passion - cooking. He talked about wanting to be a gluten free chef when he grows up and said he wants to open a Mexican Restaurant, my minimally verbal son did. It's as if an inner world of dreams came tumbling out and and all I had to do was capture them. Whether he could ultimately grow up to be a baker or restaurant owner was not the question of the day. It was about connecting through a shared passion and we did that abundantly.

Shortly after the Thanksgiving post Carol left the following comment:

"I feel you have made a kind of temple here, of your
blog, with the writing, the pictures, and video all being sacred ritual, holding blessings and creating good "Life Feng Shui" (I made that up, but you know what I mean!) I really do feel this, that there is spiritual power in each thing you do here."

I finally got it! That blog was our Cathedral in the Sky. Son would come often, but sometimes I had things to do alone in the Temple - just as Carol saw. He was part of the cooking posts, but most were solitary entries. I didn't bring my husband often because he's a private person. It all tied together. And she's right, there was a ritualized aspect to my posts, from the pictures included and how I edited them, to my painstaking hunt for precise prose. That's why deadlines made me so cranky - if I needed two weeks to lovingly craft a post I wanted to be able to take two weeks.

We don't go to cathedral to be worshipped or gain followers. We go to connect with something beyond ourselves. In that cathedral I wanted to connect with my son. I wanted to watch him learn and grow into his love of cooking and see where it took him. I wanted to read the writings of my blogger friends and leave comments - lots of them. I wanted them to know that I treasured their words in the highest chambers of my heart. None of this could I do when constantly feeding deadlines.

And so I came to realize that what I wanted most was not what I thought I wanted at all. I didn't want to write a book. I didn't want to worry about getting a gazillion readers. I could care less about making the front pages of Blogher or SheWrites. I wanted my Cathedral in the Sky.


We did a few more cooking posts and then that blog found its natural conclusion. We continue to bond in the kitchen, our shared sacred space. But my life had become only about struggling against Regressive Autism, and that blog, healing as it was in its time, seemed to feed that isolation. I needed a space to explore other aspects of myself, so Moonbeams and Eco-Dreams, my new Cathedral in the Sky, was born. I am building rooms for my son here too; and as I move some favorite posts from that blog over here, and create new ones, I have become somewhat of a mommy blogger again. Some stories are too important to tuck away.


Special thanks to Carol Leigh Rice, Blogger, Astrologer, Intuitive, and phenomenal person, for helping me recognize what my heart knew but my brain couldn't translate.



  1. This is a really special post. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  2. As I told you in my email, I am overcome. Thank you - I am just thrilled it has somehow all worked - the connections, and your own marvellous willingnesst to embrace Life! Carol

  3. Thank you B.W.

    And thank you too, Carol. I'll never forget the magic I felt when that first dawned on me a year ago. I still feel it. And I am still grateful to you. More coming by email.xo

  4. thanks for the comment and for visiting. I started to follow you :) welcome to the blog world :)

  5. I love it! It's a magical place to be when you do things for yourself, not for others, but others are changed in the process. I think that's the entire point of what we should be doing. We should be living our lives for us, but in such a way that others are changed because of it. And, just so you know, I never would guess that writing doesn't come "naturally" to you!

  6. Beautiful pictures, beautiful words, beautiful sacred space.

  7. Thank you everyone. 3LA - I totally agree about living for ourselves in ways that benefit others. We were given agency over our lives for a reason - we are meant to take care of ourselves. As mothers that is easy to sidetrack. I think I am going to make him an album of the cooking pictures and import them to his IPAD, that way he can see them any time, instead of putting them on the blog.


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