In earlier times, people understood their connection with animals to be a spiritual principle. The original stories about the sacredness of all life can be found on walls of caves and temples and the first ancient writings. This original knowledge still exists in the basic writings of world religions and philosophies. Yet, virtually no Western religion today teaches its adherents how to practice compassion toward all species and how to protect the natural world.

What happened?

Could misinterpretation of the religions’ texts, and an incomplete understanding of the meaning of spirituality be why the human species continues to cause pain and anxiety upon the other animal world -- as shown by unnecessary animal experimentation, inhumane slaughtering methods, using animals in “sport” and entertainment, and the wanton destruction of animals who live in the wild.

What happened?

When and why did the other animals become invisible in our spiritual adventure? Why did we place ourselves over and above all other animals in some sort of hierarchal system? Did the separation come about simply because of our material wants and needs? Or, are there reasons that we have yet to imagine -- beyond religion, science, and history?

What happened?

Friday, July 15, 2016


A Gorilla was killed the other day.  A three year old child had somehow fallen in his zoo enclosure,
A magnificent Silverback Gorilla raced to him.  The scene became chaos when the primate raced across the water dragging the boy back and forth across a little stream.  Fearful the gorilla would harm the child, he was shot by the zoo keeper. How does one describe the sense of loss of this great being by so many who love all he stood for in Nature's realm?  Better he were living free in his own habitat.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


SURVIVAL IN NATURE.A lifetime in seconds.  

2/5/16  Don’t know why I am writing about a maximally awful moment in Nature that I witnessed.  But I am.  The animal’s story should be told.  He deserves being remembered.

Don’t know how I saw the incident while driving in traffic on a busy road in Wellington Florida.  But I did. Intuitively knew what had happened and what was about to happen.

Was driving in the innermost lane when I saw at least ten giant crows flutter en masse to the curbside, and hover over a still body.  As I passed, the birds suddenly flew to a grassy hill just feet away.  A small raccoon sat up in his own pool of blood, and was defiantly hissing at the birds. 

The birds gave the injured creature his moment.  No one wanted to be bitten by him.  They had time.  Probably would be a few minutes before the little one would lie down and die. He’d make a quick meal.  Horrified I screamed at them.

My rage at the long-gone car that hit him, and fear for the raccoon facing such great odds made me sick. Was helpless.  Couldn’t help him.  Cars were bumper to bumper.  One was close to mine.  If I’d braked, God knows what chaos would have ensued.

2/10/16  Today, the realization struck me that Nature always knows what to do for its own.  We humans continue to interfere with the other animals’ lives, yet somehow many species survive – even in the cities.  Even us.  Even for a short time. 

All I can do is send loving light to the soul of this brave little raccoon.  Universal law suggests that his courage and defiance in the face of terrible odds will serve him when he incarnates into his next life form.  Maybe he’ll be a crow.  Worse – be a human.

Saturday, June 7, 2014


FROM letters of Rudolph Steiner.
Berlin, Nov. 17, 1910.  Manuscript from Ghent library.


We realize that the animal soul-life may not be distinguished from that of man in such a way as to justified the assertion that man is superior to the animal with in respect of certain spiritual attributes. To refute such a view we need only point to how certain achievements, obviously attained only by man struggling to a definite stage of intelligence, are brought about objectively with the animal world in the building of their dwellings and in the whole of their life. So that in what the animal does, in what it produces, in what it creates, we have exactly the same intelligence activity that is shown by man in the tools and products he makes. It might really be said: into what the animal does their flows, and then congeals, the same intelligence that we find in man. Therefore we may not speak of animal soul and human soul by simply saying that the animal is to a definite extent behind man or man to a definite extent in advance of the animal. 

When speaking of the soul - and we describe this soul life is the inner life –
in contradiction to the spirit life seen preeminently in formation and development, we referred to the fact that we discover how intimately bound up is this soul life of the animal with its own organization; and what the animal can experience in its soul appears to us as predetermined by its whole structure and the whole arrangement of its organs. Thus it must be said that animals’ life of soul is determined by the fashion of its organization, and in its soul life the animal lives, as it were, within itself. ... the human soul is able to surrender itself directly to the spirit. (FREE WILL?)  


... In the animal all spiritual achievements immediately connected with its organs and experienced in its soul have been implanted into, and bound up with, what is hereditary in its species. We may also say that their lives in itself out in the animals soul what belongs to the species, and because this is hereditary, the animal comes into existence with a predisposition towards all the activities conditioned by the spirit which can be experienced through its soul nature... It is different with man who in his life of soul emancipates himself from his bodily organism... He enters existence helpless, up to a certain extent where the functions that should serve him and life are concerned. On the other hand, however, this helplessness is the one thing that enables man to develop in soul and spirit...  An immediate relation exists in the animal between spirit and body.

Saturday, April 26, 2014



Entry April 26, 2014.   TRUE STORY.

     3 am -- woke up -- legs dangling off the side of the bed  -- one foot on the floor.  Shadow, my loudly snoring compadre was sprawled on his back, dead center of the bed.  I found myself clinging to the edge of the 10% of space allowed me.  (The bed is his bed, you know.)  He has claimed ownership of every corner of our house and every minute of the time of his staff (yours truly).  I rolled out of the bed, trying not to disturb him.  Maybe I can sleep on the floor.  He awoke and hopped off to grab a few bites of his food.  (Yes, one of his feeding stations is in our bedroom.)  I quickly jumped back into the bed under the covers and claimed a share of the mattress.  OHHH, it felt good to stretch!
     Refreshed, he jumped on me and plopped on my legs; and curled up in that adorable position that only cats can achieve.  He's so beautiful!  I can't move my legs for fear of disturbing him.  I laid there for an hour until the excruciating pain of not moving my legs set in.  I reached down and stroked his head.  His sweet purrs renewed me, and I could bear another endless hour of no leg movement.
       5 am.  He rose and walked toward (on) me purring loudly.  Uh-Oh!  Time to knead my belly. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14…   I tell myself that when cats knead, it is to show  affection.  I close my eyes waiting for him to be bored with it.  Then I feel his nose pressing on mine.  Whiskers tickling my cheeks.  I opened my eyes to see his face inches from mine, eyes staring at me.  Maybe if I distract him…  I quickly rolled onto my right side.  Still purring, he happily leaped onto the right side of the bed and begins licking my arm.  Ever have a cat lick your arm?  Scratchy, scratchy, scratchy.  Tongue is like sandpaper.  I don't dare ask him to stop.  After all, my arm is his arm.  I roll onto my left side.  You guessed it.  Scratch, scratchy tongue licking my feet this time.  Very tickly.  Exhausted from so much activity, he finally settled down and fell asleep still purring as loud as loud he could.

     7 am.  Still wide awake, I roll out of bed, trying not to disturb him.  Don't have to worry.  He's sprawled on his back, dead center of the bed, deep in cat dreams.
     2 pm.  I need a nap!  Shadow is already napping in the little bed I placed on my desk just for him.  He needs his rest for another fun night.  Me too.  

Monday, March 17, 2014


      On April 8, I was honored to speak at the Dies Librorum, a popular monthly event celebrating books and authors at the BOOK HAVEN, Salida Colorado, .  Three other authors discussed their books that evening:  Kristen Moeller, Davalyn Spencer and Bob Campbell.  (For further information about Dies Librorum, contact Lisa Marvel at  
       Every time I speak about THE QUESTION. What Happened to the Animal-Human Spiritual Connection?, I share my hope: that readers of my book will accept the animals within their own spirituality.  I define SPIRITUALITY as the fully developed persona of an individual -- including but not exclusive to -- that individual's religion.   The answer to THE QUESTION lies within our  our own true self.  The QUESTION opens the door to a much greater story whereby we -- all animals -- are mere players in the vast infinite of existence.  

      EXCERPT.  THE QUESTION. Chapter 13.  That They Come Into Their Own. 
       The animals don’t have to be taught who they are.  They are what they are.  There is no discussion.  The animals don’t have to surrender to their own nature. They ARE their own nature.  Being human, I have to think about it.  Be taught who I am.
         We humans have been blessed and cursed with the ability to debate our own questions.  We demand unconditional faith in our religions’ texts as well as our scientific views.  We are too busy trying to prove our myths.  Maybe the “Tree of Knowledge” portrayed in mythologies all over the world bore the fruits of Knowing.  “Knowledge” and “Knowing” are two separate concepts.  Awesome concepts, but worlds apart.  If the mythological Tree of Knowledge bore fruits of Knowing, I am drawn to the idea that Eve’s reputation was sacrificed for her knowing the Truth.  Perhaps first Woman knew (if only briefly) she was a conscious being dwelling among conscious life forms in a conscious Universe.  She excitedly shared the knowledge with her alter ego, first Man.  As they talked over the meaning of her discovery, they became confused.  Then were afraid.  Their doubts separated them from the essence of who they were and from each other.  With that, Eden was lost. #

  Forty years ago, Seth, as channeled by Jane Roberts, explained it this way:  
May 3, 1976  Session 774.   "In early times we merged our Consciousness with Nature…  In those early times, then, consciousness was more mobile…  A person looking out into the world of trees, waters and rock, wildlife and vegetation, literally felt that he or she was looking at the larger, materialized, subjective areas of personal selfhood. To explore the exterior world was to explore the inner one.  
     "...Such a person, however, walking through the forest, also felt that he or she was also a portion of the inner life of each rock or tree materialized.  Yet there was no contradiction of identities. 
     "A man might merge his own consciousness with a running stream, traveling in such a way for miles to explore the layout of the land.  To do this he became part water in a kind of identification you can barely understand -- but so did the water then become part of the man…"
May 17, 1976. Session 776.  "Take the English sentence:  “I observe the tree.”  If that original language had words, the equivalent would be: “As a tree, I observe myself or  “Taking on my tree nature, I rest in my shade.” or even,  “From my man nature, I rest in the shade of my tree nature.”  
     "A man did not so much stand at the shore looking down at the water, as he immersed his consciousness within it.   ...Man would never have said “the water flows through my valley.”  Instead, the sentence would have read something like this:  “running over the rocks, my water self flows together with others in slippery union.”... 

     " … Man did not designate his own as the only kind of consciousness by any means.  He graciously thanked the tree that gave him shade, for example, and he understood that the tree retained its own identity even when it allowed his awareness to join with it.

(Note:  The entire collection of  Seth materials is  found in the Yale University Library archives.)

Friday, February 14, 2014


A few months ago, a friend from Palm Beach posted her love story about her friend Bentley, a feral cat who learned to trust a kind human enough to "adopt" her (As long as he can go outside most of the time).  She sent this recent photo of the handsome boy cozying up inside.  (Feb.11, 2016)  He comes in because... 

February 14, 2016.  THIS JUST IN

I just read your book and I absolutely loved it!  I looked forward to reading it every night before I went to bed for about a week. It really made me think about different points of view on animals and how we are all so connected.  Overall, your book seemed to truly speak to me. I just felt like I "got it." your words painted such a beautiful picture in my imagination when it came to what Sanctuary would be like.  Again, I loved it!  You did such a nice job writing it.
            Abby. Milwaukee

Friday, January 3, 2014


January , 2014.  The other day, I received an E mail from someone who was troubled by 
THE QUESTION enough to contact me.  He asked, “What drove you to write the book?  It frequently disturbed me,  although your humor helps relieve the sadness over the absence of the other animals in people’s spiritual lives; and the consequences of their absence upon our environment.
                  I told him I began work on the book project twelve years ago by first interviewing several widely respected clergy who were leaders within their particular world religion.  The clerics were not friendly to the idea of bringing  into their doctrines the other animals as members of our spiritual lives.  The bottom line answer was always the same:  Something about God giving man dominion over the other animals and all the resources of the Earth.  The animals and Earth were created for humans.  I asked a popular Jesuit priest if he would introduce from his pulpit the idea about the other animals residing in our spiritual lives.  He put it this way:  “I agree with your proposal that the other animals participate in our religious thought, but I can’t speak about it in my sermons.  I can just see that man who always sits in the last pew crossing his arms at my revolt against what he has been taught to believe.  It's been hard enough to get him to Church as it is…”   I was disappointed by his response.  But I guess he was doing his job.
               Next step was to seek the answer to the question in the major “alternative” spiritual philosophies (i.e. philosophies  not attached to a particular religion's dogma.)  I began with the Theosophical library in Wheaton Illinois. (Great to visit to find a collection of original documents that might interest a spiritual seeker.)  I was lucky to find interest in my quest by the librarian who referred me to the editor of the Theosophical Journal.*  Bit by bit, I began to find that there were others across the ages who questioned why the animals were not included in western spiritual thought: Aristotle, Rudolph Steiner, Annie Besant, Edgar Cayce to name a few.  I was excited to find world-repected thinkers who accept the idea that the other animals are participants in the Divine plan.  Their wisdom is integrated into the book story.  

*P.S.  The Journal published the ensuing article which became a sounding board for readers responding to the proposed idea:  ANIMALS AND HUMANS:  EVOLVING TOGETHER IN A CONSCIOUS UNIVERSE.   Their responses inspired THE QUESTION's thesis:


EVEN WHEN people subscribe to a religion or philosophy that teaches honoring all life as sacred—including the animals and plants—the teachings have not taken hold. It appears that the word has not gotten out.  In discussions on this subject, the conversation usually goes something like this:
     OK, I know where you're coming from. I consider myself a good person. But, I have a hard time believing that my smelly, hyperactive dog—and my cat who messes up my garden and claws my furniture—are conscious beings. With souls, yet!
      Look … I love them. Not as much as my family and friends, maybe, but at least they're on the list of responsibilities that I've taken on (as busy as I am).
       I enjoy a good steak. I'm sorry about our inhumane slaughtering practices. What can be done about it? Besides, animals don't feel pain like we do.
      When I suggest that all animal life forms are conscious beings, it's as if I am taking a stand on abortion or telling a stranger which political party I support.  This time, you've crossed the line! I volunteer in hospices—and wherever I'm needed. Now you're asking me to do what? 
     Include animals in my spiritual life? Am I going to hell for my lack of interest? I am made in God's image.   They're not. I have a soul. They don't.  End of conversation.
In earlier times, we included all animals in our spirituality. The Aitareya Upanishad (3.1.3), written three thousand years ago, speaks to the question:
This One is Brahman (the Infinite) . . . This is these five elements, viz. Earth, Air, Space, Water, Fire. This is all these big creatures, together with the small ones, that are the procreators of others and referablein pairs—to wit those that are born of eggs, of wombs, of moisture of the earth. . . viz. horses, cattle, men, elephants, and all the creatures that there are which move or fly and those which do not move. All these have Consciousness as the giver of their reality. All these are impelled by Consciousness. The universe has Consciousness as its eye, and Consciousness is its end. Consciousness is the Infinite.
Over time, human needs for survival and comfort modified our connection with the animals. After all, we are the only species on the earth who can communicate with each other through spoken and written languages--not like the "lower animals," who can only bark, grunt or caw. After all, we are the only beings on the earth who build temples and worship in glorious song and dance. Has anyone heard an animal ask, "Who am I? Why am I here?" The Earth must belong to us.
With this shift in philosophical thinking, it became easier to use animals to do our heaviest labor, give us a ride, go to war with us, amuse us as pets, be sacrifices to our gods—our God. Even today, it appears that the guiding principle "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you" applies exclusively to human others. Animals need not apply.
Today, the rest of the world is racing to catch up with the West in refrigerators, cars, and fast food. A taste for Big Macs is becoming the rage in China, Japan, and India. The planet's rainforests are burning right now to make room for more cattle -- that is, beef. How many animals and square miles of forests will it take to satisfy the appetites of billions of people for hamburgers?  Indigenous peoples are caught up in the fray. In many cases, whole tribes have traded the soul of their cultures as well as their forests, waters,and animals for tee shirts and plastic bowls.
The global network has made it possible for even the most isolated cultures to see what's happening. World leaders know. Deep ecologists know. Our children know that there is a direct correlation between the perceived need for material stuff and the unprecedented demand on the Earth's natural resources.
Is the Western media contributing to the diminishment of our spiritual connection with the animals?   Cable networks regularly air programs showing men, women and children dressed in camouflage blowing away deer with power rifles for the "sport of it;" and rodeos with cowboys and cowgirls whipping animals into submission.
In the late nineteenth century, new ideas emerged that shook the very foundations of traditional religions and philosophies. Theosophists envisioned a cosmology based on multidimensional planes of existence stretching far beyond national borders—into time and space. They looked at every aspect of existence in terms of their vast new world view, including the animal kingdom.
In the 1880s, lengthy articles appeared in Theosophical journals debating whether animals are conscious beings. In July 1896, N. A. Knox asked in an article published in Lucifer (18:211), "Why should the animal suffer torture and misery, often for the greater part of its life?" 

Theosophical leader, Annie Besant didn’t believe in God because, "if there were a God, the innocent animals would not suffer at the hand of men."  (Why I don’t Believe in God.  A. Besant)   

Theosophist, scientist and futurist, C. W. Leadbeater imagined the astral life of animals in his book The Inner Life (242):

                  When an individualized animal dies he has a happy astral life of considerable length, during which he usually remains in the immediate neighborhood of his earthly home and in the closest touch with his especial friend and protector – able to see and enjoy the society of his friend as fully as ever, though himself invisible to the latter, his memory of the past being, of course, just as perfect as it was on earth.
                  This will be followed by a still happier period of what has sometimes been called “dozing consciousness,” which will last until in some future world the human form is assumed.  During all this time he is in a state analogous to that of a human being in the heaven-world, though at a somewhat lower level.  He creates his own surroundings, even though he may be but drowsily conscious of them, and they will undoubtedly include the presence of his earth-friend in his very best and most sympathetic mood…

Although Theosophy remains anthropocentric to this day, its philosophy is one of the first modern harbingers of an emerging evolution of human consciousness. That evolution signals the contemporary realization that humans are not the sole inhabitants of a conscious universe.
Science and technology have become allies of this expanded view. Through quantum physics, complexity theory, molecular biology, and photos of the galaxies, some Western scientists speculate that all matter and energy in our known Universe is evolving consciously. And some are now theorizing that all matter and energy could be aspects of one infinite consciousness.
Many New-Age thinkers believe that the collective human soul is evolving toward a great shift whereby humanity as a whole will leave this third dimension and ascend into higher planes, becoming one with the Oneness. However, the future envisioned in this emerging "philosophy" appears to be the exclusive domain of humankind.  No room for the animals on this ark.
When all is said and done, we each reside in our own self-secret universe.  Whether we are a Buddhist monk sitting cross-legged in a wind-swept cave listening to the voice of the Infinite -- or are Web-swingers nestled in our ergonomically designed chair  searching cyberspace for the true meaning of life -- our personal worldview affects our behavior toward all others.
Perhaps it is time for a global shift that reconnects humankind in full spiritual partnership with animals and all life—for the sake of the whole Earth and for the evolution of our own souls.     
Originally printed in the JULY-AUGUST 2001 issue of Quest magazine. 
“Animals and Humans: Evolving Together in Conscious Universe.” Quest  89. 4 (July-August 2001): 132-134.    This Web site is made possible by generous grants from The Kern Foundation.   Copyright © 2013 Theosophical Society in America.

Thursday, December 12, 2013



    Take a look at the worldwide December celebrations posted by Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia found on Google.  There are probably more events not on the list, but you get the idea.  For the most part, the events have some sort of cultural-spiritual theme. The celebrations come with food, music, dancing, shopping, laughter, gifts, and sometimes prayers for a better new year.  The worldly secular, humanists and skeptics have their celebrations too! (Scroll down) Yes, there’s something for everybody to celebrate the last month of the year (except the animals).

    Advent: four weeks prior to Christmas (Western Christianity).
    Chalica: A holiday created in 2005, in the first full week in December, celebrated by some Unitarian Universalists.
    Saint Nicholas' Day: 6 December
    Bodhi Day: 8 December - Day of Enlightenment, celebrating the day that the historical Buddha (Shakyamuni or Siddhartha Gautama) experienced enlightenment (also known as Bodhi).
    Saint Lucy's Day: 13 December - Church Feast Day. Saint Lucy comes as a young woman with lights and sweets.
    Winter Solstice: 21 December-22 December – midwinter
    Hanukkah: Starting on 25 Kislev (Hebrew) or various dates in November or December (Gregorian) - eight-day festival commemorating the miracle of the oil after the desecration of the Temple by  Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 165 BCE.
    Dongzhi Festival - a celebration of Winter
    Soyal: 21 December - Zuni and Hopi
    Yalda: 21 December - Shabe Yaldā or Shabe Chelle is an Iranian festival celebrating the victory of light and goodness over darkness and evil. Shabe yalda means 'birthday eve.'  According to Persian mythology, Mithra was born at dawn on the 22nd of December to a virgin mother.
    Mōdraniht: or Mothers' Night, the Saxon winter solstice festival.
    Saturnalia: the Roman winter solstice festival
    Pancha Ganapati: Five-day festival in honor of Lord Ganesha. December 21–25.
    Christmas Eve: 24 December through Dec. 25 Christmas Day.  Celebrating the birth of Jesus the Christ.
    Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (The birth of the Unconquered Sun): late Roman Empire - 25 December
    Twelve Days of Christmas: 25 December through 6 January
    YulePagan festival celebrated by historic Germanic people from late December to early January.
    Anastasia of Sirmium Feast Day: 25 December
    Boxing Day: 26 December - Gift-giving day after Christmas.
    Kwanzaa: 26 December - 1 January - Pan-African festival celebrated in North America
    Saint Stephen's Day: 26 December
    Saint John the Evangelist's Day: 27 December
    Holy Innocents' Day: 28 December
    Saint Sylvester's Day: 31 December
    Watch Night: 31 December
    New Year's Eve: 31 December - Last day of the Gregorian year
    Hogmanay: Night of 31 December - Before dawn of 1 January - Scottish New Year's Eve
    Sikh Guru Gobind Singh Gurpurab: birthday of the Guru Gobind Singh, generally falls on December.
    Slavic  Old New Year includes a winter ritual of strolling and singing that was later incorp. Into Christmas.
    Secular Celebrations:
    Zamenhof Day: 15 December - Birthday of Ludwig Zamenhof, inventor of Esperanto; holiday reunion for Esperantists
    HumanLight: 23 December - Humanist holiday originated by the New Jersey Humanist Network in celebration of "a Humanist's vision of a good future." [5]
    Newtonmas: 25 December - As an alternative to celebrating the religious holiday Christmas, some atheists, skeptics, and other non-believers have chosen to celebrate December 25 as Newtonmas, due to it being Isaac Newton's birthday on the old style date.
    Constitution of the Republic of China (Taiwan): 25 December - a national holiday

                How many newscasts report the suffering and losses experienced by the animals that live with us and in the wild?  How many stories about the loss of people's pets in a deadly storm have been published? Does the reporter sympathize with the deer running from a “sportsman” during the hunting season?  Do the media report about  billions of chimpanzees, monkeys, rabbits, rats, mice, birds, dogs, cats, pigs being experimented on (tortured) annually for the cosmetic and soap and research and military industries…?  I could go on and on. 

          But it’s Christmas, you know…  It’s December and time to celebrate.  
    Celebrate the media sources that do tell the animals’ stories, and remind the public that there is a vast network of life sharing the planet with us. Thank you, Animal Planet, PBS, Discovery Channel, Science and History channels. Time to celebrate those who care about the lives of the other animals and are doing something about it.

                Celebrate the filmmakers who produce thoughtful documentaries about the plight of animals.  I highly recommend two powerful films.  Don’t miss:

    THE LION ARK (Jan Creamer, producer, and directed by Tim Phillips)‎  

    THE AMERICAN MUSTANG (Ellie Phipps Price, producer, and directed by Monty Miranda)


Saturday, September 28, 2013



"...Time to re-invent my existence.  Forms assemble and settle into the space around me in the order I create them.  My bedroom arranges itself so I won't be confused by the illusion.  It always takes a moment or two to realize that I am alive!  Alive!  A life!  Life!  How can I express the feeling of being alive?  The knowing trickles into my senses as I breathe breaths, scratch an itch, stretch a stretch, and smell a smell.  Yes!  I’m alive!  On this fine morning, I am exhilarated by the thought." 

SEPTEMBER 6, 2013.  Exhilarated?  What was I thinking?  I can count being exhilarated about being alive on one hand.  Buddha woke up from his many years meditation to realize the joy of being alive.  He was joy-filled for everything he could see and not see… the trees and flowers and animals and rain.  He never forgot that first moment, and taught his followers to recognize -- accept the joy of being alive.  Many do.  Many don’t.  I want to get there.

It’s a Universal law of Physics: All energy and matter that exists today were formed at the moment of the so-called Big Bang.  (Maybe before the Big Bang.)  What actually happens when energy is released from its temporary material (matterial) residence is debated by scientists.  According to quantum physics, all that exists has always existed by taking new forms over and over like that yellow blouse resting on my couch over there.  Found it in a thrift store and can't wait to wear it on the right occasion.  Recycled.  That blouse has been recycled into countess things since the big bang. The materials forming that blouse have been recycled for billions of years like everything else that came from a singular beginning.  First stardust.  Now a thing to wear.  Matter beget by Energy.  All that is formed -- the atoms forming the forms, the billions of yet-to-be-seen neutrinos passing through the forms will exist as primordial energy or matter forever. Hard for me to imagine that the atoms whirling in that blouse are part of this idea. Another sort of energy?  Lifeless.  Life less.  Still, it is a part of endless existence.

I’m not sure I want this life form (me) to become energy again.  To form matter again.  Somehow  continue to exist  as other forms for countless billions of years again and again.  Maybe I’m afraid of the next step.  Become human again?  The way the human race is imploding I am reluctant to start another life on Earth in human form.  Maybe I’d like to be a cat or a bee or a fish.   Maybe a yellow blouse.

I lie awake through long nights staring at the ceiling recalling memories that won’t leave me alone.  Dark thoughts about the life-changing mistakes I’ve made throughout my life.  Remembering the people I've hurt or hurt me.  Ashamed of relationships gone sour because of my pride, immaturity, lack of self esteem or worse: inability to know better.  I am ashamed to go into the details.  Ashamed that I am feeling sorry for myself. 

Lately I experience being alive as an observer.  I am outside of my body watching my body in action. Without feeling.  Without participating.  I look out the window at the foothills cooled by the night.  The rocky hills will warm up soon enough as the temperature rises.  Been in the 90’s for weeks. The sky holds clouds that will build up this afternoon for a bit of drizzle. That's all we get in Colorado these days.  Drizzle.  The soft rain is welcomed by the leaves on the trees that have been drooping in the sun.  When rain drops on them, they rise and shimmy.  Become alive.  

The window shade string is caught in a breeze forming an arc.   Shadow the Cat curled up in his basket ignores this opportunity to play.  His ears are bent back listening to a lone Finch on the rooftop loudly chirping “I’m alive!  I’m alive!”  Cat taught him the tune.

Shadow is aware of being alive even when he is sleeping.  Every sense appears to be dormant in his subconscious while he naps.  Not so.  One sound is all it takes to wake him up and be ready to spring.  Cats make patience an art.  Right now, he’s ready to jump out of his basket when I stand up.  He's hungry for his breakfast.  So am I.

SEPTEMBER 10, 2013.  My beautiful red full-tailed Betta, Mister Fishy died this morning.  I still have a lump in my throat.  Betta's are born to be enemies with all other Bettas and fight with themselves to their death.  Even kill their mate.  His destiny was to live alone in his bowl.  He couldn’t live with another of his kind or any other fish.  I put a beautiful crystal, a glass cat, a dancing figure and a lovely glass shell in his bowl to keep him company.  

Mister's personality was absolute.  There is no doubt that he observed the action going on outside his bowl.  From his gallon water world placed on the counter dividing the kitchen from the living room, he would watch me while I cooked.  He’d follow me as far as he could in his little domain when I left the kitchen.  He learned to "come" for his food.  If I whistled “Dixie”, he’d race to the surface to gobble those tiny pellets as if they were ice cream.  Smart guy.  

Shadow will miss him.  They were friends.  Actually touched noses while Shadow sipped from his bowl.  It was his watering hole.  As he has for three years, Shadow is hopping up to the counter to look for his little friend.  Without Mister Fishy, the water doesn’t taste as good to him.  I hope Mister Fishy’s return to life will be in the form of another kind of fish who can share his waters with him.  Or be a being in a larger world.  A world where he won't have to fight for his life.  No matter.  He’s free to begin again.  

SEPTEMBER 20, 2013. 

THE DEADLY BOULDER FLOODING has stopped.  A few days ago, Tessa the Dog and Shadow the Cat and I watched the creek outside Tessa’s caretakers' front window.  It became a living thing as it crept up to the one and only concrete stair leading up to the front door.  When the power went out, we stumbled up to the second floor in pitch-blackness and went to bed -- together -- the three of us.  I didn’t think to be afraid.  My animal companions weren’t agitated, so why should I be?  At dawn, we were blessed to see that that one stair held back the tide.  That miracle made me realize -- for a moment anyway -- the joy Buddha spoke of.  The joy of being alive cannot be expressed.  Only felt deep in one’s inner core. 

Wildlife report.  According to the Boulder Daily Camera, the birds were the hardest hit by the drenching downpours.  Tons of their dead bodies have been collected.  When birds’ feathers get saturated, they are vulnerable to the cold.  The fragile ones succumbed to the blast of the rain.  As soon as the remaining people and their animals are safely evacuated from their flooded home sites, the body count for the other animals living in the wild will be assessed. 

Yes, we’re safe, but my emotions have manifested into guilt because I was spared and so many have lost everything.  There must be a word for feeling joy and guilt at the same time.  I pray for those people in Boulder and surrounding counties who were dealt that knock-out punch by Nature.  For thousands in northern Boulder, Lyons, Estes Park and many towns in between, there would be no release from the chaos. Thousands of lives were uprooted by the swollen creeks and rivers and mudslides and washed out roads.  The St. Vrain River has shifted across the land and formed new routes for its flow. Hundreds of heroes from many states came to rescue the thousands. Every rescue story that came out of the devastated areas were tales about the joy of being alive.  It’s exhilarating to know this.  Finding joy in being alive is the miracle. 

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.

After writing this entry, am trying to pay attention to the sensual.  This morning, I savored every bite of a cheesy omelet and yogurt with fruit.  The coffee was perfectly brewed if I do say so myself.  The taste and smell of the food is different this day because I am taking the moment to focus on what I am tasting.  Shadow the Cat just rubbed his whiskers on my leg.  Tickled.  Felt good.

This morning, am watching in awe at the power of the wind bending the trees.  It reminds me that Winter is inevitable.  A CU student roars by at top speed on his motorbike on the street below.  He does this once a day.  The police haven’t stopped him…  yet.  Sorry for him.  Not so much for his speeding, but for the sake of an animal or person he could hit in his frenzy.  Or hurt himself.  Maybe not.  He’s been lucky so far.

A friend called to tell me she is bored with “same old same old.” Since the loss of her beloved, she is locked – blocked.  I pray she’ll begin to embrace the experience of being alive.  Once she does, I am sure that nothing will be “same old same old…”  That every step she takes will become precious moments of being alive.

Another friend, Cathy S., has walked 250 miles of her 500 mile pilgrimage from France onto the Camino path in Spain.  She is following the footsteps of early people seeking their souls 1000 years ago, and the thousands who have joined that first quest every year since.  Her daily journal entries at inspire me.  She is discovering through her arduous, spectacular walk that taking each step by step through the colorful villages and meeting the local people, there is great delight -- a splendor -- in being alive.

OCTOBER 5, 2013.

We shall study every philosophy, search through all the scriptures, consult every teacher and practice all spiritual exercises until out minds are swollen with the whole wisdom of the world.  But in the end, we shall return to the surprising fact that we walk, eat, sleep, feel and breathe... that whether we are deep in thought or idly passing the time of day, we are alive!   Alan Watts.

About the Author

After spending several years in Public Relations initiating and organizing award-winning multi-state community relations projects on behalf of a global telecommunications company, Judith Hensel has written her first fictional book, THE QUESTION. “What Happened to the Animal-Human Spiritual Connection?” The book is a fantasy about characters created out of real life people who join the animals in an imaginary setting to find the answer to their question. Among articles published about the book’s premises, one article “Evolving in a Conscious Universe,” was published in QUEST, international Theosophical Journal in 2003; and inspired the magazine’s content theme. As former Associate Professor of Art and Humanities, St. Xavier University, Chicago, she received numerous awards as an artist and teacher including special recognition by the Associated Press and the Governor of Illinois. She wrote and directed two critically acclaimed rock operas, “Hosanna!” and “Taproot” performed by student talent as well as talent from across the Chicago region to sell-out audiences. Her artwork is in several private collections in Australia, the Netherlands, New York, Illinois, California, Colorado and Wisconsin; and for several years was available at the Art Institute of Chicago rental gallery. She holds the MSA in Painting and Graphics, University of Wisconsin; and the MA in Communications/Television Production, University of Illinois-Chicago Campus.

Paintings by the author.