Colleen Hannegan

Finding the words....and the perfect pair of glasses.

Looking for the Pot of Gold.

TravelColleen HanneganComment

I am not an easy traveler. Oh I talk about where I want to travel and how I want to get there and what I'd love to see and how long I'd want to stay; often. I dream of seeing faraway landscapes and towering natural skyscrapers that allow us to stand before them in awe and remind ourselves how majestic this world is and how small and insignificant we stand before them.

Others travel where I wish to go, and I see the beautiful places vicariously through their photos and wonder why I don't travel more often.

And here's the truth. I tend to travel more to deep and dark and miraculously mystical places in my mind, in my early morning musings, in my spiritual readings and meditations, than to physical places on a man made map. I've been drawn to the soul maps within; they are my quiet places I long to wander and discover secrets and languages so old and full of mystery, one cannot so easily decipher. But I try. 

The other part of the truth for me is..... I'm more hesitant to travel in person, by plane, auto or boat because that unknown causes me much more anxiety than the inner travels I prefer.

What used to happen when I committed to a physical travel adventure, I'd come down with some malady that either caused me to cancel the trip or made me sick while I was in the middle of the trip. On my adventure to Italy with my daughter Leah in 2006, the night before we left, I got a cramp in my neck that stayed with me the entire 10 days we were away. Too bad I remember the pain I was in more than I remember the joys of walking through the duomo in Milano or taking a bus ride into the gorgeous countryside outside Firenze. Stress. Being in the middle of a divorce battle didn't help. But I think more than facing down Mr. Meany in court, I was afraid of leaving home ( my new cozy apartment) and all its familiarity and certainty. 

Not long after,  I took a trip to meet my sister in Reno for a 10k adventure and came down with strept throat as soon as I arrived. Trips planned then frequently cancelled. The list of physical freak outs before trips away from home endured for about ten years until I decided to trick my mind into looking at physical travel as a buried treasure map.

In my mind I saw a buried treasure map, all aged and yellowed with corners curled. Mountain ranges, desert valleys, rivers curling like snakes along the trails. And there, at some spot marked with a big yellow X, was where I would find my pot of gold.

Pot of gold.

Pot of gold.

I told myself my pot of gold was waiting for me on my future trips. It could appear as an interesting person I'd meet, a beautiful vista I'd see, an incredible meal I'd eat, a wrong turn that would become a right turn into an exciting drive along some beautiful spot in nature. The pot of gold was waiting for me to discover it. But only if I bravely and fearlessly ventured out to find it. And to be open to when and where it would present itself.

That's how I became less afraid of physical travel, by creating my own magic map to my pot of gold. It's worked nicely since then.

So on our road trip last week to Susanville in northern California to ride  mountain biking trails, here stood my pot of gold in this majestic old oak tree on a quiet street near our B&B. My husband and I were out for an evening stroll after dinner, wandering the local neighborhood before dark.

We turned the corner just as sunset made its way through the autumn leaves of this beauty and deep blue day was surrendering to early night. If you'd seen me, I was kneeling in the dirt before this "pot of gold" worshiping its magnificence and taking a few closeups with my iphone of the sunset performance and the mirroring wonder of that moment.

POG as one.jpg

The bark was the darkest black I'd seen, so maybe it wasn't an oak tree. The contrast in its dark and bright and luminescent shine above was a work of nature art. I'm known as a tree lover. I listen to trees and speak to trees on my frequent walks and rides into nature places. For me this tree represented a happy life being grounded in the earth for sustenance while reaching skyward to share its beauty in reflecting the sun. 

As my husband and I both stood there appreciating its glow and grandeur, I moved closer and realized it was one big base, yet spreading out as two. 

Celebrating our wedding anniversary on this adventure made this pot of gold a special gift for both of us.

Our enticing, beautiful planet Earth is here for us to wonder, to wander and to be wowed by its richness, our physical connection it it and its sacred specialness. Here we live and here we are sure to know its treasures waiting to be discovered around the corners of our everyday lives.

Two parts of a whole.

Two parts of a whole.

Sky Messages.

SpiritColleen HanneganComment

I can't always interpret, exactly, what I know when I feel a message coming to me from out there. There's this sort of thought cessation, or better said a yielding of random thoughts  before I sense it. Like the singing bird's silence just before the earth shakes. It feels like my higher Self reaches for the chalkboard eraser and clears away the old stuff and nudges me to pay attention. No words, just feelings. Get ready. 

Just before the morning light changed into a glowing golden yellow though my entire upstairs bedroom window, I'd opened my eyes and awoke with a feeling that I should pay attention to the morning sky. Being a morning person, and often tuning in to the magic hour of dawn, I find my greatest peace and silent seductive pull of Spirit at this time.  I reached for my eyeglasses and stood up to peer over the half opened window blinds. Facing east, the passing clouds and blue and yellows were dancing across the sky as the sun made its way up.

The light was different, coming into my room. I looked over at my husband and said, "The light is so unusual, it's making everything golden in here!" 

I left the upstairs bedroom to see how the sun was playing out across the rest of the sky from the back of the house. That's when I saw a section of rainbow behind our home. The sky was showing off with bright colors and clouds and I seemed to be the only one up on this Sunday morning last week. 

Rainbow.jpg

I grabbed my iPhone and walked out front, still in my nightgown. My photo barely captured the immensity of the rainbow, it's intensity of bright colors and then a double rainbow appeared, which I captured on video. It was so silently amazing.

The biggest and closest rainbow I've experienced thus far. No neighbors were outside. It was all I could do to keep myself from knocking on their doors at 7am to have them get a look. We don't know each other well so seeing me standing at their front door in my nightie would have been weird to say the least;  a more lasting impression than any rainbow.

Besides, this was my rainbow and it was perfectly fine after all that I enjoyed it and had encouraged my husband to get outside for a quick look before it washed itself away. 

Others interpret their own messages into what it means when you see a rainbow, especially a double rainbow. A friend asked, "Did you make two wishes?" No. I never thought of that.

I just followed the glow.

 

 

 

My Day Before Solar Eclipse Poem~~ August20, 2017

poetryColleen HanneganComment

Between the Shadows

As in a dream

my image forms shadows

above

and below

and I float between the two.

 

Am I but a reflection

of my higher Self

sandwiched between

worlds;

my good and right and holy 

and my heavy, dark, cursed,

trying to remain safe

in my middle world

between the shadows.

 

I hear the song of Umalali

and my soul vibrates

to her freedom dance.

 

Mother pulls me close; down

to her roots and

Sky calls me to fly

and so my dance comes to me.

 

Giver of life, receiver too, mother,

woman, child, lover, gatherer

of all good and my

shadow self.

 

I go

I come

I dance and wonder,

is this my world?

Is this my beginning 

or an end to more

of what is asked

to stay knowing.

 

Here

here

here

between the shadows.

© Colleen Hannegan

Light and Dark merging.

Light and Dark merging.

Paris in August....1971.

AdventureColleen HanneganComment

Birthdays mark a passage of time. They are a day when loved ones and friends celebrate your existence. You're plopped out on this spinning blue marble at birth and the Universe smiles and says "Here you are, and there you go!" And from then on until the end of us we have our own special date that we get free dessert at our favorite restaurant and best wishes and presents from wonderful people.

Of all those birthdays I've racked up since making my grand entrance in St. Louis, MO on August 16th in 1955, my best one to date happened in Paris, France in 1971. Sixteen spins around the sun and I was being feted to a 5 course meal at the home of the Dantec family in a small town outside Paris called Velizy.

16 in the gardens of Versailles.

16 in the gardens of Versailles.

I drank champagne for the first time, ate fresh baguettes I have craved now 46 years and brie fromage that melted on my tongue like a blessing that had only known retched Kraft cheese slices until that moment. If cell phones had been invented I'd have selfied every unbelievable morsel that passed my lips that day and forever changed my innocent girl's experience of what it meant to really celebrate a birthday.  The joie de vivre!

From left,  Mamie, Josette, Nadine, Jean

From left,  Mamie, Josette, Nadine, Jean

I was a foreign exchange student for the summer. Josette, the mother, served one delicious french cuisine after another until I was ready to burst. And the laughter we all shared. Jean, the father, Nadine the daughter and fellow teenager, and grandmother Mamie. I can no longer remember the other dishes served. But I remember how celebrated I felt. "Bon anniversaire" they sang. I couldn't understand all the words; my French was so rough and quite foreign from what it sounded like in French class back at school. 

I don't hold on to many personal items in my life. Many things have come and gone through the years, including lovers, two husbands, homes, all those clothes I owned, shoes, STUFF, more STUFF, but I have held on to what's most important in a life. They are as follows....

My big, wonderful family of 5 sisters and 6 brothers and their families, my beautiful and amazing daughter Leah, my perfect 3rd husband Al, (yes I used the word perfect), warm and loving memories of Mom and Dad who chaperoned me into this amazing life on Earth, good and kind friends and ........................ all the photos I took  and letters to and from I've kept from my summer in Paris, 1971. For 35 years they were tucked inside a white large envelope that somehow stayed with me through many, many places. 

One day in 2006 when I'd freed myself from a stifling life, I set them free as well and created a photo album. It's been 46 years and this is the first time I've written about my days in Paris. I guess it's a present to my 62 year old self. 

Like I said, birthdays have a way of presenting, and telling time.

I look into my 16 year old smiling face and it all comes flowing back to me. I remember it all, well almost all of those splendid and exciting weeks of summer and hold it dear to my heart. 

Someday, and it better be sooner than later, I'd love to re-visit Paris, stand once more at Place de la Concord, take an updated photo standing under the Arc de Triomphe and zoom up La Tour Eiffel to gaze once again onto the streets of Paris from above. Step inside Notre-Dame and see if it looks familiar at all. I absolutely want to walk across the Pont Neuf again. I recall the "New Bridge" is actually the oldest bridge crossing the Seine. 

We drove south through France to the gorgeous deep blue Cote D'Azur and visited Nice, Cannes, Monaco and vacationed with family friends. I remember the giant mosquitos that tormented Nadine and I one evening so loudly we laughed ourselves silly. "Les moustiques! Les moustiques!" we screamed.

I walked the lavender fields of  Provence and breathed in the heart of France and her people. The Dantecs showed me as much of France and it's beauty in 6 weeks as they could. Their kindness, Josette's gentle nature, Mamie buzzing about with her kitchen duties, Jean a bit irritated with my sad excuse at speaking his beloved  language. And Nadine and I riding the subway and shopping together. Both of us running away from admirers and discovering between us our sameness at being 16 in Paris.

I'd like to take another, closer look into Mona Lisa's eyes and find myself sipping champagne near Montmartre while eating an entire baguette smothered in brie. And eat gáteau. Lots of gáteau.

Nadine smiling atop Notre-Dame cathedral.

Nadine smiling atop Notre-Dame cathedral.

A tower with a view.

A tower with a view.

So I'll give myself a birthday blessing an Irish ancestor might have given me; "May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live."

I want to live happily 'till I'm 88 and I don't want anything, except another chance at Paris in a 16th summer glow.

Merci beaucoup. Et bon anniversaire!

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Self Confidence.....having full trust in oneself.

selfColleen HanneganComment

I've been thinking much about self confidence lately. How it's an aspect of our being that's required daily to achieve our goals, find a mate, a job, create art, speak up or choose an outfit to wear. I'm speaking of confidence in the goodness of oneself, your gifts, talents and finer qualities that contribute to the world in positive ways. 

It's needed as often as we need daily nutrition, exercise and to give and receive love. Confidence, from the Latin... to have full trust. So that means, to me, 100% doubtless. 

"I can fly!"

"I can fly!"

Well, I fail on a weekly basis. Some days my confidence levels are on an uber scale of high ratings. Like right now as I write this blog, I feel extremely confident I will get all my thoughts down about the subject and when my final edits are done, will be pleased with my work. I am a writer. Writers write. I know I can do this and I have a gift that oftentimes makes me feel.......yes, confident.

But not a week goes by that I don't have long moments of feeling I'm near empty on my confidence meter. Not just about writing but about anything and everything. I've compared myself to others, I've judged my reflection, I've had too many conflicting negative thoughts in my brain competing for real estate in my gray matter and I end up running on empty in confidence. Over stupid stuff like my nail polish choice, ( I told you it was stupid), and important things like my deeply personal connection to higher powers, ( it's all make believe). I'm way down low if I'm swimming in those waters. Drowning more like.

But when those put downs from others hit me, oh I crumble.  My confidence takes direct hits as if heat seeking missiles were aimed directly at my heart and blasted me to unrecognizable tidbits. Putting oneself out there is a risk every artist, writer, actor, advocate, and suffragette knows well. Comes with the territory. "They just didn't get it," I tell my hurt self. "Stop your sob fest already," my Big Girl tells my self.

An artist can't explain it; the work. The public accepts or rejects and onward we march.

When I read quotes about confidence, many come from actors and writers and citizens of the world who are visible and easily recognized. They are on the world stage in one way or another, so confidence to them means to be sure of themselves in front of lots of people frequently. Millions of people see them and judge them good or bad or indifferent. (Excuse me, but I distrust indifference. Let me know how you really feel! It feels like being invisible when people are  indifferent to  you. I really hate being treated like I'm not here or you can't see me!) That's a Leo personality trait, folks. Having others say you're boring is bad enough, but if you ignore me, oh, geezuz I come unglued. Faulty wiring on my part. But then there is much to adore about shiny bright and gift giving Leo's.....oh I feel that happy confidence coming on! Happy! Happy!

Okay, so back to my discourse on confidence and getting it and keeping it going.

Confidence is not just about being in front of others. To me, it's standing in front of my worst critic in the world, myself, and feeling completely comfortable. As is, at worst and best and all those grays in between.  Liking, loving and enjoying standing right here. Or sitting right here, in front of me or the whole big world. Whatevah! True liberation, baby, if I could just be with confidence every little and big moment I'm here.

Most of us are not on stage, up front, on TV or followed by thousands of readers. Yet, we each  need confidence to have a fulfilling life that is worth getting out of bed for and that's filled with joy and love and great meals, adventure and awesome people in it. I want to feel confident every day and every minute. To have full trust in myself. When I do, kindness follows, as does more fun, more good surprises and goals accomplished...more easily. And prosperity of every sort.

I looked up other words that describe confidence and I was pleasantly  surprised at the variety of words that showed up.

Assurance, certainty, courage, determination, poise, spirit, tenacity, aplomb, backbone, boldness, brashness, cool, daring, dash, élan, fearlessness, firmness, fortitude, grit, hardihood, heart, intrepidity, nerve, pluck, reliance, resoluteness, spunk, sureness.    

Confidence, to me, is more like ConfiDANCE. To confide in myself that dancing through life is so much more worthwhile than sitting in the stands and watching others compete for the prize. No one else can live my life or win my prizes or publish my prose or wear my clothes (with confidence) or send out my love into the world or receive my love that's mine to receive. 

Solid confidence is a deep seated feeling that who you are and what you bring to the party of life is unique and worthwhile. Self doubt is a big fat lie we listen to. Don't listen to that broken record, I tell myself.

So when I consider what confidence is, having full trust in oneself, is to decide every moment if necessary, that I am my own best friend and cheerleader. The other ingredients for a full recipe of confidence would be plenty of humility, kindness, patience and a dash of pizazz.

Because the energy, vitality and good vibrations confident people bring to the world is a place I enjoy living in. 

Even when it's just me, myself and I. Let the party continue.

 

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