Colleen Hannegan

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

Spirited Life

Where We Find Us~~

marriage, Adventure, Love, Travel, Spirited LifeColleen HanneganComment

We met on a dirt trail. Me in a dirty heap, with blood oozing down my left arm, my thumb hanging by its tendon. Gravel and more dirt ground into my hair, across my legs, my bike in a heap next to me. Strangers had helped me remove my bike helmet and encouraged me to put my head between my knees to keep from passing out. I was making some jokes about my state of affairs as the crowd grew around me. Wondering, no doubt, how I could have crashed on this really flat spot of the mountain bike trail.

He stood quietly nearby, his mountain bike and his riding buddies watching over me until the paramedics arrived to cart me away. He saw me but I didn’t see him. We formally met each other two months later when I returned to the trails to ride with his group. He rode at the back of the group with me and taught me how to ride, be safe, and shared the pure joy of playing outside again with me at 50 years young and him at 58.

We fell in love while we rode into new wilderness places together or hiked new trails he introduced to me. We got married 10 years later. Third time was a special charm for both of us. Riding and hiking into out sunset years, welcoming mature love into our last chapters, we return as often as possible to wilderness places to find ourselves again and again. The best part of us. The honest, forever young, happy, spiritual seekers we recognize in each other…. out there. We always find it and return refreshed.

Last week-end we headed out to Palm Springs for a sunny pool retreat. We included a hike up the North Lykken Trail above the city. I’d been up on the trail on two other visits to P.S. I was anxious to take Al up there, knowing he would love it’s wild, rugged, winding trail and the vast view it offered of the desert floor below.

The craggy rocks and bold boulders, the zig zaggy trail required us to mind our footfalls and stay focused. Our hiking poles were keeping us well balanced. The early morning sun was warm, not hot, yet. The trail rose quickly but spread cool shadows across us, carrying us up and up. We paused to catch our breath now and again and for a chance to look how far we’d come. And to look up at the merging of bright blue above and the determined, jagged silhouette of this mountain that held us.

Hiking PS.jpg

Al always wants to go farther. I’m usually the one that says, we need to turn around now. The sun was hotter, our water supply dwindling, and knowing our knees would require patience on our part to hike down, he agreed. One hour out, would be one hour back.

On our descend, we both commented on the special feeling this trail had, how it seemed to draw you up and in it, and that only the hearty hiker would be moved to be up on this mountain as every step required attention.

Four days later, back home, we were still talking about the magical feeling this trail offered. And why it felt like I sensed a presence around us. I’d kept looking around on the way down, wondering if I heard or saw something. A coyote watching? A snake? A Native spirit? A ghost? (Albeit a good ghost.)

Al finds his confidence and identity out there where nature brings out the best of us. A quiet man, he chooses his words carefully. If I want him to talk to me more, I invite him out to the nearest dirt trails to hike or bike together. It loosens up the tightness that suburbia delivers.

He had something to share with me. “ I think that hiking out in the desert, on a trail like this, with no trees, low brush, mostly rocks with all life very close to the ground, allows our own spirit to be free. And that what we sense around us is actually our very own energy flow, our own spirit. That when we hike in a forested area, or even the other desert trail we’ve hiked surrounded by palm trees, we are aware of the energy of those trees.”

He continued. “Trees and all life have energy and we’ve never hiked such a sparse trail like this before. There are usually trees and canyons and more plants. But out on this trail our body energy was able to fly freely about, unobstructed by trees or larger boulders and such. I think we became aware of out own energy flying about us. I thnk that’s what you heard; what you sensed. And I did as well.”

And so it is. Me and Al finding us. Out there. And by the pool. And the hot tub. And the cozy, private room that afforded us a lovely leisure and resbite from the noises of a busy world.

“There, up there, that’s where we gotta go!”

“There, up there, that’s where we gotta go!”

Rain Dance

Featured, Spirited LifeColleen HanneganComment

Two days ago a hint of mackeral sky appeared; “Rain within 3 days”, our native ancestors would have predicted.

“Oh I hope it rains,” I thought. “I would really love to be in the rain in July!”  There has not been rainfall in July in southern California, since, well, a really long time, so long I’m almost certain it’s been never true for me.  The possibility of rain in July felt convivial, playful, mischievious. And so it came.

I walked in the rain last evening and listened to it fall throughout the night. This morning, all windows open, my morning solitude was echoed with raindrops and the gentle impression of a simple prayer answered.


Rain Dance


You asked for rain,

I thought it strange

it’s Summer afterall.

Your Leo sign

so well designed

for Sun’s bright coveralls.


Your wishful thought

My attention caught,

I couldn’t miss the chance

to splash the grey

with water spray

and join you in The Dance.

It's 4a.m. - Did you hear that?

Featured, Spirited LifeColleen HanneganComment
Let the healing begin.

Let the healing begin.

Sometimes I wonder for days and days, months and months, and then I know. It comes to me in the silence and in the dark and whispers to me in my dreams. It’s between 3 and 4 a.m. when the opening presents itself. I must listen very carefully; fully, open my heart and listen from there. The message. I listen to the un-words of the Unknowing in a language  that cannot be named. Nor does the language belong to anyone or anyplace, but to all. And when the message covers me, there is no doubt in any cell of my body. There is communion and I receive.

“It is time to hear with new ears and see with new eyes, to touch with a new touch and love with a new heart;

a broken heart.”

A broken heart? I wasn’t sure I “heard ” that correctly.  What is a broken heart? A broken heart is a weak heart is it not?  A broken heart implies it needs

repair to be whole again, new parts, a new pump, new pathways and then needs much rest so it can rebuild itself and be stronger and work efficiently and pump once again so every part of the body receives complete nourishment. Broken hearts need open-heart surgery.

Oh. I see.

We are to love with an open heart. And we are to be our own surgeons.

Inside every broken heart, is a new heart, a true heart, a perfect heart. It out shines, out beats, out performs the suffering heart that has kept us weak and fearful, lonely and penniless, even though every richness and overflowing abundance is laid out before us at our daily banquet of life.

If only we might see with loving eyes and touch with loving hands and speak with loving words and love with an open heart.

The loving always begins with ourselves. The brave new frontier of self care and self love. Now there’s a challenge for our New World. So easy to say we love someone else. But to look at our own reflection and say “I love you”, and mean it with all our heart, comes only when we have taken the scalpel of Truth and the steady hand of Grace and cut open our heavy laden hearts to reveal the true beating heart of Love.

Our new heart carries no blame, no past or future. It beats only Now, and knows only Love. It cannot remember or make plans. It exists only in this moment and this moment only knows Love. Now is where we live and love and prosper. And where everything and every thought is illuminated and every need is met.

As I made may way to the kitchen this morning, my attention was drawn to a pear sitting on the counter. I can’t remember when I bought it or how many days it has been on the counter waiting for me to reach out and take a bite and enjoy it. I took it in my hand and I noticed how beautiful it was. It was a perfect pear. How could I have missed seeing it before this morning?

Making it Home and Happy Birthday Pops

Featured, Spirited LifeColleen HanneganComment
My Dad Ted W. Hannegan

My Dad Ted W. Hannegan

I’m coming up for air in my new digs. Cleaner, than Mr. Clean could have created, my new rental condo is now feeling like HOME.

Seven homes in seven years can only be explained by saying I started a big new chapter of my life seven years ago and moving around a bit was part of the story. That story is finished and so begins, it seems, a very exciting new chapter is to be written. Each day I fill in the blanks and find the creating of my life now, is all about play and rest. Or is it rest first, then play? I’m discovering that as well.

My writing and  poetry is urging me to bring it out of the boxes and journals, notepads, memos, binders, morning pages, drafts and re-writes to be shared here. No more arm wrestling with what She wants and needs. It’s all about Her now. After so many years and all the ways She has served me and waiting patiently and valiantly by my side through it all, the stage belongs to Her now.

This poem was written when I moved into my first “treehouse” seven years ago. I re-discovered it this evening and knew this would be the appropriate first poem to share with the www. When searching my photos to represent HOME, a photo of my Dad, Ted W. Hannegan sitting outside his home in Long Beach, CA when he was 5 years old, jumped out at me. Pops, celebrates 89 years of life tomorrow.

Happy Birthday Dad!


Prepare your home
within your heart, there you will find
the place to start.

The beginning,

the end,

right where you are.

For a home

is always where your heart

feels safe at rest

and where love remembers

it’s true purpose,

to be true to Divine.

Within your heart

are the walls of courage,

the floors of faith on which we stand,

the doors that close to the past then open to now.

In your silent sacred space

is the hearth of Spirit

and the gardens of passion and delight.

To love oneself and honor Spirit,

to let love flow through

to the benefit of all beings, 

to celebrate you and know

Spirit never fails you,

is to find Home.

I wish you all a goodnight in your home.

Soul Healing through the medicine of animals

Featured, Spirited LifeColleen HanneganComment
Spider, weaving the patterns of life.

Spider, weaving the patterns of life.

Our Native American brothers and sisters have shared the teachings of the medicine power in animals with all of us in order to bring healing to the mass consciousness. Medicine, in the context of power animals, means finding and deepening our closeness to the Divine Mystery. And in so doing we open our hearts, minds and spirit to higher levels of strength, spiritual power and a clearer understanding of our personal role in the ultimate creation of life. Not a small thing, indeed!

I have been studying the Medicine Cards and Animal Medicine for five years. My soul journey lead me to these Power Animals and their desire to assist me, through an auspicious dream. The dream came to me the evening after my sister Molly and I had spent an afternoon out running in the Aliso and Woods Canyon Wilderness park in Aliso Viejo, CA. It was dusk as we finished the run, heading back along the fire trail. We had a conversation about wild things in the wilderness and what would we do if we encountered a big, hairy beast? We laughed about it and then ran fast to leave the park before the sun slipped all the way behind West Ridge and stranded us in the woolly and wild darkness.

In the dream I woke up and found a big black cat sitting on my bed and staring at me. Jumping right up, I shooshed her out of the bedroom, asking her “Where did you come from and what are you doing in my home?”

I followed her black slinky body out into my living room and discovered a menagerie of every kind of wild beast, bird, critter and creature filling the room and all talking at the same time. A lion strolled through the dining area while birds were chattering and flying above. Creepy crawlers were taking over the floor space moving alongside all sizes and shapes of four legged wilderness animals, each one trying out all the chairs and sofa. I had walked into a dream jungle in my little apartment at 3am. I began swinging my arms over my head and telling all the wild ones they could not be here, they had to go; out! out! out! I managed to make my way to the front door, opened it wide and started insisting they all leave. No animal was eager to move out. None were aggressive, nor did I feel the least bit of fear. One by one, however they flew out, crawled out and stampeded their way outside. I recall the noise of it all! One of the last to leave was a badger. Before obliging me, he lurched towards my open left palm and bit down, drawing blood. It was the same spot where I had seriously injured my thumb in a recent mountain biking accident. The dream was so real in every sense, I knew deep meaning lay hidden within.

Aggressive Healer

Aggressive Healer

I phoned my sister Karen for her spiritual wisdom and sage advice. “Study the Native American teachings of power animals. The badger biting your injury and drawing blood is very symbolic. The animals are calling out for you somehow!”

So began my journey into exploring and understanding the healing and insight gleaned from a spiritual opening to calling in my totem animals. When I began my Shamanic studies  two years ago, my practice with the medicine of power animals and using the oracle cards to further my understanding, had well prepared my path to my totem animals; Spider being my main Power Animal.

Spider speaks to us of the infinite possibilities of creation. Her eight legs represent the four winds of change and the four directions on the medicine wheel. Create! Create! This is the message Spider brings when she comes crawling along, spinning her stunning web of delight and wonder.

Badger carries aggressiveness in his long claws and sharp teeth. He will fight for what is right. Many powerful medicine women carry Badger medicine. They are the finest healers because they never give up on the seriously ill and will seek all methods of care to insure better health.

We all have access to the amazing personal power assistance that is available in the animal kingdom. They each have a special gift to offer us. All we have to do … is dream.