Sunday, May 29, 2011

Run with Me?

I slip my feet into my well worn running shoes, carefully lacing them up. I pull my pony tail through the little window in the back of my cap, tighten it around my head one last time and smile because I know I’m almost ready to go. I don’t stretch. I don’t groan. I don’t even take a deep breath. But already my heart is beating fast. I’m a wild horse, about to be set free. I can hardly wait.

I love to run. And running in my sleepy little Mexican town is as good as it gets. Wanna come? You might even find you like it, too.

It’s not so easy at first with all the mix-matched cobblestones jutting out here and there. It’s best to leap and skip and be a silly sight. But don’t worry, it’s not for long. And usually no one is around to watch. Or at least I haven’t heard any giggling yet. We round the corner, dodge a couple of sleeping dogs, and then we’re in the center of town. The taco lady looks up from her sizzle to give us a smile, her silver tooth catching a flicker of the sun. We smile back. It would be impossible to do otherwise.

Before you know it, we’re on our way out of town. The road rises up, the jungle leans down, and if you’re anything like me, your senses suddenly open wide. You breathe in the scent of mangoes, hear the bees, see the long tail of a blue magpie jay dance from tree to tree. You feel alive, free, infused with energy and hope, the scent of the sea riding the breeze as it gently whispers on your sun happy face.

It’s hot. Boy, is it hot. But it feels good. Like a cleanse. You sweat it all out. The stress, the worry, the things you forgot and the things you didn’t mean to say. Its just you and nature, your feet pounding the ground, your heart beating wildly, your pulse riding the wave with a smile all its own. All its own.

Its not until we start back into town that you notice how many people are out. Store owners readying their wares, patrons eating breakfast, employees sweeping the dirt along the street. They look up as we pass. Lucia puts her arm on top of her broom. Mario leans back in his plastic chair. Even busy Mama stops for a moment to see when we will slow our pace. “Go, go, go!” the butcher yells, his laughter kind and contagious. Yep, contagious.

And you? You smile. Smile like you haven’t smiled in years. Somehow you feel more connected than you did just yesterday. As if you are really a part of things, a human cog in the wheel of life--necessary, unique, appreciated and loved. That’s what jogging in my sleepy little town does, it reminds me, and now you, that when life is its simplest…its simply good.

How to make a Moon, Magic!

*Please note: these pictures are not mine. I was sent them in an email. If anyone knows who's they are, please let me know. I would love to give credit where credit is due.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Thank you, Marilee!

Yesterday morning I found the most beautiful rock sitting like a lost puppy on my stoop. I opened my heavy wooden door and just like that, there it was. A gift from—who? It couldn’t have fallen there and I didn’t think it was a ‘this-looks-fun-to-throw’ type either. And besides, the little boy who used to throw rocks at my house had moved away. So where did it come from? How did it find its way to me? Was it magic? Of course it was magic!

Marilee lives beyond two walls and past a dirt field from me. She has a dog, a boyfriend with the biggest dreadlocks I have ever met, and a voice that sounds like honey. Every time I see her I feel a little flicker inside my heart. I know its because she is pure kindness, that just like her voice, she’s as close to honey as a person can get. So when I saw that beautiful rock on my stoop, I just knew it had to come from her.

Ya, hon?
Was it you?
Me, what?
Did you give me the pretty rock?
(laughter) (smiles)
I found it today at a new beach and thought you might like it, so I brought it back for you.

They say we create our worlds. That what we decide, is. In other words, whatever world we envision, is the very world we live in. If I think people are mean, they will be mean. If I think people are kind, they will be kind. If I think the world is filled with beauty and magic, then it will be filled with beauty and magic.

When Marilee read my blog, she saw that I believed in magic (and that I liked rocks). She could have laughed (well, maybe she did), or she could have shuffled me off to the side, another freak to be avoided, but she didn’t. She listened. She ingested. She heard my heart, saw the world I believed to be true. And…best of all…perhaps without even thinking, she instinctively wanted to support my vision of the world. Why else did she see a pretty rock and bring it home for me? Because life is magic? Because life IS magic. Wanna join us?

Monday, May 23, 2011

And the Winner IS....!

Benjamin Francis Smart is going home with a big red ribbon to.....


Now guess what the rest of you, my truest and dearest fans, get to do? To be one of the first to buy Benji's story, to support Brynne's ache to write, and to grow just a little bit more magic...inside yourself. How great is that??!! Hooray!:)

Print copy: Lulu
Electronic copy: Amazon
Connect with me on Goodreads: Brynne Betz
Follow me on Twitter: @presenceofmagic
And be sure to 'like' my page on Facebook!

Thank you to everyone who entered! More fun to follow soooOn!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Girl and Her Bird

When she was born the world shrunk a little smaller as they peered in the window to see what she would do. Horses stopped their galloping to turn and sniff the air. Taxis made wrong turns, piling up curbside at the foot of her house. Even a parakeet stole out of its cage making its way to the wailing baby’s side like a magnet returning to its source. It was a blustery, violent sort of Spring eve, the trees outside her house rustling and shaking and quivering in fear. But the parakeet held on with his determined little claws, waiting for a way in, to complete what he set out to do.
The window was open a mere moment when the little guy landed his feather-strewn body on its ledge. And as soon as he saw the new born babe kicking and screaming in its crib, he started to sing. He sang as he had never sung before, a parakeet symphony worthy of applaud. But all they could do was stare. And blink. And stare some more. Especially when the angry babe found herself lullabyed to sleep. By a bird! A vagrant bird!

 *          *          *

Such was her entry.

Now for her exit.

  *          *          *

Most nights I would slip into the depths of my dreams with a bit of moon lighting my way. Maybe a mystic sliver, maybe a thin ray of ribbon, or maybe just a quiet little glisten on the raindrops. It didn’t really matter to me. I just knew she was there to guide me. To guide me to my dreams.

This night though, the darkness hovered and hissed until it rested its weary head like a heavy burden on top of my quiet, gentle home. We were blanketed in black. I tried to sleep but I couldn’t find my way. I tossed and turned. Swallowed and sighed. And just as I started to dissolve into sleep…

I felt electrocuted, throwing myself onto the phone.
“Hello,” I whispered, out of breath.
“She’s dead. Your mother is dead.”
But I knew my mother was in her room, asleep.
“Pops?” I said to my grandfather, “This is Brynne. Are you ok?” My hand was shaking. My toes already frozen with cold hard fear.
“She’s dead.” His voice quivered and shook. “Your grandmother is dead.”
I dropped the phone and ran.
Ran to my sweet mom.

And then…

I ran to the only place I knew my grandmother might still be. To the parakeet’s cage in the corner of windows overlooking the garden downstairs.

But I was too late. She had already been there. Already invited him to sing her way home just as she had when she was born. His feather-strewn body lay lifeless. Gone was his spunk. Gone was his song. But his spirit, that spirit that had lived in so many parakeets over my grandmother’s life? That--had multiplied. Multiplied and morphed and molded itself into a story. This story. And like most good stories, it was shared.

Creativity Manifested!

A brief visit to nature (and Bach!) and the beauty that emerges when we take the time to be creative:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Win a signed copy of Benjamin Francis Smart!

'Like' Benjamin Francis Smart; A Love Story on, send me
an email that you did so (brynnebetz(at)yahoo(dot)com), and I will
enter you in a drawing to win a signed copy!

A short story from me to you. With love, me, Brynne

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Flower Bath

Each day comes
bearing its own gifts.
Untie the ribbons.

--Ruth Ann Schabacker

Sunday, May 8, 2011

To See With One's Heart....

The woman works at my favorite grocery store, her eyes every day sagging with exhaustion. “No, you can’t return that. No, there is no discount for three. No, I don’t know the answers to any of your questions.” I look into her ‘go away’, ‘leave me alone’ face—her nose, her mouth, her delicately sculpted eyebrows. And then I dare to look into the eyes that invite my heart to see.

So I do. I open my heart. To hear her speak, speak without her voice. A tenor only an open heart can hear.

My brother. He is disabled. My mother abandoned us. I care for him all night, every night. I love him more than I love myself. I give him more than I give myself.

I see a crown atop her head. The skin on my arms shivers with the beauty this young woman hides, hides inside her deepest self, inside her heart.

*          *          *
The elderly man reeks with anger. As he walks by they turn their faces away in disgust. He is spoken to with disrespect, with foul flavor, with ugliness.

I don’t want anyone to talk to me.  I don’t want to go on. There is nothing worth living for anymore and I don’t want anyone to try to change my mind. I love my wife. I miss my wife. My heart is broken without her. And then quietly, ever so quietly…..I wish someone could see me. I wish someone still loved me.

I see him draped in garlic from his garden, his aura shrouded with stench. A stench so strong it wards off his heart’s ache and soothes his mind’s demand. I give him a hug. He weeps and holds on for days.

*          *         *

I’m a gang member.
But I love my son with a passion I have never, ever known.
How do I turn my life around?
How do I become the hero my son already knows me to be?
Will anyone ever give me a chance?
Another chance…
The only chance that really matters now?
Will anyone ever be able to see me for me…
For who I really am?

*          *          *

If I make myself wings, will I get to heaven any sooner?
But you already have wings, my dear.
Yes. The problem isn’t you.
It’s the rest of us who forget to remind you that you can fly.

We look with our eyes.
We see with our hearts.

For more breathtakingly beautiful pictures created by a man who 'sees', 
please visit Russell's world.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Snake in the Grass?

Not this snake. He wasn’t satisfied with grass. He wanted something more. So he came in. To my bedroom. And ruined a perfectly peaceful afternoon. My ritual of a good night sleep, gone too. And three days later, I’m still typing with my feet up.

I met him once about five years ago. He was playing in the garden under the big leaf glossy greens in my entry way. Now, while I love nature I am not afraid to share with you that I don’t love snakes. So as soon as I saw him, I ran outside for a boy, any boy, to help me rid my magical garden of a not so magical creature. But I didn’t act fast enough. The snake was so small, the garden so lush, that he was gone before Jose even made it in the garden. He will leave, said Jose. Just like he came in, he will go out. I wanted to believe him. And as the years passed with never any sign of mister snake, I did.

Until three days ago.

*          *          *

Kundalini is a spiritual energy or life force that lives coiled like a snake at the base of our spines. It is said that when each of our seven chakras, or energy centers, are awakened this snake will rise up, threading itself through each of our open chakras, leading us to profound inner and outer experiences. These experiences that can last anywhere from a few moments to a few weeks or even months tend to be incredibly powerful, even life changing. Some say a ‘kundalini opening’ is a merging of individual consciousness with universal consciousness, creating in effect a divine union, a sacred opening. In my own experience, I can’t help but agree.

*          *          *

Reggie taught kundalini yoga in the States so when he visited my little Mexican town and found few interested in his unique style, he offered his newest fan a few private lessons—Me. We set up under the bougainvillea on the back side of my casita, specks of sunlight twinkling through the pink leaves, a gentle breeze blowing intermittently, puffs of pink falling like snow, landing around us, on top of us, dancing on our hands and faces. As he led me through the poses, the breathing, the chanting, I began to feel moved beyond words, lighter, more joy-filled than I had felt in years. And then, when I felt the most elated of all, I began to see.

I saw Reggie, my dear new acquaintance, as a boy. He was alone and crying on a doorstep. He was overweight. He was struggling. He was different and yet he was somehow the same. What am I seeing, I thought to myself. I barely know this man so where do these images come from? As they started to fade I calmed myself back to my previous state of peace and the images returned. I saw feelings. Felt emotions. Sensed pains. And yet none of the sensations were mine. Or were they? I started to tremble. I opened my eyes to reconnect with what I knew best.

Do you mind if I ask you a personal question? I asked Reggie after he, too, opened his eyes.
Please do, his face soft and kind, his eyes ladders to his soul.
Were you ever abandoned as child? Left alone on a doorstep? I fumbled with my words, my head not knowing what I was asking.
My father left me when I was seven. I lived in foster families most of my childhood. I sat on many doorsteps...alone. His eyes twinkled with wonder.
I gulped.
And did you ever, were you ever, a bit overweight?
I have always been troubled by my weight, a struggle that has been with me since I was a teenager. But how? How do you know these things, he asked.

But I couldn’t say. I just did. I felt them. Saw them. Experienced them as if they were my own life experiences, a taste of another's lifetime squished into a few blissful moments of my own.

He smiled. Yes, did he smile. Kundalini, he said. Lets play again tomorrow.

 *          *          *

The snake that sits coiled at the base of our spines isn’t meant to sit dormant its whole life. Like the snake in my garden, it is not content to just sit in the grass. It wants to explore, to seek and discover, to sense and feel new and uncharted territories. Some, including myself, need to be reminded that such a desire isn’t scary. (Even if it happens to end up in your bedroom!) It is not worthy of a quiet terror, of sleepless nights or anxiety-riddled days. When the message comes, when the invitation arrives, we can cringe in fear or we can see it for the beauty that it really is, for the opening or transformation that it begs to represent. Wide-eyed wonder of life is a choice. Fear is a choice. Snake outside or inside, if I can see the magic, I know you can too.