Three Keys to Transformation

May you welcome your own vulnerability as the ground where healing and truth joins.” – from the poem, “A Blessing for the One Who Holds Power” by  John O’Donohue in To Bless the Space Between Us


I have always been fascinated with the concept of transformation. Recently I performed a search in the online books section  for the word “transformation.” (Some might call this sort of activity time-wasting or dawdling, but we writers call it research!)

My search came up with 45,409 results in thirty-eight categories with “Politics and Social Sciences” as the category with the most hits at 5,575. The second highest number of hits was in the category of “Religion and Spirituality” with 5,566. I guess we are looking for transformation a lot in politics and religion these days. The other categories listed under my “transformation” search ranged from “Cookbooks” (82 hits) to “Law” (450 hits) to “Engineering & Transportation” (1,722). The category with the least number of hits was in the fiction category of “Epic Fantasy” with fifty. Transformation is a very popular topic, indeed.

During the course of my research I discovered a lot of books touting the “Ten Secret Keys…” or “Five Essential Steps…” to transformation. They promised the reader everything from financial success to a new love life. I will venture to say that few, if any, list what I have found to be the three essential keys to transformation: Vulnerability. Accountability. Authenticity.

I know, the idea of becoming vulnerable isn’t sexy. A subsequent search for the word “vulnerability” in the book section of netted exactly forty-six results. Six of them were books by author and researcher Brené Brown, PhD, a groundbreaking researcher on the subjects of shame and vulnerability, and, whose books I would highly recommend.

Numerous hits from my “transformation” search yielded results that promised to “eliminate negativity” or “prevent you from walking in circles.” Oh my. The whole thrust of my upcoming book Soul of the Seasons is to encourage you to walk in circles! But back to the subject of vulnerability.

The key to transformation, many authors will claim, lies in such nebulous instruction as following your bliss, mastering your ego, or embracing gratitude. Though it’s true that those who are emotionally resilient in life–those more able to express joy and happiness–have created a space of gratitude in their lives,  I have not found gratitude to be the key to transformation so much as a byproduct of it. What I have found, is that within nearly every instance of transformation, lays a willingness to be vulnerable, a commitment to being accountable for one’s actions, and living a life of deep authenticity.

Let’s look the first key to transformation:  Much like the words “submission” or “surrender,” when we hear the word vulnerability, we think: weak, unprotected, disempowered—and who wants to go there? But the willingness to become vulnerable to our emotions and experiences—a willingness to surrender to our experience, is key to transforming our emotional states and, our lives.

In order to fall in love we must first become vulnerable to intimacy with another. In order to empathize with another we must become willing to be vulnerable to our own frailties and neediness. In order to fully acknowledge the precious nature of our loss, we must become vulnerable to our grief. In order to start a new business or project we must become vulnerable to the unknown, to taking a risk.

Fire spread2

In becoming vulnerable to our emotions–both their light and dark sides–we can assess our motivations and unmet needs in the light of divine truth. Illuminated by the this divine truth, we can become accountable for our actions, and then respond with greater authenticity to the matters at hand.

By meeting the seasons of life with these three keys; vulnerability, accountability and authenticity, we can respond to whatever flows our way with grace and resilience, rather than continually reacting to (or recovering from) the inevitable challenges we all face.

For example, when we accurately perceive the roots of our anger issues we can address any boundary violations or injustices before they erupt into full-blown meltdowns. As we become more vulnerable to joy, our hearts strengthen and expand. We will not only love more deeply, we can also receive more love. When we take responsibility for nurturing ourselves on all levels, we are less likely to manipulate others to get our needs met. When we learn to honor and respect our grief, we can then offer compassion to those in the midst of their own grief. When we face our fears and enter the stillness, we can hear the wisdom that calls to us and, we are less likely to spin out of control with anxious, fearful thoughts.


“Just as the seasons flow in a continuous progression, moving from one season to the next in a regular rhythm, so are our emotions meant to move and transform our lives with fluidity. They reveal our strength and our vulnerability, our courage and our reticence, our generosity and our need to withhold.

“We are created with a full spectrum of emotions for a very good reason. For instance, without the guiding energy of anger we might fail to set or restore boundaries—or to respect the boundaries of others. Without joy we would lose the rich and heart-felt experience of connection. Lacking sympathy, we can fail to understand and attend to the plight of others. Without grief, we become frozen in our loss, unable to truly value what we once loved so dearly. Without fear, we can lose the ability to perceive danger or to respond to our fears from a place of intuitive wisdom.

 “In order to decipher the wisdom embedded within our emotions, however, we must first become intimately acquainted with them—all of them. We must come to experience the depth of our grief as well as we know the expansiveness of joy. We must both illuminate the darkness of our anger and the brilliance of our generosity. We must be willing to explore our deep-seated fears of survival, death, and the unknown. In short, to fully master a higher way of being in the world, we must become familiar with both the light and the dark side of our emotions. Without emotional awareness, it is easier to be buffeted about life’s seasons, rudderless and powerless to affect true change.” –from Soul of the Seasons by Melody A Scout (c) 2015

With Blessings and Grace,


Melody A Scout is an author and Intuitive Spiritual Advisor. Her deep connection to the natural world has influenced her work as a Sacred Landscape Consultant and Plant Spirit Medicine practitioner. She is currently writing a book called Soul of the Seasons which explores the wisdom embedded within the seasonal cycles of the natural world and how to find balance and joy in both our inner and outer landscapes.


I Surrender!

In the small church where I grew up we often sang the old hymn I Surrender All written by Judson W. vanDeventer back in 1896. Back then I didn’t have a clue to what this hymn really meant, the song seemed so slow and out-dated. Now I know the depth of courage it takes to completely surrender everything in your life to God. So often we are completely broken before we reach out and speak these words and mean it from the depths of our soul.

I used to be terrified to pray the prayer of surrender. What if I didn’t like what happened? What if things couldn’t go back to the way they were? What if people left me? What if I left them? What if I failed–again? Full surrender is a quiet place of deep power but path to this quiet place is rocky and filled with the struggle to maintain control. Often we are literally brought to our knees. Sadness, grief, loss, pain, rage, fear, and betrayal all sit heavy upon our hearts, awaiting our submission. But, in my belief that I can handle it all myself, I struggle a little longer. I try to see if I can work it out myself, if I can master this crisis of heart and spirit on my own. My mind wants to triumph, to win, to beat my troubles into submission–to DO SOMETHING!

Often only when I have completely exhausted myself and I am faced with the evidence that all my efforts are futile, do I surrender all. It’s generally in our best interest to surrender or, as author and speaker Marianne Williamson puts it, “Often our last resort is often our best resort.”

Today I pray the prayer of surrender more regularly. I still don’t come to it easily. It’s difficult for me to give up my will and sense of control to The Divine. Often, I’m still brought to my knees in need before I can submit to the vulnerability of asking for help, a state of willingness to release the thing with which I struggle. Sometimes I recognize I’m not so willing to let go, so I pray to become willing. Sometimes the best I can to is to surrender my unwillingness to God. Sometimes the best I can do is pray, ‘I’m willing to be willing.’ But, amazingly this prayer always, always works, usually within 24 hours. The world may not magically tilt on it’s axis for my personal benefit, but something transpires within my soul. It may be only the slightest glimmer of light, a flash so brief that my mind cannot even formulate a meaning, but it’s enough to remind me that all is not lost.

In this season of late fall, Nature reminds me of the wisdom of surrendering all to God. Trees surrender to the coming season of winter by withdrawing sap from it’s leaves, allowing them to fall to the earth where they become the rich compost that feeds the soil. A good portion of the sap is directed back down into the roots, far below the surface and the harsh elements. If a tree refused to heed the approaching winter, Nature’s call to let go, to surrender, the sap retained in its limbs and branches would split the tree from stem to stern during the frozen months.

Like the tree in fall, it’s not in my best interest to hold onto anything, even what I might think is the “good stuff.” In the past few years it seems I am letting go at an astonishing rate. Dreams. Relationships. Possessions. Thoughts. Beliefs. Ideas and ideals. I’m called to surrender my disappointment in things not turning out the way I’d hoped. To surrender my grief and rage over the desecration of the earth and the injustices in Ferguson and Staten Island and countless other tragedies throughout the world. All are tossed onto my soul’s ever-growing compost heap. I wonder what might be left of me. Will I even recognize myself? I don’t know. Many times my mind is too tired to parse it out. Somewhere in the deep recesses of my spirit, I have an inclination that knows that it will all be OK. And, this is enough to sustain me for today.


Melody Harris

Soul of the Seasons by Melody Harris (c) 2014

I Surrender All

All to Jesus I surrender;

All to Him I freely give;

I will ever love and trust Him,

In His presence daily live.

Refrain: I surrender all,

I surrender all;

All to Thee, my blessed Savior,

I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender;

Humbly at His feet I bow,

Worldly pleasures all forsaken;

Take me, Jesus, take me now.

All to Jesus I surrender;

Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;

Let me feel the Holy Spirit,

Truly know that Thou art mine.

All to Jesus I surrender;

Lord, I give myself to Thee;

Fill me with Thy love and power;

Let Thy blessing fall on me.

All to Jesus I surrender;

Now I feel the sacred flame.

Oh, the joy of full salvation!

Glory, glory, to His Name!

With Love and Grace,


Melody A Scout is an author and Intuitive Spiritual Advisor. Her deep connection to the natural world has influenced her work as a Sacred Landscape Consultant and Plant Spirit Medicine practitioner. She is currently writing a book called Soul of the Seasons which explores the wisdom embedded within the seasonal cycles of the natural world and how to find balance and joy in both our inner and outer landscapes.

Why I Write

Recently, a friend interested in putting down some of their stories asked me to tell her about the writing process. What follows is some guidance I offered on what a writer (or artist) encounters during the process of making their art.
So, you want to be a writer? Easy Peasy.
Writing is easy.jpg     First, Getting started:  Though you’re jazzed about your subject you probably won’t know where to start, and once you get started you won’t know where to end. (I once had a tee shirt that said, “Help! I’m writing and I can’t shut up!”) You might hem and haw for weeks, or a few years, before you actually put down a single sentence.
     If you’re writing non-fiction you can look forward to hours of research and a lot of what you find will be conflicting or misleading or just plain goofy. 
     If you’re writing fiction your characters will amuse, befuddle, infuriate, scare, fascinate, sadden, and delight you. They will keep you up at night, whispering their stories into your ear. You might even start talking about them to others as if they’re troubled friends you can’t puzzle out. You might start to ask random questions of friends and family that will give them pause like, “If you hid a body in a manure pile would anyone notice the stink?” or “How many people do you think you could have affairs with at the same time without getting caught?”
When you finish your story you will likely be both sad and relieved to see your characters go.
Unless you’re committed to a life of clean living, you will likely consume lots of coffee and adult beverages and take up cussing. If you don’t already, you might consider starting. While writing you might forget to eat or shave or get dressed–sometimes for days. Those unfamiliar with the creative process might tell you to get a job or a date or a therapist.
     During the revision process you will probably chuck whole paragraphs or pages or chapters. (I’ve completely rewritten the beginning of my book four times and I once abandoned an entire 350 page novel.) You will face periods wondering if you have anything new or unique to say. If you’re lucky enough to have an good editor he/she will make you want to simultaneously praise, weep, hug, and slap them. 
    Friends or family to whom you have eagerly given your work for feedback might frown or stammer or shrug. They might tell you that you have a nice hobby but not to quit your day job. They might shake their heads and tell you they don’t get it, or worse yet, they might refuse to read it at all. Agents and publishers alike may repeatedly (and sometime cruelly) reject you and/or your work. 
     Frustrated and disillusioned and filled with self-doubt you might throw your manuscript into a drawer (or bury it in the bowels of your computer) for months, maybe even years. Your fears will have you wondering if you have anything of value to offer anyone, ever.
     If you keep at it, however, with the help and support of writer’s groups and trusted friends, you just might discover that you have fallen in love with your craft. You’ll love the magic and the mystery of creating a story that takes you to places you’ve always dreamed of going, and to dark passages you swore you’d never enter. You’ll come to love the uncertainty and the excitement and the grief and the joy. You will find deep satisfaction in telling your own story, in your own words. You might even feel more alive than you’ve ever felt before.
     And, you will know that you’re really, really committed to your craft when you gladly subject yourself to all of this and more, and couldn’t imagine yourself doing anything else. You do it because finding your voice through writing allows (sometimes forces) you to look at the world through different eyes, that it has matured and softened you in the best possible way. 
     When you have finally completed your work and released it out into the world, you will likely to never have worked so hard on anything in your life. And, you would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
This is why I write.

Our Violence Calls

DSCF7428aI awoke today in the dark pre-dawn hours to the news of the Las Vegas shootings. A familiar and heavy pain in my heart deepened as I groaned, “Not again!” I scanned my social media accounts over my morning coffee, scrolling through comments that have become heartbreakingly commonplace: “When will it be enough?” “What is wrong with this country?” “How bad does it have to get?”

Amid posts filled with heated debates over ineffectual gun laws, rampant hatred, and mental illness rise the cries of hearts like mine, those that have grown weary of these all too familiar tragedies. We want something to be done. The ache of loss and grief has become too great. We pray for it to just please… stop.

Anger surfaces. We wonder why our leaders, while mouthing their regrets, do nothing to stem these terrible violent massacres of our brothers and sisters. Still, we summon the grace to offer up prayers of sympathy and support, to find deep compassion for all who are impacted by yet another horrific display of violence. I search my heart for meaningful solutions but any answer that comes seems woefully inadequate.

Perhaps the answers we search for often come up short because the violence we see on a daily basis is the result of many, many years of oppression and emotional suppression. There are few safe places where we can admit to our anger and hatred and desire for revenge. We often find little generosity to express our neediness and feelings of inadequacy. We may lack the courage to admit just how much we resent our demanding children, our indifferent partners, our needy parents. With little tolerance for our aching exhaustion or acrid bitterness or the bottomless grief, we shove these unwelcome thoughts and feelings deep into our subconscious. In an effort to soothe our ever-expanding fears our minds want simple, straightforward answers, though our hearts know that none exist.

It frustrates me to no end to admit I do not have satisfactory answers for these complex, layered issues that have been centuries in the making. The causes of violence are complex and charged with emotion. In order to continue to put one foot in front of the other and continue to live a meaningful life I must enter my inner landscape and to honestly confront  my feelings regarding these events that triggers so much grief and rage and sorrow. I must become aware of the dark emotions as well as the light ones. I must both find my joy, and confront my own violent thoughts. I must learn to embrace all of me. I must face whatever this violence calls out in me.

We are emotional beings. Though we often pride ourselves on our ability to reason things out, 95% of our decisions are made for emotional reasons. Little happens in life without either an emotional impetus or an emotional reaction. Yet we remain strangers to our rich inner landscapes.

Here’s what I know about the dynamics of emotion:

All emotion calls for expression. Emotions by their nature demand movement (expression). Whether we express our emotions in balanced or imbalanced ways depends upon our relationship with them; in how we have embraced them, or abandoned them.

Suppression always causes imbalance. The minute we begin to suppress or judge or deny any emotion, we drive our feelings into the dark recesses of our fearful minds where they fester and become caustic.

Disavowing our suppressed emotions separates us from our power. When we cannot or will not own our dark thoughts–the ones where we carry a secret desire for revenge or hatred or punishment or indifference, we remain impotent in affecting a change. Since all emotion demands expression, our denied dark thoughts are destined to erupt–either internally or externally–with varying levels of intensity, the most extreme of which is violence. When we cannot or will not confront our denied emotions we often take out our unresolved feelings on those we love the most.

Expressing our emotions requires the courage to become vulnerable.  We all need a sacred witness to our pain. The most courageous thing we will ever do is to admit to ourselves, to God, and to another human being the truth of our darkest feelings. This should never be done casually, however, or without assurance that who we reveal our failings to has the integrity to hold our confession in confidence with a compassion that is free of judgement.

Having compassion does not condone action. We can find compassion for another soul whose heart has been crushed beneath the weight of their destructive behaviors without absolving them of the responsibility for their actions. We can also do this for ourselves.  We must learn to tenderly love our most wounded selves while being fully accountable for our words and actions. One way of creating peace in our hearts is to offer a means for restoration for the harm we may have caused others.

Forgiveness is the key to compassion. Forgiveness is a deep letting go of our attachment to our pain. It is not the absolution of another’s hurtful actions. It does not mean that our pain was not valid or that our heart was not wounded. Forgiveness unties us from the belief that we are our painful past. To forgive ourselves is the most courageous and healing thing we will ever do.

We are not meant to heal alone. At times, the weight of our shame, bitterness, rage, grief, and fear can be crushing . Loneliness amplifies the burdens we carry. We can feel shunned and unloved, that we don’t belong. It may seem as if there is no way out of our darkness and we slip further into despair. Without others to offer compassion and encouragement or to present another perspective to our problems, it’s easier to entertain thoughts of harm to ourselves or others. One of the most courageous things we will ever do is to ask for help. The next most courageous thing we can do is to offer help to another in need, no matter how uncomfortable it might make us.

DSCF7799aPerhaps the thing we need the most to quell the explosion of violence in our communities is the thing we need the most in ourselves: To be heard. To be seen. To be honored. To be understood. To be loved. To belong.

Perhaps what we need during these very trying times is to examine the ways we have both embraced our emotional selves, and where we have committed self-abandonment. Spend a few moments today examining your heart space for all the thoughts and feelings this most recent tragedy has triggered. Try to do this self-examination with tenderness and compassion, and, with utter honesty.

With Much Love,


Melody A Scout is an author and Intuitive Spiritual Advisor. Her deep connection to the natural world has influenced her work as a Sacred Landscape Consultant and Plant Spirit Medicine practitioner. She is currently writing a book called Soul of the Seasons which explores the wisdom embedded within the seasonal cycles of the natural world and how to find balance and joy in both our inner and outer landscapes.


In Preparation for Winter: A Time to Turn Inward and Hide

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me lately. I don’t want to do any of the things I normally do. I just want to run away and hide.”

I’ve been hearing these types of statements a lot recently. Friends, colleagues, healers, and clients alike have reported feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by everything from repeated natural disasters to the simple tasks of their everyday lives. But what if there is nothing wrong with us at all? What if instead, our desire for retreat is just our internal wisdom telling us it’s time to prepare for a much needed season of rest?

DSCF2895.JPGHere in the U.S. the season of Harvest is complete and Fall has arrived with Winter right on its heels. Fall is where we prepare for the fallow season of Winter. In Five Element wisdom, Winter embodies the processes of hibernation, death, gestation, and stillness; it is the season where doing nothing is the right and perfect activity. These forces are at play in both the natural world, and in our inner landscapes.

But pressed by internal and external demands for continual productivity, we often fear (the core emotion of Winter) the very idea of slowing down, of taking a break. Though we want nothing more than to quiet our minds and our activities, to retreat into our self-constructed caves of isolation, rest, however, is not a culturally acceptable season in which to linger. Deep rest, however, is exactly what our bodies and spirits crave and Winter’s rest is the perfect prescription for the weary ache that seems to be embedded in our very bones. .

“Imbued with the qualities of contemplation, reflection, meditation, and conservation, enveloped by Winter’s deep rest, we can come to more fully appreciate the core essence of life itself. With its long, dark nights, Winter is the perfect time to work on our inner landscapes. When we make good use of this rest we remain more resilient to life’s changes, able to move with the unexpected without fretting unduly over an uncertain future.” –from Soul of the Seasons (c) 2017, Melody A Scout

Every living being on the planet requires a season of rest to build resilience, and for restoration and rejuvenation. When we press ourselves into over-work and over-stimulation we create imbalance. An imbalance in the season of Winter can show up as anxiety, hyper-activity, fearful striving, adrenal exhaustion, aggression, and mind-racing. Overwhelmed by our busy schedules we may believe we don’t have time to rest, but rest is exactly what we need.

Mother Earth wisely knows the importance of quality rest. The natural world retreats as most signs of life go into hiding. Forced growth and activity during this season would result in death for many beings, so all unnecessary activities die away during the Big Sleep that is Winter.

Fall’s purpose then, is to prepare for the coming Big Sleep by setting aside the necessities that can sustain us both internally and externally. Much in the same way we save for a vacation by carving out time and resources for time off, we can make plans to ensure we have the means and resources necessary for regular periods of rest. Taking small daily breaks that restore body, mind, and spirit, getting quality sleep, and setting aside periods of time for napping, meditation, and contemplation can help us to build resilience and avoid burnout.

As Winter looms on the horizon, take some time to consider the following questions:

What can I do now to prepare for an extended season of rest?

How can I incorporate seasons of rest into my every day schedule?

How do I avoid or resist rest?

What in my life needs a good death?

Winter streamThe power encoded within the act of retreating from our everyday lives is perfectly reflected in this poem by David Whyte.


is a way of staying alive. Hiding is a way of holding ourselves until we are ready to come into the light. Hiding is one of the brilliant and virtuoso practices of almost every part of the natural world: the protective quiet of an icy northern landscape, the held bud of a future summer rose, the snow bound internal pulse of the hibernating bear. Hiding is underestimated. We are hidden by life in our mother’s womb until we grow and ready ourselves for our first appearance in the lighted world; to appear too early in that world is to find ourselves with the immediate necessity for outside intensive care.

Hiding done properly is the internal faithful promise for a proper future emergence, as embryos, as children or even as emerging adults in retreat from the names that have caught us and imprisoned us, often in ways where we have been too easily seen and too easily named. We live in a time of the dissected soul, the immediate disclosure; our thoughts, imaginings and longings exposed to the light too much, too early and too often, our best qualities squeezed too soon into a world already awash with ideas that oppress our sense of self and our sense of others. What is real is almost always to begin with, hidden, and does not want to be understood by the part of our mind that mistakenly thinks it knows what is happening. What is precious inside us does not care to be known by the mind in ways that diminish its presence.

Hiding is an act of freedom from the misunderstanding of others, especially in the enclosing world of oppressive secret government and private entities, attempting to name us, to anticipate us, to leave us with no place to hide and grow in ways unmanaged by a creeping necessity for absolute naming, absolute tracking and absolute control. Hiding is a bid for independence, from others, from mistaken ideas we have about our selves, from an oppressive and mistaken wish to keep us completely safe, completely ministered to, and therefore completely managed. Hiding is creative, necessary and beautifully subversive of outside interference and control. Hiding leaves life to itself, to become more of itself. Hiding is the radical independence necessary for our emergence into the light of a proper human future.

© David Whyte: March 2014: Excerpted from ‘HIDING’ From the upcoming book of essays CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.

Melody A Scout is a Plant Spirit Medicine practitioner, Sacred Landscape Designer, and the author of the upcoming book, Soul of the Seasons which reveals the wisdom of Five Element medicine through the template of the seasons of the natural world.


Post-Irma Reflections

20170910_173928In the past week or so the whole world watched as hurricane Irma formed, then steamed headlong toward Florida, tracking up the full length of the peninsula. Glued to our TVs and mobile devices perpetually tuned into weather channels or the National Hurricane Center, we locked our attention on the massive hurricane’s ever-changing projected path as she spread her skirts wide across the Carribean. With warmer than normal temps in the Atlantic ocean and Gulf of Mexico, Irma quickly built to a dangerous Category 5+ hurricane.

Like many here in Florida  my excitement, worry, fear, hope, irritation, panic, and gratitude cycled around as I made my storm preparations. And, although I saw a few panicked people rushing to buy plywood, bottled water, and gas, many  others extended kindness, patience, and generosity to those soon to be displaced by the impending storm.

Mind-boggling systems of support, rescue, and recovery–both public and private–were mobilized and set into place. On social media people set up groups to track lost pets, check on loved ones in Irma’s path, locate available shelters, where to find gas and water, the latest evacuation routes, the best charities to donate to, and the latest weather reports. We posted pre- and post-hurricane tips.  We told stories and posted pictures of past disasters we’d weathered. We shared memes that made us laugh hysterically and others that broke our hearts. Image may contain: cat and text


We posted “Be safe!” and “Please check in when you can.” over and over again on the walls of friends, colleagues, family and loved ones. One Facebook friend remarked that “Be safe!” sounded a lot like “I Love You!” so we started posting that too.


Having made preparations as best we could we crossed fingers and toes and formed prayer circles as Irma approached. We threw parties, long a tradition here in the Gulf states, toasting Irma with Hurricanes and smoothies and martinis, and visualized blowing her back out to sea. Someone vowed to take a drink every time they came across the word “hunker” and quickly became inebriated.

Disheartened, we watched the destruction on the islands that preceded Irma’s impending landfall on the mainland of Florida and counted it a good enough reason to break into our hurricane snacks.  People made shelters in their hallways and bathrooms, supposedly the safest places to be during a storm. We saw pictures of cocoons constructed out of mattresses and pillows and forts made up for furry friends. Some donned helmets and others tucked chickens into their shower stalls.

Though thoroughly engrossed and entertained by the 24-hour coverage, I took breaks from Irma-watching to do a job for a friend, visit with another friend, and to spend time on the beach. Though we were not in the hurricane’s projected path here in the panhandle, Irma’s power was so vast she stirred up the waters, affecting tides and currents 500 or more miles away. The pull of her winds created tides so low people could walk far out into the sands. At my local beach, the Gulf was offering up larger than normal waves. Red and purple flags signaled warnings of dangerous marine life, rip currents, and a brisk northeasterly wind.20170909_164802b

I’m like a kid at a birthday party with an impending storm and I have to make sure I don’t overdose on excitement. Going to the beach both calms and opens me. I found myself standing for long moments, gazing far into the horizon, feeling the power of the sea in my solar plexus. To conserve energy the seagulls huddled up near the dunes. Tucked out of the winds, they looked sleepy.20170910_174928a A few surfers took advantage of the waves while other beachgoers scoured the shore for newly offered shells. Back home I posted pictures of the beach, told everyone I could think of “I love you!” and “Be safe!” After updating the latest hurricane stats and sent out prayers, I gave up and went to bed.

During the day on Monday I watched as Irma changed direction and intensity once again, heading further inland as it blew up the middle of the state. As she went, she quickly lost steam, doing far less damage than we had first feared. Waves of relief flooded over me as people began assessing damage and checking in. No one I knew personally suffered injury or had significant damage to their homes. Governmental and Emergency support teams already in place moved into action, clearing roads and restoring utilities as quickly as possible.

The damage from Irma is not slight and the total assessment of loss has yet to be calculated but we are grateful things were not worse. There’s the usual bickering and complaining about not enough being done but on the whole, community stepped up. We were there for each other, looking out for our neighbors, and offering whatever help we could.

Just as with hurricane Harvey in Texas a few days earlier, I am reminded once again that the majority of Americans are kind, generous souls who support each other when in need. Though we are grateful for federal assistance when it’s given, we can organize and mobilize and step up, even when our government can’t or won’t. My heart opens wide seeing all these examples of community at work.

Our hurricane season is not over yet so we cannot fully let down our guard. In the days and months ahead there will be much to do and much to learn. I continue to pray for those who have lost everything and will have to rebuild, repair, or relocate. Some veterans of powerful hurricane Andrew that struck Miami 25 years ago are feeling re-traumatized. Physical, emotional, and financial support will be needed for a long time to come.

Thank you to all of my friends and family who checked in on me and offered prayers of safety and support and shelter, should I need it. I am grateful beyond words. Let’s not forget to continue in our prayers and support for those devastated by hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and forest fires everywhere. try not to judge the difficult decisions people have to make when tragedy befalls them.

Just watching these disasters unfold can be exhausting, not to mention recovering from one. The initial surge of adrenaline from the excitement will soon wear off and can leave us feeling exhausted, irritable, and melancholy. Take breaks when needed.  Laugh when you can. Eat well. Sleep. Get a hug. Give a hug. Know you are loved.



Spring: The Season of New Beginnings

Fig     In Five Element medicine, Spring is the season of expansive new growth, both in the natural world, and, on our inner landscapes. Spring is also the season where we see (or renew) our visions and goals. It is the season where the old gives way to the new in an explosive burst of new growth.
     The Spring Equinox is the perfect time to re-evaluate our vision for ourselves–God’s purpose for our life. As we consider the visions for your inner landscape, we might also consider how we present ourselves to the world. Why is this important? Well, as my learned teacher used to say…
“Everything has to do with everything.”
      I’m big into no muss, no fuss. And to be honest, I used to be kind of judge-y about those whose careers/lifestyles revolved around fashion, hair, and makeup. Although I appreciated a good haircut and well-applied, understated makeup, to me, the whole fashion thing felt like too much emphasis on the external.
     Then my daughter went to college for fashion design. While externally I encouraged Jessica to pursue her dreams by repeating my strong belief that education is never a waste, internally my practical mind shouted, “Whaaaaat are you thinking???”
Jessica however, having her own tastes and sense of style since about two years of age, soon taught me that certain lines and cuts of clothing, not only made me look better with my particular body composition, they made me FEEL better. She taught me that I could envision something new while still respecting the past.
Jessica Head shot
     I still believe that focusing on the external over the internal can signal underlying imbalances in self-valuing. However, I have come to see that the face we present to the world through our clothing, hairstyle, and makeup (or not) can be the external expression of our inner essence.
     Today, I applaud those who artfully make us look and feel better about ourselves. It’s the first day of spring. Clear your closet of anything that doesn’t look or make you feel or feel fabulous. Make an appointment to get your hair cut and styled. Schedule a makeup consult or get a facial. Talk to a fashion consultant. Get your bra fitted properly or get measured for a suit. Make sure the outer you reflects your inner most radiant self.
Jessica car

Spring Visions

Fern2Spring is one of my very favorite times of year. As Spring enters the natural world it awakens flora and fauna from their winter slumber in order to reveal and fulfill God’s purpose for them on Earth–the vision of who and what they will become.
In Five Element medicine, springtime is about new beginnings, explosive new growth, vision (physical, mental, and spiritual), the emotion of anger, and the organ systems of Liver and Gallbladder.
“The road of life is paved with flattened squirrels who couldn’t make a decision.” –Unknown
In Chinese Medicine, Gallbladder represents a presence that works within us, imbuing the qualities of: making sound decisions in a timely manner; the ability to spot potential problems and adjust our course accordingly; a strong sense of fairness and injustice; and the ability to act quickly. In Soul of the Seasons, I refer to this presence as The Decider.
DSCF0907The Decider works hand-in-hand with Liver, AKA: The Planner. The Planner helps us through the ability to; make well-thought out plans that account, not only for today’s needs, but our needs long into the future and does so with a deep sense of fairness, kindness, foresight, generosity and warmth.
You can welcome Spring, the passage of new beginnings, into your life by asking yourself the following:
What is your vision for your life?
Do you have any long term projects that need a fresh look?
How are you at making grounded and timely decisions?
What is your relationship with anger?
*Welcome Spring into your life by planting some new seeds. They can be literal seeds or they can be the seeds for a new project, hobby or relationship. Start a new friendship. Plant a garden. Begin (or renew) a long-dreamed of project.

The Problem with Labels

It’s irresistible it is to label people; to put them in little boxes and categories that feels more comfortable in our minds. To keep them fixed in categories in which we may confidently judge as, “not us.” But, by labeling others, we separate ourselves from them–from who they are as whole human beings. We are separating ourselves from someone, who may in reality, be more like us than we know.

Try to remember that those speaking up or speaking out, just like us, have families and mothers and beloveds. We all have breakthroughs and struggles. We all carry pain, grief, anger, and sacrifice. We have all experienced loss.

Don’t assume that because someone…

…is conservative means they don’t care about equality.

…is liberal means they aren’t concerned about being fiscally responsible.

…is ProLife doesn’t mean they don’t feel for the plight of women in difficult situations.

…is ProChoice means they are pro-abortion.

…is concerned about the plight of immigrants means they believe there should be no vetting.

Someone of faith means they hate those who are not.

…is atheist or agnostic means they think those of faith are idiots.

…is a Feminist means they are an angry man-hater.

…is male means that they are a misogynist.

…is a protester means they hate their country.

…is part of a “privileged” group means that they are insensitive to those who are under-privileged.

…is for income equality means they are a communist.

We cannot possibly know anyone unless we take the time to hear their story, without bias or judgment. Right now we need each other more than ever. We need each person’s love. We need their kindness, fierceness, anger, grief, concern, compassion, kindness, and courage. We need to remember we are all in this together.


Grace, Unconditional Willingness, and the Power of Vulnerability

-from Soul of the Seasons by Melody Scout © 2016

Grace is a gift bestowed upon us by our Creator. It is the heavenly alchemical reagent that transforms rage into right action, sadness into joy, and hunger into satisfaction, grief into value and respect, and fear into the seeds of a new vision. Grace cannot be earned or purchased. It carries the power to transform the criminal into the crusader, the victim into the activist and the fearful into the sage. It can shift the grief-stricken into one who carries a space of reverence for the grief of others. Some call this act of transformation infused with God’s grace—forgiveness.

There’s no magic pill or secret formula for healing the soul and ultimately the mind and body. But we cannot effectively deal with the stressors of our lives if we remain unconscious to their origin. Only by entering into an unconditional willingness to become aware of our destructive thoughts and behaviors can we then embrace ourselves as an amazing example of divine creation. Only then can we move through our darkness and out into the light of love.

If we do not wish to repeat our mistakes of the past, however, we must become unconditionally willing to own our part in what happened; both the good and the not so good. We must look deeply into our relationships, not only at what we have generously given, but also what we might have withheld. We must look at not only how we have sacrificed for others, but we also must confess our own neediness and manipulation. We need to examine exactly how we get our esteem needs met. Do we manipulate others into giving to us? Have we developed patterns of codependency or control? Have we adapted behaviors that may have helped us survive in the past but now no longer serve us?

Taking this hard, unvarnished look at our behaviors requires vulnerability—and huge amounts of courage. Authentic vulnerability demands that our hearts become soft and supple and fluid. We must become willing to stand in the utter truth of the matter without judgment, with arms and minds wide open. We must commit to being unconditionally willing to submit to these experiences with love. We need to be willing to see our it differently, to judge it differently, to forgive, and to grow. And, we must be willing to be completely wrong, and to let go of anything in our past that we have clung to out of fear.

Being in a grace-filled state of vulnerability can be both terrifying and exciting and it’s the best thing we will ever do for ourselves and for our relationships.In this place we can trust that, I’ve no idea how this will turn out, but something tells me it will be okay. But it is only in these moments of complete surrender that we begin to feel clearer, more grounded.


A Prayer for Unconditional Willingness:

This prayer is a three-part petition to The Divine for the transformation of emotional stuckness into an empowered place of choice. I find it serves me faithfully whenever I am confronted with difficult passages and my unmet needs have congealed my feelings.

I pray the first prayer…to be willing…and then, if the situation hasn’t shifted or if I’m still feeling stuck, I pray the second prayer—to see my unwillingness. If it still feels stuck, I pray the third prayer—to be willing to be willing. If I am truly unconditionally willing to become vulnerable, I usually find that some sort of shift happens, usually within twenty-four hours. If not, it’s a signal to me that there may be some resistance at play and I return again to the first prayer.


Three Prayers for Unconditional Willingness

Prayer One: Creator God, I recognize my unmet need of _________. It is my sincerest desire to be unconditionally willing to become vulnerable, to see or do whatever I need to in order to heal this issue.

Prayer Two: Creator God, I recognize my feelings of being “stuck.” I pray for the ability to see what I need to see so I might become vulnerable to your will. I pray now to transform my unwillingness.

Prayer Three: Creator God, I recognize my unwillingness to transform_______________ (name the issue). It’s hard and the pain (or whatever you may be feeling at this moment) is deep. I pray now to become willing to be willing to transform this experience.


Note: There are times that ‘to become willing to be willing’ is as close as we can get to letting go of a difficult experience, to surrender it to God, especially if it involves deep betrayal. But often, it may be the only prayer we need in order for a transformation to occur.