"Butterfly Eclipse," chalk pastel by Maria Theresa Maggi

“Butterfly Eclipse,” chalk pastel by Maria Theresa Maggi

Perhaps this may seem a little far fetched to some, but if you’re willing to read along and think outside the box a little, I ask you to give this a try with me.

I’m going to say right up front that this does not replace conventional action items like writing to Congress and donating to and resisting and marching in person. Do all and any of these things as well, and anything else you can think of to support the reunification of families who have crossed the border seeking asylum.

A very wise woman I follow online when talking about self-care in the face of a toxic situation has a mantra that goes “resist, res,t repeat.” To that mantra it came to me this morning that I add one more injunction to msyelf starting with “r”—restore—after “rest.” For it happens so often after I have rested that visions of how to restore a better way (on any front) and the steps I can take to do that become open to me. Then they can also become part of my resistance. It is in this spirit that I offer this “restoration” story and visualization here, and hope you can add your own special flavor to it in practice.

It started with a post my amazing intuitive/speaker/teacher/author friend Louise of Illuminations made on Father’s Day morning. In her inspired brilliance, she often suggests connections between phenomena in physics and how they explain or increase potential in our spiritual experience. She reminded us of that with these words and questions:

“Quantum physics principles are often way over my head, but I like to explore ideas that relate to my work, particularly those involving ‘time-travel.’

Here’s an interesting principle:

“RETROCAUSALITY means that, when an experimenter chooses the measurement setting with which to measure a particle, that decision can influence the properties of that particle (or another particle) in the past, even before the experimenter made their choice. IN OTHER WORDS, A DECISION MADE IN THE PRESENT CAN INFLUENCE SOMETHING IN THE PAST.”

This makes me consider the effect of ‘merging’ with the timeless consciousness of clients, and then going to the past to observe and reframe strategic moments when inhibiting fears, beliefs, and misperceptions were embraced, ones that continue to influence their present — and their future.

I then get ‘sneak peeks’ of potential positive FUTURE moments occurring (beyond time) as a result of that shift we initiated in the past.

Do you think ‘the decision’ — or simply the INTENT— to shift the past (and thereby influence the present and future) — might prompt this to phenomenon to occur?”

Initially, I was inspired to reply:

“I would like to experiment with this on a collective level. If we went back to the time of Jim Crow, for instance, or Civil Rights Movement and actually apologized for the harm we’ve done to people brought here as slaves, would it help end the police violence now? What point do we need to go back to regarding the millions of Mexican and Central American immigrants whose hard work keep our society functioning in order to shift this horrible separation of families taking place? I’m not saying you know the answer to this, Louise, I just am intrigued by it and ANYTHING that might help at this point is worth a try. I just watched all the people gathering for the march in Tornillo this morning and so on my walk I walked with them in solidarity for the reunification of the children who will be put in this tent city to be treated humanely and reunited with their parents. I felt such great spirits as Bobby Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. King, Caesar Chavez and on and on adding wind to these sails. How can we help this wave of bravery, compassion and love swell to a point of change? Let’s do whatever we can. ”

I was surprised to see that later in the day a few others had read my response and were enthusiastic about trying to envision “out of the box” this way. Spurred on by their interest and encouragement, at the end of the day, I received this inspiration and  wrote:

“Okay, Louise and friends, I just had an inspiration. The long long history of Colonization of the “new” world by Spain and England goes so far back and is so entangled that I asked for something simpler if possible. Then I remembered just the other day that I had listened to Congressman Beto O’Rourke of El Paso speak about the border and the region in the face of these family separations. One of the ways he was describing the truth of the porousness of the border was the intermingling of language, cultures, families and– monarch butterflies– and their long intercontinental journey. That made me think of this delightful Canadian documentary about the scientist who first tracked the flight of the butterflies and how the story spans our continent, our borders and goes across generations–Flight of The Butterflies. I will link to a description of the film, which is on Netflix. What if this we could go back to these moments of discovery and see them catching fire in the public imagination in such a way that they began to melt our rigid idea of borders and the “other”–for in truth this effort was not possible without players from all countries –Canada/US/Mexico–playing integral parts. It couldn’t have been done without those in Mexico or the school children in the US who helped tag butterflies on their way. And the butterfly is such a wonderful and apt metaphor for transformation. Can’t “flesh” it all out just yet but it sure is a lovely thought to dream on. And so, good night. Thanks all, and thank you, Louise for inspiring me to be inspired!! It’s been a very intense way and this is a blessing of a way to end it.”

Before I headed to bed I saw Louise had responded:

Interesting application, Maria. I’ll have to think about a visualization to apply to this issue in the past at a historical juncture when it was emerging. Most intriguing!”

So we both slept on it.

In the morning, I had a flood of inspiration about this, as I often do when I first wake up and do my yoga and simple meditation before making my oatmeal. Here’s what came up:

“Okay, here’s the further “butterfly effect” inspiration I received this morning.

First: I’ll rewatch Flight of The Butterflies this evening and see what that opens up. (I’ll post a link to it on Netflix below)

Then, I realized that this is a Bioneers type action—“revolution from the heart of Nature” because we are calling on the wisdom of the monarch butterflies to help us outgrow human ignorance about how boundaries work, and what real interconnectivity with our land means. (Bioneers has a great radio program—you can find it online.)

Then it came to me that I have been preparing for this visualization for a long time, as far back as when I first met Louise and was teaching writing to upper division science majors at UC Irvine. We read the book Chaos by James Gleick and there is a whole chapter on whether or not the weather can be predicted. It cites a phenomenon called “the butterfly effect”—which describes sensitive dependence on initial conditions—which means that something as seemingly small and delicate and fragile as the motion of a butterfly’s wings can effect the weather patterns as they form and travel across the globe. (If that isn’t confirmation of your exercise, Louise, on a cosmic scientific level, I don’t know what is!)

And then it came to me that a few years ago before I moved from Moscow Idaho to Portland and ultimately to the Oregon Coast I participated in a collaborative art show of poets and artists. In this particular collaboration I worked as a visual artist responding to a poem. I don’t have the poem any longer but remember it was something about airports and traveling and borders and eclipses (!!!) My Interpretation of the poem was a pastel of a butterfly emerging out of an eclipse. (!!!) I’ll post a photo of it here in case it sparks any visualizing for any of you.

And finally, I was given an overarching “grok” of the long and bloody historical intertwinement that helped to create this tragedy we need to heal at our border. The longstanding centuries of rivalry and intrigue and war between England and Spain in some way sparked the “discovery” of the Americas and their competition to best each other resulted in the enslavement and slaughter of people living here. As we became nations separate from the original colonizers, we inherited that enmity reflexively and carried it on as the US and Mexico—especially the US, I’d say. What better metaphor than the migration of butterflies across our amazing continent to help us heal that. I thank from the bottom of my heart Congressman Beto O’ Rourke who mentioned the migration of monarchs in the context of his own appeal for people to care about the reality of what a border is. If we could imagine governments getting behind the wonder of this discovery when it was made and then finally confirmed, or at least people getting behind it in the style of what the Bioneers would call “biomimicry” “ perhaps we can create a future moment where we see the wisdom of joining together in our common humanity. Or something like that. I am given to play with the image of the butterflies and the people who tracked them and came to know each other because of it and see what grows from it. I ask you to join me, in courage, and love for all of us, and for our mother, Earth.

It’s been quite a ride on my yoga mat (magic carpet) this morning!”

Louise responded with this:

“Beautiful, Maria! Hey – I’ve got an idear: Remember my example from Fearless Future (posted recently) – where I describe how it’s possible to shift the energy on planes and trains by entraining others onto a higher frequency of authenticity and good will? We’ll….what if we ~ along with a vast # of us like-minded, here-for-the-greater-good, Current-of-Unity, Divinely-inspired souls ~ put ourselves (our timeless Spirits) on board the ships just now preparing to set sail for new, unexplored lands! (No need to think of ourselves as stowaways…we’ve been placed there quite purposefully and serendipitously!) Our thoughts and intentions are soooo strong and soooo vibrant — they override ambitions of greed, inauthentic power, domination, etc. We’re feeling such incredibly contagious excitement about the ventures ahead — discovering new lands of diverse people who will have SO much to teach us about their ways…so much to learn from others! Oh, and there are butterflies swarming on board all the ships ~ their energy permeating, leading the way as guides to show how we can all live, learn, and evolve together through changing times and various political climates, unforeseen strife — you name it. ALL FOR ONE ~ ONE FOR ALL! Y’all in?

I responded:

” I’m ALL in!! Love it! While we were on our walk this morning I was visualizing butterfly swarms all over the places where the children are detained, making those who are keeping them there look up and think again and maybe even take them outside to see and change what they are being told to do. Or the butterflies come when the children are outside. I LOVE this historic application. I’m SO there. Thank you.”

and she responded:

“BTW, Maria, you might know that when Elizabeth Kubler Ross once took a tour of concentration camps, she was amazed to see that in totally separate quarters where children were incarcerated, they had carved images of butterflies on the walls of their bunks! They certainly knew something Divinely-inspired, fer shure!”

I had read this somewhere a long time ago, but had forgotten it. With nothing but their fingernails and pebbles to work with, I might add. Chills.

And so here we are. I invite you to watch the movie, to visualize whatever comes from that, to put yourself on a ship to the new world ready to change the course of history to one of appreciation and learning and new alliances rather than enslavement.bloodshed and war. Step outside the 3D box if you dare. I’m not saying I know what comes of this. I’m saying I believe it’s worth an honest go. And absolutely do your actions in 3D too: write your letters, make your calls. Donate to RAICES Family Reunification and Bond Fund, join the ACLU. Do it all. And don’t give up. Sensitive dependence on initial conditions. The Butterfly Effect. We got this, inside and outside, of time. Resist, rest, restore, repeat.

Much love and courage,

Maria (moonwatcher)









"Asparagus Fern," pastel memory sketch by Maria Theresa Maggi

“Asparagus Fern,” pastel memory sketch by Maria Theresa Maggi


I have not meant for so much time to go by before writing a new post. It turns out the slow process of rereading all my blog posts, making an index and taking notes and trying to “grok” the arc of what I’ve written makes it hard to jump out of that and back into writing something new. The process is going well, albeit at the pace of a tortoise. I’m surprised and pleased that often when I steal myself to reread something, convinced it will fall short upon reexamination, I am instead quite happy with it. Or it makes me laugh. Or the comments do. So thank you all, for following me and buoying me up on this long and winding adventure.

Last Friday I was sitting in my new dentist’s office in Newport Beach, waiting for an oral sedative to take effect before going into the chair for a crown prep. In the time since I wrote “Happy Tooth Visualization,” about  3 years ago, I’ve learned that many of my teeth with old metal fillings are cracking due to the expansion of that metal, and also that, for whatever reason, the cumulative effect of the MS and other conditions on my nervous system is that I no longer can get numb with just a cocktail of local anesthetics. It’s been a harrowing and painful ride at times, with misinformation and wrong turns, but I now have a great and kind dentist, and last Friday was the last crown prep I’ll need for an indefinite time. The worst offenders are fixed and everything else is stable for now. Plus, I have the best functional crowns I’ve ever had in my life.

As I was sitting there with the friends who drove me, I noticed the absence of pretty much any apprehension–a far cry from when I first came to this office after tortuous appointments with other dentists who didn’t know how to listen to me or who focused on a non-problem as the problem, or where I was subjected to multiple ineffective shots of novocaine, once to the point of almost fainting.  But now, thanks to the good advice of my old dentist back in Moscow, who was kind enough to problem solve with me over the phone, I have been led to find my current  “surfer dentist,” as my kids like to call him. I am in expert hands. And for one special tooth, I’ve seen a colleague of his, an endodontist, who is so very calm that I like to call him my Zendodontist (he let me listen to Ludivico Enaldi without ear buds while in the chair and liked it enough himself to ask me who it was.) I’ve even run the gauntlet of walking into a pharmacy after 15 years and filling a prophylactic prescription for antibiotics. The pharmacists had their jaws on the counter when they learned how long ago it was that I’d taken an antibiotic. It was like landing on another planet, which made me laugh.

Anyway, as I was sitting in a dark blue chair (my usual spot) starting to get groggy, Cotton sleeping at my feet, my neighbors reading magazines until it was my turn to go back for treatment, I noticed I had more “company” than I thought. The asparagus fern on the table next to me, with its long graceful tentacles, was definitely trying to get my attention. At first I was just admiring it in a relaxed way, but then I felt certain it was trying to tell me something. It was wishing me well, congratulating me even, on how far I’d come. I got the sense it liked to sit next to people and try to help calm them down, and was especially glad I noticed its gentle efforts. If you can get a telepathic hug from a plant, I got one.

Meanwhile, back at the beach, there have been unusually large congregations of seagulls convening very near our access point. The scuttlebutt is there are schools of herring out in the water. (The whales and seals are interested too.) So often, when we get down there, we might see something like this several hundred yards away, or even closer:

"Before Cotton," pastel memory sketch, by Maria Theresa Maggi

“Before Cotton,” pastel memory sketch, by Maria Theresa Maggi

But if Cotton happens to be off leash for some running time and sees them before I do, the scene changes quite quickly:

"After Cotton," pastel memory sketch, by Maria Theresa Maggi

“After Cotton,” pastel memory sketch, by Maria Theresa Maggi

There’s danger lurking with the exhilaration. Saturday Cotton actually caught a live seagull, standing in the surf with his back to a big wave about to break, so filled with the instinctual drive he was. He ran happily toward me when I called, to show me his accomplishment. Thank goodness I got him to “drop it” before he shook the poor bird, who was able to shake a bit and walk it off. I thought I saw it fly away several minutes later. Cotton was cresfallen I wasn’t as happy about his triumph as he was, but he’ll have to live with that. Out in those breaking waves there are seals and sea lions literally barking at us and they won’t be hospitable if he gets rolled into their territory.

Still, it’s something to see, how like a streak of lightning he can go up the beach and back, once he’s flushed them all up into the sky. There’s danger everywhere, true enough. And yet amidst it, we must learn to feel those moments of joy, of release, of connection, because they are what keep us going. They are what keep me going anyway. Likewise, they seem to feed a dear old friend of mine (husband to another dear old friend), survivor of two bone marrow transplants, who writes about living with cancer on his blog See You In Thirty DaysPlease take a look and pass it on to anyone you know who could use a boost of honesty, humor and good grace while they live with cancer, too, if for no other reason than to see the hospital photo of him sitting up in bed with a spoon stuck to his nose. That’s my Keith.

It’s essential in these times of inhumane policies by our government not to look away, but to push back (if you want to actively do so, join the ACLU who is now fighting an active case regarding separation of families seeking asylum, or visit Families Belong Together or Raices Family Reunification and Bond Fund or Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley to find out how you can help). In my view the need to push back makes it equally important to imbibe these moments of grace, brief and tenuous though they may be, and allow them in. Every odd little bit of connection to life counts, and strengthens us to go on standing up for truth and love in frightening times. I court these little moments like my life depends on it– because it does. Love and courage to all of us,


Maria (moonwatcher)




A Spoon Full of Sugar

May 16, 2018

  This drawing is a public service announcement to myself. For many months now, as I wrote about in My Favorite Weird Oatmeal, I have drizzled molasses on top of my morning oatmeal. At first it was just a half teaspoon, but as time went on it became what would fit in a teaspoon like […]

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Courting The Impossible

April 25, 2018

About a month ago now, it was raining and storming at the coast. The ocean had gone wild again, stripping the beach of sand and exposing bedrock. But before this time of storms, the ocean was calm, almost a mirror of the sky, unbroken save for where it hits the shore. The beach was wide […]

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Children and Other Living Things

March 14, 2018

It’s a lovely almost Spring day here today at the coast. The dogs and I spent some time out in front of our house. I pulled out dead crocosmia leaves and clipped alder shoots; they took a nap in the sun. After a while I joined them, sitting down on a log that marks the […]

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A Straight Flush: The Sequel

March 9, 2018

I am reporting in here to announce the jerry rigged toilet flapper has been replaced–by me. I want to thank everyone who commented on “A Straight Flush,” and encouraged me I could do it. There are two qualities that made my success possible: disobedience and patience. First off, I had to make a decision to […]

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A Straight Flush

February 25, 2018

I fixed my toilet over the last few days–twice. The first time it became necessary was on a Thursday evening toward sunset. I pulled the handle down to flush–and nothing happened. I’ve lived in old houses with old toilets for most of my adult life.I even lived with one that had to be entirely replaced […]

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Ten Years and a Valentine’s Day Rutabaga

February 13, 2018

  Ten years ago at dinner time on Valentine’s Day I sat down to a special dinner I had created for myself of low-fat vegan fare. It was to be my first official day of eating this way, and i wanted it to be special and delicious. I wanted it to be a celebratory start […]

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January 29, 2018

Several days ago, I wrote this to myself, thinking I might put it on facebook, but I never did: “Oh. KAY. So. . . .it seems that last night I felt, in just a shudder or two, reverberations of the earthquake off Kodiac Island. I was drifting off to sleep again after using the bathroom […]

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Daybreak (and Pineapple Corn Bread)

January 9, 2018

  The night my son drove me back to the coast after our family trip for Christmas in southern Idaho, we drove straight into the wind and rain coming in from the ocean. The closer we got, the more it came down. Once again I was grateful for my son’s skill at driving on wet […]

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