Friday, June 18, 2010


I'm making my peace with slugs.  It has been a rainy few months, so they are pretty much everywhere, yard and garden.  They ooze their way around amazingly fast.  Isn't it funny how creatures that ooze aren't nearly as appealing as creatures with furry feet?  Or even birds, with their reptilian feet... at least they have cute feathery bodies.  But slugs?  Not much to appeal to human aesthetics.  Unless you're two years old.

My two year old grandson helped restore my sense of appreciation for slugs tonight.  We were outside watching all the toads come out for the evening, chasing some lightening bugs, and marveling at the clearness of the evening star.  Then he discovered a really, really big slug.  I'm a country girl, and I even like worms... but slugs make me want to go 'eeeeewww.'  Like the good grandma that I am, I got down and admired this giant bit of ooze, and before long I really was seeing it, for the first time.  Yes, it still oozes.  Yes, it still sucks holes in my hostas.  But it is alive.  Its antennae move and communicate as we get closer and talk to it.  There is awareness.

As an animal lover and caretaker of the Sanctuary here, I have enormous respect and love for animals great and small, wild or tame.  But I realized that the exclusion of love and respect for even one life form can lead us to be careless of Life, and set us on a downward spiral.  We can't say some parts of creation are perfect, and exclude the parts we think inconvenience us, or aren't pretty or comfortable enough.  If we except parts of Life, we can't see Life's wholeness, and we are no longer whole.

As I get older, I discover I'm returning to that childlike wonder and appreciation of ALL of it.  And I feel the wholeness of that, and revel in it.  I hope that each person who reads this will take some time to notice what aspects of life they have been rejecting, and start to notice whatever it is again with love and appreciation.  The joy this brings is indescribable.  Another precious day of Life in Sanctuary.   

Thursday, June 17, 2010


There are tadpoles in the horse water tank.  A few weeks ago, I noticed a big ol' frog sitting on the edge, and wondered what he/she was doing so far from the creek.  Now I know!  She found a source of abundant food and fresh water for her eggs to hatch in!  It's amazing watching what must be hundreds of the little guys feeding on invisible algae on the tank sides... and how they dive to the depths to avoid being suctioned into the horse's mouths when they drink.  Savvy little guys... changing every day... I find them a source of wonder and also of inspiration.

Tadpoles begin their lives as amoeba-like creatures, and gradually grow legs and lungs and the ability to live outside of water.  We are often inspired by the transformation of caterpillar to butterfly, but rarely do we think about how amazing a frog's journey is.  And when their physical transformation is complete, they effortlessly know to leave the water, to eat different food, to look for different environments.  If only change were that effortless for we humans!  Or is it?

As I watch the seasons and the rhythms here in Sanctuary I am soothed and comforted.  Even in the midst of seeming suffering and death, there is renewal.  Transformation and change are effortless and orderly, and no amount of human control issues has ever or will ever stop that.  The gift is becoming a part of the wonder of natural rhythms, discovering that they are our rhythms, too.  We are always growing new skin, replenishing cells, transforming.  We are always discovering new ways to experience love and joy in life.  Animals, reptiles, and all the natural world are always here to teach us and remind us.

If you have lost your sense of wonder at such things, spend some time with animals.  Donate your time and resources to animal rescue groups near you.  Take long walks and allow your natural rhythms to re-attune to Life.  Allow the effortless joy of Being.  That is what Life in Sanctuary celebrates.  

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Day at The Claire Foundation Animal Sanctuary

It's 5 a.m.  The birds and parrots are already stirring and making their pre-dawn noises.  The horses will be at the barn soon, hoping for hay even when the grass is lush and green as it is now.  The dogs, the pushiest and most demanding of the creatures here, want outside, NOW.  The house cats simply stretch and gaze at me, knowing I will provide their every desire.  They are so very wise.

Out in the early morning air, I see the orphaned kittens waiting for me in the hay, eyes wide with trust and love.  The older feral cats are more cautious, more fearful from a lifetime of struggle and abuse.  The horses snuffle, whinny softly, and wait their turn.  Finally they get their taste of good alfalfa hay for the day... for horses, it's more addictive than candy!  After replenishing food and water for all, I head to the garden to water.

Back inside by 6 a.m., I feed the dogs and indoor cats and parrots.  I clean the litter boxes and scoop the dog yard.  Finally, I make tea or coffee, depending on how I feel.  It's time for MY Sanctuary.  I go in my office, light a candle, and dedicate this new day, and all my days, to the amazing Life that lives and breathes us all, and eventually shows us other realities.  I call this Life God, but it doesn't really matter.  What matters is that this Divine Life is the real Sanctuary, the real safety and security.  And our sacred space here at The Claire Foundation rests on this Life as its Principle, its Rock, and reflects it.  

Someone asked me the other day if I wouldn't like to be taken care of as completely as these animals are.  That gave me pause.  The caring for all these animals has become natural to me, grounding and yet liberating.  They teach me daily how to drop my stories and self-created stresses, and to be fully present with Life, to allow the flow of it to embrace me.  They are a gift.

This made me realize again that we receive by giving.  By pouring myself out to these animals and to Life, day in and day out, I am able to really experience what I am and what I have.  I am able to be in the flow of Life.  There are, of course, many ways of giving.  This is one that gives me more than I could ever have imagined.  And so this blog is born, as a way of communicating this incredible gift, and giving you the opportunity to be a part of it. 

Where is your Sanctuary?  Do you have a place of safety and security and sacredness that you make for others, animal or human?  Or perhaps for your family?  Don't diminish your own sacred places or your own giving.  We are each precious and vital to the Life I call God.  And so we are to each other.  

We demonstrate this by donating time and money to Sanctuary.  And if you are led to contribute to ours, you can do so at  Each day or so I'll be posting news and stories and reflections from Life in Sanctuary, to share this joy with you.

Blessings from Sanctuary...