Blood and Soil ~ Blut Und Boden September 27, 2015 The day was cold as we drove north from Berlin about 90 km towards the Baltic Sea. Near our destination we passed a picturesque village turning into a wide lane marked on either side with what looked like poplar trees. Along the way Linden trees also appeared. As we approached my heart was pounding with thoughts of the atrocities that had taken place in the site we were about to tour. I had read Sara Helm’s book, Ravensbruck published in 2015 which was taken from survivors accounts, coupled with her methodical research that documented the existence of the only womens’ concentration/extermination camp in Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Bene our driver slowed the car as we approached the camp. Visually the approach felt like we would suddenly come upon an old estate or a hunting lodge surrounded by forest. Heinrich Himmler had personally chosen this area as he had friends in the vicinity and his mistress Hedwig (Bunny) Potthast had set up housing nearby where she lived and bore two of his children. Himmler visited the area where he could stay with her and visit the camp at the same time. It has been said that he purposefully chose spots of beauty for the concentration camp sites. Instead of a picturesque lodge befitting the area our eyes abruptly were drawn to the left of the road as we came upon an old Soviet Tank standing in front of a brick wall designating Ravensbruck, the woman’s camp. We parked inside of the area and Greta our well informed guide walked us past the large sign and into the compound or large square where the daily apelplatz was held for endless hours in bitter cold sometimes for no reason, while the barefooted prisoners stood in cotton dresses. The most excruciating scene for me was the room that held the ovens where the bodies were cremated upon death or barely alive. I had forgotten my camera and waited for Bene to collect it for me. My friend and our guide had moved on and so had a group of young students. Bene handed me my camera and left the room, I returned to the scene with the two ovens along side one another. Originally there had been a third oven, now removed. I stood in front of two two used brick ovens which unfortunately reminded me of modern pizza ovens (I have seen used in America) where the bodies were burned at Ravensbruck. Wreaths of flowers had been placed on the devices that held the bodies and from the museum pictures I could imagine how high the emaciated bodies could be stacked into the fire. I...

Read More

Silence

  Namaste, Silence is my route to knowingness. I relish the moments of silence that I am able to garner every day. A day without silence exhausts me. In silence, I connect with my being-ness. All existence, everything that is, all matter and energy, all thought is contained within silence. When I return home from doing my chores around town, I do not turn on the television, the radio or connect with the computer or telephone because I need silence. Sometimes I sit or read in silence. My silence is not mediation where I let all thought go as I do in the early morning hours. In the silence of my home, there is some sound as I listen to the indoor noises as the fan whizzes and the air conditioner turns on, or simply the beating of my own heart. The clink of the ice in a cup or the whistle of the teakettle acknowledge that  I am ready for tea. These are the sounds of my home and are always there, but I am silent. The outdoor sounds of the wee rabbits in my garden scurrying about or the slurry of misted water mixed with sand from my garden and the whir of the warm dessert wind are such lovely echoes in what otherwise I construe as silence. The start of a car motor, the opening of a mailbox and the whine of the gardener’s hedge clippers are outside sounds that sometimes drift indoors piercing my silence. Still, within I am silent. I love my friends and their chatter, my swimming buddies and their splashes and kicks in the water and I miss them when I am silent too long. I cherish my telephone and Skype connections and the voices of all my family, friends and clients. I love social media and yet when the day is done, I retreat to the silence of reading a good book. If I need sound, I break the silence by watching television shows that I have pre-selected with my special interest of art films and foreign films. Or simply series like “House of Cards” or “Breaking Bad” that  I have missed in the past. Silence is where I process the occurrences of my day, lay my plans for action and synthesize the information that I have learned. Silence becomes my life. It is my haven, my solace and my companion. Without a bit of silence each day my nerves would unravel and my soul would bellow with displeasure.      ...

Read More

Walking the Labyrinth

  Walking the Labyrinth   On a lovely Saturday morning this Spring I walked the labyrinth on the grounds of  the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale. I had been thinking of doing this for Lent. Suddenly, in the coolness of  a spring morning, I was invited to an event to do just that.  The invitation came from a name I did not recognize on Facebook,  but saw that an acquaintance  of mine was going and decided that maybe I had met the woman somewhere. Ruth Davis was having a birthday and decided to share her walk with her friends.  Somehow I got into the mix. She told me later that she had not actually invited me. But I went and was delighted to meet new friends. I have learned not to question serendipity but to accept. It usually comes with divine timing. Amidst the desert blossoms of  Arroyo lupine and quail bush we walked the path of the stones. I have walked other labyrinths in different parts of the country and found this setting to be the most beautiful I have ever seen. Tiny lupines and desert primrose were waiting to show their colors. I arrived early and waited for the group while sitting on a bench facing the labyrinth . The mountains above had houses in sight on mounds and built in crevices. The desert terrain was beautiful and I decided to myself to walk in silence and ask a personal question, seeking to walk with a listening heart. When the group arrived, Ruth began with introductions and we shared our intent regarding the walk. As we approached the entrance to the labyrinth I focused on staying  in the moment. I walked slowly thinking of my question and then consciously letting all thought go as my meditation deepened. There is only one path which made me focus on each step winding my way to the center. I took deep breathes and inhaled Spring air as I journeyed  the seven circuits around the circle. My question flew out of my mind and I received a completely different answer to a different question I had also been pondering earlier. Spirit’s way of letting me know that I was not in charge. As I completed this ancient ritual it felt like a representation of my life and all its experiences and challenges. I discovered that I had left my cares in the center and as I left the circle I felt an overwhelming peace surround me. I had  received exactly what I needed.  This sacred experience  taught me once again how important it is to slow down and go inward, to listen and center ourselves in nature. Susan     This...

Read More

General

  If you missed my show February 11, 2014 “Off the Record with Judy” you can hear the podcast by going to the shortened link~    http://bit.ly/OTR21114mp3 or visit   http://tntr.toginet.com/shows/offtherecord/#susanstockton to leave comments about the show for Judy and her Producer Kelly. Thanks!   Or go to itunes to down load “Off the Record with Judy” and you can comment there.   Tuesday February 18, 2014   Over a leisurely Breakfast my son Barry and daughter-in-law Trish drew the names of the contest winners!   The Grand Prize winner of the Free reading from me goes to :  Roxanne Doty of Tempe, AZ   Roxanne will receive the Free reading and also a copy of  my new Memoir. Congratulations to the five additional winners of copies of my book, “Visions and Visitors.” The book will be sent to them when it is released in summer of 2014!  All winners have been notified on Facebook privately prior to this posting.   The five additional winners are”   Kelly St.Clair~Chandler, AZ   Sandra Bowman~Washington, DC   Juliana Cavalli~San Francisco, CA   Caroline Orner~ Hagerstown, MD   Silvana Fierro~Washington, DC        Many Blessings,       Susan      ...

Read More