Saturday, May 18, 2013


I have, for a very, very long time, thought of myself as being defined by being shaped and molded and defined by a trauma that happened so long ago, and in so many ways directed how I interacted with the world around me, especially when I was younger.

I was unable to trust, and kept real distance between myself and other people.  And this basic feeling - of being disconnected, and then of wanting to be disconnected - persisted until I found a way to align myself with a spiritual practice that embodied this as spiritual virtue, that put detachment high on the list of desirable qualities.

And I was fine with that detachment except for the feelings of boredom, isolation and loneliness.  Except for all the ways I felt disconnected and broken, I was fine.  I've carried this idea with me, that this brokenness was a legacy, and that while I could maybe overcome, it would be difficult and painful and take a long time.

But a very dear soul has helped me, in a short period of time, re-frame so much of my own understanding.  And more than anything, I realize I'm not some traumatized child, defined only by my past and what I was victim to, but I am an adult, capable of caring for myself, and reaching out and connecting with others, and knowing that sometimes people are trustworthy and sometimes not, and that that is no reflection of me.

I am not stuck in some earlier stage in my life, unable to think or feel clearly, or unable to communicate clearly, or any of it.  I am a fully grown woman, who has years and years of experience cultivating good communication and meaningful interaction.  And if I'm not always so good at it?  Well - that's ok.  Very few of us are always good at it.  But I don't have to blame it on my distant past or re-traumatize myself with a story that there's only one way I can understand it.

I am a very ordinary human being, with very ordinary requirements, emotionally, physically and spiritually.  I need the same kind of love and care and attention as everyone else, and whatever has been in my past doesn't define my present or my future.  It did once.  It overwhelmed me and overshadowed me and almost destroyed any hope I had of being fully myself.

But I'm not in the place anymore. I don't need it and I don't want it, and I have no romance or sentimentality or nostalgia about it.  I was there.  But now I'm here, and this is where I belong.  Because my life is bigger than my past, and G*d has a purpose for my future.  Not everything is going to work out the way I imagined or even hoped.  Not everything is going to unfold as I expect or plan.  But it's all going to be fine anyway.  And I'm going to be more than fine.  In fact, I already am.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Optimal Operations

Someone told me a statistic today that, in terms of mental health, only 17% of us are flourishing - operating optimally.  I don't know what that means, or what that tells me, but I know life is full of endless challenges that impact optimal operations on a daily, hourly and sometimes minute-to-minute basis.  And I know that inevitably, when I am overwhelmed by the challenges, and simply cannot imagine how to alter circumstances to improve a situation, it is time to turn within and stop expending so much energy on all the external stuff.  When I hit that place of frustration, it's time to think about changing me, about re-calibrating the energy that got me to where I am, and how it needs to be different moving forward.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Spiritual Practice is a B*tch

Spiritual practice is a b*tch, no matter what anyone tells you. The minute you begin to pay attention to who you are and how you are is the exact same minute that you notice every single fault and failure and shortcoming you have. Which is hard. Really hard. The romance around spirituality is that you will feel peaceful, calm and relaxed all the time, that you will have magical access to a new you. But the reality is that YOU are exactly what you have to work with, and meditation, mindfulness, breathing and relaxation techniques - none of it provides an escape. And it's not supposed to.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Just F*cking Do It!

The spiritual life invites contemplation and rightly so.  We are so often thought-less in our approach to life that a little introspection is warranted.  And we are so often unsure of how to explore the interior landscape that spending real time and energy around this can be the most worthwhile thing.

But there is a point of diminishing returns, where the introspection is a substitute for action, when the internal realization takes the place of relationship, where the process overwhelms the outcome, and nothing changes so much as we are mired in our own thoughts and feelings.

I don't want to talk about balance here, because it assumes there's a moderate way to approach self-awareness, that we can determine the speed and direction at which we need to unfold.  But sometimes it comes at us hard and fast, and sometimes it's painfully slow, and all this and everything in between is exactly what's required, it is exactly as it must be.

So get in there and muck around and see what's blocking you and holding you back, but don't let it be the excuse for hiding away and missing every opportunity you know you want to say yes to.

It's okay to do it imperfectly, to be yourself imperfectly, and there is no greater liberation than in simply acknowledging the imperfection, to yourself and those that matter around you.

Try it out, try it on, and see how it feels.  Leave aside what diminishes you and embrace what enhances you, and just f*cking do some of what you've been thinking about.  Cause if you're waiting for someone else to make it all okay, you might be waiting a long time.  And moving ahead, while unfamiliar, feels pretty amazing.

There might be discomfort in the unknown, but so what?  Really - it's not more than the discomfort of the known most of the time, and it at least holds within it the possibility of hope and change.

And if it doesn't work out perfectly, if the result is different than what you were hoping or planning or expecting?  Well - then you at least are more interesting and have some good stories to tell.  And you will never be sorry for that.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


I have shared the biggest secret I had, in a way that was so personal and intimate and something I never expected to happen.

And it's left me feeling disoriented and missing the sense of protection that I gave up to tell the secret.  I have never felt more exposed or vulnerable.

It's not that I want to take it back, to go back to where I was or not tell the secret.  And the recipient of this story could simply not have been more caring or compassionate or loving.  I could not have imagined the support and warmth where I had thought I would be faced with disgust or judgement.

But I have been so used to a certain kind of isolation, a certain kind insulation, a certain kind of security from knowing how firmly in place my limitations were, that I cannot quite get my balance, I cannot quite find my center the same way.

I was centered around something that needed to go, the fear and overwhelm was no friend of mine, but so familiar that there was some comfort in them.

So now I have to find a new center, a new equilibrium that doesn't depend on the tragic heaviness of carrying a burden alone for too long.  And I don't know that it will take long, but I have to honor the process for what it is, and let it unfold in its own time.

But I know I'm not supposed to just keep going it alone.  And I don't know how to do all this just yet, but I am relieved not to be alone. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012


There has been the irritating grain of sorrow embedded in the flesh of my psyche for years and years and years.  And, like an oyster, I've turned that small grain into a pearl, at least of sorts.  But even though humans value pearls, to an oyster, it's just an irritant worked around.  No matter how beautiful the pearl, it's still just the byproduct of the mollusk immune system trying to protect itself.
And while I'm tempted to explore this process more deeply, today at least, I'm done with this exploration.  I'm done with examining this process, what created it, and where it's leading.  I'm done with the morose and taxing introspection that has led me to great insight, but today seems unnecessary.

Today, what seems completely necessary is to simply let go.  Let those who value the pearl as adornment take it and adorn themselves, but for myself, I'm happy to simply let it go.  I don't need to over-value its presence, to over-esteem the process that created it.  I don't need to make this the most precious part of myself or to continue building a life around it.

It has served its purpose, but I cannot continue to be beholden to its beauty or its power or anything else about it.  It was just an irritant, and I'm grateful for the fruit it bore, but it is time to build my life around something new.

Friday, December 7, 2012


Perspective and intention make all the difference. When faced with difficulty or confusion, a shift in at least one of these two changes how you see things. A shift in both is the beginning of newness.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Do you know how to sit with yourself, fully and completely, enjoying your own thoughts, your own company? 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from our first breath to our last, we are our own constant companions. There is great power and joy in being content with the self.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What we Extol and What We Demonize

I am fascinated with how various faith traditions embrace or reject our very integral humanity and all the ways it manifests in both body and spirit. What we extol and what we demonize doesn't change the nature of reality, but it sure changes our relationship with reality. G*d is so patient, allowing us the illusion of our own understanding.

Friday, November 9, 2012


I'm feeling very raw at the moment.  Raw from getting in and messing around in the very protected world of my emotions.  I don't dive in here often, and it's mostly unfamiliar territory, a place where I'm not very comfortable, mostly unsure what to do with how I feel, or even how to navigate this space.  I seem to have few instincts here, mostly feeling out of my element and a bit lost.

And when I do come here, I inevitably end up confused and needing time and space to sort things through .  It's like a musty old attic, boxes of stuff stored up there for a long time, and the only way to find out what is in the boxes is to go through them, one by one, taking out the contents, looking at everything, trying to remember what it is and where it's from and why it's there.  Trying to piece together the story of me, but being pretty fuzzy on the details.

And then deciding what to keep and what to let go.  And before I realize it, hours have passed and I've only gone through a couple of those boxes, unearthed just a few things, but enough things to change my sense of my own past and what it means going forward.

I know I have hidden the past from myself in many ways, and resisted opening those old boxes.  And I know the toll it seems to take on me when I immerse myself in memory and recollection.  But I'm not sure how completely I can live in the present or live my way into the future with all that stuff sitting around, needing to be sorted, waiting for some kind of attention from me.

I feel like an amnesiac, mostly because I sort of am.  The fabric of memory is so thin, so flimsy and fragile around certain parts of my life that I feel like I don't know myself at all in some ways.  Like there's been some magic trick that hides so much of who I was and maybe who I am, but I want to be done with trickiness, especially the kind I've created for myself.  I don't want 'numb' to be my default position.

I don't know what to do about that, what I have to own of my past to own my present and future, but I'm pretty sure it's more than I have done so far.  I'm pretty sure more is required of me, so I'm paying attention as best I can to notice and understand, and not let the sleepy waves of amnesia obliterate one more memory or keep me from being fully engaged.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I feel like I need a 12-step recovery program...for all the things that came before now and no longer work in my life, no longer fit any paradigm that I was expecting to live by, all the ways I thought my life would unfold but didn't.  I'm not sorry about that, or even a little unhappy.  Just a bit gobsmacked by what doesn't work anymore that I thought was permanent and eternal and unchangeable.

From my vantage point at this very moment, It seems SUCH an illusion to be certain that any circumstance has absolute permanence.  And I think that's fine.  Because nothing does stay the same.  Not the things you like and not the things you don't, and as the drama of life unfolds you just keep doing the best you can because there's not much else to do.

I'm not so sure how to put a framework around it all the way I used to.  I had everything wrapped up neatly in little bows, tied and tucked and neatly managed, whether I was happy with it or not.  And having it all ordered was pretty important.  I wanted certainty and clarity and no doubt troubling my spirit.

But the expense of the illusion of certainty comes at a high price.  It comes at the price of being open to the richness of real connection and all the beauty that offers, of appreciating and engaging on multiple levels, of the natural give and take that exists.

To be so certain of anything and everything means that there's no openness to the magic of life and of love.  That certainty means getting locked into one way of relating, one way of being, one way of understanding, and anything that goes just one-way isn't very open.  It doesn't allow for much flexibility or very many options.

And I have seen that.  When you have only the notion of service to others in mind, you effectively cut-off every other possibility of relating, truncate every other option that could exist between you and another person.  And you do it in the name of a great spiritual principle, but the reality is that it creates a kind of selfish insulation, and kind of self-protective bubble that keeps others away in the name of the highest good.

And maybe the highest good is also part of it.  But the part that is isolating and selfish and limiting is at least as true.

I cannot imagine that this is what G*d has designed us for.  I have never allowed myself fully to be the person that I am, and I have done that in the name of the highest good.  And there certainly has been some good.  But there hasn't been great.  And I know that's possible too.

The Illusion of Certainty

We live with constant uncertainty, and operate under the illusion of certainty - that we know what will be next and can control it. There is such grace and hopefulness in the very human pursuit of ordering the universe according to our own expectations.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Impetus for Action

I have never been a person driven by ambition or goals. Instead, I've been coaxed along by dreams, inspired by insights, and moved by kavanah - intention. The impetus for action comes from a place that cannot be forced, coerced or manipulated. And in that, even in the midst of uncertainty and its attendant anxiousness, there is great serenity in knowing that everything happens as it must, in its own time, and in its right way. It is simply beyond my power to impose my will on the world, but I can always, always, always stay in a place of alignment and so be a force for restoring energetic alignment around me as well.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Seeking Truth

Tonight's astrological insight: "Hectic emotional energy.  Your emotions are not in tune with the more sensitive and private areas of your life."

I have a lot of Mars transits happening simultaneously.  Which simply means my energies are high - a little too much so, in that there's a bit more going on that I can process in my usual way.  And this happens from time-to-time, and always offers its own unique challenges. 

I can only stay in a place of disquiet for so long, nurse my insecurities or uncertainties or hesitancies so long, and then it's time to move forward and move on.  I am a Libra, and no matter how out of balance I get, it's always time to swing back in another direction.  I cannot stay stagnant and stuck, even in my own creation.

I need the fresh breeze of change, the new air of challenge, the possibility of something that had never been before becoming reality.

I am not a thrill-seeker.  I don't seek out adrenaline rushes or excitement.  But I love the sense of adventure in uncovering the truth, of discovering the hidden reality behind appearances, of sleuthing through the way things seem and finding out the way things are.

It it scary and exciting and liberating, this truth-seeking.  And it is satisfying down deep in my soul.  And I can see the places where I'm attached to my own desires when I'm afraid of the truth, but sometimes that is just how things are, and I'm ok with that too.

I have no need to be brutalized by the truth - to be scarred or wounded, and mostly it's my friend, giving me insight I crave, even if it's sometimes at the expense of comfort.  But mostly it's only at the expense of things that are ready to fall away in my life anyway. 

I hope I am not reckless or feckless or otherwise careless with the things requiring the utmost care, that my love for truth isn't in opposition to genuine care for the heart and soul of another human being.

G*d resides in Truth, pure and powerful, and also a place of the greatest love, gentleness and comfort, so I know this is possible, to experience all of it together.  I just have a lot more to learn before I can manage all of it myself.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

G*d's Presence

With a great deal of hopeful enthusiasm, I gave my heart and soul to G*d at a young age, and like any naive young woman feeling completed by love, I surrendered it willingly.  And while I took it back a time or two, the purity of surrender to G*d seemed to make everything required for that surrender worthwhile.

And then I realized that in what I had considered surrender to G*d, I had also surrendered so much of my self.  Not that I had given it to G*d, but simply that I had let it become almost transparent, almost invisible, so that I was a shadow of myself, not the more full and complete vision of who I could become that I had had so long ago.

So I gathered myself up and collected everything I could find, every shadowy grey, every bit of what was left, and began breathing life and color back into me.  Like some deflated balloon being filled with air, I have been returning to a dimensional self I'm not sure I have ever been.  And it's been very good.

But now - now I find that it isn't just about my life with G*d versus my life without.  It's about inviting G*d's presence into this life, not choosing between the two, like some artificial requirement to split the spiritual apart from the rest.

The energetic cord of connection that binds me so deeply to my humanity is the same energetic cord that elevates my very same humanity in spiritual communion with G*d.  While you can distinguish the roots from the stem from the leaves in a plant, and they have their own separate function, they are all part of one whole, without which no life whatsoever would be possible.

At the same time I am planting myself more deeply in the rich soil of life, I am reaching up fully to embrace the warmth and light of G*d's presence, and I can see how completely I am nourished by both.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


The presence of the pure creative process, leaving aside self-censorship and self-protection, and coming from a simple willingness to share possibilities without limitation, is intoxicating. I love talent, but I think I love even more the willingness to express creatively. It always leaves me inspired.

Monday, October 8, 2012


I have limited myself the most in life by thinking that whatever I had to do, I had to do alone, that I couldn't trust others to collaborate with me.  But I can see that not trusting others is a kind of cowardice.  Trust doesn't give others power; it gives you access to talent and resources and support beyond what you alone are capable of, and allows you to offer the same.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Self Protection

We human beings work very, very hard to protect ourselves emotionally.  And with good reason.  The ways we can be hurt are many, and it doesn't take much to get through our defenses, when we are so fragile, in so many ways, and with such thin resources most of the time.

Most of us, most of the time, are just barely on the other side of well-fed and well-rested, let alone centered in a space of reflection and refreshment.  And so many of us have no place of solitude or renewal to replenish our hearts, minds and spirits.  So the world and the people in it, can be draining and difficult even when we care deeply for them.

I see this in myself too.  A little extra tiredness, too much hunger or overwork and my emotional balance, usually so strongly present, begins to wobble.  If I'm lucky, I can just rest and come back to myself, but it's not always so easy.  And often, I have to do some real soul searching to see where I need to be and how, and what needs to change to come back to a place of 'ok.'

I am trying to build a habit around something I believe deeply.  Not simply to protect myself emotionally, but to build a foundation of real strength internally.  And that habit is to ask myself at every turn, is this what I am choosing?  Do I understand that whatever is happening is a result of my own choices, my own thinking and my own decisions.  And that I cannot blame others for the consequences.  And if I don't like where I'm headed, then it is my job first to change direction.

I would love to think that if others love or care about me enough, that they will know how to take care of me, that they will silently rescue me, but I know such pure fantasy is just the stuff of little-girl dreams.  That the other people who we share this planet with don't have the capacity to save me, no matter how much they love me.  That this isn't what we can offer each other.

And there are no guarantees.  There are no guarantees in love or relationship, so you better be sure you are in it for the right reasons, the reasons that matter to you, and that you check that at every step.  Because beyond that moment, the moment of the present, nothing is certain, nothing is for sure, nothing can be promised.

I love the optimism that we can promise each other true love forever.  But I prefer the reality of offering love for real in every moment that it can actually be offered, instead of investing in a promise that may be impossible to keep.

I'm not sure if that makes me a cynic or a hopeless romantic.  And I'm not sure it matters.  I think we've bought into some psychological mythology about what relationships should look like and how they should work and what we should need and want and how to get it.

But I don't care for the way modern life has sucked the magic out of most of what we do.  I don't love the deconstructed reality of talk shows and sound bites.  I don't care so much for the self-help books that give me steps on improving everything, as if I'm some to-do list and my nature and future are so easily managed and defined.

I am ok with not knowing how everything is going to turn out, and I know there are lots of risks involved, but there's no way around that actually.  There's no way around what being human looks like and staying open to life's most profound experiences, and needing to be safe and secure at every moment too.  Something's gotta give.

On some level, I've always chosen risk.  And I've never been sorry for at least trying.

Monday, October 1, 2012


I would say this to you.  That you will feel love in your heart and want to share it completely and without limitations.  You will want to share it purely and sweetly and with all the enthusiasm that you've ever felt, and you will want to give and give and give.  And I say, do it.  Because there is great joy in this giving.  There is great satisfaction in being able to love, to be loving, to be a receptacle of divine love, and then sharing that in all the ways you are pulled to share.

Don't ever worry about being heartbroken by the limitations of human beings.  They will always exist, and if your ability to love depends on overcoming those limitations, you will never be free to love, you will never be free to share what is truly in your own heart.  Your own limitations and the limitations of others define so much of relationship, but not necessarily so much of your capacity to love. 

G*d has made us to love.  He has made us to feel the highest calling in loving and being loved.  Do not be careless with love.  Do not confuse other emotions for love.  Do not be tricked into accepting things that look and feel like love but are not.

But when you feel love, share it with joy and acceptance and kindness and authenticity.  Accept its power as it moves through you and spills out into the world.  It can change you in ways you never imagined, and build bridges to those you never knew you could reach.

Love doesn't make you weak.  Real love strengthens your heart.  It is only in parsing it out with too many strings that its power is lost.  It is only in confusing love with the specific dynamics of relationship that its power is lost.  It is only in mistaking your own needs for love itself that its power is lost.  Accept love.  From G*d.  From others.  From all the places you experience it.  And share it back in full force.

It will be your power.  Your liberation.  Your key to yourself.  And if this love is for a specific person, and if the relationship doesn't bear the fruit you expected, the power of that love will live on inside of you anyway, and nourish your soul even in the midst of sorrow or disappointment.

Do not reject the offer that love brings, to soar higher than you imagined, to dive deeper than you thought possible, to taste the sweet juiciness that life contains.  Do not let fear be bigger than love.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


I feel like I've been drowning in the last few weeks, succumbing to a tidal wave of emotional left-overs, a tsunami debris-field of old habits and ideas and concerns that have been been unmoored and unleashed, and cluttering up my emotional space.

Somehow I stopped noticing it was all there, either so hidden away or so obvious that it was just my normal.  Until it broke free and crowded into my awareness so that I could not continue to ignore it.  Until it became so messy and noisy that I had to address all this...stuff, one way or another.

It has seemed a little overwhelming, a little beyond my capacity to manage and sort through so much big stuff, to make choices and decisions about the things I've ignored for so long.

But it turns out it's not such a big deal after all.  I've noticed that so little of the clutter requires any real attention.  So little of it has any present-day value, and I'm not sentimental about the past.  I don't need to hold on to things for the sake of nostalgia, and that includes the emotions of a former self, a different me, another version of who I was.

My present-day reality is simple and clean and clear, with soft, inviting spaces and lightness and a lot of loveliness as well.  It is a place of powerful solitude and easy companionship.  It is a place of honesty, and clarity, of depth and insight, a place that nourishes body and spirit, mine and others.

So the clutter has to go - it has no home with me.  I'm not offering it to anyone else; I imagine it will burn in the fire of G*d's love, incinerated by the pure intention to add no additional burden of any sorrow to the world and its inhabitants.

I don't know why it has taken until now to see all this, but it has not come a moment too soon, or maybe even a moment too late.