Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Greatness Within

I've never particularly had a dream about anything I wanted to do nearly so much as dreams about the person I might become. And it has been my great, great fortune to be surrounded by those who not only see the possibility in me, but are as interested in and committed to finding a way to let that emerge as I am.

To be in the company of those who deal in possibility and potential, who understand the things that are subtle and invisible but as real as the ground we step on...these are the people who allow change, who encourage change, who welcome change. There are 10,000 very good reasons to be afraid. If you ever need a reason not to move forward, not to change, not to try, there are so many good reasons.

But the freedom, the exhilaration, the absolute liberation of doing what's in your heart obliterates all of those things. Fulfilling one's potential isn't about quantifiable outcomes. It's about filling yourself and filling your life with all the qualities in your heart and mind that need expression. It's about being loving, not because you've found someone worthy to love, but because you are full of love and it needs to be shared.

Being the best person you can be doesn't happen when you decide others are worthy of you that way. It happens when you realize you don't want to hold back anymore, and that you simply feel so good being that best person. And then you see how that actually uplifts and elevates everyone around you anyway. That in some way they were waiting for you to step up and be that person, and mirror back to them all the possibility in the world.

Real creativity is required in this. So many old ways of doing and being have failed us miserably. The ways we've expressed ourselves have caused us more sorrow than joy and depleted us instead of strengthened us. So finding a new and meaningful way to be our best requires real thoughfulness, engagement, creativity and attention. It won't just magically happen 'cause I wish it to be so. I am not just suddenly someone new because I whisper some affirmations to myself.

A few things help tremendously. Surrounding yourself with others who are as committed and steadfast in moving forward makes a huge difference. The support and structure this kind of friendship provides cannot be overestimated. And making room for the pure transformative love of G*d heals the heart and soul. When the deep wounds start to heal, when the broken heart starts to mend, then potential has a safe home inside the self.

I don't think this kind of change can happen in a vacuum. I tried that for a long time, but the energy required is immense and almost impossible to sustain alone. And even connection with G*d, while the root of all of it, isn't enough. Because relationship is the place where all this plays out...at least in my life. And I need the help and good wishes of others. When relationships are good, they are the greatest joy in life. So I'm keeping the company of those who recognize the greatness within, in themselves and in me, and I'm better for it.


So gorgeous!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Power of Presence

I live in a major metropolitan area, and on my walk to work every day, I run across more homeless folks than you might imagine would inhabit these few blocks. My neighborhood is an area that is full of rush-hour commuters, so the homeless tend to drift this way, knowing that there are many sympathetic suburbanites commuting into the city who cannot resist the sad faces and outstretched hands. A woman I work with was wracked with guilt about passing the homeless by without giving them anything, but she didn't want to give money. She decided granola bars were a good answer. She felt she was giving them something they really needed, but could not be mis-used. She keeps granola bars in her purse now all the time.

Being confronted with the unresolvable sorrow of humanity in very small and very personal ways on a daily basis requires one to do some soul searching. Do I ignore these people? Do I acknowledge them? If so, in what way? Can I help? Can I help in a way that doesn't further the sorrow? Can I make a real difference? Can I change the world so that the problem isn't a problem any more? Is it my problem?

I don't know anyone who doesn't have to give these questions some thought. I never give money; to me money is a resource, and I bear the responsibility if it's misused. So, sometimes I give someone food. But mostly I try to offer what I try to offer anyone...the recognition and acknowledgement of their essential dignity and humanity.

I try not to ignore and look away. There is a man outside Walgreens on the corner of Adams and Wells every day, and I always give him a smile and a cheery good morning. It happened by accident when our eyes first met, and he seemed shocked that I didn't look away, but it was all I could offer. A sincere hello. Another human being admitting that he exists and walks fully among us. That he's not invisible. That we live in different worlds, but are part of this same human family.

I was crossing the street one day, and there was a frail old woman clinging to a lampost. She was obviously distressed and confused, and no one seemed to notice including the traffic cop. I slowed down, and she turned and asked me if I would help her across the streeet. To which I did. She took my arm, hobbled across the street slowly, and when we reached the next corner she let go and walked off, balancing herself against a building. She didn't say a word to me, but I thought how lucky I was to be someone whose simple presence could make a difference.

And that experience has stayed with me and crosses my mind every time I see these folks on the street. Some are scary, some sad, some smelly, some desperate, some dishonest in their begging, some hopeless. I think about my response to them frequently, and can only be someone who stays present ~ who doesn't need to disappear into political rhetoric or economic philosophies about what creates such need, but recognizes another soul sharing this planet with me.

Monday, July 17, 2006


Lester Burnham: I had always heard your entire life flashes in front of your eyes the second before you die. First of all, that one second isn't a second at all, it stretches on forever, like an ocean of time... For me, it was lying on my back at Boy Scout camp, watching falling stars... And yellow leaves, from the maple trees, that lined my street... Or my grandmother's hands, and the way her skin seemed like paper... And the first time I saw my cousin Tony's brand new Firebird... And Janie... And Janie... And... Carolyn. I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me... but it's hard to stay mad, when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst... And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life... You have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sure. But don't worry... you will someday.

American Beauty (1999)

The minute I try to hold onto anything, it takes up residence inside me. On one hand it creates a certain kind of fullness, but on the other hand, it creates a certain kind of heaviness. I think I'm needing to stay light and flexible, not giving anything a permanent home inside me but lightness itself.


There are some things so deeply buried within that simply acknowledging their presence is shocking, especially when it's someone else doing the noticing. Do you know the game Jenga? Basically you have little wooden blocks that different players stack one upon the next, trying to build the tower higher and higher without it toppling. In the game of life, much like Jenga, one well-asked question can topple years of structures built upon a persepctive that you convinced yourself was one thing, but seen through the eyes of another becomes something else entirely.

Some of the blocks I've built upon have come tumbling down recently, and I don't know how to re-build any of that. They've fallen with a simple word, a well-placed pause, a loving question, a sincere concern. Whatever was there isn't necessary any more anyway. I don't yet quite know how to talk about my experiences. I don't know how to speak my way out of the places I've been stuck, although maybe for the first time it's not just reluctance or fear on my part. Maybe that feeling that my breath has been pulled from my lungs and my eyes fill with tears and I can hardly speak - maybe it's fear. But maybe also it's relief. Maybe also it's life flowing back into me. Maybe it's all of this and more.

But one thing I do know for certain - it's good not to be alone in this. And I'm not saying 'no' this time, to any of it.

Getting Caught

I've never worried about getting older, he said. I've been too busy worrying about getting caught.

~ Brian Andreas ~

On some level, for all my independence, I always wonder if I'm just moments away from getting caught. I don't know what it is that I'm getting away with, or what it is that I'll get caught doing, but it's always there, at least a little bit.

I've stood apart from and against so much, defining myself in many ways by what I'm not (although I'm no obvious rebel). It's time to start identifying with what I am more. I want to move to transparency. It's a great idea, that nothing is hidden, that total honesty is possible, that opennes is not a threat to me or anyone else. And I'm so much closer to that than I've been.

I've been the most opaque of individuals on some levels, even to myself. From a distance perhaps I've been crisp and clear, but get closer and lines blur and everything gets a little fuzzy, and what you thought you'd find turns out to be a bit different. Which I'm quite comfortable with. But maybe it's time to try some transparency. The little I've experiemented with so far is marvelous, but I don't know if that's really me making it so.

Could just be the generosity and cleanliness and openness of someone else making it that way for me. And transparency is a huge relief. I had no idea how much I constantly conceal, until I stopped doing it, even just for hours or moments at a time. And I'm so grateful to have discovered this - to have a place and space to try it out. At the moment, I can think of few gifts greater than this that has been offered me.And it's worth investigating further for sure.

There is a seismic change occuring, so I don't think this is a time for securing permanent solutions. It's more a time for learning to surf - learning to catch every wave that comes, ride it for what's it's worth, and be ready for the next one. For a surfer, every storm, no matter how big, is just another opportunity.

Free Your Mind

Morpheus: I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.

The Matrix (1999)

I chafe at having to become a "role". I don't really like titles or particular expectations of folks needing me to be/do certain things. I'm more stubborn than is obvious on the surface of things, and have an amazing capacity for digging in my heels and becoming completely unmovable. I don't say this with pride or as a challenge - just an observation about myself. I have walked away from more opportunities than many people ever get in the name of freedom.

Every time I've tried to assume a particlar role, in any part of my life, I've felt stifled and suffocated and resentful and just all twisted up, trying to figure out how to get out of what I've agreed to. I think this is part of the reason wife and mother and all those other titles could never work for me. I cannot bear the weight of what those mean.

I am amazed at who I can be when I have no opposition against which to set myself. In the company of those who are curious and open and adventurous, so much of my own stubborness disappears. Instead, there is enthusiasm and spontaneity and a great sense of fun.

I'm not going back to boxes, trying to make myself fit somewhere by cutting off or cutting out elements of myself to suit another, or even my own sense of who I should be. This life is very short, and no one with whom I want to associate will ask me to do that. With a Taurus Moon, every bit of discomfort I experience plays itself out in my body. I refuse to impose that violence on myself anymore.


Act without doing;
work without effort.
Think of the small as large
and the few as many.

Confront the difficult
while it is still easy;
accomplish the great task
by a series of small acts.

The Master never reaches for the great;
thus she achieves greatness.
When she runs into a difficulty,
she stops and gives herself to it.

She doesn't cling to her own comfort;
thus problems are no problem for her.

Tao Te Ching (Chapter 63; Stephen Mitchetll Translation)

I like to remind myself of simplicity whenever I can. Whenever I'm tempted to step in the middle of confusion or uncertainty, I like to remind myself of the clarity of simplicity. Start small, where I am, where I can, and move forward simply, easily, with my whole heart.

I don't have to know the outcome of every journey before I start - that just makes the journey another task I have to accomplish, and hardens my heart into brittleness 'cause I get too certain of things that probably aren't true or right or useful.

I much prefer the ease of moving like a river along its banks, re-adjusting, altering the course along the way, speeding up and slowing down, but staying true to the forward movement of this journey.


I don't believe in G*d any more than I 'believe' in gravity or cats or traffic lights. There are things I know because of the reality of them in my life, and that is the case here. This relationship I have with G*d doesn't require belief and I don't know that it even requires faith, but it absolutely requires experience.

I don't need religion or dogma or scriptures or clergy to feel the the depth of this love I've barely begun to touch, or to see how it transforms me.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


The serenity that fills my heart.


There has quite literally been a knot of pain residing deep within my body, reflecting pain that exists on other levels of spirit and emotion. And it has contained within it the petrified remains of being petrified. It's amazing how accurate a reflection of spirit the body can be. That knot has been a protection and a barrier, entombing in itself a destructive force that had no resolution and no outlet.

But the knot is unraveling. The waters of love have washed over it time and again, softening all the individual strands that make up this big knot. They are softening and separating; it is breaking up into easily digested and discarded pieces. The need it served is disappearing quickly, although it's taken a long, long time to arrive at this moment. I can feel the strands separating and dissapating, and I can feel each bit of that old pain as it leaves. I can feel it physically and emotionally and spiritually. But I know this is a good-bye, and so I have more patience with it.

And the only thing that seems to be taking its place is a kind of quiet contentment making way for joy.

Friday, July 14, 2006


I'm not any kind of expert at dealing with addiction. But I think changing habits must be a similar thing, when there's some kind of addiction of the mind ~ of the heart. When a habit is so deeply ingrained that you can hardly remember yourself as separate from it, transformation requires that level of attention.

I'm thinking it requires staying absolutely present with yourself. Keeing constant company with your own thoughts so that they don't drag back into old habit - staying awake and alert to every nuance of what's happening, to see triggers and patterns. Exhausting and consuming work really, but a requirement for laying the foundation of something new. And it requires attention to detail on a miniscule level.

In Boston, the major highway system was replaced by tunnels that run under the Boston Bay Harbor. This project was called the Big Dig, and began in 1991, and was just completed a couple of years ago. The new tunnel system has been beset by problems ranging from inferior grade cement to actual leaks in the tunnel. Sadly, the other day, a tie back holding huge concrete slabs broke, and a woman was killed in her car in the tunnel. The level of bad work gets scarier and scarier to Bostonians who ride these tunnels everyday and depend on them. This death is being treated as a crime.

I mention this just to say that when the care and quality of work at the foundation is ignored, everything built on it is compromised. So in trying to change a habit - overcome a mental addiction of sorts - nothing can be ignored, overlooked or disregarded. Attention must be paid to every detail to ensure that the result will be congruent with the foundation, with the intention, with the destination.

There are no big leaps with this kind of change. The progress moves forward in teeny tiny increments, leaving one small thing behind as the head and heart and hands grasp onto something new. Grand proclamations of change are meaningless against the backdrop of ordinary life, where the tests emerge again and again. And the tests are not designed so that you fail. They are just there to show you where more work is needed, where there is skill and strength, and where additional effort is required.

And if you're serious about this change, then you welcome the tests and every bit if understanding they illuminate for you. Because you're not doing this to prove something to someone else. You're really learning about the self and a certain kind of mastery that requires absolute truth and awareness.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Karma Continued..

I think what I left out in my earlier post is love. How important it is to bring love into all of this. Action for the right reason without the energy of love behind it stops being right action. It may look 'right' but it won't nurture anyone, and the return of it won't nurture the self. Force, discipline, obligation, morality don't work here.

For real transformation to occur...for our actions to change, and the return of them to be different, and then our fortune and so our future...this requires love. Not anything that you can fake either. The absolute requirement of the soul is for love to fill us and to spill into our relationships. And where that's missing, there is always sorrow as the end result. Always.

Love that nurtures and feeds one at the expense of another is not true love. It may be romantic love or desire or need, but it is not true love. True love elevates everyone and everything it touches. It's easy to see. It's the easiest thing to see and feel and recognize.


I am not one of the people that make things happen exactly...I am someone who enables others to make things happen. I understand energy more than personal dynamics. And one of the fundamental principles of energy is the Law of Karma, the Law of Action - the Law of Action and Reaction.

Karma is a simple energetic, basically scientific, principle and it says that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction (also Newton's Third Law of Motion). Meaning that whatever you do, it comes back to you. The final responsibility of whatever happens in our lives falls back to us. However tempting it is to find blame or fault anywhere else - in others, in circumstances, in whatever. So there's no room for blame - just for acknowldedgement and potential change.

And each of us has that same responsibility. We don't get to use understanding as a weapon against another - to say that someone is suffering because of their own actions. We are all suffering from the same kinds of sorrow, and in understanding how we add to each other's burdens we can maybe stop hurting ourselves and each other. Thinking that the sorrow exists only in another, or that it's someone else's weakness and not mine creates a completely artificial sense of protection and security. We aren't safe from pain because someone else is carrying that burden more obviously than us.

Our protection is our own virtue, our own integrity, our own choice to do the right thing, to be the right person, to live the right way. And we do know what that is. We each have a space inside of us that remains pure and clear enough to know the difference between what is harmful and helpful, to the self and others. Support and reinforcement is needed to be strong enough to act on it, but we do know it in our hearts.

So - I don't make things happen, I don't change the narrative flow of life, but I hope to always stand in a place that enables others to more easily bring their full potential into reality, to see themselves at their best and enjoy that so much that they want to create and experience even more of it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A New Space...

A new space full of life...a new life full of love.

It's Time For Love



There is nothing that a good laugh cannot improve. Laughing together is a bridge across worlds and cultures and languages and religions and philosophies. It is the solvent that dissolves all barriers.

Heartfelt sentiment and deep sincerity make me think and make me feel, but it is always humor - always a wonderfully shared laugh - that makes me feel closest to another. I can always spot a true friend in the laughs we easily share.


I received a blesing when I was in India years ago, and it begins like this: "You are a special soul, one who always remains in joy." The blessing goes on quite a bit longer, and is incredibly precious to me. And I can see that that really is the foundation of what I understand to be most important ~ joy. It's a wonderful measuring stick against which to evaluate everything else. To ask: does this create joy, pure and powerful and whole?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A Third Way

All the things that I don't want to think or feel or admit have been thrown into a vault somewhere in my mind, and a strong heavy door has been shut upon them. And when they clamor around inside of me, making all sorts of noise, begging for attention, my response has been to install sound-proofing and tighter security. I have simply enhanced the fortress of protection between the me I'd like to be and all the other stuff inside threatening that.

But there's just not enough space left inside for all of these things. There's not enough space for the expansive dreams of a future perfect self and the reality of the present self, and the big vault of all the things I want to keep hidden. This morning it occurs to me that there is a third way.

That maybe I can sort through all the stuff I've been rejecting, and see if there isn't something there I really love and care about and want when I can stop being so afraid of it. And if there is, keep that stuff - own it and make it mine. And the old stuff I don't need anymore I can just discard. And the hopes and dreams and aspirations can maybe be paired with one of another of these hidden treasures, and I can actually live my way into that future built squarely on the present.

Time to bring some life and color and vibrancy to all of this...

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I Found Jesus

I am the Office Manager at the corporate headquarters of a national company. We have about 100 people working here, and part of my job is just to pay attention to what's going on and making sure it's running smoothly. So, when I stop in the kitchen for coffee or water, I typically look around and make sure the supplies are stocked, etc.

So, I'm looking around, and notice something high above me on the top corner of one of the kitchen cabinets. And I get on my toes to look closer, and it's a little tiny plastic figuring of Jesus, perched atop the cabinet, looking down over the kitchen!!!! Here's a picture of him in all his plastic glory.

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We have a really diverse office of many nationalities and religions, so religious iconography of any kind is out. I couldn't reach up to touch Jesus (as is the case for so many...), so I asked the tallest guy in our office. He is muslim, and refused on the grounds that he didn't really want to mess with a god, even one he doesn't believe in. No one wanted to mess with plastic Jesus. He's only about 4" tall (about 10cm), but apparently wields a lot of power, even in cheap plastic.

Anyway, I got Jesus down finally, and have been puzzled ever since by who put him there in the first place. I'm guessing it was someone on the cleaning staff, but just don't know. I was going to send a company-wide e-mail letting everyone know that I found Jesus in the lunchroom, and if they were looking for him, to contact me. I thought some folks might misunderstand though, and that I'd be inundated with invitations to bible studies and church, so I left it alone.

Now he's sitting on top of my radio at my desk, blessing paperwork. No one has ever asked me about him - either why he's at my desk, or that he's missing from the lunchroom.

But I guess it's true - you never know where or when you're going to find Jesus. He appears in the most ordinary places, in the most myserious ways, and sometimes all you can do is leave him on your radio and wonder.

Ninety-One and....

I spent time with my grandmother this weekend, and it was wonderful. She is 91 years-old and continues to live alone in her two-story house. She lives in the house she and my grandfather spent most of their married life in, and she will only move away when she is carried out.

Everything in his dressing room and on his side of the bed remains as it was the day he passed away 8 years ago. Every shirt, every tie, every pair of shoes and slacks, his wallet and its contents...all of it remains the same. I have a business card case he got on a trip to London, and a silver enameled pill case he got in Florence; these are little tokens of him I have. The rest is unchanged at home.

He lives with my grandmother in her every moment, sleeping or awake, so she won't move out of that house. Every inch of that place is suffused with decisions only they made, with memories only they share, with stories only they know, with a private life only they lived. She is fortunately well and healthy enough to stay alone, and I hope that lasts until her last breath.

You wouldn't know that she lives in her memories if you don't know her well. She would never tell you. But I ask her - I ask her about her reality, and it is filled with the ghost of her truest love, and he never leaves her side. She cannot understand on any level how I don't want to fill my life and heart with that same kind of relationship. She doesn't understand how any human being wouldn't want to be joined with another in such complete union. But she doesn't say much about it.

She is my biggest fan. She thinks I'm completely wonderful from all the way back. We talk a few times a week at least. And if she calls when I'm not home, she's at least gotten more comfortable leaving a message, which always says: "Grandmom calling." And when I tell her I love her, she always says: "Thank you."

You can't believe all the things she'll never say, but she knows I believe in the presence of her ghost, and that's a doorway to conversations that are so rich and wonderful and full of a life you can hardly see in her anymore. She is fine in every measureable way, but I know she's marking time, waiting for the moment when she's a ghost too, and doesn't have to be alone anymore.

Speak Your Truth

Speak your truth. Whatever it is, however you know it. Give it a voice. It doesn't have to be said aloud or to another, but do confess it, at least to yourself. Acknowledge who you are without the guilt or shame or regret or hesitation. Let there be the purity of intent to simply witness yourself and stay present in that, not needing to defend or justify or explain away any of who you are.

You may not be where you want to end up, but you can only move forward from this one place. And no matter who you are, no matter what you've done, no matter what's been left undone, it's not too late, or you wouldn't be here thinking about these things now.

The light of life and of love still burn inside you, and until they are extinguished, there's hope. And I believe the light of love is eternal, so I suppose that makes me eternally optimistic. There is a gift that lies in the absolute center of each one of us. Don't ignore it just becasue of the other, more visible stuff clamoring for attention.

It's my sincere wish that you can see in yourself the wonder that is there. That you can see past all the scarring and bruising and injuries and wounds. That you can see past the fortresses you've constructed for protection. That you can see past the places that are hollow and empty and arrive at the place where your pure potential still exists, where your heart is still open and alive and full, and where there's nothing but endless possibility.

Destination or Foundation

I have thought of my spirituality in some ways as a destination - part of the direction in which I'm heading. But I can more clearly see that it's really the foundation of everything...the thing on which everything is built. A spiritual perspective, that is, one which says there's more to reality than meets the eye, is the the cornerstone of bulding a better quality life...not up in the clouds somewhere, but here on earth, in day-to-day life, in the most ordinary ways, with the most ordinary people.

It's not simply about being a spiritually defined person. It's about connecting with the absolute root of the qualities I want my life infused with. It's about tapping into the source for the sake of elevating the experience of human life. I'm not looking to escape from this human experience now. I had been...have been...tried so hard to. But now I'm looking to return to it fully and completely and with my whole heart.

I just want to bring this other stuff into it. I thought it was a choice - one or the other, and I've been trying to balance being human with being spiritual. But it's not about balance (which is a startling admission from a Libra!). It's about integration. I can see I don't need to choose - I need to bring it all together inside of me, and see what shapes up in the mix.

It's about making absolutely everything better....every moment of experience, every relationship, every interchange and exchange and connection. I can see now...if you try to spiritualize experience without bringing it fully into the human realm then you really have confused the foundation with the destination.

Sacred Space

I have been trying to create a sacred, safe space in my life for as long as I can remember. A space of purity and ease and simplicity, free of stress and complication and difficulty. And I have been doing that by carving out a shrine of sorts in the midst of my own internal reality. I created a space as best I could, reinforced by thick walls to keep out all the distractions of mind and heart.

And it was my retreat place, small and cramped though it always felt. And it was really precious to me, a place I let no one see or visit or even know existed. But it was also isolated and barren ~ hard to let anything in or out, and so it was safe but suffocating. It was a retreat from the world, but not a retreat into a place I wanted to stay for long.

And then in the past few months, an absolute internal earthquake shook the walls of my teeny tiny fortress, cracking the thick foundation, breaking open what I thought was invincible. And, like water seeping through after a storm, love and caring and friendship and concern began to soften the entire structure. And it's been crumbling slowly, slowly, the fortress getter weaker and weaker. The words "stop being so important to yourself and start allowing yourself to be important to me!" having set in motion a cataclysmic change. And then just recently a tidal wave came from within and knocked down the walls once and for all, destroying even the illusion that this small safe haven still existed.

What I am finding in the aftermath of that awesome scene of destruction is that the sacred, safe space I had been craving, needing and desperately holding onto exists, but not in some cramped little corner of my heart. It exists in the company of G*d, in the forcefield of pure love and unconditional giving. And it doesn't belong to me, not in the least little bit. It belongs to every single soul, and is available to each one equally.

So I don't have to separate myself from everyone else to experience it. I don't have to choose you versus me. And the liberation of this awareness is just taking hold in me. I'm just beginning to understand the consequence of this understanding, but already it has righted something that had been painfully wrong for as long as I can remember. I'm finding I can fully inhabit myself now, no holds barred, no hesitation, no timidity, no holding back.

I see myself more clearly than I thought possible, and it's with a lot of mercy and compassion and a level of genuine caring about my own self that I didn't think I was capable of. There have been so many things I fundamentally rejected about myself and my own human condition, but the bitterness and struggle of that reality seems to have left, and it was a change that was overripe for the happening.

I don't believe all the psychologists and counselors and everyone else who says that first you have to love yourself. I don't believe when people say just learn to love yourself and everything follows. Because again and again in my life, it has been the love of others that has opened and changed my heart. The love of G*d, the love of friends traveling with me through eternity, the love of family... This love is what has enabled me to finally arrive at a place where I can feel love for myself, but it's not the place I could ever have started.

I don't know how you start there. Maybe others can do it, but I don't know how. I don't know how you start on empty and magically fill yourself up. Sounds good, but it's never worked for me. So this is partly written in gratitude for those who have shared such pure and powerful love with me that we have both been changed by it. And it's partly written with the understanding that gratitude isn't required...that we have been equally transformed by the experience and instead of standing to the side thinking about all of it, it's time to dig in together and see what's next.

New Return Policy

My father's suicide was the end of one part of a journey and the beginning of another. It was the end of a kind of chaotic craziness that snaked its way into the very heart of me and occupied far too much space for far too long, suffocating every loving need, desire and impulse.

And so his absence - at least the practical, physical absence of him in my life - was a relief. But the residue left behind was thick and tarry and sticky in a way that almost nothing could dissolve. And the light trying to shine through was met with this darkness again and again. And it wasn't mine, but it made a home inside me, and I gave it life and protection long after its owner could claim rights to it. It bent and maybe even broke some places inside of me, but not beyond repair.

The solvent to dissolve this darkness in my life, in me, has recently appeared. And I feel like I'm gulping it down, spilling it all over myself, practically bathing in it, willing the light to shine wherever it possibly can, however it possibly can. I can't begin to identify the components of this darkness - to define or name what's there, and I won't waste time trying.

But I can see the huge distraction that it's been. The way it's defined me and shadowed me, the sorrow that haunted me, the protection I needed and the help I wanted to provide but couldn't offer. But it's not my story anymore. It doesn't belong to me. I'm giving it back. With love and good wishes for healing and light. But it doesn't live here anymore. 17 years later, I'm giving it back. And I'm making room for something new.

Eternal Thread

There is an eternal thread that connects me back all the way to the beginning of myself. It is a thread of pure light, and woven into its stands are purpose, meaning, joy, contentment, love ~ every virtue and quality that a soul could posses or embody. For all the things that have come and gone in my life, this remains unchanging.

Story Telling

Our lives are the stories we tell of it. What we remember and forget, what stands out and what fades away. In the story of my life these days there are just a very few things that stand out in relief against a dreary backdrop of all the things that are invisible to me. There's a lot of sorting out and puzzling through the secrets of the heart.

And sometimes it feels complicated. But I think it's actually a lot more simple than it's appearing. This isn't about saying "no" to anything. It's not about rejection. It's not about stepping back. It's about stepping up finally - stepping forward with confidence and clarity and the absolute love and acceptance that is required for my life to reflect the very best that resides deep within.

There is just this unlimited beauty and love and connectedness waiting for expression, and if I don't make a way for it, it will stay hidden and wasted. And I know that. It's true that a new foundation is being built to support this newer way of being. But there's so much good stuff there already too, and I don't want to discard the invaluable with the worthless. There's a purpose to all of this - a direction, an intention, a reason, a meaning.

I'm looking forward to hearing this story when I get enough perspective to be able to tell it!

Dear Mr. President

"Dear Mr. President"
(PINK, featuring the Indigo Girls)

Dear Mr. President
Come take a walk with me
Let's pretend we're just two people and
You're not better than me
I'd like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly

What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street
Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep
What do you feel when you look in the mirror
Are you proud

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye
How do you walk with your head held high
Can you even look me in the eye
And tell me why

Dear Mr. President
Were you a lonely boy
Are you a lonely boy
Are you a lonely boy
How can you say
No child is left behind
We're not dumb and we're not blind
They're all sitting in your cells
While you pave the road to hell

What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away
And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay
I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye
How do you walk with your head held high
Can you even look me in the eye

Let me tell you bout hard work
Minimum wage with a baby on the way
Let me tell you bout hard work
Rebuilding your house after the bombs took them away
Let me tell you bout hard work
Building a bed out of a cardboard box
Let me tell you bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work
You don't know nothing bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work

How do you sleep at night
How do you walk with your head held high
Dear Mr. President
You'd never take a walk with me

Would You?

Monday, July 10, 2006


I have these cravings lately - maybe the way pregnant women do. But these aren't cravings for pickles or ice cream. They just come up suddenly and unexpectedly, seemingly out of nowhere. They are for the things I've denied myself for-ever. They are for all the things that I've been certain don't belong in my life.

I can't remember quite why I've adopted this strictness of discipline - the sort of rigorous emotional straight-jacketing I thought was required of me. I can't remember, but it's become very deep habit. And these cravings erupt, reminding me of what's starving inside, needing to be fed. I've been like an anorexic - feeling intense emotional hunger, and taking some sort of perverse satisfaction in competely denying myself all the things I really need. As if there's some enviable strength in this kind of perversity. As if I have accomplished something meaningful in negating the reality demanding acknowledgement.

But need unmet for this long is destructive. And I'm not nourished by my denial. I'm not rewarded or renewed by my renunciation. I've been giving up the wrong things for so long, and it's all gotten so fuzzy as to why. No wonder there's been so little creativity...that kind of vibrancy and juiciness have no place to take hold in a barren landscape.

Maybe these are cravings like pregrant women get...maybe this is what happens when you're giving birth to a new you.

Fear of Ordinariness

I think I have a pathological fear of being ordinary. I've always abhored ordinary, average, nice, normal... I've felt horribly insulted to be called nice or sweet, as if the spiciness to which I aspired had been watered down by my wholesome midwestern upbringing.

But the times I've been called nice or sweet are, in fact, very few and far between, most people realizing quickly that I'm neither. And I don't have to hold onto the liferaft of being a particular kind of person to stay outside the limits of "nice." I had a friend of sorts in 7th grade who told a mutual friend our ours that she liked me, but that I was just weird. No chance of being too normal!!

And nothing in my life since has gotten more normal, more nice, more sweet. I don't think there's a chance in hell that I'm going to settle into average anytime soon. And that's just fine. But thinking about this makes me realize that I've tried to institutionalize some who I am - find a place where I fit or belong or can easily label it for convenience. At this point, I belong to myself, I belong to G*d, and I belong to the family of humanity. I don't think I want more limits than that.


I have been funneling every bit of my emotional energy in one particular direction only, and it that has resulted in a system overload of biblical proportions. I have tried to stuff every bit of loving feeling and experience and expression into just one part of my life, and not so suprisingly, it doesn't fit.

I think I've done this before, and always with the same pretty disasterous results. And I feel so out-of-balance when I act this way, 'cause I am really out of balance when this happens. And this kind of emotional chaos is just the worst sort of yuckiness.

In astrology and tarot and these other ancient tools that human beings use to derive meaning, emotion is always symbolized by water. Imagine the consequences of forcing huge swirling volumes of water into one small conduit. First there is a back-up, and then an overflow, and then the entire drainage system collapses.

So in terms of emotion as water, the same thing happens when I try to force every feeling, every experinece into one aspect of my life. I get overwhelmed and overcome, and any natural ability that I have to accomodate myself in my own life stops working. There's all this emotion swirling around, and no outlet for it, and I start to feel like I'm drowning in myself. Which, you can imagine, creates a fair level of panic. And panic is not a place that co-exists with dignity or integrity or joy or peace or humor and any other kind of perspective you can imagine.

I'm not sure if this is a simple plumbing problem, metaphorically speaking. More emotion than outlet, that is. Or if this speaks to a pardigm shift being required on a much larger scale. I'm leaning toward the second very strongly, and will be sure to check in as this unfolds.

Watching Carefully

I've been watching myself lately, a bit in horror, and all sorts of feelings and emotions move through me. I've rejected so many aspects of myself as being non-spiritual or incompatible with my spiritual life and goals. But it's simply not possible to continue to reject the self in any way, and embrace love at the same time.

So I'm trying to be very aware in the midst of what I'm experiencing. I'm working hard to breathe and stay calm and stay present with myself. And when I can do that, I can see that whatever I'm feeling is a balloon at the end of a string that goes way, way back to something else - something old and deep.

I'm not trying to dig things up. I'm not going looking for old habits or feelings. But they keep appearing in my life. They keep appearing as helium balloons, so bright and big that I cannot hope to ignore them. And I can't just pop them and make them disappear. They are demanding attention, filling my field of vision so that I can't see anything else anyway.

So - I've been looking to see where the string holding these balloons is anchored. And it's deep, deep, deep. But there's nothing to do but continue this process. I don't know if at some point these balloons will delight me or if they, as a collective helium balloon bouquet, will lift me up and away from some present reality. Maybe there's some gift here - that what looks like unavoidable pain is ultimately what elevates the soul.

I don't know. But I have to follow this for now and see where it's going. Every time before these balloons have appeared I have disappeared. I have removed myself further and further from my own life, squeezing myself out to make room for them. And I always thought they were brought to me by someone else cluttering up my space and complicating my life. So, of course, I did what I could to distance myself from the person bringing all that clutter with them.

But they have appeared on their own this time. And I think they've actually been invited by me. I've asked them to return and make their presence known. It's time for everything hidden to become visible and clear, no matter how I feel about it, no matter how much it seems incompatible with who I have wanted to be, no matter what it requires to acknowledge it and stay present and not run away.

This is where any spiritual practice starts to be relevant. Not in what I have to share with others, but in the way I live, in the way I breathe, in who I am.