Saturday, March 31, 2007

Doing What I Never Do

Tonight I did what I never do. Charles invited me to an art exhibit, and I accepted! And not only did I go, but I loved it. I thought I was going to see the sculpture of a particular artist, but it turned out to be the 2007 Undergraduate Exhibition of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The original and incredibly diverse works of a couple hundred students filled two huge floors of a loft-style building, and by the time we left, there was a line of people at the door waiting to get in.

I loved some of it, didn't love some of it, and some of it left me indifferent. But the students themselves were captivating ~ I found it impossible to be indifferent to them. Their energy, enthusiasm, and originality swirled through the crowded and overheated space, filling it with some fundamentally funkified vibe. And it got me thinking about what completely excites and entrances me.

First is truthfulness. I love people speaking truth...their truth, the ultimate truth, the final truth, the relative truth, the unexpected truth, my truth, the scary truth, the comforting truth, the whole truth. I do love it most when it surprises me, touches me and makes me laugh.

And second is originality. I love the original expression of energy. I don't particularly care how it emerges - what it looks like - I just love when I see it, hear it, experience it. I love when someone, anyone, brings something new into the world, into my awareness, into my sense of possibility. And it doesn't happen all that often, so it's an especially valuable commodity. I love when some original energy emerges because after that, everything changes.

So it was great to step into a space full of so many varieties of truth and originality. I don't know if this means I'll start going to museums. In museums there so often a sense of how you're supposed to value the art they've already chosen for you. But I think I might give a bit more of this a try. See what being around creative, original energy inspires.

Friday, March 30, 2007


Amazing how easy it is to get nostalgic the minute it comes time to say good-bye. Even when you've set the ending in motion, even when you know exactly why it's time to move on, even when you know how good and important it is to move forward, it's easy to get nostalgic.

Maybe it's the place deep inside of each of us that knows whatever unfolds in our lives, no matter how it looks, results from our own choices. And so we're saying good-bye to a creation of our own making. Gratitude, appreciation, recognition - all good antidotes to the temptation to hold on when good-bye is inevitable.

I'm Done

I’m done. I’m done being an archaeologist, a paleontologist, sorting through the past looking for meaning. I’ve searched through the recent past, the distant past and the ancient past, sifting through the shards and fragments, the dirt and dust of my own personal history, looking for hidden significance in each memory, each experience, each relationship.

I’ve found invaluable information. Clues and hints about who I am and why. I’ve discovered endless details about what has shaped me into who I am today. But the search through my past ends here. The endless excavation is over.

I’ve understood and explained and uncovered and discovered and investigated and explored everywhere I could think of. I’ve made sense of sorrow and confusion and chaos and tragedy. And it’s all meant something. Which I appreciate deeply and reverently.

But nothing means as much as the meaning I’m making in my life right now, right here, as it unfolds before me. Nothing in the past means more than the present, more than reality as it emerges from within me, taking shape in the real world in new experiences, new relationships and a new me.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Why I Had to Fall in Love

I had to fall in love. I had to find out what it would feel like, what I would be like, after all this time, in the midst of this emotional sea. I had to find out so many things without there being any real potential for devastating consequences…
  • I had to see if I could open my heart again to something other than G*d
  • I had to know that I could love without making someone pay a terrible price for getting close to me
  • I had to see what had been hidden away that I really wanted to share
  • I had to find out what else I wanted to share along with my heart (open my heart, open my arms, open my mind, open my home…?)
  • I had to know that this was a choice I wanted to make, not simply a compulsion I couldn’t resist
  • I had to find a way to turn to disgust into acceptance into grace
  • I had to leave judgment aside – judging others for the potential harm they might do me and rejecting parts or all of them because of it
  • I had to find out that connection is better than no connection
  • I had to learn that G*d isn’t standing over me with a switch, waiting to punish me for being true to myself
  • I had to accept my own nature without reservation or hesitation
  • I had to remember how much physical touch means to me – how much it soothes my emotional core
  • I had to remember that for all of my spiritual experience, what I love is life and people and it’s where I’m most alive
  • I had to know that everything changes, everything is fluid, and that I am as well. That I don’t need a fixed point of relationship perfection upon which to stop.
  • That I can do this. That I can be part of this world, and that this is where I shine, not in the darkness of some dimly lit meditation room, sending all my energy to a world beyond this one.
  • I had to start enjoying being in this body, accepting that pleasure isn’t just a sinful indulgence that leads to certain downfall.
  • That other people, other human beings, have so much to teach me, so much to share with me, so much of their own beauty, and how to accept the blessing of their love in my life
  • That my life is not in constant conflict with my own values
  • That I can connect with others even before I reach a point of completion within myself and that it’s ok for people to see and know that
  • That I don’t have to wait until I’m fearless to move forward with even just a little bit of courage
  • That it’s not the worst possible thing in the world be emotionally open to someone else; it might be one of the best…
  • That sharing my heart doesn’t require that I give it away wholesale
  • That love – real love – cannot exist where there’s no respect. Self respect and respect for another are the constant companions of the kind of love I value
  • That I have a great appreciation for souls who know their own worth and value and stand firm within it
  • That karma doesn’t override choice
  • To know that I am the holder of the truest part of me and to stop expecting others to reveal it to me
  • That this is where things get really good

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Thank You, Australia

Thank you, Australia. Thank you for everything.

For the hot sunny days that warmed me in places I didn't know I had grown cold.

For the cool green grass to dig my toes into, absorbing and soothing my own chaotic energy.

For the woman who visited Osh Kosh, Wisconsin, and was so excited to meet someone who knew where that was.

For the shop owner who thought carrying a 'Banana Guard' was a good idea to help folks protect their...bananas.

For the sweet doggies I turned out not to be very allergic to at all.

For all the strangers I met who were cheery and friendly and curious and helpful and relaxed and didn't feel like strangers at all.

For the birds flying around that seem so exotic in their cages here, and are so free in nature there.

For so much space and not too many people to fill it up.

For the thunderstorms breaking the heat, placating the drought a little, and clearing the air.

For the train system that was so easy to navigate that I never got lost.

For being a world away and still feeling like home.

For your incredible generosity in letting me come and just sit and be and think and feel and not need anything much in return.

For the spectacular memento of my journey there that sits on my bookshelf here.

For the guys out on a 'buck's night' that made me feel like the most touristy of tourists ever.

For the amazing ripe fruit, so juicy and delicious.

For 'Kath & Kim'...noice!

For the friends I have and the friends I made.

For the endless and endlessly gorgeous coastline.

For all the yummy (vegetarian) food.

For so generously returning the part of myself that I left there last time and desperately needed back.

For the great coffee shops where you can just sit and be and no one minds at all.

For all the slang I'm still trying to learn (but will never use, I promise).

For summer when it's winter everywhere else.

For being exactly what I needed but wasn't sure I'd find.

Thank you, Australia. Thank you for everything.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Slip Sliding...

My writing feels too removed...ideas about experience instead of experience itself. Soon though.

Getting words to slide right into the center of me, instead of getting stuck in my mind. Or getting words to slip right out of the center of me.

Uncensored, unedited, unself-conscious. Words reflecting the pure ease of being. Or the ease of pure being. The words keep changing as I do. More raw. More real.

Monday, March 19, 2007


I have a very devotional nature, which for some reason I didn’t notice until just now. I guess it’s what motivated me to dedicate my life to G*d, and shows up in various ways in my closer relationships.

Devotion is deep love, commitment to some purpose, maybe the need to serve God and others. I think it got all smushed up, my love for G*d fueling my sense of commitment to being of service, which gave meaning to my life. ‘Cause I genuinely like to help, to make things better, to fix what’s broken, to bring order to chaos, to provide comfort. It makes me feel good – it makes me feel better.

I’m no kind of saint, and there’s plenty of helping to be done that I’m not the right person for. But since I was young and looking for the Truth, I knew that if I found it I would dedicate myself to it completely. Which I did, in my own way. But I’ve gotten sidetracked here and there, mixing up Truth with lots of other good stuff that wasn't Truth at all.

Spiritual devotion is one thing. Add in the more human and emotional aspects, and it begins to look different. But no matter what, I need some constructive outlet for that devotional nature. And now that I understand what it is a little better, I think I can finally do something useful with it that I enjoy.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Not Trying; Being

I’ve tried to be so many things at different times in my life, but no more trying – just being at this point. I only have my own story to tell, and I think it’s time to tell it, time to admit the absolute reality of who I am, how I am. They say G*d loves an honest heart, so He’s gotta love me to pieces.

22 years ago, I found myself in a place of pure safety and spirituality, and was happy to do so. I wanted the protection of rules and regulations, of policies and procedures, for every aspect of my life. I wanted to know how to think and speak and act in accordance with the highest spiritual laws in existence, and how to wed my heart completely with G*d’s. I wanted to know exactly how to become free from sorrow here and now, how to transcend the misery of ordinary human existence, and how to elevate the most mundane to the most sacred.

I wanted to know all of that, and I think I learned it actually. I think I learned exactly that, and I’m quite certain I’m better for it in every way. I am better for the years of discipline, obedience, cleanliness, surrender, celibacy, vegetarianism, meditation, study, spiritual retreat, teaching, etc. I am better for every second that I gave over to G*d and spirituality, better for every moment of purity and powerful understanding that I gained. The accumulation of virtues and qualities have served me well again and again and again.

I cannot begin to find fault with the absolute beauty of this way of being, this way of thinking, this way of becoming. I cannot find fault with my spiritual brothers and sisters who have embarked equally sincerely on a journey to their own betterment, their own perfection. I cannot find fault with all those contemplating this journey or those well along the way because I understand the need, the desire, the impetus that makes this journey an absolute necessity. I could have done nothing else at the time, and have no regrets.

I just know my own journey is now moving in a different direction, one I’m more interested in than anything I can ever remember, and one that feels more real and more right than I had hoped.

I’ve been running away from the truth of myself, certain that my spiritual goals and personal goals were so incompatible that I had to give up on the personal goals. And that lasted for a long time, certain that the spiritual sacrifice of overcoming my own ego, my own desire, was more important that making my dreams come true. I was certain that my spiritual effort was enough to overcome any unhappiness I created for myself, and that G*d would make my dreams come true, even the ones I wouldn't admit I had.

But this isn't what G*d does. What He does is purify energy, restoring it to it's original perfect state. So it doesn't make much sense to hand my fantasies over to Him, hoping that He'll pick up where I left off 'cause I don't have the energy to continue. These are my dreams, and pretty nice ones at that. And they need my energy, my direction, my input. And most of all, they need me to live them.

(My) Conversations with G*d

  • There will be no one before You, G*d. I am giving You my heart and soul completely and only, 100%. I will love only You, and it’s Your love that will move through my life.
  • I’ll only love You. But you don’t mind if I have friends and share that love with them, right? Your love is supposed to be shared, right…? I promise this won’t interfere with anything else I’m supposed to be doing. I think.
  • Ummm…I’m not sure how well this is working for me. I absolutely love You, and want to love only You. I have made this promise for a lifetime, and seem to suck at loving other people, but I don’t know that this is really working for me. I feel a little stuck here. But I’m sure this will work out. I just need to try harder and understand deeper.
  • OK. I totally love You. Just You. Really. Maybe I love my family a little too, and the little kids are pretty great. And I kinda love my friends. And this entire on-line community I’ve immersed myself in (but don’t tell anyone). And I’ve met this guy on-line who I think I’ve known for lifetimes who’s also pretty lovable. And I feel a little more lovable myself with him. But all love comes from You anyway, right? This is just Your love moving through me, so I’m sure all these other relationships are just the stuff of spiritual service to humanity. Like I promised. I think.
  • I keep talking to this guy and am soooooo enjoying his company. Probably way too much, actually. But I won’t love him. Or maybe I will, but just a little bit, so You’ll hardly notice. I mean, we’re supposed to love all of humanity, right? And he’s part of that, so I’m sure this is fine. And we’re just friends, so it won’t interfere with any of the other promises I’ve made. Right? Right? Must be right.
  • I think I might be loving this guy a little bit more than I’m loving a lot of other things about my life right now. I’m certainly loving who/how I am in relationship with him, and that can’t be good. I should probably stop talking with him. Except I don’t want to. Shoot. What do I do with that?
  • OK. I’ve got it all figured out. This’ll be really easy. I’ll just love this one guy. I don’t want to break my promises to You, so I’ll just love this one guy and no one else, and You’ll hardly notice, and then I’ll get right back to taking care of my spiritual life. That should be ok, right? Loving him won’t interfere with anything – I can still be celibate and keep all my yogi disciplines. What an elegant solution. Except ~ I don’t think any of this is working anymore actually.
  • I do love You. Really. That’s true. I just seem to be wanting to love a lot more than You. And while I’ve tried to love just this one guy, it’s a bit of a disaster. Our relationship doesn’t really work very well this way, me deciding he’ll be the one person I can safely love without jeopardizing my spiritual commitments. It’s too much pressure, too much focus, too much intensity and too much expectation. And it’s killing the fun. And it’s making me crazy.
  • I’m not enjoying how this is working out. My elegant solution isn’t a solution to anything other than trying to keep a promise to You that I don’t want to keep. My ‘solution’ is just keeping me fundamentally dishonest with myself about who I am. And it’s making the focus of this journey about this guy and our relationship, which isn’t actually what any of this is about. And I think we’re both starting to hate the way things feel between us, which is a shame since somewhere underneath it all there’s so much love.
  • I don't think this is what You ever were asking of me. I don't think this is the promise You needed me to make. I don't think pretending is a spiritual virtue.
  • OK. I’m putting an end to this craziness I started. I can’t do this anymore. I love You. Always and forever, but not the way I was trying so hard to love You. Just naturally, from my heart, however I do. And I love this guy too, but not only, and not the way I was trying so hard to love him. Just naturally, from my heart, however I do. And most importantly, I love myself here too, and not the way I was trying so hard to do. Just naturally, from my heart, however I do.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I feel like I’ve finally gotten rid of an awful parasite. Tapeworms are disgusting intestinal parasites that attach themselves to their hosts, and then proceed to feed off them, diverting nutrients, and depleting energy reserves. Returning from my lovely, lovely, lovely vacation, I feel like I’m free of some energetic parasite that had been robbing me of emotional energy, stability and stamina. It has somehow been eradicated from my system, finding me now as its host inhospitable and incompatible with its endless need. Finally.

All that awful confusion, emptiness, neediness, etc., that has haunted me seems to have been left behind, maybe burned away by the hot Australian sun, or left in the baggage hold during my long journey. However, wherever it went, I don’t care. At least not for the moment. I'll figure that out later. I’m just glad it has left. I feel back to myself again, but a better self and a happier self, and maybe most importantly, a freer self. Finally.

That emotional parasite ate away at my confidence, self-esteem, humor, perspective, joy, understanding, love, generosity, acceptance of me and others. It kept me locked up in a claustrophobic little space of fear and insecurity, too tired and overwhelmed to free myself, and too confused to see my way out. But now it’s gone, cleared out of my system, leaving room for all the better stuff – the more real stuff. Finally.

I actually found myself singing “Zippity-Do-Da” on my walk to work today, and thought this must be the sound of joy; when your heart has a song in it and it just comes out of your mouth just for the sake of wanting expression. I’m so glad to have made it to this side of things. Finally.

Thursday, March 8, 2007


They are falling away, like icicles melting in the sun, my sweet little fantasies (and the big ones too), dripping away into oblivion, their form and structure reduced to nothing more than tears, salty water carrying away a lifetime of fear, disappointment and over-burdened expectation.

And it’s really not this big dramatic scene like I thought it would be. But it still means something – a lot actually. Which is nice, ‘cause I want meaning in my life. Just not manufactured meaning.

There is a lot of lightness and easiness and joy that’s been trying to get out from under all the too-serious concern and the entombed fantasies that took me hostage. All this feeling, this emotion, that seemed so complicated, is pretty simple stuff. It’s just energy and it just needs to flow. No complication at all really until it gets all dammed up, and then the pressure builds. And then it IS complicated, ‘cause then I have to act like some engineer, operating complex mechanics that I don’t begin to understand, regulating far too much that should be natural.

It’s going to take a little bit of time ‘till I get graceful with all of this. I think I’ll give it until 1:00 today. Because things that seem like they need a lot of time often don’t, and it helps me a lot to have an actual deadline that I can get organized around. 1:00 worked pretty well last time.

I think the hard work has already been done anyway. This just the re-organizing, re-adjusting part, the straightening up and setting things right part, and a few hours is more than enough time for that.

It's Up To Me

It's obviously up to me. Clearly my choice. I just have to be willing to make it, which I have avoided at all costs. But ain't no one gonna do it for me. So - ok. Yes. My decision is yes. I keep waiting for lightening to strike or buildings to fall on my head or '666' to magically appear on my forehead, but nothing like that has happened at all. I say "yes'. And the reply back is "ok then. Well done." Was it always this simple?

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

The Amazing Invisible Woman

I have sought invisibility for so long that I almost believed its what I wanted. I have disappeared from so many people and so many situations, even while in the midst of them. Had I been a magician, my disappearing trick would have won rave reviews.

But I don’t want to be invisible; I spent most of that time waiting to be noticed anyhow. I want to be seen and heard and understood and known. And I want to offer the same confirmation of being to others.

What we seem to suffer from most in the Western world is a great invisibility of being. Others can see our cars, our houses, our spouses, our children, our clothes, our bodies, our professional qualifications, our diplomas, our resumes, our possessions, our failings, but don’t see the place of pure being.

Having that acknowledged, accepted and embraced, even once, changes everything. It’s the moment where hope turns into possibility, where experience turns into understanding, and where we come back alive again.

Saying Yes

I can live in someone else's world for a little while, but I always have to come back to myself. Back to the place where things feel right for me. I have been waiting for a long time for someone to step up and make it okay for me to be who I am, but it's not happening. I'm the one who's got to say 'yes' if it's going to happen.

How much better to embrace who I am than to walk around with the constant question mark in my eyes, watching to see if this is finally the person/place/thing that's going to make me being me be ok. Being pulled outside myself so much just to get a reflection back of who I am is crazy-making. And even worse, it doesn't work.

I am surrounded by absolutely wonderful people, and the reflection I get back from each one is slightly different but equally marvelous, and it's still not the answer I'm seeking. I will never believe another person's perception of me more than my own, which is why it's got to come straight from me, and not through the filter of another, no matter how much I crave/enjoy/appreciate what I see.

Cynicism, sarcasm, detachment, indifference, analyzing, intellectualism, judgement and disdain have been great dividers in my life, keeping me from having to admit just how much like the rest of the human family I am. I have kept my distance, believing it to be some talisman with magical powers that would keep me safe from my own or others' weaknesses. But I think it's simply time to give some space in my life - my heart - for others. And without all the rules and restrictions, without all the impositions I've forced on others about who I am and how they must relate to me.

So now it's just a matter of admiting all of this, first to myself...the dreams and hopes and aspirations, and then working on bringing them to life. I don't know how else to live my way into my own potential and truly enjoy seeing others do the same for themselves.