Monday, December 19, 2011

Knowing When to Stop

When you get tired of beating your head against a wall, maybe just stop doing that.  Maybe step away from the wall and stop using your head as some kind of weapon. There is no virtue in self-destruction, and doing it in the name of determination, persistence or courage doesn't make it work better.

Missing the Point

By focusing completely on goals, you crowd out the infinite possibility awaiting you, better than any goal, and then wonder why there is so much force, anxiety and tiredness in your efforts.

Friday, December 9, 2011


Over-focusing on things of the heart can make us too vulnerable and soft. Over-focusing on things of the mind can make us too sharp and dry. The balance of head and heart creates rich, fertile soil in the soul, a fertile garden where the seeds of change can take root and ultimately bear fruit in our lives.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


When death comes, there is no getting over it or moving on from the people we love, who have danced through the landscape of our souls, shaping and molding us with their love and presence. Maybe all we can do is cherish the best of the memories, and live life in honor of everything good we shared, and continue the legacy of that goodness. And maybe the pain and sorrow don't diminish, but that there's room for joy in the midst of it still, the kind of joy their memory keeps alive.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Curiosity is essential on the spiritual journey. Curiosity can take us further than courage, ambition, determination and will power, and keep us lighthearted in the process. An open heart requires a curious mind.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


When you are responsible for something, but abdicate that responsibility, and then find yourself disappointed by those who did not handle said responsibility well, you must turn to yourself for blame. You cannot criticize them for doing poorly what you should have done well.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Freedom of Choice

You are not actually required to re-act to everything that happens around you. It's just find to do nothing, wait, think about your next step, and maybe even then, still do nothing. Freedom of choice lies in action, not re-action.

Overcoming Fear

When the concerning circumstances all around us pull me toward disappointment and fear, I remind myself that the only way I can make a real difference in the world is by the person I choose to be and the life I create for myself. I remind myself this every second of every date lately, and it always helps.

Spiritual Experience

You don't have a soul; you are a soul. And spirituality isn't a class or an experience; it's day-to-day life shaped by that knowledge.

The Power of Purpose

There is great power in being surrounded by people who share your purpose. It's impossible to do it alone.

Diving Deep

Psychological and mental complexity are not natural states of being. We may have the habit of entertaining the drama that arises from complication, but solutions and transformation happen in the deep, cool waters of a quiet mind. Do you know how to dive deep?

Transcending Fear

There is so much to be afraid of if you spend too much time and energy looking at the world around you, and all the things that don't work, you can't control and you can't fix. And there is so much power, energy and purpose available if you look within. And that's where any real change begins anyway. It's not in the world; it's in us.

The Throne of Self Respect

The one seat you must never leave is the throne of self respect. If you don't feel comfortable there, find someone who does and learn from them. Aligning your thoughts, words, actions and intentions can only start from a place of self-respect.


It is not that spiritual practice frees you from suffering, but it frees you from being defined by your suffering. This distinction makes all the difference.

Forgiveness and Healing

There is no forgiveness without healing first. You cannot be generous with someone who has hurt you until you have some relief from your own pain.


True humility means accurately valuing the gifts of the spirit we have been blessed with. Not over or undervaluing them, nor pride of ownership. It means understanding that I'm a trustee of these great gifts, and that my greatest joy will always be when I use the gifts I have well, and share them with others.

Full Potential

Are you one of those people who say "I'd like to meditate, but I can't quiet my mind." Or maybe you just fall asleep? Meditation doesn't mean boring emptiness. It is a naturally powerful state of mind. It's not about turning thoughts off, but the way into harnessing their full potential.

Practical Spirituality

Spirituality isn't a way of checking out of real life. It's not an excuse to avoid the complexities of being human. It just means you acknowledge the reality of yourself and others as spiritual beings as well as human beings, and you're willing to take this into consideration in everything you do.


Every thing in this physical world, from its moment of conception/inception, is marching surely toward its own end. Unless some outside force acts upon it to create regeneration, entropy is absolutely inevitable. It is only the infusion of some completely new energy that reverses the process of decay. Meditation is the the connection with that Source, that completely new energy that revitalizes, refreshes and renews.

Questions and Answers

The person who changes your life the most will always be the one who asks the right questions, not the one who has all the answers.

Change Demands Change

Change demands change. If you are disappointed, disgusted or unhappy with your life, your circumstances, or your relationships, the first place change starts is with you. And if you're certain you're doing everything in a way that gives you joy, peace and contentment, but are still unhappy with the world around you, then consider changing your relationship with that world, and finding a way to share your joy, peace and contentment.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Immediately Noticeable

It is immediately noticeable when someone has devoted time and attention to developing their character. 

It is immediately noticeable when someone understands the power and value of personal growth, and is intentional about challenging every limitation they encounter, whether from within or without.

It is immediately noticeable when someone recognizes that bad habits and personality aren't the same and they make concerted effort to change those bad habits into something useful instead.

It is immediately noticeable when someone lives in complete congruity - when their thoughts, words, actions and relationships all flow from the same centered place of character and integrity.

It is immediately noticeable when someone has self-respect, self-confidence and self-esteem because they treat you the same way.

It is immediately noticeable when someone values themselves because they will always find something to value in you too.

And it is immediately noticeable when they don't.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

What Now?

Life is uncertain.  I'm not the first to notice this, and for eons, people have been building the kinds of structures, institutions and superstitions designed to make life sensical, predictable, manageable and understandable.  It's the never-ending quest to be certain that if one simple does x,y or z, there will be protection from uncertainty.

Pray the right way, invest the right way, wear the right clothes, eat the right food, live in the right neighborhood, employ the right security measures, say the right polite words, have the right attitude, exercise the right name it and there's a 'right way' to do anything and everything.

And the right way is different depending on your culture, religion, socio-economic status, gender, nationality, political affiliation, education, and on and on and on. 

I've been so certain I found the 'right way' that I lived according to it unquestioning, safe from uncertainty, but also cut off from most of human experience.  No real choices to make, and a great sense of security within that, but also feeling kind of dead most of the time.  And angry and frustrated too.

The thing is, there is no certainty.  There are moments in time that are safe and predictable, and there are some things we can control, but so much is beyond us, and the trick isn't to control more and more of what's in our lives, but to be to experience with the absolute security and safety of the one thing we can know, which is who we are and what we are about.

So right now in my life, I'm settling down in a way I didn't think would ever happen, and I've got some space, literally and figuratively, that I want to fill.  I haven't had that space before, and I think figuring out what belongs in it will be the next big adventure.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

If He Loved Me, I Wouldn't Have to Tell Him...

Women have such a naive fantasy that if someone loves us, truly cares about us, that they will understand us and anticipate our needs, wants and requirements. I have been guilty of this again and again myself.

And it is pretty much never the case.  Because what it means to understand me, really understand me, means to connect with me emotionally, intimately and personally, and also spiritually.  And this is a place that not very many men, not very many people, can join me. 

There are some.  I'm not a special prophet or something.  But I have a particular love for and receptivity to G*d, and no human relationship trumps that.  And that's not something your average guy is going to get, no matter how much they like me.

I get it now.  And I'm ok with that.  I just had to understand it.  Because people can confuse what they like about me spiritually with how they feel about me personally, and it can confuse me too.  So a little clarity is a very good thing.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

You Can't Use the "G" Word

I've been told time and again that you can't use the "G" word.  Which means they are saying that I can't talk about G*d.  I've been hearing this for almost 30 years now, people warning me away from mentioning G*d, saying it's too scary, too religious, too heavy with implied meaning, too traditional, too old-fashioned, and that's just for starters.

I'm so sad at all the ways religion has destroyed the name of G*d for so many of us, sad at all the ways that it means something bad, awful, negative, hurtful, hateful, destructive, meaningless, irrelevant, restrictive, and misunderstood.

My own relationship with G*d isn't about religion or even belief.  It's about experience.  The experience of complete belonging, of unconditional love, or unquestioning acceptance, of peace and purity and power, of all the good things ever imagined embodied in one divine being.

So I don't know what to do with people saying I can't use the "G" word.  What else is there to talk about?  What else is there to say?  How could I talk about my life without G*d?  I've tried to accommodate these concerns, dance around the name, use language that might make others more comfortable.

But the reality is that I'm completely comfortable talking about G*d.  I'm even comfortable saying "He", since English offers no better gender-neutral pronoun.  And I think if I get distracted by everyone else's limitations, I can't express what I have to share.  Otherwise I'll have no room to just be able to talk, use ordinary language and normal conversation to communicate.

I don't know the way around this, so I'm just going to have to go through it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Do you get mad?  Probably.  Who doesn't?  I wonder sometimes at just exactly what happens to me when, in an absolute split second, white hot rage sears through me in an explosion of angry-ness.

And I know the correct word is anger, not angry-ness, but that's what it feels like, and it's completely beyond my control.  I can mostly control what I do with and about that rage, but I seem to have no control over its presence.

If you've ever had serious acid indigestion, where acid spills out of the safe container of the stomach and spews up into your esophagus, throat and mouth, burning every soft mucous membrane along the way, you have some idea of how powerful rage can burn, and how much beyond any control it feels. 

I have practiced a kind of meditation for years that says that anger isn't a natural human state, but it's what happens when we are out of balance and out of connection with the pure love and peace of our true and eternal state of being.  And I don't disagree even a little.  I agree completely. But I know how angry I can get and how quickly it can happen, and I have to say it's one helluva hard habit to kick.

I don't do drama.  I rarely, if ever, act on that anger, at least not without waiting until I can think clearly again and understand why it's so intense.  But I cannot believe its power and presence.  And how quickly it separates me from those whom I otherwise feel warm or kind or loving towards.  Because when I get angry, and it feels like that anger is burning up inside of me, I want to get as far away from the trigger as possible.  Which means there's a chance if I'm angry, you'd never know.  I'm just gone.

I'm drawing no conclusions here, no judgements of even any real understanding.  Just observing myself and how far I've come and yet I'm still in so many of the same places I've been.

Emotion and spirit and so interconnected, and yet not the same.  And there are spiritual traditions that say emotion is just reaction, and spiritual power means always choosing your response to situations, not merely reacting.  And it sounds right.  It sounds great.  But life isn't some sterile theoretical environment.  It's messy and tricky and unclear most of the time.

So I won't consider anger a failure, but a chance to learn more about myself, who I am and who I want to be.  But I think, in the meantime, don't make me mad.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


There has been a huge emptiness within me for such a long time I can't remember it another way.  And various people and things have come along and filled up that space, and I have moved out of the way to accommodate their presence.  I have stepped aside and given over what belongs to me willingly and without hesitation.

But this model simply doesn't work any more.  I am full now.  I am full of myself, my own energy completely inhabiting every inch of myself, every inch of my life.  There's no room for a succubus to hide away and feed off of what doesn't belong to it.  There's no room for entities and ghosts of the past and of sorrow to reside within any part of my mind or heart or psyche.

I have taken it all back, and I'm full, satiated, settled, complete.  Not done.  Not over.  Just full.  And joy drips from the simple sensation of contentment and belonging and purpose.  And empty vessel makes a terrible noise.  A full vessel makes none.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I Wonder...

I have a dear friend that I love.  I know I love, but I wonder...  I wonder how much my affection is mixed up with a certain kind of uncomfortable familiarity that reminds me of my father, a certain sort of chaotic energy that I 'get', not because I like it, but because I know it and have accommodated it in order to accommodate a relationship that I couldn't bear otherwise?

I wonder about the foundation of my affection, and that makes me kind of sad, to question the nature of the friendship.  There is lots of love.  But also confusion and chaos and discomfort.  And I hope, hope, hope that I am not ignoring something important about myself to enjoy this friendship, discounting something integral about me to make room for it.  And that I'm strong and emotionally healthy enough to know the difference, to appreciate what I can, and step away from what I should.

I worry that I get mixed up with the people I love the most.  That my porous boundaries will betray me in some way that ultimately destroys everything I've worked for, that on some level my coolness is masking a desperation to connect that I have never admitted to myself, and so I am always just one move away from the destruction of everything I've worked for.

I've constructed a life of clarity and integrity and insight and calm, but I always wonder if, just underneath all of that, is my complete undoing at falling utterly and ridiculously in love.  I've avoided the temptation, skipped past the danger, zoomed around the edges but with sufficient distance to feel safe. 

But I'm not sure how long I will be able to hold on to so much measured interaction, such detached observance, such nonchalance before I succumb to something else.

Monday, May 30, 2011

I Quit

Dear G*d:

I quit.  I have tried to mold my internal reality to a spiritual identity that doesn't suit me very well at all.  It never did.  It protected me in the ways that I was psychically and emotionally wounded and vulnerable, and I'm eternally grateful for what it did offer.

But it came at the cost of my own identity and any kind of original, creative self-expression.  It cam at the price of shoving myself into little boxes with clear, sharp outlines, defining me in ways that felt so violating and suffocating and yet inevitable. 

I knew humility and detachment demanded that I give up the urge to be truer to myself, and that there was no greater cause for which I could sacrifice the mundane needs of my own ego.  But I was never at home in that environment.  I never relaxed into to the role, never accepted its limitations as permanent.

I thought it was what You wanted, and for You I would do anything.  I did do anything.  Or should I say there was so much I didn't do for You - so much I gave up and ignored and avoided.  I didn't even acknowledge so much of what exists in the world since it conflicted with what I wanted to do for You.  And in that small way, I was content with my choice, content with choosing You over everything and everyone.

But at this point, with some clearer perspective and the passage of time and reality falling all around me, I can't quite remember how this made so much sense and for so long.  I can only imagine how terrified I was if those choices seemed the safe and right ones, how I was willing to trade dead inside for afraid. 

People do it all the time in the name of G*d and religion.  They build walls so high and secure that it seems all evil has been banished, and that it is the most right thing to do.  But evil isn't so simple, and walls never keep it out.  Mostly they keep it in, because it doesn't come from some external enemy at all.  It's the weaknesses in our own hearts and minds, and trying to hold such tight control is only just exhausting, not effective.

I am not a prophet.  I do not speak for You and I cannot begin to know what Your children, in all their myriad needs, require.  But I know that Your love isn't predicated on me making some horrible Sophie's choice between who I am at my best, engaged and warm and loving, and some kind of cool detachment that keeps me distant most of all from myself.

I know that relationship with You is about fulfilling potential, about awakening and caring for the gifts You blessed us with with, about accepting our place among the family of humanity and caring enough to make a difference. 

So I quit.  I quit the detached, uninterested, purely spiritual, it's all illusion anyway approach to life.  And I'm digging in - to the dirt and the soil and the messy-ness and whatever else is going to show up.  I can do this.  I have You, so I know anything is possible.  And I know that doing nothing isn't an option any more.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


I love men.  I love masculine energy.  And I love the differences between the sexes.  I love what we bring out in each other, and how the soul, bathed in the hormones that belong to each of our particular bodies, influence how we engage with each other.

And for years and years, and I do mean years, I have put that love of men aside, concentrating instead on my love of G*d.  And my love for G*d is pretty big.  It had, for a very long time, become everything to me.  But I find that it isn't sufficient for everything. It is sufficient for all the things it is - but so insufficient for what it isn't.

I miss who I am in relationship with men.  I miss the energy of exploring relationships and connections and possibilities where the only thing you can really know is yourself.  I miss that feeling of how satisfying it is to make a place of comfort and belonging for a man, for that kind of taking care that women especially seem to enjoy.  I miss the excitement of discovery in relationship in all the ways it unfolds.

I miss the satisfaction that comes from cooking and cleaning and showing love in all sorts of practical little ways, of letting someone know how special they are, and that they are special to you.  And I miss being that myself.

I know there's nothing perfect about human love.  I know that the only eternal, unchanging and perfect love is G*d's love.  But what would I be if I didn't share that a little wider than the circle of my own small heart?  I don't think even G*d would be happy about that.

Bound to the Earth

Astrologically speaking, I'm a fairly earthy person.  I have two planets tightly conjoined in Taurus, and three others in Virgo, also in close conjunction, and all these planets trine each other.  Meaning there is great harmony among the earthy and practical energies in my life.  And yet.

And yet I have spent years reaching up, trying to free myself from the bonds of earthly, human life, hoping to liberate myself of the ordinariness of daily living and the trappings of my body, and its needs and requirements and all the ways I have to take care of it.  And most importantly, wanting to be free of the dependencies that creates on others.  I have hoped my spiritual effort would be enough to elevate me beyond such things, connecting me instead to the Divine, the non-physical, the purely eternal.

But recently, very recently actually, something slipped inside and turned around when I wasn't paying a lot of attention, and suddenly I like the whole aspect of this earthiness, of being bound to the earth, being a part of this planet, this family of humanity.  It can be a messy business, but I'm not sure what else exactly I should be doing instead.

Maybe if I stop trying to escape the inevitable reality of human nature, I can be useful in ways that I've avoided before.  I can dive in and have a voice and make a difference.  And I can find places where I belong and people with whom I belong, and let others know they have a place too.

I'm not sure how this happened.  But I want to dig my toes into the earth, wiggle them around, claim some land as being mine, not just keep waiting for it all end so I can be done thinking about it.  My absolute certainty about my future is gone, but the possibilities in its place feel like they've actually got room for all of me.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Only Way I Know

I'm an observer.  I watch people and keep an eye on what's happening around me, noticing all sorts of details and nuances and energies floating around, trying to get a handle on what I'm dealing with, knowing that the obvious is often the least interesting thing going on.

It doesn't happen on purpose.  It's just how I take in information, how I understand the world and the people in it.  I'm not suspicious exactly, just not very trusting of what I see on the surface.  And like a dog with an extra sense of smell, I sniff out what's underneath the interaction, the exchanges, the conversations.

And like a dog who will sniff away at something invisible to humans, I see the invisible energy passing through people, between people, within people.  Which sometimes makes it hard for me to pay attention to the obvious stuff - to the words and the stories that are supposed to tell me who someone is.  But I can see it anyway.

I know what I can trust and I know what makes sense or doesn't, and I can see if someone's heart is true or their mind is clear.  And when I can't, I just keep watching, waiting for the way into greater understanding.  It doesn't always come.  And when it doesn't, I know enough to leave things alone, not try too hard, to not push where I don't belong.

Which is why I'm not an easy socializer, someone who just likes to hang out with a bunch of folks, swapping stories and shooting the breeze.  Because there's so much more grabbing my attention, pulling me into the invisible reality that never goes away.  And I don't need distraction from it.  I'm the fascinated scientist wanting to explore and experiment.

I wish it were a little easier for me to just relax around people, but full on is really the only way I know.  I want to be present - fully present - when I'm present.  And then back to myself when I'm not.  To refresh and restore and rebuild and refresh.  So I'm ready for the next time.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Sometimes the greatest change comes simply by being patient enough to let old habits die and new ones form.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Self Acceptance

Meaningful, real spiritual growth is not possible without self acceptance. All the rest is just trying to manipulate reality with wishful thinking about the things you still cannot bear to acknowledge about yourself.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


A scared child needs comforting, not questions. I think this is also a good approach with grown-ups.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Terrible Habit

I have a terrible habit of playing this punishing game with those who care about me who I want to care about me.  It's a dare of sorts.  Oh yeah - you think you're going to care about me?  Well, fuck-you.  I'm not going to let you care.  I'm not going to let you know I care.  So there.  We'll see who wins this one.

And then I sit back and scrutinize every interaction or lack thereof for clues, trying to figure out what's going on, to see if there's enough caring happening.  And if not, I get panicky.  And if so, I get panicky.  And no matter what, I don't want the game to stop. I don't want you person to get bored or actually stop caring.  And I don't know what to do if you care too much.

Because I want there to be caring and connection, but I can't stand the intimacy, and I also can't stand the isolation.  Which means there's about a micron-thick space between me and you that feels comfortable, and it's certainly not room enough for us both, so I have to keep picking, keep deciding, me or you.  Who am I going to care about today? 

It's a bad game.  There is never a winner.

The Full Picture

It has taken me 46 years to put together the pieces of my life into one cohesive picture, where I can finally see all of it coming together to tell a simple story, but for so long I didn't recognize the simplicity of the story.

All I've been able to see are the disparate pieces, and the ways they didn't fit, not with each other and not with me either.  And I've been so confused by that, not understanding how they could be do disconnected.  How life could feel so foreign and how, for all my competencies and capabilities, there was always underlying fear stopping me from...just about everything.

In the Ramayana, Rama gives Sita a clear message to stay within the safe boundary lines of protection he puts around her.  And she violates that boundary to disastrous consequences.  I was so familiar with disaster beyond my control, and so afraid of disaster of my own making, that I drew a line around myself tight and close, and not only didn't I venture outside of that line, but I never, never let anyone come past it either.  This kind of protection is effective if safety is your only concern.  But it's very lonely too.

If safety is your only concern, then sitting atop a mountain contemplating the nature of G*d makes a lot of sense.  But if you want to get to the heart of G*d, to the heart of yourself, you have to step right into the middle of it all.

I feel like I'm deep in the middle of it all at the moment, but also tangled up in that line of safety and protection still surrounding me.  And I'm trying to cut myself out of the mess of tangled line, but still holding onto the superstition that therein lies my safety.

Human nature is to cope - to manage.  And when faced with extraordinary circumstances, we cope however best we can, and we go on coping, sometimes long after it's required.  And our coping begins to look like who we are.  But it is not.  Who we truly are still exists deep inside, hidden away.  And if we can learn to put aside the coping skills we've relied on, the essential self can still emerge, still shine with pure expression.

I could say I believe the shining light of the soul exists no matter how much darkness covers it.  But I don't believe it.  I know it.  I live it.  I experience it.  Every day in my life.  And I see it in others too.  It's not spiritual belief or psychological understanding.  It is my life.  It is my reality.  It is, more and more, my story, and I'm learning how to tell it with all the pieces put together.

Friday, January 14, 2011

I Love My Body

I love my body.  Not the way you might think.  I don't mean that I love the way my body looks.  At this point in my life especially, I don't.  I'm carrying much more weight than I had, and I don't care for that.  And I've lost some, but not nearly what I need to to feel healthy and good.  But I mean something different than that.

I mean that I love my body - I love the collection of atoms that have collected in various cells, to become various organs and structures and fluids giving me physical life.  They give me a physical, tangible, 3D reality with which to interact with the rest of the 3 dimensional world.  Without them, and the way they form into my body, I'm just a soul, a spirit, unable to participate in life.

We each get one.  A body that is.  And these bodies are our responsibility for as long as we inhabit them.  Which can be such a pain.  Feeding and clothing them takes a lot of time and money and fashion sense.  And getting it from place to place and taking care of it along the way - ugh.  Can you imagine how much easier travel would be if we never had to find a bathroom or worry about an upset stomach or jet lag?

But the upside of all of it is pretty far up.  The upside is the chance to participate in life in 10,000 different ways, to experience and express and invent and create and enjoy and behold and...(fill in your own verb here).  So when I say I love my body I don't mean in the Dove commercial self-affirming all-women-are-beautiful kind of way.  Seriously.

Our bodies are amazing, but they are continually degrading collections of cells designed for a specific purpose for a limited period of time.  I'm not too romantic about that.  But I still love my body for all the things it allows me to do through it, this magnificent instrument through which I get to play the music of my life. 

Just spend maybe one hour noticing all the ways your fingers are such incredible tools.  How magnificently your lungs breathe in and out without any thought on your part.  How your eyes take in so much information and your brain processes it.  How your heart just keeps beating and beating and beating.  How your network of veins and arteries keep your blood oxygenated.  How your toes help keep you balanced and your knees bend just so and your arms rotate in all sorts of directions, and your nails grow just exactly in the places you need them most.  And your skin covers it all and keeps your blood from leaking all over the place and ruining your carpet.  I know it might not all work perfectly.  Mine doesn't either.

But I'm delighted to have one at all, and I'll make do with this one for now.  And if I have any resolution for 2011, it's to work lovingly with this amazing collection of cells that comprise my body, for this lifetime, to be a better reflection of the best qualities of its current occupant - me.