Sunday, December 30, 2012


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

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

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

Friday, December 7, 2012


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

Thursday, November 15, 2012


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

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What we Extol and What We Demonize

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

Friday, November 9, 2012


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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 4, 2012


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Illusion of Certainty

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

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Impetus for Action

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

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Seeking Truth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 27, 2012

G*d's Presence

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


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

Monday, October 8, 2012


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

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Self Protection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 1, 2012


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, September 23, 2012


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Self Knowledge

I confess that there are so many ways in which I do not yet know myself.  Or I should say, so many ways in which I know myself, but only myself, and not myself in relation to others.  I don't have much experience accommodating the emotional reality of another soul in my space.

My space has been sacred and quiet, a place of solitude and introspection.  Inviting another in to share that space feels so human and lovely, but also alien and awkward, as if I have to keep coming back to the sense of myself purely alone to know what I am feeling and what to do with that.

It feels like I'm learning a foreign language, one that I have a childhood familiarity with, a facility for, but no conscious ability to actually speak.  And I'm doing pretty ok trying to understand it, but to speak it myself, to read it and be certain there is comprehension?  I am lost  in that.

I don't know what I'm comprehending.  Or if I'm understanding anything accurately at all.  It feels like I am, but only because I'm trying so hard that I'm getting this done out of sheer force of will.  So it comes with stress and effort and a sense of tiredness, this trying to understand how I feel and what to do with it.

Is there an easier way?  A less taxing approach?  I'm sure there is, but I confess I don't know what it is.  I don't have a place of relaxation in the midst of this sort of ambiguity.  Maybe I'm learning that, but I don't have it yet.

Or maybe I have put myself in the middle of something so far beyond me that there is no way for me to make sense of my present circumstances.  I think this is a possibility as well, but cannot tell which is more true, which is more real, which is more useful.

I am exactly as I seem, but I think there are many, many layers to what I am, and what is visible is not all there is.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Gaining Strength

If you want to gain strength in your body, you don't start with your pinkie. You start with muscles that can grow and develop and carry additional capacity. If you want to strengthen your spirit, it is the same. Find within you the places of potential strength and additional capacity, and build on these. If you have a soft heart, help it become powerful. If you have a too quick mind, calm it with focus. If you have a judging spirit, develop wisdom through discernment. There is no more rewarding work than refining the self.

Getting Organized

Organization and spirituality have a lot more in common than may appear at first blush.  They are intimately intertwined and and exploration of one requires and exploration of the other.

  • Efficiency is a spiritual value.  Using just the right amount of mental/emotional/psychic energy on any given thing means there is power in thoughts.  Lack of efficiency means you use a LOT of thinking for each decision, and so there is less energy available for what's really important and what demands more attention.
  • Prioritizing is critical.  Being able to determine what needs to get attention is critical in being efficient.  If you spend lots of time on everyday, mundane tasks, the subtle, the sensitive, and the nuanced get short-changed by simple mental tiredness.  
  • Tiredness of every kind is the enemy of being effective, expressive and powerful.  Each thought has less energy, less impact, so with tiredness you always work harder to accomplish the same, or less, than you would otherwise.  Being aware of what drains your energetic resources, and learning to protect those resources, is key.
  • Building structure around your own resources, learning how to most effectively use and share them, and then when to withdrawal and replenish is the difference between potential and performance.  
  • You must learn where you take strength from, and become regular in taking strength from that place.  This is true organizationally and spiritually - true in every part of life. If you ally with what empowers you, the effectiveness of your own creative expression multiplies exponentially.  If you are aligned with what empowers you, your ability to influence your world becomes tangible and targeted.  Not in order to manipulate reality to suit your own ends, but in the fullest Jewish sense of potential, in that you become a partner in elevating human life to something better, and in this lies magic.  I'm certain that G*d's deepest desire is for us to become so clear about who we have the potential to be that we are willing, with full courage and enthusiasm, to become that.
Some things to ask yourself:
  • Where do you take power from?  What makes you feel good, better, whole, confident, clearer, more enthusiastic and more authentic.
  • What diminishes your energy and intention?
  • Recall a time when you felt on the top of your game.  Describe that time and what was noticeable about that time, especially in contrast to your ordinary experience.  What elements made that special and different?  
  • What helps you in a practical way stay focused?  Sleep?  Collaboration with creative partners?  Time off doing...?  Exercise?  It can be anything from making lists to a certain working environment to a state of mind.  Try to capture as much of the detail you can in writing so it becomes more clear.
  • Kavanah, that is, intention, is everything, but it's not the only thing.  What is your intention?  How clearly can you articulate it to yourself or others.  How aligned is it with practical goals?  How does your kavanah work with your daily practice of anything?  Integrity is when your kavanah is aligned with your thoughts words actions and interactions.  Wherever there is lack of alignment, there is wasted energy.  What would it take to align your intention with your actions right now?
If you can think about some of this stuff and write down clear answers or at least what questions this raises, you get to a better sense of how to help you get organized AND spiritually empowered.  And then the next step is designing simple systems to contain and guide all that energy you have...content comes before form though.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Middle

I learned to mistrust extremes at the foot of my father.  He was intense in every way - in his brilliance and humor and talent and thirst for life, for trying out anything and everything and not considering the consequences when he should, and for all the destruction he left in his wake because of it.

I learned to mistrust too good or too bad or too much of anything.  Not that I wasn't interested.  Not that I wasn't tempted.  But I am nothing if not an astute observer and good learner.  And I knew that all the extremes led to problems, and big ones.  They led to disappointment and regret, yelling and tears.  They led to struggle and stress and broken hopes and dreams.

And I wanted no part of that.  No part of the drama and complication and chaos, of the uncertainty and unpredictability.  So I chose safe.  And certain and secure.  And I chose it with the finality of iron doors clanging shut in a prison - safety with no way out, unrelenting and oppressive, liberating in an odd way by the things from which I was freed, by the simplicity it ensured.

But I have too much of my father in me.  Or me in him.  Or some combination of qualities that gave us a similarity, if not a cause for the similarity.  I am intense.  I like to swing from heights and plumb depths and see where it all will go without having to know before hand.  I like tempting fate, at least a little, and I like traveling without a map just to see where I will end up.

I need more than neutral and have never reconciled myself well to an in-between of average.  I gravitate toward those with great talent, great energy, great personality, great insight, great ability, and I breathe in the air around them, and realize how much I miss it myself.  I miss the fresh, heady scent of possibility, of pure creativity, of bringing into being what never was before.

I'm tempted to think I've been lazy, allowing so much time to pass in this middle space, but I know it's just a lesson over-learned, a card over-played.  And while it may have needed to be right up until this exact second, it doesn't need to be for even another moment beyond that.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


I believe things happen as they must.  Not the way G*d decrees, not for the best, not to teach us...simply as they must.  And as each second passes into the next, the only thing we can change is ourselves.

Friday, August 10, 2012

You Believe What?!?

I don't know how many religions exist in the world.  Hundreds?  Thousands?  The graphic shows a few of the major religions, but there's so much more than this, and within each religion, sects and cults and off-shoots and clubs of the like-minded. 

And each symbol and each division within that represents a way of making sense of the world, of understanding an essential story, a premise that explains the way 'things' work and why, and where they came from and where they're going and what you're supposed to do about it all along the way.

Each religion represents a reality, a version of the story, that is absolutely necessary, that is required for humanity to order itself, for us to feel safe or comfortable or certain.  Or if our religion, our belief, is in science or secularism or a-theism or a-gnosticism, that is, uncertainty and unknowing, then that is where our comfort lies.

I have no problem with not being able to pick the one right path.  I respect that each of us needs a path, and appreciate G*d's generosity in providing us with so many prophets, so many stories, so many ways to comfort us. 

I know what I need.  I need a story that works.  I need a narrative that gives meaning and purpose and intention to my life. I don't need the stories about suffering or sin.  I don't need the stories about severity or sacrifice.  I don't need the stories about martyrs or manifestos. I need stories about love and purpose and potential. 

But I know others need other kinds of stories.  So I respect religion, not because I believe what other people believe necessarily, but because I know the importance of belief.

The Creation Story

It's nice to think we can figure out the deep mysteries of creation - how we got here and why.  But, at the risk of sounding like a naturalist, not that that's a bad thing, every single thing in the observable universe, really everything we can actually know, moves in repeating cycles.  And it's the repetition of these cycles that reveals their perfection.

Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, seasons, years, birth, life, death, the seed, the plant, the fruit...all point to the perfection of repeating cycles.  And no matter how much I learn or study or explore, I cannot conceive of a creation story that makes more sense than this. 

I cannot conceive of a more perfect design than the seed carrying within it the potential future, needing only to be planted and exposed to the elements to bear the fruit that is its destiny. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012


I don't trust people.  Not really.  I don't trust their intentions or their ability to care for me or care about me, at least no in any way I ultimately value.  And I don't trust that they will care for my well-being in any sufficient way, and I am certain that I must always be responsible for this myself.

And I'm not a huge extrovert.  I like people and human interaction, and I need silence and solitude at least as much.  So my need for people is tempered by my need to be away from people.

Which is to say, ultimately, that I find intimacy complicated and confusing, and can never quite figure out how to be with someone when it doesn't feel, on some level, that it's at my own expense.

I wonder if others feel this way, or if this is some unique experience all of my own.  Because there certainly are those of us who need and crave and require intimacy.  Even when it is destructive and unhealthy and crazy-making.

My self-protective instinct is strong and kicking, more than just about anything else about me.  I'm not sure that's great when it comes to forging connection, but it's great for feeling safe, if a little isolated. 

I cannot look at the world without seeing the massive pain and suffering we inflict on each other, on ourselves, on the magnificent creatures of this planet and on the planet itself.  I have never been able to avoid the outrage of the reality of human existence, and it pains me on the most personal level that I am part of this, and that I am also someone who creates pain for myself and others.

But it is the inescapable reality in which I live.  Which I cannot reconcile easily with being open to love and trust and intimacy with the same human species that has used love and trust as weapons of mass destruction.  I don't think I'm so special that I will be the lucky one to be loved and not hurt, adored never to suffer.

Are we just supposed to try and try again to love and trust, waiting for someone with enough strength of character to overcome the worst of humanity that lives in all of us?  Is this the requirement of our age?  To be hopeful when all evidence tells us of a reality that opposes hope?

There are more bridal-themed shows on TV than ever before, but no evidence linking a fantastic wedding to a happy marriage.  Where is comfortable and content reality in the middle of this fantasy of relationships?  I saw a match-making show.  The match-maker said "love is not a game, but dating is, and you better learn to play the game."

What about those of us who don't like games of any kind?  Where does that leave the question of connection and intimacy?  Maybe it should be in the hands of family, friends and professionals, and we should stop letting our romantic hearts and emotions run away with us, certain that feelings are a real enough foundation to support an entire life that is far to heavy for that kind of support.

I have no answers.  But I don't play games.  I don't even like the People magazine crossword puzzle and I always know the answers to it.  So I try to reconcile "Say Yes to the Dress" with the awful stories of abuse and violence I see in the news every day, but I don't think it's enough to find a happy little corner of the world and ignore the rest.  I cannot ignore the pain, and I cannot stay immersed in it without it destroying my own ability to be of use.

So how close can I get and still feel safe?  Still feel like there's hope?  Still feel like things can be better?  I have no answer to that question just yet.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Improvement Requires Care

There's no question how damaging criticizing others can be. Criticizing the self is its own kind of violence against the soul, creating a destructive internal environment. Change can happen in any environment; improvement requires care.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Don't Fence Me In

Whenever I try to find where I 'fit', politically, religiously, culturally...I feel the beginning of a psychic rash of sorts, an itch from the borders of the box of a particular thing chafing against my heart and mind, which always prefer to be unfettered by limitations and distinctions.  The truth has many, many homes.

Monday, May 28, 2012

I Get Paid in Tears

Spent Sunday in religious services, bathed in spiritual intention and ancient wisdom.  The musician-in-residence, following this extraordinary service on Sunday morning, said to me "you are a cryer."  And I denied this, telling him that anyone who knows me would say otherwise.  He pointed to the many wet Kleenex in my purse as proof that he was right.  And then very sweetly said he gets paid in tears and would consider the service a success.

I don't know what happened this weekend, what brought the tears.  This magical musician carries G*d's sweetness and compassion in every prayer he sings, and that's not a small thing.  It might be the biggest thing actually.  Because I usually feel so alone in my relationship with G*d, so uncertain if others also perceive His sweet and loving presence, His warmth and personal attention.

During this particular service, in remembrance of those who have passed, I felt G*d's presence before all of us, His huge embrace, His watching over each one of us with so much hopeful encouragement that we could slow down our lives and our minds and our thoughts at least long enough to feel His presence.  I could feel the glow of His purity and love surrounding us as a community and individually.

And I could feel His compassion for each one of our loved ones who left this world unclear, uncertain, unknowing of what was to come, and concerned for those left behind.  And that He greets each one with such tenderness, guiding them back to the home of His heart, and then on to the rest of their journey.  I could see it - every touch of gentle kindness, a loving-kindness that we are so rarely capable of, a kind of total love and acceptance that says 'you belong to Me, I am yours and you are Mine...welcome home."

I could see all of that.  And then to hear it reflected in the prayers, in the community, in the comforting touch and companionship of others was overwhelming.  I'm not sure I've ever felt comforted before by human beings, but in this moment, with G*d's presence so strong, it was their hearts and hands and words through which He worked.

This is a miracle.  When the limitations of human beings are no limit at all.  When the divisions and differences fall away, and all that's left are open hearts and G*d can move freely in each one of us, His light and love spilling all over the place...this is a miracle.

Giving Up the Struggle

I do not know if this is so for everyone, but it seems quite clear to me at this moment, that the thing that has been my greatest fear contains within the key to my greatest liberation.  Not by throwing it off or overcoming it, but simply accepting it.  Just the simple act of acceptance, of giving up the struggle.  We are told of all the ways we must overcome, surpass, dominate, extinguish and otherwise subdue our inner lives.  I'm going with acceptance on this one - sweet, simple and pure.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I've been watching this show, Long Island Medium, about a woman who connects with spirit.  And because she is able to hear the voices of the dead, they employ her pretty unrelentingly to communicate.  Not because she's some angelic, spiritually enlightened being - but because she can hear them.  All it takes for her to use the gift is to simply accept it.  And the gift is simply that she can hear what others cannot.

When my father died, I felt sure his tortured soul had left the body and left my life and moved on the settling his own complicated karma.  I was glad for an end to the constant chaos that swirled around him, but shocked at the sudden end to our complicated relationship.  Not regrets exactly, but a lot of unfinished business and questions that can never be answered.

I was with a friend, a medium, once, when my father came through.  And she said he was very funny, and said everything was really just an accident, and nothing that happened was intended, and he was sorry.   And, except for him showing up in my dreams, sort of familiar but not someone I really know, I let it go at that.  This unknowable man left surrounded in mystery, just gone suddenly.

But I watch Long Island Medium and I wonder where he is, that poor, confused, lost soul.  What happened when he left us, and to what degree he would like to send a message but no one can hear his voice?  What if someone could hear him, could tell me what he has to say?  Would it change things?  Would it make a difference?  Do the departed really watch over us?  Has he been trying to help, but he couldn't?

I've never believed in my loved ones watching over me, but maybe they all are, keeping me company, silently supporting me, proud and happy at who I am?  How comforting.  For me and for them.


I was eager to explore when I was younger, always excited at the horizon rising up to greet me, revealing hidden worlds.

And then I shrouded myself in certainty, content with absolute Truth, comforted that I finally knew and understood, and more than willing to put away whatever didn't conform.  The Truth contained within it intimacy and ecstasy and I knew I needed nothing beyond that.

But more and more as time wore on, the shroud that had been a comfort, felt like a death wrap, like protection between the world and me, but also like the clothing of death.  And in a way it was.  The clothing of spiritual death, of dying alive.

These days, I don't want death, not even symbolic death.  I want life.  Not safe.  Not secure.  Not shrouded.  Not certain.  Not easy.  Not detached.  Not always perfect.  Just life.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Chapter 6

The Tao is called the Great Mother: 
empty yet inexhaustible,
it gives birth to infinite worlds.
It is always present within you.
You can use it any way you want.
(Tao Te Ching, Ch. 6)

I've been trying to reconcile competing philosophies, as one set of truths rings truer to me than another.  But, as Lao Tsu so perfectly stated above, the Truth gives birth to infinite worlds - you can use it any way you want.

So I stick by what makes sense, but keep exploring this other stuff, certain than certainty about the things I'm unfamiliar with is an artificial stance at best, and a dishonest one at worst.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Real Change Takes Time

I left the life of spiritual discipline behind about 5 years ago, feeling like I had escaped the suffocating weight of being trapped in my own good intentions and hopefulness for who I could be, be wasn't. 

And I thought I would fly free to my new life, full of easiness and lightness and good humor and joy and connection.  But really I've just disappeared more and more into myself, uncertain what I'm about, even though I'm more and more clear all the time about what I'm NOT about.

But I'm not free and easy.  I'm not open and connected and engaged.  I'm perched on the periphery of many different worlds simultaneously, looking for a community of similarly spiritually-minded people, and finding that I'm fairly alone, on a bit of a journey without many companions.

I don't know if my own internal isolation leaves me feeling alone, or it comes from so many years and so many habits of building a life around G*d, around ideas and philosophies and disciplines and knowledge that others in my life simply don't share.

Not loneliness exactly - but certainly the sense that I'm in this on my own, and I'll have to figure it out, and I have to go beyond myself and my own limitations to do so.  And that's not easy.

I trust human beings so little, certain that suffering accompanies all connection, and so naturally good at detachment to the point that I don't know what I feel other than that most of the time.

I see deep.  Deeper than most, with some special night-vision of the soul, allowing me to peer deep within.  But seeing deeper, understanding what's at the heart of another, doesn't bring me closer.  Just makes me clearer about why I want to keep my distance.

I have to find a comfortable place in myself, one in which hiding away and self-protection aren't the guiding values.

Real change takes time.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sacred Text

The ultimate benefit of studying sacred text isn't in knowing the text, but in gaining wisdom and insight into the self. Whatever scripture doesn't offer this isn't sacred text at all.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

When the Rut Becomes the Road

You know you're stuck deep into habit when it has simply become your personality - who you are.  Deep, deep habit is when the rut BECOMES the road.

Odd That It Took So Long

I was on a particular spiritual path for over 22 years, since I was in college. And there were many gifts on that path, but ultimately I left. And when people ask me why I left after so much time and dedication, after so much effort and commitment, I have finally understood that it was, more than anything else, because I was bored out of my mind. Odd that it took so long to realize.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


As I teach more and more, the question of technique inevitably arises.  What technique should I follow to achieve peace of mind?  What approach should I use to experience a more gentle heart.  What should my practice be?

And I am a bit at a loss, because this isn't about doing something, it's about being something, and I don't know how to tell someone that.  There are countless religions, practices, philosophies, concepts, books, organizations and speakers dedicated to telling people how to do something.

And from what I can see, they mostly draw from the same ancient wisdom we've had access to for thousands of years, and re-package it in the language of the day, communicating truth and understanding as old as the earth with new words and images, trying to convey meaning and connection, giving new form to familiar content.

I don't know about technique.  I've tried so many, being disciplined and obedient, and felt always the hollow shell the technique confining me and stifling me, giving me access to one thing at the expense of every other thing.

I'm not looking for a quick trick to share, a set of steps to follow.  I don't know the technique to being more fully one's truest, deepest, most powerful self, and I'm pretty sure it's a lot bigger than that. Disillusioned practitioners reach the outer limits of the benefits of technique all the time, and then are faulted for failing the technique.

Direction is good.  Awareness and attention are good.  Acceptance and compassion are good.  But they are not magic tricks to master.  They require effort of the most intimate and fearless nature.

For those needing technique, I say go and find the one that suits you best.  There is no shortage of them.  But don't confuse the technique with the real work, don't confuse mastering technique with becoming a master.