Saturday, October 3, 2015

ghost in the mirror

I had a conversation with a dear friend about the limiting views we have of ourselves and the voice in our heads that serves no purpose other than to perpetuate the past and our outmoded perceptions and beliefs.  

I had obviously trespassed too far into bliss and the mind needed to assert itself with alacrity and gusto.  I spent several days grappling with the unpredictability of this body and wrestling with the fierce demon of dysmorphia that assured me in no uncertain terms that I was horribly unattractive, flawed and therefore unlovable.  I knew, as I often know, that the voice was just a symptom of pain arising and nothing more.  The shadows don't need my stalwart efforts to shove them back into the recesses of unconsciousness, rather they are arising in order that they might meet with the full weight of my love and fade in the light of my awareness...but holy hell the ghosts in the mirror can be terrifying in all their pomp and circumstance.  It's laughable when we get enough perspective and can look honestly at the whole show.  Seriously, who let that voice in and why on earth do we devote so much energy trying to convince it that it's wrong?  The nonsense our mental chatter churns out isn't something I would ever say aloud to anyone...ever.  Honestly, I don't even identify with its verbiage.  That's when the effort to fight it stops.  It just doesn't warrant one more instant of attention.  No matter how it catastrophizes, terrorizes, plans, worries, controls and's really not necessary... it's just background noise in the wide expanse of being that we are.  

If I'm not beautiful... So what.  If I'm flawed... So what.  If I'm unlovable... So what.  When the worst it has to offer is seen for what it is... ghosts parading as real... and it's fully realized that nothing can take from us the essence of what we are, then it has no more power to harness our attention and the ghosts in the mirror are gone.

Friday, October 2, 2015


Sometimes life gives you wide vistas and sometimes small gems, but all of it, no matter how ordinary or sublime, is an expansive invitation into this beautiful moment… a gentle mirror (or occasionally a slap in the jaw) reminding us, in a million subtle and bombastic ways, that we are the capacity to experience it all.
Now that is something to be grateful for.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

God seeds

We are all God seeds.  Cells in the infinite body of consciousness.  Not separate and apart from that which we are but intimately one with all life everywhere.  In the dream of separation we float in the great waters of truth but imagine a ME separate and apart, longing for more, longing for other, longing to wake up, longing for home.  Not knowing, in all our reaching and contriving, controling and predicting, that the me so intent on waking, never wakes up.  It is awakened from.  Not in some violent transcendence of self, but in the same innocent, eye (I) open, waking from sleep.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


At some point, along every great journey, we come to see that it is not the destination that matters but every step along the way.  We remember that there is no "path", no grand design sprinkled with glitter  and marked by a giant neon sign announcing "my purpose this way". We lay down our path by walking.
Seeking, with all its incumbent strategies of fortune and fame, youth and vigor, me and mine, meditation and austerity, enlightenment and greatness, is simply a distraction from this one and only Now.  It's a subtle aggression against our life, as it is, in this moment.  It isn't another something to be overcome.  That would require a great deal of tilting at windmills with Quixote inspired absurdity. No. When we see this moment as it is, complete with it's vulnerability, uncertainties, unknown variables and obtuse horizons, we arrive in the only place we can ever truly call home.


Saturday, September 12, 2015


When my mind begins it's whirl of thought and constricts my heart, I take to the woods.  The moment my feet hit the trail, I experience a softening.  I don't mean to suggest that I leave my chatty companion back at the jeep.  No, she comes along, but conditioned thought is no longer the object of my attention; my eyes are too busy beholding beauty, my ears too rapt with the song of bird and the rustle of wind across the horizon, my nose is held captive by the smell of sunshine and earth, pine tree and sweat and my hands are too busy caressing the tall fronds of grass and rolling sage.
 With so much beauty and grandeur, the little rumblings of a busy mind just don't garner a lot of hype.
And as I walk, my breath slows, my mind clears, my heart opens and I surrender, again and again, to this moment, as it is, right now.

Now introducing...

This post is for my friends and familiy who have been asking to know more about the beautiful man who has taken up residence in my heart.  Now introducing Chris Tate.  
For those of you who know and love me, it will be sufficient to say that I am happy.  Not superficial, moon-eyed happy, but a deep resevoir of happy that overflows with contentment.  It tastes like gratitude.

“The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere.
They're in each other all along.”

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

You are it.

Be Present?
In enlightenment teachings, you may hear the phrase, “be present.” But if you look around, ‘you’ are the present moment. ‘You’ are not separate from it. ‘You’ are life itself. The only thing obscuring this realization is mental and emotional activity that continuously tries to move away from this moment into a dream of past, future, and resistance to now. The notion that you are separate from life is a creation of thought.
The personal will who tries to ‘be present’ and bring about a personal awakening is the dream. Instead of doing anything, including trying to be present, gently notice what is already being done. A dream of self is already being told. Thought is replaying the past, searching into future, and resisting what is in this moment, all for the benefit of a “me.”
That mind movement is a dream of control. It is a dream of personal will. Suffering and searching arise when you buy into the illusion of control and personal will.
When the personal will is seen to be a dream of thought, it dies on its own. That is true spiritual awakening. You realize there is nothing to seek. Paradise is already here, now. It has always been right here, right now under the dream that there was a “you” who was somehow separate from it and who needed to do something to find it.

~ From: Reflections of the One Life by Scott Kiloby 

falling in love with life

In nature, I find myself standing in awestruck amazement before the craggly, twisted, worn and weathered aspects of life.  Their seasoned journey through time tends to bring me to my proverbial knees.

As I pass through check-out lines, I see evidence of our cultures limited notion of beauty, with it's deification of the unmarred, slender, frizzless, lineless ease of youth.  We internalize these messages but seldom seem to ask ourselves on a foundational level if that has been our experience.

I see beauty in the bud, fresh with promise.  It's easily discerned in that springtime rush. But it is no less apparent in life's fading from fullness, when the passage of time is discernible in the history on the surface of a tree, a face, a stone, a faded bloom.

In that wide embrace, nothing is outside beauties door and my heart breaks open, time and again, falling in love with life itself.

Monday, August 24, 2015


This dance of life has long been a conundrum to me, the ultimate zen koan. I tried hard to make sense of it manage...ah yes... and to control... until something quite wonderful happened.  I came to the undeniable truth that I can't.  Whew!  In fact, that's the great comedic relief to the whole dog and pony show.  It's beyond our thinking.  We can lean into life, trust it and surrender. Not in some great sweeping, once-and-for-all enlightened "Aha! I got this" but in the ordinary moment-to-moment, leaning back into life. We can drop the opacity of self and embrace the unknown with all the hot messiness of our own misplaced longing.

After all this time, all these books, all these workshops, all this practice and all this seeking it's humbling to admit that it's just not that complicated.  It doesn't require years of ascetic devotion or my poetically, pious pretense masquerading as "I'm gonna get this". No.  Why? Because I don't need to "get" this.  The actual sexy, living, waking invitation is to trust the transparent, incomprehensible, vulnerable, awake, alive NOW to be, exactly as it is and me to be exactly as I am. In that fierce embrace, we don't need to understand life in order to live it, anymore than we need to understand love in order to love.

This robust NOW is the unltimate guru, whispering in every breath, that we are, ALREADY, right now, exactly what we have been seeking all along.  There is no other moment in which to bloom.  There is no other moment in which to be.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

True love

True love is like the love of a parent for a child: even though you feel frustrated at times, this love is constant. It is similar to life, which might drive you bananas at times or be really nice. 
This love is beyond the good moments and the difficult moments, which continue to happen. When you have awakened to this love that transcends every good and bad moment, a radical revolution occurs in your relationship with life itself. 
This is a love that has no opposite, such as hate, but is present through everything, in all moments. 
When you realize this, it is a revolution because, when you see that this love that you are loves the unlovable, loves what you're not supposed to love or what you were not allowed to love culturally, and is not paying attention to the separating rules of ego, you realize this is a different kind of love. 

~ From: Emptiness Dancing, by Adyashanti. 


“Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now.”     -Eckhart Tolle

Friday, August 14, 2015


We can experience countless sunrises and still fear the unknown darkness, lurking in the hidden recesses beyond our visible encounters.  Every day we experience the sun's birth afresh and fears are relegated once more to the periphery.  Yet in the dark of night, when our senses are blinded by the limitations of our perception, is it possible to lean back into the unseen, unknown and trust that all is well.  All is well.
Gautama Buddha is credited with saying, "Be a light unto yourself".  Perhaps if we linger in that uncertainty, when all our senses are screaming for proof, and rest, even in the midst of our fearful imaginings, we will find ourselves self-luminous.  Lighting our own way in the dark.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Laugh anyway

I used to live in 
A cramped house with confusion 
And pain.

But then I met the Friend
And I started getting drunk 
And singing all

Confusion and pain
Started acting nasty,
Making threats,
With talk like this,

"If you don't stop 'that'---
All that fun---


Find a Better Job

All your Worry
Has proved such an
Find a better


Sunday, August 2, 2015

eyes to see

When I was very young, I heard a story and it goes something like this:
There are two birds that fly over the deserts of California, the condor and the hummingbird.  If you ask the condor what the desert is like, it will describe death and carnage, blood, rot and decay.  If you ask the hummingbird what the desert is like, it will describe flowers dripping with sweet nectar and an unspeakable beauty hidden everywhere.
Life is like that.  We find exactly what we are looking for.  We think it's the other way around.  We think it's random and "happening to us".  But the lens of our particular perception changes everything we see and all we experience.
We literally find what we are looking for.  But we can't trick the looker.  All our positive thinking-new age-psycho babble doesn't focus the lens, our beliefs do. Life isn't "out there" happening to us.  It is in here, happening in us.
If that's the case, perhaps we can stop our victim-perpetrator-coulda-woulda-shoulda stories and ask what it is we expect to see.  There's no judgment.  If I want carnage, it's not hard to find.  If I want beauty, I need only LOOK for it with eyes prepared to see.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

natures invitation

Nature is sanctuary... home... life. When I am surrounded by the natural world it is easier to discard my sense of pompous separation and acknowledge my interconnection with life's many disguises.
When in nature it's ridiculous to assume a Pollyanna approach to its brilliance, waxing on about its kindness.  I know that I don't understand it. I know that I must remain open and alert to the possibilities arising in each moment.
Nature demands respect and careful observation.
Nature demands that we come to our senses.
And practice once more our neglected sense of:

  • smell as the scent of pine, wildflower, rain, moose, earth and wind speaks its olfactory dialog with our nose.  
  • taste as our tongue receives the fresh tangy air of a pine forest.  
  • hearing as we silence our cellphones and internal chatter long enough to listen and hear the rustle of wind in trees and the various sound each plant and tree and flower makes as it moves in conversation with the breeze.   
  • touch as we feel the caress of life meeting life in and as tree, flower, bird, moose, you, me. 
With senses open, nature becomes a lover inviting our bodies toward the vulnerability and pleasure of this particular NOW.
It is a miraculous invitation held out to us in every single now since the dawn of creation.  And when we accept it, even for a moment, what wonders we behold.

Monday, July 20, 2015


Three of my best best reasons for smiling throughout the long days and warm nights are as follows: Bodhi, nature and our beloved little dog too... and then there is just the big joy of SUMMER.  Ahhh.

Thursday, July 9, 2015


Listening is loving.

If we listened with our whole bodies, what might we hear?  With our senses, with our hearts and with our presence?  You can not actually deeply listen and think at the same time.
Stillness and yet openess.  Spacious benevolence.


letting go

Nothing good can be lost." - Steinbeck
If that were the case, how might we live differently?
I'll tell you one thing for certain,
I'd sure as hell let go, lean in and rest back
a whole lot more.

Sunday, July 5, 2015


"What is love but the acceptance of the other, whatever he is."
-- Anaïs Nin to Henry Miller
I have been contemplating love, real love and not just the "feeling" of love, for a long time now. Most of us are infatuated with an ideal of love or "mate" and not with human beings.  We set up arbitrary parameters saying, "I will love you if... or as long as...".  These parameters provide an artifice of safety from which we expect our beloved other to protect us from all the many unpleasant feelings arising within the scope of intimate interaction. When our ideal of other does not coincide with the fact of other, we unabashedly turn toward our beloved with a vengeance, prepared to crucify him or her for imperfections and abandon our beloved, thirsty and trodden underfoot, along the dusty path of disappointment.  Joseph Campbell wrote, "Perfection is inhuman. Human beings are not perfect. What evokes our love – and I mean love, not lust – is the imperfection of the human being." When love transcends the "feeling of love" it begins to resemble love itself.  Love isn't greedy or enamored with its own glossy, photoshopped, botoxed and puffed up self concept.  Love offers itself to be known and to know.  In so doing it opens our innermost, vulnerable, raw and imperfect self to be other and perhaps more importantly by ourselves.  There is no other way to bloom.  Anaïs Nin wrote in her diary, “Where the myth fails, human love begins, then we love a human being, not our dream, but a human being with flaws." 

Saturday, July 4, 2015


We are always growing.  I have decided that I prefer to grow without bystanders shouting their suggestions in my ear or throwing shit balls at me promising compost.  But we are always growing.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

heart hiding

The heart hides in folds of thought, belief, protections and projections.  It hides its spendor in the dark of it own making and mistakes the darkness for reality and "necessary".
Then we open, sometimes just the smallest fissure in the veneer of self, and our undeniable splendor breaks free.  

eight and a half

Bodhi celebrated his half birthday on June 26th (a fun bonus of having your birthday on December 26th).  To celebrate we hiked in our mutual wonderland of nature and enjoyed cake and Bodhi's favorite noodles for supper upon our return.
As he ate his Ramen noodles and extolled the many virtues of said noodles, Bodhi looked askance at me, "I LOVE salad too!  I wonder what Ramen tastes like with lettuce in it?"  He tossed in a few chopped leaves of romaine, stirred and tasted.  "Nope.  No good mom.  I guess some things taste better on their own and not so good when they are mixed together."
Bodhi was quiet for a minute, thinking.  Then he said, "Mom, people are like that too.  Some people are beautiful and fun but when you put them together...bleh.  Owen and I are kind of like that.  We don't mix well but we are both good on our own."  He quietly contemplated a moment longer, before turning to me, "Mom, you just haven't found a man that mixes well with you.  They might for a little while but we need someone who mixes it up like a good soup.  Yea.  People are like that."
I love my son.  He has so much depth and many faces of Bodhi and so much fun mixing it up.

Friday, June 26, 2015


Sometimes we need to look after the flower of our lives by adopting a different perspective.  Tonight as I talked with two dear friends they shared a fresh vantage, full of love and respect.  It's easy to take for granted the impact we have on one another.  Don't.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


As is.
As you are.
As I am.
As this arising moment is.