Sunday, March 15, 2015

My mentor once told me, "You can never make an authentic YES before you can make an authentic NO."  That is true in all manner of things, across experience and emotional continents.  It has been the hardest word I have ever learned to say.  As it crosses my lips, my heart caves with a longing to please and love.  It tries to find a way toward "yes", bending and bending and nearly breaking before a whisper of "no" rises to the surface.  With each failed YES, I have been hardest on my self, demanding that I love more, judge less, evolve faster, become more mindful, more conscious, more forgiving, stronger, healthier, less name it.
The times have changed.
I can no longer contort myself into strange pretzels of consent in order to avoid a simple and strong NO.
"No" pisses people off.
So what?
The reality is that  people aren't all that dissimilar from toddlers and "No" also makes all of us feel a sense of safety and security.  The edges are clearly defined.  If we wait to issue our needs until we are perilously close to falling off the cliff of our own boundaries, we seldom offer them with mindful clarity.  If instead we pony up and say NO at the onset, we can define our parameters with strength and a no nonsense kindness.
"No.  You can't have my phone number."
"No.  It's not okay for my son to come home at midnight when we agree to a 9:30 arrival."
"No.  I won't clean up your emotional shit because you are unwilling to acknowledge it."
My practice has been YES, but NO can actually deepen YES when it is fully integrated and deeply lived.
"YES to life, because I trust myself to say NO when necessary".
"YES to love because I trust myself to show up with integrity."
Every solid yes is supported by an authentic capacity for NO.
It turns out that YES and NO aren't mutually exclusive, they and mutually required.
Yet another of life's little paradoxes that defies our human tendency toward either/or. 

Monday, February 16, 2015


No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.
~Amelia Earhart

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Do you think the flower delights in my attention as I bend, love struck toward her beauty?  Does she feel the splendor of my love and turn toward it like sunshine?  I doubt it.  Flowers bloom because it is their nature to bloom.  Their beauty, seen or unseen, acknowledged or unacknowledged, is the natural expression of flower.  And yet, as human beings, we are blind to our sublimity, desperately seeking the light of other… bending toward the hope of their appreciation, love, attention, affirmation or whatever hot-sought object or ideal occupies the nexus of our desire.  Could it be that our beauty is as inseparable from what we are as the flower is to the bud?  Is it possible that in our seeking to be loved we have relinquished the simple knowing that it doesn't matter.  That what we already are has the power to stop someone in their tracks and cause them to bend, in wild wonder toward our own brilliance? Perhaps the act of seeking is a constant forgetting, blinding us to the simple expansion of our own blooming nature.
Why wait to see if anyone is looking or if anyone notices… just fuckin' BLOOM!

Sunday, February 1, 2015


When I experience the flocking patterns of birds and fish, I am overcome by a reverent quiet and humility.  There is no leader, no overall control, no bickering or obvious negotiations; instead the flock's movements reflect trust and a collective response to the moment-by-moment navigation's of individual birds as they interact with: neighbors, wind patterns, predators and more.
There is trust in the flock and the physics of flight.  Research illustrates that these "flocking waves" respond to movement initiations from birds that bank into the flock, rather than away from it. Turning away toward isolation makes the individual more vulnerable, this rule also helps prevent indecision and permits the flock to respond rapidly to threat. 
An obvious overlap exists between flocking behavior and Vygotsky's social constructivist theory, often called social constructivism. For Vygotsky, culture provides the child with cognitive tools necessary for development and adults serve as conduits for these tools, including language, cultural history, social context, and norms, etc.  Thus human learning is in part a social flocking, guided by social/cultural evolutions and norms. Throughout my studies I have always wanted to expand these theories beyond their human-only context.  Look around us, what if we were to embrace a natural constructivist theory?  What if we saw ourselves as intimately connected with life itself and opened our institutions, theories and practice to the real possibility that we belong to a larger whole and that larger whole has the capacity to revolutionize our approach to learning, cognitive development, social/emotional interaction, commerce and so much more.
When I stare in wonder at the dance of birds in collective flight, I feel my perceived isolation acutely.  I feel the ridiculousness of our Western pursuit for independence, self preservation and autonomy.  I feel a deep longing for intimate union in/as/with life... of which I am intimately a part  

"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Luke 12:32

Saturday, January 31, 2015


I awoke at 4 am this morning.  I lay in bed for a while, tossing and turning before submitting to wakefulness and rising from bed, donning warm winter clothes,and heading for the mountain.  I arrived long before the sunrise and began my trek up the lumbering hillside in the cold stillness of predawn.  With each step the careworn busyness of my mind quieted and soon I was aware of the breeze, the chill and the subdued colors of winter.  As I climbed, I saw dozens of deer scattered across the hillside foraging food with graceful diligence.  I noticed this trio nearby and heard a still small voice beckoning me toward them.  They stared at me as I approached, eyes gentle and deep, they didn't move to run, instead they watched me.  I cried in gratitude as is often the case.
 It is humbling and beautiful to experience an intimate hello whispered across species.
 It was a quiet and refreshing way to begin the day.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

This is one of my favorite poems…does this love exist? I dont know.

The True Love by David Whyte
There’s a faith in loving fiercely the one who is rightfully yours
especially if you have waited years and especially if part of you never
believed you could deserve this loved and beckoning hand held
out to you this way.

I am thinking of faith now and the testaments of loneliness
and what we feel we are worthy of in this world.
Years ago in the Hebrides I remember an old man
who would walk every morning on the gray stones
to the shore of baying seals, who would press his
hat to his chest in the blustering salt wind and say his
prayer to the turbulent Jesus hidden in the waters.

And I think of the story of the storm and the people
waking and seeing the distant, yet familiar figure,
far across the water calling to them.
And how we are all preparing for that abrupt waking
and that calling and that moment when we have to say yes!
Except it will not come so grandly, so biblically,
but more subtly, and intimately in the face
of the one you know you have to love.
So that when we finally step out of the boat
toward them we find, everything holds us,
and everything confirms our courage.

And if you wanted to drown, you could,
But you don’t, because finally, after all
this struggle and all these years,
you don’t want to anymore.
You’ve simply had enough of drowning
and you want to live, and you want to love.
And you’ll walk across any territory,
and any darkness, however fluid,
and however dangerous to take the one
hand and the one life, you know belongs in yours.

winter storms

I can not remember another time when I have felt the metaphor of winter more strongly.  It feels as if the newness, vitality and hope of my life, has thickened like congealed sap in my veins.  I stare out through the bleak mental landscape of mind, making room for the cold and barren experience knowing (or at least hoping) that, whether I am aware of it or not, new life is already pregnant within the scene, growing stronger with each passing storm.

Monday, January 26, 2015

It Felt Love By Hafiz

Did the rose
Ever open its heart

And give to this world
All its

It felt the encouragement of light
Against its Being.

We all remain



Sunday, January 25, 2015


I have been drinking in the poetry of Hafiz, seasoned with tears and elation, for days.  Rumi and Hafiz are my longtime bedfellows, they whisper in my ear coaxing my soul from its half sleep, caressing my skin with their breath, reminding me of a longing that only ripens over time.

Someone put 
You on a slab block
And the unreal bought

Now I keep coming to your owner

"This one is mine."

You often overhear us talking
And this can make your heart leap
With excitement.

Don't worry,
I will not let sadness
Possess you.

I will gladly borrow all the gold
I need

To get you

When You Can Endure By Hafiz

The words stop
And you can endure the silence

That reveals your heart's 

Of emptiness
Or that great wrenching-sweet longing.

That is the time to try and listen
To what the Beloved's

Most want


Saturday, January 24, 2015


I have been wrestling with intimacy like Jacob in the dark, demanding its true name.  In a social landscape devoid of depth encounters, true intimacy, real belonging, sustained connection and authentic familiarity, we are made to feel weak because we long for intimacy, we ache to know and be known.  In our Western deification of independence, self reliance and autonomy we have perhaps carved a deep hole in our psyches.  A hole that is felt as an indescribable emptiness and longing.

I have judged myself for so many years because I could not overcome my desire to unite, to connect.  I have deemed it weak and flawed.  I have exercised independence, bravado and a will power that astonishes even me at times.  Still, I long to unite. With man? Yes, absolutely.  And with all life too, human, bird, deer, tree, stream, grass, ice, stars, bum, friend.  Why do we relegate this desire to the halls of psychology or spirituality.  It is something we all share.  It is our common vulnerability and if we listen to it we may just discover that this striving to preserve for the self alone is total BULLSHIT and is carving the hole deeper.

Just a thought.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

misfit toys

Sometimes I feel like one of those toys relegated to the Island of Misfit Toys.  Not much to do with that.  Except sink into the deeper realization that it doesn't f*#*king matter. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

why I love my job

 So one day this week I got to play with kids and chickens and the next day the toddlers and I painted with pudding...I mean HELLO does it actually get better than this?!!!

Friday, January 2, 2015

motherhood and new year

"Yes, Mother. I can see you are flawed. You have not hidden it. That is your greatest gift to me."   
-Alice Walker
I am fairly certain that my boys could echo this sentiment with conviction.  As a mother I long hoped that my greatest gift would be saintly patience, uncommon kindness, love, nurturance and care…I dreamed of perfect motherhood in the way I once dreamed of white-flowing-robed-enlightenment or mind-boggling-academic-brilliance… all of which lacked the common depth of shadow, complexity, sharp edges, needs and all that remains unresolved.  Now, I wonder if our pretense at "I've got it all together" isn't the most off-putting gift we can bring to one another.  It perpetuates the myth that we should have it "all together".  It promotes a botox view of life, no lines, no wrinkles, no edges, no character.  I DO NOT HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER.  And neither do you.  AH deep breath.  Happy New Year!  May it be exactly as it is!

Thursday, January 1, 2015


Have you ever found yourself lumbering toward an unseen cave in winter or felt your inward sap slow as life burrows deep within, preparing for spring.  For some reason we resist this urge.  Coaxed, by holiday bustle and city lights, into pouring our energy out like a water hydrant set at full blast in July, only its COLD outside and the water is turning to ice and no one is doing a photo-worthy happy dance in the shower of our depleted energy.  Perhaps it is time to draw inward.  In spite of the busy push outward.  Maybe, just maybe, nature knows a whole hell of a lot more than we do with our big busy brains and disconnected lives.  Maybe.


I hear this question often, "How many kids do you have?"
It's one of the few questions I can answer easily, unlike "How are you?" which sends me into an existential tailspin far too expansive for the common expected answer of "fine."
"Two", I answer beaming.
One breathtaking Owen who swims at a depth that must require glow fish adaptations of consciousness, astonishing me often with his clarity and insight.  And one dazzling Bodhi who shines with uncommon enthusiasm, living life at full throttle without apology.
Two, amazing children who humble me regularly and give me a thousand daily reasons to wake up with a smile.
Of course the simple answer is two and yes, I'm doing fine.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

i am enough

Today is commencement for grad school.  I decided not to walk.
remembering… college, living alone in SF, working as a fashion consultant, volunteering nights in homeless shelters, walking to the front of a full hall to claim another award, no personal applause, standing tall, head held high, eyes quietly scanning the audience hoping to find that one face shining with pride… declined invitations to award dinner's, mailed dean's lists, top of class announcements, and a little girl standing shyly in the middle row singing holiday songs searching, always searching for proof that it mattered.  
Sweet little girl, you don't have to try.
You are already enough.
I am enough.
     Already enough.
           I have always been.
We (bumbling humans) are trying so hard to counter this erroneous belief that we are not.  It's an epic, Don Quixote-worthy-battle with the great windmills of not quite, almost, and if only.
It's a lie.
I am, you are, we are, inherently, from our first breath to our last, ENOUGH.
e  n  o  u  g  h
Like Cervantes' great windmill tilting hero, I don't need to paint life with grand sweeping, rosy-hued strokes of romanticised perfection.  It never has been about being good enough.  If completely honest it was about propping up the old crumbling windmill announcing that I wasn't…an outgrown story that I am no longer interested in battling with.
I am
Now what does life look like when organized from that core truth?

Friday, December 5, 2014

day twenty-seven: 27 days of gratitude

Today, what I am most grateful for is that the challenge to post about my gratitude has come to an end. As with all things, the exercise came at a time when I most needed to adjust my thinking and at a time when it was most difficult to do so.  In the last six weeks, I said a final farewell to a hoped-for relationship, spent the holidays without family, children or the hope of them (and feeling a bit self-pitying about it), found out painful health related news from my dear beloved friend, witnessed and experienced the ongoing grief that accompanies the death of my coworkers beautiful child and kicked my own emotional ass with uncommon veracity.

In the end, I am grateful for the unknowable, uncertainty of life because fighting it or trying to explain it away is simply not effective and causes unimaginable pain for myself and others.  Through this 27 day journey I learned that perhaps gratitude is not the word I have been searching for, but appreciation.

Let's face it, it's difficult to be grateful in the face of suffering, it feels a little forced.  BUT I can appreciate.  I can appreciate the kindness of a stranger holding my wayward trunk open as I fill it with groceries.  I can appreciate the sunrise over a cold day.  I can appreciate my sweet soul-sister's courage in the face of so much uncertainty.  I can appreciate my past because I am wiser and a more empathetic parent and human because of it.  I can appreciate the intensity of grief surrounding a loss because it reminds me just how much my heart is capable of caring and loving.  I can appreciate my beautiful home and my two amazing children.  I can stop whatever busy-nonsense I am engaged in and truly listen to them when they share the details of their day.  I can appreciate the strong seed of hope that looks out on life with clear eyes, joyfully anticipating the next horizon.  I can appreciate so much of my life and it is a 24 hour, 365 day-a-year practice.

It's natural.  I breathe.  I can appreciate the air filling my lungs.  I eat. I can appreciate all the life forms from which that food came.  Appreciation is an attitude of thanks.  It is a choice.  Life is uncertain.  It is unknowable.  I can appreciate it even if I don't always like it, even if existential questions rise up demanding WHY and perhaps, with a little appreciation, I can befriend the questions themselves and as Rilke wrote: “... Perhaps then, someday far in the future, [I] will gradually, without even noticing it, live [my] way into the answer.” 

Monday, December 1, 2014

day twenty-six: 27 days of gratitude

My sweet boys insisted on making me brunch for dinner and they did.
Owen made turkey hash and Bodhi made his signature scrambled eggs.  And then Owen made a gorgeous presentation, adding his artistry to the culinary creation.  We worked together for an hour prepping the meal.  It was a wonderful time.  I am so grateful for my two beautiful boys and all the joy and love and good cooking they bring into my world!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

day twenty five: 27 days of gratitude

All questioning is a way of avoiding the real answer which is known already. –Zen Saying
The most dangerous thing in the world is to think you understand something.
–Zen Saying
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. –Marcel Proust
If you understand, things are just as they are. If you do not understand, things are just as they are. –Zen Saying

Saturday, November 29, 2014

day twenty-four: 27 days of gratitude

Friends on the trail….just when the separated sense of self is busily spinning its tale of isolation I look up and see friendly faces everywhere, birds singing overhead and the gentle hum of life all around.  Ah! Truth is true even in times of forgetting.

Friday, November 28, 2014

twenty-three: 27 days of grateful

I wish I could show you,
When you are lonely or in the darkness,
The Astonishing Light
Of your own Being!
This sky where we live is no place to lose your wings
So love, love, love.
Ever since Happiness heard your name
It has been running through the streets
Trying to find you.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

day twenty-two: 27 days of gratitude

Thanks giving.
I mistakenly thought "Thanksgiving" would provide a no-brainer gratitude post during this 27 day challenge I set for myself.  Not the case.  I spent the better part of the day heaving sadness from a bottomless pit of longing (dare I say self pity)…for family, to be wanted or to simply belong.  Many holidays have come and gone without a warm family welcome or a feast and they all came rushing back to me today, each competing for a seat at my table and vying for attention, each one bullying out the good memories.
I cried often.
And still I found myself at a beautiful gratitude celebration in Mile Hi sanctuary from 10-11, then spent the day surrounded by dear people who invited me to various homes and family gatherings.  I was surprised by the heart open welcome I received at each stop.  I was humbled by the generous outpouring of abundance and food in celebration: men watching football, brothers sounding off comic parodies with the practiced familiarity particular to siblings, children playing games, many cooking and all joined together in celebration. It was a good reminder that sadness and gratitude can exist hand in hand, and loneliness can vacillate toward togetherness and back again.
Thank you to all the warm hearts and beautiful people who welcomed me in on this Thanksgiving day.  And thank you to the extended paternal families who made this day special and memorable for each of my boys. I am grateful! 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

day twenty-one: 27 days of gratitude

Whew…Thanksgiving is fast approaching and no children…no family.  Thank goodness for all the kind offers of generous hearted people who have welcomed me into their holiday traditions in the day ahead.  I was feeling a tad self pitying today and so I took myself up a mountain to breathe the fresh air of a clear, cool day.  I had to bring my busy, babbling monkey mind along because it refused to wait in the car, but all in all it was an afternoon worth giving thanks for.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

day twenty: 27 days of gratitude

I read the other day that we can build our spiritual life on "love alone".  Our impatience, irritation, unkindness, narcissism and all the unsightly human foibles when consciously observed, are humbling gifts that allow us to recognize LOVE flowing through us-  not because of us, or something we are doing right or even a knowledge of how to love.  We, at best, are a window open onto love and love shines through.
I am grateful for love.