Monday, January 26, 2015

It Felt Love By Hafiz

How 
Did the rose
Ever open its heart

And give to this world
All its
Beauty?

It felt the encouragement of light
Against its Being.

Otherwise
We all remain

Too

Frightened.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Hafiz

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.

THIS ONE IS MINE by Hafiz
Someone put 
You on a slab block
And the unreal bought
You.

Now I keep coming to your owner
Saying,

"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
Back.

When You Can Endure By Hafiz

When
The words stop
And you can endure the silence

That reveals your heart's 
Pain

Of emptiness
Or that great wrenching-sweet longing.

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

Most want
To

Say.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

intimacy

Intimacy.
Belonging.
Closeness.
Connection.
Familiarity.
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

winter

Winter.
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.

two

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.
Two.
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
     already
          enough.
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!
Hafiz
This sky where we live is no place to lose your wings
So love, love, love.
Hafiz
Ever since Happiness heard your name
It has been running through the streets
Trying to find you.
Hafiz

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

Love.
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.

Monday, November 24, 2014

day nineteen: 27 days of grateful

Today I am grateful for this damn 27 day gratitude challenge or I'd be hard pressed to focus on my gratitude's in light of a great number of present "bummers".  So here goes…I am grateful for:

  • Mile Hi Church and the community that I am very slowly getting to know after nine years of attending.
  • The incredible women I am blessed to work with who care deeply about the children, education and one another.
  • Netflix on demand, since we don't have cable and hardly ever watch movies, I am grateful for the ease of access when I need a break from my overly reflective brain…or just need to entertain Bodhi for half an hour so I can drink a cup of tea in silence.
  • Sprouts grocery store.
  • My gym and the ability to work out, however slowly, whenever I want.
  • Hot tea with almond milk
  • Almonds---I LOVE raw almonds.  They are my personal version of the potato chip.
  • Cell phones, that allow me to stay in touch with my big boy while he is in Illinois.
  • Hope, that promises, against all reasoning and experience, that I will feel the gentle warmth of a loving life companion.
  • Baths…I don't often take them, but today I am going to wrap this post and climb into a nice hot bubbly tub.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

day eighteen: 27 days of gratitude

I am grateful for Bodhi who wakes up full force at 5:00 AM and says, "Mom, we need to make some art!"  We spend the next hour making mandalas to welcome in our intentions.  Then we make pancakes, or I make gluten-free banana protein pancakes and Bodhi rolls around the floor singing the wonders of bacon, which reminds him how much he loves to sing.
And so he loads up his ukulele, grabs a stool, quickly makes a sign that reads, "Tips Accepted" and heads to the sidewalk in front of the house.  Where he plays music for the next 45 minutes in 42 degree weather.
When he was finished he came in and proudly showed his earnings, $2.68.
I can only hope to learn from his courage, tenacity, enthusiasm and confidence.
He really is a rock star!!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

day seventeen: 27 days of gratitude

Today I am grateful for loneliness because it has been knocking and knocking on my door (Yes I see the Poe reference, quoth the raven) and it is time to just open up and let it in.  Thank you for this visitor, loneliness, and whatever gift it brings with it.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

day fifteeen: 27 days of gratitude

Time.  
I am grateful for time, it's weathered hand and constancy.  I am grateful for the changing seasons and the transience of all things, experiences and ideas (even though I cling to them with uncommon veracity).  When I walk the trails I find beauty everywhere, in the young bloom, the withering petals moving toward seed, the dry remembrance.  I see that same beauty all around me, on the streets, at my work, in the store.  When I see magazine covers advertising one fleeting phase of life's grand display as "beauty", I want to cry, "REVOLT! REBEL!" .  
What is the modern equivalent of bra-burning to signify anti-ageist, anti-sexist, anti-sizeist, anti-bullshitist, pro-being, pro-shining, pro-breathing, pro-aliveness?  If I could come up with it, I would surely start a movement or at the very least create a memorable scene.  As it is, I quietly remind the reflection in the mirror that she is no less beautiful than the various stages of life blooming along the trail.  I try to remind the people whose paths I cross the same thing, not through my words necessarily, but in the mirror of eyes embracing the hands of time.

day fourteen: 27 days of gratitude

My bedroom, with its iron bed, down comforters and African woven bed covers, with buddhas and incense, with meditation chair and comfort, is my sanctuary.  I am grateful.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

day thirteen: 27 days of gratitude

One year ago, today, I had heart surgery.
One year ago.
This heart, that still beats erratically is MY heart; my beautiful, big, loving, caring, open heart.
I have been carrying it around for forty years like it was some kind of liability.  Believing its intensity was too much to bring to anyone's table, that my heart was somehow deficient because it cared and felt and beat to its own tune.  I no longer believe that is true.
To my beloved heart, I commit:
I will no longer apologize when I am mistreated, feeling that the fault must lie with me.
I will no longer hide who I am in an attempt to be enough.
I will no longer love in excess in the hopes of convincing others of my worth.
I will recognize that anger is not an enemy to be feared, but the first feeling to arise in the primal brain when a boundary is violated.  I will learn to respect its wisdom.
Today I am grateful for my heart, exactly as it is, beating beautifully to its own unique rhythm, since this body drew its first breath on planet earth. One beat at a time.

Monday, November 17, 2014

day twelve: 27 days of gratitude

Holidays... as a single mama, I share the holidays with a wider circle of family.  This translates into spending many of the anglo-christian glory days alone.  Adaptable as ever, our little family developed the tradition of celebrating holidays whenever we decide and so Sunday was THANKSGIVING at our house!  Our time together, between Owen's Thanksgiving and Christmas trips to Illinois, is short, so with a desire to maximize on holiday cheer we put up our tree serenaded by Frank Sinatra singing Silent Night.
We spent our afternoon preparing a delicious feast consisting of requests made by each of the boys: Owen wanted mashed potatoes and gravy with homemade cranberry sauce and Bodhi wanted turkey and Grandma Mojo's special steamed red cabbage recipe.

For dessert Bodhi helped make his favorite gluten-free peanut butter cookies (he always leaves one cookie "unsmashed" to remind him which one to eat first).
We watched the documentary Happy, sipped warm almond milk eggnog and munched our cookies together in the living room with Christmas lights sparkling nearby.
While we watched, we worked on mandalas, drawing the areas of our lives we wanted to invest with intentions for healing and growth in the year ahead.
Then I read a chapter in Peter and the Starcatcher while rocking Bodhi in our cozy chair.  He fell asleep in my arms. As I sat watching Owen completing his mandala and listening to the sounds of Bodhi at rest, I realized that I have more to be thankful for than I have words to express.  I am so grateful.