Friday, June 26, 2015

perspective

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

freedom

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

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Beautiful Ruins

I'm just finishing Jess Walter's wonderful beachy read, Beautiful Ruins and I ran across this timely quote: "All we have is the story we tell.  Everything we do, every decision we make, our strength, weakness, motivation, history, and character-- what we believe-- none of it is real; it's all part of the story we tell. But here's the thing: it's our goddamned story!...No one gets to tell you what your life means".  No one gets to tell your story.  We/I devote so much to energy to who you/they/he/she think I am.  We/I try to improve upon or manage that perception.  In truth that's letting everyone else write our personal story.  The picture above is the outside me, the one carefully crafted with hopes to please, the me you see.
The picture below is a rudimentary sampling of what I actually see.  I don't see me from the outsiders perspective. I see life in all its wonderful and terrible disguises, all the time.  What inane purpose does abandoning our original vantage and adopting the story of others serve?  None that I can tell.

Monday, June 22, 2015

home

I was rather dreading a departure from Hawaii and my beloved God parents and my return to normalcy.  I came home and daily life descended, as I knew it would, with its occasional loneliness and regular responsibilities.  For a few days, while Bodhi was with his Dad and Owen gone for the summer, I moped.  And then I looked around.  WOW!  All the spring rains have turned my home into a lush paradise, complete with variations of green and floral bounty to rival any of my haunts on Kauai.
 Beauty is literally all around.
 And now that Bodhi's laughter once more fills our home, moping has been all but forgotten.
And small adventures fill our days... like bike rides to the gym, trips to the market, neighborhood walks, stumbling upon one stranger after another who generously open their lives and hearts to us with the warm friendliness of summer. 

kauai

Back from Kauai...ahh.  What a way to start summer.  Sand, sea, love, family and a long deep exhale.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

lotus

The lotus generally grows in mud or mirky waters but it always flowers fresh each day.  Perhaps all the pyscho-babbling-spiritual-mumbo-seeking-reaching-efforts to transform aren't necessary.  Perhaps, if we just surrender, knowing that there is mud and there's always going to be mud. Life is as it is.  And still we bloom.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

shame

I was recently asked why I blogged or engaged in a continual reflection on my thoughts or feelings.  Wasn't I at least a little ashamed to indulge my continual, narcissistic, self reflection in a world full of genuine need, suffering and pain.  This came at a time when I really had nothing left to battle with.
I went belly up with shame.  
My old answer didn't suffice.  I no longer blog for the same reason that I once did.  There wasn't an adequate answer.  Shame asked, "who do you think you are to put your thoughts, ideas and writing out into the world?"
Brown defines shame as the "intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging". 
Shame kicked my ass.  
I thought of deleting the blog.  
I felt ashamed of who I am, how I think, how I feel, how I live.  I came face to face with my own darkest self. Who am I to occupy space?  Who am I to hope for love?  Unworthiness and self loathing took up residence at my table and in my bed.  I tried to be different, to feel less and reflect less, to BE more and to learn to shut up.  I tried because I, like all of you, want, nay need, love and belonging.  
My heart broke and not in the dramatic or romantic way.  I found myself stripped raw, standing or laying on the ground of my being.  I realized in that dark night that the very thing I spent a lifetime resisting, a lifetime of trying to be good enough, pleasing enough and attractive enough or smart enough or good enough to overcome, was ME.  In that darkness, when all my coping strategies, and resistance fell away, there was a spaciousness that didn't demand "me" to be other than I am or life to be other than it is. 
And for perhaps the first time, I sensed my own worth, as I am, in this moment. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

love

"The moment you see how important it is to love yourself you will stop making others suffer."
-Buddha

Perhaps we can stop treating ourselves like the enemy.  Perhaps we can stop focusing on the problems we see, because, let's face it, everyone has them and they tend to sprout new heads the moment we slay them.   Perhaps we can simply examine how we approach ourselves and learn to do it with some space, some kindness and YES love.

Friday, May 22, 2015

trail closed

On the trail when I see a sign like this, I don't stand in dismay, staring at it, wondering what I might have done to warrant its closure.  Did I walk too vigorously?  Did I stray from the trail?  Was I too frequent or unusual with my foot traffic?  Ridiculous.  No.  I just find an alternate route and keep walking.  I trust the closure for it's own sake.  I look for emerging wildflowers.  I befriend the trail, as is.  It's time to apply the same logic to my life.  When a relationship ends.  When a shift happens.  When a trail closes.  I don't need to examine myself to the nth degree.  I can just see it for what it is.  Trail closed.  And walk on.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

alone

When I was nineteen I forced myself to sleep alone in the woods, far from civilization, once a month for a few years (weather permitting).  Then, one early morning, as I lay there wrestling with my fear it dawned on me... "I'm afraid of being alone."  It was that simple.  I got up, packed my bag and never slept alone in the woods again.  Twenty two years later, after several relationships and heart break, as I lay in bed wrestling with the dark I realized, "I'm afraid of being alone".  I can't just pack up my sleeping bag this time.  But the same compassion finally overtook me and I turned with loving kindness to the woman and said simply, "I know".  

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

echoes and illusions

Therefore, steal, or still, the echo, so that you don’t allow an event, however unpleasant or momentous, to claim any more time than it took for it to occur...
What your foes do derives its significance or consequence from the way you react. 
Therefore, rush through or past them as though they were yellow and not red lights. 
Don’t linger on them mentally or verbally; don’t pride yourself on forgiving or forgetting them — worse come to worse, do the forgetting first. 
This way you’ll spare your brain cells a lot of useless agitation; this way, perhaps, you may even save those pigheads from themselves, since the prospect of being forgotten is shorter than that of being forgiven. 
So flip the channel: you can’t put this network out of circulation, but at least you can reduce its ratings. Now, this solution is not likely to please angels, but, then again, it’s bound to hurt demons, and for the moment that’s all that really matters.
-Joseph Brodsky

I recently encountered a very clear and unflattering reflection of my inner workings.  I initially tried to break the damn mirror.  Next, I made every effort to discount the reflection and question the value of any friend so brazen and "unkind" as to offer up my underbelly for inspection.  But a reflection, once seen, can never be unseen.
I have carried around a hulking history for more minutes, months and years than I care to count.  I have developed calluses and coping strategies to accommodate its weight. It's an antecedent.  It does not exist now.  It's only labored forward by my perpetual Sisyphusian effort to carry it with me.  That rock insists that I am, who I am, based solely on an accumulation of who I have been, complete with trauma, pain and a lot of human bullshit.  So.  How do you stop the cycle?  There are no Gods insisting that I keep pushing this damn rock up the hill.  As terrifying as it may be the only other option is to face life on it's own terms.  And all that is left to do is live. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Loving the unloveable

How do we love ourselves when we are at our most unloveable? How do we open our hearts with compassion to our own ardent stupidity and love ourselves anyway? And not turn toward some unsuspecting OTHER in the hope that they will alleviate the pain associated with coming face to face with our own shadow?  Or hide from it with our distraction of choice, meditation, exercise, do gooding or the host of others employed by humans across time?  In that fierce darkness, when all of our external brilliance has forsaken us and we stand naked, bald and exposed before the condemning mirror of other, can we in that bleak moment offer up a spacious presence for life as it is, right now.  Shaking and uncertain, I stand on that precipice expanding my heart large enough to hold me, unloved or unloveable, exactly as I am right now.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

enrealment

I am not interested in enlightenment,
if it means detachment from the emotional body,
the earth plane, the challenges of being human. 
I am interested in enrealment,
because it means that my most spiritual moments are inclusive,
arising right in the heart of all that is human:
joy and sorrow, shopping list and unity consciousness,
fresh mangoes and stale bread.

Enrealment is about living in all aspects of reality simultaneously
rather than only those realms that feel the most comfortable. 

We are not just the light, or the mind,
or the emptiness, or perpetual positivity.
We are the everything. It's ALL God,
even the dust that falls off my awakening heart. 

- Jeff Brown

Sunday, April 19, 2015

For Davey

"Sure.  I'll make small talk.
Chit chat.
Discuss the ins and outs of a "typical" day.
Pass the time lightly.
Say tiny things.
I'm happy to tread surfaces with a smile,
and will.
Sometimes.
Yet- when I look at you,
I know there are layers.
Dimensions.
Collections of ancient wisdom.
Roads.
Stories on stories on stories.
Core needs.
Humanness.
This is where I light up.
This is where I thrive.
You can't be caged in a pool for long.
Not when you're someone
who wants oceans."     -V. Erickson

I visited with my beautiful, big brother today.  A video chat.  Twenty minutes of freedom from his solitary confines.  In my eyes he was beauty. No less than a rare flower blooming in a parched and barren field.  He shared a recent glimpse of hard earned wisdom... "Sis, we are all infants. No matter our age.  We all share the same basic human needs. An infant will die without human touch.  We all need to be loved."
Of course we all need food, shelter and water.   But like infants we all also require, REQUIRE!! love, human touch and a sense of belonging.  We need it.  We can do without it and the body will survive, but what of the soul, the heart, the wide ocean of being?  To deny another living human of touch and care is a cruelty no less horrific than starvation.  When I consider how we punish others and push away the very people most in need of our warmth and tenderness and care, I wonder how we can begin to call ourselves a "civilized" people.
We can not begin to claim our inheritance as the humans we are capable of being, until we recognize another's suffering as our own and turn the light of our own love on the shadows of pain and loneliness all around.
I love you David Lon Lloyd Jr., heart and soul, stem to stern.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

unknown

Commuting to work this morning, surrounded by other cars and drivers intent on destinations to I know not where, I began to contemplate the unknown and unknowable nature of life.  Our big human brains spend a great deal of time and energy buffering against the present and imagining some measure of control.  We indulge elaborate contortions of self aggrandizement in an attempt to prop up our sense of the known.  We worry about the future, plan for it and rush headlong toward it.  We carry a satchel of memories and stories and nonsense, heavy laden, on bent backs weary from use.

The one moment we seem intent on ignoring is this one.  Why?  Could it be that this moment is inviting us, exactly as it is, to a robust kind of vulnerability?  A not knowing?  I have begun to believe that the greatest growth opportunity is found in a thorough examination of our relationship with the unknown.

I have five dear friends presently wrestling with cancer.  I witness their courage and endurance as they face the uncertainty of life, an uncertainty in which we are all steeped, but feel entitled to ignore.  What kind of blinders must we wear to avoid the simple, stark and glaringly obvious truth that this moment, exactly as it is, is the only moment there will ever be.  Imagine the weightlessness of this depth encounter, when all of our resistances are laid down and we come, with empty hands, naked and unabashed, to this one, perfect, as-it-is NOW.  This life. This moment. This breath. Anything less is a human parody masquerading as truth with all the pomp and puffed up circumstance that our busy minds can muster.

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 needful...you 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."
"No."
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

kindness

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

Bloom


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

flocking

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

predawn

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

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.