Friday, December 28, 2012

Eleven Questions About Love

How much of what We do is out of fear of that which we can't control?

How much of how we live our lives is out of fear that we will have to drop the fantasy that we can avoid pain/loss/grief/rejection in the future?

How much do we hold back when we love others because we are afraid we will love more, better, longer, more ardently and deeper than the other person will love us?

How much of what we do is one of the millions of things we use to distract ourselves from our fears or create an illusion that someone or something can protect us from being abandoned?

The very notions of things like "wedded bliss" or Heaven are stories we tell ourselves to make ourselves feel better about the reality of failed marriages, death, disappointment and pain: "I can endure my unhappiness because I will be happy when ..." This tricks our brain into thinking someone or something else will make us happy so that we can not face our fears.

Promising another human being that living authentically will for sure mean I will always only want to be partners with them is the price I pay so that I can believe that I am less vulnerable to rejection, loneliness and heartbreak.

We are simply TERROR STRICKEN by the idea that someone we love might wake up tomorrow and follow their heart someplace we can't go. We are SO AFRAID we will do that one thing or fail to do that one thing that causes someone we love to stop loving us. We CAN NOT ABIDE giving ourselves to or sharing ourselves with one more person who then decides we aren't enough or we are too much. No. No. NO.

"I won't survive that one more fucking time," we hear our hearts say brokenly. "I will break into a million pieces this time. This will be time that I finally shatter. There will be too many tiny shards of me to piece back together."

Even I have days in which I want to arrange to keep myself loved for life. In my pain, loneliness and fear I momentarily consider lying down on the altar ... ANY altar ... to end or even ease the pain. Someone's arms around me feels necessary in those moments. To rest in someone's love seems like oxygen. We NEED it, we tell ourselves as we sign a marriage contract or put away certain parts of ourselves so that the other person will want us.

But then I thought this thought last night and it was like a kick in my gut:
What if there is a person who, after we faced our fears and decided to take the risk of being shattered, is someone with whom we would love and enjoy (and be loved and enjoyed by) so well that we would mutually keep picking each morning to spend that coming day with one another, for our whole lives, without a binding contract? What if we DON'T lean into the fear, but instead agree to make one another PROMISE to love us? What if that means I never find out that this other person and I would pick one another every day for a lifetime, without a promise or contract? Without fear.

What if falling in love feels so good because each time the "other" picks to see us again, take us out, hold our hand, make love to us, want to know us, and anything else that we crave and enjoy, it is a MIRACLE?

What if the rush of a new romance is because every day we woke up and thought, "He or she might stop liking me today," but then they DIDN'T?

What if it is BECAUSE of the fear, the facing of risk and the vulnerability to pain and heartbreak that we feel so moved by the other picking us again today?

What if deep down inside we all long to be picked FREELY every day but we are too afraid to face the flip side of that freedom because it means we might be rejected and abandoned?

Friday, December 14, 2012


The only reason I get up in the morning is because my real self knows, wants and is capable of loving. The people closest to me have almost without exception hurt me...from one perspective. From another I have hurt them. But to pull back and see the whole picture is to see that we are spirits/real selves having a human experience in the mind body. The people who have mishandled me are just as good inside as I am. From a certain perspective the man who shot innocent children today is someone who needs love, compassion and of course truth, more than you and I do.

To say that someone else is inherently evil is to say I might be, too. If I am inherently evil, or you are, why am I able to love my kids unconditionally? Why am I holding some hope that people like my kids are able to walk into adulthood with a sense of who they really are, as well as a realistic vision of what their mind body is capable of?

Some mind bodies need psychiatric drugs. Some are in so much pain that they need to smoke pot. Some need more hugs. Some need a regular routine. Some need to not eat dairy or wheat. Some would die if their bee stings went untreated. Some need all their skin to be covered at all times. Some need glasses. Some need a prosthesis.

The only hope we have is that we each get a mind body to pilot and we can become more or less aware of how that mind body ticks, what it needs, etc. while we are having a human experience. The only hope is not a god who infuses goodness into those who choose to believe certain theology, but rather a race of human beings who house a spirit that is connected to all other spirits AND housed in a mind body that simply works how a mind body works.

And we get to love. We get to impact the human experience of others by living from our own real selves, and doing so even when others don't. This is also why religion that asks for behavior modification never does anything but make people shove awareness of their mind body further into their subconscious. It is only by listening to the voice of our real selves...our knowing...our higher self, etc. that we can learn to live from our spirit rather than our mind bodies.

Forgiveness is not defining the other person by the thing they did that hurt or harmed us; it is the insistence that they are not "all bad." It is insisting on recognizing, no matter how I've been hurt, that the other person is not a perpetrator who was always this evil, anymore than I'm inherently a victim who was always going to be victimized. It is putting your own energy behind validating the real self of even the person who hurt you most. Having hope for them. Desiring for them to be out of the perpetrator role, out from under the judgment of others and out of whatever it is that is *wrong*/wounded in their mind body. I do NOT think saying this invalidates anyone's pain. I have experienced that having this perspective, or at least pointing in the direction of it, is one of the best ways to heal.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Is fear a natural property of the mind body? If there is one thing that we are specifically afraid of what is it? What's the "root" fear? Why is the spirit having a human experience? Was spirit trying to do something specific by having a human experience? Is spirit (knowing the way things really are) stronger than fear? If you somehow live more through the spirit than through the mind body, are you unable to Unsee what you know through spirit? Or are you forever transformed, as if you had lasic surgery? Would everyone hear, if they listened to their spirit's knowing that the larger, real picture is that "All is well?" That's what I hear. Why are some people more aware of having a knowing than others? Is it true that I think I can "spot" someone's spirit/real self even if they aren't even aware of having one?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I want to consciously listen to my mind-body more, but to listen with the understanding that my mind-body is always in fight-or-flight mode, trying to stop feeling afraid or in pain. That's what mind bodies do; that's their nature. But it is this mind-body that I am in and though it is very childish in the way it responds to fear, it also has is capable of positive feelings, sensations, and the ability to feel pleasure.

This is rather like being unemployed: you look back on the time you were unemployed and you think, "Wow I could have experienced that as a break/vacation/sabbatical, but instead I spent the whole time feeling anxiety."

I don't know how long my spirit will have a human experience in this body, or 'a body at all, so each day is precious. While I have use of this body I want to experience as much content, peace, love, hugs, kisses, love-making, orgasm, yummy food, laughter, loving touch, back rubs, adrenaline rushes after a long run, warm bath water, "butterflies" in my tummy, cuddles, warm socks on cold feet, and the smell of a campfires, Carmel beach at sundown, and a newborn baby's head.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Even more musings about love...

I've always handled telling someone I love something I think will hurt or disappoint them by telling the minimum and softening it, then after gauging their reaction, going on to explain more (or not).

So far I have about three friends in the whole world who I am completely transparent with. I have had dozens of friendships/relationships that I have sustained despite the fact that I think that if I was absolutely authentic they would reject or at least be disappointed in me. Why?

Fear, of course. I have been willing to live in a whole fucking lot of fear as the "cost" of being loved. I don't know if this is true for everyone, but I can say that it would not be a hard decision to lose my life while saving the life of a loved one. That, for me, wouldn't take a lot of courage.

The very bravest thing that me, Cheryl, could do, would be to be absolutely authentic all the time. It is easier for me to want those close to me to understand me when we're talking about the good things about me or even the things that make me tick in my quirky way. But then when it comes to my foibles, I am terrified of telling people exactly who I am. And then actually WANTING them to really understood what is inside of me is a whole other level.

But I know that every way I cover up, mask, hide, soften, or leave out the truth of who I am in a friendship or relationship is a time bomb I'm planting in the foundation. All relationship built on that foundation is to some degree a lie.

Though it's scary as hell, I want to be brave enough to give to people I'm close to a bright, crisp, clear picture of who I am. From the beginning on.

I've known I wanted to be that brave and that open since I was a child, I realize. I didn't think I would be loved unless my faults and errors were minimized and I was the victim, and therefore less at fault, in every situation, even the ones when I really fucked up. I definitely did NOT think I would ever have the courage to bare myself and really allow the other person to see the truth of who I am.

The irony of all this is that I can see clearly that the ONLY way I ever feel loved and accepted is by those who I know really KNOW who I am and love me in spite of that. So by hiding in fear all these years I have been setting relationships I'm in up to fail. They don't stand a chance if I have to walk in the back door, sneak into the dressing room, put on a costume and have complete hair and makeup done before I make my appearance. If I have to be something other than authentic to be part of a relationship it is doomed.

But so many friendships and even marriages are forged while one or both people is presenting themselves as different than they are, even by shades. We can see it when others do it. If you've ever watched someone YOU know really well start a friendship or a romance in some sort of posturing, you know what I mean. It's actually really irritating to watch, for example, a person you know start dressing completely different and in a way that "matches" the person they are wanting to impress. It can be nearly nauseating to watch someone close to you "change" their belief system, lifestyle, desires for the future, etc. overnight, then change them again the next time a new relationship begins.

The prospect of living absolutely authentically, without the fear of the other person rejecting me, and completely free to be completely my self, is .... Well .... Exciting! And it makes me feel like I have a fresh page in front of me. Like I'm somehow starting over in a way. I know this is one of those "next steps " I'm being invited to take. And I'm going to take it.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The distillation of a day of writing

Yes, by leaving the growing flower in the dirt where you first admired it means you can't have it to yourself. It means you are NEVER, EVER going to be sure that the flower will still be there tomorrow. And showing up to look for the flower every morning, and sitting next to it and watching and supporting its growth... THAT is love. Resisting the urge to have, own and keep another mind body close to our own means we are vulnerable to loneliness. Abandonment. Rejection. But it also means we stand a chance of actually loving and being loved. Love happens within the tension and despite the fear. Love gives freely and with abandon because it hasn't arranged for the other person to be next to them in all their tomorrows.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


when that idea
that has been burrowing its way
up from your soul
surges up
and threatens to explode
from the tip
of your paintbrush

when your most raw
most secret feeling
pushes up against you
backs you into the wall
and whispers
a poem
in your ear
and asks you
to write it down

when something calls your name
and you follow it into
the darkness
where it comes up behind you
and insistently presses
warm clay in your hands
and coaxes you to
tenderly finger it
until it is the form
that it has been
begging to take

pick up your pen
seize your clay
hold your fingers above the keys
grasp your brush
brace yourself

then let go
lean back into
open up

look it in the eyes
let it almost violently
strip you
of your doubts
and fears

bare yourself brazenly
and without hesitation
feel the warm
weight of what was
in you
all along

let your head
and tender places
be scraped raw
don't hide
don't want to
let yourself be ripped open

and when it
rises up inside you
you will know
you will be swept up into it
and then

let yourself come undone
let it overtake you
let it fill you
until you are

and then
your neck arched back
and your entire being laid open
let the holy

rush of inspired expression




and now breathe

to the sigh of satisfaction
from between your own lips
that you will realize
you heard
in the bright flash
of your first moment
of consciousness

feel the pressure subside
feel the inspiration release you
feel the glow of knowing
what was in you
was drawn from within
sucked from the depths
and is finished

know with all of you
know unequivocally
know sweetly
stretch out in the knowing
feel the knowing in every pore
take all of the knowing
wrap the knowing around you
luxuriate in the knowing

that what was created
through you
is beautiful

breathe again
and now


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

One Floor Below

Behind my sunglasses and paperback, on the patio of a beachfront hotel last summer I underwent a transformation.

I am attempting to describe the connection I was a silent witness to during those weeks on the coast last summer. I was changed every day just a little, simply by absorbing the part of their lives they spent together just below me. I saw and heard enough in those two short weeks to write a book about.

Sometimes they sat holding hands, watching the sun duck below the horizon and behind the surf, leaving a pink- and orange-
streaked sky behind. Sometimes they talked slowly and quietly with long, heavy, familiar pauses in between. Other times they sat at the tiny table while they animatedly discussed some topic or another. If wine came out, within a half hour, she was up on her feet pacing around the patio and gesticulating wildly as she spoke.

Sometimes they sat with their chairs pushed together and a huge quilt pulled around them both. Sometimes she sat on the ground on a cushion and leaned her head on his knee while they talked, idly stroking his hand and eyes fixed on him. Other times one or the other would come out alone and then when the door opened and the other walked out, both faces lighted up at seeing one another, even if they had just been inside together five minutes before.

One night I watched her come out of their hotel room and quietly approach him from behind. She leaned into him as he stood, forearms resting on the patio bars, looking out at the ocean. He turned around and wrapped his arms around her, then stroked her hair and whispered into her ears something I couldn't hear from my chaise. It was the kind of embrace you would see and think was a goodbye, it was so tender and full.

These two knew full well the nature of growth: that you can't tell someone else which way to grow or make them grow in a specific direction except by stunting their growth or worse. I had come to that realization on my own before that summer but I'd never seen it in a real relationship.

They talked long about the wonder they each felt at being able to witness and experience the magic of the other's authentic growth. I began to understand that they loved experiencing the other's growth and movement more than they loved safety, stability, or an unchanging and mutual address. I couldn't even tell if they shared a home or if they'd rendezvoused at that hotel after a long journey from opposite directions.

They talked only sometimes about the future but not in the way you'd expect two retirees to talk. I learned over the weeks that they couldn't even conceive of planning their elderly lives together unless it was to say, as he so eloquently put it one starless night.

"I can't imagine us interfering with one another's growth. It's unthinkable." He shook his head and then leaned toward her. "That's why I can say, my dear, that when we are old I am almost sure I will be in your life. Though we can't see where our individual trajectories will take us until then, I am sure I will be your lover or your friend. Or both!"

They both chuckled and then she pulled his head toward her and kissed him long and hard. He pulled away and held both her hands in his.

"No matter where I am standing in relation to you," he continued, looking intently at her, "watching you grow and process is one of the most beautiful, magical sights I've ever seen. I trust us to be our authentic, individual selves, even if that means we naturally grow apart. But you, sweet girl, with your eyes and hands and mouth open wide for whatever is next ... You are breathtaking. I will never be able to stop thinking so. And the way your whole self rushes fearlessly into what is next, no matter how terrified you may be ... Darling, you are the strongest and most beautiful to me in those moments."

My eyes blurred with tears. I watched as she took him by the hand and led him through the sliding glass door. I sat in silence, tears rolling down my cheeks.

"It's too late now," I whispered to myself. "I know now that two people can love one another like those two do. I can't unknow it now."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Even More Musings on Love

What if Loving and Being Loved is only ever the by-product of two people who are living their authentic true selves individually and in doing so connect with one another? What if most of what we think of as "love" (i.e. marriage, fidelity, romance, passion) are forms and behaviors that try to "mimic" the naturally-occurring characteristics of Loving and Being Loved? What if these forms are essentially trying to "package" real emotions, thoughts, feelings and reactions in a way that gives us the illusion that we can own, keep and depend upon them never changing? What if real, true Loving and Being Loved occurs in the places we least expect it, when our guard is down, when our belts are undone, when when our hair is loose and we are sitting criss cross applesauce in our fuzzy socks, holey t-shirts and flannel jammie pants, talking from our real selves in an utterly relaxed and unconscious way because there is no illusion left? What if real intimacy can't even begin to be experienced until we are, spiritually, lying exhausted, snotty-nosed and hiccuppey from sobbing out the most shameful and repressed story we had sworn we'd never tell anyone, and we find someone's arms around us, their lips gently kissing our eyelids and forehead and their voice whispering in our ears, "I am so sorry you carried so much shame all alone for all these years." What if we are busy doing the equivalent of staging pictures of life's most tender moments rather than feeling what fills us when we actually experience those tender moments? What if we are doing the equivalent of sleeping next to a paper cut-out of our beloved, not understanding why we don't feel warm skin, soft hair, and flesh against flesh when we embrace it? No, we don't feel satisfied. Yes, marriages aren't sustainable at least half the time. Of course we are left with carcasses of dead relationships that we don't know where or how to bury. Obviously, we are confused, the desire for the real deal always just the tiniest bit stronger than the fatigue and disappointment of love, once again, eluding us. But still we keep reaching and chasing. We keep longing despite our oaths to ourselves to stop expecting the impossible. What if it's as simple seeing who ends up being beside us when we find ourselves swept up in the current of being real and living the life we need and want? What if we have to walk through a doorway that no one else seems to even notice and that seems to scare everyone else before we can step into a garden the person we might love and be loved by stepped into through a doorway in their world that was equally unpopular or easy to walk through? What if it's as simple as being on the way to who i really am and doing what feels right and good inside, I meet someone else on that road?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Some Musings on Love

Night before last I watched a beautiful movie, "The Exotic Marigold Hotel."

One of the main characters is a widow who was married 40 years and after her husband's death discovers debt that he kept a secret from her. This discovery makes it necessary for her to sell her home and find a job. She finds a job, as well as herself in the process, but for much of the movie she is quietly processing the way "you never really know anyone."

The turning point in the movie is when one of the male characters, a retired judge, goes to look for the man he has been in love with for decades but hasn't seen since youth. The judge finds the man, now married, who confesses in front of his wife that he also has loved the judge all these years.

The widow has to know: did the man's wife know this secret before the moment she heard her husband confess it to the judge? She can't imagine how or why the wife just stood there. She finds the wife and asks her questions. She finds out the wife DID know her husband was in love with another man, and that she'd known this since before they were married.

The widow says to her friend, incredulously, "His wife knew all along. They had no secrets from one another." She paused and asked, quietly and with pain in her voice, "That's how it's meant to be, isn't it?"

I cried.

Like the widow in the movie I have learned that I want to have relationships in which I need not hide my true self and in which the other person's true self is not hidden from me. To be known fully and know fully and for there to be love, connection and a shared life built on that foundation ... Oh my god ... That IS heaven to my way of thinking.

Intimacy for me is hiding nothing. I am in a constant state of curiosity about, and uncovering and understanding of, myself and the other person.

In fact, I think relationships are the place or the "platform" on which knowing and showing my true self occurs. It is the soil in which self-awareness grows. And it is when we process, examine, put into words and bare our true selves WITH others that we are truly known and therefore can feel, coming and going, loving and being lived, for real.

And yet, over and over, I hide my true self from those whose love I desire or those whose love I'm afraid of losing. It is a habit birthed in childhood and it is totally fear-based. I show a version of myself I think the other person will approve of, even when that's not my intention.

The cost is high: the moment I feel the other person's love for me or their desire of relationship with that "version" of me I've shown them is the moment I begin to feel rejection and the moment in which the relationship has become doomed. If they don't know the real me but say/feel they love me, my heart sinks and I ultimately end up leaving the relationship or unconsciously throwing a bomb in it.

It's not that I tell lies about myself, leave out pieces of my story or stuff my bra. I am actually really super honest about who I am. Sometimes, I've been told, to a fault.

No, the showing of a version of myself only happens slowly, subtly and usually without my knowing ...

-It happens when I do something I didn't really want to do but failed to object to because I didn't want to offend or frustrate the other person.

-It happens when I don't say something that is from my heart because I'm afraid of hurting, scaring off or in some way negatively impacting the other person's happiness in a relationship with me.

-It happens when I feel hurt and I decide not to say that I am hurt but instead make up a story that takes the other person off the hook for being rude, mean, or unkind to me.

-It happens when I don't listen to myself enough to hear that I don't trust the other person but then I share myself with them anyway.

It happens in hundreds of different ways. And I'm working on the ones I'm aware of. But they are drops in the bucket compared to the ways I do this, and/or the other person does it, totally UNconsciously.

That's a new piece of the puzzle for me: the understanding that no matter how badly I want and work toward total nakedness and fearless authenticity, it's impossible to achieve completely. Impossible. I KNOW that this means the possibility of forging an authentic connection between myself and another person, or/and the POSSIBILITY of unconditional love or sustainability of the connection is very slim.

Actually, chances are great I'm going to fuck up every intimate relationship I take part in. And most people will equally fail at revealing their true selves to me. But I can't stop wanting to succeed. I can't stop wanting authentic connection in spite of the odds being way against me.

There are maybe two or three people with whom I'm close to absolutely fearless about showing my true self and for whom I don't edit myself. They are all women. And I value those relationships. It is those that teach me that I can be authentic. They help me know I'm capable of fearless connection.

Why are these relationships different? I have really been asking myself to look beyond the surface, past even the "I'm able to be myself" part. Or the "they're women" dynamic.

I think this is the major difference in these fearless connections I do have:

-There's a wanting and trying to be known more than I'm wanting and trying to be approved of.

-There's a wanting on the part of the other person to be known by me more than they want approval from me.

-There's a mutual enjoyment of knowing and being known and even a feeling of understanding ourselves better by knowing the other person's messy, complicated, beautiful selves.

-There is a give and take of "taking off of our clothes."

-There is a back and forth of telling the stories we are proudest of, most ashamed of and that hurt us most.

-There is the dropping of guard and the talks that end with, "I've never told anyone that," or, "I thought I was the only one who felt like that," or, "You make me feel normal!"

-There's the mutually risky chance-taking of telling the truth about ourselves that we are most afraid of anyone knowing and finding that, incredibly, the telling made us more human and validated the experience of the other person.

- There's hearing that my telling my truth gave the other person more courage and have less fear about showing their true selves.


Is it possible to have such a connection with someone of the opposite sex? I think it is highly unlikely ... but possible.

But is it possible to have that kind of connection after I've had sex with them? My experience says no, it's not possible. That the nature of "romantic" relationships is that 99% of the time those are the connections I'm MOST afraid of being myself in and in which I am MOST hiding, even if I don't want to be.

And yet. I want both.

I can see the reality of the severe unlikelihood of having both a fearless/mutually knowing the other person and wanting to be known AND a sexual-romantic relationship. But I can't NOT see that I'm never going to be sustainably happy in a romantic-sexual relationship that doesn't involve a mutual desire for authenticity and knowing/being known.

I'm not sure what to do with the knowing of that other than know it. That feels pretty good, though. It feels like relief to admit to myself that I am not going to be happy in connections in which I'm not able to be myself and/or the other person isn't equally wanting that. It feels good to say that I'm not able to want that enough for two people; my wanting it is not enough and I am not going to be able to "teach" someone who doesn't already have an internal motivation of this kind, to have it. It feels like a relief to say, "This is really rare and you are very likely not going to experience it, but knowing that is better than trying to make yourself be ok with less than what you really want."

Other than that, the only thing I know to do is what a friend said last week. He said, "I just know I need to do things differently than I've done them." That looks like different things for different people but for me it means becoming more conscious of what I have been doing and about what I do each day. I have just a few practical steps for myself that I'm trying and will hopefully continue to find more. For now here's what I'm going to do differently:

-Not going to trade my peace/positive energy for human interaction. What that means is that when I'm lonely and attention-starved I'm not going to spend time and energy with people who don't want to know/be known. It's not worth it; the cost is too high.

- I'm going to keep showing my true self/speaking my truth to those I spend time with, knowing that it's worth it to me to do so, even if it leads to the other person rejecting me.

-I'm going to resist the urge to try to coax or teach someone to show me their true self. I'm going to take them at their word. If they aren't internally motivated to know/be known, I'm not going to judge them but I'm not going to try to fix or help them, either.

-I'm going to be cautious about showing/sharing too much of me before I know whether or not the other person is interested in mutual knowing/being known.

"If you want something you've never had, then you have to do something you've never done."

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ah, yes ...

“We don't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts.”

― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice For Difficult Times

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Unfinished is o.k. That's what I've been thinking about today.

Life is the journey TOWARD my authentic life, not the destination. I build my handmade life forgetting that life is IN the building and that there will likely never be a day when I sit back and say, "I have completed my nest," or, "my sacred space is finished."

Sunday, September 2, 2012

My Life in Instagram

I kind of fell in love with my life all over again tonight. And Instagram captures the textures and tastes of this little life of mine that's still a bit shy about how beautiful it accidentally is...

My breadbox of a house that became, nearly instantly, Home.

Mish-mash of yard sale and thrifted elements, my art, tons of framed photos and stuff my kids and I like for one reason or another has somehow combined to make the most aesthetically pleasing, warm and comfortable rooms I've ever lived in.

Slowly making Sacred Space ... Inside and outside. Lying under a tree and cloud-gazing for the first time since childhood. Falling asleep in late morning on my soft nest of down pillows stuffed into an old comforter and sewn shut, a growing family of doves overhead.

Vintage strawberry kitchen that has quite literally manifested itself, almost as though the elements of a 1950's kitchen were scattered over the decades and since then have been trying to find their way back to one another.

Cooking?!? Yup. I know: it's hard to believe.

Celebrations of the spirits/souls that Incredibly have been gifted to me as "my family" in this permutation i know as "my life" are inviting me to express love in plain language, fresh ink, a neat hand and naked, unmeasured adoration.

Ice cream. Mint chip to be exact. On top of a a bed of warm, just baked, chocolate chip cookies.

"My Nest:"
Previously imagined, written about, and expressed in my art, but only as a metaphor. And now I snuggle down in its hand-made, chosen, funky realness.

Everything I need, when I need it, sitting right smack dab at my feet each time I take a step forward. I need only to stoop and pick it up.

Work I love. Work that loves me.

The unknown future spread out before me is only rarely scary. Mostly it feels exciting to not know what comes next. It is almost delicious sometimes to walk around what used to feel "walled"(but safe), and to see only open air for miles around and to find I don't want to know what's next.

The room that was "supposed to be" the dining room has become a messy, beautiful place for my kids and I to create with markers, fabric, beads, paper, words, glue, paint, photos and whatever else we please. It's a perpetual disaster. And we don't expect that room to be anything but.

I rest in the magic of this new life of mine. I rarely reach or grasp. I only sometimes wish away today in exchange for an imaginary "easier/happier" tomorrow. This moment is ok. Something I couldn't have dreamed up is around every turn. Tomorrow stands serenely waiting for me like a Buddha who has been patiently expecting me for years. Or lifetimes. Oh ya ... And this Buddha-Tomorrow is happily grinning at me, with a look very like my grandpa used to have while sitting at a table stacked with his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Our eyes would meet across the table and that smile I lived for would fill his face. "I'm so glad you're here; you are perfect and you make me so happy," his eyes would twinkle at me. So, now, this Buddha-Tomorrow, grins at me, delighted to see me and ready to welcome me into another day.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

September 1

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.”
― Nelson Mandela

Thursday, August 30, 2012

" ... Without holding back ..."

“If you are waiting for anything in order to live and love without holding back, then you suffer. Every moment is the most important moment of your life. No future time is better than now to let down your guard and love.” – David Deida

"... Till the mud settles ..."

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I Want You to Give Me Everything

"Defense is the first act of war. If you tell me that I'm mean, rejecting, hard, unkind, or unfair, I say 'Thank you, Sweetheart, I can find all those things in my life, I have been everything you say, and more. Together we can help me understand. Without you, how can I know the places in me that are unkind and invisible? So, Sweetheart, look into my eyes and tell me again. I want you to give me everything." -Byron Katie

Monday, July 2, 2012


Someone who goes
with a half a loaf of bread
to a small place that fits like a nest around her,
someone who wants no more, who’s not herself
longed for by anyone else.
She is a letter to everyone. You open it. It says, Live!


Thursday, June 21, 2012

My Nest

It's been awhile since I posted last. Lots has happened in the interim. And I do mean A LOT. Hard things. Good things. Sad things. Exciting things. Things are changing. Things are beginning. Things are dying. Things are being birthed.

And I'm making my nest. In some ways I am making one for the first time in my life. The image of a "nest" has been with me for almost exactly a year now. It has come to represent everything that I need and want in my life. It is a personal nest and it is one that I alone can build for myself. Each twig is something I have picked for myself because I know that it is something that I want and need to form my nest. The purpose of my nest is to support, shelter and nurture myself. And my babies. For me that nest needs to provide:

  • Health
  • Security
  • Safety
  • Wholeness
  • Sustenance
  • A place to grow things
  • Peace
  • Creativity
  • Sacred space

The interesting thing about a "personal nest," as I have dubbed these nests we build for ourselves (and our children) is that when we make a list of what we need and want in that nest, there can not be another human being's name on that list. If so, it isn't a strong nest.
Anything that is part of my personal nest being strong and supportive that means someone else has to behave a certain way or make me feel a certain way is just not going to work. If someone else is a piece of the foundation of my personal nest, the entire nest is compromised. I can not truly be authentic. My security and safety becomes linked to a certain person behaving a certain way, doing certain things, making me feel certain ways, etc. and therefore I have to do x, y and z to keep that part of my nest intact.
I think we DO, however, build "relationship nests" with other people. We co-create these relationship nests in a way that works for both people in the relationship. The error I have made in the past, over and over, was neglecting to build a "personal nest," first and foremost, and instead trying to make a "relationship nest" INTO my personal nest. And that is the fastest way for a relationship nest to fall apart. And when it does, if I did not have my own personal nest intact, I am nestless.

I don't know how to co-create relationship nests well. I am learning. But right now, in this season of my life, my focus is on creating my own PERSONAL NEST, first and foremost. And I'm doing it. Slowly but surely. Day by day. And it's incredible. The twigs and moss and other elements that I know I need and want in my nest are showing up in my path. I literally just have to bend and pick them up.

About a year ago I went to an "Art for Healing" class in Bakersfield. We made a collage in the class. The task was simple: collage what you want to manifest in your life. I didn't have a plan when I started going through magazines looking for things that caught my eye. I just started cutting. And before long what I had in front of me was something incredible: My Nest. I had collaged my personal nest. The nest I wanted but did not yet have. Here's the finished collage:

A year later I am stunned and delighted to see that I am creating my own little nest that has everything in that collage, either intact or in process. I am on my way to taking care of myself and my "chicks," as my friend, Wendy, would say. I am in the process of finding a "community." There are red chinese lanterns, a studio in my dining room, candles, a backyard that I am excited to create into sacred space, photos everywhere and even a truly "magic occupancy" of my new nest.

The way I got here is not how I would have planned it. There has been and is so much heartache on the road that I traveled to get here. I wish I could heal the hearts of those I've hurt. But I KNOW, with everything in me, that the only thing for me to do right now is to be 100%, unequivocally, unhesitatingly honest and authentic. That means I say I'm sorry to those I've hurt. It means I tell the truth about my feelings. It means I say what I want and need. It means I take responsibility for my own happiness and healing. It means I follow my heart today, tomorrow and every day from now on.

I'm excited. I feel peace like I never have. I have no idea what the future holds. I am not afraid.


I'm lonely sometimes. I wonder how I got here. If there was another way. I mourn the losses of what was. I feel remorse for the pain I've caused others. I wonder why I couldn't have gotten HERE another way.


I am here now. I don't have to do, be, feel, believe or think anything. There is no relationship nest that I must keep intact in order to feel taken care of, provided for, safe and secure. I had no idea how much of my almost constant anxiety was connected to my lack of a personal nest. I didn't know I could feel so much peace. So much hope. I didn't REALLY understand Julian of Norwich's "All will be well, and all manner of things will be well" until now. I get it. I do. I have never felt so "well."

I have no clue what tomorrow will bring. I don't even know what I will do with the rest of today. I know it will involve reading, eating healthy food, relaxing (I already ran today), writing a little, watching a movie perhaps, watering the grass, sitting outdoors with a glass of wine once it cools off, chatting with friends on the phone, and continuing to, little by little make my little nest more and more of a "home." And that's enough.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Ego and Self - A Fairy Tale

(excerpt from 2012 A Clarion Call: Your Soul’s Purpose in Conscious Evolution, pg. 103)

"For a moment let us go into our imagination and picture the Self, as a king or queen, returning to reclaim the throne of its kingdom. Let us imagine the many shadow defenses it encounters through the corridors back to the throne room where it will encounter the ego.

Ego has realized that Self is returning to reclaim its kingdom. Symbolically, Ego, experiencing fear and panic, frantically barricades the throne room door. Eventually, Self arrives and knocks on the door, requesting let it in and relinquish the throne. Ego is defensive, refuses to open the door and prepares to take up arms ready to fight. Ego is prepared to do anything to remain in power and through the closed door tells this to Self. Ego proceeds to intimidate Self into submission in the vain hope that Self will scurry away to its place of exile.

However, Self rides the storm whipped up by Ego. Ego feels powerless in the full presence of Self and panics further. What will become of it if Self succeeds in reclaiming the throne. Ego fears it will die. It can see no other outcome. Ego is too afraid to surrender to Self and does not know what to do. Resolutely, Ego digs in its heels and refuses to move. They have reached an impasse. Days, weeks and months go by with Self remaining present and Ego, locked in the throne room with no resources to maintain is power, becoming weaker. Ego resolves to die on the throne, for surrendering to Self will surely only result in this outcome, until Self throws Ego a lifeline.

Self begins to speak with Ego ever so gently and with great respect; Ego is struck by the tone of unconditional love and compassion in this voice, believing it to be the kindest and most beautiful voice it has ever heard. Ego beings to feel very, very weary, overwhelmed with exhaustion, and begins to pour its fear to Self, who listens with great compassion and empathy. Ego feels an inexplicable sense of trust as each of its fears are validated by Self. Ego begins to consider the possibility of opening the throne room door, yet again is overcome with fear of the consequences. As much as it wants to trust, for it is so, so tired, it is afraid, believing that Self will betray it. Ego pours out these fears to Self. Self hears Ego’s fears and, with the greatest compassion tenderness and compassion, makes a promise. It ensures Ego that its life will be safe and offers a written promise with a golden seal, which stands for absolute integrity and authenticity. Self slides the document under the door for Ego to consider. Ego read this and notices a separate letter tied with a golden thread. Ego unwraps the letter. It reads:

My dear, dear Ego,

I am so glad to finally have the opportunity to thank you for saving my life. I recognize that without you I would not be here; I would not be alive. You were there when I most needed protecting and even though I have been in exile for all of these years, you ensured that I was provided for. You have held onto my kingdom and many battles you have endured on my behalf. I know you are battered and bruised, scarred and weary, yet you never deserted me or left me exposed, unprotected, or vulnerable when I was unable to return to claim my kingdom.  This undertaking has been a great burden for you and it took tremendous courage and strength. How can I ever repay you? What price can be placed on a precious life?

You have served me so very well. You have always been and will remain my hero/heroine and I know that everything you have done was to protect me. I am humbled in your presence for I know that you have suffered greatly in my name. I see the pain and hurt you have endured. I see your heart has been broken. I see the anger and rage you have felt and received. I see the loss you have suffered. I see the loneliness you have endured. I see how you stood in the line of fire for me when the first perceived threat to my existence occurred many years ago and how you have repeatedly done so ever since. All that you have suffered and endured has been to preserve and ensure my existence. You have been the most loyal of friends. You have never abandoned me. You bear the many scars of the trials and ordeals of this life.

My beloved Ego, I have been asleep. For many, many years I was lost in exile. I did not know who I was. During these years I forgot what happened at our first meeting when you shielded me from attack. However, one day, no so long ago, I heard the most pitiful cries of anguish. I heard a voice scream out tin the still of the night, “Help me, God. Set me free. I can no longer live like this. I am so lonely and in so much pain. I am so tired. Help me someone, release me, from this suffering.” That cry awakened me. It was as if I were resurrected as I felt the life force return to me. I heard that cry of anguish, which pierced the very core of my heart. Every cell and fiber of my being heard that call and I recognized that voice as your very own. In that moment I knew that it was now my turn to save you, my dear and loyal Ego.

Ego, I have come once more to be the ruler of my kingdom. I am as new. Even though alone, I have been protected for all of these years and I am unscarred with an unbroken heart.

Dear, dear Ego, would you do me the great honor of being the one to whom I turn to for advice when I need it? Let us once more be friends. I have no need of a wounded ego, yet great need of a healthy one. You no longer need to be lonely for I am here as your friend. First you must rest and heal. Would you trust me to guide you to the people and situations that can help you to heal, to let go of fear, to learn to play, and to experience joy and love? Will you rest? I have prepared new rooms for you to live in and a beautiful garden of peace and serenity.  What say you, Ego?

Ego fell to the floor with great sobs and said to Self, “Yes, how very great has been this burden and yet, not a burden, a sacred duty.” Ego spoke of the wrong it had done in Self’s name, of those it had hurt and how it had hurt itself. Ego hung its head in shame, afraid that by telling the truth of its misdemeanors, Self would abandon it. There was a moment’s pause and then Self spoke to Ego in a most compassionate voice saying, “My dear, dear Ego, I love you unconditionally and forgive you; can you forgive yourself? Can you recognize that what you did to others was a result of what had been done to you and though this does not justify your actions it does not make you unworthy?”

Ego replied, “Even if I could forgive myself, how will those who I have harmed forgive me? Without their forgiveness how can I truly heal and be free?”

Self replied, “Dearest Ego, you cannot know the karma of those who have crossed your path. Perhaps you were a catalyst or a teacher? You may have brought an experience into someone’s life to help them to redress their karma. There is so much that we do not know in this dimension, why punish yourself forever? If you stole from someone, now give to someone or too many. You may give your time or your resources. If you abused someone, help those who have also been abused. If you killed someone, no help others to live. Redress the balance of the actions you regret; for example, where there is fear bring unconditional love.”

“Know this Ego, ALL IS FORGIVEN-ALL IS FORGIVEABLE. You only need to forgive yourself and redress your past misdeeds to be free. This is something that you can do every day. Let it be a joy to do so.”

Ego stood up and with great courage and a shaky hand unlocked the throne room door and opened it. Their hearts met before their eyes and in unison they said, ‘I’ve missed you, friend.’ From that moment on, a harmonious, positive, and true partnership began. Self took its place upon the throne as ruler of its kingdom, with Ego, now healed, a positive and trusted advisor at its side."

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Just Life

Had a fun evening with my kids and sisters. :) Sister/Auntie Whitney took this one of us eating the ice cream sundaes we made.