Saturday, January 26, 2013

Nesting: A Photo Essay

She built a nest for she and her little ones,
piece by piece. She hand-selected the things that she needed and wanted for her happy life: things that nourish and nurture her heart, mind and body.

She didn't wait for someone to help her, and when asked to co-create nests with others, she actually declined. There would be a time for that. But her own personal nest had to be secure first. She knew also that her nest had to be self-sustaining; it couldn't be dependent on someone else staying in a certain posture in relation to her.

Not only that, but the safety and security of her nest under her would be the only position from which she could relate to others in a real way. With her nest intact, she could experience others not as sources of safety, security and happiness, but rather as people with whom to share time, fun, love and connection without fear.

She must meet all her basic creature needs herself before she can truly love someone else. Too often she'd handed the responsibility for her happiness to someone else and they had of course never succeeded at making her happy. She was made to feel, by her own mind, that her needs were too much and her expectations too high. In reality she was simply going to the wrong person with her needs.

She alone could truly manifest what she needed and wanted to be happy, healthy and whole. She alone could create a life that was a gift to herself. She alone could find herself shivering in the cold and usher herself to a cozy fire in a room full of things that comforted and nurtured her. She alone could fashion the perfect nest for herself. No one else could hand-design her own "one happy life."

When this finally became really real to her she realized that her perspective had changed. She'd gone from living in fear that another person would leave her without the ability to have her needs provided for, to finding herself sitting at an art table, loaded with supplies, and the beautiful burn of art welling up inside of her and spilling out in the form of an intricate but simple handmade nest.

Monday, January 14, 2013


New motherhood was hard for me; I was only a child myself. Motherhood calls forth from a woman a strength she didn't know she had and that is an incredible surprise to many of us. But sometimes a child calls for strength she doesn't have at all and she creates strength in the moment, as fast as it consumed by her child. There are also days when she has less than nothing left and it is only because her baby sucks physical sustenance from her that it gets any. Sometimes she has nothing to give her child but her breast.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Some days I believe
With all my heart
That telling and living my authentic truth
(My perception of it in that moment)
Is the only choice,
Regardless of the cost.

It feels like
Saving my own life,
As well as the lives of those I love.
I am casting myself out of the boat
That is one person's weight too heavy,
Like Jonah was cast into the sea.

I jump ship
Knowing I could die,
But sure I will if I don't jump,
And certain that regardless of my fate,
I'm at least saving those I love.

And then I wash up on shore.
The whale spits me out.
Death won't hold me.
But it is no Ninevah
When I awake and look around.

It is home.
Or what once was home.
And those I thought I'd saved
Are standing around
Telling me I abandoned them out of selfishness.

I look into their eyes and see
Their visible pain IS their reality.
There are no words I can utter
And no actions I can do
That will change what they experienced.

I can't argue.
They are right:
I wanted to save myself.
And they are wrong:
I would have died to save them.

There's no getting back on the ship
And there's no making them understand.
There's no going back in time
And there's no photos to prove what I did.

I can not ask them to play back a tape
That will tell the story
Of how much I sacrificed.
They have no such tape.
They believe what they experienced:
My jump was away from them.

I can not ask them to mirror to me
A vision of myself they never saw.
Yet I go back to their mirrors
And peer into their eyes,
Looking for the story I experienced,
Hoping to see it reflected there.

Why do I do this to myself?
Is it because I'm afraid to look into my own mirror?
Is it because I've now become afraid
That I will see their story if I look?

And what if they are right?
What if the need to jump
And the threat to their lives if I didn't
Was all in my head?
What if it was something my brain concocted
In a foolish, short-sighted attempt at happiness
Without regard for the feelings of others

But no:
I remember how I felt.
I experienced MY reality of my jump
Being an act of courage and even love.
That WAS my experience.

I must extend to myself the same compassion
I hold for them:
I see how they experienced real pain
And that, in their experience,
That pain was at my hand.

What I thought or felt while they hurt
Matters not.
It can not change the reality of their pain.
It can not erase the agony they felt.
It can not be undone.

It can only matter to them
If they WANT to understand my experience.
It can only matter if they haven't built
A new home out of their own victimhood.
It can only matter if I haven't built
A new home out of my own victimhood.

So I choose to leave behind
My expectations.
I choose to leave behind
My need to be understood.
I choose to leave behind
All my stories about what happened.

I choose to stand in the void
With my compassion,
My desire to understand,
And my desire to be part of their healing
Extended in my hand.

I can't arrange to be loved.
I can't insure my heart is mirrored.
I can't be certain I will be forgiven.
I can't count on being seen.

But I can love.
I can mirror.
I can forgive.
I can see.

So here I am on another ship's edge,
Knowing that loving means jumping
Into uncertain, dangerous waters
Without a guarantee
That someone will ever jump for me.

Here I am peering into icy depths,
Terrified I will drown, freeze, or both.
There is no promise
Of lifeboat, blanket or fireside
If I jump.

I only know one thing:
Such a jump by another
Would alter my life utterly.
That's how I know it is possible that this jump
Will help and heal another.
So in I go.