Saturday, December 30, 2006

He Was Love Once (a song)

He was an infant once,
full of love and innocence.
was he cared for well?
only time would tell.

He was a small boy once,
full of motion and laughter,
or was the light already
far gone by then?

Did his mother ever hold him close,
and tell him he mattered most,
that we are all God's children
and we should love each other well?

Was his father there,
how broken was the heir
by the time he turned a man,
by the time he took her hand?

What made him cry,
did he ever ask why,
what doubts kept him awake,
were there ghosts he couldn't shake?

All I know is the world's gone wild,
when we can kill this child,
because he was love once,
he was once innocence.

Is it strange that I cry tears for
this man who should be feared,
who hated all so well?
time will never tell.

But really, it's a matter of love,
something he never had enough of,
and now I hope he can see from where he is
he was love once.

He was love once.

Friday, December 29, 2006

I Will Be With You (a song)

When you get here
I will smile and say
where have you been
and it's ok

And when you get here
I'll feel my heart
like wings flying south
to the warmest part

The longest journey
you had to take
was one alone
so you could wake

to all there is
to all you are
to shake the dust
from all your stars.

the long way to love
the long road to love
often finds us looking for signs
the shorter path might be faster
but we lose the scenic road we could find

I am with you
on your journey
and you're with me on mine
we carry with us
stained forever,
the marks of passion
which are no crime

I watch you wander,
from far away
and wish the light
to shine your way
I can not help you
except to Be
a stone-set part of your memory

So if you're walking
on that road
and you can't bear
the heavy load
reach inside, where I remain
and feel the strength--love that stains

I will be with you
I will be with you
and you will be with me
I will be with you
I will be with you
as we sail with precious cargo
out to sea.

When you get here
I will smile and say
where have you been
and it's ok

And when you get here
I'll feel my heart
like wings flying south
to the warmest part

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Washing Dishes

I gather them. The ones waaaay over there, deposited at the far side of the kitchen landscape by a slightly lazy diner, the ones which have wanderered away to another country entirely . . .and the ones right here next to, or in, the sink.

I reach for the faucet handle and pull upwards, angling it just so, to the place I know will yield the perfect temperature. Not so hot my hands will burn, but hotter perhaps, than for hand-washing. I know for the sake of the planet, I should not run the water the entire time, but I love the way it feels on my skin, the way it makes the suds sudsier, and the way the steam wafts up to my face. Meh, I don't have a dishwasher, so maybe it's a, ahem, wash as far as water-wasting. I never water my lawn, so I jauntily assert: Let the Water Run!

I so completely do not understand people who wear gloves to wash dishes. Why do it if not to feel the suds and water caress your skin? Ok, ok, I suppose you need to get the dishes washed. I'll give you that. But why deprive yourself of a treat for the senses, if your senses will open enough to receive the gift?

Washing dishes, for those of us who don't have a dishwasher, is a daily or many-times-a-day task. For a short time, I wanted a dishwasher, then finally decided that having one not only wouldn't add to my life, it would subtract from it. I'd lose a satisfying pleasure, and God knows most of us need more pleasures, especially sensory ones. On with the ceremony . . .

Sponges: I like fresh sponges, the kind with the scrubby part on one side, and the sponge part on the other. That way, if you have been a little neglectful of your dish duties, and some food has become a little stuck, you can flip your sponge over and scrape away the stubborn goo efficiently and satisfyingly. Once your sponge gets old, please do replace it. An icky sponge does not a sublime dishwashing experience make.

Dishsoap: Get thee to a health food store or a even Target shop and buy some lovely-scented soap. Or if you're lucky enough to live near a place which sells really fantastically aromatherapy-scented-with-real-essential-oils-dishsoap, well, buy it, I say! Life is too short to use dishsoap whose (whose?) smell you don't love, and don't even sleep with a man whose smell you don't love, either! Life is too short! But I digress . . .

So once you've collected the proper tools . . .your sponge and your deliciously scented soap, you may begin. Forget about the workday, forget about the bills which need to be paid, forget about the children arguing about whatever-it-was with each other, and most of all, forget about your brain. Oh, just try it for 10 minutes. Humor me, will you? And trust me. When I ask someone to trust me, they usually aren't sorry. So trust me.

Breathe. Yep, stand there in front of your sink, and breathe in and out a few times, and close your eyes. (the neighbors won't know what you're doing, it's ok) Open your eyes and watch the dishsoap drip, drip, drip onto the sponge . . .what color is the liquid? How fast or slow is it dripping onto the sponge? Can you smell it yet?

Procedure: Lather up the liquid until it's a diaphenous blubbly cloud on your sponge, and slowly take a dish in hand . . .pass the dish under the water, and lovingly and with care, (yes, I said lovingly) clean the dish as you might wash a loved one, a child or a lover, whichever sort of feeling you'd like to evoke. Really look at the dish, really see the water as it clears away the soap and the dish is left shiny and new again. New. And when you're satisfied with your work, lay it gently in the drainer or on a towel next to the sink.

Take up the next lucky dish, and proceed with your washing ceremony . . .careful not to clank dishes around, careful to move slowly and deliberately, careful to breathe, to feel, see, smell and hear everything going on at your warm, wet fingertips. Be there. Be only there.

What a perfect thing to accomplish! If you've done it well, not only will your dishes be clean and happy, but you will, I promise (trust me, remember?), feel a lot better than you did when you started, having taken a few moments of your day to be exquisitely Present, which is always the best gift one can give oneself. Happy Day of Life, and Happy Dishwashing!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Only Two

There are only two emotions:




Which do you choose?

Thoughts create reality:

which thoughts do you choose?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

"I Don't Dance"

Sometimes life hits you over the head with a gorgeous gold-plated frying pan: Wham!

Today my soon-to-be-ex-husband and I took our son to the Science Center, to do something fun as a "family." So far, we've been remarkably able to do such things for the sake of our son, and I hope we can continue as time passes.

Anyway, I've been in a bad place lately. Down about some things, and unable to find my light in the way I usually can. But when I'm in a mood like that, I at least usually try to make my way to the light. So we all piled into the car to drive home and I said "I need an attitide adjustment, I know, MUSIC and DANCING!" and I proceeded to pop some Brazilian drumming-pop-dance-tech-fun music into the CD player . . .cranked it up loud, and began to Groove Mightily in the seat as I drove. *ahem*

Hey, it was fun!

After a minute or so, my STBEH looks at me, and says, in this lifeless, dull, serious tone "can we turn that down please?"

I looked back and chirped "ok, but you should dance too, it's FUN! That's what life's all about, dancing!" (and continued car-dancing while he started muttering something under his breath.) "Dancing is notwhat life's all about."

I replied "ok, it's not everything, but it's very, very important. We aren't here in rocks, we're here in BODIES, and bodies like to move and celebrate!"

"I don't dance." he deadpanned. And I do mean "dead."

WHAM! Right over my head, there went the gold-plated frying pan. I received more clarity about why I was divorcing in that moment than in perhaps the whole prior 12 years.

No, he doesn't dance. He never has. He never will, or at least it seems unlikely.

I dance.

He does not dance.

There you have it.

It drained me so much to be with someone who didn't celebrate life himself and who wouldn't celebrate it with me, either. Or couldn't. Or didn't see much to celebrate perhaps?

Of course it is much more complex than that. Of course it is. But then again, it's not. I want to live life as an exclaimation, not an explanation!! (yes, I plagiarized that, but can't recall from whence it came.)

It felt good to finally understand with precision, at least one reason I am no longer going to live my life with this man as my companion.

And it feels far better to dance alone for now, than to be trying to dance with someone who just won't. The sweet friend I will find in the future will love to dance, this I know (I will ask, to be sure, and I will see if he can and will dance with me.) Whether it's dancing in bed, or dancing to loud Brazilian music on a dance floor, or dancing while cooking dinner in the kitchen . . .he will dance with me. Yes. And it's going to be so beautiful.

The Beautiful Whispers of Death

Did you hear the whispers of death today? Did you still yourself to listen intently to the warnings which might steer you gently to the light?

And did you receive the gifts which were sweetly placed before you by the hand of God? Or did you turn them away? Did you even see them?

Sometimes life robs us of the courage we need to receive . . .and so we experience losses out of fear. There are only two emotions, fear and love .. .which do you choose? Death can be our reminder, our warning -- and the small losses which are not quite death can whisper to us "really? do you really wish to lose this? take a small sip and taste . . .see the loss stiffen your heart and your body . . .watch as your kisses dry up and your lovemaking turns to memory . . .is this what you wish?"

Then run in the direction of the light and love. If you can just get there, more courage will be given to you by the very light and love you found. Run as fast as you can, and laugh and smile all the way home!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Gift of Recognition

The Sacred is everywhere. I see it, have always seen it in the smallest things, since I too, was small.

I've always been able to detect the fragrances of life in full bloom: the love, the joy, the poignant bittersweet moments, and the losses and pains, even when some might not catch even the slightest whiff of them.

Are some of us delivered to earth with the gift of Recognition of the Sacred? Why do some people possess the gift of being moved to tears in an airport as they witness a small child run up to visiting Grandma, a scene which others wouldn't even notice? Or the gift of opening a broken heart wider, wider, wider . . .refusing to close when things seem cold and dark and the instinct presses from all sides? Or the gift of opening arms to everyone, but especially to those who have hurt us?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Responsibility, Compassion & Love

There are some who believe that our feelings . . .any pain or any hurt or any joy, comes entirely from within. That the only person ever responsible for our emotions is us. While in an abstract way this might have a lot of truth to it, like many abstractions it doesn't entirely apply to Real Life.

A woman withholds lovemaking, withholds her softness and surrender, from her partner. Does that not hurt him? Is it entirely his problem? His hurt is a result of her actions, or inactions, and yes, he has some control, lesser or greater, over his emotions, but only in an ideal world can he really have complete control over how the dynamic with his partner creates feelings and thoughts within his heart.

An adult child never calls or visits her parents. They are hurt. Is it entirely their fault? Are they entirely responsible for their own emotions and pain? Yes, and no. The situation is painful to them, and while they might have a lot of compassion and love for her in the face of her inaction, there is a dynamicat work, with both parties responsible for their reactions.

In some Spiritual circles, there are those who place large emphasis on each of us taking responsibility for our emotions, as though to say we should be able, if only we were enlightened enough, to lightly touch upon then release every pain and hurt ever known to us. Human Beings Do Not Work That Way. This thinking too often and too easily becomes a license for some to put forth their "Truth" without consideration of compromise, compassion and love for those around them. "Your reaction to my Truth is your problem."

To take that view is to discount this Truth: We are all here to love one another and hold each other's hearts with compassion and tenderness. But we are all human, some less enlightened and centered than others. We are called to take great care particularly of the hearts of those who experience the joy and beauty of standing closest to our Sun, those we love most dearly.

It's also important that we look in the mirror as much as possible and ask: Am I living with love in the abstract, or in the particular? The abstract is easier, it's cleaner. It is Absolute Love. Love from Source never leaves, never doubts, never lies and never changes. But it isn't human love. It's Divine. Spiritual seekers without a lot of courage often opt for a life of celibacy, thereby avoiding some of the greatest juice of spiritual life, the particular love within a relationship with one other human we take into our deepest selves, figuratively and literally.

Particular love requires courage and a wide-open heart. A lot of courage, all the courage you can gather. This is Human Love, which comes from Source, but isn't Source. It's Source via a Human Being, therefore one experiences the Human with the Divine. It is so sweet and so beautful, but it comes attached to the Human heart and ego. It's where the rubber meets the road in Spiritual Life. And it's a path only the Courageous and Strong need bother to walk.

This path takes more compassion than you ever thought you had and more love than you think you can hold. Which is why you must be devoted and disciplined in your spiritual life--to breathe in enough Divine Love to sustain you when your human loved ones can't, and when they can.

This path take courage and gentleness, because on this path, we do take anoother's heart in our hands, and whether we like this fact or not, we become responsible in some ways, for what we have tamed. Or who we have tamed.

This path takes responsiblity and compassion, and an acknowledgement when our actions hurt others, or hurt ourselves, that we do need to make it right, and love well.

We humans have an infinite capacity to love and spread joy, and an infinite capacity to harm and hurt. We must recognize this, and walk the beautiful path of Human Love with openness, kindness and our mirrors turned toward ourselves, that we might see when we are causing pain and why. It is only then that we learn to love each other well, which is really the whole point of life on this earth and in this body.


Sail Away (a song)

Sail Away
Sail Away
It's time for me to sail away

Sail away
sail away
it's time for me to sail away

Once I lacked a boat of strength
could not sustain at sea
then time let go and now I know
there's enough strength in me

Like so much flotsam in the sea
the love I gave floats back to me
and the waves roll out
and the waves roll in

Sail away
Sail away
It's time for me to sail away

Sail away
Sail away
It's time for me to sail away

love couldn't hold me tight
the water frightens still
but the sea keeps flowing in my night
and my love always will

sail away
sail away
It's time for me to sail away

the precious gifts I gave
ivory shells on summer sand
I walk alone on shoreline now
gather them in my hands

I lean into the morning sun
and cast my heart's net wide
inviting all the love I gave
back to me, inside

sail away
sail away
It's time for me to sail away

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Querida (a poem)

The wanted one.
who wants her?
what does she offer?
who desires her gifts?

Querido claimed her
once upon a time,
and then left her
with outstretched open hands again.

This querida, though
she’s a fighter,
a gentle warrior,
but a warrior nonetheless.

When there was no one to say her name,
she took herself to her mirror,
and smiling through tears,
named herself preciously exotic.

Querida believes,
oh how she believes!
even when the words from another
never come.

One day, on the screen
the word spun ‘round again.
she froze.
she smiled.

joy, yes, joy it did bring,
and the valuable and rare gift of knowing
that the most important wanting
was the wanting of herself.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Unfold the canvas
gather your paints
of emotion,
of life lived
journeys taken

paints of
splendid brilliance
colors warm
liquid hues of wanting

uncap the paints
let your colors
fall upon me
light as air
intense as the sun in India

these colors stain
I do not care
stain me with them
indelible reminders
of this time

all the love within you
the crimson
the indigo
the meadow green
the sunlight

the depth
of ocean aqua
paint me with it all
create with me
your masterpiece

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Digital Edification

such graceful motions
words come to life
through your wise hands
which learned to love me so well

a single feather-light touch
was known to me
was known to my ivory shell
and known to my heart, my soul

the sweetest morse code of desire
tapped on my shoulder
by those hands of affection
"look, mermaid, look"

once at a breakfast table we shared
at a savvy little bistro
in a wintery bed & breakfasty town
in coastal Maine

you took my hands in yours
turned them over
and peered into them
trying to see the magic, but it was invisible

I bring the magic back to you now
still invisible but Present
and a Present
for your digital edification.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Surprise Wounds

"2006 law school graduate Becky Noran was surrounded by the love and pride of her family as they gathered to celebrate her achievements at Commencement."

My law's school's "Dean's Report" came in the mail today. Leafing through, planning to rather quickly toss it into the recycling bin, my eyes stopped on a joy-filled photograph with the above-quoted caption. It was indeed a law school graduate on graduation day, grinning from ear to ear, her mother on her left, father on her right, perfectly capturing Becky's triumph over law school and her parents' pride.

In the infamous split-second, tears filled my eyes.

I found myself at my own law school graduation, no, actually, I found myself in the car on the way home, wishing someone, anyone, from my own family had been there to surround me with "love and pride."

By the time law school commencement rolled around, my father had been absent from my life for many years, and my mother, well . . .I love my mother dearly and now that I am one, I am intimately familiar with the Failings of Mothers. Let's just say she couldn't be there, or wouldn't be there. She wasn't there.

It was more of the same, really. The little girl who used to fill out her own permission slips for field trips, then present them for signature, offering a pen and pointing to the signature line, she's still here, taking care of herself. And failing sometimes.

Lest the reader leave with the impression of the author as some constantly sad person, let me say: some days, most days, life is all Bob Marley's One Love and perfect. I'm a generally happy, upbeat, adventurous, laughing person.

But every once in a while, a surprise wound surfaces. The forgotten, or misplaced, or buried.


Then the voices start: "Oh get a grip, you should be lucky you went to law school, that you live in relative comfort in this country, and that you are reasonably intelligent . . .if mommy or daddy not coming to graduation are your worst problems, then you are blessed indeed."

I felt that way on graduation day, and I still feel that way nearly 8 years later.

But wounds are wounds, and sometimes they jump out at us from the unlikliest places, like the Dean's Report. I thought it had healed.

I still wish my parents had been at graduation. But that's ok. Up against the wounds I could have, I'll take this one, thanks. I'll laugh at how we all have our wounds, plan another adventure, and put Marley's One Love on repeat.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

It's Ok to Want You (a song)

I finally know
as some things go
that it's ok to want you

I finally see
the Light in me
and it's about time

Before the fall
I knew it all
but was in the dark

And hearts still bleed
but what I need
I've had all along

But it's ok to want you
it's ok to feel that rush
it's allright to want to stay the night
and love you this much
yeah, it's ok to want you

Can't make you stay
don't want to anyway
and I'm doing fine

But if you go
then you should know
we could share this light

and I know you've got your own

but there's a place we could call home
a sanctuary, our silver cocoon
and baby, we could share the moon

But it's ok to want you
it's ok to feel this rush
it's allright to want to stay the night
and love you this much
yeah, it's ok to want you

Monday, November 27, 2006

Of Stackers & Scrabble

Picture it. A nerdy, effervescent, 9 year old Australian boy, bubbling, "well, you see, me mum, she started me Stacking as a wee one, sittin' in me high chair, I was. But she always used yella cups, and so now I can only stack with yella cups, ya see, it's a mental thing."

Folks, some things in this life, you gotta see to believe. But occasionally, you can imagine it from a friend's description, even halfway across the globe . . .and you not only get to believe it, but you become part of it by adding your imagination.

So I was Instant Messaging with a friend who's working in New Zealand right now, and she's got the telly on in her hotel room while we're IMing. She begins to type something like, "you won't believe what's on the tv right now. I think this passes for a sport here. It's called Stacking."

Now, I'm sitting in my chair in the good ole US of A, imagining that Stacking is some sort of game like oh, say, cricket . . .so I say "oh? Stacking? What are they stacking?" And this appears before me on my screen, "Plastic cups. Into pyramids."

"Seriously?" I type, while simultaneously laughing so hard I almost fall off my chair.

"yes, and they are seriously interviewing these kids like sportscasters would interview World Series winners," she answers.

So she tells me about the kid with the mental yellow cup handicap, and then I start quoting the announcers, even though I can't see this Stacking Match, and have never seen one. Yes, oh yes, this is one of those times when imagination takes flight. Where one can practice Australian, putting words in the mouths of Stackers . . .

Kid: well, yanno, it's all in the concentration. It's such a mental game.

Announcer: What is your training regime like?

Kid: Well, I stack for 'round an hour in the early morning, before I walk to school. Then mum helps me practice again after school for an hour. Weekends, I've got a 2 hour practice with the rest of the team, over to the park, when the weather's nice."

Announcer: This obviously takes a good deal of dedication, then?

Kid: Only if ya wanna be the best Stacker, and blimey, I do!

Then there's Announcer Banter as the announcers comment on the match, in hushed, golf-game announcer voices . . .

Announcer 1: Oh no, that's a bad spot of luck, little Petunia lost her grip on that last cup there.

Announcer 2: Oh, you're right, Donovan. She's got to be upset about that one. That puts Team Blue into second place in the rankings now. Oh, now it's young Christopher on the next round . . .and he's doing very well, lots of skill and concentration from this up and coming Stacker . . .and Yes! A new individual record!


After Stacking was over, there was competitive Scrabble. Uh-huh.



Ah well. Perhaps the world would be a better place if there were more Stacking and Competitive Scrabble and less . . .oh, say, football? Besides, Stacking and Scrabble are humorous, and we do need more laughter in this world. yes.

I can dream, can't I?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The One (a song)

Let the wind blow,
let the fire blaze,
let love come down
and clear the haze.
Let us be still,
let our hearts clear,
so in the silence
we can hear,
the One.


I love
laying in our miniature ocean,
your back
on my chest,
dipping the cloth
in liquid heat,
blanketing your heart
again and again,
so it doesn't catch cold.

I Would (a song)

I'd piece together all your broken dreams
Show you every day what real love really means
Hold you up to every new sunrise
lay with you at night and strip away disguise
I would

I'd give you space to roam and also hold you close
listen to you well about what matters most
Surrender to the gentle power of the man you are
lay with you under a million pure white stars
I would

Sit with you for hours, looking at the light
You'd see every day how love can turn out right
Hold your hand and hold your heart and yes I really could
if only you could open to receive it
I would.

The Only Word That Matters is Yes (a song)

Say yes to love
when your heart is breaking,
Say yes to fear
when your hands are shaking,
say yes and jump
when you're hesitating-
oh yes, you can

Open your heart
take it all in,
your life will start
when you dare to begin,
Don't settle for anything less.
The only word that matters,
the only word that matters

Say yes to doubt
when you can't decide,
Say yes to hope
when your small faith hides,
Say yes and open up,
oh yes, you can

Open your heart
take it all in,
your life will start
when you dare to begin.
Don't settle for anything less.
The only word that matters,
the only word that matters,
the only word that matters,

My Heart's Lullaby (a song)

Go to sleep
Go to sleep
dry your eyes and please don't weep
It's ok
It's ok
in your dreams the hurt won't stay

If your heart breaks,
at least you know it's beating,
in case you don't know
it bears repeating:
I love you
yes, I do
and there's nothing you can do,
to lose my love--
or lose your way, it's ok,
just look inside and you'll feel me say
I love you

Go to sleep
Go to sleep
sometimes we have to retreat
Go inside
run and hide
it's ok to give up
and try again another day.

If your heart aches,
well at least you know it's beating
in case you forgot
it always bears repeating
I love you
I love you
and there's nothing you could ever do
to lose my love
or lose your way
when you wake, you'll see a brighter day
I love you.

Empress Moon

New night,
lush ivory sphere.
Another chance
to be who I am,

as she reveals herself,
Empress Moon.

Red Wing (a song)

Red wing, black endless winter night
a place of fantasy, where reality took flight
Red wing, hearts meet
and the song was so sweet

Beauty came and found us
on a sparkling winter's night
a momentary flash of love
stars of blinding light
maybe I should have left that place
on wings of red and black
flying far and fast and never ever looking back

Golden curtains sheltered us from questions and from fears
the only tears were gratitude-that you were there, so near
and when we had to part your heart stayed close to me still
echos of the warming as I drove in winter's chill


Now dear time has come and gone and somehow we are here
we listen to the other's tales of voyage far and near
as my life spins down I hope I'll always call you friend
Companions as days come 'round and hearts so sweetly mend


Friday, November 24, 2006

Devoted Awareness

The Brilliant Light reveals itself to us when we surrender with devoted awareness. . .

. . .to meditation, to asana practice, to lovemaking, to a sweet-hot bath at the close of a bitter-cold day . . .to any moment in which we choose to still and surrender.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ghosts Go Away (a song)

Walking down the street today
I saw a ghost pass my way
I've seen her here a dozen times or more

She isn't very nice to me
throwing things from every tall tree
she whispers as I walk by
"girl, you'll never reach heights this high"

But I know one day she'll back down
when my love shines all over this town
and she can haunt somebody else
because---I'm done being scared.
My ghosts won't bother me
because they can't see when my light shines this brightly
they're blinded and they can't find me.
Ghosts go away.
Ghosts go away.

I was talking to a friend today
she asked me if I was ok
I guess the water in my eyes was a clue.

I said I'd just seen a ghost
the one that matters to me most
who tells me no one will ever stay
and I'll never ever see a better day

Maybe today's the day, she'll back down
'cause my love's shining all over this town
she can learn to haunt someone else
because---I'm done being scared.
My ghosts won't bother me
because they can't see when my light shines this brightly
they're blinded and they can't find me.
Ghosts go away.
Ghosts go away.
Ghosts go away.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Circle Begins Where It Ends

So I seem to have this, um, talent?, for hearing a phrase which sinks into my heart, then pilfering it and using it as the cornerstone for a song or poem or writing . . .

And so it happens again:

A Circle Begins Where It Ends

A circle begins where it ends
A lifetime of love so begins
Journey's short, Journey's long
You really can't get this wrong
A circle begins where it ends.

I'm not sure what this is, perhaps a round (like Row Row Row Your Boat, but NOT to that tune!)?

Anyway, I like it.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Ripening Season

Gently plucked,
yielding to lips.

Pinnacle reached,
softness realized.

Surrendering in this
ripening season.

Taj Mahal

It did not begin as my dream,
it was yours.

The land of the dragonflies,
desire, not for me,
but for a life
of open-hearted village.

I nearly passed by,
piles of brick visible,
a trowel soon found its way
into my hands.

And so I began to build,
for you.

Love so deep and wide,
absolute and infinite,
because of your weaknesses
and not in spite of them.

Your dream became mine.

I will not stop until
your heart's wish is filled.

I will not stop until
you have
your Taj Mahal.

Ancient Happiness

The well is not far,
you are not lost.


Feel your thirst,
inhabit it,
and do not look away.

Time has passed,
distance inspires
parched hearts
to seek liquid diamonds.

As fire tames fire,
water tames water,
with one sip
of ancient happiness.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

God in Every One

I again find something inspiring in the words of my India-journeying friend.

He said in a recent writing, that the resort town on the Arabian Sea in which he's currently staying seems rather bereft of places to meet people in their hearts. That is isn't a spiritual center, there isn't an ashram, et cetera.


A little story: I've been traveling back and forth between a smallish midwestern city and Boston, for almost a year now, at least once a month, sometimes more often. I used to endure my time in the aiports, either O'Hare or St. Louis, for the same reason my friend seemed a little put off by his Indian beach playground town. The airports seemed to collect the most unsmiling, unlaughing, grumpy, superficial group of people . . .what a lack of Spirit there . . .or so I thought.

One day, sitting at O'Hare, sipping my iced latte, somewhat impatiently waiting a few hours for my plane to Boston, I suddenly realized each person here, in this airport, was a child of God. This wasn't new information to me, intellectually, but in my heart, I'm a little sad to say, it was.

I sat for a few minutes, really focusing on emptying the clogged channel through which Love pours, and then I began walking though the airport, feeling God within me and reaching out with Source energy to people as I passed, especially to the grouchiest-looking ones . . . I smiled, and shined love to them, and they smiled a little Love back, or at least softened.

It was an amazing experience.

If nothing else, that day someone smiled at each of these Beings with love, straight from the tap through me, to them, and I realized I'd been judging these people somehow, and limiting my experience of them and of myself.

Even those of us who supposedly live in awareness much of the time, often fall down on the job. No matter, just time to get up and begin again, which is the name of the game, really.

Monday, November 13, 2006

And I've Been With You

My friend, who is in India, sent an email today, which said that he has had us all (this group of friends) with him on his journey there. This was my reply to him, which went unsent, but not unfelt:

"And I have been with you, in many different ways, and in many places. On Arunanchala, and in Matrimandir, especially. In the Tibetan Settlements, in the sari shop in Mysore, of course, and at the beach just now--your beach in India and mine here . ..our oceans merging, water poured into water.

I just came back from an hour or so at delicious Plum Island--at my Ocean, my birthplace and my love. . .it is a moonless and densely foggy late-autumn night, the vastness of the ocean obscured but its power abundantly clear, a cacophany of waves crashing again and again on the sand . . .blissfully alone in the chilly dampness and drizzle, I sat down on a huge black rock, perplexingly placed a great distance from any neighboring boulders, the perfect meditation seat.

The ocean's usually hushed shhh shhh shhh was this night a deafening score to my Ceremony. I dipped my fingers in the Holy Water and pressed fingers to lips, to my bindi-place, to my breast. I inhaled her sweet/briney scent. She roared again as the wind painted my face with the seaspray and rain.

I sat in silence . . .I chanted several rounds . . .Devi, Devi, Maha Devi, Ananda Devi, Namo, Namah . . .I laughed at the power of the waves and the dance of the foam on the sand . . .my Being, my body awash in Spirit--so clearly felt in the body. And in the heart. I threw my head back and raised my hands to the sky, smiling and laughing at the love swelling in my heart like the swell of the waves before me. I whispered, knowing I could still be heard above the din "thank you."

I sat in silence a while longer, eyes closed, and listened. And I heard quite clearly, no, I felt quite clearly "you're welcome," or maybe it was more like "YES!" or maybe it was the Sound of Light playing in my heart. But I heard it, I heard the Sun.

My Sacrement complete, the passageway felt cleaned, clear, blessed and ready to receive again.

My hair is all mermaid corkscrew curls and damp now --- I just caught myself in the mirror here at home as I sat down to write, eyes clear with ocean water reflecting in them . . .and a certain smile on my face only Sun, Ocean and a few other presences in my life have brought.

Welcome home, Mermaid."

Friday, November 03, 2006

Some Kiss We Want

Sometimes we are lucky enough to discover a poem at a time it speaks for us. This is one of those times. . .I found a poem written by Rumi -- it inspired me and partially spoke my feelings, but not precisely. I borrowed some of his words, added some, and deleted some. This is the result.

Some Kiss We Want

There is some kiss we want
with our whole lives

The touch of spirit on the body

The pearl begs seawater
to break its shell

And the orchid, how passionately
it needs light and air

At night I open the window

And ask the moon to press
her face against mine

Breathe into me

I breathe in spirit
breathe out love

in an endless shimmering, magical circle

Close the language door

And open the love window

The moon won't use the door

Spirit won't either

Only the window.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My Work

This morning in the rotunda of a turn-of-the-century, rural courthouse, I held my client in my arms. She is the mother of a teenage boy/man who is currently missing, a runaway from a youth facility, where he was placed for explosive anger and violence. While she wept and shook with sorrow, I held her tightly, and closed my eyes, water pooling in them. She wept for the loss of her son, in fear because he is out there, with winter approaching. He is reported to be accompanied by others who are unlikely to create a favorable outcome.

She wept that she could not save him. She certainly didn't save him when he was a small child, from brutal beating at the hands of his father, a beating so severe that it made the papers. Did I mention this boy still carries the newspaper article with him? It's folded up very, very small, tucked into his wallet, like a miniature trophy awarded for survival. He shows it to people from time to time. He showed it to his Department of Human Services worker once.

I am not a lawyer. I am a Boddhisatva. I don't go around saying this, because I work in the semi-rural Midwest, and would be known as the Cray-zee Lawyer if I did. But that's what I am (a Boddhisatva, not a Cray-zee Lawyer), and I've known it for a long time.

The work of a Boddhisatva is difficult. The main qualifications for such work seem to be an open heart and the ability to heal people. Lately, this is a challenge for me. The terrain of my spiritual path has been treacherous in recent times, and I've watched with sorrow as my heart closed.

My client gave me a gift this morning, although she will never know it. Her pain called my heart to open, and it did.

I will do my best to give her the gift of her son. So now I have to find him. I won't stop until I do.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Delicate drizzling mist
then liquid sheets,
flooding Divine earth
to ankle deep.

Penetrating every glistening, trembling leaf,
soaking every still piece of baked chocolate ground.

Watery blessing on sacred terra,
anointed with holiest water,
sprinkled from God's hands
onto bodies of gods and goddesses manifest.

For one god and one goddess,
sacred waters came down,
and came through,
and came in,
forever washing us together
in the monsoon of our creation.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Lost In India

A beloved friend recently took off for India for a month (lucky man.) Before he left I asked if he might carry a piece of me with him, and leave it there. "I need to leave this behind so I can heal" I told him, as I placed the piece of my past, the piece of my heart, in the palm of his hand. I don't have the words to describe the truth, symbolism and weight of that gesture, me placing this piece of my past along with my heart in his palm. You see, this man holds a piece of my heart in his hands, and always will.

But, *ahem* . . .clearing my throat and wiping the tears . . .

The point of this entry is this: I am beginning to sense that more people, more Westerners at least, make the journey to India to lose something rather than to gain something. We have so much . . .too much. What could we gain? Likely little. It's in the lightening, (Yes, it's in the lightening and the lightning!) that we become who we really are . . .when we lose enough, we can be filled.

This Thing I placed in his hand was a steel i.d. bracelet. You know, the kind you ordered in elementary school, with your name, address, phone number, and any medical conditions engraved on it. I bought it when I was about 8 years old, and wore it for a long, long time. Jesus is on the front, accompanied by a few words of the Lord's Prayer . . .

As I rummaged though my old jewelry, looking for something which could be left in India, a loud "No!" echoed within as I picked up the bracelet. "I've had that forever." "It's one of the only things I have from when my parents were still together."

I stood there clutching it. Tears running down my face, stilling myself to listen intently.

Holding that bracelet brought me right back to 8 years old, when my father was still in our house, before the divorce and his flight from the house and us. It reminds me of him in many ways, and reminds me that for much of my life, I've felt a knowing that I'm really not worth much. My dad left and didn't return . . .so perhaps I'm not worth any man staying.

I went quiet inside again and listened, eyes closed.

"yes, this is The Thing which needs to be left in India."

"ok, ok OK--yeesh" I admit I still wasn't sure when I packed it that I would really give it to my friend. . .I was still mentally reserving my right to back out of the deal, message from Source, or no message from Source.

I realized after I packed the bracelet, that some actions taken, some things acquired, have been a reaction to the feelings of worthlessness and unlove. The Things I gathered as insulation against the worthlessness have been varied and beautiful and I can actually now find gratitude for them: education I sought (proving something by being the only one in my extended family to get a college degree, let alone a law degree) . . .world travel and life abroad, languages learned to become someone else, clothes and other beautiful or things, many delicious meals in great restaurants around the world, the position as a "professional" I now use to earn a living, and the piece de resistance, the collection of lovers I thought could make me feel valuable and cherished How awful to discover this and how BEAUTIFUL to discover this!

So starting a couple of years ago, as I realized how much healing still needed to happen, I began in earnest on this path of lightening . . .and lightning.

I have sought loss, seeking to lose what doesn't serve the light in me, to lose the woundedness, or at least be healing from the hurts of the past. Hurt is heavy on the soul. Mine has been weighting me and waiting for me.

So a letter was finished last night, to my father. In it, I told him I love him and forgive him, if he feels he needs that, and that I would like to have some sort of relationship with him if he wishes. I said "all children need their parents, no matter the age of the parent or the child." What I didn't say, and know as well, is that all parents need their children.

Today, with letter finished but not yet mailed (but it will be), I spied an opal ring on my armoire, which was given to me by my father on a rare visit after the divorce. It used to be his ring. I've never been able to wear it, although it's beautiful and seems to suit me, because it reminded me of the deep crack in my heart left by the loud smack of the slamming of the door as he walked away. There is even a crack in the green/aqua luminescent stone, that you can see if you hold the ring just so.

I picked up the ring and put it on. I smiled. It feels like forgiveness and strength now, not brokenness. It also feels like love. For all my father's brokenness, I know he loves his children. What parent would not? Perhaps there are some, but my father is not one of them. This, I know.

Back in India . . .my dear friend will leave my bracelet someplace, and will return to tell me the story of the where and the why of the Leaving Place.

My deepest prayer for my beloved friend is that he will find India a Leaving Place, too. That he will leave his pains and fears behind. . .that wounds from a distant father, and wounds from a partner who couldn't see him as safety and sanctuary, will heal. Our wounds, his and mine, have conspired to keep us from one another at times, if we can leave our pains in India, perhaps we can find our most beautiful, Truest Selves, and each other. Amen.

India is a Leaving Place, and someday, I will go, following my bracelet and my heart, and seeking to lose ever more on the Path of Lightening.

Monday, October 23, 2006

What do I see?

When I look inside, what do I see?

The light that won't dim. Energy that people tell me is warming and welcoming. But the light isn't me. It's not my selfishness, or my fears, or my frustrations, or my disapproval of myself.

What is the undimmable light?

Every time I hold my son close to me, and see the eyes I've looked into for 7 years now, the light is there.

Every embrace of my clients (how many lawyers hug their clients? Too few, to be sure) tells me the light is there, in my work and in my heart. A lover once said I had "smart + heart".

Every meditation causes the light to well up and grow brighter and warmer in the stillness. The focus increases the luminesence.

The light is reflected in the eyes of my lover. Love given transforms via magical alchemy into love received. The circle whirls, the light shines.

And laying down in the night, smiling before falling into that beautiful blackness, I count blessings and give thanks for all the light and all the darkness.

Even in the darkness, I see.

I am here and I have a path, however late I've come to the trail-head and however heart-broken.

My heart breaks each day in a stunning display of independence from my mind. It's impossible for me to walk in this world oblivious to its pains.

How much more comfortable it would be to turn off my empathy for just a little while. But no. And gratitude exists for the knowledge that one of my jobs here on earth is to see and feel others' pain and to acknowledge it. Then to help end it if possible, to heal people with love and light. Thankfully, the chance arrives every now and then.

When eyes close, the heart opens. (Tantric lovemaking skills notwithstanding.)

When I close my eyes, I see god.

And as importantly, god sees me.

When I pray, god hears me.

But when I still and open, in the silence, I hear god.

Friday, October 13, 2006

I'll Create My Own Tribe

As mentioned in a prior entry here, I grew up in disconnected Orange County, California suburbia. Almost no one knew their neighbors, but no one seemed to mind. A few of the kids met other kids on our cul-de-sac, but other than that, one mostly recognized neighbors fleetingly as their cars stealthily moved in and out of garages, all with automatic garage door openers. (God forbid someone get out of the car to open or close the garage. After all, you might be spied and spoken to.)

My parents didn't belong to clubs or churches. So we two (my brother and I) didn't either. Oh, there were brief forays into Camp Fire Girls and Cub Scouts, but all of that came to a halt when my parents divorced and we were spun into the world of a smaller family, one with financial hardships and a mother trying her best but unable to be home as much as she (or we) would have liked. There was no time to run us to activities or groups or clubs. No time for belonging.

I gravitated toward some groups in high school . . .I loved acting and singing, (a surprise to no one who knows me), performed in a few plays, and was in the choir. I felt a small sense of tribe in the theater. We were teenaged, artsy, nerdy types, bound together by our somewhat precocious love of theater and song. I liked hanging out in the theater building, which, after a few years, felt like a dark, mysterious secret clubhouse of sorts. And lucky me, I belonged.

That was the only time I felt I truly belonged to anything, until quite recently. I've begun to work with an amazing group of people to create and build Odonata, an ecovillage in Massachusetts. In this group, I've found spiritual companions, interested and interesting folks who want to live more lightly on the earth, and with each other. Without so much as a secret handshake, I have been welcomed into this tribe, and I feel a belonging, even though we are still wading in the shallow end of this pool of community.

So . . .I didn't have much of a tribe growing up, and didn't have one as an adult, until now. I was always in awe of Native Americans, having been told I was part Sioux. As a grade-school girl I read book after book about the Sioux, and how they lived in harmony with each other and the earth. I often wished I was a Native American girl on the plains, in my soft buttery leathers in summer and my warm, furry buffalo robes in winter. I would belong to the tribe, and they to me, performing our ceremonies, weaving our stories together and turning our hearts to the Great Spirit.

So now, I get my chance. I will have ceremonies, weave my stories with others, and turn my heart to the Great Spirit. I can create my own tribe, and I think I will.

Where is home?

What makes a place feel like home? Is it somehow just that we decide it is? Or is there something more to the equation of heart + place = home?

For most of my life, home has been near or at the ocean. Born in, and I'm not making this up, Oceanside, California, my parents claim they took me to the sea a few days after birth and dipped my tiny toes in the Pacific, who would watch over me, or would I watch over her, for years afterward.

Much later, I moved to Stockholm, Sweden, another ocean home, only this time, it was the Baltic. Briney, deep and green, the Baltic cradled my bare 19 year old body on more than one moonlight swim with my lover. As Swedish became a familiar and fairly fluent second language, I grew closer to the people whose language I was speaking, and felt quite at home at the Swedish shore. I wanted to live in Stockholm forever. But Things have a way of happening . . .

After the Baltic was through with me, I returned to Southern California, and lived for many years on an island. Nestled in Newport Harbor, Balboa Island became home in a way no place had ever been. I took walks around the island nearly every night, with my dog-like cat, Magic, walking along beside me, no leash! I knew many folks in my neighborhood, and found a small taste of community there for the first time. No trip to the small corner grocery was complete without greeting at least a few people by name, and that felt incredibly good to a kid who grew up in disconnected Orange County suburbia. I wanted to live on Balboa Island forever.

But, life being Life, I found myself leaving the island. I'll give you the short version and say I moved to the midwest for love, about as in-the-middle of this country as one can get, literally. Des Moines, Iowa. To be sure, there are great beauties in Iowa, but there is no ocean, and ocean is my home. Try as I did for 12 years to call it home and mean it, and even though my son was born there, I finally had to admit I couldn't stay forever.

So THEN, through a series of fairly amusing and interesting events, and for love, again . . .I landed in Newburyport, Massachusetts, which has, the last time I looked around, an OCEAN nearby. Ahhhh. YES. Finally, I am home again, though having taken the looooong way home, circumnavigating the country to arrive where I started, at the Source.

This time, the Source has lead me to an amazing community of like-minded and like-hearted people with whom I've begun to share something of myself. For a woman who has taken some comfort in making herself invulnerable in many ways, it's a giant step toward a new way of being. Clear to me is that I've lived in isolation for far too long and the time has come to correct course. Most telling is the happiness I feel when I'm around this beautiful group of souls, who have decided to come together to create an intentional community. I love these people.

One thing's for certain as I look back at my trajectory around this globe and around my heart: I'm not afraid to let love move me.

I left home for love, and love brought me home.

That sounds about right.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Flotsam and Jetsam

I'm leaving many things behind me lately, some flotsam and some jetsam.

I didn't know the difference between the two, so of course, I had to look it up. So here it is:

"Traditionally, flotsam and jetsam are words that describe goods of potential value that have been thrown into the ocean. There is a technical difference between the two: jetsam has been voluntarily cast into the sea (jettisoned) by the crew of a ship, usually in order to lighten it in an emergency; while flotsam describes goods that are floating on the water without having been thrown in deliberately, often after a shipwreck.

In modern usage, flotsam also includes driftwood, logs and other natural debris in oceans and waterways." from Wikipedia

I've jettisoned some jetsam, and that feels great. Afterall, it was my decision to throw it overboard, right?

The flotsam, weeellll, that's another story . . .shipwrecks are rough, baby. Real rough. If you're lucky enough to survive, you're left gasping and choking, with saltwater stinging your eyes. If you're a mermaid, like me, at least you won't drown for lack of swimmability, but still, shipwrecks are hard on the heart and body.

I've had a few recent shipwrecks, and they've been doozies. The flotsam which is now lost in the sea . . .well, it needed to go, and I know that. Surrendering to it is another thing, though, and there's the work.

So I'm getting quite skilled at surrendering lately. Wanna see my white flag?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A Letter Is a Heart Unfolded (a song)

A letter is a heart unfolded,
and so my love for you,
but I'll fold it up tight,
put it in an envelope white,
until I can send it to you.

We had some stops and starts,
and we had wounded hearts,
what was I supposed to do?
I'll put it in an envelope white,
and I'll kiss the outside,
just like I used to do.

Can you tell me when
this place will open again?
Can you open that mailbox?
I think it's got too many locks.

A letter is a heart unfolded,
and have you written one for me?
No reason to before,
when I stood right at your door,
now maybe distance holds the key?

A letter is a heart unfolded,
now mine sits in its envelope,
crowned with red seals of kings,
and other beautiful things,
stamped with one small gentle hope.

Sealed with one small gentle hope.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Love Waits (a song)

Love has come to the edge of your bed
and waits patiently
for your fear to grow tired.
that's the thing about love,
that's the thing about love,
Love waits.

So, so many fears
whispered in the night.
So, so many tears
enough that we lost sight.
Two too many wounded hearts
and not enough healing.
Too, too many stops and starts
and not enough Being.

Now love has come to the edge of my bed
and sits there waiting
for my fear to grow tired
That's the thing about love,
That's the thing about love,
Love waits.

Now don't think I'm only talkin' about you
fear grows tired in my heart too
and when she finally falls fast asleep
tears of joy are the only ones I'll weep

Because love has come to edge of our sweet bed
and waits there patiently
for our fears to grow tired
That's the thing about love
That's the thing about love
Love waits.

Yeah, that's the thing about love,
She waits.

You're Always Free To Go and You Always Were

I heard this song last night at a music party, and immediately loved it. I didn't write it, but wanted to post the lyrics here anyway. It's written by Christine Kane and Steve Seskin.

The thing about this song that imprinted on me is how the hook dug into my heart. "And all you need to know, is that you're free to go."

It struck me as I listened to the words last night, that once a lover said to me, in the course of a conversation about us, "I apologize. You see my freedom, while I do not."

It was so true. He was always free to do what he would and be who he Is. If only he could have seen his freedom. He once, however briefly, recognized this Truth, but doesn't now.

He was always free to go . . .

Right Outta Nowhere

(Christine Kane/Steve Seskin)

A Midwest morning
October snowfall
She packed her Chevrolet
And she brushed the fear away
She's got a great big dream
And a history of playing small
And everybody seems to think
She'll be back before Christmas day
She hit that highway
With every ounce of faith she could summon
When courage finally comes
You never see it coming

Right outta nowhere
You open your heart
And that changes everything
You're going somewhere
And all you need to know
Is that you're free to go

A summer night
The soft smell of seashore
All the deadheads dancing
Out on the beach
He's got a ten-year tan
And his own little junk store
He says, some people got a lot to prove
And that's the way I used to be
Now I'm just an old hippie
With a half a dozen PhDs
Some choices hold you down
Some chances set you free

Right outta nowhere
You open your heart
And let go of everything
You're going somewhere
And all you need to know
Is that you're free to go

Dream and the way will be clear
Pray and the angels will hear
Leap and the net will appear

Right outta nowhere
You open your heart
And believe in everything
You're going somewhere
And all you need to know
Is that you're free
Right outta nowhere
You open your heart
And have faith in everything
You're going somewhere
And all you need to know
Is that you're free to go

Thursday, October 05, 2006

If I Could Kiss

If I could kiss the moon,
I would.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Red Wing (a poem)

What was she thinking?

The inner self knew from the start,
could see the beacon
piercing her darkness.

Perhaps best to run,
far and fast
while there is light of day.

Once night comes
and blackness overtakes her
there will be no salvation there.

Or is there?

The Source knows better.
Perhaps a phoenix
is what you were meant to be.

All that passed between us,
all that passed within us,
learning lessons unsought
but necessary.

After all the warmth of bodies,
after the unwrapped hearts,
like two beautiful Christmas presents,
tasted the stars
and sipped the winter sky.

After the waters came down,
baptizing us with yes,
after the passions
broke free from their corrals
and galloped fiercely into the spring that followed.

After the birds began to sing in Boston,
scoring the sweetest film,
while the fears came back
with their insomnia.

After all,
I still believe in the love that took flight
with Red Wings
and danced on the moon.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Light (a song)

We dance together and we
dance apart.
'Cause too much light can be
blinding to the heart.
All I know for now is, I don't want to lose the light.

Yes, I know
that the light comes from within.
But it also comes from
the dance of your skin on my skin.
All I know for now is, I don't want to lose the light.

The light that shines
through your blue eyes to me,
is the same light that shines
from every leaf on every tree.
And all I know for now is, I don't want to lose the light.

And yes, I do know well that the light comes from within,
but it also comes from the dance of your skin on my skin.
All I know for now is
I don't want to lose the light.

All I know for now is . . .
I don't want to lose the light.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Rebuilding Cairns ( a poem)

As the path is walked,
one stone falls,
then another.

mineral waystations,
beacons on the mountain
of my life.

something to guide,
the path is this way--
and not that.

realizing suddenly
the old cairns
have fallen apart.

breaking stride,
slowly, with awareness,
reaching down with effort,

I add a stone to this cairn and that,
fortifying my beacons,
before they are needed.

fortification energy comes from within.
winter is coming,
autumn settles on my mountain.

adding stone after stone,
balanced on the last,
it is time, for rebuilding cairns.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Forward to the Beginning: He Speaks (a poem)

Sweeter beginnings were never had,
offerings of opening and softening,
wonderings of kisses and warmth of bodies.

If I enter the temple that is Becoming Us,
what will happen there?

Stilling hearts, expectant for God,
skin worshipping skin,
heart worshipping heart.
We know, we know, the preciousness of this.

How few can even see it,
how few can touch that unfolding, beating heart inside,
the eternal Center, the Source . . .
then breathe it into the Beloved?

we do.

I sought, I sought
the touch of a soft and surrendering woman,
I sought God in my bed,
and found her reflected in the eyes of the one who opened to me.

Her hands speak an ancient sign language
the sweetness in her touch calls me
to rise up to enter her,
prayers escape her lips as she drinks sacred water
at the temple altar.

Prayers of Life lived, journeys traveled,
burning and purifying.
All of who I was, now ash,
who I am becoming
forged in the white-hot fire of this Love.

All I ever wanted to be,
alone and in love with him,
to cherish deeply
this person I had ignored.

"the gift you gave was me"
said the god to the goddess.
"the gift you gave was me"
she replied.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Surrendering to What Is

Buddha seriously found me in the past year, at first via the simple and beautiful words of Thich Nhat Hanh, and the recognition of Truths I couldn't see for all the internal fog blanketing my inner ocean. I'd discovered yoga many years prior, and splashed about a bit in the calming waters of meditation during class, but lacked context and foundation to dive deeply. I also lacked any real discipline and motivation for a daily practice.

What ultimately brought me to my meditation cushion regularly . . uh, instilled some "discipline" in me, was the demise of my marriage. I admit it, I was desperately seeking something to comfort me in those seemingly rootless and stormy times. Did I say "those?" I also meant "these", because I'm still in the midst of great internal and external change, and it's frankly awful sometimes. I felt, and still feel at moments, like a small weak branch at the top of a tree . . .flailing about in the storm, spinning this way and that, appearing disconnected from my own trunk and roots, which penetrate so deeply into the soil that I could never really be uprooted (tornados and bulldozers aside).

Meditation has become my roots and my anchor. But it's not easy. How can something be so simple and yet so damn hard? Why can't I just meditate every day for 30 minutes or so and voila! Instant calm and equanimity 24/7, right? Silly, silly woman. As I write this, I can't help laughing at myself. As I'm so fond of saying, "at least I still have my sense of humor."

But some days I don't have much of a sense of humor, or I can't find it. I can't meditate for all the tears. I can't draw a deep solid breath. It's all I can do to read some of the soothing, centering words which drew me to Buddhism. The words are a cool balm for my wounded, broken heart.

What's that? What's that you're thinking? Her heart is broken but now it can open wider? Yeah, but I'm afraid for now, I'd still prefer my heart be unwounded, even if a little less open. Pain isn't fun. Oh, life isn't all fun? Well, that's not what some teacher/gurus say. I've assembled a lovely buffet of many delicious and beautiful insights from various teacher/gurus who seem to think Life is a Cabaret, or something akin to it. Their insights often seem better suited to life at the ashram than real life. It's abundantly clear some of them have never had a real job, mortgage, or children. But I do.

Mine is not the life of a guru. I live in this world, with a child and a business and bills, dark days and pain, and also, thank you, cherished and plentiful moments of heart-filling light and love and joy so big I can't articulate it.

Living in this world is how we really grow and love and learn. (Gods please note: My life is filled with more learning lately than I sometimes desire.) In my better moments, though, I embrace it all warmly and without wincing.

I'm learning to accept things the way they are. And instead of trying to beat back the strong emotions that accompany upheaval and change, I'm learning to name my feelings and look them in the eyes. Sometimes I even smile at them. (Though I still think of this as making friends with the enemy.)

I'm learning to surrender, to give up the fight.
Surrender, but don't be defeated.
And don't walk away.

Stay with it, whatever it is.

In days past, when I could barely work for the pain, and I'd be crying so hard that a deep breath couldn't fill my lungs, the words of spiritual teachers were a lifeline. I could at least remain in the present . . .sometimes. Sharon Salzburg, Thich Nhat Hanh, Eckhart Tolle, Pema Chodren, the Dalai Lama, Rumi, Osho and new teachers in my life, some of whom have no idea they are my teachers---they've all kept me afloat at one time or another. And things are better now, with fewer of those drowning days.

Still, I'm not skillful or practiced enough to consistently maintain perfect equanimity in the face of really strong tides. Waves sometimes knock me down, but I'm discovering I can stand up much more quickly now, even with saltwater in my eyes and the waves still coming. I've collected sacred moments of peace, like so many exquisite shells on the sand. I've touched enough security inside myself to know equanimity is there. The deepest faith I've ever known has come to live within.

I look back and see the trajectory of my spiritual growth, like a beautiful jet-trail behind me in the pink/purple/blue twilight sky. I see the graceful curve rising from earth heavenward, and I feel my soul riding it--upward, and inward, to my heart center.

I'm learning all the love I will ever need or want is already here, but then . . ..the waves come again, the tempest brews on the sea of change, my small boat seems so very fragile and small . . .

I return to my cushion again. I return to my breath. As I reach inward, I hear my own voice join the chorus of those who have inspired me---people I will never meet, and those I know and love. "Reach in, Mermaid," they encourage me. Through the rain I see the beacon--even in the darkest storm, and I remember. The light comes from within. I see it.