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Me, too.

I have been trying to find a way to tell my story for years. Over the years it has come out in snippets. I have found words for it a bit at a time, but never had the right combination of courage and language to get it out properly – to string the pieces together, to really say what it is I want to say. Honestly, even as I sit down to write this I’m not 100% sure what the right words are, what that thread is that will bring it all together, or what it is exactly I want to say. What I do know is that over the past 24 hours, following last week’s breaking NY Times story of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment and assault of countless Hollywood actresses, the internet has been flooded with women’s accounts of their own stories of sexual harassment and assault, ranging from what have come to be regarded as everyday experiences like cat-calling to the more violent and egregious acts like groping or rape. 
Today, my Facebook news feed was almost entirely filled with women posting “Me too” f…
Recent posts

Brave & soft.

There are many stories, but the basic message I’m trying to convey is that if we want there to be peace in the world, then we have to take responsibility when our own hearts and minds harden and close. We have to be brave enough to soften what is rigid, to find the soft spot and stay with it. We have to have that kind of courage and take that kind of responsibility. That’s true spiritual warriorship. That’s the true practice of peace. - Pema Chodron

Intuition.

"You are a basically healthy person, you are not condemned, and you are not a sinner. You are already a healthy person, fundamentally. Despite the projections that might be cast on you, despite the shadow that may be cast on you, the point is to see though the shadow and just do it and just live it. That is intuition." - Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

This (extra)ordinary life.

“Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. Such striving seems admirable, but it is the way of foolishness. Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life. Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples, and pears. Show them how to cry when pets and people die. Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand. And make the ordinary come alive for them. The extraordinary will take care of itself” - William Martin

My mom shared this passage with my sister and me a few days ago. Later that morning, she posted it on Facebook, saying that she hopes she can internalize this kind of appreciation for the magic of ordinary life.

I replied: “Mom, you do. You bring so much magic to the simplest things - summer mornings on the back deck, fresh berries and a hot pot of coffee, sun and wind in the trees. Your ability to create beauty in the home makes the simplest moments full of magic.”

It’s true. My mother can bring beauty and magic into just ab…

On wisdom, love & despair

“The problem is that the desire to change is fundamentally a form of aggression toward yourself. The other problem is that our hang-ups, unfortunately or fortunately, contain our wealth. Our neurosis and our wisdom are made out of the same material. If you throw out your neurosis, you also throw out your wisdom." - Pema Chodron, from "Awakening Loving Kindness"
“Right down there in the thick of things, we discover the love that will never die.” - Pema Chodron, on moving through human connection, with all its attendant turbulence and doubt, to awaken from fear into true love.

A Year

A letter, honoring a year of healing and growth. 

Dearest,

There are so many things I want to say to you on this new day of this new year. So much has happened in this one trip around the sun. It feels like almost a lifetime between where we were, where I was a year ago, and where we are today. The woman I am today. And even more radical is to think of the one or two trips before that. How much can change in a cycle. How powerful these days can be, the rise and fall of the sun and moon day in and day out. The tides of life and love and where they can bring us to if we choose to be washed over by them like rocks on shore, our rough edges being smoothed over by the waves and sands of time. Surrendering to the slow pounding of salt, wind, and God.

I know it has been painful. Never would I have wished for the pain, heartache and despair I remember feeling a year ago today. I could not have imagined that heartbreak, that disappointment or betrayal. It felt like a lifetime of it all wrapped…

Open.

“To finally surrender ourselves to healing, we have to have three spaces opened up within us all at the same time: our opinionated head, our closed down heart, and our defensive and defended body. That is the core work of all spirituality - and it is work.” - Richard Rohr

A message from Clarissa Pinkola Estes

My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.

You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.

I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakene…

Coming apart & coming home.

It was about just about a year ago that I drove home in a panic after Ian said, “My world has just fallen apart. Come home.”

It is amazing what can happen in a year. How the world can change. Come apart at the seams and be stitched back together. Fall apart and be rebuilt completely, almost.

The truth is, I must have had a pretty good foundation already. The scaffolding pretty firmly in place. Cornerstone fixed, sturdy from years of preparation. Years of it coming – not him, me. Years preparing to come home to myself.

That coming apart is what I needed to come home. To take the final steps, in faith, back to the only home I have ever really needed – my own heart, where God lives.

I knew I needed to move out of fear and into love, but I had no idea what that really meant. That it meant an internal shift; the fashioning of an internal tapestry I am only now beginning to see more than one stitch at a time. Love. Faith. Compassion. Wholeness. The source: me and God. Real love, mature…

Adyashanti

"Everywhere around you – within you actually – is that sense that everything is okay, that beautiful okay-ness. It’s in the cells of your body. This is what you are. When you can find this deep presence and unconditional love, right in the middle of our deepest fear, then you get the sense of it. It’s right in the stillness. It’s the stillness itself. You’re surrounded by it – outside, inside. It’s who you really are."

—Adyashanti



By the fire

Standing at the fire at Temenos on New Year’s Eve I knew that if I threw everything about Ian’s relapse into the fire – all the pain and hurt and anger – that if I committed to letting that go I would have to also commit to letting Ian go. I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but when I opened my eyes Ian was gone. He had been directly across the fire from me and now he was gone. I was left to stand by the fire on my own, and I knew that I’d have to be okay with that if there was any hope of really being free.

I haven’t thought much of that night in the months since then. But now, 9 months later (incidentally the same amount of time it takes to grow a child), I was reminded of it – of that moment and of everything that has come to pass since then. I thought that making the decision to throw it all into the fire was the end – that it would bring closure. But now I see –it was the beginning. The beginning of becoming comfortable and complete alone by the fire of my own soul.

I t…

Forgiven

In mid-June, before I left for America, I had a session with Peter (my amazing psychologist. God bless him.). It’s been a while now, so my memory is hazy about exactly how it all transpired, but I remember that shortly before that session I had had an experience that felt very, very important when it happened. During a potluck AA meeting at my home, I was reminded of a memory I’ve thought about countless times over the years – being at Pratt with Jim and Noah and all their artsy, druggy friends. It was nighttime and we were most certainly high and the boys were causing some kind of trouble. There is one moment that stands out to me, though. I was sitting in a chair in a corner. Out of a haze, I could see myself clearly. How did you get here? I asked myself. This is not who you are. Almost before I could finish the though I quieted that part of myself (the truest part there was!). It was too painful. I didn’t know any other way. I didn’t know how to be anywhere or anyone else besides …

Heirloom.

I think I had one of your dreams last night
so I'm going to write a poem
because that’s what you would do

I could feel you from a million miles away
clover smile
moonlight in your chest
shining out
into mine

Any sorrowful road you ever walked down
you walked because you thought it led to joy
I know that, my friend

I know who you’ve always wanted to be
and I see you that way
from the inside out
like I’m in there, with you
and you see me this way, too
and it’s good

A poem my dear friend Jenny wrote for me on 15 September 2017.

"The Storms of Change: Your Soul's Need to Evolve"

"...And so you came here to evolve, and rapidly. You came here to upturn and challenge the restrictions upon your soul energy that have been in place in your most recent past lifetimes on Earth.

You came here, during this brief physical incarnation, to move mountains within, and release oceans of repressed spiritual and emotional wisdom.
You came to live a life that is unlike your most recent past lives, because this is the lifetime in which you change everything.
You have to release the repressive past on an almost unfathomable scale; whilst simultaneously rekindling the awareness of an almost unfathomable spiritual-majestic power that has lain dormant within you.
You were always destined to spend a lot of this life's journey wondering what 'on earth' is going on. This is, in and of itself, a key part of the process to remembering the divine feminine soul, and how you were always destined to be the One who shook humanity into remembering Her.
Loosening the mind…

A prayer of praise & love

"The fact that you are even on this healing path deserves a giant spiritual high five. Diving into the abyss of this spiral is a brave commitment to yourself. To seek to understand and not ignore. To sit with your stuff and hold your hand to the fire in service of more joy, more fun, more love and more peace on the other side. Not everybody makes the choice to say: 
I will not turn a blind eye to my life. I will walk toward my pain instead of backing away.
I will not fall under the cultural spell and programming of society that wants me to numb out and stay productive at all costs so I don't feel "lazy" and bad about myself.
I will be gently curious about my motivations and the roots of my feelings.
I will run everything I hear (even from people I love, respect & admire!) through my own filter to see if it rings true for ME.
I will shower myself with compassion and tenderness as I move through this work so that I feel safe and protected with this new vulnerability…

Rumi and beauty

"...Let the beauty of what we love be what we do.  There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground."
Rumi

The profound gift of motherhood

My daughter is 3. I got divorced when she was 9 months old. Her father is very much in the picture, so I have always split time with her with him. He now has her about 50% of the time. It is both a blessing and a curse. I have time for myself and for my new relationship - which has had its own very significant highs and lows - but I also have 50% less time with the most magical, joyful, present, little person I have ever met. 
Becoming a parent is definitely not the crappiest thing that's ever happened to me. Instead, I would say, it is one of the most profound gifts I have been given, and a real challenge to make the most of the one of the other most profound gifts - sobriety and a spiritual life. Becoming a mother has pushed me to really interrogate how I do that and what it looks like, to take it more seriously for my own sake and sanity and for the sake and sanity of my kid and my family. It has pushed me to look at what kind of world I want to create. It has given me more co…

Practice love. Speak truth.

The events that took place in Charlottesville last weekend make my heart ache for our country. The depth of this spiritual dis-ease pains me. We must stand up and raise the truth: We are one family, spiritual sister and brothers. Hate for some is hate for all. The only answer is justice and love. None of us are free until we are all free. None of us can know justice or love until we all do. Do not be lulled into non action. It is hard to be faced with this reality on such a regular basis, but we cannot allow it to become normalized.

We must continue to fight hate with love and speak truth to lies.

The stain of white supremacy is sunk deep into the fabric of our nation, and yet I know in my heart that the soul of America, its spiritual destiny, is to rise above. But what that requires is a great un-becoming for us white folk. A deep soul searching. An uncovering, discovering, and recovering of the truth of ourselves - the ways our whiteness brings privilege that we do not even see, lea…

The greatest lesson I have ever learned.

what's the greatest lesson a woman should learn? 
that since day one. she's already had everything  she needs within herself. it's the world that  convinced her she did not. 
- rupi kaur 

Keep going towards God.

You are doing the work and showing up to life despite the hardship. That is a huge part of the battle that you are winning daily.

Keep going towards God in everything. Try to ask yourself what in your life / day is taking you away from God and what is bringing you closer to God. What is a distraction away from your reliance on God? What are you trying to use in place of reliance on God? How are you relying on self instead of God? Where are you still fighting, refusing to accept, trying to swim upstream? How can you instead practice gratitude and acceptance - even of the hardship and pain - and lean into it as a way to get closer to the God within you? Can you hunt your pain and surrender into the process of being healed instead of fight against it / run from it? What would that look like?

These all strike me as things to meditate on.

My job is to love people.

That is what I was made for, and that is the most important job of my life: to care for my spirit self so that I can give and receive love.

There I am, and there I have always been.

I have all I have ever needed deep down inside of myself, and I am loved and forgiven for all of the times that I have forgotten that.

"Wild Embers," by Nikita Gill

"A Small Needful Fact," by Ross Gay

On the anniversary of the death of Eric Garner.