Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Combat Boot Kind of Day

it is a combat boot kind of day
the kind of day with marching to do
heavy things to kick
the kind of day for loud stomping
dances of tenacious will
screaming to the sky
a howling
that transforms to laughter
a day of might and muscle
to ward off the dull
achy brain haze

it is a combat boot kind of day
the kind of day where things
can shift
if i walk on forward
even though i'm scared
i hear the percussive beat
of each intentional step
medicine drum guide
saying the way is through
"break on through
to the other side"
i sing to myself my mantra

it is a combat boot kind of day
i march myself right to
my own center
i take off my boots
curl my toes in the warm sand
and dive in

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

my offering

 i keep lowering my bucket
 into the well
 each time full of expectation
 tremors of anticipation
 that i will hoist it up
 and have something
 beautiful and pure
 water like words
 to offer you
 and you in your
 heartstruck amazement
 will love me

 but i keep coming up
 for a long time
 i have tried
 i have given it my all
 i finally held my
 empty vessel
 i cursed into its

then i saw
something new
the beauty of that
the sweet space

i hold it up
my emptiness
i offer it to you

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

i am love and you

 i only wished to feel
 to somehow become real
 i closed my eyes
 whispered prayers
 i even clicked my heels
 at least three or a hundred times
 but the storm kept blowing through
 ripping out the truth
 from under my feet
 rocketing me up toward troubled skies
 my heart all black and blue
 when i look down and see you
 you come meet me
 and say "we're free"
 love has got us now
 you caught me by surprise
 with your angel arms and eyes
 now i feel
 i was always real
 i am love and you

Monday, February 9, 2015

I am Not my Son's BFFL

I recently had a Facebook status that read; "Great mom moment. Tuesday afternoon, Mason, who is 16, comes home from school and says with a big smile, "Mom, hey you know you are my BFFL." I said, "Isn't that best friend for life?". He smiled again and said, "Yup." Made my year."

I received heaps of likes and lots of nice comments on that status. I suggested that maybe I should expand it to a blog post, so here I am.

I was poised to write a testimonial about the exchange, and wax lyrical about this great moment in momdom, blah, blah, blah.....and then it occurred to me that I needed some follow up and clarification first, so I went back to the source, Mason, my 16 year old son.

I asked him, "Remember when you came home and told me that I am your BFFL?"
He said, "Yeah..."
I said, "Did you mean it?"
Then his reply. First it sank my ship a bit, but as I considered it, I loved it, I loved it so much!
He said, "Mom, I was kinda joking you know. I would rather hang out with my friends, but I like that when I come home from school that you are here. You make good food, and you make home, homey."

I love this, because, as I thought about it, it is really a good thing that I am not Mason's, or any of my kid's BFFL. The relationship between a parent and child should not be the same as the relationship between a child and their peer circle. As his mother I am responsible for nurturing him, providing him a safe haven, giving him support, I also provide structure, guidance, and discipline. I have to hold some specific boundaries as a mother that can't get tangled up in trying to be a friend.

Mason has ADD and so he has struggled for years to stay focused and get tasks done in school. This is coupled with his high intelligence and occasional attitude of superiority.A typical scenario at home with Mason goes something like this; "Why do you have three zeros in English class?", his usual responses are; " I don't know.", "The assignment was boring and stupid.",  or "I lost it.".

Sometimes these exchanges escalate to raised voices and often include Mason saying, "I HATE YOU!", and then stomping off and slamming a door. Dealing with his ADD and his tendency to be anxious and, at different points in his childhood, sometimes quite explosive and hurting/hurtful has been challenging on every level.

I have not always dealt with these issues, in heated moments, the way I would like to. I have lost my cool, I have yelled, I have cried, I have thrown my hands up in despair, I have felt like giving up, but I never have. I have never given up. I love Mason, and his sisters without fail. I tell my kids I love them every day, on the good days, the bad days, the ugly days.

I have gotten help. It does take a village, and sometimes mom (me) is not the best person for the job. Mason currently has an academic coach, a psychologist, a math tutor, a kung fu teacher, plus his school staff, who hear from me on a very regular basis. I have no desire to try to be "super" mom, singlehandedly running this whole show. No, kids need support from diverse sources and each kid is unique. I think the key is to see them, to pay close attention to who they are, and then also see the ways to help them in their becoming.

My role is mom, and I am dedicated, consistent, relentless in my love and care. I am not, however, interested in dictating to them "who" they should be. I am here to love them no matter who they choose to become. Stephen and I have not force fed anything to our kids about their unique identities. We encourage them to try different things, we support them in those explorations, whether it is music, sports, art, science, anything. We want them to seek out their passions and find things that light them up and bring them a sense of joy in self. I want them to know they have a right to be exactly who they feel called to be, and that family is a given, a rock, a sure thing. I am also here to show them what is right and wrong, to set limits and teach lessons about responsibility and accountability, which means I am not, can't be, a friend, in the strict sense of the word.

We mothers are so much more than friends to our children. We are called to a most sacred vocation. We are the guardians of precious innocents, charged with their safety and shelter,. We are trusted guides, a light always on, reliable, steadfast, fierce protectors, boundary holders, torch bearers, nurturers and disciplinarians, most of all keepers of love in the family. We are also human and we won't do it perfectly, not even close, but it is the love that counts. It is the love that lasts. Not all who give birth will be true mothers, and there are many who will be mothers in their own right, creating bonds beyond blood, in a call to service and a larger kinship.

I am grateful that my son, at 16 years of age, feels he can kid around with me, tell me the honest truth when asked, most of all, I am so glad to be his mom and make his home homey. I am thankful for this family, we are here for each other, we love each other, no matter what may come.

I am not his BFFL, best friend for life. I am his mom for life, that is all I hoped to be.

Monday, February 2, 2015

In The Short Run

 Running is part of my physical, mental,and emotional health regimen. I have certain activities and practices that make up my self realized mind, body, soul, life prescription for healing, feeling, awakening, and evolving. These are the things that keep me on the path of being alive in life, instead of living a half life, a numb life, a forgotten life, a caged life. Running cracks me open and sets me free.

There are mornings when I NEED to run, but depression and anxiety do their damnedest to upset my flow. They tell me to just leave it, no use, curl up in a ball and hide, go back to bed, give up, stagnate, fester.

I had a morning like that today. I could feel in my bones the deep calling for my movement medicine, but it seemed lost, unavailable, I resisted its call, depression and deflation had a grip.

My husband got a read on me and insisted. "GO for YOUR RUN!"
I pouted around it, felt the pull of that other voice, "Why bother?"
I put my running shoes on, laced up, plodding out the door.
I committed to a short run. The long run was more than I could consider today.
Sometimes it is like that. Start with one step. It is something. Just to start, to change the momentum
begins in the lacing of shoes, the plodding out the door, the shift begins with the intention, the shaking off
of that lying voice that says, "Why bother?".

I ran the short run.

In the short run I persisted, I met struggle. The first five minutes, step, struggle, breathe, step, struggle, breathe, repeat.

In the short run I let feeling have its time and space. I met it in the moment. I acknowledged what I felt
and knew I could be with it, all of it.

My running partners showed up each in turn; fatigue, frustration, fear, doubt, anger, hopefulness, courage, lightness, strength, fortitude, joy, freedom. The slow pass of one to the other, all of them needing that run. All of them needing that movement of energy, to be awake, felt, seen.

In the short run I drank in the air, danced with the earth, met the day, heard the birds, felt the wind, connected to flow, returned to nature, that true nature living in me. My true nature where nothing needs to be hidden, fixed, exiled or denied.

In the short run I shook myself awake. Now with the fog cleared,the long run looks amazing.

Pic and a Poem #38

   the pivotal center
   axis of expansion
      gathering in
  hold strong and stay
  deeply connected
  bonded to the place
  struck hard deep note
  integrated clarity awakens
    quietly in the space
        of inaction
  stretching out its arms
        to eternity
   witnessing, watching
   the blast of creation
   birthing galaxies
   celestial dancers
   tumbling and twirling
   heavens and planets
   black holes and stars
   light and darkness
   birth and death
   you and me
   all the creatures
   sky, land and sea
   spun out from
   the exhale of God
   like wishes blown
   from the center
     of a heart
 beating and breathing
  going out and out
  returning to center
     God inhales
  beginning again

Stream of consciousness, inspired by starfish.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Proof of Magic

This is a painting I did resulting from a class I enrolled in online called "Visual Quest", led by an amazing shamanic teacher named Pixie Lighthorse.

I am in no way trained, or naturally skilled, in the realm of painting. I am, however, a creative being (as we all are), who is willing to explore foreign terrain , and to dig into new ground. I am curious, and I am a seeker. Those two things have resulted in a meandering kind of life. I look around, see what shows up, or what I seem drawn toward, and I kick it around . I start scraping the surface of things, see what is revealed and how it touches me. Some things stick, others are brief visitors, while some come and go in cycles and seasons.

I have become most intensely interested with all things spiritual, mystical, and miraculous. Magic. Not that hocus-pocus, sleight of hand kind though. Magic, as in experiences or phenomenon beyond normal understanding, the seemingly unexplainable.

I used to be a staunch skeptic in some respects. Anything approaching being spiritual, or connected to divinity, in any way, shape, or form felt alien and unreasonable. Miracles, or mystical occurrences were not even a consideration in my view of reality.

In my quest for healing I landed on a yogic path. The yoga I practice is deeply spiritual in nature, a way of living and being. My skeptical, jaded, wounded self has gone through intense periods of doubt, questioning and resistance, but once I encountered this path it became clear, it had my name on it, like it or not. Maybe that doesn't seem like magic, or a miracle, but from the vantage point of this moment, from where I am sitting, I know that it is.

Since embarking on this yoga journey, I have become more and more open. I have discovered buried pieces of myself. I trust my intuition, I follow it with deep faithfulness. I am expanding, evolving, and often, when I least expect it, more miracles and magic arrive. Sometimes my skeptic gets her nose into something and puts her two disbelieving cents in, and I thank her for her service. She keeps me grounded and level. An essential part of a spiritually based seeking of truth is to question everything. It is useful to be in harmony with both the mystical and the pragmatic.

I have directly experienced what I call miracles and magic many times now, this painting being one example.

I signed up for this shamanic painting course from that place of playful curiosity, and also from a desire to explore painting as a creative expression; through my hands, in shape and color, to source my soul and let it spill onto the canvas, without concern for technique or attachment to ideas of what constitutes "good" art.

The course began with some introductory work on shamanism, background on animal guides and how to connect to them, as well as some guided journey work, think led visualization to meet these guides and receive their messages. If your skeptical side is already tapping her toe and rolling her eyes...yeah I know, been there, felt that. For the sake of my story, just go with a bit of suspension of disbelief here. Thanks.  At any rate, I had already done a few shamanic courses and found them to be very grounding actually, as well as deeply moving and transformational. You never know how powerfully something will impact and change you unless you give it an open minded try.

When the painting instruction began though, I started bumping up against the edge of my comfort zone. I have some old stories about my ability, or lack thereof, as an artist. I took a breath and followed the preliminary steps, and as they were presented with such kindness and grace, I was able to loosen around the fear and commit to my creative process.

Then came the part where Pixie explained, how after putting preliminary layers of color down through intuition and feeling, I would pause to observe the canvas and my animal guides would somehow begin to appear to me. These guides would just magically step forward, active participants, co-creating my painting with me. Now these are not the particular words she used, but my interpretation, how I heard it. My inner skeptic practically guffawed in cynical hysteria at this. I thought, "Sure, all these arty artists will have veritable safaris of beautifully rendered animal totems blossoming exquisitely from their brushes, but no way that could possibly happen to me!"

I forged ahead nonetheless, curiosity is my stronger inclination, thank goodness! I applied paint and set it aside for awhile. Then fumbling for faith, I returned to it a day later to give it a look. My skeptic was on alert, and in her defense, she was there to protect my fragile ego from a potentially injurious disappointment, and a deepening of the gash of insecurity I have been carrying around about art. I took out the canvas and looked at it once, twice, rotated it to each side, scrutinizing it hopefully, and then I saw an outline of a bird head, nothing fancy, but definitively a shape, a form, emerging from those swirls of color! I roughly painted it in, and then a whale shape was there, clear as day, all I had to do was follow the outline with my brush. I became totally taken, delighted, awestruck. Over the next couple of days, I painted and looked, and I saw more and more, a dolphin, a heart, a coyote. I was left joyfully astounded by the whole experience. I truly feel these images came forth from source, from a larger intelligence, one that is both within me and yet beyond me. Mystical and magical, but in my direct experience also concrete, very real.

I call this, my first shamanic painting, "Proof of Magic". It figures as an important piece of evidence, among many, that continue to anchor me on my path, my quest for truth, my seeking by the light of faith, guiding me through doubt and fear. I have come so far and transformed so much, by way of and by witnessing  each miracle, whether small or profound, by my willingness to consider, and my capacity to expand my ideas of what is real and possible. Anything can happen. I learn this again and again.

Maybe you believe this is proof of magic, or maybe not. My intention is not to convince of you of anything, or to force my evidence upon you, but to invite you to look at the canvases that are in front of you, the events and experiences that find you, the colors and shapes of your life. Maybe if you look at them at a new angle, with curiosity and a spark of faith, you will see magic and mystery at work. Who knows what you will discover, if you get your brave on and take a chance, try something new or revisit the familiar. Why not delve into the unknown wilderness of what calls your name? Get curious, be a seeker, you are guaranteed to discover great wonders in you.

If you are interested in the fabulous and deeply sacred work of Pixie Lighthorse you can find her at I highly recommend.