Sunday, December 21, 2014

Pic and a Poem # 36

one thing i know about light
it returns
even as darkness falls
it is giving way to light
they need each other
embraced and entwined
the chemistry between them
the art of light and shadow
a lovers play of transformation
painting grace across walls
mountains and seas
beautiful intelligence
in each of us
delighting through days
dreams of the night
what comes and what goes
and yet never ending
light is as love is
and so we must be
not broken or lost
dreaming now
light is on the way

Friday, December 19, 2014

My Heart in Troubled Waters

My heart is troubled today. My heart is broken today. I feel such grief and despair for this world. I mourn the loss of innocents, children have been killed, massacred with malice. The brutality of it has shaken me right off my foundation. In any moment this day, I suddenly find I am in tears. I am in suffering, and I can't imagine the suffering of those for whom my heart breaks today. I am here feeling it, touching into it, being with it. Those mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, communities and a country that must be collapsing under the weight of such grief don't know how intensely I pray for them today. I wish I could let them know. I care about them. I send them love.

I felt this way two years ago as well, when the tragedy at Sandy Hook happened. I grieved, I prayed, I asked God "Why?". I searched for a way to come to peace. Most everyone around me was in that space with me. I felt like my family and friends, my communities were there with me. We shared our thoughts and feelings, we gave support to those immediately impacted by such a devastating loss. We gave it the time and attention it deserved. We hoped it would not happen again.

This current tragedy is striking me differently. 135 children have been killed in their school in Peshawar, Pakistan by the Taliban. I am still reeling in shock, and yet, it seems the better part of those in my communities have moved on. I wonder if that is true. Maybe people are tongue tied or so at a loss that there are no words. I wonder, because when Sandy Hook happened there was an outpouring that continued for many weeks, months, a sustained process. As it should have been.

Today I had to click over to "World News" to find the story about these 135 slaughtered children. It would seem that even as they are still being buried we have moved on to more important things. Maybe that is it. These children are from a distant country, a place far removed, a different culture, religion, a different color, and so not as close to our hearts or our lives. We may not ever know their names and faces. We don't know where to send our flowers or postcards. One thing I know is awareness, prayer and directed energy can have a profound impact, but that requires being engaged and in intention.

I don't perceive a lot of awareness, engagement or intention.

My Facebook feed barely registered this as a blip, a fleeting point of focus. Is Facebook a reliable source of measuring people's concern? Maybe not, but when Robin Williams died my feed was lit up for weeks, endless posts and quotes, clips and heartfelt sadness. I felt that too. I felt his loss with great heaviness in my heart.

My heart is sailing on troubled water again, but this time I don't feel like there are many ships journeying with me, at least not ships from my fleet. I will be okay if I am sailing here alone. I felt it was worth it for me to step forward and say that I am still heartbroken over here. I am not ready to move on or passed this. I need to be with this for awhile.

I hope my continued prayers and sympathies are carried on the waves, and land where they are needed. I hope that healing happens. I wish for peace in myself, in each of us, and for this world. I know that even when it seems dark the light lives on.

Thanks for listening. I love you.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Pic and a Poem # 35


sweet child
not mine
but how i love you
as i love my own breath
my own innocent body
the children i have cradled
the ones who i named
i don't know your name
but i placed you in one instant
in a box of light
i hold you still
upon this page
you won't know that eyes
receive you here
and at least one heart
hopes for you
and the millions
the millions of tiny miracles
a world befitting your beauty
if i could
i would place it
in a box of light
and gather this family
to open it

The beauty of children is universal. No matter where I travel, across countries and cultures, children are pure light, pure joy. The world we live in is often harsh, cruel and violent, and children are all too often at its mercy. Today 130 children were killed in a terrorist act in Pakistan. My heart is utterly broken. We are one family. All the children are our children. No child anywhere on this planet should die in such a way. I feel powerless in the face of it. What can I do?

 What I can do is be a force of love in my life. I can not change the world, but I can add to the energies of compassion and kindness. I can refuse hate. I can meditate, pray, dance, sing, paint, write, all in the name of love and hope, for a better me, making way for my own children and all those around me, knowing that each small act ripples out to make a better world.

Interesting that as I sit with this today I am reading "Stand Still Like the Hummingbird" by Henry Miller and he says, " We are all advocates of a better world, and we are all the devil's disciples. We want to change the other fellow, not ourselves; we want our children to be better than us, but do nothing to make ourselves more worthy of our children."

Let's make ourselves more worthy of these beautiful children. Love is the way.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Pic and a Poem #34

there are too many threads
pulling on me
many roads and small paths
and the wilderness as well
i fear choosing wrongly
thinking somehow i might miss
i might miss my own life
i want to set my bow down
and lie on the bottom of my chariot
escaping this action
again i am reminded
that will not do
i must rise and reach out
step onto the path
any of these that call to me will suffice
there can be no mistake

hold something
like a flower on a garland
take one and all the rest
are coming
pick another one the same
choose the one that fits the fragrance
of your instinct
your signature
you will hold the universe
in your hand

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sweet Sixteen

  My son Mason was born sixteen years ago today.  I was born sixteen years ago today. Up until that day I was only a precursor of myself, a foundation.  I had lived a lot of experience, traveled a lot of distances, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I had already been lost and found many times. Invented and reinvented. Looking back it was all in preparation for the journey that would begin that day, December 9th, 1998.
I was terrified to become a mother. When I took the pregnancy test I wanted to crawl out of my own flesh and bones and run far far away. Not because I doubted the beauty and wonder of motherhood, but because I doubted myself.  I wondered how a broken down shattered kind of girl like me could possibly do such a thing.  I thought I would take this small soft being and before I knew it I would crush it in the grip of my own emotional pitfalls. I wondered how I would become a selfless, loving nurturer in nine months time. How would I transform from girl into woman? My husband was my champion, reassuring me, telling me I would be great. He often knows me better than I know myself. I guess others can see us more clearly than we can see ourselves sometimes. 
My wise teacher speaks to me often about soul contracts. It sounds a bit out there I suppose, but I believe it. My experience leads me to this. The people I need show up for me. The ones who have loved me, the ones who have hurt me, the ones who came for awhile and then faded out of sight. All of them came with a gift. My children are my soul teachers, my healers. There has been no one more significant than them, nor could there ever be. I thought that as a mother I would be the teacher, the giver, the wise one. I have played that role for my children, but the truth is that they have done the same for me, even more so.
My children have taught me that letting go is much more powerful than holding on. They have been their own people from the very start, born with personalities, qualities, energies, unique to themselves. They are born with the seeds of who they are meant to be already taking root and growing in them. Those seeds of who they are meant to be have nothing to do with me. If I believed for a moment that my role as a mother was going to be about controlling, forging or molding these beings into what I wanted them to be, that was wholly unlearned by their teaching in the first few years. I could have insisted on going that route, dug my heels in around who they should be for me, but I realize that they are not here for me. I am here for them. I am here to hold safe space for them, to watch them, to guide them, hear them, protect them, but not keep them. I can not keep them! The most important part of this mothering is the letting go part. God it is so damn hard though. I often find myself wanting to control, to grip, to cling. I forget in my fearfulness to trust, to trust that my children know who they are, to trust that all is guided and intelligent. Don't get me wrong, I have had, and continue to have a fierceness in my mothering when it is needed, after all, I am the mother, but I try my best to check my intentions, to see what is really needed, if it is rooted in love or fear, and I mess up. For the messing up, also letting go.  
My children have taught me about forgiveness. As I just said, I mess up. In my mothering I have learned something so huge, so powerful. Forgiveness is the cornerstone of love. We all mess up. In the family we are especially prone to error, wrong seeing, hurtful words and actions, impatience. I have often acted and later realized that I was misguided and unskillful, my fear blossoming into anger and inflicting hurt. I have hurt my children. My children have hurt me, especially my teenagers. No one lives in such close relationship with another being without hurt happening in some way, shape or form. Not all hurts are equal though, we can wound each other horribly, irreversibly.  As a mother I have become sensitive to owning my part in this co creation. When my kids were babies it was 100% me, my responsibility. That changes over time, slowly, incrementally. Part of this parenting is knowing when to move into more shared ownership of the relationship as the child becomes an adult. I think one of the most powerful things I have done for my children is to make mistakes, as we all do, and when I do, to acknowledge them, apologize and create a space for healing and forgiveness. This also works vice versa. I strive to create an environment for my kids where they are self aware, where they understand that their choices matter, and that mistakes or wrong doings will be addressed, but no mistake will take away the love I have for them. Forgiveness is the cornerstone of love, because we are all just human, imperfect and beautiful.
My kids have taught me about love. They have led me straight into my own heart and where there was once so much doubt and fear, where I once felt broken down and shattered, they have restored me, and filled me with hope, wonder, gratitude and joy. My love for them knows no bounds or limits. I love them in every breath, every heart beat, every moment. If I gave them life, they have certainly done the same for me.    

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Pic and a Poem 33


i wish to live like a leaf
give myself to my nature
my individual beingness
the life sap that moves me
and also to know my place
my intimate connection
to all the others in my universe
feeding each other
sustaining each other
it is our nature
this giving and receiving

i wish to live like a leaf
open to the work of transformation
embracing all the seasons and cycles
with dignity and grace
allowing God to paint the colors
of a lifetime upon me
and seeing myself
a holy manifestation
a divine masterpiece
infinite and complete

i wish to live like a leaf
budding into my life
expanding in the time of expansion
soaking in the sun of my miraculous chance
to be exactly who i am needed to be
dancing with the winds and weather of change
and as winter approaches
arriving wise and fearless
well versed in the language of letting go

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Out from Under the Thumb

"This is who I am.
  You can like it or not.
  You can love me or leave me,
  cause I'm never gonna stop."
    ~ Madonna

"You do not have to be good.
  You do not have to walk on your knees
 for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
 You only have to let the soft animal of your body
  love what it loves."
      ~ Mary Oliver

I am Facebook dependent. Some of that is due to my current living abroad situation. Facebook keeps me feeling connected to my friends and family, it is a lifeline to back home and allows me to feel like I still have one foot planted there, in safe and familiar territory. Facebook is my venue for sharing my ideas, my interests, feelings and also the writing and art I have been creating. For the most part I love Facebook and I am so grateful for having social media, without it I would be much more isolated and my creative endeavors would struggle to have momentum, because the truth is I crave your approval. I should not need it, actually I don't need it, but I do wish to have it. Please don't read this as fishing for compliments, because that is not why I am sharing this. I am sharing this because if it is relevant to me, it just might be relevant to you.

I started an experiment with this blog a number of weeks ago. I wanted to boost my creativity and return to some forms that I love, photography and poetry. I also wanted to mindfully explore my ability to share without attachment to an outcome, in this case the currency of approval, your likes and comments. I wanted to challenge myself to find confidence in my own regard for what I create.

I thought it would be easier than it has been. Actually it has been very hard, it has stirred up all kinds of old wounds, negative thought patterns, ingrained insecurities. This experiment has brought me face to face with a big chunk of shadow and what a treasure trove of potential healing and growth I have stepped into! I have noticed things about myself and also things about the environment I am participating in. I only have control over one of these things. Yep, that's right, me. I only have control over myself . How I choose to act, present, hide, respond, react, process or deny, all of these things are my responsibility. How anyone else perceives me, likes or dislikes me, is their responsibility. I don't own other people's thoughts, actions or feelings. I can set down that heavy load, but even knowing that, I realize I keep picking it up, carrying it on my back.

I write my poems, take my photos, dig into deep parts of my heart and soul, unearth myself, and then I risk big time, I share them with you. My Facebook friends are in this space too, sharing pieces of themselves, their day to day, their families, events, opinions, inspirations. I wonder how much any of us really steps forward, what do we hold back for fear of what others think?  It takes immense courage, absolute bravery, to really do this vulnerability thing. I sometimes find myself hesitating fearfully as my finger poises to hit the share button. If I keep quiet, if I keep to myself, I won't have to bear the potential disappointment of not getting your seal of approval, that thumbs up.  I have amazingly received a lot of support and encouragement from many friends, and I am exceedingly grateful for that, but in the spirit of honesty here, I have to say of that validation, it is just as I suspected, I always want more. That part of it is so important! That is my work, right there! The wounded ego is insatiable. Those holes in me will never be filled by other people or anything outside myself. I shouldn't base my view of myself or what I offer on how many thumbs up I can collect. I am trying to land in a space of open and independent gratitude more and more, for all the gifts I have outside myself and more importantly what I have inside myself.. We all must own how we are showing up in this life, but I will say, it does help to have a village!

It helps to have a village, a tribe. Since starting my experiment I have found I am increasingly and intentionally trying to be a support for others, even if it is just hitting that like button. Knowing that this small gesture, this click, might make someone feel seen, validated, less lonely, is worth the moment it takes. Why wouldn't I do it? When someone shares a heartfelt thought, a beautiful picture, a writing, especially when someone posts something that is personal and vulnerable, I try to remember to take that second of effort, to at least like what they have offered, and I do my best to comment if I have something relevant to say, or just a word of support. I don't see all of my friends posts though, so I attend to what comes across my screen and trust that it is what needed my attention that day. I want to be more generous with my kindness. I don't do it perfectly, but I am bringing intention and awareness to it. Let's be generous with our kindness, you have no idea how the smallest acknowledgment might uplift someone, even through a screen.

But mostly I want to say to myself and to you, the most important thumbs up of them all is the one we give to ourselves. We all have value. We all deserve love. We have all made mistakes. We have all experienced pain. Whatever you bring to the table in this life, bring it fully. We are all here to grow, we are not here to stay small and fearful. Notice what lights you up, what makes you feel expressed and express it. Dare to expand your horizons, especially if you are afraid or uncomfortable, especially then.  You are better to follow your soul's longing, even if it appears you must go it alone, out into the thick jungle of unknown possibility. If you don't, you stay in the small safe cage of predictability. There is a quote by someone, "A comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there." I am trying to create bravely, expand my vulnerability, go to new places, risk more of myself. I am getting out from under the thumb of fear slowly, step by step I go.  Now that I started, turning back is not an option. I won't be pinned down. Love will set us free. Freedom is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves.  Let's go out and get it!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Pic and a Poem #32

these words are not for you
i let you take a look
i wonder what you see
do you see me?
here looking out
from behind blue eyes
floating in these words
like secret codes
i am not sure i remember
how to crack myself
or if anyone speaks my language
my writing on the wall
perhaps like foreign characters
as i sometimes feel to be
even to myself
somewhere deeper though
back in fields of grass
are threads of sunlit memory
whispers beyond words
becoming who i am
intertwined with you
behind my blue eyes
beyond any color, shape or size
in the great inner beyond
the infinity of now
these words taking form
through lips i can not see
but brushing past my mind
the gentle kiss of miraculous thought
of a singular source
one word defining all others
that word is for you

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Pic and a Poem #31


may we not leave each other to suffer alone
nor gather together in fear and hatred
we are lost right now
lost to each other
lost to ourselves
in the poverty of division
blind in the smoke of violent frustration
so thick we are consumed by it
forgetting where we come from
and where we belong
torn from our hearts
cast into separation
but that will never be our truth
it is not who we are

we need demonstrations
put on by the millions
beginning in each single one
who is waking up
coming together
with hands held in unity
instead of fists or guns

we need demonstrations
that we are committed to each other
as long it takes us
staying the course
not backing down
fiercely demanding
no less than our birthright
every being living in
equality and love

we need to demonstrate
for the children who depend on us
the innocents not yet wounded
that we are there for them
if we can see them
when we see them
meet them in each of us
we will rise above

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Pic and a Poem #30


i am deeply thankful
for the hands i have held
those physical or spiritual
the presence that has guided me
in darkness and in light
i am thankful for those
who loved me
and those who broke my heart
for friendship and abandonment
every gain and loss
for imprisonments i went through
inside and out
that let me know freedom
how miracles are
doors that opened
and those slammed shut
every pain and pleasure
all my best
all my worst
my love and my rage
fear and courage both
bearing gifts and blessings
i never would give back
i am thankful for this day
the hands that i hold now
imperfectly loving
messy and true
falling apart
coming back together

The kids in this picture are my son Mason and my daughter Harper. As I looked for a picture to write around this theme of gratitude, I wanted one with my whole family in it, but this one called to me. I love how I am a distance behind them and they are stepping forward toward this beautiful building, like a future, holding hands. The words of the poem started showing themselves almost immediately. I am grateful for everything I have been through in my life so far and I am most grateful for my husband and children who are on this crazy ride with me now. I know that no matter what comes, the good, the bad and the ugly, it is all a blessing. Everything is showing up to help me learn and grow.
Life is a magnificent mess!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pic and a Poem #29

 be with yourself as a kind mother to a child
 touch your heart with tenderness,
 and what sorrows are stirred 
 open your arms to them,
 gather them close,
 welcome your heartache, your anger, your fear,
 witness their longing for this kind reception
 a devoted attention to all that you are,
 everything in you,
 just as everything outside of you
 lies in waiting,
 thirsting for love
 sit with your whole self
 pour from your deep heart
 your own sacred medicine
 until all mouths are quenched
 be healed and transformed

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pic and a Poem #28


i saw you there
at the foot of a marvel,
kneeling as if to pray
at this wonder of the world,
a monument of devotion
rising before us
white marble shining
as eternal as the heart
of undying love
lifted by human hands
reaching for God's gaze

i saw it
and i was touched
by what man makes
in dedication to God
but i looked at you
and my heart split open
to behold
what God has sculpted
in flesh and bone
i wanted to kneel before you
fully meet your grace,
see myself
in your eyes
God seeing God
love knowing love
the true wonder of the world
is us

This photo was taken at the Taj Mahal in India. Everyone around was busy shooting pictures of this incredible monument to love, but I was most taken by the people. People from all over the globe were there to see this wonder of the world, and it is breathtaking, but I was almost more taken by seeing how the people were delighted and touched. This woman in particular who was kneeling down to take a photo struck me as so beautiful that I quickly dropped to kneel myself to capture her. When we use our senses intentionally to seek beauty, we find it everywhere and in each other. Everything becomes an expression of divine intelligence. God's creation embodied in every being.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pic and a Poem #27


 form gives way to form
 symbols and woven pattern
 empty spaces a remembrance
 and a foretelling
 what came before
 and what lies beyond
 the blessing of space
 into which beauty is born
 without emptiness
 there can be no fullness
 consciousness holds thought
 clouds moving through the sky
 fingers chisel shapes that speak
 a primal language
 as a body waits patiently
 to be moved
 and not only moved, danced 
 all things moving toward expression
 turning back toward origin
 thoughts and clouds dissolve
 a dance returns to stillness
 carved stone tapestries
 one day return to earth
 the time is now
 seek out your spaces
 fill them with
 your signature
 to honor the emptiness
 that holds all things

I was looking at this image and appreciating the symmetry and how each shape relied upon the other for its very existence. Then I noticed the empty spaces. What was carved away allows one to see what lies behind, or what lies ahead depending on perspective. I started to write about that and it flowed into this poem about the coming and going of all things. I come back time and time again to this urgency, that the time to live is now, look for the spaces longing to be filled with your unique expression and fill them! What could be more imperative in life than giving your brilliance to the world? Life is so short, it can not wait. Honor the emptiness by decorating it with what you love.  

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pic and a Poem #26

let's go to the river
we can sing on the way
i have found singing is
the best way to pray
we can get in the water
it will join in our song
dance a watery chorus 
as we float along
feel your hair spread
like seaweed
tangled and free
just like we are mermaids
queens of the sea
look up to the blue sky
the heavens above
put your hand out to find mine
linked fingers of love
we can stay all day long here
there is no place to go
let's be one with this river
its ebb and its flow
I sat down to write today feeling quite empty and unsure of what would show up.
As I let words bubble to the surface I found my inner little girl stepping forward,
and so I just made space for her. I have felt quite drawn to watery images lately,
the beauty and power of water to soothe and transform. My nine year old daughter Harper drew a picture of a mermaid just a few days ago, and I was not thinking of that when I wrote this, but perhaps subconsciously my little girl made a connection there. I imagined two young girls going to swim in this gentle river, singing, splashing and floating along without a care in the world.
I feel it is healing to give the inner child a voice, to keep a connection with that part of who we are. Great shift and transformation can come from listening to and feeling the little one within.

Pic and Poem #25

  there is a path being
  set out before me
  twisting and turning
  through space and time
  i sometimes stop and wonder
  how i arrived here,
  dizzy with the dancing of
  mysterious synchronicity,
  what yes's and no's brought me this far 
  i believe in miracles
  i have held them in my own hands,
  and yet so often
  i am afraid 
  my faith sometimes falters
  my feet frozen beneath me
  wanting to stay here,
  relieved of risk and
  not knowing the way,
  but there is a brave heart
  a jewel given to me,
  that has guided me onward, 
  through night and through day
  i follow my path, 
  from the depths of my feeling
  toward what lies ahead,
  great joy or deep sorrow,
  elation or heartbreak, 
  all roads lead to
  freedom and ultimate truth
  life needs bravery,
  faith and surrender
  the path is before us,
  we forge a destiny,
  all this experience
  calling us home

Friday, November 14, 2014

Pic and a Poem #24


    the will of the earth is strong
    to bring life to itself
    even through the roughest rock
    see it root and rise,
    and such is the manner of love
    in the human heart
    even the hardest terrain
    seeming barren and void
    has a seed deeply planted
    the heart is always
    looking for the space,
    for the moment,
    to let love root and rise

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pic and a Poem #23

       when two worlds collide
       where will you set up camp
       in the storefront of illusion
       or in the temple of your soul?
    This question figures so prominently in my life. Where do I want to focus my energy, and what I am I living into? It is easy to get swept up by all the external data that tends to pull me away from myself. I feel like there are all these messages telling me to look outside, to fixate on the external trappings and an image, but that always ends up being hollow. If there is any happiness or contentment in that, it is always fleeting, that is my experience anyway. I do my best to keep my camp in the temple of my soul, that is in my spiritual practice, in contemplation and creativity, and in relationship with those who I love and who love me.
I took this photo here in Shanghai. The Jing'an Temple is the most well known temple in Shanghai and has been in this location since about 1200, but has recently been surrounded by high rise luxury shopping as Shanghai becomes more modern and focused on material abundance. As you stand in this place of reverence and devotion, you look up and see these huge billboards looming overhead. It is startling and, to me, so telling. It begs the question above.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pic and a Poem #22


     dreams of pink petals
     and soft whispers of
     green leaves
     the intersection of
     exacting intelligence
     and vivid strokes of beauty
     could there be greater
     evidence of the divine spark
     than this blossom of brilliance
     unwaveringly becoming itself
     wide open and free?
     oh to live like a flower
     rising to this life with
     no hesitation
     to burst forth boldly
     no doubting, no hiding
     sitting powerfully in the center
     of what is meant to be,
     pouring out color, scent, flavor
     surrendering it fully,
     until it's done
     I aspire to this, this way of being. That was what really started me on this poetry project, a deep thirst to express, expand and be seen. I don't mean be seen in a seeking glory sort of way, but to risk revealing deep parts of myself and trusting that in creating outwardly, showing up and opening out that there will be a corresponding opening inward. My experience so far is that this is true but it can also be quite tender and even achy, growing pains I guess. Shine on everyone, be bold and bright!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pic and a Poem #21

  occupy this moment
  touch it with your tenderness,
  bring it to your lips,
  listen for its song
  see every side of it
  each subtle dimension 
  all the curves and angles,
  the center moving out

  meet this moment fully
  expansion and contraction
  expressing through shadow
  the way it catches light
  occupy this moment
  ride it like a wave,
  and in the next instant
  a tide of rising and falling
  the world is made again

 The present moment is the only place we can ever really know anything, connect to anything, be fully alive. Every moment is full of  potential, the potential to experience, but the the thing is we have to actually be there to experience the world in front of us, or the one within us. I often find myself lost in my thoughts, lost in my mind, somewhere other than experiencing the present moment, but I have practices like yoga, dance, meditation and writing that help me to come back to now, what is happening now, what I am feeling, seeing, touching. It is worth showing up for.  

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Pic and a Poem #20


on the long walk of life
what loads we carry
the weight of what
we have been and
who we long to be

along the road we often
drop our playfulness
lose our simple joyfulness,
the delight of climbing walls
and talking to the trees

learn from the children
see them skip, run,
dance and sing,
remember, remember,
look and remember,
set your load down
feel how you breathe

sense your deep energy
come home to your body
wonder once again
at your fingers and toes,
no matter the gravity
situation or station
we all are such children
of light and of soul

let's run and laugh
just for this moment
spin in wild circles
throw our gaze up to the sky
and feel the beat of
our fierce child hearts,
our inner perfection
we are beautiful,
all of us,
every single one

Living and traveling here in Asia I have seen many people living in the toughest of circumstances. I have witnessed people living in absolute poverty, and with no recourse or resources to turn to in hopes of a change. I have also seen among those people, especially the children, a capacity for happiness and play despite the gravity of their life circumstances. I feel this is evidence that our true nature is joyful and playful. Children are still connected to their pure energy and embodied soul nature. To watch a child at play, is to watch a wise teacher, a teacher who shows us powerful remembrances, of the same wisdom, the same playful nature, we all have within us. This is a wisdom and quality of being, that goes beyond country, culture, gender, it is so deeply, so profoundly human. Remember, remember, look and remember, this joy and freedom is who we are.

I took this photo in Delhi, India. I was so taken with this playful child, balancing, almost dancing along this wall, while her mother and I presume, older sister, looked on.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Pic and a Poem #19

at the gateway of the heart
guardians hold their vigil
custodians of secrets
protecting things unseen
holding their posts
in the unknown shadows
waiting patiently and faithfully
for the moment of truth
the lightening strike of
potent awareness
that cracks them wide open
and what was held for so long
is finally set free

This image called to me today, and as I considered it, this stone post head at the end of a bridge had the feeling of being a protector. I know there are pieces of me, feelings, emotions and parts of my "story" that I might be conscious of, or not, that I have not fully processed or integrated. To think about these vulnerable or wounded parts, the things that are hidden, being guarded and protected until the time comes to bring them into the light of truth is comforting to me. It is the idea of having inner angels of steadfast protection, holding safe space for my inner world to unfold as it will, when the time is right. Maybe this resonates for you, or maybe not, but we all have things we hide or protect, even if we all hold them in unique ways. Love to all of us in this magnificent messy life!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Pic and a Poem #18

it is such small treasures
of mysterious origin
that set my heart alight
      with wonder
  and leave me struck
  in sweet captivation
  delivering me back
to a wide eyed innocence
  that is open and joyful
   and so fully in love
     with this world
The events and happenings of the world and life can get to feeling really heavy for me sometimes. It is useful for me to engage my senses toward the small beautiful treasures around me, they help me to open my heart even when that is a difficult thing to do.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Pic and a Poem #17

take the first step
ascending or descending
either way, any direction
it is the movement that matters
coming unglued from
bindings and hesitations
feel your way along
through both light and shadow
up and down and back again
until you know each step
so intimately and yet
attuned to the constant
changing and shifting
each footfall a discovery
a moments visitation
of what arises and falls away
a journey of becoming begins
with even a small willingness
take the first step

Monday, November 3, 2014

Pic and a Poem #16

is an invitation to
finally strip it all down
to the bare bones
and be naked,
exposed in front of
the one who matters
to revel in all the power
and beauty that this
one being can hold
in solitude abandon
the long told lies
of doubt and fear,
slide out from them
like a serpent shedding skin
and bask in the light of
your own perfection
sing, dance, howl
for the majesty of
this miraculous creation,
only you can unlock
your mystery
your divinity,
know your truth,
speak it
cocooned in solitude
enter and find yourself,
emerge from your shell
transformed again and again,
take the slow path back,
we are in the circle
Bonus haiku:
go to the mountain
wrap solitude around you
soul light leads the way
I have a complicated relationship with solitude. For a long time I could not embrace the gift of solitude because it kept getting lost in my fear of being alone. My story of "alone" is full of rejection, pain and loss. As I have committed more and more to a spiritual life over the last decade or so, my relationship to solitude has shifted and evolved. I recognize now that if I want to truly step into myself, if I truly want to go deep and grow, solitude is essential. If I want to create and express from an empowered and authentic place I have to take the time with myself to connect to that place of truth. In solitude I can go into my heart and soul space, get to the distilled essence of what I am here to experience, feel, process, and in doing so I feel my core relationships getting stronger, I make better choices about how I invest my time and energy, I can engage with the world in a more skillful way.
Solitude brings me sustenance and grace.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Pic and a Poem #15

  throw me into the ocean
  let her swallow me whole
  i will pour myself into her
  until she renders me weightless
  and lifts me up
  in the palm of her hand
  an offering to the moon and the stars
  i will ride her waves
  gentle ripples that rise
  to torrents of violent dancing
  let me be churned and
  turned inside out
  completely dissolved
  immersed in a baptism
  down to the very cells
  that pulse as oceans within me
  let her wash away everything
  that isn't wild and bubbling
  with freedom
  and then
  and only then
  set me safely back on shore   

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pic and a Poem #14

           we are here,
           great torchbearers
           of this lifetime
           born into the light
           of our inheritance,
           from a long line
           of sacred blood and spirit
           we carry that flame
           kindled in our hearts
           the fires of
           all the love,
           all the pain,
           the infinite
           joys and struggles
           what was done and
           what was left undone
           in the dark unknown
           of what might come
           raise your lantern,
           release all fear,
           guided by grace and angels
           step into what calls you, 
           the many behind you
           will not let you fall

    Today is Halloween and I already confronted fear as I showed up to write this. What I wrote yesterday was so well received that it caused me hesitation in writing today. In my mind I thought "What if that is the best? What if nothing more comes?". I drew myself back to my original intention, that this is a creative experiment, and I am simply trying to be an open channel and trusting that what emerges is what was needed on that day, in that moment, even if it is for myself alone.

As I relaxed into that it occurred to me that today is Halloween, the day where the veil between this world and the spirit world is thin, and this image popped into my head. I went and found the photo and the words came from there. These words are the very reminder I needed, to have faith in my journey and that everything is arriving on time, through a guidance beyond me and behind me. I am not alone.

I wish I had my own family tree of photographs to use here, but living in China, this idea of honoring ones ancestors is a prominent part of the culture, and this was part of a display at a museum of local architecture. The picture isn't perfect but it is what presented itself. Just like my poem suggests, I let go of fear and stepped into what called me. Creating by faith, trusting the flow.

Take some time on this Halloween to remember your ancestors, both those known and those unknown, in the end we are all one family, in it together. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pic and Poem #13


       make a pilgrimage,
       one that will truly
       change you

       not the one to the
       pretty place,
       the temple that has
       been well tended
       go past that one
       out into the wilds
       far beyond

       all the way to the
       lonely edge
       of shadow and decay,
       to the temple that echos
       of heartbreak and tears
       kneel there amidst
       the dirt and debris,
       sit beside despair,
       hold her in your arms
       like a mother holds
       her child

       utter the prayers
       that have waited,
       once forgotten,
       and in the holy
       emptiness be heard

I have shared before on my blog about my life long struggle with depression and anxiety. Today is gloomy and rainy here in Shanghai, and I woke today in a bit of a depressive mood, and it is alright. I have learned how to be with these waves that come through me, how to sit in visitation, knowing that they pass. Some days that comes easier than others, but I know I have grown most in my life by being willing to go there. I can not heal what I am not willing to be with. I know when I make the pilgrmage into these dark places with the light of faith and practice to guide me, the prayers I give to the emptiness are heard. That does not mean there is no more struggle, it simply means I am held in the journey of what is. We all have such struggles in one form or another and this poem is my offering to that.
 This picture was taken in Delhi, India.    

Pic and a Poem #12

be generous
in uplifting others,
nothing extraordinary
is of necessity
meet another
truly look at them 
and smile
a thing so simple
is enough
to put the sun back
in someones sky,
or breathe joy
into a lonely heart,
invisible no longer
see each face
not with judging eyes
but with the eyes of love,
give freely these
offerings of beholding,
blissful recognition
to see each other
through those eyes is
to see ourselves
and know we are divine
this love needs no language
it has no limits or borders
it comes to gently shake us,
to wake us up from the illusion
that we could be separate from each other
we belong to each other, truly
holding hands and hearts
walking this path called life
 This picture was taken on a tour I did to a tea plantation here in China. I wish I had a picture of myself smiling at her to accompany the photo of the beautiful smile she gave to me. We could not stop to chat with each other because of the language barrier, but her smile alone touched me deeply. China gets a lot of bad press in the world and some of it is valid. I just hope that we can always remember that people everywhere around the world are the same, people living, working, caring for families, seeking fulfillment, longing for connection. Namaste.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pic and a Poem #11

            rest here at the feet of the earth
              plant your own deep roots
                  find the will to stay
              the way is to meet stillness
           where do you have to get to anyway?
              what could be more important
            than listening to the rustle of  leaves
          or communing with a slow unfolding fern?
         the fern and the leaves know more about living
           than you can hope to discover somewhere
            out in the wide populous lonely world

             here you can live into the big space
              the one your soul longs to occupy
               the one beyond ideas and stories
             with no words like could or should

              rest here at the feet of the earth
                 plant your own deep roots
                 give yourself to the grace
              of what rises from within you
               these roots will give you wings
                              to fly

I am a nature girl, always have been. I have said many times that the things I miss most living in Shanghai are my family, my friends and the forest. I find the forest to be magical and healing. When I am in nature I feel renewed and reconnected to myself.  Even if I can't get out into pure nature, just feeling my feet on the ground helps me regain my center.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Pic and a Poem # 10

     simplicity is
     spacious and pure,
     ruthlessly peel back
     all these layers of life,
     keep what is true
     release what is false,
     distill it down to it's
     bare essence,
     the bones of being,
     empty each moment
     to the bottom
     of it's deep well, 
     chisel experience
     down to small pebbles
     that you drop in
     marked with the question
     "who am i?"
     seek the answer
     at the center of stillness
     formless and wordless,
     the simplicity of what
     is known and not learned,
     bring it back,
     paint it on the walls of
     your life,
     wisdom comes in few words
This one came as a total stream of consciousness, and I have left it as is.
I do know that I have been contemplating simplicity a lot lately. Craving it in my life.
Would love to hear how you think about simplicity.  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pic and a Poem # 9

      this world is shocking
       in her capacity to be     
       limitlessly beautiful
      all her manifestations
        perfectly designed

    with breathtaking intensity
      she shows you her heart
             on her sleeve,
      holding nothing back
     letting every stroke fall to
              the canvass
   without the slightest hesitation

        even a city street
       ringing with chaos
        and painted with
       collisions of color
     is such grace to behold

       the lines and curves
       of wires and wheels
        are the geometry
       for the movement
              of life

    like blood through veins
      waves on the ocean
            her rhythm
             the pulse
      and drum beat dance
         of the universe

    anywhere you might be
   she is trying to show you
    the wonder of existence,
  the miracles large and small
   that she lays out before you

if you don't see beauty in front of you
try looking again with different sight
          and when you see it
   there will be no more denying
  the magnificence that you live in
     showing you the beauty
              that you are


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pic and a Poem #8

                        there is a city of light 
                           deep within you
                        the way to get there
                        is to get lost
                        lost from any identity
                        lost from all attachment
                        returning to the simple 
                        state of being and presence
                        in a moment,
                        this very moment
                        you are already there
   I will confess, this one had to struggle to get through as I am a bit off balance energetically and emotionally today. The words speak to this state. At the heart of this experiment is my quest to create by faith , to be vulnerable and to make an offering no matter what shows up. So today I got the very challenge that I asked for. For now I am off to my cushion, to consider these words, it is needed. xos for today.                            

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pic and a Poem #7

let's go to our attics and basements
haul out all our old baggage and the
dusty relics we have stored away
these things we said we never wanted
to look at, touch, or visit again

i will open all my bags and boxes,
hold up all my forgotten pieces,
i will show them to you,
will you show me yours?

not so we can wallow in what they once were,
not to revisit their brokenness
or linger in the neglect that they have endured
but to perform an alchemy
as children who know
that magic and miracles happen
all around us
if we believe in them
if we believe in ourselves

these things will be made beautiful
we will hold them close to know
their very essence
we will shape them with
our hands and hearts
into royal robes and jeweled crowns

lets put them on and
run barefoot through the back door
straight to the field of long grass and sunshine
where we will play and dance
skip and run
and let our laughter swell and echo
all the way to heaven and back

Pic and a Poem # 6

   why run away from serenity
  when she is sitting here calling
  for you to come rest in her arms?
  why bite these hooks of insanity
   when you could simply open
  and swim in the ocean of freedom?
 why do you rush around town
  knocking on all these doors 
   in search of contentment
 when he is sitting at your table
   right under your own roof?
   why do you pace and paw
  in a cage you built yourself
     when the passage out
 is to become soft like surrender?
 why all this questing and searching
        looking high and low
 this forever calling out for something
           that seems lost
      when you can find it
   forever in your own heart?
       come lie down here
       give yourself to rest
    cup your weary head in
     your own loving hand
     close your eyes upon all
            this struggle
      the inner eye will see
        to bring you home
 This one showed up today and I know it is a message for me. If you read it and it is also a message for you, take it into your heart and find time to rest, to retreat. Namaste.  

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pic and a Poem #5

    every day is a birth day,
    as long as we wake to another
    dawn with breath in our bodies
    we are called to offer
    our light to the world
     each one is unique
     each one is needed
     we are the constellation
     of sacred design
     don't doubt that the universe
     has a perfect space for you
     even now it is holding out its open hand
     inviting you to take your place
     in this dazzling light show
     this cosmic song and dance
     this is not about trying,
     proving or perfecting
     this is about being
     this is about faith
     this is closing your eyes and
     leaping out into
     the dark void,
     knowing that leap
     is the only way
     to true life  

     every day is a birth day
     a chance to get things right
     a chance to get things wrong
     no matter

     there is no unworthy experience
     and love is real
     let it come
     let it go 
    delight in all that is
     and shine