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!