Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there. Rumi

love

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Thank you for being here. I'm so glad you're here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Recipe for Falling in Love




The truth is 
if we slowed down and got close enough
we wouldn't be able to handle the beauty
on this summer evening, everywhere my eyes fall
another miracle stares back
giant oaks spread out like gods
big-eared bunnies munching under open sky
blackberries plump on the vine invite me to taste
their almost sweet insides.  As I round the corner - I lock eyes
with three deer - all of us still and staring
with our eyes we say - I love you. Winged ones 
I cannot see sing their end-of-the-day lullaby.  Each step
lifts me higher until at last, breathing more deeply
than I have in a long time
I see 
the whole wide sweeping
tree-filled valley. And then - I weep. For, truly
I cannot handle the beauty, even from
this distance.  Then - I would not make this up - a whole family
of wild turkeys cross the trail in front of me - each one pausing
to wait for the next. All of this, my heart gets to see
to feel - to memorize. With light
now fading I begin my long, slow
walk home - slow enough
to notice golden grass bent in prayer
slow enough to bend too - praying
that I will never 
stop 
seeing
praying that I will walk
slow enough to fall in love
again and again
and again even if 
it makes me weep 
even it feels too much to handle. Praying 
that each step draws me close
and closer still





*Photo found HERE

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Your Very Own Flavor of Poetry



Photo found HERE


I keep forgetting that I'm more
more than this aging skin - these hips
these thighs, this belly growing thicker. More than these calloused feet
that always, always insist I walk faster, farther
in some other
direction. I keep forgetting that I'm more
than these scars
made by my own punishing hands - the ones you can see
the others that run invisible through veins and tired, bleeding inner parts
I keep forgetting that I'm more than the voices
that scream can't and never - right
and wrong
more than this mind that oozes indecision, this chest that squeezes
tight - that drops me hard in the shallow
and hollow of -
I don't know

I keep forgetting that I'm only a single breath
away from breaking free
from these bars I keep finding myself pressed beneath
a quiet prayer away from remembering again
that I was put here to spit it all out
as prettily or un-prettily as it was and
is

On this dark airless night
the strong rock inside begs to be
remembered
invites me to repeat this verse until moon
smiles her pretty half smile, until the winged one wakes me
with her new day kiss

You came here to hum the truth 
that comes in only your 
color
to sit inside the arms of a moment
to find breath in each drop of dark, to skip and sip and frolic 
with every fleeting firefly
of light

You came here to give oxygen to words
to spin every stain 
and splash 
into your very own flavor
of poetry

You came here to look into your own eyes and  whisper -   Beloved

You did not come here to please, to perform, to protect 
to be better or to be 
"liked"

You came here to feel 
the quake, the shake, the thirst - the love 
deep in your rooted center.  And, head bowed
arms spread in surrendered  hallelujah! - crawl 
skip 
fly 
tiptoe forward anyway
and no matter what

Yes
for this you came




Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Brand New Soul Talk


"When I accept myself I am freed from the burden of needing you to accept me."  Dr. Steve Maraboli



Those of you who have been reading me for a while, know that my dear friend, Alia, and I used to do something called "Soul Talks." These were uncensored, real conversations Alia and I happily had, recorded and shared. Originally, because Alia lived 8,300 miles away in Bali, Indonesia, these talks were done over Skype and we just shared the audio. Well, guess what? By some series of mysterious, grace-filled events, Alia now lives twenty minutes from my house. So, last week, with an owl hooting in the background, with the summertime breeze and trees and singing birds, we recorded our very first Soul Talk sitting side by side. Our very first Soul Talk where we are sharing the video form. Yikes. Though this is definitely a bit out of the comfort zone, I am stepping more and more in to this freedom space where I care more about sharing my voice than I fear criticism.

Hallelujah!


In this episode of Soul Talks, we discuss the crippling effects of self-judgment, fear of criticism, and how we're overcoming these obstacles to freedom.


P.S:  Alia and I are in the midst of creating a brand new something else that is going to be extra magically special. Stay tuned for the big sharing. Coming very soon.  :)





Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Crawling Out of Small Boxes

 
Photo found HERE


When asked what I do or how I'm doing
I have fewer and fewer words. I mean, how do I explain
between bites of corn on the cob and requests to pass the butter
that I've been shedding layers of stuff that never
fit, that I spend hours and days crawling out of the tight
of their tiny boxes, tossing breathless stories
written in handwriting I never recognized. How
do I explain that sometimes on a Tuesday afternoon, I sit still
and listen to trees, wind, rain - to that tender voice
that doesn't use words - until I join hands
with the scared one in my head
and ink trickles or spills. How do I explain that I care less
about getting things done and what I might look like from their
eyes and more about clearing a path
that finds the God in all of it. How do I
explain what I've been up to when what I've been up to is spinning
these shadows into something you and I can rest
inside, something that will help us remember 
our own astonishing light. So, rather than answering with an I'm fine
or listing off what I've accomplished lately, which seems
a lot more like nothing than something
I breathe a holy breath, look into your waiting eyes
and, with a smile that holds 
a heart full of something I'm just starting to recognize
I pass the butter.



 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

And Then I Could Breathe Again


Image by Serena Joyce
Here Comes The Sun


Instead of picking up a pen or a paintbrush
and getting down the ten thousand words/images
that were flooding my head, my heart, my lungs – my breath
I wiped coffee stains off the old kitchen table, fed 
the dog, the cat, the children
brushed the tangles out of my nine-year-old's hair while she screamed 
that I was hurting her,yelled at my twelve-year-old to hurry or 
we would be late – again, got entirely too pissed off 
at the slow driver in front of me, forgot to remember
to breathe.   Instead of emptying the overflowing 
pile of tangled shit that has been scratching and screaming
and gnawing and howling inside of me for days, weeks – decades
I scrubbed dried quinoa from the rice cooker, scoured 
the internet for the perfect paint color 
for my newly remodeled living room, folded two loads
of other people's clothes, unloaded the dishwasher, made coffee,
checked email ten times in ten minutes, called my sister, my mom, my friend
scanned Facebook update after Facebook update for some sort of –
inspiration? Instead of giving voice
to the thing inside me I was born to give voice to – I stared at the tiny freckle on my right foot and thought about how Hitler, before he murdered
millions, wanted to be an artist.  And then I thought 
of the quote about how - what you don't bring forth will kill you
and I wondered if I would ever, ever make anything of my life. Instead of 
making the ten millionth fucking excuse I sat my ass down 
on the soft swiveling chair in the room I created so I could create
and breathed a breath that reached all the way down to that tiny freckle
and wrote these words. 
Then I stepped outside into the sun's big arms
and danced



Monday, May 12, 2014

Who Fucking Cares?


JUST RIGHT, print available HERE


It's been over three weeks since I've written in this space but it kind of feels like forever. It seems the longer I go without writing/painting/sharing, the harder it is to sit down and begin.  The more time that goes by, the more the paralyzing mind resistance kicks in.  The more time that goes by, the bigger deal my mind makes of it all.

In Steven Pressfield's book, The War of Art, he writes...

What does Resistance feel like?

First, unhappiness.  We feel like hell.  A low-grade misery pervades everything. We're bored, we're restless.  We can't get no satisfaction.  There's guilt but we can't put our finger on the source.  We want to go back to bed; we want to get up and party.  We feel unloved and unlovable.  We're disgusted.  We hate our lives.  We hate ourselves.  

This morning I really didn't feel like getting out of bed.  I didn't feel like making lunches for my girls for the three millionth time.  I didn't feel like tackling the overflowing basket of clean clothes that's been sitting in the back room for three days.  I didn't feel like cleaning up the kitchen - again.  I didn't feel like going to the grocery store or thinking about what to have for dinner or taking a shower or searching through my closet for the one pair of pants that still fits.  I didn't feel like taking out my paints and making another mess on canvas. I didn't feel like going for a run even though I signed up to run a 5K with my nine-year-old, and that run is coming up in less than two weeks (and I'm in the worst shape of my entire life).  I didn't feel like thinking about what it is that I might do to make myself useful in this lifetime.  I didn't feel like thinking about what color (out of 10 million different choices of colors) to paint our newly remodeled dining room/living room. I didn't feel like thinking about the team mom (a single mother to three girls) for my daughter's soccer team who just found out she has bone cancer.

In a text message to a dear friend, I wrote:  

It's such a gorgeous day but I feel so dull inside.  

Despite a tremendous amount of resistance from my mind, I somehow managed to get myself in the car and drove to my favorite, pine-needled, mossy, fern growing, delicious smelling, wooded running trail. The sun was shining.  The birds were singing madly. While I ran (otherwise known as a barely-moving slow jog), I thought of all the things inside of me that are dying to get out. I thought about how lucky I am to be healthy and moving on this bright, beautiful morning. I silently scolded myself for having so much but (at times) appreciating so little.  I thought about how lucky the trees and creek and birds are to be blessed without a mind. I thought about how filled with joy painting used to be until my mind got involved. I thought about how, more than anything, I want to make myself useful in this world.  I thought about how, running on that trail, moving my body - even though it felt somewhat painful - it wasn't nearly as painful as the shit my mind throws at me every day. I thought about how sad it is that I often hold back my truth, my life force, my art and creativity, out of fear. Fear of saying too much or too little.  Fear of appearing dull or crass or stupid. Fear of what others may or may not think.

I thought about how critical/necessary - crucial - it is to show up for the sake of my own health and sanity.  

Just a few minutes ago, I came across the following words, written by the incredibly brave, honest writer, Anne Lamott...

Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you're 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn't go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It's going to break your heart. Don't let this happen.

A reviewer may hate your style, or newspapers may neglect you, or 500 people may tell you that you are bitter, delusional and boring.

Let me ask you this: in the big juicy Zorba scheme of things, who fucking cares?

There was something about this who fucking cares part that really got my attention and reminded me (I seem to need CONSTANT reminders) that the release I get from expressing the truth, the release I get from showing up as ME, is worth far more than getting good reviews (or likes or comments or followers or sales, or whatever).  

So today, once again I remind myself that life is way, way too short (and precious) to hold back what's dying to get out - to hold back my ME-ness. Life is way too short to worry anymore about these damn jiggly thighs and too big tummy.  Life is way too short to care if they will think I'm too this or not enough of that - because, really (and I say this with lots of love, with hope of release)...

Who fucking Cares?






Friday, April 18, 2014

What I've Learned From the Dark



It seems we must be stripped
of the skin
of all we think beautiful
before we open to the kind of beauty
that can't go away
it seems sky must pour
and howl like it will never stop
before we notice the smile
of our own forever sun. It seems
we must hunt with starving
hungry eyes before we know
this belly is and has always been
full. It seems this wall
deep in the center must be hammered down
before we let soft, breathing hands
curl in around us.  Each drop
of dark carries
with it a candle of holy
light - with each miracle breath
we are invited to turn toward
the nearest whispering spark
and, like momma bird sheltering her baby – like a pebble
in stream's safe lap 
listen





*Image found HERE

Friday, April 4, 2014

Love's Strong Arms


Gorgeous image borrowed from here


Today, my only prayer is this: 
Please, pretty please
 let me meet 
each thing before me
with newborn eyes. Let me know
that every 
single 
bit of it
is divinity in disguise.

With an inhale 
that takes me all 
the way 
inside
I wrap around this soft bodied breather, pausing
to allow her to kiss
passionately back. Naked and ready 
I drop beneath layers of words and walls
passed plans that pull 
and steal 
the new. Inside the belly 
of this one and only now, I exhale 
all that is extra, sinking – sinking
until each swimming cell in me knows
that no one, that no thing 
outside of my own poetic skin 
can save me.  I fall until I find myself 
drenched and soaking 
in springs soft 
and sheltering.  Until – finally 
I come to rest inside 
the womb 
of the most quiet 
kind of quiet.  

Rooted in the center 
of this warm earth body
kind eyes invite me
to feast and swim
like an infant
in Love's strong arms –  to fall back laughing
to fall back knowing
it is safe.  It is safe to be

me.



Friday, March 14, 2014

Answers in the Forest




The bossy one who lives
inside my head 
keeps insisting I move faster, demands 
with brows squeezed tight that I march 
forward
to the next promising 
somewhere. But rather than turning up the speed
legs slow way down – eyes find and stay 
with tiny swelling buds, red 
flowering currant - solid ground. In this body moving slower 
the harried one loosens
her white knuckled grip 
and I can feel, finally 
the kiss of soft 
rain, tired parts waking
with each deepening 
breath. Inside 
the slow of this moment
I can hear them – forest birds 
whistling their song
in unison
It 
is nowhere but here.  
It is nowhere but 
here.

*Image found HERE

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Life Has Not Forgotten You




I wrote the below words last week when I was in the midst of some pretty deep sadness. Though, in this moment, much of that particular kind of sadness has lifted - I know this depth of feeling is something we all experience.  So, in the spirit of wanting to share the whole of it, here's where I've been lately. 
I hope that, in reading this, you feel less alone in whatever it is that you walk through.

*               *               *

I'm going through something right now that I don't understand. This something goes beyond the everyday challenges and hardness and loss and sadness that is (as much as joy and beauty and peace and love) part of this life we live.

This morning I read the below words and they too (like almost everything does these days) made me cry:  

I felt ashamed...for all that I was blessed with and how sad I still felt.  Andrea Scher

For all I was blessed with and how sad I still feel.  

I don't understand how I can have so much, be so fully, richly blessed, how my heart can be broken open by the beauty in a single dew drop, and yet feel - still - so sad.  

"What I want is to open up. I want to know what's inside me. I want everybody to open up. I'm like an imbecile with a can-opener in his hand, wondering where to begin - to open up the earth. I know that underneath the mess everything is marvelous. I'm sure of it. 
I know it because I feel so marvelous myself most of the time. And when I feel that way everybody seems marvelous...everybody and everything...even pebbles and pieces of cardboard...a match stick lying in the gutter...anything...a goat's beard, if you like. That's what I want to write about...and then we're all going to see clearly, see what a staggering, wonderful, beautiful world it is."  -Henry Miller
The above words just came to my inbox (again via Andrea Scher)....and, oh my gosh, how they string the chord of everything inside me.  How they point to the sadness, the longing - the pain that has been here since I was too young to write, wore pigtails, lived in that burnt-grassed-tarantula-frequented-army quarters yard in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. 
The pain that comes from wanting, wanting so much - to open, to open to it all - to open it all up. To connect deeply.  To serve.
To serve.
The hurt that comes from wanting this deeply but not knowing where to begin - not knowing (sometimes) how.
I do know that underneath the mess, the pain, the hard of it all - there is great beauty. And I know, too, that deep in the midst of great pain, there is beauty. And that letting myself feel SAD is part of opening to it ALL. I know this but I can't see it right now and somehow expressing this, sharing it with you, helps me to release some of the hard. Helps me to look up and in and out.  Helps me to inhale 
fully 
and call bullshit on all that this mind tries to trap me in. Plus, it's incredibly freeing and relieving (and becoming more and more urgently necessary) to tell the truth. 

Truth:  I don't know what the next step is but I'm doing my best to stay open, moment by moment - to listen deeply. 

Truth:  Sometimes I feel full of love and clarity and purpose and sometimes my heart fills split open with sadness or grief or confusion. Often, in a single day - a single moment, even - I swing back and forth and back again with this full range of it all.

Truth:  I'm seeing more deeply that there is room for it ALL...that all of it is part of what it means to be a divine spirit living in a human body, in a messy, imperfect, beautiful human world.

Truth:  When I let my heart be split open with deep sadness, it opens me up to deep love.
Great, big, all-encompassing, deep, true, L O V E.  

Truth:  I am not linear. Life is not linear.  

Truth:  I've been baking bread from scratch lately.  Adding yeast to water, letting it sit, watching it rise, touching and rolling and baking - adding butter.  Then savoring every warm bite.  There is something in this process that is deep and true and necessary for me right now.

Truth:  This opening, waking up, is not about trying to get rid of any of it (sadness included). It's not about making myself or any of it wrong.  It's about wrapping arms around all of it. Even the hard stuff.  Maybe especially the hard stuff.

Thank you for listening.  
And thank you ahead of time for seeing through my pain to the beauty that's here (that is there in you too) - just on the other side.  
Words can't possibly convey how much this means.  How much this feels like true love to me.  
I want to leave you with some words (written by Rainer Maria Rilke).  The resonance of these words makes me need to lie down.

"‎Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.

So you mustn’t be frightened, if a sadness rises in front of you, larger than any you have ever seen; if an anxiety, like light and cloud-shadows, moves over your hands and over everything you do. You must realize that something is happening to you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall."  Rilke 



Life has not forgotten you (or me).  It holds you in its hand and will not let you fall.


*Photo found HERE


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Her Howl



I didn't know 
I could let it pour, softly – fiercely 
without thought
of whether it will be liked 
or understood. I always thought safe 
meant sheltering it, filtering out the too
watering down the color 
when what I really wanted most –
what I really want 
most 
is to let it spill like this relentless
Oregon rain. Which reminds 
me of that day she sat, head to sky
and howled with wild abandon 
and how that howl contained 
all the loss and love 
her little dog heart
could hold
for the beloved woman
who would never breathe again. If only 
I could release the ugly and pretty 
of it with a single lamenting
celebratory howl
without concern for anything 
other than letting truth
be truth
letting me - finally
be me


*Image found HERE