Life is not a straight line. It's a downpour of gifts, please – hold out your hand

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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I Am Enough, A Guest Post

Despite the burrrrr, cold, persistent rain this morning, it is a good day.

I am over at Tracey Clark's site today, declaring my "I am enough-ness."  This is my first ever post on another's site so it feels extra special.

I wrote about this beautiful collaborative a few months is a little blurb from that post:  

"I Am Enough," is collaborative site and is just the most touching, inspiring thing ever.  Women exposing their beautiful, tender vulnerabilities, women telling the truth-even when those truths may not be viewed as pretty.  I so admire their bravery & courage.

There is so much expansion that comes when we tell the truth/connect/come together/expose/share & accept one another fully-just as we are.  Knowing that we are already enough, even before this or that.  We don't have to wait-- until...we really can step right into our peace, into our power, into our enough-ness in this very moment.  

I am honored to be a part of such beauty.  Please stop by & visit, I would so love to hear from you over there.

P.S:  There is a giveaway in progress...for a chance to win one of my pendants, please click here.  I will announce the winner late in the day on Wednesday, December 1st.  :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Getting Lucky

I decided a long time ago that I'm not very lucky.  I've had this idea that other people are the ones who win things or have some incredible "chance" encounter with someone or something that sends them into a vortex of abundant, easy-flowing goodness.  Of course, what we believe and think about and focus on creates our reality, so, essentially, I've been the one keeping "good luck" at a distance.

But this seems to be shifting.  If fact, I've been feeling really lucky lately. I've decided I'm going to focus intensely on this so it is sure to expand.  Here are a few of my little lucky things lately:

*The other day at the video store the man checking me out randomly said, You know, I really want you to see this video, I'm just going to comp it for you.

* Last night when my family & I went out for Mexican food, the woman threw in some guacamole for free

*At a recent gathering, I won the door prize...a really great book & a free yoga class.  Up until this point, the only thing I'd ever won in my entire life is a free bungee jump.  It was during my wild & crazy college drinking days and they were raffling it off at a bar...I remember thinking, damn, the only thing I've ever won in my life & it'll probably kill me.  (Nice attitude, huh?)  Luckily, I lived to tell.

*I got an email on Friday saying my "Just Right Donkey" print was chosen for a treasury (on Etsy) by Paradise Pie.   The treasury is entitled "Donkey Days."   

I'm quite enjoying this and am looking forward to continued good luck...I'll keep you posted.   :)  I hope you all had a very lovely Thanksgiving.

P.S:  There is a giveaway in progress...for a chance to win one of my pendants, please click here.  

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Thanksgiving Giveaway

"If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is 'Thank you,' it will be enough." -Meister Eckehart

I'd like to give away one of my glass pendants

To enter, please leave a comment answering this question:  
What are you saying thank you for today

*The winner will be chosen randomly & will be announced on Wednesday, December 1st.
*Winner will get to pick a pendant of their choice from my Etsy Shop

I'll probably be too busy eating over the next few days to come here &, see you back here next week!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Enjoy all of the goodness.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


We're giddy over here!

Its snowed last night (a rare thing for this part of Oregon) which means no school for the girls.

Remember that feeling of thinking you're getting up & going to another day of school & then looking at the clock and realizing you've totally slept in, and then looking out the window & seeing white stuff & then finding out that instead of going to school you get to drink hot cocoa (with whip cream and marshmallows), roll around in the snow, drink more hot cocoa, watch your favorite show, maybe bake some chocolate chip cookies and just hang out in coziness all day?  That's where they are this morning...they're out there "sledding" right now, which is really quite funny seeing as the snow really doesn't even fully cover the ground but they seem to be thoroughly enjoying themselves!  One by one, the little bundled neighbor kids are leaving the warmth of their houses to join them in the fun.

The fire is lit.  The heat is cranked up.  The tea is nice & hot.  The slippers are toasty.  The candle is flickering, sending out the scent of vanilla.  The animals are snoozing.

And there are big, beautiful flakes gently floating down from the sky right now.

As for me, I plan on letting go of all I had planned on doing this morning, slowing way down and settling into some serious cozy BEing-ness.

Feeling so blessed & thankful for all of it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

fearLESS Friday


She thought
she needed to find it
fix it
grasp it
reclaim it
become it
prove it
get to the root of it
try harder

She thought
if she did
created enough
found enough
lost enough

tried harder

that maybe she'd 
be enough
and could lay down
the mountain
she'd been carrying
for a thousand years

She didn't know then
what she knows
that if she paused
and asked
and listened

the moment's soft whisper
would turn her toward
she'd always wanted
she's always been
all of it there

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Clearing the Path

with Jen Gray

"Tending to my creative life is now happening with a very different
mindset. Today, it is more about learning to hear and give space to the
longings of my soul."   Jen Gray

If you haven't already stopped by Kelly Rae's blog today, I really hope you'll head over there.  Jen Gray has written some deeply beautiful, clear, eloquent, humbling words about what taking flight means to her, it's the same message my spirit has been whispering to me for a long long time.

Happy Tuesday everyone.

Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!   I love you so.

return to the root from goose42 on Vimeo.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wholehearted Living, Brené Brown

The below talk by Brené Brown resonates deeply with me & affirms all that I expressed in my post last Friday.

She speaks about courage & authenticity & about embracing vulnerability/imperfection, about letting go of who you think you should be in order to be who you are. She says the original definition of courage was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.

The resolve to live my life wholeheartedly is growing deeper & deeper within me, Brené's work is one of many pieces that is helping me understand what that really means.

You can read more about Brené Brown here

Friday, November 12, 2010

fearLESS Friday

Week 17
Learn the alchemy
true human beings know,
The moment you accept
what troubles you've been given,
the door will open.

Photo taken by Kevin Moul,            Taos, New Mexico

It's fearLESS Friday and I have to admit, I'm feeling a little bit fearless in this moment.  And that's really saying something seeing as I've been feeling more like a tiny wounded animal lately; tender & unsure, doubtful & afraid.  And the fear has been compounded because I've been doing a lot of resisting; thinking I shouldn't feel what I'm feeling--I should be stronger, tougher, less sensitive, less of who I am, more of what other people are. 

The other day I read something on someone else's blog that really wedged itself under my skin, something that hasn't wanted to leave me.  It was a woman telling another woman that "she should get thicker skin."   (She, meaning the other woman, the woman that wasn't her.)  Everything in my being reacted to this statement, this "should."  Maybe it's because the woman that "should get thicker skin," reminds me a whole lot of myself.  She's open and tender and gentle and sensitive and compassionate, she feels things very deeply.

And here's the thing, I adore this woman and I want to protect her and tell her I love her as she is, exactly as she is.  And that her "thin" skin is exactly what I love about her.  I want to tell her that there are plenty of (seemingly) thick skinned people in this world--people that cover up their precious insides with layers of thickness, layers of protection & armor, layers of shoulds and shouldn'ts.  I want to tell her that when I read her writing I feel like I'm getting a peek inside her sweet, beautiful, treasure of a soul.  And that this is exactly what I love about her. 

As I write this, I feel my heart beating faster and more alive.  I am aware that I write this to myself.  I am aware that I have been telling myself for a long long long time to get thicker skin.  Oh goodness, this feels profound.  I didn't come here this morning to write about this--it just seems to be flowing directly out of mind had a whole other idea of what it was going to write about.  I've been coming here every Friday for 17 weeks now to post my words, or someone else's words about fearlessness, and I feel like I'm just starting to really get what fearlessness means to me. 

And this is what I'm getting:

It's so not about toughness and thick skinned-ness.
It's about being willing to sit with discomfort for long enough to really hear what it has to say (even if the thick skinned parts of me want to run like hell). 
It's about showing up real and whole and messy and broken. 
It's about coming back to myself again and again to take an honest look at what my thin-skinned, beautiful, whole, transparent insides are trying to say. 
It's about being willing to look at my "dark" sides and being willing to put them in the light for me (and others) to see
It's about being real about the secret ache in my heart, the longing parts, the tender, afraid parts
It's about pausing long enough to lean in and listen to what that still quiet voice is saying
It's about calling bullshit on the heady parts (sometimes disguised as other people) that/who tell me I'm too this or too that. 
It's about being real with myself and people around me about what's really going on, about how I'm really feeling.  
It's about looking & listening, instead of reacting & reaching. 
It's about sitting with instead of running screaming away
It's about not hiding my humanness, the humanness that we all share.
It's about knowing that my little self can't do it all and that leaning into/trusting/surrendering to my higher self/source/spirit/God is the only way I'll ever find true peace

I'm sure this list will continue to grow and expand and grow some more as I continue to allow myself to blossom more fully into me. 

And now I must share some quotes that have completely gotten inside of me and speak to exactly what I'm trying to say here:

"Going beyond fear begins when we examine our fear:  our anxiety, nervousness, concern and restlessness.  If we look into our fear, if we look beneath the veneer, the first things we find is sadness, beneath the nervousness.  Nervousness is cranking up, vibrating all the time.  When we slow down, when we relax with our fear, we find sadness, which is calm and gentle.  Sadness hits you in your heart, and your body produces a tear.  Before you cry, there is a feeling in your chest and then, after that, you produce tears in your eyes.  You are about to produce rain or a waterfall in your eyes and you feel sad and lonely and perhaps romantic at the same time.  That is the first tip of fearlessness, and the first sign of real warriorship.  You might think that, when you experience fearlessness, you will hear the openings to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony or see a great explosion in the sky, but it doesn't happen that way.  Discovering fearlessness comes from working with the softness of the human heart."     Chogyam Trungpa

And now I'm overwhelmed with what quote to share next, there is so much truth in this little book beside me called, "Broken Open," by Elizabeth Lesser...if you haven't gotten your hands on it yet, I highly recommend it.  Here's another:

"If you're interested in opening the door to the heavens, start with the door to your own secret self.  See what happens when you offer to another a glimpse of who you really are.  Start slowly.  Without getting dramatic, share the simple dignity of yourself in each moment--your triumphs and your failures, your satisfaction and your sorrow.  Face your embarrassment of being human, and you'll uncover a deep well of passion and compassion.  It's a great power, your Open Secret.  When your heart is undefended, you make it safe for whomever you meet to put down his burden of hiding, and then you both can walk through the open door." 

And If you're still reading...I know this has been a long one, I want to leave you with a prayer; sweet, tender words written by Elizabeth Lesser.  This is my prayer for you & for me, in Elizabeth's beautiful words.

"I pray that each one of us stays awake as we fall.  I pray that we choose to go into the abyss willingly and that our fall is cushioned by faith--faith that at the bottom we will be caught and taught and turned toward the light.  I pray that we don't waste precious energy feeling ashamed of our mistakes, or embarrassed by our flaws.  After years of teaching, I know only a few things for sure.  One of them is this:  We are chunks of dense matter that need to be cracked open.  Our errors and failings are chinks in the heart's armor through which our true colors can shine."  Elizabeth Lesser

I hope you go out today and shine your colors for the whole wide world to see. Your colors, just exactly as they perfectly are.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Message/Questions for this 11/11 Day

Message from The Universe
The path to enlightenment is not a path at all, julia, it's actually a metaphor for the time it takes for you to allow yourself to be happy with who you already are, where you're already at, and what you already have - no matter what. 

What if we allowed ourselves to be happy with who & where we are, in this very right now moment? 

What if we didn't have to struggle against anymore?  Or need things to be different?  What if we fully trusted that clarity would bubble up from this place of absolute presence and trust?  And from this place of absolute presence & trust, beauty & joy & laughter & lightness and love boundlessly spilled over.  What if there was absolutely no limit to what we could create? 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Retreat

"We are here on this earth to fully awaken to life, and we need to start with wherever we are." --Foo Schroeder

I've been away these last few days.  A little retreat to southern Oregon to spend time with an amazingly beautiful woman and artist (who happens to be my husband's aunt, does that make her my aunt-in-law?).  And oh, was it nice and timely and quiet and full & stimulating & peaceful.  We walked and sat in the sunshine, talked and listened and talked some more, wrote, played with clay, asked questions, drank tea, talked, ate yummy, fresh foods from her garden, talked some more...

Feeling lighter
a little more awake
what a sweet thing it is to see
and be seen.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

True Abundance

My dear friend, Brooke, (thank you so much, Brooke) sent this quote to me a couple of days ago and it just about took my breath away.  I've been sitting in the midst of some pretty deep suffering lately and, as is often the case after the dark stuff lifts, there is some beautiful clarity coming quietly through. 

This quote is that clarity:

Photo taken by Kevin Moul, Taos, New Mexico

"Most rarely align with their true power, because it seems illogical to them that there is power in relaxation, in letting go, or in love or joy or bliss. Most people do not understand that their true power lies in releasing resistance—which is the only obstacle to their true power.  Most people do not expect their path to great abundance to be one of ease and of joy. They have been taught that struggle and hardship and sacrifice are requirements that must be met before the reward of great abundance can be realized. Most do not understand that the very struggle they deliberately involve themselves in, in their quest for success and advantage, actually works against them.  There are so many things that you have been taught to believe that are counter to the powerful Laws of the Universe that it is difficult for you to think your way out. And that is the reason that we present this path of much less resistance.

We want you to breathe rather than try, to relax rather than offer effort, to smile rather than struggle, to be rather than do. For your true power is experienced only from inside the Vortex.---" ~Abraham

Friday, November 5, 2010

fearLESS Friday with Karen Willard

Week 16
Today I have the privilege of introducing you to Karen Willard.  I took a leap a few years back and began facilitating writing groups for women.  Karen happened upon the flyer I had placed around town and showed up for the beginning of what was a very deep and beautifully connecting experience of women writing with women.  The first evening we met, I knew we would become friends.  And we did and we are and I am very grateful for that. She's deep and beautiful, on the inside and on the outside.  And she has a lovely way of noticing the beauty around her and capturing it with words and with photos.

Karen, thank you so much for gracing us with your presence today, it is truly an honor to have you here..  

By Karen Willard

Fear.  I have often joked about having a fear-based life.  Like a foundational compass I would base decisions on what feared me the most and then methodically move in the opposite direction.  It wasn’t about freedom or joy or about being broken open like an egg from its shell.  No.  It was about feeling safe, which of course has nothing to do with wholeness.  This fear avoidance produced a false sense of stability, seemingly without risks.  Did the fear of the unknown rule?  Usually. 

I don’t want to paint a slanted portrait here.  I do take risks, but not without my share of inner angst.  And when I decide to do something that flat out scares me, I most certainly don’t let go and let God as they say.  Simple concrete example (I tend to write in abstracts):  I don’t feel comfortable driving at night because I can’t see well.  If it’s raining and dark, well, let’s just say I’m a road hazard. I made a late hair appointment this week in Corvallis, which is an hour away from home.  I knew it could be dicey if it was raining (and in Oregon in November chances high it will), but vanity won and I drove white knuckled through a downpour with fear as was my driving companion all the way home.  It would have been easy to reschedule an appointment or (God forbid) find a stylist where I live, but I decided to be brave - small as it may seem - because I know fear can be like a holdfast.  We need to shake it loose.

Okay, so where am I going with this.  More abstract. 

Dreaming is sacred territory to me.  I feel the feelings in my dreams more than remember the details, but sometimes both are vivid.  Most of the time I think they are meaningful. So when fear begins to bleed into my dreams I pay more attention.  Last night I had a dream I was being attacked by a man behind a curtain (yes, the proverbial one.)  I ran out of this dilapidated hotel room screaming, “Somebody help me!” over and over.  My spiked, frantic breathing woke me up.  Yikes, where did that come from?  Was it my prompt for this writing?  I know . . . a stretch. 

Speaking of which, when I read Julia’s reason for beginning her FearLESS Friday I thought, this is good.  Who can’t relate to being afraid?  So we take one day and try not to let things scare us so much.  But what about that dream where I’m screaming for help?  Where does that fear fit in? It could have been rooted from The Journey, Mary Oliver’s poem about a wild night, a road full of fallen branches and stones, and finally reaching out to save the only person you can, which of course is you.  It’s my favorite.  I’ve known this poem for a long time, read it and shared it and tried to reach this depth in my own poetry writing.   Earlier that day I heard Mary read it.  I was at home alone with the computer linked to the Women’s Conference held last month in Los Angeles.  I turned it up and went about doing what I normally do when I have an afternoon free, which are about four things at once. When I heard Maria Shriver introduce Mary Oliver, I made a point to sit down and really listen.  Mary likes to walk and watch nature close up (read Grasshopper or Geese.) As she made her way to the podium I imagined her walking along the pond near her home, the pond she often writes about.  When she read The Journey I felt tears fill my eyes.  I was surprised by my reaction until I realized it was because she was reading her poem.  Not me in my head, not me to a friend but Mary, reading this poem she found deep inside, speaking this truth about finding oneself amidst the melancholy and the cries for help.  I sat there with tears for all of us struggling to be true to ourselves.  We are in this together, merging and meeting, with each other and with ourselves, all trying to rise above our own misconceptions, all trying to find our peace and our place in this messed-up, beautiful world.

I work as a volunteer coordinator advocating for children who have become wards of the state due to abuse or neglect.  I sit in a courtroom for part of each day, watching parents, most of who struggle with substance abuse, lose custody of their children.  I see rock bottom every day.   

We all have stuff.  This is what my best friend told me after being diagnosed a couple weeks ago with Hodgkin's lymphoma.  Still reeling from the news, ironically, she picked me up off the floor.  "We all have our stuff.”  She said.  “For some it's family, for others it’s their job, or losing a child.  This is just my stuff."  (See why she’s my best friend?)

Is she afraid?  Sure.  Fear is there.  But she is choosing not to let the fear consume her.  It's present, but it's not omnipresent.  Fear is a constant, like the wind.  It swirls like a dervish picking up leaves of doubt. We watch it dwindle.  Eventually it dies.  Even the strongest tornado ends.  Sometimes the fear creates a dust devil, other times it blows gently against our skin.  It can be still. We make peace with our choices.  We make peace with our fear. 

Hello there, want to dance?  We twirl around and maybe even work up a fast sweat.  We dance slow and close and feel its breath on our neck, the pressure against our chest. And then we let go and head for the punch bowl. Because dancing with fear can work up a thirst.

Karen currently works for Yamhill County CASA as a Volunteer Coordinator.  She has been a photojournalist, writer, poet, and painter and sometimes she still is.  She moved three years ago to McMinnville and has found her place, surrounded by old brick, countless vineyards, rolling hills, and some of the nicest people.  

The Journey
~ Mary Oliver ~

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice --
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What if...

we truly believed that everything, every single thing that is happening in our lives, is happening FOR us not to us?  What if, when it appears that things are not "working out," we trusted that there is something far greater than our little planning minds at work--something all loving, all gentle, all light & beautiful & true- that is guiding us to our higher good?  What if we could let go of the oars and let ourselves be carried gently downstream?

What if it was safe to let go?

My Lily

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


It is only when we silent the blaring sounds of our daily existence that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts.  ~K.T. Jong

It's quiet here this morning.   I can hear the hum of the refrigerator, the growling of my tummy, the sound of my own breathing.  The sounds of my daily existence have been quite blaring lately; fighting little girls, too many screaming children amped up on too much sugar, noisy/demanding mind chatter...

So right now, in this moment, I'm especially appreciating the quiet.

As you can see, I've changed this space a bit.  It feels quieter too.  And softer.  A little less complicated.  I've been all about clearing/purging/cleansing/de-cluttering/simplifying lately--I want this space to feel like that too.

I hope you find some quiet today; to sit, to listen, to just be.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Amy Seeley Goodness

Hello out there.

I'm a bit loony today...the girls have been off school since last Wednesday and, well, I'm in need of a break. And maybe a massage and a quiet walk alone in nature. And some chocolate. And a long nap. And a glass of red wine. And maybe a trip to Italy.

I don't think I could string words together today if I tried so, instead, I'm going to leave you with a little Amy Seeley goodness. Her new album, Plum Coulee is being released at the end of the month (I can't wait)...for a little introduction to that album click here.

Kick back and enjoy the beauty.