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.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

Instructions for a Body

This poem by Marty McConnell  (below) did something to me.  Kind of left me without words.  The minute her voice started, I got chills all over.  It's not just the words themselves and how she puts them together or the sacredness of the subject.  It's something in her voice... complete freedom to express?  Courage?  Conviction?  Vulnerability?  All of the above, maybe.  Anyway, it cracked me right open.  

And seeing as I have this big, silly bandage-thing on my right thumb and half my nail is no longer...this poem seems especially timely.  

By the way, all went very well yesterday.  Very well in the sense that the doctor & assistants were very nice & gentle and the numbing medication they injected into my thumb worked brilliantly.  I really didn't feel a thing during the actual procedure.  And, amazingly, I still don't feel any pain (even though I skipped my last dose of ibuprofen).  Shouldn't it hurt when you get half your nail removed?  Feels like a bit of a miracle to me.  This body is truly amazing.  

And when I got home yesterday evening, my beautiful girls & sweet husband pampered the heck out of me.  I got homemade turkey soup, a foot massage, my hair brushed, hot tea in bed (with just the right amount of sweetness), pillows for comfort, little snacky treats, big heart almost burst with gratitude.

Oh, one more thing.  Thank you for coming to this space & leaving your sweet comments & words of encouragement.  They mean more than you could know.  It is so very good to feel your love.

Instructions for a body 

praise the miracle body: the odd
and undeniable mechanics of hand,
hundred-boned foot, perfect stretch
of tendon

tell me there are no gods then,
no master plans for this anatomy
with its mobile and evident spark

someone says "children of light"
and another, "goddessfragment" and
another, "chosen" / a dozen makers,
myriad paths, one goal:

some scalpel, some chisel, some crazed
sentimental engineer giving rib, giving
eyelash, giving gut and thumb --

all mattering. all set down
in a going world, vulnerable
and divine

in the beginning was the word.

or before time there was a void
until a voice said "I" and was

or there was star and dust,
explosion and animal, mineral, us::

praise the veins that river these wrists
praise the prolapsed valve in a heart
praise the scars marking a gall bladder absent
praise the rasp and rattle of functioning lungs
praise the pre-arthritic ache of elbows
and ankles
praise the lifeline sectioning a palm
praise the photographic pads of fingertips
praise the vulnerable dip at the base of a throat
praise the muscles surfacing on an abdomen
praise these arms that carry babies
and anthologies
praise the leg hairs that sprout
and are shaved
praise the ass that refuses to shrink
or be hidden
praise the cunt that bleeds
and accepts, bleeds
and accepts
praise the prominent ridge
of nose
praise the strange convexity of ribcage
praise the single hair that insists on growing
from a right areola
praise the dent where the mole was clipped from the back
of a neck
praise these inner thighs brushing
praise these eyelashes that sometimes turn inward
praise these hips preparing to spread
into a grandmother’s skirt
praise the beauty of the freckle
on the first knuckle of a left little finger

we're gone / in a blizzard of seconds
love the body human
while we're here, a gift of minutes
on an evolving planet, a country
in flux / give thanks

what we take for granted, bone and dirt
and the million things that will kill us
someday, motion and the pursuit
of happiness / no guarantees / give thanks

for chaos theory, ecology, common sense that says
we are web. a planet in balance or out, the butterfly
in tokyo setting off thunderstorms in iowa,
tell me you don't matter to a universe that conspired
to give you such a tongue, such rhythm
or rhythmless hips, such opposable thumbs –
give thanks or go home a waste of spark

speak or let the maker take back your throat
march or let the creator rescind your feet
dream or let your god destroy your good and fertile mind

this is your warning / this
your birthright / do not let
this universe regret you.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My New Love

Oh my!  I'm giddy over here!  I haven't mentioned it yet in this space, but for Christmas (as a very special treat from my generous parents) we got a brand new incredibly lovely electric piano.  To say that I'm excited about this would be a slight understatement.

On Christmas day, had you been a little fly on our wall, you would have found me here, fighting with my five-year-old about who would get to play next...the two of us just couldn't get enough.

After this shiny new treasure was revealed, I immediately downloaded some really simple songs (crossing my fingers that at least a tiny bit from my childhood lessons would come back to me).  And, to my giddy delight, stuff did come back!  I have now completely mastered the level one version of "Do Your Ears Hang Low!"  I must have played that song fifty times on Christmas day and the few days following.  The selection I downloaded online was very minimal.

But then today happened!

Two boxes packed full of my (and my siblings) old piano books showed up on our doorstep!  Oh my goodness.  

So, if you were a fly on our wall tonight, you would find me here playing all kinds of grand songs from my old books and then, after playing each song, smiling a big smile while clapping very loudly for myself.  These books even have my name on the cover (printed in my little me handwriting), along with stickers on the pages that my teacher gave me when I "mastered" a song.

And here's the really amazing part...when I started pulling those little treasures out of the box, I immediately recognized the ones that had been mine, and, with my heart racing seriously fast, I brought them over to the piano and! a few of the songs!  I could just play right they were totally stored in my memory somewhere!  (I think my last lesson was nearly 30 years ago...omg.)

So, that's it for now.  I just had to share.  Now, back to the music.

P.S:  I probably won't be writing on here for a few days....tomorrow afternoon I will be having my thumbnail cut into (biopsy)...something that has been looming ever since my doctor (& then a dermatologist) grew a bit alarmed at a black streak beneath my nail.   Apparently black streaks beneath nails are not necessarily a good thing.  I would love it if you'd keep your fingers (or thumbs) crossed for me.  :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What if you
as if there was no

I caught these words (written on a giant billboard) out of the corner of my eye the other day.  They felt like words I was supposed to read.  And sit with.  And think about.

So today, as I sit here in my living room, with the sun starting to peek through the open window, I'm asking myself   what if. 

It's a good question, don't you think?

Friday, January 21, 2011


that scare me

*Not living to my "full potential"
*Not being able to lose weight
*Becoming lazy
*Being misunderstood
*Never making money
*Spiders, rats, snakes
*Being perceived as inauthentic
*Letting my fears immobilize me
*People I love dying
*Hurting people
*Losing my zest for life
*Freezing to death
*Looking stupid in front of people
*Harming my children in any way
*Other people harming my children in any way
*My children harming themselves in any way
*Forgetting something really important
*Closed mindedness
*People who don't tell the truth
*Not being free
*Physical pain
*Losing my mind
*Not losing my mind
*Not living in Love

In the book, The Passionate Mind Revisited, it says this: 

Freedom from fear does not come from having any ideas about what that means.  In order to utilize fear as the great teacher it is, one must actually be the fear, live with it as a moment-to-moment thing, see how it crops up, how it can destroy real relationship in the moment.  To see fear totally, is a shift of awareness that has its own movement.  By experiencing the nature of fear, a freedom can come that is different from anything that one seeks.

and this:

To want to be free of fear all the time is to be afraid of being afraid.  This is only fear in disguise.

and this:

Fear is a great teacher.  To watch fear, to attend to it, without trying to make it go away, to just watch it while being in it is to learn about yourself.  It's a key to finding out the nature, depth, and degree of your attachment to various ideas, feelings, thought structures, and ways of being.  Seeing how thought wraps around fear can give you a greater range of possibilities in dealing with the insidious tendrils of fear.

I find all of this very interesting.  One thing I know for sure is that what I resist persists--always. What I keep in the dark, gets darker. I see that in order to develop a liberating relationship with fear, I must allow it to be a great teacher--not by trying to get rid of it, but by being with it, opening to it, developing a curiosity about it--bringing it out into the light

So that's what I'm doing today, bringing them out here in the light.  They look much prettier out here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Prayer for the Past

"When you open up to living inside the spiritual realm, you're no longer compelled to live according to your outworn beliefs, because you're not referencing your logical mind, your belief system, or your human emotions to tell you where you can go, what you can do, and what's possible for your life.  You are referencing the highest truth, you are going to Source for your answers and direction.  In the realm of divine consciousness, you don't need to know.  You also don't need to not know.  You can see beyond beliefs, beyond knowing, and beyond not knowing.  You can allow life to be what it is, and then you can choose to operate on a higher level of consciousness, where you see the good even in the bad, where you see the wisdom in your wounds, where you find the gold in the darkness you've endured."  Debbie Ford

I'm so ready to find the gold, to let go of all that no longer serves me.  I'm ready to cleanse and clear and lean in and turn it over and open fully to my highest truth.  

Below is a little prayer (from Debbie Ford's book The 21 Day Consciousness Cleanse), I think I'll be turning toward it often.

A Prayer for the Past
By Debbie Ford

Let all those who guide me support me in peeling away 
whatever it is that keeps me blind to what's possible,
that keeps me hidden from my greatness,
that keeps me separate from my loved ones
today I ask you to lighten my heart, to lift my burdens, 
my worries, my fears, my anxieties, my grief
so that I may know and cherish all that I am
I see it, I feel it, I acknowledge it right now
and so I know that it is

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Single Step

The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.   Chinese Proverb 

Today I did it.  I managed to take one step and then another--small, slow, single steps that added up to 30 whole minutes of running  very slow jogging.

I continue to be amazed at the power of the mind, how persistent it is, how insistent it is--how much it resists and tries to complicate.  For some reason, over the last year or so, my mind has decided it's going to resist the hell out of exercise...even though I know that exercise nourishes and nurtures me, even though I know I feel so so much more energized and empowered when I do it consistently.  So it's been this little back & forth battle between me & some other part of me, between trying to be okay with not exercising & being really not okay with not exercising.

But today I just decided I was going to do it one step at a time.  The first step was deciding.  The second step was putting on the appropriate running clothes, eating a good breakfast, heading to my favorite running spot after dropping the girls off at school, then stepping out of the car and just step at a time.  I did all of this while taking note of what my mind was saying...but I'm tired, but a hot shower sounds so much better, but there are so many other things you should do this morning, but it's going to be painful, doesn't it sound so much better to sit in your cozy house and write or paint?

As soon as I stepped out of the car, a surprising, amazing thing happened.  I noticed a woman on the trail stretching--I could immediately feel her open, smiley energy and we both said hello at the same time.  She asked me how I was doing and I shared with her that I was having a tough time getting motivated to just begin.  She then said, well, you've already got an At for just getting yourself out here.  Oh my.  That was so totally what I needed to hear.  What a gift.  And then along the path, on my second slow loop around, two total strangers told me I was doing great.  Seriously?

So, I'm here to say that amazing, beautiful, surprising things happen when you just begin, when you take a single step toward the direction of what nurtures you, when you choose not to listen to the old, worn out thoughts that list off all of the reasons you shouldn't and give you detailed pictures of all the obstacles you are sure to encounter.

No need to look beyond the very step you're taking, no need to concern yourself with the hows or what the end result might look like...just a single step.  Then another single step.  Then another.

It is so much easier to Do than to think about doing.  It's so much damn lighter on the other side of resistance.

What single step is calling to you today?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Our Yurt Trip

As promised, more about my time in the snow.

We flew to Boise, met up with my brother-in law & sister-in-law, drove for a while on twisty-turny mountain roads, ended up at trail head, hiked to a yurt--stayed for 2 nights.  We lit the wood stove, melted snow for water, cooked on the camp stove, did some hard core sledding, walked in the snow, played lots of games, ate more good food, drank red wine out of a box, laughed a lot.  What a good, good time.

We skied in 3 miles.  It was so quiet & peaceful

 And eventually came to this awesome yurt...tucked away all by itself




The four of us--my husband & me with my sister-in-law & brother-in-law

We did some serious sledding--it was such a blast!  I haven't laughed that much in a very long time


My sister-in-law catching some butt is seriously still sore


Cozy inside

So rejuvenating.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Sabbath Time

"Are you feeling more tired than usual and wondering why if mercury is out of retrograde the keys on the computer won’t do what you tell them to? I have heard more news in the past three days of folks collapsing for no reason…so I am doing a call to Sabbath."

Just came across the above words here.  (Thank you Effy)  Wow.  Seeing as I have felt like collapsing all day, this felt almost eerie in its truth. 

Apparently it's Sabbath time.  I'm going to roll with that.

Sitting With Discomfort

"There is nothing else for you to do but to truly love and nourish the emotionally and spiritually starved parts of you that are crying out for your attention.  This is the antidote, the answer, and the solution out of which all divine realization are born."  Debbie Ford (The 21-Day Consciousness Cleanse)

Feeling achy, hazy, rainy, gray, unmotivated, pulled, wanting, unclear, disconnected, overwhelmed.  And really really tired. 

Something is crying for my attention.  I think I'll turn off this computer now & just sit with what's here.  Breathe it in deeply, allow it to move through me, let go of the to it all. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mondo Beyondo

When one flower blooms, spring awakens everywhere  ~John O'Donohue

Words by John O'Donohue, artwork by Jen Lemen

Mondo Beyondo.  Dream Big. 

I'm all about dreaming big right now and am so excited to be taking this class... with Andrea Scher & Jen Lemen.  It just began on Monday & I've already got that giddy/excited/fluttery feeling that comes when something inside you knows beautiful things are about to happen. 

It's not too late to register...wanna join me?

 Mondo Beyondo Dream Big

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


"She let go, forging a hole through the air as she screamed past her limitations." Susan Mrosek

I'm back after spending a few blissful days in the snow...more details when I have a minute to catch my breath. 

Feeling rested & tired and eager to scream past my perceived limitations.
Just wanted to stop by this space on this 11th day of this 1st month of this brand new year.  I'm feeling good about all of these 1s. 

Here's to letting go & forging & screaming past limitations.  And bliss.  And more bliss. 

Ready, set, GO!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Letting Go of the Shoulds

This morning as I was slowly waking, I noticed a familiar anxiety feeling bubbling to the surface.  And then the mind kicked in and started doing what it does best; thinking about all of the things I "needed" to get done today, trying to convince me that there isn't enough time to do it all, planning/shoulding/worrying.  

And then I started to feel a little overwhelmed and unsure of what to do and in what order to do it in.  I quickly noticed this as a very ordinary/typical pattern of the mind and immediately decided to turn it over.  
My turning over went something like this...

Dear Source, please help me distinguish your voice from all of the other voices in my head.  Please show me the way.  

And this was the almost instant response:  

My voice is the one that feels empowering and full of love...move away from anything that makes you feel constricted and toward what feels like light. Let go of the shoulds.  Slow down & listen.  Keep turning it over.

And with this came almost instant relief.  

So today, I'm moving toward what feels like light/love, toward what feels empowering.  

On this fearLESS Friday 
the paintbrush is calling
and I'm going.

What would you do today if you let go of the shoulds? 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Letting Go of Good

Letting go of good
I sink
into quiet

just me
and a heart that keeps beating 
just me
and a breath that keeps breathing

As the trying
stops trying
it all
slows down

and I feel myself falling
falling back
into a knowing
that has always known

to something
far bigger
than good

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Story Behind the Word

blossom [ˈblɒsəm]   

intr.v. blos·somedblos·som·ingblos·soms
1. To come into flower; bloom.
2. To develop; flourish: The child blossomed into a beauty.
A blooming period or stage of development; something lovely that gives rich promise. 
To put forth blossoms or flowers; to bloom; to blow; to flower. 
To flourish and prosper.

This story began a long time ago, twenty years ago long.

I was 21 and spending a semester in Bath, England--a time in my young life that significantly altered reality as I knew it;  that broke me open & turned me toward a self I had not yet known.  I was away from my family for the first time ever.  And, as much as I ached for them & thought I needed them, in the deepest parts of my insides I knew that what I most needed was to find me. 

During my semester abroad, I had a month off of my studies to travel.  I "slept" on over-packed overnight trains, ate a ton of baguettes because I didn't have money for much else (plus they made me feel European), went to pubs & drank heavy beer, gained weight and blamed it on the "damn" dryers, stayed in loud, over packed youth hostels & loved it, saw myself in my fellow free-spirited traveling companions, nearly killed myself on a moped (kept getting the gas pedal & break pedal mixed up), had my backpack (with passport, Eurorail pass, credit cards, journal, cash) stolen in Paris, thought it was the worst thing that could ever happen, cried a lot, wandered the streets of Paris eating crepes while trying to speak French, visited (for the first time) my place of birth (Stuttgart, Germany), drank red wine in Venice, ate a ridiculous amount of gelato, gained more weight, wandered wide-eyed through the artsy area of Florence...made my way to Greece (a place I fell in love with & couldn't seem to leave).  

The little memory that keeps visiting with such persistence was a seemingly small one but, even after all these years, continues to enter my mind.

While in Greece I met a very special guy who became a very good friend who significantly changed the way that I looked at myself.  He shed a light on me that I had never before seen.  Where I (and others) found fault, he found light.  He helped heal places in me that were tender and scared and unsure.  He saw straight through the unsure, hesitant little girl, to my sparkly insides.  He saw me.

Through this gentle friend, I met another guy, a guy who was quite amused & entertained at my inability to make a decision.  When I talked, he would always tilt his head to one side--prepared to make fun of whatever wishy-washy thing that was about to come out of my mouth.  One day, here comes the little moment....he stopped his making fun of for a moment and looked at me, very serious-like, and said:

You know, Julia, one day you're going to blossom, I can just see it. 

I don't remember what I said in response to these words.  I just remember it felt like time slowed way down and something in me knew I was having one of those moments that would change me.

I think the thing that struck me in that moment was that I could see it too. I could see me too.  Even though I had no idea what blossoming might look like, or what that even really meant to me...those words stuck and stayed and planted themselves inside of me.

I've often caught myself wondering when that "someday" will be.

A couple of days ago, while I was turning words over in my mind, this little moment came back like it had just happened, and I had a little aha.  I became very aware that I've envisioned this blossoming happening sometime way out into the future.  To my mind it's always been something that will happen someday.

In a recent conversation with a friend of mine, she said, someday is as good as never.  

I don't want my someday to be never. 

I've dug up a whole hell of a lot of weeds; big, heavy way down deep-in-the-ground ones.  I've been watering & fertilizing & watering some more.  I've let all kinds of beautiful light in.  And out.

I'll continue to pull the weeds from my stubborn mind & let go of any big ideas it has about what blossoming should look.  I will continue to water & nurture & let the sun shine in.  I will continue to open & open & see & get out of my own way.  And listen.   And Trust.  And breathe.   And find the little glimmers of light even when it may appear that there aren't any.  And turn it over.   And surrender.  And Trust.

I'm ready now.

Saturday, January 1, 2011