20180909_172718I have been on a journey for awhile.  Even as I say it, I laugh to myself and out loud because we are all on a journey.  That’s what life is about.  We are all on a journey to finding ourselves and losing ourselves.  It really is quite amazing if at the same time it wouldn’t be so damn depressing.  I look at all the lessons everyone is learning or trying to learn at any one given time and sometimes I am extremely overwhelmed by it all that I just want to pull the covers over my head or just sit and eat chocolate cake.  Then I remind myself that the lessons of someone else are not mine to take on or to even read the cliff notes on.  I need to let their lessons be their lessons and do my own work.

I have admittedly been struggling with doing my own work.  I feel like I actually fell off the planet for a period of time.  Most of everything that has happened in the last few years seems unreal, like a painting that I can see and feel and yet somehow I don’t believe that the scene depicted has actually taken place.  I have gone through the fire of a divorce that I am not yet completely healed from although time, perspective and some distance from the man I once loved and called my husband has provided some salve.  Just like any hurt or pain I now carry a scar.  A reminder of what once was and can never be again.

I also carry other scars with me., tokens of battles hard fought.  Not long after being divorced I was diagnosed with breast cancer and my doctor recommended a double mastectomy. My first initial reaction was to do nothing.  No one could tell me whether this cancer, these foreign cells would continue to grow and at what point or if they were to metastasize.  Selfishly I liked my breasts.  They weren’t anything spectacular.  They were in fact very small.  But hey they were mine and I liked the fact that they felt like mine.

Two things really propelled my decision.  When my oldest daughter thought I might not do something she cried and told me that she needed me which of course broke my heart.  The other thing was that I thought about all the other women in this world who didn’t have a choice, that fought the good fight and lost or their cancer was found too late and there was nothing that could be done.  It seemed like a disservice to their memory, to their battle and to the loved ones they may have left behind for me to do nothing.

So after I was given the advice from my physician and the research I had done I opted to have the double mastectomy done and to have breast implants.  It by far is the scariest thing I have ever done and also the most painful and I am not a wimp when it comes to pain.  I would not wish this on anyone.  And for me it wasn’t just about the pain, it was about not being able to do things for myself and having to rely on others.  That has never been my role.  I am the one taking care of others.  I didn’t know how to let anyone take care of me, at least not very well.  When you watch a movie about a woman with breast cancer you might think they are exaggerating.  At least when I did my thought was it can’t be that bad.  Guess what?  It really is that bad.  I couldn’t lift my arms above my head which meant I couldn’t dress myself, I couldn’t wash my hair or brush my teeth.  It was excruciatingly painful.  I faithfully took my pain meds which I had never done for previous surgeries.  It was quite a humbling experience and one in which I have a new respect for people who endure cancer and all the many bonus prizes that come with it.  Not even just cancer,  really anyone who endures any kind of health crisis for it reminds us of our humanity, our frailty and the small, thin transparent door between this world and the next.

I recovered.  Not without scars.  Not without looking in the mirror everyday and seeing breasts that really aren’t mine, feeling them or not feeling them and being reminded that this part of my body is fake.  I don’t curse God or blame.  It is what it is.  There is a quiet acceptance in me of what has come and what has gone.  I’m okay.  My life goes on and the journey continues.

I have recently quit a job that was quite literally killing me.  I worked long hours and even when I wasn’t physically working, I was mentally playing out things in my head when I got home.   I dreamt about work and I’m sure had consultations with the elders in my sleep trying to arrive at the best possible solutions or ways to accomplish the goals needed for success at work.  What I came to realize was that it didn’t matter how many hours I worked, how many different ways that I arrived at a solution the job environment I lived in was a toxic one and would always be a toxic one because of who was running the show.  I could continue to subject myself to this or I could do the healthiest thing for me and walk away.  I did a lot of soul searching and going back and forth telling myself it wasn’t that bad, that it was fairly good money and paid the bills.  Until one day there was a voice that kept saying to me over and over “Leap and the net will appear” It was a mantra that wouldn’t stop until I finally said okay.  I went home that night, wrote my resignation which surprisingly the words just flowed and I walked away.  Even though I have moments of anxiousness and fear I do know that it was the best thing for me.

And the journey continues.  That’s the one thing that is truly amazing about this life.  The world just keeps spinning and we are along for the ride.  Many times exhaustedly, despairingly I went to bed saying a silent prayer that I would go to sleep and not wake up.  At some point I quit these desperate pleadings and just didn’t plead about anything.  I couldn’t see the goodness in my life.  All I could see was what I had lost.  I struggled.  I closed the door on God, on my faith.

I recently read something that said a heart filled with despair cannot pray and there is silence.  I felt this.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.  I knew I was not connected.  There was only silence.  I didn’t connect it to my despair.  It wasn’t until I learned to let the despair go that the door jarred open and a tiny morsel of light was revealed.  It was enough.  It was the beginning of having been asleep for a very long time and awakening for the first time.

My journey has been baby steps back to God, always wrestling for control, always wanting things my way and never really knowing what that is or what it looks like.  Picturing it in my head now I think an observer would most likely find it to be a really good comedy.  One day surrender comes on the journey and you wonder why it took so long.  What a relief.  You don’t have to be in control.  You can let go and just place your hand in the Universe and trust.

The picture with this posting was taken while I was on a hike with a friend.  We were on the return and this most spectacular light shown through this grove of trees.  It was as if heaven lifted the veil and all of its glory was spilling forth.  The energy was full of peace and love.  It is where I always want to be on my journey, full of peace and love, undeterred, unmoved even though there may be chaos all around me.  To be heavily grounded in my journey that I don’t waver.  I hope that I will encounter you along the way, on your own journey of faith.

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I had an epiphany today when I was writing in my grateful journal. I noticed there was something different about what I was writing. They were things that just came to me unbidden, just flowing and I don’t know how or why they popped into my head.

Here’s the thing. I had always recorded the good things in my life. It had never occurred to me to be thankful for the irate driver who cut me off during rush hour traffic. Yet that is exactly what was happening.

I first wrote that I was grateful for love, kindness, joy, emotions that fill the heart and spirit. The very next thing I wrote was I am grateful for grief, sadness, angst and heartache for they give birth to goodness, joy and love. Without this breaking of the heart, without this despair, without this great darkness we cannot find our way to love. I am slightly dumbfounded and I know these messages were brought forth from me by spirit and it is intended to light the way for me, to help me grow and I am thankful for this.

Interestingly enough I had written this a week prior and reading it now see how they are divinely connected.

It strangles me.

I choke on the bitterness
of regret.

I drown in the warmth of tears
unbidden, unwelcome.

Alas, I would die
except for the tiny flicker of love
that lives in my soul. 

I am extremely excited about this epiphany. I see how past hurts, regrets, despairs, disappointments, heartbreaks were a transformation into something greater. I also see how timing is everything. Not our timing. The Universes’ timing.

When I divorced I didn’t believe that good men existed. Not just because of what had happened in my marriage. I just didn’t really know any except of course for maybe my dad and a few of my friends’ husbands. Overall though, the goodness of men pretty much didn’t rate on any scale.

I had prayed for my husband to be a Godly man, to be an honorable man. And even after I divorced I had this prayer that I would find a good man. I didn’t think that I would have goodness again. I went about my life with a long forgotten prayer and in an answer to this long forgotten prayer I did meet a Godly, honorable man. I did not see until today when I was writing in my journal how everything had just come together.

Timing is everything. I wasn’t ready, he wasn’t ready. The heartache, the regret, the despair had to carve out their parts making room for the goodness, joy and love. Lessons needed to be learned, layers of lessons, one by one each one bringing a new dimension, a new angle on which to view the mountain. Without these so called bad feelings I wouldn’t be appreciative of the beauty that would be revealed to me. Its like having thirsted for days in the desert and when you get your first drink of water how good that first drink is, how the coolness rolls on your tongue and swirls in your mouth. Before you didn’t notice it, you just drank the water without even really thinking about it.

Along with this epiphany is that feelings are neither good nor bad, they just are. They are all transforming. They all take you somewhere. The thing is we never know where that place might be. It might be at the top of a volcano or to the depths of a ravaging sea. The challenge is to be in it. To not fight it, to let go and feel each and every layer of this moment and the next one that is to come. We are all gems in the rough and each time an emotion washes over us a little more of the roughness is removed until more and more parts of the gemstone are revealed.

My challenge to you then is to find things to be thankful for that were painful and find how they transformed you and how there was blessing in this. Don’t think about it. Just grab your journal and write whatever comes to you. You just might be surprised at what you learn about yourself and the person you have become. As always blessings for whatever comes your way and transforms you.

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Spiritual Beauty

I look at her and she is oblivious to what I see, to what I know.  This thought is amusing in a way, it is also full of melancholy for it is her lack of confidence that keeps this knowledge from her.

Her being is full of wisdom.  Sometimes it is greater than mine for the essence that fills her is one that has experienced many lifetimes and possesses a secret language that no one else recognizes.  I see.  I have seen and known it from the moment she was born.  This knowing has always been there between us as souls privately speaking to one another

She is breathtakingly beautiful in her innocence.  The pull of this mystifying beauty even greater because of her childlike ignorance of it.  She is the delicate white petaled rose, sensual to the touch, fragrant with spice, folded in mystery.   She does not know the power of which draws admirers to her.

She is most alluring when creating. She becomes a conduit to this energy, lost in the process, allowing herself to be drawn into it, letting go and being overtaken.  When all the elements are just right and she trusts completely, the bonds of this humanly body fall away.   What remains are the whisperings of her soul swirling about limitless through space and time, moving unbounded and unafraid.  When these whisperings are picked up by those that are near her, this is when one lifts their head toward her and wonder at the Spiritual Beauty before them.

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I have felt the coolness of darkness as it brushed my cheek and tousled my hair. Darkness and I have become ancient friends. When this blanket of darkness first came to me I fought with it. The more I fought with it the more I realized that my struggles were in vain. I could not fight this darkness that covered me like a blanket on a cold winter night. As I slowly gave in to the relentlessness of the darkness, I realized the comfort that it provided. This blanket of darkness was a shroud that encircled me. This was my resting place when I could go no further. When I couldn’t stomach another moment of putting on a happy face and pretending that everything was right with the world. Darkness was my friend.

I let it envelop me and take every part of me. These are defining moments for a person. Any person who has been visited by darkness knows that a choice faces them. Darkness can be a comfort and a friend, however, if that is all we sink into and don’t allow anything else to touch us, we risk staying in the darkness and never coming out into the light. There must always be this continual dance between darkness and light. This is the promenade of life.

There have been days that I was forced to let the light in, when I had to make supper for my kids or I had to crawl out of bed because I had to go to work. I certainly did curse these moments because I wanted nothing more than for the darkness to overtake me. In these moments, I didn’t see the point or purpose to this life. I just didn’t want to do it anymore. I was tired. I was tired of life not being the way I had pictured it. I was tired of hurting. I was tired of trying to do the right thing and feeling like it didn’t matter or make a difference. I was tired of fighting. I was tired of having to be strong.

My not being strong was disconcerting to people who expected me to do exactly that. I was tired of doing what people expected me to do and I was also tired of trying to make things right for people when I couldn’t even figure out how to make them right for myself. It’s like this episode from Grey’s Anatomy where Meredith has a near death experience from drowning. When she is in between worlds her loved ones who have passed on ask her what happened. She avoids the question and says she tried to fight but the water was too cold and she just couldn’t do it. This was not the honest answer. In the end, she faces the truth and says at first she was fighting to stay above the surface but then as she remembered what her mother said about her being ordinary and nothing special she just wondered what was the point really and she quit. She quit fighting. She quit swimming against the tide and let herself sink below the surface. I knew what this was like. I knew what it felt like and I had asked myself that same question innumerable times. What’s the point? It’s a question that pervades the mind when darkness over takes you. It plays on the lips and lingers in the air hovering like cigar smoke.

I’m not sure I found the answer to the question. I’m not sure if there is an answer to the question. If there is an answer, the answer varies for everyone. What I found instead was a reframing of the life that faced me. A friend reminded me that life is never really what any of us picture. As much I didn’t want to accept this, I knew that it was true. I have a jaded moment and want to believe that everyone has had a blessed life and everything has turned out exactly the way they planned it, I know this isn’t true. This is my not wanting to let go of the darkness. My not wanting to move forward and stay stuck. And yes even feeling sorry for myself. Not wanting to see the good. Or not feeling like I can see the good right now. I’m not ready to let go of the hurt. I still very much want the darkness to overtake me. I get some comfort from staying in bed, stuffing my face with truffles, wrappers littering the bed and immersing myself in a movie about the spiritual world and fighting off demons. I cry. I cry without thinking. I cry because I feel the hopelessness of it all. I cry because I am a mother and yet in this moment I feel like I have failed my children and yet at the same time I don’t have the strength to be their mother today. This makes me feel like an even bigger failure and I sink deeper into the darkness.

My children accommodate me for they seem to know that it is best to leave me alone. This is Mother’s Day and they have made me French toast, my favorite. They have brought it to me in bed garnished with bananas and blueberries. This is the best French toast I have ever had and still it does not lift me from the darkness. I call my mom because it is what you do, after all it is Mother’s Day. The conversation is strained and not easy-going for I am quiet and not my usual conversational self. I am not the pillar in this moment that everyone expects me to be and it is worrisome for my mother. I feel bad for this and still I cannot bring myself to do anything different. My oldest daughter has given me a card that has brought me to tears. I can tell from the card that she has become acutely aware of this darkness that has invaded me. She tells me, “If I wasn’t here she would be lost and that she knows that I’m going through a tough time, that things will get better and the world will keep moving. Don’t look back.” The tears have been falling from the moment I opened the card and I am slightly ashamed for not allowing more of the light in, for only seeing the darkness that surrounds me, for not reframing things.

I’m not sure what eventually brings me out of the darkness. I don’t think there is any one thing. My children of course are a big reason. Friends who seem to call or text at exactly the right time. Lying under the open sky at 2:30 in the morning because I can’t sleep and being blanketed by the darkness of the celestial heavens as a shooting star flashes across the sky. This is light. This is hope and it allows for a reframing of my life. Not everything is as we planned. What unexpected thing or person might come our way because things are not as we pictured them. So my marriage didn’t last forever as I thought it would. He was not my life partner. He was a life partner. My children don’t have their mom and dad together. They are learning the lesson early that life is not as they had pictured it and hopefully they will be more open and flexible to the different possibilities that come to their door. Maybe with this lesson they are seeing what is good about relationships and what is bad. Maybe they are seeing what love between people really is and they are learning to ask for that, to expect that, to work for it and to be blessed by it. They are stronger than they would have been otherwise.

As much as I sometimes don’t want to be a pillar of strength I know this is who I am and there is no running away from it. A friend of mine says I am a wolf. At first I cringe at this statement. I want to deny it. I don’t know if it is a compliment and I’m not sure if I want to accept it. The symbolism of the wolf is an appetite for freedom and living life powerfully, guided by instincts. I grudgingly admit that this could represent me. I have known for a very long time that I do not play the damsel in distress very well. I do like my independence. I might want the prince charming in the end, not to rescue me though. I want him to respect me, to see me as an equal, to hold me up in moments when I falter, to be partners sharing everything, never to rescue me though.

In these moments, the darkness falls away. I have been wrapped in a cocoon of darkness in which I have had time to heal my hurts and finally let them fall away. They are always there for they are a part of me. These hurts have changed how I view the world. They do not define me though. Everyone has scars. How we present them to the world is what matters. A new view emerges with this falling away of hurts and the shroud of darkness that has surrounded me. A metamorphosis has taken place in the darkness and a new more beautiful me has arrived and I have the darkness and light to thank for it.

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My Daughter Asleep

Carrying a child,
I carry a bundle of sleeping
future appearances.
I carry my daughter
adrift on my shoulder,
dreaming her slender dreams
and I carry her beneath the window,
watching her moon lit palm open and close
like a tiny folded map,
each line a path that leads where I can’t go,
so that I read her palm not knowing what I read
walk with her in moon light on the landing,
not knowing with whom I walk,
making invisible prayers to go on with her where
I can’t go,
conversing with so many unknowns that must know her more
intimately than I do.

And so to these unspoken shadows and this broad night
I make a quiet request to the great parental darkness
to hold her when I cannot, to comfort her when I am gone,
to help her learn to love the unknown for itself,
to take it gladly like a lantern for the way before her,
to help her see where ordinary light will not help her,
where happiness has fled, where faith will not reach.

My prayer tonight for the great and hidden symmetries of life
to reward this faith I have and twin her passages of loneliness with friendship,
her exiles with home coming, her first awkward steps with promised onward leaps.

May she find in all this, day or night, the beautiful centrality of pure opposites,
may she discover before she grows old, not to choose so easily between past and present,
may she find in one or the other her gifts acknowledged.

And so as I helped to name her, I help to name these powers,
I bring to life what is needed, I invoke the help she’ll want
following those moonlit lines into a future uncradled by me but parented by all I call.

As she grows away from me, may these life lines grow with her, keep her safe,
with my open palm whose lines have run before her to make a safer way,
I hold her smooth cheek and bless her this night into all these other unknown
nights to come.

-David Whyte

Anyone who is a parent knows these words. Knows these thoughts and these feelings that move us to spaces where we are overcome by them and its as if time stops and there is a breach somewhere, a small crack where the divine filters through to us and shines on us and in this stillness we are one with everything that is and ever will be. It is a knowing that stills us and where we expand and become greater than we once were. And thank God for that. Thank God to the Universe for breaking through to us. This precious gift delivered so reverently which can never be forgotten. Thank God to the Universe for not only parenting our children but for parenting us as well.

There is greatness beyond what we will ever know. Beyond what we can ever know. On rare occasions where dimensions are fractured we become aware of the Unknown creating not only for our children, for us as well and somehow the lesson is to find solace and comfort in this. To not be afraid of this darkness on the horizon before the sun breaks it with piercing rays of light bringing warmth, clarity and faith.

How often is the Unknown villainized and filled with coldness and hardship instead of what it really is, an old friend that brings tidings of great adventures, love and a pinch of magic. These are not lessons I learned as a child. They are only things that I have recently come to know. And even though I know this and my spiritual being knows this, the part of me that is attuned to this world and chained to its untruths wavers and becomes fearful and so easily can fall back into the old programmed thinking. It’s not a good feeling and it’s not one of a higher vibration and as much as I know this it’s like being on the outside looking in and being helpless to do anything to stop it. I think these feelings of mine get mixed up with the grief that I am still at times working through and its like seeing a car careening off the road. I can see it happening and yet all I can do is watch. I was very much experiencing this for several days where grief and the fear of the unknown overtook me until one morning I heard these words come to me, “Look up” Two simple words and I realized that it was that easy to pull myself out of the careen and instantly I looked up and the weight of everything I had been feeling lifted. I forget. As much as I think I have grown or that I know where I come from and that the unknown is really my friend and the Universe creating something grand for me, I still need to be reminded. Sometimes daily, or hourly because as much as I want to believe that I have arrived, I have never truly arrived as the world is ever transforming and so am I. I have to submit and keep submitting otherwise I become stagnant and complacent and the world is a very dull place indeed. And I thank God for the messages when I have forgotten and need reminding and I thank God that I am able to hear them and see them.

I hope to instill this in my children. What an incredibly moving and empowering gift that would be. To teach our children that the unknown is not something to be feared but to be embraced and invited in for tea and cookies and conversation that continued into the darkness until the moonlight shone it’s lovely luminous face upon this gathering of friends, blessing them and conjuring up a mystical story that would forever transform each time they met. This is grace and beauty. We are taken care of, constantly being parented by the Unknown and the knowing that our being carries within us to trust in this and ever so quietly reminding us to “Look up.”

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Let it Be

They sang this song at my daughter’s middle school music program.  Right away when they said they were going to sing it I was excited.  I love this song and actually had not heard it for a very long time.  What I wasn’t anticipating was my reaction when they started singing for tears welled up in my eyes and without any kind of warning they just spilled over.   I tried to wipe them away.  They just kept coming and my older daughter who was sitting with me just put her arms around me and held me.

I felt foolish in one way and if I hadn’t been in a room full of people, mostly strangers, I probably would have just broken down and let the tears fall openly.  I’m not sure what came over me.  Things were a bit awkward since my ex-husband was sitting on the other side of the room and  possibly  I was feeling bad for my children whom had only known an intact family before.  Except that I think it was more than that.  This song was everything that I have been trying to embrace.  Everything that I have tried to embrace my entire life.  And especially after my divorce for I have been thrown into an unfamiliar life and at times full of fear and uncertainty.

This song speaks of faith and trust and just letting all your worries go.  Letting them be.  I have been working on this day in and day out and I can say it is not an easy thing.   How many times has the Universe come to me and told me “Let it Be” and how many times have I not listened? Numerous.  Too numerous to count.   Daily I am learning this lesson of faith and trust.  I am reminded each and every moment that comes to me to “Let it Be”. I cannot say that I am perfect at it or that I always do it.  What I can say is that I keep trying and I have been put in some situations where in the end all I can do is leave it in the Infinite’s hands and trust that things will be okay.  Not only will they be okay, they will be grand and wonderful, amazing and quite delightful.

Recently I have been immersing myself in the indigo, pinks and oranges of the fall sunrises and the beauty of these sunrises remind me  to “Let it Be” and thank God for my blessings and the start of this phenomenal day.   This life is truly quite surprising and I don’t want to live another moment thinking or believing otherwise.  What allows me to believe this and know this is the trust and faith that I have been fostering and growing in my being.  Not for an hour, not for a year, or five years but my entire life.  This is what part of my journey has been about, to “Let it Be”

I can only hope that it has been part of yours as well for this is what enriches are lives and allows us to step out of our comfort zone and do truly amazing things.  Embrace all the blessings that God has bestowed upon you and “Let it Be.”

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Recently I have been introduced to the poetry of David Whyte. I think perhaps I was looking over some notes I took from my spiritual class and there was a reference in it about a poem from David Whyte that then spurred me to look further and look further I did. I now possess a couple of books of poetry of his and an audio CD of which I absolutely love. I have played it numerous times. Just the sound of his voice is soothing and his laugh, his laugh is infectious. I find myself laughing not always because what he says is so humerous but listening to how he laughs and how he is totally amused by himself makes me laugh with him. I find the whole thing quite delightful. And even though I have listened to it numerous times I always find some new nugget of information that I missed before or that I identify with today that I didn’t yesterday. On the other hand, my kids hate it! He repeats lines of his poetry that deserve a second look, or of emphasis and meaning. My kids particularly hate this. The drama of it is lost on them but they endure it like good little soldiers.

There is something about his poetry that I connect with. That opens a door and allows me to walk through it. The following poem of his explains it all.

The Lightest Touch

Good poetry begins with the lightest touch,
a breeze arriving from no where,
a whispered healing arrival,
a word in your ear,
a settling into things,
then like a hand in the dark
it arrests your whole body,
steeling you for revelation.

In the silence that follows
a great line
you can feel Lazarus
deep inside
even the laziest, most deathly afraid
part of you,
lift up his hands and walk toward the light.

— David Whyte

Poetry is like touching the Infinite and wrapping yourself around the words and living inside them. It wakes you up so you can hear the call of the knocking at the door. There are particular parts of his poetry that have stuck with me and I continue to carry with me. One is a question that he posed. What if when we met someone we acted or treated them as if we already knew their story. And if we could do this, wouldn’t that change the whole conversation. I like this. In fact, I love it. Think about this for one breath. What if you knew that the seemingly scattered coworker had a parent that was dying? The angry teller just had a fight with their spouse. The unfocused student at school has been neglected by their parent. The clerk at the store who has messed up on the cash register for the 3rd time is a new employee and in fact it is their first day on the job. Knowing these things changes the conversation does it not? You have more compassion, understanding, patience, empathy any number of measured responses that speak volumes of kindness.

It’s as if the scales have fallen from your eyes when you truly contemplate this and embrace it. Somehow in doing so a part of the selfish ego is shattered, or shed and there is an expansion into the Infinite and all that is offered. The process creates a space, a vastness that didn’t exist before. What if you approached the conversation as if you already knew the other person’s story?

Thought provoking isn’t it? Quite profound and illuminating, simple and complex all at the same time. Imagine how this changes the dynamics of your life and those around you. What do you bring with you each and every moment if you look at each person that you come across as if you already know their story. Do you see them differently? Maybe you actually see them for the very first time. They are no longer nameless faces that pass in front of you each day. They are faces of the Infinite that have a story and now you know what that story is and all judgment falls away. Callousness and hardness fades away and love and caring takes its place for we already know the story and it has changed the whole conversation.

A student approached me where I work and they proceeded to tell me a story of what they believed about themselves and it was quite a bizarre story. Now the old part of me who sees things on the surface automatically thought what is wrong with this person? The new part of me saw and treated them as if I already knew the story and it did change the conversation. This person has a less than ideal home life and just wants to be seen, to know that they matter, that someone cares and at some basic level isn’t that what we all want. To know that we have been seen and heard and someone knew and understood our story and in the process that story, our being made a difference.

What if we approached the conversation as if we already knew the story? Everyone has one. Right now in this moment take the opportunity to let this thought transform you and as it does you will find that the lives of those around you are transformed as well. When we as human beings do this the energy around us will shift. The conversation is just beginning.

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Sweet Darkness

When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your womb

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.

You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

David Whyte

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She was the kind of person that lived without labels,
with a brain full of tales and a heart full of fables.
Silently slipping through the shadows,
passing through lives, taking the arrows.

by Kenzie

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Sacred Space

I had the extreme privilege and pleasure to spend a day with four beautiful, dynamic, moving women this week at the Pathways Spiritual Sanctuary. This place is truly a sacred space. From the moment I open the wooden door I feel the peace that is contained within and automatically I am filled with reverence and the body and voice become hushed.

This is a day I have been savoring. Like a wild-eyed innocent child waiting for the dawning of Christmas I have been anticipating this day for I know that this is something that my soul has been hungering for. My soul has been starving and in need of being fed and what better place than this sacred space.

I have been praying and attempting to do my work, however, I know I also have been resisting and I have fallen into a slight state of depression. Life doesn’t seem as vibrant as it once was and I know it is because fear has seized me. I probably would have spent an entire weekend on my couch, in my flannel pajamas only moving to use the facilities and maybe to feed my blob of a being except that a very good friend of mine called to receive some Reiki and (something that had been previously arranged) now here I was faced with having to move my blob of a being off my couch and actually shower and look presentable for another human being.

The very thought of it seemed insurmountable and yet somehow I managed to drag the blob into the shower and to my chagrin I was not finished and presentable before my life saver of a friend showed up on my doorstep. I was extremely apologetic and feeling kind of foolish. Does anyone remember the scene from P.S. I Love you when the girl’s friends and family show up at her apartment only to find her unbathed and in a serious state of having checked out of this world? This I felt was pretty much me, only it was not a surprise attack so I could somewhat avail myself of the embarrassment that would surely ensue.

I have been resisting and filled with fear in numerous ways. I continue to be filled with guilt, thinking, believing that I have robbed my children of an intact family, that I really don’t have a family. In this realm of marriage and family I am too much of a traditionalist. I have not been willing to let this go. I have clung to this like a junkie clings to a drug filled needle. And yes, I have felt sorry for myself. I have felt sorry for my children thinking that they ended up with two screwed up parents who could not see beyond themselves.

I miss desperately the security of being married. The identity of being married. Somehow I feel like a lesser person because I am not married. And yes, there is that same reoccurring thought that I have failed. That I am a loser. That I messed up and I messed up royally. And I hate, absolutely hate when my children or child has to go be with their dad. I do not want to deprive them of this. I just hate it because it is another reminder of how screwed up everything is and how unfair it is to them and somehow I long for the simpleness of when we all lived under one roof and there was no one leaving to be with one parent or the other. And then it becomes another reminder of how we are not a family and how we will never be a family. The innocence of this has been lost.

These are my thoughts, these are my fears and yes I know that they are irrational, silly, untrue and whatever other manner of speaking there is, I still somehow gravitate to them. And you know the really laughable, thing is that I always forget that there was another party involved. I just take it all. I own everything. See how ridiculous the whole thing is and how gut wrenchingly ugly I can make the whole mess? And the even more laughable thing is that I still think all these things in the light of what I know now, all the hurt and the things that have been said by my ex and the way he has conducted himself and treated me and yet I still discard all of this and own everything. Do you see the sickness? I do.

And there’s that failure thing that I don’t allow myself to get away from. Like when my dad whose memory is failing cannot remember that I am no longer married. Except on this particular day he seems to remember and asks me if my husband is still around and I quietly say no, he is not. Then he says, “Oh, he left you.” And I quietly say “Yes” while I try to hold back the tears that have resurfaced once again. Failure is what rings in my head and how I must be a disappointment to my parents.

Now you understand why I say I needed this retreat, that I was anticipating this retreat with bated breath. I was slowly being pulled down into the quicksand of sick thinking, the sense of failure, the lost dreams, of what once was and in many ways wasn’t, of fear of what is to come next, or not to come, of being stagnant and stuck, of not being good enough, of feeling rejected, clinging to old beliefs and ideas, refusing to accept a different picture of what a family might look like. You name it I was probably allowing it to eat at me, to consume me.

On the morning of this retreat I woke up early having already packed my flute and journal the night before and I thought I had left plenty early to get there in time. However, I went a different route then I typically go and my gps took me to a dead-end road and this was 30 minutes prior to when I needed to be there. I said to myself no, no, no. I can’t miss this. I need this. I backtracked to the main road and managed to eventually find my way to where I needed to be through windy, gravel filled roads. Somehow, in the back of mind I knew it would be fine because all that morning I had received many 11 signs along the way.

We sat amongst the wild flowers and listened to some readings and we journaled. I journaled in this beautiful yellow leather-bound Celtic journal that I had gotten on my road trip this summer driving from the Midwest to Seattle and along the coast to San Francisco and back. The words flowed from the tip of my pen onto paper like cascading falls. I didn’t have to think about them. They were just there bursting to come to life. They had been waiting like a smoldering volcano to erupt given the right conditions.

We also walked the labyrinth which unbeknownst to me would be a powerful conduit for my emotions. I stepped into that labyrinth and the tears flowed from me much like the words had done from my pen. They just came unbidden and with them all the thoughts and feelings that had welled up inside me. At times my shoulders shook and I was overcome with grief and relief as the tears still flowed. I was a mess. Slowly, ever so slowly as I walked and relinquished all of these thoughts and feelings a change came over me and I could feel space opening up inside of me and the silence.

In the silence I heard these words as I walked. “You do not walk alone. Each step you take I take with you. Each breath you take, I breathe with you. Each tear you cry, I cry with you for I am in you and you in I. You are not an empty vessel for I am in you. Do not forget this. I forgive you. We will create something beautiful together. You still have a family. Do not fear.” And with these words came a calmness and trust that I hadn’t felt for a very long time. There it is, renewed hope and when I know that fear is seizing me I recall these words and somehow they give me the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other, to do the paperwork that needs to be done, to look for the job that I need, to keep believing that I will find the perfect house and sell the home that has been part of my life and all of my children’s lives. This is what a sacred space can bring to you when you are silent enough to hear God speaking to you.

We did a meditative walk after the labyrinth and I discovered something interesting as I walked the path. Three leaves on a vine together. Not just once. Many times and when I saw this I smiled. This was a reminder to me that I have a family. It is not the way it was, it is different. None the less it is my family at the moment. The three of us, my girls and I, the three musketeers, three leaves held on a stem together, or three rings on a chain.

I was blessed that day. I also know that the woman who were with me that day were also blessed. Each in their own unique and wonderful way. A moment in time in a sacred space. One that has brought me renewed hope and the reminder that I still have a long road of work ahead of me. One that I believe will be spent uncovering even more sacred spaces and learning to live in them. Learning to cultivate awareness of when I am creating my own barriers and being willing to tear them down. As I was gently reminded. I do not do this alone. I am never alone. Nor do I need to keep looking outside myself for God, He is in me and me in Him. This is sacred space.

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