Thursday, December 30, 2010

For he's not enough

I have sung along to this song for years thinking “he” was not enough and wondering who “he” was.  It wasn’t until many years into my Christmas-carol-singing career that I learned it was actually Feliz Navidad.  And after all those years of my wondering, “why isn’t he enough?”

Well, how do you know? Right now I am waiting to hear from Marty as to whether or not she will be meeting Chicago in Seattle.  The suspense has been building ever since he was not able to make an appearance in Vancouver before Christmas and then decided to meet Marty for New Year’s Eve with The Robert and me tagging along to make it a night to remember!  The plan was (and maybe still is) to begin the year in the way in which Marty and I intend to continue, so we booked the corner suite at Hotel Sorrento and are planning a food-shopping spree at Pike Place Market followed by a sumptuous picnic pour quatre in a luxurious surrounding.  The evening is sure to provide a lot of scintillating conversation, sprinkled with some sparkling repartée and no doubt a dash of rapier wit as the night wears on.  As well, we are planning a ritual which I will leave Marty to explain when she gets a moment.  Marty is, as we espeak, working out some of the finer details with Chicago before the evening is pronounced a “go”.

In the meantime, some explanation is in order.  When I refer to starting out the way we intend to continue, it is for Marty and me, a way of stating an intent for 2011.  This includes treating ourselves well, from eating healthily, to enjoying aesthetically-pleasing environments and having the resources to do so.  That certainly is my theme for this coming year – building up my resources.  Being conscious about finances. Being discerning about how I treat my body, mind, and spirit.  Being enough. 

As for The Robert you might ask?  I might ask him to write a post so that we can get his point of view.  (I haven’t told him this yet …)

So for now, I say my farewell to 2010, an incredibly rich year, full of joy, soul-searching, miracles, and many new beginnings.  I can’t wait for 2011!  My wish for all of you is that you set a course for the New Year and find what you need to keep you on the path to your heart’s desire!  With love to you all, Buns.

And for our readers in Russia... с новым годом

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Soul Carving

Someone called me their Petzl the other day. What’s a Petzl? Do you mean a pretzel I asked, as in something twisted and high in carbs that you eat? No… PETZL. It is a light you wear on your head that goes with you wherever you go. It got me thinking or maybe feeling…what a nice thing it would be to be someone’s Petzl. And to have a Petzl of my own…well…how perfect. I would love that. Being someone’s Petzl…going with them wherever they go, speaks of inspiration and loyalty and trust…. all values I really like. And light…it speaks of the intensity of light and illumination. Life really makes no sense to me at all without that quality of deep inner knowing that only illumination can bring. Mmmm, I wonder if there are actions or characteristics that can be called upon to evoke a greater possibility of becoming and having a Petzl? I have certainly found that light in myself with consistency and constancy, it has been a little trickier to sustain in relationship. I am excited to learn more about how to do this!

First a Chicago recap since I know some of you want to know our status. Well I have been taking risks left and right in revealing my desires. I am making being brave and vulnerable more important than protecting myself from being hurt. I am admitting that he is important to me, that somehow he has become important after only a few months of communication and without having met in person. Now this has not been my usual M.O…this is not how I roll. While I have always been honest I also act kind of casual, kind of “I am cool with whatever.”…kind of no pressure, no expectations, flexible and well casual…you know. It feels so scary to drop that and dig under it and risk showing I care before I am sure it’s reciprocated. Big stretching for me and it takes my commitment to being transparent to a whole new level.

So on that note, Chicago and I will meet for the first time on New Year’s Eve in Seattle. I am driving down with Buns and The Robert. We will pick him up at the airport and shop Pike Market for yummy ingredients in order to create a fabulous New Years Eve dinner. We are hoping to rent a house for the night with a great kitchen, water views and a fireplace. If you know of one please comment! I envision sipping wine while we talk and laugh and get to know each other in an even deeper way. Please universe help us find the house. Then Buns and The Robert go back to Vancouver and Chicago and I have a day alone together, with, as he puts it, “just us.”

And now back to Petzls… How does it happen? How do you become so much a part of a person or allow them to be a part of you that you never doubt that they have your back, that they want only the best for you and would never behave in a way that is harmful to you…how does that happen?

Socrates used to be a sculptor and he gave it up saying that instead, he was going to “carve his own soul rather than marble. I believe to become someone’s Petzl you would have to do some intensive soul-carving. You would have to uncover the divine essence that is at the center of your being and be willing to share “the good, the bad and the ugly” that at times stands in the way of seeing that light. I really mean it. When you think about showing everything, EVERYTHING, to another human being, especially one you want to like you, does it make you clench and think “not going there”? Join the club.

Yet courage is not doing something and having NO fear, it’s doing something in the middle of your fear. Think about it logically. If you have been holding back, keeping private thoughts and feelings to yourself then even if someone did say you are my Petzl, the light of my heart, you could not believe them. You haven’t shown them your heart, only the cover over it. You have not shown yourself emotionally naked therefore you will doubt their love for you.

Now feel the alternative if you bravely show all, no matter what. You will know they have seen all of you and when they say yes, I open to you, you are the light that goes with me wherever I go, you may still wrestle with your own worth but you will not doubt the sincerity of what they say. I think it’s worth the risk. Without that transparency who is really in relationship anyway? If you are holding back thoughts and feelings, keeping them private then who is showing up for the relationship? A mask or presentation of what a good partner looks like?

I think the first step is to be willing to devote oneself to such transparency that the light of the soul, that can feel blurred when we are strategizing, pierces through and not only are we visible to others but we illuminate our True nature to ourselves. Then from that place comes loving action, choices that consider self and other equally. And hopefully a whole lotta fun!

Once you know your own essence this way then there is your partner’s essence to consider. I am not sure if there is a map for experiencing your partner and tasting their essence without losing yourself or without projecting your past onto the present moment. (Maybe I will create one once I figure it out).
I do know this kind of depth requires a leap of faith.
It calls on the Hero in all of us to open to ourselves and I know it is impossible to do that without coming across some “not so pretty parts of your psyche”.
When you show those parts to another you are in effect saying I accept myself and all my human frailties AND I am something far bigger than that.
I actually AM the light.
It can only start with transparency and having your inside match your outside.
That congruency, being where you are in the present moment and then having the courage to trust that the person you are sharing yourself with is just as committed to soul carving as you are propels the process.
It really is the task of all sentient beings, to uncover our True nature and unique purpose in this lifetime. I believe we are meant to do that in relationship. We all may have different stories and histories yet we also all have wounds and beliefs about ourselves that are not true.
The only way I know to correct those beliefs is jump off the cliff by exposing them to another and see what happens. This faith is the tool set of a soul carver…faith that what you will discover after you leap is Yourself and a divinely human taste of heaven.

Desire trumps fear, sharing the dark brings light and being real invites connection.

Anyway this is what I am doing with Chicago. I am not doing it FOR Chicago, I am doing it because the kind of depth I am interested in calls for Truth as a foundation.
After that…man I have tons to learn. I am hoping Chicago may be the person who will graciously teach me.
Reciprocity in learning is important and one cannot be a good teacher if one is not a good student. I am willing!

In the meantime I will be dreaming of being sleepless in Seattle. How nice that my sugar plum fairies are dancing again. Hearing fairies squeal is not a pretty thing.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Confessions of an indomitable optimist

I don’t even know how to start this one Marty but I’m thinking it would be helpful to our readers to let them know a little bit about how we got to this point.  Some sub-text, if you will.  How’s this for starters? (You might want to go and make yourself a cup of tea … this is a long one …)

At the beginning of this year, I decided to state three intentions for 2010 – actually write them down and then see what the year would bring.  My first intention was to quit smoking (this after many years of starting and stopping and starting again … I’m sure some of you know this one).  The second one was to have a new career (and I didn’t have anything particular in mind).  And my third?  To get married.  (And there wasn’t a man in sight.)

Well, the first two were a piece of cake.  I just stopped smoking.  Done.  Finito.  Not a puff all year long.  And the new career?  Well, I should have been a little more specific – I definitely have two new ones and still have my old one (all of which I really enjoy) so this coming year is going to have an intention involving balance methinks.

As for getting married.  Well, what a ride this has been.  I remember when I called you Marty and I said, “Let’s go shopping for wedding dresses!”  I was so impressed with your response … you didn’t even blink, ask any questions, or anything!  You just said YES and the adventure began.  And you knew that I was not in a relationship with anyone.

Here’s what I was thinking.  Build it, he will come.  Seriously.  With the exception of Marty and a couple of others, most of my friends thought I was nuts.  I was simply having a whole lot of fun creating the space for my Prince Charming to show up and complete the scene.  Marty and I went looking for dresses.  One of my dear artist friends, Susie Wickstead (of Indigo Star fame) got on board and has designed beautiful jewellery.  I gave some serious thought to where I would have the ceremony.  And since Marty and I were unsuccessful the first time out, I took my Mom shopping and we picked a beautiful satiny fabric (I carry the swatch in my purse).  Another friend at Starfire gave me a book entitled 101 Best Places for Honeymoons.

So I’d pretty much done all that I could do and it was getting towards September. My friends started teasing me about the fact that I still didn’t have a man in my life.  I told them I wasn’t worried and that I absolutely believed in miracles, fairy tales, call them what you will.  (And I did have one serious suitor who completely fit the bill except my gut told me he wasn’t the right guy.  So even though a seemingly perfect guy showed up at the right time, I was still able to say no instead of seeing him as an answer to my mock-up and saying yes so I could quieten my disbelieving peanut gallery!)

Then in early September, I happened to be out for dinner in Squamish with a friend. She introduced me to two of her business partners who used to live in Penetanguishene, Ontario.  I told them I only knew one person that lived there.  And this was a guy that I hadn’t seen in over twenty years.  When I said his name, they just about fell off their chairs.  It seems they knew him very well, proceeded to call him on their cell, handed the phone to me and said, “Here. Talk to him.”  I left a message for him. I was stunned.  To reconnect with this man after such a long time! We had enjoyed working together in the ’70s and ’80s in Toronto.  We had not been in touch via email or phone for over ten years.  The two at our table were quite quick to point out that he was a very nice man and he was single. 

Since that fateful day, he and I have talked on the phone every day.  Yes, he is “The Robert”.  We have seen each other twice now and our third visit is in just nine more sleeps.  He is coming to Vancouver for the first time and I cannot wait to show him around and spend lots of time with him.  It feels like I have woken up in the middle of my own love story.

Oh.  But wait!  Here was the dicey part!  As all this was unfolding, Marty and I began to formulate some of our plans for the future.  We talked about writing a book together and then decided to get started with our writing right away … hence this blog, “Authentically Yours”.  Then I realized that to be truly authentic, I had to tell Robert all about my wedding plans.  Otherwise a) I couldn’t talk about it here, and b) what if he did ask me to marry him at some point and then found out that I had “planned” the whole thing?  Would he think I had manipulated him into it somehow? I had to fess up!  Let me tell you, this was a very scary thing to do.  I figured he would run ninety miles an hour in the opposite direction.  But I called him up (this was just after the first time we had seen each other), and I said I had a confession to make and that I was really nervous about telling him.  I told him.  There was dead silence at the other end of the line.  To me, it seemed like an eternity.  He then said very quietly, “I’m still here”.  Then he said, “But, do you think we could wait until after our second date until we talk about marriage?” I laughed with relief.  And he is still here.

So here’s the thing.  We don’t talk about getting married at all.  In my heart of hearts though, I now have what I was really asking for and that is a relationship with someone who is willing to be an open, intimate, and loving companion to me as I continue on my path.  And I am delighted to be the same to him. 

Marty, I think you and I should start 2011 by stating our intentions again and sharing them here.  You in?  (By the way, I am looking for my Go Go boots so I can not just listen to your music but dance with wild abandon!).  Talk to you tomorrow, my friend.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Dancing With The Pain

A contemporary Jesuit monk, Sebastian Moore once said, “The simplest form of awakening is … a new, intense sense of self, accompanied with a desire … with the feeling of being a destiny. This condition … cannot be induced. It simply happens. But from time immemorial, in different cultures and religious climates, people have used a method for quieting or simplifying consciousness so that a person may be better disposed for the moment of awakening.”

Now I can’t resist trying to define the steps that quiet the consciousness … mostly because my mind is so noisy at the moment. Noisy with thoughts that alternate from a deep, deep knowing that I am okay, committed to healing and that all is well, to an anxiety born of the gap in communication between Chicago and myself at a time that feels like a crossroad in our dynamic. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? WE HAVEN’T EVEN MET YET!

Somehow I invested … or is it that I opened. Premature? Only if I am looking for an outcome, says the wise part of me. “Hard not to,” says the woman who is standing for reciprocity.

Truly I can only accept my feelings here and follow the threads into my past to clear it up. When I get quiet and breathe deep into my core I also know the investment is in MYSELF… an opportunity to know myself in the middle of uncomfortably and choose who I will be. That is a win/win situation no matter what happens. Yet I would be fooling you if I said this was easy.

So before I give you my little map of my steps to anchor in Self let me share the abbreviated version of the past week.

After Chicago’s cancelled trip for our first rendezvous I began to sense a hesitation on his part to reschedule … at least for New Year’s Eve. Now, when he had asked earlier if I had plans for New Year’s, I had assumed that meant he was open to meeting then. At the time I was the one being practical suggesting we meet first and see where that leads us.

But here we were and I was ready to throw caution to the winds and have our first meeting on New Year’s. I mean really it’s as big a set up as meeting for a first date on Valentine’s Day. However he was feeling more and more like an important dear friend so I figured even if we weren’t attracted to each other physically we could have a wonderful time. Starting the New Year without the continued connection of authenticity that we have been sharing just didn’t make sense to me. It was hitting me strangely that he was hesitating.  It felt like a change in direction and I couldn’t follow the logic.

So after alluding to the challenge of flying at Christmas, the heightened costs and the inability to get more time off work he wrote a moving email sharing his inner world.

New Year’s Eve was the night his wife had died some years ago … in his arms … of a heart attack.

Needless to say I softened with compassion and as he took space in what I am assuming is his style of ‘soul searching’ I remained open and supportive. I had noticed how Buns was including The Robert in her celebration of Duncan and reassured Chicago that whatever way he honored his wife would be okay. I guess I was thinking I would be included. It seems to me that when we lose someone the way to keep them alive in our hearts and future is to share them. Inclusion is a big value of mine and honestly I can stretch infinitely if I am a part of the process … I am not so great when I feel excluded.

In the stillness that followed I remembered the woman he had told me about who he had dated and loved after his wife’s passing. She hurt him when she ended it, yet he had accepted the lessons inherent in the interaction, that he was able to love again. I asked some questions about how they had celebrated New Year’s Eve. He said they didn’t. She spent it with other people and he shared how hard that was for him since he had wanted that moment to signify the start of a real relationship between them.

Well that tidbit burrowed its way into my psyche pretty deeply. Couldn’t quite shake the feeling that if he was ready to start the New Year with her then it meant he was ready period and I didn’t get why that was suddenly different this year.

Was it because I was actually available?

That was the only factor that my intuitive - on overdrive - brain could come up with.

I asked him if it was possible that he had unconsciously picked this girl to “love” after his wife’s death because she was unavailable. It would make sense in that he would never attain her and therefore never have to betray his love for his wife.

I suppose if he was giving me more internal information on his process I could have stretched to understand him, but I was on my own here and this is where I went, right or wrong.

Can you tell that even sharing this with you I can wind myself up with my theories ... imagine if you will the conclusions I could come to all on my own here based on them … and then imagine the reactive actions I could take to protect myself from being hurt … a dangerous, one-sided situation with a big missing component … Chicago’s reality.

I do trust on some level that he will consider what I have asked and help me understand the situation in a way that will make sense to me.

I may not like it. I may make choices based on his choices, for sure. That’s part of what I am learning in this interaction … that’s its not just what people say that’s important but what they do as well. I am also learning to stand for what I want, to name it and have my actions in alignment with those values.

Basically I am in the unknown … an uncomfortable place at the best of times. Here is what I do whenever I get confused. I ask myself…What do I know to be true?

The following map is the way I get to that answer.

Here are the steps I use to quiet my conscious mind and remember that all is well no matter what.

1. Breath deep - Keep the focus inside of my skin, in my body, feeling my feelings.

2. Follow the feelings to my past and correct any beliefs about myself or others that I may have made back then.

3. Remember that his choices mean nothing about me. This activation is benefiting me, showing me myself.

4. I teach the world how to treat me based on how I treat myself.

5. Accept what is. Notice what is happening with neutrality and make choices for myself that are in alignment with my values and what I stand for.

6. Go Big!

Now this last point will differ for everyone. You have to find something outrageous and out of the box, preferably something physical that stretches your body out of its comfort zone. So I will offer you my current favorite. For me it’s often some current, inappropriate and politically incorrect song.

I turn it up REALLY LOUD and allow myself to feel wild with desire and simply juiced about life and its possibilities, even if I hurt … including my hurt. I feel it in my core as I dance and that invites a shift in perception.

Here I am and I am alive and vibrant!
Present time!

So while I don’t know if Chicago and I will see each other on New Year’s…what I do know is I am not waiting to live …

I know that I will continue to give all I have to give. Nothing can limit that except my belief in my smallness or my fears and contractions. I refuse.

Focusing on what he decides leaves me feeling powerless.

Focusing on what I want and how I celebrate leaves me feeling empowered. And all I can tell you for sure is celebrate I will!

It’s a New Year and I am ready.

Are you? Get the volume up loud and promise me at least one college try of full-out dancing silliness … you too Buns … if you only listen, it doesn’t work. You have to pretend that its 1984 (or whatever year from your past you really let it rip) … okay?

Body abandon and dancing into the pain … it’s part of being human … Be willing to be silly!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Open-heart surgery

Hi Marty!  It seems like it has been ages since I’ve had a chance to sit down and write what is on my mind.  Part of that is the busyness of the season and part of it is that so much is going on it is hard to choose!  So I sat with it for a bit today and took a look at what is most up for me to see if I could find a nugget.  And there it was – staring me right in the face.

I heard yesterday that a friend of mine, Tarzan, (and yes, he calls me Jane), took himself to the hospital because he suspected he was suffering a heart attack.  His instincts were right, he was on the verge, and today he underwent a quintuple bypass and is now just coming out of his 6-hour ordeal.  I am so glad he heeded his body’s message.

This also ties in with another realm of my life – that of approaching my third Christmas without my younger son.  Although it doesn’t get any easier with time, it does change.  And I am noticing what that change is for me.  I hope that my other son and his Dad can have some of this too.

Rather than shutting down, or closing off my heart to ward off the pain of sitting around the Christmas dinner table where there is one less chair, I have learned to open my heart to the possibility of experiencing his presence in a very real and wholesome way.  I have found that it is through that opening that I can move through that awful ache to that oft-described place of “a peace that surpasses all understanding”.  It is only through a willingness to fully embrace whatever sadness is in there that I can also experience joy.  The only difference between me and Tarzan is that my open-heart surgery is not a bypass but rather a direct route.  What is similar is that we can both be healthier for it.

I know that Tarzan himself had a very close relationship with my son – they were hunting buddies.  I know that Dunc is keeping an eye on him and giving him a helping hand. I know that I want to have this Christmas with an open heart. 

P.S. Do you remember that time we went to Dunc's bench and I told you that a mosquito would show up (as he always does when I go there)?  And then later, when we sat in the lounge at the Whistler Chateau and I was upset, and that little mosquito flew in and landed on my heart.  Well, yesterday, just before I went into the worship service where I was going to be singing, a little mosquito flew over my head as if to say, “It’s going to be great, Mom.” And it was.  And the picture for this post?  A mosquito's ECG.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Cry of the Banshee

Well……so it’s not exactly the picture I was envisioning. If you have been following the dance here you may be thinking “I wonder how Marty’s first meeting with the internet love interest, Chicago went?”
Me too… since it didn’t actually go anywhere.

Flashback….nervous, excited, I was planning our days. He was to arrive last Wednesday. I had cleared my work schedule and was picking him up at the airport. Wardrobe was chosen with care since my plan, after a breathless embrace in semi-slow motion to a fitting imaginary soundtrack was to drop off my car in the west end and walk to Granville Island. Translation…no high heels although that would have been my first pick as I imagined fitting into his 6′3″ frame.

After a brisk walk we would take the ferry across to the island and he would be charmed…by the locale, the ambience…by me….sigh….
We would saunter the aisles smiling shyly as we debated over produce that would be the ingredients for our first co-creative venture, cooking together at my place. And since I was having my yearly Orphan Christmas the day after he left he was going to help me decorate the tree.

Marty stands trimming the Christmas tree. Chicago approaches and slowly inhales the back of her neck. Marty shivers, taking a deep breath as she eases back into his arms…

SCREECH….CRRRUNCH ….CRRASH…. that is the sound of sugar plum fairies grinding to a halt. Their tiny squeaky voices screech as the current soundtrack is replaced by something sad and melancholy, Beethoven perhaps, and certainly not Ode To Joy!
WHAT THE….??????
He called on Saturday to say he couldn’t find his passport. I don’t call him Chicago for no reason. He had an international flight booked and no way to get through customs. At first I figured it would turn up but as his dismay grew so did my disbelief. Really? You really are not coming?

Now get that look off your face. I have seen it countless times as I have told my friends about the aborted rendezvous. Yes that look…stop it please!

You know Buns I don’t mean you. You and The Robert were the only ones still believing in the guy.

Once it sunk in that he really wasn’t coming and I let the dream dissolve I also invited in my feelings. Numb at first, my feelings intensified as Chicago distanced or at least so it seemed to me. I was reminded of countless disappointments, countless broken promises, countless hurts and losses where I had waited and hoped and anticipated joy. I am awake enough to know that although he triggered these feelings he is not responsible for any of my past and I welcomed the opportunity to descend into my grief and old wounds.
The intent is always the same, to reclaim any aspects of self I may have cut off from and return to my divine essence.
I went all the way back to a meeting with a four year old child…a little girl, disheveled and cowering, hiding behind a curtain of matted hair and emotional neglect. That was not an accurate visual of me as a child. My mother dressed me like a princess in matching mother/daughter dresses, but inside I hid a dirty unlovable child from her and all those important to me.
That was then. Now as I met this energy I embraced her, shone light around her and held her close in acceptance. Then I proceeded to introduce this inner discovery that in the past would have been buried as something shameful, to Chicago by telephone. I call her Banshee because she is so wild and abandoned.

Now I can hear some of you groaning, I’m sure I can……hold on….I know you must be thinking that this choice to share is hardly champagne at midnight, dancing in the moonlight, caviar on smoked salmon… hardly a romantic mood maker. Perhaps not.
But the truth of the matter is it’s an aspect of me and in order to heal it I am being called to reveal it.
What lives in the dark will grow and fester. What is brought into the light can flourish.
I am simply more committed to being authentic and transparent than I am to any outcome. So I did my healing in front of Chicago.

I felt a push back at first as he was defending himself perhaps mistaking my feelings as meaning something about him but soon enough he asked me what I needed as I did this descent into my past. Patiently and with a surprising degree of strength he anchored himself and listened. He stopped me when I went to fast or too far out and asked questions. At the end I felt received and accepted even if not completely understood.
It was ok. I understood. I knew how big of a risk I was taking AND I knew I was doing it for myself and my deep deep desire to be truly known in relationship with a man.

That’s all I needed.

You may not find that romantic but for me it was more of an aphrodisiac than white roses in a winter bouquet. While still disappointed that he wasn’t with me, I had gotten a huge gift in this activation. Embracing Banshee, I could now grow her up and care for her inside of me.

Now what little girl doesn’t love Christmas. I cranked the music and filled my longing heart with nostalgic renditions of I’ll Be Home For Christmas while I hung crystals on my moody red-berried metal tree. Yes, I am artsy eclectic.

He did find his passport. Too late for this trip.
I am hoping for New Year’s Eve.

My friends will still shake their heads, no doubt until they meet him in the flesh.
I believe they will. They think I am naive.

“And the beat goes on,” (oh damn songs keep getting stuck inside my head and then I have to sing them.)
“Drums keep pounding rhythm to the brain….la dee la dee da…” Sonny and Cher?
How is this relevant?

And you Buns, as busy as you are, I salute your unfaltering endless cheerleading for the potential in this relationship with Chicago. I don’t know if you have an intuitive hit around him that is accurate. I do know that you want the best for me.

Everyone should be so lucky to have a friend like you.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

In and Out and Around

I like this topic of introverts and extroverts and am looking forward to reading the articles you mention Buns. The part of the conversation that excites me most is in the definition of introvert and extrovert that you and I discussed yesterday. An introvert will process information inside themselves while an extrovert wants to process it externally with another person. By that definition I am certainly an extrovert by nature. I understand myself better when I articulate what is happening inside me and engage in dialogue around it. It also helps me to know someone else if they are TELLING me what is happening inside themselves. I like to see and know that their inside is matching their outside, and then I relax.

So here is the rub. Is my checking in with how they are doing really about them or is it saying more about me and my own anxiety at not knowing or understanding?

And, if I am checking with them, reading them to make sure they are ok, is that not a subtle communication that they can’t take care of themselves or articulate what they want, need or are experiencing for themselves? Am I not sending out an unconscious message that somehow I am responsible for taking care of them?

So staying centered in myself and revealing myself might sound like, “I am noticing I am uncomfortable right now because I don’t understand what is happening inside of you. I would so appreciate you sharing with me, it would help me relax. In this communication I am saying that it is a request that would benefit ME.
The other way, asking them how they are doing without revealing what is driving the question inside myself is a subtle way of fishing for information to make myself feel better but without owning my own anxiety around the whole situation.

Wow. In order not to do any of that I would have to rest on a foundation of trust that they will tell me when they are ready, whatever it is they want me to know. And that I am ok even if they are not or even if I don’t understand what is happening for them.

Is this true? I ask all you introverts to comment on how this would feel? Would it feel more like an invitation and less like pressure to be different, if you knew it was a request being made of you that would actually benefit the other person? Does this train of thought even land?

Back to self….can I sit in my uncomfortably or share my inner world but owning the need to reveal it? Can I do this instead of making it about the other person and what they are or are not doing?
I am just realizing the opportunities inherent in a pairing of an introvert with an extrovert! DIFFERENT DOES NOT EQUAL SEPARATE!
The task is around allowing for differences yet staying connected at the same time!

And then there is the pairing of an extrovert with an extrovert…yikes…
As you mentioned in your post buns it can be a whirlwind.
Buns and I had a pajama party yesterday and the conversations would tangent, shoot out in many directions simultaneously and then veer around back to home base with a speed and intensity that would call for a Sterling Moss to manage. Fast and furious we drove the Indy, foot on the pedal with not a care of collision. When we did collide we knew we would stay the course so that generated a safety that propelled us from easy simple questions like the meaning of love, sexuality and intimacy to descent work. Buns held space for me so I could journey to my childhood and be with the part of me that was so alone back then, so depended on fantasy to survive.
Then on we went on to big heavy stuff like bikini waxing, French versus Brazilian, and how we feel when men cry…all topics that called for relentless revealing. Many might have cringed at the level of graphic honesty… not these two extroverts. Each opening became another invite to fearless SELF examination.
Buns and I do very similar work with the clearing up of energy patterns and wounds from the past but use an entirely different language set around it. So in Buns words we did Ascension work around my fears of Chicago’s impending arrival this Wednesday.
She even let me smoke a cigar with a glass of wine (a mini Macanudo and a brilliant Pinot Grigio) for those who care or are living vicariously while I was being with my fear based thoughts and feelings. I call those contractions. And it is like labor since in the end I give birth to a clearer view of myself.
This Ascension work is really an extroverts dream, everything is out in the open. I like it.

Buns and The Robert also worked in tandem fixing some techie things on my computer. She gave him access by a flick of a key and he joined us on computer.
Thank you Robert for your skill, your time and kind generous heart. I can hear it beating even if we haven’t met yet. I am grateful.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Three Girls, Nigel Tufnel, and an Introvert

Okay.  So I know you’ve been wanting me to tell all about my reconnection with Robert.  And I want to.  I really do.  But something a little more pressing seems to be on my writing radar.  And yes, it has to do with Robert, but it’s a little more than that. 

I had an absolutely wonderful weekend with him.  He was brave enough to ensconce himself in the midst of me and two of my sisters, and we three are definitely a force to be reckoned with when it comes to being boisterous, talkative, exciting, active, and  competent simultaskers – in fact, Buns + Mig + Mini = a lot of female energy.  And there he sat, quiet, calm, and seemingly quite content to be surrounded by us. And of course we had our time together – just the two of us – and I am blessed to have this man in my life.  But let’s get back to the three, volume-eleven females and Robert.  Of course, I was conscious that this was his first time meeting them, and of course I wanted him to be comfortable, so I would ask him, “Are you okay with this?” He’d say that he was and I would ask, “Are you sure?”  And he would reassure me that he was fine.  My only reason for asking him in the first place was that he was very quiet (not that he would have had a chance to get a word in edgewise, but nonetheless …).

Then I flew back home.  Back to the maelstrom of what is my busy life at the moment with Christmas party planning, extra-curricular courses, community events, work, and the like. 

One of the first things to hit my in-basket was pre-course reading.  And the articles I was directed to read were “Caring for your Introvert” and “Extraverts vs. Introverts”.  I was immediately struck by the synchronicity of this information landing on my desk.  I had barely begun reading the first one when I realized that I had committed a faux pas or two over the weekend.  When the article suggested that the second worst thing you can ask an introvert is “Are you okay?”, and the worst thing you can say is “Are you sure?”, I cringed.  I thought that I had totally blown it with him.  You have to realize that I am probably a pretty good candidate for the extravert poster girl.  My life up until a few years ago could have been described as a series of linked beer commercials.  So from my perspective, if you are quiet, something is wrong.  And being who I am, I want to fix it.  Make it right. OMg. This poor man.

So, because Robert means a lot to me, and also because I don’t want our relationship to evolve on a foundation of assumptions, I called him and asked him about it.  I am so glad I did.  I sent him the articles and he felt they had hit the proverbial nail on the head.  He is happy that I am curious about his modus operandi.  You see, because he is quiet, it’s harder for me to understand him.  I, at my Nigel-Tufnel best, leave nothing to the imagination.  It’s a lot easier for him to learn about me because I tell him. 

We will have our challenges, he and I, but at this point of writing, we are not shying away from them. I am excited by how we can learn to be with each other in ways where we can both be authentic, true to ourSelves, and enjoy each other’s company. 

And Marty … as for your “A kiss is still a kiss”, all I can say is “What she said!”

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It Felt Love

Did the rose
Ever open its heart
and give to this world
all its

It felt the encouragement of light
against its

We all remain


Like Passionate Lips
there are
so many positions of

Each curve on a branch
the thousand different ways
Your eyes can embrace us
the infinite shapes your
mind can draw,

The spring
Orchestra of scents,
The current of light combusting
Like passionate lips,
the revolution of Existence

Whose folds contain other worlds,
Your every sign that falls against
His inconceivable

Hafiz c1329-1389 Mystic Sufi poet from Persia

Monday, November 29, 2010

A picture is worth twenty-six words.

Awesome. Beautiful. Curious. Divine. Elegant. Fresh. Genuine. Honest. Idyllic. Joyous. Kind. Light. Moving. Natural. Open. Playful. Quiet. Resonant. Sensitive. Truthful. Unfettered. Vibrant. Warm. Xquisite (yes, I cheated). Zesty.

Yep.  I can live with that.

(Marty ... I have so much to tell you I don’t know where to begin. So for now, I'm just going to let this picture speak for me.)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Kiss Is Still A Kiss

Chicago sent an email. It said "I think of you... and of that Clark Gable (Rhett Butler) line in Gone With the Wind "you need to be kissed and kissed often"
And I couldn't stop thinking about it. He evokes something in me that is rather 1940's...Chicago does, not Clark. Well alright, so does Clark.

It's this old world thing where men were confident in their ability to sort out any scatteredness in their woman by their sheer presence, by a teasing yet solid expression of their a "I adore you baby, but I won't put up with any of your bull" the power of persuasion of a damn fine kiss.

Now here is where it gets personal. I have learned to find safety in understanding, in words, in thought. I am working at unlearning that and tapping into my feminine which is the language of feeling, sensation, beauty and times can be quite erratic and in motion, its all a part of feminine flow.

To find a man anchored in himself and not only solid enough to allow that flow without taking it personally but to also direct it, channel it, OPEN it INTO LOVE...well that is just plain irresistible an invite to a 50% off sale at Tiffany's. ( WHAT!...yes and equally as rare)

I have known men who tried to shut down the flow, manage it, change it, judge it, run from it or repressit...all that feels like punishment. We know where that game leads. Fight or flight!

I have yet to surrender to a love that balances these two polarities of divine masculine and divine feminine in a way that supports an evolution of consciousness for both involved.

Oh right Marty, you are not asking for much! Can your bar be any higher????

Well here is the thing... she said, talking to herself...oh and maybe I am talking to Chicago too since he asked me recently what my ex would have said was the reason that our relationship did not work out. I believe he would have said "I couldn't meet the bar, it was too high" is the thing....its not an arbitrary bar OUTSIDE OF ONESELF. It's not a list of attributes or accomplishments or even desires that are like some goal post off in the distant future. Its not a grab the ball and run with it hoping to score and make a touchdown. My ex played alot of football and I think this is how he saw it when he evaluated his ability at reaching this bar as deficient.

What it is, is a commitment inside oneself to living a certain can decide for yourself what that is, what that bar is...truth, consciousness,forgiveness, radical expansion... you get to decide for yourself.

It requires fortitude and perseverance for sure but running is not necessarily a valuable skill set in this undertaking.


And BEING honest about your flaws of character and any other shadow aspects you discover internally as you shine your light inside yourself is essential.

Accountability without guilt. Honest inventory without self recrimination. Forgiveness without being a door mat.

I cannot help having the wounds I have. I cannot help having the past I have experienced.

I CAN decide to not let that define me NOW.

I can be willing to expose myself and get emotionally naked risking the evaluation and scrutiny of my partner.

And while I may yearn for and hope for acceptance in those tender places of mine, places that were met with reactivity in the past, I can no longer choose to NOT reveal them because they might bring discord or reactivity in my partner.

That's the risk you see.

To reveal oneself in a non-negotiable commitment of honesty, trusting that as necessary as this exposure to the light, to the gaze of anothers eyes is, there is no guarantee that you will be met with acceptance.

Yet you will never know if this person you are considering as a lover, this potential beloved will love you or see you UNLESS you risk showing it all.

If you are strategizing around which parts of yourself are going to be acceptable to the other then even if they do say they love you, you will think...ah but if you really knew me.....

Far better to simply commit to showing all of you and work on keeping the focus inside yourself.

TEACH YOURSELF THAT ALL OF YOU IS ACCEPTABLE, even these flawed human shadow parts, forged out of the desire for belonging in the past to a tribe called your family.

Teach yourself that you may have these thoughts and feelings and wounds but that is NOT who you are at your core.

I have just described my bar.

That bar is my bar for ME.

When my ex would say the bar is too high it insinuates the bar is an external marker that calls for evaluation. I am saying it is an internal compass for navigation, for learning, for making mistakes and expressing forgiveness and tolerance.

And you can't do any of these things if your focus is outside yourself. HOME is inside yourself and you have a right to that experience whether anyone else agrees or understands it.

I long to be met in this commitment by a man who will settle for nothing less from himself, from me...from the relationship but the truth of the extraordinary. For in our essence, in our depth we are truly, one and all, the same. And we are all EXTRAORDINARY.

I sometimes call this journey a menage a trois. You, me and God. Including spirit in a relationship, for me IS nothing less than extraordinary.

No one person would be in charge of the relationship,each has sovereign over their autonomy and individual experience AND we would be guided by shared principles, shared purpose.

I think when we were younger having a family, having children, met this desire for a shared purpose yet as we age there are different stages of development that call to us.

This next evolution evokes a calling to be of service, to give back to the world in some way, to be a wise teacher and help those who may have forgotten the truth of their inner radiance. It is hard to do that if we have not shone a light on all the dark corners of our psyche, illuminated them and proclaimed ourselves free of judgement, free to express AS the love that we all are.

And if you have not travelled to these places inside yourself how will you accept or forgive them in another?

Can you think of a better learning ground then relationship?

When we get close to another we get activated, triggered inside ourselves in ways that do not occur when on our own. The ego wants to blame something outside of oneself for the experience.

So while yes, you can work on yourself and heal your past on your own, the ultimate challenge is to FEEL your reactivity, and rather than blame outside yourself, keep the focus inside. Follow those feelings to their source... to YOUR past.

Those feelings will have a belief like Velcro that they are sticking to and that Velcro which will be about you was created long before you met your partner. Your partner activating it could be seen as a problem or it could be seen as divine intervention. The divine purpose in all this is to be co-horts in healing not in avoiding. That means each one must want to undertake the journey to correcting mistaken beliefs we may be holding that prevent us from living as love. Beliefs that generate contraction when activated. I don't want to be in a relationship that is avoiding this. I want to be in one that says...."BRING IT ON"....."I will stay the course because it is MY course too. Because it leads to the Joy of being fully known.

Keeping focus inside yourself when you are reactive requires dedication, requires strength of will, requires prayer. I want to do this WITH someone who understands the value of this process and the rewards!

Revealing one's dark and tender places, illuminating beliefs that one may be holding that are not necessarily flattering....allowing for that level of vulnerability and trust is a true act of courage. And yet without it we are interacting with pictures of ourselves, presentations that look good. We will never be fulfilled until we can show everything to discover that we are far far greater than these beliefs that originated in our past.

I have had clients say " its too much work" "this isn't fun". "it's too scary". I think that is a choice. How you experience the journey will be based on your perception.

Nothing brings more pleasure than making authentic contact. And to be authentic includes revealing our masks, defenses and guards, revealing those thoughts and strategies that are checking things out to make sure we are ok, making sure our partner is liking what they see.

Imagine letting go of all that and just BEING with another with whatever comes up inside.

Imagine firing your inner critic, you ego censor and just opening up with transparency.

It terrifies me too that you may turn away or judge me if I show you everything AND I no longer have a choice in the matter. I have set my course, my goal is clear. I know on the other side of fear is truth and that feels like heaven.

To sail there requires answering the call for transparency. Step one, set the goal, keep readjusting the sails, checking INSIDE and OFFERING it all to another. That very action keeps me on course.

Then when I am in alignment with my goal what I experience is my wholeness and ability to join fully with another without loss of self.

That is what I call heaven.

TRANSPARENCY to me IS pure pleasure. Returning to a state of love is pleasure.

Its the building of the relationship container with its inherent goals and purpose that calls for fortitude and the brave act of sharing ones fears before you even know if the other person is on board with you.

Your criteria is ensuring that your inside matches your outside in the present moment. You risk losing it all to feel yourself authentically in the presence of another.

After that, if two people build a ship and set their destination...the rest becomes a continued navigation of jointly sailing to an experience that both want with their whole heart and soul.

Authentic connection.

And who says you can't be kissing at the same time. Its the only kind of kissing that I want.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Eyes on Freedom

Yes Buns..... I would love to meet The Robert one day, he seems a man of substance and you deserve nothing less. I am sparked by imagining you two at this very moment. I am thinking a romantic dinner, glorious Merlot, candles and maybe some after dinner guitar strumming...yes on the acoustic, no this is NOT a metaphor.

The women in your tribe sound like a force to be expereinced. I am glad they are inspiring you to live full out at this moment. I too see the influence of my mother, not so much in terms of healthy loving relationships but in perseverence, loyalty, strength of will and integrity.

I have to say that while my mom's life contains overcoming obstacles of heroic proportion, scenes of brilliant human bravery set in WW II, untold horrors in the concentration camps and an elegance of spirit all wrapped up in Chanel, Givenche, and Revlon Red lips what she was unable to give me was a model for what a loving man/woman relationship looks like.

How can a woman be herself fully AND still stay connected with a masculine force?

How does interdependence work?

My mom modeled independence and encouraged that in me. I also saw and felt lots of co-dependence especially in my 20's...oh what painful learning curves and angst.

Nowhere did I learn how to be interdependent. Perhaps its study is a subject best suited to older years? Wiser years?

Even as I look around now at relationships I find it hard to see couples who are genuinely encouraging each other to be free while at the same time staying connected. Authentic loving is not co-dependence which screams, "I will do,be, say anything to keep you... nor is it independance which whispers with aloof pride "you do your thing and I'll do mine."

This balance of autonomy and connectedness is so vital to being a healthy happy human being and yet it is also very ellusive.

I see lots of carefully structured relationships woven out of the safety of habit but not many models of a true marriage that values and respects the force for freedom and togetherness equaly.

That in itself is part of my commitment to this path of unraveling and reinventing the wheel around relationships.

My dream is BIG and its foreign, without a road map.

My only consistent comfort is when I breath into the inner compass deep at the center of my core, the place in all of us that just KNOWS it is love and does not have to get it from anyone. Perhaps manouvering the labyrinth of love can only be undertaken from this state of being. Perhaps that is the starting point from which all the rest follows.

Does it feel that way to you Buns?

Does it seem like we are both unwilling to settle for a relationship within a box and so are destined to illuminate, uncover, reveal and revel in the nuances of interdependence with another human being that have no rules to follow?

I am a little envious of Chicago in that he says he has tasted that dish. The dish he refers to is LOVE, true love, a deep dish pizza kind of love where cherishing your partner is not a currency to be deposited at the bank and withdrawn in crumbs to ensure it is never empty, nor an attempt to pacify one's partner with a mask of "everything is ok" when really its not... but rather a foundation that supports and instructs BOTH people to be everything they could possibly be.

INTERDEPENDENCE....yes that is what I want. To be challenged, to grow, to evolve, to learn, to have fun, to dance, to howl in the middle of the night like a banshee because the full moon told me so, to know without a moments hesitation that my lover will always have my back as I have his. Allies, friends, cohorts, creative masterminds enthralled with Truth and pure unbounded expression it comes union with another.

Its big for me.

And it describes my life force.! I am not a leaky facet with tiny trickling drops of yearning. I am a gigantic, glorious, gushing flow of desire.

Even when I feel small and contracted.... and I do and I will again....I can tap into this essential force in me and soothe my ache.

How lovely to be able to share that with someone who is able to open their heart to themselves, others and to me in the same way.

Here is the thing with this Blog. I never quite know what I am going to write in my post. I LOVE that feeling! Truly, experiencing the flow of it all as it unfolds, is blissful.

I want to quit my day job, well OK, I don't want to quit ALL of my careers ( I am currently juggling 4 of them) only drop lets say one of them so I can add being a blog writer as a full time focus.

I am so passionate about what I do because none of my careers were the result of a choice about making money. They truly came up from the inside out, I just kept saying yes, when they appeared and then taking steps to make them happen. I think that's one of the keys to living a fulfilled life.

And now..I say YES to this writing co-adventure with you Buns AND I would love to slooowww down and court myself in a more leisurely fashion, sipping espresso while I write......somewhere tropical perhaps or Italy...France....Barcelona? I have a yen for learning a foreign language. The discombobulation of it all teaches me about living in a new way.

I am signing up for the Adventure Of A Lifetime, and I say this confidently in a life already bursting with breathtaking adventures.

I still think it starts with 'over the top expression', saying it and meaning it.

And then one does whatever is needed to make it happen.

LIVING AS LOVE IN EXOTIC AND EXPANSIVE LOCATIONS...writing, creating, being bold and true!

Are you in Buns?

Are you listening universe?

The indomitable spirit of a five-foot-one chauffeur

Hi Marty!  I’m just about to go into a music rehearsal and wanted to get my post done beforehand.  I was having trouble with it because so much is going on I couldnt focus.  But then a little vignette about my great grandmother popped into my head and I thought I’d run with it.  So here goes ...

Often people who know me have commented on my resilience and my ability to find the positive in any situation. And I guess, when I look at it from their perspective, I can see why they might say that.  I can’t imagine being any other way. During a brief visit with my Mom and Dad earlier this week, I connected to a deep understanding of where my outlook on life came from ... and it goes way back. 

One of my fondest recollections of my great grandmother (after whom I’m named, and no, her name is not Buns!) is of her, in a bathing suit, standing on the end of a diving board preparing for a head-first plunge into the lake.  She was in her nineties. Next, my grandmother, Katie-girl, who lived to the ripe old age of 100 because she said she was going to, did volunteer work for many charitable organizations well into her nineties.

Next in line ... my Mom.  A formidable force in her mid seventies, she is a constant inspiration to me.  This woman knows how to make lemonade out of lemons.  She always has at least one philanthropic project on the go, sits on a number of committees, keeps tabs on her five children (she had all of us before she was 26), and her 10 grandchildren and at the same time takes very good care of my Dad.  Now in his eighties, while still compos mentis, he has physical challenges that require a lot of support from her.  As far as that home-made lemonade I was talking about?  When he was told he couldn’t drive any more by his doctor, my Mom immediately said, “Well aren’t you lucky?  From now on you will have your own limo driver.”  And she even bought a chauffeur’s hat to wear! And this is just the tip of the iceberg.  I could write pages about her kindnesses to others and her capacity to love.  Thanks Mom.  I owe you one.

And as for me?  I’m pretty sure I was her “difficult” child but she would never let on.  What she did do (and continues to do) is accept me for who I am, and love me no matter what.  She taught me what unconditional love looks like and feels like.

Speaking of love, it feels as though I am waking up in the middle of my own love story.  In just a few hours, I will be seeing Robert for the second time in as many decades. We have had many hours of conversation over the past few months and we are both looking forward to some face time.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  I can’t wait for you to meet him!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Musings on Spas, New Men and Horses

Ohhhh Buns. Not only am I thrilled that you are "Leaving On a Jet Plane" ... yes I am still singing that song ... I LOVE this piece around experiencing JOY directly.

Could we be any more alike, you and I? I too have noticed that much of my joy comes from going through what is in front of me, my challenges, my pain, my contraction or as you call it, flinching.

I am proud that I have learned to use whatever is presenting itself in me as a road or map to joy AND maybe you are right ... it's time for a more direct route ... a super highway... an autobahn ... new wiring that comes directly from what is good and translates into JOY.

I certainly have had those moments too and not necessarily big moments. Once while taking out the garbage I felt something deep inside light me up. "What is that?", I wondered, since nothing was happening to warrant such a huge sensation in me.

JOY... like a fountain overflowing with magenta and rising up in me FOR NO PARTICULAR REASON. The more I allowed and invited the experience ... without content or explanation simply by breathing into it, the more I felt it.

That's what I want -- to unhook from events and even people and be my own inner fountain of cascading essence, extending Myself to the world. It's a powerful place.

I can choose to extend joy, love, unconditional positive regard no matter what is happening outside of me. As a matter of fact, extending that feeling when what I perceive is challenging is exactly when I teach myself and the world the truth about who I am.

I may be having a human experience that includes fear, sadness, disappointment -- the whole spectrum of feelings -- AND I can be connected to my core essence at the same time. What I choose to share is a choice that not only impacts my experience but ripples out to others as well. It's important to me to not negate the human variables, our shadow sides and layers as personalities but rather to express them with the understanding that I am NOT those feelings or thoughts.

That is really one of my favorite anchors, I have my feelings I AM NOT MY FEELINGS.

I have my thoughts, I AM NOT MY THOUGHTS.

Yet this leaves one called to answer the ultimate existential question.  "Who Am I? Who am I beyond my roles and personality?" It's a good question to answer.... oui?

And on a more sensual note, I wanted to share with you my day at the spa, a Moroccan Hammam called Miraj here in Vancouver. So divine and a perfect way to share intimate space.

I wrote (oh shoot, what am I going to call this new man ... I am sure I will be referring to him in the future and since we are keeping names out of the mix ... hmmm ... ok, got it ... inspired by Mr. Big from Sex and the City... I will call him Chicago ...)

So I wrote to Chicago about the spa and bravely sent a really bad, post- massage, bed head, in a spa robe, no makeup picture ... don't forget I am sending this to a man I haven't met yet (he comes to visit in a few weeks) and here is how I described the experience at the Hamman.
After the steam bath and the scrub with Moroccan black soap and eucalyptus essencial oil ...
After the deep massage where I surrendered all tension and thought, even of you my sweet ...
We rested on iridescent satin pillows reclining in the darkening twilight ... orange, turquoise, celadon, green ... lounging on the divan ... sipping mint tea ...
Dark chocolate melted in my mouth and Clementines burst with fragrant flavor scenting the air and remaining on my fingers after each succulent juicy section.
Sepia light entered through wrought iron bars over the arched windows casting patterns of delicate intricacies, swirls of eastern flowers changing shape on the rich clay walls ...
It was so wonderful to reconnect with my "sisters" and my friend, my once upon a time, mother in law. We cried, we laughed, we were silly and giggling girls ... all of us ... from 40 years to 83 years ... girls at heart.
I shared about you and how impressive I have found you. I told them you said hi.

Yes Chicago, I am breaking my own rule and including you in my life even though I haven't met you yet. And the cliche is, it feels like I have known you for ages. And it feels like you are teaching me something important around what it means to be a man of integrity.

Ha! Back to that trust piece around men again.

I told him to approach me as you would a skittish colt. He said I'm a city boy. I don't know anything about horses. Then he Googled it. He may or may not even bring some apples to the airport when we first meet. Dear Chicago, you are adorable! Don't bring apples. I won't bite since it would ruin my lipstick.

And so my dear Buns as I sign off, I think of you as your excitement keeps growing in anticipation of your connection once again with The Robert.
Bon chance mon ami. I know no matter what happens it will be real and you will shine, cause that's just who you are.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Journey to Joy

Good morning Marty.  It was great talking with you last night to help me debrief my day.  And what a day it was!  So much learning and evolving in just ten hours … from a baby blessing to a music rehearsal to a clinic staff meeting, many opportunities presented themselves for me to do some mining.  And I struck gold.  Probably the biggest nugget was around finding a different portal to joy … and a completely unexpected one for me.

I had been talking with Robert earlier in the day (because I can’t help it!) and I was wondering out loud with him why I haven’t been able to have a direct experience of joy unless I go through pain first.  At least that is my sense – it could be that the most poignant moment of joy that I ever experienced was when I sang to my son at his Celebration of Life.  It wasn’t because it was a happy occasion … quite the contrary.  But I have never felt so big – bigger than my body dictates, so connected – to him in a way that defies all understanding, and so loved – by him and by everyone who was there that day.  I will never forget that moment as long as I live.  So as I was questioning this with Robert, I was really saying to him that I know there is great joy already between the two of us, but I am only letting it in a little bit at a time … where is my unfetteredness? Why am I keeping the lid on this one? What am I afraid of? Oh no!  Wait!  Am I flinching?  (There’s that darn word again…)

Then I arrived at the baby blessing.  There I was, being asked to lead a song (As I went down in the river to pray … I love that song) to celebrate the arrival of a beautiful, baby boy.  I had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat and doubted that I would be able to sing.  And then I realized that I had actually mocked this up!  I could have a direct experience of joy through joy!  I changed gears, looked at this little boy in new light – that of great excitement for him that he had arrived safely into the arms of two lovely, loving people, and I was so honoured to be asked to be a part of it.  When I got up and started to sing, I had that same feeling as I did that day, singing to my little boy … I have now been at the threshold of two lives, offering my gift of song.  I am basking in an indescribable warmth as I write this.

So I am changing gears.  I am ready to take off.  My flight leaves in a few hours.  I am continuing my journey with joy.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

An Act of Unflinching Fearlessness

I am in! I will be your flinching buster as I hope you will be mine. Whenever you see me playing small call me on that too, OK? The only obstacles to magnificence and adventure are inside our heads and I commit to flushing them out.
I want to tell you my soul sister's story.

When I knew her many years ago, she was a wild child, a free spirit without a home, a rebel with many causes, exuberant fashion sense and a creative bent that while brilliant also left her feeling alone and dissatisfied with life....with herself.

She struggled with love... being loved, giving love, knowing love. She had a marriage that ended, two girls she raised on her own and lots of challenge and pain.

Finding spirit she found herself and long story short she blossomed into a woman of substance and faith. In her words, she said she decided after years of unravelling herself in therapy to learn to commit to one important lesson.... keeping her heart soft when it felt like closing. So similar. Perhaps women are being called everywhere to this task and in doing so will regain a sacred knowing of our deepest femininity and power.

Back to her story.

As she committed to this path she was internet dating. She wasn't on long before she received a nudge. Its like a wink but without text. Like fishing without a worm and most women don't respond. If a man can't write an email introducing himself properly its like a flag that they can't be bothered to step up and won't actually know how to lead.

And really, it doesn't matter how successful and independent we are don't we all love a man confident enough to lead.

This time she checked him out. He was cute and she decided to respond. Just as she was writing him his email to her came in. They meet at Starbucks, the internet daters salon of choice and she knows there is something...not sure what, but something.

And so it begins... the relationship, an often intense learning ground delivered by a very creative teacher. They are on again, off again. She remains steadfast and committed to keeping her heart open no matter what....he is wavering, afraid of commitment, unsure if this is the one.

Like in a storm she stands in her openheartedness accepting whatever his choice is, feeling her pain yet rather than blaming him for it using that intensity of feeling to propell her into knowing herself and living her life full out.

The more she keeps the focus on what she is doing, thinking, feeling inside herself, the more he returns questioning himself and yearning for her.

Finally this last go round of breaking up and getting back together he asks her to marry him. She hesitates.

One day he feels he has the flu, thinks he has caught a bug. She is alone at home wishing he would call, determined not to call him him space.

He is alone at home getting sicker and sicker.

When they finally get him to the hospital he is diagnosed with flesh eating disease.

WHAT! The words ring total terror in my heart. I can't even imagine the depth of anguish they had to go through.

Time was of the essence. They needed to sedate him and moved to surgery to remove his limbs. Flesh eating disease is caught from the same bacteria that gives people strep, the same bacteria can be eradicated with antibiotics in some and in others like this case becomes life threatening.

He had no idea.

He woke up 3 weeks later from sedation still thinking he had had the flu. They had to tell him more than once that his leg was amputated from the hip down on one side, from below the knee on the other, his fingers on one hand and his entire forearm and hand on the other.

They were worried he wouldn't survive.
She stayed by his side, in prayer and playing this song over and over.

When he awoke it was the only thing he remembered...this song...her love.

It's been 6 months. He is using a prosthetic and has taken his first steps. An athlete before all this he remains full of life force and spirit. They are planning their wedding ... bound in a love that is of the soul....a sharing of essence.

I met him this morning on Skype, funny, smart, irreverent, cracking jokes and teasing his woman. Talk about unflinching. I am inspired by these two, inspired and a little awed by their blind trust in love and each other.

The wedding is this June at a little vineyard in Ontario.

In this moment I am grateful for my life and the people in it, for you my friend, for new possibilities and for the grace of living life without flinching.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fledgling Flinchlessness

Hey Marty ... great talking to you and your soul-sister-in-law today. The excitement builds.  After yesterday’s watershed moments and a good night’s sleep, I am getting ready, with renewed vigour, to take another step in the direction of my heart’s desire... that is toward unfailing flinchlessness.  (Say that three times, Peter Piper!)

I heard that term just the other day (deep bow M) and I have been trying it on for size.  I quite like how it looks and feels.  At first, I related it to the flinching that I’ve experienced many times that accompanies something less than desirable, like eating a chocolate-covered bumblebee, or walking barefoot through a campsite at night knowing you might slip on a banana slug – you get the picture.

Then I realized that what was being pointed at was a completely different kind of flinching… that kind when you know what the truth is, it’s staring you right in the face, and your fears of expressing it or acknowledging it far outweigh your ability to sit with it or express it out loud.  I know you know what I mean.  So I’m going to get out my sewing machine, make myself a cape, and stand on the top of some pedestal (how’s that for a bold-faced metaphor?), cape blowing in the wind, arm stretched high, clasping a torch for all to see… and be a Freedom Fighter for Flinchlessness! (I always wanted to be an uber hero!)

But before I scale my way to the top of that pedestal, I’m thinking I should practice a bit first.  When I read your post, I was feeling your determination to use what you called “the crashing of the world” to expand and teach yourself grace.  How lovely.  If you and I can keep talking about expanding into and living in our graciousness using all the experiences we attract (no matter how difficult, challenging, or heart-wrenching, they may be), I think we can make a difference.  I know that’s what I’m here for actually.  But I have to walk the talk.  And that’s where the flinchlessness comes in. So I want you to call me on it any time you see me flinching.

And about your new man!  How ’bout that? He sounds almost as good as mine!  Seriously, the way you describe him is exactly how I would describe Robert.  I am feeling incredibly blessed that he and I have reconnected after all these years. 

As for your “big breath and another leap off the cliff”, I’m with ya Thelma.