Sunday, December 25, 2011

Believing is seeing.

For the past ten years or so, I have enjoyed heralding in the season with a lovely Christmas tradition within my spiritual community.  Part of it includes a worship service, filled with music, stories, candlelight, and silence.  This year we were fortunate to hear this wonderful story by Robert Fulghum as part of the service...

Once a juggler came to our church on Christmas Eve for the midnight service. I wanted to read an old story from long ago about a wandering juggler who happened into a monastery in deep winter and asked for refuge.
            The story says that the monks were busy making gifts to lay before the high altar of the monastery chapel in honor of the Virgin Mary – because if she was pleased, her statue would shed a tear of compassion for humanity. But when the gifts were presented at the Feast of the Nativity, the statue did not respond. In the middle of the night, the juggler, who thought he had no gift to give, went in alone and juggled before the statue – and juggled to the very limit of his capacity. To make a long story short, the statue of the Virgin Mary shed a tear – and the baby Jesus in her arms smiled – because the juggler had given everything he had, holding back nothing in his generosity. So goes the story.
            To bring the story to life, I wanted to have a real juggler perform for the congregation first, and then I’d tell the story and turn it into my Christmas sermon. A little show-business pizzazz for the midnight service.
            When time for the service came, the juggler had not arrived. Not until the middle of the second carol did I see him working his way up the crowded side aisle. But no costume. I had specifically asked him to wear his jester outfit. And no juggling equipment, either. What a disappointment. So much for magic at midnight.
            While the congregation headed into the last verse of “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” the juggler and I held a whispered conference. His car had been stolen, with all his possessions and equipment. But not to worry – he had an idea. All I had to do was to tell the fairy story, and he, the juggler, would take it from there.
            No time to argue. The carol was done, and the service had to go on. I assumed that when it came time for his performance, the juggler would explain his circumstances and use some things he had found in the church kitchen for a short act. Reasonable enough. However Christmas Eve is not a time for reasonableness. I ought to know that by now. So I read the story.
            And the juggler stepped into the light from out of the congregation. Slim young man, the wiry, athletic kind. black tennis shoes, jeans, green turtleneck shirt. Solemn expression and freckles on his face in place of the expected makeup. Nothing special to look at. And no tools of his trade. He smiled. And began his routine. In fact, he went through his entire routine just as if he had brought balls and clubs and knives and scarves with him. We had all seen enough juggling to know what was going on. And in each part of the routine, he went one step further than he had ever juggled and we had ever seen. Seven balls is supposed to be the limit for the very best professional juggler. Our guy did eight, and we knew it when he did it and applauded the moment of triumph. On through twelve silk scarves in the air at once and seven knives, and we even knew when he set his torches on fire and got eight torches in the air all at once and caught them without burning himself. We laughed and shouted encouragement and applauded this remarkable performance. We couldn’t see it, but we believed it. We gave him a standing ovation. On Christmas Eve in church – a standing ovation! He held up his hand for silence, and the congregation sat down. The juggler wasn’t through. He was going to do an encore.
            He started juggling things we couldn’t quite recognize. What’s this? Chickens? Birds? Some kind of tree. Rings. One off of each finger. Five? Five gold rings. Got it. “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” He was going to juggle one of everything in the Twelve Days. The partidge, the pear tree, and all the rest. Impossible. But he was doing it. A swan. A goose and an egg. I was thinking, he’ll never get the maid and the cow off the ground, but with a great heaving effort, he did it. After that, the leaping lady and the dancing lord and the drum with drummer were a piece of cake. Every gift was in the air – way, way up in the air, because this was a lot of stuff. And as each piece came around, we knew what it was and shouted out its name as he caught it and threw it back into the air again. Fantastic! Nobody had ever done this before. The juggler was laughing. The congregation cheered like a crowd at a championship game when a last-minute score won it for the home team. The juggler suddenly clapped his hands loudly and stood still. One finger in front of his lips called for silence. And silence came.
            We stood looking at him and he at us – in the most powerful and meaningful moment of quiet I’ve witnessed at Christmas Eve. The sermon was supposed to follow the juggler. And it did. But it was not I who spoke. We were all addressed by a sermon of eloquent instructive silence. The silence in which we absorbed the power of the vision we had of the impossible event we had wished into being. The silence in which we thought about our capacity to realize things we can sometimes only imagine. Some of the most wonderful things have to be believed to be seen. Like flying reindeer and angels. Like peace on earth, goodwill, hope and joy. Real because they can be imagined into being. Christmas is not a date on a calendar but a state of mind.
Someone began to sing “Silent Night.” The small candles of those in the front were lit and they passed the flame on to the candles of those in rows behind them. The church filled with light. And we filed out of the church singing into the night and went home, taking our light with us.

Authentically yours, and with much love,


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Attitude of Gratitude

The word gratitude comes from the Latin ‘gratia’ meaning favor, charm and thanks. It is similar to the Sanskrit word ‘gmati’ meaning, he praises. Today I feel grateful. This warmth in my body is calling me to get creative and express it…give it away.

My son just got back from school and writing some grueling exams. I plan on grinding up some dark roast, making his favorite omlettee, maybe even frothing his cappuccino as he claims the sofa for a well deserved day of relaxation. In truth I am not into sports on TV but with gratitude as my eau de cologne I only see how his happiness fills me with joy. So I cater and think of simple ways to let him know he is cared for. In truth it is these little acts of kindness that grow my appreciation and nourish me at the same time. There are not separate doorways one called giving and the other receiving. They are one. In the very moment I give thanks, I receive it.

I am grateful for my morning brew, gorgeous dark beans with a hint of chocolate. I am grateful that my holiday dog is coming to stay today. I am grateful for this home and the huge canvas vision board I will finish today endowing it with artistic representations of my hearts desire. And the people...all of the beautiful lights that surround me. Just thinking about it cultivates more of this delicious feeling.

Melanie Beattie, a writer who first opened my eyes to the ache of co-dependency in relationship, writes, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

And if you are not feeling well, if you are lost in the veil of suffering, gratitude is the quickest way I know to shift out of it. Make a list, make a call, send an email. Each action generates more of those delightful bubbles that can accompany the state of gratitude, the state of grace.

Yes, I do love that feeling of grace. It touches my vision of tomorrow with the gentle sweetness of a mother’s hand on her child’s brow. It includes hope and possibility and openness to surprises. I have no idea what will happen tomorrow but I trust that if I keep resonating with gratitude today whatever it is will support me to expand and grow. Maybe it will even make me laugh out loud!  Living in gratitude makes me feel unconditionally loved and that’s a feeling I cannot live without. I once read that when we practice gratitude it’s as if we are practicing feeling loved. That concept intrigues me and inspires me.

So I am going to go practice some more now and maybe even reach out to someone who has been on my ‘I am not so happy with you list’ in order to ripple out and radiate my true essence. Even the struggles have inherent wisdom and opportunity to stretch and grow beyond our littleness.

I will never forget the day many years ago when I called my ex husband after years of living in the war zone of legal issues. I survived those times with as much grace as I could muster and when I failed at that task I stick handled my fear like a psychotic hockey puck. 
The learning was tremendous and I woke up from the dream one day, dropped with a thud into a new knowing of my essential self and realized that EVERYTHING that had happened during those times of strife were necessary pieces for me to grow through.

I called and thanked him. He was floored and didn’t believe me but that is not the point. What I felt was real. I thanked him and felt my heart stretch. This is the person I truly am, bigger than all the judgments I had held around his bad behavior and instead able to see the pain and fear that was driving it. And the gratitude was the knowing that if he hadn’t made his choices, painful as they were at the time , I would never have reached this willingness to now be so vulnerable…all in order to live in grace.

Charles Dickens said it so very simply, “Reflect on your present blessing-of which ever man has many-not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”

What are you grateful for?

The good, the bad …the silly?

 Who can you say thanks to today? Where are you being called to stretch?

Sleigh bells ring…are you listening?  Yes, go ahead sing it out loud.

Authentically Yours,

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A week in the life of a Christmas elf

Years ago, when my kids were small, I would run myself ragged, trying to create the most perfect Christmas for them.  It seemed important that the tree was trimmed just so, the mound of presents was enticing, and the food good and plentiful.  This was based on what I thought were perfect Christmases as I was growing up – my mom was an exceptional Christmas elf.  The house was always beautifully decorated, the baking aromas leading up to the Big Day were to die for, and everything seemed effortless.  Little did I know that it would take her weeks to recover after every season – she hid it well.  I tried to live up to her reputation and in my mind’s eye, I didn’t quite cut it.  This led me to sleepless nights, worry about finances, anxiety attacks (one so devastating that we had to cancel our own plans so I could go home to Mom so she could look after me!).  In this mode, I would get through Christmas with a smile on my face, and a deep longing in my heart for something more meaningful and less weighty.

Since Duncan’s passing, my Christmas experience includes moments of missing his antics and his tender gift giving, and I have trouble listening to and singing certain carols which remind me of him (especially if the words have anything to do with a mother kissing a tiny boy’s head). This is not to say that I haven't had some beautiful Christmas moments with Sean and my family and  dear friends.  I treasure that immensely.

But I am noticing something quite different this year.  

Let me tell you about my week that just was.  It began with a Christmas event last Sunday where my spiritual community spent the entre day putting on a worship service, enjoyed some silent time, had enough food to feed a small country, lots and lots of singing – an early Christmas Day spent with lovely people.  It was sprinkled with mishaps and tears and at the same time, a wonderfully healing day. I was heavily involved for months prior, and yet unlike other years, I didn’t collapse into a state of exhaustion.  I couldn’t.  My week was just beginning.

The next day saw me at a friend’s early Christmas dinner party, where this time I was simply the lucky recipient of some fabulous food.  Okay, so I made some appetizers, but that was it.  Next was the local residents’ association and their Christmas dinner.  I helped a bit with this one, but my main job was to help make sure the food was enjoyed.  No problem with that task.  Wednesday, my class, and Thursday a business event which was again, centered around incredible food.  I was a bit more involved with this one as I was helping on the fund-raising side of things.  (Did I mention the food was amazing?)

On Friday, while I didn’t have any social commitments, my cottage needed some attention – it looked like a bomb had gone off inside and I was having people over the next evening for a progressive appetizer party. I needed to tidy up, decorate, finish putting the lights up, and prepare some goodies for my fellow cottagers. At the same time, I had to learn a bunch of new songs as it seemed the party I was going to the following night had a live band with a missing harmony singer.  I was invited to sit in with this 7-piece band.  I hadn’t met any of them before, nor did I know most of their repertoire so it behooved me to go to a sound check and short rehearsal after work/before my own party.  You get the picture.  It was an action-packed Saturday to be sure.

Sunday I decided to sleep in.  Maybe do a little shopping for myself.  Take a little break.  Well, I started out to do some errands, and it didn’t go well.  Everywhere I went, they didn’t have what I was looking for.  Clearly I wasn’t meant to be anywhere but in my cozy little cottage, watching the Grinch, fire alight, all my Christmas decorations twinkling, with a pile of leftover appetizers within arm’s reach, and my knitting project close by should I be able to summon up the energy to hold the needles and create Christmas booties for my darling little godson, Hugo. It was a lovely day, although I admit to a few tears when the Grinch’s heart grew three times its size…

Why do I tell you all this?  I’m actually helping myself realize that Christmas isn’t defined by how busy one is or isn’t, or by exhausting all one’s resources to “produce” the yearly holiday event.  For me, it is a state of being.  I can have it whether I’m at a day-long function with lots to do or sitting in front of my fire by myself, relishing a much-loved Dr. Seuss story.  I am at peace with this Christmas thing.  I’m not just trying to get through it. 

Authentically yours,

Buns (with Christmas bells on!)

P.S. I can’t wait until Christmas Day’s post… I have a wonderful story for you!  And it doesn’t hurt that I’m off to Hawaii three days later!  Adventure awaits!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pretty Tree, Scary tree

I love Christmas.
The crowded stores, the incessant carols, the sleet and hail, not even the contractions around finances and spending, ever succeeds in dampening my enthusiasm for this time of year. I just plain love it.

Give me the smell of Christmas baking, spruce boughs alight with tiny lights, pristine mountains and wood burning fireplaces, throw in all the smiling at strangers, just cause, and I light up like a Christmas tree. If we all had a sound track that followed us around ( and in my dream world we all do) mine would be I Really Can’t Stay/ It’s Cold Outside…the Ella Fitzgerald version.

There is something about holidays that brings out the best in me although it wasn’t always that way. I remember after my divorce feeling the ache for family and the corresponding loneliness so acutely. I now see that as a period of growth, a dark night of the soul if you will that gave birth to new understanding, the knowing that I always have choice about how I feel in the present moment.

What’s important to me now is the joy I am capable of whenever I decide it’s what I want, what I deserve. It’s just a song away, just a laugh away, just a breath away, as I gaze up to the heavens and wish for a sudden flutter of transcendent white from the sky. I only have two burning questions at time of year. Where is that darned snow and where is my holiday dog, Roxy?

She is a huge, red, curly haired bundle of loving energy and I miss her. I look forward to her owners going out of town so she can come and live with me and I can be a dog parent once again. In my world, Christmas is not complete without a dog and at least a few romps in the snow. It also calls for many rituals without which I would feel loss.   It all starts when the first star appears on Christmas Eve, although the decorating and preparation began long before.
We have 13 courses for our Christmas feast.  There is always a place set at the table to honor the departed and if anyone knocks on your door that night, you ask them to join you for your meal. The table is covered with linen under which is straw, inside which are hidden candies that the kids (big or little) try to steal without being detected. We raise shots of ice chilled Vodka with profound and heartfelt toasts and we share a blessed wafer before we sit for dinner where you connect with a person deeply and express what is in your heart for them and your wishes for the coming year. It’s lovely and emotional and newbies introduced to the ceremony only feel shy for a second till the warmth of the moment melts tension away.

On Christmas morning everyone who has slept over jumps into the same bed and we open stockings, one wrapped gift at a time, while enjoying champagne and bagels, lox and cream cheese. Rituals radiate a certain familiar graciousness and bind the participants in memory that goes far beyond just eating and getting presents. It is the glue of connection and appreciation.

And after Christmas ….are you ready!!!!!  Buns and I are going to Hawaii for New Years Eve.

I am so excited I could scream, jump up and down and shake, shake, shake… shake my bootie! We are going to a 25th year wedding reunion, on the beach in Maui. My friends got married to Van Halen and I think Shake Your Bootie might have been on the charts at that time too, although god knows things were so cloudy back in those days that my time related details are not to be counted on as accurate.  Suffice to say Buns and I will keep you in the loop if we can drag ourselves out of our beach chairs long enough to reach a computer.

Christmas ritual and snow, palm trees and sand…really does it get any better? I guess we will have to see what new learnings the island will bring. Travel has a tendency to invite things like that and certainly when we two gal pals decide to have fun, adventure is a given. Heck it happens when we go for a drive so I am grinning imagining it in the tropics.

Authentically yours

Monday, November 28, 2011

Oops. My timing’s off.

In more ways than one.  I have an agreement with Marty that I will write my post every other Sunday and on more than one occasion I have missed the mark.  And now we’re into a busy time of the year to be sure, and I’m still honing my juggling skills.

This week I learned something really important about timing though.  Part of it relates to a little plaque my Mom has in her kitchen and I have looked at it for years.  It reads “The hurrieder we go, the behinder we get.”  And although that little saying has been indelibly printed on my mind, it rarely had its desired effect.  I am known for getting things done “toot sweet”. And often at a cost to either me or those involved, or both.

What I am realizing though is that there is much more to be gained by taking the time to “be” while “doing”.  I don’t want to get to the end of my life and feel good because I got lots done.  I want to experience each moment (good or bad, comfortable or uncomfortable) rather than focus on the outcome and be numb until I get there. (I actually designed a little notepad entitled the "To Be List" rather than the "To Do List" and it is quite popular.  I should take a page out of my own book, as it were!)

If I’m not present, I’m not respecting other people’s sense of time or how my actions my affect them.  I can be a downright bulldozer and not even realize it.  And I’m missing a lot in the process. 

I recently stumbled upon The Slow Movement (thanks Susannah!) and am quite entranced by it.  (Probably the fact that it is in Italy has something to do with it!).  Check out the link… I think they are on to something.

In the meantime, I hope all of you can experience how time actually expands when you sink into each delicious moment.  And I hope this will help to carry you through a traditionally hectic season.

Time to go!  Talk soon …

Authentically yours,


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Don't Ask Alice!

"I knew who I was this morning, but I have changed so many times since then..."

Perception as you know is one of my favorite topics. A never ending source of eyebrow raising, head shaking wonderment when I try to wrap my head around how people can see the same thing, feel the same energy, or hear the same words and interpret them so differently it’s like they are speaking two different languages.

Last week getting to know an internet interest by phone I was told “You sound so forceful.” Of course in my world I was simply being passionate about a topic near and dear to my heart and I tend to speak with lots of enthusiasm. Then on Wednesday I was appreciated by a man who I was interviewing for a radio show, he said ‘What a lovely interview, thanks for being so gentle.” I know I spoke to him with the same kind of enthusiasm that I tend to lean toward, yet one person experienced me as forceful and the other as gentle. Give me another nibble of that bread Alice.

Needless to say one sentiment warmed my heart, the other raised my hackles.  I think it’s obvious which is which but because I can no longer assume anyone sees the world as I do I will spell it out.
 In being told I am forceful I hear judgment and a dark shadow looms over the comment as if I am emoting some undesirable aspect of the feminine.  Sad but true. If we woman were Amazonian warriors defending home and hearth I suppose being told you were forceful would be a compliment but in our culture it is synonymous with the masculine. He is rather forceful. Not necessarily a bad thing depending on the situation, but she is forceful …yeah…you get the picture. Hearing that makes me bristle and feel hard inside.

Then to contrast, when I hear a male tell me that I am gentle, the first words out of my mouth were ahhhh, how sweet, I say. Thank you for saying that. I feel all girlish and soft, warm and friendly, appreciative and open hearted. So is this me, my makeup, my past conditioning or is it inherent in the comment itself that is being directed toward me?  Is one comment actually inviting defense and the other connection?  Sure feels that way to me.

I do notice that one is an expression solely about me and the focus is ON me, ‘you are forceful’ doesn’t leave room for much more than either yes its true or no its not, agree or disagree, in a felt sense it’s a closed door. The other comment includes the speaker who is experiencing me and it’s clearly positive. It is a comment that says, you make me feel this way, not you ARE this way and I respond to that difference even if it’s only a linguistic one. It feels like a bud unfurling.

So why is this important?  I think I am at a stage where I am learning to discern in a new way which individuals are right to have in my life and which are not. Being a person who knows that upset and conflict is also a call to action and introspection in order to facilitate growth doesn’t help matters. If anything it has kept me involved with people longer than is helpful simply because my criteria for walking away is not as simple as whether an interaction feels good or not. It is far more complex since I won’t walk away from personal evolution. I know the message is coming for my own good and whether I get it with this person or the next, it will not stop until I DO get it. So I hang in thinking, well might as well do the work now.

 But you know what….I am currently wondering if perhaps it doesn’t have to be so complex. If the universe is giving me messages maybe some of them, MOST of them could be good ones, ones that feel lovely and warm and inclusive. Maybe it doesn’t have to be so hard!  I will still use upset to grow and I stay committed to looking at myself when activated but I am no longer sure it has to be as much work as I have made it in the past, or so much struggle. With the fellow who saw me as forceful, it feels hard. Granted the jury is still out since we haven’t met. He did make references to me being like a puffer fish (you know puffed up to look threatening and yet really soft inside) which doesn’t really bode well, but I did find that kind of funny and certainly at times true.

All in all though, I would rather a man simply looked past my defense and knew he could melt me. That kind of confidence is attractive. Not talking about my defense to me but standing firm and clear in action even if I circle around in feeling.  It is the masculine on purpose, unwilling to wither or shrink in the face of the feminine no matter what face it is wearing in its ever changing arsenal of feeling. 

Ahhhh, the longing to be met, to be seen and understood and in equal measure to understand another.

And yes, human, social, evolutionary skill sets are required for the successful and enjoyable execution of this dance. And the dance is not called, ‘you are this’ or ‘you are that’. A man who tells me who I am without me asking is setting themselves up for a whack!  It lights me up and not in a good way.
The dance is also not called ‘give me direction so I can decide if I should take a risk with you.’  A man who is looking for direction from a woman is also setting themselves up for a whack.

Rather,the steps of patient receiving and perceiving, listening and reflecting, curious questions that lead  in a solid and clear direction when I DO offer myself, even if its tentative at first like a soft shy colt…THAT is where you separate the men from the boys. Hint to guys....this does require action from you, a specific invitation to a woman's essence.

Can you imagine if men knew they were being called to confidently lead a woman into this response, to melt any resistance rather than believe it.

And reciprocally, that the feminine is to inspire this kind of desire to lead in a man. I think I am just learning the nuances of that task. How can I inspire a man to lead with certainty and clarity, yes I am playing with that.
But only the man himself can know where he is going, that is something that he hqs had to have wrestled with individually before I enter the scene. He would have to know his path and also how it includes and supports his beloved other, his woman’s healing as well as all those they encounter.

Yup, nobody said I was going for small potatoes! I want the whole enchilada. Ok, too many food groups, must be time for supper. No more Alice confusion, she is after all 10 feet tall!

Happy Happy Sunday ya all, the day of brunches and gratitude and the New York Times.

Authentically Yours,


Sunday, November 13, 2011

He said, she said ...

You might want to make yourself a nice cup of hot cocoa before you start reading.  Get comfortable. It’s a bit of a longer ride than usual.

(For those of you who have just tuned in, “The Robert” and I reconnected a year ago after almost 25 years of not seeing each other.  It was a long-distance thing and although a wonderful experience, it had its challenges.  I chose to end it in April and we hadn’t spoken for almost six months at his request.)

This week, The Robert was soundly nudged by the universe to communicate with me.  (He had important renewal information that he realized I needed in order to keep this blog online.) 

While he had me “on the line” as it were, he decided to share with me how he had been feeling about what had happened between us.  I’m not going to share the first six or seven emails with you … suffice it to say that it was liberally laced (on both sides) with perceived sarcasm, blame, anger and attacks – something that can easily happen when you are just looking at it in print.  It was really uncomfortable.  As the content went into a nosedive, The Robert deftly managed to pull us out of it by asking for a phone conversation.  I agreed.  When we talked, we covered a lot of ground, both of us very surprised at how we had so profoundly misinterpreted each other’s feelings.  (In one of his emails he referred to me as a “Mystical Healer Extraordinaire”, and I took it as sarcasm, hence the references to Doctor in the following excerpts of what happened next.

He said …

I think I'm in need of one more session, if it’s all right with you. I loved the talk with you yesterday, but I didn’t get to the real source of my anger/angst. I was sort of blown away by your perspective on things and I got a bit sidetracked. I have to get this out or I won’t be able to let it go from cycling around in my head. I could write it out I suppose, but email just doesn’t cut it for this stuff, as we've seen :). xox

She said …

I have actually had to think a lot about this.  What I have come to is that I am happy to have as many conversations as you like but with a caveat or two ...

If you need to vent or attack me as a way of getting to your real source of anger or angst, then no.  I’m not in.  It’s not fruitful. 

I’d like to try and explain why.  You may have felt better after you said those things in your “shredding” p.s. to me, and that’s great.  I'm glad you got it off your chest. The thing is, it won’t last.  It will cycle again in the future because it really wasn’t what you needed to do with that anger.  And in the meantime, I take the brunt of something that really isn’t mine.  Then I react from my “I'm-not-good-enough” soft spot, you feel awful because you did it, and it starts a whole other cycle of self recrimination, anger, resentment, and so on.  While I’m far from perfect, I recognize when I react and I do try to take responsibility for it and not dump it on someone else (so I apologize and reframe). My goal is to recognize it in the moment so the yucky stuff can be dealt with head on and then we can evolve.

This may sound like I’m absolving myself of any part I played in your misery but au contraire, I play a huge part in your misery and I believe that’s one of the purposes of relationship.  I said/did things that angered and saddened you beyond belief.  I know that.  What I also know is that anger and sadness existed deep inside you before I came along.  My part in all of this (not consciously) was to cause that anger and sadness to surface so you have a fighting chance to deal with it.  Imagine going through our lives with all that buried?  I am only half alive if I choose to carry that kind of stuff with me.  My practice is to continue to notice when that shit comes up, and then choose to let it go.  I don’t want to bury anything!  (I’ve had a lot of practice in this area as you know.)

So, my dear friend, over to you.  If you are interested in these terms of engagement, then give me a call. I really enjoyed hearing your voice yesterday. oxoxdrknowitallxoxoxoxox

He said …

Hi Dr.,

Nicely said and thought out. I agree with you, that makes so much sense. I thought about it for quite a while, too, after I sent the note, and came to a similar conclusion. It was a bad idea and would not be helpful at all. I realized it would have sounded like an attack and that’s definitely not where I want to go with you. You analyzed this so beautifully anyway, I’m sure I can use this to help fill in that worn synaptic pathway. It’s really become a meaningless feedback loop. I’m tired of it. When it starts to cycle again, I will preempt it and think of what you said here instead. It will work. New pathways.

I’m very good with where we are right now. No, I’m ecstatic. What a difference a few days can make. We’ve hit bare metal and now we can build again. Baby steps first, but steps nonetheless.

Thank you very much for your reply. This is the real encore I needed. xoxaverybigfriendlyhugxox

P.S. You should blog about the process we just went through. I think it will make a great article. Maybe even a two-parter. Mention my alias, I’d like that.

P.P.S.  Love you.

She said …

Dear The Robert.  I was actually going to ask you if I could blog about this.  It is so rich is it not?  I love you too.  xoxox

He said …

Rich ... my sentiments exactly. Good for 2 or 3 installments at least! xoxox

I’m happy to report that while we aren’t communicating every day, we have the wherewithal to catch ourselves if we stray from the heart of our deep friendship.

Thank you Robert.  xoxox
Authentically yours,


Sunday, November 6, 2011

You Know!

When your body talks, are you listening?

So many people think there is something wrong with them or that they have an issue, never quite realizing that the only issue any of us have is when we stop listening to our essence and get stuck trying so hard to find solutions at a content level. Judging, evaluating, criticizing…it's enough to drive anyone off the deep end.

In truth if you were willing to live inside your body and LISTEN to the information it is offering you in EVERY moment you would feel a sense of freedom and ease beyond stories and challenges and so called ‘issues”.  Even if the sensations you found were uncomfortable, they would be authentic. Authenticity combined with acceptance, generates a state of love inside you, for yourself!

Here’s the headline…THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU!  Nothing at all.  You are not the problem, never were and never will be. Your perception on the other hand may just need some attitudinal tweaking so you can discern if the filter you are viewing the world, yourself and others through, is working for you.
 And then if not…CHANGE IT. 

When we move away from our inner body experience judging it as something we do not want to feel, we are in effect saying there is something wrong with us. Instead, DECIDE to see yourself and the world, looking through a filter that says ‘the world is a benevolent force that wants nothing but the best for me in every given instance.”

Of course you can choose your own lens and make it personally relevant. You know what your ego mind says about you in your darkest hour, flip it, choose the opposite, and make it positive, accepting and expansive. It could be “There is nothing wrong with me” or “I accept all parts of myself, I am ok”, choose something that works for you.

Then DECIDE to breathe into yourself focusing on what sensations you are experiencing in the present moment. Breath into what you notice. Tension in your belly, breath into that…tightness in your throat…breathe into that. Follow the sensory impulse and allow yourself to be in relationship with it, rather than try to change it. Then ask your body, what is important for me to know about this? Big deep breath and invite the pictures, words, or feelings to arise.

Your psyche is like an iceberg that has only a small amount of itself above water, the rest, 80-85% is buried below the surface…unconscious. The conscious mind above the water sees only water in the immediate vicinity and often will explain its feeling state by what it sees. Your unconscious mind is below the surface but accessible thorough your breath which then can transmit information to your mind. This knowing resourceful state is always available to you and waits patiently to bring you deeper into your essence, into the truth of who you really are. It is your birthright to tap into this depth and wisdom and it is your mission to ripple it out into the world.

If you follow the present experience in your body, wherever it leads, breathing into the next sensation and then the next,  it will inevitably take you deeper down, through the many layers of your psyche into the very core of your soul.

And because this is a friendly benevolent universe, if you are not listening to the truth of who you are in all your glory and vivacity, the world responds by giving you a tap on the head. If you don’t listen to that, it can become a 2 by 4 and if you keep ignoring the message, a whole house can crumbles around you. Stop shooting the messenger, those people who activate or annoy or disturb you and instead recognize that if you have a reaction, you are being called to follow it into yourself and learn something new.

So that has been my week…following impulses into greater awareness, inviting sensation and acceptance and staying open and curious about what it is all for. Lots of light bulbs for me around the masculine and feminine energies that are in me. And now to practice my insights!

It is not knowledge that is power; it is the application of knowledge that is power.

You  know.

Authentically Yours,

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Are you wearing your mask?

After all, ’tis the season … I’m still trying to get the last vestiges of make-up off from last night’s frivolities!

I’m also reliving my recent visit to Ontario to see my Mom and Dad, three sisters and brother, and the rest of the gang. It was a wonderfully wholesome trip – ranging from big family meals, to picking pumpkins at my brother’s farm, to raking leaves (using the Belvedere Flick* method), to playing music until the wee hours of the morning. It seems to me that each visit is better than the last and I am wondering why that is.  At first I thought it was because of something that my family was doing “for” me and then I realized it is actually my doing (or rather, being).  Every time I visit, I allow more of the undefended “me” to show up, and risk having them know me for who I really am – not that “warts and all” type of revealing, but rather one of “I am more and more aligned with my essential Self” where I don’t need to make excuses, defend, or justify myself.  I am comfortable in my own skin, and so they can be comfortable with me. 

At the same time, as I continue to be more often, I am more apt to notice where others still hide or defend their position of who they want us to think they are.  They are not necessarily doing this consciously of course, but I do recognize it now more readily.  It was interesting talking to one of my sisters about it … she happened to mention that one of her friends had made a disparaging remark to her and I could tell it had hurt her feelings.  I gently suggested that perhaps the remark had more to do with her friend than her.  I invited her to look underneath her friend’s mask, as it were, and see if she could see something different.  What was her friend really saying?  What was she throwing out at my sister to ward off any discovery my sister might make about her?  In the end, while she was pretty entrenched in her hurt, it was an opportunity for me to model what I espouse … truth.  Or at the very least, getting to it. Although it may not have registered as an epic moment for my sister, for me it was a tiny but significant stand that I took as me.  I was naming “what is” neutrally and with the potential of healing a hurt or educating another person about me.

So what was my disguise last night?  (Yes, I can hear you wondering.) Well, I didn’t wear a mask but I did use copious amounts of eyeliner and mascara and hairspray and went as a reasonable facsimile of Stevie Nicks.  And yes, I sang a Stevie song (Landslide), and then settled in to watch everyone else revel in their masquerades.

Happy Hallowe’en!

Authentically yours,


*a wrist action used with the rake to cause said leaves to jump from the lawn onto the tarp.  Originally developed by the landowners of Belvedere Place, it has become a trademark move.  (I'm thinking it would make a great band name ... just think ... "Live at the Orpheum!  The Belvedere Flick!  One night only!)  Okay.  I'll stop now.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Catching my Breath

Have you ever noticed that when you truly surrender to what is, stop trying to get or grasp, trust that all is well and that everything occurring has your best interest at heart, then, the very things you want, seem to effortlessly navigate themselves toward you?
I imagine floating down a river, the current is the universal force for expansion with a creative knowledge all its own. While the river is connected to source any attempt to figure it out is like stepping outside of the river and examining it under a microscope. You may identify its parts but never feel the enormity of its loving force because your perception of connection with the whole has been severed.
But back into the river …

As I float, I reach overhead…arms akimbo…languishing in the stretch of the present moment. If I was to make a sound it could be the ahhhh of exhaling, of letting go. And this is not navel gazing for the sake of navel gazing! The river is going someplace.  I am called to action but it is the action of the conscious, soft-hearted warrior.

 My definition of warrior is a person who hunts their own heart. To me this is a lifelong task, easier on some days, harder on others, but always with the intention to extend love to others AND to myself.
Just having this knowledge that we are called to surrender to the deep wisdom of our own hearts in every present moment doesn’t mean it happens. But what can occur consistently is acceptance, so that even if you follow a contraction, negative thought, limiting belief or get reactive, even then, grace is waiting for you.

 Grace is always waiting to envelope you and simply accept you in all your humanness. It’s only call is to invite you back into the river, back into connection with yourself and to the knowing that you are and always have been, always will be, connected to source.  When you connect to source inside yourself you are connected to source inside everyone. That is the energetic web that ripples out and joins us all. The realization, the choice, the ability to see the beauty in loving our flawed humanity this way, is breathtaking.

 I have set a pretty high bar for myself in terms of ethics and behavior.  I am learning to include acceptance and tolerance for myself and others when I miss the mark. Accountability for mistakes, now that’s important, that is in the flow of the river. Criticizing oneself or others for making mistakes, interpreting them and making assumptions about what they mean, well that is definitely on the banks of the river and sets you up for an experience of separation and feeling not good enough.

You do feel separate when you view the river from its banks… and yet who choose to step out?

Candace Pert, who wrote a book called ‘The Molecules of Emotion’, is a neurophysicist who talks about the body/mind connection. She describes how information is exchanged between the brain and the body through various information substances called peptides. These peptides fit into our cells like a key into a lock and then a message is sent to the receptor on the cell itself, moving eventually to the brain and consciousness. There are specific peptides for every emotion. This is huge! It means that it is not our will, our conscious mind that has direct power over the body but that it is the emotions forming this network between mind and body that influences both. 

All this sensory information undergoes a filtering process that governs what we pay attention to; it’s determined by the quantity and quality of the receptors. And guess what, while there are many receptors for emotion in certain areas of the brain they are also found throughout the body and in all the organs and also in large concentration in the belly, just below the second chakra. Those of you into energy centers know that the second chakra is the home for all our human feelings. Can you tell I am excited!

I would love to weave this science back to the metaphor of the river. Life will always evolve. Changes happen, circumstances produce various levels of anxiety and that is when all our defenses want to kick in. If you choose to feel the feelings under the sensation of your anxiety or defense from an accepting state of curiosity, then you are re-wiring yourself. You are creating new networks inside your body that will increase your ability to have choices about how you view your experience AND what you feel about it.

You can choose the meaning you attach to an experience and while you can’t control feelings, if you actually let yourself just have them, they will come and go without drama or getting stuck. It’s the thoughts, the interpretation you make about the feelings and what they mean that creates more and more peptides of the reactive feelings themselves. For instance feeling angry and then judging yourself as bad for feeling angry creates a causal loop that contributes to the creation of more anger peptides. And yet, deciding which feelings are good and which are bad, is not the answer. Feeling them without interpretation or blaming yourself or anyone else, is essential to accepting them and inviting flow.

You can have your feelings, you are NOT your feelings. You can have your thoughts, you are NOT your thoughts. When you breathe into what is, in the body and stop attributing it to something outside yourself, then you can relax and accept. That state of grace automatically shifts the feeling (how can it not) and that shifting creates wiring, pathways and more peptides that will enhance your life experience. You are in the flow, not working at fixing a flow that is designed to support you. 

As I invite the feeling of inner connectedness I am inviting alignment with creation and then so many opportunities flow toward me it’s impossible to not notice and make the correlation. Surrender to what is, life feels great…fight it, control it, judge it and end up anxious, exhausted and depleted. That’s a BIG current you are taking on…choosing to try to manage. Far easier to go with it and get curious about where it will take you.

 Certainly in my experience I tend to move toward places I hadn’t even yet thought of. That’s exciting. And doesn’t feel like work at all.

While outside the river, which is my body and home, the perception of my separateness is heightened. In the river, I can anchor to a sense of deep remembering that is always supportive and inclusive.

One of my favorite thoughts that lives only in the river is ‘Who knows if this is good or this is bad?’  Breathing into that thought, opening to not knowing the answer but trusting what will unfold, will lead to delightful and synchronistic events and encounters. It is the body invitation, like a prayer, that invites more flow.

 In essence this is the theme for Buns and Marty’s adventures. Invite the unfolding and the creative force of the universe, while floating in our rivers, unique individuals, yet both connected to source.

The water is soooo delicious when felt this way. I guess I am saying I am so delicious when felt this way.

See you at home.

Authentically Yours,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I think I’m back.

People who have known me for a long time associate me with cooking.  With a passion.  I used to love throwing big dinner parties, often with a theme, and always choosing recipes I had never made before because for me, that was living on the edge.  I also liked inviting combinations of people that you wouldn’t normally see together.  It always made for lively evenings full of provocative conversation and occasionally unlikely friendships would be forged.

Since Duncan passed away though, my druthers for hosting anything involving this type of effort waned dramatically.  I think part of it was, I didn’t have the energy for it and part of it was, while I used to enjoy spending a whole day by myself getting ready for these soirées, I was avoiding spending long periods of time on my own, where the lingering sadness of his departure would take centre stage in my mind, and I didn’t want to invite that into my day.

In the past three years, I have happily been involved in others’ get-togethers and I would don my apron and cook to my heart’s content in their company and in their kitchens.  In a way, I had gone back to putting training wheels on my bike, and up until now was reluctant to take them off.

Something happened this Thanksgiving.  All of a sudden my old penchant for going all out came back.  I was offered my friend’s beach house (with a full kitchen and a beautiful dining room overlooking the ocean), and I went to work.  I had my son Sean and his partner, her sister and partner, a surprise guest that my son brought (turned out to be my nephew freshly landed from Toronto), three of my single girlfriends, and two “orphan” guys who I knew would appreciate a home-cooked meal.  I had a great time puttering at the stove, creating the ambience, wrapping little surprise gifts for everyone, and at complete peace with being alone, doing what I love to do.  With Duncan at my side, buoying me in spirit, I was in heaven.  With Sean sitting with me at dinner, being his usual funny and charismatic self, I was a pretty happy Mom and friend.

I have a great life.  I am so thankful.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


YES is such a powerful word. Yes is movement, affirmation, invitation. Yes is a promise to hope and open to possibility….even and especially, when you are stepping into the unknown. Yes is a demonstration of faith that there is inherent good in every choice if you fully embrace its learnings.

I am noticing that as I make space in myself by allowing emotions and revelations to arise, as I, without judgment release them, invitations present themselves in front of me, fluttering like flags. They are not solid opportunities to co-create until I say YES. That is the interesting part to me.

If you allow your mind to dictate what you say yes to, you could get paralyzed in the fear of not knowing all the steps. Ego mind loves to know the steps in advance. If you listen to the heart, say yes based on desire, then you are called to take one step at a time, each appearing only after you have stepped into the next new spot. It’s like the view changes as you move forward and you can only see your next choice of possibility clearly, from that new vantage point.

So here I am with my focus on how to express all my gifts, to ripple them out into the world, to co-create fulfilling possibilities that not only generate excitement but income as well and I can only hear the word YES.
Yes to trusting people, yes to trusting myself, yes to trusting that what I have to give will be received by those who are wanting to receive it and yes even to the fear or feelings that are uncomfortable. I know this all sounds very vague but for me it’s real. I promise to supply more details as what I am saying yes to moves into concrete form. For the moment I wanted to share the awareness around how it makes me feel to be stretching beyond my comfort zone in my professional work.

I have posted a lot about doing this personally and it’s so clear to me that I can no longer separate the personal from the professional. I am called to relate to people that I am to work with in the same vein that I relate to friends or lovers….sharing depth of spirit, values and vision.

Yikes…the plot grows thicker. While to my ego mind it may seem that I am really narrowing my playing field in this attempt at such precise mutuality, to my heart and soul it is a liquid honey.
 Surrounding oneself with a like minded tribe committed to a similar path only makes sense, at least  if I am to feel ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.’ And oh, I so love to feel that. Whether it’s two people in intimacy stretching for a glimpse of divine union or a group of co-workers who agree to live with radical honesty in both professional and personal situations, the desire for this depth of connection and integrity fills my every cell.

Feeling the WE is so exciting to me!

I am currently working with a part in myself I am not so crazy about. I was talking to Buns a few weeks ago about it, tracking my judgment of this energy in me and she asked about my father. The feeling in me is a kind of sharp toned urgency when I am late or feeling responsible for many details, many people, as if the fate of the world is on my shoulders. In those moments my tone can be abrupt and hold an almost military ‘listen up ‘ kind of quality. Now it is great skill when called for. It is what allows me to pull together a crowd and hold space for hundreds of people. And it’s totally fantastic when there is a crisis or state of emergency. I have no problem leading and I can lead big but there are moments when this skill kicks in and I begin to organize people and it’s entirely NOT necessary.

 My dad had a short fuse, a loud booming voice that scared people and often even made them cry. I was always determined to never be like that. I have always said to those closest to me, that one of the most important things for me is that they know I would NEVER hurt them on purpose. And now, here I was in touch with how my version of that same energy that was in my dad was impacting people in my life. It wasn’t pretty and yet I would never understand the energy in me if I didn’t understand it in him!
 Here is the cool thing about revelations, once you connect the dots and the light goes on, it’s like a ton of information floods in. As a deep sadness welled up in me I saw my dad in the war, 16 years old, just a kid really and he was in a state of crisis…panic. His buddies were racing ahead as bullets rained on them. They were to move as a unit, Dad tried to gather up equipment, he lagged behind.
They died, he didn’t.

The psyche is a wonderful thing. It will create a guard, a defense to ensure you never feel the pain of the original wounding. In my dad’s story his feelings would have been helplessness…powerlessness…guilt, all based on a sense of failure and ultimately a belief that he was somehow responsible. He created a guard that sounded like a dictator to keep things and people in check, in order to never feel those feelings again.  My dad died years ago yet the feelings live on…in me!

Those same feelings are wired into my body memory. That’s how it goes. The losses that our family does not feel and grieve and heal are systemically transmitted to future generations. This can go back one generation or several, all the way to ancient ancestors. If you do not grieve fully your losses, they will be passed on.

The value of opening to this knowledge is that when you do, you can feel what they could not and actually stop the defense pattern from being passed on. The defense pattern here was that sharp barking voice telling people what to do. I thought my dad was mean and a rage-aholic. I could feel now what was driving that defensive posture. I felt such compassion for him.  That was huge for me. Understanding and forgiving my dad, loving the helplessness in me and forgiving myself, knowing it was not at all who I was but rather what I was carrying, created such space inside me, I felt serenely emptied. A deep kind of peace.

Allow everything inside to come up, feel everything, forgive it all and let go…YES.

And now all these very cool opportunities are appearing waiting for the word to come in.
My yes comes with an anchor to MY essence and values.

I know as I let go of old wiring, ancestral wiring, I create space for magnificent possibilities. I can choose what to replace the old program with. And I continue to learn to love a part of me that holds this feeling of helplessness. I am not quite finished but I don’t have to hide it from myself any longer.

Helplessness and powerlessness are not a sign of weakness. Feeling those feelings is one of the strongest things I have ever done. I am feeling what my dad could not, and I gratefully let it all go with ease.


Authentically Yours,

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Capital “T” Truth

I can’t believe where my brain can take me if I just let it take over and do the driving.  Here I am, at the height of excitement about having manifested a self-contained little cottage (within walking distance of work), tenants for my condo (against all odds), and some interesting diversities that my store can incorporate to help out during the shoulder seasons.  In short, life is grand and the future looks rosy.

So now, down to business. I fire off an email to my future tenants, asking them if they would like me to leave them some dishes and other paraphernalia – they are a young couple just starting out and I have lots of extras.  I don’t hear from them for five days.  I have already started moving my stuff to my cottage.  I have committed to a lease.  My brain suddenly jumps into the driver’s seat and starts heading down the road of “they haven’t called back because they’ve decided not to rent your condo and they are afraid to tell you”.  I, now firmly established as a mere passenger, allow this to be the direction of my thoughts. There were a few moments where I recognized that these were exactly that – just thoughts, and that I really didn’t know what was going on in their world.  But for the most part, I was allowing this to be the destination.

And then I snapped out of it.  What I came to was this.  There was possibly some truth in this.  It could actually be that these two had come up against some insurmountable obstacle and had changed their minds about moving.  But rather than arguing with this possible reality, I began to sit with “so if it were true, what would I do?” And this was interesting.  It turned my worst fear into an opportunity to be creative about my next steps.  It became less fearful.  I made friends with the worst-case scenario. And all throughout this process, this little voice kept saying, “yes, this is what you need to do – and if you do it right, it will all work out”.  But I also knew in my heart of hearts, that this wasn’t quite it either.  Was the point of all this to manipulate the unknown in my thoughts so that I could make it turn out in my favour? 

No.  Not quite.  What I came to realize was that the point was to go through this process genuinely and actually be okay with whatever happened.  Not to do this so it would work out according to what I wanted.  But to surrender, submit, (and yes, both those words have charge for me), and lean into the comfort, strength, and absolute reliability of capital “T” truth.  This may sound like small potatoes to you, but for me, it was incredibly liberating.

Now I’m like a kid with a new toy.  I am finding all sorts of ways to play with this.  I have such gratitude for my teachers who have been sharing this with me for over ten years.  I know.  I know.  It takes a while to sink in.  Thank you. 

Oh, and by the way, my tenants emailed me at 2 o’clock this morning apologizing for not being in touch.  They had had an incredibly busy week, but were looking forward with great excitement to moving in to my place.  And I’m okay with that too.

Authentically yours,


Sunday, September 11, 2011


        When He touches me I clutch the sky’s sheets
                                the way other
                           the earth’s weave
                                     of clay
                       Any real ecstasy is a sign
                            you are moving
                                                                            in the right
                                                                 don’t let any prude tell
                                                                         you otherwise.
                                                                                                                           St Teresa of Avila

There are many mystics both from the east and west who have invited a sensual relationship with divinity. They make no apologies about using the word God.  For me it’s a struggle, having been raised catholic and witnessing so much hypocrisy around organized religion. So while I shy away from the word, I am drawn to the experience. My soul demands it and will not stop sighing until I have opened as fully as possible to translating the knowing of the divine, of love, into the physical.

My soul is non dogmatic by design…and practical by nature. I want to co-create this experience with another mortal that invites touch to render all obstacles, all closures and body contractions, mere illusion.  My divine co-conspirator will help me when I quicken with fear and I too will penetrate with certainty where he is wavering. There may always be areas of  fear in our perfectly flawed  humanity yet the nakedness of the heart will prevail.

 And isn’t it strange how very similar fear and excitement can feel in the body. The shift from one to the other is a mere thought away, a mere shift in perception.

Now imagine if you will, the reaction of revealing this desire over a chilled Martini on a first date, serious attention having been paid to the mammoth olives that glisten in oily shimmers of gin. The sunny patio radiates that particular west coast glow that makes us forget it ever rains.

The response will vary, from furrowed brow to raised forehead, to a blank stare of incomprehension, never fully reaching a total eye roll, the restraints of polite convention obviously still exuding their grip, we are Canadian after all.

In the past I would have considered toning this yearning down a bit, at least in presentation. I would have talked myself into holding back explaining to myself how with time and growing trust the proposal of ecstatic union might not seem so strange, so out of the box. Yet, knowing this intense heart state can be generated internally whenever I speak freely I am left softly unattached to the response I get. I have had to learn to cultivate this non attachment when speaking of something so profoundly relevant to my soul.
The choice is always mine to open or close, to act as love or act as fear. And that choice will ultimately define whether I am able to embrace the sky with abandon.
Besides, step one in the move toward ecstasy has to be congruence. Whatever is inside matches what is outside.

And oh, when two people are able to be so transparent, in spite of fears, well joyful freedom is only a sentence away.

 Many in the new age movement talk about connection but not so many are willing to start with themselves and radical self reflective honesty. And if you don’t start there then the energy gets tied up determining what to say or do show or tell instead of determining what IS and stating that.   How else can one move to this opening to ecstasy if we are still wearing masks or concerned about reaction and strategically holding back information.

 You don’t make love with your clothes on. You don’t achieve depth and true divine intimacy without getting emotionally naked! 
And yes, sometimes facing one’s fear is an inherent part of that process.
How has it happened that this is now my bliss? I have known for some time that when I accept and reveal myself in the present moment I  connect with my essence, my arrow is pointed straight for home. Yet my yearning to be met here actually got in my way and complicated the simplicity and surety that I already connected with myself this way, I am just having a lapse of consciousness.
 Too esoteric? Quite simply, my ability to accept and reveal all of myself in the present moment is in direct correlation to my experience of the divine.
It’s a simple concrete step, right? Stop hiding and flow with what is and you then feel the union that is present in every moment.
 My soul’s desire need not be guarded or delivered on some preordained schedule of dating etiquette. If it is too frightening to contemplate for some men, then off they go. I only want one in the end, one man who deeply understands and holds this sacredness of being with as much reverence as I do.
I am breathing deeply and letting the ecstasy indicate that I am on the right track. And ecstasy comes in many flavors and colors. While laughing, raucous passion is at the top of my list it also includes the silver silence of falling snow, the weight of dessert air drawing you into the most private parts of yourself, the surf with its constant sigh transforming tension into flow.

Or as my favorite mystic/poet Hafiz has said:

                       ONLY PUCKER AT CERTAIN MOMENTS?
                    Does God only pucker at certain moments
                                               of one’s life?
                                               No way!
                                     He is the wildest of us

Look, I even invited the word God, as an attempt to move beyond the shelter of linguistic discrimination.
So I will continue to pucker up to life, even in the moments that challenge. They too deserve a kiss in the knowing that they are all designed with a secret code to help me unfold.

Authentically Yours

Monday, September 5, 2011

Someone is watching over me ...

It’s Labour Day Monday, and I am experiencing mixed feelings today. I am nostalgic for the days when I would get the boys ready for school, see the excitement in their eyes for the start of a new year, and at the same time be amazed that the summer was over.  I have the flu and when I am compromised physically, I find it more challenging to weather the emotional storm that comes up.  I realize with a sharp stab in my heart that I will never help Duncan get ready for anything again. Having said that, there are lots of things that Sean and I will do together through the different stages in his young life.  And I treasure my moments with him (probably way more than he realizes!).

 Still, it could be a bit of a rough ride today. 

But then again, that’s simply a choice I make.  

If I look at what has transpired in the last two weeks, then I have to give my head a shake.  To wit, I got an email from someone whom I have only met once.  She came into the store last spring while visiting from Halifax.  She had come to Vancouver to take a weekend course.  She had a day to explore before she began, and had rented a car to get to her chosen points of interest.  She found herself browsing in the store and we struck up a conversation.  We clicked immediately and went on to talk about the wonders of synchronicity and being in the flow, and all those expansive topics of conversation that I am always happy to pursue. We decided to have dinner together that night, and the conversation continued.  It was mostly and Q&A session where she wanted to find out as much as she could about my spiritual practice.  (A month later, she was to send me a very precise recap of what I had talked about and her ability to synthesize the information was formidable.)  Well just last week, she, out of the blue, offered a sizable loan to me should I need it, interest free, and I could take as long as I needed to repay her.  I was stunned.  And grateful.  It was absolutely a clean give-and-receive situation.

And then, there’s my living situation. I love my home – I just wish it was closer to my business.  The other day, a former landlord told me that my favourite cottage in Horseshoe Bay was up for rent and he wanted me to consider taking it.   At first blush, it seemed an impossibility but I told him I would try to rent out my condo.  I needed to let him know in four days.  Right away, I was on the phone to several property managers, all of whom told me that it would take 60 to 90 days to place tenants.  I had this feeling though that it was truly meant to be and I had already begun to imagine how my furniture would look in my new cottage.  (It even has a pane-glass door leading out to a large deck from my bedroom – something that I have always seen in my dreams!)  So I went the craigslist route and rented my place out in one day. Of course I did.

(As an aside, I also had a reading from Natasha Rosewood who knew nothing of this but told me I would be moving in three weeks!)

So really, what have I got to complain about?  Absolutely nothing.  I believe that Duncan has been helping me get ready for my next chapter.  And I thank him.  xoxoxo

Authentically yours,

P.S.  I am also missing talking to The Robert.  It was a year ago this weekend that we reconnected.  If you are reading this my friend, know that I wish you a Happy Birthday filled with love.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Beauty in the Drum

Woke up with the Beatles singing in my head, with only a fraction of the lyrics but on a permanent spin cycle of repetition. Yay say it’s your birthday…dah…dah…dah…dah…dah…dah…dah…dah…well its my birthday too yah…..birthday…take a ch ch ch chance….birthday…
Have I given it to you too now?

My untested belief is that if I can make someone else sing it, it will leave my brain alone. 
I have tried to get numerous people to launch into the chorus. My favorite cranky Starbucks barista would have none of it. I live in the West End where people tell it like it is…clear and direct! It’s my mission in life to get him to crack a smile.

“It’s my birthday,” I say, waiting for my iced Americana, having sworn off lattes for the moment.   It’s the little things, after all.    Change your Starbucks habit, change your life, I always say. Well I don’t but maybe I should start, it seems a likely t- shirt slogan.
“I have the Beatles floating around inside my head…you know the song.”
“How many Beatles dearie? And don’t expect me to get in there with them. My head has voices enough.”
I buy the New York Times and settle in to enjoy some sunshine before heading to the beach for my B- Day BBQ. I feel happy and alive.

My friends are amazing. I am so blessed. A spot was scouted and secured early in the afternoon. Purple balloons marked the spot. I brought metallic beads to hang from the trees and cushions and blankets staked our territory on the dog friendly sands at the water’s edge. The food was tremendous including a cake invented in my honor which rocked my no sugar, no starch world and is now called The Tiara after the glistening crystals that adorned my head for the day.  The best part of any gathering for me is the co –creativity.  Old friends, new friends, each bringing their gift of spirit to celebrate and connect.

I was down pouring ( a term used to describe discreetly hiding wine as you fill glasses since you are not actually allowed to imbibe on the beach) on a rich green velvet cloth that covered a standing drum. I thought, I better not spill, since whoever owns that drum will be so upset. When I received the mahogany drum as a birthday gift I felt tears welling up. I have always wanted to drum and judge myself inadequate.
When I expressed my fears, the friend who was giving me the gift said,” If a person has a heartbeat they can drum.” Then with touching grace our eyes met and connected. “And you dear friend, have a huge heart!” I took a breath and softened, deeply touched.

The sun was beginning to set casting luminous shades of amber rays across the waters. The drumming circle was calling in the distance and we made our way over to join in dancing down the sun. I christened my drum rather shyly, much more comfortable dancing with my body that the externalized rhythm of my hands. I am ok with that for now.  I will grow bold as I continue to dare myself to stretch.

As light faded into dark and we adorned ourselves with glow in the dark bracelets I whispered a silent internal thank you. Even my holiday dog, Roxanne had her paws illuminated with florescent colors. She makes me smile with delight! 

You know, I think the west coast has seeped into my bones when I wasn’t looking.  I feel the energetic roots of nature and the elements, of music and harmony among friends, wrap me in a cocoon of contentment.

I anticipate much laughter as I gaze with pleasure at the coming year of transformation and adventure. And I will follow the advice of the immortal fab four on birthdays and take a “ch ch  ch chance…”

And darn if the song doesn’t begin its repetitive refrain again.

Authentically Yours