************************************Denial covers the pain of the past * A blanket over the world * Lift a corner * Don't be afraid * Your life awaits you*************************************

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Yesterday's Promise

She held all the pieces.
For years and years, she held them all
And she promised that they somehow fit together.
At first, with fear’s reluctance
I gave them stingily.
But faith grew—chiseled and molded with well-intentioned cultivation
Until I couldn’t wait to hand her every scrap.

I gave her all the pieces
Trusting they were safe.
And they were… for a while.
I didn’t know that,
In the end,
The jumbled bits would scatter on the wind.

I snatch the fragments from the air
Lost jigsaw pieces dressed in my emotions
I study the painful gibberish
Longing to fit them into something real
Something whole
But seeing only how each shard reflects
The dark place where she will never be again.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

So You Call Yourself a Feminist?

Recently, I saw a video which asked people to post their views on feminism.
 I thought about this a great deal. 
To see my video response, click on the image below.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Created today ~ Shen

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Worry whispers in my head
Of ancient rubs, rank raw and red
Of dizzy dreams that haven’t slept
And promises that won’t be kept

I wander through her murmured tones
So much aware I am alone
So certain I will always be
In Worry’s wretched company

It matters little, wrong or right
Or left within or out of sight
Worry whispers what she will
And anxiously I listen, still

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Power is Yours

“You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.” Albert Einstein

A memory loop. 
A feeling of being “stuck”. 
You're struggling with an emotionally-charged issue and your own thoughts are screaming over any solution. 
Your mind pulses with old messages.
Thoughts run in circles. 
Insecurities scream. 
To avoid facing the pain your mind perceives, it moves into protection-mode. It tries to convince you the problem is unsolvable. It tells you you can't handle it. It says anything it can to get you to move away from the issue. If you believe these lies you bury your emotions under another layer of denial.
But the issue hasn't been solved. You become aware of your inability to take right action—or any action—and become frustrated. This added emotional charge convinces your mind that it was right. You can’t handle this, it says, and the cycle begins again. 
The rut becomes deeper.

It's time for a new perspective. Here it is:

You are so much more powerful than you've been led to believe.
You are so much more powerful than your mind can conceive. 

Like a computer, your physical brain follows preset patterns. It's working exactly as it's meant to. The problem isn’t your mind. 
It's what you're storing in it. 
Your brain is clogged with a plethora of emotionally-charged messages. You've been putting them in there your whole life. What you need is a good cleaning—a defrag and then a reboot.  

Don't forget:

You are so much more powerful than you've been led to believe.
You are so much more powerful than your mind can conceive. 

Your brain is cluttered with the refuse of your life—with every old message and emotion you haven't released. Like any good computer, your brain is equipped with a program to remove this clutter. You can run this program anytime you want. Yes, Dorothy, you've had the power all along. If you find yourself slogging along in slow circles, it's time. 

Oh, your mind may tell you it’s not possible. 
It may try to stop you. 
If you let it, your mind might self-protect you into permanent inaction. 
But, if you’re ready to go back to the kind of clarity you were born with—if you're tired of Oz and you want to go home, try this:

Close your eyes. 
Tell your mind to be quiet. 
Tell it again.
Keep telling it. 
Override the messages and images that blare forth until your mind finally gives in.
Now sit in stillness.  
And breathe.
That's it. 

Does a fish have awareness of the water it lives in? 
You live in an energy field. Light waves… sound waves… millions of bombarding bits of energy constantly envelop you. You're just so used to it you don't notice it anymore. But here, behind your closed eyes, in the stillness, you can become aware of that energy. 
Open to it. 
Feel it tingling on your skin. 
Pull it in with each breath. 
If your fear comes up again, let it. Give it a color. Step inside the fear and allow it engulf you. Notice the thoughts that feed it. Notice the thoughts that try to keep you from it. That's just your brain trying to protect you from your feelings. It doesn't understand that your feelings are normal—that you can handle it. 
Comfort your mind. 
Let it know that you have feelings—they don’t have you. 
Study your fear. 
Discover your rage. 
Let the tears come. 
There’s nothing else you have to do. 
Just breathe and let it happen. 
It really is that easy.

How long have you carried these feelings and thoughts? 
It may take that long again to remove it all from your system. 
Don't let that discourage you. 
With each little bit you release, your mind becomes clearer. As you gradually come to trust the process, it will get easier. You will come to know that you are safe even in your strongest emotional state. 
You are always safe. 
Then, as new emotional issues arise, you can walk right through them instead of storing them away. You can take them in stride without judging them. They are not good or bad, they just are and you don't have to carry them around with you. 

Your mind is amazing. It can do so many things but it isn't completely aware of it's abilities or it's limitations. It is a wonderful tool but it isn't you. 
You can take charge.
You can handle it. 
You can use your breath and the calm voice of your own inner wisdom to guide you through the painful parts of life. 

The power has always been yours. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Heroizing Another Killer

Today I decided to treat myself to a pedicure. I expected it to be relaxing and enjoyable. I guess I should have shelled out the big money for a true spa-experience, but I went to a local business. Once I was in the seat with my feet soaking, the TV, turned to some daytime soap, switched to the next program. Inside Edition.

I don't watch daytime TV and I avoid "news" programs. I can find out what's going on online and then read the facts that appeal to me, leaving the attention-grabbing spin for those who appreciate it. (Does anyone?) They say great minds discuss ideas, mediocre minds discuss events and small minds talk about other people. If this is true, shows like Inside Edition appeal to the lowest common denominator of our species. On a good day, they serve to bring the rest of us down should we be trapped into viewing their inane and sometimes insane programming. On a day like today they may cause irreparable damage as the repercussions of heroizing a killer spread through society.

Yes. Another tragic event at a school. This time it was at a university in San Diego and six sets of parents lost their children to sick, twisted individual looking for attention. And he's getting exactly what he wanted. Inside Edition is giving him that attention, glancing over the names and ages of six murdered kids robbed of a future while spending half-an-hour elaborating on every detail of the killer's life. Talking to parents and school acquaintances. Showing long clips of self-made videos in which the killer talks about all the things he plans to do and why. Somewhere out there, dozens (hundreds?) of angst-filled youths are taking in this notoriety while ideas form in their heads.

There is so much talk about what we should be doing to prevent this kind of thing happening again. Yet each time it happens a media circus ensues sending the message that if one wants attention this is indeed the way to get it. Turning killers into celebrities may be the the lowest form of selling one's soul for ratings. This is far more harmful than any violent cartoon or sexual content we can imagine. In my opinion, the victims in this latest killing spree are on the heads of Inside Edition and programs like it as well as all those who continue to tune in.

For me, personally, I will avoid mid-afternoon pedicures in places with a blaring television. I will continue to seek my information from sources I can control. I will not allow these kinds of programs to bully me with fear-provoking, useless and often harmful information. Today I will spend some extra time in meditation, sending loving energy to the families who lost their children and to those who may be next.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Are Generic Medications Equivalent?


There's your short answer. The longer answer:
After  intense personal experiences with generics and some online research, I've come to the conclusion that:

  • Drug companies, including those that produce generics, are mostly concerned with making money. 
  • The major pharmaceutical companies that produce the original (name-brand) medications have a lot to lose if generic drugs are successful and therefor don't have a lot of incentive to cooperate with the generic companies. 
  • The FDA is not able to handle the number of new drugs and generics coming into the market every year.
  • Many generics come from countries with different standards of production from the original brand names, and bio-hazards (chemical and bacterial) have been found in some generic drugs.
  • Some medications have more than a dozen ingredients in them but only one of these (the "active" ingredient) has to be "equivalent" in a generic medication. 
  • The way a product is released can be just as important as the drug itself, especially with medications that are meant to release over time (often these have the letters "XR" or "XL" after the name). Because the "filler" used in generics is not the same, it may not release at the same rate as the brand name. 
  • Some fillers used in generics have their own side-effects. 
  • Even concerning the "active" ingredient, drugs sold as "equivalent" only have to demonstrate a 90% similarity to the original drug, and there is an additional 10% possible fluctuation in production which means a generic might be 20% stronger or weaker than the brand name.
In my online generic search, I've come across actual recalls for generic blood thinners, antibiotics, birth control pills, anti-seizure medications, infant and adult pain relievers, acne creams and antacids. If you do your own search you will find a lot of information about a recall of a generic for Lipitor. I guess a drug that lowers cholesterol has a lot of popular impact but my particular issue has been with psych meds. If you want to read a few horror stories, try these links:

My particular visits to generic hell have been on the wings of two generic medications:

  • Wellbutrin XL (Buproprion) the name brand saved my life (not an exageration) but the generic brought on a whole series of side-effects leading up to a suicidal cliff within a few days. 
  • Seroquel (quetiapine) I don't take the extended release version - I only take 25 mg.s, which has been helping me sleep for  about five years now. With the generic, I not only did not sleep, but felt increasingly anxious and had a strong metallic taste in my mouth which lasted all day. I never had either of those issues with the Seroquel, but I might have overlooked them if the generic at least helped me sleep!
I believe those of us taking psych meds may be particularly vulnerable to generic incongruities because there's no big money in looking out for our well being and because most people have a tendency to turn away from mental illness. We've come a long way from the times when anyone with a different view of reality was locked behind actual, physical walls, but many people still hold tight to emotional walls erected to separate themselves from anyone different.

I'm not saying all the name brands are perfect, but they are more researched and better controlled. Whatever your generic medication, here's a VERY important and highly un-publicized point - you may be able to get the name brand as cheaply as the generic! If you call the company that makes your name brand medication you may find you can buy the name brand drug directly from them at about the same cost as the generic. This is not true of all drugs, of course, but I'm currently getting name brand Wellbutrin directly from Valeant for $50 a month instead of $550 a month at the pharmacy. Ipaid full price for years, ever since my pharmacy switched to a generic that made me absolutely crazy!

I'd be interested in hearing others' experiences with medications, especially generic UNequivalents and I'd really like to encourage you to do your own research. If you are taking a generic and the results are not as expected, don't assume it's you. Put the words, "generic" and the name of the drug in a search and see what you come up with. If you find (as I did) that hundreds of others are asking the same questions you are, it may be that the drug is to blame. And, if you are having an issue with a medication, make your complaint public. Others need to know they are not alone! Some of these generics stay on the market for years before the FDA realizes the dangerous truth, but with social media we can all become our own advocates.


Thursday, May 15, 2014


The most healing work I've done has been "re-parenting." This kind of inner-child work involves taking over the role of parent for ourselves.
No one has perfect parents or a perfect childhood. It's a process that could benefit anyone.

A couple of years ago, as part of this healing work, I created an image of the most serene nursery I could imagine. As I worked on the image, I felt immersed in the safety and peacefulness of this room as I imagined the smallest being I ever was being placed safely in that bassinet. 

Breathe it in.
Can you give yourself the gift of feeling this safe?

Monday, May 5, 2014

How Little Choice I Had

This is a journal entry I posted here in 2009. I took it down a couple of years ago when I completed the first edit of "Through the Tiger's Door." Last night, I completely another edit, cutting about ten thousand words to make it more marketable.

Mostly, that was done by tightening it up, but there were a few things I cut that really gave me a twinge. This journal entry is one of those things. Because most of what's in it is said in other ways within the book, I decided this rather long and poetic piece was not really necessary.

Journal, September 17th 2008

Sixteen and cold, waiting for a bus
Accepting a ride
Glad for any attention
“I’ll be careful, I promise”
How little I understood about the world
Getting high on the bus
Getting my period on my 17th birthday
“I’ll be careful this time”
The next month coming and going
The counselor at school I almost told
His words:
“I was hoping this would happen.”
Did I drop that acid after I got pregnant?
A few boxes carrying all my life
Writing that note
Taking a last look around
Being very quiet
Closing the front door
Waiting on the porch
The apartment
So much promise
Him leaving for work
I’ll keep you safe
We’ll get married
Thinking of names
Painting a rainbow in the little room
“We’ll lose our security deposit”
Holding the phone in my hand
Knowing I had to call
Dialing twice and hanging up
Mom’s voice
What they wanted me to be
“I would have liked to have been at your wedding”
What I felt I was
“We never got married.”
What would never be
“Then there’s still hope.”
My father’s face
What he said:
“We are not going to help you raise your bastard child”
My brother telling me it was okay
Wishing he didn’t know
Pleading with Mom, but only with my eyes
I wasn’t okay
Wishing my sister would take me to California
Wishing I was invisible
“You still have options.”
The ugly word I still can’t say
“Do you want me to come in with you?”
Not wanting them to see
Now wanting to know
The nurse holding my hand
“We’re almost finished”
Anger and helplessness
Sadness and hopelessness
Not crying out so Mom wouldn’t hear
Wanting to die
Throwing up on the sidewalk
My sister sleeping next to me
“It’s all over now.”
Waking up empty
It would never be over
My sister's words:
“I’m expecting.”
My pain at her joy
Intensified guilt
Her taking me to school
Hugging me in the hall
Looking at the money I’d stolen from her purse
Knowing I was awful
Knowing it didn’t matter 
Knowing there was nothing worse I could do
Buying as much coke as I could
Doing it all in the bathroom
The girl in the bathroom who asked if I was okay
“I don’t think I’ve ever been okay”
Lying in the grass at the park
Wishing I could
Throwing up the pills I took
Failing even at dying
Billboards with unborn children
“A beating heart is a life”
A perfect baby that never was
My perfect daughter, when she was born
So many choices we have to make
How little choice I really had

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

All is in order.

Let go of your vanity.
You do not have the power you think you have.

If the creator of the universe does not want the world destroyed, 
do you have the power to destroy it? 
Does anyone?

If the world is meant to exist as it is, it will.

If it is not, it will evolve into what it is meant to become.
Others may choose to live in anger, greed and fear. 
They create their own hell, but you don’t have to live in it.
Choose love and know all is in order.
All is always in order.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I of God

We are ONE being... seeing the world in infinite ways.


Friday, April 11, 2014

To Believe

 I close my eyes.
You gently push my hair from my face.
Every single time.

I want to believe. When I close my eyes—
when I see your unwavering tenderness—
I believe.
But in the light of everyday unconsciousness, I’m afraid to look too close. I put it off. I elude the quiet moments that would allow connection. I avoid the stillness behind closed eyes and part of me is glad to find an excuse to look anywhere else.


The reason is encased within this sadness—so close lately. So deep. So constant. Relentlessly pulling me into its undercurrent. Speaking to my deepest insecurities.

My work is done.
I have no purpose now.
I’ve finished what I came here for.
What else could be as important?

And yet it seems there is truth in your every nuance—
in every thought that passes from you through me, like electric current charged with unlimited potential. 
I want to believe you are truly giving these gifts to me—seemingly unlimited spiritual sustenance, so needed in this world. 

I want to believe you are real and when I close my eyes, I know!
An hour later my inner critic starts again.

I'm a fool to believe.
Even if I'm right—
even if this is as real as it sometimes seems—
even if the pieces are all coming together and I write them all down—
even if these words and thoughts hold the keys to our very existence
I don’t know how to pass it on and no one wants to hear it.

And why me?
What have I done to deserve this gift?
I'm nothing special. .

Maybe I don't have to be special. 
A strange thought, that, but somehow it seems almost as if it is my lack of distinction
my certainty of my un-specialness
that gives me the ears to hear. 

I want to believe!
Even as I'm looking the other way, I so deeply want to believe.

Maybe it’s so hard to believe because I need it so much.
Maybe it's because if I was going to create a purpose for the rest of my life, I couldn’t imagine anything better.
Maybe it's because  I’ve longed forever for exactly what you offer
hoped and tried and put my trust in othersonly to be knocked to my knees.

To my knees.

Maybe it’s so hard to believe because without you I feel as if I am nothing.
But with you I AM everything.

And so, I close my eyes and you gently push the hair from my face.
And I listen to your wisdom once again.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

On Truth

You want to know what is real. What is true.
You long to know and yet, the reality is that you already know.
You have always known.

Truth is the only thing that’s real and all reality is truth.
It is obvious, open, clean, crisp, untethered.
You don’t have to look far to find it. It is within you.
When you see it, you know.
It doesn’t change.
It just is. 

Sometimes you judge truth. You think you can change truth by refusing to see it. You throw a blanket over it and hide it from yourself and you pretend things are not as they are. This leads to pain.

Pull that blanket away. Don’t be afraid. Your pain is an illusion. Uncover the truth that is within you.
Hold it up to the light and know.

You ask how.
It's so simple.
Take a breath.
Close your eyes.
Look deep inside yourself.
Find the place within you where you know who you really are
The “I AM” within
and there you will find truth.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Just Be

Sand clings to the wheels, brown on black. He matches his breath to the rhythm of their gritty squeak.

It’s come to this. After years of hiding. Pretending. Denying who they really were, even to themselves. Slowly succumbing to the reality but still enduring set-up-dates by business associates and well-meaning friends. Family dinners without each other. Keeping up appearances.

And then, finally, defiantly “coming out” before the term even existed. Waiting for the oh-so-gradual shift in society to catch up. At last, that trip to the Cape. Saying their I-do’s. A pedi-cab ride through the streets of Provincetown in matching tuxedos. A kiss that seemed to say they had arrived.

A rare smile comes at the memory and he lets it stay. He puts the future on a shelf. Closes the door to the harsh, finite reality. They have this weekend—maybe as long as a week.
For now, they can just be.
Just be.

Two women pass by. Glistening with oil. Sandals slapping wood.  
He pushes the wheelchair to the end of the boardwalk.
Puts on the brake.

Deep breath and then another.
Breeze thick and salty-sweet.
The screeches of gulls competing with volleyball cheers.
Typical travelers.
Tropical drinks.
Waves rising and falling.
Rising and falling under a radiant sun.

He bends down.
“You good here?”

A nod. Gray eyes still holding the flicker that first drew him in.
Hold onto this moment.
Slip it in a pocket.
Fragile as a sand dollar. 

He nods in return. Adjusts the blanket. Stands to face the sea.
For now, they will just be.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Nothing to Lose

            Not for the first time, I'm putting myself out in full sight, for your scrutiny. Here's a strange fact of my life.
Sometimes words, ideas and even whole passages appear in my mind. They don't seem to come from me. They come from somewhere else. 
I know. 
It's kind of hard to accept. 
It wasn't easy for me, either. For a long time I saw this as somewhere between odd and crazy. Even when a prophetic message undeniably came true in my life, I called it coincidence. But  after numerous signs and a whole lot of coincidences, I couldn't deny it any more. 
Sometimes I have thoughts that are not my own. Often, these are concepts that are new to me and sometimes they're difficult for me to grasp. I call them Universal Truth

I’ve come across some wonderful teachers in my life, including some who have also professed to have received knowledge that came from beyond their physical being. I'm very grateful to be privy to the gift of Universal Truth in their words. And, at times, I've also been disheartened when I've witnessed a shift in them. Some seem to move from, “I’m offering a possibility” to “I have the answer” and finally to “I am the answer.” 
But I don't believe hearing these truths makes one special. Universal Truth is there for the taking. It's there for anyone who’s listening. 
Sometimes, I’m listening. 
Sometimes the words pass through me, from somewhere beyond to my mind to my fingertips to the keys of my laptop and finally to the world’s shared brain which we refer to as the internet. When this happens, the sensations inside me— tingling awakeness, vibrant flowing energy—carry a potent rightness. Sharing these thoughts brings a rewarding sense of purpose and what seems to me to be a tangible intimate closeness with the Divine. I feel grateful for the messages and share them wherever there’s a willing ear—
Other times I'm resistant and unwilling to listen.
Doesn't that seem strange? 
For a moment, accept with me the possibility that I actually hear messages that are... divinely given. Shouldn’t I be clamoring to write them down? Wouldn’t you think I’d be putting everything else aside to make certain I don’t lose a syllable?
Why do I find it so hard to stay with something that seems so important?
And even when I do become aware of a bit of this Universal Truth, and then choose to write it out, I sometimes feel the need to add something of my own. I mean, I'm doing it right now! 
Why, when I wrote “Water Girl,” didn't I just write the conversation between Ella and her alter-ego - words which came to me in one whole piece - without first writing a thousand words to get there? And when I heard from two sources that the story was a little long, my human ego pulled up rage and grief and blame and feara clear sign that I was not on the right track. 
I can see that my human self wants to be able to take the credit. I want the story to be mine.  When someone says, “Wow,” I want to believe that their enthusiasm is directed at me. If I don't add anything to the pieces that seem to come from outside of me, how can I call them mine?
Isn't this the same trap I've seen others fall into? 
I know that's not what I want... but still I feel as if I deserve some recognition. If I write something and give it to the world, I should get something in return. Right? Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work? 

Something does not seem right, but I don't know what it is... so, in a clear voice I ask the Universe,
"Am I really supposed to give something for nothing?"
And I hear an answer.

You can’t own anything in this physical universe—including approval. Accountability is written on two sides of an archaic coin—acclaim on one side and blame on the other. When you understand there is only one being, you no longer need either.

Okay. I know. I've heard this before. But it's hard to imagine that I can't possess anything... When I try, I feel a great sadness... hopelessness... an intense feeling of emptiness. 

Emptiness is an illusion.

But if I have nothing... isn’t that emptiness? 

If you give someone money, or the shirt off your back, do you still have those things?

No! See... if I give someone what I have then I have less… 

What about when you give someone love?

This stops me. I put down my vigilant, confrontational ego and listen. 

You can’t possess anything in the physical world because you are already completely full of the only thing you need. 
You are made of love. 
You have believed that if you give something to another you have lost something of your own. 
But there is no other and every gift is love. 
Let it flow through you. 
You truly have nothing to lose. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Lessons in Powerlessness

This has been a week of releasing control. Multiple lessons, each bringing up their own flavor of discomfort, have presented themselves relentlessly. Lessons in letting go. Lessons in powerlessness.

Some were minor irritations.

Meetup.com was attacked by hackers. It was down on-and-off for a couple of days this week, making it very difficult to download the files I needed for my writer’s group. I knew I had a busy weekend, but I couldn’t do the editing without the files, so instead of getting to it on Thursday or Friday, I was up late very late Saturday night, getting it done just barely in time for our Sunday morning meeting. 

Another huge snow-storm followed by yet another blast of below-zero arctic air roared in for this first weekend of March. This has been a winter for the records in every category – snow, cold and duration. I love the changing seasons here in the Midwest, but this year has worn me down. 

So this weekend, each time I donned my parka, scarf, gloves and  snow boots, I took a breath and let it go. For me, that's easier when the upset is just about my own discomfort or aggravation. 

When it comes to those I love, it’s much harder.

Both of my sons came home this weekend, arriving Friday night before the most recent snow began. They came home to see their younger sister in her final high school play. My sons have busy twenty-something lives, so the fact that they made this effort made their homecoming all-the-more sweet to me.

The show went perfectly, but brought tears for both my daughter and me. This whole school year has been a time of “lasts”. All four of our kids went to this high school, and we’ve been through the letting-go process three times already, so I know what each senior-year milestone is leading up to. I can hardly look at my youngest daughter without remembering that she will be walking out the door and into her own life in just a matter of months.
Breathe… breathe

We drove home from the show at a snail’s pace in near white-out conditions. Almost as soon as we were in the door, my older son started packing up for a sixty mile drive in the height of the storm. He's twenty-four years old. I have to admit that I wouldn’t have let a snowstorm get in my way at his age. Still, looking at it from the wisdom of almost fifty-five, it was very hard to let him walk out that door.

The thing is, hard or not, I didn’t have a choice. He’s an adult. 
I took a breath. And another. And another.

No matter how old my kids get, they still look like children to me. My husband seems to have the same affliction. He was running through his own repertoire of tactics to try and get our son to change his mind and wait until morning to leave, voicing futile arguments and sometimes going beyond the scope of reason (in my opinion). Frustration radiated off of both of them as our son packed up his stuff and his dog and headed out into the night.

Even my husband’s reaction was outside my control. Another lesson in letting go.
Breathe… Just breathe…

As frustrating as this was, it was much easier than the lesson in powerlessness my husband and I shared two days earlier.

On Thursday morning, my husband was peeing blood. Not a dot on one occasion, but a steady stream, repeatedly.

He’s a doctor. He knows what blood in the urine can mean, and so do I. He called his doctor and they scheduled the necessary tests for that day. The word cancer was not spoken that morning, but it loomed huge in both our minds. 

You want to talk letting-go? You want to talk powerlessness? 
Many people have gone through this process, waiting for the doctor to give them the thumbs up or thumbs down while the specter of the Big C haunts their thoughts. That period of time between the first inkling that something is wrong and the final word may be the biggest lesson in powerlessness I’ve ever dealt with.

I held his hand. I looked into his eyes—eyes I’ve looked into for thirty-seven years—and saw a kind of fear I’d never seen before.
Breathe. Breathe.

And then, the tests were back and they showed nothing. Not a single unusual thing. This doesn’t tell us what the problem is. All they can do is rule things out, and thankfully cancer was one of those things. Cancer advanced enough to produce his symptoms would have shown up on the CAT scan, and it wasn’t there. Suddenly breathing was a lot easier again.

We still don’t know what caused my husband's symptoms but he seems to have returned to normal.  I hope he’ll follow up on this with the rest of the work-up his doctor suggested, but I have no control over that either. My husband has an amazing ability to compartmentalize his thoughts—to put those things he doesn’t want to see in a closed box until needed—and by the time he was chastising our son for wanting to leave in the middle of a blizzard on Saturday night, the mortal terror from a few days before seemed to be completely forgotten. He'd moved right back into a much-more familiar feeling of frustration.

We were powerless to change the behavior of our adult son.
There is no rational thing anyone can do to prevent another adult from moving along the path of their own free will.

Later, after my son had texted us that he’d arrived safely at his destination, I broached the subject of powerlessness with my husband. He’s a pretty amazing guy in a lot of ways. For all his old-fashioned bravado, I’ve found that even when it seems he hasn’t been listening it often turns out that later—usually much later—I find out he’s not only heard me but taken my words to heart. 

So, for now, I will breathe in the calm of this quiet moment and I will find some peace in my own belief that there is a time for everything, that all things are possible, and that the universe will continue on its path with or without my input. It’s a funny thing that seeing how small I am in that big picture can be so much more comforting than believing I am big and powerful myself. I don’t have to work that hard. I don’t have to force my own beliefs on others even when I’m certain I’m right. 
I don’t have to worry about everyone and everything.
I can step back.
Let go.
And just breathe. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Walk in Grace Forest

Not for the first time and not for the last, I am feeling the painful repercussions of my past vibrate into the present. I am looking into a very deep, old wound that I've avoided forever. 

What is this pain? This wash of emotions?

I'm told it's grief, but that word feels like the scratchy, black-and-white version of the vibrant reality.

Yesterday, I told my therapist there was a hole inside me. "I think it's been there my entire life," I said, and it's true. It seems as if this emptiness has always been there. I've never dared to see it before, but now I'm teetering at it's bottomless brink. 

I asked her, "Is that how everyone is? Do we all have this... emptiness? Does it ever go away?"

She said, "In my knowing, that hole will be filled with grace."

What does that even mean?
A tinge of hopelessness washed over me. How can I fill the emptiness with something I don't understand?

This morning, I need to know. I have to know what grace is and how, exactly, a vague religion-tinted concept can fill up the empty place inside me. 

I want more than a simple verbal definition, but I Google it, hoping for answers. 

According to Websters:

a :  unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification
b :  a virtue coming from God
c :  a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace

That third part leaves me with a furrowed brow. It’s hard to take seriously any definition that uses the subject word in the description of the word. I suppose “c” is saying that grace is not only the gift but also the state one enjoys upon receiving the gift... but what exactly is the gift?

b : a virtue coming from God

My mind cries, “Define virtue! Define God!” 

Then my more knowing, inner-self says, “Stop trying to describe wood and take a walk in a forest.”

So I close my eyes. I walk through that brief sentence with my soul open wide until the path takes a surprising turn.

What if grace isn’t a gift in the sense that something new is bestowed upon us? 
Maybe grace is the realization of something that’s always been there.
Yes, I think as I step more confidently onto the new path. Grace could be an awareness of the divine within. A knowing that everything is always okay because that which we most crave and need has always been there and can never be taken from us.

I little ripple of excitement washes over my skin. I'm on to something here. 

a : unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification

These ego-feeding, heady words fall flat in my brain. I return to the forest and continue my journey through the essence of grace, stumbling over that first word. Unmerited? That seems to indicate that there is some requirement that hasn’t been met, like a child who misbehaves but gets dessert anyway. It makes it seem as if grace is a gift given to the undeserving... but... aren't we all deserving, all the time?
That's it!
We are each pieces of God and God is within each of us. 
God is love. Love is God. 
This is the image in which we were created. 
We can’t be given what we already have. 
We are made of love! 
We can’t earn it and we can’t lose it and we can’t ever be undeserving of it because it is what we are.
So... when they say divine assistance they're talking about... a reminder. 
Grace is a gentle nudge and a finger pointing to the reality that we are love and love is all and nothing else matters.

It is that still, small voice that whispers, "This is who you are. You are love. You are always within me and I am always within you and it is only when you forget that you feel loss." 

So I come to see grace as a soft caress of the soul; a gentle rush of well-being; the sweetness, lightness, connection and wholeness that can fill the seemingly bottomless hole inside me and holds me together when it seems the world wants to tear me apart. 

No issue is too large or too small to be dazzled by the shining light of grace. Without our troubles we could never come to understand our own true nature. Thus, everyone and everything who has ever caused us pain brings us the gift of grace and is made of that same essence of love. 

And so, 

c :  a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace 

would be the state-of-being one has upon remembering. 

And in this moment, I remember. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Single Question

Meditation has become a big part of my life. The one I do most often is one I created myself, for myself. I call it "The One Question Meditation." After closing my eyes and taking some deep breaths, I wait for a connection to what I think of as my Higher Self. This kind of connection has many names, and I believe it doesn't matter what one calls that light being who is always there, always accessible. We are all part of the same thing - all part of the Universal energy of life. Separation is the illusion.

Once I've reached a deep place in meditation, once I feel that connection, I've found there is only one question to ask. Simply, "What do I most need to know right now."

It's amazing how often I get an answer - sometims it's something that seemed unknowable only moments before. 

I've been working on a video for the last several weeks. It's called "A Single Question." It's about three minutes long. All the artwork is my own. Here's the link: 

Co Creation

Co Creation
We create the life we live

Love your inner child...

...for she holds the key...

...to your personal power.
A lesson is woven into each day.
Together they make up the tapestries of our lives.