I Know What Love Is…


This morning, as I was doing the Open Heart Meditation, I had my hands open receptively and was breathing in…out…in…out…and I felt a furry nose land in one hand and a crazy licking dog in the other…and I thought with a smile~ahhh, there’s love right there…my two goldens giving love to momma.

The amazing back story to this is that a few months ago, when I first started meditating, it SO pissed me off to hear a bothersome sound or be “interrupted” by my dogs. I mean, I’m trying to MEDITATE right? HOW ANNOYING!!  lol.

Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Like many “going to church” Sundays when parents are yelling for kids to move along, or get ready, or get in the car, or whatever. Who we really are at the moment gets in the way of who we are trying to be. The interesting part of that is~we don’t have to try so hard. All we have to do is relax and let go.

I’ve had a VERY trying couple of days. There were a few times I was looking the old me right in the eyeballs, telling myself mentally to STAND DOWN. There is value, reason, facts and righteousness in that part of me, but no peace. No true north. No lay my head down and feel good about my behavior at night.

When I first started this journey, I PRETENDED to not be angry. Ha!! Ever tried that? It is stroke inducing, I can vouch for that. I looked very successful at what I was trying to do, but on the inside…I was a volcano waiting to erupt at any moment, or maybe an old building ready to implode on itself.

Now is better. Even on my bad days. Even when I see it coming on the horizon, I know it’s not worth it. It doesn’t keep me from feeling the strain, but my decision is made ahead of time, and my reactions~those I can live with as I go along the road I’m travelling now. No pretending. Just me and the real deal.

I know what love is. It’s not pretending and saying I love you while actions say get the hell out of my way. It’s feeling a furry nose in one hand, and a licking dog in the other, and smiling to yourself because “Ahhhh, here’s what love is, right here”. It’s actually BEING the spouse, partner, companion, friend. Actually pulling your weight, and giving support, and being the love someone needs instead of letting them carry your ass too many times. Let’s be who we say we are~no more pretending for the public.

I know what love is. It’s not the words, it’s the living of them.

From Arrogance to Love


I have never really paid much attention to the story of the mythical Narcissus until today. To me, it sounded like a short corny story about a conceited guy. Boring. Until I read a small chapter of The Exquisite Risk by Mark Nepo today, it didn’t strike me how most of us suffer from his same affliction.

Not that we gaze endlessly at our reflections, enthralled by the love of our own beauty~no, it’s more painful, and damaging than that. Especially, but not exclusively, women gaze endlessly and hopelessly at our reflections~judging ourselves less, or fat, or old, or ugly. We are obsessed with how smart we are not, how untalented, and uninteresting we are in comparison to the entire rest of the world. We are full of our superiority in our inferiority. Our troubles are greater, more challenging, dare I say insurmountable?

We are so certain that the entire world is about us and our inability to shine like others. That the skills and gifts and blessings we downplay and degrade are even ours to own. What a load of crap.

In learning to break down my beliefs about myself, somewhere along the line I quit being ate up with myself. I quit judging myself so harshly, quit down-playing gifts and talents that I flat-out know for sure don’t come from me at all! I quit acting and believing as if I am the cause and effect of every dang thing around me.

It has been quite hilarious being me in recent months. I laugh a lot, mostly inside, but sometimes it just busts out. Somebody told me I was beautiful the other day, and instead of immediately being embarrassed and awkward, I just smiled and said “thanks!”~I mean, seriously, I don’t have a thing to do with that, that’s all on my parents and the Creator being creative I guess. Sometimes, when I’m done writing and send my poetry or songs or whatever off into email land, I’ll come back and re-read them and just slap my hands together, laugh and shout out to the Universe “DAMN, you are GOOD!”. I know it’s not coming from me, just through me. Just like beauty, or love, or forgiveness. Through me.

That’s what I want to come through me. Love instead of ego, forgiveness instead of judgement, creativity instead of excuses, gratitude for the more than enough instead of whining about the lack. I want to be excited about the days I’m given, not feel like each one is some kind of punishment.

When did we learn to make life a tragedy starring us? Why not share the stage with the Universe and give the proper credits when due? Why be obsessed with our “less than” or our “lack” that only exists in this ego we are eaten up with.

It’s arrogant, self-absorbed, and ungrateful to live our lives stuck to the mirror of self-judgement. We must get over ourselves. I am certainly trying. And believe it or not, it is a huge relief when you accept it’s not at all about you. It’s about all of us, together, expressing life, as one~in all our different ways.

Let’s put the mirror down, and go live this life.

 

 

Masks We No Longer Need


What I most want to bring to the world today is…me. Just me without all the labels I’ve acquired over the years. I want a clean slate, a fresh start, a do over. So I’m going to have one, or maybe more. I’m going to do-over until every word I speak resonates with the kindest truth, every effort I make is done with the most genuine love for me/you/the world. I’m going to  grow stronger and more understanding~letting go of what no longer serves me, and situations where I am unable to serve at my highest level. I’m going to grow more courageous and leave behind all the “should”ing on myself I’ve become accustomed to punishing myself with.

I dwell in the midst of circumstances I find appalling until I feel like I’ve learned my lesson in that place. I don’t allow myself to cut and run when I want to, I wait, and ask myself…”what arrogant part of me has been buffed smooth by this”? I’ve taught myself to change the thought of hating something to accepting that it’s a step in the right direction, not my destination, so there is no room for hate~and no cause.

I was disappointed earlier this evening by learning that the cost of starting school for a wellness coach certification was just straight more than I could do right now with my family happenings. I let myself wallow in depression for about 20-30 minutes before it overwhelmed me so I hopped on the tread climber and burned away calories and sadness for an hour.

So many masks over the years, so many roles I play along with everyone else. This big ridiculous drama, that should be an adventure, this black and white silent film that should be in color with surround sound, is coming to a close. It’s time for me to take a bow and step up. I will find a way. I will start training no later than September of this year. I promise myself this. I pinky swear myself, and I know I’ve got to keep that shit.

Shadow Heart


This is a shadow day. A day of dark reflection reminding me that nothing remains the same, so  I must evolve into my light, or sink back into my shadow. There is no middle ground. I accept that every day may be a gift, but not all will be easy. I will always wish, in those moments when life is at its brightest and so am I, that I can hold onto the magic. During days like today, I know it really is up to me to either stay in the shadows, or bring myself into the light again, but I have to remind myself. It isn’t so easily rendered on a day like today.

I know that I determine my attitude, yet today I struggle with misery. There is a strong part of me that wants to force things to be, instead of let them unfold. I have to trust that my perfect opportunities are being brought to me, and will arrive at just the right time. I don’t want to carelessly damage the plans for me that are greater than any I can conceive of for myself. I trust  the Creator of all things, just as I trust in my next breath, my next heartbeat,  and my body  working to heal itself. The seasons change without effort, the sun rises, flowers bloom and the earth rotates without any help from me, who am I not to trust in the flawless creation of my life?

So I am telling myself tonight that the shadow I am today is merely a sign of the brilliant light I’m standing in, because without the light I long to flood the world with, I would never see the shadow.

Shadows are proof of Light. Proof of Life, and Hope, and Love.

And so it is.

Breaking the Chains


Time is a factory

where everyone slaves away

earning enough love

to break their own chains.

~Hafiz

 

The funny/sad part of this is~the love we are working so hard to earn is our own. The respect we want is self-respect. The eyes we want so badly to smile at us, are our own. We want to be proud of us, to know that when all else fails, the love and integrity we are will carry us. We will be victorious, we will break our own chains.

The other funny/sad part of this is~we put ourselves in the chains we need freed from. We are the ones who set the limits on our achievements, dreams, and willingness to take risks. We are the ones that said, “NO! Do what you should, not what you desire.  Be responsible, punch the clock, take the crap, do the duties, dim the light, don’t be ridiculous, foolish, stupid, wrong.”  We did that to us, no one else even helped until we gave them permission, WHICH WE DID!

I can be who ever I want, and do what ever I want. So can you. I can be a writer, poet, healer, teacher of meditation, mother, wife, daughter, friend. I can be and do all of these things. I can be a chaser of dreams, a healer of hearts, a lover of beauty, a sharer of joy. I can be a guide to the heart, and an example of how to know if you have one to find! You can’t stop me, nobody can, except me.

We live so small, think so small, dream so small. When we begin to transform ourselves by asking the first questions of who am I? and what do I want? we step into a power so astounding that many step back out quickly and consider themselves lucky. I’m more like the character in Pleasantville who refused to give up the color she was starting to see in her gray tone world. I’m with you sister, I like living in color and I’m not going back.

Back to the Dark Side


Today started out wonderfully, I woke up early enough to begin my first of 21 consistent mornings of yoga before meditation.

Those were the two wonderful things. The rest of this day has been a bit of a struggle with familiar irritations, and reactions. My ego saying “yeah, I’m right, and I will obliterate you with it!”. I wrestled with these things, but as of this moment haven’t allowed my feelings to negatively affect my behavior. I’m pretty black and blue on the inside though. Ha, ha?

Health insurance rates doubling for my people at work, a variety of ridiculous crap to address  after taking a day off Friday, a rare headache, some personal sadness with co-workers, and then the super effort required to keep myself in line when I perceive  repeated attempts of others to brow beat, manipulate and control people I love. I am doing my level best to change my perception to “repeated cries for love, attention, and self-esteem boost”.

I’m not there yet. But I am behaving as if I am so I don’t have to regret anything I put into play before I gain some truth and settle back into my heart.

Everybody has the occasional off day, but it feels like a hair shirt to me after a long stretch of balance. Tomorrow is a new day, and I can forgive myself for my insides without having to apologize for my behavior outside. This will be a red-letter event for sure.

I used to think (and sometimes still do) that it takes stepping up in the face of, the courage to confront, willingness to wield the mighty sword of justice to kick butt and take names to truly be a person of strength.

Now I know how much strength it takes to stand firm, speak the truth with dignity and grace, and be willing to be kind and forgiving to myself and others.  Unfortunately for me today, I have a lifetime of the last paragraph, and these new perceptions are brand new. So quite honestly, I have seriously pulled muscles withholding that which I must not bestow on others.

I am building my character, and it is painful pulling back from the Dark Side, but it is worth it. It will be. Tomorrow.

 

Mommie Dearest


The one thing I have always been sure of, beyond any doubt, is that I would be a wonderful mother. I knew I would do everything in my power to give my son unconditional love, trust, faith in his ability to find his way, support in his dreams, belief in his ability to achieve whatever his goal, and a safe place to rest his heart. Always.

While I believe I did the very best I knew how, with the knowledge I had at any given moment, I have come to that moment when I’ve learned too much. I know what I could have been, and done, and shared,  with more heart and wisdom. It is a humbling place, and it could be a heart-breaking place if I let it.

I would have given more support to who he was becoming instead of who we, as parents, thought he should be. I would have honored his spine more and worked to protect him less from those who had different ideas of who he should “become”. I would have gone to Wal-mart and picked up a spine for myself, adding mine to the strength growing in his. I would have encouraged the lean towards guitar, and art, and skiing, and a mohawk. I probably couldn’t have stopped trying to dress him in color, but I digress, that is just me.

I have discovered an interest in a class called “Parenting By Design”, a 4 week tele-seminar being taught by Elena Brower on behalf of the Handel Group. I have thus far stopped myself from signing up because my son is an adult now, fairly recently out of the USMC after a short trip to Afghanistan.  But I am still a parent, a mother, striving to be an example of how to communicate, solve relationship issues, love unconditionally, forgive the same way, accept each person as they are without the pressure of expectations from others. To diffuse my rage and anger at the world for his disappointment and disillusionment. To stop myself from the horrible pressure of fixing what I “see” is wrong for him, because IT IS NOT MINE TO FIX.  And it may just not be wrong at all for him at this time in his growth.

I thought I only wanted him to be happy. But I’m starting to realize that I want HIM to want to be happy, to find that within him, to seek peace for himself. I am beginning to understand that he will not get what he deserves in life until he thinks he deserves it, and that for me to want him to be happy for my sake is very selfish indeed, not to mention impossible.

So I am sitting here tonight, thinking that since I am still his parent, his Momma, what does that mean for me now? Do I still want to be an example of what unconditional love looks like? Yes.  Should I be an example of respectful communication, and honoring boundaries? Yes.  Should I embody forgiveness as a strength and freedom? Yes. Am I capable of showing him that joy comes from within? I’m working on that.

I’m leaning towards a helping hand from Elena’s seminar  so that I can grow up to be a really awesome Momma, a person capable of changing a heritage of guilt and obligation to a legacy of love and growth. I’m leaning so far, I’m about to fall over. And I REFUSE to believe it is ever to late to change the legacy I pass on to the next generation. Starting with one, no matter how old he is.

 

The Truth


I think that I might be an angel in disguise

A quick-change artist mingling with the unaware

So convincing, even I don’t recognize

The truth beneath the many scars I bear.

I’ve worn them proudly, thinking I’ve survived it all

Reality is “victim” stamped upon my brow;

Sometimes they can look the same, too close to call,

But I know, and the truth is what I offer now.

I think I might be strong beneath the weak facade,

In truth I could be other than I am

If I had chosen other than the path I trod,

If I had chosen once to give a damn.

I think I might be beautiful beneath the wreck

That I have built so carelessly around my soul.

My choices, hanging heavy now around my neck

Will be the catalysts that make me whole.

I think I am a woman of integrity,

Although it took the longest road to get me here.

I am not the coward that I used to be~

The most courageous hearts are born from fear.

~Shelly~

Small Things With Great Love


My 24-year-old baby son stayed with us last night, and I found myself naturally doing all sorts of things that filled my heart and made me smile. We spent a lot of time talking about many things, some important, some not so much, we shared pizza for supper, and I smiled as he and his dad talked of important manly matters (lol). I played with my grand puppy Elli and I went to bed happy in the knowledge that I’d see him at his grandparent’s house the next day when I followed them out to the property where they were going to hunt together.

The next morning they were already gone, and I was in the small laundry room doing his laundry~smiling as I folded laundry for him and my soon to be dotter in law, and I realized something very important. So much so that I stopped for a moment to latch onto the thought before it got away from me. I had spent the past day doing chores that I normally would resent a little, maybe mutter under my breath (okay, or louder than that) and tell myself that someone else should be pulling some weight, by God, I’m not a servant am I? But because it was for my baby boi it was a pleasure to me, a joy even, because I was doing it out of a great love.

So what would it look like if everything I did, no matter how small, was out of great love?  What if I turned my house work into heart work? What if I was present for every tiny thing I did, for myself and everyone else, so that I could CHOOSE to do each thing from a heart of great love? Yes, yes, I know there are  quotes about this since the beginning of time, but you know as well as I do that we can learn a million things, but if we don’t absorb, practice, and apply them then the learning is wasted.

The point is, I felt this lesson. I see clearly that I must slow down enough to do this great love in action, I must quit flinging myself through my “duties” in a mindless, tedious thought pattern. Not only will the work I do in love bless MY heart and life, it will bless the recipients of my efforts.

Not so long ago, I was eating lunch I’d purchased from the deli of my favorite health food/organic coop Bloomingfoods, and as I read the ingredients in my tempeh rooster salad I was dumbfounded by the last ingredient listed. Love. I swear that’s what it said! And I thought to myself “Self, you should eat this everyday, because someone back there cared to send love with this lunch!”. Pretty amazing huh? My favorite scent to wear, GIVE scent also states it’s made with love (and yes I believe her) and I am totally loyal to that product also (plus it smells amazing lol).

My mission, and I choose to accept it, is to slow down just enough to experience my moments no matter what I’m doing in them, and do each thing with great love. Now maybe I won’t ever be able to do it with the exact love of this momma for her only begotten son, but I will give it all I’ve got Captain!! And I am willing to bet that everyone in my world will notice the difference! Any takers?

Happy Thanksgiving!!  ❤

Peace of Mind vs. Piece of Mind


I have struggled for a little over a week now with the concept vs. reality of a peaceful heart and mind.  I found myself  in front of my refrigerator today staring at a magnet I OBVIOUSLY put there myself; and it tells me quite clearly that peace does NOT mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work, it means to be in the midst of these things and still be calm in your heart.

I may not have actually read this magnet before putting it on my fridge door. I may have seen the word peace and desperately grasped it for what it represented in my mind and put it on the door as an announcement of some sort. Maybe I thought to use it as a “keep of the grass” sign. You know, “I intend to be at peace at all times so don’t piss with me okay?”, that kind of thing. Anyway, all has gone so well and I felt that I had achieved a few things that really moved me forward, and then a week ago…life became very irritating. Everything felt hostile; work, home, my own thoughts. My inner dialogue was controlled by my evil twin sister, who loves to blow everything out of proportion, prefers to stomp those first who would stomp on her, and assumes she is the only one who ever does anything and is a victim of circumstance. Blah, blah blah, she can be such a dork. On the good side, she is so ridiculous that her thoughts are a wonderful indicator of where I need work. A LOT of work. So today, in front of the fridge, reading a magnet (obviously for the first time) I see that I have not truly been at peace these past months, I have been hiding behind the concept of it.

The truth is, I really want it. The peace of mind. The peace of heart. The ability to be calm, and loving and hopeful in the face of anything. When somebody is yelling at me, or misrepresenting me, or trying to use or abuse me in some way, or I don’t achieve or get what I want, or life just seems momentarily to suck~ I want to have that balance of love and hope and peace that makes every day worth getting out of bed for.

I want the real thing. The complete loss of peaceful mind that I experienced this past week made me see I didn’t really have it at all! So I took steps to change that today. mindful breathing and prayer and meditation on a daily basis. Wearing the t-shirt doesn’t make it so. I had to go into the mad and disappointment and sit with it awhile. Feel it and hear where it came from. I had to see where I had tricked myself and be honest enough to admit that I had been hiding behind a mask of peace (all the time fighting giving everyone a piece of my mind) when I could have been doing the work needed to actually be peace. I want to be a refuge to myself and others. For real.

I know I’m not the only one searching, struggling and hiding behind…so reach out, I’m here, Namaste ❤