Saturday, August 30, 2008


Stepping into the crucible of relationship. The place where no one really wants to go. The place where the heat gets turned up so high that parts of you begin to melt away. Bill Bryson speaks of places in Australia that are so hot you begin to cook from the inside out. That is what it feels like sometimes to be in relationship--cooking from the inside out. I want to run. I want to hide. It hurts too much and yet I cannot turn away, because it is too important. It is not important in the sense that I must prove myself right or get a point across. It is important in the sense that it is the place God calls me to be. My role in life to step into the paradox. To be kind and to speak the truth. They don’t always appear to be the same.

Growing up as the "nice" girl, I was taught that being nice was the most important thing in the world—at least to someone’s face. Now as soon as they were gone you could speak the real truth. It was a pattern that left me reeling and off balance for most of my life. It reminds me of the discussions on mind reading and projection. How can we possibly know what someone else means or what they are thinking unless we ask them? But that is when the heat can turn up. Jumping into the crucible can mean you will get burned. It can also mean that something new and beautiful can emerge. The dross burned away. The gold allowed to shine through. It is a risk.

I made a commitment to myself many years ago that I would no longer live in the two-faced, hidden, “nice” world that keeps me and others off-balance from not really knowing the truth. And, yes, sometimes the truth hurts. But, don’t forget this one: The truth shall set you free.

Is freedom worth stepping into the heat? I believe it is.
photos by lucy 7.08

Thursday, August 28, 2008

more to consider...

My recent post "consider this" was one that addressed the issue of projection (i.e. placing what we think someone else is thinking onto them). Not surprisingly, many of the comments turned to how we relate to families and projection quickly (and i believe appropriately here) became labeled "mind reading."

Also, the next day one of my morning reflections was titled "Realistic Expectations" and contained many lines which as stuck with me for several days:

"Families can become ghettos of unfulfilled expectations." often do we get caught up in that? The reading went on to say: (In our relationships), "we can expect something that others may not be able to give." (especially if we fail to communicate clearly what it is we expect them to give). My readers had some very insightful comments, so I am bringing a few of them out of the closet...oops...the comment box.

  • "I do, and I have been that person. The words speak again to me. Every now and then one needs to be reminded by these very precious reality checks."
  • "Yesterday i had some one get offended because my 15 year old walked up to me after working on painting the house for 3 hours and said "Mom, I need some stroking!" and i of course proceeded to OOOO and AHHHH over the great job he had done." (I, lucy, love that this 15 year old feels safe enough to tell his mom just what he needs! No mind reading necessary here! Bravo!!)
  • "I don't know where we all got the notion that we could read minds because none of us ever COULD!!! Walking into a situation when one believes they are telling the truth in love might be tested on a mirror or wall prior to presenting one's thoughts that, oh by the way, carry years of pent up anger, regret, and resentment to an unsuspecting scapegoat - a friend, a parent, a sib, a spouse.

    Lord, help us to measure our own inner selves, our motives, our real expectations before we unleash what is hard to take back just because our lives have become unmanageable in living with all of our disappointments and/or bad mindreading habits."
  • "In my own life (and really, from what other place can I write), I'm most guilty of this with the people closest to me--and that's where it can be so especially damaging. After years of togetherness, it's easy to take for granted that we know, or they know, when in reality, we're all changing every day...this makes me realize that I should be checking in every day--questioning, listening, learning..."
Thank you readers for this conversation! So what happens when we play the mind reading game? When we expect others to behave or respond in a certain way? When we rely on people to give us something (comfort, care, attention) that they may be incapable of giving or not "know" they are supposed to give? When we rely on man rather than God for our comfort and care?

In closing here is the rest of "Realistic Expectations":

"Nouwen warns us against "expecting from a friend what only Christ can give."

A second issue is to look at our motives for service. All too frequently we give in order to get.

Finally, we need to realize that one of the greatest gifts we can give to others is the gift of freedom, where we allow the other person to take the responsibility for his or her own responses, choices and future." from Dare to Journey with Henri Nouwen

I would love to hear more of what you have to say!

Please note: the accompanying cartoon was lovingly sent to me by a dear family member ☺. Click on the image for a closer view.

Monday, August 25, 2008

consider this...

To assume what other people are thinking or feeling without asking them is to invite misunderstanding. Just as disastrous is to assume other people know what we want or need without our telling them. Many potentially good friendships and marriages perish because of our false assumptions and our lack of honest communication.

Do we assume others can't live without us or wouldn't know what to think or feel unless we told them? Do we take for granted that "silence means assent"? Do we assume others don't have time for us, or don't care about us, if they don't call or go out of their way to talk to us? Do we think others can read our minds without our ever opening our mouths?

Since we can only assume the same limited or distorted thoughts of others that we have of ourselves, we each need to take the initiative to ask probing questions and give honest responses in our relationships.

TODAY I will not make the mistake of projecting my feelings onto others. I will initiate honest and open communication.

You are reading from the book:

The Reflecting Pond by Liane Cordes

would the real me please show up?

Awake early this morning with so much stuff swirling in my brain...brilliant posts to write; a backlog of e-mails to catch up on; work plans to be made; beginning of school details to finalize; clothes to unpack; groceries to buy; lists to be get the picture. So, what's a girl to do? Blogthings, of course! Take a read below. One is done with my alter ego "lucy" as the focus and the other with the "real" me...or is it the other way around? Hmmmm...

What Lucy Means

You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow.

You are light hearted and accepting. You don't get worked up easily.

Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is.

You are a very lucky person. Things just always seem to go your way.

And because you're so lucky, you don't really have a lot of worries. You just hope for the best in life.

You're sometimes a little guilty of being greedy. Spread your luck around a little to people who need it.

You are very open. You communicate well, and you connect with other people easily.

You are a naturally creative person. Ideas just flow from your mind.

A true chameleon, you are many things at different points in your life. You are very adaptable.

You are a free spirit, and you resent anyone who tries to fence you in.

You are unpredictable, adventurous, and always a little surprising.

You may miss out by not settling down, but you're too busy having fun to care.

What My "Real" Name Means

You are a seeker of knowledge, and you have learned many things in your life.

You are also a keeper of knowledge - meaning you don't spill secrets or spread gossip.

People sometimes think you're snobby or aloof, but you're just too deep in thought to pay attention to them.

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.

You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.

You have the classic "Type A" personality.

You are a free spirit, and you resent anyone who tries to fence you in.

You are unpredictable, adventurous, and always a little surprising.

You may miss out by not settling down, but you're too busy having fun to care.

You are very open. You communicate well, and you connect with other people easily.

You are a naturally creative person. Ideas just flow from your mind.

A true chameleon, you are many things at different points in your life. You are very adaptable.

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone.

You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together.

At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

calling to me

The following post was written yesterday after hastily pulling over to the side of the road. Very little editing has been done, so please bear with me. Some things just need to be recorded.

“I keep calling to you my baby blue, my baby blue.” --John Hiatt*

The sense of my father being with me this week is near overwhelming. Daddy died more than 30 years ago and while I still hold him dearly in my heart, he does not often enter into my daily thoughts—at least to the extent I am now experiencing. Driving down Hwy 101 near the Umpqua Lighthouse, I have had to pull over as there are tears streaming down my face for no apparent reason. The flow started while listening to John Hiatt’s song, “Baby Blue” which just showed up on my I-Pod song shuffle. None of this makes any sense right now, but the connection to my long-deceased father is undeniable for me.

The recent ‘sense of my father’ began three days ago when my friend in Tiburon reminded me that he had promised to look up some Naval records for my dad. I quickly e-mailed my sister who is the current keeper of the family records and asked for the submarine information of Daddy. She put her fingers on the info immediately and responded to me quickly. Lo and behold that very day was our father’s birthday. Coincidence? I think not.

Today as I drove along the highway, I came across the Oregon Dunes that I did not realize even existed. There upon the sand were several dune buggies and I was immediately transported back to the days when I learned to drive and I used to go to the river bottom with Daddy and play in our dune buggy. I found myself wanting to rent an ATV and tool across the sands like I did a zillion years ago. My father was clearly present with me.

As I continued my route, I began to think about my last few days of driving. I am driving in a little VW convertible which is a newer version of the car I drove when I was 16 (a car I 'shared' with my dad.) I again am reminded of my father and that his final occupation in life was as a long distance truck driver. His blood runs through my veins. Yesterday I came to the conclusion that I really don’t like to make little stops here and there. I like to get in the car and GO. Yesterday I drove for several miles with my jacket on because I was not at a place where I wanted to stop and pull over. It reminds me of the years we drove back and forth between Oklahoma City and San Diego where my father’s family lived. Very few stops along that route!

Ah, San Diego. I realize now that the calling from my father began before his birth date on August 20. This road trip was originally conceived as a time to visit with my brother. Looking at a map, I found that San Diego is equidistance between Seattle and Bellville Texas where my brother lives. Curious that this place where my family lived before I was born (when my father was in the Navy) would be the place where I ‘coincidentally’ hoped to reconnect with my brother. Alas, he was unable to accept the invitation and thus the baby road trip was born.

Needless to say (for me at least), my father has been speaking to my subconscious for quite some time. I wonder what he is trying to say? I wonder what I shall learn from this? The sea calls to me. My father was a sailor. The road calls to me. He was a truck driver. “Baby Blue” calls to me. I was his “baby.” I am a grown woman now, but I am still his little girl. He died nearly 33 years ago on September 12, 1975. He would have been 89 years old last Wednesday.

*just a little aside…when I went to research these lyrics this morning, the first thing that popped up was john hiatt’s birthdate. August 20. btw—my father’s name is John.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

heading north...east...north...west

• Sunrise in Tiburon
• Coffee & good-byes with friends
• Hit the road 12:00 noon. 73 degrees.
• Convertible down. Cruised North to Redding.
• Temperature peaks at 106 degrees at 4:06 p.m.
• 3 hours driving 132 miles northeast through Shasta-Trinity National Forest.
• First view of ocean just after 7:00 p.m. Spectacular!!!
• I am a water girl!!!
• Surprise I-pod shuffle song of the day. “Joy Unspeakable” by the Gaithers ☺
• Favorite snack of the day? Pluot or kettle corn? A tough call!
• Sunset at Trinidad Beach
• Read the “Elk Crossing” sign near Elk Prairie just before two elk almost walked into my car. Glorious.
• Pavarotti joined me along the foggy coast while searching for the right hotel. (Not too creepy. Not too luxurious.)
• Prayers answered when the Motel Trees appeared through the fog. (Klamath, OR)
• Nine hours of driving. Whew!!
• 50-degree temperature change. (56 degrees when I pulled in for the night.)
• Grilled Cheese & Fries for dinner.
• Hot shower to wash off the road.
• Night Night.
• The best night sleep maybe ever ☺!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"baby" road trip

adventure - daring and exciting activity calling for enterprise and enthusiasm

Well, here I am on my latest adventure. The great thing about adventures is that you never know what is going to be around the next turn. Isn’t that the description of life when you really get down to it? I mean we never really know what’s going to be around the next corner no matter how hard we try, how many plans we make or what our imagination conjures up for us.

So, let me begin by saying that a great many parts of yesterday looked nothing like I had imagined. First of all, it was rainy and cold. Not exactly how you want to start an end of summer road trip in a convertible, huh? But, hey, I’m a good sport and the rain wasn’t too bad. It eliminated sun glare and took away the decision of whether or not I wanted to drive down the highway with the top down ☺.

My drive to Salem was great and I had a wonderful albeit brief visit with my friend Tia and her charming little guy, Grayson. Gray just turned 4 months old and has entered that wonderful stage of finding his own voice. (Now isn’t that a great life metaphor? His "conversation" was like an unfettered song and he found great delight in all of the new sounds he is learning to make.) He also cooperated quite nicely and took a little nap so his mom and I could have some grown up girl talk like we did in the ‘old days’.

Following this visit, I hopped back into my car and headed East toward Breitenbush Hot Springs where I had a reservation for the night. When I mentioned here that I was making a "brief stop", I had no idea how brief indeed it would be. Pulling into the gate, I was surprised to find the “welcome booth” empty and the parking lot devoid of any person or car that remotely resembled me. “O.k. This is an adventure”, I told myself. Onward--following the signs to the office.

In the woods I passed many shacks…oops…I think those were the cabins. There were the tents with assorted laundries hanging here and there. I passed the occasional person with no one really making eye contact. Maybe they were meditating? There was a lone man doing some form of martial arts. A couple of holes in the ground with steam escaping and “danger” signs posted. I walked past “The Sacred Path” and came upon the Lodge that definitely looked like it had seen better days. By this time, I was hearing those little “niggles” that said, “Get the heck out of here,” but my stubborn self was saying, “Don’t be a baby. This will be fun. After all, you’ve paid your money. Don’t be so close-minded.” And then I saw them--two naked sagging bodies rising out of the steam and I remembered the literature that said in fine print “clothing at bathing areas is optional at all times.” It suddenly felt like I was surrounded by ‘bathing areas’ and I’m sorry to say, but it was too much adventure for me. I would have turned and run right then but I really had to go to the bathroom…and so, I continued toward the office.

Walking in, there was a striking silver-haired woman with turquoise pipe cleaners wrapped in her hair. I smiled and she gave me “the look”. You know the one. It’s the one that says, “What the heck do you think you’re doing? You don’t belong here.” And she was right, but it still ticked me off that she gave me “the look.” The young man next to her finally said, “Checking in?” He then gave me a map and instructions with the lay of the land. I graciously thanked him, took my parking pass, found the nearest bathroom, walked back to my car, got in and drove away. It was a quick trip indeed ☺.

Nine miles down the road, I stopped at the little corner store; purchased an Oregon map, a liter of Diet Dr. Pepper and some Corn Nuts—knowing that in an hour my prepaid Vegan Meal would be served up in the Lodge after the double gong had been rung to summon me to dinner. Well, not this time. No vegan meal for me. No nighttime Shamanic-healing ceremony. No meditation in the Lodge at 7:00 a.m. Nope not for me. I would be back to Salem by dinnertime.

So, maybe I am not as adventuresome as I like to think I am. Maybe I am a snob. Or maybe this was one of those times to listen to the “niggles.” I was reminded of my yoga teacher who says that sometimes the more courageous thing to do is stop an activity rather than continuing on and injuring yourself. While I did not feel like I was in any danger at Breitenbush…certainly not…I did feel like the effort that would need to be expended to try and enjoy myself was not worth it this time. So here I sit in the Medford Motel 6; five hours closer to my destination of Tiburon and baby Connor. My McDonald’s milkshake made a great dinner last night and you can gain a lot of energy and mileage from 32 ounces of Dr. Pepper and a rockin' play list on I-tunes!

I slept well. I had a little adventure (even though it looked radically different than I planned) and this morning the sun is shining . So, we’ll see what’s down the road today.

I hope you will ponder your life’s adventure today. Are there places you need or desire the courage to step out of a rut that holds you back? Where are the places that staying put or saying no might be the most courageous thing to do?

I’ll see you down the road ☺ !!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

hitting the road, baby!

Finding myself with a bit of open time before the Fall schedule kicks into high gear, I have decided (with the blessings of my family) to take a little road trip this week. I am calling it "the baby road trip." Not because it is going to be small in nature (although it might be), but because the intention of this trip is to visit two little guys who came into my life in the last few months that I have not had the chance to meet yet.

One lives in Salem, Oregon and belongs to my dear friend, Tia, who I went to graduate school with. His name is Grayson. Don't you just love that name? The other could be considered my great nephew or even my sort of grandson, since he belongs to my honorary daughter. Her mother happens to be one of my absolute dearest and longest standing friends. 'Mom' and Connor (another great name, don't ya think?) are visiting their "real" grandmother in San Francisco, so I thought I would just pop on down ☺.

I will be making a brief stop at Breitenbush Hot Springs to check out the facilities, but for now that is the only officially scheduled stop...other than the babies ☺. So I am loading up my i-pod with books, podcasts and tunes; filling the convertible with gas and packing my bag with the necessary gear. Who knows what the week will hold?

Don't know when I'll be back here to check in. Those little guys can take up your time, you know?

Wishing you grand adventures of your own this week!

baby connor photo

Sunday, August 17, 2008

fantabulous weekend ☺

What a glorious, wonderful, fantabulous weekend it has been here in Seattle! For me, it started Thursday afternoon with the arrival of two of my favorite people, Sunrise Sister and Country Parson. The weather cooperated brilliantly as they arrived for the warmest weekend of the summer which was still a good 10 to 20 degrees cooler than their side of the mountains. We opted to eat in on Thursday and had a sampler of salads from my favorite cookbook, Simply Classic. (This book is near and dear to my heart as I was an instrumental part of its design and development. Plus, it's a darn good cookbook!!!) With the French doors open to the deck outside, we sipped a little wine and enjoyed catching up face to face.

Friday morning brought another glorious day and the three of us took off for downtown Seattle and a perfect ferry boat ride to nearby Bainbridge Island. The city shone in the sunlight and we had the rare treat of standing on the sun deck in shirt sleeves without freezing to death! Bainbridge Island provided a little travel shopping where SS & CP both acquired new hats and water bottles while contributing to the economic survival of the island ☺. A lovely lunch at Cafe Nola and a stroll around town (which turned into a bit of a trek when we took a wrong turn--oops) completed our afternoon before the return trip to Seattle.

We arrived home in plenty of time for a little R&R before meeting up with another favorite of mine, H3Images. Our party was now four and we went back downtown for a lovely dinner at The Dahlia Lounge. A notable first for me as I enjoyed my first martini--shaken not stirred--followed by a delicious meal which included lots of seafood and a surprise order of Peking Duck. Our designated driver, H3, proved to be a wonderful tour guide and offered us an amazing sunset off the cliffs of Magnolia Bluff with a full moon rising in the east. A perfect ending to a perfect day!

Saturday started with leisurely breakfast (serve yourself) at home and then a visit to the Patricia Rovzar gallery where we got to visit the backroom as well as look at the wonderful exhibits on display. Our next stop was in the Georgetown area where our artist friend, Melinda Hannigan, was preparing for an open house in her gallery. Being unable to attend during the designated time, she invited us to stop by in the afternoon. We met another delightful artist in the meantime who shared her sweet dogs, Sammy & Kitty, with us. (Keep an eye posted at Riley's site for more descriptions of these two cuties!) My biggest treat of the day came when Melinda and H3 agreed to make a trade of art and I ended up with a lovely series of three beautiful paintings called "Anthropogenesis" (i.e. the study of the beginning of man). Lucky me!!!

A stop for lunch at the famed F.X. McCrory's (sneaking in before the Seahawk crowd arrived--whew!!) and then inspired by the gallery touring, we had to make a stop at Daniel Smith art supply and pick up a few of our own tools ☺. Back home then for a brief regroup and then it was time for the sporting event of the day--my daughter's evening game in the soccer tournament. A drive to Snohomish found us watching soccer in the beautiful evening glow while skydivers and hot air balloons floated above and we munched on hot fresh kettle corn. The icing on the cake was a win for the team. Snacking on lunch leftovers at home and viewing some photos of the day (and more) ended another amazing day.

This morning, SS & CP said goodbye as they headed back east. Shortly, thereafter, H3 & I went to the semi-finals of the soccer tourney where the girls gave a valiant effort. The game finished with a 1 to 1 tie and ended when the other team scored the winning goal in the sudden death shoot out. I hate to admit it, but I was pretty happy to not have another game today, so I could come home and recoup before my next adventure ☺. Tomorrow morning I will be hitting the road for what I call my "baby road trip". More details to follow...

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, too!!! Life is good!!!

reflection by h3 images; magnolia sunset by lucy

Saturday, August 16, 2008

rooted in dance?

This morning I am catching a few brief moments to jot down some thoughts from my recent list. Even as my feet are tired from an unplanned long walk in not the best shoes ☺, I turn to the topic of roots and dance.

When I think of being rooted and dancing, I have little movies that seem to run across my mind. I recall the first time I placed my head onto the ground resembling a Muslim form of worship. It was during a class on creativity and I did not recognize it as worship at the time, but there was something akin to an electrical charge that went through my body and I felt like I could stay in that position forever. I remember thinking at the time that I could see why part of Muslim prayer is to place the forehead onto the ground. This movement has carried over with me as I have become more active in my yoga practice (i.e. attending classes a little more regularly). Whenever I have the opportunity to go into “child’s pose” (see photo) I always noticeably relax. I have considered whether or not this is just a relief from the more strenuous poses and I imagine that is a bit of it. However, there is something innate in me that feels the groundedness and connection with the earth, with God, with life when I am in this position. Hmmmmm.

But on with the movie…I see trees swaying in the wind as Tess suggested in her comment to this post. I am reminded of a woman in the park I saw the other day. She was standing very still next to a huge tree. I did not want to stop and stare but I cannot get this image out of my head. It was like she and the tree were one. I sensed a gentle swaying in her alongside the mammoth oak. It was as if they were dancing and praying together even though their movement was almost unrecognizable. They were both grounded and dancing.

Shortly after I wrote this post, I was sent an e-mail that spoke of the root chakra. When I did a little research I found many more interesting connections between this “root” and dancing. This little piece really resonated with me:

“Dancing is very good for grounding. In the summer, go barefoot. House cleaning and cooking is also grounding. Hug a tree, take care of your plants.”

In my NIA (no impact aerobics) class, we are advised to do the class without shoes because this provides us a greater ability to feel the earth (or in this case the gym floor), which again enhances that sense of being grounded. My favorite little vignette in this current movie happened the other day near the end of class when we were able to move with our own rhythm throughout the room. For a few brief moments, I felt very beautiful and light and flowing (as opposed to the often clunky and cumbersome feelings when trying to follow the graceful teacher ☺). It was as if I were floating just above the ground. I was truly dancing to the rhythm of my own soul and, paradoxically, even in this ‘floating’ there was the strong sense of connection to everything. Grounded, methinks.

Many many more thoughts come to mind as I think of dancing and being grounded, but alas the day calls me to move forward for now. It is a glorious day with much to look forward. So, for now I will pause with these questions. Where are the places you feel most grounded? When are the times you want to dance? Do the two hold any connection for you?

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Oh, I really want to write a post today and tell you all that has been muddling around in my brain these days, but I feel a bit rushed with a soccer tournament in an hour and weekend company on the way. Alas, this post is more a reminder to myself so I will come back to these thoughts soon. So here are a few:

• the relationship between being rooted and dancing
• considering what it looks like to explore God outside of traditional Christian boundaries
• the intention of the heart. what happens when we seek God wholeheartedly?
• listening to the “niggles” of our gut
• what does the “narrow path” really mean?
• what if God is love, period?
• the both/and of life. paradox.

I hope you will choose to think alongside me. Cheers!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

powerful women's motto

this is dedicated to all of the amazing wonderful women in my life. (if you are reading this, that means YOU!) you rock!!!

Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders & says...'Oh sh!#....she's awake!!'

(this was sent to me from another strong courageous grace-filled woman. thank you!)

Monday, August 11, 2008

vines, threes & serendipity???

It is gray this morning. I was expecting sunshine and it has not decided to arrive quite yet. There is a post bubbling around in my brain about roots and vines, but instead of letting the words flow out of my pen, I myself have remained rooted here in my cozy bed.

I sit here pondering about the serendipity of life. Is it God’s plan? Is it random energy or merely coincidence? Or is it something I make up in my brain to make sense out of things that otherwise might make no sense at all?

I wonder about the power of three’s and even where that idea even began. And lest you think I am on a total ramble, it is indeed the occurrence of three, serendipitous appearances of roots and vines that I am pondering. I hesitate in the writing, because words are not clearly forming yet the images stand bold in my mind and beg to be placed on paper and so I choose to give it a go.

Recently while having coffee with a dear friend, she began to relay an experience of her own. My friend has been experiencing a sense of flightiness and floating away and these senses have caused her some anxiety. In her story, she was seeking counsel and her adviser asked her to try and imagine herself as rooted to the ground with strong vines holding her in place. She has been curious about the imagery that was offered and was thus sharing it with me for my thoughts. While she spoke I tried to contain myself and continue to listen closely to her story. I myself was getting excited, because my heart did a little jump when she shared the imagery of the vines.

Why the ‘heart jump’? Well, just a few days earlier I was participating in an exercise called dynamic meditation where the goal is to exhaust the body and active thoughts so as to clear space to listen. (When I ‘clear space to listen’, it is my goal and hope to listen to God and I have found that God does indeed meet me in those spaces quite often.) Part of the exercise had us in an immobile state for 15 minutes. I must say it was quite painful physically and all my brain could do was attempt to figure out how much longer this would last and did not feel clear of thought at all!! ☺ However, when the music changed and we were given the opportunity to once again move, I found that my feet were planted to the ground. I could not move and actually had no desire to do the very thing I had been focusing on for the last 15 minutes.

As I stood there, a vision came into my mind of vines coming out of the ground and wrapping themselves around my right leg. They were beautiful like ivy and felt more akin to security than something binding or frightening. I stood there for a few moments and allowed myself to let the imagery sink in and then I physically reached down and gently unwound the vines so that I could move my legs and participate in the next part of the exercise. It was really a powerful experience on its own, and then to have my friend share virtually the same visual before hearing about my own was truly amazing. She and I both vowed to consider more what the imagery means for each of us.

The third instance came when I impulsively picked up (& bought) a book (Dare to Journey with Henri Nouwen) on my way out of the bookstore yesterday. Here is an excerpt from the first reflection:

“So we try to do more while our energies ebb away and we become like uprooted trees with our roots wildly groping for the sky. Thus we anxiously throw our arms toward heaven, praying for extra grace and special enabling, when instead we should be planted again in nourishing soil. That soil is not meant to make us do less, but to change our priorities so that we take time to be still. And in the stillness, find new strength and hope.” --Charles Ringma

So, there you have it. My little story of vines, threes and serendipity. I am still pondering what to make of it, but I must say the grounding feels quite nice. As always, thoughts and comments are welcomed. Peace. ☺

Friday, August 08, 2008

i stopped dreaming when...

How would you complete the statement: I stopped dreaming when… Have you ever considered that? Considered even what your dreams are? Or do you live in a closed off or fearful place where dreaming seems frivolous and unproductive? Do you perhaps consider that if you were to share your dreams with another that they might be met with ridicule and thus the dreams snatched out of your realm or buried deeper inside your psyche?

“I stopped dreaming when…” is part of an exercise I have participated in dozens of times. The goal is to just let the words flow and find their rhythm until you stop thinking about what you are saying. For many sessions the things that popped out of my mouth were based on childhood experiences that gradually moved upward through my adult years. And then several months ago, I was demonstrating this process and out popped “I stopped dreaming when I couldn’t dance.”

These words came out with a ferocity that surprised both the partner with whom I was working and especially me (probably me more so, because I had no clue from where they came.) Today, I started to write “while I have always enjoyed dancing” and then realized that is not really true. I thought I wanted to tap dance when I was about 5, but I think that was more a product of my mother’s urging. I did, however, really love the shiny black shoes with the wonderful clicking heels. I quickly decided though that I much preferred staying home to watch “The Three Stooges” and “Tarzan” on television over the discipline and embarrassment it took to learn the complicated steps in dance class.

I also grew up in the age where social dancing consisted of sock hops at which couples bobbed up and down to the beat of the music individually or else draped their arms around each other when the rhythm slowed enough to warrant closer contact. A neighborhood friend had aspirations to be a ballerina and occasionally worked with me to learn the five positions of her classical dance. I was never too sad when I couldn’t do them perfectly and definitely did not long for more time at the barre.

In middle school I made an embarrassing attempt to learn how to move and do a flip so I could try out for cheerleader. The results were near humiliating and I opted for cheering in the pep club instead of gyrating on the sidelines. Growing older I talked my first husband into a couple of “hustle” lessons, and later, my second into an evening of ballroom classes with other friends. Each time there was no lasting commitment and no lingering loss after the lessons stopped. I do, however, love a really great (and sometimes not so great) dance movie. My heart always sings when I watch the likes of “Dirty Dancing,” “Strictly Ballroom” or “Shall We Dance?”

All of this to say, I do not really consider the actual act of dancing to be what I was referring to in my exercise outburst. It feels bigger than dancing to me. It feels representative of something deep in my soul. It feels like a rhythm lost or possibly a dream or a gigantic culmination of loss. It feels like a loss that is sometimes too big for words. Even this writing feels really big for these pages. It does not feel despairing, but more like a mystery to be considered. It seems like much more to be explored which is exactly what I plan to do. In the meantime, however, I would love to know how you would finish this statement: I stopped dreaming when…

collage by lucy

Thursday, August 07, 2008

on the lighter side

It gets pretty exhausting sometimes talking and thinking about all that authenticity and inauthenticity. It can be heady stuff, you know? Sometimes you just have to go for some plain old mindless inappropriate fun! Who better to model that than a couple of teenagers? Especially when they happen to be your own and you find that you really do have a lot in common (even though they think you are from another planet.) Every now and then, however, the planets align and some really good fun comes out of it.

Warning: If you consider this blog to be a serious, contemplative place where only deep and thoughtful things are discussed, you may want to discontinue reading at this point lest your impressions be permanently changed.

At the urging of my 19 year old son (who finds me less and less alien-like as he matures), we went to a 10:00 p.m. movie. That in itself is pretty bold for me since I generally am cuddled into bed by that time...especially on a "school" night (btw--no one here is currently in school, but still the voices say 'Wednesday is a school night.') When I heard dear son say, "Come on, Mom. Live a little" with his crooked grin I could see through the phone, I answered, "Sure. What the heck!" Somewhere in there "Mr. Charming" managed to convince his sister to move away from the computer and come along with us. (Do you think it could have been impacted by the fact that "all of her friends" are out of town this week? I mean...going into public at night with her brother AND her mother?!?!??! Horror of horrors!)

Well, like I said before, sometimes all of the planets just align and the three of us toodled off (Dad had a 4:30 a.m. wake up call. Party pooper!) to the opening night still have a chance to quit reading here...the new highly acclaimed stoner-action film, "Pineapple Express." And, o.k. I have to admit I really enjoyed it. Yep, Me, Lucy, contemplative counselor actually laughed out loud in the midst of an auditorium where I think the next oldest person there was maybe 25. The movie was totally inappropriate with marijuana and murder holding center stage, but a better stoner than James Franco there has not been since Sean Penn played Jeff Spicoli in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." And, yes, while I am giving true confessions, I liked that movie too.

So, there you have it. The 'other side' of Lucy. Occasionally I enjoy a good old raucous pointless movie. Now, am I recommending it? I will leave that to your own discretion. My enjoyment may have been induced by the incredible crescent moon, the warm summer night, the relief from the seriousness of late, the joy of hanging out with my kids and the fact that I am still slightly warped from my own teenage years. Anyway, if you're still with me, I hope you will come back again. You never know what might show up here. In the meantime if you care to share your own entertainment indulgences, feel free! Peace.

p.s. we also had a little fun with "photobooth"

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

exhausting inauthenticity

The most exhausting thing you can do is to be inauthentic.

--Anne Morrow Lindburgh

Earlier today while looking for something else, I ran across the above quote. In my haste, I popped it into a post so as not to forget it or lose its source as I have been known to do. In the meantime, Tess in her infinite wisdom came along with a comment of her own which stirred me to think even more deeply about the exhaustion of inauthenticity.

Regular readers may have noticed that I have been away from the blog for several days and prior to that my posts (while very meaningful to me) were not from my own pen. Oddly enough it is not that I have not been writing. In fact, I have been quite prolific in my journals and my life continues to be one grand adventure after another. (Others might or might not agree with the "grandness" but then it's all in how you look at things, isn't it?)

So, what does all of this have to do with inauthenticity? Well, for some reason, I have been censoring myself and I am becoming more and more agitated by it. I am bursting at the seams with thoughts, emotions and feelings galore, but I keep putting a lid on them. And for those of you who read here often or know me personally, well... you know that is just not like me!! Thus comes the exhaustion. It is exhausting holding back all of this emotion!!

I have been searching out other ways to exhaust the emotion and have found some very fine ways indeed. Dynamic meditation. NIA. Walking. Talking. But, I have come to realize that nothing satisfies quite like putting pen to paper and then transposing it onto this blog where others can muse and ponder and possibly relate to what I have written. I have discovered that writing from the heart is a huge part of my authenticity.

So, now I feel a little better because I have at least written about holding back, but the holding back is still there. So, where is the balance between being too candid and risking living in inauthenticity? Joy is me. Grand adventures are me. Writing is me. Honesty is me. Compassion is me. Censorship & inauthenticity are not me!

So, do you ever experience those feelings of censorship? Where does inauthenticity enter your life? Do you hold back to try and avoid misinterpretation or judgment even when it comes from an authentic place? I would love to hear what you have to say!
The most exhausting thing you can do is to be inauthentic.
--Anne Morrow Lindburgh