Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Transported in Time

Driving home last night from the final session of my memoir writing class, I was transported back in time. When I was 16 I drove a 1969 pale yellow, black top VW convertible bug. That era and little beetle hold some of the most carefree memories of my life. How perfect to be old enough to experience freedom, but young enough to not carry a whole lot of responsibilities. [ I could easily veer off here and muse about the differences for 16 year olds today (since I have one in residence), but this is a different topic.]

Anyway, last night I was driving home in my 2007 cream on cream VW convertible (who says you can’t go back?). It was a little chilly outside, but the sky was beautiful as I headed across Lake Washington toward Ballard. I cranked up the heater and the stereo and soaked it all in. My i-pod was doing its shuffle thing and WHAM I was transported in time. Bachman Turner Overdrive, “Takin’ Care of Business” came zooming toward me like a wild Karaoke host who put a make-believe microphone in my hand and shouted, “Sing it, Girlfriend!” Well, all I can say is that for a few brief moments, any pressure, stress or worry that comes with being a “responsible” adult drifted right out my car into the night air. I gave myself over to the moment and I was ageless. I sang like a diva. I dreamed like a child. I felt every sense of my body like the woman I am! Oh, it was great!

Perhaps I am easily amused. Who cares? Those little moments of being fully alive are really what counts, right? Have you experienced any of those lately? Music is one of the things that can take me back in time (or out-of-time) faster than anything else. How about you? If you wanted to pop into another place or mood, what song would hit the top of your playlist? Where would it take you? What would it tell you?

self-portrait 6.29.09

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Process versus product. Do those words resonate with you? How about journey versus destination?

It is a beautiful gray morning in Seattle. Now mind you I am not a huge fan of gray but it does allow me to light my morning candles and come to a place of contemplation that the brilliant sun makes a bit more difficult. I am pondering a recent conversation with a friend who seems to viciously struggle with not having “it” (life, faith, herself) all figured out. As I listened to her I wondered if she realized that no one has it all figured out. No One…and if they try to tell you they do, guess what, they’re full of IT!

When I consider my own role in similar struggles, I often return to the idea of being “unfinished”. There may be a final product for which I strive, but it is in the process that all of the meaty stuff really happens. If I am “finished,” then what? This is a concept that has helped me throughout my journey, especially when I find myself in places where I feel like the process may never stop. At least I am present enough to feel my emotions – to wrestle with the issues – to enjoy the value of a gray day. The alternative is a pretty numb and lifeless existence.

Today I invite you to consider how you spend your days. Do you strive for product or are you awake to the beauty of process? Are you so focused on the destination that you miss the intricacies of the journey? Does it have to be one or the other? Could it be both? How about keeping an eye on the destination while enjoying the music of the ride? How about remembering the sun still shines even though the clouds cover it for now?

Wishing you a Sacred Sunday and days that follow!

'heart of daisies' lakebay 6.09

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Simple Woman...Simple Day

Browsing the wonderful sites on the web is one of my favorite things to do. I am always so inspired by what others are doing and offering to each of us. I found this "journal" at Inspired (how appropriate is that?). The direct link, however, goes to The Simple Woman. I decided to use this journal format today to remind myself of the beauty of simplicity.

FOR TODAY (June 25, 2009)...

Outside my window...the sky is overcast with the occasional tease of sunshine. The rhododendrons are releasing their final blooms and the wind gently reminds me that the trees are alive.

I am thinking...it is a gift to be alive. To have the senses of taste, touch, smell, sound and voice through my written words.

I am thankful for...this moment and all it encompasses.

From the learning rooms...(if this applies) are not all rooms, rooms of learning?

From the kitchen...fresh yogurt, slices of mango, deep red raspberries; all sprinkled with raw oats and accompanied by warm coffee.

I am wearing...my p.j.’s: soft cotton boxer shorts commandeered from my dear husband and an oversized Texas t-shirt from my friend in Dallas, covered by my thermal pink hoody. My feet sit cozily inside my Uggs. ☺

I am creating...this moment. (and later my new professional website.)

I am going...to sit on the beach with my dear friend and contemplate possibilities later this afternoon.

I am reading...mainly blog posts with an occasional dip into Angela’s Ashes and my significant pile of books.

I am hoping...I will stay present to all this day has to offer.

I am hearing...The hum of the white-noise machine left on from last night and the chirping of birds outside my window.

Around the house...all is quiet. My daughter sleeps soundly in her room while I type quietly in my studio.

One of my favorite things...Laughter! ☺

A few plans for the rest of the week: Tomorrow, I am connecting with a friend I have not seen in 33 years! Facebook rocks! Hanging an art show with hubbie. Watching my daughter play soccer. Breathing in life!

The picture thought I am sharing...is at the beginning of the post ☺!

So that's my simple day. I'd love to hear about yours!!

photo in my studio today.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Blissed to be a Witness

I am blissed to be a witness. You read it correctly – no typo. I am BLISSED to be a witness. Last week I traveled home to the Key Peninsula, the site of Soltura workshops. No, I don’t live there physically. Seattle is still my place of residence. But, my soul returned to its bliss-filled home where joy, light, love, laughter, fear, darkness, peace, conflict, death and life can all be safely experienced…and witnessed.

As I have journeyed on my path toward authentic life, I have come to know myself and the places where I feel most alive and connected. Many of those places have been witnessed by those who read here. I find joy in the simplest of things. A jellyfish. My garden. Friends. Nature. Reading. Writing.

Yesterday while driving across Lake Washington with my i-pod shuffling around, Ben Harper’s song, Blessed to be a Witness, came on and I experienced one of those bliss-filled moments. It dawned on me that the sense of contentment that has flowed through my veins for the last week was connected to my experience of being a witness to other’s journey toward authentic living.

Witnessing life is an honor and an amazing privilege. It takes me out of a me-me-me state of mind, and in the process brings me back to my truer self. I am indeed blessed and blissed to be a witness.

This is not a totally new concept to me, but it is one of those special realization moments that I desire to share – lest I forget. So, consider yourself a witness today.

What are the moments you have experienced the power of being a witness? Do share!

Peace and bliss-filled blessings to you!

"heart in the sky" 6.09 - lakebay, wa

Saturday, June 13, 2009

rites of passage

If you haven’t checked out my tagline recently, now would be a good time. The more I learn, the less I know. It seems whether it be about self-exploration or broadening horizons in general, this axiom holds true. Beginning the road to self-discovery is enlightening and it is a bit like opening Pandora’s box. There’s really no going back once you’ve started. And just when I think I’ve looked at every aspect of my personal being (or not), something new pops up. It really is the beauty of being an unfinished woman.

My latest case in point came as I was reading William Bridges classic book, Transitions. In it Bridges talks about rights of passage and how the modern culture has basically done away with formal markings of passage. Thus we have to make up our own and it is not usually done with any intentionality in mind. It may just kind of happen. Bridges says:

“It’s worth reflecting on this early transition (i.e. coming of age) in your life because that point may set the style for your later transitions.”

Being the ponderer that I am, I spent some time with Bridges’ suggestion. And here is what I discovered:

It often takes a really BIG stick to move me out of an established pattern and into transition. You know…things like, say, near death experiences. Mine have been more in the spiritual, emotional and even metaphorical realm, but I also had huge life transitions after each of my parents’ physical death.

This “big stick” theory led me to recall the midwife who helped birth my son saying “You have a really high tolerance for pain.” Yep. I can put up with a lot for a really long time before the pain finally gets to be too much. This can be both a very positive trait (Parenting is a great example as is working as a psychotherapist); AND it can be harmful in terms of my own health (spiritual, emotional and physical). The cool thing is with this new knowledge, I can decide if and how I want to proceed since I might pick up on my pattern a little sooner. Actually, I believe I have already started to do so. This new knowledge just gives a different way to frame how and why I repeat patterns in my life.

My invitation today is that you, too, consider Bridges’ suggestion. What did the early transition in your life look like? When did you “know” you were no longer a child? Can you see ways this ‘right of passage’ has followed you into adulthood? I’m going to keep pondering. I hope you will too!

photos from bermuda, 5.09

Friday, June 12, 2009

fun friday

So, both of these things came into my mailbox today and I couldn't resist putting them together.

"Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she'll give you a baby.
If you give her a house, she'll give you a home. If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal.
If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her.
So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit."

So...do you think there's a woman on the other side of that window?

Thursday, June 11, 2009


The days are full - long - bright. I sit for a few moments this morning gathering my thoughts.

My candles burn - one labeled, "togetherness"; the other "everyday sacred." A stone of black sits at their base and reminds me of the earth and darkness that complements and threatens the light. A spiraling shell represents water and so much more. Finally, a pure white feather whispers to me of air.

Words float everywhere around me - in books - music - my mind. The music reminds me to breathe and my old friend, Merton, speaks to me of the beauty of this time of day when night turns into morning. When everything is new and possibilities abound.

"The fire of a wild white sun has eaten up the distance between hope and despair.
Dance in this sun, you tepid idiot. Wake up and dance in the clarity of perfect contradiction."
--Thomas Merton

What are your reminders today? Will you take time to notice the beauty that abounds?

photo by lucy from st. andrew's retreat center 5.09

Monday, June 08, 2009

generous and gentle

"Light is incredibly generous,
but also gentle.
When you attend to the way the dawn comes,
you learn how light can coax the dark.
The first fingers of light appear on the horizon,
and ever so deftly and gradually,
they pull the mantle of darkness away from the world."

Friday, June 05, 2009

still transitioning?

As I continue to sit in a very transitional place in my life - I wonder are we always in transition? William Bridges in his book, Transitions, says: "Every transition begins with an ending. We have to let go of the old thing before we can pick up the new one - not just outwardly, but inwardly." It feels like I am always letting go of something. Something ending. Something beginning. Some times it is joyful. Other times heartbreaking. Letting go of even the hard stuff is not easy. Welcoming in the good can be terrifying.

Mark Nepo offers a quote that has stayed with me for several days. I am offering it here so my transitional brain might hold onto these thoughts.

I have been broken and have failed so many times that my sense of identity has sprouted and peeled like an onion. But because of this, I have lived more than my share of lives and feel both young and old at once, with a sudden heart that cries just to meet the air. Now, on the other side of all I've suffered so far, everything, from the quick song of birds to the peace trapped inside a fresh brook's gurgle, is rare and uncertain. Now I want to stand naked before every wind; and though I'm still frightened I will break, I somehow know it's all a part - even the fright - of the rhythm of being alive.

Fire needs air to breathe.

Any thoughts from you on transition? Sprouting & peeling? Breath? Shadow & light?

the photo is a treasure from a dear friend in honor of my recent post on shadow & light. thank you!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Me and My Shadow

"Who are you?" said the Caterpillar...
"I - I hardly know, Sir, just at present," Alice replied rather shyly, "at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have changed several times since then."
--Lewis Carroll Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Discoveries from a recent photo journey. These images were taken in preparation to facilitate a group of women in an exploration of light and shadow. I co-lead this group with the lovely Christine who has graciously dedicated her poetry party this week to me. My offering can be found here.

The cat's tail moves in perfect harmony with its shadow. Does my shadow move in perfect harmony to me?

Could these wings fly?

Filigreed Concrete


Shadowed Green

Have you ever considered your relationship with light and shadow? Do you favor one over the other? Consider taking a photo journey of your own. See where you are drawn. Come back and share what you've discovered! My shadow and I will be anxiously awaiting!!

Monday, June 01, 2009

streams from the shower

a full day ahead of me, i just wanted to share this little epiphany that came to me in the shower this morning. i spent about five hours working in my yard yesterday. glorious. really it was an amazing church experience. i have so much fullness flowing through, but need to head out the door momentarily.

anyway...the gardening i did yesterday was the kind of work that nobody notices unless you don't do it. you know, pulling out the weeds that threaten to take over the healthy plants. thinning out some of the good stuff, so it can shine a little brighter and breathe more fully.

so, that's my epiphany...do you see how that is like life? doing the work nobody notices (maybe even yourself) unless you DON'T do it. it's important stuff!!

sorry for the brevity, but you're a smart bunch (of flowers)...i'd love to know what you come up with as you ponder the weeds of your life and even the thinning of "good stuff" that might need to happen. so, how does your garden grow???

gotta run. have a grand day in your garden of life!!