Archive | March, 2013

no, but…

31 Mar

I take a lot of vitamins and supplements everyday.  Getting them out the the jars and into my stomach is a morning ritual.  Each morning it hits me that I can hardly tell the difference between yesterday morning and today.  The same action repeated every day makes the days seem short.  Staring at myself brushing my teeth at night can give me the same time-warp feeling, as if just a minute or two pass, and here I find myself again, taking my vitamins, brushing my teeth.  The moments between that shake things up can pull me out of habits and patterns, make each moment fresh again.

A part of me, like the part that knows to beat my heart, the part that knows to digest food, the part that takes me on  my night time journeys, also draws experiences to me – custom made to help me learn, grow, wake up again and again.

I Love love love seeing the things I bring into my experience:

from breath-holding challenges to downhill releases,

from upturning changes to much of the same,

from tsunami waves to gentle currents of ease…

we all get it all.

I’m playing all parts on this journey as well as watching her fill her plate from the buffet spread  out before her.

The funniest thing to watch – to my dark humor –  is me being blind to my own blind spots.  The turn around of karma has me laughing at someone tripping only to find myself sliding on a banana peel moments later. (metaphor!  Not laughing at people tripping:)  The funny part is me on the banana peel.

The name of this blog in spotlights is me seeing my  own life as improv.  The first rule you learn in improv is “Yes, and…”  meaning that when your partner initiates a scene, you accept the reality of that scene.  You do not contradict the world they are trying to create; you join it, and add to it.

So my premise for this blogging was that the path to remembering involved saying “Yes, and…” to life itself.  Life flow is my partner who initiates scenes and I answer yes…

So I was called out of the blue and asked to audition for an improv company. WHOOO HOO to most, but  I was so surprised and confused by this, I actually started to answer with a “No, but…”

My friend DK sent me these wise, wedging words –  He is ever  lovely to hold up the mirror–


For all my “knowing” the path, here I was saying, “NO, but…”

So I released any thoughts I had, went to the silly, old audition because IT didn’t matter for anything except to walk the path with a YES as this was clearly being placed before me by my scene partner – life.    I had a crazy good time.

I was ready with my, “oh that’s okay, it was just fun to try” response (insert eye roll here) when they called to ask me to join the company.

When this call made my heart race, I was confused.  My heart hasn’t raced that way in a long while.  Seems a good reminder that  I am in a body, and I have blood and a heart and a mind and adrenaline.  There are activities that each of us enjoys, flows to, plays at.  Expressing these diminsions of ourselves is joining in to life, is part of the reason we take on a body.  What is up with my “No, but…?”

no matter.

The lesson is for me.  In All Ways.

Yes, dammit,  yes, and………….here i go!

“…one who finds somehow in each moment, comes to each moment, fresh, not harboring some projections about what you intend to do and what you have done before – The excellence of that State so few enjoy…as stateless state…a complete freedom, your whole life can be like this.”  – Mooji

words out of my mouth

29 Mar

“Speak only if it improves upon the silence.” – Mahatma Gandhi

I cannot improve the silence, Gandhi.

I have spent some time silent.  I have spent time speaking.  I have spoken long spells as a fool.

Dare I contradict the man, Gandhi?  When I read his words, I feel humbled and silent.  That is good.

But I also know that silence sometimes is haughty – safe – stagnant.

Sometimes silence is like holding toxins in the body.   Sometimes words are the messengers of incorrect thoughts showing up like pimples needing to come to the surface to be seen, expunged, healed.

I  hear the narrator from “The Love-Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”  (by T.S. Eliot)  in my head:

That is not what I meant at all. 
  That is not it, at all…”  

When I brag like a peacock.  When I make a joke that hurts someone.  When I start expounding about something I know nothing about as if I know.  When I take over and cut others out.

proud peacock

“Do I dare 
Disturb the universe? 
In a minute there is time 
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.”

I do disturb the universe because this is part of the path I’ve chosen – To use my life, words, mistakes as a mirror.  I love the peacock in his display; it is beautiful and daring.

It is easy to hate the pimple, turn away from the ugly but my weakness is loved; it is okay to say the wrong thing.

And by allowing myself to participate in this life, I learn.

And more and more words  become less like pimples and more like flowers from some magical garden of the ineffable.  I become a clearer vessel for the words that are not my own.  The flowers that appear from words can only blossom because I dared to allow myself space and love to reveal the words that needed to be released.

Judgement Day

25 Mar

angry teacher

The part of my job that I find myself resisting the most is grading.  I have to judge the writing of others and assign a numeric value to this judgement.  Truth is, I pretty much know the grade within a few focused minutes, intuitively, and then I have to spend 10 or 20 more minutes figuring out how I know this and how I can be helpful with my comments.

I never see the online students face to face, and I found myself down right ruthless with my grading there.  I expected many students to drop after the first essay, but  guess what?  They held on tighter and worked harder for my approval.  Ah ha!  They responded to tough judgement by trying harder, while my face to face classes know I am open-faced accepting of them, and they flounder and disappear, often.  Interesting.

All sorts of people inhabit seats in a community college:

I had two students one semester who were in different sections, but so similar.  Neither of them ever turned in a single piece of writing to me.  We often discussed what they were going to write, but not one assignment came in.  But they were delightful to have in class.   They often found small portions of the whole lesson fascinating and  got the discussion off on a tangent.  They were pleasant, non-stressed and engaged with the material, though tangentially, and attended every day.

I have others who profess desperation to pass but never show up.  I don’t have an opinion about any of them.  When they show up at my podium, i love to look in their eyes.  I take away their guilt.  Guilt doesn’t help.   I offer the same to passing and failing;  my attention.

The numbers judge, but not me, and the numbers are actually out of my control.  The grading is a separate process far removed from the real work that is taking place between souls who are getting together, writing words, talking about ideas, joking, researching, pulling our hair out…BEing in space together for a time.

I used to think it was part of my job to judge.  That was a stressful and unnatural role for me. Judging others is a powerful force in our construct…another thing sold that is totally unnecessary. Students often come in with hands on their hips stances about all sorts of things, and I relish when I uncover this same positioning in myself so I can clear it on out!

Every path has value; every life is an expression of the divine; the more I come to life in this way, the more loveliness I see in every person and in every moment.

And yes, I am writing this right now instead of grading papers; not judging myself on that either 🙂

do we dare?

23 Mar

horned turtle

when tromping through

the thorny fields,

one wears heavy boots

and impenetrable pants;

it only makes sense –

then suddenly

one can find oneself

on the beach

still in protective gear

for the yesterday –

stickier part of the trail –

unaware of the costume change –

there may be a delay…

no matter,

the sun, soon enough, compels a stripping down.

no doubt, at some point her newly born feet will sink into the warmed,

soft sand;

she will ease into the new terrain –

feet in sand

perhaps we had some frozen hearts around here, not unloving, but braced for whatever difficulties lay waiting

for surely we knew the tough times behind!

About 6 months ago, my daughter wanted a pet turtle.  hard-outer shell, retreating stance,  no cuddles!

Now, we ponder the addition of a long-haired cat  – rumored to be better with allergies – rumored to be soft –

do we dare?


C.S. Lewis in The Four Loves:  “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

T.S. Eliot in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”:

“…Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown               130
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.”

woo woo, part two

21 Mar

Woo Woo is one of the topics that crosses the imaginary lines of our comfort zones.

In the continuum from strict, critical analysis <———–> to wide-open whacko, I haven’t signed up for a ride on a spaceship sight unseen, yet 🙂 but  I am mostly always fascinated by that which I cannot explain.   I am exhilarated by my peeks behind the curtain – which have occurred in many ways throughout my years.

One such exploration was down the trail of photographing orbs, spirits, lights…some thing at night.

After stepping into the void of separation from my marriage of 20 years, I spent a good part of that summer and fall wandering around my marshy neighborhood in the inky black evenings with my camera – crazy lady with a camera,  🙂 that was me.

One lovely photographer that I have come across focuses her blog on the phenomenon that I was hunting at that time.  I love checking out this site, when I can:

I had learned about the presence of orbs and such from my friend and saw that much could be seen through the inferred cameras with flash at night.  It is ironic for me to be taking pictures as I am well-known in my family and friends to be impaired with a camera.    i like capturing through my eyes, but the extension of extra equipment has always challenged me.  I tell tourists who thrust their cameras at me that they would be better off asking elsewhere as I am hopeless, cutting off heads and small children as I squint.  For me to capture anything unusual on the screen seems a mini-miracle in itself.

But this particular summer I didn’t care about my lack of skill.  My subjects didn’t seem to care either.   I was capturing the world unseen for my own enjoyment.  Things often appeared that I could not explain.

Two nights at the end of June 2011, this large manifesting light appeared in the same spot, two nights in a row.  Never before or since have I captured anything this dramatic.  This is the marsh behind my neighborhood.


Same shot: cropped close.


This is night two, in a bit of a fairy-like shape:


Same shot: close crop.SB2short-1

Here is an orb party I seem to have crashed:orbparty

This is a strange blue orb that I captured near my parents’ house in Northern Georgia:blueliteorb

Same shot: close crop.


And here is the phenomenon that I call spirit lights:


Be sure and click on these photos as they are hard to see unless a bit more blown up:


These shots are the highlights; to give perspective, dramatic appearances of large, vibrant, or unusual phenomenon were rare, but orbs and lights were present every night.

I haven’t any insight on what exactly I’m capturing with the camera here, but I find the process powerful and validating for knowing that the world outside our eyes and range of awareness most definitely exists.

Too woo woo for you?

Here is a link to Woo Woo part One 🙂 if you are so inclined.

can one Act without the ego?

19 Mar


When I was around 11 or 12, I discovered I could act.  Where it came from was a mystery.  Some friends and I  took turns reading from a script for a director, and out of the blue,  I got the part of the lead character.  My friends seemed to have done just as well as me, but there was my name at the top of the list.  Many roles, accomplishments and harsh disappointments became the pattern in the following years along the journey of an actress.

I never understood where this skill came from.  It felt like a blankness.  I would empty and suddenly I would be speaking the words of someone else, moving in the body of someone else, and finishing would almost feel like coming to out of a trance.

But Ego came in and mucked everything up.  After adding ACTOR to my identity,  I lived in fear that this mysterious process would leave me.  When the ego stepped in, the clearing out of self necessary to become a character would stop and the acting would become forced and uncomfortable.

I wanted every part I auditioned for and grieved when I was not chosen.  In the middle of my college years, this ego identity was so full of suffering that I switched my major to Writing and tried to steer the muse into words, which didn’t seem to depend so on outward appearance, longing, and narcissistic self-loathing.  I thought the door of the acting world was shut.

But as these journeys go, often shadow elements swirl back again for further experience, further teaching, further understanding.  When Eden’s acting spirit landed upon her head near the same time as mine had, I was full of ambivalence.  Her gift seem to come in with an enormous shadow.  I have written much of her pain-body on this blog!

Finding myself tangentially in this world of acting,   I was asked to audition for a play last year, and thought, well, okay, why not?  The most interesting thing happened at the audition.  I didn’t care, not at all.  And in not caring, I had no motivation.  I sat there and enjoyed watching everyone, and I had no thoughts of “I want this.”   Seemingly, I had to have  at least that much ego to get up there an get the part.  I didn’t want it.  Oh, JoY.  What a nice circle to see.

But I do not know how one does the acting, performs the art, and keeps the ego out, or have the ego in balance enough to have the drive to win the part, perform the part.  Is there motivation without the ego?

I see Eden in the same dance as I experienced in this arena, and while I support, I cannot offter advice.  This is her journey.   I see the mirror work, I see the inspiration, I see the suffering.  Just recently she had a go at Alice in Alice in Wonderland.  The expression of the divine through her vessel was interesting to watch…she was a fiesty Alice.  (I was a bit worried for the Queen of Hearts at one point) 🙂  But she realized that her interpretation was quite different from the traditional Alice overhearing some  veiled comments around her, and I saw her suffer greatly in much the same way I used to…the view of the self through the lens of others for constant measuring is very painful.

alice tweedles

alice playing cardsOf course, I’m literally talking about acting in theatre, but also, the word acting implies any action taken, right?  Sometimes on the path to the true self, people hear the voice of identity warning them that they will be boring, lifeless, a sage in a robe with nothing to say.   Any movement in the world is subject to the forces of identity, self-gratification, narcissism, fear, as well as love, connection, flow from source.  Obviously, I don’t know how it all works, but that rings true to me.

It seems that finding the true self does not end the expression of the vessel in the world, just removes the confusion about that.

When the seeker stops seeking, none of these seeming paradoxes arise.

Whether to act or not act occurs without having to decide – in the natural flow of the true self.

dharma, billy collins

18 Mar

Love to all of us heading out into the world like dogs (in a good way) this Monday morning 🙂

if i’m nobody, who is posting this?

15 Mar

I’m Nobody! Who are you?

by Emily Dickinson

I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there's a pair of us!
Don't tell! they'd advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –  
To tell one's name – the livelong June –  
To an admiring Bog!

– See more at:


Regular conversations sort of throw me, at times.  Questions like where do you live? What do you do? What have you been up to?  Sometimes, I have to remember.  There is a pause while i put it back together to answer, because I have no idea.

That voice, telling itself the story of itself, who it is, how it fits in, sometimes it isn’t there.  I have taken myself out of circumstances in which I am forced to tell my story, so much so that I am surprised at times to realize I have to reconstruct in order to make sense.  The background of  most questions is not wanting the literal answer, but a connecting intention.  In the real flow, you can switch the gears up on these sort of encounters – answering questions asked but also bringing the moment to be about BEing  –  you and the other, bypassing to something much more interesting, in the moment,  lessing the labels or 3d definitions of self.     This different flow of encountering  just happens by being present, open and not reconstructing STORY.

Sometimes I forget my age, my gender; I’m just the walking.  Sometimes I’m surprised other people can see me; I  feel invisible  – in  a good way.

My friend recently returned to Facebook for a quick visit after a hiatus which made me observe this weird mirror.   I do have a profile because  my kids’ activities often require that contact point if I want to be informed about where to be and when.  But goodness, I will say, sometimes just looking and seeing that i have a face, a list of likes and list of distant acquaintances makes me feel dizzy and disoriented.  Sometimes even claustrophobic.  I look at my smiling face, my name and I know – that isn’t me.  Who is that?  If that is not me, then Where am I?

Sometimes I am so grateful for just having a roof over my head, then other times, I look around, and feel I have fallen.  I still have the access to the 3d values in the distant background.  Sometimes fear grips me momentarily because in some ways I am in a financial predicament; in other ways I am not.   It wouldn’t bother me, I think, if it were just me, but here I stand imagining I am providing for these girls…and nothing makes any sense.

I just don’t got it.  That simplifies things, actually.

But that middle of the night wheel can turn, and I feel the weight of that black panther of fear on my chest; I imagine the worst.  I have never gone without.  Is that not empirical evidence enough?  Why do I allow the fear to create a scenario in which we would not be taken care of?

“I”dentity drops away again, and I calmly do the next thing.  I have essays to grade.  Laundry to fold.  Food to be  purchased.  Drives to be provided.  Sleep to be had.   Music to be enjoyed.  Trees to be hugged.  Air to be inhaled.  I am not in charge.  I can not make it make sense to the mind.

a frog by the bog croaking imaginary woes – the first line is the one to return to:  I am nobody and that is very good!

no one is alone

13 Mar

It got pretty rough going there for a while.  In fact, I think that this latest rough patch is what started me blogging to begin with in November – I was in a tough spot and I had no idea what to do.  This blog helped mirror in words yet another angle to view me at the place I found myself to be.

As the rough patch smooths out a bit now, I feel the inclination to move on quickly with nary a glance behind.   I bet I’m not the only one who feels that pull after challenges pass.  In some ways, moving on seems only good;  now is now another now and the now from before is OVER.  Why navel gaze about the recent past?

This is the view looking behind me on the trail:


The reason I can stop here and look back is because ahead of me looks a bit like this:

idyllic pathWhat I most want to say is how damned grateful I am in this moment.  I am so very full of my own blessings, I am spilling out all over the place 🙂  I share this spot on my journey not because I wish to make my experiences some screenplay I’m powering up with self-importance.  My stuff is the same stuff we all have going on, but we don’t always know or remember that in the thick of the dark shadows.

What is clearer now:  There are no nice neat answers!  Anything I try to sum up, doesn’t add up;  I have no clear story to tell.  I am forced to acknowledge, the parts don’t make a whole;  they just are parts, experienced.  Life sucks at math, even simple addition.  Well, life doesn’t; my human interpretation of the math sucks.  Diagnosis at any point of the path is a false concept because in the material plane, all can change in the blink of an eye to something else entirely.

The only thing of relevance is this: we can walk through the dark scary places and again find ourselves in the sun and we are never alone.

I grew up putting on a mask to make me seem together.  I didn’t know you could function another way.

Seen with new eyes is this:  Honest and naked walking is the only way to to go.  Problems that are hidden go on to fester and grow in the shadows.  Speaking the truth, saying what is actually happening, allows nothing to remain hidden.  It matters not if people think we’ve got our shit together, because truth be told, we don’t.    We are only living moment to moment by the grace of god, universe, flow at any point.  Everything can fall apart, and often that is not as pretty as a picture, for all to see.

But I have a feeling, from many points of view, there is nothing more beautiful than the truth:  raw, naked and real!


from Into The Woods – Stephen Sondheim

No one here to guide you

Now you’re on your own

Only me beside you

Still your not alone

No one is alone


No one is alone

Sometimes people leave you

Half-way through the wood

Others may deceive you

You decide what’s good

You decide alone

But no one is alone

People make mistakes

Father’s, Mother’s

People make mistakes

Holding to their own

Thinking they’re alone

Honor their mistakes

Everybody makes

One another’s terrible mistakes

Witches can be right

Giants can be good

You decide whats right

You decide whats good

Just remember

Someone is on your side

Someone else is not

Well we’re seeing our side

Maybe we forgot

They are not alone

Cause no one is alone

Hard to see the light now

Just don’t let it go

Things will come out right now

We can make it so

Someone is on your side

No one is alone

night night, little monkey

12 Mar


I walk to the grocery, enjoying our warm weather and the longer evening of light after the time shift on Sunday.  While I walk, I calmly listen to the monkey mind.  Such a hyper little thing, at times. I am struck by his (why male?) sheer exhaustion.  For years and years,  the poor thing hardly lets up on his break-neck go go go go go.  Whew.  Deep exhale.

There is space and quiet present; the sound of birds, the distant humm of cars, the breeze on skin coexist with the chattering guy in the background.  Watching him in this way, I see and hear his exhaustion.  The mother role sees his fruitless efforts and wants to soothe his modus operandi on down.

“Hey, think about this.  Hey, look over here.  Hey, judge this situation; judge this person; worry about this thing.   We need to make a plan; we got to think everything through.   Listen to me, emergency over here.  The story of me is who I am…I am, I am, I am… Don’t shut me down, Nooooo!”  Jumping around, all the while.

“There , there little monkey.  No worries.  There is nothing that needs to be done.  I’m not going to shut you down; I’m just watching you from over here, with love.”

He reminds me of the sort of kid that goes full-tilt,  the sort of kid I think will never go to sleep; he is so wired until so very late…and suddenly,  I find him curled up and passed out under the dining room table; his face a reflection of utter peace.

sleeping monkey

%d bloggers like this: