Tag Archives: Attachment

less than

4 Apr


Looking back I can see that for a long time, the math of my identity was this:

many things > me

This is an equation that was ever present yet hidden in plain sight.  i wouldn’t have admitted to doing this math constantly – comparing myself to others and always imagining I came up lacking.

When this basic equation sets the value of everything, other dynamics can enter, such as:

many things > me + (a+b+c+d…..)

A natural response to this equation is to add things to oneself to feel less less than, but the basic symbol will still stand in the middle, affecting all components of the equation.  You cannot add enough things to change the sign.

When you have incorrect math in your head, you are not relating to your experience with your true value.

Some people manage to flip it to be:  everything < me.

But most of us can see that this is just a reaction to feeling less than, too.

False equations are heavy and painful and incorrect.

Here is a helpful equation:

everything = me

when this is true, it is a short leap to:       all is me.

Seems I couldn’t change my equation until I was ready.  So when I see this incorrect math in the reflection of other people, I can love them and wait patiently for them from the other side of the equal sign, but I cannot solve the inequality in their heads.

When we  wake to see the real numbers and can remember the real worth of ourselves, we learn the value of everything!

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 🙂

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.

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: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15392#sthash.Ch8lU0iE.dpuf


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!

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

Broken Open

11 Mar

A couple of years ago, each step I took felt like a plunge from all that I had known, into the dark, irresponsible mist of the unknown.  The loving flow that was supporting me (unseen) gave me little shiny pebble clues to let me know I was walking my path–and these winks gave me enough steady strength to keep taking each, shaky step.

I had an awkward 10 minutes (as often happens during my main gig as chauffeur) as this huge transition was occurring, and I wandered into a library in a city I was leaving behind, had already left behind, and I allowed a book to fall open in my hands.  Here are the words gifted to me that day.  A few days later, my friend used a gift card gifted to her to gift me my own copy of this book.  (thank you, m:)


from Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help us Grow by Elizabeth Lesser

“…you can use anything–everything–as a wake-up call; you can find a treasure trove of information about yourself and the world in the big and the little annoyances of daily life.  If you turn around and face YOURSELF in times of loss and pain, you will be given the key to a more truthful–and therefore a more joyful–life.

Adversity is a natural part of being human.  It is the height of arrogance to prescribe a moral code or health regime or spiritual practice as an amulet to keep things from falling apart.  Things DO fall apart.  It is in their nature to do so.  When we try to protect ourselves from the inevitability of change, we are not listening to the soul.  We are listening to our fear of life and death, our lack of faith, our smaller ego’s will to prevail.  To listen to the soul is to stop fighting with life–to stop fighting when things fall apart; when they don’t go our way, when we get sick, when we are betrayed or mistreated or misunderstood.  To listen to the soul is to slow down, to feel deeply, to see ourselves clearly, to surrender to discomfort and uncertainty, and to wait.

It is in times of brokenness that the soul sings its most wise and eternal song.  I cannot hum you the tune or tell you the lyrics; each person’s soul has its own cadence.  You will recognize its music, though, by the way you feel when you are listening: awake, calm, you’ll sigh and say to yourself, “It’s okay.  Everything’s okay.”  You’ll unfold your arms and lean back, and say to the soul, “Just sing me your song.  Teach me your words.  Tell me what you know”  (270).

out of my hands

9 Mar


At many points along the journey, there seem to be no answers. (through the myopic lens)  The mind wants to ask the same question over and over.  The doer wants to create some action to fix something, move something forward, make something happen.  The sufferer wants to bang its head against a hard surface to physically represent the inner looping frustration of an impasse.

I have a quirk that has served to get things out of my hands and into the hands of something larger than myself.

I make lists.

I often list my worries, as they occur; the biggest unsolvables that are layered deep in my heart make it on to the lists in notebooks,  on receipts, napkins…anything I can find in moments of worry.  As this transfer occurs from inner to outer,  I find myself releasing the tight gripping fingers of control and the delusion of fixing.

I don’t remember when it first happened, but the day when I first found a forgotten list was BIG because:

Every damn thing on that list had been resolved – some magically and some methodically.   I had at once absolute validation of a force much larger than I – at work;  I had PROOF.  That isn’t always true; some people/items/dilemmas on my list remain for years unresolved, but at least they are symbolically out of my hands and on the lists.

Many times I struggle with the steering wheel, trying to be the one driving, feeling alone, feeling overwhelmed!   When I remember to make the list, I can still be helpful to the solution, I’m just not grasping.    ALL is out of my hands – always – in all ways.  Tangibly marking this to be true has been helpful to me along the way.

pine forest sway

6 Mar


I drive to the bus stop every morning at 7.  Now the sun is coming up earlier and earlier, blinding us all on harbor view road.  One has to stay alert to see the road, to not veer off into the marsh on either side,  to avoid driving into the sun itself.

I was sitting at a stop light after the girls had gone off to their day. Lost in my thoughts I was,  creating a conversation in my head with a person I have to meet with next week, when suddenly my eyes focused ahead of me to the small pine forest across the street.  Everything STOPS.  Those trees were swaying in a choreography so compelling and alive, I was ashamed for a micro moment, then grateful, then just a pair of eyes watching the dance.

Dropped was the conversation, the story.  Trees were dancing for me.

Every moment is this!  Every moment.

There is nothing in this running commentary in my head.  No preparation is needed for a conversation; in fact, having thoughts of our exchange in my head, ahead of time, kills the conversation when it comes, kills a moment to come before it gets here, stops a dialogue from being a jazz riff, a dance, an improv scene.  Life is improv, if i let it.

Following the Trail of Cognitive Dissonance

1 Mar

Forgive my anecdotes, please.  I teach composition.  I tell my student that telling stories helps others to connect to their writing, to feel what they are saying. But I always hesitate to tell a story because I bask in emptiness at times; I love stepping away from stories of me, and wonder if fishing out memories is only adding to the “Story of Self.”

Stories to tell/no stories to tell, a polarity and a paradox.

These paradoxes present themselves all day long if we are awake and seeing.  The world is full of nothing but paradox.  An empty vessel is a worthless person/an empty vessel is enlightened.  I know I know nothing.  We learn from history that we do not learn from History. 🙂  These paradoxes are the whispers of spirit, the pull to zoom out beyond the duality.  The field that Rumi talks about calls to us.

“Out beyond ideas of right doing and wrong doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

― Rumi

The first call to look beyond is the discomfort we feel with Cognitive Dissonance, holding two contrary ideas at once that contradict.  This feeling of discomfort can at first make you want to take a comfort pill and go back to bed.  But if we are brave, Cognitive Dissonance invites growth beyond duality.

So here is a story of a bit of cognitive dissonance in my path a while ago.

I didn’t have access to computers or the internet right off because I was busy with my kids.  There was a marked time when all of the sudden, I was exposed to the myriad of information out there.

So right as this transition was occurring, I hastily printed out some information for my daughter whose teacher had requested she come in with some information about the Mayans.

She goes off to school and the page stayed opened on the computer and we all know how one peek leads to another to another, and suddenly I am down one of  my first rabbit holes.

I stumbled upon an Ian Lungold lecture about the Mayan Calander, 4 hours long.  I fell in.  It was rather academic for 3 hours plus, discussing the Mayan concept of time in contrast to the Gregorian Calendar and the Western measure of time.  I sat bolt upright when he suddenly began talking about aliens.   Aliens?  I sat her for 3 hours to listen to someone who was leading up to Aliens?   I was so disgusted with myself because this topic suddenly seemed so bizarre, outrageous, and unverifiable that I felt low and cheap for having wasted my time.  I had cognitive dissonance, and tried to shut it down by disregarding the entirety of the information.

But I could not dismiss how intelligent and lucid the 3 hours had been up until that point.  I couldn’t flush it all away.

Needless to say, I then spent years falling down many rabbit holes, learning to read, watch, and observe with a certain distance and an openness all at the same time – continuing with what seemed to interest and respectfully leaving what seemed out of line.

One of the voices that spoke to the process of this unfolding through so many avenues was Neil Kramer.

Here is an amazing presentation that offers up some of his teachings with visual and graphic representations so rich and illuminating, the  40 minutes gives one much in the exchange.

when she goes

28 Feb












There used to be stories to tell till

the mind grew more still.

The I became she – and she

pulled out my new suitcase

and filled it with things not wanted anymore:

ferragamo heels and a lily pulitzer dress

and a tape from a soap opera i was in

on a forgotten cable channel.

She said she knew a place with a better address.

Still she comes to visit;

we sit with tea.

She is forever lacing our drinks with her

special sugars

that turn bitter

then poisonous.

When she leaves, I listen for the sound of her

clacking shoes to fade away,

and I am left with what she didn’t take:

cicada symphonies rising in crescendo with

the owl outside my window, and

my secret love affair with a tree

that bows to me in the heavy rain.

When I bow back, I am careful to be lower

than his crown,

muddying my lips on his roots.

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