Tag Archives: Relationship

kiss and tell

7 Apr

I have a pervasive feeling of discomfort often.  I am finally able to identify this sensation as a feeling of something  pressing down on me about the tasks that are waiting for completion which directly contrasts to the wonders that are spontaneously arising every moment.  This pressing feeling has been so intrinsic to life for me that it is only as it is peeling back that I can feel it in its absence.  Whew.  How exhausting it is, and yet I continue  to have it return as tasks begin to mount, and I become lost to what is unfolding now.     Mas y mas, I am committing in holy matrimony to the moment, not the task.  I wear white, and you, now, wear white; we walk down the aisle together, you and me.  My life partner?  Oh my, perhaps I am even in a polygamous commitment, for I am marrying each moment, which is singular, but in the moment, arises all things.  Scandelous.  Just today I married my scratch pad, my students, my daughters, my cat.  I marry the moon as often as I can.  Today I joined with a bumblebee in the flowering azaleas as I fretted over the over-pruned camellia sticks, overjoyed to find signs of new growth.  We had a tryst, for this bee came on so strong.  So ripe is this romancing – the lover is here.  Dear missed connections – I apologize for all the overlooked love notes that have ever come my way.  I read the writing on your crumbled leaf, peel back your bark;  your hum enters my ear, eternal.


it’s not you, it’s me

14 Jul


The closer I get to naked

the more I’ve been letting you down.

Disappointing you used to mean

I was doing something wrong –

that there would be some

middle of the night

tossing and turning,

hitting the replay button

to find the moment of disconnect,

the faux, faux pas,

replaying it

(that moment)

each time with subtle changes

that would make it all alright,

would make me still be loved.

You’ve had some expectation

that I will not be meeting.

On this crowded dance floor

where you and I go round,

the frown you want to show me,

only helps me

see myself.

It’s not you, it’s me.

Maybe I don’t need to look at my reflection

in your mirror anymore;

maybe I don’t need to worry

about your big let down.

It is alright, and freeing,

for now there is more time

for walking, looking, dancing, splashing,

every move I make for joy,

alone and without

the thrown-off,

old and tired gravity

of what we want others to do.

I’m sure that you will soon see

that some of us are

enjoying the show

of what unfolds

from free.


the conditionality of trust

25 Nov


I have had some questions about my attitude toward a particular student in one of  my literature classes.  My frustration and impatience with this student has turned my idea of myself as a patient, kind, and supportive teacher on its head – marvelous!  She came just at the right time.

This confining role of goodness I have created for myself needed some examination.  In walks B, 1/2 hour late to every class, her hand up to stop the class mid-flow at her late arrival with personal matters, no book, not prepared, staying after every class trying to manipulate the conversation into praise for herself…what?  Are you kidding?  Sounds cruel to me but what I see is low functioning with arrogance.  To move out of low functioning, she will need to understand the tough work ahead of her.  I am unable to stay in my shallow role of helper with her. I am having to learn to express my genuine frustration as a mirror of truth, while also operating with compassion in the moment.  Whew.

Do I trust myself to do the right thing?  When I err on the side of helpfulness without reflecting back to her the consequences of her own behavior, I am not honoring myself or her.  When I err on the side of harsh judgement, I am lost to the possibility of change.   Has she earned my unconditional acceptance?   No!  How do I need to reflect her failure back to her?  How do I give her my honest feedback with integrity – for her benefit, for my own?  How do I help her and myself establish healthy boundaries?  How do I keep hope and promise for the potential for change?

Trust  is not a given with everybody, unconditionally, yet the idea of trust is so golden.  It feels like one can extend the olive branch of love to all, yet trust is actually conditional.  We do not blindly trust until there is agreement.  And agreement can be broken at any time.  We enter into conditional agreement with others.  As we fulfill our agreements, trust grows.

You can build lots of trust over time, only to lose it by a single instance of broken agreement.  Trust has to then be re-built.

The most important trust relationship in my life is with myself.   Once TRUST is established with myself, the rest clicks into place, it feels to me.  When I trust my own self, I can read the truth of my frustration within as a mirror to help reflect back to the student where she may need to reflect on her own behavior.  I can trust myself to stay open in the moment, to feel what I feel, to accept and express all of my feelings, even those that feel unacceptable.  Perhaps I am in the kindergarten class, and all of what I am writing here is like spelling out the A,B C’s.  That is okay.  I may be a bit behind by my false idea of unconditional trust.  I am learning what I need to learn by the experience life hands me.  I am grateful for this student who finds my hidden buttons and pushes them often to help me to see where to examine.

I am learning!  I reflect back to my student B my boundaries, my expectations, my detached judgements that my job requires of me.   I honor my own impatience instead of sweeping it under the rug in some fake dance of compassion.  I have compassion for my own limitations and thus reflect honestly back a truer trust, for real.  When I give myself an outlet for this truth, my compassion and patience grow!

just say yes

11 Apr

There is nothing special about flowing with the universe.

Sometimes I think flow is reserved for stolen moments in nature, but flow is everywhere at every time for everyone/thing.

When Chloe stood over my bed, where I was grading essays last night with her hands on hips saying she needed a copy of William Styron’s Sophie’s Choice by yesterday and what did I plan to do about it (grin), my mind went into motion trying to squeeze all in.

This morning, a book and a store credit manifest, and still I arrived at work 10 minutes early as this song came on a radio:


Some part of my identity and story wants to stop right here and make clear, this is not MY music.  Music makes you lame or cool – masks come up, postures are struck, and naked  here means sharing a song outside my cool, created self.  This song is boppy, perhaps a bit sappy.  My 14 year old jumps around with her girlfriends to this song.  I think that they imagine boys proposing to them  from the conditioned stories of their potential futures.

Beyond the easy interpretation perhaps these words keep me still:  There’s nothing holding you back. It’s not a test –  nor a trick of the mind – Only Love!  So simple, and you know it is… It’s all I want.

I switched to battery and sat with the atmosphere of this song.    A moment to celebrate my aloneness AND my connection to everything.   I am alone in a romantic way, yet  I am a part of all romance.  This sounds like bullshit, but I don’t think it is.

Also I know 😛 that on the side of my palm where the relationship lines lie, a groove has been growing.  I am learning myself.  I am enjoying the space to do so.  I can feel the shape of my other out there, no hurry, no need – just flow.

In front of the car appears the most vibrant male cardinal making his way, through sun and shadow on the grass.  Listening, watching, paused.  He and I become aware of his mate about 10 feet behind at the same moment and  he runs/hops over to her.  They meet face to face and seem to click their beaks together.  Such a moment of connection – but I know that I am not gifted this scene – I am as much a part of this scene as my supposed chores and errands.

When the song is over, the birds are on to their next patch of seeds, worms.  What do they eat?  and what do you know?  There is still a pocket of time to pick up some copies before class.

The flow – we all are here in it together, no separation.  We bless strangers who sneeze in public places; we hold elevator doors; the songs, the birds, the cars all flow from the same source.

So nice when I remember.

(I did not insert a picture of Cardinals;)

The Threat of Silence

26 Feb

Since Caimbeul mentioned his 7 year silent retreat,  just the idea of S I L E N C E has been in my awareness.

What is silence?  Where is it found?  How does it change us and our experiences?

Even just the threat of silence has had life altering force for me.

The words thrown out here on this blog are just the reflection of my MIND making stories.  But the images from my own experiences and the experiences of others found in words gives to me at times illumination.   Our lives are played out before us like the colors of a kaleidoscope – mixing and blending, forming patterns of ever changing beauty.


At the very least, we all watch a cool and mesmorizing show.

So as opposed to the monk’s life, which sounds like pure heaven, my life has been full of activity and people.  Once, while browsing in a New Age bookstore, I came across a book called The Birthday Book, in which horoscopes (of a sort) were cast for those born on each day of the year.  And the forecast for my birthday has stayed in my awareness for years, though I only glanced at the page briefly.  My memory tells me that my horoscope said that in my lifetime I would need to release the idea of order and learn to roll with chaos.

Did the prediction influence the reality?  Or did the prediction reflect a pattern?  Or does an idea overlay random events and make them seem to fit in a neat pattern?

Silence, of course, is powerful.  But learning to find the silence amidst much activity is my practice, pattern, journey, it seems.

Even the threat of true silence for an extended period of time turned my life upside down.  Here’s how.

When my kids were toddlers, I was invited to a talk about Vipasanna Meditation, by S. N. Goenka, who was opening these centers around the country with 10 day silent retreats for free.  Oh, how I wanted to go and experience silence for 10 days but it was not the time; I could not leave my children for 10 days, and couldn’t ever imagine a day when this would be possible.  But, this idea stayed in my mind, the someday idea, for years.

Two years ago, I found out that they had opened a center in Georgia, easy driving distance, and the summer retreat perfectly coincided with my daughter’s sleep away camp.  I signed up.  This commitment to silence and to my path opened my eyes, changed my life entirely, and I didn’t even get to go.

I arranged to leave my older daughter at home with my husband,  on the boat we were residing within in a transitory, unpredictable environment that made me suddenly see my life.  Though she was 15 and old enough to watch herself with minimal guidance, I saw that our lives had deteriorated to the point that she could not be left in his care.  My Eyes Opened to see what was there.  I was living in a situation that made no sense, but I couldn’t see what was so close.  I had been so busy putting out fires for so long, I hadn’t stopped to realize, I did not wish to be a firefighter.  Our created reality of home and family was in a spiral down that I could Stop and Reverse.

So began my journey away from the marriage and on to the hard work of recreating a healthy home environment…which is still ongoing!

As a bonus for signing up for the retreat, I was gifted a friend who made the amazing commitment  to sit with me for a bit every morning of that retreat so that I would know while I was alone, she was with me for that time from her corner wherever that may be.  Amazing, right?  And this friend was also the sort to offer the gentle yet firm aid in recognizing the shift in my path and offer a different kind of support, on the fly of the ever changing patterns.

My unfolding could begin when I answered yes to what the path was demanding of me, and the flow continues on.

But one particular thing has struck me about this WordPress experience of the past few months; I don’t know if I can articulate it, but I feel like I am walking the path of many.  I am walking the path of healers, I am walking the path of painters and photographers, I am walking the path of silence, I am walking a path of those without the soul contract of children, I am walking the path of those in partnership, I am walking the path of my friends on snowy walks, on other continents, in castles and shanties,  and you, perhaps in turn, walk a path with me.  All the naked sharing adds to our collective human experience (without boundaries) of what is most real in this realm.

Middle Path Dance

10 Feb

Everything I write here is a lie.

And everything I write is true, in the moment I write it.

My head gets stuck on this…but my heart understands the flow of capturing words that seem to represent the loose hold we all have on TRUTH.  I am just experiencing, relating these experiences and allowing the spin of the mind’s wheels to be observed until its rotation loses energy and momentum, and the spin slows.  Sometimes stillness is left.  There, there are no words, no thoughts, no lies.

While still in a body, there is a dance in the middle path.  Between motion and stillness, between silence and noise, between mud and clear water, between pain and joy.

I like peeking into bloggers lives like Caimbeul or seeingm, where my life in constrast seems so different.  We are all leaves dancing in the wind, some have created a gentle breeze in which to reflect for now, and some have chosen seeming stormy volitility within which to make their journey for now, and those roles will certainly shift and change,  but we are all just leaves still being played by the conditions of the weather between our release and landing.

The line in the sand the now moment seemed to call for yesterday was another play of consciousness that was so perfect for me in this middle Path dance.  The dancer doesn’t stop to think, how do I stay upright?  She dances, and in the now moment the movement that comes next flows within her.

The dance of life is no less graceful.  I’m going to tell a potty training story.   I feel like someone should step in and stop me from telling this, but for some reason it perfectly illustrates how this dance can be for me sometimes.

My oldest daughter was late to potty train, and the learning process ended up becoming a very confusing section of the dance.  My gentle manner was tender in her accidents, and supportive of her efforts, and we ended up in a place where I was carrying 10 outfits for her around in my bag, no hyperbole, for all the accidents daily.  And after a good, long while of my gentle support, one night she and I were watching a movie before bedtime together with her on my lap.  I was tired and  when she just chose to pee without trying to get to the bathroom,  the urine falling into my lap was cold and disgusting and it angered me.  I looked her firmly in the eyes and I said, “You will not do this.”  and I went on a verbal speech with quite a bit of angry tones and lines drawn.  Her eyes were wide watching and listening. This moment marked the end of this particular dance.  She was potty trained.  None of the parenting books would have said this was the way to dance this dance, but often my middle path requires marga to express some anger and backbone.

So I will say, there is a great relief in this house today, a new air, so to speak.  A dybbuk was sent packing.

I can see today that a line drawn in the sand allowed us to examine what really lay beneath.  There was a deadline set for solution that mattered for life and death, in my little one’s world.

In this dance,  this marga character is often full of great acceptance.  But I had a moment when I felt the pee in my lap again so to speak, and said, this will not be the air in my house for years on end.  Yesterday was a thrashy and angry dance, lasting 22 hours, with a break for sleeping, and no one knew how it was going to end.

I’ve never been much into Freudian theories, but I knew there was a heavy dose of displacement going on.  Knowing a theory does not bring a solution.  After the thrashing and crying, and anger and sympathy, a final deep buried wound was uncovered, and the flow of universal love seemed to enter in again.

I’m not Pollyanna, here.  This is not the end.  But I feel sure this is a truer turning point than I have seen in a while.  I see how the universe came in to play the music behind our dance, and pulled in players I didn’t even know were available.

On we go.

Heart full of gratitude for the journey that can be a dance, and that there are those whose dances overlap with mine.

three wee epiphanies

9 Feb

1.  the now moment is such a pregnant place the air fairly sizzles

2.  consciousness does not always speak in a gentle voice.  sometimes, it flows with a firmness, sometimes it flows with a strong voice to say, these are my boundaries, this is what i will do, and it has to say it strongly, all the while the eyeballs are observing from the now, acting of the moment,  allowing what it needs, which may include lines in the sand on an imaginary beach without a horse in the race

3.  blessings on MY head.  sometimes in periods of challenge, i think i say to the universe “bring it on” in a sense, i can take it…but i also see, i  say to the universe, bring it on – let blessings flow;  i can take that too!


Rough Morning – Vent – Beauty Enters Again

6 Feb

Oh God, save me the ugliness of my own pity party this morning.

My mind state is my own though in this moment, I do shake my head in wonder at the journey I’ve chosen for myself.

I wonder at the energy, pain, and vicious attacks that are relentless from a teen.  Even as I smooth myself, lose my reactivity, words still hurt.  I am to blame for all unhappiness, suffering, failure in her life and she heaps the hurtful words over my head daily.  There is no back up, there is no escape, and in her thoughts I am to be punished relentlessly until I cry uncle, and then it still doesn’t end.  I am so exhausted and defeated and overwhelmed by the volume of this attacking misery.

When I went into labor to give birth to this child, the pain was relentless.  Hours and hours of out-of-body pain (I actually found myself on the ceiling at times), camel backing contractions, and finally my body was torn open from the inside as she and I hung in the state between life and death.  The thrashing and ripping was killing us both.  This is not a tale I tell.  It is very gruesome and difficult, and it took me out of this realm.

I didn’t want to come back.  When I was told of the trials ahead,  I burrowed into the arms of the immense loving one who held me and said it was all too much.  But back I came making a choice to do this life, and yet I do wonder at this thrashing now?  Through these words I type,  I remember.  I was told; I knew it would be tough; I agreed to do this.

I am not reacting anymore, she’s given me that,  and I imagine that I have let go of expecting improvement.  I imagine myself the sturdy oak tree with deep roots that others are clinging to in the damaging winds of emotions.  I imagine there is nothing more asked of me than to remain in my tree body and trust in the roots that we all share.

tree in wind

Jonathan Worthington :: Photos :: Trees blowing in the strong windTrees blowing in the strong wind

I see other families struggle, but ours seems something out of a horror film: words to rip flesh, relentless positioning, love and affection banished forever, though I hold them in an open grab bag for all.  I sit in my still point of this hurricane force winds and know…I can only wash the dishes, grade the papers, pick up the mess, go to bed, wake again to tea, and breath, and stillness in a storm that seems it will not let up.

Here are some words for me this morning:

“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh

“Feelings, whether of compassion or irritation, should be welcomed, recognized, and treated on an absolutely equal basis; because both are ourselves. The tangerine I am eating is me. The mustard greens I am planting are me. I plant with all my heart and mind. I clean this teapot with the kind of attention I would have were I giving the baby Buddha or Jesus a bath. Nothing should be treated more carefully than anything else. In mindfulness, compassion, irritation, mustard green plant, and teapot are all sacred.”
― Thich Nhat HanhThe Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation

Letting it out in words this morning to avoid a mental, pity party.  Sometimes, I’m thinking it helps to let it out, so I can get back to chopping wood and carrying water.  🙂  Posts should come with a warning label…don’t read this!   I hope you heeded my advice and didn’t.  If you did, I send you love and support in your trials, and share an angry thrash dance with you, too!

Here’s my angry day song:

There Are No Shoulds

4 Feb


My mother and I are different in many surface ways, and if there were a Match.com for mother/daughter relationships, we might not even be paired.  But of course the wisdom of the universe understands a much deeper level than we even know of ourselves, and thus we are paired for reasons beyond simplistic, exterior match ups  – we are paired by our souls.

My mother is a deep, blue body of water.

I discovered this fact my freshman year in college when I was far away from home.  I was a Theatre major, and in theatre one does all sorts of in-class assignments most other majors could never imagine.  One stark and leafless Ohio day, I remember the feel of the cold wood floor under me as we were led through a long, guided mediation that had me fairly far outside my physical body into a realm I never imagined accessible before this day.  We were asked to connect with someone we were closest to in this life.

At that suggestion, I found myself swimming in the deepest, most calming blue waters of my mother – and I knew then and now looking back that I had found her essence.

We may disagree about most things people believe in, join, wear as a labels or identities, etc, but we hardly ever tromp into those places when we talk.

I think it was about 20 years ago, after I was chastizing myself about something,, my mother said to me,  “There are no Shoulds!”  She stopped me cold.  Really?  No Shoulds.  What freedom in those words!  What a gift she gave to me that day!

And since that time, we have said this phrase to each other as often as we needed to hear it.  Sometimes she would forget herself, get lost in the role of MOTHER, and tell me something that she thought I SHOULD do;  then, I would say to her, “There are no shoulds,”  and she would immediately drop the should and say, “You are right.”  The love and detachment in this instant transformation she can make after a daughter’s scolding are a beautiful gift and mirror to me.

From Neil Kramer’s The Unfoldment: The Organic Path to Clarity, Power, and Transformation:  “The outcome of making a wrong decision is often portrayed in the mainstream media as a life-shattering failure.  It is a very binary equation in the unreality of the distortion:  win or lose; black or white.  But reality is not like that.  There is no failure on the spiritual path, other than the temporary postponement of not walking it.

A conscious decision to not do something is as valid as choosing to do something.  One must consider the personal relevance of a thing from one’s own inner core before exercising will.  Contemplate removing should from the process.  There is doing, and there is not doing.  Should doesn’t come into it.  If I feel that it would be good to go and visit my elderly neighbor and help her chop firewood, then I do it.  If I don’t feel that, then I won’t do it.  No should is required.

Should compels people to act from imbalance – from outside their truth.  It is closely allied with public expectation and social standing, which are habitually flawed, as they are mired in the distortion” (95).

The gift we can give to ourselves and to others is releasing the expectations – releasing the shoulds.  That word should should just go away; shouldn’t it?

The Angry and Peaceful Wolves of Parenting

18 Jan


Parenting is not easy.  I don’t know what I am doing.

The Angry Wolf of this job says, “I will not tolerate this behavior.”  The Angry Wolf says, “My Way or the Highway.”  The Angry Wolf lives in fear of ingratitude, threats to it’s authority, tarnishing of it’s image, mutiny, and failure.

The Peaceful Wolf says,  “Nothing can hurt me.  Nothing can ever diminish me in any way.”

Once this is known – suffering becomes a memory.  The threat disappears like smoke.

I watch myself and see joy, ease, compassion, often, no matter the swirling whirlwind of the suffering that comes to those in my care  from the confusion of growing up in our culture, in our family, with this Mother.

The sticky times are observed as well and I can clearly see where I am attached to some idea that I believe I can be hurt or diminished in some way.  Those incorrect thoughts bring out the Angry Wolf.

The Peaceful Wolf knows that no one owes me anything, ever, no matter what I have given.  Every act on my part is a gift and a service that I give, and nothing can be expected in return.  With the commitments I have freely made, I will serve with pleasure, with no expectation of the reward of appreciation for MY service, no expectation of closeness derived from MY giving, no paybacks, no front of the line, no piggy back rides up the mountain – unless these gifts flow to me from the kindness of another, unexpectedly.

In my observations of myself, I see that when I’m tired or engaging in incorrect thoughts, I can imagine I’m put upon.  In this state of mind, no words even need to be spoken; this mindset is conveyed telepathically and bodily and throws me and others out of synch.

Since I cannot be diminished, ever, all is always good.

In the story, the Peaceful Wolf is fed, so it grows, while the Angry Wolf shrinks from not being fed.  Perhaps the Angry Wolf is swaddled, loved, and absorbed.  Who knows?  I still don’t know what I’m doing.  But this makes sense tonight.

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