Monday, March 31, 2008

gripe (extended)

I thought how silly this post must have seemed yesterday.

But as I was waking up this morning, I put my finger on what it is that really bothers me.

Used to be, in Wild Oats I recognized everyone. There was this laid back, natural, granola people atmosphere, some of the kids had dreads, where when you checked out, you got the chin nod from your check-out guy, who was a hippie stoner kid. "Hey. Howzit goin?" All slow and deep-throated.

Last week I got a really chipper gay guy (of course I have nothing against gay guys... if you knew me at all you would know that this is a ridiculous notion - Please, I grew up in the 80's club scene as a young adult) who should be working at a Denny's serving the after-the-bars-close crowd, and then yesterday I got this little over-achiever chipmunk girl who is probably on flag patrol of her highschool band.

It's totally different.
It's gone from "people like me" to this weird, corporate, mainstream fake-friendly feeling.
I really don't like it.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Went again to Waldo's (my local natural market, formerly Wild Oats Natural Market).
Which is now Whole Foods.
Let me just say... I don't like it.

Admittedly, I'm not one who really ever appreciates change, and yes, I get irritated when they change around where my eggs are, in hopes of manipulating me into buying something New And Different. Hmmph.

But this is the second time that I've been in the last week or so, and I've just gotten bent both times.
The little niceties are gone.
Things that probably don't matter to anyone else, but things that are important to me.
Such as...
Wooden nickels for $ off for bringing our own bags. The babes loved giving to their favorite charities.
Seeing the same faces every time I go.
Not anymore. I don't recognize a single one.
The little handywipes... you know, the ones in the wipes can that you grab before you touch the handle of the cart?
Nowhere in sight.
The plastic bags for your produce?
Eight out of nine - I am not exaggerating!, eight of them were empty! The same eight as the other day!! What the hell is up with that?!?
Now -- I don't use these, much, admittedly. I always put in apples, peppers, oranges, bananas, kiwi, and lots of other things in my cart without them. But one simply cannot purchase loose springmix and sugar snap peas with No Bag!

When they first started their milk was being passed off as organic. It wasn't. You had to look to figure out what was and what wasn't!

I'm just mad.

I don't like it.
I may get used to it.
But then, on the other hand, the store that is less than two blocks from my front door is a locally owned (unlike wtf - haha, think that'll be my name for them...) and has lots and lots of organics. And naturals.

I love that store, (they're the ones that had the luxury bags for 99cents - and do again) and maybe I'll stick to that one for most of my foods.
I'll have to get a few things at wtf - conditioner, hams, walnut bread (Madd's favorite), and snap peas... other than that, I think Harmons has us covered.

dumb old wtf.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


It happened that my husband worked dayshift today instead of evening.
So he got home at around 5:30 or so.
Bearing dinner. (One of the perks of being Chef at a place.)

Right after dinner, I thought... Oh, I need a walk.
I know, I know... the usual.

It's so amazing to me how imperative these quiet moments to myself have become.
It's my life's breath.
Quite literally.

I've always taken moments here and there, but let me just tell you - it is not the same.
Sitting down and saying "I need a few minutes, please" is not the same as being Out There (wherever your There is) uninterrupted -- just you and the sky.
As soon as I shut that front door behind me it all changes.

That's why it has become so imperative a practice.
The changes come over me automatically and instantly.
I don't even have to exert any effort. (Except the other day when I was trying to "walk it off", and I had that episode with that guy in the car.)
I just automatically fall into breath, and calm, and mindfulness, and a peaceful, blissful place.

I'm not running from anything.
I don't feel the need to escape the children, or my husband.
It's not about that.

It's... coming back into my self.
It must be like playing the violin with your eyes closed and with your soul wide open.
Like getting lost for hours in creating a painting.
Like a devoutest's time spent in deep prayer.

It's amazing how this practicing (oh so earnestly and sincerely) is sustaining me in my ordinary moments. In my everyone-needs-four-things-right-this-second-and-is-not-willing-to-wait-for me-to-get-the-first-one-done moments.
I cannot quite claim that I am constantly walking in bliss and perfect peacefulness -yet, thank-you-very-much, but I feel so very different from the striving, wanting to be different, short-tempered person that I have always previously been.
I am changed.
I've shed that part of me.

Tonight after my walk I asked dh if I could come downstairs for a while (which meant that he'd be on duty with the babes for the next couple of hours).
I brought down my books, notebook, ipod, things I thought I may need.
Left my shoes at the door.

I may even be tempted to grab a musty blanket out of this closet and spend the night with my stack of books and ohming and chanting music.

I'm not in a hurry to leave this place that I have found myself for the last couple of weeks, for I believe that I am building a strong foundation of the Self that I have always wanted to be.

I am Becoming.

The Last Frontier

(This post is exceedingly personal and honest. It is being said not to claim proudly my own ignorance, but to express how something that has always been a part of me has transformed. While it is about people and places, I do not and have not considered myself racially prejudiced - I have never taken pride in the color of my skin. I receive comfort only in thinking "My Race Is Human.")

I've managed to phase in more gentleness that I didn't know I was lacking.
I made this realization a couple of days ago, but haven't written, yet, because I was concerned how my words might be interpreted. It is my intent to express love with my life, and not bigotry or prejudice. That being said....

I don't believe that I'm a very racially prejudiced person. I recognize that cultures are different, and accept it -gladly, even- and am fascinated and appreciative of a wide variety of them. I love seeing on television or in books different tribes with their elaborate ceremonies, I visited a place of the Mayans a few years ago and was fascinated, I love the formal dress of some Native American ceremonies, and am a little awed by their signs around here of "If you get out of your car and step onto our land you are subject to getting shot ," :), I want to someday visit Russia, when I see a car that's purple with iridescent orange and green and yellow low to the ground it makes me smile. The Mexican tradition Likes Color.
I don't know a lot about a wide variety of people. I study more the inside of people (where we're all the same) than the outside, and have never aside from the Mexican/U.S. border, been outside of my country. So that's limiting.

One thing I have never had any interest in is the Orient.
All of it.
Not Mongolia, not Japan, Not Vietnam, not China, not Korea, not the culture, not the Great Wall of China, not Giant Panda's, not rice fields (I don't like rice, if you can believe that), not Japanese Animation, not the dress for various celebrations, not even Chinese Dragons or Chinese New Year.
I've just never been interested. I've been thoroughly detached.

Why is that?
I have no idea.
It's like I cut off a third of our planet and its people from my consciousness.
Refusing to embrace it. Them. Us.
So strange.

Funny how all that's changed now.
Now I've immersed myself in the heart (or Soul) of Asia.
I consider Thich (as I've spent so much time with him lately) my Brother, one of my Great Teacher's. I am so awed and humbled by his activism, the schools (for engaged Buddhism and peace) he founded, the souls that attended the schools who were kidnapped and often killed, the Vietnam Peace Delegation, the young people who gave their lives to feed the poor and starving children left bereft by war, on and on it goes.
I study (or try to) the Tao Te Ching.
When I meditate I try to sit on a Lotus Flower. (And not on burning charcoals, as Thay* says.)

All this might seem silly to another.

But my perspective (literally, how I see things) has changed.
All of a sudden, I feel this... loving enthusiasm for a culture, place, Heart, that I had previously cut myself off from.

It makes no sense, really.
Other than my heart has simply been expanded.
I know that not everyone in Asia is a monk or a nun, a Buddhist, or a Zen Master.
But somehow I tunneled into the spirit of the land, and arrived to find myself Awake well within its borders.
I feel eager to embrace this heretofore unexplored land. To claim this part of myself that its people represent.

To grow in my sense of Us.

*Thay (pronounced Ty) is the form of address for Vietnamese monks, it means "Teacher".

Thursday, March 27, 2008


so of course after I wrote of my not being rattled by anything, i've been a bit unsettled since then. :) isn't that the way it goes?
i was feeling a bit agitated today, found myself snapping at my family, and felt that i really needed to walk it off for a while.
off i went.
two things happened - one, someone got off the bus, walking in front of me, and i felt uncomfortable, and uneasy with him - no idea why, that's not how i normally feel with people; and two, after i passed him up, this other man (wearing a black suitcoat, white shirt and tie) in this car waited and waited for me to cross in front of his car (is he waiting for me? well, that's nice, but he has plenty of time to turn before i get there...) then he turned the same corner that i did, then went up the street, then turned around so he was facing me. i walk in the road (they're neighborhood roads, not busy streets), so i would have passed right by his door - i turned up a street between he and i instead. not to avoid him, i wasn't at all alarmed, just to extend my walk another half mile. he moved his car to up the street that i was now walking on, and again i would have had to walk right by his door. now i was really uncomfortable, and i crossed the street to avoid any contact. i thought i saw him again later, but i think it might have been my nerves at that point. course, i was careful to watch closely for any dark gray cars as i got closer to home.

Thich wasn't much comfort for me, today.
didn't even really hear him talking to me.

now i'm gonna play with the babes and shake it off.

March 27

I was looking forward to my morning walk, as Eric is home this morning.
I woke up to white everywhere!
Was it only a week or so ago that the snow didn't bother me?
Now it seems so frozen and wet and cold.
How quickly I've gotten used to the sun on my face, and the fifty+ degrees surrounding me these last few days.

I think I'll opt for a sitting meditation, and maybe an exercise tape instead.

(She glances out the picture window again, and shudders. Brrrrrrrr.)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

in this quiet place

Last night and again this morning while lying in bed I was thinking about the last week - particularly, in regards to walking, being present, and meditation.

It is so incredible the changes that have come to be.

I spoke a few days ago of getting mad (irritated) three times that day and being able to step outside of it, almost as it was happening, with only a slight delay. (Like I was stepping outside myself and the situation.)

I've grumped about something three times since then. Not shouted, mind you, not pissed, not angry, just slightly-to-medium annoyed. Three times since then. That was.... a week ago. Last Monday. I've gotten slightly annoyed three times in the last week. !
One was three or four days ago, and I don't remember even what it was.
One was I think Friday night when Eric got home after work (he works nights on Friday) and Trev was still up and I was sleeping on the couch and they were talking, and woke me up, and then Trev whispered in this loud stage whisper, and I was further annoyed, and then I realized (even in my delirium) and said "I'm sorry, Bud, it's not your fault, I know you're trying to be quiet, I'm just grumpy because I want to sleep." A first for me, to be sure. I'm never sane when being woken up.
Then last night Eric woke me up (fell asleep on the couch again), asking if I wanted to wake up and go to bed, and I grumped (I was snipey then, admittedly) at him about a few things.
The funny thing about that is, I noticed even then that instead of it being something that I normally experience, it was so foreign to me. Even as I was grumping at him, I was thinking "What is this? This isn't mine!"

Yesterday when we got back from skiing I was in a bit of a slump, not angry, just didn't feel very good, for some reason.
I just sat for a minute, and breathed, and acknowledged the feelings of not well-being, and then a few minutes later it had passed. Just like that.

All of this is so amazing to me.
It's like I'm the same Me, but I'm -at least half of me- a completely different person.
Like a huge part of me, and who I have always been, has been transformed. Not into something totally different and foreign, but.... I don't know. Better. Lighter. Maybe unattached is a good description. My responses are different. My reactions. It's like their mute. That's it! It's like my reactions (which I have courted and carried my entire life, and are pretty predictable) have been muted. Like someone hits the Pause button.

How can that be?

How is it that meditation, and practicing mindfulness (whenever I remember) -which just means right now to be aware of my breathing and all of my self- can make a such a huge difference in my every day (every moment) life?

Maybe it's other things, too.

Maybe it's that I have intended this, and now I have manifested it.

Maybe it's that I am taking care of myself all the way around. I take fish oil, St John's Wort :), Green Tea capsules (I drink it, but I've started taking it, too), and a vitamin for women.
I've been walking for at least an hour most days. (love love love that.)

A few days ago I got in the mail a book and card package that I had ordered. (Ask and It Is Given are the cards, by Esther and Jerry Hicks.)
One of the cards says

"There is tremendous value when you are able to deliberately cause even the slightest improvement in the way you feel, for even in that small emotional improvement, you may have regained a measure of control. You no longer feel powerless. And so, your trek back up the Emotional Scale is now not only possible, but it is relatively easy."

That's how it began, maybe. With an intent. With deliberation and liberation. With uttering the words two months ago, "I am done with this."
Maybe with those words I caused the initial slightest improvement.

Maybe all that studying and listening and reading has finally sunk in, and I am aligning myself properly (with my thoughts and actions) with what it is that I desire to manifest for myself.

It appears that in this quiet place I am re-creating myself.
How astonishing.
And how lovely.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

sacred life sunday: love notes

If you want Gentleness in your lifeBe Gentle.

If you want Peace (which includes Calmness, Happiness, and Joy) then choose instead to Be In Peace (Calmness, Happiness and Joy come with it automatically).

If you want GrowthThen you must notice yourself Growing.

If you want honorable and kind childrenHonor and acknowledge their Kindnesses.

If you want approval from othersQuit seeking their approval. (We all admire the most people who don't give a damn what others think - who are true to themselves.)

If you long for HappinessRemember that you can choose Happiness in every moment.
The easiest way to do that is to choose to think about
dream about
laugh about
and live out loud
things that make that Happiness known to You
-in every moment.

In Love,

Photo Challenge: Self


I was watching CBS News This Morning, and they had this fascinating story on.
It was about tissue and cell regeneration.

Here's the link, if you'd like to check it out. Fascinating stuff. Some would even say miraculous. Some would say it's playing God, too, probably. Definitely by any account cutting edge medical science.

What I found most interesting about it is not that cells - new cells, regenerative cells, not 'scar tissue' cells - are recognized by science to even be a viable solution.
I'm not anti-science of course, but I am a bit Anti The System, and believe greatly in the powers of one's own mind and body.
But that it reinforced what I believe the human body capable of - one can grow another artery in the heart (a current project mentioned in the news piece) to replace one that is clogged. One can grow a new section of esophagus to replace the one that currently is housing cancer growth. One can grow a new bladder.

Sure science says you need this spray-on stuff :) (extra cellular matrix), but to me it just reminds us what, exactly, the human body is capable of.

Pretty cool.

(A sidenote: Evidently the US Military has given tens of millions of dollars to this project. I applaud them for that.)

Saturday, March 22, 2008


whoo -
that walk earlier kicked my ass. :)
feeling a bit decrepit, myself.

wonder if i'll be up for one tomorrow?

coloring eggs, snickerdoodles, tortilla soup.
that's my agenda tonight.
wish me luck.
(seems a bit ambitious at the moment.)

new territory

(this is mostly for me - it's just a boring mile marker.)
I was inspired to walk in nature this morning.
I considered going for a hike along the Bonneville shoreline, but it has rained and snowed this week (snowed at higher altitude, I mean) and I thought the trail would possibly be snowy, and probably muddy and slippery. That wasn't what I had in mind, so I opted for the Jordan River Parkway.
There is a spot that has marshlands, and a nature center (at about 5040 South, 850 West for the locals). It sounded like a good spot to begin.
Ideally I wanted to begin the trail closer to my home (the nature conservancy is about three miles south of where I am), but I had never been on the trail, and I wasn't sure how it intersected with the busy roads, if one must cross over them, or even if the parkway went (north to south) all the way through the Salt Lake Valley.
Turns out, it does!
The trail (a two lane bike/run/walk paved trail) either has a bridge that goes over the busy roads (48th, 45th, 39th, and 33rd) or else it tunnels underneath.
I think it goes all the way to Lehi (and even beyond), which is about 20 miles south of where I live.

Going over there I was a bit nervous. One, I've never been. Two, it's outside of my neighborhood, and my travel zone. Three, well, it's the Jordan River, and I'm a girl alone, who most probably couldn't outrun anyone (only the very most decrepit :) ).... you know how it goes to be by yourself in strange territory. I wasn't frightened, but just didn't really know what to expect.
But... it's Saturday morning, seems to me that it's the best possible time to have a go at it - should be lots of people on the trail.
But hopefully not too many.

It was really nice.
After about forty minutes I found a particularly quiet (well between busy roads) and lovely spot - a high edge that dropped straight down into the river. It was sort of a pointe. I chose to meditate there for about twenty minutes or so. It was so lovely!

Then I continued on, as I wanted to get all the way to 33rd, so I could know if it went through (if I could begin this trail at 33rd).
By this time I had been gone for an hour and-a-half, so I got to 33rd, then turned back the other way.

I think I'd like to take this trail once a week. Just to stir things up. I really liked it.
I walked (at a fast clip) for two hours and fifteen minutes (not counting the 20 minutes for meditation) and I figure it was between 7 and 8 miles.

It winded, and varied up and down hills, and was smooth and uninterrupted. Not too busy. A person every four or five minutes or so.
A lovely walk.

Friday, March 21, 2008

march: body and spirit

thursday, march 13: 3 miles in the morning
friday, march 14: three 1/2 miles am
sunday, march 16: four 1/2 miles am, one hour yoga
monday, march 17: one 1/2 miles in the evening, 40 minute yoga pm (sore shins still - whoof)
thursday, march 20: four 1/2 miles am
friday, march 21: five miles am
saturday, march 22: seven + miles, late am
sunday, march 23: two and-a-half miles - had to cut it short on account I had to pee. :)
monday, march 24: three miles (one hour) my lower shins were sore, had to go slower than usual.
thursday, march 27: three and-a-half miles.
friday: no walk, i worked on calendars.
saturday, march 29: four miles, pm


Finally! I'm up before a few minutes before eight!
5:50 is much better that 7:50.

I think a shower then a walk during the sunrise is in order....

Thursday, March 20, 2008

nourished (or) the peace of stringbean

So after I wrote my post this morning, out of the kitchen window (where I sit) I spied blue sky.
Oh, a walk, I thought. I need a walk.
So a walk it was.
Funny - I noticed yesterday that I was shifting ever-so-slowly out of being super-conscious (mindful) about what was going on around me. I didn't meditate yesterday, had only a short walk the night before... funny that right after I asked "what difference does this make?" I came to find myself in a "wow, I'm just not feeling like myself" position. There have been changes already, then. Interesting.

I can't tell you how thrilled I was to be out there this morning.
Five miles, I thought. I want five miles today. (turns out it was probably closer to 4 1/2, but it was a glorious way to spend an hour and fifteen minutes.)

I had my usual friend with me (Thich Nhat Hanh), and so many of his words found a place in my heart today. Mostly during practicing walking meditation I just try to listen with my heart (and head) and to remember to practice breathing mindfully, and to be aware of my steps, breathing, legs, stomach, etc..
But today I was able to smile and be flower fresh. And love (and be so enamored of) the space around me, and to bring that space inside my self, and feel myself having so much room to Be.
Not only that - but I was so overjoyed to be walking just after the rains. Marveling in the reflection of the sun on the wet pavement.
Shortly after that I became much warmer, and took off my jacket, and started feeling more and more connected with the earth and my surroundings, and became absolutely mesmerized and enchanted by the green everything that seemed to burst forth in one day. It wasn't like that yesterday. Things were not (seemingly) so thrillingly alive.
I continued to breathe, and smile through my eyes and my mouth (and liver), and heard him talking about "today I was walking to come here, and I felt my feet on the earth, and I was nourished by the earth. And I was nourished and blessed by the sun. I was planting the seeds of happiness for my day." And all I could think of was Oh, yes. This is why I am here, today.
And I don't remember a finer experience.
This is what this does for me.
Shortly after that I started really hearing the birds chirping and singing and it seemed that everything -including my self- was so alive.

And then I remembered - Today is the first day of Spring. Ostara. Vernal Equinox - in my timezone, at 5:48 this morning. Smile, again.

I feel alive.
I feel renewed.
I feel rejuvenated, refreshed, reconnected.

I am thankful, I am joyful, and I am nourished.
Blessings to you. And to all of Everything.

Expressing Anger or Frustration (the children)

Yesterday we had a date with a girl in the neighborhood. Trev and she met a couple of years ago, but somehow they didn't establish a friendship or meet regularly, though her mother and I see each other often and wave and say hello.
She lives on the next street.
The day before yesterday we went to a neighborhood playground, viewable from their home, and they came over to say hi and to play. So we made a date for Wednesday afternoon, after school. (Just giving you this background in case we meet often, which I suspect we will, and you'll know from where she and their friendship came.)
Yesterday while playing tag on the tramp whenever Trev would get close, she'd drop into a curled position, which meant "I'm safe, you can't get me." Every time Trev got within a couple of feet, she'd do this.
Well, eventually he got really frustrated and would "aaaaargh!" and hit himself on the head with his fist. He's been doing this a lot lately. Well, not a lot as in constantly, what I mean is that it's his current method of dealing with frustration.
Like thump, thump, thump, "Stupid Me."
I always stop it. "Hey, hey, hey, don't hit my son," I say. Probably (definitely) I should change that to "your Self", as he needs to be valued for his Self, not for being my son. Initially I just wanted to convey that I love my children and feel protective of them, and can't allow mistreatment of them. But I can see now where I need to change that wording.
Anyway. Thank God Jo (mom) was there, because she noticed my distress, and asked "Does he do that often?" "The last couple of weeks, I said."
I stopped him, and asked him if he was frustrated (obviously) and he said yeah, and I told him, "Well, why don't you tell Al that you don't really want to play that game any more?" Which he did, and her conclusion was to not go into "time out" so much, and then they had a great time playing tag.

Now I'm feeling really lame because it took this incident to bring it all the way to the front of my mind, and to notice [ahem] that I may want to do something about this. (You know how some things don't make it to the front of your brain for a while? They just sit on the back burner? It's like being only partly conscious of it happening.)
So now I've really started thinking about this.
Clearly it's an expression of anger or frustration.
And I absolutely have a problem with it.
Self destruction is absolutely not okay with me - there are healthier outlets for expressing anger or frustration. Belittling one's self, hurting one's self can only lead to other self destructive things - shame, not believing in one's self, etc. I'm just not okay with it.

So! I'm in pursuit of healthy outlets for anger and frustration.
Absolutely I don't want them to zip it up.
Absolutely I don't want them to turn it upon themselves.
Of course hitting another is not acceptable, either.
I don't particularly like "YOU IDIOT!!!", either. Which has been a favorite previously.
It is not my intention to have them express that's in a way acceptable to me and my preferences, or to repress it and cause them harm.
But, on the other hand, if I have tools (that I was not given as a child) that can help transform this normal emotion into something that does not have to take over your life and debilitate you (as a child and as an adult), I would surely like to pass that on! Breathing, practicing mindfulness, etc.

Ideally (where I would like us to be) is a place where Trev recognizes the signs of frustration building, and he calls for an end to it before it culminates into such great heights. He has excellent communication skills, usually, and maybe it's just a matter of practicing and remembering them. On the other hand, who is to say that isn't what happened? Could be that it's only difficult for Me to deal with the way he chose to deal with his frustration, and it wasn't that big of a deal, to him.

I think this rainy sort of day (with a clean house!) is a perfect one for breaking out Naomi's Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves again. Seems I need a refresher course.

I'll take all insight that you have to offer, Friends.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

march 18

I've been asking "why mindfulness?"
Because, you know... why is always my question. And if the answer makes no sense to me, then I'll make my choices as I choose. Authority, or no.

So I listen and I listen and I listen.
And the first thing I hear (many days later, after listening) is "the kingdom of God is in a mustard seed" said Jesus. And what he meant, of course, is that what you nurture and water and take care of is what grows. (ie if you place that mustard seed in damp soil, and water it, and nurture it, then pretty soon it is a great tree, and a home for much life.) So watering the seeds of happiness would be much more helpful to someone that wanted to live in happiness. As opposed to watering the seeds of anger.
Right. I've understood this for a long time. Check. Got it. Mindfulness comes in handy, here.

The second thing I heard (even a day later after listening and listening and listening some more) is "Happiness can only be found in the present moment." Yes. Agreed. "You can only enjoy the blue sky in the present moment."
Also something that I've understood for quite some time. I get that. That's pretty much what recognizing the Ordinary Life Magic is about. Check.

So yesterday I was going along, thinking and wondering, and I thought... Is that it?
I mean, isn't there going to be some Great Esoteric Understanding?
What greatness to be found in Being Awake? (Please understand that I am not making fun, here, but sincerely questioning.)
It's the same question, for me, of why meditate? I mean - I do it, (I've meditated on and off for many years, and I believe it's a permanent part of my life, now) I love it, but why am I doing it? Particularly, what does this thirty (or however long) minutes of peace do for me in the whole of my life? Outside of that thirty minutes? I know that it's important... I'm just not certain why it's important.

And then yesterday (remember that I've spent the last few days practicing walking meditation - which means engaging in mindfulness, as well as little moments throughout the day) I experienced a couple of things.
One, I reacted (I might have shouted "Hey!", or something) to something one of the children did. I don't remember, now. And directly afterward, I automatically stepped outside myself.
Huh, I thought. Why did you do that (react the way I did)?
I'm not sure. But this experience (meaning stepping outside of it) we are having now is interesting.
And then it happened again. And another time.
It's like time stopped, and I was able to witness what was going on from a non-judgmental viewpoint, like I was observing from outside of the situation.
I would say here, I'll be damned, but that seems inappropriate. :)

So life carries on, and then I start to remember other things. That "All you can do is take care of this moment. There is no other."

Then I start to think of all the listening I've been doing over the last few months, and how once in a while a focus point will stand out, and be directly helpful (such as meditating on Be Creativity, Be Beauty, Be Kindness, Be Love, Be Abundance, Be Ever Expansive, Be Receptivity), but for the most part it's the living and the contemplating and the all-of-a-sudden Being in which I've found the shifts.
They're not always obvious, or even apparent.
It's like (typing and thinking very slowly, here)
the road
- or The Way*, maybe :) -
be named,
or even contemplated,
or chased,
it can
only be experienced
and found
in a Moment.


So that leads me to - You mean, just by being mindful of what is happening in various 'now' moments, I will be better prepared for all present moments?
That engaging in meditation and mindfulness shall aid me in observing (from a distance) what is happening in a non-reactive way?
How cool is that? (if I find it to be so.)

What I am thinking is -experiencing the moment must, then, be done in (and with) spirit.
Stepping outside (leaving judgment, interpretations, and feelings of offense - all ego) must engage (bring to the forefront) Spirit. Spirit must lead the way.
That can only be good.
Spirit seeks to create.
Soul longs to experience.
I get to choose my experiences.
I get to experience Oneness.
I get to live a glorious life,
while being with God.

I leave you with Hafiz (From the wondrous collection I Heard God Laughing):

You Better Start Kissing Me

Throw away
All your begging bowls at God's door,

For I have heard the Beloved

Prefers sweet threatening shouts,

Something on the order of:

"Hey, Beloved,

My heart is a raging volcano

Of love for you!

You better start kissing me--
Or Else!"


*This was a reference to The Tao Te Ching, (quite by accident) which is often called the Way.
The very first verse is:
The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name;
this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Walking and Waking in Peace

This has been on my mind soooo much lately.
For probably two months, now, though I haven't mentioned it, yet.
Still trying to put it all together.

I believe in Freedom, as you know.
I also believe in Peace, as I hope you know.

I'm a hippie-skirt wearin' kind of girl. I listen to Cat Stevens (more than anything else -besides classical-, except for my lectures), I like twinkly and jingly ankle bracelets, I love singing and dancing barefoot at outdoor concerts to reggae and bluegrass and folk music. I believe that love makes the world go 'round.

So along comes RU, and I have to shift my head from "This is Right" to "You're Free to Decide For Yourself."
It's not so far from my own ideology, as I don't believe in a condemning God, but one that embraces us in whatever form we choose for ourselves. Something well worth trying to be, certainly. (Not condemning and judging, I mean.)

So now (the last two months) the pendulum has swung again, and while it's certainly not terribly off-center, it indeed has swung back into the "Give Peace A Chance" category.

I've been trying to find a solid place to stand between these two worlds. Between the Alfie Kohn world of Unconditional Parenting and "Our thoughts and actions have an affect on the entire Universe."
And between the world of "everyone is responsible for his own emotions" to Thich Nhat Hanh's "What have you done to your Flower?"

I'm absolutely certain they are not irreconcilable.
Or even paradoxical, for that matter.

And I don't think the rules are different for different phases of spiritual evolution, either.
What I mean is - it is easy to say if I'm in a good space then nothing will affect or disrupt my peace (think of Jesus turning the other cheek), but I don't believe that's true, any longer.
If someone were to say something ugly to the Dali Lama, he probably wouldn't be angry, but the ugliness would still be there.
The person that acted out in ugliness would still feel the ugliness. Anyone who was witness to it (and not a spiritual master) would probably be saddened by it.
It's still there.

I guess it's a matter of not shaming or condemning, but bringing more awareness to my children.
I've found myself saying to Trev lately "If you want to live in a peaceful home, Bud, then you have to help create it." Maybe that's a good place to begin? Not judging or condemning, just reminding (as I know him well enough to know some of the things that he wants in his life -such as a home filled with love and laughter and joy) of the natural law of cause and effect.

Thich Nhat Hanh tells a story of a woman coming to a retreat that he led, and she said "When I ask my husband to help me with the dishes or with laundry, he says 'That's not important, to me.' And when I say 'Please don't drive so close to that car, there might be a collision' he says 'You have to live with your own fear.'"
That made me laugh.
It is the same thing.
Sure, we can say "close our eyes, and trust that God will get us there safely," and that's all fine and good. But the truth is, while sometimes we can separate ourselves from it in such a way, we are a part of it.
We are contributors to this life.
We can make a stranger smile by giving them a warm smile that says "I honor you."
Our thoughts, actions, and words do make a difference -a thousand times- each day.

I can be a promoter of peace.
I can still be a promoter of peace while I turn my back to violence.

I can choose this day, and every day, to live in and exemplify peace, love, and joy.
I can choose to offer these things I value to the world.

Jill Bolte Taylor

Sunday, March 16, 2008

walking meditation

four and a half miles today.
an hour of yoga.

(just because I don't fancy starting another blog to keep track of this stuff.)

Peace Is Every Step

Here, Friends.
A gift for you.

sacred life sunday: walking softly

not walking softly
as in
dancing on green grass and dandelions
brought to life
and warmed by the sun.

but instead
passing by a quiet and still
snow-covered field
and experiencing little plips and plops of snow
raining down on my self and the path before me
from the branches above.

not uninterrupted meditation.
not spiritual exaltation.

still, though I'm not entirely certain where exactly it is that this (all of it) shall take me, I'm none the less going.
or being, as the case may be.

i don't exactly know for certain why.
i have only an inkling as to how.

but it seems an important -even crucial!- thing,
"being in stillness".

and so i'll continue to drift
in that general direction.

maybe at some time
in some place
i'll find myself
to have arrived.

painting my life!

just as was always meant to be.

Friday, March 14, 2008


I was discussing walking through the neighborhood with Eric this morning, and he said something like "I love walking." And I thought I never have. "I would if we lived in the country...." I said, trying to put my finger on what was different about my enthusiasm for my walks the last couple of mornings.
"You know what it is?" I said, half to him, half to myself, "It's that I'm not walking just to be walking. I'm not walking out of duty, for exercise. I'm walking to practice Mindfulness."
And that's it.
I have an intention.

Part of my road to mastery is learning profound mindfulness, and being able to put things (anger, frustration, intense doubt) aside for a few moments in order to regain mindfulness.
It seems a fitting practice toward achievement of the things I intend to become.

So that's it.
Other things - fitness, feeling like I've made a token commitment to exercise, or to my physical well being - those things are not priorities. Well, not at the top, anyway. Most times other things can serve my body and spirit just as easily - a clean kitchen floor, a tidy desk area for computer play, picked up bedrooms that just beg for a rolicking half hour or so of pretend play, on and on it goes.
But spiritual wellfare? Mastery?

Well, that's different.
That, my friends, tops the list.
Being a good Mama -- which means less stressed, more able to bite off what wants to come out of my mouth in the name of reaction, and more able to laugh and shine - not to mention being an able representative of what my spirit wants for me - that is what it's all about.

I'm not wandering out of drudgery.
I'm walking (and waking) in Mindfulness.
Being aware and intent in every step - literal and mystical - that I take.

another three or so miles

My shins were sore this morning - my neighborhood is pretty hilly - but wanted to go outside for a walk, so got up and dressed, grabbed my ipod - oh, needs to be charged, looked up and it's icing! Not raining, not snowing, but like little hail. Psh.
Considered what I wanted to do, decided that I wanted to go, regardless.
So the sore legs and I headed off for a short walk, which ended up being a little over three miles today. Snow and ice the whole time, but it didn't matter.

It's dark and rainy/snowy today, so we'll be homebound today.
My hopes are that I'll have ample time today for meditation, yoga, and cleaning.

I'm feeling so strong and capable.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

three miles

I woke up this morning from a bad dream and found myself snuggled with Maddie.
After I laid there for a few minutes supposing at the time, I thought, I need to go for a walk.
I should get up right now, grab my ipod, see if Annabelle wants to go, too, and Go.
And so I did.

I've been thinking of it for a few days, now. As I've been spending time outside, in the glorious almost-spring air, I've been considering that since I'm up early (or was before the time change) I may as well go for a morning walk. The only problem is that I have two babes sleeping, of course. Could I be back before Eric goes to work? That would mean being back at 6:30 - which means up and out at 5:30.... whoof.

But this morning I could do - Eric is home sleeping.
"I'm going for a walk, Babe."
Mumble, mumble... "have fun..."
Fun? I think. Hmm. Well... I guess.

By this time Annabelle had roused, too, and was willing, so off we went.
Thich Nhat Hanh, Annabelle, and me.

After a bit of irritation over Annabelle's total disregard for my Walking Meditation I decided to just go with it. Take care of my own head, and limbs, put the worry and need to control her out of my mind, and Go.

Amazing how well things went after that.
It was probably about forty degrees out there (when I got home I checked, and then it was 42). Promising rain, and though it hadn't begun to fall, yet, I could smell its presence.

I wonder if I can convey the joy and ecstasy and happiness that I experienced on that walk.
The cool, damp -perfect!- air rushing across my face. The smell of the coming rain. Noticing a welcoming gate. A pretty window. Experiencing such freedom!
It was a glorious, beautiful thing.
And then it started to rain.
Aaah, glorious spring.

I have decided that morning walks might just be the thing. Eric works early two or three days a week - that leaves four or five to me that don't include getting up super duper early - if I don't want to.

I can't even begin to tell of the happiness and peace I've steadily experienced the last few days. It's like my being - body and spirit - has suddenly come alive, and I want to with every breath celebrate my Beingness.

I feel so awake and alive.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Well, let's see.
I've read -- The Seven Spiritual Laws of Parenting (a new purchase), finished Conversations With God Book 2, finished Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting, Looked over The Tao Te Ching, listened to Thich Nhat Hanh's The Art of Mindful Living (again).
I've painted.A picture that I love. Really, I do. My friend Aubrey has inspired me to paint. She, and the pictures in my new Thich Nhat Hanh book.
I've barbecued (outdoors) with Eric and the babes.
I've let the gentle breezes shift through (uninhibited) to cleanse my home.
I've cleaned. And have not cleaned.
I've shopped, and have not shopped.
I've gone to the park, and worried a bit more about the excursion that I would have liked. (Giant Annabelle Fierce Charlie went with us.)
I've ventured on foot thoroughly with the babes around and through our neighborhood.
I have enjoyed (clear to my soul) Spring-like Days.
I've taken pictures that seem to me can be described as "Taoist" - in-as-much as they are in between, and not quite here nor there.I have soaked up the sun.
I have noticed the new freckles on my Little Son's nose.
I have noticed the tan and pink on my own cheeks and chest.
I have enjoyed a glass of beer (or two).
I have had (very quietly) my eighteen-year anniversary with my husband. (eighteen years!! how can that be? We're only twenty-six....)
I have sat on my front porch (my front door open) with my laptop resting on my knees.
I have played with the children when I might have chosen to get chores done -- chores that previously Must Be Done Before Saturday....
I've been quiet. And not-so-quiet.
Still, and Unstill.
Peaceful and (for a moment or two) harried.
I've sat in wonder.
I've engaged.
I've noticed the sunsets behind the still-bare branches.
I've listened. I've thought. I've loved. I've breathed. I've laughed.

I've done nothing.
I've done everything.

Monday, March 10, 2008

sunshine in my soul

there is sunshine in my soul today.
radiant, joyful, cleansing, revealing, rejuvenating, clearing-the-cobwebs sunshine.

the babes and i have plans to pack up our new wheels (in the name of Scoots and Red Ryder) and head out for day of fun.

but before that.... a bit of time here for Mama.
there is a pile of beauty waiting me on that little table - rumi, hafiz, deepak chopra, lao tsu, thich nhat hanh...
splendorous soul-filling sunshine.
it's welcome.

sacred life sunday: happiness

(Due to a misplaced camera cord, this post is a bit late.)

yesterday i had another one of those delicious and decadent days.
the ones that include thich nhat hanh on my ipod, laptop under my arm, a trip to my neighborhood coffee shop, then a couple of hours meandering through my favorite soul-fest bookstore.

soooo delicious.

those few hours go a long way toward rejuvenation, let me tell you.

all that basking and soaking is definitely nourishment for the spirit.

after i picked out several books (including the gift - thanks carla and ladybugzen) i wandered over to the table that had an gorgeous array of glass lotus tealight holders. i've been wanting one for a couple of weeks, only before i couldn't decide which one i wanted. yesterday i saw this one, and knew it was the one for me. as an afterthought, i looked on the chart to see what it represented, and read "happiness".

of course. it could only be that.

joy, fun, family, peace, rejuvenation, celebration, exploration - all these things were my day.
happiness and happiness.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


I've been thinking the last few days -or maybe it's the last couple of weeks or maybe it's the last few lifetimes.... that I'm not exactly sure what all this reading and listening and meditating is for.
Writings and ponderings I can understand. It's a sort of dissecting and supposing and shifting.
But the others?
I listen. I think about it. I read the words.
And it's beautiful. And rejuvenating. And glorious.

But -funny thing- I don't feel different because of it. I don't even (ordinarily) see that I think differently. I don't feel more wise. More gentle. More expanded. More gracious. More .... more.
I feel the same.
Same head. Same heart. Same center. Same potentiality. Same tragic disaster. :)

Then yesterday -last night- I read "How can I create that? How can I get there?" And the answer was "You cannot get there. You can only Be there."
Ah! Exactly what I said the other day, what I was talking about in I Am, I Said.
It goes so much with what I've been thinking lately.

It's not even (unbelievably) a matter of pretending!
It's just a matter of "Gentle is, as gentle does", as my friend M wrote the other day.

It's just a matter of Being.
Even if only for a moment.
In meditation.
In light.
In practice.
In truth.
In happiness.

So now I see.
All that reading, and studying, and listening, and meditating has led me to this quiet place of Being. I have woken up to this glorious and wiser place of Being. Of Knowing.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

blogging without obligation

I'm taking a "blogging without obligation" sabbatical for a few days.
Of course I know I'm never obligated...
But I have a need to soak in without expression (and organizing thoughts and pondering) for a few days, I think. I could change my mind as soon as later tonight, but I don't think so.
House is clean, babes are recovering from snotty noses and coughs, I have a stack of books that I'd like to finish.I'll be found here, lying in the sun.
All is well with us - no worries.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

in search of beauty

or gentleness.something good and beautiful in the day.
(besides the babes and husband, of course.)
i'm spent.
see you tomorrow.

i suck part two

"What!?! You're not a Jack-Ass, Mom! How could you say that? Of course you're not!"
"Well..." how could he NOT think me a Jack-Ass!? "I sure feel like one today!"
"You're the most Helpful Mom, Ever! You're sweet, and your Kind..."
"I don't feel like it..." I'm not fishing for compliments, you understand, but genuinely bemused that he would say such a thing...
"You're Not! You've just been feeling betrayed the last few days!.."


I'm bowing out with my final, deepest curtsy....

today sucks

Today sucked.
I suck.
I've already vented on my local hs board.

I have no desire to go over it again.


See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


I've been living "with out".
That is to say - not with in.

I s'pose it's all right to do so from time-to-time. For us Ordinary Folk, anyway.
S'pose it wouldn't do for a Master. It doesn't particularly do well for me - one who seeks mastery.

But there it is. And here it is.
It doesn't look like anything special.
Exploring with the babes. Taking pictures. Chores. Reading and reading and reading. Books, nothing else. Not Ancient Mystical Tomes, either. Dickens. LM Montgomery (three of the Anne of Green Gables books).
I've been living life on the Outside.

Tonight I was standing in front of one of my bookshelves - wondering what was next. Plato's Republic? How about Howard's End? Shakespeare? The Phantom of the Opera?

No, finish what you've started.
Do you mean one of these? I wandered over to my nightstand - to the while not exactly Ancient Tomes, were certainly books that lead rather directly to the Road To Mastery.
Yes, all of them. Finish these. You've had enough of the other for now - time to get back to it.
Yes, indeed. Don't you think it's time?
Yes. Yes, I do. Thank you for the reminder.
You're welcome. And Well Come.

So I open up Everyday Blessings, The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting. This chapter is called An Eighteen-Year Retreat, he refers to, of course, parenthood. The words I read upon opening the book (guessing at where I might have left off) are:
"On (
a meditation) retreat, because we are off in a special place for an extended period of time, away from the demands of family and work, we have a rare and precious chance to simplify our lives and to give enormous care and attention to the domain of being."

Oh. Is He (Jon Kabat-Zinn) talking to Me?
It would certainly seem that way, wouldn't it?
The Domain of Being.
Yes, I heard.
You've found yourself in absence of Domain Of Being.
You're right, of course. You're right. All of it - you're right. Okay.

So here I am.
Not there any longer.

Seeking Centered-ness.
God Realization.
Stateless Eternity.
Potentialities and Possibilities.

Alright, then.


Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sacred Life Sunday: Words

Two sets of words, today, actually.
None of them my own.

First - and I won't get it right, because it's been a while since I've heard them -
they have to do with the idea that most of us See, and only then do we try to Do, and then finally we are able to Be.
But what should be our focus is quite different - that first really we should Be, then certainly Do, and finally we will be able to See.
An interesting and promising concept.

It's been a busy day today, and a busy week filled up with children, family, reading, work, the mundane as well as the fun, and not too much in my head and heart this week.
I wasn't quite sure what to write about for Sacred Life Sunday.

A few minutes ago I land on my friend M's blog.
Here are her words that whispered to my heart then -
"...but it can be how I try to be, how I try to think of myself. The gentle thoughts tell me that meeting basic needs of sleep, food, exercise, spirituality, socializing, cleanliness are what my focus should be. They tell me to find inner peace, to feel balanced and quiet, so I can hear and listen to the promptings from my inner self, that is trying to help me be who I really am."

Beautifully said, M.
And a splendid gentle reminder.

To me it coincides with first Being, then Doing, and Seeing.
Claim it for your own, practice it, and pretty soon you shall see it residing deeply inside yourself.

I am thankful for today's Words.

Photo Challenge: Emergence

No, it isn't the Greatest Photo Ever Taken.
But it is super cool.
And it certainly captures Emergence, to a Mama's heart.