Monday, April 30, 2012


The prism, hanging from the curtain rod, explodes the morning sun's rays into rainbows upon the ceiling, carpet and walls.  As I do, I smile at the rainbows and take my morning walk in the yard to see if there are gifts waiting for me. I am looking for feathers. I do not know why, but finding feathers touches my heart. Each morning, like the Christmas I never had, I go to the earth expecting to find these gifts. Some mornings there are none. Other days they await me in the later hours. Still, each morning I go anticipating what I will find.

The sun's fingers held this tiny gift upright and showered it with light. She knew my eyes struggle to see and so much of the world is a blur.  She made sure I could see this tiny gift.

Sweet Life, would that I, with the same anticipation and glee, see each day as a feather held in the sun's fingers, glistening in light, telling me "Not to worry. Anticipate. I will help you see." 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Did not see

I studied the birds and the squirrels. I had watched where they hopped and scampered. I walked the area of their feeding and knew well where the seed fell.  I was certain I was safe spraying the weed killer in those patches where they were breaking the cement.  My arms not strong enough to use the gas tool that would cut them down, the chemical was my only choice. I did not use it carelessly, I was deliberate and conscious of every spot I would spray.  And as I sprayed I saw a moth struggling and knew immediately I had not been as conscious as I thought.

The butterfly lives hundreds of miles away from where I was spraying, but it brought to mind the Theory of Chaos.  Everything is connected.  If a butterfly flaps its wings in Borneo it is part of the tornado that slashes its way through Kansas.  We are connected with all of life.  We know that somehow, but yet we don't comprehend it fully.  Everything I do, or don't do, is connected to something else, someone or something.  If I could truly embed that in my soul, I think my life would be very different. 

 "In Lak' ech" - Mayan for "you are my other me".  A pondering that is, in part, responsible for these ramblings and ponderings.  A tiny, but beautiful moth, I did not know existed, in its struggle and death, has become both the victim of my actions and my teacher.  I can replace the patio cement.  Nature will give birth to another moth.  But life is absent that one moth because I did not see.  "In Lak' ech" - Life is my other me.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Not returning

I know to many, they mock their efforts to display perfection in an immaculate lawn.  Today, they are not weeds, they stand as teachers.  Across the street, from the lawn my weak body is mowing, my elder neighbor died.  A good friend and warrior is quickly slipping away.  Her partner is preparing.  And as I mow, these miniature suns remind me how quickly they will return.  The mower will dispatch their stems and balls of sun but by tomorrow I will already see them returning and reaching towards their mirror. My body wasn’t ready to mow but she understood.  My sensible mind forgave my disregard for shoes.  Sometimes your soul needs to feel the earth as you walk.  Sometimes you need to watch how constant and quickly life faithfully returns.  And sometimes you hear the whispers of teachers…”One doesn’t return if you never left.”

Friday, April 27, 2012

One path

She has no lower limbs that would let you climb. You cannot climb upward to see what she sees, to view the world without gravity, to know nature's wisdom. You have to sit, roots to roots.  It is not a journey that can be made with the mind or eyes.  It is a journey reserved for the heart.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gifted's calling

I have been pondering one’s gifts, talents and the infamous topic of one’s calling.  We have all heard people say “You have such a gift,” or “He’s such a gifted…”  Just what are gifts?  When we think of “gifts” quite often we think in terms of teaching, artists, healers, speakers, leaders, and even athletes.  I’ve tried to ponder their common themes.  The one thread that sticks is that so much of what we call “gifts” involves the “giving” of oneself.  But, don’t we all have that gift?  No, I cannot draw, but I can give.  Drawing or painting, dancing or other “gifts” are simply the tools, the manifestation of how the gift is expressed.  We all have different tool boxes, but do we not all have the “gift” of giving?  If we did not, why do stories of heroes, random acts of kindness, stories of people or animals in need move us so? Do we not all have the “gift”?

Hell, I have not figured it all out.  But somewhere there is this little thread that keeps poking me and reminding me of my radical hippie days in the 60’s and early 70’s.  I remember ID bracelets were all the rage.  I bought one for myself.  Instead of my name, I had etched “A Person.”  It was my subtle way of rebelling against labels.  Maybe it was the origin of this poking thread.  Maybe that is my gift.  I am A Person.  I am the “gift.”  Gifts are gifts because they are given away.  In giving of myself, I am the gift. Gift and giver are one.  Maybe that is the calling-to simply be the gift.  In all I do may I be truly human.  May I be the gift.  When you look at it that way, we are all gifted.  There are no bench sitters or stars, no one is special.  We are all the same and equally gifted.  Different tool boxes, yes, but equally gifted, as we are.  We are the gift.  And with a confessed quiet chuckle, now ain’t that special?

The face I see

Most of the history written, philosophies, and social sciences come from the western world (Euro-American).  Recently there has been a counter force challenging the exclusive western perception.  For example, IQ tests and even personality tests used to diagnose abnormal behavior are based upon western ideals of normal and average.  One particular western ideal is individualism. You hear it everyday. “Be independent.” “Make your own decisions.” “Stand on your own two feet.” “Pay your own way.” “Follow your heart.”  Think of the pride Americans take in our history of forging out across the unknown lands to settle, populate and tame the wild west.  We are rugged individualists.  That is not the same concept or value held in much of the eastern world.  In the eastern culture, collectivism, or the group is the most important value.  It does not mean that you demean or diminish yourself as an individual but simply that the health of the group (family, community, society, etc.) takes precedence.  The collectivist point of view would not brag about individual accomplishments, would not promote one over the many. 

A very inadequate summary, my apologies.  But can you see how the two perspectives would write different histories, develop different philosophies and define normal differently? Even spiritually, can you see how their world view would differ from the western view? If the east –west concept is too vague, consider the rural farming communities of old built on cooperation of neighbors and embraced within an extended family of support.  Their individual survival, what was important, was the survival of all, together, a community.  Compare that view to a large metropolitian city like New York where most feel like a stranger to the other million or so people.  No nuclear families.  If you have more I must have less. Competitive and individualistic.

Is one view right or wrong? Is one healthy and one sick? Maybe we should just say they both are right and melt them into a stew of indicollectivism.  And where the hell am I going with such a pondering? The scientific Human Genome Project set out to map all the human genomes to map our evolutionary, biological and comparative history.  So far, they have identified only 25,000 or so unique genomes – they were expecting much more.  Of those 25,000 do you know we only have 300 that are unique from those of a mouse?  We are all so similar to all of life and yet we are so different.  Differences can be modified but the differences remain, perhaps even sacred to all of life.

When I say I love you or when I say you are my other me – who are you?  You have been shaped by your family. You have been shaped by your community, religion, school and experiences or even the color of your skin.  You are a repository of collective images, labels, definitions and perceptions of right and wrong, normal and not, good and evil, cans and cannots.  But you are also the individual I see, the individual I love, the person standing in front of me. And within that repository you have made choices that in many ways reshaped the collective influence, making you, you.  The you standing before me, holding my hand or my heart, may be the mouse in you, the collective and shared you.  Tomorrow, you may be the 300 genomes, shaped by your choices that make you uniquely human and an individual.  Both are you. It’s not that you bring your “baggage” or wounds, you simply bring who you are.  It is not a “take it or leave it” attitude, we all have rough edges we would like to soften and habits we know we need to change.  But it begins with acceptance.  It begins with the wonder and amazement as the “you” unfolds before me. So many layers. So much to discover.  Your vulnerability to let me see, so humbling.

My point? I chuckle, yes, sometimes I do think too much.  To say I love you or to embrace you are my other me means my heart reaches out to all of you, today, this moment, the face that you gift to me.  And in that embrace, that joining as one, we create a symphony not a solo, dialogue not a soliloquy, two yet one, and we expand, together, beyond what we were before the embrace.  In learning how to love myself I expand the love I can give to you.  You are my other me. You are not me. Like holding hands, it is more comfortable and warm when right holds left, awkward when left holds left or right holds right. But when the two hands slip and fold together, a link is created that makes them one.  You are my other me. You are my teacher. You are the telescope that opens up the universe or the submarine beneath the oceans opening up such a vast diverse universe.  You are the one hand slipped warmly into mine.


Looking at a 3-D image of the earth all the lines outlining so many countries, tiny and large, and within the countries more lines defining individual states, I was overwhelmed.  Within the area of each squiggled line people were grouped and gathered.  The squiggles marked their differences from those outside the squiggles.  Wars, genocide, and various “cleansings,” not to mention prejudice and oppression,  power and greed occur because of the squiggles.  I no longer saw countries, I saw lines in the sand screaming “you are different from me -stay out! This is mine – I will not freely share!”

Such ponderings, considering seven billion people in the world, was too much for my little brain.  I had to change the lens on my heart’s camera and see a smaller frame, more close up.  The solitary tears began to weep.  I too live within squiggles.  I have defined myself.  Not only that, but others have drawn squiggles around me and defined me.  I am squiggles within squiggles.  As I interact with people I draw my own squiggles.  I hide behind mine.  The globe looked so defined and orderly.  My everyday interactions are like squiggle bumper cars.

What if we saw the squiggled world drawn with an Etch-A-Sketch?  What if we could shake it and make all the squiggles just disappear?  Sigh.  I know I can be simplistic and naive.  But what if?  Again, too much for my little brain and heart.  I need another question.  What if, what if I began to erase my own squiggles?  What if I no longer defined myself as this or that, or having this gift or talent, or not having or being this or that?  What if I erased my squiggles and determined to just move without having boundaries?  I cannot stop others from drawing squiggles around me.  But what would it feel like to no longer have the clash of squiggles against squiggles? What if their squiggles met no resistance?  What if their squiggles had to become fluid, no longer rigid and fixed because squiggle-less, I was no longer rigid or fixed?  Would their squiggles become like the ripples on a lake that simply melt into the calm surface?

Reality is, you throw a rock into the water ripples will erupt upon the surface.  But if you make the lake big enough, like a sea or the ocean or even the universe, no matter the size of the rock, the ripples will dissolve into the calm nature of the water.  What if I start with my squiggles and another starts with theirs, and then another and another?  Together maybe we can make the lake big enough and squiggled ripples will dissolve in the calm waters of compassion and unity.  Another sigh.  And as I sigh I read the previous sentence…. “What if I start….”  I must be willing to be the first drop into the ocean.  It starts with me.  It starts with my own squiggles.  The Etch-A-Sketch is mine.


Sometimes I ponder things, my eyes and heart have such a yearning to see and hear.  I try to see the colors of the wind and its whispered voice through the trees.  Sometimes I look at strangers and try to imagine their life’s movie having only the visuals of their walk, their eyes and the way they carry their body.  Sometimes I look up at the tree tops, the mountains, clouds or birds floating upon the thermals and try to hear the voice of Creation, the voice of Life. Sometimes, sometimes I think I think too much and surely I must be a freak.
I have walked so many seasons, and most of them, until last October  I have worked. I have walked so many seasons immersing myself in books, poetry, and philosophy devouring everything I could read.  I could read then, now, my eyes see mostly blurs.  I have walked so many seasons, and run.  I could run marathons. My body’s physical strength, especially since I am somewhat small, always amazed me and others, I could always find a reserve.  I have no reserve, my clothes no longer fit, so much weight has been lost and she is weak.  So many seasons I have walked and my hands were a second voice writing about the ponderings and lifting up hope, compassion, and simple things like writing my name.  My hand tremors now and cannot write.  With my blurry eyes I struggle to find the errors in what my shaking hand tries unsuccessfully to write.  The voice of my hands, like the voice of my body, stutters and grows quiet, embarrassed, frustrated and feeling she has nothing to say.  Sometimes I look at my body and how I try to adapt to my eyes, my weakness, my spoken voice and the voice of my hands and think surely, yes, I am a freak.

Does not one with an eating disorder see themselves “fat”?  Does not one who is told they are too tall or big, too short, or not the right size to be a ballerina, a gymnast, an athlete, or even to perform a job, feel themselves inadequate, their  body extinguishing the heart’s candle?  The list of mirrors, of images goes on and on.  We never seem to be what we feel or want to be.  The camera’s portrait never mirrors our fears, our beliefs, our desires or the candle burning inside.  In so many ways, the images are watermarked with ‘freak.’

I wanted to write something profound. I had a thought when I began. I’ve lost it now. Sometimes my brain gets fuzzy and distracted.  Maybe what I wanted to say, was simply you are my other me. And maybe if we both believe that, really believe that in our hearts, then you will know I speak the truth when I say you are beautiful and so not a freak.  And maybe if I find a way to embrace and bleed within my heart that you are my other me, when you tell me I am beautiful and not a freak, because your eyes are mine, I too will see.  You are my other me. Since I lost whatever profound thought I had, we could just sit together speak of what we see. And with a wink of grace, compassion and belief, together we will see what our self-portraits do not.


Maybe I just want too much. To know love, the companionship of a partner, the unfulfilled dream of a child, to be able to see and to move without pain,weakness or tremors, peace on earth, food for the hungry, an end to all forms of abuse and intolerance. Maybe I just want too much and the wanting creates such unrest and dis-ease.

I watch the geese fly overhead.  Nature created a yearning inside them that instinctively draws them to places far away. I wonder if they wake up and honk “oh crap, we’ve got to migrate again. Can’t we just stay in one place?” And then I see them floating upon the currents of the wind, their wings tilting this way and that way, their honks of encouragement to the one in the lead. How they take turns buffeting the wind for the others and flying in a formation that makes it easier for the one behind.  How nature’s compass takes them to where they need to be. 

 I think of the freedom of flight, of all that they will see….and the hardships and danger they face.  Nature calls them to migrate knowing the journey will take some of them away from the flock.  And even so, nature also created within them the instinct to mate for life knowing the journey will leave some without their mates, but forever part of the flock.   Maybe I do want too much.  Wanting means I have to have it here and now, no longer have to journey.  Perhaps I just need to learn to fly and listen to my instincts.  Maybe I just need to soar and see the migration.

Hieroglyphics upon the soul

So many philosophers, writers of fiction, theorists and spiritual giants have influenced me.  Yet, when I ponder their writings, their insights I find common themes.  When I go further back I find the same things scratched in hieroglyphics upon cave walls or stone.  These authors have no names.  They are not included in college introductory courses.  They were, however, the precursors of thoughts and threads woven into me.  They are part of my tapestry.

Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell and others argue that not only do we have an individual conscious, that has absorbed our unique life memories, but we have a human conscious that has recorded the universal memories of all humanity.  Throughout our human history we have all experienced life, birth, fear, hunger, companionship and death.  Common threads in the tapestry of all human existence. We have all sought greater meaning to explain the world around us. Many of the same creation stories we are told today are etched upon walls by those we would call primitive, not too dissimilar from “apes.”
Sometimes it is comforting to ponder that as I look at the moon at night and ponder so many things, that similar eyes, thousands of years ago, looked at the same moon and had the same feelings.  Other times, my shoulders sink and my little spirit breathes a heavy sigh. If after all this time the questions have not been answered, then who I am to hope that I can now?

I can “google” the questions in a well lighted room and retrieve thousands, if not millions of answers- they could not.  I can reach out to millions of people all over the world and ask for answers, they could not.  Some of the answers may resonate with me while others fall to the floor.  And then, I would surely laugh at myself, I am back to where I began, just another questioner with a rock in my hand scratching my questions on the cave walls of my soul.

And maybe that is the only answer I will get.  To be human is to ask questions, to seek.  To ask and seek means there is something inside me that expects a response.  Wrapping together the universal experiences of birth, fear, hunger, companionship and death is the awareness that yes, there really is something beyond me. Something will respond. May not be considered an “answer” but I will get a response. To get a response means I have been heard, someone or something listened.  Response means presence.  Maybe that is the legacy left to me by those huddled without fire, shelter, language as we know it, cities, or anything else we associate with “advanced.”  The first note ever placed in a bottle was in fact scratched on a cave wall  or stone- “We are not alone. Ask.”

We all have rooms

We all have rooms, doors, closets or even sheds where the depth of our brokenness remains hidden.  Even the “No Trespassing” signs and barriers apply to us.  We do not want to remember those moments, hours, days, months or perhaps even years.  However fleeting the memory, it is enough to catch a glimpse of the door and remember.  Like the survivors of tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, floods or bombings, we stand clutching a broken picture frame as we gaze upon the destruction, the absence of what was, before quickly turning away.

I have not made peace with the door.  We have signed a truce.  It has made a persuasive argument for squatter’s rights having lingered in my soul for so many seasons.  In the legal world, if I had given notice to the squatter, the occupied land or shed would be mine.  Because I never told it to leave, never gave notice or attempted to evict, by default, I have surrendered the space.  Going forward, we will have to learn to cohabitate and live together.

Some gardens are meant to be wild.  Never weeded or pruned, their elegance is in their natural wildness and dance.  The order of nature determines the boundary and inhabitants.  Other gardens require more attention; nature’s fragility requests a helping hand to keep out unwanted squatters.  I will not tend the room’s garden.  Nature’s time will do her own pruning. Instead I need to learn to not waste my energy or strength trying to tame what should be wild, carefree and chaotic harmony.  I need to learn to focus my attention only upon those areas that may not be as strong or require vigilance to keep out unwanted weeds.  Not questioning or trying to tame creativity, laughter, love, and simple exuberance.  Diligent, however, with evicting the squatters -when I speak negatively of myself, let fear hold me back or dare to think I am unloved. 

We all have rooms, doors, closets or even sheds where the depth of our brokenness remains hidden.  But the house of Life in which I have been placed is ever so large and filled with both wild and tamed gardens.  The nature of life is to prune.  The nature of life is beauty.  The nature of life is vast and unexplored.  We all have rooms….Life is filled with gardens.  I choose the gardens over the room knowing one day, where a room once stood, a new garden will emerge sown from the rich moist soil of my heart.  

Here I am

So why did I create this space, where none, one, some or many may see?  When I walk in nature, through the wind, mud, sand, waves, sun, clouds, moonlight, trees, beaches, mountains and mesas, I see beauty, wholeness, unselfishness, compassion, nurture, symmetry, cooperation and rebirth.  I see gentle and destructive power but neither is arbitrary or acts from greed.  I hear symphonies of rustling leaves and grasses and the timpani of ocean waves, energetic and vibrating life against my heart.  And I ask myself why my life would be different and empty of the same?  Perhaps you too have believed yourself excluded.  If so, this space is for me, this space is for you, a daily reminder to hear the whisper of inclusion, beauty, life, love, persistence and renewal. Snippets and ponderings, mostly ramblings, as I try to learn, heal, grow and live with my heart opened to life.  Not there yet.  Some days I’m not even sure I have begun the journey.  This space is like my little line in the sand, a flag, a lighthouse or even a starting line.  When one of us should stumble, fall to our knees in disbelieving despair, we will know there is at least one other voice, joined with nature’s eternal promise, reaching out gentle hands and whispering, “It is so.” Time to affirm the healing.