Thursday, May 30, 2013


While I was away on vacation, others back home were moving through their own changes and transitions ...

Only one week had passed, but I left my baby-girl and came home to this young colt of a girl child


Such wonderful support and words for my last post ... truly, it helps to be witnessed and to have one's experience affirmed and supported.  To know that many of you understand the discomfort of transitions and the confusion of re-entry is healing balm to my soul.

I've often joked after any retreat "re-entry will be hard."  It isn't a joke, although it helps me to stay light about my experience or rather be light and gentle with myself.

The oracle card I drew upon return speaks about tender buds, new growth and the importance of gentle but persistent care and attention to the needs of new life.  (And now I laugh realizing moving statues and outside signs of support and encouragement are always around me - it is just remembering to expand my understanding of the ways the Universe chooses to communicate with me.)

I remembered a story I once heard told by Marisa Haedike's husband Sean Hogan, an alumni of The Groundlings Improv School which really captures the truth of what I am experiencing right now. Unfortunately, the link for the podcast is gone, so my attempt to convey the story will be somewhat diluted.

The story was about the experience of hanging out in that space of not-knowing which Sean referred to (or as I remember it) "the gray space."  It is that threshold space of leaving something behind but awaiting insight to know what the next move should be.  It is about surrendering the need for total control and understanding and opening oneself up to instinct or intuition.  The example Sean uses is an exercise from improv class where the group stands in a circle and one person is handed an imaginary ball of clay.  They are to mold and play with this lump of clay until a form presents itself to them.  In other words, they are not to impose their idea upon the clay, but are to engage with the material and the act of molding until inspiration or insight presents them with a form.

Sean talked about how it is obvious when a person is engaged in the process, and it is obvious when another person begins to worry that they are taking too long with the exercise and rush themselves rather than allowing the "solution" to organically present itself.  The lesson is an awareness of our ability to stay in that awkward and often uncomfortable space of not-knowing, of waiting, the gray space where things are indeterminate and unclear.

What is the solution here?  For me, it is to lean into that gray space staying present for what comes up and just noticing my desire to rush ahead and what that means for me.  Ultimately, rushing or forcing things before the time is ripe speaks to me of lack of trust; not trusting myself and not trusting the Universe.

I am grateful to Cat for sharing with me in the comments section wise words that articulate the deeper meaning and importance behind my recent vacation/life transition and struggle in re-entry and integration.  The story of the Seal Wife recounted by Clarissa Pinkola Estés in Sealskin/Soulskin has always been a powerful and personal story for me.  I've identified with the feeling of being divided between two worlds; now I am re-reading the story for an understanding of the lesson of how I can return home to my Self.

As in the tale, if we establish a regular practice of intentional solitude, we invite a conversation between ourselves and the wild soul that comes near our shore. We do this not only just to "be near" the wild and soulful nature, but as in the mystical tradition since time out of mind, the purpose of this union is for us to ask questions, and for the soul to advise. (Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run with the Wolves)

Abiding with myself, resting in that gray space of not-knowing (yet), trusting that my aloneness at this phase of my journey is precisely what Estés explains as the goal of solitude: 

To be all one. It is the cure for the frazzled state so common to modern women .... It  [is] also used as as an oracle, as a way of listening to the inner self to solicit advice and guidance otherwise impossible to hear in the din of daily life.

I am gathering all the seeds I've collected ... gathering reminders of my travels and discoveries ... sifting and sorting and planting and playing.  Awaiting with curiosity and an open mind what will take root and grow.  Trusting this little guide who presented himself to me while In New Zealand

Kingfisher indicates a period of increased mental and spiritual activity. He will show how to manifest your destiny by listening to your intuition. Since psychic perceptions are increasing, he will instruct how to remain grounded in the earth and be comfortable in doing so. Take time for yourself in quite solitude connecting to Mother Earth. Grounding and centering is needed. Although he may be shy, he knows how to strike with determination. How are you using your "dagger-like bill"? He will teach the art of timing and when to act. Kingfisher demonstrates excellent visionary skills and will teach how track your "prey". He directs attention to feelings and what is unseen. Watch carefully what is going around you. Listen to your dreams and visions. (from Animal Totem Dictionary)

Another reminder that support and guidance is all around me, I just need to fine tune my eyes and ears to better perceive the messages.  

Monday, May 27, 2013

Integrating ...

At least, that is what I am telling myself these days.  After a whirlwind trip fulfilling a bucket list wish ("return" having been added to my updated list - such is the nature of lists!), returning home sans job, sans my dear friend has been unsettling.  I guess I am trying to find my post-change land legs and am still wobbly.

I hope that I am integrating and not procrastinating.  It gives me no small comfort (and fair measure of oh-shit-ness) to read this account of current astrological events (thank you Mel!)  

Complicating matters, Cowgirl's school year ended and the Husband went out of town (his turn) so my life appears much like a basket of laundry tossed up in the air and strewn across the floor.  I am stepping gingerly over the bits, trying to figure out what needed tidying away, what needs mending, what needs replacing.

Sitting in the spaciousness of you can do anything is fairly nerve-wracking for me.  My knee-jerk reaction is to querulously reply: yeah ... why?!

I suppose I can claim I am in an astrological funk ... a post-wonderful rebalancing of life with dream.  I am aware I am standing on a threshold of sorts and am not very good at patiently waiting ... I am a needer of signs and I fear the Universe probably believes it is in my best interests to wean me of such external support.  Like a toddler loving to cruise, I have to break away from the soft support of the couch and brave the hazards of hard floors, sharp edges and unexpected falls. 

Yesterday I set my alarm and staggered downstairs in the dim light of dawn to write.  I am familiar with the gaping void of the empty page, but wasn't expecting the painful burn of the white laptop screen.  There is challenge and then there is torment. Rising above the din of my despair (How could I ever have believed I could do this?) was the voice of Anne Lamott screaming "Shitty first draft! Shitty first draft!"

My toddler self obliged and while I am fairly confident shit is what I spread across that glaring white page, I know I must expect such shaky beginnings and not dwell upon the vast expanse I want to cover, but rather stay focused upon this step ... and the next ... and the next. For if I want anything to shift in my life, it is my relationship with Time and the present moment.  

In these early days of re-calibration, I am already aware of a growing ease with the present moments of my day. Not rushing through things, but allowing myself to linger in the spaces of timelessness with my girl: sunset walks, bedtime stories, morning cuddles, and afternoons at the pool - me with my magazine, her with new friends and the thrill of cool water. 

So for all of us rising daily to create our dreams, I offer as support this little bit of support and encouragement:



Tuesday, May 21, 2013

anatomy of a dream

All of the very best decisions I've made in my life were the result of a flash of an idea, an instantaneous knowing this is what I should do

Which is not to say doubt or obstacles or what the hell are you thinking? doesn't immediately follow upon the heels of inspiration.

The trick has been to speak out loud the idea, to bring it into light of some kind (ideally involving another person who then holds me accountable to my plan) and to began making movement towards the dream, all the while acknowledging but tactfully disregarding the gremlins of doubt who whisper a steady stream of reasons imploring me to cease and desist.  

Confirmation of the rightness of my plan comes with each step I take towards it.  A frisson of excitement and fuck! I AM doing this! mingle with the ever-fading gremlin's taunts. And then there comes a moment when I step fully and completely into my dream and the weight of any doubt or fear tangibly lifts off of my being and I sail forward into a technicolor Now.  

Growth and vitality and heart-full expansion are possibilities held within the seeds of such dreams.

There is nothing more technicolor brilliant than the embrace and smile of a dear friend received in the green of her world.

Leaving my job, embarking upon uncharted territory of self-employment (or radical self empowerment?) has been a disorienting experience and as things have turned out, I completely upended myself by traveling down under the next day after my departure.

It seems it was the perfect time for a new perspective upon my life.

Traveling to New Zealand (a bucket list item if ever there was one!) I brought with me wise companions whose words helped frame my experience (the following quotes are from John O'Donohue's Greenbelt festival talks):

An interesting question to ask yourself: How open are you to the mystery of your own beauty and the incredible depth that is your life? 

Behind every face there is something eternal going on and that's the magic ... no one has seen the script for anyone else's life. What are you doing to the life that you have?

You are a custodian of sacred thresholds on which you alone stand.


If you were to clearly explain to your heart how brief your time in the world is, what are the things your heart would make you stop doing right now?

What (or who) would you immediately embrace?


If you look after the hungers of your heart, then everything else comes alive around you. 

Every person is the holder of incredible possibilities ...


From Pema Chodron The Wisdom of No Escape: Navajo teach their children that every morning when the sun comes up, it's a brand new sun. It's born each morning, it lives for the duration of one day, and in the evening it passes on, never to return again. As soon as the children are old enough to understand, the adults take them out at dawn and they say, "The sun has only one day. You must live this day in a good way, so that the sun won't have wasted precious time."  Acknowledging the preciousness of each day is a good way to live, a good way to reconnect with our basic joy.

This was a week of dreams.  Reflecting upon the process of how I got from here to there, I appreciate all the signs - the excitement, the doubts, the anticipation, the questions - that remind me I am on to something big, something important, something that I believe was a possibility made manifest.  

An ancient master said, "I do not say that there is no Zen, but that there is no Zen teacher." You must trust yourself in all endeavors and have faith to put your feet in motion. (Karen Maezen Miller Hand Wash Cold)

Simply stated: I had a dream, really an inkling of a dream.  I trust in my dream and in myself.  I took a step - many steps - and found myself received by a beloved friend.  Another friend recently wrote me, marveling at that very word beloved which I had stamped onto a prayer flag for her. The one we behold, we love but what I hadn't thought about and which this other dear one pointed out is that broken down, it becomes  be loved.

Listening to my heart, following its guidance, seeking my beloved friend, I opened myself up to being loved. I fully and gratefully received that gift ... and now I dare to pass it on.

What journeys might your heart implore you to follow?  How can you take a small step forward today?

Not the end, but a new beginning (and I cannot resist ...)

So much gratitude for the generosity, the beauty, and the immense and fierce love that is Jane Cunningham.  Thank you sister for sharing with me your world and for fortifying my heart.  Not enough words to encompass all that I want to share ... but I know, you know ... deep in the stone ... you know. (to learn about Jane's upcoming and always amazing e-courses, visit her at Women's Soul Workshops.  Her Facing the Minotaur e-course has been rocking my inner archetypes  ... in a good way!)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Last day of my job, packing for a trip ... life upside, topsy turvy and I am just hanging on! I am in a disembodied state - not unpleasant, but wondering what is holding me together now that I've stepped out of the cage?

 Soaking up every last hug, kiss, cuddle and snuggle I can squeeze in.  


 As excited as I am to go on my walk-about, I always find leaving home a visceral experience - as if the strings of my heart know they will be stretched very far. Already my system is preparing the intense cold turkey that a week away from my girl will bring.  We've never been apart that long.  I know it will be good for us, but ...

When next you see me, I may be a hobbit or elf or - god forbid! - a dwarf.  The orcs I know I am leaving behind.

A bientot mes amies!  xo

this past month it's all I could do to grab the polaroid camera, sit on the front stoop and take a quick picture.  But I like this idea of a series of seemingly similar images ... and yet, not so similar ...