Category Archives: Awareness

Resurfacing…

It has been over a YEAR since I posted. It seems hard to believe that, but it is true. This year has been beyond description—the things that really matter have been underground, wordless, shapeless. I have tried to describe them to others, but I find that the only way someone understands is if they have had the same sort of experiences in their lives.

Mysterious healing of old wounds and rifts. Moments of deep depression and anxiety. Experiences of the rightness of the entire journey. Accepting that I am loved beyond measure; recognizing that we all are. Surrendering to trust in the Mystery: it prescribes the perfect journey for me. No other path is needed.

As I emerge, it is indeed like that well-worn metaphor of the caterpillar and the butterfly. Without longing for the cycle to cease, I trust the arising and also the descent. Light and dark. The great blessing of being human.  To be caterpillar and butterfly, and then again—caterpillar, butterfly. Every day, til the heart stops beating, the cycle will carry me, sing to me, call me home to my own heart. It’s not a place of perfect joy. It’s a place of emotional range and brilliant experience.

Hello. Welcome back to my blog. And welcome home to your life. How’s things with you?

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i can’t do this anymore

the title is how I feel…so, I’d say, change is in the air

Waking up wondering what the hell I’m doing. There is a solution: to keep busy. But instead, I’m scuba diving down deep into my being. Whatever that is. And searching. For who? For what? For some kind of a clue to a deeper presence and a deeper surrender. To a place of self-honor instead of self-betrayal.

from the Diamond Sutra:

“This is how to contemplate our conditioned existence in this fleeting world: Like a tiny drop of dew, or a bubble floating in a stream; like a flash of lightening in a summer cloud, or a flickering lamp, an illusion, a phantom, or a dream. So is all conditioned existence to be seen. Thus spoke the Buddha.”

sweet surrender

Ahhhh. That is how I feel right now. Accepting what is. The ups and downs. The flowing, changing world inside and outside of my being. My heart is stretching and finding a new shape. A softer path before me, a home inside the world.

The storm of the weeks after the Summit has subsided. In its wake, I found something I’ve sought for a long, long time: peace. Ironically, the peace I’m experiencing is not a state I have attained. It is not a state at all…it is a surrender. A letting go.

There is no longer a sense that I have to be some way, or some one, that I have to show up in a good-looking outfit with my hair just so, in order to be liked. I finally understand something crucial: the more authentic I am in any interaction, in any moment—the more people respond to me, appreciate me, know me and are moved by me. It is one of my roles in this life: to speak of the struggle and to bring it into the light. Everyone struggles. Everyone.

Welcome to the struggle of life. The peace we seek is within us, yes, but not like we generally have thought of it. It cannot be earned, like a good grade; it cannot be controlled. Peace is the boat on the ocean. It goes where the ocean goes.

Hafiz, great sufi poet, said: “Where you are right now, God circled on a map for you.”

Trust the living map of life as it unfolds before you. Know that the life you are living IS the “spiritual path.” Whether you recognize it or not, whether it matches your pictures or not. There is no where to go, no clothes to wear, no practices to adopt that will make you enlightened. Getting enlightened is not the goal, which is a good thing, because it, like peace, is also not attainable.

Surrender. Breathe. Come home to the heart, and live there. Let the heart listen to the soul, the connection to the god of your understanding. Let the heart be the instrument of seeing, and let the body-mind be ever in service to the heart.

This may not make sense, you may not have read this far. But if you have, thank you. I hope these words reach somewhere in you, that they bring you some amount of rest and peace. For me, the journey continues. I’m in search of a new home, and will be house sitting for the next 3 weeks or so in some lovely places. I am blessed; truly blessed.

I have followed my heart to Austin and here I am. I don’t know what the future holds; I have no plans beyond December. The only promise in following my heart is that I will then dwell in my heart. Which is plenty enough reward for this one.

Austin Loves Me

Wow…that’s all I can say.

Austin has welcomed me. I am finding my way around, internally as well as externally. The slideshow below is a collection of photos from the land/farm where I’m living til the end of July (house/dog/cat sitting while my friend, Emily, explores India). It has been good to me, except the scorpions in the house were a bit much. But I (with regret) asked the landlord to spray the outside of the house, which he did, and so far it’s working.

I have found a place to live permanently, once Emily returns. It is in the SW part of Austin, in a cool neighborhood kind of tucked away and surrounded on 3 sides by the greenbelt! I can walk right onto hiking trails. This is my dream come true. I will be close to the Amala Foundation office/center, Barton Springs pool, and to everything cool in South Austin.

Totally groovy details:

  • It’s a 1/1 duplex, totally brand new, being renovated right now from the garage of a house.
  • Next door in the 3/1 main house will be my friend, Seva, and her two daughters aged 10 and 12. Built-in community, family style.
  • Our landlord, Paul, is uber cool and is including my input into the renovation. He is also giving me: washer/dryer (hookups INSIDE the unit), bed, big table to use as desk, three chairs, 2 huge bookshelves…and other things but I can’t even remember what because I’m still in shock.
  • The rent is exactly what I paid in Santa Cruz, although utilities might be more. Place is probably 3x as big, though.
  • Unit has a high-tech, efficient, brand new AC/heating unit that also purifies the air and is quiet.

I am perhaps most importantly finding my center here. In a whole new way. I feel set free, agreed with, supported to create and live entirely for the soul. To continue to deepen into what that means.

In the mornings, I sit and write. I am processing photographs and beginning to post them online. Exploring options for a website, and for making some of my photos available for sale. Why not, right?

More than anything, I am beginning to feel at home in this world. In alignment. Not needing something from outside; connecting to all I need on the inside. Blessed to be alive.

massive change

In April I spent 10 days on the big island of Hawaii, in retreat with Vanessa Stone and 8 amazing friends. It was a truly heart- and mind-opening experience.

I am not going to write about the experience, not specifically and not here and now. But I will say that I left and returned home to Santa Cruz with some pretty clear realizations:

1. I want to and am ready to move to Austin, TX. To be near Vanessa Stone and her work with the Amala Foundation. To become more a part of that amazing organization and its humanitarian projects. And to simply reach out, broaden my horizons, welcome the world in.

2. I am not any longer interested in spending time worrying or analyzing. I am 100% committed to what is offered, to looking and seeing what is in front of me. To following the living map of my life, on a daily, hourly, breath-by-breath basis.

3. My foundation is my relationship to the core of my being, which I choose to call “God” or spirit, the absolute, pure love, the beloved. And that is where I will look for all guidance. Not outward. Not anymore.

So…I immediately was offered a place to stay in Austin for 6 weeks in June/July, for free, to housesit. My boss told me that he wants me to keep working for them (I already work remotely). I gave notice at my wonderful cottage by the creek. I’m finishing up this semester of school (mostly in the darkroom!), getting rid of all my stuff (again!) and hitting the road on June 11.

To say I am EXCITED would be a massive understatement.

All That’s Left

It’s late. Later than usual, for me. Outside, the full moon transits over my house. And yours. Everyone’s house is covered by the moonlight tonight.

I sit at this desk, in this house, typing on this keyboard. There is a sudden clarity, a clear light, a relief. Miraculous, instantaneous. I am ok.

It sounds like a 70s self-help book. But it’s not. It’s just the lifting of darkness, the rising of the moon, the startling recognition of the simplicity of being. When the sun went down, I was confused. Now, in the middle of the night, that confusion has melted and all that’s left is all that is. Moonrise. Sunset.

Wet and Tired in San Luis Obispo

I woke up in a hotel room in San Luis Obispo at 6 am this morning. I don’t even need an alarm anymore. I jut wake up. And when I looked outside, it was raining. I’ve got a long drive home, and a photoshop assignment to do.

I’ve been pretty sporadic with this blog. Inconsistently posting. And more than that, it feels pretty amorphic. Unformed. Shapeless. Some bloggers seem to blog happy, witty stuff. Some people spin with they say, so they look cool. Some people moan and groan. I don’t want to do any of these things. I just want to write about life, and what it’s like to live it, and post photographs.

I’m struggling with inner voices telling me I’m no good. The thing is, while I have a hard time believing them, I can’t quite get away from them, either. There are two main things I beat myself up about: I don’t get shit done and I don’t like the way I acted with someone. I want to be perfect. I want to be endlessly productive. I want to be the best friend who ever was. I want to be a master at sitting in silence. But…it turns out, I am not perfect, I am incredibly inefficient, I blurt out stupid and hurtful things before I realize what I’m saying, I am endlessly distracted and I fidget continuously.

Okay. Truth be told, it’s not that bad. Mostly, I’m doing well, I have good friends, a nice home…but the days keep turning into weeks, months and years, and very-few-to-none of my ideas get manifested. This is incredibly frustrating. I feel like I am wasting my life. And who knows how much time I’ve got left. Two times in the past three days, I came *THS* close to getting run off the road by an almost-out-of-control tractor-trailer. Every morning I wake up and think, Oh my god, I’m still alive. How much longer is this gift gonna last? I think how precious this human existence is, and how I want to make something of it and not waste it, and be fully fully alive, loving, particpatory. I realize I had checked out of life for a LONG time. Finding my way back in is proving to be a challenge.