Category Archives: Spirituality

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?

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.”

Austin

Ahhhh. I arrived in Austin yesterday. It is beyond surprising to be here. I can’t quite explain it. But, being as this is a blog, I will try. Best I can do is a shorthand version…

Leave santa cruz in a blur on the evening of June 1.

Spend weekend in oakland, seeing old friends, catching up.

Whirlwind 2-night trip to Willits (northern CA) for work.

Then back down to Moraga for 2-night visit to other old friends, one of whom just was diagnosed with a brain tumor, only to learn that she has to have immediate brain surgery and my 2 day visit turns into week long which is absolutely beautiful and blessed and she makes it thru surgery and is ok; tumor is benign; she’s recovering in rehab, and so I

hit the road on Thursday, June 14 and it’s a grueling and emotional journey across the desert (which I’ve crossed each summer by myself in both directions for the past two years already, swearing I will never do it alone again, yet here I find myself, alone again, drained and exhausted and not sure what I am doing or why I left or what I’m driving to…).

Arrive in Austin on Monday afternoon. Emily’s house in the country just outside of town, cicadas’ orchestral roar surrounding me, swelling and waning, the air conditioning in the house keeping my brain temperature from reaching dangerous highs, a good-bye potluck for Emily happens and I’m suddenly surrounded by 20-somethings.

This morning, Tuesday, Emily packs her bags, we make a list of when and what to feed Jed the dog and Bessie the cat. I wave to her as she pulls away from the tilting 1-bedroom farmhouse that will be my home for the next 5 weeks and collapse onto the couch.

I’m here. My heart is beating. I’m alive. I’m in Texas. I don’t know how anything is going to look.

Bring it.

Let the Beauty We Love Be What We Do

Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty

and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study

and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.

 Let the beauty we love be what we do.

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

And so…I begin.

Sit in silence as the sun rises.

Listen to that stuck-ness somewhere inside and don’t hate it. Let it be.

Wash my hair.

Write a poem.

Laugh with a friend.

Cry at a movie.

Cry listening to NPR.

Wish for magic.

Believe in unicorns.

Read Rumi.

Laugh.

video art

today I had my first class of the semester

Video Art

Wow, there’s some freaky shit out there. The instructor showed us some various “art” videos on youtube. I am looking forward to exploring more. I think I’ll invite some friends to be involved in my projects this semester. Maybe the piano player will compose some music for a project. And we can do a cool misty layered nature dance poetry barefoot nymphs in the forest thing. Or, maybe it’ll be just me and the creek, with the rushing water as the only soundtrack. Or…stay tuned!

I went to Fremont today to put together a report I’ve been working on, and leave it in a binder on the project manager’s chair. She wasn’t in the office. Which was good—I don’t want to see her. I find myself so annoyed that I’m doing this work. And simultaneously very grateful that I have it, that it’s good money and that it gives me the opportunity to continue this floating, drifting, following my heart thing I’ve been doing.

I don’t know where this is all leading. Some days, I get freaked out about that. But really what’s the point? It’s not like I really have a choice. Whenever I try to get a “real” job (which I have done many times in my life) I always end up miserable and sooner or later I quit. So, fuck it. I’m just gonna keep creating, keep trusting, and keep doing enough biologist kind of work to pay the bills.

On a deeper level I realize more and more that what I’m really doing—and all I want to do—is live in service to something greater than myself. Something that is me, and is also you and you and you. It is a great feeling when I get connected to my heart and remember so clearly what is important, what this life is about for me. Service.

The first post I wrote in this blog was about Service. It was almost 2 years ago–hard to believe–and I was going off to live at Mount Madonna Center for a 3-month program called Yoga, Service and Community. I had just quit my last full-time career kinda job, and I knew that I wanted my life to be about service. And it was at Mount Madonna that I met Vanessa Stone. Recognized and resonated with her message that our humanity is our spiritual path, that we can look to the living map of our own life to guide our soul’s journey. It was my call home.

I went to Austin that August for the Global Youth Peace Summit put on by the Amala Foundation and Vanessa, and it was afterwards, staying in a friend’s house in Austin, that I realized I wanted to write, to photograph, to create—and that the work I have to do is to communicate “spiritual ideas” through various creative outlets.

And so, here I am…still midwifing this new life into being. Remembering tonight that there is nothing required but gentleness and allowing. I am so grateful. For the full moon, the creek, the little cottage sanctuary I call my home today. And for you, reading this. Please read. Read what I write and let me know what you think. It will help me so much to hear from you. May you be blessed in every way.

 

Falling into the Mystery

If I seek the unbridled joy of being alive (and I do) then much is required. To crawl into the pain, nest there and pull it close around me. To sob until the tears turn to laughter. To sink into the silence at the core of being. To see God in everything, in every last piece of this crazy world.

I trust that process. I know that what is offered is all I could ever want. That the fullness of each moment constantly surrounds me, whispering of love.

As I come out of a period of deep depression, I find myself surrendered. Beaten to a joyous pulp, with nothing left to fight against. My heart has become the instrument of seeing. The mind divides and judges, but the heart pierces that veil. The heart can see clearly: that which animates galaxies and lovers and a child’s laughter also animates so-called evil. There is no separation. There is nothing “other.” Not really.

So I feel the embrace of the beloved, the god of my understanding, the force that manifests and sustains and destroys.

Olema Sunset I
Olema Sunset II
Olema Sunset III

adhd

Okay, this is going to a slightly more wordy blog than the last few.

I realized this summer I have ADHD. Now that I’ve figure it out, I’m like, DUH.

So, that explains why I have always had a hard time with follow-through, why I am challenged to finish projects, why my heart aches and my head spins when I think of everything I want to do in my life, why multiple moving parts make me feel crazy. Why I acquired the label “underachiever” as a kid.

I believed them and blamed myself. Why was I an underachiever? Why didn’t I ever live up to my potential? I’m a smart girl, high marks on standardized tests. Why always the failure, the inability to stay focused, changing my mind, flitting about? For decades, I’ve lived with this intense self-judgement. Why can’t I get things done? What is WRONG with me?

I have blamed myself, and kept myself hidden, and pretended I could do it. Knowing, fearing, that I couldn’t. Trying again and again. Spending HOURS to read a scientific paper that other’s could wiz through. Taking hours too long to finish projects at a job where I had to bill my time by ten minute increments, and come in under budget. I couldn’t do it. I blamed myself, judged myself a failure.

I live by lists. But how to translate a long list into a day and a week’s organized life? Completely overwhelmed. Surfing the internet, or watching movies, to avoid the failure.

Now, I am getting ready to do something about it. This week, I’ll start neurofeedback. My housemate just happens to do it. It’s one of the only non-drug modalities that is really helpful for ADHD. So, I’m hoping it helps. The other alternative, which I’m not ruling out, is medication.

This post is a statement, a claiming, a notice that the stigma stops here. ADHD is not a crime and I’m not going to be ashamed of it. Depression, alcoholism, addiction—all of which I’ve struggled with in years gone by—are illnesses, brain disorders, chemical imbalances. I do not have to feel guilty about them. I CAN do something about them. And I will.

If you are reading and can relate to any of this, hold your head up, do not let the myth of shame bind you. You are free, beautiful and worthy of love, respect and friendship. If you meet people along the way who don’t see it that way, that is not your affair. Let them go. Be who you are. Heal. Grow. Love yourself. Feel how you are loved by this universe. Perfect how you are. However you are.