Tag Archives: authentic peace

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

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.

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.

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.

 

Day Two

I said I’m going to blog every day. Here’s the next day of blogging. Here I go. See me going?

Actually, blogging yesterday was quite amazing and helpful. I felt pretty good after I got done and it kicked me in the butt to get out the house and keep moving. That helps a lot.

So, I went and got my dog, Jake, who lives with other people now, and took him to the beach. That was super fun for him because he ran and ran and for me because I took photos of him running and running and it was just lovely there.

Then I had dinner with my friend, Dresden who is a poet and a friend from Mount Madonna Center and from the Global Youth Peace Summit. A kindred spirit. An inspiring voice.

I feel blessed this morning. Reminded that if you don’t like the weather in San Francisco (or my own mind), wait a few minutes. Or walk a few blocks.

Some photos I took at a silent morning activity at the Global Youth Peace Summit last month:

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with love

just a quick post
to say I’m alive and well

Last week I volunteered at the Global Youth Peace Summit, outside Austin, TX, USA. It was a fantastically heart-opening experience and I’m feeling the after-affects. I’m sad to be on my way back to California, and I miss being at the Summit, a global village of support, healing, and love. It’s hard to explain what it’s like, but one of the other volunteers said it’s like “boot camp for your heart.” Mine has probably grown 10 times it’s size and capacity in just one week.

I was honored to be able to volunteer as a photographer and as the coordinator of the food love team’s schedule. (Food love = hard work in the kitchen.)

The youth come from refugee, immigrant, and insulated suburban communities in the Austin area, and some from other states, and a few from other countries. This year we had an Israeli girl and two Israeli-Palestinian girls from a peace organization in Israel. Heart-opening, healing, seeing and being seen, listening and being heard.

I made a video of some of the photos taken by me and three other photographers. You can see it here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cG2JUwRy2iA

I hope it captures even a bit of the magic and love of that experience. Also, the second song on the video was written by one of the youth and recorded by him and two others at the summit last week.

I myself am trying to fundraise $1000 or more to help the Amala Foundation create the Summit. My minimum is $325 and I’m still short of that. If you feel inspired to help out, please donate here:

https://www.giveplanet.com/uma