Friday, September 24, 2010

Want / Am / But

I want to figure it all out. I want the world to make sense to me and to understand why there is war and suffering. I want to understand politics and history. I want to be able to look at it all and say it makes some kind of sense.

I am never going to make peace with the fact of war. There is no way to make it alright, it's all wrong. I will never understand why we allow suffering to take place at all on this planet. I am never going to understand borders and when I try to understand politics, what I really understand is that it's convoluted for a reason. If someone studies for years, they start to "understand" but I think they're really just brainwashed into believing it all makes sense.

But, I really do believe that we can be the change we want to see in the world. I'm not sure how many of us need to live in peaceful ways to bring peace to the whole world, but it's time to really start trying. I feel safer not knowing what politics are about because I think they're so corrupt that understanding would not do anything to help me learn how to change things. Things don't change through politics, politic makes it hard and almost impossible to change things. Things change when people think outside the box, when they let go their grip on consensus reality and start to imagine what we could do if we believed it to be possible.


I want to make big changes. I would love to initiate a movement of strong, self-love around the world because I believe that any love has to start with the self. I want life on Earth to be about healing and growth, about what we each have to give all the rest. I want every person to start to see their own worth and realize that we are all equal, we are all necessary, and we are all part of the same system of life.

I am not in a place to speak out to thousands or millions or even hundreds of people. I don't know how to get my thoughts out there to the world. I am trying my best to believe that the love I feel is enough, that when I pray and meditate, or when I show compassion for one person it sends that loving ripple out over the whole world.

But I know that this is only where I am right now. There is so much unknown in my future. There may come a time when I can speak to many people, when I can appeal to their higher voices, to their higher selves. It also may always be in the seemingly small ways that I make this want known. I may talk to one person who wakes up to something because of that conversation and goes out into the world with a new message of their own love.


I want to feel healthy. I want to take better care of my body, mind, and spirit. I want to lose weight, (the unending quest of all western women?). I want to accept myself as beautiful every day. I want to know that I'm doing all the things I can to take care of me. I want to devote myself to Yoga, regular exercise, and a more structured meditation practice.

I am a busy single mother. I am doing the best I can. I am trying to recover from some work-related overuse injuries that have made it almost impossible for me to practice Yoga lately. I am turned-off by any pre-occupation with the way we look, especially my own. I am in a constant and probably all-too-common struggle between accepting myself as I am and striving to be better, (the gist of this post).

But I know that how I look is not who I am. I know that we all go through times when we take better care of ourselves and times when we don't. I have a lot of knowledge about what I should be doing and I have my whole life to start putting these things into practice. If I'm patient with myself, I'm more likely to start making changes soon.


I want to be a perfect mother. I want my daughter to have a fun childhood and also to learn about responsibility. I want to give her all the opportunities I can. I want to do all I can to ensure her strength as she grows through the tumult of adolescence and into her adult life.

I am not a perfect anything. I love my daughter with all I have but I am only one person. I lose patience sometimes and others I'm too lazy to teach her to help when I know I could do the thing I'm teaching her in a fraction of the time. Parents always struggle with providing. I can't pay for her to go to an amazing school, or even for most extra-curricular activities.

But I do the best I can. Loving her and expressing that creates a stable foundation in our relationship so that even though I can't protect her from the slings and arrows of life, she knows that she can come to me with anything. I encourage her imagination and growth. I let her know that I'm not always right. I remind her that it doesn't matter that I don't like the music she listens to, that's her choice. I do my best to give her space to grow and also to instill the idea of responsibility. I'm open and honest with her and very affectionate. Honesty and affection were a bit lacking in my upbringing so I feel like I really am doing my best.


I want to take better care of the Earth. I want to recycle EVERYTHING and compost and be more mindful of the packaging I pay for. I want to learn to can food and plant a garden every spring. I want to learn more about sustainability and green living.

I am, again, doing the best I can. I recycle all paper. I couldn't afford to plant a garden this spring. I do my best to avoid toxic chemicals to clean with. Green living is not cheap living and there are days I can only do what I can afford. I'm getting better at this stuff little by little. There is a LOT of information and I am not able to devote my life to the pursuit of being green at this time.

But, I have good intentions. I'm becoming more aware and stepping more lightly. I think that with time my knowledge will translate to greener living. I have to be reasonable with what I'm able to do. Every change counts!


I want to find peace within myself. I want to let go of wanting, let go of should. I want to spend at least some time every day being ok with everything.

I am human. Life is about growth and if I was always content with who and where I am, there would be nothing to grow against. In that way, I'm grateful for the discontent.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Living Out Loud

When I was young I was painfully shy. I actually remember having my mom write my name down once because I didn't want to say it to the “older” kids on my block. As I got older not much changed. I started to say my name but found it difficult to join conversations. I felt I didn't have anything relevant to share or if I thought of something, it was about what people had talked about ten minutes ago.

I was in high school when I made the first step toward coming out of that shell. It was finding my ability to laugh at myself. If I could laugh at whatever stupid, embarrassing thing I did, somehow it wasn't so embarrassing. Instead of feeling that awful, heart-pounding dread and the desire to sink into the ground, I felt kinda silly, made light of it, and moved on.

Around that same time, I started to really think about cliques. I couldn't understand why people only seemed to hang out with people who dressed like them. To investigate this phenomena, I started dressing differently every day. I would come in one day dressed like the perfect “prep”- neat hair, those V-neck sweaters with a striped button-up underneath, pretty little necklace, nice brown loafers... The next day would find me looking like a total “goth”- all black clothes, usually in layers, ratted up crazy hair, white makeup with dramatic orange eyeshadow, massive black liner, and red, red lipstick, masses of heavy silver jewelry- basically a female Robert Smith (lead singer of the Cure). The next day I would be a “burn-out”- ripped jeans and concert-T's, leather jacket, hair ratted up but less chaotic, sometimes flannel (which I “accidentally” wore before grunge had arrived at my suburban school and was called a farmer, till a few months later...). Then I would come in dressed like a hippie. There weren't any hippies at my school. I was not in a “clique” in school, I was one of those loose, unclassified kids with a few friends. I don't know if it was my own rigid perceptions of those groups that changed or that people were curious about what I thought I was doing, but I ended up with friends from every clique eventually.

After high school and out into the real world, I started to have different issues when it came to social interaction. I had a hard time knowing what to share with people. Sometimes I went through social-anxiety wondering why I had shared something with someone. Or just back to that feeling of stupidity over something I had said. I think it usually came down to my fear of being judged by someone. What would so-and-so think of me now that I had shared that? Would they tell other people? Obviously fears like this helped me to establish some boundaries. Having been through some friendships that caused me to loose trust, I started to gravitate towards different types of people. I learned about establishing trust and mutual respect. I learned how to find safe places to share the things that I need to share.

I keep moving through new ways of seeing my interactions in the world. I've hung on to that ability to laugh at myself, which is crucial to me. I've started to realize that it's not important that other people understand me. Knowing that is a deep and necessary piece of my growth and my path. I have to be able to speak my truth. I have to feel free to believe what I believe regardless of what the world tells us. Trying to fit the world into what we think we know about it will never work for me. I know there is more to this than what we see.

So now I've gone from a six-year-old girl who couldn't bring herself to say her name to a 34-year-old girl who tells it like it is. I still have moments when I can't make my words work. I get the biggest kick out of that after the fact, the writer with no words. It's at those times that I remember that I'm also very emotional and sensitive. I may show the most prevalent emotion like a beacon on my face but there's too much going on inside to work through the words.

What I'm learning about now is the delicate balance of transparency. There are so many things we waste our time hiding that are simply human experience. We have built up so much shame around things as simple as bodily functions. I'm not sure how to shed that but it seems so silly when you think about it. We're ashamed of our desires and habits, sometimes of our strengths. We find it so difficult to say what we feel, what we think. It's fear of rejection or fear of exposure, fear of vulnerability, fear of hurting others, fear of having an unpopular opinion. Do you see the recurring theme?

What I want to keep working toward is a loosening of all that fear. My life is about being loving, that's the change I want to be in the world. I truly believe that the opposing forces, in the grand scheme of things, are fear and love. Fear feeds greed and our perceptions of “different”, two unhealthy human habits that contribute to suffering. If I am willing to let go of that fear and live, out loud and up-close, maybe some other people will see that and open up too. I don't want to hide who I am. I need to be able to communicate how I'm feeling and what I think. We all need some things in our lives to be private. That's healthy and gives us a sense of self and security. But how much do we hide that isn't serving us in the hiding? How many times do we bite our tongues when we should just let them fly? Who do we really hurt when we hide how we feel? What can we do to allow and encourage those around us to feel more free and open and safe? It sounds like a big idea again but to me it all seems so simple.

Friday, September 17, 2010


I had a difficult day yesterday and I want to share about it.  Sometimes I feel like I come and blog only as my most Pollyanna self.  Ok, maybe sometimes Polly has a viscous justice card in her back pocket, but still with that bright world-view, expecting everyone else to be loving, too.  But I am not a constant happy-go-lucky person.  I go through the hills and valleys that we all do and although it's my best, most optimistic face I like to share, I feel it's important to show my humanness as well, and that was bare and raw yesterday.

I think it comes down to how I process things.  A very dear friend had to have surgery on Wednesday.  I knew about this.  I was aware of the need for the surgery.  Then I knew the date.  Not much to do, really.  In my head it amounted to: "So, they take him in, they do their thing, he's fixed up and home in a week.".  I guess that's a positive thing.  Nothing felt like an emergency and it was not.  All there was to do was to be there and ask how I could help.

The night before the surgery we gathered, friends and family, at their home.  We laughed and talked, had coffee and pie and enjoyed the company of family that goes deeper than blood.  It was a fun and up-beat gathering, planning delivery of company and real-food, laughing at stories and silliness.  I always have such deep gratitude for nights like these.  I am so grateful to be with people who are present and kind, to feel a part of a group who is so supportive and who share love so generously.

The next day involved watching Facebook, waiting for updates.  And waiting...  And waiting...  And praying for energy and for those who were waiting in the hospital.  When I went to be that night, they were still waiting.

The next morning I got up and checked- yay!!  Surgery was over, the patient was resting and all the others had finally gone home to rest.  This was the best news I had ever heard!  "They" did their thing and the thing was done and my friend was resting and safe.  Whew!

So that's when it all hit me.  That's when the tears came.  I still can't quite figure it out.  I was able to process what was going to happen mentally- ok, there is a surgery with a date and then recovery.  There is something wrong that will be fixed.  This is how it is, this is how they will fix it.  That was all easy to compute.  What was not- at the time- was the risk involved.  There wasn't a part of my mind that could even consider the idea that anything could go wrong.  It was all very simple- well, kinda simple.  In my mind it was a done deal and all was well.

So then, when it was really done, I finally fell apart.  I finally was able to look back and think of all the fear I could have had.  I finally paused and reflected on just how serious this was.  I prayed (more) for angels to come to help my friend heal and realized how weak even my prayers had been before the event.  Even in prayer, I was unable to ponder the weight of this thing.  I prayed for the patient, for the family, and for the staff.  But then, when all was over, my prayers became fierce.  When we were out of the woods enough for me to look back and see how frightening they had been, I found my will doubled-up.  I had guilt for having not felt that way before.  Why didn't I cry sooner?  What kept all these feelings at bay?  Why weren't my prayers louder, more heart-felt?

But I think I know.  I think it was a measure of self-protection and maybe even my Pollyanna holding me up. Of course everything was going to be ok and considering anything else would have been torture.   This suspension of emotion allowed me to be supportive and positive for my friend and his wife (who is one of my very best friends).  It allowed me to have that strong inner-knowing that everything would work out.  I think that, in a way, is a prayer.  In my mind and heart, I was showing the Universe that I believed, that I knew that this person would be fine and life would return to strange (being the preferred kind of normal) in no time.

So I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing.  I guess I don't have to assign good or bad to it.  I learned a bit about myself and I did my best to be supportive for friends who have been supportive for me.  I let my feelings out, finally, and then felt awful.  I took myself to my favorite restaurant for lunch and felt better.  Today I am just grateful.  I'm grateful for the suspension of emotion as much as for the arrival of it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Value of a Person

I've been thinking a lot lately about what we value in other people.  I think there are some scary cultural norms but the real answer varies greatly from person to person.  I recently moved to a college town and I've overheard and witnessed all kinds of snobbery based on education, which I find so ironic.  I have friends who have prestigious degrees and friends who are professors and they don't seem to judge based on a person's education or lack there-of, but I have some exceptional friends and much gratitude for them.

There are so many different ways we categorize people- education, type of employment, perceived success or achievements.  I just wonder what these things really say about a person.  I have met so many "educated" people who have routinely proven themselves to be ignorant or closed-minded and really out of touch with reality. I experience the unfavorable looks when I tell people I clean a library, as if that tells them something about who I am.  I've seen how I shrink to some people when they learn what I do.  You know what? They shrink to me because of that reaction.

I have been at this job for (almost exactly) eight years and in that time I've really struggled with not defining myself by what I do.  I work with people who have told me I'm probably the smartest person in the building.  I don't know if I agree with that but I'm no slouch.  I have a voracious appetite for knowledge and am, therefore, very self-taught.  This means that there are a lot of things I know very little about and a lot of things I have picked apart as best I can to figure them out.  I think that's true of most people.  We learn about what we're interested in.  But I am sure that there is not a degree on this planet that makes anyone an expert in anything, and if there were, what's that anyway?  Someone who knows a ton about one thing.

Here we go with the circles again.  What I'm trying to work out is what is really important, what is really of value in a person?  When I think of my friends, the people who I spend time with, the first thing that comes to my mind is an open mind.  I have unpopular opinions and a lopsided world-view so I need to hang out with people who will hear that and accept me without the need to agree or disagree.  Kindness is the most important thing any of us can carry.  It's become almost novel, to be kind in general to those around you.  I like people who laugh easily and freely, and who have strange senses of humor.  I think authenticity is also hugely important.  If you're not being yourself, I don't care who you are.  I want to know real people.  I don't understand people who put on airs to try to make themselves appear to be perfect.  I see this a lot in people who have a lot of money.  That sounds judgmental and I think it is so I'll just fess up to that right now.  But I have a friend who lives in one of those fancy neighborhoods where all the houses look the same and everyone has to make sure their kids have the same new cool toy as the neighbors.  It just goes on and on.  There's such an immature attitude that seems prevalent in the whole little community.  My friend, an exceptionally sensitive, authentic, and generous person, is miserable and at a loss for how to deal with these people.  I know that not all people who have money are like that, but I think somehow in the quest for "bigger, better, newer, more", people forget about what is truly important.

I wonder about that greedy need. What if you had nothing?  What if there was no money, no car, no house?  Or what if you suddenly found yourself in a crappy "job" (like, I don't know, cleaning) and you had an old car and a rented home?  Would you suddenly be a different person?  The answer is yes if you defined yourself by those "things" in the first place.  I would like to say that I don't judge myself in these ways, that I don't have wants that distract me from needs, but I did grow up in America and I'm not immune to consumerism or to the sad way we evaluate things.  I think my awareness of it stops me from really buying into it all, though. 

I know that who I am is something (indeed, the only thing) that can never be taken from me.  I am a loving, kind person and I do my best to evidence that every day.  I am learning to be less judgmental and more patient.  I am learning about what really matters to me and how different that is from what the rest of society seems to deem important.  I stopped watching T.V. because it's so full of negative messages and feeds low-self-image.  I have realized that if I want to be a truly loving person, the most important thing is for me to love myself.  I can't afford myself the luxury of sitting back and saying "I'm only a custodian." or "I have no degree and therefore no worth>." because I don't really buy into any of that. 

I know that my worth is in what I do and how I interact with the world.  It's in how I show up every day. It's in the fact that I'm so content, so happy and feel so blessed to live my life that might, to others, seem like a struggle.  I'm aware of the things I struggle with but they're mostly worldly things and are not as important to me as they seem to be to others.  I have great friendships.  I have a beautiful, amazing daughter.  I live in a wonderful house with a gorgeous backyard where I can sit and meditate all afternoon.  I live in a cool city where there are tons of fun things to do.  I have a sense of awe and wonder at the world that fills me with love and peace every day.  I have difficult days when it's hard to find that peace, and then I wake up again and it's there.  I am truly blessed and will never be better or worse than anyone.  We are all here.  We are all one.  We are all worthy.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Will You Burn with Hate or Love?

I feel like I have the same rant building again.  This is a different incident but based on the same old ignorance and hate.  "Christians" in Florida are planning to burn copies of the Quaran on September 11th?

Because my faith is one that is little-understood by main-stream society, often feared, and almost always misrepresented, I hesitate to criticize any other faith.  I have to admit that there is a strain in the general relationship between Pagans and Christians.  If you are into religious history, you might guess why.  Also many Pagans come from Christian roots so there are sometimes personal feelings involved.  That said, if I'm going to criticize, I'm going to be deliberate about where I direct that criticism.  There are many Christians in this world who are loving and feel as angry as I do about this.  None of this is directed at them in any way.

The people who have organized this "burning" and all those support it are a disgrace to Christianity and  to humanity.  I grew up Catholic and although they did, I learned we are not supposed to judge.  I feel like there is a constant stream of judgment coming from the Christian perspective.  In a country where we are supposed to have separation of church and state, why is it we hear the term "Religious Right"?  They criticize everyone, if you're not Christian or you're gay or you're a woman who wants rights over her body or even just a liberal (haha), I think they think you're evil and must be stopped.  They really and truly believe that their values are right for everyone and we should all just adhere to their way of doing things.  There is no appreciation of differences, no ability to see beauty in diversity, no ability to even see humanity beneath faith.  It's such a closed-minded and intolerant perspective.  I don't really like the term tolerance because it implies putting up with something you don't like and I'd like to think we can do better than that but I'd be happy with a little bit of tolerance right now.     

It seems to me that some Christians think that this country was founded on "their" religion, and that "theirs" is the only right way.  Even in the skewed history we get, we learned that this country was founded because of the need for religious freedom, and as one of my favorite bumper stickers says, Freedom of religion means ALL religions!  That means that we're free here to pray five times a day, or to go to church on Sunday, or to sit out with the trees, or to believe in only science and what's seen.  We can express our belief in Spirit in any way we want and we're not obligated to hold any belief at all.  That's a beautiful thing!  I do not, however, believe that right translates to the freedom to commit blatantly hateful acts.

There is no other explanation for this, it's simply hateful.  Again, it implies that these self-righteous Christians believe that "Muslims were responsible for that terrorist act".  So every person who practices a particular religion will act in the same way?  Considering the behavior of some priests over the past few years, I really don't think we should go there. If someone were to organize a bible-burning, what would the general reaction be?  People are acting as if there are sides to be taken on this, just like the masque. Have any of the torch-carrying bigots even read any of it?  Of course not!  They just know it's evil because it's different.  There's supposed to be some symbolism in burning them on that date, as if that holy book is a symbol of the hate that perpetrated those actions.  Their anger is the symbol of that hate. 

The thing is, that's a sacred text.  Just because it's not sacred to everyone, it doesn't lose that quality.  To set fire to it in this hateful way (I keep using that word) is a powerfully negative thing to do.  The Witch comes out in me again when I think of the consequences that might bring about.  I've learned in my faith that what you put out you get back in return.  Judging others does nothing but harm.  When you are loving towards the world, you get loving energy back.  I wonder what energy those people will get back?

The best thing I can do is to turn a blind eye to it.  I came, I wrote, I got it out of my system. (well, mostly)  I'm still reeling over the wrongness of this.  I'm sickened, yet again, by the media and the fact that this should never have been a story as it only instigated more hate and division. (Just doing their jobs.)  I'm disheartened by the rampant ignorance and fear that causes division in this country.  I'm grateful for my path and my ability to see all the beauty in every path to Divinity or calm. I'm grateful for my ability to step back, forgive, and love it all.  I'm praying for peace again and still.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I am not really a city person.  I remember when I was little, my grandpa talking about "city slickers" and "country bumpkins".  I was definitely the latter.  One of the things I was really adamant about when considering moving to my city was that I at least have some green space.  I got that in spades and have so much gratitude!

my backyard!

The view from my back porch, 
where I sit to let the stuff of the day fall out of my head.

Back up the path...

to The Little House!