Monday, November 12, 2012

Remembrance Day

***This post was written last year, saved as a draft and forgotten. Two days ago, the scene was eerily repeated almost to the smallest detail. Same checker, elderly man ahead of me in line with is cap identifying him as a Korean war veteran. The difference in the situation this year is that last year's encounter had prepared me to be grateful and expressive. I stood there a person changed by a year of living, learning and listening. ***

Last night, two hours and thirty minutes into overtime at the end of one of my most emotionally draining workdays in a long time, I had one work-related stop to make before I could settle into my evening at home.

I walked into the most inconveniently located market in existence with nothing but thoughts of fuzzy socks,pajamas, my couch, hot tea and the next episode of Life Unexpected that were all waiting at the end of this errand. I approached the check stand with only one person in front of me, a nondescript man of advanced years. I found myself twisting the tie on my dress...a sure sign that I'm impatient and something is about to REALLY get on my nerves.

The checker was Middle Eastern man with a heavy accent that made his tongue trip and tangle over his words. The customer he was speaking to was hard of hearing. They were having trouble communicating and the customer was reaching the end of his patience...worse than me and my twisting. The checker slowed down, but he slowed his actions as well as his words and that did not sit well with the impatience brewing in his line. Aeons later, he was finally making change and handed it to the man in front of me in line. When he placed the last coin in the older man's hand, he used both of his hands to clasp the man's hand in his. He nodded his head toward the older man's hat and said, very very slowly and obviously as clearly as he possibly could, "I will probably not see you tomorrow so I would like to say thank you today for everything you have done to ensure this is a country of freedom and promise and hope." He was smiling and glossy-eyed and held the man's hand for just a beat longer than he spoke.

I couldn't help my curiosity and am pretty ashamed that I didn't have a clue why he was talking about "tomorrow." When the other customer turned to me and I saw his VFW hat with pins and patches I recognized but don't understand, I was doubly ashamed. The checker obviously DID understand...and dismantled every misconception I had up until that moment one feeling, one realization, one bit of awe at a time. He might be Middle Eastern and trip over our language, but he was very obviously twice the American I could ever hope to be.

I celebrate in my heart today every altruistic act of those serving our military, today and protect and ensure the right to freedom, promise and hope for a country full of people who might or might not understand or appreciate...might even protest what they are doing. These men and women are of the utmost integrity...doing what they believe is right despite the actions or beliefs of others...despite the ignorance of a tired, impatient, oblivious girl in a small town at an inconveniently located market needing to be reminded of their sacrifice by a Middle Eastern man who knew better than to take it for granted.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Corner of Oh Shit and What the Fuck

There is so much changing. My head starts to throb with the simple exercise of wrapping around it all.

It's exhilarating.

It's terrifying.

I'm being dragged kicking and screaming into change...when change is what I thrive on. I'm resisting and I'm giving in, giving up and pulling the covers over my head as often as I'm putting on a good face and pretending that I've got this.

I don't.

I get up, go to yoga...go on long walks in this lovely place. I spend time with friends, nights with an old lover. I fill out paperwork and call my kids. I make breakfast and sign my name when the dotted line calls for it. I'm even in the midst of changing very name.

I'm pretending that I'm okay.

I'm growing and learning...struggling and triumphing...every day there is some great victory and some scary moment that equally take my breath away.

You hear my voice, you know my see these words and wonder if you should be more worried than you have been. You worry that my speeches lately have been false, if you should have seen through them. You hope that you haven't missed something obvious.

The truth is that even I know it's all going to be okay...even when I feel like THIS. The truth is that I'm right where I'm supposed to be, doing just what I'm meant to do, be, see, experience and grow through.

Fact is, something can be terrifying and exciting simultaneously.

Someone can be lost just to be on the brink of finding themselves and finding their place.

I'm so lost...and it's okay.

Monday, September 10, 2012

I Believe in Santa

I have a magic wand. One that really works.

Don't be jealous. You have it just have to download the software update and be patient during the buffering process.

My friends will tell you about my magic wand, but the words they will say are "lucky" or "in the right place at the right time" or "things just go her way" or my favorite "coincidences follow her."

That's one lovely viewpoint. Kinda sounds like magic.

The words I say are "mad manifesting skills" or "bitchen alignment with the Universe."

My magic wand is my mind and imagination. I've had it from birth and sometime way back in my childhood, I stopped believing in it's powerful ability to imagine my inner world into existence. I'd hazard a guess that it was around the same time I stopped expecting Santa to show up. Oddly enough, when I stopped expecting him was exactly when his visits ceased. Not so oddly, a couple of years ago when I started expecting him again, his visits resumed.

I could stop there and my work here would be done.

But that would leave you wondering about the hows. I am by no means an expert on the hows. I don't have an impressive library of woo-woo books. I haven't been to a single seminar or retreat to learn techniques. I don't have a guru. I do have hours of podcasts saved to my iTunes library but I've never listened to them. My meditation is sporadic and juvenile and often my mind strays to shiny things or broken things or my dog or my to do list or what was that noise?

So, how is it that I have mad manifesting skills and a bitchen alignment with the Universe?

Belief. That's how. Well, that's step one of three. It's the step where I learned patience. It's the step where I metaphorically looked at the hourglass and said "Yay, BUFFERING!" instead of clicking to the next video. It's the place where I cultivated gratitude for the process and remained completely present in that current amazing moment with all of its waning frustration and potential for greatness. It's also the place where I grew to believe that the entire Universe and Cosmos are constantly conspiring in my favor for the juiciest version of my dreams to come true. This step takes time and is unfortunately where the potential to give up is most ripe. I did. A hundred times over. Something kept bringing me back...some tiny memory from childhood that kept saying "believe" followed by "it took Santa 364 days to come back every year!" I figured that like a child, I could believe in something for 364 days. 364 days were going to pass no matter what and it was my choice on how to spend them...but I knew I would need help. Daily help. Something that would have the capacity to remind me of my goal to stay in a state of faith every single day upon waking. I did one of the smartest things I've ever done. I started having conversations with people who seemed to have this ineffable quality I desired. I was directed to this and this . For 364 days the words delivered to my inbox were my first conscious thoughts of the day. It didn't take very many days for my thinking to shift from "if only" to "here it comes!" It was a beauty~full awakening and a lovely gift I gave myself.

Today I believe that I am worthy and amazing...that the dreams I would like to have come true can and will. I believe that the foundations are there, waiting for me to flesh them out with steps two and three: visualization and open~minded movement forward in a world that is set up to make dreams come true.

Visualizing requires so very little. It can take a split second...and that split second can hold enormous power. I started closing my eyes and imagining all the subtle little nuances of what it would look like, smell like, feel like, sound like, taste like and BE like to be completely immersed in my dream come true. I get as detailed as I possibly can with whatever time I have. When I do this, I experience butterflies in my belly or an endorphin rush or a peaceful mellowed out bliss. How can THAT be bad? Then it occurred to me that my mind doesn't know the difference between what I imagine and what outward reality is. My thoughts have the power to convince my brain that I am experiencing something that is only happening in my imagination. Whoa. What else can my thoughts do? Are they truly a vibration that can attract like vibrations? Overcome by wonder, I took that out for a spin.

So far, I was working hard in my heart and soul and mind. That's all internal and the world outside of my being is where the dreams were waiting for me. Intention was lovely but I realized it takes more than that. There has to be action. There has to be connection and exposure to these mythical, mystical vibrations if I was going to attract them! I started moving toward my dreams in some way, large or small, every day. Just a start...and it turned into a lifestyle. I regularly seek out web sites, like minded friends on social media sites or a blogs to follow. I have conversations, read books, take or teach classes. I go places I haven't been before and open my eyes and heart fully each and every place I find myself, being aware of people and opportunities that I may not have noticed otherwise. I smile and say hello, take my headphones off and listen to the people and the world around me. I vary my patterns of where I shop, where I park, my routes or mode of transport. I do something...anything. Just a start. Starting is where the magic begins...and I happen to love magic.

Santa doesn't wait 364 days to visit anymore. That wonder, excitement, gratitude, hope~full way of living that I knew as a child is back...and present every day as if the bearded man was delivering it in his big red velvet bag directly to my grateful heart...sled and reindeer preferred but not required.

My life is a series of dreams come true. I love saying that.

(If you're reading this and it's all too woo woo for you, read it again. Take the woo woo out. I've fallen in love with myself. I've found faith and happiness. I nurture my mind. I am a more present human being, fostering a connection and respect with myself and the world around me...including you. Woo woo removed, how can THAT be anything but great?)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Love Looks Like a Laughing Sea

You know those moments when you're not sure...well, you're not sure of much of anything?

In those moments, I allow. I allow uncertainty. I allow patience...for the answers to come to their own time and via whatever messenger is willing and available.

I've been uncertain.

I've been waiting.

Finally, this came: "For as long as you wish to keep them in your life, whoever they may be, understanding them, as opposed to changing them, will wildly improve the chances that they'll wish to keep you in their life. ~The Universe"

Then there was this: "Dear Human: You’ve got it all wrong. You didn’t come here to master unconditional love. That is where you came from and where you’ll return. You came here to learn personal love. Universal love. Messy love. Sweaty love. Crazy love. Broken love. Whole love. Infused with divinity. Lived through the grace of stumbling. Demonstrated through the beauty of… messing up. Often. You didn’t come here to be perfect. You already are. You came here to be gorgeously human. Flawed and fabulous. And then to rise again into remembering. But unconditional love? Stop telling that story. Love, in truth, doesn’t need ANY other adjectives. It doesn’t require modifiers. It doesn’t require the condition of perfection. It only asks that you show up. And do your best. That you stay present and feel fully. That you shine and fly and laugh and cry and hurt and heal and fall and get back up and play and work and live and die as YOU. It’s enough. It’s Plenty. ~Courtney A. Walsh”

I didn't realize the question was: How Can I Love Without Limits, Without Expectations, Without Fear?

But it is. It is the question. And the answers are oh, so goosebumpy.

Then today I opened my old journal I haven't used in years. Today I opened it to a page where I had written an ode to an ex while sitting on a Jamaican beach Thanksgiving 2010. We were in touch...again. We were trying to figure out how to be something, anything...again. Today I read my words and I read the above passages and I smiled thinking of how Fate must smile at the challenges we put forth, for I see my words now as a that Fate met and The Universe is now explaining to me.

My journal entry says "I sat on the beach, writing our initials in the sand and watching the sea take them back into it's cold depths. I nestled into the sand where it's warm and comforting. I closed my eyes and opened my heart...letting our story pour out into the sea. The sea laughed with the rhythm of breaking waves. It already knew. It knew so much more than we ever will. It offered salt crusted comfort in not knowing. It promised nothing and everything and left me smiling at nothing and everything. There is no us. There was no us. There has always been just a laughing sea, nothing and everything all at once. There is you and there is me and there is the laughing sea."

Today there is acceptance. Today there is gratitude. Today there are smiles. Today there is me, loving anyone who asks to be whatever way they need the love I have to offer. Today there is no fear and that makes Fate smile upon me.

How Can I Love Without Limits, Without Expectations, Without Fear?

There is no "how".

The answer is yes.

Just yes.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Just Because...

Sometimes I sit here alone, feeling alone...feeling isolated and sad and sure that I'm the only person feeling this way while everyone I know is somewhere out loud. Sometimes. Not often. But lately. Yes, lately.

Then the switch is hit and the feelings pass. It never fails that when I tentatively step into the social circles again, I am blasted with reminders of how connected we all are. Our battles aren't so different. Our perceptions aren't so different. Our needs are so very much NOT different.

And today, this:

What if our religion was each other
If our practice was our life
If our prayer, our words
What if the temple was the Earth
If forests were our church
If holy water - the rivers, lakes and ocean
What if meditation was our relationships
If the teacher was Life
If the wisdom was self knowledge
If love was the centre of our being?

- Ganga White


Friday, July 27, 2012

Love letter to an old friend...

When I met you, we were so very young. Still in middle school, trying to be clever and sophisticated beyond our years...succeeding rarely, failing miserably the majority of the time. There were three of us and for the life of me I can't remember who met who first or where or why. We became inseparable. We would walk and explore, lay on our backs and stare at the sky, dream and play. There came a time when I would become shy and tongue-tied whenever you were around. It was awkward and what I know now is that you were my first love. You weren't my first hand holding or my first kiss or my first date, but you were certainly my first big lesson about how issues of the heart can complicate the purest, most lovely of convoluted loving someone can be if you allow it to be baggage we never asked for as a child can screw things up completely.

My family had just relocated to that small southern town where you were living. I had decided to reinvent myself for this particular move, the third in as many years. To me, this reinvention was a chance to stop caring. To be more cavalier and less "sensitive" which was a word the grown-ups paired with an eye roll every time my feelings were hurt and I cried. There would be no more tears for the new Tara. I even considered changing my name.

The new Tara had an entire summer to define this reinvention before 8th grade would begin. Somewhere in the meeting of my new friends, I was lucky enough to meet you. You were captivating. I remember thinking how beautiful you were. My eyes would trace the outline of your features...your thick lashes...the emerging angle of your jaw...your lips. Sometimes you would catch me. The old Tara would have blushed under her freckles. The new, less sensitive Tara would just slowly look away as if she hadn't been caught doing anything out of the ordinary. I could tell when this confused you and I could tell when this hurt your feelings, this cavalier attitude of mine. Those times, I would continue whatever it was I was doing and stifle a whole herd of feelings threatening to run amok. I was concerned about your feelings...ashamed of myself for confusing or hurting you...and even more ashamed for being proud that I could pull off cavalier. That shame made me scared that my reinvention was failing...and angry at you for being an in-my-face reminder of what it's like to be sensitive. I wanted so badly to not feel those things. The timing of my self reinvention was bad news for our friendship and worse news for those little shoots of feelings trying to find sunlight.

There were three of and you and him. He never made me feel that little flutter in my belly the way looking at you did...but he also never evoked any of those other feelings above. He was bland...without your thick lashes or love of reading. He was from a stable home where he was treated well, no need to reinvent wicked step-monster like you or I. He was never accused of being sensitive and actually, he had cavalier down pat. I pretended he was my first love, showering him with all of the adoration I had built up in my enormous pre-teen heart for you. I watched it break your heart and I hated myself for it. You pushed me and challenged my feelings for him and at one point you even tried to make me choose between the two of you. You could see the answer in my eyes and withdrew the ultimatum. What you couldn't see was that although I certainly would have chosen him, it was only because it was the easy and safe choice that would keep me from having to discard my reinvention. My heart was full of you.

We were 12...then we were 13...then you left. You moved away and when you did, you taught me a lesson that almost 30 years later I am still in awe of. You found a way to deal with the hurt and when you moved away, you stayed in touch. You wrote letters to me that were full of stories both real and fiction, poems and drawings and lengthy detailed accounts of what a day in your life was like in your new surroundings. You taught me what grace looks like and what unconditional love feels like. You taught me by example that loving someone does not mean that they have to have a title or role or that you have to have ownership in some way. You taught me that I could be imperfect, wrong and even borderline cruel but that even then there was something worth redemption within me...that I was still worth loving.

He faded into nothingness and 30 years later it is you...your letters, tied up with string that have made another eight moves with me. When I sat down today determined to write a love letter, there was no doubt who it would be addressed to. I was the luckiest girl ever to be loved by you.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Birthday Love Letter

Today is your birthday. Most of the year I can avoid thinking about you with just a little effort. It's either gotten easier with time or I've gotten better with practice. July 5th is the toughest one for me. There have been five July 5ths since we stopped waking up together. Yes, I have been counting.

You were the last thought I had before drifting off to sleep last night. That explains how I woke up this morning...moving my head gingerly on the pillow to avoid waking the sleeping giant of a hangover but moving my bottom in a deliberate wiggle to ensure waking another giant. I was confused for a split second when my eyelids parted and the sunlight didn't feel like shards of glass entering my skull and when my wiggle didn't result in a kiss on the back of my shoulder and a whole other metaphor that I'm going to leave entirely up to the imagination and memory. There was a split second of grief that I wasn't waking up with you, to you...but that split second was followed by seconds, moments, hours of my grateful heart celebrating your existence all day long.

You were my best friend and my most passionate love, but we were a and I. We were struggles and confusion and conflict and tortured, twisted, torn loyalties. We were white-hot and that kind of heat is a gift that we were ill equipped to handle. But there is no room for those kind of thoughts on this day, I won't be celebrating US in my mind and heart. I will be celebrating YOU. I will be rejoicing that this day marks the beginning of the existence of a unique, energetic, intelligent, imaginative, curious human being with boundless energy and charisma. I will be playing club music and remembering what it felt like to move in sync with you on the dance floor. I will be making Thai Lettuce Wraps and remembering the joy you took from presenting new dishes. I will be hiking and taking you with me in my mind's eye...blazing the trail ahead of me and keeping my way free of danger. I will be celebrating your you-ness in a bazillion little ways, keeping that version of you alive.

I will imagine you blowing out your candles and wonder if there is a small wish in your heart that we had reined in our greed when we had the chance so that this complete isolation from one another hadn't become so necessary.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Love Letter #1

Today these words came to me: "Don't forget the people who got you here, it's easy to lose sight of gratitude in the melee."

Six months ago, I didn't know that my life was lacking the presence of one lovely. There were a LOT of things I didn't know six months ago, actually...and many of the things I've learned came from you, my newest lovely.

You are political, where my political stance is to use my voice to vote only...and make a political stance by not making any further political stance. I continue to vote with my feet and my choices and you continue to vote with your words and your voice and your time. You are the political yin to my yang. You change systems while I protect the individuals hoping those systems improve.

You understand gray areas and know that although boundaries keep things safe, the gray areas are where the real magic happens. You taught me that although there are parts of my life that dictate clear and precise boundaries, I should question them on a regular basis and sometimes even turn a blind eye if the situation calls for a long tall ladder against a ridiculous one. You laughed out loud at me when I learned that the sky doesn't fall and the earth keeps spinning when rules get bent or broken. Even then, you patiently let me chew my nails to the quick until I finally got it.

There were a series of moments when I doubted my ability to even cope. You planted me on your couch, handed me a pillow and a blanket, shared your precious ewok with me and played movies back to back until the edges of my new reality didn't seem so dark and menacing. You shone a light into a darkness that I was pretending didn't exist...and you did it with love and smiles. You pulled strings and pulled rank and let me think out loud without judgement. Is there any better definition of unconditional love?

You seem to have been placed in my life to open my eyes.

I hope you know this about yourself: You are lovely. You are fierce and feminine and full of rays of sunshine. Your energy is contagious and the way you love is inspiring. Your generosity of spirit is humbling and a great example of how to live out loud.

I'm so glad to have you as a lovely in my life.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

That's what's up!

I love lists.

I make them, tuck them away and forget about them.

I found this one today:

green smoothies every morning
50% raw
3 or 4/7 days vegetarian

hula hoop
jump rope

a lot

do art
create something every day
no chemicals
grow things
get rid of things
write love letters
be outside


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Janxy no more

Thirty minutes ago I was suffocating. Couldn't breathe. Anxiety was creeping up the back of my neck, tightening the muscles and stealing my breath. I went outside, barefoot where I could tip my head back, focus on the sky and the grass and reconnect. The humidity stole my resolve. Surrounding me were obligations that I brought on myself but are stealing my serenity.

Still. Couldn't. Breathe.

I came back inside, read a bit but couldn't focus. Cleaned the house but felt the tightening creeping back up my neck. Took some action, however small...and felt the tears brimming behind my eyelids nonetheless.

Still. Couldn't. Breathe.

Then I heard it. Thunder in the distance, mirroring the thunder in my heart and mind and soul. I opened the nearest window and found that the incoming storm had sucked all of the humidity into the clouds, preparing for a downpour. My tears went too. My contribution to the upcoming storm.

All of the sudden, I could breathe.

It's truly amazing what little thing can change the course of an entire experience...and there is no predicting what that little thing might turn out to be.

This storm is magnificent.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


It’s only days before my year flips and a new year begins for me. This is traditionally a time of deep introspection and reflection. I take the time to visit the previous year’s birthday list…cross off my accomplishments and take inventory of what is left and how my desires have changed. The things that still resonate with me get moved to the next year’s list and new things are added to tailor the upcoming year to who I’ve become and who I want to become.

This year was hard. A few very important items were marked off within days or weeks of creation of the list. Those were amazing and breathtaking. A few more were marked off at random intervals…but not with any kind of intention at all. This past year blindsided me in so many ways. I spent days in courtrooms instead of on hiking trails or beaches or other government offices where I would have rather been. I got a court decree instead of a degree. I was granted custody instead of a passport. I had to be creative about how to keep a very vital relationship on life support instead of breathing life into my art and dreams. I fought and gritted my teeth and made it through one day at a time totally exhausted instead of hitting the gym each day for that lovely physical exhaustion. I went to a funeral and thought of how careless it was to put an Irish wake on my list. I held my family in my heart and hands and lap and cried heartbroken tears mixed with I’ve missed you tears. Money came and brought with it guilt instead of freedom. I deserted my home and fled from my place in the world but not to explore distant lands…only to hide and regroup and try to make sense of so many things that had gone awry.

In light of this last year, the undone items on the list seem so juvenile...and the things that were accomplished that weren't on the list shine with startlingly beautiful significance.

My heart is heavy as I write of this past year's challenges...but I am reminded that every one of them was necessary. I might not have accomplished even a quarter of the desires of my heart as I sat here a year ago and wrote them down, but the things we did/saw/experienced/became were not for naught. We are better. We are whole and here and every day is a reminder that all of our days are precious. We grew and it's a terrible disservice to forget the ludicrous moments of belly laughter, shared secrets, heart-shattering landscapes and views, moments of absolute connectedness and certainty, tears and smiles and hands held that came with those challenges.

This year, I’m moving very few items to the new birthday year’s list. Things have changed so drastically and I’m proud to change with them. The new list reflects so clearly where I am in life.
Basic. Easy. Connected. Sure.

For my 41st year:

Get passport.
Hug people.
Write love letters.
Learn to play one song on the guitar.
Take bubble baths.
Eat lots of green things.
Salute the sun every day.
Drive less, ride more.
Watch live music at every opportunity.
Find someone to speak French with.
Ride in a helicopter.
Go minimal.

WWTD? Get back to basics, that's what. That's where the real magic is...where the living of life has room to fill in between the lines...with color and sound and fireworks.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day...John Hedge, USMC 1952

I love the idea of travel by train. It seems so...romantic. It's also been one of the leading contenders on my list of travel that is impractical and inefficient, coming in second to travel by bus which does not seem romantic AT ALL.

For some reason, I started researching the nuances of train travel about a month and a half ago. I did a Google search and found myself deep within the livejournal of John Hedge. I was inspired, humbled, schooled, intrigued and not just a little crazy about the guy. He speaks plainly, telling stories about his past amid the tedious but necessary details about costs, sleeping and eating during travel by rail. He traversed the US on a series of trains...dreamt of doing the same in Ireland and then made his own dream come true. He talks of the heartbreaking loss of his beloved wife, the struggles he encountered pursuing his education, his time in service to this country and his faith in God. A 70+ year old disabled man traveling to see and be seen, he accepted discomfort and obviously found it worthwhile in order to have the experiences. He walked when he could, used buses and taxis or accepted rides when they were available and offered. He stayed in bus and train stations, hostels and with host families he prearranged. He bought his food and used self-catering kitchens, saved portions of his meals out for the next meal and managed his diabetes with barely an incident.

I felt like I knew this man. I certainly found a kinship with his itch to travel. I admired his tenacity and determination. I wonder what he'd tell me about my dreams and guess that he'd say "you can do it at my age but I wish I had done it at yours!" So I started to wonder why I'm not...what I think is in the way and what exactly I could do about it. Obstacles began to dissolve in my mind and plans started to piece themselves together. I started to think about the stories I'd like to tell at 70+ years old myself. Hell, the stories I'd like to tell next year, actually!

I re-read the journal entries that inspired me the most. I began to mentally compose a thank you note to this amazing gentleman. I felt a little shy. I would smile whenever I would think of contacting him and decided to put the shyness away and let him know how much his story meant to me. His livejournal had been open in a tab on my desktop for weeks at this point...and almost daily I would re-read a little snippet here or there. I hadn't looked at dates. This time I did. He started documenting his dream trips come true 2/17/2006 and the last line of his first entry preceding his cross-USA trip entitled "Introduction" said "...I have decided to go for it. I figure I will finish the trip on the train, whether in coach or in the baggage car." He composed his last entry 1/8/2007 after he concluded his trip around Ireland. I couldn't find a way to contact him anywhere at all despite searching through the entire site. I went back to the beginning and decided to perhaps try to leave a comment. There, on the very first post, was a comment posted 4/26/2007 that stated simply "JohnHedge has passed away this week. Obituary is in Oakland Press, view online. Thank you. God Bless."

And I grieved. Almost 5 years later to the day, I wept for a man I had never met. I wept for the heartbreak of losing his wife and for his joyous faith that they would be reunited when his time on Earth had come to an end. I wept for the dogged determination that kept him moving through pain and trials so that he could leave this world only after he did what needed to be done, saw what needed to be seen and experienced what he knew was waiting in his soul to be experienced. I wept for a family of four children, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren who had lost a loving and amazing man but live today with the knowledge that they all lifted him up in belief that this last dream of his was worth pursuing and that he had their full support. I just wept because my heart hurt that he died. I wept because life is fragile and unpredictable and we never know which day may be our last. I allowed myself to imagine him sitting down on his last day, closing his bible, taking off his reading glasses, closing his eyes to dream of his love and meeting her in some lovely great beyond that he was sure existed. I stopped weeping and started celebrating his life and his great reward.

I never knew John Hedge the man...but his story changed my course.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Day Done of Beauty: A Post in Pictures :)

I'm behind. Waaaaaayyyyy behind in sharing my beauty~full things..

So, here's a glimpse...

♥ The dogs. Aden. Awkward...adorable.

(see the heart shaped white patch on his head?)


♥ The casa.

(my baby boy's first vehicle title!)

♥ Around these parts...

(this was the window at the 100+ year old hotel where I had Thanksgiving dinner for breakfast today!)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Where I Worship. Amen.

A friend posted this on facebook this morning. I smiled and in my heart there was a resounding YES!!!

I have a story to share. Not too long ago, during an interminable wait, a lovely lady asked if I had any questions about this new community I had relocated to. As a matter of fact, I did. Where can I take my recycling? I can't seem to find a center...

Two other women working behind me whispered something and then went "Mmm hmmmm...told ya, she's one of THEM." Being the shy wall flower that I am, I turned and asked if it was ME who is one of THEM. The more vocal of the two said "Well, you ARE new to town, right?" I nodded. She continued "Where will you be going to worship?" I politely said that I hadn't quite decided yet and she dropped this: "'re new to town and that nice lady there asks if you have any questions about the community and you don't ask about services or where ta go to ask about re-sigh-c'lin."

I could feel myself getting ready to argue with her. I paused. Breathed. She WAS right, actually. I quickly asked myself why this was the case and I responded kindly "You're exactly right (I wanted to say sweetheart but breathed through that urge too). But you see, I carry my God with me everywhere I go. My life is my worship. Taking care of his planet, however, actually takes effort."

I haven't found where to take my recycling yet. I haven't needed to. I serendipitously met a man who takes it all for me and can use the proceeds much more than I ever could. That's my worship...fellowship...connection.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Being vs. Having...

I have a nice house. Nice things...a bit on the quirky side but nice nonetheless. I have a dog.

A couple of months ago, I had more. A lot more.

I was sitting with a friend back then, contemplating my options and speaking them out loud. I could sell my it...let the bank have it back...find a loving home for my great dane and sell one of my cars. My friend started to sweat FOR me.

I did those things...donated half of what I owned, found the perfect person to care for my home, found THE BEST new family for the biggest lap dog in the world...and wondered what the Universe had up its sleeve when my extra car was stolen and totaled.

I took a great big leap. It was liberating!

If my friend sweated over what I did back then...I wonder what she'd think about what I'm considering next...when this nice house is no longer home and it's time to change again...what if I just sold EVERYTHING?

But I'm keeping my dog. He wouldn't have it any other way.

A Couple More Days of Beauty: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥!

Thursday: ♥ Got to be the cool help and be there in a way that 2600 miles kept me from accomplishing previously.

Friday: ♥ A short solo road trip...Eminem and TSwift getting me there in a great mood...then crawfish dinner and IKEA shopping before talking with a lovely until my lids wouldn't let me listen anymore.

Saturday: ♥ Shop til we dropped, old town block of amazing...after picking up my new beach cruiser from a crazy Craigslist!!!

Sunday: ♥The smile on my boy's face was Mother's Day gift enough. A true smile. ♥ A text from my babygirl with a memory that made me smile hugely too! ♥ Spending the entire day with my momma...relaxing. ♥ A peeping then a crack in the shell...a peek at a little beak...gonna be a duckling mother soon!!!

Monday: ♥ A smoothie made by someone other than me in a lovely little place close enough that I can ride my beach cruiser to.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Day Fourteen of Beauty: Simple.

♥Big fat splat-y raindrops.

♥The color turquoise.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Day Thirteen~ish: Trouvé

So this isn't quite going as I had hoped. Commit to sharing three beauty~full things about every day for thirty more aware of beauty, be more present in life and on this blog. Structure. Routine. Accountability.


Not so much.

There have been forgotten days, day # 7 happened twice...I've rambled on without identifying what the beauty~full things were on one particular day and today I even forgot the password to gain access to this very space.


One of my lovelies sighed heavily and said "I really meant to do the beauty~full things with you, but..."

And I replied "you've been too busy LIVING your beauty~full things to write about them!"

I think I fell a little bit in love with that. Thank you, my lovely...for leading, loving, living as an example and reminder and celebration of beauty.

Today's beauty:
♥Finding out my gaw-juss Aunt reads my blog.
♥Finding a pair of Free People wedge sandals in my size in my latest favorite color scheme AT A THRIFT STORE FOR $5!!! (psst...same shoes on ebay for $80!!!)
♥Finding out that my first love, my babygirl can't come visit. Beauty~full? What? Oh yes, heart~burstingly beauty~FULL!!! Because she is busy blazing her own trail and creating her beauty~full life.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day Twelve of Beauty: Moving, Arriving and Yummy.

♥Waking, cleaning, organizing and planning...feels good to have movement in some direction.

♥That feeling at the airport when someone is, anticipation, excitement...more planning!

♥Beaver nuggets. Yes, I said it.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day Eleven of Beauty: Past and Presence

♥The moment you set eyes on a long-time friend after too much time patterns and behavior and memories surface almost immediately. Us walking behind her mother in the grocery store almost a perfect mimic of 20+ years ago.

♥Great outdoors not so far from home but an entire world apart. Good food, great company and conversation...and one-way pig-proof screens.

♥Marking a life list item off, in tandem.

Day Whatever: Old School.

My old high school sits has a new purpose but the wide locker-lined halls are still visible through the glass doors at each end. You don't even have to get out of your car to see them, you can just pull through the bus drive. There is the cafeteria, where memories of thousands of lunches still linger...friends and laughter, drama, fights that no one could possibly remember much less remember what started them, a food fight or two, some of the best one-liners I've ever pulled off and even some frantic homework copying with minutes to spare. The auditorium where I can still smell the wood polish used on the floor, the musty aroma of the wardrobe room lined with thrift-store finds, Halloween left-overs and home-stitched frocks and the echo of our voices delivering lines. The office where Senior year found me working in attendance...mostly with integrity but occasionally the thrill of doing a favor for a friend. The English wing where some of the most nurturing souls I've ever met called home for hours while they fed imaginations and dreams. Student Council meetings were held there, and I sold donuts outside the doors of that wing almost every morning my last year there. There is the baseball field where we sat to watch the lanky boys do what they loved...and I remember thinking one friend's crush was sure to be famous for it some day...if only because with a name like his, how could he not? Ty Ganske. I wonder if I was right. The football field where the Friday Night Lights lit up and everyone took it as seriously as Sunday morning meeting. The drums. The players. The butt slaps and high-fives. The cheerleaders and dancers and twirlers. The band marching on the field and the color guard with their gossamer flags.

When I drive through that bus drive, those memories that have long been buried come rushing to the surface and make my heart ache a little bit. I remember the last week with all of the excitement of finally escaping the halls and walls and the work. The parties that were planned so elaborately and the time we knew we'd be spending on the beach or at each others' homes as we wrapped up our high school years together. I remember vividly one moment, sitting in the stands of the football field, practicing for graduation...we were hung-over, drinking Alka-Seltzer with our darkest sunglasses on...and time stopped for a second. It hit me that this was the end of something that I had no preparation to be without. We had grown up together, all of us...and we were parting. Soon. We would carry with us our memories and our intentions to stay in touch...some we would mean but some we would be incapable of following through on. This was the last time we would be together LIKE THIS. I was sitting in a crowd of people knowing that for many of us, this realization would hit and hit hard but I had never felt so alone or bereft as I did at that moment. Time started back up and minutes later we were laughing and planning the next night's adventure. That feeling faded and dissipated. I still had that day.

It's been over twenty years since that day. I drove through the bus drive recently and the feeling came rushing back. It's a breath-catching feeling like a punch in the gut...and I relived feeling alone and bereft all over again. I actually cried. I thought about what I would tell that younger version of me when time stopped that day...where I would tell her to place importance...who to cut loose and who to hang on to very tightly. Who would slip away and stay gone and who would drift away only to return when the rhythms of life revealed themselves to be the right timing. Whose time on earth would end too soon and who she would wish had taken their place.

The tears dried and like time resuming those twenty some years prior, it happened again...the feeling faded and dissipated. Those hurts were necessary. Those relationships that ended did so in tune to a rhythm that can't be predicted. Mistakes needed to be made and growth on our own timelines was absolutely necessary.

The sights and smells and memories and feelings from the past as I drove through that bus drive became a drum beat in my heart of a rhythm that is totally out of my control or prediction and the reminder came rushing back...just is what you have. Today. This day.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Day Eight: What I Want...That I Already Have

I vaguely remember Cinco de Mayo last year. I had just returned from a cruise...not just A cruise but AN AMAZING cruise. I literally partied like a rockstar...with actual rockstars. I came home smiling ear to ear, thinking that life still had spontaneity and fun and adventure...and that my impending 40th birthday didn't mean I had to become all grown up all the time.

Then it took over a week to catch up on sleep I lost on that non-stop party, the uncomfortable bed, the flights, the missed flights, another uncomfortable bed and a stilted drive home due to an extremely necessary but totally draining relationship implosion with a fellow traveler.

When I got my bearings, my 40th birthday was just over the next horizon. There is nothing vague about my memory of Dieciséis de Junio last year. I spent hours upon hours in the nurturing presence of a lovely soul...traveling again but this time more centered and balanced. I was surrounded by love, laughter, great food, drink, sauna, art, creativity and quirkiness in the US capital of Quirky.

It is almost a year later. When I came home from that trip, I journaled quite a bit. I knew I wanted more of something...some essence that I couldn't quite capture in lists of "what I want"...and there were many many attempts. That essence was simply more of what I had on those two trips combined.

Great Food & Drink.

Sprinkle in some thunder storms, daily yoga, getting outdoors. Art...both creating and enjoying. Meditation and quiet. Beach. Squirrels.

It is almost three months since my world crashed. The entire thing. Where I live. Where I work. How I parent. Where I parent from. What I drive. Who I trust. Where I sleep. Where my money comes from. Who I am, basically.

Truly? Right now I have the time and the space and the exact environment that is listed in all of my above "wants."

Danielle LaPorte said it best: Here’s what happens when you find evidence of dreams come true in your current reality (even if it’s a stretch to do so)
: you take the neediness vibe out of your aspirations, and when you’re less desperate you think more clearly and act more calmly
: you muster up gratitude (and gratitude is a form of empowerment)
: you might realize that you’re further along than you’ve been giving yourself credit for (hello confidence!)

It's time to take the neediness vibe out and call on courage, gratitude and confidence.

What a relief...a permission slip to joy.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Day Seven of Beauty: Serendipity.

♥There is something lovely and healing and poetic about such a time of struggle and strain in my life becoming THE THING that connected me by heartstrings to others.

♥Meditating. Focusing. Then accomplishing TONS of administrative calls back to back...with every answer being EXACTLY what I had hoped to hear. Manifested.

♥Leopard toenails that make me smile each time they catch my eye...and my momma's sometimes it's hers that catch my eye and make me smile.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Day Seven of Beauty: best Best BEST EVER!

♥Furminator. Best. Purchase. EVER! (Thank you EBay for having it super cheap...and for addressing it to the dog)

♥How I Met Your Mother. Best. TV show. EVER! (Thank you Netflix for 136 episodes live streaming)

♥Mucinex. Best. Breathing. EVER! (yeah, no thanks here...although it had great effects, it tasted horrible and made me crazy wonky...but, breathing! yay!)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Day Six of Beauty: Love, Sleep and Breaking Bread

I'm having trouble keeping up this time. It's there...I feel it...I just have to focus a little harder sometimes.

♥Slight bright vandalism with a positive message.

♥Slowing down...including a nap.

♥Spaghetti dinner that took 20 years to accomplish.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Day Four and Five of Beauty: Shaking, Silly, Sentimental and Smiles

Fun finds at the antique mall Saturday...

♥ The absolute ridiculousness of shaking salt & pepper from some of these...
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
strangely sperm shaped shakers...
and on that her belly!

♥ An entire shelf of pirates...
and a glass globe full of...legs?

♥ A reminder of a little girl who lives on in my heart but is grown up and on her own now...


♥Waffles. With peanut butter. Mmmmm...

♥Girl time...talks and giggles and loving and receiving.

♥Turning in late...wayyyy late for me and finding a gift tucked into my bed...falling asleep with a smile.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Day Three: Fluffy Friday Flutters

♥A Friday that felt as carefree and permissible as a Saturday...all day long.

♥Dandelion fluff never know where they might land.

♥The lovely flutter of anticipation when out of town company is on their way.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day Two: Connection, Nature and Nurture

♥The lovely way the mysterious zappy internet and satellites have shrunken the globe to the point where just today I felt akin to a hug from four states, four countries and three continents.

♥The smell of fresh cut's just clean and fresh and earthy and summery.

♥My amazing boy with his adventurous spirit and brave soul.

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Most Beauty~FULL thing

75 days ago my world crashed. The entire thing. Where I live. Where I work. How I parent. Where I parent from. What I drive. Who I trust. Where I sleep. Where my money comes from. Who I am, basically.

I believed all that...for most of the past 75 days.

I've spent countless hours curled up, in tears, trembling, jumping at noises both real and imaginary, driving, driving, driving and driving some more, biting my fingernails then my cuticles when there were no more nails to bite, packing, pacing...jumbled, confused, scared and lost.

I've slept on floors, in cars, in hotels, on this couch and that one...apologizing for the terrible energy I knew I was bringing into their space...and I spent entire afternoons talking in circles trying futilely to make sense of my world, oblivious to the troubles of anyone I was talking to.

I've put off this post, the one I've known about for many many days. It hurt to have to try so hard, to put in so much effort to come up with my most beautiful thing.

75 days ago I was broken. Broken in so many ways that I couldn't breathe enough to get my bearings. All I could do was keep breathing.

My most beauty~FULL thing is that today I know that there is no such thing as broken.

75 days ago, I was broken open. Wide open....and great things happen from that place.

(I'm participating in Writing Our Way Home Fiona Robyn's celebration of her book The Most Beautiful Thing, Please feel free to join us! )

Monday, April 9, 2012

Stop! In the name of love...

There's been a tickle...a nudge...sometimes a flighty dance-y freeing feeling and sometimes a hard heaviness dead center spreading to the edges of my heart's consciousness. It's a knowledge, an awareness, a certainty.

I am not responsible for anyone else's happiness.

There, I said it.

Not only is that lovely...unconditionally accepting of everyone everywhere in any state of mind they may be in but it's also scarily unimportant and nowhere near the center of anyone else's universe.

Isn't it amazing, the things we tell ourselves.

So, I will stop.

I will stop trying to think so far ahead...worrying, pushing, molding, scolding, advising, spending energy on trying to create just the right place, situation and experience.

I will stop. I have stopped. Right now.

I will instead simply be. I will dream and create and do what I love...and invite.

I will twirl and be happy. Just me...with plenty of room for anyone with a tutu and a twirl in their heart as well.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ch ch ch changes...

If you took a shirt, cut off the sleeves, turned it inside out, tie-dyed it a rainbow of hues, shrunk it and then tried to wear might...just MIGHT have an idea of what my life is like right about now.

My life bears little resemblance to itself a mere two months ago. I'm in completely different state of mind, state of the union and currently in a completely different state period. My things are here...within these walls that are no longer the ones I own. Who resides within these walls is very different. Who I am is even up for grabs. The future is an elusive concept....and whereas the shirt metaphor rings true...there is nothing remotely frantic, disruptive or scary about putting on a tie-dyed shirt. Conversely...yep. Frantic. Disruptive. Scary.

I missed a few of The Burning Questions in the series due to lack of internet, brainpower, ability to process emotions outside of survival and no desire to write. I have kept track and one of the first questions I missed asked what boat in life needs burning. The question came from a parable about a tribe that goes from one island to another, burning their boat when they arrive so that they don't have the option or ability to go backwards. I'm still not quite ready to answer that question...the lingering thought in my mind is that I wonder how long they waited, upon arriving at their new destination, to ensure that they could survive there before they set that craft afire? They had to scout, surely? They had to, right? Were there ANY members of their tribe who might, at some point in the future, have to or choose to return? Were loyalty and dedication to the new location universally accepted even if not embraced? I have too many questions to have answers just yet.

But I'm working on it. Slowly. And for now, I'm setting my fear in that boat at the shore...where a spark just might find it.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What I expect money to do for me...

I have been so poor that I visited food closets and hefted the bags and boxes on public transportation through grime and glares and occasionally theft so that I could feed my family.

I have been so poor that I robbed Peter, Paul, Mary and all their cousins...knowing my utilities could go a full 90 days before they would be shut off...and it was worth it to have fresh milk and veggies for my family.

I have been so poor that we learned to recycle, reuse and compost...because I couldn't afford trash service.

I have been so poor that we stopped celebrating holidays with any sort of store-bought gift giving.

I have been so poor that I had to choose between enough gas to get to the bus stop that day or enough gas to get to work the next day.

I have been so poor that I rode a bike everywhere I needed to go while my kids were on their father's timeshare.

I have been so poor that I have layered extra blankets on the bed and crammed the three of us in that bed to avoid turning on the heater.

I have been so poor that I learned the importance of being greener, more active, having my priorities in order, un-commercializing the holidays, cuddling with my kids while they were small enough to share a family bed.

I have been so poor that I learned humility and balance, compassion and generosity of spirit.

I have been so poor that I looked for all the lovely~ness that is available with no price tag anywhere at all.

I have been so poor that I have grown completely rich in my heart and mind.

Today, I am wealthy. My bank account says so. Opportunities have opened for me exponentially in many directions. But I will use THIS opportunity to tell you that without a single doubt, I could not have this career that I adore so greatly and reimburses me financially so well if I hadn't spent the time poverty-stricken learning the lessons that make me so proud and fabulous at what I do as a job every day.

What I expect money to do for me is simple: Keep me keeping on...with less struggle than a time not so long ago.

Someday I would like my money to come from being your Simplification Consultant or your Life Changing Event Coach.

I would like to do this from my home, the Earthship, where I cherish a herd? flock? gaggle? of rescued animals and a house full of teenaged girls who thought that their current pregnancy meant the end of their dreams...and we work together to prove that to be completely incorrect.

Come on, Money...we've got some work to do.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The reverse side of the reverse side

I was sitting here...equal parts confused, angry, righteous, buggered and bereft. This recipe bakes up a heaping dish of irritability when given enough time to stew.

This irritability had built up and was now distracting me beyond all measure. The noise. The fuzzy feeling on my teeth. My cold feet. Something sticky under my forearm on the surface of my desk.

I literally threw a temper tantrum...stomped into the kitchen, slammed through the cupboard until I found the windex and a rag. I squirted and wiped the surface of my desk. There. Movement...however small...can alleviate the irritability. Can. Unless the sticky~ness remains. It did. Then I realized it was tape. Who the FUCK stuck tape to the surface of my desk...and WHY??? Of all the...

Irritability factor through the roof.

Then I peeled the tape back. And it went from invisible to slap me in the face visible.


Perspective check. The noise? Kids playing outside. The fuzz on my teeth? Peanut Brittle instead of dinner. The cold feet? A lovely Spring~ish day perfect for open windows and bare feet. The sticky desktop? A reminder of love from the one place I never expected it to come from today and needed the most.

Thank you,'re always there...just waiting for me to notice you.

Monday, February 6, 2012

My haven, my heaven...

My answers to the inaugural post for The Burning Questions Series!

How do you want it all to feel?

By "all" I have chosen those things in my day that make it real from waking to sleep again.

my bed...a floating feathery nest of dreams and hope and promise and rejuvenation.

my home...a safe, sacred, sweet~smelling oasis of acceptance, laughter, simple love and play.

my kids...energetic optimists equal parts kindness humor and presence...fumbling their way to authenticity with all the wild soul ripping joy and pain that we can possibly handle.

my drive...a river with a steady current of tunes that float me along to a destination I've chosen...with landmarks that remind me that even duty is chosen.

my job...a fairy tale of wand waving and love bombing psychic glitter all day every day.

my instrument to rejoice in.

my friendships...a carved out place in a field of high grass and flowers below a brilliant blue sky or a glittering sky of stars...secluded, intimate, hopeful, earthy and pure.

my love affairs...a slow and sultry bass riff on a brandy soaked sunday.

my evening...a vacation full of limitless conversation, adventures, friends new and old and time to just be.

my conversations...connections of the heart, bonding and reminding and equal parts soul salving and kick in the ass.

my sleep...sound and solid, full of technicolor dreams that serve upon waking to remind of possibility and power.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

What I Trust

Some fights need fighting regardless of the expected outcome.

Being kind matters more than being right.

Being kind does not mean being a doormat and sometimes for good to be done, justice is required.

It's my privilege and responsibility to keep my space sacred.

The formula to peace is simple: Pure intention + solid integrity + transparency - fear = Peace.

Integrity is doing the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing, without attachment to the outcome.

Dogs have perfected unconditional love.

Truth emerges no matter what, so it's such a time-saver to lead with it...and if you doubt truth is what you're getting, just be patient.

The glass house saying is so very true and wise.

An extra moment to be mind~full is a wise investment of time.

Bible stories have stuck around this long because the lessons are ones we crave.

There are movies and songs that have taught me more than some of my Master's level college courses ever I keep watching and listening.

Being me is enough. If if it seems like it isn't, it still is. In hindsight, I've been at my best at times when I thought I was totally broken, messy and unworthy.

Sometimes the best cure is any of these: a solid chunk of sleep, a walk in nature, bare feet in the grass, flip flop tan lines, hot tea, fuzzy socks, a baby's laugh, a picnic or serving someone else.

When in doubt, waiting is fine. If someone or something can't wait when you feel the need to then waiting is even more surely the right thing to do.

We are defined by our choices, in what we feel and how we think and what we consume therefore our choices should be thought~full.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Be pure in your intentions.

Be solid in your integrity.

Be completely transparent.

Don't let fear guide a single decision.

This is my recipe for twenty~twelve.

No more. No less.

Gotye said it best...

it wasn't because you became unattractive.
it wasn't because you were mean when it wasn't necessary.
it wasn't because you didn't pay enough attention.
it wasn't because we never really had a song.
it wasn't because of her or her or her or her.
it wasn't because of the way you drove or took too big of bites.
it wasn't because all of your friends were jackasses.
it wasn't because you were an ass when you drank.
it wasn't because you were alternately standoffish and needy.
it wasn't your mommy or daddy or baby momma issues.
it wasn't where you lived or what you did for a living.

it was how I felt about me for having someone like you in my life.
it was how I disappeared so that you could grow larger than life.
it was how celebratory I felt when your influence was gone.

and today it was how peaceful it felt to answer "just somebody that I used to know."