Tuesday, October 21, 2014

This Much I Know

Hmmm, that's a loaded title, a loaded first line, and pretty much loads up this blog post for a level of knowing that I'm pretty sure will fall flat. Because here's the deal. I'm starting to realize that what I 'think' I know is pretty much bunk, and I'm a smart girl - if we use today's measurements of graduations and degrees. I ‘think’ I know who I am. I 'think' I know my history. I 'think' I know what I need. But over the last 6 months, I’ve realized two things:

1. What I ‘know’ (see above about what I 'know') often changes from day to day, if not minute to minute.

2. I don’t know shit.

Let me explain. 

First – what I ‘know’ often changes from minute to minute. You'd agree, yes? Especially any of you with off-spring. I think this is where we, as humans, can swim in murky waters. This idea of what we think we know about ourselves, and the insurmountable pressures we put on ourselves to maintain these thoughts. When, truthfully, they are bogus. 

Stick with me, I think I have a point to make – actually, I’m making this point to myself so first, thanks for being a witness. And second, no hard feelings if you stop reading now. 

If you’re still with me, thanks. Let’s keep going, ok?! So we tend to have these notions in our head:

I’m a runner. 
I’m a writer/poet/painter.
I’m a yogi. 
I eat meat. 
I eat vegetarian. 
I want peace. 
I homeschool. 
I go to church. 
I like to read. 
I watch tv. 

These are all pretty easy to deal with but let’s talk about the more painful personal beliefs that scroll across our heads and hearts:

I’m angry. 
I have to hold on.
I always yell. 
I can’t control myself. 
I’m failing. 
I can’t get this right. 
I’m just like [insert various names here.] 
Who am I? 
I don’t recognize myself. 
What the hell is wrong with me.   
I’m broken. 
I need fixing. 
I can’t be fixed.

I can't be fixed...That one comes up a lot. Just in case you're worried about my well-being let me be clear that it's a good day. I’m typing this blog post on a beautiful Fall morning. My kids are happy. I’m happy. My locally-roasted coffee is hot and delicious. Life is good. But still, in the cycle of arguments and sleeplessness and head-colds, there are those moments when I hear it clearly. 
My head saying: 

You cannot be fixed. Surrender to this. Just be this way and stop fighting it Anger is easier. Anger is safer. 

And I hear her – that voice in my head. I hear her. She’s not always nice. I want to say fuck you to her, a lot. She can be so bitter and closed-hearted. But she’s not the heart. She’s the Mind. And the Mind is what stays on overdrive all the time in order to keep me alive, to keep the human species going. The Mind keeps us safe. At least that’s what she thinks, the Mind. I’m learning that it’s not quite that straightforward. The voice in my head is bitchy. But all she’s trying to do is keep me from getting hurt. And by hurt I don’t mean the easy kind of hurt like a bee sting or a broken leg. No no. Those hurts are temporary, mendable, and part of a later-told story of awesome for my kids. Nope. The Mind is keeping me from getting HURT. The kind of hurt that makes me cry when I see something beautiful, or when I’m laying with my children in the middle of the night sick with fear that I’m forever damaging them. The kind of hurt that doesn’t get repaired, but rather gets comfortable….after a long, long time. So, I’m learning to say thanks to that voice in my head. Another voice, a softer voice, a calmer voice, an older voice says:

Thanks. I’ve got this. I’m  ok I’m good, really. I’ll be careful but whatever you, Mind, are scared about, it’s not happening right now. Right NOW  I’m safe. We are safe. Don’t be mad, just trust me.  

My instinct. Instinct speaks from my stomach. She is always right. She never falters. My Mind falters. But my Intuition allows for change. Intuition knows no time, no label, no preconceived notion. Intuition doesn’t remember any stance I took a few days ago. She doesn’t hold me to some title, or ideal, or expectation. She responds in the NOW. My Mind is dressed in the past and wearing those magic future-predicting glasses. Mind is hardly EVER in this moment. Mind is always somewhere else. But my Intuition. Ah, Intuition is always here. Now. 

And this is what I mean by ‘what I know’ and what I don’t. When I live and breath and act and react from my head – that voice that has one foot in the past and one foot in the future – when I engage with my world through my head, I don’t know shit. I don’t know shit because I’m caught up in what I *think* is happening. And those thoughts are clouded with what HAS happened, or the fear about what MAY happen. And the mind plays amazing games with these types of things. Fear is an incredible force. My mind tends to stand in the middle of a room where fear has thrown up, caused chaos, puked on the walls, shit on the floor, and thrown a fit. Messy. This place can be so so so gross and messy, and steeping with message like:

You’re not good enough and You really suck at this or You deserve your shame, and your pain.  

Beautiful, isn’t it? Ugh.
So… I’m learning how to drop into my heart. When my head is in mass-casualty mode {you know this place, yes?} When my head is going insane and telling me that everything is wrong and everything will change and crumble, and that I am broken and beyond repair, I'm learning to drop into my heart. And Heart reminds me that in this very moment, all is well. Because, in the big scheme of how this thing goes [life]
, everything is exactly how it should be.. My children are with me. I am healthy. My husband is safe. I have a home. I am safe. Whatever may have happened in the past that’s getting triggered in this moment, is NOT happening now. And whatever fears for the future are being triggered, are NOT meant for my control.

I am fine. 
I am safe. 
I. Am. Enough.

This much I know…

Friday, March 28, 2014

Curious Observer

Here in the southern part of the Northeast, because apparently Virginia is part of the South, we've had numerous March snowstorms. It's enough to make someone crazy. I'm already crazy so...I felt quite at home. 


I wrote this one mild morning. The birds were loud, the breeze was nice, and mother nature was sending us 8" of snow later that night. It was crazy-making. Trust me.

Writing outside this morning.
The dog searches for new smells.
Smells brought from the darkness of night,
newly emerged from a thawing Earth.
Geese in the distance,
communicating with the truest GPS.
and blue jays
sing across the yards.
The train moans in the background.
The air is mild - a glimpse between seasons.
A snapshot of balance.
We c-r-e-e-p into the warmth of Spring.
We tip...toe towards a closer sun.
With snow in the forecast I default to my trust.
My trust that Mother Nature knows best.
This is her plan;
her divine creation;
her artistic attitude unfolding.
She withholds the full display of Spring.
I hold her wisdom paramount.
I am a curious observer.
Interested in her dance -
the long stillness of Winter,
with the faint strokes of Spring color.
Solitude - Fellowship.
Barren - Fertile.
Death - Life.
Winter - Spring.

We are all simply curious observers.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pay It Forward

My friend Amy, over at mamascout has her Dream Lab coming up in April. This lab is amazing, and has changed the way I think about dreaming! We aren't talking dreams of winning the lottery, or a dream that you get that brand new car. These are the big dreams. The silver lining, change your life, holy shit! kind of dreams.

And because I love her so much - and because she has taught me so much - I really want someone else to experience this Dream Lab, along with me...'cause I don't know that I'll ever miss ANY lab that Amy offers (but that's another post...) It's a sorda 'pay-it-forward' kind of thing. I've loved this experience and I want others to also!

So, in true 'Dream Lab' fashion...I threw my dream into the universe (ie. at Amy.) Apparently, she was on a dreamy little nature walk and caught my dream and encouraged me to grow it. So...here you go. Read all about it here.

She sure threw me a whole lotta love! This lady, and her way of weaving together dreams, and stories, and support, and kindship, has changed my life. I am forever a better person for being part of her world. I love the idea of taking it beyond.

Be the change you want to see in the world, yo.

On a recent hike I looked at the sky and said, 'X marks the spot. There must be a treasure up there...' Without missing a beat Calum responds, 'I bet it's Mae Mae.' In January, we lost our precious dog of 12 years. It still hurts knowing she's not here.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Claiming It

in a recent discussion about Creativity and Art, a close friend encouraged me to claim my craft. i tend to think i'm not the most creative person, and the title 'Artist', when used in the same sentence with 'i am', makes me feel like an imposter. 

but - this friend is very smart. so i listened to her. and below is me, claiming it.

i'm a Historian,
and a Biographer.
i write to Remember.
i write to Forget.
i write to Honor, to Heal,
to Believe,
to Connect,

to Rejoice,
and Encourage.

i am a Live'r
i want to craft a Life 

with Whimsy,
with Love,
with Passion,
with Depth,
and Connection.

i am a Writer
of lists,
of love notes,
of letters,
of thoughts,
of desires,
of plans,
and my soul.

i am a Photographer
my Life,
my Muse,
my Children,
my Faith,
my Soul.

i Write and Photograph for the Delight of my Soul.

Friday, November 15, 2013


I've been gifted another opportunity to support and encourage a friend. Being invited into these moments, a most intense, intimate, and special experience, I am deeply moved and humbled. 

With most inspiring experiences in my life, I write:

I am waiting for you.

I am preparing for you.

Along with your mama,

I am awaiting you.

I'm moving my body in a slow sway.

I walk, and flow in a rhythm.

Gently inviting my instinct to guide me,

And respectfully asking my mind to quiet.

I am waiting for you.

Whispers of conversations between your mama and me,

Some not even audible.

A quiet connection.

A primal energy.

I am waiting for you.

Slowing my thoughts.

Nourishing my body and soul.

Listening carefully to my needs,

So when called,

I can meet the needs of three others, with love and gratitude.

I am waiting for you.

I can feel the shift.

The energy is changing - 

From nerves to trust.

My heart is open.

My mind is quiet. 

I am waiting for you.

I am waiting to walk with your mama. 

I am waiting to nurture your mama.

I am waiting to hold your mama.

I am waiting to encourage your mama.

I am waiting for you.

And I am waiting to protect your space,

Your time,

Your energy,

Your rhythm,

Your trust,

As you make your way


My energy tools, aka - baby mojo.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Breath Deep and Be Not Afraid

I can always lean into those HUGE questions - life questions, purpose questions, spirit questions - when I am surrounded by Nature.

Almost as if Mother Nature is holding me while my heart and mind break open, seeking some clarity, reassurance, beauty, and peace.
I really don't have the vocabulary needed to accurately describe the sense of freedom, and calm, and confidence, that I gathered yesterday. 

And, in truth, I didn't even know I was needing such calm and confidence.

But walking along the gravel paths that meander through our State's Arboretum, the flood of peace and contentment rushed forward. 

I did alot of deep breathing.

I went quiet.

And I, without apology, took pictures.

The best I can do is share the experience through these...

This wheat grass made me pause - its golden hue up again the blue sky.

When I turned to see this tree, all I could hear was this:

'How can you be afraid, when you are surrounded by this. This beauty. This rhythm. This life.' 

I'm still debating if this was the voice of my mind, or my soul.

And in these moments, he granted me a sweet little kiss - documented. Our rough edges being weathered by our years together.


Friday, November 1, 2013

You Have Permission

To the family sharing space with us, the other day at the dentist, my heart broke for all of you. 

As you held down your children, as they screamed and fought to sit up, my heart broke for you.

As you spoke angrily at them, as if they were the trouble, while smiling and commiserating with the hygenist, my heart broke for you.

You were outwardly angry & impatient, yet your energy was sad & embarrased. My heart broke for you.

I've been there. I've been in a situation - watching, doing, responding - when nothing felt right. It feels wrong. All wrong. On many levels. 

So, as I watched your struggle, and the struggle of your children, my heart broke...for you, and for me. For in my judgment of you, I felt the judgment against myself. I've been in your shoes...responding as a parent, but responding in a way that is totally wrong for my child(ren.) 

And then one day, I can't recall when, I heard a voice in my head saying 'You have permission.'

You have permission to say no.

You have permission to take a break.


You have permission to question.


You have permission to walk away.

You have permission to stop, take a breath, take a walk, STOP - if it will help your child feel safe, comfortable, and respected.

To the parents that shared space with me, the other day at the dental office, I whisper encouraging PERMISSION to respect your children, and their fears, and their boundaries, and their light. 

It's ok. Really. If you are doing something, and internally you want to puke because it feels so awful and wrong, than stop. Please. Just stop. And hold your children until you both feel better. 

Here's an excerpt from a letter I wrote six months ago to this same dentist, regarding one of their techs. Just an example of how you can speak up and OUT for your children...and the next child.
  I was in most recently on Monday of this week with my youngest children, O and D. O needed alot of encouragement as he was very shy and anxious. I do not remember the name of the hygienist that was assigned to him that day, though she was familiar and I think we've had her before. She was quite nice to him, and always spoke in that happy, sing-song voice that you seem to think puts children at ease. However, as he continued to struggle with the appointment (a simple cleaning, but he is only four, and this was only his second time there,) the tech began to use language that felt demeaning. Statements like – ‘Oh. You don’t want to be a baby. You don’t want to cry. You’re a big boy right? Only babies suck their fingers. Only babies cry when they get their teeth cleaned.’ – and when talking to his sister, since she was already finished with her appointment, quote – ‘I heard you were really good at your appointment. See, O, you want to be just like your sister don’t you, you aren’t a baby, are you? I always knew girls were smarter…’ (D is a girl, and O’s twin sister.)
 Although I can understand what the tech was trying to accomplish, I regret allowing it to continue as long as I did. Quite honestly, I regret not immediately STOPPING the cleaning and respecting O’s wishes for some space. I think I was in a state of shock. I did soon stop the cleaning, and acknowledged his worry, and his valiant attempt at getting through the procedure. I found the tech’s use of language demeaning, and unacceptable, and sad, for O. In my family, we celebrate babies, and we’ve taught our children that a crying child is nothing to resent, but someone in need of help, love, and encouragement. I felt the tech was trying to ‘guilt’ or embarrass O into a less-stressful emotional state….less stressful for her, perhaps, but at the cost of my son’s natural inclination to communicate his emotions of fear and anger. He was fearful to begin the appointment, and became angry as he was being made fun-of by the person trying to persuade him. Fear is the birthplace of anger. He is such a smart boy…I’m confident that, as an adult, this tech wouldn’t stand for a person invading her personal space, all the while being ridiculed.
 I hope these criticisms are taken with gratitude, and as an opportunity for some positive-language/language-sensitivity education, and perhaps re-evaluation of how children are sometimes treated in the office. As stated in the beginning, I have had very good care in the past. And my other anxious child had a very patient tech when we were in two weeks ago. And O was seen by Dr. R and she was most patient with him…even when he bit the mirror and cracked the plastic.
I plan to write another letter, encouraging more training for staff on how to encourage parents to stop, and take a breath, and respond to their children with empathy and patience. It would have been beautiful to hear the tech say, 'This young guy needs a break. I'm not comfortable with this cleaning, if it requires force to hold him down.' 

Sometimes we just need to hear it.
'It's ok. You have permission.'

You. Have. Permission.