Everything Follows the True Breath of “Yes.”

Everything Follows the True Breath of “Yes.”

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Everything follows the true breath of “Yes.”

There is nothing to do and nothing to be done. Only to tell the truth, generously, fearlessly, and let every moment be given. If the focus switches from “What am I getting from this life?” to “How does life want to use me in this moment?”, therein lies the hidden fruit of wholehearted surrender.

Whatever stories have surfaced within my own consciousness about why it’s still not time to fully surrender in this “Yes”, why it’s best to postpone, until I’m more healed, more perfect, more financially resourced, more articulate, more ready to receive the consequences of this “Yes”, more comfortable with exposure, these stories are a dharma bell for falling to my knees and handing it all over to Grace again. And then an earnest bowing, in true surrender: to this which wants to use my life, that already has my life, already is living my life, that IS my life, that is ALL life.

When I’m willing to see that the underlying essence of all my resistance is fear, then I know I just need to keep surrendering, to really die to what wants this life, what in truth, already has this life. In this truth of surrender, “how it is done” and “what becomes of my life” is not my concern, and none of my business.

And so I ask you, my friend, what are you carrying? What stories/lies are you possibly telling yourself, and convincing yourself are the real reasons why you cannot show up to the life you want to live??

Find the courage to see them and stop lying. Tell the deeper truth. Lay your unnecessary burdens down with great self-compassion.

Are you willing to let love have your whole life? To take a stand for truth?

The world needs your truth medicine, your heart on fire, your tender realness, your fierce grace. How ruthless are you willing to be with your sword of truth? How honest with yourself? How kind? How real and imperfectly yourself? How surrendered to Love’s use of you??

Don’t wait for Life to prove to you its generosity, its love for you, its answering of your prayers, its worthiness of your love and faith, in order for you to show up! Instead ask yourself: How generous, how loving, can I be? How deeply can I answer Life’s prayers in this moment?

I meet you in this ruthless surrender. xo

The Hardest Blessings are Always the Most Beautiful to Give

The Hardest Blessings are Always the Most Beautiful to Give

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The other night I stood before two friends I love dearly, took their hands in mine, and with genuine tears of joy in my eyes, gave them my deepest heart’s blessings, for their gorgeously blossoming love and union.

What made this a particularly powerful and exquisitely challenging blessing for my heart to extend, was that this man was one of my previous beloved lovers, and the woman, a cherished beloved sister of mine, with whom he had fallen in love while he and I were still inside our committed exploration of partnership. It had been I, in fact, in enthusiastic love for them both, who had introduced them to one another, and then stood witness to the exposed pulse of undeniable attraction between them.

It was a sticky unfolding when it all went down a while back, and at the time definitely triggered a core wound within me, of feeling betrayed inside a moment of feeling deeply open, trusting and receptive to love. In the end it served as deep medicine: instigating a profound and essential healing process, resolving a very young place of distrust and sense of victimhood within me. The medicine of the wound delivered me home to a deeper knowing of my own unconditional wholeness and the necessity of truly choosing myself.

And so the other night, driving away from presencing the beautiful, mutually devoted love between these two, I was still feeling the genuine blessing I had offered them, as well as the blessing I had received in the light of their radiant union! It resounded and emanated, as Grace, through my entire being. And I was noticing how tenderly stretched my heart felt, pounding inside the sweet poignancy of a life unfolding; where love and grief and gratitude authentically co-mingle within the complexity of true human relating.

Isn’t it always the difficult blessings, the ones that are the most challenging for us to give, which most profoundly awaken our hearts to our own beauty? Revealing to us our own surprising capacity for maturity where it counts? Announcing the place of feeling humbled by our own depth of compassion and self-compassion?

For me it is a place of sober delight within myself as I receive the real rewards of loving, forgiving, and celebrating other peoples love from a place of non-threatened wholeness and trust.  Where it’s no longer about what I lost, how I was betrayed, how I didn’t get what I wanted, or the fear that I never will.

Rather, it is the deep release of true blessing; blessing as forgiveness; blessing as a generous allowing of what IS, to simply be. Blessing as a wholehearted bow to the mysterious design of Life itself; blessing as faith, without a need to understand why or how it all is the way it is.

Life brings us so many opportunities to stretch into this kind of blessing, doesn’t it?: With our lovers and ex-lovers, our spouses, and ex-spouses, with our children, with our parents, with our friends and colleagues, with our own tender hearts and bodies?

Blessings for another’s success, that perhaps emphasizes for us our own personal loss, failure or sense of limitation? Blessings for another’s bliss and delight, that perhaps illuminates our own sorrow, loneliness and longing? OR blessings for another’s unfathomable loss, in light of our relative unscathed luck?

Where are the places we are asked to stretch wider and look deeper, polish our hearts a little brighter in order to give authentic blessing? And in so doing we are perhaps confronted by the discomfort of our own unresolved grief, envy, fear, judgment, longing, sadness, bitterness, resentment, hurt?

I remember an immense personal test in this way was the first time my ex-husband, my children’s father, moved in with a new partner about a year after our divorce. And for several weeks what an emotional stretch it was for me to drop the children off with beauty and grace. I was triggered in that environment, by the overt way in which being there in my ex-husband’s new life, emphasized the loss of my own dreams of family, of marriage, of motherhood.

There was a  way in which witnessing their new, blossoming union forced me to deeply realize the true death of my marriage, my unresolved grief and anger still lingering from our relationship, and my fear of my children experiencing an informative (and beautiful) part of their childhoods without me as a part of it. I would drop the children off, with as much graciousness as I could muster, and then get in my car and drive away sobbing, profoundly confronted by my own heartache.

After a couple of months I was able to deeply and sincerely bow to my ex-husband’s new relationship, to the gifts my children were receiving from being in relationship with his partner, this other mother, who embodied offerings that were so very different from my own, and actually feel incredibly grateful for the ways this sister was enhancing my children’s world. Yes, it was a stretch in moments to bless it, when I myself was still single and felt alone and apart somehow, in contrast with their dynamic home and family energy. But when I could sincerely bless it I would feel how my blessing would free up the energy, the life-force, in my own heart, and all of our hearts.

What does it feel like to the hearts of our children, if in the wake of divorce we refuse to bless the other parent’s life? What does it feel like to our own heart, if in the face of another’s joy or accomplishment, we refuse to bless their opening, their revelation, their good luck or gift?

We know what it feels like to avoid these blessings. We know the consequences of tight-hearted avoidance within us; when there feels like a need to segregate and separate and hide and divide ourselves away from others and their lives, an illusion of protection, which is really a division within us, an inner war, right? A feeling that there isn’t enough space in the world for the openings of the present, and the failures of the past; for both our sorrows, and their joy, or our failures and their success.

We know the suffering we serve when we refuse to accept the invitation to let go and let love; to allow our grief and fear to exist alongside the true blessings of forgiveness and compassion within this moment of our heart’s aliveness. And we know the immense freedom we can feel when we let ourselves go to the blessings that want to extend themselves through us, regardless of how deeply it stretches us to allow this.

There are so many kinds of suffering in our world which I feel I have a very slim chance of actually impacting with my love and perspective. But places like this~ the every-day privileged suffering we engage in and cause in our reluctance to open more generously, more bravely, to stretch wider in forgiveness and blessing~ this is a common way we suffer in this world that I am actively inspired to encourage to shift~ by embodying, voicing and inviting a different choice.

Just think: what a deep sigh of relief our whole world would take, if everyone who was harboring a grudge, a blessing unspoken, a betrayal unforgiven, just let go to love instead? Just took a leap of courageous faith into our own inherent, unbroken wholeness, widening our hesitant trust in life, and bowed, with sincere blessings, in the direction that is most challenging for us to do so?

Because truly, the hardest blessings are always the most beautiful to give. <3

Mundane Mother/Daughter Rites of Passage

Mundane Mother/Daughter Rites of Passage

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The other day Arayla (9) and I went through a mundane yet potent, mother/daughter rite of passage. We were getting ready to attend a concert, and we were all feeling inclined to wear white. I was deciding between two of my favorite white dresses, Ezra had his white button shirt, and Arayla had a beautiful lacy white dress she loves as well.

But, as tends to happen these days, there was suddenly something entirely wrong with the dress she had planned to wear. The slip that goes underneath it was missing. She was distraught: “I am NOT wearing this without a slip Mom. I’m just not.” I tried to console her: “Oh Love, I think it looks lovely without the slip, so airy and sweet?” She said firmly, frowning: “I’m not comfortable with it, I’m not wearing it, and you are not going to change how I feel.” Aha. Right. Deep breath.

Then she picked up one my two dresses that I was choosing between, and said, smiling, changing her tone to honey: “Hm…what about this dress?” I smiled, somewhat nervously, responding: “Oh Love, that’s mine, and it would be huge on you.” She held it out in front of herself, imagining, and said, sweetly: “Please can I just try it on?” I shrugged, and said: “Sure, you can try it. But I know it’s going to be too big for you.” I was certain it would hang down low on her chest, and sag awkwardly.

So when she came back into the space with it on, the empire waist drawstring pulled snug, criss-crossed across her golden brown back, looking absolutely gorgeous in it, I was a bit astonished. After all, I’m a 6 foot tall woman with curves, and it fits me perfectly. How could it also fit my lovely, lithe, 4 foot 10,  nine year old? Arayla absolutely glowed. She knew, the way any girl knows when a dress is flattering, and twirling in front of me, her long wavy hair twirling as well, she said : “Oh! Can’t I wear it Mama? Please? Please?”

I had an interesting moment of presencing new mother emotions within myself. For some reason I couldn’t bring myself to say “Yes” right away. And it wasn’t because it was inappropriately sexy or anything like that.. At first I told myself (and her) that I hadn’t totally decided whether or not I was going to wear it yet myself, which was true, so I needed a moment to think about it. She was very sweet and understanding, and said “I’ll understand if you don’t want me to. It looks very beautiful on you, too. But it would feel so special to get to wear it.”

I got in the shower and with the hot water pouring down over my body, I realized I was meeting the discomfort of my daughter wearing my dress, and perhaps looking more beautiful in it than I do! Oh my goodness~ what a thing to see! Sort of embarrassing, really. A first time experience for me, as mother to my beloved daughter: sensing the subtle presence of female competition. I remember feeling that energy in the field with my own mother when I was a girl, and a teenager, coming into my womanly beauty; her subtle, unspoken ambivalence about my radiance, about the possibility of my out-shining her.

Mothering our daughters involves a generous passing of the torch, and the dress, and the youthful glow, and radiant young woman prettiness. It involves the actual desire to be replaced by them, to let our living of wisdom and love infuse them with an even deeper realization of wisdom and love. Like the end of Dawna Markova’s gorgeous poem, when she says: “I choose to risk my significance,/ to live so that which came to me as seed/ goes to the next as blossom,/ and that which came to me as blossom,/ goes on as fruit.”

I remember when Arayla was a toddler, and we were still loving our nursing relationship, though getting close to weaning. How she would gulp down my fatty milk, her sweet little chubby hands holding my breasts with such ownership, and with each nursing I had the feeling of the literal passing of life-force to her. How sleep-deprived I felt and exhausted and thin and old, next to her soft, pink, plump, baby-girl freshness. And I remember thinking then, soberly: Yes, this is how it works, we simply pass the life-force on to the next generation.

And so when I got out of the shower, and she was sitting there, my daughter: so beautifully, patiently waiting for me, still wearing my dress, I saw that I could make a decision, right then and there. I saw that the choice I made could extend through all her teenage and woman years to come: I could either feel with my beloved daughter the slight and subtle presence of female envy and competition, masked by control over her, or I could simply celebrate and rejoice in her beauty, her loveliness, her growing up, her radiant heart and brilliance, her bold, smart clarity and clear voice of truth, her youth, her spiritual belovedness, her feminine bounty, and reflect all that to her, continuously. I could simply choose to pass it all on to her, with generous love and adoration, so “that which came to me as blossom, goes on as fruit.”

So I said: “I’d love for you to wear my dress tonight, sweet girl. You look absolutely beautiful in it.” She jumped up beaming at me, gushing excitedly: “Really Mama? Oh thank you, thank you!” And then she twirled once again, in both directions.
A small surrender, once again, a gracious breath of letting life-force go, with immense love, in her direction. 

And my heart fully leapt to see her: this gorgeous offspring of my body, this answer to my prayers for motherhood, this daughter of my dreams, this beautiful girl blossoming before my very eyes, her very own self: separate and distinct from me, yet informed by my love, care and devotion. What an honor it is to treasure and guide and steward these beings. What a supreme privilege to get to love like this, to get to let go for love, like this, again and again and again. 

No Second Thoughts ~ A Call to Fearless Generosity

No Second Thoughts ~ A Call to Fearless Generosity

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The last time I was with my spiritual mother, Gangaji, physically, in person, last October, she asked me to come up on stage and share one of my poems with the many people gathered. I happily and somewhat shyly shared the poem “Sorrow’s Home.” 

Later in the meeting, circumstances unfolded such that she gave the stage to some beautiful musicians who were offering a song, and in exchange she took one of their seats, directly behind where I was sitting. After 17 years of a uniquely intimate relationship with her, I felt blessedly comfortable to lean back and blissfully lay my head in her lap. When I did, she stroked my hair tenderly a moment, then leaned down and whispered into my ear, three words only:No Second Thoughts.” 

Those three words, strung together by the power of her love, and my profound trust in her as my impeccable longtime teacher, have become one of the most sacred assignments I have ever received. Those three words have been been burning my heart from the inside-out, in the many months since she whispered them. And now, I get to extend them to you!

What an invitation: to indulge in no second thoughts! To live free of self-doubt, to courageously trust that which comes through me, and dare to not tamper with its inevitably imperfect expression? “No Second Thoughts” has been ringing like a mantra, sometimes hauntingly, poised like a dagger, challenging me to be even more generously fearless in my sharing of myself with life.

I will tell you: it has been a razor’s edge of vigilance for me to be true to this assignment.

For maybe the first 6 weeks or so, after I received this assignment/invitation, I was horrifyingly aware of the onslaught of all the “second thoughts,” of every voice within me that judged myself, that feared failure, that clung to perfectionism, that longed for acknowledgment and yet found that longing to be embarrassingly needy and insecure. The immediate impulse to delete a post I had just posted, the horribly naked feeling of one-sided exposure, of subtle investment in others perceptions, all the painful self-consciousness of Second Thoughts.

Full incarnation, and being devoted to living a life of service is an issue of willingness for total visibility and invisibility; stepping out and being exposed in the inherent imperfection of oneself, come what may.

As I prepared to offer the “Take Heart” concerts last Winter with MaMuse, I tentatively met that growing edge of walking into the spotlight with my deeply naked, heartful poems. When sensations of doubt and anxiety arose in waves, these blessed words “No Second Thoughts” became an anchor of surrender, an invitation to give up any hope for perfection; to simply show up and speak up as I am, without hesitation or self-questioning.

And then, as I prepared to go teach and lead a core women’s retreat in Kentucky last Spring, another first-time threshold, “No Second Thoughts” resounded through my being as I presenced the mind’s defense mechanisms of doubt, denial, and deletion when challenged by the new and unfamiliar: “Maybe I just won’t go? Maybe I’ll just cancel that part?” Or self-critique: “Oh god, I’m unprepared”, or afterwards: “Oh dear, how could I have said that?!” I would immediately hear her voice, my own heart’s voice, saying firmly, with fierce tenderness: “No, no. No Second Thoughts, Love. No Second Thoughts.” 

Not long after this deepening revelation began to fully have its way with my heart, I had a beautiful humorous moment alone with myself, in which I asked myself: Without any “Second Thoughts”, what then, is the First Thought?? 

The very inquiry stops the mind! It is a koan. To turn the mind back on its self, stops the mind! Awareness that the first thought is not a thought at all! It is the gracious unfolding of this moment’s aliveness.

The first thought cannot even be thought. (Just try, Sweet Love, to think the first thought, and see for yourself!) 

The first thought is an unspeakable invitation of innocent curiosity from Source, a free-falling backwards, towards the Eternal Beginning. The first thought is a simple bow of Yes. The first thought is Love, shining. The first thought is impeccably silent stillness at the heart of the pulse of all life. 

I am still working with this teaching of “No Second Thoughts” presently, today, as I step up and out, into my unfolding life; as I surrender ever-more-fully to however this Life, Grace, God, Love most wants to make use of my heart, my channel, my voice; all I am truly here to say, to share, to transmit, to unapologetically embody. I will report it seems to be getting easier and easier, less sticky, less squirmy, to just show up and share and shine as I am. There are many less “second thoughts” arising. 

I invite you to use this teaching, this assignment and invitation to investigate where in your life are any “second thoughts” holding you back from your fullest expression, your deepest allowing of your life to be shared?? Your most fearlessly generous expression of yourself? Are there any “second thoughts” keeping you from making the choices you know you must make? From living the life you know you are here to live? 

The first thought is always pure surrender. Yes: I surrender, I surrender(!) as Love, for you.<3

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