All things lead to here

Growing up with eccentric artists who were madly in love as parents was something I didn't realize was special as it was just my experience.  I always felt we were the rebel rousers of my mother's side of the family. It was obvious to me in comparison to my other cousins that my folks did things differently and that they got slack for that.  It became more obvious when my folks decided to move to the British Virgin Islands at age 11years old. It was a place we had vacationed a few years back but now it was going to become my home. 

My seven year older brother was off to art school in California that year so as it happened I also became the only child on this somewhat impulse adventure with my folks.  My dad took the leap a year ahead of my mom I so I could finish sixth grade and so my mom could pack up my childhood home and put it on the market. I used to try to scare of potential buyers by stomping on the floor and remarking that there spot is where the water damage is.. or I would just opt for running into the bathroom while pounding on the door screaming and hysterically crying.  The only reason that realtor sold that glorious house was because of it's mystical charm as I am certain I did all I could to keep it off the RMLS sold pages. 

When we got to Tortola I immediately felt they had made a huge mistake.  The things of comfort I had grown accustomed to in Miami Beach such as my grandparents on both sides living within distance to us, my cousins and aunt and uncle who lived around the corner from us, my hive of friends I had since day one at elementary school were absent but so were some essential items such as: air conditioning, traffic lights, grocery stores with items I recognized, roads where two cars could fit around a bend.  There was so much adapting to do at first that it felt like a full time job. 

This also included my parents socio economical status taking a huge dip.  When we left Miami Beach we had a beautiful 4 bedroom 5 bathroom sprawling art deco home with a pool and outdoor courtyard fountain. Now we lived in a 2 bedroom 1 bathroom apartment called Slaney Hill Apartments.  When we left Miami Beach my father had a shiny Mercedes and a Harley Davidson motorcycle while my mother drove a dark blue elegant BMW.  Now they had one half beaten down used and dusty Pathfinder between them. I felt much less cushioning on all sides of me.

When school began it didn't get much better.  Instead of going to the public school I went to the "private school" as I was labeled now a "non belonger", Tortola's version of illegal alien.  I recall the title stung and looking back on this it was a very humbling experience to be a minority group as I had always been a very privileged white Jew from Miami Beach where there were a splattering of people but where there were a lot of other people just like myself. 

The "private school" had about 30 kids in it from grades one to twelve and we were housed in a two room shack that Ms. Parsons owned carved into the side of a hill.  When I first arrived I do not believe we had running water yet.   I was the sole 7th grader and all of my friends were much older than me and I grew up fast on this little island with no legal drinking age. I remember Jenny Coish who was 16 at he time teaching me how to become anorexic (you sleep as late as you can go to bed as early as you can and eat very little in between). Samantha also 16 taught me how to chain smoke Marlboro Lights( you just light the new cigarette with the old cigarette). Sally long lean and 16 taught me about being appealing to men (first off it you are not long and lean dress like you still are and then giggle a lot and do what you think they want you to do...). It was a lot to take in.

By the time I was half through my 7th grade my parents caught wind of what I was really studying and smartly decided to send me back to Miami Beach to live with my aunt uncle and cousins who still owned their home around the block from my childhood abode. This was most painful as I was living with a family that I loved but also still felt like a non belonger.  I was so close to home but not able to resume the life there that was mine. Instead I lived in the back room and continued my self study in anorexia and took more lessons which I will just label illegal substances. My childhood had officially ended in Tortola. 

The years that followed were equally as confusing as I made a few more moves here and there with my mom then I went to boarding school just before I turned 14.  As much as I wish this time of my life had contained more grace and comfort, I also understand now why it did not. My parents were trying to live close to their truth and take care of me at the same time and this life is messy and is not always linear. I believe they did the best they knew how and I thank them for the experiences I never would have had if they would have continued living their luxury car lifestyles.  

I had loving people in my life and am so thankful for that as I know without that my story would have been very different. And it is my story and even though at that time I didn't get to create the plot lines and and scene changes now I do.  And even then when it was lacking in grace and understanding I did feel something bigger at work than my teenage self. Living alongside such natural beauty and simplicity marked my soul for the better.  I think this was the seed of my spiritual self staring to blossom.  In all good things there are major obstacles and within those hinderances can be the marrow of our greatest good and growth . All things lead to here and this here and now is all we have and this here and now is a very sweet place to reside.

IMG_5626.JPG

The things we have to let go of...

I was talking to a friend the other day about this fabulous stove I had found at an estate sale.  The brand is an elite french label and although the stove was maybe more than half off of it's normal price at $2300 it was still way above my budget. But it was so beautiful and surely would just make my kitchen completely pop. My ego said I might be the only person I know with a handmade French blue stove. I almost justified the purchase as it was like a rare unicorn I found. And for days, I actually mourned it's loss although it was never quite mine AND it is a fucking stove. I looked on instagram hash tagging the name of the stove and raked myself over the coals pining for the one that got away. 

And then settled by the words of my best friend, flat and simple it was not meant to be and plus think of all the abundance I now had because I did not over stretch myself for that object. And to be completely transparent I even had already found an old classical gas stove on Craigslist for $400 which had fit so nicely in my budget and was a beauty in it's own right.

It had me thinking of all the things we let go of as it seems to be our minds ruminate in these sticky places rather than settling on what we already have. What the fuck mind? Why must I habitually loop in a way that causes suffering? Why not opt for a kinder solution off the bat and help a girl out? I mean seriously all this taming the mind stuff is no joke as mine is a bucking wild horse at times kicking my internal peace onto a cactus bush.

Letting go has never come naturally for me.  I have always had the hardest times saying goodbye to loved ones and my first love relationship that ended took me years to recover from simply because I would not let go.  I recall the class in college I learned about Buddhism and impermanence and how that forced my mind to stretch to such uncomfortable places and I felt deep in my bones it was the truth of life and knew that not accepting this truth ultimately was the cause of much of my suffering. It is hard being human AND it is ok.  

This year I have had to let go of things much bigger than a fancy french stove. I have had to let go of my marriage, my identity, my made up future, my pride, my whole family, my home, my security blanket. I have had to strip down naked and kneel and wail and grieve all that I thought was mine.  This has easily been one of the hardest years of my life and yet I still stand.. I still am growing.. I still laugh and love and let go over and over again because that is truth and acceptance is all I have. I feel deeply humbled and filled with a grace that has nothing at all to do with holding on but everything to do with letting go and seeing all I still have. 

The need to please AKA abandoning yourself

This is a seductive trap we all fall into once and a while. Underneath the surface is usually the value of belonging.  Yet our saboteur sneaks into this golden value and tarnishes it so that we can hardly see our own reflection any longer.  Instead we only see what others want us to be and we get confused thinking this is the pathway towards love acceptance and belonging.  

However I invite you to see this need in another fashion. Instead of putting other people's agendas in front of your own try instead sensing into your own needs, values, and feelings. In fact we can use this trap as a kind clue that actually we just need to get in touch with ourselves and come back home. 

You see when we go for pleasing others we usually abandon ourselves in the mix.  This leads to a compartmentalized life that doesn't feel good. What if instead we chose to live from an embodied joyful place where first we check in with self and then other. And would this not be radical? Once we learn to check in with ourselves we can then turn our attention to other but in a much more compassionate gaze. Only at that point or we able to ask, "What is it that they are feeling and needing?" We ask this from a genuine place of empathy rather than pleasing. We may not be able to fulfill their needs however once we fill ourselves up we give others an opportunity to be heard and seen.  This creates a sense of belonging in the truest sense.  

IMG_0389.jpg

Sacred and Scared

I find it interesting that sacred and scared or so close together in the English language.  Just with a skip of the "c" and you go from faith to fear.,, from beauty to doubt. Isn't that just he trick in most situations in life? You can only really come from one space or from the other.  If your intention is to create a sacred space then there is no room for fear in that. Perhaps it shows up in your process but it has to be placed elsewhere as it certainly does not belong on the altar. When I go to sacred I think of power and connecting to the light... I think of expansion and open windows. All opposite of what fear provokes. And it is just that easy sometimes.. just a skip of the  "c" to see that you get to choose from where you live your life.

Conscious Uncoupling

What is left when what you have been building for over a decade crumbles at your feet? You nearly escape being buried underneath the weight of the rubble which were your dreams and longings. Your identity undergoes aftershocks that are so seismic you never fully recover the same as when the shaking started.  You are transformed and cracked now, taking up space amongst the messy debris. This place is far less comforting yet way more real than the illusion of having your life "under control".   You have narrowly escaped the suffocating confines of what you were told perfection looks like. 

Recently my life underwent a major earthquake of the likes I have never had.  As my daughter Bell so eloquently stated “Mom I have never had this life experience before.”  I heard her loud and clear.  Pieces of me unrecognizable as stress, depression, and anxiety started taking up space in already cramped quarters.  Stripped from all this I became naked and raw. 

My marriage was such a beautiful union. I think it would have been so much easier to understand any of this if my husband were an asshole.  Nathan is one of the brightest human beings I have ever had the pleasure of knowing as well as the most amazing father I could have ever of chosen for our daughter.  His name translates to “Gift from God” and he forever will be just that to me. 

Looking back I have no idea how it all kept spinning.  Going about my days with the waves of grief slamming me down.  Shattered in some upside down underwater world where the light is refracted and you do not know what is up or down.  The world does not stop when you are hit with tragedy whether by surprise or by design.  The bills do not stop coming the commitments to clients and friends do not cease.  The school pick up and drop off still happen each day.  Dinners needs to be made and clothes folded.  A blessing and a curse as the fear you feel that you may not be able to make the call, see the neighbor while walking the dog, show up for work, put on a sane face for the kid, get out of bed, or even stop crying can be very paralyzing at times, and yet you go on.  Day to day.. moment to moment.

The weight subsides just long enough to catch your breath.  Sometimes you see the grief surge coming instead of being surprisingly slammed by the waves one after the other. At times you can even dive into the next wave before it crashes on you ending up in the upside down refracted underwater scape. This is my dance with grief as it need not always slam me down if I am willing to surrender into its arms.   I have a moment of tranquility and stillness before I need to come up for a breath as it can be so beautiful and still and even peaceful at times.

I now know that connection and acceptance are the passage ways through transition. Connection to something bigger than yourself and finding your way back to yourself.  Committing to not abandoning your truest nature with false accusations or unkind judgments or feelings of massive failure. Finding more resiliency and grit to keep moving forward on the unknown path. Acceptance that your idea of how life should be, only adds to your discomfort and suffering.  Making genuine space for what is and then having the courage and hopefully the support to actually lean in. Through is the only way out of the pain ironically.

I have so much compassion for other couples who have split and anyone experiencing loss or transition of any size.  I now see there are no sides, only suffering until even that passes. I am so thankful for this morsel of a gift as I held onto it firmly as the form of true empathy during this time of quicksand.

The genuine appreciation of Nathan, our relationship and what we birthed now brings me to a place where I can at times be filled with love for all the growth and possibility this situation has dawned. The love and strong hearts underneath the rubble of grief are starting to finally shine through.  WE are family. We only want the highest good for one another and we actively choose to protect and cultivate the qualities of our relationship that help it thrive.

There is a ritual we had before our separation which I cherish and which we have kept up.  Each week we still go to the sauna together where we sweat it out. It is a healing ritual of sorts. The water cleansing us of our day the heat purifying us from the inside out.  The simple acknowledgment we are transforming yet staying connected.  I have so much hope that we are just expanding as a family… Amplifying our love on so many other levels.  On a spiritual level I will always feel united with this man.

So I guess this is my coming out…  Nathan and I have separated and we are ok and sometimes not ok and finding our way on this non linear path.  We value every ounce of love and support you want to throw in our direction.  We will use it to support others as we continue to feel stronger in our own process..

 

Collective Mourning

"The five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief."

 

My dear ones.. I hold you close right now for all the grief and suffering you are feeling. I am talking about the loss of this election and the revelation that this country is not at all united in its beliefs and values.  I am talking about a very competent woman who ran hard won all the debates with her intelligent grit and grace, and loss against a vile man with no experience in public office, ran on a ticket of racism and provoked violence and hatred in his supporters.   I am in shock and horror and disbelief.  Waking up at 4am this morning I felt like it had to be a nightmare or at least just a plot to a terrible science fiction book.  

Listen!  Now more than ever our voices and our courageous strong hearts are needed to lead past this mess.  We must protect what is right and stay connected to our fellow humans by disrupting the illusion and disease of fear and hate.  Nature always wins. Let’s grieve then come back grounded and stronger than ever, fighting for what is right and protecting whomever needs our support. Our bravery is buried underneath our grief.  The color of twilight kept safe in the seat of our souls reminding us that we know what beauty is and with that we will always have a chance to heal. 

For you..

 

This past weekend my 5 year old daughter spent two nights with my parents. When she came home I realized I am considerably more comfortable in myself when I don't have the responsibilities that come with being a mom.  I believe this has been said countless times before and yet it still feels controversial and like a big no no to express. So many people take such offense to this notion.  I mean not to threaten the sanctity of reproduction or pop the bliss bubble of parenting however there are two of me and one is a lot more easy going and fun to be around than the other.  That is my truth. My truth. My truth. 

This weekend I felt I had gobs of time. Enough time to pee without rushing.  Way enough time to make coffee without multi tasking between that and answering a barrage of questions. That is something that is truly a challenge for me and maybe me in particular. My brain rejects a situation in disgust when it is being asked to do more than one thing at a time. It just quits on the job and I combust.  I had time and it was a luxury. I took a 2 hour bath. I read a book in the bath put honey a oatmeal on my face in the bath.  I drank the coffee I had the time to make without my brain combusting in the bath. I giggled to myself in the bath as it was so nice just to be. Just to be. Just to be. 

  I went out with friends to nice restaurants and had meaningful deep conversations with my husband about things other than what the schedule is and who is dropping off Bell to what swimming, piano, theater lesson, birthday party, play date, school, thing. We even watched a movie. We biked to brunch where we watched other people's kids act cute. I cursed whenever it pleased me or whenever it made perfect sense.  I let my mind wander into deep crevices and find its own way out on its own time. Its own time. Its own time. 

I sometimes wonder what were we thinking when we decided to have a kid. To be honest we weren't thinking as it was not "planned" however it was bound to happen. Being married to an incredibly loving supportive sensitive man who was going to make the best father to the luckiest kid and I was not going to get in the way of that. Our love was going to be Amplified.  Amplified. Amplified. 

Also biologically something happened to me when I turned thirty. I felt I needed to get pregnant like other people feel they need to sing along with the theme song to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.  It was an urge I could not ignore.  I was the youngest in my family and never really babysat other kids so I was kinda in the dark on pretty much everything. I thought breastfeeding was as simple as showing a kid your boob and never really thought about the fact that you had to be with your kid like all the time. I truly was not thinking with my head when this happened. I acted from My heart. My heart. My heart. 

When people ask, as they do all the time,  when are you planning to have another?  I think of two things. Either they have more than one kid and just want us to be in that same boat where it is even harder to paddle upstream or maybe they have no kids and have no idea what that actually means.  It means you are toast for some countless years.  Kids suck you dry. They truly do. I am not going to counterbalance that with all the amazing things they also add as I am going to assume that side of the story has gotten enough airtime and that it is relatively obvious that this sacrifice would not be made for anything short of soul enhancing.  It enhances your soul so that there is even more for the little pests to suck out.  I am going to take a stand and say my stomach is tight with ubiquitous stress  and most of the time I feel like I can't catch my breath and I am a much bigger bitch on the inside and less fulfilled in a multitude of ways when I am in mom mode. And my breast now sags. Yes singular. Yes singular. Yes. Singular?!

Also loving someone so much and having fear creep in and threaten things such as, there are a multitude of ways I could mess her up.  Or much worse yet a natural disaster ripping through our city and being separated from her.   I mean there is now this person that I care so down to the bone about, that I now not only have to worry about me being happy but my happiness is now directly dependent on hers. There are no guarantees here. There are no guarantees here.  There are no guarantees here. 

 There is just a ragged pace that keeps going and on days like these it feels as if I am losing terribly at this race. And I am not even a race person. I would never normally sign up for a race because realistically I move at a snails pace naturally and don't care for competitive physical activity.  I am a sloth. So there you have it.  It goes against my very nature being a mom. Keeping up with the day to days. The endless to dos and evites to half heatedly reply to and then have to place in iCal and then attend.  The endless questions and books to read and learning and attention and mindless games. The chores taking until 10pm to finish.  It goes against my true nature in a lot of ways yet here I am being stretched and challenged and some days spit out. It is ok. It is ok. It is ok. 

 Activating my kind narrative and processing the ups and downs so that I do not walk away from this with PTSD is my goal. Not getting swept up in the undercurrent of insanity in each week  but rather focusing moment to moment is a gift if I can get there.  Lowering my expectations on what I can realistically accomplish and what is acceptable to pass as clean is huge. That all can work in my favor as I am a lover of simplicity. I would get divorced if I did not love my husband so much as having my kid half time sounds like the best of both worlds. Being myself half of the time and being myself with her the other half honestly sounds so dreamy. Sounds so dreamy. Sounds so dreamy. 

Bell if you are reading this one day when you can read because we have read Green Eggs and Ham together like 6,452 times It is ok. I totally love you. More than you can imagine. And I also love me. And that is ok  And ultimately that is exactly what I want for you.  For you.  For you..

 

image.jpg

current affairs

what to do in times like these?  where injustices are so blatant and it feels as if there is nothing to be done to fix it.  if you are anything like me, it literally hurts your heart when good is not chosen and made evident for all.  it is through this pain and suffering that another way has to be birthed.  these labor pains we feel should not discourage us.  they may anger us... they may frighten us...they may push us to our breaking point.  however we must get through them and after that we will be able to do anything.  this is the twilight to our great rising eastern sun.  

how do we live and strive to change these wrongs in our world, when it feels so thick and heavy and prevelant?  it feels like trying to sweep a grain of sand knowing there is a whole beach to tend to.  how to not get burned up with rage or overwhelmed with sadness due to all that is taking place?  this is where the key to liberation exisits and i do not know the answer entirely.  collectively we will answer each other.  starting in our communities, starting with our families and starting with ourselves. 

picking one thing to focus our energy and heart on is the call to action. from that one thing we can point an arrow towards justice and make a difference towards the bettermment of humanity.  we can then fortify our spirits with the life force that enables us to keep thriving.

what if we all truly focused on one thing that really mattered to us?  if you had to pick one thing to be your life purpose missson what would it be?  you have the power to do this.  feeling the abundance of our personal power is one way to fight injustice.  tapping into it and channeling it towards good is one way to feel purposeful.  this is our choicepoint.

guide and ignite. we need to gather all our good energies collectively.  let's feed each other this energy as it were the most nourishing bone broth and remind each other why we are here.  

image.jpg

Vitality

"Anything which is extreme is toxic!"  I declared this in the kitchen today to my husband about a popular semi-deprivation diet that we decided to try.  This particular "program" is out of character for us, as I am not a proponent of deprivation on any level.  I am into balance and feeling good. I thought it might help with some fatigue, perhaps be interesting to see if we have any food allergies, and as a topper be a good resource for clients.

 10 days in and we were unhappy, tired, looked sunken and hallow, had deep blue circles under our eyes and energetically we were way off. We were unwell and only a third through the program.  Our friends noticed, my parents noticed....  I do not think two people could have been worse walking endorsements for this way of eating. We needed to do the simplest thing to rectify the extreme.  Check in with ourselves and give ourselves permission to listen and trust what we needed, not what some book thought was right for us.  Literally that night, eating a light vegetarian legumed whole grained dinnner made all the difference in the world.  The next day we were back to ourselves!

This experience made me aware that some of these extreme detoxes and cleanses can be a vehicle for creating or maintaining eating disorders.  I qualify eating disorders as thinking way too much about what you are eating or not eating, as well as getting stressed out about food more often than not.  Along with that a dismorphic image of your body as compared to what it really looks like.

 I am senstitive to these thoughts and patterns because as a teenager from 12 to 15 years of age, I suffered from an eating disorder.  Mine began with the positive attention I recieved from family and friends when I naturally lost my "baby fat".  This happened at the same time my life at home became unpredictable.  I remember making a conscious decision to take back control.  The timing of instability mixed with the new found enthusiasm from others became a cocktail for anorexia. 

My body became very thin and felt I had to maintain that with various mind games, physical ways of measuring what I ate in a day, as well as exercising for longer than what felt good.  I had to hide all of this, which made my life even more complicated and inauthentic.  I got down to 87 pounds at my lowest weight and stunted my mestration until I was almost 16.  I put my body and mind through so much stress.  It was exhausting and I was very unhappy.

Having had this experience in my youth, I use it to be a better mother to my daughter.  I see the pitfalls for each girl brought up in this society and understand that each is somewhere on the body image/eating disorder/lack of self-love spectrum.  I have learned to be gentler and softer to myself.  To give myself what I want and to feel good about that. Now I spark and sustain magic where as before I starved myself of all magic. It was as my magic ebbed over these last 10 days, that I knew I had to end the ‘program’. 

 It is important to remember we all on some level just want to be healthy and feel good about ourselves and our lives.  Sometimes certain cleanses and taking out certain foods can be super helpful in that journey.  The way towards health is a different path for all.  For me it is about being loose rather than rigid and unapologetically doing what feels right.  

 

  

 

 

 

 

image.jpg

Feeling good...

It is Hard Being Human.. And That is O.K.

I have been quitely contemplating the death of Robin Williams.  A man whom held in his orbit an abundance of genius, channeled nothing short of ectasy and held the gaze of love in his eyes for all to witness. His depth of character is something I have been sinking into the last couple of days as he has always reminded me of my father.  My dad has suffered from depression since I have been on this earth. I recall when he was not around for days only to emerge like a bear from his cave dis shelved from the heavy hibernation he was held in.  He felt fuzzy and out of it not at all capable of being active in the present moment. I did not trust him during these spurts as he felt unsafe and sloppy in his sluggish ways.

Other times he was the life of any party.  His energy was something you wanted to be around so it could rub off on you.  His magnetic charm and his equivalent full hearted exuberance was intoxicating.  It felt as though if you were with him he could protect you from anything with his shear strength.  My parents often refer to finding him the proper medication as a life saving and instrumental moment.  He always tried to self medicate with dangerous consequences.  As of most recent he has found a sweet spot in life.  At 66 he is completely sober and now humbled and grounded.  He is one of the wisest most compassionate loving people I know. Growing into his potential nearly killed him though.  

I have always been told to watch out as if my genes were coded to self destruct as they have for my father.. his mother.. my brother.. my mother's mother.. I could go on as depression colors in whole branches in my family tree.  As high as you go as low as you go my father reminds me to this day.

On one side of the coin you can feel interconnected to everything in this world.  Then the coin flips  and you are completely alone channeling the collective suffering of the whole world in your black hole where meaninglessness, shame, and inadequacy all meet you at your numbest core.  I have yet needed to medicate for my bouts with depression however I strive daily to live a healthy life and am mindful when I need to tweak my life to find balance.  There is no secret formula for being human.

I would like to figuratively light a candle for each one of us who have the ability to rise or sink.  It is the same.  In Buddhism they say without knowing suffering you cannot truly know joy.  However we are not intended to suffer relentlessly on our own.  We have to remember this ebb and flow and find space for the tides to change.  As that is the natural way of things. My friend has a saying for her loved ones when she is not feeling emotionally well.  She says the tide is out.  What I love about this is the acknowledgment things are not feeling ok right now and the reminder that tides change and on another day, or perhaps another minute of the same day the tide may be in again.

It gives me hope.  

May we all remind each other of this before we get caught up in the tide and forget we will be pulled back in.  We are such sweet complex brilliant beings full of light darkness tears bursting hearts and everything in between.  I bow down to each of you full faceted human beings. It is sometimes hard being human and that is o.k.  

 

 

image.jpg

Ego came around when I was not looking

Sometimes before I even know it I am going on Ego-Auto-Pilot.   It is as if fear and control came in through the backdoor to set up command central in my day to day.  I notice Ego has slipped in when I  need to buff and puff myself up.  Storyline is ego's loyal companion.   It may look good but it feels lousy.  Like a sexy outfit that really restricts my body from feeling comfortable.

I just now noticed Ego comes out usually when I am struggling in some way.  It comes and runs to the rescue as it thinks I need fixing.   It decides I need another layer of laqour added to my foundation.  Ego is building me up as it thinks I am in danger of crumbling.  It is retrofitting my situation just in case of an earthquake.   I see the softer side of why is comes to the party and yet I still need to ask it to leave.  I know there is an alternative way to be that requires so much less energy and force.  

 It is possible to be soft and strong.  It is possible to not know and to live with mystery.  This is the lightest and most relaxed version of myself.  I can relax and let go of all the fluff and chatter and sink down into the marrow of the moment.  

It is the truest stillest surest part of me that now shows up to chaperone Ego home.  I am so happy Ego tries to crash the party as it's arrival is always my reminder to come back to Spirit.  I saw you Ego.  You helped me notice I strayed. Thanks! 

 


 


 

image.jpg

#Yesallwomen

I have been trying to figure out which part of being in an abusive relationship made me the woman I am today. How integrating this part of myself creates power. It is time to own this in a way that is not a victim who holds shame but a victor who got out stronger and wiser.  It is time to come clean.  

I can look at it now at least without blaming myself. I just wanted to be loved. 

It starts out slowly. Seeing how far you will tolerate being degraded. How far you can be pushed. It happened so gradually I did not notice what was happening. He would tell me my friends did not have my best interests at heart. That my best friend flirted with him when they were alone and I should not trust her.  I see now the maniupulation it takes to be an abuser. It is quite a skill. My self esteem started to get chipped away and then chewed on.  He would criticize what I wore or how I spoke. It is a slow process of turning something that was love inside out until it is unrecognizable and you are lost and the only familiar face is the one telling you what a lazy ugly stupid bitch you are. 

The breaking point for me came when the daily verbal and emotional abuse took a turn to straight up violence against my body. My spirit had taken the brunt up to then.  It did not dawn on me that I was not safe until it literally became unsafe. It was then I knew I needed an exit strategy. The confusing part is I still went back and forth with my love for him even after I left.  I see that now as simply I just wanted to go back to the love. The love and comfort I did not know how to gift to myself. This is by far the most perplexing part of being in an abusive relationship.  It took me years to fully understand that. It took me years to heal my body and spirit. It took me years to share this with anyone. 

I now have the absolute honor of working with amazing people who are also wanting to find their love first and foremost inside themselves. To find yourself and to love what you find takes practice and persistence.  It takes doing things differently and creating daily actions which represent love notes to yourself.  It takes doing this so that external validation is not something you need. You feed yourself from the inside.  No one can take you off your center because you trust yourself.  You feel connected.  I went through my past struggles for a reason. It was not meaningless. I know of transformation and what it takes to be an open hearted warrior first hand. To be liberated from fear and isolation and to rise up. I have history which is not pretty but it is real and it is part of the whole. It is my story. One which does not define or confine me. One that just is. 

image.jpg

allowing change to happen

i have a fear in my heart that has taken up space.  to say it does not belong makes it wrong in a way.  it belongs because it is there, however what i decide to do with it is my own choice.  i could let it reside and take up residency for decades to come.  let it clog up my cells and die within my body.. let it dampen and darken my spirit, or i can look and stop denying its existence by filling in the spaces around it.  

i am pleased the pure acknowledgment of the sensation leads to a deeper understanding.  it feels old.  it feels cranky and whiny and outdated.  it is deep but not rooted. so then maybe it is even shallow..  it feels like it wants to move out and change.  it is small and it wants attention but not a lot, just this much is enough.  it wants to be seen and heard and then placed somewhere it will be safe.  i will then put it on a shelf outside of myself but somewhere my minds eye can see.  this fear serves as a great reminder to the ways in which i can show up for myself. the ways in which i do not fully understand but wholeheartedly accept.  the ways in which i empower myself with the possibility of transformation.  i can choose fear or i can choose love.  when i remember this i choose love each and every time.  it is a no brainer.

once the fear has left i check in again.  there is a calm abiding that needs no words just space to exquisitely show up.  it feels neutral and lovely and i will leave it at that. i am reconnecting with my light. my essence, my spirit. my true self.  this connection breathes new life to the air around it. purifying and giving back in ways i cannot even see.  it feels good and much bigger than my own.   love is always present beckoning for us to bask in its freedom and bounty.  amen.

image.jpg

found this word written on a bench next to the waterfall we got married at nineish years ago.. glad to see someone marked the spot!

I am talking about vaginas.

What happened that made vagina a bad and ugly name? It seems too cliche that the name for female genetalia also gets a bad rap.  As women we not only judge ourselves and others but we also cannot find the proper loving relationship with our vaginas.  I love the name vagina because it is the accurate name and it kinda sounds like the exotic thing it is describing.  I picture it being from South America  and having a beautiful accent.  VAGINA>>   I suppose Bird-of-Paradise would be a close second place if I had the job of naming our special spot and that is probably because I am from Miami Beach and think fondly of those flowers.  These days we have so many funny nicknames and pet names to make it cuter.  But if it were a fruit you would not nickname it.  Nope you would simply ask the produce man if vaginas were in season and no one would smirk or wince or make it apparent you just said a "gross" word.  

I want the vagina to be a symbol of our sacred love and inner beauty and power as opposed to what is happening.  Our vaginas have succumbed to the reality tv world of comparisons and upkeep and impossible standards.  The more superficial and fake we make it the more I imagine that pours right into our intimacy and lovemaking and all things vaginas do best.  What is this newfound obsession with our vagina sounding and looking pretty?  It is as if we do not have enough things to dissect and dislike about ourselves so we found another spot to groom into submission.  A vagina is a place where we menstrate and birth our children not a place where pageants are performed.  I rather not spend my time and money waxing off my privates.  I do not want to get surgery to tighten up ship because it is not a ship, it is a vagina and no one is sinking.

This may be too much information for many.... My vagina that turned into a sea creature when I gave birth . She looked like Ursula from The Little Mermaid when she got really angry and big and scary..  I know this fact because my midwives took a vagina in FULL BIRTH  picture.  And as shocked as I was to see that, it is incredible that my vagina has that capability built into it, to get that creature-like in service of a healthy birth to my daughter.  It is inherently incredible in it's brilliant design.

I am so excited to be working on a project with my dear friend to celebrate all things vagina.   Ironically it will be called your magic. I cannot say I was surprised, and also I want to raise awareness so that the next time you say, hear, or read the word vagina you soften a bit and find the love for what birthed even you.

 

image.jpg

Human to Human

Last night I saw a glimpse of the news and it was really interesting, surprisingly.  It was a story on how our city's bus system has a special service for people with disabilites and how this service is not always hitting the mark.  The dispatchers of this fleet of buses is instructing the drivers to leave some people behind if the drivers are behind schedule.  Basically leaving these people who are most often confined to a wheelchair at home, although this form of transportation is one of their only ways of getting around.  One driver was saying that she has worked for the city for over 20 years, so she gives herself some leniency and decides she can "sneak in humanity". 

This notion of sneaking in our humanity really struck me.  To think we are in a place where humanity needs to be taken through the back door just in case it is caught without the proper credentials completely gives me the chills.  I see and experience this type of behavior and imagine you have as well.   A small example might be the last time you were on the phone with a representative from a corporation (fill in the blank) and they could not help you even though that would have been the right thing to do if they were hearing you with their ears.  I sometimes need the person on the other end of the phone to put down their scripted sentences in order to really listen and help, even if that means going outside the box they are working in. 

I joyously remember walking in the WTO protest in Seattle about 15 years ago and chanting.. "THE PEOPLE UNITED.. WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED!"   I still feel moved with appreciaiton for that statement.  We as a group of human citizens must unite in order to preserve our ability to be seen and heard and respected.  Humanity should never have to be snuck in or out of our lives.  Humanity and basic goodness is something we are all born, with, and no corporation or job or higher title should have the right nor the prospect of minimizing it.

  Luckily I get to take part in a ripple effect that is changing the tide of business.  As a coach I work with conscientious business owners and managers in order to create a space where humanity is valued.  It is a full circle system and we need to advocate for each other as we go.  I love that lady bus driver for knowing what was important to her and doing it in the face of criticism and perhaps even at the cost of her job.  My wish is that in the near future, humanity need not be cloaked but a choice that is celebrated and birthed over and over again so that we remember who we really are.

 

image.jpg

 

Each moment I have the opportunity to die.

The best way to get over yourself is to dissipate. It is also called death of ego. It can be a scary ride to unknown territory which is usually why we cling onto suffering for so long. We know suffering. The smell of it the taste of it. What it wears, what it wants for dinner.  Yet death of any kind is unknown. It is uncertain. It is transformation which can be frightening.

Yet one thing I know about myself is that in hopes to get over my suffering I have to get over myself. Serving others is a wonderfully selfish thing to do when I find myself in such a state.  It is not unusual that I am needed when I feel less than stellar to give of myself.  I am asked to put aside my own naval gazing to attend to my daughter's needs or to see a client.  At first I reject not being able to be more myself (whatever that means) before I go out into the world until I realize, the world summons my best self forward without my needing "to do " anything.  It requires me to BE bigger than me.  It requires me to refocus my presence of mind from myself to other. 

 I have an exercise to try that I made up for myself. When you find yourself in a social situation and are perhaps feeling less than stellar. Maybe you feel odd in your own skin or you are just having an introvert kinda day in an atmosphere that is requiring you to summon the extrovert inside of you. I challenge you to zero in on whomever you are talking or wherever you are and take in the littlest of details about the situation. If you are speaking to someone take genuine interest in them. Take in the little freckles on their nose and the speckles in their eyes. Start to zone in on their tone and energy.  Literally lose yourself in getting curious about them and what you are noticing. You will find yourself so immersed in the present moment that your anxiety or foul mood will lift, if even for a moment. You will get relief from yourself. You will garner connection to this other person and that energy will become more important than yourself. This is freedom. This is spacious dwelling. This is profound happiness.  This is death of self in order to birth anew. 

image.jpg

ego. death.

(Source: stoicmike, via pukusmucus)

    Modeling Imperfection

    Sometimes clients come to coaching with how they want to be perfect in their lives, to not make too many mistakes.  You know, to play it safe in that way.  We work with this topic often.   We look at how the fear of imperfection can create a small and lackluster life.   How the fear of failure creates stagnation and self hatred and lack of creativity and enjoyment. I actually love coming to this topic with clients as I have a wealth of experience in this arena in my own life.  A mountain of experience.  A valley of experience. A deep sea of experience. Cringe worthy experience.  Of course I self-manage these experiences when I am in a coaching session with a client, but my own material is never too far from the surface.  

      I sometimes wonder if my clients think that as a coach I am perfect.  Sometimes I feel the need to foster a smoke screen of the happiest most fulfilled and mindful life.  Come see me in my cottage and you too can have the same.  Oh my what a TRAP that is.  I have now started to state in the beginning of my coaching relationship with my clients that I will probably be the first to model imperfection and failure. This takes the pressure off of me to be that perfect specimen of a human being.  It also gives them room and permission to do the same.  It outs the monster lurking in the corner.  The monster that eats up courage and a life worth living. 

    I am not perfect as I make plenty of mistakes and I fuck up daily.  You should see the mess I made of things today!  The difference is now instead of shaming myself after these experiences I own them and try to take my own counsel. I try to be loving towards my flawed and funny self.  It usually sounds like "Oh You Dearheart.  You truly got yourself in a tizzy..  Calm down...Breathe... Touch your hand to your heart as you will not be crushed by your saboteur."   Instead now when I see myself in a pickle I try to laugh, and if I cannot muster that I just hold my tender racing heart and create a space for it to be.  As long as I can be kind to myself I have had a victory.   I see mistakes as an opportunity to cultivate loving kindness towards myself and others. 

    There is no cosmic eraser, white out, or delete button invented which is big enough to take away all my ugliness.  I'd rather be a dynamic mess than a black hole of emptiness.  

    image.jpg

    image stolen from google search "imperfection".

    YES

    I wanna feel like this duo.  They scream JOY and pure contagious happiness that doesn't need words to translate.  I am in love with humanity and all living beings for that matter because of our potential to do this right here.  To open to the possibility of pure light.  These two seem absolutely positively lit up.

    Another part of this photograph I am drawn to is the landscape.  There is not a fancy SUV or mall insight.  There is not even a tree.  It looks to be rather stark.  This happiness was probably not bought or promised.  Our sometimes belief that happiness happens outside of ourselves is something I wish to shed.  It is not about that thing I think I need or want.  Rather it is about something much more potent.  It comes from within us.  

    I do think we are all born with this seed to sprout.  Some of us may have gotten more soil, water and light yet some of us sprouted even in dark and dry places because there was the motivation from within.  So sure it has some to do with DNA, some circumstance, and some realization that it is a choice and we can choose it.  I am saying an esctatic YES to this feeling!  Join me if you choose.

    image.jpg

    source of photo unknown as I originally found it posted on FB

    Facing Facebook

    This has been a big week for me.  I became an active Facebook user.  I had to go through many mental hurdles to do this.  The time and psychic space it might suck from my life, another screen app to rapture my attention, another password to remember, among other things.  However much like a 50's housewife who knows when the roast is done I knew I had cooked this long enough and it was time for me to come out.  

    There have been many gifts having entered this cyber passage.  I have reconnected with friends from my past that I have so much love and affection for, I have a new outlet to connect with clients on, and I found my nanny from when I was a kid that was my own personal Mary Poppins.  However the most surprising gift has been my ability to see my younger self with such love and acceptance and truly own parts of my story that were too tender to see.  

    I was so painfullly insecure in high school.  I was a transplant to a prep school that had kids going to it since they were in kindergarten.  The cliques were tight, the girls were confident, and to top it off most of them went home to their parents at the end of the day.  There was a small contingent of us who boarded at the school.  Not only did I feel like I did not belong but I could not leave.  I lost my sense of self and I felt as if I had to keep all of those feelings of not measuring up to myself and soldier on the best my fourteen year old self knew how.  This looked like a bunch of coping mechanisms that were neither helathy nor well thought out or informed.  

    I had been one of the confident girls in my hometown of Miami Beach before my parents made the move to the British Virgen Islands.  But now I felt like an alien.  To mask my insecurity I put up walls.  Thick dark walls that let not much light in and insulated me from both enjoyment and pain.  I look back on this girl with such a closed and scared heart, who would try to lose her voice by screaming all night so she would not have to give a presentation.  Or who made excuses about why she could not go to the beach when a cute boy called. Or who did not join the dance team although she loved to dance beacuse she was just too scared to try out.  Or who never let but a tight few really see her as she hided out in the shadows.

     I now can see this girl clearly... I see her and I love her and I wish I could whisper in her ear.. "you are light.. you are joy.. you are beautifully sensitive.. you are beyond loveable.." I see my daughter and I vow to use all of this to serve and foster her self esteem as she grows up.  There is so much value here, now that I can see it clearly.  I am so much more appreciative of who I am knowing what it took to get me to this here sweet spot. 

    image.jpg

    Notice the "grunge" era clothing to the left.  Right- Visiting home in Tortola and hugging my pops. 

    It is the little things..

    Like eyebrows on dogs that I am wanting to appreciate these days.  All of these little treasures have the ability to cancel out and outweigh the day to day hassles that are intwined with being alive.  I am choosing to give more value to the things that make the quality of my life richer through feeling connected to joy.  

    I watch my almost 4 year old daughter and the way she puts exclamation points on all her sentences because she is that enthusiastic about her life.  The other day she was in the bathroom and I hear her say, "Wow! Awesome poop!".  I actually get to be privy to these amazing everyday moments, which then helps me to remember  to relish the routine parts of life because there are a ton of them and those minutes all add up. I had a choice of photos for this post and thought that a dog with eyebrows was better than a poop no matter how awesome it might have been.

    image.jpg