Monday, December 23, 2013

holiday wishes and heart surgery

Heart Surgery.
Brain Trauma.
Holidays.
A trio that may at first seem less than sublime but together they have united to bring me more blessings then I could have hoped for.
It has been a season full of unexpected gifts, lessons and insights.
On November 18th I underwent a fairly simple heart surgery.  I was able to remain conscious and meditating throughout the nearly five hour procedure and was astonished by the peace and well being I felt throughout.  Following the surgery I had some unexpected complications which led to extreme fatigue and periodic syncope. A serious concussion occurred a week later.  I was unconscious for some time.  Upon waking, I couldn't remember my children for several hours or who I was.  I couldn't assimilate speech or complex thought.  I am just now remembering how to process written word and to write.
For the past month, my well exercised brain has been quietly simple.  For days on end I sat contentedly without books or technology, not really thinking at all.  I sat as my heart healed and brain mended in more ways than one.
It was beautiful really.
I discovered through direct experience that much of our busy thinking, planning, worrying, entertaining and doing are just unnecessary, self aggrandizing bullshit.  I learned that life goes on spinning without our pompous mental participation. I discovered that connection and communication have less to do with what I know and more to do with a willingness to open and unite.  In fact an intention to connect deeply is enough in and of itself.  I learned that if I can surrender while doctors are inside my heart and the tentative arc of life is dancing all around me then I can find a willingness to be at peace when the bills arise or tensions in relationship come up or the unknown knocks persistently at the door.  I can choose to surrender to the force of life that is living my life.  It's a choice.  It's that simple.
Life is enough.

This holiday season I wish each of you the gift of simply relaxing and resting back into the fabric of your life with childlike abandon.  I love you, wherever you are, whoever you are.  I love you.
Happy Holidays.

addendum:
Thank you so much to all the beautiful people who cared for me when I needed it through love and food and support.  A special thank you to my mate and love David whose care and loving support was the greatest force for my healing and to the Terpstra family whose love always inspires me! Thank you!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

No worries

'Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.'
-   Eckhart Tolle

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Parenting with enough love

Here is a newsletter article I recently wrote for school...I thought I would share it with anyone who wanted to read it:

I have been an early childhood educator for twelve years and a mother for over thirteen.  When I considered what topic to write about for this article, I had so many competing ideas.  Most of them derived from my graduate work this year and the many things I am learning and practicing in the studio environment.  I started several articles but there remained one topic, more than any other, that demanded my attention and that was the principle of enough love
Several years ago, I became aware of the slippery slope of too much doing.  As a single mom, I realized how easily I could overlook the quiet and unobtrusive invitations by life to show up fully present.  Each day we are invited to fully embrace the gifts of the moment and savor opportunities to be wholly available with those we love.  As a busy mom I knew that the two people most likely to suffer from a busy lifestyle were my children.  And so, in 2010, I coined the term enough love.  Together, my boys and I decided to use the phrase enough love (which was quickly shortened to enough by my youngest) whenever they needed me, really needed me, to be present.  Now when they ask for enough love I stop and give it to them.  What this looks like varies from day to day, but often one or the other of them will be having a challenging day and just need arms to wrap them in warmth.  They will say, “Mom I need enough” and I stop what I am doing and hold them for as long as they need.  Sometimes I listen and sometimes it’s just a hug.  In these moments I am not thinking of the dishes in the sink, or the bills on the counter. I am simply holding them and loving them for as long as they need me.  It seldom lasts longer then a few minutes before they push gently away and say “Thanks mom.  I have enough.” And off they go, into their own busy lives.   In three years they have never asked for enough love except when they needed it.
This simple practice has had a ripple effect in my life.  It has changed how I parent and it has even effected how I teach.  I strive to be fully present with the children and adults who enter the studio.  I try to listen deeply to their words and questions and to continue to provide the support necessary for each of them to climb their own mountains, no matter how high.  As a mother, enough love looks like a loving embrace.  As a teacher it looks like a genuine curiosity and interest in who each child is and what interests them and motivates them.  It looks different depending on the roles we play but it is always enough.
Recently I underwent heart surgery, and in the weeks leading up to it I found myself more frenzied, emotional and less patient then I am ordinarily.  One night my oldest son came in to my room and said, “Mom you need enough love” and he hugged me. Soon my youngest son tackled me with a tight hold and there they sat hugging me until I smiled and said, “Thank you, that’s enough”.  It was a great lesson.  As a parent and a teacher, I practice being present and available for the children whom I am blessed to know and learn alongside.  But as an adult it is easy to forget that each of us, no matter our age, needs enough.  At times we need to show up for ourselves with open arms, fully present and available for whatever is arising.  We need to occasionally set aside our own busy schedules and to do lists long enough to offer ourselves enough. And in so doing we will always have enough love to share.

Monday, November 11, 2013

a favorite Rumi quote

Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing,
there is a field. 
I'll meet you there. 

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase
each other
doesn't make any sense.

Rumi 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Kindness


KINDNESS
By Naomi Shihab  Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes any sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and send you out in the day to mail letters and
 purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

this moment

“You have to remember one life, one death–this one! 
To enter fully the day, the hour, the moment whether it appears as life or death, 
whether we catch it on the inbreath or outbreath, requires only a moment, 
this moment. 
And along with it all the mindfulness we can muster... (24)” 
― Stephen LevineA Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

love

I made an interesting discovery this week: love flows IN as well as out.  Perhaps this is common knowledge for many of you but until very recently I didn't know love truly flowed in.  I have always experienced love flowing THROUGH my heart, like an open faucet but not necessarily into it from others.  I never doubted that others loved too. I just believed that all of us could only experience love on the outflow.  Life is such a wonderful playground and how appropriate that my heart should evolve its capacity to feel love and let love in at the same time as doctors prepare for a surgery to repair its faulty wiring.  Thank you David for the gift. Apropos indeed.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

My big brother

 Who we are and who we pretend to be is a source of great confusion for most of us.  What if who we think we are and who we pretend to be are just gossamer non-sense in the broader field of who we really are.  What if we all stop efforting and resisting and posturing and simply relax long enough to experience what remains when all effort subsides.  Who are you really?


Thursday, October 24, 2013

fall

Fall colors, a cacophony of visual splendor, skirt the front range in breathtaking beauty.  Seasons shift as nature discards her leafy summer bounty in favor of simpler adornments.  I find myself wanting to nuzzle deep into her arms, beside a surplus of collected grain (gluten-free of course) and slumber through the pending chill and icy days ahead.  Until then,  I spend my days astonished in the presence of so much beauty.  Every breath is gratitude if we but lift our eyes to meet the day.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Big horizon

Horizons.
Wide,
Open,
Filled with possibility.
I gravitate toward these.
I am as interested in the blank page as I am in the words written on it.  Perhaps more.  There is so much possibility before the first mark is made.  I feel this way with my own life.  Hesitant to commit to a single choice, lest I mar the open range of potential inherent in the spaciousness before choice is made.  Who am I?  I ask this question again and again and wonder who I am before the first thought of Angelina begins to arise.  Where am I then, before the horizon of self is hemmed in on all sides by a story of being?

Monday, October 7, 2013

HA

Since everything is but an apparition
Perfect in being what it is
    Having nothing to do
        With good or bad
             Acceptance or rejection,
One may well burst
Out
In laughter.

14 century, Tibet
Long Chen Pa

boys

Here are six photos of two of my favorite people taken by one amazing photographer and person!
That equals a happy mama!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

nature

 Nature.  There is no place more authentically home than a wide sky overhead and firm earth underfoot.
One step up my mountain and the busyness of the world begins to subside. One step at a time, I am filled with the simple wonder of life living life. And the sweet embrace that accompanies the rememberance that I am not separate from the life to which I inextricably belong.
Out here I can breath easily, in and out, totally unconcerned with how I'm perceived or received, unconcerned with enlightenment or seeking or success.  Simply sustained by the proximity of life and the gentle assurance that I am, already, exactly what I am looking for.

mind

I am back in school...grad school...and the mind has begun to whir its cogs and wheels with pompous enthusiasm.  It is interesting to observe the habit of thought.  The self aggrandizement of the brain's search for meaning and recognition.  I smile amidst the thinking and wonder softly to myself...is there another way of learning.   Is it possible that the way we were brought up to think and learn and educate is not the only way.  Is it possible that learning doesn't have to be a cramming in of information and a vomiting out of thought.  Is it possible to open naturally like a blossom and feel the light of knowledge dawn without fear drenched effort and forgetful remembrance.  
Perhaps.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

sunrise

 A sweet morning sunrise... a pleasant break in long damp week.
I slipped and slid my muddy way up the mountain and felt the weight of stress and thought tumble from my mind and heart and body.
 It was a soft morning, full of beauty and stillness.
Exactly what I needed.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Beauty all around.
Do we need to look for it.
It is everywhere.
Open our eyes.
It is here.
Now.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

empty your pockets

If there is one thing I am certain of it is this, "I don't really know much of anything".
Where once I sought knowledge like a half-crazed miner panning for gold, chasing anything shiny with undaunted determination, now I find myself sitting idly on the rivers' bank wondering what all my hub-bub is about.
Each time I fill my pockets with glimmering concepts or golden hued thoughts I find myself feeling merely heavier, rather than lighter and wiser as promised.  And the more empty my pockets become the lighter I tend to feel.  In fact, I wonder what it might be like to simply drop all the concepts and judgements hitherto accepted as writ and simply be in this moment, alive.  I think it would be very much like love...like life...like being awake.  Oh yes, but that is another nugget in my pocket to be tossed back into the river until such time as the tide of life finds me empty and flows freely through carrying "me" in it's wake.

Friday, August 2, 2013

My soul family

 My beloved...
 Our Cedar girl...

 and Mr. Sol
And my god-gal Karuna with Wind and Cedar.

My God-Daughter's selfies


Beloved

My beloved sister-wife-forever love-kindred spirit Wind came to town for an overnight and brought her gorgeous family with her!  A perfect summer gift of love to fill me up for the year!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

G'day m'lord and m'lady

 A rainy day spent at the Colorado Renaissance Festival, where Bodhi purchased a wand, a bow and arrows and a flying broom.  Of course I told him that he would need a lot of imagination in order to make the broom fly and the wand work magic but he has been diligently trying to fly the wooden stick bound with straw since he got home and swishes his wand with abandon.  Ah, childhood.