Saturday, May 30, 2009

Graduation By Degrees

Eldest son graduated from high school this week after a fast-and-furious paced couple of years (literally, he is a true fan of the movie).

Following the time honored tradition of using the high school years to broaden his horizons experientially, he really savored the banquet of life-- if you get my drift.

Being the brilliant, good-natured, humorous being he is, he emerged wiser and kinder and funnier and intact, except for going completely deaf in one ear due to a freak case of viral labrynthitis his freshman year...

As a family, we have been graduating by degrees right along with him. And now, as their older brother transitions to college, his younger siblings are leaving the comfort of their hometown schools for new schools and new friends, even though they both have a year left before one transitions from elementary to junior high, the other from junior high to high school.

Not far behind, I high-dived into the graduate pool by leaving my current job of two years--the first out of home job since leaving a 19-year stint as stay-at-home-mom. Which I commemorated by cutting my hair. Because it was either that or start dating again and you may as well suggest I start pole dancing if you think I'm going there.

Yet, as the kids head off to their dad's for a month of paternal bonding, a world of possibility is unfolding for a woman who tethers herself pretty tightly to her children as her world. And noticing that worry is NOT the number one beauty secret in the world.

Trust me.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bringing People Together

It's Memorial Day here in the U.S., and my father sent me a news clip from Florida, where he is retired from the Air Force. His father also served in the military -- in the U.S. Navy.

This July 4th 2008 clip shows a flag ceremony in Siesta Keys (Tampa Bay, Florida area) honoring fallen veterans.

I love this story because retired Navy Captain Ralph Styles speaks so passionately from his heart. While I'm not normally big on patriotism when it divides people, I am aware that it can also unite, as it does here.

I love how this retired naval submarine commander--98-years old in this clip--brought his community together every evening at sunset in what became a neighborhood tradition, to honor those who gave themselves so that others could have peace. I find this very touching.

As you can see, young, old and everyone in between come together here:

Ralph Styles passed away in October 2008. May we remember him as he remembered his comrades and heroes.

Credit: photo courtesy of the Captain's Corner

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Living Darfur

Oh wow, folks....I've been blogging about a place I didn't even know how to spell properly. It's not 'Dafur', it's 'Darfur'.

Well, then.

My sincere apologies; nice having my ignorance laid out for all to see. And yet, this isn't going to stop me from writing about it as I learn you know.

I'm still planning on fasting for solidarity with the people of Darfur (okay, at least it will make me feel better if not them because sometimes, you can't just sit still and accept things as they are or you'd just go a little looney tunes). And I'm still hoping that as awareness is created around the suffering of others in our world family--help will come.

Here's a youtube video on the Dafur Genocide: A Present Reality

This is how I first became aware of the situation in Darfur:

Former actress and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Mia Farrow, was fasting for 12 days and it was posted on She stopped for health reasons (she was doing water only) but billionaire Richard Branson picked up the fast and others joined in, and of course we still can:

I liked Victoria's insights which she blogged about during her 21-day fast here:

She posted this game: 'Darfur is Dying' – "a viral video game for change that provides a window into the experience of the 2.5 million refugees in the Darfur region of Sudan. Players must keep their refugee camp functioning in the face of possible attach by Janjaweed militias. You will learn from this simple game how next to impossible it is to stay alive." >Play the game.

If you are not interested in fasting but feel inspired to do something, Victoria says you can call the White House and protest at 1-800-GENOCIDE or (1-800-436-6243). When you call you’ll be given information to connect to your representative or senator (based on your zip code). Call between 9-5 PM EST.

You can reach the White House at (202)-456-1111.

As always,

Credit: photo courtesy of Mia Farrow's photo gallery on on her trip to Dafur. The women in the photo are waiting for food.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Feline Grace

It's mere weeks away but I am aching for the laziness of summer.

School will be over, which means the kids will spend an entire month with their father for the very first time since the divorce, work will end and a new career will loom on the horizon.

But first I intend to take time out for restorative stillness from all the busy madness that has defined the past six months. No tropical vacations nor meditation retreats linger on the itinerary, but connecting with nature, photography, writing and reading await my aware presence.

Quite hermitous (don't trouble your spell checker, it was possibly just invented as a derivative of hermit) I long to just be, like this very present cat, surrounded by natural beauty and soaking it all in in quiet reverie.

Have you ever noticed how cats seem to have this knowing sense? When you look into their eyes and they gaze right back at you, it's like they know something you don't. This knowing sense is what I long to tap into. And all I have to offer is willingness and gratitude for whatever shows up.

Like this graceful feline sitting in relaxed solitude, I too can snuggle in Mother Nature's arms and breathe the sweet air of her generous garden. And maybe the constant mental buzzing that has followed me these past months -- of what direction to go in next -- will slowly quiet down.

Looking forward to some solitary time in the mountains; time clearing 'busy' mind and tuning into something deeper than me. Little me, that is.

Can you feel the peaceful purring yet?

Credit: photo courtesy of Naturegirl at:

Her sweet kitty (she has two gorgeous onyx ones) looks like my own cat, Wally, beloved friend of yesteryear and a fantastic healer)...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I Don't Know

So I wanted to update on my Dafur fast and here it is...

It hasn't happened, yet.

I knew I was in trouble Wednesday morning when I found myself in the shower, water running, groping for the shampoo in the dark. Turns out I'd forgotten to switch the lights on after stumbling into the bathroom.

It might have been hump day but it had been an exceptionally draining week already and I wasn't feeling well at all. In that moment, I was not up to the challenge of working and parenting while fasting.

Although I have fasted while carrying heavy schedules in the past, I've only water-fasted twice -- both times in my teens; once for seven days and once for five. I have fasted for a month juicing though, and over the years for weeks at a time while on juices. Because I wanted to make this a water fast, and still do, I am aiming to do it when it feels right rather than setting a date beforehand. You know, wake up and say this-is-the-day type of thing.

But what about raising awareness for Dafur? And what about the people who are starving, do they get to choose when it is good for them? No comparison, no comparison at all. I have the luxury of choosing when to fast, they don't. So I don't know what I can do, if I can't even sacrifice for one day!

Maybe it's the sugar and caffeine addiction. Maybe it's just plain tiredness. But in the spirit of compassion, I'm going to exercise unconditional self-acceptance and remember what American Zen teacher, Cheri Huber, said; "There is the ideal, and there is the actual. And they are often not the same".

I've read her books and teachings on unconditional self-acceptance and found her a treasured friend, although we have never met. But her compassion for all beings shines through her work to you -- her reader and listener -- so I feel like she's given me a good talking to. And it is kind.

So please don't think I've forgotten Dafur. I'm not giving up on either of us. Meanwhile, I'm sending love. As a Facebook comment from Global Coherence Initiative said, "We are connected and what we do individually does count".

See Rollin McCraty Science of The Heart on youtube:

'Til the fast,

Credit: photo courtesy of Cheri Huber's website,

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Cookie And A Cup of Tea

I'm sitting here enjoying a rare treat; nibbling a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie with my usual cup of green tea for breakfast while reading about how the situation in Dafur is getting worse.

So on Wednesday I'm going to do something I have not done in a long while; fasting on water for 24 hours -- on behalf of the situation in Dafur.

Some of you may be scratching your heads wondering how my hunger will help the people starving in camps in Dafur, well...

It's about creating awareness about something that is happening on our planet to our extended family. I'm one of those people that believes that our attention/awareness can in itself actually help change something. Like the hundredth monkey, or the tipping point. Like at some level there is an action, even a seemingly small one, that can influence and change the direction something is going in. So my little one day fast, will be just one more drop of awareness in the consciousness bucket that the world can use.

I also left my voice with the White House, and hope that if enough of us contact them and left a message that this does matter, they may use their influence to call attention to the plight of Dafur to help change her current situation of starvation.

I know we have our own problems as individuals and a country, but we still have access to food and basic necessities. Because of circumstances out of their control, these people do not. And they are our neighbors!

It's just a phone call or e-mail, but your voice may make a difference. If you feel inspired to call or write, here's the link:

Credit: photo courtesy of Tessa at

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

As I've mentioned in a previous post, mothers come in various forms. So even if I never gave birth to four children, I would feel the nurturing connection of mothering. We nurture in so many ways! Not to mention we have all had mothers of our own.

We nurture the planet every time we pick up a piece of trash, we nurture each other every time we hold a door open for a stranger, every time we listen with compassion, every time we give or take counsel, every time we hug someone. Whether we cry, laugh, or correct someone, we mother.

And I'm not just speaking of the lovely parts of mothering, but the not-so-lovely parts as well. Being firm, standing for discipline when needed, wiping noses and staying up late waiting for growing adolescents to come home. It's all part and parcel.

So here's to motherhood and mothering and being there for one another. And to my own mother, who has always, always been there for me.

Credit: photo courtesy of Aviarios Sloth Sanctuary

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

To Think Or Not To Think

Martha Beck said something in her latest newsletter that resonated like a sitar in my heartstrings; to paraphrase, she said that while the market these days may not be so hot for finding a job, it is ripe for coming into your own creative field, being the best you.

And I'm all, so what is it I really want to do?! (still haven't leaped that hurdle yet. Fear of commitment? Fear of failure? Sheer slothfulness? God only knows...I seem to have a penchant for throwing obstacles in my path) and then I remembered this excerpt from a Q&A dialogue with Adyashanti about the loss of personal motivation and how one knows what to do:

"So let yourself feel, not just in your head, but feel your experience. "I can't know here, I can't know for sure because assuredness is what's in the mind." It's not going to happen. You're past that place. When you face that you can feel your body relax when you come into what's true for you. You're not fighting what's true for you. Then you'll feel the lean, soft, quiet; that's all. You'll get the feel."
"This is not magic. It's not mysterious. Sit down in a chair or on your couch and don't make a decision when to get up and just feel. And all of sudden it will become obvious. Your body will start to move with the feeling and you'll just be getting up. Try it sometime. It's interesting. Spend a day like that; just feeling, not moving until you feel."

"If your mind is asking you, "is this the right feeling?" you'll never get it. It's like thirst. When you're thirsty, you're thirsty. That's knowledge, that's direct knowing."

"What would you say to somebody if they said, "how do I know when I'm thirsty?" Well, you'll feel the flow of it. But if a mind was involved, the mind might even feel thirsty and the mind would go, "how do I know that that's thirst? How do I know?" But on the inside, in quietness, thirst and reaching for the cup would be just one movement. Thirst and the cup; simple."

So, what if I approached my work decision-making in this way, would I find direction through feeling instead of thinking? Just taking the next step by doing what was in front of me?

A short list of some things i love: writing, creating, counseling ala 'Bob Newhart', photography, nature, landscapes, animals ... and bamboo.
Just saying.


Credit: photo courtesy of KeanHuiblog website (hey look, there's a tree growing out of my desk!).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Golden Palace

This is one of my favorite photos, taken a few years ago, in one of my favorite places on earth (the American Fork Canyon near Utah's Mt. Timpanogos), with some of my favorite people on earth (my kids) doing one of my favorite things -- hiking.

Especially hiking in the fall. Leaf peeping; that's us.

It's rare that my kids will come hiking with me anymore, but back then, I could bribe them with Subway sandwiches, fruit snacks and Powerade.

You had to make your way through three forests to get to this gorgeous meadow surrounded by aspens. These babies turned flaming gold in the fall, so we dubbed it The Golden Palace because when you stood inside the grove of yellow trees with the sunlight casting a golden glow over everything, it was surreal and majestic. And profoundly unforgettable.

These days, it's my idea of church. Nature's cathedral. Humbling and inspiring with soul-baring beauty. Accompanied by a chorus of birdsong with the musical rustling of leaves strumming in the wind.

No judgments. No list of rules to follow before I can qualify as belonging. Just a gift, freely given, just for being who I am. "Come as you are!" it welcomes us every time, fellowship extended to all who come into its fold.

For me, the quaking aspens feel like kindred spirits; they are soul-sisters deliriously happy to see me, quivering with joy at my arrival and waving trembling goodbyes when I leave, as if they are sad to see me go.

In this meadow, lightning, or possibly old age, felled a tree years ago so whenever when we returned, we sat on it like a pew to rest, to listen to the lessons around us, and to eat our bread with gratitude. The kids climbed on it and hung from it, and sometimes brought their friends to run around it.

So many blessed times, so many memories. So many gifts.

Change Is In The Air

I can hardly believe it's a week already since my last foray into blogging world.

It's another rainy spring day, which is quite lovely around here. Things are turning green fast. and new things are cropping up everywhere.

What's new in my life?

Soon to be done with my job of the last two years, and I will be venturing into new arenas. This job is extremely physical and not-so-well paying, but I have loved that it allows me to be with my kids and allows them to go to their old schools, with all their friends from growing up. Plus I've formed some amazing friendships and enjoyed being around kids in general.

Now I'm looking for office work, which is what I used to do before settling into the stay-at-home-mom job field.

Ideally, I'd love to work at home, doing something creative and/or online. Writing, healing work, etc. Also craving nature and sunlight and fresh air, so wouldn't it be fun to incorporate that?

Don't know how to make this work, so at this point am opening to what Life brings me next that aligns with that. I used to say 'God', then 'Higher Self', then 'Universe', and now I say 'Life', that which incorporates the all-encompassing goodness that is out-there-in-here, supporting us little humans on our journey of awakening.

Long-term I am really wanting to be part of a creative/healing community, like the raw foodist trend-setters are creating. Doing what you love with people that you love in an atmosphere that you love, how amazing is that? Now, to figure out just what that is....

And that is what my bubbly thoughts are percolating this beautiful Sunday afternoon in May.

Credit: Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Hansen on the KSL photo gallery website