Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saturday Night Listening to Van Morrison Self Portrait

The Emptiness of Busyness

From An Awakened Life--Christopher Titmuss
Stress is a publicly acceptable word for living imprisoned by desire and fear. Stress is the desire to get things done, and the fear of not getting them done.
"Technology makes us more and more efficient and sophisticated in the way we move from one place to another and in the way we communicate. Yet we have no time for any real communication, person to person, face to face." I remember the old days when socializing happened by dropping in on my friends without any advance notice. It was an acceptable aspect of the sub-culture I lived in. I can probably count on one hand the number of friends I'm willing to do that to now. People are busy with their lives, doing important things, and it just seems rude. I fear that many people would be annoyed if I just popped in on them unannounced. But when someone drops in on me unexpected, it's usually a pleasant surprise that warms my heart.

Living with a jammed up, crammed up schedule, with promises to self and loved ones that we will relax and de-stress and kick back and enjoy life, taking the time to connect with others once we get our to-do list completed, once we have achieved and produced just a little more, is self defeating and deceitful.
As soon as I finish this job I'm going to have some breathing space. I'm going to take it easy. There's going to be some sanity in my life.
We will never get it done. I repeat. We will never get it done. Never. There is always something more to be done. Always has been, always will be. We will die with it unfinished. It's the way of the physical world. Once one task is completed there are six more to take its place. Goals are fine, but stressing ourselves out trying to complete them will never make us happy.
Are you willing to explore your potential for a stress-free and genuinely contended existence while going about your daily tasks?...are you going to start today with one basis change? If so, what is it going to be?

Oberon Zell Ravenheart- Polyamory

Check out who Oberon Zell Ravenheart is here.
Check out who Morning Glory Zell Ravenheart is here.

Oberon Zell Ravenheart-Intentional Communities

Friday, May 30, 2008

Multiple Husbands

Love With The Hands Wide Open

To Have Without Holding--Marge Piercy

Learning to love differently is hard,
love with the hands wide open, love
with the doors banging on their hinges,
the cupboard unlocked, the wind
roaring and whimpering in the rooms
rustling the sheets and snapping the blinds
that thwack like rubber bands
in an open palm.

"It hurts to love wide open
stretching the muscles that feel
as if they are made of wet plaster,
then of blunt knives, then
of sharp knives.

It hurts to thwart the reflexes
of grab, of clutch; to love and let
go again and again. It pesters to remember
the lover who is not in the bed,
to hold back what is owed to the work
that gutters like a candle in a cave
without air, to love consciously,
conscientiously, concretely, constructively.

I can't do it, you say it's killing
me, but you thrive, you glow
on the street like a neon raspberry,
You float and sail, a helium balloon
bright bachelor's button blue and bobbing
on the cold and hot winds of our breath,
as we make and unmake in passionate
diastole and systole the rhythm
of our unbound bonding, to have
and not to hold, to love
with minimized malice, hunger
and anger moment by moment balanced.

From her book Summer People

A triangle was a highly stable structure, she remembered learning in high school geometry, and so it had proved with them. Ten years they had been together. She wondered if Willie and Susan would have stayed married if she had not seduced each of them and then been invited in, permanently.

Each Is Her Own Center

A New Constellation--Marge Piercy

We go intertwined,
him and you and me,
her and him,
you and her,
each the center of our own circle
of attraction and compulsion and gravity.

What a constellation we make:
I call it the Matrix.
I call it the dancing family.
I call it wheels inside wheels.
Ezekial did not know he was seeing
the pattern for enduring relationship
in the late twentieth century.

All the rings shine gold as wedding bands
but they are the hoops magicians use
that seem solid and unbroken, yet can slip
into chains of other rings and out.
They are strong enough to hang houses on,
strong enough to serve as cranes,
yet they are open.
We fall through each other,
we catch each other, we cling, we flip on.

No one is at the center,
but each is her own center,
no one controls
the jangling swing and bounce
and merry-go-round lurching intertangle of this mobile.
We pass through each other trembling
and we pass through each other shrieking
and we pass through each other shimmering.
the circle is neither unbroken
nor broken but living,
a molecule attracting atoms that wants to be a protein,
complex, mortal, able to sustain life,
able to reproduce itself inexactl,
learn and grow.

The Ice Queen

Nice and polite and cold as ice.

Looking for my inner ice queen. Where does she reside? Where do I feel cold?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

An Awakened Life

A gift I received today:

The Awakened Life--Uncommon Wisdom from Everyday Experience by Christopher Titmuss who entered a Buddhist monastery and became a monk for six years.

May all beings live in peace
May all beings live in harmony
May all beings be fully enlightened

One way to conceptualize awakening is to understand that it occurs at two levels, the relative and the ultimate. Relative awakening is when our insights turn our consciousness in a particular direction. One of the problems of relative awakening is that the insights get suffocated by the thoughts of our daily life. As we develop an appreciation of awakening, an energy of commitment is created that gives us passion to follow through with the the core message of our insights.

Ultimate awakening (no problem with follow through) is what happened to the Buddha under than Bodhi tree when he realized the core issues of human existence. This is where The Four Noble Truths come from.

1. There is suffering in the world
2. Suffering arises due to conditions. Desire is a primary condition.
3. There is liberation from the rounds of suffering.
4. There is a way to end suffering through a noble way of life, namely the Eightfold Path.

"In an awakened life our heart is open, steady and purposeful." We can experience an awakened state but then it is difficult to stay awaken while carrying on with our daily lives. Some of the ways to help ourselves stay awake are: contact with conscious people; mindful living; meditation; inquiry; taking risks; and contemplative reading.

May all beings live with wisdom
May all beings be awakened
May all beings live an enlightened life

Opening Up

Well known sex journalist and blogger, Violet Blue, gets advice from award winning writer, and sex educator Tristan Taromino, on coupling with 'eyes wide open'.

Here's an excerpt from an interview in the article Open Relationships Demystified. Go here for the full article printed in the SFGate:
Tristan Taormino: One of the most significant things I learned as I researched this book and talked to so many different people from diverse backgrounds is that while people's open relationships may have things in common, no two are alike. They are as individual as the people involved in them. In my book, I identify and discuss six of the most common styles: partnered non-monogamy, swinging, polyamory, solo polyamory, polyfidelity and the mono/poly combination (where one partner is monogamous and the other is polyamorous). But I emphasize that within each style, there are plenty of subtle and not-so-subtle differences. For example, the way that four people in a quad practice polyamory and a straight spouse and a queer spouse practice it will differ greatly and depend on lots of factors.

Violet Blue: What's the biggest myth about open relationships?

Tristan Taormino: There are so many myths about open relationships. I think one of the most popular is that people in open relationships have intimacy issues and trouble with commitment. The assumption underlying this myth is that true intimacy can only be achieved between two people in a monogamous relationship. In other words, if you are emotionally and physically intimate with more than one person, it somehow dilutes the intimacy of each relationship. This is based on the notion that love is a quantifiable thing, like, if you have 100 pounds of love, you can give 100 pounds to your partner. But if you have multiple partners, you have to split the 100 pounds between them. Intimacy is about being willing to be open, honest and vulnerable with your partner and bonding on a deep level. Monogamy does not automatically equal intimacy and non-monogamy does not automatically equal lack of intimacy. Plus, non-monogamous relationships often involve the same level of commitment as monogamous ones. People in non-monogamous relationships are not avoiding intimacy or commitment, they are cultivating a relationship style that meets their needs and works for them.

Tristan Taormino's newest book is called Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Long Way Baby

I visited with my son and granddaughter today. She'll be four years old in August. We picked cherries together off my tree and she was intent on putting many in a bag to take home to her mommy. I fed her some of the leftover homemade bread I made from my new bread machine on Sunday, which turned out quite lovely thank you. She's likes toast with butter and nutritional yeast. I got her mommy hooked on eating yeast on everything when she lived with me for a year. Maybe my son who grew up eating like that had some influence in that department also.

Another grandson's birthday party today and then I'm off to see clients and then I have a dinner date with a friend. Looking forward to that.

I'm feeling both languid and antsy today. I need to do errands before the party but I'd rather just lay around and read. I'm thinking of a friend's daughter who is playing the victim role in an abusive relationship and I want her to get out. But I know that she won't leave until she's done doing whatever it is that she's doing and that's not soon enough for me. I've been there and done that myself and I have used up all my patience for that sort of thing. Part of me just wants to drive over there, walk in the door, tell her it's over and then kick his sorry ass out of the house. But of course, it's not my business to tell her anything or to kick his sorry ass anywhere and besides, he's bigger than me so I won't be doing that. Instead, I'll blog about it and offer up great appreciation and gratitude that I'm not choosing to live like that anymore. I've come a long way baby and eventually, so will she.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Before I Don't

Memorial Day. Relaxing right now. Being in the moment. Jerry is doing yoga. My son's here, watching a potter on You Tube throw bowls. I just cleaned out the refrigerator, washed dishes and mopped the kitchen floor. A friend, SueBee, is coming for dinner. I have no idea what I'm going to make but bread is preparing in the bread machine. I found the bread machine a few days ago at the second hand store around the corner from my house for $5.00 and decided to try it out. I used to bake bread 25 to 35 years ago when my kids were little. That's when I used to make my own yogurt and fruit leather too. I'm not much of a bread eater these days let alone a bread maker but what the hey, I was inspired. Besides, Jerry likes bread a lot, so there. At the store today I found a pre-made package of bread making ingredients for a bread machine. All I needed to add was warm water and oil so I thought I'd give it a try. It's amazing, you just dump everything in the bread machine, shut the lid and push the start button. In a little over 4 hours the bread is done. We shall see. Also, another of my sons baked me a cherry pie and brought it by this morning while we were still in bed (we slept in until after 10:00 both today and yesterday and I haven't done that in forever--yummy.) I had a slice of pie with coffee for breakfast but it will also serve as a nice dessert tonight.

I'm pretty much out of my shutting down/letting go slump. I read excerpts from the book He's Just Not That Into You and it actually helped me. That was a good line from one of the Sex and the City episodes. My life is full and sweet and why ego demands I go down that path sometimes is beyond me.

I'm relieved to be done with my work at the college for the summer. Well, mostly done. I will work for 2 weeks in June and another 2 weeks in July but other than that I'll just be doing my private practice, cleaning house, visiting my mom, going to a couple of music festivals, a few options of traveling here and there, playing with these and those friends, maybe take on a new lover...ha. I'm also in the process of trying to find either a conversion van or a step van of some sort to use for Burningman. I have a new camping set up in mind for this year and I'm hoping to pull it off.

Earlier today Jerry and I took a bunch of stuff to storage and returned other things to friends who had loaned me stuff for the intensive. It felt good to get a bunch of clutter out of the house. While driving around we stopped at the movie theatre to see if we could catch a showing of the new Indiana Jones movie (it is Harrison Ford who is a hottie after all) but all the afternoon shows were sold out.

I'm looking at the clock and wondering what activity to choose to engage in between now and when SueBee arrives. All day I've had tentative plans to walk in the park, meditate, and do yoga (all of the above.) Along with all those other items on my to do list I'm finding the time now for only one and I think meditating is winning out. I'm going to go sit now before I don't.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


This is a contender for my new avatar picture.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Self Portrait

Letting Go/Self Portrait

The difference between letting go and shutting down:

The dissimilarities are significance. Shutting down moves against, it constricts and closes the heart. It's a protective stance, a shield. Letting go allows the heart to remain open. The need to defend dissipates and resistance to what is dissolves. There is a peaceful surrender, a yielding.

What does one shut down to? The moment; love; the truth; what is real.

What is one letting go of?
Attachment to anything other than what is; judgment; belief in wrong and right; mind; ego.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Melt Me

Rather than being busted at this point, I think I'd rather just have my ego melted a bit, so it loosens it grip--you know, the way an ice cube loosens from the tray when you run a little warm water on it.

Bust My Ego

I've been a bit annoyed the last few days. Not getting what I want and therefore feeling pissy. It's easy to intellectually understand that another has choices and makes the choices that are right for them, but it's another thing entirely to let go of my attachment to another's choices when they aren't the choices that I'd prefer.

I've been contemplating who and I and what I am, and what another is, along with what ego is. I'm noticing my ego is the part of me that gets attached. What I am is this powerful driving intending force. Who I am focuses this force into some specific desire and then ego steps up to the plate and makes strategic plans for self and another to fulfill this desire.

When another's choices don't match my ego's strategies for getting what it wants, or when the universe doesn't somehow immediately bend to my innovative and creative plan, ego rebels. This rebellion creates all sorts of obstacles that actually inhibit the physical manifestation of what I want. Plus, the resistance to what is, feels really bad and creates anxious knots in my mind and body. I notice these self-righteous judgments creeping into my thoughts and disturbing my peace. Ego thrives on attachment and starts making stories and if I don't nip these stories in the bud immediately, I find myself caught up in some weird role, playing some stupid game with another that they don't even know they are a part of.

Ego is fucking tenacious. And I want to be saved. I want another to appear and say "hey", and break the spell of this illusion of separateness. Come and bust my ego, please.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Queen Bitch

Once, in a far away land there lived a queen. This queen was very smart, very beautiful and very religious. This queen worshiped the God, Heyboos, who happened to have a fondness for Chihuahuas. The queen in her love for Heyboos, took to the devotional practice of yipping, yapping and shivering. Over the years, the queen dedicated more and more time to her daily devotional yipping, yapping, and shivering until, quite frankly her subjects thought she was a bit nuts. As time passed, the queen lost more and more respect from those in her servitude until one day, Heyboos decided to show mercy upon his loyal devotee who had sacrificed her very sanity in service to his pleasure. The queen who was already a full on Chihuahua in heart and soul, was transformed into a real yipping, yapping, shivering Chihuahua who ran around nipping at the heels of all who had once gossiped and maligned her queenliness. Henceforth she was known by all, far and wide as Queen Bitch.

Happy Birthday Ren. You're my queen. Always and forever. I love you.

I Am A Convoluted Spiral

Let me see if I can communicate my experience without wrapping my words around into a convoluted and spiral.

Today during walking contemplation I contrasted who I am as compared with what I am. I experienced my who self as this unique me, this one who is present right here, right now. Of course, what I am is present right here, right now also, but my whatness seems to be more generalized and my whoness more specific. Who I am is an individual making the choices I make. I notice that who I am is reflected in what I am aware of. I feel myself in the moment, standing on the launching pad of my future (my whoness's future), and I am fully cognizant of who I am through the noticing of what I am noticing. The fact that I (who I am) have made the choice to notice what I am noticing (this seems to be related to awareness being aware of itself rather than specifically what it is aware of) is what makes the creative force (otherwise known as intention) that is propelling me into my future whoness, conscious. This creative force would still exist of course, even if I wasn't noticing what I'm noticing, but then it would be creation by default, rather than by conscious intention.

I realize that my specific intentions are who I am and that who I am is a choice. It's all tied up in free will, as who I am uses this free will to continuously choose. On the other hand, what I am seems to have no choice, I just am what I am and that's what I am. No choice, just what is. Who I am gets to choose to be that, have this, do this and that. What I am is an intending force. Who I am chooses what to intend. If you want to know who I am, then look at the choices I make. That's me. If you what to know what I am, well...that's the part of me that is the same as you, but who we are just chooses to express ourselves differently.

I am a convoluted spiral.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Today I Ached

Today I ached for him to kiss me.
Not the tight lipped pecks he usually offers me.
But a real kiss, soft and lingering and warm.
Imagining this, I longed for your passion.
And blessed the day you claimed me as your own.

The Juice Of My Pomegranate

Sexy passages from The Song of Songs (aka The Song of Solomon)

Then he thrust his hand into the opening, and my inmost being yearned for him. I arose to open to my beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with liquid myrrh, upon the handles of the bolt.

Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks.
Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.

How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! How much better is thy love than wine! And the smell of thine ointments than all spices!

Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon.

...Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.

I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.

I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.

His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.

And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.

O that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother! when I should find thee without, I would kiss thee...

I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother's house, who would instruct me: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Dr. Carolyn McKeown married Jerry and me. She is a Religious Science minister and is retiring soon so I wanted to make it to one of her Sunday lessons before she hands the mantle over to someone else. My mom's new assisted care-home is within walking (or wheelchair pushing distance) from the church which sits on a man-make lake called California Park, so we stopped by and picked her up and took her to church with us this morning.

I used to study Science of Mind which is a metaphysical, new thought, religion founded by Ernest Holmes. I was a member of the church once and attended off and on for many years. When the old music director was still alive he would occasionally call Jerry in to accompany the choir with some percussion and when Jerry and I were married, part of the choir sang at our wedding which was outside under a big oak tree in a secluded grove in Bidwell Park, here in Chico. It was quite the affair with over 200 family and friends in attendance. After an African-Brazilian dance performance, as Jerry and I walked from opposite ends of the grove towards one another, the choir sang Siyahamba to the accompaniment of live drummers.
We are walking in the light of God,
we are walking in the light of God.
We are walking in the light of God,
we are walking in the light of God.
We are walking,
Oo we are walking in the light of God.
We are walking,
Oo we are walking in the light of God.

Siyahamba ekukhanyena kwenkhosa,
siyahamba ekukhanyena kwenkhosa.
Siyahamba ekukhanyena kwenkhosa,
siyahamba ekukhanyena kwenkhosa.
Oo siyahamba ekukhanyena kwenkhosa.
Oo siyahamba ekukhanyena kwenkhosa.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

100 Degrees

Before noon today I'd already received two phone calls from my mother asking me to rescue her from her new assisted care home. She was serious. She's spent two nights there. It not that I didn't expect this, I was just hoping that she might relax there for a week before this all started back up again. She is so struggling with her life, disappointed that her "golden years" are not so golden. Growing old is a bitch. I agree. But I think that my experiences with her process are teaching me a lot and I'm thankful for the lessons.

We are having record heat in Chico this weekend. Summer has hit with a vengeance. It was 100 degrees yesterday, 100 today, and is suppose to be 100 tomorrow before dropping into the 90's and then down into the high 80's for a week after that.

I'm leaving for a party in the mountains soon. The weather will be a bit cooler and there is a nice little creek that runs through the property. Looking forward to a cold beer and soaking my feet in the cold water.

Spent some time at the farmer's market this morning, drank some coffee, connected with friends and came home with some asparagus, strawberries and cheese for the party tonight.

This afternoon I visited with my mom, one of my daughters and 3 of my grandchildren. Tried to get a few things straigthend out at the assisted care home...

Thursday, May 15, 2008


I've been literally running from early morning to late at night, almost non-stop for what seems like several weeks. I've been working extra hours at the college to make up for hours missed and everyday life has deemed it necessary to hit me with an extra load of obligations that all need to be done NOW, not tomorrow. With help from one of my sons, along with a friend's son, I moved my mother into an assisted care home today. It wasn't my first choice but it's what was available and she likes it there, at least for now. We'll see how long that lasts. She is still on the waiting list for the one we like the best. By late afternoon, early evening I was exhausted. Done in. I imagined that what I really needed was a good cry but decided to drink instead. The cry will come later in due time.

Jerry had an out of town gig and was loading the car with his gear while attempting to persuade me to come along with him. As much as I love hearing his band play, I just wasn't up to the effort of it all, explaining that what I really needed was a stiff drink accompanied by good conversation with a friend. I was lamenting my situation to him, complaining that I had no friends to call on to comfort me. One of my best friends lives in Santa Barbara, 7 plus hours away. My other best friend has recently moved to L.A., another 7 plus hours away. One friend who still lives in Chico and is the perfect cocktail buddy, just left for Alaska and another friend's parents just arrived from out of town today. As I was bemoaning my "friendless" situation to Jerry, explaining that it's one thing to have friends to call and then perhaps be confronted with them all being too busy to come to your rescue, but that it is another thing entirely to have no friends, not one, nada, zilch, to even call in the first place. Woe is me, my friends are all gone, all unavailable, I have no one. No one. I'm all alone. What a sad sack sorry state of affairs. Jerry continued packing his gear, attempting to pay me due diligence and empathy, while I preceded narrating my tale of abandonment and grief. In the midst of my sordid recital, a visual of various friends would come to mind, all of whom I immediately ruled out as appropriate companions for my evening. "Oh, she doesn't drink....I've never called him spur of the moment before...she would be too busy..." Then a beautiful visual of two lovely friends appeared and with no valid reason to dismiss them as potential allies of the night, I simply excused them without a logical process of deduction. Ignoring my inner urgings, I continued my tale of woe.

The phone rang and Jerry said, "That's a friend calling for you to go out and have a drink." Yea, right, I retorted, I have no friends. There was certainly a small kernel of truth in the emotions I was harboring but mostly I was acting, entertaining myself and Jerry by creating drama with an exaggerated sense of victimhood, trying to suck every ounce of TLC out of him before he drove off into the sunset leaving me even more abandoned and alone. I answered the phone and there he was, the perfect friend whose face had just appeared to me moments before. The face I had deliberately chosen to ignore. After a few minor pleasantries came his offer--would I care to join him for a few drinks during happy hour? His wife would drop him off at my house and we could walk downtown together and she would meet up with us later. I had to laugh. I did laugh. And I accepted his offer. I am so blessed. So incredibly blessed.

The double shot margarita lubricated and loosened my resistance to connection. We chatted about the important and significant things of life, mostly the challenge and spiritual practice of taking the time from our busy schedules to nurture relationships and connect with Another. Later, his lovely wife joined us and we shared dinner and dreams together. He even picked up the tab. Jerry, then home from his gig, joined us as we perused the market for strawberries, asparagus, cherries and a Starbucks frappucino.

I give thanks.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Royal Funk

Last night Jerry and I went out with a group of friends to the Sierra Nevada Big Room. The New Orleans All Stars, blessed our fair city with some royal funk and we danced our butts off! They were incredible with Cyril Nevill on percussion; George Porter on bass; Raymond Weber on drums; and Henry Butler playing the piano in his spectacular mustard colored silk suite. Sizzling hot.

For You, The Shining Light Of Truth

During walking contemplation today (my lunch break) I walked by the creek and pond, past the organic orchard and then took my shoes off and waded across the creek. I thought the water would be colder than it was, so refreshing had I been any other place (not at the college where I work) I would have stripped off my clothes and gone for a dip.

I was contemplating what I am and what another is while practicing being in the moment with all that is, I had a lot of fear come up for me around rattlesnakes again (the beware of rattlesnakes sign is still up) and part of me figures they are lurking everywhere, behind every blade of grass, log, and rock. I realized that Another has the potential to bring up a lot of fear in me. Then I noticed the two things I feared most in my life at that moment were rattlesnakes and my eldest daughter. That thought made me very sad. I love my daughter so much, as I love all of my children, my babies. But my daughter is really scary to me right now. I perceive her as this huge lumbering painbody, so fragile, so hurt, so full of anger and animosity that she would strike at me just like a rattlesnake and bite hard, inflicting her poison into me. I know I can withstand her bites, I have in the past, as she has withstood mine. And I will continue to withstand her bites, as many that may come my way, I'm just so tired of it. And they hurt. I have no time to hate. No time for bitterness and regret. Not that I don't have regrets because I do, many. Too many. But I try not to feed them too much. They are already overly grown. My life is so full, there is so much potential for love and connection and that is all I seek. My heart's desire. My daughter is on her path and I know that she will eventually figure it out. She has choices to make like all of us. And I respect her right to make her choices, whatever they may be. Yes, whatever they may be. I honor her. She is a beautiful and talented young woman. She has an incredible spirit and a generous loving heart. I want only her happiness. I want for her to experience peace and the truth of who and what she is. I know her pain wants validation and justification for it's existence. And I acknowledge my part its creation, at least some of it. I am her mother after all and to deny my part would be negligent. But she's a big girl now and the choices are hers. She seems pretty trapped in her painbody and I know what that's like as I've been there. I lived in my painbody for a very long time. My pain body helped create her painbody. I want for her to be free. And when she's ready, I know she will free herself. I can't do it for her, nobody can. I wish for her the shining light of truth that lives in the moment. It's such a lovely place to be. And it's real. All else is the mind-fuck of an ego created hell.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mothers Everywhere

I remember when I was entrenched in an old family pattern, taught to me by my mother--a memory well suited for Mother's Day. I would get very depressed each and every Mother's Day ( as well as my birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving etc.) I always placed too many expectations on the holidays, and of course no one ever followed suit with my plans, even if they were flexible and unconscious. I didn't need to have any specific agenda and usually didn't but I did have some overall sense of how the day should proceed, who to expect a gift from, who should call me, how my loved ones should behave. Fortunately, over the years I've come to be mostly satisfied with allowing the day to unfold as it will.

It's been a sweet day with many precious moments (I noticed lots of mothers and daughters out and about all over today) and now Jerry is rubbing my feet while we watch 60 minutes and I write this Mother's Day post for my blog. Soon, The Tudors, the story of King Henry the VIII will be on. I'm thinking of all of my sweet friends as well as my daughters who are Mothers and I'm sending love and blessings to all of you, as well as to all mothers everywhere, and to my own mother in particular. Thank you mommy, for doing your part in bringing me into this world and for giving me so much. Where you were lacking, I know no lack and have nothing to forgive. I understand that our mother/child journey has brought me to where I am today, to this moment, the very launching pad into my future. I love you and thank you for your love. One thing I always knew, was that you loved me.

One of the greatest joys of my own motherhood was nursing my babies, sometimes in tandem. I think my breasts were continuously sucked on for something like 15 years straight!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Enlightenment Intensive Pictures

A few May 1-4 Enlightenment Intensive pictures.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Andrew Cohen

In my opinion Andrew Cohen is an intelligent and very spiritually evolved person. I love reading his stuff. Check out his website here. Check out his blog here. Check out his What Is Enlightenment? magazine here.

This biography is from his website:

"Andrew Cohen is an American spiritual teacher and visionary thinker widely recognized for his original contribution to the emerging field of evolutionary spirituality. Through his talks, retreats, publications, and ongoing dialogues with the leading philosophers, mystics, and activists of our time, he is becoming a defining voice in an international alliance of individuals and organizations who are committed to the transformation of human consciousness and culture.

Cohen's original spiritual teaching for life in the twenty-first century, Evolutionary Enlightenment, places the traditional realization of enlightenment in the context of fourteen billion years of cosmic evolution. As a vocal critic of the extreme individualism that characterizes much of contemporary spirituality, Cohen is awakening in people around the world a purpose for living that far transcends egoism: namely, a moral obligation to wholeheartedly participate in the evolution of consciousness itself. He travels extensively each year, lecturing and leading retreats on Evolutionary Enlightenment throughout the United States, Europe, India, Israel, and Australia. In his pursuit of a contemporary redefinition of the spiritual life, Cohen has sought out religious leaders and spiritual teachers around the world to inquire into many of the most pressing issues facing humanity today. He was a featured speaker on the future of religion at the 2004 Parliament of the World's Religions, has given talks on authentic leadership to major corporations, and is also a founding member of philosopher Ken Wilber's Integral Institute...

The founder and editor in chief of the international, award-winning magazine What Is Enlightenment?, Cohen is dedicated to creating "nothing less than a revolution in consciousness and culture." Since 1991, Cohen and his small team of editors have met with mystics and materialists, physicists and philosophers, activists and athletes in an effort to create a popular forum for dialogue and inquiry regarding the meaning of human life in the postmodern era. Converting to a more mainstream, quarterly magazine format with its twenty-fourth issue, WIE has grown beyond the limits of its printed pages, spawning an international speakers series called Voices from the Edge, an online multimedia forum known as WIE Unbound, and a partnership with the Connecticut-based Graduate Institute (TGI) to offer an accredited master's program in Conscious Evolution. Recent contributors to WIE include H.H. the Dalai Lama, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Carlos Santana, Ken Wilber, Don Beck, Ray Kurzweil, Howard Bloom, Thomas de Zengotita, Elisabet Sahtouris, Robert Wright, Duane Elgin, Dadi Janki, and Andrei Codrescu, among many others.

Cohen was born in New York City in 1955. Raised as an atheist, his life was irrevocably changed by a spontaneous revelation of "cosmic consciousness" at the age of sixteen. Haunted by the experience, Cohen eventually abandoned his dream of becoming a jazz drummer and, at the age of twenty-two, began seeking spiritual enlightenment. Moving from the study of martial arts to Kriya Yoga to Buddhism, Cohen's search finally came to an end in 1986 when he met the Indian master of Advaita Vedanta H.W.L. Poonja. Shortly after this life-transforming encounter, and with the encouragement of his guru (with whom he later parted ways philosophically), Cohen began to teach.

Spiritual mentor to hundreds of students worldwide, Cohen founded EnlightenNext in 1988, a nonprofit educational and spiritual organization dedicated to pushing the edge of progressive culture. In addition to an expanding network of individuals and groups around the world, EnlightenNext has public centers in New York, Boston, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, and Rishikesh, India. The main center for EnlightenNext is a 220-acre retreat venue in western Massachusetts, where Cohen and his largest body of students currently reside."

Empty Nest

My baby left at midnight on a train to Portland, Oregon. He has a sales job there for the summer. He's 21, the youngest of the 6 children I gave birth to and while I'm happy that he is off on a young adult adventure, leaving home for the summer, and maybe for good, I'm sad too. Well, not sad really, but I'm just knowing that I'm going to miss him being around. He called me today while still on the train. That was sweet of him. They had been delayed in Eugene, Oregon after a boulder crashed into the train during a land slide. No one was hurt. As I said, he's my baby and I've lived with him for over 21 years. And he's the last of my husband's and my 9 children to leave the nest. I'm glad he's testing out his wings and I'm sure he's going to fly just fine. All the same, I'm having fantasies of traveling to Portland to visit him. I've lived there before, Puddletown USA--City of Roses. I was there for the ice storm of 1978 when his brother was a newborn and I moved away in 1982. Wow, has it really been 26 years since I lived there? He and his brother were born on the same day 8 years and 1 hour apart. He's the one who drove him to the train last night. I hear the city as changed a lot and I have friends there. Yes, a trip to Portland just might be in the cards...

Not that it isn't exciting to to have the house all to ourselves, just Jerry and me. Now there's some possibilities! I've lived with kids since 1971. That's 37 years! Wow. Changes. My nest is empty of children and I'm 53 years old. I wonder when was the last time I made love on the dining room table?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My First

Our May 1-4 Enlightenment Intensive was awesome with 10 participants and 5 staff. Our chief/senior monitor arrived in Chico the night before. I picked him up at the bus station and we all went out for Thai Food. Later that night we visited and talked about our plans for the Intensive while I baked the last of the chocolate chip cookies I was bringing for the Saturday afternoon snack. Getting out of town on Thursday to head up to the awesome Rambln Rose Ranch that sits on 165 acres at the bottom of a beautiful canyon on Big Chico Creek was a chore. I thought we were organized and that all the last minute packing and pick-ups would be simple but we worked and ran around town from 7:00 am until almost 3:00 pm. Jerry had already run up and down the hill a couple of times, meeting the guy who delivered the porta potty, putting up signs to help guide participants to the Intensive, dropping off loads of supplies, putting up tents etc.

We finally arrived around 3:30 and got straight to the business of getting everything set up for the participants who were arriving between 6:00 and 7:00. That was a lot of work! We were far from completing that task but the space was lovely, it was what it was, and I was happy in my exhaustion. Patrick didn't arrive until 6:30 pulling his travel trailer which was full of the second half of our supplies. He had been running around all day packing and getting things together for the Intensive also. Jerry arrived around 7:00 with our cook and more last minute supplies we had forgotten.

We had moved most of the furniture out of the room we had picked as our dyad space and I was struggling trying to arrange the chairs and cushions for the dyads. I tried every which way and was feeling pretty stuck. I loved the room but it had all these pillars spread out in the middle of it that were interfering with the dyad rows. Finally I got Patrick in there to help me and within a minute he found the angle that made it all work perfectly. No wonder the man is an architect. Those skills come in handy.

By 8:00 we had tea and a snack out with everyone pretty much settled in with their sleeping arrangements and by 8:30 we all gathered for the opening talk. What a nice group with seven newcomers! We were thrilled to have so many fresh folks who didn't have to work for their beginners mind and also thankful and comforted by the veterans. By 10:00 pm we sent everyone off into their silent retreat contemplating their questions, to get a good night's sleep (some headed off for the hot tub). By the time my mind and body hit the air mattress in my tent sometime after midnight I was ready for rest...I thought. But I was too cold to fall asleep. Then I noticed I was dehydrated and needed water but had none close to the bed and I was too cold to get up and get it. Then I had to pee but again, I was too cold to get up from under the covers. Finally I braved the cold to pee and find water but after returning to bed I still couldn't sleep...all night I lay awake until the light and birds chirping at 5:30 am pulled me out of my bed. Incredibly enough, I felt rested and soon Rick was ringing the bell to wake the participants with Good morning, this is the first day of the Enlightenment Intensive. You have 15 minutes until the morning talk.

What a day. What can I say? The technique is powerful and I loved watching everyone's process unfold. I felt like a mother hen with all her little chicks. By afternoon rest time I still couldn't sleep so we laid and read poetry.

It took our cook awhile to get settled into the kitchen, organizing everything and getting the menu down but she accomplished that task with an open heart and incredible artistic ability with her culinary skills. She's a very gentle person and her presence at the Intensive added a shining sweetness. Although the timing of the meals wasn't perfect, we never had too much of a wait and all in all, we were extremely well fed and cared for in that department. I feel very blessed and gifted with her hard work and enthusiastic attitude. She offered us a lot of love. It had meant a lot to us, to offer exceptional food at this Intensive and that task was accomplished.

Walking contemplations were awesome with the creek and wildlife, surrounded by all of nature and the magnificent canyon walls. We couldn't have asked for more perfect weather--warm and sunny days, clear starry nights--and then a mini thunderstorm rolled in Sunday evening during a dyad, the skies darkened, the wind rose, a few raindrops were shed and then it cleared again to sunny skies for our dinner eating contemplation.

We had the sweet joyful puppy, Molly, who loved all the activity going on and would raid our tents, eating toothbrushes, soap and various other items. Molly is so smart that she could actually unzip the tents. We also contended with her cohort the cat, who loved being in the dyad room with us. She would push the latched door open and then prance through the middle of the dyads distracting the participants. She loved being loved on and was pretty sweet throughout until she scratched one of the participants on the leg, breaking the skin. Bad kitty. All in all I think the dog and cat proved to be only minor distractions and just added to all the love.

Rick was an incredible chief/senior monitor and his ability to jump in wherever needed and hold things together amazes me. He does his job exceptionally well, it's truly a service of his heart. Jerry was our de-odder/silent monitor, and all around go-fer, (a de-odder is an extra person who sits in on the dyads whenever he may be needed to make it an even number) and he helped us an incredible amount too. Patrick and I worked well together and it all seemed to flow very smoothly with us sharing the role of Enlightenment Intensive Master.

We read lots of poems and inspiring stories. We did what's done at Enlightenment Intensives, the basic foundation being Dyad Communication, using the tried and true technique that Charles Berner (aka Yogeswar Muni) taught us. The participants contemplated their questions, Who Am I?, What Am I?, What Is Love?, What Is Life?, What Is Another?, intending to directly experience the truth and communicating whatever arises as a result of that contemplation. We did our best to help refine the technique as the dyads and days went by. Some of the new participants seemed extremely attached to personalizing the communication, continuing to say you in their communication, rather than using the term Another. One strange little kink was the Thank You, at the end of the dyad which morphed into Thank you for sharing, for several of the new participants, to the chagrin of the old-timers. We tried to guide them in the best way possible to facilitate their process and the process of others. What to be strict about and what to let slide was tricky at times. People make their choices and we wanted to respect that, while at the same time, maintaining the integrity of the technique which works if you work it. We had 32 dyads total over the course of the 3 days. We had the full spectrum of pleasure and pain, stuckness, tears, laughter, phenomena, and Enlightenment Experiences. Patrick and I shared the last dyad of the Intensive together, gazing into one another's eyes and crying while one woman's angelic voice serenaded us into bliss as she narrated her breakthrough simultaneously as it occurred.

I am so blessed and feel so honored to have been graced with the presence of all our wonderful participants and staff and especially two of my Enlightenment Master's Training buddies who came and supported me in my first endeavor to master an Intensive. And to Another who flew all the way from Georgia! I feel so much gratitude to my fellow seeker of truth, who first introduced me to the Enlightenment Intensives, my good friend and playmate, my anam cara, and co-master Patrick. Thank you sweetheart. And to Jerry, my sweetheart, husband, lover, and best friend who supports me in all I do, be, have. And to Rick of course, the chief of all chief monitors, you are the best! I could go on and on...

I will go on and on...

In truth and love.