Archive | walking the talk

As I Surrender

words wash over me

“Let yourself feel the ouches that arise in your heart. Let yourself feel them and give them your love and attention.”

i rise up for air, gulping, gasping, reaching for where the shore used to be

“It is love and attention that softens them.”

before the next wave, the next words, pushes me back under

“It’s a way of blessing yourself, of blessing the life that flows through you.”

i struggle for control only to realize it was all an illusion,

the comfort,

the control…

“You’re saying, in so many words, it’s okay. I love all of me. Sh-sh- you’re safe. You’re safe here, in my heart. In my love.” ~Karly Randolph Pitman

as i surrender, going under for one last time.


This quote came to me innocently wrapped in a daily inspirational email and it shook my soul. Quoting John Tarrant, the author also wrote,

“Attention is the most basic form of love; through it we bless and are blessed.”

It makes me wonder what have I been loving and blessing with my attention lately?

Not Swept Away

Today I sit in the middle of a serious emotional flashback.

I woke up, like the rest of the world, to hear the devastating news of the 8.9 earthquake that hit Japan. Living in California, a stone’s throw away from a fault line or two, there are no words to encompass everything that churned inside of me as I heard the news unfold.  Then it hit me, an earthquake half way around the world was triggering tsunami warnings up and down the west coast.

Living in Oakland and working in San Francisco, put me in the warning zone and instantly I was taken back to August 24, 1992 and the hurricane that I lived through, the day that changed EVERYTHING in my life.

Infrared image of Andrew making landfall in Florida


It was all too familiar. A beautiful clear day and thousands of miles of away there was something coming my way that I could not stop and I could not avoid. As the waves began to hit Hawaii,  the local news stated that there was probably nothing to worry about. There was no evacuation order issued for where I live but I couldn’t bring myself to leave my house so I hung out at home a bit longer, waiting out the warning.

My heart weeps for the people in Japan who are trying to get to safety, who are trying to comprehend the day that will change everything. I know, first hand, what they face in terms of rebuilding their lives, their homes, their sense of security. Even though my day remained beautiful and I was spared, I sit in the emotion of the day and try not to let it sweep me away.

Finding My Way HOME

The decision was made months ago, the excitement rising as the calendar edged closer and closer to a new year, a new beginning, a fresh start for what feels like the entire world. My choice of word for 2011 is home.

The choice was easy. In the space of the last two years I have been to Hawaii, Montana, Seattle, Watsonville (CA), Vancouver (Canada), Florence (Italy), Oregon (twice) and Florida (twice). I have taken a helicopter ride and ridden in a submarine, I have been on horseback and claimed myself a goddess, I have faced some issues and learned to befriend myself, I have painted and written with creative inspirations and connected deeply with friends. I am expanding my definition of work as I am creating a new business and am learning to start open.

The choice of my word is me deciding it was time to stop moving for a bit and to come back home. It is time to come back to myself.

A couple of months ago,  I began to brainstorm the word, trying it on for size, asking myself what does HOME even mean?

Part of it is certainly about the classic definition of home – the place or a place where one lives. I have literally lived on the edge of a construction zone since September 2009

The door on the left is my front door.

and as the last of the work in the shared yard is being complete (fingered crossed this month) my surroundings will be a deep comfort zone again. Yet the word HOME, for me, represents so much more.

So, I went to the dictionary and delighted in these phrases:

~a place dear to one

~the place where something is invented, founded or developed

~one’s own ground

~an area where player is safe

~a place where one can be at ease

~definitely safe or successful

~concerning one deeply

~to return home accurately from a distance

~to direct or be directed onto a point or target

~to be directed towards a goal

The last two years has been about collecting wisdom and inspiration from what the world and by those that I deeply admire. It has been about having experiences and adventures and now it feels like it is the time to allow this massive, jumbled mix of goodness to churn and deepen and sink in to my being. It is about finding my own ground, a place deep within me.

It is time for finding my way home… to me…

Scenes from a Year: 2010 Edition

As I rode the train in to work yesterday morning and thought about writing a post sharing my word for 2011 (more on that soon) I noticed that when I looked around my life, I often only see what isn’t going so well, what is missing. I rarely take the time to look at the bright spots, the successes, the highlights that make up my life. Later, I read this post written by a dear and treasured friend – her highlights from 2010. Suitably inspired, I decided that before I leave 2010 for the beautifully blank slate and new beginning of 2011, I should share with you some highlights from my little corner of the world.

Following my passion for health and wellness, this summer I graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and became a certified holistic health and lifestyle coach.  Since then I have been incredibly delighted to work with some amazing clients. I continue to be constantly filled by their truth and their willingness to show up in their lives. It is so much my pleasure to play even a small part in their unfolding.

Determined to be the best health coach, counselor and human being that I can be, I enrolled in Interchange – A Course in Radical Counseling. Only three months into a year long process, this program is shaping up to be a life changing, heart opening, soul altering experience. I suspect that it will end up being truly one of the best (and scariest) things I have done for myself.

Embracing the notion of “YES,” 2010 fed my traveling soul.

First was a lovely and unexpected invitation from the very same inspiring, dear and treasured friend mentioned above. She found an ACE Camp workshop in Seattle with Sabrina Ward Harrison. Pure creative heaven!

Then there was a trip to Vancouver, Canada to see one of the loveliest people I know and to hear my favorite singer at Lilith Fair.

Polaroid by Vivienne McMaster

Did I mention that I was unexpectedly asked to travel to Florence, Italy to assist another of  my ridiculously inspiring friends at her first retreat?

In Italy?????

The stars magically aligned to get me there and Italy was, of course, Italy, but what I lives in my heart is the joy I felt witnessing someone I admire leap, arms and heart wide open, into her dreams.

I had the pleasure of going back to the Oregon Coast for a Be Present Retreat reunion. It was so soothing to find myself nestled in a familiar beach house with a group of women who simply rock my world.

Somehow, I also managed to find an unexpected path back to my body by reading every word written by Geneen Roth and then attending one of her retreats. Near the end of the last day I met two kindred soul sisters. Though the retreat was last May, we continue to talk and support each other each and every week. They bring their whole selves to our friendship and in turn give me space to bring my whole being. The unconditional support of people who want nothing but the best for you is such a remarkable feeling that I hope never to take for granted.

Despite all of the amazing things that have happened to me in 2010, I think my most significant highlight, the biggest success for me has been becoming debt free.  Deciding that I needed to shift my relationship to money, credit and abundance, I dove into my savings and wrote a ridiculously large check to my credit card company to pay off the balance owed. I also made the last payment on a three year car loan realizing that I haven’t been unencumbered by debt since before I got my first credit card at 18.

Living debt free is one of the things on my bucket list and I did it! A shift is already occurring as I step into a new way of mindful living. To remain debt free will require mindfulness – to live within my means and to pay as I go but this new found feeling of freedom and lightness tells me that I am so up for the challenge.

So these are snippets of a year.

On New Year’s Day, I had the pleasure of joining a yoga workshop benefiting a local food bank. As part of that workshop, we were invited to participate in a writing exercise that had us look at the surprises, the successes, the failures and the learnings of 2010. The last sentence that I scrawled on my journal page, a hastily written last learning from the year said:

“Forgiveness and acceptance of my human condition. I am not and never will be perfect. Can I be ok with that?”

I am not and never will I be perfect.

Can I be ok with that?

If it means that I continue to say yes without hesitation to the unexpected, if it means that I continue to set intentions and sometimes fall short only to learn an even more important lesson, if it means stretching beyond my comfort zone and into my life, arms and heart wide open, then I can wholehearted answer yes… I can definitely be ok with that!

All is Merry and Bright

A line from a song is running through my head about how all is merry and bright, hang your stockings and say your prayers ’cause Santa Claus comes tonight.

All is merry and bright…

I flew across the country to visit my family and sitting in my old bedroom, after a delicious Christmas dinner I find myself struggling to find meaning in this day. When I was a kid it is easy. The day used to be all about the wide and bright grin on the face of a neighborhood boy this morning. He was happily riding his new scooter and there was such pure joy and happiness in getting just what he wanted, his dream fulfilled. Today I find myself struggling to find that well of pure joy. There are no small children in my immediate family so I now find that the opening of gifts, while certainly fun, isn’t where meaning lies.

Please don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t mean to sound ungrateful. I am truly grateful for everything that I have received, from the lovely framed set of program covers from a series of plays I adored this year, to beautiful handmade prayer shawl, to a pair of cozy Keen boots, to the “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” cookbook, to the copy of Eat, Pray, Love. Everything has me feeling seen in very unexpected and humbling ways.

All is merry and bright…

Yet somehow, after all of the presents have been opened, after dinner has been consumed, the kitchen cleaned up and as we each retired to our corners to watch the basketball game or nap or write a blog entry, I feel as though something within me is not quite content.

All is merry and bright…

There is this bittersweet feeling in me. Maybe I have too many expectations. Maybe I want to hold on to this moment of being together knowing that it is not guaranteed to happen again. Maybe it is being in my old home so far away from my adopted home and what now brings me comfort. Maybe I am comparing my experience to some ideal standard that no one actually lives. Maybe I am missing feeling of service by volunteering at the local food kitchen. In this moment, all I know for sure is that meaning can come from so many different places and I will take comfort in knowing that I get to decide what will make it truly be merry and bright.

“Our obligation is to give meaning to life and in doing so to overcome the passive, indifferent life”~ Elie Wiesel