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Prayer as a Practice

Prayer as a Practice


I have always prayed.  As a young girl I remember very clearly having an internal dialogue with my guardian angels. I spoke to them often and asked for their guidance and intervention on numerous occasions. I also recall saying the Lord’s Pray anytime that I was frightened, which was quite often given the house I grew up in and my natural proclivity to be anxious and fearful. In addition, prayer was an open point of discussion in my childhood home and nothing outside of the realm of usual family activities.  


As happens in so many family stories, I stretched my independence muscles a little too vigorously and found myself out on my own at twenty with my newborn daughter. My husband had no formal practice for prayer and often teased me about this seamless connection I had developed between this world and the next.  I spoke much differently than he did about angels and the sharing of energy which only deepened the divide between us.  Being young and ignorant to the feminine power that I had, I became submissive on this topic and stopped openly practicing what I knew to be true. Regardless, that rich inner dialogue that had been developed in my childhood could not be silenced and I continually prayed and asked for guidance for the many challenges that faced me.


As the years passed and I was blessed with another beautiful child, I decided to lay the foundation by speaking openly with my children about their guardian angels and the importance of energy. Rarely did I ever take them to church, but if asked they will tell you they always knew me to be a spiritual person. I was well aware of my responsibility for the children’s spiritual growth but choose to impart it in my own unique way much to the chagrin of my parents. Reflecting back, I believe this period of time to be my first foray into mysticism and all that it means to be constantly questioning and developing a personal relationship with spirit. I did not know that was where I was ultimately headed; I only knew that it felt right.


Morning Prayer of the Optina Elders

O Lord, grant that I may meet all that this coming day brings to me with spiritual tranquility. Grant that I may fully surrender myself to Thy holy Will.

At every hour of this day, direct and support me in all things. Whatsoever news may reach me in the course of the day, teach me to accept it with a calm soul and the firm conviction that all is subject to Thy holy Will.

Direct my thoughts and feelings in all my words and actions. In all unexpected occurrences, do not let me forget that all is sent down from Thee.

Grant that I may deal straightforwardly and wisely with every member of my family, neither embarrassing nor saddening anyone.

O Lord, grant me the strength to endure the fatigue of the coming day and all the events that take place during it. Direct my will and teach me to pray, to believe, to hope, to be patient, to forgive, and to love.



During some of my most difficult years of transformation, my father sent me a prayer as he often did to soothe me. This particular prayer, the Morning Prayer of the Optina Elders, can still be found on my refrigerator door. When moving around my kitchen, my eyes typically fall on these two phrases, “Direct my thoughts and feelings in all my words and actions. In all unexpected occurrences, do not let me forget that all is sent down from Thee. Grant that I may deal straightforwardly and wisely with every member of my family, neither embarrassing nor saddening anyone.” What powerful words to read many times over and internalize.


When faced with difficulties it becomes so easy to only think of self rather than those around us.  Our thoughts exist in a constant loop of analysis and those surrounding us can get lost in the noise.  Belief that all is sent down by a higher power, whether you profess to this or not, is a comfort when the world feels very much out of control. I also pause each time I read the last few words, “neither embarrassing nor saddening anyone”, so hard to do when feeling wronged.  It is much easier to think angry thoughts about those that have chosen to be hurtful without any consideration. It is only natural to want to defend self, but does this have to mean saddening another? 


It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one’s life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than ‘try to be a little kinder.’

-Aldous Huxley


I continue to study this prayer each time my eyes find it among the other refrigerator decor. I linger just a bit longer and try to read each word with new eyes. Reading is often followed by a sigh of recognition and a promise to begin anew, no matter what is troubling me, a prayer for the ages and one that I will continue to cherish for many years to come.


We All Have Hard Days

We All Have Hard Days




Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the Pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

—William Ernest Henley


I am a strong person, this I know.  My hardships are nothing in comparison to others who have walked a much more challenging path.  I know this and am incredibly thankful for everything in my life.  I manage to be cheerful and optimistic most of the time but every sunny day has to be balanced by some darkness in order to fully appreciate the light when it once again returns. Everything is in the balance.

My darker days are the ones in which I question why I have been given the burdens that I have.  I see others that can pick up and travel at a moments notice, stay up all night until the sun comes out and see the sunrise with sleepy eyes.  I see families spending the day at the park and chasing children in the grass, running with total abandon.  I question why I married someone that didn’t love me and why I stayed for so long. I think about the oddity of my personality, one that is a loner in every sense of the word yet enjoys and needs people. I ruminate over my nutritional and physical needs in comparison to others who have such a laissezfaire attitude about the same. I ponder these things inevitably sinking into the “woe is me” mentality.  For someone as optimistic as myself, this is foreign territory and quite frankly, it scares me every time I find myself in this position.

On days like these I often read the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley and find solace in the story of perseverance and strength. I specifically read over and over the passage that states, “It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul”. I am reminded that I am in control of how I view my circumstance.  I can choose to view it through a lens of disadvantage, hardship and illness or I can choose to view it through a lens of joy, beauty and love.  The choice has been and will always be mine. When in the throes of a MS relapse, being so fatigued I can hardly get out of bed, I can view this hardship as an opportunity.  Severe fatigue allows for a greater appreciation of rest.  I value the time I spend talking with my loved ones while I rest on the couch, reading a book that had been set aside or simply sitting with someone without distraction.  In this sense, restful periods can be received as a gift.


Let nothing disturb you,

Let nothing frighten you,

All things are passing away:

God never changes.

Patience obtains all things

Whoever has God lacks nothing;

God alone suffices.


— St. Teresa of Avila


It is absolutely true that we all have periods of distress and self-doubt.  If someone appears perennially optimistic, I wonder what lies beneath.  Yes, I cry tears of frustration and sadness and I also have times of anger when I shout to the heavens, “Why me?!”.  Admittedly these times often happen in the privacy of my room, usually in the shower so that those I care about are not alarmed by my outburst.  That being said, it is a grave disservice to others who may be struggling to pretend that I do not feel darkness.

In my case, I choose to release the emotions that are too heavy for me to bear, regroup and move forward.  I rely on my support network when I am not able to support myself and I pray.  I pray for strength, guidance and for angels to walk with me if this is indeed the path that has been laid out before me. I accept what I cannot change, albeit begrudgingly, and look to what is joyful in my life. As in Invictus, I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul and knowing this lifts me up when I feel down. Find your Invictus and let it’s words be your support. We all need a little help once in awhile.

Loving One Another

Loving One Another


Love One Another

Love one another, but make not a bond of love.

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Fill each other’s cup, but drink not from one cup.

Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone.

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.

For only the hand of life can contain your hearts.

And stand together, yet not too near together.

For the pillars of the temple stand apart.

And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

-Khalil Gibran


On this day in which we celebrate all aspects of love, I find myself reflecting on ways in which I have personally experienced this powerful emotion. More often than not, love has been the driving force in many of my life decisions and directions. It has taken a process of growth and maturity to discern the various presentations of love and one that I continue to focus intently on even today.


My story is not a unique one. I come from a large and loving family. Yes, we have our differences, but we genuinely care for one another. As a young child, I recall bearing witness to the great love that my mother and father have, yet at the same time not having the benefit of discussion about what it meant to deeply love another. It was in every way, an education by example. Born into this caring environment I had no reference for the difference between infatuation and love, that lesson was yet to come.


Given my innate curiosity, in my teenage years I was attracted to the darker side of infatuation and unknowingly feel into its grasp. The man that would become my husband was much older than myself and had already experienced many things in life. Not being able to discern the difference between lust and love, I was completely drawn in by this relationship and felt trapped by my conservative moral obligations. It was not a healthy relationship, in fact it was quite damaging for me on many levels. Similarly, as one the connects very deeply with anyone I choose to give my heart too, it took great strength and will power to unravel these connections as well as two decades of my life to be completely free from the grip of infatuation.  


Thankfully, I did not leave this relationship without having experienced true love in some form. Having given birth to two children by the age of 24, I was deeply blessed to experience the unconditional love of mother to child. I am forever thankful for the opportunity to continually engage my heart in the way God intended in loving these children. If not for them I do not believe I would have felt alive during the darker years of my marriage, the despair was that intense. They are two beautiful angels that have held my heart when I could not find the strength on my own. That is love in every sense of the word.


“Only from the heart can you touch the sky.”



Recently, beginning a new adventure that requires bravery and some faith, I find myself feeling tentative and protective of where I have come from and where I now stand. In reading the poem by Khalil Gibran, I identified with a common theme that speaks directly to my current state of affairs. Loving another is not remotely the same as ownership, it is a partnership that allows for both parties to breathe, grow and be uniquely themselves.  It is being one half of a whole and at the same time separate and apart. In a healthy love there should be no loss of self, not degradation of the other, just a gentle and persistent lifting up. When one falters, the other steps up and carries the weight of life’s many challenges until balance is regained. That being said, a loving partnership cannot and should not be one sided. It takes both people choosing to show up authentically every day, willing participants in a transformative experience for both heart and soul. One person alone cannot carry the work of the relationship; this is neither healthy nor prudent.


Love is also accepting a partner, child or family member for everything they are not, without stipulation.  It is easy to love others for their strengths, but quite another to show up each day and see the shadow side of a loved one.  Each of us has this side that we hide from the world.  It takes a strong and trusting relationship to pull the shadow out of the darkness and explore ways to support one another in that discovery.  


Finally, as Gibran so eloquently writes “Love one another, but make not a bond of love. Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.” I wish nothing more than to have my soul connect deeply with another.  It is within the expansive and flowing nature of water that love is best demonstrated, moving and morphing against life’s many continental conditions. Love finds a way to erode the walls that we erect and seep into our souls, breathing new life and hope. What a beautiful thing to behold.


Head Versus Heart

Head Versus Heart

As one that is both an emotional being and a deeply intellectual thinker, I am in a constant search for the proper balance between the two approaches to life. My natural inclination is to lean into what my hearts says and follow my intuition, but even so this leaning is always peppered with a fair amount of intellectual analysis and strategizing of end results. This push and pull can be limiting and a place I try not to inhabit for very long.  Life having the sense of humor that it does, this analysis usually happens in the middle of the night when my mind is more prone to wander. As such, I am a frequent guest of sleepless nights and find solace in the wakefulness and introspection.   


Upon reading a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke I was immediately drawn to the first sentence, specifically “O Anxious one”. Anxiety is ever present when I allow my mind to take the lead and neglect the very important role of the heart.  The problem being the mind is extremely clever and can come up with a million eventualities before an event has even taken place.  If I resist this catastrophizing and allow my heart to lead, I am at peace with the unfolding and feel a sense of calm that the mind does not make space for.  This poem is a simple and beautiful way to facilitate a gentle drawing back to a state of equilibrium, especially in moments when the mind stubbornly races along.


   I am, O Anxious One. Don’t you hear my voice

surging forth with all my earthly feelings?

They yearn so high, that they have sprouted wings

and whitely fly in circles round your face.

My soul, dressed in silence, rises up

and stands alone before you: can’t you see?

don’t you know that my prayer is growing ripe

upon your vision as upon a tree?

If you are the dreamer, I am what you dream.

But when you want to wake, I am your wish,

and I grow strong with all magnificence

and turn myself into a star’s vast silence

above the strange and distant city, Time.


Rainer Maria Rilke


In addition, the sentence that reads “My soul, dressed in silence, rises up and stands alone before you: can’t you see?” is like home to me. My soul is in a constant interplay with the exterior world, harboring a desire for others to “see” me by searching the silence of what remains unspoken within.  This is no easy task.  It is as if I am shouting from the top of a mountain to be seen, yet all the while hiding behind a cloud daring to be discovered. I suspect that when another chooses to look beyond my external self, they will begin to see shades of this declaration and be confused by my apparent waiving. The truth is that no amount of intellectual analysis alone will reveal the truths that I harbor.  Engagement of the heart requires a vulnerability that is not approached when using only the brain. This heart work requires strength of character, the ability to live in the discomfort of this space and even some grace. It is in the exposing of hidden truths that one really learns about themselves and about others, a lifelong task and one that is meaningful for all willing to dive in and take the risk.


You’ve got to get out of your head and into your heart. Right now your thoughts are in your head, and God seems to be outside you. Your prayer and all your spiritual exercises also remain exterior. As long as you are in your head, you will never master your thoughts, which continue to whirl around your head like snow in a winter’s storm or like mosquitoes in the summer heat. If you descend into your heart, you will have no more difficulty. Your mind will empty out and your thoughts will dissipate….

St Theophan the Recluse


As part of my journey, I continue to search for that balance.  Sometimes I lean into my heart as intended and other times I allow my brain to completely run the show.  Fascinating how we all choose to cope given any particular circumstance. Constantly striving for this balance, I will be silently drawn to the discovery of hidden truths; the simplicity of this affirmation is humbling. I find comfort in the solitude of this work with the intention to listen to my heart speak in the silence. For me this end is well worth the struggle.

Hadewijch II and the Blessing of the Written Word

Hadewijch II and the Blessing of the Written Word


I recently discovered the writings of Hadewijch II, a 13th century poet and mystic, and proceeded to order every book possible about this fascinating woman. History says little about her save the belief that she was from a wealthy family but chose to join the beguines, a group of evangelical women existing outside the traditional monastic system. These women took vows of poverty, chastity and service but remained in the world rather than hidden away in a monastery.


A strong believer in the synchronicity of the universe, Hadewijch could not have come to my attention at a better time. I have been feeling exceptionally isolated in regards to my ideas and life. I have a persistent thought there is so much more to life than my routine,  job, family and assembled reality. Frustrated by this nagging feeling, I have been more contemplative than usual, which is saying a lot. It is easy for me to get lost in my thoughts; it is much harder to pull myself back into the world. It would be disingenuous if I said I had never considered hiding away, off the grid and away from people.


Hadewijch wrote so expressively about her expansive knowing, the depth and wonder of feeling the infinite beyond what is seen. I read her poem and connected immediately; she understood what I have been feeling.  It spoke to me so directly that I got deeply emotional knowing that others felt as I do. I closed my eyes and experienced this energy wanting to expand beyond my skin, these walls and this world. It is this infinite and divine energy that stirs me up and can make me anxious while at the same time serenely peaceful. I implicitly understand that what I am searching for is within and not in some other place; we are all Divine beings and as much a part of the universe as the stars and the moon. No amount of geographic relocation will solve this persistent longing; it will surely follow me wherever I go. Hadewijch felt this very same thing yet managed to navigate the world without allowing this feeling to suffocate her. For that I admire her strength and courage.


All things

are too small

to hold me,

I am so vast


In the Infinite

I reach

for the Uncreated

I have

touched it,

it undoes me

wider than wide

Everything else

is too narrow

You know this well,

you who are also there

-Hadewijch II


Even so, I am confident that I can manage the restrictive feeling of this world. If you have read my work, you have heard me speak to this before. I have no doubts and have always known that I am not from this place. Some will judge me simply by reading that last statement, I am not concerned nor ever have been with their judgment. I know, and that is all that matters. The frustration comes from not being able to completely own this other while I am here. I can look inward and do all of the “mirror” work that Hadewijch speaks to, but even that will not be enough. It is a longing as if for a loved one with a constant desire to be with them. I hate this world at times; it is not anything like this beautiful other. No, I am not sad, nor am I being reticent. All I know is that I am here now for reasons that must be important for my soul.


You who want


seek the Oneness



There you

will find

the clear mirror

already waiting.

-Hadewijch II


I do not find many others that see this as I do; in fact I rarely speak aloud about these things. It most certainly sounds crazy to those that do not have the same sensibility. So what am I to do? How do I live while feeling this constant pull to what I cannot fully embrace? I suppose that answer is as always held in my heart. I must persist in this word and continue day after day waiting for the moment when I am free of this shell and can shed my false self to be…infinite. It is in works by Hadewijch that I find respite, a brief moment of serenity.  This woman, who graced the planet so many years ago, is still able to share her love and belief through her words. I will continue to read her writing every time I feel lost, isolated and alone. It will be a tremendous comfort to me as I am sure it has been to others.


Call Me Anything, But Don’t Call Me Naive

Call Me Anything, But Don’t Call Me Naive

I am an eternal optimist.  I look for the best in people; always hope for a good outcome and place trust in people before it is earned. I do this freely, with the understanding that things may not go as I would hope.  I am well aware of the potential outcomes of such optimism and trust, yet I choose to continue life in this way.  Because of this perpetual display of faith and comfort in living in the unknown, I have been called naive more times than I can count.


Perhaps I can say that I am a bit astute, that I can adapt to circumstances, but it is also true that I am a bit naive. Yes, but the best summary, the one that comes more from the inside and I feel most true is this: I am a sinner whom the Lord has looked upon.

Pope Francis


Does this bother me? Yes, to some degree it does.  Each time I hear it I cringe.  I know it is a misjudgment and a gross simplification of who I am and how I approach the world. Why then does it keep coming up? My initial thought is that I tend to withhold so much of my very complex thought process, in an effort to find a comfortable cadence to all interactions with others.  I shy away from debate and confrontation and have never felt the need to push “my ideas” onto others even when they do not return the favor. This may add to an external appearance of naivety or lack of understanding of a subject.  


I think a lot of times we don’t pay enough attention to people with a positive attitude because we assume they are naive or stupid or unschooled.

-Amy Adams


Those that take the time to really get to know me soon find out that I have so many layers of understanding that I can view the same subject with multiple lenses.  This revelation either dumbfounds them or ends our banter when they realize that there is no “winning” a debate with me.  I do not believe in a winning or losing result. I live in the gray, always.

In mysticism, part of the process is living the mystery. Living in the questions and not needing the constant back and forth found in a search for answers. It is in this living of the question that we ultimately find ourselves living towards an answer, naturally. This is not being naive, this is being patient and believing that all will be known in due time. Sometimes when someone forces their opinion on me in an effort to prompt a debate, I have to tell myself to breath in and out, slowly and deliberately.  After all, I have no higher calling to find the answers others are seeking, that is their path.  If they want to label my laid back and optimistic approach naive, than so be it.


“One should use common words to say uncommon things”

Arthur Schopenhauer


In the end, I know this evaluation comes from a place of uncertainty from the other.  Their need to label me is a side effect of a need to make sense of things that are meant to remain unknown. I remember this each and every time I am called naive and try to send the offender loving patience. Yes, it stings a bit. That is my ego not liking it when someone misrepresents me in such an egregious way.  My task is to learn to let it go. I know I live in the mystery, and I am at peace with that.  When all is said and done, it simply does not matter what others think.  


Opposites Attract

Opposites Attract

It has taken me some time to come to terms with my true nature.  I am one that wades in the deep more than most.  I have from a very young age had the good fortune of possessing a knowing that I am well taken care of and protected by something greater than myself.  There is never any doubt and I feel a constant sense of comfort as one would when thinking about going home. Because of this, I am a magnet for those who are lost and searching, looking for some light to find their way forward.  It is an attraction of opposites in so many ways and a painful learning opportunity for me and the other person.

I have on more than one occasion acted as a true north for others, stability in the storm of life.  It is never intentional and always comes from a place of care and concern. Those finding themselves stuck continue to seek me out. I believe this is due to the way that I move through the world, my comfort with not having to know all of the answers.  It is like the curiosity of an open flame, feeling the need to reach out and touch even though what is found might burn.


” Opposites are not to be united rationally. … In practice, opposites can be united only … irrationally.”

-Carl Jung


The truth is I am not perfect, I am far from it.  It bothers me at times when others are constantly looking at me to be their true north.  I absolutely do not have all the answers, in fact I have very few. My goal in life is to keep moving towards the light, living with my eyes and heart wide open.  This also means not making excuses or accommodations for others when they are merely crossing paths with me in the hopes of diving into the depths even if only for a moment. This is frustrating for me. I am just as confused as the next person, we are all human after all.  I am simply comfortable with the questions and this sense of comfort acts as nectar to a bee.


“Wholeness and balance are the ultimate goals of the Jewish mystical tradition… Likewise, each of their lives can teach us about a specific yichud, a unification between severed opposites, such as eros and spirituality, shadow and light, earthiness and the transcendent life.”

-Tirzah Firestone


Time after time I have entered into friendships with those that are seeking this calmness with no regard for the person holding it.  It completely drains my wells of empathy and leaves me feeling spent.  A one sided relationship is not healthy for anyone, and for one that takes on the pain of others, especially damaging. I bear the scars from such relationships and have had to view these life lessons as just that, lessons. The key is to not repeat the same lesson over and over, rather to recognize the pattern and achieve some level of personal growth.


I talk a big game, but If I am being completely truthful, I have a curiosity for the way in which my opposites navigate the world.  It can be like watching a car wreck, terrifying, but hard to look away.  Fascinated by human nature, I am silently drawn to these swirling volcanoes thinking quite incorrectly that I can cool the heat, calm the storm. As I have matured, I thankfully have learned to accept that this is not my job. My job is to simply move in the direction of light, choosing love above anger and kindness over hate . When the world and friendships gets heavy and I begin to get over saturated by emotions, I choose to not get weighed down, to find joy in the living of the questions. I return to this time and time again, and have found it to be my salvation in a world full of conflicted people.


“Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.”

― Khalil Gibran


It may be that this attraction of opposites is of value simply because it demonstrates a different way to move through the world, making unique decisions and experiencing different consequences. All very revealing moments and useful for contemplation and growth. An attraction to opposites is one thing that I have stopped questioning and allowed to evolve, as it will.  I still choose to be careful with whom I let in, but this does not mean that I should not have friendships with those testing my boundaries.  These friendships may very well be the ones that further shape who I am meant to be. Life is funny that way. Just when we think we have it figured out, along comes someone completely different than ourselves showing a different way forward. Amazing.


Old Souls

Old Souls

Old soulIf you believe that our souls have many opportunities to experience this human life and learn a multitude of lessons, then you may also believe the idea of an old soul.  I have no idea how many journeys my soul has been on, but I am sure that I have meet others in this life that are further along the path than myself.  These are the souls that have a sense of calmness and comfort about them. People that seem to display serenity in the eye of storm along with a kind of patience reserved for the likes of Buddha .


“Innately, the Old Soul carries a sense of world-wariness as he stands on the outside, looking in. As an observer, the Old Soul like the Steppenwolf, feels an all-pervading sense of alienation. He is the ultimate Outsider who is both in the world, but not quite of the world at the same time.”

Aletheia Luna


Older souls are often teachers or mentors to those attempting to understand the world by providing valuable insight into life’s many quandaries. Old souls will not often exhibit interest in the human need to succeed. Money, power and status mean very little in comparison to matters of the heart. It takes a measure of wisdom to recognize this and let go of societal expectations in this regard. Old souls also make excellent counselors.  They are humble, loving and accepting of people as they are. As a very private person, I have only known a few people in my life that have made me feel “safe” thereby allowing me to share my authentic self.  I consider these people wonderful teachers and old souls.  They were all unbelievably patient, excellent listeners and gentle teachers.  People such as these still make me smile when I think of them and their loving hearts. What a thing to behold.


It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.

Gautama Buddha


Regardless of how much my soul has experienced thus far, I still have much to learn. I have never had any desire to “succeed” in the way most do.  I change direction frequently and move fluidly as my intuition directs me.  In the workplace I am more fascinated by the interpersonal relationships than the actual work. People fascinate me and watching, listening and learning from them is an excellent teacher. I have a strong work ethic and am a bit of a perfectionist, but in the end it all means little to me in the grander scheme of things.

Forever is composed of nows. ~ Emily Dickinson


I have always been this way.  As a young adult I had absolutely no desire to experience the party life,  it was never something I felt the need to do. Slightly out of step with my peers, I consider it a blessing that I had my children at a young age. It gave my life a sense of purpose and created fertile ground for multiple opportunities to grow. Unconditionally loving another is one of the greatest challenges to undertake, and raising children requires this skill over and over again. For this reason and many more, being a mother has been my favorite role in life thus far.  Nothing has even come close to it.


“The Old Soul is more inclined to be a lifelong learner, constantly feeding his thirst for insight through his own persistent efforts. His learning has not been forced into him through education or learned out of obligation, but has been absorbed out of curiosity and personal choice.”

Aletheia Luna


How many times do we have to return to this world before we get it right?  I do not have the answer for this and given the present state of the world we still have much to learn.  Instead, I choose to continue learning as many things as I can while here. Any opportunity for growth is a path one should always consider, even when fearful. If we are not constantly learning and growing, what are we doing? I can only hope to be an old soul to another at some point, sharing the gift of guidance in a gentle yet loving way.  I strive for this end rather than riches and praise.  It is a life well lived and well loved.



Hiding in Plain Sight and The New Year

Hiding in Plain Sight and The New Year

I am an expert at hiding, a chameleon that blends in everywhere I go. I am naturally guarded and only a few know me as I truly am.  This is not done intentionally, but is inherent to who I am and in part a protective mechanism. If you read this blog, you are well aware that I am a deep thinker. I may seem uncomplicated on the outside, but there is not one thought, discussion or idea that I do not analyze and mull over internally. I am in a constant state of wonder and curiosity that is not often expressed in my external world. This constant analysis of the world around me has allowed me to move about inconspicuously, hiding in plain sight.

Over time I have developed some strong opinions on a variety of topics.  I hold these close to my chest, but I have them to be sure. I often struggle to keep an open mind in all instances. This apparent paradox results in a constant tug of war in all aspects of my life. I have written much about embracing both the dark and light of a soul and I personally work moment to moment to take my own advice and live in this way. It does not help matters that I am often perceived as a wholesome and pious woman, a stereotype created by my incessant need to be kind and accommodating to all I encounter. This stereotype could not be farther from the truth.


There is nothing in this world, which does not speak. Every thing and every being is continually calling out its nature, its character, its secret; the more the inner sense is open, the more capable it becomes of hearing the voice of all things.

Hazrat Inayat Khan


Given the New Year being the typical time to evaluate all areas of life, I have pondered the possibility of trying once more to step out on a limb and live more transparently.  By this, I mean living without the walls that we all build in the hopes of projecting out to the world how we wish to be perceived. The hiding out in plain sight and chameleon like habits are all things that I hope to let loose a bit more this year.

I will never be an easy book to read, but rather a complex work that requires great attention to detail and constant questioning. I know this will not change even with a more open approach to my daily routine. What I can work towards is not purposely moving away from my true self because of uncomfortable vulnerability or fear of rejection. I can freely choose each day to move a bit closer to my true center, my soul and honor what I find there. This requires a knowing that what I find may not be what I envision it to be.  My true self is made up of a multitude of pieces that come together as a puzzle would.  Complex, yet simple, beautiful yet messy, each piece while not beautiful by itself, becomes a work of art when completed. A piece of a puzzle by itself can never tell the complete story of the whole; it is only just that, one piece.


The True Self is not our creation, but God’s. It is the self we are in our depths. It is our capacity for divinity and transcendence.

Sue Monk Kidd


This New Year, I commit to stop judging myself by just a few pieces.  I commit to not being as selective when showing myself to the world and I commit to loving myself in my unfinished and messy state.  If I am able to make some headway on this, I will have taken a step further down the road on this crazy journey called life.

The Trouble with Consumerism

The Trouble with Consumerism


It is absolutely shocking how prominent materialism has become today. New phones, fancy cars, expensive jewelry, it is never enough. We think we need more money so that we can retire in good stead, take exciting vacations, hold lavish life celebrations and live in huge homes. This time of year these tendencies are demonstrated in a most revealing way. Watching the season unfold becomes a case study in reckless spending with many hoping for momentary satisfaction. It is an addiction to a feeling that will never be a substitute for real love.

I am one that avoids shopping this time of year if at all possible.  Large crowds are tenuous given that I often feel the agitation of people around me, a transfer of energy that I try to avoid if at all possible. If one would happen upon me in a large department store or even a busy grocery store, you would find me with headphones in, listening to music and trying to tune out the erratic energetic flow of the space. I always feel terrible about this.  It makes me appear unapproachable and that is something that I always strive to avoid. I still smile at people as they pass and try to look engaged to the best of my abilities, but I simply cannot absorb others restless energy and bring it home.


Do not let your “eye” be drawn by the false “beacon lamps” —of wealth, or position, or fame, or possessions. Be vigilant over your will and desires, for these are the corrupt forces that dwell within, and keep you from living free.                               

John of the Cross                            


What is it that draws people out on mass to spend money that they do not have, giving gifts to others that they do not need? I am not entirely sure. Giving of myself is a pleasant act that leaves me feeling pleased and happy for the recipient.  Giving by itself is not a bad thing.  The problem lies in the manufactured timing of the giving.  Would it not be much more meaningful to give a small card, or flowers to a loved one just because?  Without the prompts of consumerism and the market economy, a gift freely given is just that, a gift.                    


Any so-called material thing that you want is merely a symbol: you want it not for itself, but because it will content your spirit for the moment.                           

Mark Twain                            


For that matter, a gift does not have to be material at all. I always tell my children when asked what I want for Christmas, that all I require is time.  Spend some time with me, unscheduled by the holiday calendar.  That is the way to my heart.  Nothing that can be bought in a store will ever compare. Time spent with a loved one is something that the market economy has no control over.  It cannot dictate the timing or volume of this type of gift, and that is frustrating to the business community.  Hence the complete onslaught of marketing prompting people to spend with complete and utter abandon.


“You can’t substitute material things for love or for gentleness or for tenderness or for a sense of comradeship. Money is not a substitute for tenderness, and power is not a substitute for tenderness.”

Mitch Albom


What would happen if we collectively rejected this idea of gifting?  What if everyone simply said, “No”, I will not be maxing out my credit cards this season?  We are not responsible for the health of the markets per our spending habits this time of year.  That is a guilt trip of the worst sort and one that is irresponsible.  This year, try to tone down excessive spending.  Cherish the time spent with those you love, be it a nice walk, time doing a puzzle, playing a board game or even just sitting talking (gasp!).  All things that have little cost but result in big returns.  You will find your stress levels will lower and maybe, just maybe, you will find some peace in this season of giving.