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The Passing Of A Beautiful Spirit With An Untamed Heart

The Passing Of A Beautiful Spirit With An Untamed Heart


Events of late have me pondering the paradoxical elements running deeply within my family. Everyone has some wildness, weirdness and hyper intuition but may not elevate these qualities to the degree my family has. This hyper intuition present in all instances and I wonder how women managed to foster unconditional love within this uniqueness without losing themselves entirely in the process.


After much thought, I find I have come full circle: puzzled, awestruck, bemused and a bit afraid. There is much to live up to when placing myself aside those that have lived flawed lives while shining their soul so brightly. On most days, I just want to hide in a self made cave, sipping tea and reading a good book. The world can be far to intimidating and my home feels safe.


How does a women balance a gentle spirit with the constant calling of an untamed heart, a persistent wanderlust for people, place and thing? On a good day, I feel torn by my somewhat ferocious desire to make a difference in the world and the gentle spirited voice that wants to love with abandon, residing in a safe zone of warmth and kindness.


It takes great courage to break with one’s past history and stand alone.”

-Marion Woodman


Hearing the stories of my Grandmother Charlotte’s colorful life only fuel my desire to find a way forward. No matter how one interprets her life in review, there is no doubt that she did it her way. I always admired that she never tried to be anything but herself. In doing so, she had a unique ability to accept others as they were showing up, foibles and all. Even though one could absolutely say she was feisty with an inner fire that burned with a palpable heat, I never experienced a moment with her in which I did not feel seen. She captured my attention, locking in like a missile by speaking to whatever was in my heart. She never shied away from difficult things, at least not with me. Her blunt honesty delivered with a larger than life smile was appreciated more than I believe I ever let her know.


I often wonder if my life trajectory would have been different if I had known her earlier. She and her sister Frieda spoke to me, my gypsy spirit, in a way that others did not. Meeting her was jarring in that I saw someone living in a way that inspired yet frightened me. She had a loving partner who honored her uniqueness and the two of them seemed to exist in a self made bubble of recognition.  Wherever Charlotte was, so too was Wilton.  Two of the same, yet different sides of a coin. She was outgoing and vivacious, he quiet and introspection. I just can’t fathom one without the other.


One thing that remains is the endless wells of generosity I witnessed in Charlotte. She healed wounds in our family that only a child of adoption could know. My mother found a mirror in Charlotte and together they walked through the remainder of Charlotte’s life loving, learning and leaning on one other. No other example of unconditional love stands as profound as this. We gained another grandmother and she gained a daughter with a very loving extended family. In losing her, it brought into focus just how special relationships are and how fortunate it is to connect with another on any level.


“Death is our friend, precisely because it brings us into absolute and passionate presence with all that is here, that is natural, that is love.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke


I feel the space that she left and hope that in some small way, by living my life on my own terms, I honor that space. I hope to be able to add something positive to my environment, connecting with others in my own careful yet spiritual way. People talk to me and I believe this is a gift that grandma Charlotte passed along. I may not always welcome it, but maybe that is not the point. Maybe the point is how others honor me by sharing their stories. Each time someone opens up in a personal way, I try to honor this sharing while providing some comfort for whatever may be troubling them. I try to exchange energy in the most gentle and loving of ways and in doing so I am the recipient of their bravery, resilience and love. In this way my untamed heart is set free from the fear of living such a non-traditional way. In this way I am the lucky one.


Charlotte is pure light now and privy to all of the beauty and majestic wonder of this spectacular universe. She is everywhere yet nowhere, ever expansive and limitless, she is pure unadulterated love. Peace, blessings and light to her on this next chapter of her journey. I hope to carry with me a small spark of her fire that she so lovingly tended and shared with others.


The Sacred Rose

The Sacred Rose

Just as the rose consists of many petals held together, so the person who attains to the unfoldment of the soul begins to show many different qualities. The qualities emit fragrance in the form of a spiritual personality. The rose  has a beautiful structure, and the personality which proves the unfoldment  of the soul has also a fine structure, in manner, in dealing with others,  in speech, in action. The atmosphere of a spiritual being pervades the air like the perfume of a rose.

Hazrat Inayat Khan


Life can be limiting at times. Despite these limitations, I have the deeply held desire to unfold completely by sharing my light even when I feel constricted in the process.  My light, my spirit longs for the freedom of eternity. This journey of a lifetime can be difficult, the  pathway strewn with thorns. One is meant to walk this path with the intention to become more like a rose in its infinite perfection, greeting each new day with a continued commitment to purity of the heart.

This journey requires a freeing from the entanglements of a thorny and messy life. Rilke speaks to this unfolding of the soul in the opening poem of  “Unfolding”. His words serve as a powerful metaphor for a spiritual journey and one that has led to much introspection and participation on my part.

Reflecting on the beautiful imagery of Rilke’s poem, I cannot help but see associations in my own life. My favorite flower growing up was never the rose. Roses were far too perfect and classic for my taste. Draw to lilacs and lilies, I feel in love with their elegant yet simple aesthetic. My home had a gorgeous lilac bush right behind it. The vibrant purple color and seductive smell wafted into the house cementing the sensation of these flowers into my senses. My first memory of roses was as a dancer. I received bouquets of roses after performances; big beautiful and colorful roses that intimidated me with their boldness. I always felt undeserving of this grand gesture and found the whole experience a bit over the top for my liking.

As a newly married young woman, I rarely received flowers from my husband. He didn’t understand or enjoy the practice of gifting, stating it was a commercial enterprise and one he refused to participate in. I witnessed the many times my father bought roses for my mother even into their fifth decade of marriage and was sustained by this display of everlasting love, something I was sure I would never have. All the while I had begun the journey of spiritual awakening by taking tentative steps toward the unfolding of self. It was a rocky time in which metaphorical thorns pricked at me constantly reminding me of my own imperfections and mortality.


“Often the prickly thorn produces tender roses.”

–  Ovid


Within the darkest of days, one can always find some small ray of light. During this rocky time I gave birth to my children, rediscovered a love for education and cherished the many days spent dancing in the studio. The thorns irritated only when I choose to step off the path, distracted by my limitations. These limitations seemed to abound; a long term marriage in which I was not valued, silencing my voice while allowing others to speak for me and shrinking away from my inner light. I was tired, frustrated, sick and disillusioned. Finally, in a moment of severe distress, I was forced to evaluate everything leading to a deeply uncomfortable unfolding. Extremely vulnerable, I was forced to break down walls I had built over many years in order to navigate my unhappy life. Fearful yet determined, I choose not to look back and asked my guides to help me “see” which direction was meant for me. I did not trust my inner voice, at least not yet.

In this intense moment of unfolding, I recognized and honored that young girl inside who loved to write, dance,  sit in the grass while making dandelion chains and was a truly free spirit. Gentle-hearted by nature, the hard exterior I had worn for so long was now ill fitted to my new sensibility. I began to recognize that I was in fact a beautiful, intelligent, creative and loving soul. No amount of thorns could take that from me unless I choose to give it. Light was shining through the cracks in my armor ushering in a necessary yet chaotic fracturing of self. My old self that had moved about the world hidden and invisible, as well as my true self that was free to express all the light and beauty within. Each part of this fractured self was important to my wholeness. Nothing exists without a balance and as such, we are nothing without having visited our shadow and making peace with it. I continue to use light and spirit as my guide and have not looked back since.

I cannot help but be mystified by spirit. In shining my light outward I found another soul, one that gently tended roses out in the desert. Having been witness to the beauty he nurtured, in times of unimaginable grief, I can only say that when souls speak to one another it transcends all else.  I am astounded that our lives have intersected at this point, one blooming rose calling to another. A call finally heard and answered.

                                 “Little flower, but if I could understand what you are, root and all in all, I should know what God and man is.”

–  Tennyson


Today, I still encounter thorns on my path but they are far and few between. I am a trembling young bud continuing to bloom completely into eternal life. Each day requires a rejection of fear and a conscious acceptance of love and the unknown. As I continue to unfold, I find the thorns less piercing, more manageable and the blossoms breathtaking. When I refuse to hide who I am, I  find the limitations less constricting. They have loosened their grip and I can finally breathe. I know complete perfection is unattainable and just as each bloom is unique so too am I. With this I allow myself to just be and bloom into the unique and beautiful soul that I am called to be.



Messages from Spirit

Messages from Spirit


Spirit; It moves within, around and beyond. I feel it most intensely when I relax my body and go to that space, the bridge between this place and the next. The heaviness of gravity lifts if only for a moment and I am free. I love the tranquility and crave the calmness of this space, especially during my daily wade into the sea of uncertainty.  I know that soon enough I will reside here and be free from earthly restrictions. I don’t really mind what others think or what definitions they place.  I do not require specifics…..I just know.

Of late, I have been receiving numerous messages from this space and have taken quiet notice. I have become far too aware over the years to let these messages go unnoticed and instead make the conscience decision to trust this voice without hesitation. I experience these messages in many forms: be it the white butterflies that are representative of my grandmother’s wisdom, the visceral moments of universal connection representing spirit or in vivid dreams that are far too telling to be happenstance.


If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.

Henry David Thoreau


I had one such dream last night that had me pondering its meaning well into the morning.  Having often dreamt of one particular animal my entire life,  I now view this animal as a guide that only makes an appearance during times of great transformation or emotional wrangling. Similarly, water in my dreams always serves as a spiritual medium for transformation. Last night’s dream had components of both and clearly sent the message that my deep subconscious is harboring fears.  Fearful of new and deep emotions that I have become acquainted with, yet knowing it is precisely these feelings that I require most for growth. 

I accept that these messages are Divine and meant specifically for me, but still wonder what it all means?  My mind circles back and forth between current situations, what aspects are troubling me and what decisions I am wavering on. I often fall back on the metaphor of a candy store to frame this give and take. Walking by this store and looking in the window, one may find it impossible to resist the sweets within. If I choose to enter the store and gorge on the sweets, I will most certainly suffer for this transgression.  If I call upon my will power, I can continue on my way knowing that I have averted a sugar binge. We are all faced with this metaphorical candy store window in many ways. The easiest route is represented by the immediate satisfaction found when entering the store and eating all the sweets.  For me, the spiritual way forward will undoubtedly be looking at the sweets but choosing to continue down the sidewalk into the unknown.


“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”

Gautama Buddha, Sayings Of Buddha


Messages are as individual and unique as each one of us. One person may look at the sky and see a cloud while another may take away a deeper meaning from viewing this very same sky. The balance for me lies in learning to disregard the outside noise and trust my inner voice. The very same voice that speaks through spirit and knows me better than I know myself. A hallmark of true wisdom is seen in one that recognizes and acts upon this voice more often than not. I continue to aspire to be wise by listening to my spirit when it speaks.

Home is Where the Heart Is

Home is Where the Heart Is



The real voyage of discovery consists not in

seeking new landscapes but in having new


—Marcel Proust


Restlessness is like an itch that can’t be scratched.  I have felt the intensity of this irritation many times in my life.  Usually it is expressed as a deep desire to run, change scenery, job and relationships. I naturally have a gypsy spirit and thrive on the challenge of metamorphosis, strange given my intense dislike of change. Ask anyone and they will tell you I am a true homebody. I like nothing more than a long relaxing day nesting in my own space and this apparent contradiction describes me in a nutshell. I waffle between two separate ends of a spectrum and quite literally live in the gray.


Over time, I have come to understand that it is not the geographic location in which I live, or the roof over my head that creates a stabilizing force.  It is the people, my family and loved ones that fill whatever space I inhabit with loving intention. As such, I have become especially adept at creating a loving “home” wherever I may be. I have owned homes, rented, lived with family, just about every living situation possible.  In each space I have inhabited, I do not ever recall a desire for anything beyond a warm blanket, food, and my loved ones to put my arms around. My ability to create a welcoming environment in a multitude of spaces has served me well. In addition, having been married for many years to an individual that was constantly on the run, craving new places in order to resolve old conflicts, I have found peace in remaining still for the moment.


Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,

And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,

And a gray mist on the sea’s face, and a gray dawn breaking.


I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;

And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,

And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.


I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where the wind’s like a whetted knife;

And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,

And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

—John Masefield


Being well into midlife, my heart’s longing for adventure has settled a bit as I have discovered new ways to explore life without seeking drastic change.  I have learned that I can act as a home base for others as they continue to explore the world, intrepid travelers they may be. The world may be swirling around them with so many unknowns, but the awareness that I am there as a constant can act as a reassuring and stabilizing force.


So how does one quench a constant thirst for adventure?  A restless spirit never goes away, it is just quieted by life’s demands.  My way of addressing this has been to focus this energy on topics that I am passionate about. I find satisfaction in guiding the next generation in my vocation. I feel resounding joy welcoming in my children’s extended circle of friends and I read voraciously, digesting new ideas and world views. All of these vehicles for exploration are representative of my restless spirit living and thriving out in the world.  


“A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart.”

― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Everything I am searching for is within me and going on the journey of 1000 miles will do nothing for my growth when the ultimate adventure resides within. Maybe the challenge in life is to learn to see the opportunities for growth right under our nose, often the most difficult to recognize as they are far too familiar to draw attention.  In this instance, moving becomes a distraction, a temporary change of scenery that does not address any core issues. If I am lonely, sad or have lost my passion in life, it is a good possibility that I will still feel all these same emotions upon relocation.  You see, it is not place that creates stability, it is self. For all the same reasons I was able to create a home wherever my heart was, I would not find the answers I am seeking simply by a change in scenery.


Understand that restlessness is an energy that can be directed in many ways. Try to resist the urge to run and look for more creative opportunities in your own backyard. A restless heart is a explorative and expansive heart. Engage your restless heart in the here and now rather than on future possibilities that may or may not come to past. Feed your spirit with circumstances that engage you completely: mind, body and soul. Finally, continue to allow your heart to speak no matter the location in which you reside.