Browsed by
Tag: water

Ask Me

Ask Me

Ask Me

Some time when the river is ice ask me

mistakes I have made. Ask me whether

what I have done is my life. Others

have come in their slow way into

my thought, and some have tried to help

or to hurt: ask me what difference

their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say.

You and I can turn and look

at the silent river and wait. We know

the current is there, hidden; and there

are comings and goings from miles away

that hold the stillness exactly before us.

What the river says, that is what I say.


William Stafford


We all have our secrets, if someone tells you differently they are selling a mistruth of the highest order. Each person harbors shadows and darkness that linger among the embers of the light. It is because of these shadows one can see how extremely fragile we are. This life is living as if a delicate flower waiting to bloom yet instead choosing to close off out of fear and a need for self protection. No one leaves this world unscathed, in fact we are all marred by missteps, regrets and an underlying sadness for what we had hoped life to be.


Nothing speaks more beautiful to the irony of this condition than William Stafford’s Ask Me. He states, “Some time when the river is ice ask me mistakes I have made. Ask me whether what I have done is my life.” Having always cherished time spent hearing others stories and words of wisdom, it is difficult to comprehend that I too have a plethora of life experiences, yet feel less than worthy of imparting any wisdom earned onto others. Simply put, I am still trying to figure it all out and am doubtful that I will ever have complete understanding. Can it be possible that life continues to ramble along leading one further into the clouded beneath of uncertainty and fear? Is the only true meaning of it all persevering regardless of uncertainty?


“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.”

― Pema Chödrön


I am not alone in holding illusions and fantasies of what living a storied life entails. The house with a picket fence, well behaved children excelling at everything they undertake, a job that is both satisfying and financially rewarding, physical health the sustains throughout the years and love. All possible scenarios but not always accomplished in the same stride as others. The frustration of delays, detours or missteps along the way can lead one to doubt what if anything holds meaning and true value in the wells of our soul. What if anything matters at the end of days?


As a young girl I pictured myself experiencing a great love affair with someone that held my heart just as I held his. This love would know me from my earliest of days until my ultimate departure from this world, a familiarity that would be both comforting and enduring. As fate would have it, this was not in the cards for me. I did in fact have a long marriage that proved to be barren of love and appreciation.  A dear friend once told me that nothing is more painful than indifference and this did, most sadly, prove to be true. I made myself small for two decades of my life and for that I harbor deep regret. Stafford’s line, “ask me what difference their strongest love or hate has made” speaks to me like no other. Hate can be as transformative as a powerful love in ways that reverberate throughout a body and soul. Hate and indifference block energy, creating barriers that can only be overcome with much time and self work. Pains such as these will be worn for as long as the river runs deep.


“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

― Gautama Buddha


Staying with the metaphor of a river,  I can review  my life and see that I continue to flow whether under the ice, in the depths or on the surface. It is never a matter of time standing still but rather a rushing forth of water the proceeds all else. Water can move mountains and so too can time. In fact, the only constant I see thus far is the march of time. Stafford continues with, “and there are comings and goings from miles away that hold the stillness exactly before us.” What may seem like only the distance from one side of the bed to the other or one chair among many in an open room, is an acute representation of stillness often left unspoken. Distance is palpable even if only a few feet when defined by emotional numbness.


One of my main regrets is remaining in this space, this stillness, this separateness far too long. I am imperfect as are all others, yet I now choose to stand and speak my voice regardless of imperfections. If only I had known this a few decades ago, my river may have represented a much gentler flow with far less rapids and undertows. One might say however, that without all of those rapids I would never have reached this point of letting go. This may be true and as Stafford says in completion, “What the river says, that is what I say”. Here is to many more years of gently floating down the river of life, observing, learning and living.

You are Oceanic

You are Oceanic

You are Oceanic

All she wanted

was to find a place to stretch her bones.

A place to lengthen her smiles

and spread her hair.

A place where her legs could walk

without cutting and bruising.

A place unchained.

She was born out of ocean breath.

I reminded her;

‘Stop pouring so much of yourself

into hearts that have no room

for themselves.

Do not thin yourself.

Be vast.

You do not bring the ocean to a river’.

Tapiwa Mugabe


Have you ever had the urge to just walk out of wherever you may be and “stretch your bones”? I certainly have had to restrain myself from doing so on more than one occasion. A part of me is always hearing the call of the unknown, urging me to let go of the responsibilities that I have shouldered over the years. I have named these urges my Thelma and Louise moments. While I have no intention of driving off a cliff per the film, I do harbor a strong desire to run away with the gypsies on most days.


As a woman and an empath, I sometimes get caught in the cycle of caring for others while forgetting to care for myself. I find this part of my personality difficult to manage and even more difficult to understand. Having given far too many years to others that did not value me in any meaningful way, the line from Tapiwa Mugabe’s poem, “Stop pouring so much of yourself into hearts that have no room” speaks to me. I see that my willingness to care deeply for others never came with an expectation of reciprocal treatment, quite the contrary. My motto in life has always been to lead by example with the hopes that I inspire those I care about in some small way. By doing so, I aim to instill a healthy curiosity leading to exploration of deeper and more meaningful truths.


After many years of living in this way, I have come to realize that no matter how many good intentions I have, I cannot force anyone to hold the precept of love in their heart. If their heart has no room, if they are unable to see the value in this end, it becomes an action of diminishing returns.  Rather, I choose to believe in the possibility of being “unchained”, to live as if I were an ocean moving freely with the tides, predictable in my unpredictability. I wish to not worry so much about others souls with a knowing that only they have the ability to find themselves. This is not my responsibility and it never was. I can continue to be the best example I am capable of, but must let go of the end result with some grace and a belief that all will be well.


The gentle rhythm of the tides, holding within a fierce strength is representative of the ebb and flow of my inner self, my soul. To love another requires a give and take, a push and pull, a dance between moments of surrender and strength. At times I lead and at other times I allow the tides to take me where they will. It is in this surrender that I always find my voice, my strength. Trusting another to take the lead, becoming “unchained” from the illusions of love and not being fearful of the “cutting and bruising” that will inevitably happen, as it always will in the tides of a relationship, allows for a sense of peaceful acceptance.  As long as I am seen and valued the rest is unimportant and not worth the worry. I am indeed an ocean: deep, thoughtful, intense, blissful, gentle, beautiful, strong, mysterious and so many other things. If I value myself first, I can than reveal the deep and beautiful oceans of my soul and know that I am free to love and be loved without restriction and unchained. There is nothing more mesmerizing than free flowing water.


The Interplay of the Lotus Flower and Water

The Interplay of the Lotus Flower and Water


I have written about my name before and have spent much time coming to terms with the uniqueness and self imposed expectations of such a name.  My parents have always reminded me that Lavinia means “pure of heart” and I continually marvel at how connected to this definition I have become, given the many difficult life experiences wearing on me. It is a paradoxical feeling and one that continues to confound me.


As one that has always held a mystical sensibility in my heart, I have stumbled through life at times unsure of what it all means. The fabric of my life story has set the scene in every way for this apparent uncertainty; my parents with their insatiable interest in religious practice both mainstream and otherwise, my shyness coupled with a deep feeling of connection to things outside of myself, my early foray into an intimate relationship before I knew what it meant to give my heart to another, raising my children as a young woman myself, experiencing betrayal that left me broken in every way and finally discovering the path towards my true self and healing. All along I have held the belief that I am meant for something that I cannot yet define or describe in any meaningful way.


“The business and method of mysticism is love.”

Evelyn Underhill


In my dreams and deepest of thoughts, water has consistently made an appearance as a metaphor for my life. Constantly ebbing and flowing, sometimes gentle and sometimes rough, water being the epitome of a lifelong spiritual journey holding many secrets below the surface. Similarly, the lotus flower with its delicate and independent beauty strikes me as a physical manifestation of the possibilities along the way. The flower floats quietly on the water alone and unconstrained yet under the current is bound by a complex system of roots secured in the muddy dirt below. The flower blooms each day facing the sun in beautiful repose, yet must shrink back into the depths of the water at night and into the darkness. The contrast of moving back and forth between the darkness and the light is symbolic of a well examined life in a multitude of ways.


I mule over this relationship of the flower to the water quite often and cannot help but see myself in this coupling.  Referencing my name and as one that feels the purity of the human spirit very deeply, I have struggled just as the flower does each and every day to find the right way to experience the light while not allowing the darkness to become overwhelming. Water, as an agent of enduring love, supports me on this journey but does not change the system in which I exist. Rather, water is the companion that remains with me, side by side as I struggle with all that it means to live a meaningful and full life. The flower could not exist without the water and I am nothing without my connection to spirit and all that remains pure in my heart.


“Beauty as we feel it is something indescribable; what it is or what it means can never be said.”

–  George Santayana   


This analogy demonstrates beautifully that while everyone has darkness, muddy roots and entanglements, we each have the opportunity to bloom towards the light no matter the circumstance.  This blooming does not have to be abrupt, loud or imposing.  It can be subtle, gentle and unobtrusive yet elegant in completion.  I don’t have to make huge waves in my life trying to live up to my name, I can be happy with small victories that at times are only visible to myself. Isn’t that the way life is? No one truly ever knows another’s struggles, battles or victories unless we choose to share them.  We are all lotus flowers floating on the pond of life, entangled and held by our life stories yet we find ways to share our gifts with the world blooming each in our own unique and beautiful way.