Excavation of the Heart

Excavation of the Heart



The difficult work of walking back to my authentic self has been on my mind quite a bit lately. Much of my life up until now has been focused on building, while trying to find my place in this world. During my morning walk, it occurred to me that life is not really a building process but rather, an excavation. We spend so much of our time living a lie, hiding who we are and afraid to show all of our presumed flaws. At some point, this deception reaches a boiling point and the truth begins to bubble up to the surface. I suspect this often happens midlife when the flames of disappointment increase our internal emotional temperature.


It is only at this point, when a pot is ready to boil over after suffering through the heated elements of one’s life, when the work begins. Excavation of the heart is a tumultuous process filled with copious amounts of reflection and examination. This excavation reminds of a large construction vehicle that swoops in and scoops out all of the festering emotional baggage from decades of repression, thereby setting it free. Once the log jam has been cleared, this energetic conduit is now open, and the flow of energy cannot be stopped.


This is where I found myself this morning. My excavation of the heart has been in progress for some time and emotions secured in the depths of my psyche are no longer tethered. They tumble out of me like a river with no way to stop the flow. All evidenced by a tearful moment at the dentist earlier this week. I could not stop the tears from flowing due to bleeding gums from an autoimmune flare. I apologized profusely to my dentist who has walked with me through the landmine of illness. Thankfully she was gentle and gave me a hug, just what I needed.


Now, up the hillside across from our campsite, I felt a rising from within. I prayed out to my guardians, specifically my grandmothers for support, guidance and love. The tears poured out, not like a river but an ocean as loud and powerful as the shores below the hillside. Standing on the overlook it surprised me how much I still have to excavate and what no longer needs to be hiding beneath layers of shame


At the forefront of this feeling came the realization of just how liberating writing words and setting them free can be. Not only free from self-imposed tethers, but free from the judgment of others who will read these words and cast blame and display profound disappointment.


Many know my story by reading this blog and seeing through the veiled metaphors chosen to describe painful life experiences. There is no metaphor for what I share today. Preyed upon by a predator who had a long history of relationships with very young women/teens, my marriage was filled with little love and copious amounts of criticism, blame, manipulation and sexual abuse. My two beautiful children were my reason to get up in the morning and looking back, it is heartening how we all survived such a traumatic experience 


What has rested heavily on my shoulders, contrary to what the politics of the day sells in the media, is an experience from over 15 years ago that I share with you now. Trying desperately to hold on to a broken and unhealthy relationship while looking for a way out, I found myself pregnant once again. My love of children is so deeply felt, this information felt very emotionally precarious. Excavating further, my health was delicate during this time. My ex-husband had been unfaithful for almost a decade and this, along with his constant manipulation, had me tied up in knots. The one thing I knew to be true was an indisputable fact, I could not bring another child into this unhealthy situation. 


So, I walked past the picket lines and found myself in the doctor’s office waiting for the termination of my pregnancy. My ex-husband drove me there, but did not come in. I still remember the sights, smells and sounds of that day. It is a PTSD of the worst sort. During the procedure, I cried and felt as if my insides were being scraped raw. The wound was felt so deeply and my heart was broken into pieces, shattered just like my hopes for something better. The worst of this was returning to work feeling completely undone and not able to share with anyone what I had been through. The isolation turned my world gray for so many years. Each year I counted back to figure out how old the child would have been and silently sent a prayer to the heavens, thankful they were spared my misery on Earth.


In my heart, I was at peace with my decision. Certain I would not have been capable of parenting a new child in such a dysfunctional family unit, my gratitude for the option of this procedure was heartfelt. Unfortunately, this secret has weighed heavily on me for far too long. Knowing the abuse I was subject to in my marriage, it is truly a miracle to find myself loved, safe and relatively unscathed. 


Many of you will move to the space of judgment in reading this and it is up to me to free myself from your unsolicited opinions. My excavation has unearthed a strength unknown to me in the past. Being sensitive and an empath, I walk this world feeling all the pain around me and am no longer willing to apologize for my own emotions. We each have our own work to do and it is not my responsibility to walk others to the river of acceptance and love. They must take their own journey and excavate their own dirt of denial and falsehoods. 


After having prayed to my guardians this morning, they did not disappoint.  At the end of the path, I looked up and saw a large seagull hanging on the air just above my head. In the sky next to this beautiful creature was the morning moon slipping toward the west as the sunlight streamed over the hillside from the east. In a gesture of togetherness, the bird seemingly floated in the air right above, holding my gaze. Then in one graceful and powerful movement, the bird flew in a large circle around me. At this moment, I knew grandma was with me. She had embraced me in a circle of love, acceptance and grace. Taking in a deep breath, my soul absorbed this private display of unconditional love. 


I leave you with this. If you have been holding on to something for the better part of your life and believe those around you are better off not knowing at the expense of your spiritual, physical and mental health, set if free. It will make some very uncomfortable, but this is not for you to worry about. Excavation is a one-person job and no one else can do the work for you or them. Untethering myself from these remaining bits of emotional turmoil allows me to be a better mother, daughter, sister and partner. To this end, finding another soul who has also done much personal excavation work is a wonder. My loving finance tends to me with patience and a full acceptance of all I am and all I hope to be. We have collided in the eye of our emotional hurricanes and have chosen to cling to one another in the tranquility of this center while the storm rages on.


We are survivors and I am so very proud of the world we are co-creating. During this season of renewal with the winter solstice upon us, set free all that tethers you to a version of yourself you no longer recognize. Set free and walk unencumbered into your authentic self, embracing the entire journey from beginning to end. Sending you all my love and light.



Order Stardust and Mystic Cookie

Order Stardust and Mystic Cookie



It is with sincere gratitude that I present Stardust, the result of much contemplation, inspiration and creative exploration.

This book represents the continued discovery of mysticism, specifically the uncomfortable intersection of both science and spirituality. With poetry and photography as a medium, I delve into the depths of the psyche, always searching for profound truths.

Each poem draws closer to an authentic and peaceful point of solitude in which I aim for the reader to reside, even if only for a short while.

Stardust is now available for pre-order at a 30% discount off retail price with delivery expected before the holiday. This Deluxe (signed) Edition is now available for only $24.95!




If just beginning your journey, please consider my first offering, Mystic Cookie available exclusively on Amazon HERE.


“A lifelong lover of the written word, poetry has given voice to my rather introspective inner world. Written exploration of this inner world has allowed for a freedom of ideas not possible when in conversation. It is my hope that by putting pen to paper, someone flirting with their shadow will embrace this journey with a knowing that all will be well. It is only by embracing the darkest corners of self that one fully blooms…



Risk and the Between

Risk and the Between



“Risk, the willingness to accept an unknown future with open hands and happy heart, is the key to adventures of the soul. Risk stretches us to discover the rest of ourselves – our creativity, our self-sufficiency, our courage. Without risk we live in a small world of small dreams and lost possibilities.”

― Joan D. Chittister



Here I find myself, once again on the precipice of great change. Unable to rectify the impending changes with my incessant need for security and the familiar. My frustration with this discomfort is only over shadowed by the many logistical steps required to pick up and move a home base. I am swimming in logistics at the moment and this alone can be unsettling to a person who adores calm and a welcoming home to soothe the ragged edges of my soul.


Why then do I put myself through all of this upheaval? I can only guess my desire for growth and new possibilities outweighs the rest. Standing still in life is simply not living. Being acutely aware of time as a finite commodity, now or never rings true. I find myself in the between of what is comfortable and what is necessary. What a terrible business this living can be at times.


One of my soul sisters, Joan Chittister, writes as if just for me with, ““Risk, the willingness to accept an unknown future with open hands and happy heart, is the key to adventures of the soul.” Sometimes I want nothing more than to watch others taking risks and enjoy the show. Life seems so much safer as a spectator.


I always liked watching sports from the very top seats, far away from the front row. In the front one can hear the grunts, see the sweat and almost feel a part of the dirt and grime of the playing field. I preferred the movie experience as I sat perched on high, looking down at the spectacle but never a part of it. Who would know that Divine intervention would force my hand and beckon me to participate in a grander way.


This time, Dylan and I are moving back into our mostly beloved RV and taking a position as Camp Hosts at a beach campground. We are willingly forgoing the comfort of our tiny apartment, the friends we have made and unlimited speedy internet for an opportunity to live closer to nature’s playing field once more.


This past year has been vital for both of us. We needed to catch our breath in a safe space, ease our anxious minds and just be. Now, we move on into the next adventure, fully understanding that things will go wrong. The move will be rocky and we will both feel the pain of distance from both new friends and close family as the drive to the beach will be a hindrance to many in Los Angeles traffic.


The field is calling and we must go. Whether we win or lose is not of importance. It is in the playing where character is forged and spirit is tested. In fact, I do not believe there is any winning or losing, only living with the least amount of walls erected for self-preservation.  Embracing the ugliness of it all as well as the beauty. It is only in this “between”, in which anything really makes sense. Joan Chittister says,


“Bloom where you are planted,’ the poster reads. But the poster does not tell the whole story. ‘ plant yourself where you know you can bloom’ may well be the poster we all need to see. Or better yet, “Work the arid soil however long it takes until something that fulfills the rest of you finally makes the desert in you bloom.”

― Joan D. Chittister



Dylan and I are planting ourselves in the dirt of self-growth, the soil of togetherness. We know for certain where we would like to land and this brings us one step closer. We are playing on the field with no promise our desired outcome will be achieved. We chose this risk and chose it willingly…together.


Universal Nudge

Universal Nudge


“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

― Anton Chekhov


Have you ever heard a quiet yet persistent voice in the back of your mind, whispering truths while sending shivers of acknowledgment down your spine? That voice has become a loud roar for me this past year, making it difficult to ignore. Believe me when I say, I am a master at procrastination and letting things simmer. Impossible now, given all the warning signs coming my way, a virtual “hurry up and figure it out” storm

I am a firm believer in universal nudges, gently reminding us of our calling or purpose. As spiritual beings, we persist in a perpetual state of denial until receiving an obvious and uncomfortable wakeup call. These attention grabbing moments often come in the form of job changes, melancholy, unexpected conflict and a host of other emotions that can bring one to their knees.

Like so many others, I too avoid the most obvious of signs. The spirit world definitely has my back, and tries valiantly to warn me when I have veered off track. Sadly, when the crisis involves me, I often rationalize the experience and keep right on going in the opposite direction. Perplexed when finding myself in the same situation again without ever considering the cause is my complete avoidance of the truth.


“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”

― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov


At present, it is clear I am being pointed toward my poetry and a closer connection to nature. The feeling I have in a professional capacity is one of being constricted. Everything seems ill suited to my temperament and I long for more moments of quiet contemplation in my beloved natural world. This is a tough pill to swallow. I genuinely enjoy mentoring students and have for many years. Whether it be as a dance instructor or a librarian, teaching is in inherent to who I am. In fact, I have been teaching since I was 15 years old and made quite a good living lifting up the next generation of artists.

As a matter of habit, I don’t enjoy looking back. My performing arts career is always a part of me, but not something I need to revisit. No, this longing is for the new, the next step in my ever growing spiritual awareness. Writing poetry is just a translation of this longing onto paper.

Working on my second book, the practice of writing has become routine, and for the most part delightful. I see the dichotomy of my two worlds quite clearly, but am still searching for the way forward allowing for both areas of my professional life to find meaning.


“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”

― Kurt Vonnegut



So much of learning occurs within the questions and I have to be okay with not knowing all the answers. It is so very uncomfortable in this between and I suspect it is supposed to be. Without any true discomfort, would anyone make changes and step outside of their comfort zones?

To the universal energy that has been eternally patient with me, I thank you. Please continue to send me signs even if I reject them. One day, and hopefully not too far off in the distance, I will welcome your nudge with an open heart and move in the direction of purpose and love without hesitation. In the meantime, I will continue to sit in discomfort trusting in the mystery of it all.








Poetry Reading

Poetry Reading



Here we are once again, rounding the corner from hot summer nights into cool crisp fall days. No matter how much time I have in the summer to write, play and bake, September always catches me by surprise. The rhythm of my day changes and my focus intensifies as I prepare for the beginning of another academic year. 


Along with this increased awareness, I often experience a specific melancholy. Much of it can be attributed to the rigors of work life. No longer able to flex my schedule, I begin to feel the walls closing in on me. If you have read any of my poems, you know that I absolutely despise being boxed in. My happy place is an open space, preferably a meadow with big sky and distant mountains.


To keep my mind off these changes, I am beginning to layout my second book of poems titled Stardust. It has been a labor of love and one that I am very proud of. As a newly published author, I have experienced every version of imposter syndrome and began to wonder if my first book was a fluke.

My first book available on Amazon HERE


Thankfully, inspiration came tumbling out of the sky like a freight train. Feast or famine is the way I write and for a few months it was a poetry feast! Now, I am left with a slew of poems wondering how in the world I can present them in a unique way.


Around this same time, I received an email from a colleague inviting me to read some of my poems at an event in Pasadena. The Residency Project is an opportunity for artists to collectively share and inspire one another in a beautiful environment. The universe really knows exactly what I need, an opportunity to share my deepest thoughts with a group of fellow artists. What a wonderful way to welcome in the fall.


The event details can be found HERE and is called Connections and Callings: A Celebration of Nature, Spirituality and the Arts. I am beyond excited for this experience and am looking forward to interacting, listening and learning from other like-minded artists. 


In the meantime, I will continue to do my very best at pulling together another selection of poetry that speaks to other nature writers, mystics, and spiritually curious folks. Send me your good thoughts and positive energy. 



Lie in the Grass

Lie in the Grass


I am feeling the beginning of the dog days of summer with heat bearing down on sun drenched skin. It is in August that one feels the inevitable return of darkness on the doorstep, a change of seasons in the air. It is also with this knowing that I wrote this poem.

My intention was to try and capture the very best of summer as a temporary experience. Seasons are a great reminder of our mortality. Even the very best weather will fade.  Flowers bloom and lose their petals, blades of grass turn brown under the heat welcoming the layers of leaves and snow pack to come. No matter the occasion, all things will change…even us.


Lie in the Grass


Let’s lie in the grass until the sun leaves today

Staying as long as the world let’s us play

Asleep to the pressures rumbling below

Awake to the brightness of flowers aglow


Stretched out among the blades of grass

Letting our worries melt and bypass

This glorious field filled with love and light

Devouring every bit of precious daylight

Let Stillness Speak

Let Stillness Speak


Quiet the mind, let angry voices of unrest 

settle, by sitting in silence until 

all that can be heard is the 

steady beat of a broken heart


Steep in this stillness, allowing a sacred

balm of reflection to permeate every

cell, giving breath to all that

remains unanswered, all that festers


Listen to this stillness speak 

of ancient heart songs singing

 stories of adventures not yet

taken and mysteries left to be discovered


What is Intelligence?

What is Intelligence?


Of late, I have been completely consumed with the idea of intelligence leading me down the murky path of curious discovery. Always an above average student, one would believe I had a handle on this concept. On the contrary, bouts of low self-esteem and social anxiety left me afraid to take risks, challenge others in debate or share personal philosophies. It has only been through writing that I have discovered hidden strength and allowed parts of myself to be seen. To this point one of my favorite authors, Parker Palmer, states,


As teenagers and young adults, we learned that self-knowledge counts for little on the road to workplace success. What counts is the “objective” knowledge that empowers us to manipulate the world. Ethics, taught in this context, becomes one more arm’s-length study of great thinkers and their thoughts, one more exercise in data collection that fails to inform our hearts.


What speaks to me is Palmers use of the word manipulate. We often choose to show up each day as society expects us to and with the information required for each interaction. In my field we call this data driven decision making. In doing so we hide our authentic self and shield our hearts while navigating a professional life. We gladly put on errs and dish out facts and figures to support positions, forgetting the points we argue remain eternally elusive. Intelligence of the heart gently reminds, it is better to be kind than to be right. Parker speaks further with,


Not knowing who or what we are dealing with and feeling unsafe, we hunker down in a psychological foxhole and withhold the investment of our energy, commitment, and gifts… The perceived incongruity of inner and outer-the inauthenticity that we sense in others, or they in us-constantly undermines our morale, our relationships, and our capacity for good work.


I have felt this inauthenticity in both myself and those in my workplace. If I am not showing up as myself, trying my hardest to be as others wish me to be, am I not doing a disservice to everyone? If I had to define true knowledge, I would have to say universal intelligence fits the bill. It is a knowing that no matter how much we think we know, it is never as vast as the great unknown. The divine light in each of us, no matter how we name it, holds this universal knowledge and tries desperately to show us the smallest of sparks during our lifetime.


What we name it matters little to me, since the origins, nature, and destiny of call-it-what-you-will are forever hidden from us, and no one can credibly claim to know its true name. But that we name it matters a great deal. For “it” is the objective, ontological reality of selfhood that keeps us from reducing ourselves, or each other, to biological mechanisms, psychological projections, sociological constructs, or raw material to be manufactured into whatever society needs — diminishments of our humanity that constantly threaten the quality of our lives.


My writing is a playground for self-examination, self-reflection and philosophical interplay. I debate with myself as I write and the outcome is never predestined. I flirt with new ideas and old tales of wisdom, never really settling into one frame but rather enjoying the entire picture, even the odd brushstrokes and frayed edges. The universe is such a creative space and the joy I feel when floating in this galactic sea of creativity is unmatched by any measure of intelligence we know of.


I have no name for this other but know it is with me and is relentless in providing learning opportunities for my soul. Sometimes I fail miserably while other times I shine brightly, soaking in the love of a perceived success. It is only with this duality that we learn, grow and come home to ourselves. The journey can be frustrating, but maybe this is the only way to truly earn our intelligence wings.


Why I Write

Why I Write


The written word and I have always had a close relationship. As a young child I wrote short stories and enjoyed the escape other characters and worlds allowed. Poetry spoke to me as well, specifically the darker tone of Edgar Allan Poe. Reading the Raven in middle school was life changing. Until that point, I didn’t known that others felt so intensely, flirting with complex emotions. Writing provided a safe space to explore these feelings beyond my dreams and internal dialogue.


As an adult, I struggled with all of the things that one experiences in the real world. Relationships, finances, parenting, career, the list goes on. The words on the page became my counselor, my salvation. Only in this medium did it feel completely safe to express how I was feeling. Just putting thoughts on paper brought instant relief from whatever was troubling me. Putting words to my jumbled mess of feelings somehow made for a softer landing.


There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Maya Angelou


In early adulthood, I went through what can only be described as a constriction of self. I put down the pen, embarrassed by what I saw on paper. Overcome with emotions and with no creative outlet, I became closed off thinking I could stop the onslaught of feeling and effectively mute the voices that had been my guide and comfort for so many years.


I wish I would have known that living in a manner that is counter to self never ends well. Self will come torpedoing back in the most uncomfortable of ways. Faced with my own darkness and unable to deny my imperfections, I was brought to my knees. From this low point, the only way I could see the light was by the pen. I took to writing in a bedside journal and creative energy came rushing back. The words danced on the page as if taunting me to follow along.


“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”

― Anais Nin



Today, after many years of this practice, I still hear the same words when faced with uncertainty. I hear a very clear voice saying “Lavinia, just write.”  I know in some small way what I write matters. It gives voice to all the many things I cannot, exhibiting much more bravery than my actual voice alone. Yes, I dream of the day when I can write as often as spirit allows, but life has a way of walking down the path in its own time. Patience is a necessity.


In the meantime, I will continue to commit all that lingers to paper. Just as a stone must continue down the hill to conclusion, so too must I until this crazy life journey ends. Writing is not a conscience choice but a part of who I am. Self-doubt and criticism no longer matter.  I write because I must.







Time is too slow for those that wait,

Too swift for those that fear,

Too long for those that grieve,

Too short for those who rejoice,

But for those who love, time is Eternity.

Henry Van Dyke


We are all only here for a fixed amount of time, life is a terminal condition and the question is not if this journey will end but when. To a person such as myself, this is a comfort rather than a fear. I have always known that I am not from this place. Never one to feel any sense of unease with the unknown of the thereafter, I chose to embrace this other with hope and joy.


Each day I look at my body with curiosity as it begins to make this aged transition. My hands, wrinkled and worn from years of work. My face a canvas the shows brush strokes of both sadness and joy. My legs, more tentative and careful with a slower pace. Everything is in reverse now. I catch myself forgetting the title of a book, the name of a street or the ingredients for a favorite recipe. I witness it all and know that this part of my journey has just begun. I call on the Divine for grace, guidance and strength when feeling overwhelmed.  With each new reckoning I continue to shine a light toward home.


“The world’s thy ship and not thy home.”

St. Therese of Lisieux


The poem by Henry Van Dyke speaks to a curious fascination with time, specifically death. We are energetic beings and as such will persist even after biological death. Whether you believe in an afterlife or not, one cannot deny that the moment of passing is one of unimaginable transformation. No amount of worldly success can be called upon to make this transition. We venture into eternity alone, taking with us only the love and connections we have shared with others.


Believing that the soul is eternal can be reassuring for anyone struggling with the peculiarities and challenges of life. Energy never ceases, it simply changes form. I choose to hold in my heart a knowing of a time when all the hustle and bustle of the day will stop. The constant worldly distractions, to do lists and commitments will be replaced with a restful and glorious peace. Silence will prevail and all will become clear. This knowing is enough, it must be.