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going naked being seen

Look through all appearances and feel me. The beauty comes through you; radiate it.

I was talking to my friend on the phone and soaking my feet in sea salt bath at the same time. I knew better than to mix water with talking on the phone, but  both activities felt so good, I couldn’t give one of them up. Sure enough, I dropped my phone in the water. Splash!

I fished that phone out faster than greased lightning, and immediately thought of lightning.

“What if I get electrocuted?”

Of course, I didn’t say that out loud, but I got scared just the same. My friend was talking so fast and was full of such important information to share, that I couldn’t even interrupt her to share my fright. So, we kept talking for about an hour. My phone seemed fine and I plugged it in before I went to…

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Responsibility and the Ability to Respond

going naked being seen

“And God is amused you once tried to be a saint.” ~Hafiz

I really spent way too much time preparing for Court hearings and trials as a young lawyer, but I didn’t know better and I was terrified to make a mistake. I can’t say that I ever overcame this painful habit, but I guess it didn’t hurt my clients, even though it threw me off-balance and allowed me to neglect almost everything else in my life before the hearing. I came to know that being prepared is a conclusion that I could only make after the trial or hearing when what I couldn’t foresee before it, played out. It took far more than a rehearsed speech or rigid outline of questioning to be a good and effective lawyer; I had to respond to what came up live, from the witnesses testimony or the questions and rulings from…

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And the Darkness Did Not Overcome It

going naked being seen


Come he said
and she approached.
Come, he said
and she stood still.
Come, he said
and she expanded.
Light moving
life.
She has known this before.
Love waking,
fresh in his taking so much time.
So much tender time.
Come, my love,
sit, he said
penetrating her without touch.
And she, 
pausing long enough to remember him for the first time. ~ Love Letter to Light, MaryAnn Fry

They say that recovered alcoholics are people who would not normally meet. It’s meant to be a statement of the real depth that unites us; the escape from darkness. Some of the finest people I have ever met are alcoholics, and they’ve appeared in my life, like apparitions of grace, moving me somehow and reflecting light.

Last night I sat with one of those grace filled people during a performance by a brilliant french cellist, and we were both transported…

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Saudade

saudadeMy writer friend Greg Peters introduced me to the word Saudade, and I felt exotic, just seeing it. Greg was exotic too, and brilliant. He died several years ago, not long after he wrote a review of my book. I have an affinity for exotic people, because they seem alive in a way that I admire. I reconnected with Greg on Facebook after a 30 year absence, and still find myself scrolling his page, even after his death. Greg lived out loud, and I feel like I’ve been in hiding. It’s funny how these things arise in my consciousness, but I’m sure glad they do. I’m missing something within myself too.

A friend told me that people don’t say “I love you”, to each other in Sweden, but rather, “I love who I am when I’m with you.” That resonated with me, and I shared it with my dear friend Christi, one evening when we we trying to make sense of longing, and loss and emptiness. Christi loved the phrase, and it shifted something inside her when I said it.

It’s been rare for me to experience longing for anything but God, but I have. It’s easy to think that a change in circumstances will fulfill the longing, but I’ve come to understand something deeper about longing. For me, I’ve felt most alive when I am creating something, and writing was my art. I’ve had a long drought with writing, and it’s been painful. It’s doubly hard because I’m not around the exotic friends that helped me feel alive, and encouraged my expression. Today, I simply acknowledge this longing, and accept it as a sign of a missing connection. I’ve learned not to judge these states of being either, because my mind cannot appreciate the breadth of the mystery and spirit that moves me.

The other day in meditation, I felt a release, and an embrace of the gentlest vibration. For a moment, my mind stopped, and I accepted the peace. I heard myself say, “Oh yes, this is what I’m really longing for,” and I simply sat still.

Longings can look like people, or things, or situations, but at the heart of all of them, is the same essential desire; that I feel seen, loved, and there is enough.

 

 

Falling Away, Not Apart

 

 

Couarge Black lion success

 

My brother David finished his radiation and chemotherapy treatments several months ago. So, when we were invited to gather at his home for Thanksgiving this year, I had to go. We had  weekly e-mail updates about his condition, but he couldn’t talk, so I hadn’t heard his voice in months. It seemed everyone felt the way I did, because twenty-four of us gathered at his home to celebrate.

Our hands were joined in prayer before the meal, and David spoke. I hadn’t remembered him taking such a lead before, but it felt like he waited a long time to say the words, forced from a throat ravaged by radiation. He said thank you; to all of us who sent cards and prayed. “It was hell, but that really helped.” Tears were streaming down my face, and I opened to the sight of a man changed, from within. “I thought I knew God before, but I finally said, ‘Take me, or heal me”, and I began to get better.”

David continued to explain the appreciation he had for his wife; how his marriage improved. I was struck by what had moved inside of me as he spoke. God is real to David now, and I am delighted.

Those of us blessed to know and study the deeper mysteries, understand that the awakening of our beings to the reality of God, is a joyous occasion.  It feels like David has a solid, real connection with God now, and that often happens as a result of something apparently going wrong in our life.

I spoke with David later and he described how “useless” he felt as he was confined to his home during treatment, and the worries of his mind. He referred to his mind like a wild animal he had to tame. I felt a strength in him I cannot articulate, but he’s solid. He’s done resisting, and that’s what surrender is all about. It matters less to him where he works, what he has, and who he was before. He’s new now and opened to the reality of grace, and the truth of genuine humility and connection.

I love him differently now, and with great respect. There isn’t a word, really, but brave would do. I hate the war metaphors about dealing with disease. It seems he’s allowed himself to be vulnerable, confused, and scared. He’s asked for help, and received it. He’s solid, and I know he’s good; no matter what happens.

This type of transformation moves me to the core, and it happened at our Thankgiving celebration. Things didn’t fall apart, as my dear friend Cynthia notes, they fell away, and what remains is radiant, and good.

Stripped

I’ve followed Heather King’s writing for years, because she’s  real, and brilliant. She’s also devoted to the mystery, and my heart swells when she speaks. She’s in love with God, and it shows.

In her book trailer for STRIPPED, Cancer, Culture and the Cloud of Unknowing, she spoke of some deep questions that arose for her in the wake of a cancer diagnosis. She talks about the trouble she had with the war metaphor as a way to treat disease; I don’t like that either.

Heather King had the guts to be STRIPPED, because she knows the God of love. She asked two essential questions; “Am I going to serve the God of love, or fear?”, and “How do I want to live this life; how do I want to die?”.

This interview is so powerful, I hesitate to say anything else, except this; at some time in our lives, we’ll be stripped. To the essence, and to the core. Heather’s grace might help you navigate those times.

Transformation

In gratitude to the women I’m blessed to sponsor.

going naked being seen

Monarch Heaven

My friend Ron Starbuck of Saint Julian Press posted this gorgeous photograph on my Facebook timeline this morning. Transformation, in all of its mystery and magnificence.

Several women I love have had losses recently, and I’ve been witness to their pain and turning. They too, are held in some mysterious form, fragile in their shedding, but strong in their becoming. That’s how I see them anyway, because I know what to look at, and I don’t do it with my eyes. Today, I am present to others in their grief and loss and fear, because I am present to my own. In presence there is power, and that power is love. Years ago, I would have wanted to shield someone from an experience; to protect myself, or them from discomfort and uncertainty. God knows, I ran from myself for many years, until that got unbearable too. Processes that look objectively painful…

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