My beautiful daughter Charlotte turns 9 today! She is just exquisite. She is my heart.
This was a delicious recent Instagram capture. Shortly after I shucked my sundress, I was floating in the warm ocean, cradled and rocked like a baby, my heart pointed to the sky, listening to God whisper…
I carry that feeling of freedom, joy, and expansiveness with me always. It provides a certain immunity to discordant energies.
Boston, you’re my home.
I asked an old man:
“Which is more important?
To love or to be loved?
Old man replied:
Which is more important to a bird?
The left wing or the right wing?
Desse Barama (Peace) by Hamza El Din
The world shines about me,
luminous as the moon, smiling like a rose,
and a sweet benediction
flows through everything existing.
How beautiful life is.
I marvel at people who are not in love with life.
You, my girl, are beautiful,
and your beauty,
like the beautiful thought of peace,
belongs to the eternity.
Detest war and destruction.
When you go to the riverbank,
and the sun sets in the evening,
the waters of the river will be rippling softly,
and from a distance, in the twilight, you will see white sails.
A song of the boatman will come from there.
‘Today no suffering, no suffering.’
The world shines about me,
luminous as the moon,
smiling like a rose.
I find a lot of Christmas music saccharine and barely tolerable but Oh Holy Night, plucks at my heart:
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!
Fall on your knees, oh hear the angels’ voices!
I long ago learned that Christmas was a manufactured holiday created by those old timey Popes who wanted to put the kibosh on all those fabulous pagan parties. We’ve further commercialized it. It doesn’t really matter though. I think we take the traditions and symbols that are meaningful to us and simply enjoy them. But amid the cookies and presents, I think it is a time to fully inherit our Christ consciousness or Buddha mind, what ever your path. Ultimately, we are all taking different trains, planes, and automobiles to the same destination.
Author Bill Flanagan said of the bittersweet virtue of spiritual/holiday music (secular and non-secular alike), “God loves us even when we do not love ourselves. Salvation is possible, because humans are infinitely redeemable. These are the shortest days of the year and for some people they are the hardest. But starting now, little by little, the days will get longer. The light is already coming back.”
And truly, Christmas, in all its magic and grace, is about hope.
And the soul felt its worth.
The heart is truly an amazing thing. The recently passed jazz icon Dave Brubeck once said, “One of the reasons I believe in jazz is that the oneness of man can come through the rhythm of your heart. It’s the same anyplace in the world, that heartbeat. It’s the first thing you hear when you’re born — or before you’re born — and it’s the last thing you hear.” Indeed at 91, he died, poetically, of heart failure. The first rhythm we hear is our mother’s heart drumming into our forming consciousness and the last, our own thumping its final notes of Taps before we take leave.
I remember watching that first little blip flicker on the screen when my babies were 6 weeks old in my womb. That flicker later becoming an audible gallop under the wand and jelly being traced across my swelling belly. Finally, it was a throb I could feel under my palm as I rubbed lavender lotion on their rosy, post-bath skin. Their heartbeats like a poem from the very start, a declaration, YES! to this life.
I am in awe at how the heart can weather so many insults and injuries and yet continue to expand. I have felt that tightening in my chest, that stony ache, and struggle to breathe when my heart has been broken. I have my own collection of bitterly painful childhood lacerations, have endured the loss of babies whose faces and souls I never was allowed to behold, and have experienced my share of disappointments in love. My heart has felt weary and raw and yet, at the sight of the sun melting in the sky, or buckets of brown-paper wrapped tulip bouquets at the grocery store, or at the touch of sweetly soft lips grazing my cheek, it blossoms once more. Each time it thrives, I believe it becomes more magnificent and spacious and capable of loving more, and with hope, able to love all.
Rilke wrote, “Our hearts transcend us.”
Yes please to that.
I love how instagram is like having my very own visual gratitude journal! Try it! You just have to look through your snaps to see how many details (hikes, and hats, and Pinkberry trips!) you were moved to capture and savor to see how happy you are to be alive and how much abundance you have to be grateful for. ♥
Hiking in the woods today with Henry strapped to my back, in t-shirts, in December, no less, I savored the peace of the landscape: bare trees and blonde grasses awash with late day sunlight, our playful turtle friends bobbing along in the pond. I make a regular practice of long walks in the woods, in all kinds of weather, enjoy the journeying I do within as I meander along. I find that after a certain amount of time being stuck in the muddy mental inertia of my life, I eventually climb to a new vista. There I can more clearly see the limited perspectives and vacancies in my heart that inspired me to go down certain paths. I feel a certain tenderness for myself, while in reverie, recalling my befuddled searchings and stumblings. Surveying the lands below, I witness again those places punctuated by sadness and regret. For a time those landmarks are piercing, beyond painful, and I want to turn away, to deny that my compass could have ever steered me to such fretful territory. How many times have I asked myself how a girl with a heart as big as the sky could possibly be so complicit in her own self-betrayal? Why would she venture to these murky, tenuous places?
When you journey inward and outward as I do, you have plenty of time to ask yourself a lot of questions, and you have enough time to wait patiently until the day that you find your way to the answers. I know this much, we are spirit having a human experience. As a human being I am throughly (and often wonderfully) flawed. I’m not alone in this. No fully lived life is without a pang of sorrow. I have inherited enough humility along the way not to condemn anyone else’s missteps, looking at someone you can’t even begin to surmise all the little places where they are damaged, nor where they are fortified. I feel compassion for anyone hell bent on judging and exposing my frailties, knowing fully that any damnation directed at me, betrays their own shame and insecurity. I’ve felt those, I know they are hard to look at, much easier to direct that bitterness elsewhere, but that’s cowardice, and that is a path I am not willing to step even a single pinky toe on. I’d rather plant my flag and claim another latitude, where I wholly love and accept myself and am unremittingly convinced of my inherent self-worth. We only know peace when we make it with ourselves. There is no other destination. <3
“What I wanted most for my daughter was that she be able to soar confidently in her own sky, whatever that may be.” – Helen Claes
a place where life begins
and love never ends.
“Love is like a butterfly, it goes where it pleases and it pleases where it goes.”
Religion is the rules, regulations, ceremonies and rituals developed by man to create conformity and uniformity in the approach to God. Spirituality is God’s call in your soul. – Iyanla Vanzant
“In all the world, there is no heart for me like yours. In all the world, there is no love for you like mine.” – Maya Angelou
“The most wonderful thing, is that you and I are always walking together, hand in hand, in a strangely beautiful world, unknown to other people. We both stretch one hand to receive from Life – and Life is generous indeed.” – Khalil Gibran
“Love is that condition in the human spirit so profound that it allows me to survive, and better than that, to thrive with passion, compassion, and style.” ― Maya Angelou
The night you arrived the moon was just shy of full. I remember looking up at it, acutely white against the darkest of winter night skies. My water was broken at 10:10 pm. The midwife’s eyes grew large remarking that she had never seen so much water come out of one woman. I began riding the tides of pain that would bring you from that watery universe into this most wondrous and peculiar world. After 9 minutes of sheet wringing, white-knuckled pushing, you came. The wall clock read midnight exactly and I didn’t know what day your were officially born. I was happy to learn that the hospital clock read 12:02, you had cleverly arranged it so that you could share a birthday with your Uncle Aaron. I can already see your sweet nature, I sensed it when you were growing inside of me, but in my arms you are pensive and calm; your tiny eyelashes and toes delight me endlessly. I love you completely and bless every moment of my life that led you here to me.
Everything grows rounder and wider and weirder, and I sit here in the middle of it all and wonder who in the world you will turn out to be. – Carrie Fisher
Wishing a very happy anniversary to my friends Kristen & Jonathan! One year ago today, in downtown Providence, I photographed their intimate wedding, Kristen in a vintage gown, Jonathan’s smile infectious…
Words penned by the poet Amy Lowell, come to mind…
When you came, you were like red wine and honey,
And the taste of you burnt my mouth with its sweetness.
Now you are like morning bread,
Smooth and pleasant.
I hardly taste you at all for I know your savour,
But I am completely nourished.
Love. How it consumes us and challenges us and transforms us, and becomes as sacred and as necessary to our survival as bread, as breath. I love it.
It is officially hot chocolate season and our pantry is always well stocked with the necessary ingredients (namely milk, salt, whipped cream, unsweetened cocoa, sugar, vanilla, and mini marshmallows). Sometimes nothing is more grand than coming in with the cold still on your coat, shucking those slushy boots, and whisking up a few mugs of hot deliciousness to sip and savor together. ♥
True love stories never have endings. ~ Richard Bach
JOY! JOY! JOY! I am overflowing with warm and fuzzy feelings wishing congratulations to my childhood friend Rocky and his darling fiance Michelle on their recent engagement. I love you both! Mazal Tov!
The poet T.S. Eliot once wrote, “I have measured out my life in coffee spoons.” I know that I could measure this year of my life in those kinds tiny moments and details: in cups of coffee, glasses of wine, and Sunday morning pancakes, in passionate kisses, foot rubs, in the moments that stole my breath away, in tomatoes picked, and in belly laughs and books read, in photographs taken, and pieces of chocolate savored, in bedtime stories and broken dishes and loads of whites, in morning walks and barefoot nights.
The sum of it all, however messy or perplexing or thoroughly delightful, is my life in its imperfect perfection.
As I stir my coffee spoon this Thanksgiving morning, snuggled between my jammied daughters, watching the Macy’s Parade, each of us taking turns to feel the movement of the little guy swimming and dreaming inside my swelling belly, I think, no matter how I measure it, my life is good, blessed. And for that, for love, health, inspiration, joy, friends, family, and new beginnings, I am incredibly grateful.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!