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 am with you always means when you look for God,
God is in the look of your eyes,
in the thought of looking, nearer to you than your self,
or things that have happened to you
There’s no need to go outside.
Be melting snow.
Wash yourself of yourself.
A white flower grows in quietness.
Let your tongue become that flower.
- Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi
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.
You know that you are an awfully peculiar girl when you are enraptured with the textures and colors of the frayed ropes of a fishing boat net. Even the slippery dogfish, with his insides drooling out commands my wonder.
Where Does the Temple Begin,
Where Does It End?
There are things you can’t reach. But
you can reach out to them, and all day long.
The wind, the bird flying away. The idea of God.
And it can keep you as busy as anything else, and happier.
The snake slides away; the fish jumps, like a little lily,
out of the water and back in; the goldfinches sing
from the unreachable top of the tree.
I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.
Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around
as though with your arms open.
And thinking: maybe something will come, some
shining coil of wind,
or a few leaves from any old tree –
they are all in this too.
And now I will tell you the truth.
Everything in the world
At least, closer.
Like the nibbling, tinsel-eyed fish; the unlooping snake.
Like goldfinches, little dolls of gold
fluttering around the corner of the sky
of God, the blue air.
~ Mary Oliver ~
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. ♥
“I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today.” - William Allen White
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.
“Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.” – Elizabeth Lawrence
“Love is like a butterfly, it goes where it pleases and it pleases where it goes.”
A community project merging the photographs of pro, amateur, and young (ages 8-18) photographers, celebrating the City of New Bedford opens tonight at ArtWorks 384 Acushnet Avenue, New Bedford 6-9pm.
I am personally very excited about this exhibit because not only does it celebrate the multitude of fantastic stories and the cultural color of New Bedford, it is the first time that I will be exhibiting with my 8 year old daughter Charlotte. I love seeing the world through her photographs.
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
How much of human life is lost in waiting? -Ralph Waldo Emerson
…for the kind of happiness a seagull with a french fry has?
As long as it takes.
From the SNAC show, “Natural Selection” at Gallery X, New Bedford, MA September 2012
“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