A Petition

 It is perhaps the cold wind

caressing

your skin,

chilling the spirit

as it warms your heart

in complete silence

but with an assurance

beyond the known

while few words can give gratitude

for the sky opening         clearly,

the rain falling            quickly,

 the world gently           finding

             stillness in a moment.

And in these words,

a prayer,

a petition of grace,

 is born

from the heart

                        guiding,

 completing,

a certainty

for all that cannot be seen

but felt from beyond.

It is then,

and only then,

that you feel

Divinity kiss you

in your spirit

in a way that love

was meant to be understood

and recognized.

Quiet Conversation

You are never far

from my extremities.

On our bed

limbs journey towards you,

toes rubbing against

the warmth of your legs

nudging at flesh,

kneading through muscles,

digging for the promise

of magnetism.

Hands stretch

for assurance in

bridging the distance

between here and there.

You allow for it,

enticed by the hunger

of a give-and-take affection

as we silently converse.

Whenever I get lost

in a book or movie

I find your fingers

studiously reaching,

magically appearing

under mountains of blankets

for more love

between the quietude

that defines the comfort of us.

And in one moment

you take my hand

gently placing

that last kiss of night

on the palm of my skin

to remind me

of the things

I don’t have to say.

Home

homeThe smell of decomposed earth filled my nostrils as I struggled to trek up the mountain.  It had been a while since I’ve hiked alone far from the settings of our retreat center.  I mumble to myself, “I am Home.”  Then I asked myself on the next breath, “What is that?  What is it that defines our home?”

At times home is a description, an intricate noun of familiarity setting a place, person, or thing to feel a connection to our soul.  I am home in my lover’s arms.  I am home with my children around me feeling safe.  I am home while holding a friend’s hand in need.  I am home through laughter and deep conversations.  But my true home, where I find peace, solace and acceptance, is nature. There in the waters of a river collecting heart-shaped rocks, and sitting on a giant boulder witnessing a waterfall, I am home again. The outside world becomes an illusion.   Struggles don’t exist in the mind.  Nature doesn’t judge or asks anything of what I’m not.  It accepts my essence in just being present in the stillness of the now.  In these moments problems melt, and like the decomposed soil, I shred the inklings of my humanness and become light in spirit.  It is meditation at its finest. It is life at its sweetest.  Nature allows me to get lost and find myself in the center of the universe.

ridge2

I watched a family of deer crossing the road on the way up the mountain.  The majestic presence of their daytime roaming out of the forest moved me. I had to stop on the side of the path and compose myself. Nature receives and recovers me. It is the bearing of all that I have become: mother, care taker, partner, lover, friend, spiritual consultant, and other professions that make the sum of me.  In this sum they are just hats I get to wear to live in human form.  Up high on the Blue Ridge Mountains I am home for a little while as my soul roams endlessly without boundaries.  Nature engulfs me and “home” becomes the only noun I can describe.

Last week I mailed my oldest son a package with some of his stuff. He called me immediately upon opening it, “Mom, I just got the box and when I opened it I could smell lavender and I miss home. Thank you for sending a little part of home to me.  I love you so much!” He was nostalgic. I was touched.  Home and its smells traveled a thousand miles.

This morningridge, at that moment of impact through the mountains, I inhaled the humid-stale air into my lungs and released all that had been stored for months. Yes, the smell of peppermint, rosemary and lavender is home.  It is my house and all that it entails to find comfort and a haven of familiarity.  It is a dwelling of security.  But up on the ridges, without contact from the world for a few hours I found my sanctuary. God sat by me marveling at the beauty He created while I whispered, “Thank you. It’s good to be back.  I am home again!”

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” ~ Anne Frank

Welcome Home!

As things wind down this week, the holidays upon us, the stress of it all created by the commercialized sensationalism of the media I step back and breathe.  All I want is peace and love.  It doesn’t matter what day or month or year.  All I wish for is the serenity of waking up and feeling the lightness of the life I have chosen to live.  It is beautiful.  In spite of challenges along the way (because that’s what makes it interesting) I can accept that simplicity is underrated.  I crave for it even more during this season.

My boyfriend, Matt, shared with me months ago that he did not celebrate Christmas.  I wasn’t going to decorate this year.  A few weeks ago he said he wanted a Christmas tree.  He hasn’t put one up in eight years.  How can I disregard this?  I used to go all out and put several trees in my old house.  It looked like a miniature Biltmore Estate.  Garland, decorations, lights…the pages of Better Homes & Gardens and HGTV seem to vomit everywhere.  So, here in this simple new life I looked at this man that loves me and he asks for a tree.  You better believe there is a tree going up and he will be the one to decorate it!  Yesterday morning we bought a real tree.  As we went up to the shed to get the boxes of decoration he became overwhelmed, “Babe, I only wanted a small tree with some decorations.”  I respect that.  I told him to pick whatever he wants and enjoy the process.  I want him to enter our home every day and feel welcomed.  I want him to find the peace and love I find each time I come home and snuggle in his arms.

“Welcome home!”  I want my life to say that.  I want it to salute every person who enters my space, not just my home, but my presence and feel the simplicity in those words.  I want to create the atmosphere of love, blessings, comfort and peace.  Whether they enter our home, the retreat center, or I enter their own space, I want to believe they feel those words.  Home is the heart of our spirits.  A house is a building, but home can be anywhere your spirit welcomes another.  “Welcome home!”  Welcome home to that place of simplicity, love, serenity, joy and communion.  Welcome to the life your spirit craves to share with you and others.  I am learning that the purest form of an authentic life is in allowing others to love and feel loved no matter where they are.

I will never forget a famous quote by the author Toni Morrison:  “At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint, or even remember it. It is enough.”  The beauty of arriving to the place of love and salutation is the best legacy you can leave for another…especially in this season that has been forgotten.  Welcome home, my friends, welcome to your life. Find the joy in the simplest of things.  I promise that the spirit of divinity projects an amazing light from that place.  I invite you to come and enter as you share the story of you…!

The Wedding

wedding

The Morning woke the Day

with cold kisses and embrace

through frost,

snow,

ice,

and she rose elated,

illuminating in shades

of blue,

mauve and purple.

The Mountain dressed in white

gracefully stood

waiting for the Sun

to take in and love her.

The Path through the Forest

cleared the way

for the standing ovation,

the musical enlightenment

for the union

between love and creation.

I attend to the gathering

in awed of the mysticism

witnessing the Divine

taking and joining

this magical wedding

day after day….

Your Inner Child

I was observing our neighbor’s little girl, Sophia, during dinner the other night.  She’s become our town’s little princess.  At six years old she has the charisma and intelligence of an old soul.  I remember being six.  I remember it vaguely.  I wish I could speak to that little chubby girl, Mildred, and assure her of so many things.  I would let her know that by no means she is to give her power, self-esteem, her voice, or anything else other than love to anyone else.

I have few memories of me witnessing the progress of life at that age and marveling at things.  The world seemed so magically grand.  It was even more magical when my father would show up after long absences.  He was my prince charming, never once criticizing anything I did.  Then again, how can he be negative if he was rarely around?

The hardest part of being a human is living without losing yourself in it.  We are born just for the lessons, struggles and challenges.  As children we don’t fear dreaming.  There are unlimited possibilities for the future.  We can be anything and have everything.  Observing little Sophia and her spunk, her lack of reservations and her refreshing innocence I wondered what I would say to myself as a child if I could go back in time.  I also wondered where those wonderful tributes vanish to from childhood.  During the night I dreamt of that little girl, returning to a specific memory of childhood, standing by the dining room table of an old house in Puerto Rico.  The dream turned into this story:

“We spoke briefly last night as I watched her tip-toeing, balancing her chubby body staring at the liquor bottle with the dancer in it that her dad brought home after months of his disappearing act. I laughed at her rhythm trying to be graceful at six years of age and I wanted to tell her to keep trying but I didn’t. I smiled. I laughed. I sat back knowing what I know, speaking short sentences that an intelligent child disregarded as she became enthralled in the dancer and her parents arguing in the kitchen while the French melody from the music box under the bottle muffled the background words. I knelt down to her height staring at the golden bottle while she moved it so the music continued and we shared an intimate moment without words as we knew the outcome of the bottle. We anticipated another Houdini act from the father; another tearful night for the mother. The gifts he always brought were to fill his guilt. I wanted to hold her. I wanted to tell her to let go, to be playful, to not be so responsible; that life has a way of working out.  I wanted to let her know she could trust another but to not loose herself in that dependency.  I held my breath, touched her long brown hair, caressed her round cheeks and said nothing of the sort.  I wanted to let her know that this moment would be implanted in her mind forever — that the dancer will seem like a dream; that she will strive at perfectionism and fail and hurt and despair because she wants to be that perfect, graceful dancer.  She will search for the bottle all her life, searching for prince charming to sweep her away.  I wanted to let her know she could play hard and long and be a great artist and a wonderful and kind woman one day.  I wanted her to hear me say it but I didn’t because those are not her lessons at six years of age.  She will find empty bottles with empty dreams and will work her faith to the core to gather strength to continue on her own.  I wanted her to know that she will be loved and admired; that all the disappointments will bring goodness.  I wanted to warn her about remorse and regrets and not to let them take over her heart; that she will need to forgive many times. I wanted her to understand that life is what you give it not what it gives you; that rules are abstract and cannot be touched but easily broken and to watch her step when breaking one.  Everything is a ripple of lessons weaving into another.  I wanted to tell her with assurance to truly enjoy the journey, to laugh every day and embrace all diversities.  Most of all I wanted to tattoo the light of divinity in her chest.  I sat back on the chair and stared harder at the child who was me.  I smiled at her beautiful brown eyes and winked in certainty that we will be fine. We will meet again and again as I stare at my own children.  I wanted to stay longer and hold her until her deceptions disappeared because I know that she will fight against everything with stubbornness for the rest of our lives.  But, I left her there in my dream, in my memory, in my childhood. I left her there where I will love her always; where I can come and go and tip toe as the dancer back to me.”

 

What would you tell your inner child if you could go back in time?  Please share.  I would love to hear.  May you allow your inner child to stand up and dance today in joy.  Love and light always…Millie

Mountain Sanctuary

Yesterday a friend and I went down to Charleston, South Carolina, to pick up my children.  My two teenagers had been away for a week and a half with some dear friends while a movie was being filmed in our location.  I was ready to have them back home.  I also love to visit Charleston.  The downtown reminds me of Old San Juan with the historic-colorful-adorn homes.  Walking it brings me great nostalgia.  It is a romantic city and one I hope to return time and time again.  Charleston is the Asheville of the East.

This afternoon we returned home.  The four hour car ride always brings time for contemplation and reflection.  The moment I reach the Blue Ridge Mountain silhouette and skyline, my spirit enters a place that words cannot express.  There is a sense of open air and relief.  I love the mountains.  No matter how far I travel, returning here is an immediate sense of peace.   There is a knowing that immediately whispers, “You are home.  You are free.  You are nature and harmony.”

I expressed to my dear friend, who is now moving to the area, how much I love this place.  He completely understood because he feels the same way.  There is breathing room.  There is a space of infinite openness and grounding.  Just seeing the ridges in the distance puts me in a place of giddiness and excitement.  Even less than 36 hours later, I feel like I’ve been gone for a week.  Just like Dorothy, “There is no place like home.”

The best feeling in life is finding a sanctuary to truly call home.  Our place is my Heaven while in this life.  I love experiencing and visiting other places.  I love to travel.  But, I live in a permanent vacation.  Life is so sweet up on this mountain.  Creativity flows, clarity visits and nature energizes my spirit.  This is not something I take for granted.  I know it is a blessing from the Divine.  I am also aware that to arrive to this place of peace I’ve had to release and surrender.  The lessons learned have been fundamental and painful at times.  I’ve had to let go of the material world.  I have less than I’ve ever had in my life, yet I am richer beyond imagination.  I have found the fountain of youth, Shangri-La, and the Mist of Avalon.  I live in fairytale land.

Our friends in South Carolina took us to Botany Bay by the coast.  It was closed yesterday but the entrance to this beach was spectacular.  The trees (shown in picture) intertwine with each other.  They are arms and fingers of leaves and branches joining in creation.  It is a magical canopy.  And, just like that particular path, I feel these mountains have intertwined and created a canopy of mysticism and magic for us to live in.  This small space has become therapy, love, peace and most of all…faith.  I have found the place that houses my spirit.  It is better than I could have ever imagined.

There’s no place like home

No place like home by Nelson

My son, his girlfriend, and a friend arrived from Florida yesterday. He turns 24 tomorrow. They will be here for a week. My sister, niece, her husband and daughter will arrive on Monday. Having my family home is always an adjustment for everyone on the first few days. But, family is always a loving dynamic and we find joy in sharing. Stories will be shared, moments will find new albums, and laughter will be contagious.

I last saw my son on my birthday in April. We had a marvelous afternoon walking on the beach in South Florida. It was a loving time full of adult conversations. I know how difficult it is for my oldest son to get used to his parent’s separation. He seems to take things much harder than the rest. When he comes to visit I am initially waiting for emotions to fly off the handle at some point. Usually my mind creates the worst.

He took the above picture as he got home. He showed it to me and said, “There is no place like Mom’s home.” Tears formed in my eyes. No matter how old they get they still find home where the heart resides. Entering the house he smelled the aromatherapy oils I always burn. “Ah, smells like home. Miss that smell.” He walked through the kitchen and living room breathing the eucalyptus and rosemary. His demeanor changed completely. His spirit let go and I could see it in his eyes. He was back in a place of stability and security.

There’s a grounding quality in the places we call “home.” There should always be a place that feels nurturing, loving, comfortable and healing. It doesn’t matter if it’s a mansion or a shack. I try to create this sense of safety for my family. My home is my sanctuary and I am very conscious of treating it with love. There is no chair or space that can’t be used. There’s no discomfort or uneasiness. This home is a place to sit back and just relax. All my homes have welcomed family and friends to just chill. Home is that place of finding loving energies. Everyone should have a space that allows the spirit to let go and feel secure. I hope that my space can always provide that for others. This haven provides an on-going comfort for so many. Even whenever I leave for a few days, I re-enter my space and always thank God for what I have. I find myself like Dorothy whispering, “There’s no place like home!”

My last home was a massive house. I had a living room that I called “the red room” because the sofas were flushed and red. It seemed that anyone who sat there for more than 10 minutes began to share emotions. The room seemed to have a therapeutic effect. I am not a therapist and was always surprised at the things people would divulge. Even strangers would just break down and start sharing personal things. When I moved to North Carolina I sold everything. The time came to buy new sofas for my home and I purchased red sofas again. I’ve found that the color stirs up emotions in others, and also allows them to let go. Secrets, emotions, traumas, and stories are shared in this space. They provide a comfort area to watch television, share a glass of wine with friends, and a great nap time on a lazy day.

Is it the furniture? Is it the color? Is it the energy of this place in the mountains? Is it the lack of restrictions to what anyone can do? I really don’t know. What I do know for sure is that my son and others come home and I watch their spirits breathe and relax. I thank God for this sanctuary. I am grateful that the Divine provides them with this space to let go and rejuvenate.

I hope that no matter where you are that you can create paradise in your space. Whenever you spirit comes home it should be a place that feels the nurturing energies of the Divine. Home is the place where your stories never need an explanation and you can always feel loved. It is the place that allows the real you to rest, rejuvenate, and recreate.