To All Men

I love women. I love men. I love humanity. In the most difficult and challenging times I still believe in us…as a whole yummy group of spiritual beings making our way in this classroom called Life.

I read a lot of male bashing. As if they are the enemy. WTH. No way. And neither are women. The collective has been programmed to create division. In just about everything.

We cannot fix our issues by separating classes, genders, beliefs or whatever. We aid in healing this planet through connections and unity.

I know some freaking fantastic males who teach me every day to strive to be better. I have four sons and four daughters. I learn from each one of them.

To my male friends, sons, husband, and strangers! I see you. You got this. Thank you for what you do. Us women couldn’t be here without you. We are the universe’s Yin and Yang. Lately you’ve been taken personal heat for a lot. We need to heal together.

Thank you for walking alongside us. I love you. I see you. And I am here on this journey with you because we don’t have to stay quiet about shit any longer.

Struggles…

Many years ago…12 to be exact…I was experiencing a struggle with my eldest daughter. She arrived into my life at the age of 11-1/2 from Romania. And with her came a lot of secrets and demons. She suffered from multiple personalities and deep wounds. There was no way to reach her regardless of all the love and security I provided. At the age of 18, finishing high school, she plotted to hurt me and some other family members. The heartache those days was immense. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced up to that moment in my life.

My son’s friend’s mother came over to get him one day. I shared my struggle through tears and heartbreak. She took me aside (a woman who truly didn’t know me that well even though our boys were super close) and she shared a personal story about her eldest son. She told me, while holding me, that sometimes we had to let go in order to continue helping our other children. Up to that moment I didn’t know anyone who had undergone things that broke the mama heart that profoundly. Whether it was addiction, mental illness, or whatever…I had not known someone personally who was navigating through similar experiences.

I listened to her. She had been at this for years. I felt her own release in that conversation. I listened so much that, now 12 years later, I can still remember her words of wisdom. This woman just lost her son a few days ago. That said son who was struggling with his own demons. And as I write this I swear my heart breaks even deeper. A parent should never, ever, have to do what she’s had to do this week. I know he’s finally at peace. She does too but there is always the uncertainty of how much we did or didn’t do to fix and save our loved ones. The doubts creep up and we are consumed by the unknown of it all. It’s hard to decipher what is real and what is not. Guilt and shame are familiar emotions that push the grief up. It’s all part of healing and letting go.

I know without a shadow of a doubt, that when someone has these struggles the only thing you can do for them is hold space. The loss is inexplicable. It’s unreal and I cannot imagine how my friend is holding herself up this week. So I pray and send loving light to her and her family since she’s not near me (although I wish I was with her at the moment). I keep meditating and hold her heart in mine. No one knows what another endures…not what she had to do for her son, not what I’ve had to for my own children. We have little windows we show to the world, but behind closed doors and blinds the truth of it is quite different. I am blessed to have had her 12 years ago to help me navigate my own grief, shame and guilt because I was completely lost. I had to let my daughter go. I had to love her from afar and continue to do so daily because she refuses the love. In the end I had to put my energy into those in my house who were willing to receive the love and security. And it continues…

That’s all we are asked to do: love and serve those who receive it (who are willing to accept it). We can’t fix or help those who don’t want it. It’s like hitting yourself against a giant boulder while the ocean smashes against you over and over. It’s pure insanity.

I love you, my dear friend. You know who you are…you will always be the words of wisdom when I struggle through my own little demons of guilt for not doing more…. I am here!!!!!

Kindness, Please!

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Three years ago for Christmas a dear friend gifted me an amazing book by Mark Nepo: ‘The Book of Awakening.’ It’s a daily meditation guide. The pages are worn and marked. The book now looks like it’s been put through a dryer. Every time I pick it up I find something else that I’ve missed the last three years. Words have a way of popping out just when they need to be acknowledged. Yesterday this passage stood out to me, as I struggle with the anger and animosity going on with our citizens.

“There are many reasons to be kind, but perhaps none is as compelling as the spiritual fact that it is what we do. It is how the inner organ of being keeps pumping. Spiders sting. Wolves howl. Ants build small hills that no one sees. And human beings lift each other, no matter the consequences. Even when other beings sting.”

I cried when I read this. It was as if someone let the stopper out of the tub and I drained from it’s excess gasping for something that was unavailable at this time. It was powerful. Have we forgotten at this time “what we do?” Have we lost our way to understand that we are all on different spiritual paths and forms of evolving? Have we deviated from truth because of ideas, convictions and beliefs without once remembering that we must be kind to each other in order to make any form of transformation?

The hardest part of being an empath, or sensitive person, is the constant bombardment of others’ emotions. Even when I am not partaking in their issues, I feel the energy deep in the core of me. I am made to be kind. You are made for kindness. We cannot deviate from our authenticity. This is who we are. We learn how not to be kind, consciously or unintentionally…because we are born with love and kindness in our cells. That’s the starting point to each of us. That’s who we are. That’s what we come here to express to others. That is the web and fabric of our Unity.

Let’s try to return to THAT. Let’s….please…because the alternative really really really sucks! I know it’s our responsibility to be aware of the energy we put out into the world. I want mine to be forgiveness, kindness, and full of love.  I love you.

The Struggle To Do Nothing

magic of doing nothing

Standing or walking have become exquisite gifts taken for granted. A pulled tendon on top of my right foot has impeded me from doing all the normal daily activities I enjoy…like walking to the creek, going to the back of our gorgeous property, and just taking a step down the stairs to go to the car. The things we do on a daily basis can be taken away in one second and we don’t know how to adjust to the ever changing times.

It’s not easy to just sit. And, so when the doctor tells me that the healing is slow and I must rest the foot, I feel crippled. I have a two year old. That alone says a lot about mobility.

For over three weeks my body has been at a halt. It has endured questions on everything from weight, health and pain. I have had a lot of time to ponder from the sofa, while writing and working, to determine that I have a difficult time adjusting to being with me for too long without mobility. Cause, let’s be honest, while we are keeping busy we don’t have to entertain the internal demons that hide through a busy mind.

I have encountered generosity from amazing souls in my lifetime. It’s hard for me to receive. I enjoy giving and nurturing others. I love being able to be there when someone needs an ear, a hand, or just a friend in silence. I cherish moments when I can give from my soul and sit in the openness of another person’s vulnerability. But, it’s truly hellish to be in my own struggle of doing nothing and feeling the rawness of my own soul asking and begging for nourishment. It’s difficult to just be with me this long and not be able to entertain the ego with something else. It’s excruciating…imagine that! Life will provide the lessons needed to learn at the precise moment we avoid them the most.

Sometimes it requires a hard up accident, a near death experience, or simply a stupid pulled tendon for us to truly stop and listen. When we don’t listen to the whispers, they will begin to scream through what we avoid the most. Going on helping others is wonderful, but we must take care of ourselves first.

Yesterday, in the car with my husband, I broke down. I could barely say anything as I kept wiping the tears over and over, not daring them to touch the bottom of my face. I couldn’t quite explain the reason for them. I am sure, lately, he’s been witnessing a neurotic woman who is coming out of her skin. But, the tears have bottled up within a trying and challenging week full of issues with some of my grown children, and my inability to be able to do anything. I can’t do anything but be here. Even if my foot was perfectly fine, I can only send love and share in their struggles. However, pain intensifies all emotions. It clearly drains anything that’s been held up for a long time. Pain is a master at shifting our consciousness. It will force and bring forth whatever is being avoided.

Deep Sigh…

Vulnerability comes during moments of complete awareness when the soul is screaming for attention. And, when we aren’t courageous in the ability to let go and share, vulnerability will grab our perception in another way. We aren’t meant to lock up and dismiss our emotions. Vulnerability is the willingness to surf the ego and accept the nothingness and everythingness of our lives. It sucks at times, especially if you aren’t an emotional person. I, however, am an extremely emotional soul…to fault. I can cry at a drop of a hat about anything that doesn’t pertain to me. But, the moment I feel that pull in my heart about something that’s inside, I get completely erratic.

And, today, as I head out to Georgia to do a workshop on releasing the inner child, I realize wholeheartedly that the inner child has been releasing since the pain started. Isn’t that a kicker? I have visited parts of my own little girl in order to truly accept me in my most vulnerable state.  The struggle has been in allowing my busy mind to stop and do nothing.  It’s an art of sorts. Creating nothing takes work!

Sit long enough with yourself to love all aspects of you. I don’t say this lightly. I say it because I have been experiencing it in hyper mode. And, for those who think that your inner child doesn’t need tending, remember how you feel when your favorite TV comes on, or how you experience the simple things in your daily life. That’s a little girl or little boy, thanking you for nourishing them.

Your Playground

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A dear friend of mine of many years called me up a few days ago. We chatted for an hour catching up on so many changes in our lives. My ex and I were closed to her and her husband. We were inseparable for many years. We endured incredible pain and losses. She lost her husband a few years ago. I moved to North Carolina. Life happens! Things change and growth takes over in a way that we don’t recognize the people we once were until we reconnect with those souls that remind us of who we have become. We lose track of the drama, challenges, and day-to-day mundane living. So to catch up and hear her struggles reminds me of how far we’ve both have traveled. It allows me to see the mirror of strength, tenacity and faith. It’s never easy to pick up, move on, and leave toxic relationships. It’s never easy to face the disasters that we have been blinded to see until that moment when we can see clearly. It’s even harder to release the guilt and shame of anything in the past. But, we must.

In the midst of this conversation she said, “I have become very picky at who I allow to come play in my playground.” I was in a store when she said this. In between picking up incense and a bottle of water I stopped and just had a huge aha moment. I understood this. I just never heard it with such simplicity. I got it clearly and in a few seconds my mind traced back the many folks I allowed to play when they didn’t deserve the privilege to share with me in my joyous space.

You want to learn who your friends are? Go through some major life event and see who has the guts to stand by you. You want to witness how people behave? Watch how they react to illness, loss, and financial changes in your life. We have been programmed to step back and just disappear. But, in truth, a true friend will not judge you, shame you, or blame you for anything that’s happening in their lives because life has no stop signs, only yellow warning lights. You can’t just sit forever and let it pass by. You have to keep moving.

I decided at that moment, hearing these words, that it’s important to be aware of the folks you let into your playground. It’s imperative that you choose wisely who will share in your joy, laughter, sorrows, secrets, and journey. It’s important to remember that not everyone is carefree without an agenda. Some people have ulterior motives that eventually hurt and you never see it coming until it’s too late.

I sent her some pictures of my adventure with my daughter yesterday and she sent back, “I belong in your playground.” I belong in hers and many others. That’s the beauty of playgrounds, they are free to enter as long as you remember that the sandbox is not for dumping your crap and leaving it to stink up the place.

You do not have to entertain everyone who enters your life with the same openness. You are, however, responsible for kindness, love and empathy. But, you do not need to allow every single person into your space with the same intensity that you would share with those who have your back. Intimacy is earned. Now, go create a playground that makes you sing with joy and live in the moment. I look forward to visiting some of those spaces!

Being a Mother

motherhood

Okay, folks, I am going to go out on a limb of vulnerability and hope to not fall too hard for this post. This is not a subject I openly discuss with people. It’s motherhood! The other day I was asked by someone who learned I have 7 kids, “Why do you have so many kids? Are they all from the same father?” I find this super intrusive and I always marvel at the curiosity so I gave an honest answer to the second question: “No…some of the fathers I have no clue who they are.” Because honestly if you are that arrogant to ask stupid questions I will screw with you in my truth.

I came from a Hispanic community. Everyone has children. That’s what we do. It’s normal to us. We get married (or not in these times) and have children. We become professional mothers. We begin to mother even other people’s kids in the neighborhood. At least this is true for me.

Once I moved to the mountains I have met many people who have no children or have little desire to have them. It’s an observation not a judgment. I don’t think everyone should be parents or have to conform to social pressures. We should learn to mother ourselves first. I tell my children when they discuss having kids this: “Okay, get a plant. See how it survives for 6 months in your care. Then get a fish. See how it survives in your care while the plant is still alive. Then get a cat. See how it survives in your care and how the plant is doing with it and most importantly if the fish is still alive. Then …then get a dog….” You get the picture. Not everyone should be a parent. Not everyone needs to be one. But, the questions I get asked about my children are a little disturbing. “Why did you adopt? Are ALL your kids adopted?” Let me explain, all my kids are MY kids. They didn’t all come from my uterus but they all came from my heart. End of conversation! If you are that ignorant and selfish to not understand I am not here to mother you through that answer!

I am certain that if I didn’t have kids I would have a house full of animals. I would be housing every lost soul out there. So…it’s not kids that I am so much attracted to as the need to love and give love. I have enjoyed my children immensely. They have been my finest teachers in life. I have grown up with them. I have struggled with them and because of them. I have placed my heart in their hands and received gifts beyond words.

The assumption that I collect children is asinine. I collect nothing. I am a human being nurturing those who need it. I do it with friends. I have done it with relationships. I do it with strangers. “Mother” is not my label. It is an act of love and kindness and compassion. So…to those who have this constant need to figure out how to fix me (because apparently having these many kids is wrong) please go fix yourself. I am perfectly happy navigating this life selflessly in the arms of another who needs it. And, if I have to continue to do it then it’s my choice and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to be placed in the heart of a child.

Learning through others

 

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There is a story about a woman who walks many miles with her overweight son to see Mahatma Gandhi.  When she gets there she begs, “Please tell my son to stop eating sugar.”  Gandhi is said to have asked her to return the following week.  The next week she walked the entire day again with her son to meet him.  This time Gandhi looked at the boy and immediately said, “Do as your mother says and stop eating sugar.”  The woman, confused and a bit angry after all the walking asked, “Why didn’t you just say that last week?  We’ve walked for hours to see you.”  Gandhi replied, “First I had to give it up myself.”

This is a perfect example of teaching through experience.  I am always surprised at how people judge (or give advice) on my parenting skills when they have no children.  I am always surprised at others who give marriage advice when they’ve never been married.  Oh, and the ones who know “exactly” how it feels to mourn or grieve a love one when they haven’t gone through the process.  How can anyone teach without experiencing those things themselves?

I will not mingle or entertain those things I don’t know anything about.  I have little knowledge of politics therefore I don’t enter into conversations on the subject.  I know little about organized religions except for the ones I studied in school.  I can’t sit and discuss beliefs with someone from another background without having experienced what they’ve experienced.  I can’t tell a surgeon how he needs to mend a heart.  I haven’t the slightest clue on a million and one things.  I am learning to keep my mouth shut because I don’t appreciate when others criticize my life without walking my path.

Humanity falls short when it comes to holding compassion.  We immediately allow the ego to judge and scrutinize even without experiencing those issues.  I love this story of Gandhi and the woman.  It shows how we can detach from any situation and try to impart ourselves in order to be empathetic.  Just because I don’t live in a third world country doesn’t mean I can’t imagine how those who go without food feel.  But, I have no clue how “exactly” it feels to be without food.  I have no idea, unless I experience it myself, how the soul feels when it is depleted from nutrition.  The closest I came to this was when my daughter arrived from Romania and she was mal-nourished.  She would hide food under the bed.  She would sit with her meal and chew everything once and put it back on the plate so no one would take it from her.  Then she would take her time to go around the plate and finally enjoy the meal.  Will I ever know what she experienced in an orphanage?  No clue.  I can only learn from what I witnessed.

I see homeless people in large cities all the time.  I feel a sense of helplessness for them.  I am drawn to them in ways I can’t even explain.  I have no idea what it is to live in the streets, in the cold, in the heat and in the mercy of others.  Whenever I hear people say, “They need to get up their lazy asses and get jobs!” I cringe.  How can you be so ignorant?  Unless you have lived that life you can’t possibly know the struggles, obstacles, and mental issues.  Go homeless for a week and then, perhaps, you can give advice (an opinion) on the subject.

We as a whole in this world need to learn to tolerate without judgment.  We need to allow the ego to fall to the side in order to help others without discriminating.  Whether it is for the homeless, the illegal immigrant, the single mother, the homosexual, the drug addict, the HIV patient, etc!  If you haven’t experienced their life please be kind enough to send love, prayers and allow your ego to take a backseat.  Never diminish one struggle over another.  Never judge what you haven’t undergone.   The harshness of opinions, criticism, and intolerance seems to cause more than just wars.  It is depleting our world from the faith in humanity.  Unless you walked the talk…please sit down and quiet the mouth.  As I always tell my children when they try to argue a point they know nothing about, “But, but, but, Mom….”  I say, “The only but is the one you need to sit on and be quiet until you have experienced it yourself.”

We are one.  We are connected in this giant web of humanness.  Learn from others but don’t allow your preconceptions determine the person they are, can be, or should become.  You never know where life can take you.  Karma has a way of teaching powerful lessons when we carry a closed mind and heart.  One thing I know for sure is that kindness and compassion are free.  Character is built on integrity and the willingness to move past judgment and into the service of others.