You Are Beautiful

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Every once in a while you need detachment from your normal life. This is why retreats and vacations are invaluable. While you are in the line of fire of your normal life, it’s difficult to gain perspective. It’s important to step away and view new surroundings. It’s imperative to stop seeing with your old-tired eyes and start refresh. It’s that simple and, yet, many of us fight the chances of a few days away. Mostly, because we fear what may come up in our realities. Perception is a true awakening wand!

So, when a dear friend asked to help her on a trip near the ocean I took it as a sign of being able to detach for a few days. The word, “therapy” immediately came to mind. I began to think of breathing spaces and feeding my mind, body and spirit on a long road trip with one of the most intriguing and wise souls I know. Cause that’s what road trips are about! They open us up, challenge us in confine spaces, and bring out lots and lots of laughter. If you aren’t experiencing these moments, then you are on a road trip with the wrong person.

Today, I was walking the beach, picking up pink seashells when a young man holding a surf board was coming towards me. I gasped. He was exquisite. In a very non lustful and loving way I felt the words leave my body, “My God…you are beautiful!” He was what dreams are made of in romance novels. Those images we think of in all terms of human model perfection. He must not have been older than 20. He stopped next to me and smiled widely which made him look even more radiant. He said, almost embarrassed, “Thank you, ma’am.”

I answered, “If you don’t know your radiance you should cause it’s just delightful!” His eyes held this twinkle and I kept on walking. He looked like a chiseled God from some movie: imagine Captain America and Thor creating a new gene pool of pure radiance, strength, and perfection. But he was humble and sweet and just lovely embracing his youth. His energy was more beautiful than his outer beauty. His demeanor made me realize how many of us don’t know our greatness, beauty, our own radiance and when we hear it it is actually difficult to take in. It is embarrassing and somewhat uncomfortable to own up to it.

Beauty is an enigma. What one person considers beautiful another doesn’t. But when you witness it, up close and personal, such exquisiteness leaves you gasping for more. It made me realize also my own youth and how I never recognized how beautiful I was. I look at pictures of myself in my 20’s as I struggled to always be thin and poise and didn’t recognize the beauty. But, there on that beach for an hour, it was hard to return to what’s not lovely when you have a moment of bliss like that while taking in the gorgeousness of a beach day. After that the air felt lighter. The sun brighter. And, the ocean deeper and ethereal than ever. Beauty does that. It brings with it a deeper awareness and frequency.

Anytime I leave home, I miss my house. I miss my peeps. I miss my familiarity. But, I needed this trip more than I could have imagined. Today’s walk on the beach allowed me to feel beauty, see it and embrace it through my own experiences.

I saw parts of me today that I hadn’t seen in a long while because life happens and I forget how incredibly lovely I am at times. I forget to count myself as beautiful, or sweet, or anything. I am always handing out the compliments. I am always feeding others with joyfulness and showing them a part of their connections that matter. But, today I did it for me picking up the most stunning shells I’ve seen in a long time.

If you get a chance… see your own beauty through someone else. Witness your own radiance. Accept the gorgeousness of those around you as a reflection of your own exquisiteness. Find compassion for yourself. It’s all magical and mystical and deeply enchanting when you accept all of you. And…you, darling…should always come first!

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Sounds of Nature

 

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This morning I woke to silence

immediately losing myself

in the vastness of body and spirit.

I am reminded of the reason

I love this place.

Within seconds

I heard the echoing of a rooster

through the mountains.

I heard my body breathing,

the rain drizzling gently against my window,

the birds chirping their morning welcoming,

and the water flowing through the creeks

emptying into the vastness of space.

This is morning. This is magic.

I have become so accustomed

to the noises that I no longer hear them.

They are a background nature-filled symphony

and I don’t want to ignore them.

I am becoming a silhouette in the darkness of a rainy day

praying that I never forget this beauty.

I am content to be here

just as a musician hears notes

playing inside.

Summer is everywhere,

the heat clinging,

and each waking moment

brings sensory stimulation.

I cannot go back to the imbroglio of city life.

This is the ebb of me.

I rise and fall to the sounds of this mystical place,

gracefully dancing to all the melodies,

and the calling of my spirit

connecting to the Divine…

I am…home.

Growing in Grace

fireworks

Little girls dancing with sparklers

imitating fireflies in the night

while little boys played with lighters

impersonating men in charged

as they launch colors to the sky.

I recall my own children

playing together not long ago

in our yard.

Memories fly out of me like rockets

shooting to the evening sky.

I look out to the mountains.

This corner of the world

called for me,

allowing a safe place for growth and celebration.

I hear country music playing in the distance,

the earth welcoming the lighted sky art,

and strangers gathering as one

in awed of the show.

I am growing in grace.

It’s been a while,

perhaps several lives,

but I am here in humbleness

dancing to the music of children

running around the lake.

A man sits behind me

snoring softly to the buzzing of mosquitoes,

slapping arms and legs,

joining the smell of bug repellent, smoke, and sweat.

I have made it home.

Not quite what I imagined,

much better than my dreams,

I smile as I touch my new skin

remembering the old one

that never quite fit me.

My sons and daughters not all here,

yet I know they have their own lives,

their own celebrations.

This is now my time

to grow and be a child.

I am the sparkle and the rockets

that shoot light to the moon…

I am my own fourth of July.

Spiritual Direction

humility

Note:  I wrote this a year ago today.  I dreamed about this last night. I don’t know why. I suspect that my re-birthday is to blame! The lessons I learned from DEATH are just as intense and valuable as the ones I am learning from LIFE. I am not the same person I was a six months ago. I am not the same person I was when I returned from the ultimate space of LOVE. I continue to learn from this experience as intensely as I learn from living. I cannot tell you what to do. I cannot tell you how to live. You are the only one who knows what you need. I can only show you what I live through my spirituality and my humanness. After my awakening I promised myself that I would love as profoundly as I felt loved in that moment that I died. I swore I would bring that sense of divinity back and it’s been a constant reminder that in one second life can change. Do your self a favor and live like if you are dying. It won’t matter what you did a year ago, tomorrow or in ten years. I will forever be grateful for the guidance and the knowing that all I am and forever will be is the embodiment of true love. In the end that is truly all that matters…to me.  And here is the story:

In a few days it will be a year that I died in the emergency room. One minute I was having chest pains, the next paralysis and finally a moment of leaving and visiting the other realm. It took months of me finding grounding in my body. I felt like I could not fit. I couldn’t grasp returning to the human world. All fear and anxiety had disappeared. All dreams, expectations, and purpose fell to the roadside. Those things that caused constant worrying somehow seemed mundane. Living was mundane, without meaning. My poor fiance couldn’t deal with this new woman. My best friend was fearful that I would return to the world of the dead. It was a constant source of questions, “Are you okay? Do you feel alright? Do you need anything?” I cannot begin to imagine what they witnessed and how they felt through it all.

I would stand in the dead of winter watching the wind go through the trees. I could spend hours listening to the earth stretching, hearing colors, tasting the land like something from a metaphysical movie. Life was surreal. I couldn’t relate to this place when what I witnessed in those moments of meeting Spirit was the most magical experience I could ever imagine. And, for the skeptic in me, if it was my imagination then I would rather that other place over anything here on earth.

Spirituality is a personal facet of my life. It is a path that I try to move through while fully being present in my human form. I am not a religious person, but have studied several religions and philosophies throughout the years. I pick and choose from belief systems those things that feel right. Spiritual direction is for me to travel and often in a lonely manner because let’s face it, spirituality is personal. It is intimate. But, everything I had believed until January 15, 2014, was incorrect. I didn’t see Jesus Christ. I didn’t see Buddha. I didn’t see any of the great masters. I didn’t see a tunnel with loved ones waiting to walk me down the spiritual hall. I only saw love and light. I was engulfed in the warmth of universal ecstasy.  I was in the arms and presence of Source.

Those first three months of 2014 required a constant taste of humanity. I had more Spirit than Ego. I had more essence and love than ever before in my 46 years. I had more presence. I had an infinite amount of time. Although the days still had 24 hours I was able to stretch them into infinite space. I returned with a high pitch that became a meter for b.s. I could read people’s thoughts. I returned with so much love that I would cry just holding a book, a plant, my lover’s hands, my child’s words over a phone call, the cat purring, the dog placing his head on my lap, and anything that came into my space with any feelings. I had a really hard time connecting to my humanness. I had an impossible struggle feeling the hurt that people constantly carry in their hearts. Life is not meant to be such a struggle…but here we are pursuing the impossible with tenacity and hardness while forgetting to breathe the privilege of being alive. We have little gratitude for who we are and what we are meant to be…Divine Spirits having a human experience.

On March a close friend allowed me and my best friend to go stay in her brother’s home on the outer banks of North Carolina for a weekend. I walked the cold beach. Its vacancy allowed me to be again with the earth away from the freezing weather in the mountains. I wrote. I rested. I shared stories with my friend. We cooked. We danced. We walked by ourselves along shorelines. I was once again held by the grace of Spirit, not only for sustaining me through this return in human form, but for allowing me to want to stay here. I got another chance! I have had several of these in my lifetime. But, I had never returned from the Omnipotence presence of love.

Love transcends all. It sees no color, no race, no discrimination, no age, no faults, not a thing. Love sees you and me and this marvelous experience we get to call Life. And, when we embrace it with complete and utter compassion we are returned to a place of mysticism, mystery and the wisdom of time.

As months overlapped, new responsibilities took hold of me. I became more human again. It no longer takes me hours to fit my essence inside of my body. I wake naturally tugged in it. I have had struggles and questions and disappointments, but I’ve had grace and love guiding me along the way. I don’t know why I died. I don’t have those answers. I don’t have direction for another. I am reminded that I have to work on my own journey constantly finding a footing. I overlook things because ego is constantly monopolizing my rational brain. After dying I try to step back and allow the signs of spirit to guide me. Sometimes in seeking, fate hides all resources. We are forced to take new direction.

The other day I told a friend that I felt like there’s no way I could help another. If I can’t get my own crap spiritually aligned how do I give advice to another suffering from lack of direction? Then it came to me: spiritual direction is about allowing our higher self to find the answers. We reach in and find the truth from faith and intuition. I cannot guide you without you allowing your own guidance to align with your wishes. Somewhere inside you have all the answers. I will not tell you what you need…but I can give you examples of what has worked for me. I can hold your human hands while cradling your heart with a whisper, a touch, a sweet smile and let you know that you are not alone. That’s all I can offer you.

You have to let go in order to begin living. Living is a courageous act balancing the physical forms with the spiritual ones. Allow spirit to guide you. It’s always there. We are made from love, to love, and be love. Mucho love to you, darling!  Begin with loving yourself!

The Sum of my Being

Things I know for sure

are mapped out

in a geographical atlas

of love. The past has planted itself

in harsh terrains

over places that my heart

has chosen to forget…

but only for moments.

The geography of love

is measured by the distances

between what I gave

and what was left behind

through vast rivers of tears,

down valleys of disappointments,

into landscapes of forgiveness.

The lifeline of me is an illustration

that’s neither here or there

calculating winnings and losses

which have molded me into

some mystical monument at this time.

I have provided virgin territory

for another explorer

to conquer in me,

settle into my continent,

while allowing the outer

ocean waters of life

to gently touch the shores

of my heart

so I can give back what I know for sure:

the sum of my being.

Solitary Sessions

There is a necessity yearning, often times screaming, from our soul to find solitude. Some don’t listen and overwork themselves into busyness in order to avoid the quietude and depth that lies inside. Retreating to one’s own company is a must. I love people. I will talk to anyone but I also love myself so much to acknowledge when my spirit needs solitude. I have been gifted the most wonderful mate who understands my seclusion because he needs it as well. Winter has been all about hibernating. It has been brutal at times. Now leaving the outer banks I have honored my body, mind and essence with such kindness that I can re-enter the world and feel the plenitude of joy.

The salty air washed all allergies away. I had no headaches or body discomfort. I slept, read, wrote, walked, drank plenty of water, laughed, and indulged in my vino. I ate junk food, put the music on and moved to my body’s delight. I didn’t have to worry about guests, anyone showing up, only my thoughts through prayer and meditation. I picked up shells and rocks in shape of hearts and admired the clouds touching the horizon line. I witnessed the birds chasing the tide, sand dancing to the wind and the sun coming up or down depending on which side of the island I visited. I sat for hours watching the wind and paying attention to the trees. I was in full awareness and embraced by beauty. If the need to speak arouse I did and communicated with others, if not I abided my feelings. I breathed. I exhaled solitude. I took in moments of processing and memories of the past without owning their discomfort. I got everything I needed in order to return to my mountains and be present for others. Everyone needs this solitude. It is imperative to survival. Neglecting the yearning is a small painful death that only gets cured within one’s serene aloneness.

There’s a strange calmness, no matter who you are with, that arrives when the spirit has been filled with aloneness for a while. That wholeness enters and the body adheres with contentment. The sacred mysteries of life speak clearly. It is up to us to listen and determine when we need solitude. You may be able to find this aloneness within friends, in a retreat or in a bathtub filled with aromatherapy. May you find that sacred space in your life in a way that is graceful and grateful to you. It is a mystical way to love and honor your spirit.

“In solitude we give passionate attention to our lives, to our memories, to the details around us.” -Virginia Woolf

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Sabbatical Senses

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I woke to salty air licking my skin,

waves echoing in the distance,

birds clearing space over trees,

the sun playing peek-a-boo

through the window panels

lovingly enticing me to rise

and explore.

A deep breath…

a gentle exhale

remaining and reminding

there is no need

for thoughts today.

I’ve vacated from my life

just for a little while….

Ocean of Gratitude

 

ocean            As I write this I sit comfortably in a beach house in Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, overlooking the grasslands of the Atlantic Ocean, dunes in the distance, listening to birds and critters re-entering spring.  The only “white stuff” on the ground is sand.  I arrived this afternoon needing a few days away from my world.  Five days go in the middle of the night I dreamt with a guide or angel who told me to ask for help.  The entity was very persistent. I was told (not a suggestion) to reach out to friends and ask for a place where I could go to recharge near the water.  As spirit fighting with ego, the stubborn wicked ways of showing vulnerability, I refused the demands in the dream.  I woke to nausea and vomit.  Once I returned to bed I said out loud, “Okay, okay, I will reach out in the morning but please give me the words.”

 

When sleep arrived I fell hard into peace.  Morning brought with it the perfect words reaching out to friends in exchange/bartering for our place in the mountains.  In complete gratitude and shock I received several offers.  A friend reached out and offered her brother’s beach house in the outer banks.  I didn’t know what and how to receive this gift.  The giver in me has a difficult time accepting help.  Funny how I am always telling others that in order to be fully blessed you must receive as well as you give.  Putting this to practice is not easy.

 

There are times that certain words make a point of entering our lives with such force that we begin to see that word everywhere. We begin to take notice of it like a new pair of shoes that you thought were unique and now everyone has them. In the past few weeks the word, “vulnerability” keeps showing its letters in neon lights. It isn’t easy being vulnerable to others, and allowing the truth of what feels like weakness expose itself without a shield. Vulnerability isn’t frailty as we have been taught. It is bravery, kind, beautiful and truthful. It doesn’t need protection. It requires honoring, exposure, and acceptance of who you are and where you are going. Taking that risk is true Divinity. The more we allow others to see who we are the easier it is for us to grow and evolve into our authenticity.

 

Being near the water, listening to the waves swiftly shift through the edges of the world, as sand molds to my feet, my heart lightens its load.  I don’t know how much more there is to give that I haven’t given myself.  I do know that this business of being human is hardcore.  It requires presence, forgiveness, understanding, patience, compassion and a lot of self love.  As I pick up the remnants of rocks and shells I gather the awareness that we are just like these pieces of decay on the shore.  There is such wear and tear, molding, sanding, release and endurance while fighting the tides, storms and chaos of external forces.  For me it is always difficult to accept help and show my fragility.  I do well with others.   Honoring my nakedness and helplessness is something that has become very real to me lately.  I know it is okay.  I know I am not alone in this.  Months ago I wouldn’t have even thought of asking.  Now, because I showed my humility, the core of my necessity, I sit breathing fresh ocean air.  Tears roll in gratitude for the next few days of sheltering near the ocean.  I am changed because of such kindness. shells

 

I have been taught a powerful lesson in exposure.  What I thought was dependency is freedom.  What I thought was frailty is actually strength.  It takes courage to ask, but it takes an adventurous spirit to move through the rawness of it all and accept.  I am forever grateful for the kindness, love and support I receive.  Having been the one to always give this is a lesson in the balance of it all.  Learning to accept and know that I am worth this is beyond anything I could have known.  I once had a mentor that said to me when I had a hard time receiving a compliment, “When someone gives you a flower, what do you say? You say ‘thank you’ and take it. You don’t reject it.  It’s rude!”  And so, I say, “thank you” to the Divine for all those who have given me this little flower of peace, love and hope.

Big City, Little Country

mtn viewMy cousin from South Florida drove up with a friend from Puerto Rico to surprise me this past week.  They went horseback riding the next day and somewhere on the mountain trail her car keys fell out of his pocket and got lost.  She’s got one of those cars that uses an electronic key.  So the only key available is now somewhere in the mountains of Western North Carolina.  We checked the miles of trails over and over and nothing.  This man was beside himself.  He was wound up pretty tightly.  A city boy stuck in “deliverance” land didn’t go well with him.  What was to be a short three day visit was going to turn into something much longer.   The angrier he got the more I saw parts of me.  I know the drill with city folks since I was one myself.   It is truly difficult to let go when you have never been taught to do so.

“Hey, perfect time to smell the roses!”  I say this as we are standing in a field full of horse crap.  “What roses?”  He asked with such exasperation after hours of carefully going up and down the mountain moving leaves and tediously searching pathways.  “I mean, smell the horse shit!”  He looked at me as if I was nuts. In his constant sarcasm and arrogance I explained to him that there was a reason for losing the keys. Everything happens for a higher purpose. He is in gorgeous country land, 360 degrees of mountain views.  He is in a place of artistic explosion.  For miles the only thing the eyes can witness is pure beauty and divinity.  And, yet, not once did could he stop and stare out to intake the magic.

It took him a while but he did begin to let go with lots of hesitation.  I love these types of personalities (since I was one in the worst way).  I get to witness firsthand the walls slowly crumbling and the affirmation of childlike-playfulness taking over.  It is marvelous!  His city arrogance began to unfold.  I had to hold my breath at times as he not only felt guilty for losing the keys but now having to find a way to fly out of here to be at work on Monday.  His anxiety was painful to experience.  And, then something happened.  He allowed himself to get lost in the moments of this country side.

“Sometimes, you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere you find yourself.” Every turn and trail we took allowed us to move inward.  If the worst possible scenario was that the keys were lost in the woods, then I knew it wasn’t the end of the world.  I understand completely why people have to go through drastic measures to break down.  It is in those moments that we regain clarity through simplicity. The only thing that matters is the present moment (in his case was finding the darn keys).  Things get put in perspective.  Moments get highlighted.  You can’t solve anything, yet everything gets diluted and distributed to a place of peace.  This wasn’t easy for this poor guy.  So many emotions came up and outward.  As we walked my cousin and I began to take pictures.  His type “A” personality couldn’t believe we weren’t looking for the keys every single second.  He kept pulling out his phone so we could see the picture and remember what the key looked like.

Being lost is sometimes the only way to find oneself. This trip wasn’t planned.  He ended up here because my cousin asked him to join her since he was in Orlando visiting. But, he needed this right now in his life.  He needed to surrender all control.  In a moment of frustration he looked at me and said, “You don’t understand I am a control freak.  I need to control everything.  I feel out of my element.”

I smiled and said, “You? No way…a  control freak!  I hadn’t noticed.  Very little to control here, huh?”  It was hard for him to release and last night when he finally did it was therapeutic.  There are moments in life that bring clarity into our lives.  I believe he had quite a few of them while here.   Because there was nothing he could do until he could leave today the many issues that had been bottled up came out.  And, it was there that a window to peace arrived.  His personality was able to relax.  Oh…how grateful I become when I witness what this place instills in others.  What a blessing!  This man went home torn between wanting to stay and the duties back home.  I think had he spent a few more days he would’ve experience the gifts of serenity. When he hugged me to say goodbye he thanked me for “putting up with his neurosis.”  Little does he comprehend that we all have pieces of neurosis and evolving.  After all we are spiritual beings having human experiences.

“When looking for the path of peace one comes to realize that peace is the path.”  covered bridge

The Waiting Game

 

People are constantly surprising me.  I sat in several airports throughout Sunday trying to make it back home from San Francisco.  As hours passed, my exhaustion and temperament morphed into a cocoon.  I couldn’t speak.  I was out of commission.  I wore out my IPOD’s energy twice that day…drained from trying to block out all noises.  It was a very long day that began at 3AM and did not end until 1AM.  I was traveling on stand-by.  Flights were full, over-booked and people were joining together in a pool of hostility.  There are two places that bring out the worst in our spirits: airports and hospitals.

During one of those moments of charging my IPOD I sat in the terminal people watching.  A couple in their mid-forties sat across from me.  They had just been married and were on their way to Hawaii for their honeymoon.  Observing their interaction was endearing, and a bit challenging.  She was all about the details, and constantly speaking to him as if he was a child (and this was the beginning of a marriage).  Next to them an older man sat making facial expressions to their comments while he read.  He was unaware I was watching him as well.  Two seats down a mother and teenage daughter sat arguing about a book and snacks.  The remarks made me giggle as I have had those moments with my children.  A row down a French couple sat with their son watching a movie on an IPAD.  The young boy laughing in French…very sophisticated, I may add.  Their loudness and expressions were welcoming.  I couldn’t mustard a single expression by this point.  I wanted to get home to my bed.  I was tired of waiting while my patience was wearing thin.  Flights would arrive and leave and I sat there stoic with a huge concern: will I ever make it home today? Thousands of people in one building, each traveling in and to some destination.  The one thing we had in common: waiting.

We meet souls every day waiting for the next path to appear in life.  We come in contact with hundreds of personalities, thousands of emotions, and millions of words.  Yet, there in that airport things become magnified as we are forced to patiently wait.  Uncertainty, frustration, and chaos add to the aggravation of allowing the airwaves and weather to dictate our travels.

What is it about waiting that puts us in such a state of exhaustion and anxiety?  We wait for the birth of a child, phone calls, messages, plans, dreams, people, the perfect job, the mate of our fantasies, and ultimately the day of our death.  We spend our lives waiting and waiting for the next moment, a big break, precious time and most delusional…we wait for someday in order to begin our lives.

We are so accustomed to interject our dreams and desires onto the future.  We run around planning, excavating, developing strategies to get from point A to point Z.  Unfortunately we get sucked into the anticipation and expectations of waiting.  I am not a patient person by nature.  Lord knows I work real hard to sit and allow things to happen.  Patience is not my strongest virtue.  I want things done now and I push to create them to happen quickly.  Because of this I have had many failures (which have been turned into giant blessings) that have taught me to sit in a corner in time-out and wait.  I’ve voiced out to the sky many a times, “Is this for real?  Seriously!  What the hell is going on?”  But, ultimately, it is all in God’s plan.  I cannot dictate what’s in store for me.   The Waiting Game becomes a source of entertainment and exasperation…where and how do I get from here?

I spent the larger part of my life waiting on something or another.  I waited to see what I could become as a person, how I was going to mother my children, how I could make someone happy, and mostly, how I could start being happy with myself.  As a child I waited to become a teenager.  As a teenager I waited to be of legal age to make my own decisions.  As an adult I waited to become something…anything of importance while discarding the obvious: I was always important.  While waiting I forgot to live in the moment.

Sitting in those airports reminded me of the things missing out while we wait.  We forget to engage in life and the present.  It is a giant gift to wait and cherish the process of the journey.  I am in awed at the human spirit.  I’ve waited forever to get to this moment of witnessing the best version of myself.  In that waiting I have participated in seconds, minutes, and years of grace, hope, and love.  May you find peace in a platform of waiting and cherish the journey as well with patience, faith and the understanding that all things have purpose.

 

“It is very strange that the years teach us patience – that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting.”  – Elizabeth Taylor