Thursday, October 30, 2014

All Hallows Eve

Tomorrow is Halloween. All Hallows Eve - The day the veil begins to lift between this world and the next. In the Christian liturgical tradition, it is the day we use humor to initially confront the power of death. Why? Because November 1 is All Saints Day and November 2, All Souls Day - on both days those who have passed are believed to roam the material world. Prior to the Christian version of Halloween, the day was acknowledged in the Celtic view as the end of harvest and called Samhain, a time to welcome our ghosts to the table and indeed, an extra plate was set for them.

In both traditions, we would disguise ourselves so that if we met a wandering soul still seeking retribution in this world, we would not be recognized. Whatever your belief system or religious discipline, it is a lovely time each year to remember those who have passed and acknowledge those who need our love & forgiveness both in this world and the next.

Every Saturday I host a group meditation. You can find details here.  This Saturday is an opportunity to sit in silent forgiveness of those still living who have wounded us in some way and those who have passed on to the next world, unable to ask for our kindness.

It is also a time to forgive self, ease up a bit on the recriminating list that goes through our minds of past mistakes. It is time to let go of that which is no longer relevant to moving forward on our evolutionary path.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


12 years ago today I came home from work to find a body in my back bathroom. It was the man I was living with at the time. It was also the day before his 32nd birthday. The death was an accident of sorts and a suicide of sorts - the official cause was ethanol poisoning (alcohol).

That day was a turning point for me and my evolutionary understanding that I was something larger than this small "s" self.  When you hold a dead body against yours, you understand in an instant that this is not all we are.  We are not the stories we tell ourselves.  I could tell you my age, my sex, my occupation, my marital status, and even this particular episode in my life as a way of explaining who I am, but it would only tell you how I am different, separate, from you. 

But I am not separate from you. I am the same perceiving consciousness that you are.

In that moment of holding my friend in my arms, I knew that he was not his body - nor was I.  

Nor am I my thoughts and memories of loss.  I am simply and incredibly, perception - this moment - Now.

We are meant to let go of limiting stories that keep us in regret about the past.  I think of him this morning with love and gratitude and make my tea, have some breakfast and dress for a walk in the hills. We are meant to experience love. We are meant to perceive the joy in this moment.

Monday, August 8, 2011


I am on watch.  Tomorrow - a week since my youngest cat dragged herself into the house with deep punctures in her back, near the spinal cord.  She is a hunter.  She is territorial.  She has no business bugging the bigger cats two doors down.  She is a creature of nature.  Now, half-shaved, half asleep, half paralyzed, she waits for the pain to subside enough to be interested in food again, enough to saunter into my office mid-morning to check on my progress, let me know she's having a leisurely day, just saving energy for the mice and possums that must be dealt with under a half-moon.

I can only check in on her, give her the yucky, pink medicine prescribed by the vet who had the kindness to come to us (as opposed to crating her up and sitting impatiently in a fear-laden waiting room).

There is only one thing. Love. Bending, petting, cradling. I am grateful this week for the individual relative comfort I can provide. Here, love, here in my meditation chair (not lost on me) is safety, is a warm, fuzzy shawl and a hand you can press your forehead into.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bicycle Lessons

Lesson One:  When bicycling to Whole Foods for breakfast items, do not get raspberries.  Unless you want to use them in a smoothie when you get home.  Then raspberries are a fine purchase.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

sustenance, spirituality, unity

I finally sat down and read "eat, pray, love".  Several friends have recommended it to me over the last few years and I resisted it because... well, because I was in the middle of my own journey.

Last week I acquiesced and borrowed the book from a friend.  The movie was coming out and I wanted to at least have a point of reference for the conversations that would undoubtedly transpire.

After I finished the book (a good read and I admire Ms. Gilbert's attempt to put into words what is the most difficult to articulate - a personal spiritual experience of transformation) I sat with it in my hands for a moment looking at the title and then just smiled.

eat, pray, love -- sustenance, spirituality, unity

It's why we're here - it is the path of evolution.  Write your own story.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Recent Follow-Up to Knowledge Meeting

At my July 24 knowledge meeting & group meditation, the subject was relationships... one of the Vedic Meditators followed up and sent me an email asking for clarification.  Relationships are such an important part of our lives that I thought I'd share the exchange and invite feedback.  (I cut the introductory discussion from the student in order to protect identity and specifics.) Basically, he had a question about the "distinction between attachment and letting go of "needs from the other person".

"Its just difficult for me to understand because I always thought that there are natural needs and expectations in relationships.

Take a married couple for example. They are married and in love. There seems to be some commitment to the partnership in that they each count on each other in order to have a shared life together.

Now if "person A" leaves the relationship by just saying "I'm no longer satisfied in this marriage" or "I'm seeing someone else" or whatever, than "Person B" is supposed to just be alright with that?"

My response:

We are all evolving toward not expecting another person to fulfill our "needs". We are fulfillment. We bring that fulfillment to the relationship. If you come to a relationship expecting the other to complete you or satisfy a need, you will invariably be disappointed. It is why relationships end. 

The beauty of this is that if both people come to the relationship understanding they are fulfillment in their own right, by definition there is no reason either one would no longer "be satisfied" by the other. The reason people leave relationships is one of two reasons: 1. Person A thinks that Person B is responsible for fulfilling their needs and that doesn't get done and they leave seeking yet "another" to satisfy their needs; or 2. Person B feels the weight of Person A's neediness and understands they can't possibly satisfy that need and leave. There are variations on this theme but essentially, that's the nut.

As humans, we're never just "okay" with loss but if someone leaves you, then look at self before putting all blame on "other". Chances are the neediness factor was high on one of the sides.

Finally, people commit because the relationship becomes a third entity that is greater than the sum of the two. If it is not, it often doesn't last. Commitment to something greater than oneself is not a lock and key, it is the road to freedom.

Any thoughts?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Arctic Circle

As imagined, it is a harsh life.  On the island of Kivalina there is no running water.  There is very little room to build homes for growing families and the island, due to climate change, is shrinking.  The community knows what the next move must be, where to migrate, how to save the culture, but there are voices that tell them "no" - voices telling them to go elsewhere.  That elsewhere (far north of the village and ocean) does not include a life the tribe has lived for hundreds of years; a life of subsistence, a life of rhythm.

I, being from L.A., only a visitor, made my way to Fairbanks today, on to another set of interviews.  I sat in a bar (non-existent in Kivalina) next to a man from Illinois.  He asked why I was here, whether I was a tourist.  I said "no" I was working on a documentary on climate change.  He wasn't impressed. I could tell that he, being from Illinois, a cold state, didn't put much stock in the concept.  "Is that what they tell you?" he asked.  "No" I answered, "that's what they're living."

And then he made me smile sadly, ironically, inside.  "Why don't they just come down here if it's that tough?  If life is hard, why don't they move south?"  I realized his beer wasn't deep enough to dive into the the fact that some of them had tried that.  Had been to Florida.  Had been to Nevada.  Deep warm states.  They went back north.  Why? Because of the heat?  No.  Because they couldn't find jobs.

In Kivalina, meat is the price of gas for the boat.  When you catch it, or kill it, it feeds an entire village.  In Kivalina, life is lived for others.  

We need to think about that.