Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Being Gentle With Oneself

When people argue with you and you feel defensive, you are implicitly accepting what they are saying to be truth. If you saw things differently and were able to stand strong in your own knowing, you would be interested in why they think or feel the way they do, instead of feeling defensive.

Being gentle with oneself is going through the stage Siddhartha went through when he was faced with armies and rage attacking him in his psyche while in meditation and he let all that be without defending himself, just accepting the onslaught, accepting the feelings, watching it all happen calmly until there was nothing left in him to fight. He had tried everything else and had nothing else to try except to try this revolutionary thing: surrendering. Not surrendering in defeat, surrendering because he knew the onslaught was his ego fighting for dear life; it was not real.

The defensive option or the fighting for one's worth or for respect, are violent because they don't come from knowing we're not guilty. They accept the accusation. It hurts.

In surrendering, Siddhartha took his own side, the side of his higher self, of his true self. That is what being gentle with oneself means.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fiction exerpt: Did You See the Moon Tonight?

Some time after One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

A man plays the banjo from the street. It is nighttime. He faces a house. There are no lights coming from inside. He looks as though he’s been sleeping outside for days with the same clothes. He’s middle aged, or he may be ageless. He plays for a while, perhaps longer. A light is lit, and a bedroom window opens. A woman, a little younger, not much, pokes her head out, with laughter reserved for daytime.

 “Did you see the moon tonight?” he sings playing the banjo.

“I was drinking from the stream,” she sings back.

“Did you see the stars tonight?”

“I was closing my eyes to imagine love in the world.”

“Did you see the present I left at your door steps?”

“I come in and out through my bedroom window.”

“I want to share my world with you.”

“Sure, if you will enter my world too.”

She comes out in her nightgown. He puts his instrument down. They hook their right pinkies together and cross over with their left hand to hook their left pinkies. They recite together:

“Nurse Ratched, pills and order,
The world isn’t round, try no further,
Notice how night turns brighter,
So the grass you step on is greener.

My name is Candy, my name is Randle,
We pledge together to be the spindle,
To ignite, rouse and kindle,
Passion and magic, all with a candle.”

Still holding firmly to each other’s pinkies, they bring their faces close to one another and give each other a kiss on the right cheek followed by the left, and, they rub noses, moving their heads left and right 4 times.

(soon to be published in a collection of shorts called CONSTELLATIONS)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fiction exerpt: Awakening

Sandy was driving. The traffic light was green. Everything is quiet. We’re not moving. We must have had an accident. I can’t open my eyes or extend my arms, or move anything. I feel nothing. I hear nothing. I only have my thoughts. What happened to me?

* * * 

“Any signs at all?” Sandy asks the nurse.

“No Ms. The EEG is normal: activity, sleep, dream … but his body is not responsive.”

Sandy enters the room and sits by the body. She puts her purse on the edge of the bed and she ignores that it falls on the floor.

“I’m so sorry sweetie!” She says, choked up in tears, “I’m so sorry.”

She holds his hand; it feels relaxed and warm enough. The EEG shows no difference as she talks to him.

“Randy … It’s me, your sandy beach! You must think I’m a bitch! That truck came out of nowhere. I tried to turn away. It was too late. By the time … You must believe me. Please forgive me.”



“He can’t hear you. See the EEG isn’t reacting to your words. He is in his own world.”

“He’s gotta come back to me.”

The nurse leaves shaking her head.

Sandy looks around and slips her hand under the sheet, finds the top of his thigh and tries to arouse him.

“Randy … remember … you used to like this.”

She cries.

(soon to be published in a collection of shorts called CONSTELLATIONS)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Dark Side of Light By Guest Blogger Eliza Fayle

Eliza Fayle

There is a tendency among people who seek enlightenment to look for the good and positive in all things. Look for the cloud's silver lining. Seek out the lesson to be learned. To focus on the light and ignore the dark.

Oh, I am as guilty as the next enlightenment seeker.

I should know better. My particular spiritual beliefs teach that without darkness there is no light. I mentor women to get their hands dirty. Acknowledge their dark recesses and accept them with as much unconditional love as they do the bright spots of their souls.

Throw me into a real crisis, however, and I will struggle to cope by looking for the cloud's silver lining. Perhaps I struggle even harder because I am an energy healer. "Dag nab it," I chastise myself, "you have to turn this negative energy around, and right quick!"

This behaviour cropped up recently in the wake of my dad's life threatening injury and his ongoing long and painful road to recovery.

I wrote a gratitude list a mile long on the human kindness my family experienced and continues to experience.

I renewed my passion and commitment to the healing arts.

I doubled my efforts to keep my own energy pure and balanced.

I used my power of visioning to help my father's health improve.

I poured out white light of love to support my mother.

And I completely squashed my anger.

Anger that the fittest and healthiest 79 year old man I have the honour of knowing was paralyzed from the neck down in a freak accident.

Anger that the Canadian health care system fails to provide adequate care and actually reversed my father's progress.

Anger that my mother is struggling to advocate on my father's behalf while providing his primary care and still doing all the little things that need to be done each day to maintain a home.

In crisis mode, what I completely forgot is that sometimes bad things happen to good people.

Therein lies the real lesson to be learned. There is a dark side to light.

And it is okay, necessary even, to surrender to the darkness. To stumble around blindly in it. To really feel the anger and frustration and lack of control. To fully experience your mucked up energy.

Doing that is every bit as part of the healing arts as all the positive work we do.

Embracing the dark side of light is very much part of the path to enlightenment.

Eliza Fayle is an international intuitive mentor focusing on helping women over forty embrace their fun, sexy, intelligent and real selves. She can be found at Silver & Grace and she invites you to join her growing community of vibrant women on Facebook.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Sherpas Will Go No Further By Guest Blogger Ann Wesley Hardin

"There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man...

On the advice of a friend, I recently signed up with yet another online dating site. I'd basically taken a break from dating, wanted to learn more about myself by spending time alone, doing things with myself as my partner, braving the world with only me to rely on. Finally, a few weeks ago, I felt ready to date again. Just date. No destination in mind, enjoying the journey, getting out and meeting new people. Specifically men.

Did I have love in mind? Sure! Who doesn't? Did I want a relationship? Sure! Eventually.

But did I want it now, now, OMG NOW? Not necessarily.

It is a dimension as vast as space and timeless as infinity...

Five days after signing up, I opened a new email. The first word in it was Wow. That got my attention. I might've even patted my hair or adjusted my bra. Dunno. I probably wiggled a little. Or at least wagged my tail.

Stop laughing. Something in that Wow spoke to me. Hey. I'm just a girl!

I eagerly read more. I really like your profile and I'm interested in alot of the same things that you are. History, particularly American history, especially the Civil War...

Besides the impressive grammar and the ability to speak in full sentences, I liked that he added "(not a re-enactor)" because that kind of thing just takes interest to a whole 'nother height. 'Nuff said.

It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition...

...If you like what you read (and see) in my profile, maybe we can talk a bit.

I liked the see part. A realistic guy. And a man who obviously liked what HE saw, or else he wouldn't be talking to me via email. Yeah baby. Pump a fist for the old broad. I took a gander.

And liked what I saw! Really liked what I saw. And read too. Yeah, read. Because reading is important, ya know.

and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge...

We arranged a date. It lasted five hours. No more deets for you!

The next day he called and asked me out again. On date two he said he'd been aware of my profile for a while. I asked him why he didn't contact me sooner. He said it's because he thought – kinda, maybe – that I might be The Real Thing. Took him a few days to wrap his brain around that.

My first thought upon seeing him was: there's my boyfriend, and, concurrently, something that's better suited for between the sheets of one of my books.

No more deets for you!

This is the dimension of the heart...

We didn't begin this journey with a destination in mind. Just see in each other a good travel companion. And, since the guides have abandoned us, I guess we'll stick together until we reach a sensible stopping point, junction, or, the end of the road.

Who knows? After all...

It is an area we call...

the Love Zone."

*  *  *

Read The First Chapters of All of Ann's Books at:
Do The World With Ann Wesley Hardin!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fiction exerpt: Hallelujah

A woman, dressed, barely, talks with the driver of a Mercedes Benz. The license plate reads Hank Jr. They take off toward the church and the abandoned house at the end of the street.

A painter sketches the scene from the sidewalk. He includes the hooker, blurred, in the foreground. In the background, he sketches the church, well cared for, but unattended, and the abandoned house next to it, vibrant with life due to vines and other growths. A few feet from him, his four year-old son uses ice cream on his face like an abstract painter uses paint on canvas.

*  *  *

A businessman shares a table with a woman in business attire, just enough make-up, and subtly died hair dropping to her shoulders. She compliments him on his tie, not an uncommon one. He acknowledges the compliment, taking his time looking at her, and decides on the Scampi, she, a Caesar salad with extra anchovies.

Later he will call her to let her know she got the job. He will ask her out to dinner. She will hesitate … to change the power dynamic.

“Am I too forward?” he will ask, not unlike playing ping-pong, throwing her a spin.

“No,” she will say. Her return has no spin and is floating.

“You are a delightful woman! Would eight o’clock suit you?” throwing her an overhand.

“No … to both your offers,” she will correct with a backhand slice.

“I am afraid we have a misunderstanding,” he will say, off-guard, missing the ball.

“I guess we do,” she will say, leaving her paddle on the table. “Thank you for the call!” she will add and hang up. The phone will ring again. It will echo in her empty apartment. She will have already stepped out for a walk in the evening breeze.

*  *  *

They first met in astronomy class. During a break Elianne complimented Frederick on a question he’d asked the teacher. They enjoyed talking and went out for dinner. After, they walked each other home. First to her apartment; then to his, a couple of miles away. They ended up walking back to the university campus where they sat on a bench to watch the night fall.

“Have you ever fallen asleep looking at the stars?” he asked her.

“Once,” she said while another dialogue was taking place within her. Her heart was telling her mind how much she loved this man; his freedom, his nonchalant disrespect for common practices – no … not disrespect – just no compulsion to follow them. She admired that. Where did he come from?

“Where are you from?” she asked him.

“A planet in the Pleiades.”

She laughed. Ask a silly question, get a silly answer, she thought.

“Where do you come from?” he asked.

“My mother’s womb.”

“… and before that?”

“That’s where it all started.”

“Perhaps, yes,” he conceded. “What attracted you to astronomy?”

“How about you answer first?”

“I was born on Earth like you, from human parents. But I really come from the Pleiades. I am married there with two teenage boys. I was asked to take a vacation on Earth. Astronomy was a natural choice.”

“You are married and you left your wife and sons behind? Did you guys divorce?”

“No! Marriage here is a contractual affair and, once married, people try to control and change each other. People say my husband, my wife, or my children. At home, we don’t think that way. Being married means to align oneself in support of the other on his or her path. Giving birth to children means accepting the responsibility to support them on their path. It is not about guiding them, educating them, or raising them.”

“So you have a life there and you chose to live a parallel life here?”

“Seems odd, I know.”

(soon to be published in a collection of shorts called CONSTELLATIONS)

Fiction exerpt: Rih Al Khamsin

A Spiritual Tale

“How did you get here?” She asks.

Our camels – dromedaries really, but everyone calls them camels here – walk us across the infinite sand. Our companions fled when we were warned of bandits. She had told us we were safe despite appearances. The bandits did leave us alone. Life has become unpredictable to me. It did not use to be this way. Everything was so easy until I tried to be true to myself.

“Don’t you already know my story?” I ask.

She felt familiar to me when I first saw her. I had a tingly sensation in my chest and a feeling ... an experience of recognition like meeting an old friend, or was it a long lost lover? Since we dressed in desert clothes, including a veil, I could draw no more hints from her looks to help me remember her. Only the sound of her voice teases my curiosity. Imagination, like mirages, plays with my mind. I imagine her in ways I would not want her to know, at least not without being more acquainted.

“I like the sound of your voice,” she says.

Hmmm… Is she flirting with me?

“I was married,” I start, “I had a good paying job, then I lost everything, and went bankrupt.”

 “I cannot feel you in what you are saying! I want to know you, not your circumstances …”

I don’t understand and shut down.

“You’re not used to people being interested in you, are you?”

“… guess not!”

“We could make love right now and then you would trust me enough to open up, or you could just trust me.”

Before I can tell her of my thoughts, she continues, “… of course, once we make love, you’ll stop seeing me as I am … You’ll dream of making love again, and you’ll start being scared of losing me. Trust wouldn’t last.”

I think of Le petit prince and The Alchemist.

“… so why don’t you just trust me and avoid all this drama.”

Her earnest ways disarm my entangled thoughts.

“Who are you?”

“Mary Magdalene.”

And so I trust her. “When I lost everything, I first felt freedom. I had a new chance at finding meaning in life. I saw a therapist to find out who I am. She listened. One day she told me I should stop therapy, get back to my former line of work and to my former wife. Every fiber of my being screamed that she did not know me. I did not know how to tell her my truth. I did not know how to say she had gotten me wrong when I did not know what was right.”

“I like it… Continue…”

“You like what?”

“You are on your journey. It’s all good, don’t be scared!”

“So I went to see a psychic. What I remember the most is he said people don’t know me because I don’t know myself …”

“You only think you don’t!”

“I am still lost!”

“Only in your mind!”


“… not in your heart!”


“Listen to your words! When the therapist urged you to return to your meaningless life you knew she did not speak to your truth, so you weren’t lost! She gave you back to yourself.”

“I don’t think she intended that!”

“Does it matter?”

“Is that water ahead?”

“No! Not for another hour!”

“How do you know? Are there signs?”

She chuckles. “I know this path!”

Time passes. Suddenly, I scream: “How did you do that?”

“Do what?”

“You changed me into a woman!”

“Child! You did it! You wanted to see life as a woman!”

“But when I had thoughts like this before they never came true!”

“Would you stop asking why, and just experience? What’s new?”

“Well … I have lost my lust for you!”

“Ha! Ha! What else?”

(soon to be published in a collection of shorts called CONSTELLATIONS)

Fiction exerpt: The Eulogy

The minister took a deep breath, looked to his left where an Asian man was sitting in a wheelchair, and started talking.

“Karl Park, here, asked me to read this eulogy for him. Some of you may know Karl. Here is what he wishes you to know.

“Jerry was playing cards all day, in silence, a cigarette burning his lips and eyes permanently squinting, which served him well at poker. He read silence like no one I knew. Not only did he detect a player’s bluff a mile away, he could tell his cards before they were laid down. He had little use for words. Also, I never saw him use a match or a lighter as he always lit his first cigarette from the flame of the gas stove in the morning, and then each cigarette from the previous one after that. Starting around 12, he was stealing Marlboro’s from uncle Tits. He switched to Camel’s when he could buy his own. He learned to play cards in the Korean War and then on the job, in the Northwest Territories, with other gold or diamond miners. There rarely was much else to do after work, aside from going out to town once a week. He said no woman would live with an old man who’d been a bachelor all is life. Not one bit of bitterness mind you. I think he was just content, set in his own ways, and he liked his quiet space; he wouldn’t want anyone to disturb that, not even a woman.

“I didn’t know Jerry from his talking except for one story. Jerry’s uncle’s real name was Dick for those of you who didn’t know. Dick wasn’t married so his teenage nephews joked about his manhood. Jerry called him Tits one day and the name was disclosed openly by accident and it stuck. Of course later Jerry understood better about being a bachelor and that it did not mean anything about one’s manhood, but it was too late.

“As some of you know, for the last three years Jerry has invited me home with him. But perhaps very few of you know how that happened. He was very private and perhaps laughed inwardly at the rumors that came of it.

(soon to be published in a collection of shorts called CONSTELLATIONS)

Fiction exerpt: In My Constellation

Ann looked up. No clouds. The moon was bright and full. Ann never tired of looking at the moon.

Jack had left the day before on a business trip. That’s what they told the kids, Mary and Jeffrey, 7 and 5 years old, respectively.

Ryan was the end point of that business trip, somewhere in Kansas. How do you explain that to a 5 or a 7 year old?

*  *  *

The moon seemed like a soothing face. Ann noticed the stars, each one alone and each one reflecting light from millions of years ago, some of these stars perhaps long gone and yet… present to her now. She saw the Great Bear by the horizon.  She thought: “What if, from far away, human beings too were seen as lights? Each one unique and reflecting one’s truth, and groups of human beings seen as constellations.” She wondered which constellation she belonged to. In that moment, magically, she knew that she and Jack belonged to two different constellations.

Ann’s cell phone rang. She did not pick up. She was taking a walk on her lunch break. Some falling leaves brushed her face. She looked up. The light was piercing and bright through maple tree branches and leaves. As Ann moved her eyes down, still out of focus, she saw it all as a painting and noticed that the pattern of shapes and colors all belonged perfectly together. Stars and Autumn leaves filled her heart. She knew she belonged to a constellation of people. She did not yet know which one, but she knew it would come to her and she no longer was scared to be alone.

On her way back to work she checked her cell phone. At noon she had a call from school. She needed to pick up Jeffrey. It was about his dad. He’d been screaming and the counselor had spent much time with him. She had tried to remind him that his dad had gone on a business trip as he had before, and Jeffery told her she was lying. Ann took time off from work to spend the afternoon with her son. She’d never done this. She’d been so devoted to work like others are to their church… and now she felt so disinterested… she just belonged somewhere else.

When Ann picked up Jeffrey, he’d already calmed down. The counselor was trying to explain that he had been very agitated, unmanageable, that she had to call... Ann smiled, took her hand in hers, and looked into her eyes: “Jeffrey is right! We lied to him… We lied because we did not think he could take it… but really it was because I could not take it… We did not tell you either. I was not ready. I did not think you needed to know right away. I am sorry. I am truly sorry about what happened this morning and what you had to deal with. Can you forgive me? I need to go… I’d like to spend some time with Jeffrey.”

The counselor was stunned. Her mind was still trying to argue that she could not explain how Jeffrey had calmed down so suddenly. Her mind was processing the new information. And then she realized she needed to answer Ann’s question: “Sure! Sure! You need to be with Jeffrey! We’ll talk some other time!”

“Mom?” Jeffrey asked, “Mom? Can I have some ice cream? I missed lunch…”

“Are you hungry?” Ann asked him, “We can go out and get a bite?”

“No, just ice cream!” Jeffrey said.

“Ice cream then!” Ann said, “And then we’ll go to the play ground at the park.”

“To the play ground!” Jeffrey said smiling.

They drove to the ice cream store. As Ann finished parking her car, Jeffrey told her he loved her and gave her a hug. Ann felt tears coming to her eyes. “So you know your dad is not on a business trip?” Ann whispered in her son’s ear.

“Yes,” Jeffrey whispered back.

“How did you know?” Ann said softly.

“Because.” Jeffrey said as softly. And releasing the embrace he added in a normal voice. “Can we have ice cream now?”

Jeffrey’s self assurance took Ann by surprise and she smiled: “C’mon!”

(soon to be published in a collection of shorts called CONSTELLATIONS)

Fiction exerpt: Watching the Seeds Dance

He was throwing the seeds to the winds and watching them swirl around and fall where they would. He was laughing joyfully at this, seeing how the winds danced with the seeds and the seeds let themselves be danced with. Then his mother came and raised her voice: “Son,” she said sternly, “we are not that rich that you can waste the seeds as you do! You need to learn to put them in the ground so they will grow so we can feed ourselves and feed the village. That is our responsibility! If you don’t learn this, you will never amount to anything and I will have failed as your mother!”

When his father came home for supper, the mother told him: “Your son wasted the seeds again…”

“Son!” The father said, “I am worried about you. You are a headache to your mother and me! You are a dreamer and that won’t get you anywhere… You cannot just live randomly! You need structure and discipline and hard work to make a living! We are farmers! That’s what we are! That’s what you are! So do as your mother says… learn your trade or else you’ll never make a living!”

The little boy went to his room feeling very alone and scared that he would never amount to anything, that his parents were right, that he was such a disappointment to everyone… and he felt much shame within him. He fell asleep crying and asked Life to give him the strength to be a good boy, to make his parents proud. He always talked to Life like other people talk to God because he could touch life, he could touch the seeds, feel the winds, he had a connection with it.

The following day he went to the fields and promised his mother he would do as she said. He was filled with a sense that it would not be so hard to plant the seeds as his mother told him and as his father wanted. He was filled with the kind of resolve that made him feel he was a good boy and he would make his parents proud. So he started planting the seeds as he was told, dutifully and carefully, saying caring words to each one. He would say to one: “You will grow strong and tall and soothe the hearts of many people!” Then he would cover it with dirt and say out loud: “Dirt! Be good to the seed, she has so many people to love.” And to another: “You will be so beautiful that no one will eat your fruit, but everybody seeing you will be blessed with happiness!’ And he continued like this feeling content. Suddenly, his mother called him and raised her voice: “Son! Don’t you see that all this time you are taking is just a waste of time? How many seeds have you planted so far? How many do you have left to plant? You’ll never amount to anything! You’re just a waste of my time!”

The little boy went into the woods and started to cry feeling hopeless. He had done his best and he was still a disappointment to his mother. He’d envisioned so much pride in her and it was not happening. He was feeling like a horrible little boy and was filled with shame. He lost track of time and arrived late for supper. His mother told him there was no supper for him because he was late. She sent him to his bedroom. She said he had a rebel streak in him and he needed to learn a lesson. The little boy did not say a word. He went to his bedroom. He did not even cry. He was numb. And his heart was heavy. He did not even think to talk to Life like the previous night.

In the morning, he had a hard time waking up. His mother yelled at him a few times to get up and then gave up. When he got up, he gave himself breakfast and went out to the woods and walked aimlessly, alone. He did not even come home for lunch. When he got home for supper, he was silent. His mother yelled something about worrying her all day. His father told him if he could not follow a simple task they could no longer help him.

Many days passed and nothing much changed. The little boy no longer felt the seeds in his hands, and no longer talked to them. He no longer laughed watching how the winds danced with the seeds and the seeds enjoyed being danced with before they fell softly on the ground, giddy with love. Many days passed alone. Not even alone, just empty, like he did not have a self anymore; nothing.

(soon to be published in a collection of shorts called CONSTELLATIONS)

Fiction exerpt: Sonia and Makeet

Sonia came to my office one day, devastated. I have permission to tell her story. And I have Makeet’s as well. I have only omitted details that do not change the deeper understanding, like their real names, where they live, where they work, and who they know.

I had just come into my office that day when Sonia burst in and started to cry. She came in, apparently skipping by the front desk and the introductory form, and it did not seem like the time to start with bureaucratic details. I took a breath and switched my focus to her crying. It felt like a release. Some dam had opened up and the waters were rushing forth now, finally freed from some burden… I waited.

“I don’t know anyone I can talk to about this…” she started, finally, five, maybe ten minutes after coming in…
“I had to come and see someone… do you think you can help me?… I knew there were therapists in this building but I did not know which one could help me. When I saw you outside walking toward this building, you looked so sure of yourself… and I feel so unsure of myself… I just followed you… Then you entered your office… so here I am… Do you think that’s strange?... Can you help me?” She said everything she had in mind as though it was my role to sort it all out… to make sense out of it.
“I don’t know… it sounds like you just trusted your gut feelings…” I reflected, reassuringly.
“Gut feelings…” she said, “so that’s what gut feelings are…”

She looked disheveled, wild. Her breath was shallow. She noticed my looking at her and apologized.
“I am sorry that I look like this. I didn’t dress up today or put my makeup on… I am overwhelmed and things that used to matter don’t seem as important today.”

I welcomed her and told her about my process and expectations, and that I had a maximum of two hours today, if she needed that much.
“Two hours?” she repeated, “Okay. Oh! Money’s not an issue…”
Her statement was congruent with her demeanor. Although she came in with little care for her appearance, she carried herself like someone well to do. She signed the informed consent letter. I decided to postpone taking her family history. Her story was fresh in her mind and this was the best time to hear it, when she was still emotional, when she had not had a chance to fit it into something meaningful. I invited her to tell her story.

“He came out of nowhere… he walked toward me… I knew he was going to snatch my purse… I saw it in my mind… When he snatched it, it felt like I’d been waiting for him to do that… It felt like… you know when you wait for the train at the station and you wait and the train arrives and you get in… just like that…like he was the train and my purse was just waiting for him… But then I snapped out of this vision, I shot him – I always have a gun with me, it’s registered and everything – I only wanted to wound him so he’d slow down and the police could get him… and I called the police.”

She said all this, like a train picking up speed… and, when she stopped, she was breathing hard and her forehead was moist as though she’d been running. I asked her: “Were you running to fire those shots?”
“You sound out of breath and you’re sweating like you’ve been running! Is that how you feel?”
“Running… Yes… It’s like a dream… but I cannot quite make it… it feels so real… more like a memory… Oh! my gosh look at me, I’m crying!” she said and stopped talking.
“You’re crying…” I said softly, acknowledging her.
And she burst into tears. “I lost him. He was supposed to be mine. And I lost him…”
“You lost him?” I continued.
“Yes… I can see it clearly like a movie of my life… I shoot him… while he is running away… I shoot him… one single shot and he falls down… dead. I am running so fast… and I kneel to feel his breath… I kiss him and kiss him and he does not breathe…. He does not take a breath… I kiss him like we used to… I don’t want to lose him… But he is gone… I shot him… kissing him does not do anything and I cry. I’m angry with him. I scream: ‘Why did you run away? I gave you everything! Why? Why did you make me shoot you? Now I have lost you!’ I leave my purse with him; it’s too late now… I would have given him anything – my god, I loved him so… And I cry so hard, holding him while his blood soaks my clothes… I don’t care… I don’t care… there’s nothing to care about anymore… I could die right now with him…”
“A different memory?” I suggested.
Sonia was suddenly introspective. “Wait!... There’s more… My clothes!” she said with surprise, “I see my clothes… they’re not what I usually wear…”
“… in what way?” I asked to let her know I was taking it in.
“They look like old fashioned clothes,” she said. “It feels so real… We have slaves… My husband and I have a sugar cane plantation… My husband is never home… I am in love with one of our young slaves. He is strong, always singing… he never looks down… We make love often in the afternoon… I give him everything…”

(soon to be published in a collection of shorts called CONSTELLATIONS)

Monday, November 21, 2011


Don’t worry … You’re not alone!

Those of us who choose to follow our heart are inevitably at odds with the beaten path. It is not easy to make choices that are not the popular ones. We feel sometimes we may be the one who must be wrong... "Why can't I have a normal life?" "I want to be normal!" I have gone through this and I see many go through this as well.

What is going on?

To follow one's heart means to go outside of the rational and known world. We cannot explain our choices to others, we cannot even explain them to ourselves. We just know because we have tried to avoid it for so long, we have tried everything else, and there are no other choices.

Look at the world...   

You notice the news... Does what you hear and see belong to a world that is sane? Wars, competition that hurts people, terminal diseases, mental illness, rape, abuse, oppression... But those who are said to be insane don't sound as crazy as some of our leaders... And yes there are beautiful cooperative efforts too... But a world that has the negatives I listed is a sick world... and these negatives are symptoms of the sickness, of the insanity... So if you try and fit in that world you lose yourself and if you try to help it become better, you learn to follow your heart...  

Following your Heart

In the beginning, you may find yourself alone... partly because you feel vulnerable, unsure, and doubt yourself... and no one really knows how to support you, how to love you. It is simple really, all a real friend has to do is to be there, to listen to your doubts and your dreams and your fears and your passion... ask how you are... without trying to fix anything or give advice... but not many know that. So for the most part we find ourselves being alone and we are the ones needing to find a way to love ourselves during this phase... The result is, if we show up to our self and keep up, we start expressing our dreams and our gifts more and more and we find the courage and the strength to be who we are more openly. That's when things start to change...

Feeling insane! 

The feeling of insanity comes because we have a conflict inside. We want to be accepted and loved and are scared that, if we follow our own heart without acting like others expect us to act, we will lose their acceptance and their love. That time is important. Trusting you and not worrying about being loved is important. Remembering your dreams is important because they are what you are giving birth to. They will be born when you find the strength to live them without worrying whether they will be accepted or rejected by others... just because you know they asked to be born and they asked to be born from you!


Looking back... 

When first wife and I broke up, I was devastated because I believed in my commitment to her and I did not understand what happened between us. I remember the moment I told her after 4 months of therapy that went nowhere that I had to move on with my life, that it was over. At that moment she first tried to get me to stay even though 4 months earlier she had made the first move to leave. But then we knew it was over. We shared with each other how much we still loved each other. "Yes that's what's hard about this!" Then she told me that women will love me. That moment of honest sharing after months of struggling to figure out how to keep living together was the most healing moment in our relationship for me. I did not consciously know I felt unlovable. How did she know to tell me that women would love me?

Another time one of my teachers once told me: "Don't you dare take anything personally!" Wow! Years later, I am somewhat better at it... but every time I dig myself into an emotional black hole, you can bet I took something personally!

Negative Self-Talk  

Some words we hear or tell ourselves are painful... The only way to heal from this that I am aware of is to stop trying to ignore them and push through... Instead we need to recognize and feel deep within that these words are lies... When we see/feel the lie, we can finally stop holding on to the negativity and the truth comes.

Our negative self-talk came in place of accepting some painful feelings resulting from one or sometimes many experiences. Freedom comes from accepting those unbearable feelings. Freedom comes from being able to laugh at our own insane self-talk -- not take them seriously. Freedom comes from realizing that this life is not about you, it is about the love you are able to share and if you are worried about you, people will feel you as withholding love... Don't withhold your love! 

The Thin Line Between Being Healing and Giving Advice 

The other side of receiving is giving healing words and that can be very close to giving advice. Most of the advice I have been given did not work for me. The reason is that people tend to give advice without getting to know the person they give advice to. It is not because something works for you that it will work for someone else. Why not? Because we each have our journey and our lessons to learn. So before trying to be helpful to someone it is important to get to know the person, to be curious, to care that the help we give is not to make us feel better but to really help the other person. If you have an attachment to whether the other person uses your suggestions, you are giving this advice for your own benefit. If it is something you need, don't disguise it as a suggestion: know what you want and ask for what you want. If it is truly a suggestion, then you will know because you will to be willing to let the other person do exactly what s/he wants to do and be there to support him or her whether s/he is following your suggestion or not!    

I think the best advice to someone is when the other person really feels heard and when it benefits everyone else around that person as well... 

A Healing Offering 
Talking with the other person is not the only way to know what is likely to be helpful. Here's the story of a little old lady with Lou Gehrig's disease who kept everyone awake at night.  

A friend of mine, a nurse, worked in a hospice overnight. I was awake one such night and felt like calling her. She picked up the phone and told me she was having a hard time with an old lady with Lou Gehrig's disease screaming and throwing her orange juice at her bedroom window requiring all her attention and waking everyone else. My friend was usually calm, full of love and joy with her patients, but right then she was overwhelmed.   

I told her I would meditate on it and I'd call her back 15 minutes later. She told me she'd rather call me in case anyone was able to fall asleep in the meantime.

In my meditation, I wanted to connect with this little old lady. I wanted to know how she felt inside. So I tuned in to her. We learn this technique as part of Sat Nam Rasayan, a healing modality taught in Kundalini Yoga according to Yogi Bhajan. It is no deep mystery, we can all do this and perhaps some of you already do this without knowing it has a name!!! When I tuned in to this little old lady, I felt as though my body was on fire. I asked myself what it would feel like if instead of orange juice she drank water. The agitation went down. I asked myself what would happen if she touched the grass with her bare feet. I felt cooling and peace. So when my friend called back, I told her: "The orange juice agitates her, instead give her water, it will cool her down. And if anyone can take her outside during the day so she can touch the grass with her bare feet, that would be very helpful!"  

I had my doubts that anyone would have the patience to do this. That was not taking into account that my friend is so nice that no one can say "no!" to her and the love the family had for this little old lady... A week or two later, I had a call from my friend, she told me someone wanted to talk to me. It was the daughter of the little old lady who kept every one awake at night. The daughter thanked me. She told me that she and her family did just what I suggested everyday taking her outside on her wheelchair and taking her shoes and socks off to let her touch the grass with her bare feet. And, since then, her mother had been sleeping 2 to 4 hours every night. And everyone else slept much better as a result in the hospice!!


Mirror, mirror... 

Look at yourself in the mirror. Look into your eyes. What do you see? Are they aligned, collaborating toward the same focus, or not? Is each eye sending the same energy? Feel the energy sent by each of your eyes? What is it? Do you feel soothed or agitated by it? If the energy is not as soothing as you would hope for, can you accept yourself and let peace and relaxation spread within you so gently and deeply that the light in your eyes softens and becomes pure love? Take your time. After the exercise, are your eyes more aligned & more interested in the same focus?  

Wants or Soul Dreams 

Can you see how your wants (even just having enough to support yourself and/or your family) prevent you from listening to the world's needs?

If you suspend your wants with trust and innocence for a moment, can you hear your soul dreams? Can you feel the difference it makes to focus on one versus the other in your heart & in your being?  

What is the distance between your wants and your soul dreams? Can you imagine and see that choosing your wants over your dreams limits your possibilities... but choosing your dreams will take care of all your needs?  

Being Loving or Being Love by Elaine Desing 

Elaine has a regular newsletter and on her March 22, 2010 issue she discussed the difference between being loving and being love. The first one involves a decision about whether you can entrust your love toward another, one person at a time, the second involves a question about yourself, who you choose to be, once and for all. To read the entire message please click on Elaine's website link: 

Befriend your Soul by Yogi Bhajan 

"What is meditation? When you empty yourself and let the Universe come in you."

"Patience pays. Wait. Let the hand of God work for you. One who has created you let Him create all the environments, circumstances, and facilities & faculties.

"Oh individual, why you are in a very doubtful state? One who has made you will take care of you. One who has created this universe, all the planets, planetary faculties and facilities on Earth, He is the One who has created you. Wait, have patience, lean on him, and all best things will come to you.

"Dwell in God. Dwell in God. Dwell in God. Befriend your soul. Dwell in God and befriend your soul. Dwell in God and befriend your soul. All the faculties and facilities of the Creation, which are in your best interest, shall be at your feet. You need million things; million things will reach you, if you are stable, established, firm, patient. Remember, Creator watches over you and Creation is ready to serve you, if you you.

"So please take away the ghost of your life and stop chasing around. Consolidate. Concentrate. Be you. And may all the peace & peaceful environments, prosperity approach you forever. Sat Nam."



       This article can be read without reading the previous article called: LOVE. But it might be useful to go back and read it if you want to get inspired after reading this article. Part I was about a selected few instances where self-love knocked at my door. The purpose was to encourage you to reflect on how self-love knocks at your door in your life.

       The purpose of this article is to go a step deeper: We each have a role to play in the evolution of humanity and the only way to play it is to recognize what our purpose is. That is a form of awakening. It is happening... revolutions in Egypt, Libya, Wisconsin, and then more recently Occupy Wall Street and all the other occupy that followed. It reminds me of Rosa Park, Martin Luther King, and you! We may think that it is too far away to try and figure it out, so we put it aside, and focus on material things and needs. We fall back on our responsibilities: feeding our family, paying our bills, taking much needed vacations, etc... But living our purpose is not as far away as we think. And routine life takes us there anyway... but it may take much longer and we may endure traumatic life experiences to wake us up: relationships break up, jobs loss, bankruptcy, accidents, terminal illnesses, etc., etc.  

Where to Start       

       Trauma is the result of fear of love. Wars are the result of fear of love. Oppressions of all sort are the result of fear of love. This shows the extent of the problem for humanity as a whole! The suffering in each of our lives is the result of fear of love. We each experience some love and we seem easily satisfied with a little, so little, that we accept or fight anything that comes our way. We are so much more than we think. We are infinite. That means infinite love is available to us. But we often live as though we don't believe it. 

       We cannot see our purpose if we are scared of love. We may not realize that our struggles come from fear of love. We may not see that we are scared of love or the extent to which we are. So the first step is to see where in our lives our own fear of love expressed/expresses itself. 

Trauma and Oppressions as the Result of Fear of Love 

       Perhaps this statement is not as obvious to you as it is to me. When two people are hurting each other, what might happen if one of the two suddenly realizes that the other is hurt and is scared of not being lovable? What might happen for instance if, in the moment someone is about to be raped/tortured/abused, the potential victim gets in touch with her/his own sense of being lovable? Imagine that s/he talks softly to the about-to-be-abuser and says: "No... listen... you do it all wrong... this does not feel good... let me show you..." (or something more directly appropriate to the situation, or simply train oneself to forgive if there is nothing that can be said). That would be a dramatic unexpected turn of event, wouldn't it? To get there, the potential victim has to step out of her/his fear of love. I was describing this scenario to one of my students once and she told me that a friend of hers had done exactly this with a potential rapist. The man, who was about to rape her, ran away. He could not handle it!  

       So underneath trauma and oppression is a dance where fear of love is being expressed. If it is seen for what it is, if awareness comes, there is a chance that feeling lovable can replace the fear of love and for the process of healing to take place.

       I think we each live with trauma, more than we acknowledge. We hide from it and protect it because of shame or because we are scared to look into it because we seem to be stuck if we let it overwhelm us. I think that the solution is to see the fear of love that is being expressed in our painful stories. We need to see that that fear is not real, that it is illusion... and to see instead the radical realization that the beauty of love is the only thing that is real and life transforming. It comes from a shift in perception. We just need to try that shift, over and over, as life events knock at our door, until one day it is there and we wonder why we could not see and feel it before. It had always been there!

Enlightenment, Here and Now... Really?        

       Fear of love in the world affects all of us. The result is, as the Buddhists say, that we are asleep but we don't know it. One day some of us wake up, like in Egypt, and Libya, and Wisconsin... and it helps the rest of us wake up if we let it touch us. But until then we live unaware of our own fear of love, of the infinite love available, of the full importance of love and compassion in our own life. We live unaware that enlightenment is here and now... And we live waiting, longing, striving... not seeing that we already have the key to bliss. The key is two fold: 1) see the fear of love in your heart, and 2) see how it keeps you from knowing yourself. And then simply open yourself, empty from hurt, stories and beliefs you thought were yours, and dive into the unknown infinite love.

       Yes, it takes practice, but when you see and feel it, you realize you had the key all along!

Life Purpose 

       We each need each other. We each have something that needs to be shared with each other: art, research, celebration, humble sharing of power, uplifting acts, kindness, love, words, hugs, touch, books, documentaries, sharing our stories, connecting, forgiving, taking the street, speaking up, holding our authentic space... Our authentic sharing is our true nourishment for each other! Christianity represents this with the body and blood of Christ in the form of the Eucharist and the wine. Sikhs share the 'Karah Parshad.' I am sure other traditions have something equivalent. But it is no longer enough... we need authentic nourishment from each other.



       The Beatles were right: "All you need is love!" I would even say... All you need is self-love! But that would not flow as well in a song. A long time ago I realized that love was not like emotions. Love is not in the same category because love does not come from your thoughts, it comes from opening your heart. I never understood when people said in movies or real life: "I don't feel love for you anymore!" It did not make sense because the reason we fall out of love is that something like anger or fear gets in the way. It suffices to recognize the source of the anger or fear and we can easily tune back to love again. Sometimes we need to leave relationships behind, but not out of anger or fear. Instead we leave each other out of love and respect for the other and for our self.

       Part of the problem in relationships is that too often we want or expect our partner to love us when it is really our responsibility to love our self. That's why I say that all we need is self-love. It would be difficult to live this life if we needed someone to love us in order to grow and be healthy. It helps to be loved when we cannot find it in our self to love who we are, but it is not essential.

Stories Pointing Toward Self-Love

       The first time I became aware of self-love is when someone asked me to say "I love you!" to myself in a mirror. I remember I had a tough time then. That was a difficult realization yet a worthwhile one.

       Another time I was getting angry at a widespread bumper sticker: "Jesus loves you!" It really rubbed me the wrong way because my whole being resented that someone else would pretend to know what Jesus thought of me. There were some swear words in my mind as well! But one day, despite my resentment, I asked myself: "... and what if it were true?" So I imagined what it would be like if I allowed Jesus to love me. The result astonished me. I saw how I had resisted anyone's love because I wanted to be loved by my parents first. I could have waited a long time! In that experience I saw how accepting to be loved healed the way I saw my parents. I saw that they actually loved me, that my problem was that it wasn't how I wanted to be loved. I could then receive how they were able to love me.

       Another time, much later, I was practicing a healing approach according to Bruno Groening. You can check him out online. It is a simple approach of tuning in to the healing stream of the Universe while experiencing your physical body and trusting that healing is happening whether it takes 1 second or several years for you to actually experience the results. Practicing this teaches one about the nature of faith and self-love. It is a beautiful practice. One day Bruno came to me etherically and asked me to join him and Jesus and Buddha and many enlightened beings. I had a tough time accepting. I did not feel worthy. When I finally accepted the invitation, something shifted in me. The next day I found myself closer than I ever felt to anyone I met on street. I experienced that there was no distance between me and the street kid from a poor family in my 19th ward neighborhood. I experienced myself and drug dealers without any judgment, without any sense of one being better than the other. I could have been them. That was a beautifully peaceful experience.

       More recently, I experienced yet another level of self-love. Loving myself is not just being able to say: "I love myself!" and feeling it, or allowing someone else to love me. It is about trusting that what I want to make of my life is possible. It is about believing in my dreams and keeping an open heart whether things appear to work out or not, whether I see results or not, whether I get support or not. It is not about fighting for what I want and being more assertive in the world. It is about recognizing when I lose faith, and not pretending. It is about recognizing when I get scared and embracing myself and working at reopening my heart. It is about becoming aware of thoughts and beliefs that are not supportive of my dreams and recognizing these thoughts and beliefs are not me.

       Self-love is not glamorous. It takes you in the mud of your life. It is a journey that brings to your consciousness all the thoughts and beliefs, and all the hurt that are now on tapes in your semi-consciousness and run your life but are no longer nourishing you! Self-love is about patiently catching those tapes from the corner of your mind and inner wisdom and recognizing their lie. Nobody else can do it for you!

       There are gifts at some point... One of them is that life is to be celebrated as any event is an opportunity for personal and collective enlightenment! Another is our purpose in life becomes clear and comes to us with little effort. Another is joy.
Path to Love

       These gifts point us in the right direction because as it turns out meditating on celebration and joy while paying attention to our thoughts an physical experience (avoiding denial) accelerate the path to unconditional love.

       Have fun on your journey! 


One afternoon I felt really disgusted and I did not know why. I felt so disgusted that I got exhausted and went to bed. Before falling asleep I just asked: "What is this disgust about?" I woke up 2 hours later with the words clear in my mind as though engraved: "Disgust is fear of love!" That gave new meaning to the place of love in my life and how I dealt with it. So I wanted to write about love but did not know where to start. So I asked inwardly, my eyes closed, and then a face showed up and kissed me on the lips. I did not name that face back then. I just experienced the delightful kiss and came out of it so blissful that I had to go outside for a walk. I felt like hugging everyone and, of course, did not... very aware of how it might be perceived. The beauty I saw walking down the streets is still fresh in my mind. We are never very far from bliss. We just don't know how close it is waiting for us to ask.

In this time of Holidays, give yourself a gift, ask to experience bliss, and then share your bliss with everyone!


A while ago, a friend of mine told me her parents loved her unconditionally as a child. What she had told me prior led me to believe she was not seeing reality as it was... but who was I to burst her beautiful bubble? It turns out her telling me this was a beautiful gift. It occurred to me that, if unconditional love existed, I really wanted to experience it. A couple of months later I had that experience. I was working on some painful experience from my childhood - something I had worked on many times before without being able to free myself from its pain. This time I approached it differently. Instead of trying to fix my childhood problem, I decided to accept it as it was and just accepted the experience. After some effort and dedication to stay with the pain and experience it, I eventually got to a place where a dam opened up inside and I cried freely. At that moment, I experienced unconditional love. I saw how beautiful the planet was and the following wisdom came to me: THE WORLD DOES NOT WANT TO BE CHANGED, JUST LOVED.


What are the Roles of the Body, the Mind and the Spirit?

The Mind

Let's start with the mind. When I lead groups and ask people what they use their minds for, I get the following answers:
1) I use my mind to be creative and solve problems
2) I use my mind to organize things
3) I make decisions with my mind

In these answers, there is an implicit acceptance of our mind as the highest source of knowing. When I say it this way many people then say that their spirit is the highest source of knowing. But how often do we ask our mind to quiet down so we can hear our spirit? Too often people tell me they cannot quiet their mind down and their mind seems to run the show... There is a sense that they have absolutely no power over this situation and they give up the fight... When we let the mind run the show of our life we tend to create agitation, resistance, stress, and chaos. I don't believe that is the life we each want... but we often feel trapped in it...

So there is this notion that we need to listen to something wiser than our mind, to listen to our spirit... but how to do that when the mind is so busy taking the whole space?

Our mind is useful. But it uses the past to make decisions and to think about things. It does not have access to new information unless we give it new information. Einstein used to say and I paraphrase: "We don't solve new problems with old solutions!" But that is all the mind can do!

The Body

And what is the role of your body? It seems all we know about the body is it serves to experience pleasure and pain, and to move us places. We want pleasure and we try and avoid pain. When we do this we split ourselves off from our body... and the result is we cause suffering. Here's how it works. The experience of pain in our body is what it feels like when the energy is trapped. The energy does not get trapped on its own. We contract because of the fear of pain. In contracting our physical body, we block energy and create the pain we were trying to avoid. The body becomes a memory of all the things we have blocked and that is what causes diseases and aging. There is this notion that problems come as a natural cause of aging. I disagree. It is not aging, It is the accumulation of energy trapped inside that causes problems as we age.

The solution lies in acknowledging our body's experience physically. As we do this by accepting and feeling the physical sensations in our body, we release pain, and insights come that help you grow as a human being. These insights never become available otherwise and they are not accessible to the mind until the body is paid attention to.

Yoga is one way to help release these blocked energies is a safe manner. Meditation alone can cause imbalances,

The Spirit

The spirit is your connection to everything. It is you... and so much more than you have experienced as a human being. When we have not experienced our spirit, we do not know what we are missing. It is like living a life as a pauper and having never seen wealth. But once we have seen wealth, we can no longer ignore it... it changes how we see our self.
Our spirit is a source of inspiration and when we access it, we bring new material to the mind, so we can learn to question old tapes and find meaning and joy that we did not know or had forgotten about. It shifts our perception of our self and our purpose in life. We open to contentment we did not know was possible.

Stress as a Symptom of a Need for Integration/Wholeness

We cannot just work with the body or the mind or the spirit separately. It is our responsibility to help them relate to each other. Somehow, as we do this, we realize that we are the ones who have caused the separation in the first place. And at a deeper level, they are not separated... so we spend energy recreating the separation every moment... That is the source of our stress and fatigue!