Lily Embodied

Recently I celebrated turning 50!

 This is an interesting, fun, and rather surreal experience on many levels...

as entering each new decade seems to be.


As I’ve contemplated this milestone birthday,

one of the things that occurs to me is that more people on the planet

are now younger than me rather than the hour glass is turned over

and I find myself sliding toward the elders who younger people might look to

for example or guidance.



This is quite a conundrum for the little girl part of me who is still in the

proverbial wondering of what life will be like when I grow up.

Or looking to others as more accomplished, more educated,

more “together”... more something!


But other voices emerge too. 

“What if I’m already “it?!”


“If not now, when?”

What if the real purpose of life is,

rather than searching for something outside of me,

to reveal something that’s already in me, IS me?

Something that’s been there all along.


What would it feel like to fully embody my true Essential Nature?

To unlock a door perhaps or simply drop the resistance to

expressing something yearning to be free?


What if it’s enough to just stop. Breathe. And be fully present. Period.


Maya Angelou says that the 50s are about being who we are meant to be.

I really get that, but when I shared that with a young woman,

she said, “Ugh, I have to wait that long?!”



It’s never too soon or too late to be the Truth of You.

So many individuals have shared their amazing selves and

never even made it to 50.


Then again, for those of us making many trips around the sun,

there’s something to be said for aging like a fine wine,

the depth and breadth of an old oak tree,

or the maturity of the sprawling vine that regenerates itself year after year

offering hundreds of beautiful blossoms as it winds through the trees and

blankets the hillside...old and fresh at the same time.

It’s what makes an enchanted forest enchanted, after all :)


And I return to the little girl part of me and wonder.

She is probably a fount of information about my/our Natural Essence.

A sweet guardian of a raw gem that I unwittingly 

distanced myself from over the years.

I wonder what it would look like for her to beam through the heart, mind,

and body of this 50-year-old woman.


And you?

Perhaps a chat with your inner child over ice cream or a hot chocolate

would be quite revealing as well :)




 PS - This painting is a nod to some of my favorite Impressionists - Monet, Degas, and Cassatt.

Black Diamonds

In a dream
I found myself recently....
enclosed in a small space with the night sky out the back window.
A woman sat before me...not too old, not too young, not scary, not friendly.

She looked me directly in the eye and calmly and cooly said, "I can't wait to get my
hands on you and cut you into pieces." The image of a knife slicing into the joints of my
bones flashed before me.

A small voice inside my head whispers, “Now would be a good time to wake up.”
But instead I face my would-be tormentor and assert myself, “You are not going to harm
me, you are not going to destroy me....”

Coming briefly to consciousness, I hear, “It's OK, you just came face-to-face with your
crone self.” Oh, that's a relief, I thought as I fell back to sleep.

In days following I noted the ways my life is coming into pieces...
layer after layer is falling away...
if I'm not giving it away, it's being taken away.
All the ways I identify myself are coming undone.

Then cuts deep, one slice.
The pain of humiliation, shame, rage spilled out of this punctured abscess...
Iʼm at the end of my rope, the end of my patience, the end of my faith.
It boiled over into a meltdown.

With a frying pan, I beat the shit out of my sofa.
As loud as I could, I screamed.
I wanted to disappear or drive until I reached oblivion.
I cried so much my face hurt from the sting of salt water tears.

And she looked me directly in the eye and calmly and cooly said, “I can't wait to get my
hands on you and cut you into pieces.”

And I say, "this hurts so bad."

On the doorstep of a friend, I arrive. Empty and defenseless.
She asks, "Are you aware of your dark sorceress....she's here....waiting.....waiting for
you to bring her in. A significant source of your energy and power, she is."

How many times in my life have I lamented:
"Where is my energy....where is my desire...where is my passion??”

Is it possible I see myself as homeless and penniless,
while I remain blind to my own vault of black diamonds?
How much energy have I expended keeping her under lock and key?

I'm secretly afraid to be.
But am I courageous enough to be extraordinary?
Am I willing to bring my whole self all the way here?
All the way in to flesh?

Can I allow myself to be seen?
What part of each of us is simply waiting....awaiting our recognition...our acknowledgement.....
our love....our embrace.....our that we may become whole?How might life be?

In a circle of candles, I sit
And call to her, if only timidly:
Come into me...infiltrate my cells,
let me feel you deep in my bones,
flow into my blood,
my blood,
my blood.
Weave yourself into every fiber of my being.

Come into me like the black plate of a color separation....that which is black
alone, yes, but when added to the other layers, brings depth and richness,
making the darks darker and the lights lighter...brings clarity and definition to shape and
form....making an image come to life, when you didn't even realize how flat and listless
it was before.

And she looked me directly in the eye and calmly and cooly said, “I can't wait to get my
hands on you and cut you into pieces.”

And I say, “Let me get the knife.”

Dying to Come Alive

When this phrase, dying to come alive, surfaced in my mind a while back, I smiled at the sweet perfection of its layered meanings and how it seemed to be an accurate reflection of where I am, where the world is and maybe where you are, too? It's curious, this expression we have — when we say we're dying for something what we really mean is that we have a desire for it, like really want it!

Then there's the adage "grow or die." And yet, when I think about the cycles of growth, it seems to me the first one is: dying, such as when a flower drops its leaves and petals, because all the energy is going into the new seed...or when we let go of something that is no longer in alignment with what we are bringing forth.

So how do I reconcile these two ideas about dying for something? First, I try to recognize my own deep desire(s). In my process, there are times when I feel so overwhelmed or depressed, scared, anxious, angry…it all feels too hard, and I think I just want to check out. But when I follow this thread further, I find that underneath that is a deeper desire not just to live, but to be really alive! So I look around my life and I acknowledge, sometimes with brutal honesty, the things that aren't really working, aren't healthy, aren't very supportive of what I truly want. I challenge myself to let go, to die to what isn't lay myself bare and surrender to transformation.

As I'm writing this article, a storm is brewing outside and I can't help but be out in it. The wind is picking up and the sky is becoming dark and dramatic. I find myself drawn to the beauty and excitement in the impending possibilities, the break from normalcy…the foreboding. It's a heightened sense of energy, like a quickening, a promise that things will never be the same. And, as much as there is a part of me that is terrified of change, another part of me is equally and secretly glad for it.

I felt this same quickening as I lay next to my dying mother. Yes, most certainly, things would never be the same...for me or for her. In the midst of this shocking and horrifying experience, I was also feeling some kind of euphoric cosmic expansion, a change at the cellular level, I was having a mystical the midst of this death and dying, life was happening.

Death and loss have been great teachers in my life and one of the things I've learned is that swirling around in the space of endings is also the energy of new beginnings. It's rich and powerful, but also paradoxical. When a painting is begun, it is the destruction of the blank canvas; when a baby is born, it is the end of a pregnancy; when a plant sprouts, it is the death of the seed.

And when life brings me to this space, either by my choice or an unexpected circumstance, if I can move through it with some measure of presence and awareness, it stretches me ... expands me beyond what I've known myself to be....asks me to hold more, feel more, be more...pulls me beyond "either/or" and into "both/and." This is the energy of change, death, transition and transformation.

When my nephew died, I was asked to say a few words at the memorial. The day before the service, feeling major apprehension about what I could possibly say, I noticed the rose bushes out in the yard. After blooming, they had died during a late freeze and been cut way back, a strange sight for the springtime. Upon closer inspection, though, I noticed little sprouts forming again already. I was struck by this life force; this pulsing that seemed to be moving through them and everything. No matter whether they froze to death or felt the sting of being cut back, this pulse was still seeking a way to come to life through them. For the days following his death, I continued to feel this pulse, like the heartbeat of the universe...silent, yet deafening. It didn't stop my tears or take away the tragedy, but it made itself known ... suggesting to me that no death stops the divine impulse of life.

And I wondered...if this pulse is always moving through us, are we fostering it? Are we stifling it? Are we even aware of it?

For awhile now I've been feeling that some things in my life are coming to an end....pondering what's next...feeling like "now is the time." But for what? I only know that the old is falling away, but the new isn't quite clear yet. I think we are all going through some version of this, individually and collectively. And even though it's uncomfortable to be in a space of uncertainty, full of loss and turmoil, experiencing a full gamut of what this realm offers: fear, excitement, frustration, liberation, madness, anticipation, constriction, expansion, mystery and magic...all of the above and all seems to be an integral part of the process of birthing something new.

Recently I came across the Howard Thurman quote, "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." Yes, this is the world I want to co-create and live in....a soul-full one where each of us is alive to our own deepest desires and purpose and authentically expressing them....truly living from the inside out.

I can only do my small piece in the bigger picture, to follow my own internal compass. What I do know is that I no longer want to feel half-hearted about work or relationships. I no longer want to wake up to the stress of how to make ends meet or how to complete the never-ending "to do" list. And so I ask death to come at my own bidding. I want to die to that which no longer serves me. I want to die to the beliefs and patterns that keep me stuck in my insecurities and die to the part of me that is afraid to really live. So yes, I could say my life is in chaos and shambles. I could say I'm letting go of things and places I've loved and adored to make space for something new and even unimagined. And I could say I'm cutting myself way back, like the rose bush, so I can feel the rush of life force pulsing through me even more deeply, seeking new ways to come into expression. I'm offering myself up for transformation and yes, I am dying to come alive.

How about you?


Reach Into The Unknown and Listen

Several weeks ago I awoke feeling the “need” to do a ritual. I saw myself sitting with many pictures of me from across my life and holding each one to my heart or body some place, and breathing that part, that essence, of myself back into me.....any lost or frozen pieces that needed to be reclaimed.

When I mentioned this to my dear friend, George, he wrote back that this had just come to him: RITUAL—Reach Into The Unknown And Listen (or Learn). I responded, TCILI—That’s Cool, I Love It....(of course it’s much cooler if the acronym actually makes a word itself!)

It all got me thinking, though, about the nature of ritual and ceremony, and how we can use it and benefit from it in our lives. Sometimes I think these words, ritual and ceremony, are so heavily laden with religious dogma, as if they can only be performed in some grandiose stone cathedral by a priest or pastor. However, I have discovered on my journey of seeking that I can have access the gifts they offer and I often incorporate them into my spiritual practice. Rituals can be fun, serious, well-planned or completely spontaneous. They can be healing, celebratory and transformative. As my friend and teacher, George, always says, “Pay attention to Intention.”

Intention is what brings life to ritual and ritual to life. I can light a candle; or I can light a candle and set an intention for it to symbolize my connection to spirit or ignite my inner flame somehow. Both are the same action, but one becomes more deeply meaningful to me. And it is the meaning I attach to the action that makes that action powerful.

For me, the greatest gift a ritual gives me is an invitation to engage with the unseen reach into the unknown....into that place which is undefinable, infinite...where Mystery dwells. A “place” where I feel, or at imagine, I am loved and supported no matter my beauty or frailty. A space I can touch into to ask for help with a decision, healing for a broken heart, to let go of something or attract something that is for my highest good.

And, when I am in this space, it calls me to be fully be present in the moment, to feel my feelings, to listen to my heart or listen for an answer. Say, perhaps, I want to release something, I may choose to burn a piece of paper with writing or drawing on it. As I am in this quiet space, fully present, watching this paper burn to ashes, I can almost feel a transformation being activated inside of within, so without; as without, so within. And, as I am listening, I may not “hear” anything right away, so I might carry the intention of my ritual with me as I move back into the routine of my life, knowing....trusting that I will receive, or learn, as I continue to listen.

Being in Nature is also a supportive environment to reach into the unknown, and may even inspire a more spontaneous sort of ritual. One day, while overwhelmed with grief, I found myself walking among those little helicopter things that fall from trees. I began picking them up until I had a handful. To this handful I attached all the sadness, anger, frustration about all the things that weren’t going my way, and, with the intention of releasing it all to winds of spirit, I threw them up in the air to fall where they may. That moment of release was so freeing, exhilarating, empowering.....transformative. Later, my brother informed me that those little helicopter things are called samaras.....and the Samara Ceremony was born! Now, even if I don’t have the samaras from the trees, I make my own by tearing paper into tiny pieces. It is the act of releasing, rather than the material released, which holds the power of the intention.

Perhaps, if you don’t already, you might want to weave this RITUAL practice into your spiritual tapestry. Just follow your heart; follow your impulses; pay attention to your intentions. There is no way to do it wrong and EWTDIR—Every Way To Do It Right!

Touching Butterflies

Wednesday afternoon I drove to get Michaela...a friend agreed to pick her up from school and she tagged along to a girl scout meeting. My mind was not on traffic or work or all the things I needed to do. The weather was beautiful, the breeze cool, white puffy clouds filled the sky...and I was in the afterglow of a lovely afternoon with my sweetheart. This is the exquisite part of being in the physical.

I arrived at the playground, shaded by trees...the sun was getting lower and it was that time of day when the light and the shadows are most beautiful, almost other-worldly. As I came into the courtyard I saw Michaela chasing after a young toddler and a couple of other children running around. I breathed in this magical setting and after the usual greetings I noticed a young boy by the bushes, mesmerized by all the butterflies. He gasped as his fingers brushed against a wing. Still floating in the essence of my lover’s touch, I walked over and stretched out my hand as another butterfly flew just beyond my reach as they danced on the air above us. I bent down to smell the blossoms that Linden pointed out. My senses were full in these sweetest of moments.

I met the troop leader, the mother of the young boy and the baby girl playing with Michaela. She reached to greet me with hands still covered in paint from the project they had been working on...and we laughed when I said mine often look the same.

This very woman would awaken the next morning to find her baby daughter lying motionless, having thrown up during the night and asphyxiated on her own vomit. When I learned of this later in the day, I tried impossibly to imagine the unspeakable grief and shock this woman must be enduring now. I, however, am left with the hauntingly beautiful and surreal image of her son touching butterflies only hours before.

A friend says I was in the numenosity...the time when the veil between the physical world and the spirit world is most thin; the time when the ego self steps aside and the soul self moves forward to absorb life; the time when there is no time, when everything else falls away and these moments are somehow suspended, held in slow motion and encapsulated in a magic and mysterious bubble.

It had to be palpable in the air, this great soul preparing to leave this tiny body, as if the angels and guides were sweeping ever closer to her, preparing to usher her from one world to another. Perhaps the butterflies were a gift to this young help soften the senses in preparation for the harsh event yet to follow.

As his fingers had touched the wing, so too did the bubble surrounding me touch briefly into the bubble surrounding her, and for a moment a veil was pierced and there was a magic, but I knew not why.

But now, for the mother, for the family, there is the unimaginable loss...despair...darkness. Only Time and GodSource can possibly reveal a greater meaning in this otherwise senseless tragedy. Only the Great Mother will be able to soothe this raw wound...her everpresent and undying Love like a salve for our earthbound souls.

As we go through the mysteries of Life and Death, Beginnings and Endings, it is Butterfly, the great teacher of transformation, who shows us that we are, in any given moment, the caterpillar....the jelly mass inside the cocoon....even the cocoon well as the beautiful winged creature.

Now it is time for the mother of this child to be wrapped in the longer the caterpillar, yet not ready to emerge from the darkness of the void. She is an undulating, formless mass deep in the process of her own creation. And when Time is right, and she has reached the Perfect moment of completion, it is Butterfly who will lift her up. For then she is the butterfly, dancing on the air, and through her new eyes she will see the gift of her daughter’s life, like ripples on the water from a stone’s toss...circling into infinity.

              For now she too has transformed, like her daughter before her....

                              and she will know how the world was

                                                                     touched by a butterfly.