Shaken to the Core



Today is the first day of the new year, 2013.

It is the Year of the Rising of the Feminine principle – a rising that is occurring in us all, in both women and men.

These past few weeks have been intense days of transformation.

On the Solstice, this past 21st of December, Terry Tempest Williams wrote,

“Today is the last day of the world”, so say the Mayans. I believe them. The world as we know it is ending. What has been peripheral will become central. What has been tolerable will be intolerable. And our own gifts held close, must now be freely given. May we meet the future’s penetrating gaze with honesty, courage, and a redefinition of love.”

These past few weeks have brought us events that I would say have focused the future’s penetrating gaze quite piercingly.


Shaken to the core

We’ve all been shaken to the core by the deaths of the children and their teachers in Newtown, and the death of the young woman from Delhi, so violently gang-raped. These are not singular occurrences. Intensely tragic, senseless, painful violence such as this continues to happen all over the world.

At the same time, it’s as if a part of us refuses to really look at what is happening. It can be painful to take in the details. It can feel like it will weaken us to sit down with each other, to listen, to open our hearts. It can make us feel as if we are weak, and that to ignore this makes us strong.

Right now, Canada’s Prime Minister Harper is unwilling to sit down with Chief Pence as she continues on her hunger strike. She is asking to be heard, to be listened to, and for her people and their treaties to be honored and respected. And right here in my own country, in the US, so many citizens are coming to feel that the only thing that gets our leaders’ attention is money and power.

Have these things and these ways been with us for a long time? Yes. Have they grown more intense? Seems so. Is the future’s gaze growing more penetrating? Resoundingly, Yes!

Are we paying attention? Are we listening? Are we looking? Are we stopping to feel, to really feel the depth of the grief and suffering that our actions as a species have caused?

We are witnessing the effects of our lives lived through the patriarchy, through cultural and societal institutions and structures that have hardened hearts, taught lessons of separation and domination, supported greed, and fostered fear and fundamentalism.


No longer tolerable

For whatever reason, and there are many, we’ve not only tolerated this, as a people we’ve continued to uphold it…until now.

Now, a way of future life is being shown to us and it is not pretty.

And, now, we are at a juncture. Something has shifted. Planets have aligned. Hearts have been opened. Perhaps, blinders have been removed. I know mine have.

We can face what we are seeing with fear, by arming ourselves, literally, or we can face it with, honesty, courage and love. 

We can sit down with those that are asking to be heard, those with wisdom, those who might have something wise to offer. We can realize there are many people suffering, people who perhaps have no way to cope with their loneliness, or people who’ve been so conditioned out of their capacity to feel that they don’t know what to do with the intensity of this world we now find ourselves in.


Redefinition of Love

Tempest Williams words ‘redefinition of love’ are crucial.

Love as we have known it has been fashioned by way of romanticisim. This love isn’t real love. It’s taken me a long, long time to discover this for myself. Love isn’t niceness and sweetness. Love isn’t trading something so that in exchange we will have safety and security.

What is love, truly?

What does true love do in the face of Newtown?

How does true love hold what happened in Delhi?

How might true love respond to the wars being waged?

How do we come to know this redefinition of love?


Jeff Foster recently shared,

“Waking up means clearly seeing beyond belief
It means fearlessly meeting life without protection
It means sinking into the deep acceptance inherent in the moment
It means letting go of all ideas of ourselves
Including the idea that we are ‘finished’ in some way.

We are never finished
and we are only ever Now.
This is the great knife edge of awakening.

It is easy to fall. I fell many times myself. I have seen many others fall. And I see them falling now.

There is great humility in realising
that we never knew a damn thing.

And that awakening was never about “me”.


Meeting life without protection

Some would say this is unwise. Some are advocating for more protection, more supposed security, more rigidity. And, what will this bring us? If I am the last one standing, have I won anything? What will I have saved myself from?

We are here. Somehow, we have gotten to this point. To know love, to redefine it, means none of this is about the ‘me’, the fearful part of each of us that fears connection, that feels separate, that wants to control to manage this fear. The ‘me’ wants the promise of safety, security, a promise that no amount of fire power or political maneuvering can ever bring.

We are all deeply, deeply hurt – more than we seem to understand – by what is happening in our world. I feel we now know just how intolerable what used to seem tolerable has become. The pain of what we are witnessing has become far greater than the pain of denial.

There is something greater than each of us alone. There is a deeper intelligence that runs through life itself. When we are afraid, when we are trying to figure it all out, we can’t hear this intelligence, we can’t feel it move us. But, when we stop to listen, when we sink ‘into the deep acceptance inherent in this moment’, love is here, love that is this intelligence.


Giving our Gifts

It is time to giving our gifts alongside our sisters and brothers. We do not have to, nor can we, do this alone. Many movements are springing up in response to these latest tragedies. People are coming together. And, whenever two or more are gathered…there is love.

Tempest Williams offers that ‘And our own gifts held close, must now be freely given.’

And my friend, Filiz Telek from Brave New World, writes,

“I invite you to consider this: Whether we give or hold back our gifts unconditionally now is a matter of life or death for future generations. If it resonates, dig deeper. Begin today.”

For this is life was never about the ‘me’. It is about life. It is not my life, or your life, it is life.

This is the feminine in real life. This is the feminine principle waking up in us all, men and women.


And for you, dear woman,


Your femaleness is a gift in itself, and loving it is a radical act.

Loving yourself as a woman, loving your femaleness is vital.

Let yourself be shaken to the core. Let your heart break open. Let life in. Take yourself into life.

We are stronger than we think. Our hearts long to feel, to give, to serve. Our bodies know how to heal.

We must do this so that we reclaim love, so that we come to know the healing powers of the female body, so that we once again become lovers of life, givers of our gifts, a species that walks the earth with gratitude and wisdom. We must do this for all the world’s children.



Everything’s Full of Life

Everything's full of life!

“For within living structures defined by profit, by linear power, by institutional dehumanization, our feelings were not meant to survive. Kept around as unavoidable adjuncts or pleasant pastimes, our feelings were expected to kneel to thought as women were expected to kneel to men. But women have survived. As poets.” ~Audre Lorde

Yes, we have survived.

We are poets in this linear culture of reason and rationality.

Poets of feeling.

Poets of beauty.

Poets that long to nurture and nourish life.

We feel deeply.

But, what if our feelings no longer kneeled to thought?

What if the feminine in all of us, in women and in men, no longer kneeled to the masculine but danced in right relationship with it.

What if we didn’t hide our feelings, and instead realized the gift they are?

What if we allowed our own hearts to break open, to feel deeply what is here right now?

Would we finally wake up enough to feel what we have done to the Earth? to the animals? to the world’s children? to each other?

Would we begin to let in the stark possibility that the world we leave to our grandchildren will be far from what we have known?

Would we reawaken to the sacredness of life?

Would we finally feel the grief that is so close at hand?

Photo by by Arianna_M(busy)  on Flickr AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved


Holy Is All There Is


Buttering the Sky

On my shoes,
Boiling water,

Toasting bread,

Buttering the sky:
That should be enough contact
With God in one day
To make anyone



This morning, a foggy easy Sunday morning here in the city, Rachelle Mee-Chapman asked this question of her friends:

What feels like prayer to you today?

Such a rich and provocative question…

On Sundays…

While prayer is for each day and every day, today is Sunday.

On Sundays, dance is my usual form of prayer, the dance floor my church. There is no dance on Labor Day Sunday, though, as the big Sausalito art fair takes over the town.

So, today I write. The empty page is also my church, and writing another form of prayer.

Today, I sit in this warm and inviting cafe writing, and I consider her question.


I listen to voices sprinkling words through the air, trying to communicate as best they can what wants to be said.

I hear laughter.

I hear English and French.

I hear people who are hungry and thirsty, ordering nourishment for their bodies.

I hear people hungry and thirsty for more than food, perhaps communicating with each other to feed more than their bodies…to feed their souls.


I’ve been noticing, just this week, how much I ‘think’ my life.

When I think my life, my body feels tight, constricted and stressed.

When I ‘think’ my life, I push and strive.

When I ‘think’ my life, it is just me by myself trying to carry the heavy load that I learned to carry. The load is indicative of something I have to do, somewhere I have to get, someone I have to be. It’s all some kind of illusion my mind keeps creating.

Life as Prayer

Rachelle’s question and Hafiz’s words bring me back to reality, the reality of Life simply unfolding…Life as Prayer.

I posted Rachelle’s question on my Facebook page, and Emily Silbert answered with this:

Today it was the mundane act of grocery shopping and stopping the automatic list-driven purchasing to get myself an orchid. i stopped and looked into it and it was holy, i was holy, the whole grocery store was holy.

Holy is right here, right now.

What if holy is all there is?


Alive and Awake: part two



How could I know that what Gail Larsen shared would change me so profoundly?

She said to speak from the body; that the body remembers everything that ever happened to you; that it knows every detail of your stories. When you speak from the body, what wants to be said will be said. She said,

“The body has all the details. Just move and you’ll know them.”

Standing in front of the group on the first night of the retreat, I let her words sink in.

The body remembers. Everything.

There was a subtle sinking down in. The mind relaxed just a bit, realizing that something else knew ‘how’ to do this, how to speak truth, experience, and wisdom in the moment.

I began to tell a story from my life. I could feel the words coming up from the body, as if they were ripe for the picking. The body was ready, willing and able. The words wanted to be said. That’s the best way I can describe it.

As I relaxed into the process of speaking in this way, the story flowed. Laughter came, tears trickled down, meaning arose, and synchronicity happened. The story happened in two parts, seven years apart. But in the telling of it, these separate instances, and the third instance of now (the moment of telling) merged together into one fluid river of experience. As I spoke of time being a fluid river running together, time showed us, in the room there in Santa Fe, that there is no time, there is only now, a fluid coming and going of experience.

Beginning at the beginning

On a Friday afternoon, I landed in Albuquerque, and headed up to Santa Fe by shuttle. I’d never been to New Mexico. I was there to attend Gail Larsen’s Transformational Speaking Immersion, along with five other women brought together by Danielle LaPorte. I knew this was going to be a powerful time, a time of transformation, but I couldn’t even begin to imagine just how much I would change from my time in Santa Fe.

When I received the invitation from Danielle, I didn’t hesitate one moment. I had already read about Gail, and had known I would work with her at some point. From what I knew of Danielle, I knew the five other people she would bring together would be those who are interested in truth-telling – my kind of people. And, I wasn’t wrong.

In anticipation of the time in Santa Fe, I thought a great deal about what I wanted to come away with. I’ve had a vision for some time of speaking in front of large audiences about women and their worth, about the sacred feminine and how women are the embodiment of this sacred presence. I knew I wanted to learn how to speak in the moment.

Santa Fe

Santa Fe
Santa Fe

This day in mid-January was cold with a bright blue sky and clear air. I settled into my room, and then went down to check out the lodge. I decided to get a workout in before dinner. I know that deep inner-work needs a healthy dose of body movement. I would make sure, over these four days, that I moved my body a lot, through dance, yoga and walking.

Over the four days together, Gail would lead us deep into speaking from the body. In a beautiful and supportive container, we learned so much about what we’re here to say, what our ‘original medicine’ is (that which others experience from being with us), and the structure from which to create any talk that will captivate and hold an audience.  Gail’s work brings you to the intersection of “your authentic self and life experience – where your power as a speaker emerges.”

The first time I stood in front of the group to speak, what had been high-flying nerves became a smooth, deep source of power. I can’t begin to explain how that happened, other than I trusted my body to know what wanted to be said. Yes, it was that simple. It’s not as if there were no nerves. I was still a bit nervous, but I stood in front of the group and listened deeply to what was right there inside me, right there all around me, right there wanting to be said.

In my experience, speaking this way is about telling the stories out of which wisdom naturally arises. The body remembers the story and the story offers up the wisdom. And that is what I experienced.

This is exciting. To have experienced this, means I now embody it. Any time I speak, or write, or share in front of a group of people, I now know, deep in the bones, that everything will emerge from the truth the body holds; and, even more important is the truth of what I experienced. In the moment, in any moment, all of what is needed is already here; and, it is found by way of the body. The body holds our instincts, our intuition, our power and our wisdom. The body is the vessel through which the soul expresses.

Sharing Here What I Shared, There

So, I’ll share that first story with you here, just as I shared it in Santa Fe.

On a warm day in 1991, my husband, my daughters and I, arrived on the Stanford University campus. We were there to help my older daughter move into her freshman dorm. All of seventeen, she was arriving at Stanford to begin her studies.

As we walked across the campus, we happened to pass by the clock tower as it was striking on the hour. We stopped to listen, and in that moment I felt an overwhelming urge to be a student there, at Stanford. Now, at this time, I was 34. I had my daughter at 17, and had consciously chosen to not go to college while my children were young, so that I could be there completely for them, and so I could enjoy my years of motherhood.

Once they were a bit older, I had started courses at the local Jr. College, taking one class a semester at night. I’d been doing this on and off for four years at this point, and I knew I would eventually transfer to a four-year college. But of course, the dream to attend a prestigious university such as Stanford was just that … a dream.

So here we were, the four of us, standing at the clock tower listening to it chime. I spoke my urge aloud to my husband, Gary. “Honey, what I would give to be a student here, someday.” And his reply? “Then, I bet you will be. Just trust that it can happen.” I responded to his positive image, with a somewhat more futile one, “As if that could happen. I’m 34. There’s no way.”

As the clock finished its announcement, we began to walk on, arriving a few moments later at her dorm. We dropped her off to begin her college life, and left for home.

Seven Years Later

I’m walking across the Stanford campus, alone. No longer do my husband and daughters surround me. Gary died, suddenly, three years before, my older daughter has graduated and is in graduate school, my younger daughter is away at school on the East Coast.

As I walk, I hear a clock chiming. I look up and there it is: the same clock tower chiming the same bells. I’m stunned into silence. You see, I’m there to attend new student orientation as a non-traditional transfer student.

Suddenly, time conflates and I am both here and there: here as a student, back there as a mother. In this moment, there is no time. It all meshes into one fluid river, punctuated by the striking of the clock.

Back to Santa Fe

Here, in the same fluid river, I’m standing in front of these beautiful women in a small, sacred container in Santa Fe. As I reach this part of my story where time conflates, just yards away from where I stand, the clock tower in the historic chapel on the grounds of The Bishop’s Lodge begins to strike the hour…with bells.

There is a palpable sense of presence that takes my breath away. In this moment, there is no moment. There is simply the fluid all flowing together. I’m stunned into understanding.

The body is the portal to all experience. From within the body, we have access to the totality of life.

The body breathes.

The body knows.

The body awaits.


And, you?

I’d love to know your experiences of the body, of its wisdom, and of how it speaks to you and through you. If you feel called to, please share here in the comments.


This is part two of a three-part series on embodiment. You can read part one, here. I look forward to sharing the last part with you.


A True Dignity


“You cannot oppress a person, when there is a feeling that in them they are in touch with something that is sacred. You can’t oppress them at the soul level.” Jean Bolen



We live in a society that oppresses everything feminine – feminine values, ways of being, expressions and more. The corollary, more often unspoken than spoken, is that this society, and every patriarchal society, oppresses women. While the severity of this oppression varies by race, society, culture, country, religion, at the core of patriarchy is the oppression of women.

We may want to deny this. After all, our fathers, brothers, and sons are men. And, patriarchy teaches us, as women, that it is our duty to make sure the men in our lives feel good about themselves, that it is our role to do that.

Why do women fight patriarchy? Because, they have the most to gain from its demise. Why do so many men turn a blind eye to it? Because they believe they have the most to lose.

protecting new life ssm

Why do we all avoid, on some level, engaging fully in seeing through this dream? Because it hurts to see the way we’ve been conditioned to treat each other, and to treat ourselves. Because we fear what might happen if this all changes. Because we must grow up, emotionally, to step into our power as sacred beings. And, a myriad of other reasons.

But, men aren’t patriarchy, just as women aren’t the images that patriarchy makes us out to be. Patriarchy is the structure woven into the institutions of this society.

We all, both men and women, to some varying degree, hold this structure up, whether we are aware of it or not. It is woven so deeply, none of us see the full extent of our compliance or complicity, unless we truly awaken out of the dream that is the world of patriarchy.

Men benefit the most from the privileges automatically bestowed at birth in a society that is based on patriarchy. But, even those that are privileged in patriarchy, are suffering, because this is not our natural, sacred way of living.

It is painful to be oppressed. It is painful to oppress. We are all losing in this dream. We know this, and we deny it.

And, we all, men and women, must be part of the solution. The solution is awakening. Awakening to this sacred nature within. A nature that knows the beauty and goodness in all beings.

Something is awakening. Something sacred, something vital, something that knows truth. We are awakening. We are waking up from this dream of patriarchy, from this dream of separation and control, from this dream of fear, domination and oppression.

As Jean Bolen so eloquently points out, when the soul wakes up to that which is sacred within, it can no longer be oppressed. While the body may be abused, the psyche verbally and emotionally assaulted, the soul, when aware and aware of its divine nature, can not be oppressed.


And you, beautiful woman. The sacred feminine is alive and breathing right inside your body. As a woman, you have the ability to bring life into life, whether it is babies or any of the other myriad ways you can create new life. Your creativity, sensuality and sexuality are intricately woven together in a way that allows you to nurture and love all of life, without losing yourself. This same rich tapestry is also the source of a fiery life-affirming force, a Kali energy that surfaces as you express the fullness of what you are.

When you come to know the divine feminine you, a true dignity arises from within. You accept the humbleness of your own soul and the opportunity to serve all of life.

You have a part to play in this divine dance of life that is yours and only yours. Your sacred feminine creativity and open heart are needed in our world today.

It is time for us as women to remember our innate power, and to no longer trade it for the false securities of our cultural conditioning.

It is time for us to realize that what we are as women is wholly different than men- this difference serves the natural expression of the masculine rather than competing with it.

When we bring together our innate love for the sacred and our deepest desires to see love made manifest in the world, we become a powerful creative force in service to something greater than ourselves.


The good news is that you are already this sacred being. You don’t have to do anything to learn it, to become it, to get the hang of it. The only thing standing between you and your knowing of your divine nature is the revealing of you to you.

Are you ready to reveal you to you, to look within to the beauty that is you?


This breathtaking image is “Protecting New Life”, by Shiloh Sophia McCloud, an incredible artist with a divine brush.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin