When you receive what is here, you receive the Sacred.





Inner & Outer

I came across this beautiful image today (thank you Writing Our Way Home). It speaks to me of how it feels to be a human being filled with the light of the sacred. Perhaps the image of the sacred feminine speaks to me more than if it was a masculine representation. And, the fact it is feminine is fitting, for this image speaks to the immanence of the sacred nature of life.

Our inner and outer worlds are continually reflecting upon each other. For me, sometimes I see the beauty out there, sometimes I see it within, sometimes I don’t see it in either place, and sometimes it is everywhere, in everything.

We are human beings, completely fallible and physically imperfect. As we age, the body rusts, peels and detiriorates. Yet, within and without the cells that have come together to be the human we know ourselves to be, for however long we are alive, is a sacred light. While this image is decidedly judeo-christian, our light is of no religion, no culture, no race, no gender. It is undefined, unconditioned, un-everything we continually try to slap onto it so we can ‘know’ it.

Most-Human Moments

I have found that it is in my most human moments – those moments when those qualities I hate in myself, the ones that I least want to own, the ones that are hardest to admit to, can’t be denied – that the sacred is both infinitely far away and infinitely close at hand. It depends on how open I am to accepting what is true about that moment, about who I am, what I am, and how willing I am to fully and openly receive what is here.

When I feel the sacred to be far away, I know I am not allowing myself to be with what is true. Just as I push the truth away, I push the sacred away. If I receive the truth, I receive the sacred. They are the same – the truth and the sacred. To be with one is to be with the other. This isn’t the truth in any political, religious, cultural way – it is what is here. It is the truth of what I am experiencing in its totality, it is the truth of what is right here, right now. We know this truth when we are not denying anything – not necessarily an easy thing to do.

When I see this aging body as it is, when I accept my fallibility, when I am courageous enough to share the wisdom I’ve come to know and how I am being called to serve the sacred (again, not easy things to let go of) the pushing, grasping, and trying fall away and all I am left with is what is here. And, it’s a glorious ‘all’ to be left with. It is all that is. The rest, the pushing, grasping and trying were just the way I’ve learned to obscure my humanness – and I’ve poignantly come to see it is how I learned to obscure the divine.

A month or so ago,

I was in a retreat. We were doing a partner exercise. We were sitting in meditation across from our partner, and then we opened our eyes and were just with each other. I underline just, because this can be one of the hardest things to do…to just be with each other. As we sat, I noticed I was hiding the deeper parts of me. I could see it. And so, with a desire to really go into the painful places, I revealed another layer. Tears came to my eyes. Her expression did not change. Yet, when we finished and we shared what we had experienced in each other, my partner revealed that she distinctly noticed when I chose to reveal, that what first had been a pleasant and fairly deep experience of me, became richer and more human. She experienced my revealing this deeper layer in a way that wasn’t about qualities of me, but instead simply a deeper and richer experience of what I was revealing. It was more human, she said, especially when she noticed my tears.

Just this morning,

I was dressing. I stood naked in front of my mirror. Thoughts crossed my mind about finding a new life partner. Will someone find me desirable? Do I find myself desirable? Is there real beauty here? I take in my image. Gray roots. Wrinkles. A dancer’s body that is both aging and muscular. When I allow myself to see it all, I soften and notice space.

Then, I sit down to write. I’m writing a book. There are moments of clarity, then moments of fogginess. Again, questions run through my mind. Will anyone find value in these word? What door am I not willing to open? What matters here? Why would anyone care? And I found myself wondering how I can really answer these questions, not as a way to avoid but a way to go deeper into the truth. Perhaps there is nothing here in these words. Just maybe there is nothing. Then, I notice when I accept these things, I once again soften and notice space.

I want to share the truth. There is less resistance than there used to be, and there is still some. Sometimes that ‘rust’ is so hard to acknowledge and own – even to oneself. This is what is true right now. This is sacred, too. Even the hiding of the truth, if we can just be with it, can bring more compassion to ourselves. It can be a bypass, and it can be an opening.

Female Embodiment

As women, we live our spirituality through our bodies, through opening to the sacred nature of our bodies. All experience in these bodies is sacred. All of it.

Every way you might describe the sacredness of divinity can be used to describe the sacredness of your female body.

There is no separation between the wrinkling, aging skin of your body and the light-filled, hands-open Love that knows itself through touch on that very same skin.

This Love experiences the aliveness inherent in what It is through the exquisiteness of life itself – the full depth and breadth of life, the full spectrum of you and your experience.

A Practice:

Take a moment to notice how this image reflects you – the ‘you’ you believe yourself to be and the ‘you’ you long to know. Yes, this image is religious, and yes, there is a way to take in the sacredness of the image while letting go of its religiosity. Notice how you can be aware of both. Then, just be with it all – honestly and openly. Push nothing away. Pull nothing toward you. Just receive it all.


Image: ‘Judeo-Christian glimpse in Cimetière du Père-Lachaise’ by John Althouse Cohen,
AttributionNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved (CC BY-ND 3.0)


Lovers of This Place


“I walk in the world to love it.” ~ Mary Oliver, the fantabulous poet.

I received this quote recently and fell in love all over again with the world I live in.

spiral.jpgThe next morning, a sunny spring Sunday morning, I decided to take a walk in Tilden Park. It’s right across the street from our house, so I simply have to step outside and I am there. I took my new camera with me, my new/used D200 that I bought from my good friend Jenn Lee‘s husband, Bring Ng (an amazing photographer if you are in the market for one). This was my first jaunt into Tilden with my camera and I could feel my excitement.

I hiked up into our favorite path, a loop that goes up towards Inspiration Point, and then back down hill until it reaches the creek and meanders along the water for some distance. As I hiked, I kept hearing this quote from Mary Oliver over and over in my head. “I walk in the world to love it.” As I walked, I could feel myself settle into the surrounding landscape, dropping down into the deep peace that was waiting there for me.

fuzzy.jpgIt was early in the morning, about 8:00, so there were still many pockets of cold air, especially in the shadiest spots, while just around the corner the sun would be blazing and a balmy breeze would blow across my face. In those balmy breezes, I could smell the fragrance of each mini-world I came across.

The sun was coming through the landscape, lighting up nooks and crannies I had never noticed before. I could feel a kinship with the world I was immersed in, feeling a kind of deep peaceful love that comes over me when I hike.

As I hiked up to the top of the trail, I came to my favorite spot, a bench that looks out over the tiny valley and out across to Mt. Tamalpais in Marin. My partner Jeff and I love to sit here in silence, enjoying everything that presents itself to us. The bench is dedicated to David and Irene McPhail. I remember to thank them for this place to sit and appreciate the surrounding beauty.

As I approached the bench this time, loversofthisplace_01.jpgI noticed once again the plaque on the back. How perfect. On the plaque was the statement, “Lovers of this Place.” I didn’t miss the serendipitous tie-in with the quote from Mary Oliver, “I walk in the world to love it.”

So I sat down in silence and drank in the beauty of everything presenting itself to me in this rich moment. I wondered what it means to be a lover of this place, this world we live in. What does it mean to love the world, to be a lover of this place we call life and earth and community?

What is it to be fully sensuous, to rest in one’s awareness of everything presenting itself to be experienced? How difficult it can sometimes be to not push certain experiences away, while grabbing a hold of other better ones.

To be a lover of this place means to have a loving relationship with all of life, not making demands on the moment if it isn’t what pleases you. It doesn’t mean simply letting the injustices prevail, but rather loving the world open-heartedly so that you allow it to come to you, allow it to unfold before your eyes, ears and heart. It it then that we can be truly responsive and responsible to the world, to each other and to ourselves.

What does it mean to you to be a Lover of this Place?


The value of wisdom


Wisdom within

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” ~Einstein

Over the last few weeks, I have been struck by the way in which our culture looks at knowledge versus wisdom. It seems to be that many in our culture value knowledge over wisdom. By wisdom, I mean the understanding that comes from life experiences and how we grow and change by what we experience. Wisdom comes as we respond to the world and our experiences in it. Reflection on these experiences, as well, can deepen our sense of who we are and the vehicle for change we wish to be.

As we shift out of the patriarchal culture and into something new (what seems to be a more masculine/feminine balanced worldview), the way in which we hold wisdom is shifting, too. Valuing our life experience, and the wisdom that comes from it, is another way in which living an important question can enhance discovery of what is true on a personal level.

Maria Shriver penned an article for Newsweek last Fall. I just came across it recently and found it to be insightful with regard to “What it means to be Female?”. In the article Maria states,

“I now have a new definition of power. It’s passing on what we have learned and creating meaningful change through these experiences. That’s the kind of power that truly matters.”

As a woman, how do you value your wisdom? What wisdom have you gained from the life you have lived? Do you share it with others? How does this wisdom empower you? What kind of meaningful change might you create through the experiences you have had and the wisdom you have gleaned?

Share your responses here. I look forward to reading them!


The Mandala: the circle holding all


Time spent with other women is such magical time. As I dive deeper into my experience of being female and explore my own feminine depths, I find this time with women so enriching, so fertile and so reflective of my own true nature, and the nature of the feminine.



I looked forward to my time today with a group we have named Creative Playground. My wonderful friend, and fellow coach, Jennifer Lee brought us all together a few months ago, sensing that magic might occur with us all in one room. Magic did, and continues to, happen.

The thread that runs through our group is one of delight in making art and exploring our creativity. Today we spent the afternoon at Laura’s house, where she introduced us to mandalas. While I use mandala creation in the courses I teach, Laura brought an entirely new way of looking at them by introducing us to them through a wonderful visualization. She taught us that the center of the mandala is the Bindu, the centerpoint of all of creation. In the visualization, we turned inward to experience our own center and all that it holds.

As I visualized, I sensed a pulsing energy, as if all of my life force radiated out from one center point deep in my hara, near the sacrum…the very center of my body. I could see an image emerge, one of a powerful cell that holds all of creation. As I explore the Sacred Feminine and my own experience of being female, I find myself continually brought back to the experience of bringing life forth and giving birth. Even though my own daughters are grown, I sense my connection to the Earth through something mysterious, that essence that is inherent in all women, that allows us to nurture life and bring it to term.

We then dove into creating our first mandala, and the result is the mandala above, titled ‘Creation’. I started with the outer layers, which felt like the lining of the womb as I drew them. Then, I created the center and followed it with the concentric circles radiating outward. Bringing more awareness to my own center core allowed me to put what I experienced out onto the paper. It was another way to sense into who and what I am.

Lucas’ Choice

The Earth held by Flowering Hands.

My next mandala was much more free form. I began with the leaves at the edge, and then moved in to the flowers. After we completed our work, I traveled to babysit my grandson Lucas for a bit, and Lucas decided he wanted this one for his art collection in his room. Standing back from it and looking at it one more time, I realized it looks like the Earth being held by loving, living flowering hands. It is an image that makes me smile.

Mandalas are an ancient form from the Hindu religion. The word mandala is Sanskrit and loosely translated means “circle”. But it is much more than simply the circle shape. It symbolizes wholeness and the infinite nature of life. The Bindu is the ‘infinite point’ within which everything is contained.

Gather a group of women together and enter into your own mandala mystery. Focus on your body, and on your interior experience. Allow your experience to guide your creation. Once created, you can then take a fresh look at your mandala and see within it an entirely new view into who and what you are. It is a representation of all that you are, and all that is.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin