June 29, 2007

My buddha nature...or not.

This friend of mine had this great Buddha story: the Buddha is walking along with a friend and encounters a scorpion stuck in the crevice of a tree. As he reached in to free the scorpion, he is stung, just before the little critter scurries away. His companion asked, disbelieving, "why did you stick your own hand in to free the scorpion?" The Buddha replied, "I can change my nature no more than the scorpion can change his."

For awhile now, I've gone back to this story when I've reached out compassionately to "scorpions" and occasionally got stung. And I've pushed myself to keep true to my own better nature, sometimes regardless of the impending sting.

But now I have some questions for the Buddha: would he keep rescuing the same scorpion over and over if it kept wandering willy-nilly into harm's way? And if the sting was lethal? Or if the scorpion went on to sting others close by, particulary loved ones? Does there come a point when it is fruitless to keep rescuing this scorpion? Or is the Buddha's nature that one-sided, that it truly is his only option to stick his hand in to be stung over and over?

If that's the case, I'm happy to say I'm not a Buddhist. I might be slow to try new tactics, always striving to deliberately choose love and kindness, but if that's no longer working and the same problems keep arising, I think there comes a time to try something different. Because some scorpions are not just scorpions. And sometimes, it's probably best to let them get out of their own mess.

Jesus was quick to point out that you shouldn't waste your precious energy on people who aren't receptive. "If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town." Sometimes, what we have to give is too precious to waste on scorpions.

June 27, 2007


The past few weeks have brought confrontations and tricky-to-navigate situations with some key people in my life. I always end up triggered on so many levels. But this time, perhaps because I've walked these winding roads for so long now, I recognize and see these processes for what they are. I'm stopping myself in my own tracks and getting my bearings a lot quicker than I used to be able to. I'm no longer blindsided -- and really, how could I be -- when the patterns have repeated for a lifetime. Whether its just time that brings this clarity or something else, I'm not certain.
But I've felt a major shift. I'm changing in big ways. I'm not the same person I was even 4 months ago. I am healing.
This morning my eyes welled with tears for a brief moment (uh, hello Spirit) when someone's loving words hit me like a ton of bricks, forcing me to drop my self-depricating words in the dust and let them whither forever from my soul. And the moment they slipped from my tounge unsaid, I felt 10,000 pounds lighter. I felt loved -- by myself, for the first time in ages.
Today I claim all the love that is mine, and as I feel it fill my soul, heal my heart, I pour it out again on those who have loved me unconditionally. There are no words to express my graditude and my love for you.
A Sr. at my church once said that she had observed that most people don't really believe that God loves them. Really truly in their heart and soul, they feel abandoned. Thank you for pointing me back to the source of all love -- which flows abundantly through the universe for us all. We are all so very loved.

June 21, 2007


Today marks the Summer Solstice, the longest period of daylight during the year. It's definitely Summer. Here in Chicago, it's been pretty blazing hot, and thankfully, I got my air conditioners in just in time. (Thanks, T!) There's a ton going on this weekend: first, on Saturday, a dream come true. I'll be attending the Crosstown Classic where I'll (hopefully) witness the Sox get their collective asses kicked by my beloved Cubbies. I've got a good wager going on this game that involves public humiliation and body massages. Who could ask for more?
On Sunday I'll be at the Chicago Pride parade. This year I'll be with a much larger crowd than I usually attend with, which will be a blast. I think it's impossible to come to a Pride event and be anything but happy and in a partying mood -- but we shall see. I'm certainly not gonna let anyone cramp my style on that day!
The Solstice seems like a good time to reflect on the last year, the many changes and transformations, what has brought growth to my life, as well as a good time to tap into the creative energy that is abundant at this time of year. Whether that be a new project, basking in the sunlight, transforming a relationship, or simply putting out some positive thoughts to manifest at another time, you can't go wrong by tapping into Solstice energy.

June 08, 2007


I've been thinking a lot the past few days about how we choose to define ourselves -- both positively and negatively, as well as how other's define us. On the positive end, what is a source of pride or self-confidence for us? On the negative end, what limits us or constrictively labels us? I think that fighting such limitations has been one of ways in which I've defined myself (how's that for a paradox!) Such is true for most activists. Activists are defined by the fight, and are motivated by a variety of emotions and values. I've struggled to keep my motivations based in love, rather than anger -- which isn't always easy given the state of our political lansdscape and general state of things.
But what I'm more interested in today is how we choose to let others define us -- and how that limits us. There are many labels that one might apply to me: mother, lesbian, catholic, artist, lefty. At one time I was also: wife, straight, and pagan. Clearly, there's been some big changes on that front. But to what extent was the labeling itself something that had to be overcome? And to what degree do we acquiesce to other's expectations, thus allowing them to define us? And seeing how the lines are not always clear when change happens in life -- at what point in the process to we confront the need of other's to label or define us? This seems like a particularly challenging thing when we are defined in negative terms. When other's labels no longer serve us, how do we go about in getting other's to accept the changes we are making, or at least respect the new choices we've made? And if we continue to choose to allow others to label us, then hadn't we just better get used to living up to those labels, in lieu of living a more authentic life? The choice is yours, and mine....

June 07, 2007


I've had something that I can only describe as a choking sadness these last few days. A heaviness in my chest that is only relieved by silent tears escaping — until I choke them back again.
The seven month anniversary of the passing of my dear Delle just passed, and I wonder if that is what has sent me reeling. I know that on the 2nd, I sat again and listened to The Deer's Cry and that is when the tears began. I've been off-balance for days, in an almost constant state of near-tears. Perhaps I am more spiritually depleated than I've let on. Perhaps my tank is really near empty, and my guages have just been off.
And I can hear Delle's voice, quoting her grandmother and telling me, "Tears are the hallmark of the Holy Spirit," and I believe that to be true. So, what do these tears want me to recognize, to submit to, to pray into?
I'm listening to John Horan today, a fellow Gertrudian, and letting his wisdom seep into my soul today. And he's brought up my favorite John Shea poem, one that I'd like to reshare, because it's just a really good meditation.

A Prayer to the Pain of Jesus

When crutches were thrown away
did Jesus limp
after the running cripples?

Did his eyes dim
when Bartimaeus saw?

Did life ebb in him
when it flowed in Lazarus?

When lepers leapt in new flesh,
did scales appear
on the back of his hand?

The gospels say
Jesus felt power go out from him
but neglect to say
whether at that moment
pain came in.

Did the Son of God
take on ungrown legs and dead eyes
in the terrifying knowledge
that pain does not go away
only moves on?

John Shea
The Hour of the Unexpected
Allen Tex.: Thomas More, 1992

June 05, 2007

Love is my religion

Someone said to me the other day, that when you're in a relationship with someone, it becomes your religion. It mirrors, and somewhat replaces, your relationship with your higher power. Perhaps that's why I haven't had the slightest urge to blog here lately -- although I feel very guilty about it. And I have to admit, I have been noticably absent from the 7th pew on the Mary side of St. Gertrude's church for the last several Sunday masses.

But if that's the case -- that we put all of our spiritual energy into our relationship -- is that just too much for someone to take on? I'm not saying that we elevate our lovers to the status of god/desses or anything like that, but does anyone in a relationship knowingly take on that kind of spiritual responibility? Then again, if love is what we're all here for anyway, wouldn't God/dess want us to be focusing on those key relationships? Afterall, we're not charged with living our lives in the church pews -- but out in the world. We honor our faith in the way we live our lives, and yes, the way we choose to extend love.

So maybe it's a good sign that I've been so in love that I haven't been to church very much. I surely don't feel spiritually depleated. And as far as this blog goes, I'm reminded that I want to push myself to write about more than relgion in a narrow sense, but in a very broad, living-my-daily-life sense, so I'll try to get back on track here, if I indeed have any readers left.