September 11, 2012

Into the Mystic

As I wrote about last month, I've found myself in a bit of spiritual 'time out' of sorts, while I figure some things out. A time of silent contemplation that was greatly needed, especially when having fallen off of the narrow path.As a spiritual pilgrim, I have long believed that there are many roads that lead to truth, and some wander. Along the divergent path, much can be gained, for the wise traveler. Along this road, I've spent ample time in prayer, in quiet contemplation and meditation, and encountered other travelers upon my journey that have helped point me in the right direction. I've been blessed with vivid dreams and messages from soul-sisters and seekers who have an "in" with the Big Man upstairs. I've kept my eyes open -- to wonder, to divine chaos, to the majestic messages that our Creator embeds in our everyday experiences as sacred seeds, preciously sorted and collected for planting in the right season.

Many things have been revealed to me, one of which is,  I cannot escape the mystical yearnings of my soul -- which in its essence, is a yearning for oneness with the Divine Mystery. And because I strive to see sacredness around me at all times, it is my nature as a mystic pilgrim to create ritual out of the everyday -- to make sacred what is profane. By constant prayer, meditation, intention, blessings, and sacrament -- my gaze is at once heavenward and set upon the earth.

Alas, there is little room in our culture for Christian mystics. In all of the most important ways, this is a secret journey, even if it is one I am not on alone. One must be careful not to cast one's pearls before swine. Not fit for a Facebook status update, I'm thinking. But I'm blessed to have a communion of mystic saints to turn to for companionship and guidance. And I have come to recognize a few fellow travelers on the path, and am grateful for their fellowship.

Walking this path is a counter-cultural and risky move in some regards. Yet, it beckons. I can't promise I won't fall and fall again, but I've got my walkin shoes ready.

August 27, 2012

Identity crisis

How do we know who we really are? By what criteria do we define our lives? Are we a collection of our past experiences and our current mindset and our future dreams and goals? And to what degree does that delicate balance determine our fate? If we dwell too much in the past, can it fix our present course on an unchanging road? How much do we let go of, and how much do we hold on to? And to what degree do these things define our identity? Is our identity our experiences at all? Or is it something else entirely, outside of our feelings and history? If we cling too hard to experiences that define us, do we limit our own ability to change? To grow? To love? Who are we, really?

August 14, 2012

Ordinary time

"The more you fight against something, the more you draw it in." These words sit on my desk as a reminder, and yet I find myself in the struggle, in the fight. But I want to do something....not just sit. Not just wait. Just tell these voices inside the shut the hell up! But I'm not getting any answers now, it's just static on the line. I'm in a spiritual time out, some time alone in the corner to sort out my thoughts? I guess that is what is needed. So I'll do nothing at all and try not to fight it. The "path of least resistance," as the Buddhists say.
I've stopped everything now and given up all the gifts that I thought were divine. I no longer know what makes me special, though I thought I had known all this time. Maybe there is nothing. Maybe I am completely ordinary. Maybe my quest for the mystical and the signs I thought I saw were just illusions. I don't know anything anymore.

July 26, 2012

Unearthing the treasure

The path that my faith journey has taken has not been a straight one. A cradle-Catholic, I abandoned my church in my early teens and found myself drawn into the path of Wicca, at first attracted the the honest history of Christianity that it presented to me that my own nine years of Catholic school had hidden. The history of the sacraments, the history of the spread of Christianity, the power of the patriarchy. I have always maintained that "all gods are one god" while on my path, that my essential faith had never changed. I still believe that. But as I have circled back into the Catholic Church in the last decade, and have been called deeper and deeper into relationship with Christ, I am growing to understand that some pathways I have walked down open doorways that are not easily shut, and let in dark elements that linger.
I'm catching glimpses of things I've done, things I've held to, things that I need to confess and let go of in order to to some soul house-cleaning. I have started this process, and am feeling the pull to let go of things that I'm not quite ready to let go of. I have only to trust that somehow at the end of this process, there is a treasure that awaits me.

June 28, 2012

Bullet lists

I grabbed my journal a couple of days ago and shoved it into my purse. It wasn't begging for me to write something...but to review. And so today I finally re-read the past couple of months of entries and saw again the pain of the last year, and the healing journey. The very last entry I made was my prayer for love to come my way again in the coming year, and my "list" of what I wanted. AHhhhhh, you'd think I'd have learned my lesson of making lists and asking God to deliver me lovers in such a manner! Perhaps I had done a better job this time! My short list asked for:
• deep soul-connection
• passion
• equal partnership - healthy balance
• fearlessness

A great list, if I do say so myself. Sure beats my list of basic requirements that I'd come up with in high school with my best girlfriend:
• had to have a home
• had to have a phone
• no hard drug use
• reasonably close to my age

Also good, but this new list is certainly more refined on speaks to needs on a deeper level — a soul level. 

What makes for a good relationship? I've blogged and reflected about it before, and posted the list of characteristics of what constitutes "healthy" and "unhealthy" and seen my relationships wander down both paths. I'm always interested in hearing about what works for other people, so I think these sort of lists make good sense. What would be on your list?

As for my list, I am realizing that these are not just characteristics that I am desiring in another person, but also ones that I want to nurture in myself: they are all a mutual sharing on every level that can be shared, with the essential ingredient being fearlessness. It's takes courage to share every aspect of yourself with another in the deep levels I'm talking about, that I'm dreaming of. My prayers will be focused on overcoming my own fears and continually surrendering, trusting. God is with me on this journey...I am never alone, and I am so freaking blessed that I don't even have the words of gratitude to express. I am continually humbled by God's good gifts that are showered upon me. Amen.

June 26, 2012

Shake the Dust....

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Matthew 10:14

I was served up a lesson this week that I really needed and it's taken me a couple of days to digest. What I am entering into now with my writing, and also on my own spiritual front, will make me very vulnerable in places that that I need to be more prepared to protect. And I need to be prepared to "shake the dust" from my feet and walk away from the people who just don't get it instead of reacting defensively. I have to have faith that God will do his/her own work within them, and that my role will be elsewhere. I am but a seed in the garden.

Some spiritual armor is helpful here, when encountering people who are not open to your message, or people who do not have your highest good in mind. I'm learning slowly how to arm myself, with a deeper surrendering and opening to God, increased confessions of my own past wrongs, and penance through good works. I'm also feeling a deeper calling to focus on forgiveness. As I get closer to true forgiveness of those that have hurt me, I know that I am closer to true freedom and true salvation -- and the dust shaking can really begin.

June 21, 2012


So back in January, I wrote about some creative pursuits that I was looking at. And then I sort of let it go for awhile, because I wasn't sure about how to write about religion, spirituality, faith and where they intersect with politics for the audience I was hoping to reach — the LGBT community. Was I even really qualified? Doubt had set in. But in the last couple of weeks, I took the leap of faith that I needed to, and made it happen. In the next week or so, my new blogging project will begin, and I'm really excited to be able to finally reach the larger audience with the messages that I've wanted to, thanks to teaming up with a well known website in the Chicago area. More on that to come, after the official launch. I know that Delle will guide me and encourage me, as she always did, in my writing. I'm only somewhat prepared for the fallout that may come my way as result of such writings — but as I witnessed with Delle, I know the consequences of speaking out politically against the RCC. I will have to give quite a bit of thought to my words and their consequences before having them published, from here on out. But this is what I've been moving towards for quite some time, so though I will move cautiously, I will move forward. The momentum is with me now. May my conscience continue to be formed in the Light of Christ, as I speak truth to power.

June 18, 2012

Melancholy Movie

Still can't shake the bad dream I woke up from last night...but I'm hoping more coffee will chase it away. Ah, just when you think you're feeling emotionally strong, throw in some PMS and whammy, you can lose your bearings again. Yes, lets blame PMS. Or the sad movie I watched yesterday: Requiem for a Dream. Intense on many levels and struck a nerve. I've known too many additcts, lost friends, had to walk away from too many people in the grips of the demon of addiction. As for my own little demon? Turns out, it's intention is to make me feel isolated... alone...even in the midst of so much love and grace. I'm still trying to shake the feeling that I woke up with this morning, let go of the voice in my head telling me that I'm all alone, because I know on every rational level that it's not the truth. I have a life full of people who care about me and love me, and I am never alone. It must have been that movie, dammit. Damn that Ellen Burstyn. She really got to me. Sigh.

June 07, 2012


I'm getting a sense of the path that is opening up in front of me. It's still sort of unclear, but I know that I'm being called into a deeper spirituality, a deeper communion, and to let go of things that hold me back — even things that I think I've already dealt with but are lingering. This has been the year of letting go, of battling demons. I'm getting the sense that that there is some big work for me on the horizon, and a major spiritual hurdle to jump.
The thought of being free, that it is possible, is a blissful one. I have known evil and and worked hard on protecting myself...but to be completely free? Is that possible?

June 04, 2012

I Love Cheeses

Getting to know each other, I mentioned my love of cheese. "I could give up meat before I could give up cheese," I proclaimed. 
"So, you love cheeses."

The Soldiergirl wants to know what my relationship with Jesus is. I thought, surely the explicit answer lies within the pages of this blog, five years of spiritual exploration. Surely my relationship with Jesus is evident here. But maybe I've also never really tried to answer it as a question. I think as Catholics, we're not entirely comfortable with expressing our faith to others. It's just so personal. So, I found myself at a loss for words, on a topic that I thought might be easier for me to express, given that I feel in touch with my spirituality.

So...Jesus. All of the obvious theological answers apply here: Only Son of God, Redeemer, died for our sins, will come again in glory, etc... I don't think this needs a lot of explanation. I'm pretty in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church on who Jesus is.

As to my personal relationship with Jesus: I guess I'd start by saying that I've always had a little difficulty in separating my relationship with all of the members of the Trinity and that they sometimes blur together when I'm in prayer. I feel a sense of God as Mother/Father, as Jesus, and as Spirit. Jesus, primarily, is the teacher and example that I am to model my life after, as exemplified in the Gospels: the living word of God sent for all humanity as the perfect example of God's love. Jesus is present to me in the Eucharist, and through that sacrifice, which I take into my physical body, all barriers are destroyed.

I pray daily, and one of the prayers goes like this: "Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." It is repeated continually, "ceaselessly" throughout my day, when I can. Jesus is the great healer of my life, who has heard and responded to my desperate cries. Jesus is our God who shares in all of our own suffering and knows it intimately, to the points of betrayal, death, and beyond. Jesus is the author of my conscience.

Jesus first came to me in reoccurring dreams when I was just six years old. We dined at the Last Supper together, his hands extending toward me, welcoming me to the table. I had this vivid dream many times, between the ages of 6-9. And at my First Communion, my classmates joked that I was turning into a "mystic saint" as I had to be carried outside just before we received communion, having fainted after my visions of gold light filling the entire church.

I don't know what all of those things mean, and I haven't thought of them in years. I haven't told virtually anyone about those experiences, and five years into writing about my spiritual life, I'm literally shocked that I've never blogged about my own mystical experiences. I'll have to go back and double check this fact, because I'm incredulous. I just know that today, I'm feeling like it's coming up for a reason and I'm meant to reexamine those experiences again. There is something about it all that scares me...

Church date

So, I went to church on Sunday with the Soldiergirl. Evangelical church! Of course I had my preconceived notions about what that might look like, but I did my best to lay it all down and walk through the door with an open heart. Right away I felt a welcoming presence, both in the place itself and in the warm welcome I received from probably a dozen or more congregants. The place literally oozed with joy. I could hear Delle's voice: "the hallmark of the Holy Spirit is tears," as twice during the service I felt them well up within me. I could see what the Soldiergirl loved about this spiritual home.

It's clear to me that our path seems to be going down a rather spiritual track together. I'm not sure where this is leading. I'm trying to keep an open mind, an open heart and let go of my expectations. It's sometimes hard, when insecurities come knocking. I've not been in any other relationship that started out this way...I'm covering completely new ground, and it's challenging me in ways that are really unexpected. I've never been completely comfortable with taking a trip without mapping out my course down to the last detail, so I'm finding that its a real challenge to be comfortable with what the destination will be. I'm being challenged to give up my illusion of control, to step out a little more in faith and trust that whatever happens, it will be exactly what is meant to happen. Balancing hope against expectation, and trust against control, and waiting for signs along the road, to show us where the path is leading.

June 01, 2012

The heart of love is trust

So the Soldiergirl looked across the table as I sipped my beer and ate my sandwich and asked me if I'd jump out of a plane with her. Panic. My heart raced. She began to talk about the free fall and I could feel my pulse escalating. I confessed that it was my biggest fear — but also one I had hoped to confront at some point before I die. So, would I jump out of a freaking plane???? GULP.  I didn't say no, though even talking about it filled me with a sort of anxious dread.

I'm realizing something rather glorious about myself, something I've wondered in the past couple of years. I've wondered if my ability to trust was so damaged that I wasn't going to be able to have a mature relationship with anyone again. I'm realizing that healing is possible, and that my willingness to step out in faith, allow myself to be vulnerable with another person and trust them — is not broken. It's a fantastic feeling, to know that this essential ingredient remains within me. Without it, how could I ever hope to find real love and return the same? So, today I am grateful that through the healing work and prayer that I've done in the past year and by the grace of God through whom all things are possible, my brokenness is becoming more and more of a story of my journey toward wholeness.

And someday, I may even be capable of taking that big jump.

May 30, 2012

Checking In

I had such a great day yesterday. Really got to do a lot of thinking about my own emotions and what might be holding me back. My main concern is staying grounded while giving myself permission to also fall in love, if things should go that way. Staying true to myself while getting to know another person -- without taking on too much of the other person's interests or activities and unknowingly sacrificing my own, or letting my insecurities start to sabotage things before they even take flight. It was good to acknowledge that I've worked hard to get grounded and feel really solid in my own life, and don't want to fall into any sort of unhealthy pattern that could undue that, and that it will take some careful diligence on my part. My friends never could believe the hot mess I became in just a few short years of dating the Nurse...and I'll be damned if I'd allow that to ever happen again. And I have to take responsibility for it myself, because I know what I'm capable of and how easy it is to fall down a rabbit hole and get completely lost, even to myself. But when I look in the mirror today, I know who I am and what I want and I love the person who looks back at me. I don't ever want to lose that woman again. I deserve love...but the price cannot be the soul-debt that I have already paid. I've fought too hard to reclaim my life and get back on solid ground.
I believe that balance is possible, and I'm actually feeling that the pace so far is giving us a good chance to achieve it. It's going to be really important for me to strive every day for equilibrium and check in with myself — so that I can feel both secure in myself and ready to give love freely. I mean, I could have just summed this whole blog post up by quoting Rupal, right? "If you don't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?"

May 29, 2012

Opening the book

It's all done...the Soldier did the thing that she needed to do to move forward with me...and as it turns out, that thing entailed a conversation with the Nurse. I hesitate to use the expression "bros before hos" because of where that leaves me in that scenario, but there is it. So, a conversation that I honestly want to know nothing about took place, and it apparently went well, and I no longer need to be anxious about it, which is a huge relief. Even if I don't completely understand it, I do admire and respect her integrity.

I want to follow where this path is leading me, with a fully open heart. It's scaring the hell out of me, because I'm feeling a lot and it's only been a week! I am grateful that she is forcing me — forcing us — to go slowly...because I could easily see myself spinning out of control. Instead I'm letting myself open up in ways that I haven't in a long long time and taking a little time to grapple with each emotion. Feeling things I haven't felt in...well, a very long time. Thinking thoughts that both excite and terrify me. I need to spend some time thinking about this fear that I'm feeling. I know it's because my heart is so vulnerable right now and I haven't allowed it to be to anyone, but she is cracking through. How is she doing that? I just know that I feel completely revealed in her she can read my soul like a book.

May 28, 2012

Leap of faith

What a weekend this has been. Yet I feel like even in this safe space, I must restrain myself from writing too much about it, at this time. I can say without hesitation, I am falling for someone special. (Still trying to think of the perfect codename.) But it seems that there are certain ducks that must be aligned before everything can be right. We wouldn't be lesbians if there weren't some sort of drama!!! So, some things need to be taken care of. For someone to ask me to trust them so early in the game requires a big leap of faith, and I have to admit, I'm feeling a lot of anxiety about it. Once bitten, twice shy, as they say. While not wanting to project a bunch of expectations onto what could be a lovely beginning, it also scares me to subject it to what I consider a risky and tense test so early on. Here's where the trust and faith has to come in. She's reminded me that I have an Advocate who can help me with the fear, so I'm trying to "give it up to God," and say a few prayers about this situation when the anxiety strikes. Focusing on the present moment is the most helpful thing I can do for myself right now, and it brings me peace to just know that right now, at this moment, everything is exactly as it should be. Tonight she is cooking me dinner and I'm looking forward to even more time with the girl who is slowly stealing my heart. Did I just say that?

May 25, 2012

tattoo inspiration

So I had this intense moment of inspiration about my next tattoo. I really want a fleur de lis! I've got a whole story about this...I'm not sure I can put it all down in words yet, as it still seems to be emerging, but needless to say, the fleur de lis and I seem to have been on a journey for over two decades now and it's developed a lot of meaning for me. I'm going to keep mulling it over and thinking about how to express what exactly it has come to symbolize for me, so that I can share it. Some things are obvious things to share: Mary Magdelene, French/Alsatian heritage, prophetic dream I had, stained glass I made, signs and symbols...

I'm swooning about the start of the long holiday weekend. Really looking forward to spending more time with my new lady friend (codename: Sargent) who has quite thoroughly gotten under my skin in the best of ways. Beginnings are so lovely, and I'm savoring every delicious second.

May 24, 2012

Gorgeous Grace

Hot weather has arrived in Chicago, which means making the switch to iced coffee, summer dresses and sleeveless tops. Inevitably someone will notice my Anima Sola tattoo, which has been hibernating under winter sweaters for far too long, and remark on it's loveliness or ask me when I got it — always surprised that they hadn't noticed it until now; after all, I've had her for five years now. But even before the day that I got this ink, Anima Sola was already a part of me; getting the ink was just the next phase in her journey along with me. It's a good reminder on this beautiful summer day that there are many gifts around us that go unnoticed, yet are there — always there. Such is the nature of Grace. We need only to step into the day with an open heart, ready to see what is around us always, and let ourselves be surprised by the grace-filled moments that await us. Sometimes we encounter a new person or situation that is very like a new summer dress on a gorgeous summer day — revealing what was always underneath the sweater, but no one got a chance to appreciate. But it's always there, whether we see it, whether we appreciate it or not. Take the time today to recognize grace. Appreciation will come naturally.

May 23, 2012


I met her (who I have yet to to think of an appropriate nickname for...she already has the perfect nickname) for dinner out with some of her friends and then a movie. It was fun to meet her circle — and having already subjected her to mine, it was only fair that I take a turn. No problem...I'm never awkward in a social scene, and the conversations flowed easily over a lovely meal. At the movie, we held hands like flirty teenagers and let the tension build between us. Afterward, we were both so hyper — clearly feeling so ramped up and I desperately wanted to find some privacy with her. We walked along the quiet downtown streets, taking in the skyline and talking about what we were feeling — deciding to go get a drink. To make a long story short...this may be a long story. Things are building slowly...which I like. We talked about keeping things easy, uncomplicated, drama free...which I also like. Of course, my life is seldom uncomplicated, but I appreciate the spirit of that sentiment right now, and the place from where it comes. I appreciate not rushing into anything, but also relishing the growing emotions and desires that we were both able to share. I sensed that this was a good step for both of us, given our past histories of relationships and non-relationships. At this point, I'm totally willing to let go of expectations and just stay in the moment with this, and see where it leads. Seriously. I'm looking forward to our next date on Saturday night, and getting to spend more time with this girl who intrigues me so so much.

Ah....I just had a thought. Given what seems like a huge love of sci-fi fantasy/superhero movies on her part, perhaps a superhero nickname is in order? To the bat cave....

May 21, 2012


Lovely butterflies are flipping through my stomach this morning. I'm listening to love songs and have the biggest smile on my face. I'm in dreamland. Mmmmm, that girl. I've known I've been attracted to her for years, but that kiss this weekend at my 40th birthday party just swept me off of my feet. Instead of 40, I feel 17. Smitten as a high school girl.

But even before the kiss, when I first saw her from across the room — a girl I hadn't seen in over a year — a friend of a friend who doesn't even live in this country anymore — I was thrilled and excited all at once. She came...for me. I practically threw my arms around her. It took a little restraint to not come on too strong! Our immediate chemistry took us both by surprise...and now I can't stop thinking about the girl with the amazing dance moves, the purest heart I've run across, a shining grace and spirit, and the most lovely smile and eyes -- they truly captivate and enthrall me.Gaaaaah!

This feels good! I'm looking forward to dinner soon and seeing where this might lead. Butterflies like these are are not to be overlooked or taken for granted.

May 15, 2012

Red Thread

Moving is a bitch. But when it's done, it's done, and you slowly can go thorough the motions of unpacking and settling in. I awake every morning to the sounds of the trains and the many birds. The ravens, the woodpeckers. The old house brings memories to the tasks before me. I have been bound to this house since I was a child, and its creature comforts.

I took Little M to see 'Cats' after the May Crowning and we had a great time. My own mischievous cats have been exploring the new digs, and breaking several things in the process. They knocked down nearly everything from my vanity and broke a little tea cup that I keep baubles in, along a little wooden box. The lid had come off and the contents had spilled out. This was a box I kept little bits of magic treasure in over the years, and one of the things I noticed on the floor was a wad of red thread. Ah yes, I had forgotten about this bit of magically infused thread. I silently thanked the feline intervention for bringing this matter to my attention.

I set the thread back on my vanity while I took a few days to think and dream about the proper words to release it. This was a bit of thread that came to me in a magical moment of fate, and symbolized a bond that no longer existed, yet persisted — a tie that had been broken, yet lingered. It must be returned to the element from which it came to me — to the wind.

When I awoke this morning, I knew I had the right magical words in mind to finally release this thread, to sever the bond forever. And even if the words were not right, they were right enough, and the time was overdue. And so surrounded by the trains and the birds, I broke the spell, and cast the thread to the wind.

It was only later as I searched for an image under the search terms "red thread' that I discovered that "red thread" symbolizes "fate" according to the Chinese, and those bound by the red thread are bound as if in marriage. It is similar to the Western concept of soul mates.

My life has reflected soul mates that come and go, but are not "life long" partners, as Hollywood would like, and I might fancy when swept into a romantic mood. But for now, my soul is again free, bound to no one and grounded again in my own life, my family, and all that I will. Nothing has every brought me more peace than that in my 40 years.

April 06, 2012

Darkening of the Light

Shine on friend, goodnight...why, then, the darkening of the light?
~Concrete Blonde

I planned to do more today, but after seeing The Nurse at Mass last night, I was pretty sure that I would revert to my standing tradition of skipping out on Good Friday services. Delle. And now Janine. How could I go and not weep like a child, bawl uncontrollably? I don't have the strength for it this year. Not in front of them. This year...why aren't I packing like I promised I would? Why do I just want to lie on my couch and cry? Ahhh, the date today. The Nurse and I met exactly 5 years ago this night -- on Good Friday. It has come full circle. Damn this almost-anniversary, sneaking up on me!

So my I Ching reading brought me to a passage called "The Darkening of the Light." And I thought it was just a Concrete Blonde song all this time...but no, it's Confucius. Its message — I must stay steadfast, stoking my inner light — that few can see outwardly in this time of great personal trial. And persevere. Always persevere. Yeah....that's what I've been doing. Sigh. I'm still human, and I don't know how long it's going to take to get used to seeing her with that new girl sitting in church. It made me think really unchristian things, so I know I've got a long way to go still.

Tonight I burnt the last pictures of us kissing from the photobooth and the little love notes and am trying to let it go. Someone that I used to know. But I just want to listen to the Dixie Chicks, eat ice cream and hug my pillow.

April 05, 2012

The rabbit hole

This morning, I was thrilled to see the article in the New York Times about the Pope freaking out about priests around the world in a state of disobedience about Women's Ordination. His call for "radical obedience" at the onset of the the Holy Week masses was sharp..and at least at our church, will be defied tonight, as the Priest will wash the feet of both male AND female parishioners.

This Lent, I took on some major meditation practices...trying to fill the holes left from a broken relationship, and heal my heart. Meditation has been a great way for me to do the soul-searching and soul-healing that I really needed to make space in my life to do. Time for "listening." I also found that I really found my bond with my youngest daughter really deepen during this time. She's such a neat kiddo, and I love spending time with her. I've also become somewhat of a hula-hooping diva. I really want to find a good dance class this summer and expand my repitoire to fancy shmancy moves.
I'm slowly starting to learn to trust myself again, and feel grounded once again. It's hard to believe that I was ever lost, that I could ever lose my way. It happens when you search outside of yourself, when you start to give up too much of yourself for another who doesn't value you, doesn't respect your basic humanity. And I have to take a good deal of the responsibility for that, for that choice. Love is blind.

But when the blinders are off, you wonder how you could have ever seen yourself in that light. It's like falling down the rabbit hole and coming up two years later and wondering what the hell happened? Where have I been? Was it all just a dream? Did life go on without me? And now, I have some catching up to do...

April 03, 2012

Back to the old house

I can't believe I am moving again. I never felt like I really got unpacked and settled into this place, and now I am about to begin the arduous task of packing it all up again. The circumstances under which I took this apartment were tragic...and I'll be glad to leave the memory and all of the bad energy of it behind me. I'm at peace with the fact that at the very least, I have come to a point in my life where I am willing to ask for help from those who will give it to me — my family. It's not ideal, the situation I have found myself in, but I'm at peace with it. Recovery takes time, and the comfort of home is good medicine for my spirit right about now. Fixing up the old house, and the people who live inside of it, will be my new project.

March 26, 2012

What the Water Gave Me

I met her at the hospital at noon. Her contractions had already started — at around 6 that morning. By the time I got there to meet her, they were irregular, coming on with fierce pain that stabbed her lower back (due to the baby's posterior position) and made every muscle in her body tense up as she wailed. I immediately suggested that I apply acupressure. Marybeth, the midwife, stopped in and greeted us, and immediately suggested we start walking the halls, to get labor into gear. We walked for two hours, and Maddy gripped the wall and handrail, as each contraction came upon her, and I stood behind her, leaning into her back with both hands planted firmly into her spine, adjusting the location and pressure as she guided me. 

After what seemed like forever, the midwife examined her and determined that she was still only 3 1/2 centimeters dilated — a half centimeter away from "active labor," which would keep her from using the Alternative Birthing Center — the whole reason she had been driving 20 miles to this suburban hospital in the first place. Options were discussed:  just wait and see. go home. nipple-stimulation. And the dreaded P-word, Pitocin. The midwife favored starting a Pitocin drip, as she was concerned with risking exhaustion, as this was a first birth and the labor could be long. She doubted Maddy's stamina, as she was already quite tired and irritable. Marybeth told us that using any sort of intervention would prohibit Maddy's eligibility for the ABC. Sobbing tears and a flood of emotions came at this point, and the midwife left us to discuss things and make some decisions.

We decided to check into a standard L&D room (we had been in a triagé up to this point) and give it a few more hours before considering Pitocin. In that time, I told Maddy I would do everything possible to get her into active labor. After some pleading, they were able to check her into the one room that they had that had a water birthing pool. But I wasn't going to let her get into it...because now was not the time for relaxing. Now was the time for cranking things up. What followed was a hot shower, breast-pumping for nipple stimulation (which releases oxytocin into the bloodstream) and another hour of walking, followed by more pumping while sitting on a birthing ball. At this point I could tell that the contractions were intensifying and we were getting close. One more hot shower, a few hands and knees position contractions and it was clear that she was now in very active labor.

As the midwife came back in to examine her, Maddy was now asking for Pitocin to get things going, not realizing that she had already moved into active labor. When we got the news that she was at 7 centimeters, we were overjoyed that we had crossed the major hurdles without any drug interventions. They began to fill the birthing pool, as labor quickly intensified. Still applying acupressure with each contraction, I tried to counteract the enormous pressure on her pelvic bones. When the pool was finally full, she got in and got into a comfortable position, her head resting on the side of the pool where we placed a towel and I slipped one arm under her head for added support. The water seemed to bring her exhausted body a measure of comfort for what would be the final stretch. As each intense contraction came, the midwife and I encouraged her and watched as her body finally surrendered and as she begged for it all to be over, the baby's head crowned. Amazingly, she pushed slowly, but for a mere 15 minutes and didn't require any stitches afterward. Her beautiful son was born at 10:21 pm — Diego Cosmos.

Being a birth Doula for the first time felt like the most natural and intuitive experience in the world to me. It was definitely a "bucket list" item for me, and I feel truly blessed to have been able to share this experience with my good friend. We are now bonded in a sisterly way that I cannot begin to describe. I am hoping that I will now find other opportunities to support women in natural childbirth with empathic and supportive care.

March 20, 2012

Seasonal shift

And so it has come to pass. The moment when I would find myself face to face with The Nurse and her new girlfriend in a social setting.  Only...we didn't actually come face to face because her awkwardness with the situation became clear to me within moments of my arrival. Which was strange to me — afterall, I was the one there unaccompanied. Shouldn't I be the one feeling awkward? So, we weren't going to say even a courteous "hello" to each other. Fine. I stood back, secure and in my element, and took it all in. I stood like a tiger in the corner and watched them edge around the room, carefully avoiding any eye-contact with me, but being sure to make the appropriate lovey-dovey gestures, because they knew I was watching. If there's one thing I've got, it's amazing powers of perception, and as I watched, I suddenly saw her as totally pathetic. And that, at least, is something I can have pity for. And if I'm being totally honest, it doesn't hurt when you are showered with compliments and yes, not so kind comments about what the new girlfriend looks like from mutual friends. Hey, I'm only human. And the shift happened, and it was huge. HUGE! It came like a ton of bricks being lifted off of me all at once and suddenly I could FLY! Seven months since our breakup, and I had been tested in fire and come out on top. I looked and felt amazing and it showed. In fact, I've never looked better, on the verge of 40. I'm excited for my future, for all the amazing possibilities that come with Spring. Love is in the air, all around me, and it's exciting.

March 14, 2012

Seven Devils

And now all your love will be exorcised
And we will find you saying it's all better now
And it's an even sum
It's a melody
It's a battle cry
It's a symphony
~ Seven Devils, Florence Welch

This is all a process, this grief. And anyone who has been through it — surrendered to it fully like I have — knows that it's somewhat like exorcising demons from one's body. There are more than one and you don't know exactly what they're gonna look like or when or how they're gonna rear their ugly little heads. Some take over your body — with tears, with physical pain, with true illness and affliction and deep and lasting physical scars. Some take over your mind — with sleeplessness, with memories, with anger and regret, longing, fear and untold sadness. And some infect your very soul — destroying your ability to hope, to love, to trust again and to see those things around you anymore.

For seven months I have battled these seven devils — with constant prayer, meditation, therapy, self-reflection, music, friends, good healing food, exercise, and by surrendering to the process of feeling it all rather than letting those devils breed within me. I will exorcise them. I will win my life back. I will smoke them out. And my heart will be more capable of loving and sharing and trusting than ever before.

I cannot choose the timetable. I cannot choose the highs and the lows, though I battle to keep every inch of ground I gain. I hold tight to each moment of grace that bolsters me through each moment of despair. It is a gift. I am so grateful for the love of friends and family that surrounds me and fills me with hope each day. I have not allowed myself to jump into a romantic relationship — and though I suffer loneliness and bouts of doubt about whether love will ever make an appearance again in my life, I know that so far, I have made the right choices for me. Because I have made each decision with my integrity at the forefront, I trust that the universe has good things in store for me, when the time is right. Something beautiful awaits me...but I must be patient for it.

The sucker-punches still knock me down...with an anniversary, a memory, a chance meeting.....but I will never be afraid again. Because I got up each time a little stronger and a little more ready to strut like an Amazon.

March 12, 2012

After awhile

After a while you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn
that love doesn’t mean leaning
and company doesn’t always mean security.
And you begin to learn
that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of woman, not the grief of a child
and you learn
to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow’s ground is
too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down
in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye, you learn… 

~ Veronica Shofstall, 1971 

Just one year ago, she wept in arms and made promises that she would never keep, and I built a future around a dream that could never be. While I surrender to my grief, and make peace that I will not find love again, I take comfort in the love of friends and family that surrounds me and the grace that somehow helps me to continue to hold my head up each day. Making lemonade out of a lemon-life, on my own. Or as Alanis Morissette would say, "you lose, you learn."

March 11, 2012

Walking the dog

A gorgeous day here in Chicago...and I found myself at the dog park. It probably wasn't an accident that I found myself there...maybe I was searching for answers, for closure — hoping that somehow the "connection" that I imagine psychically links lovers would ring out in her heart like the Bat Signal and she'd find herself drawn there too, to find me in all of my despair. Perhaps I only dreamed that connection existed from the very beginning, or I demand too much from the universe. Can one know when their soulmate is in pain, is broken, is crying out? And at what point is that connection severed — if it existed at all? All I know is that I am still, seven months later feeling it, overwhelmed by it even, and it angers me, fills me with sadness and despair, and yes, regret. I know some of this simply has to do with many of our anniversaries are marked around this time of year...and it weighs heavily on my heart. May I find peace soon, and know that I am loved.

February 14, 2012

the dreamer's heart

It's Valentine's Day here in the U.S., and ironically, I'm celebrating it more this year as a single girl than I have the last several years while in a committed relationship. But not in the commercial way that is so typical of this Hallmark Holiday. Sure, I'm doing a few nice things for myself today: stopping for a mocha at my favorite cafe, and having a friend over for dinner and movie, but these gestures only bolster what it is that I'm feeling. I'm just simply sharing all of that love that has been welling up inside of my heart these past months — with myself. This last week has been phenomenal; I know a few others who are tapping into the present awareness of dreams right now, and they have brought me deep insight, healing and freedom this week. It's a true grace — the gift of dreams. My dreams are full of deep love: for my children, friends, special people I admire. It is not with any intention or desire  or personal need for reciprocation that I send out this love; I send it out simply because it swells within me every day and I have no choice but to release it, dream it. That is what freedom feels like.

February 09, 2012


Sometimes the answer comes to you. In all of your brokenness, you must surrender. Take the path of least resistance. I've made the tough decision to move out of my apartment — not something I look forward to, but I need the comfort of family and familiarity right now so that I can heal from the sadness that seems to linger in my heart. Before the butterfly can emerge, first she must spend some time in the cocoon. I've had so much loss this year, my heart still aches and my body is so very weak. I just want to go...home.  I'm going to move back into the old house...fix it up. I've already scheduled a complete kitchen overhaul with new cabinets and a dishwasher and picked out a new sink for the bathroom. The kids will have their old rooms, and I will have mine. Dad will have company and care for his own waning health. With any luck, I will have Little M in a new school, and will not have to see The Nurse around every aching corner.

If I weren't so utterly broken, I might care that some may judge me for being on the verge of 40 and moving back in with my parent, but neither the present economy nor my broken heart affords me such a luxury. Besides, most of the world lives in extended family situation, so I consider this a very cosmopolitan move. Working on this house is what I need...for my soul right now. Because maybe if I return to the root of things, I can learn to let go.

January 30, 2012

My temple

Times have been tough for me these last few months, there is no doubt.

My body is slowly starting to heal, but left scarred. I hope that the marks that run up and down my legs will fade one day, as I do love my summer skirts. The doctor's were never able to get to the bottom of my illness ... I'm now convinced with the timing of it all that it was stress related. You really can die of a broken heart. The horrible symptoms that have plagued me for nearly 5 months are slowly starting to subside. I'm confident that I will be victorious over this invader within my body.  I will not be broken.

My spirit is also slowly starting to heal. I am sustained by my deep faith, my appreciation for beauty and art, my loving children, family and friends, and my tenacious ability to protect myself from situations and people that disregard my emotional well-being. I'm feeling an even greater need to listen to beautiful music, sing even more, and seek out creative opportunities. Dance. Laugh, cry, and thank God that I've made it this far, and learned what I've learned. I'm also feeling the need to access friendships and let go of people that aren't really in my camp -- and not maliciously -- but just with the recognition that it's okay to let go of people who don't enrich your life in any meaningful way.

My mind continues to heal, as I do the work necessary to let go of the pain of the last 5 months. A deep inner work, a necessary work. The kind of work one must do after ending a long-term relationship badly, but that so many avoid. I have a job that I love and stack of books to read to keep me sharp. For the first time in a long time, I feel the glimmer of hope in the deep space where my heart lays. But I don't want to jinx it, so I won't write more about that just yet.

I am becoming the person I want to be...and I am so deeply grateful.

January 25, 2012

Creative pursuits

Do you ever have one of those fantastic days where you get a shitload of stuff done before 8am? Today is panning out to be just such a day. After showering, I had lunches made, and tonight's dinner in the crockpot, ready to go. Awesome! But I had also processed some big ideas. I woke up literally yearning for a new creative pursuit, and wanting to write. This blog has become such a personal diary, it's not the kind of place where people really flock to read anything other than glimpses into my psyche or personal spiritual journey. I'm wanting something more, and in a context that will demand more of me. I want to look for  freelance writing gig. Luckily, I have the right connections, and within minutes, I pieced together just who I should contact, and what I might write about and propose to them, and which published samples to send. So, it's all simmering in the crockpot....

January 11, 2012

Cancer Moon

All I've been able to do this week is listen to music constantly and just hunker down. Maybe it's this Cancer Moon (which rules my Venus), but my emotions have been all over the place. The Librarian has moved on, rightly deciding that things were moving too slowly between us. I too felt the connection fading.

Over the weekend, I was bombarded by photos of The Nurse with her new girlfriend just back from their big trip to Vegas. Again, I'll blame the moon for my strong reaction, but it really threw me for a loop. A real girlfriend? With all of their friends commenting on what a cute couple the make? That she takes on trips out of town? It all just floored me, in the light of my own romantic failings. I'm still healing, not ready to give my heart over...and she's feigning love?

At least I was able to be honest with myself about it. At least I'm not collecting more broken hearts and leading anyone on. I'm sure The Nurse's new girlfriend is a sweet person...and doesn't deserve to be treated the way she's being treated. Being used is not fun.

And I say this, because the last few days have been a barrage of late night text messages from the The Nurse -- admitting that her "love life" is not what it seems.Telling me how much she misses me and how she regrets taking the new gf to Vegas. How could I even respond to any of that? I mean???

Last night was the final straw. Late night text message from The Nurse that was clearly meant for another — asking me to wait up and let her in. So. Cruel. What kind of game is she playing? I have again blocked her from my phone, after confronting her with the message that she swears she has "no idea how she sent to me." I am not blaming the Cancer Moon for that one. There really are no accidents.

I am listening to music, healing my soul, and letting all of this go. Singing. Taking hot baths. Praying. Meditating and writing. Hunkering down and letting it wash over me. I love myself enough to know that love will come again when I have put in the work of healing and being ready for it, not rushing in. The serious lack of empathy I have witnessed is what hurts my soul — that I could have loved another who truly lacks this vital quality but masterfully feigns it as The Nurse is so astounding to me. But I'm not so sure she's quite as masterful as I once believed. Others see it too, all the time. It makes me question my own judgement, that is for sure. And I was certainly warned, going in, by all who knew her.

I have learned some important lessons that I needed to learn — about how to stand up for myself at all costs and how to never let anyone back me into a corner by telling me that I am crazy or that what I am saying or doing doesn't make any sense.

January 02, 2012

New Year

It's a New Year, and I'm already trying to get a little more organized! I've just separated my iTunes into two different libraries — one for the teenager and one for me — so I no longer have to suffer through her "hits" when I shuffle. Awesomeballs! (that's a teenage word that she would object to me using.)

It's a couple of days later than I usually like to do it, but in lieu of resolutions, I'm making my annual lists —  of things I want to let go of from the past year (which I will burn) and of things I want to attract into my life.

I had a lovely New Year's Eve with good friends and I'm ready to start contemplating what it is that I really want for myself in the coming year. It can be a hard thing to dig around in the inner "muck," especially during the frantic time of the holidays, so I'm thankful that things are returning to a more moderate pace.

While there are so many things that still scare me about my life and that I accept are out of my control, I still feel generally optimistic about the future. Good things are headed my way.