l i g h t

In my meditation this morning, I had one thought:

Light.

Most days, there’s a bit of a preamble to my meditation in which I ground myself, connect to source, activate chakras. I gently de-clutter my mind, quiet the noise down a bit so I can receive guidance. What happens next depends on the day and my purpose for meditating.

Sometimes I ask questions of my guides or ancestors, sometimes I pray (even though I don’t identify as Christian I do believe in prayer), sometimes I sit and watch the area behind my eyelids like it’s a giant movie screen. Generally I go with what feels best for me in the moment. Plenty of times I send love to specific people, cover my children in protective energy, repeat mantras or affirmations to myself, and express gratitude for all that is.

Today, I sat cross-legged on top of my already-made bed, hands on my knees with palms open and up, ready to receive. I closed my eyes, took some deep breaths, and pictured a ball of light emanating from my chest/belly. The ball grew larger with each breath until it surrounded me, engulfed me, and light energy began to flow from both my palms. (One hand is for giving, one is for receiving so I suppose both should be active if I am in a balanced state.) It was like sitting under a golden rainbow that went from one palm, curved over my head, and landed in the other palm. A super cool visual.

As I sat calmly I said, or I heard someone say, “light”. (It can be difficult to distinguish sometimes whether a thought like this one is my own, as I sometimes get information from nowhere, things I have no explanation for knowing.)

I kept thinking “light”. Light. Light. Light. I told myself my energy is powerful – my magnetic field is powerful – and I could feel it radiating out from me. One of the fingers on my left hand began to vibrate. Not a twitch, but more like a hum. This is good, it felt like a new skill breaking through, a new level of awareness. Also the left hand is for receiving.

In divination I always ask that I be a conduit, and that’s exactly what I felt like. A channel, a receiver. The message?

Light.

Be the light? Focus on light? Respond in light? Seek the light?

Why not “love”? Why am I hearing “light”?

Later, I thought about light and all that it is and all that it symbolizes and there is so much, so many layers, so many messages:

Light is knowledge, light is truth, revelation. Learning, teaching, discovering. Light gives life, it nourishes, it comforts, it sustains. Light is warmth. Fire, passion, comfort.

Light can also mean not heavy. Unencumbered. Unbothered, untethered and unattached. No ego. Fewer possessions, more observing and less reacting. Let go, release, ascend.

The sun is shining its brilliant light through my window and onto my desk as I type this, and I think of all the days I dangled by a thread, begging the sky to part and let the sun peek through. Light is hope. Each new sunrise is a new beginning and represents enormous possibility.

Light is uplifting, encouraging, leading. Everything that grows follows the sun. Am I a sun?

Light guides, it directs, it reveals the way.

Light sweeps away the darkness. Not that darkness is bad, just perhaps in my life the darkness has had its time and now it is time to be light, to look at light, to embody light.

I think so many people (myself included) complicate so much about the human experience that was designed to be simple. It isn’t meant to be a struggle every day. There are answers, if we seek them. We aren’t meant to fumble in darkness. Today I will heed the message and focus on light – all that it represents and all that it is – in my internal and external world. I will allow and receive and let go and be grateful.

I will be light.

Chosen

At night, when I tuck my kids into bed, we say affirmations.  It goes something like this:

Me: Repeat after me.

Kid: Repeat after me.

(Years of doing affirmations and they still laugh at the ‘repeat’ thing.)

Me: I am brave.

Kid: I am brave.

Me: I am kind.

Kid: I am kind.

You get the idea.  A few more generic ones, and then I deviate according to the kid’s personality, something we struggled with that day, or something silly.  I love to make up songs on the spot and they enjoy my goofiness as well, which I know won’t last forever so I’m soaking it in.  We always end with “I love myself, I’m proud of myself, and I can do great things.”

I love myself and I’m proud of myself were not part of my original formula, they came to me a couple of years ago when I was thinking about how to have the kids’ validation come from within, rather than from others, including their parents.  I’m not of the opinion that me arriving on Earth earlier makes me any more of an authority on how to be human, it only makes me responsible for their care, safety, and guiding them with things like manners, potty training, and when it’s acceptable to yell “Go Dawgs” at strangers. (Hint: Always. It’s always acceptable.)

Some nights I thank them for choosing me to be their Mama when they were souls preparing to come to Earth.  I feel so grateful and honored that they chose me, knowing they’d be vulnerable and I’d be so very … well, flawed.  Human.  Ill-prepared for the task.

When I was young enough to have a bedtime, Bonmama tucked me into bed most nights.  My mom worked late nights as a radio DJ, so she was usually gone and Bonpapa was downstairs working in his office or occasionally asleep in his recliner in front of an episode of Dragnet.

We walked down the narrow hallway, Bonmama and I, feet scuffing on the vintage green carpet (it had odd sections that looked a lot like the tops of cauliflower to me and I liked how it felt underfoot) until we reached her bedroom.  I had my own bed in my own bedroom across the hall, but didn’t sleep in it because it was big and I was small and afraid of the dark.

So she had an antique bed brought in from Lacanau – her mother’s home – and squeezed it beside her bed, the foot of it nearly touching her delicate dark wooden vanity, and that bed, pushed back into the corner of her room, is where I slept every night.  That was our room.  Bonmama, Bonpapa, and me.

[[Side note:  Eventually, I acquired an ugly gray radio/alarm clock and I was allowed to listen to the public broadcasts each night until one of them came to bed.  It helped me to sleep and not feel alone.  Usually, my choices for night time listening were the grainy audio from some mediocre stage production of Macbeth, or an opera with commercials interspersed.  I always chose the opera.  It’s so romantic, dramatic, and while I couldn’t ever understand what was being sung about, I could tell it was earnest and urgent.  As an idealistic young dreamer, I loved the sounds of catastrophe, climax, and resignation.   If Bonpapa chose the station – which he sometimes did – it was Beethoven.  I still listen to music when I nap, usually Italian opera or Beethoven.]]

I climbed into my little bed, nestled amongst my “menagerie” of stuffed animals, including a mangy-looking white Persian cat and its equally scruffy black sibling, and Bonmama sat beside me arranging pillows and blankets around us.  Once I was still, she prayed with me, beginning with the Lord’s prayer in French, and sometimes invoking Archangel Michael to watch over me.  “You are special to Michel,” she’d say.  “You’re named after him.”  There was something about the way she said it.  I believed the fiercest of Heaven’s warriors might actually have taken time to check in on me as I slept, if I asked him to.

Some nights she rubbed my back or chatted with me about the day.  Every night without fail, she said to me and I repeated back to her:

Bonne Nuit,

Bonne Reves, and

Je t’aime beaucoup. 

Those are French for Good Night, Sweet Dreams, and I love you.

Not exactly affirmations, but no less affirming to my heart and soul.

It’s been a hard week, mostly due to missing her, and today was a welcome reprieve. I spent all day with my boys, just the three of us.  We began with breakfast, then painting.  We went to the field and kicked the soccer ball around, threw a football, raced, and fell down and laughed with each other.  We shared a pizza for dinner, and they played video games while I sat in my big chair and read a book.

Forgive me if my writing is scattered.  All of these thoughts are strung like twinkling patio lights in my head, a web of love and comfort and tradition.  Tradition in the sense that no one is really gone as long as you remember, and echo, and say their name and – here’s the important part, the reason I’m writing this tonight – pay their love forward into new hearts.

A lightning-strike realization. Another revelation.  They keep coming, unexpectedly, as I think and overthink my life and hers and that sweet spot where they intersected, and I wonder if this isn’t another unrecognized stage of grief:

Epiphany.

Honoring Bonmama is not just about saying her name or making her bread.  It’s about the love she’s given me, that can never be divided, only multiplied, and pouring that devotion into my children so that they meet her, and know the best parts of her, even if they don’t know it’s her they are meeting.

I felt like a good mom today.  A Bonmama – type of mom.  At the end of the day, my kids knew without any doubt just how treasured they are.  Cherished.  That’s a word she liked to use.  I like it, too.  (As I type this, my boys are asleep in my bed, surrounded by 15-20 of their “favorite” stuffed animals. This is the kind of history I don’t mind repeating.)

What I’m thinking about over and over as I listen to them gently snoring is, I am so grateful for the choosing. 

That Bonmama chose to be more to us – and give more to us – than she was required.

That my sons chose me in the “before”, and that they continue to choose me every day despite my shortcomings.

Grateful, too, that I am choosing and choose in each moment to show up for them, to be better than I might have been, to give more than I sometimes want to, to try again and fail and apologize and cry and keep working at it.

The words are a comfort and certainly, we like to say them.  I want to hear the words, repeat the words, have fun with the affirmations.  But the love – the evidence and proof and depth of that love – exists, I think, in the choosing.

Philosophy and a Pork Platter

Driving to pick up some barbecue for dinner today, I had a revelation.  It stems from the outfit I’m wearing today.

I’ll explain.

I’m wearing a dress today that I have had for a long time, maybe a year or so.  There’s nothing wrong with it.  The dress is lovely and light, perfect for Summertime and it fits me well.  It’s yellow and floral and frilly and beautiful, and I have until today been afraid to wear it.

Wait, what?

Who’s afraid of a dress (I mean besides the big white ones that come with rings and dramatic promises)?  Well, this girl was, for a number of reasons.

First, this dress is bright and happy, and I wasn’t feeling that way.  Yellow is not a color that says “I am moody” or “Don’t talk to me”.  It screams, “Smile!” and “Sunny day bicycle ride” and “Let’s go get a popsicle together!”

Second, this dress is sexy. 

To clarify: it’s not a sexy dress.  It’s not what you think of when I say the word “sexy”.  (Yes, there’s a difference.)  This dress isn’t cut to hug every curve or show a lot of skin.  It covers much of me and it flows away from my skin in the breeze.  But when I put it on, it feels like I’m wrapping myself in a long-forgotten version of me, or perhaps she’s a brand-new version I’ve not become.

For most of my life, in my friend groups, I have not taken on the role of Sexy Friend. Historically, I’ve played the part of a sincere friend, helpful friend, aloof friend, sidekick friend, even bitchy sarcastic friend on certain late nights and weekends.  Never was I up front, sitting center, or walking in slow-mo to maximize the effect that me walking by might have.  That’s just not who I am – or how I saw myself – outside of the confines of my own living space.

Wearing this dress today I have felt open, and sexy, and radiant, and … well, happy.  True happy, which is way above fake-it-til-you-make-it happy or posing for a photograph happy.  I’m talking true, puppy who just got adopted, tail wagging so hard it’s spinning me in circles, happy.

So this dress – or rather, the beams of light radiating from me as I float through the world in this dress today – got me thinking about good energy vs bad energy, or high vibration vs low vibration, and what happens when the two meet in human form.

For example, let’s say you’re feeling fly like a G6 and smiling and saying hello to your neighbors and even when the barista gets your coffee order wrong you’re still singing in the car all the way to work because you’re grateful to have that kind of First World problems.  Then you run into a kindred spirit who is similarly cheerful, grateful, and radiating light.  You are instantly attracted.  Not in a romantic way, but in recognition. You want to be near them, and it’s not really a thought as much as it is a pulling feeling in the center of the chest or navel area.

This attraction happens because you’re reflecting back to them the light that they are.  You are vibrating at a high frequency, and their vibration is at a similar frequency, and your inner beings create harmony together. The divinity in them recognizes the divinity in you.  It’s like a soul hug.  Or a Vulcan mind-meld but with less agonized screaming.

363958f05a39e00efe90577ac839d087
“I can literally FEEL the gratitude.”

On the other side of that, (and this is the really important part for me because I am living it out and I literally just realized what is going on) when someone is repelled by you and your light (the you that is functioning as a divine light being having a human experience, your best self), two things are happening:

One, you are reflecting back to them what they are not – which is to say, what they are but they are not currently BEING or choosing to be, because in truth they always are the divine and the light, just as you are.**  When they see and feel your energy, they immediately feel things like guilt, or shame, or insecurity.  This is not your fault.  It’s only because you act as a mirror for them to see themselves clearly and for many people, that’s too much information that they’d rather not look at so closely.

Two, you are in high vibration and high frequency and they are at a lower vibration, which creates dissonance.  You both experience disharmony.   Again, it’s not a thought, and very seldom does the conscious mind understand what’s happening.  It’s not a soul hug this time, it’s more like a soul wedgie.  It is a feeling within that instead of pulling, pushes.  You want to get away from them and likely, they want to either get away from you as well or to lower your vibration so that it matches theirs (and therefore you are in harmony, which FEELS better.)

Side note:  When this happens it’s very common to lose friends, family members, and other people from our lives unexpectedly and sometimes in big and messy ways.  Harsh words are said, feelings are hurt, pride is injured. They will do what they can (unconsciously) to lower your vibration because it’s comfortable for them.  It is easier to lower frequency than to raise it, so please be aware of yourself and do what it takes to keep yourself shining light.

In my mind, losing friends is preferable to lowering vibration.  To achieve higher vibration there has to be a willingness to confront and integrate the shadow, to heal the inner child and old traumas, to cut out discordant beliefs, fears, and stories.  It is hard work.  The reward for that work is the privelege of embodying a version of yourself that isn’t dependent on outer circumstances and isn’t easily changed by being in the company of lower-vibe people.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

All of this happened in my mind in the span of about 8 minutes, and I really couldn’t wait to come home and write it down.

 

**No person is really darkness except he who chooses to be (and even in that choice, he is just denying the light he came from, not truly existing as darkness.)

 

 

I Know.

Life is short and do should tell people you love them! Don’t hesitate! Tell them now!  No regrets!  YOLO! (does anyone say YOLO anymore?)  If you love someone, let them know!

The number of posts I see on social media that say this or something similar is crazy-making.  I get the general idea, but let’s talk about the practicality of it.

There are lots of people whom I genuinely love that I don’t tell every day.  If I say “I love you” all the time it loses meaning.  It loses potency.  If I say it after every phone call (which I did frequently in my old life) it becomes a way to say goodbye, not a profession of endearment.

Now, I will be honest here and say that I am of two minds on this.  I am an extremely affectionate being and I long to experience love as both a giver and a receiver, so I will tell the mailman I love him and mean it.  No issues there.  On the other hand, I think following my loved ones around constantly professing my adoration has a really disingenuine vibe, as does calling up that girl I was best friends with in 4th grade just to let her know I liked being her friend.

So my question is, does everything need to be said?

Is the desire to tell everyone everything we feel at all times really stem from a want to keep them close or make them feel wanted?  Or is it a desire to feed our own egos, to lather a balm on some deep childhood wounds, or even to (hopefully) have someone reciprocate pleasant emotions to us?

Also, if I love you – Meaning I have expressed and shown love to you in some way in my lifetime – do you not already know? Do you not fondly reminisce on the crossword puzzles we shared or the time we fed your dog table scraps without your parents knowing or sneaking out to leave Boys II Men lyrics under each other’s doormats (hi, 8th-grade crush)?

I mean, all Han and Leia ever did was argue, and even he knew she loved him.

han

I’m grieving a loss, and yeah that’s why I’m writing about this.  I sometimes think about how I wish I had told her every day, all the time, how much I love her and appreciate her.  But that’s no good, that kind of thinking. It serves no purpose and besides, she would have thought I was a kooky bird if all I ever did was follow her around saying “I love you, I just really need you to know that I love you”.  No one does that because it’s weird and honestly it’s depressing and cloyingly sweet.  And again, borderline disingenuine. Actions speak louder than words, and all that.

I have come to believe that it does not serve to treat the living as if they are dying, and that’s what this all sounds like to me.  Fear of death is fear of life, and I don’t want to live mine that way.

If I die tomorrow and you are someone that I love, I hope that you already know.  I hope that you’ll be confident that if you love me, I know too.  I do.  I have written before about how I believe interactions and relationships require energy exchange, and I think about that in this context too.  I have a little of your energy in me, and you carry mine with you.  There aren’t any words I can say that would be more meaningful than that.  No random quote from Pinterest can be of more comfort.

So the best way to (live and) love is to just be.  Enjoy, be present. Soak up the moments and appreciate each of them. Share your playlists with each other, tell stories, FaceTime while wearing funny filters, do whatever you do.  Cook meals for friends, go camping together, or just out for a run at the park.

What I mean is, it’s not the words, it’s the time.

It’s the YOU that you share, it’s the THEM that they give in return.  That is the crux of real love, the thing that underlines all of it, and that kind of connection is, thankfully, understood. You need never say it at all, because they know.

Instagram

I am losing hope.

I feel disfigured

Disgusting

Unsuccessful

Untalented

Betrayed

Stupid

Sad

Tired

Mostly tired.

Hashtag: good vibes only.

Intruder

It is a masterful thief, indeed

Whom I beg

Pray, take one more thing

As he makes his way

Out the front door

I stop him

To give a bit more

All the while,

I smile

Thanking him

For the privilege

Of being robbed.

Inked

If you got a tattoo

For me

What would it be?

My eyes? My nose?

A beautiful rose?

No…

I think it must be

A star, or better

A whole constellation

Yes that’s what it will be

A constellation on fire!

More permanent

Than ink

Than a supernova

Than me or you,

Ancient

Ignited

Eternal

Within, without,

Above, below

Primal, ethereal

True.

So would you?

Miss Mulitiverse

My perfect date is

Dancing in the kitchen

To Børns

“…tell me what is Heaven if

our souls are split in two?”

Baking and making

Dishes no one’s

Ever heard of

Twirling around

Like we did when

We were kids

Consumed by joy

Falling but unafraid

Light

Weightless

Free.

Oh, and World Peace. ✌️

Weep Not for the Memories

Driving today with my elder son in the back seat, a Sarah McLachlan song came on the radio.  I smiled and sang along.

I will remember you/Will you remember me?

Don’t let your life pass you by/Weep not for the memories.

There’s a surface meaning to the song, as with any song, and at first I was only thinking surface thoughts.  Swiftly transported to a simpler time in my life – high school and early college days – when love was messy and dramatic and fascinating and painful and I wanted every part of it.  I also thought about my brother, (who is probably Sarah McLachlan’s number one fan), because he used to burn me CDs and make me notes on what to listen for.  He’s an audiophile, I can’t hear the things he does, but I still loved getting CDs from him, and I listened to them dutifully and repeatedly.

As the song went on I started thinking about the lyrics having a deeper and more profound context. I imagined a conversation with my Grandaddy Curtis. He’s been on my mind the past few days.  I see him standing in front of me, smiling.  He was always smiling.

“I will remember you”, I say.  “Will you remember me?” He nods at me silently. It’s like a verbal handshake – a pact – we make.  “Weep not for the memories,” I say to myself.  I miss him, but I am not sad.  I have been loved more earnestly and well than some people will ever dream, and I can only be grateful for it. Sarah kept singing:

You gave me everything you had, you gave me light.

I leave the imaginary scene and focus my attention on the road ahead.  The sky looks a shade or two grayer than it did this morning.  I’ve heard it said that for as long as you are remembered and loved by someone you never die, not really.  Your love becomes your legacy.  So in my imagination, Grandaddy and I made a deal to keep the other alive, through love and conversation.

You know that age old question – “If a tree falls in the woods…”?  Well, let me put it to you another way.  If a person exists – if a human life is lived – and there is no one to bear witness – is it truly lived?  What proof is there to point to that person, what certainty can we have about them?  I suppose the answer depends on how much you think existence has to do with things like community, connection, love, family, and legacy.

Isn’t that what every person wants?  To be remembered?  To have mattered?

Existential crises are a part of the Human Condition.  We all, whether we realize it or not, whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not, yearn to matter.   I believe with all my heart that this is why we are driven to create.  Most of us (maybe all of us), usually from a young age, feel a compulsion to make.  Writers, painters, singers, dancers, even people who create in different ways, like businessmen and inventors, all respond to the familiar call to make something of their lives – and by extension, of themselves, of their time here.

To be honest I think this is (at least in part) why some of us have children.  We want to leave behind something of significance, and we want someone to bear witness to our lives. We want some assurance that the stories we grew up with – the recipes, the traditions, the places and people we love, even the dimples passed down on our father’s side – don’t cease to exist when we are laid to rest in the damp, dark earth.  We hope that the generation we raise will be better than us, we hope they aspire to greater heights, we pray they will work as hard as we have to make some kind of mark on the world, to give their contribution to the collective.

We want it all to mean something.

It’s futile.  It’s absurd.  It’s romantic and brave.

And isn’t it a lot like writing a manifesto in the sand?  We toil and sweat and bleed and give of ourselves, mining the depths of our hearts to produce something raw and true and worthy.   The tides of time will likely wash it all away eventually.  We know.  In the back of our minds, we have always known. Yet we can’t seem to help ourselves.

Stranger still, there is inherent value in the markings left on the beach, even if they aren’t seen or acknowledged on a global scale and even if they only last a fraction of a second.  Ironically, the value isn’t as much in the words as it is in heart and motivation of the person desperately scrawling them; not as much in the thing created as in the creating.

Sounds like one big, terrific, cosmic joke.

Perhaps the punchline is this: Love is what lasts.  Love is what transcends. Only love.  Real love is eternal.  It exists here and it exists in the after, and it is the only thing that does.  So really, all this creating is nonsense, and all our sleepless nights and working lunches and grand projects are useless, except for the loving.  Who we love, how well we love them, whether and how we express it, where we allow it to take us, how much of that love we pour into others and into the universe is what bleeds over into the cosmos and echoes in the night sky after we are gone.

I’ve heard it said that for as long as you are remembered and loved by someone you never die, not really.  Your love becomes your legacy.

I will remember you.  Will you remember me?

 

 

 

 

Preach

It is not a testament to your choices,

This life I choose to lead.

It is a testament to my strength.