Thursday, May 28, 2009


My friend had Toxic Shock Syndrome in her 20’s and was told she most likely would never have babies.

My friend held a slight yet noticeable level of superiority towards all folks “not white.”

My friend was somewhat judgmental towards blue color workers.

My friend will turn 50 soon.

18 months ago, she gave birth to beautiful twin baby boys.

Two beautiful Mexican baby boys.

Whose daddy fixes car for a living.

My friend seems really, really happy.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Holding Children Captive

Hours and hours in a car.

No iPods allowed.

Ahhhh ...

I love holding my children captive.

I love those long road trips where we share a very small space and where our words get swirled around over our heads.

We share our music (appropriately rolling our eyes at each other’s choices while we let ourselves meet - and enjoy - new stuff).

I get to hear about things I would never hear at home ... because there is so much time to talk and so much time to listen. And so little room for the words to get lost.

I hear what is important to them. I tell them what’s important to me. They listen and sometimes ask me more.

I hear them talk about other trips and I let myself believe that for all the times I might have screwed up, there are plenty of times when I haven’t.

I watch them whisper to each other and explodes in laughter.

I ask my rearview mirror to never fully erase those images.

I am in heaven.

And then, when we find out after half a day of driving that I accidentally booked a campsite TWO hours away from where we are going, I hear them tell me that it’s no big deal: they love being in the car. 

I Almost Misses It

I almost missed the funniness of it all.

Thank goodness Erin was here to point it out:

Yesterday afternoon, I signed up for a full weekend workshop for an “Alternatives to Violence Project” training.

Yesterday evening, I attended a very sweaty “Body Combat” fitness class.

Totally excited about both.

Life is rich in flavors and I am sure as heck not going to spend a lot of time thinking about this strange combination.

But it IS pretty funny.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


One of my clients regularly sends me her “musings” and I find the term so delightful. It reminds me of “wandering”, not knowing for sure where we will end up. When she says it, it conjures visions of fairy wings.

So today, I am borrowing the term and I know she won’t mind.

Because really, this entry is not going anywhere, I am pretty sure. No conclusion, no bright epiphany, simply an observation, a musing.

I read today that when Natalie Cole was found to need a kidney transplant, dozens of fans emailed her saying that they were going to get tested to see if they could donate.

Such amazing generosity.

I wish my mind had stopped at being awed by the generosity but dang it, it didn’t. It kicked into what I call my “little mind.”

I am not too fond of my “little mind.” It is the one that forgets about our spiritual path for a while. The one that judges, that feels entitled to make assessments. Yuk.

Anyway... “it” went on to perceive some sort of injustice regarding all the everyday people, out there who get on a list and wait. A long, long time. No one volunteers to get tested to see if they can donate. Maybe ‘cause they can’t sing,“it” whispers to me in a syrupy way.

And then “it” goes on to wonder if all these nice people who are ready to give one of their really precious kidneys to someone they have never in person met would ... say ... cosign a loan for their neighbors to buy a car they need.

Then “it” goes on to ask a few other “small minded questions.”

(I told you I don’t like that little mind.)

Pretty soon I am thinking about how nice we can be
to the people who are not the closest to us.

For instance, I regularly hear from my clients (some of them whom I have never met in person) about how wonderful they think I am.

And yet, if you were to ask two of my three kids how they feel about me today ... wonderful would most likely not appear in their top 500 list.

Something feels weird about that.

So, that’s it.

No conclusion, no brilliant inspirational closing to this musing.

Maybe you will send me your own? 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I am Sorry

“I am sorry.”

Sometimes these words are so darn hard to say.

And sometimes they feel so, so - so - darn good to hear.

I have been thinking quite a bit about “I am sorry” lately.

I have said it, I have heard it, and I have begged for more of it.

And also (because apparently it is not just my job but also my nature) I have paid close attention to how it really works.

This is what I have found:

There are four phases to a truly effective apology.

Phase One - I am sorry
Phase Two - What can I do to make up for what I have done / said ?
Phase Three - I promise to try my very best to not do it again
Phase Four - Here is why I did it.

To me, this makes up a fully rounded apology which may or may not be accepted but which has been fully expressed.

One big mistake I see comes from the fact that two of these phases seem to often get blurred and blended together.

Which looks like this:

“I am sorry I did this (#1). I did it because ... (#2)”

And Bang! The explanation, which when it comes at the very end of the process (possibly a day later, even) acts as a way of saying “please know me better” all of sudden becomes a justification. It completely dilutes the “I am sorry” part.

This does not accomplish the goal of a clean apology which is to restore peace and healing within a situation where pain has occurred.

Because our languages, filters, backgrounds, triggers are different, if we get close enough to other humans, we are going to hurt one another, at some point. Forget avoiding that part.

Instead, let’s learn to turn these uncomfortable times into opportunities for knowing each other better. For “learning each other.”

Once I get hurt, I want to know that you see me being hurt. That it matters to you, even if you do not understand it (mostly because of your language, background, filters, triggers). I want to hear you tell me that you are sorry.

Then, I want to start healing the little strands of our relationship (no matter how small the relationship is), to restore our connection and trust by hearing you ask me what I need.

I also want you to tell me that you will try to not do this again. This helps me feel safer which allows the little strands to grow back faster.

Finally, once the little strands have begun to heal - which may or may not be in the same conversation - I want to hear about you. I want to learn you better. I want to hear why you did what you did. This is a very good thing.

And I want to do the same for you.

This does not need to take a long time nor does it need to take place in a teepee while smoking a peace pipe. It can be very simple.

So, for all the times when I quickly said “sorry” and then zoomed on to explain why I did what I did... I want to say: I am really sorry. Please tell me how I can make it up to you. I promise to try and not do this ever again. And if you’d like to hear why I did what I did, I can tell you about that, too.

Will you please do the same for me?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

As for the First Time

He was staying with us for a few nights, a fellow couchsurfer and nice guy to boot.

Originally from Australia, he had been traveling (and couchsurfing) for a few months and was really taken by the work of Eckart Tolle’s: The Power of Now. He had carried the book with him all over the country and wanted to discuss its premise and concepts, thirsty for its essence.

Be present. Discover each moment as new.

This is Tolle’s message and I remember how powerfully they had hit me when I first read the book myself, almost ten years ago.

So there we were, on the deck, having finished a summer evening dinner (beautifully prepared by our guest) as the sun started to set over the water.

The oranges and the reds glowed like quiet fireworks and juxtaposed with the purple of the islands, they made me want to take it all in, in one big hug. I quickly climbed onto a chair to get closer to the sunset (!) and opened my arms wide, basking in the glory of it all.

Apparently surprised, our new friend asked: “Do you not usually see the sunset from here?”

Oh yes, we told him. Every night.

And every night it makes me want to fly.

A little while later we were all gathered in our sunny yellow kitchen, cleaning up and chatting some more.

I love what happens when a few friends prepare a meal together - or clean up from a meal well shared.

As everyone talked, I started loading the dishwasher and as is often the case, I felt a wave of simple gratitude for the appliance’s mere existence.

I have had a dishwasher for over twenty years (the first one was one of those funny moveable ones, gotten at a garage sale and which I rolled across the kitchen every night to hook it up to the sink) and yet I am always so thankful for it.

I am so thankful for the work it does, for the fact that it allows me to go to bed at night with a clean kitchen, for the fact that while I am sleeping, it scrubs and rinses and dries. I am so thankful for its support.

I love my dishwasher.

And so, I said just that.

As we were all cleaning up, I said “I love my dishwasher.”

My kids and Chris are used to me regularly professing my undying love for various strange things and they thought nothing of it.

Our guest asked: “Did you just get this dishwasher?”