Saturday, April 30, 2011


Realizing good questions are usually more important, transformative, and meaningful than answers.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I'm reading a novel in which a woman reads a novel based on the meeting of Shams of Tabriz and Rumi. Each time I see Rumi's name I am filled with warmth. I can't help but instantly remember longing for the passion about which he writes. I first read Rumi as a Sophomore or Freshman in college. It was an honors seminar entitled "Sacred Meanings." The 6 or 7 of us read works from different religious scholars including Martin Buber, Thomas Merton, and non-traditional scholars like Meinrad Craighead. The Coleman Barks collection entitled Like This was my introduction to the Sufi mystic Rumi.

I had never been in love at this point in my life. I had never understood a passion that would allow oneself to forget oneself. These poems of spiritual passion and longing touched a river inside me that I didn't yet know about. While it would be years before I would abandon myself to that river, I understood the spiritual longing of which Rumi wrote. Well, I understood that there was something missing from my life and that the world around me could be beautiful even if I didn't often see it as such.

I had read some Emerson and Thoreau. I had experienced the Divine in nature. While at times the woods in which I secluded myself as a teenager were isolating and lonely, I had witnessed stillness and connection. Not the ecstatic joy that Rumi sings of instead I encountered a profound quiet. To sit for hours beside a pond, partially engulfed by woods and bordered by fields, I could use all my senses to experience what was going on around me.

While it's difficult to talk about because I know it sounds odd to most people, I had my first spiritual vision there. Laying in the tall, dry grass, looking up at an empty sky, I saw myself as a bird traveling overhead. Then I was the air around the bird - literally the particles of air surrounding the bird. I felt the caress of the feathers, I felt the weight of her wings and my own connection to her. Then I felt my pressure against the surface of the pond and the solidity of the water below me. I felt it pressing back. I became the surface of the water and I could see the body of water below me and the air above me. I could feel the air move across me and the tension of the elements that held me together. This vision went on this way until I was the mud beneath the pond with the fishes and worms and turtles above me, through me.

It was an exquisite experience that I wasn't to share with anyone. It was a little gift I carried around inside me, not truly aware that it was a vision, a glimpse at what I would continue to define as God. I could not articulate this at the time. Partly because I knew most of my friends would either think it blasphemous or they couldn't connect with God this way. To them, well and to me at the time, God was a patriarchal concept that I could not accept and have turned away from. In fact, it has been decades since I've even been able to embrace the word God because I define it so differently than many people. I do not like to use the word. It is so limiting. It invokes a shared image that does not reflect what I want to communicate. I think God is something one can only experience and is far too complex to be captured in a word. God is experience, a verb or adverb.

It is interesting this thread that has run through the course of my life. This interest in that quiet chaos of love, passion, commitment, fellowship, endurance and solitude that is life. I am just now beginning to see that I am walking a path. I am not wandering aimlessly. I have always been on a path. It is in the weaving together of these memories into stories that illuminate that path for me. Each step I take is in concert with the steps I have already taken.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

No Pants Dreams

Remember dreaming that you were running to the school bus, late again, and part-way there you realize you forgot to put your pants on? Or maybe dreaming about being in class and not knowing you had a major exam that day? Or maybe being halfway to work before you realize you still have your slippers on (oh right, that wasn't a dream).

Last night I had a dream that it was time for me to officiate Jack Nicholson's wedding. The bride and Jack were walking up the aisle before I realized that I had left my folder with the ceremony at home. Panic! The crowd waited while I frantically looked for a copy of the ceremony before finally accepting that I was just delaying the inevitable. Jack came over at that very moment and asked me what was going on. I fessed up and asked if he had a copy on him. Nope. But, he just told me to wing it. I asked if there were any parts that he absolutely didn't want me to forget. Then he looked panicked. Crap!

At this point everyone was drinking and so I took a deep breath, told Jack,  "I got this," and reminded myself to tell everyone to sit down (something I forgot to do at my first wedding). That was it, end of dream. Who knows if I pulled it off or not? And, why Jack Nicholson? Really?

So anyway, the next wedding I officiate isn't for another 4 months, but I'm dreaming about it already?? Is there some bigger message I'm supposed to get here? The bride is extremely organized and prepared for just about everything to do with the wedding already. I will also know just about everyone there. OK so maybe I'm feeling a little performance anxiety.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Just Dreams

No brilliant ideas, just dreams. This is unusual for me though - the dreams. I don't generally remember my dreams and lately I have. Some are delicious dreams like "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" type flying dreams. Others so definitely related to my daily life. This morning I awoke from a dream in which I was stretching. Yoga style stretches to work out the kinks from the first week back in boxing. Thank god I have a massage in just a bit.

The funniest part about this dream is that it also happens to be my 39th birthday and well, the body is a bit stiffer. That said, I'm also in some of the best shape I've ever been. Thank you boxing. Now the goal is to get in shape for a trip to Peru next year. I plan to be there for my 40th and this time I want to hike the Inca Trail. So I should be in the best shape ever by then.

Why does this matter? Well, I've always had this thought that once a person hits their 30's they have it "all together." They know who they are, what they "want to be," etc. Then the 40's became the new 30's and well, I started to worry that my generation was going to just spend our lives chasing these milestones... like the 50's are the new 40's and so on.

What does this have to do with dreams? Well, not much really, just that I think I'm ending the 30's here on a good note. I think, in fact, that while I don't have all my shit together and I don't exactly know what I "want to be" that I know who I am a hell of a lot better than I did just 10 years ago.

The 30's have definitely been a Jupiter return decade for me. They've been the decade of coming out, getting divorced, starting and finishing grad school, getting remarried, getting a home, creating a home, putting down roots, they have challenged my family with serious illness, and finally they have been about learning to take care of myself.

I'm excited about this 39th year and I'm excited to put a close to the 30's. I am looking forward to my 40's but in a "being in the present" sort of way. I plan to have the last chapter of my 4th decade of life be fabulous. I'm excited for the dovetail of a decade that has pushed me beyond where I thought I was capable of going and brought me back to a self I never knew I possessed.

Happy birthday dear Maria, M, Chris, (er and Crissy too even). MOG you are coming into your own.