Ode to our Mothers

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We come from your flesh and bones,
Grow out of your marrow and your beating heart.
We would not exist without you.

We suckle at your breast,
We grow from your body’s rich nourishment.
We depend on your heart to love us
Without condition.

Thank you….

For the times you stayed up in the night
to rock us to sleep.
For the times you nursed us, fed us, wiped us clean.
For doing all that laundry for us!

Thank you…

For holding our hands as we walked the path
to the new school.
For bandaging up our scrapes and burns.
For coming to the play we were in, the soccer game,
the ballet or piano recital.
For all of the birthday parties, balloons, cakes
and presents you put together for us.

Thank you…

For listening to the “boy” problems,
Or “hair” problems, or for tolerating the door of our rooms
being shut with loud music on to drown you out.
For help with our English papers, math problems,
history lessons.

Thank you…

For teaching us to drive, despite your terror
and pushing your right foot onto an imaginary brake
on your side of the car.

Thank you…

For taking us out in the world to see
mountains, lakes, rivers, museums, plays, and music.
For taking us off to college and having faith
we would blossom out in the big world.

Thank you.

For all of your love throughout the years.
For rolling with your child’s evolution.
For trusting us and for trusting yourself
that you’ve done all you could
to make us the best human being
you possibly could.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 


In Troubling Times....

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It seems the world really IS spinning out of control with the abundance of tragedy around the world, from bombings, to shootings, to hurricanes, fires and floods.Things feel tenuous at best, and yet I can't help think that we are all being called forth to create the new world we want to live in. So, in these troubling times, when life as we know it seems to be falling apart, here are simple practices to create more love in life. 

Be kind.
Make it a point to be kind to the person in front of you in any given moment.

Play with the children and the elderly.

Make art.
Create something. Write a new song, paint a painting, write a poem, make up a new dance.

Gather together.
Get together with loved ones…family, friends. Make it a priority. Time is short and we never know when we won't have the opportunity to do so.

Gratitude.
Remember all of the small things your grateful for.

Break bread together.
Share meals with friends, family and strangers. Cook something and invite people over.

Go out of your way.
Take time to honor people who are important to you. Send a card, pick up the phone, send them a present.

Get out to nature.
Go on a hike, get on your bike, sit in the trees or by the ocean. Listen to the wind, the trees, the waves.

Love the animals.
Spend more time loving your pets, or other people’s pets. Go to an animal shelter and love up the furry ones.

Tell someone you love them.
Today.


The Antidote to a Sense of Lack?

Every time he says it, it’s like a big blow to my gut.

“You seem to look at things from the point of view of lack - the glass half empty.” It touches a nerve. I feel immediately defensive.

“What do you mean?” I always say.

I think of myself as a harbinger of fun and positivity, a bug who’s spreading the love. But behind the scenes of my unconsciously crafted persona, I think he’s right.

I have an orientation of lack.

I’ve spent my life wanting. Something.

Something Else.

Something that was different than what was right in front of me.

I’ve spent my time wanting to have thick wavy hair instead of loving my fine, thin, easy-to-dry-hair.

Wanting to live in a quiet place with trees, when I lived in the hustle and bustle of the Bay Area.

And when I got to the quiet place, I wanted to move back. To the hustle, the bustle, the culture, the people.

I wanted boobs. Not bigger boobs, just boobs. You get the picture.

I didn’t get them. But over the years I’ve come to appreciate my flat chested-ness for the ease of having no breasts to get in the way when doing yoga, running or dancing.

I wanted a partner.

I got that.

Then I wanted him to be different. To be someone else. For it to be easier.

We got married and then I spent my time fantasizing about being single and how much simpler it would be.

Oh, I could go on and on. But you know that feeling. Right? That feeling of wanting something other than what you have, or grasping for some other experience than the one that is happening.

I can dig back into my childhood and find all of the reasons for this “lack” orientation. I could blame it on losing my father when I was seven, or that my family moved a lot when I was a kid, or that I was always the new girl in class. Or maybe it’s because I’m a FOUR on the Enneagram! But what good does it REALLY do to find something to blame?

So, you know what’s been helping me?

Gratitude!

Yes, the practice of gratitude has been one of the antidotes to my feeling of lack.

It started out as a tiny experiment a few years ago to see what would happen if I practiced gratitude for 28 days.  Twenty-eight days -  one of those random numbers “they say” will help you establish a new habit.

So I tried it. I woke up every day and lay in bed thinking about what I was grateful for. I started with the simple things,

“I’m grateful for another day to live.
I’m grateful for this healthy body.
I’m grateful for the ease of breathing, for my beautiful home, for a loving husband.”

I immediately felt lighter and more open hearted.

I took it a notch further and set up an altar to remind myself to practice throughout the day. Bit by bit, the sour flavor of dissatisfaction began to abate with consistent practice.

Suddenly my husband became this awesome partner. I loved my home, and where I live. I loved the people I encountered each day.  I loved just being alive.

As the practice took root and grew in me, I started writing in a gratitude journal before I went to bed. A smile often spread across my face as I lay my head on the pillow. I was surprised to feel happy each night naming simple things that brought me joy throughout the day.

I started seeing that I have a great life, and that there is nothing lacking. I don’t need to change anything. I simply need to drop into this moment, and appreciate what it offers.

Now, I don’t want you to think that I have this gratitude thing all wrapped up. Because I don’t. But I do notice, with regular practice, it helps me re-orient my life towards the positive.

So, whenever I start to grumble too much, or my husband points it out again that I’m looking at the glass half empty, I amp up my practice to help me out!

 

 


India Lesson # 1: Surrender, Trust & Visualize

After 24+ hours of travel from San Francisco through China to New Delhi, eyes blurry with sleep, and all brain cells primed to lay my head down on clean sheets, if only for 6 hours, there was a glitch when I arrived at my hotel.

As I stood at the hotel counter, legs still water logged from flying, and Summit asked me for my passport, I reached down into my secret pant pocket to find it empty. 

No passport.

I quickly patted down my other pockets, took a peek in my money belt and felt my heart begin to race. I was going to be here in India for a month, but was flashing on new possibilities for my trip  – endless waits at the American Embassy in New Delhi, being sent home – or perhaps they WOULD accept the digital copy of my passport photo I’d scanned into my phone the day before.

Knowing how much Indians love their paper forms, I had big doubts about the latter possibility. 

Summit, I have a problem. I don’t have my passport.” I told him. He bobbed his head left and right, flashed a big smile and told me I had a problem.

“Yes! I do! And I’m going to need your help to solve it.”

Just to make sure it wasn’t tucked somewhere else, I dumped out all contents of my carry on backpack, to make sure I hadn’t accidentally stuck it in with a book or in between my important papers. 

Nope. Not there.

That’s when I began the positive self-talk to mitigate a melt-down.

“This is going to be ok, Diane. Think.  Think. Where did you have it last?” My mind scurried down all the alleyways of where I’d been and what I’d done since I got off the plane just a short one and a half hours ago. I back tracked  to standing in line at the Pre-Paid cab outside of the airport. Dark thoughts of someone ripping me off in line flashed on screen, but I hadn’t felt anyone bump me, push me or nudge me. 

No, that wasn’t it.

Back in time to the SIM card booth, inside the airport. That’s when I heard the man’s voice in my head, “Passport!” He had commanded me.

“Summit, I left my passport at the SIM card place.” I was thrilled that there was a thread of hope. I handed him the number of the place and he called.

“Yes, it’s there.” 

Hearing those words I felt like I’d won the lottery. But the deal wasn’t done yet. More self-talk and now I started visualizing the passport in my hands. “See it in your hands, Diane,” I told myself.

“OK, how are we going to get it back?” I asked Summit.
“I will have my driver get it, but it’s going to take some time. He’s picking up a large group now. You will have to wait.”

A small price to pay at this point. Though I longed for the sweetness of sleep, I relaxed into the new reality and surrendered.”  

“Perfect,” I said. “I am so grateful. Thank you.”

As I sat on the couch in the reception area, my mind came up with all sorts of ideas about how my passport could be sold and by whom. Until it was in my hands, there were any number of outcomes.

I dropped into more positive self-talk and visualization and kept seeing and feeling it. Then I started a gratitude practice for Summit and his help, to the guy at the SIM counter for being honest and for the driver who would be bringing my passport back to me.

After about an hour and a huge group of Indian men had checked in, it was 1:30 in the morning and the lithe driver came in, passport in hand and gave it to me. Never have I felt so grateful, patient and relaxed.

I heavily tipped both the driver and Summit as an offering of gratitude. He checked me into my room and I lay myself down on those bed sheets and had the best sleep I’ve had in years!