Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bad Hair Day

This morning, my morning to sleep in and I wake to the sounds of tantrum.

Nothing like burning the midnight oil only to be rudely awakened to noxious screaming and carrying on, met by expletives and threats, and stomps down the hall, doors slamming.

Our house became a virtual padded cell of 3-way negotiations, parent-on-child-on-parent-on-parent, with sleep being held hostage.

Then scissors.

Then shoes.

When did 5 1/2-yr-olds have such strong opinions about hair? To the point of wanting to cut it off if it didn't hang right! (I remember this in high school, but c'mon, Kindergarten??!!)

And God help the world if this one becomes a lawyer. Can she articulate her position! Good to know she knows what she wants and can express herself.

Now, go express yourself somewhere quietly!! And get your butt to school!

The Little Darling.

Oh, remember the days when HAIR was the biggest thing you had to worry about? she said longingly.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


For now I'm like a sailboat, sails lifted, out on the sea with full intention, but the winds have settled, no force, no direction. Chipped and scratched from being battered against the rocks, I am drifting, emotionless. Tired. Not quite empty but far from full. No wind. No waves. Just floating, drifting. A respite, a lull in the forward motion. Just waiting to pick up a current or tap a fresh breeze to a new destination. Any destination.

I'll take the drift.

After the battles I've been through, drift feels just fine. For now. Feels like I'm ready to settle in for a good long nap. But to anyone who truly knows me you will already know, who am I kidding?

I'll take the rest while I can.

Next week I predict gale force winds….

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Maps are fun!

Back from my sick bed, today I spent the better part of the day creating an interactive map (click and slide) that contains the complete listing of Westside public elementary schools. This list includes neighborhood schools in the LA Unified District, along with Magnets, Charters, Santa Monica and Culver City Unified elementary schools.

Each school has it's own marker bubble which when clicked on contains updated address, phone and website info (hand entered by me), and sometimes a photo already on file with Google. With almost 60 elementary schools and 3 overlapping school districts within about a 10 mile radius, no wonder parents are confused! These are only the elementary schools, folks!

Today I have done my civic duty for all current and future Westside families about to enter the school system. I have created our very own Westside School Finder. (Lord knows the district doesn't do anything like this for us.) It's even Google-able.

Check it out!
Scroll down the right side bar below speaking events and click to enlarge and play!

Or you could go here.
(Give it a minute to l0ad.)

Aren't maps fun!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Same Spot, New Thought

Instead of plugging the meter with "OMG, there's so much to do, how will I get it all done?" it's now, "how can assist you? Where can we interface my skills with your needs to create a mutually beneficial situation?"

As I surround myself with warmth and protection, a blanket of love spreads outward -- both honoring myself and allowing others to be where they are…

Let the light radiate and elevate…
Spin out counter-clockwise any confusion and darkness
And as it lifts, may we all receive insight and clarity
An opening and inspiration
And a call to action.

Time speeds up, but today it slows down--
Pulling, stretching like taffy
as I soak up the sun's soul-warming nutrients.

All things are possible.
All things in place.
We are percolating little bubbles of fabulousness.

Monday, February 04, 2008


As we welcome Prema home, I am reminded of the feeling of soaring into the heights and depths and fullness of Self, an achingly beautiful "homecoming" in itself of oneness-no separation... only to return out of the Samadhi embrace to the discombobulated scurrying tempo of our lives. Lives with children. Lives with spouses. Lives with jobs and obligations. Schedules. Responsibilities.

The scurrying…the clatter…the disarray that surrounds us. This is not us; we are just visiting.

But as we sink back into our bodies, our lives, trying desperately to hold on to the remnants of our true Technicolor experience, we also feel the pull of gravity into the present.

It's no wonder she sits, no words flowing yet. Words are a different state. Let her sit as long as she will, basking in her fullness. May she remember the glory of who she is and let that infuse her and those around her with that knowing.

May we all remember and not forget. And may we carry it forward into the dance that spins right along around us.

Sometimes words aren't enough, don't do justice to the experience, so we find another way to express it.

Today I picked up a can of simple white cannelloni beans. They'd been sitting in the cupboard for weeks, silently, waiting in the dark for inspiration. None had come. But today seemed like the day as I opened them up, draining out their syrupy juices and rinsed away cloudiness with pure filtered water.

White beans. Plain. Simple. Rather boring. Live in a can. They love them in Tuscany, I ventured. Beans get a bad wrap here.

In my attempt to elevate them I think first, a beautiful bowl. Not white. I choose a vibrant cobalt blue, heavy with patterned relief along the outside, dramatic enough to show off the inherent beauty of the creamy blushed beans.

Next, some minced onion and half a red sun-kissed jalapeno that stayed too long on the vine. As I flow effortlessly from the fridge to the board to the bowl, a dish comes to life. Diced sweet red pepper, minced garlic, a good scatter of celtic sea salt, a few cracks of black pepper, a hearty drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and the juice of half a lemon with a few dashes of red wine vinegar just because. I love how the tart complements the creaminess with the hint of heat and bit of crunch.

Tossing the beans gently so as not to bruise them, it's still not there. Something is missing, something fresh.

I step out the backdoor where sunlight floods me with kindness to the herb garden that encircles our home. Choosing a small bouquet of flat Italian parsley and a few plump sage leaves, I decide rosemary would be equally welcome. Next time.

Mincing and tossing I have it now. A beautiful, tasty offering that transcends its own nature.

Or, was its nature there all along, hidden?

Served on a few scattered leaves of romaine hearts with a chunk of crusty bread, I am fed.

But it's more.

It's good. It's real, and it nourishes me far beyond the can and the plate.

It brings me home.

Thinking of Prema. Blessings all.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Low Hanging Fruit

Wind ripping. Changing patterns. First a tickle then a slam! Storms of emotion, undecided, circuitous, dance through the air with feverish abandon. I breathe in the chill air, alternately cool then tempered by warm sunlight softly caressing my cheek. Drizzling, then sunny. It's warm, it's cold, both, as I pull my hoodie tighter around me. Winds that were whipping abate like an exhaled breath. For the moment anyway, it settles. Then changes again. Constant change. The warmth. The chill. The drizzle. I feel it all. I work through the dampness 'til my body doesn't feel it anymore. It doesn't matter.

Weather. It's just weather. Weather and a commitment to the practice.

I pull out my Dixie cup to catch the thoughts that traverse my weathered mind…

I think of myself like the weather--ever changing, mutable, unformed, taking form then leaving it. Turning off the mind I lead with the heart. Breathing into the fullness of spirit, ripe, glowing, uncontainable, this is me, this is who I am.

As I focus on the school, I think of the phrase I just read on responsibility. First, she said, things have to get bad. Then there's a summoning. A calling forth of souls. One does not do it all--that would be interfering with Divine Plan.


So, surrendering, exhaling it out, the stress is leaving my body more and more each day as I call forth my highest destiny and wait for the summoning. My shoulder, once capped with pain and immobility, has not been bothering me for a few weeks now. The area I spent hundreds on for months, where it felt like nothing was working? Now I suddenly realize, it is done. Released. Sent packing. Its exit almost imperceptible.

I see the simplicity of it all up here. How everything falls into place. Still, it's hard to fathom how it works down there, how I can surrender and trust. Trust that this is right, that we will be provided for, that this IS my work, that I am right where I need to be.

I have been contemplating the comments you've left regarding choosing my direction, ones so well-known and loved. Ones even I would think to offer another when trying to make a choice. You know, does it bring you joy? Does it bring you peace? Are you filling up or depleting yourself?

For days now, perhaps a lifetime, I have been contemplating these very questions.

I was raised to do what you love. Anything is possible. Limits exist only in your mind. Follow your dreams. Reach for the stars. That kind of thing.

I set out in search of those dreams with my passion, my desire, my commitment and unnerving ambition to express myself and be seen. To share my gifts.

It never occurred to me to have a back-up plan. I was going for it. I was going to be large. Brilliant. Successful. Artistic. Beautiful. A ball of creative fire that blazed a trail of light so bright, I touched millions…

I followed that dream hither and thither for years.

But let's take it back even further. What is education?

It's a deep question. A question that started percolating for me as a mother, and now I ponder it endlessly in my current "work"--and I call it that lightly as I've yet to be paid for any of it.

How do we raise our children? And then, how do we give them over to the typical institutions of learning? What constitutes a quality education? And if we've become more conscious in the way we parent our children, how can we in good conscience hand our children over to an old, failing system? It indeed causes conflict.

What are we trying to teach our children…the carriers of our future, the next generation? That they may then go forth and create the life of their dreams?

And furthermore, how do we translate that into the existing educational systems?

I look at my own upbringing and hear the repeated demands of my mother insisting on a "liberal arts" education. Carlton and Yale-educated and a professional classical musician, she was so adamant about that. And yet once hired, she never had to go off looking for another job for the rest of her career.

Ok. So what of liberal arts? I studied philosophy. Religion. French. Literature. History. Theatre. Dance. Music. Art. So what?

Wouldn't a business degree or a technical trade have served me better? Wouldn't some financial planning and lessons in strategic ladder-climbing have been more effective? Liberal what? Where does that fit in today's economic reality? Does my well-rounded liberal arts background pay the mortgage?

And the reaching for a dream, reach for the stars motto?

Perhaps as a friend suggested recently, I ought to instead reach for "low hanging fruit."

It's a concept I never thought of. I was always striving for that hard to reach, impossible spot in the constellation, the one way way up on the top branch that took a lifetime of trying only to possibly never get there… God I love a challenge!

Low hanging fruit?

Isn't that so…obvious? Common? Pedestrian? Like, anybody can reach for that? What's so special about that? Isn't it about to drop on the ground already?

Truthfully, it's not a concept I had ever heard before, but the minute my friend said it, I knew exactly what she meant.

No, I never took my low hanging fruit seriously…for the very reason that it was just so…um, right there. The only time I took my low-hanging fruit (LHF) seriously was when the bills came staring me down. That's the fruit that fed me. Food. Feeding others. It literally fed me. But was it my passion? My raison d'etre*? (*Fr: "reason for being.")

Does one, when faced with an intersection, make a future of the LHF just because it's there? Because it's easy?

Does one "fall in love" with the guy that's kinda OK but he's available and in your face--as opposed to the really cute guy over there, the one your heart beats faster for, but who doesn't know you exist? Will he ever?

And what about using the guideposts of Love and Joy and
Peace that so many of us suggest as a way to navigate our choices, like some hot or cold divining rod?

Can you honestly, I mean truly honestly say that you feel these things for instance, in your…marriage? Someone please raise their hand and tell me their marriage is peaceful, always brings them joy, not conflicting emotions or (serious) differences in opinion.

What about your children? Do they bring you Peace? I don't know about you but my child brings me a lot of things. Peace isn't one of them. Love? yes. Peace? no. Joy? not always.

Do the jobs in your life really fill you with Joy? All the time? Really? No conflicts? No challenges? No opposition? No indecision? No growing pains? And it pays you well? Hmmmm. Tell me what you do for a living!

And then say, for arguments sake, that you do feel the thing in contradiction to love, and joy and peace…you know, exhaustion, frustration, dare I say anger at times. Well, what then? Do you drop it, (the job, the kid, the husband, the direction) because it isn't bringing you peace? Even if it is important? Because you might want something different, better, smoother, quieter? Do you just abandon it for higher, I mean, lower ground?

Forgive my rambling. I seem to have gotten way off track here.

Anyway, I shall go step by step, seeing what unfolds. Trusting that my unique skills and abilities and conflicts and emotions are dancing out quite a dance. A perfect dance. A dance that belongs somewhere. Somewhere I just can't
quite see yet.

Probably looking up too high.

In any case, may it all be purposeful.