the past few weeks/months have been so full with much change and creation. i’ve been riding the wave of life and creativity with gusto! the movement has been exhilarating, with both significant inner and outer shifts.

i’m feeling a need to open the valve to my writing and release some energy/pressure that has been building in response to all of this movement…

and honestly, because there is so much, i hardly know where to begin.

and so, i’m taking this first lil step.


there. now, more soon…



sacramental life

i want to participate in a sacramental life
where each inhalation of life 
is met with exhalation of that life, manifested 
in the in-between space alchemized in the lungs through choice

where each inner shift is greeted by movement 
i can perceive and know in this body 
where the truth that resides deep, deep down 
spirals out of me into the world 
so that i can look it in its eye
and say, "well, damnnn." 
and maybe also, "hello, wonderful." 

i want to cherish reality as it is
discovering the divine dance that is always underway
patiently waiting for me to join in 
its flow and holiness

i want to honor and respect the truth
as the oars that connect my body-boat into the flowing water of life
so that we become one, moving seamlessly together

i want to participate
in the sacrament that life is--always already, 
with or without my awareness.
i want to awaken, moment by moment
to the mystical nature of this beautiful unfolding mystery 
and with heart open and hands outstretched, 

take my rightful place; 
offer all i can, holding nothing back; 
in service to Love.  

the Other

i’m here working through some ideas on the Other, Othering, and our relationships with the Other…

back in the day, as a student in Philosophy and Women’s Studies, particularly my days in deep dive study of psychoanalysis, post-colonial, feminist, Black Feminist theory (calling in Bhaba, Lacan, Derrida, Iriguaray, Collins), there was a lot of debate and theorizing around the term “Other”: when to capitalize, when to use lower case, when to use the verb…it all feels ridiculous to me, now. i say this to nod to the decades i’ve been in these questions. the decades they’ve been working me.

a good reminder of the wayward and beautiful journey to love, liberation.

for a long time i held that “Other” and definitely “Othering” was a bad thing. there was harm in our westernized, dualistic thinking and beliefs that led to such behavior. i no longer believe this.

it’s noteworthy that i held this to be true despite my extensive study on the matter, which centered on the need for Other and its vital role in the development of self-identity; after all, there’s a difference between intellectual knowing and embodied knowing.

my lived experience taught me, conditioned me to know that Othering was violent, hateful, based in fear.

now, i know that Othering is necessary and healthy in the development of wholeness. the Other provides a mirror to the self, allowing access to parts of ourselves that we cannot access in isolation. in relationship with the Other, we can gain more and more access to the truth of who we are individually, communally, collectively.

the question–the sticking point–is what it means, what it asks of us to be in relationship with the Other. relationship requires subject and object. it requires self. it requires mutuality. it requires reciprocity, dynamism. relationships are conduits, channels, bridges that connect two or more individual beings through energy, resource-sharing, love. fear shuts down the flow and blocks relationship.

how can we open to the Other? how we can be in relationship with the Other?

the answer to these questions is determined in large part by the degree to which we can open to ourselves.

ironically, as necessary as the Other is in our development, i see one of the most harmful patterns of domination and supremacy culture being an addiction to “the Other”. addiction is co-dependency; it precludes relationship. co-dependency lacks a healthy self and looks to the external to complete/fill/validate. rather than the Ubuntu wisdom of “I am because WE are”, it assumes a stance of “I am because YOU are”, looking to the Other for security and identity. the gaze is locked solidly on the Other, never returning back in relationship to the self.

the Other becomes the object of desire, project, blame/shame/guilt. the Other becomes object.

rather than relationship, there is transaction. a quid pro quo deal. the gaze is fixated externally– for the problem, for the answer, for everything. attention is directly completely outside the self.

the issue is that with the lack of self, the promise of the Other is thwarted. with no return to the self, there can be no development. there can be no growth, connection, relationship, love. only fear. only a reproduction of separation, us/them, domination, supremacy.

to end violence, we must locate ourselves in the story. there is a turning inward that is an essential element of development–we gotta bring ourselves in!

for me, this is what the meaning and call of the innerground railroad. it is naming that where we have been limited in the work of healing and reconciliation–particularly racial reconciliation–is the sole external focus between people, between communities, between White folx and BIPOC folx. there’s has been a missing link: the inner journey.

without this, we just keep doing violence.

the even more painful piece is that this isn’t just true on an individual level. we don’t just deny our own personal development by turning away from our inner truth, the Other within. it is true communally, collectively. the medicine, the wisdom, the perspectives, the skills, the gifts available within humanity as a whole are laying wasted because of our refusal to be with the truth of ourselves.

in our book, we quote Daniel Deardoff in his wisdom:

“The prohibitive cost of denying Otherness could not be more crucial to the survival of the human race. Our mass refusal to face the ‘Other within’ has engendered a regime of sociopolitical atrocities, genocidal horrors and environmental devastations–a virulent storm of global of proportions. Contrary to the tenets of foreign policy and social activism, a remedy for this aggressive pandemic cannot be mediated, legislated, or enforced at a global, regional, or municipal level; it can only begin at the root, within each individual (intra-personally) and within our nearest and most intimate relations (inter-personally). It is therefore in this small and most private of territories that the potential for a truly humane society can begin.”

beginning at the root, within…

this morning i was blessed with a poignant, heartfelt, authentic story from Tom. he is a White gay priest and shared that he was choosing stories that felt most vulnerable–not the canned ones he usually shares. these stories, he said, were those about relationships in his life.

these relationships were with the Other. each story told of a person of color with/by whom he was drawn, connected, related, and formed. for Tom, there always seemed to be a faith that in knowing the Other, he’d come to know and love more of himself and therefore, God.

Othering holds the promise of Belonging

when we orient from the beginning at the root, within

imbolc: in the belly

last night i took the girls to mom’s for pizza. well, dewey’s pizza, which is a whole other thing.

on the feast day of saint brigid, goddess of threshold and fire, i found myself in an in-between time and space. here, i sat at my mother’s table with my two growing-up daughters–meg, 13 and kate, days away from 23–in the shifting of our relationships.

kate’s enthusiasm for her upcoming quest radiated, spilling out in stories, hopes, questions, belly laughter. the preparation for her three+ month venture in Europe was revealed as she talked of all the things she was packing, the experiences she planned, concerns she had.

on one side of me sat my child. she was both so known by me and also so increasingly not–she is becoming a whole new version of herself…and us.

because as we sat with her–me and my mother/her grandmother–it was clear that kate carried threads of us in her own unique weaving of her/us.

my mom, sitting on the other side of me, mirrored elements of kate in her take-no- bullshit attitude, sassy cackle, and unapologetic take-me-as-i-am air…chiming in and out of the conversation with a convenient confusion that she blamed on her hearing aids. my mom, so clearly contributing to this very moment and who kate/i/we are becoming.

with meg, just at the beginning of her/our own becoming.

the beauty and sorrow in the unfolding…the gratitude.

it all brings the question spiraling back to heart/mind, really a prayer these days: who am i/we now? and who am i/we becoming?

at their age–13, 23–i could not have imagined who i/we are now: sitting with my mother and daughters as my oldest embarks on her grand adventure.

i could not have imagined.

and yet, here we are.

on this day of Imbolc, there was so much gratitude for my woman’s heart, for my woman’s body, for my woman’s womb. i know what it means to feel the stirring of new life within. to bear that new life and then to nurture and sustain her, letting her go over and over and over again…

…and with each surrender, surrendering too a version of my self.

in my/our becoming.


harm is never done in isolation. violence is never private. pain is never meant to be experienced alone.

because we are connected.

trauma is not the event. it is the response to it. or perhaps more aptly, the lack thereof.

what does it mean to acknowledge harm done and respond it to that harm, in communal relationship? honoring our interconnectedness, interdependence?

it’s been a life long, compelling question for me and i find myself in it differently these days.

i have a folder in my inbox entitled “nope”. it’s five years old, created in 2018. it’s time to turn that inbox outward. to let it go. to release.

i am committed to no longer upholding the myths of independence. i do not want to participate in this lie any longer…and so, here i am, shedding another layer of that…

since 2018, there have been harassing emails/texts/social media messages sent to me and/or people i love and/or people or orgs with whom i work. these hateful messages are accusatory in nature, making claims about my personal ethics, morals, my marriage. and, they are accusatory of the person/org receiving the message, making implicit threats about that person’s/organizational character, integrity for being in relationship with me.

i’ve learned a lot from these fearful, hateful, violent emails. they continue to teach me and point me to more healing. now, the lesson is in how to open up even more in the face of the hard stuff and turn to community. trauma conditions us to turn away. i’m saying nope.

it’s been interesting to me who shares these messages with me. who confronts the attacker and who doesn’t. who is willing to face the darkness and who isn’t.

for example, just the other day, an org leader shared with me that more messages had been received by staff. none of those staff had shared with me directly, despite the fact that we are in relationship.

trauma is not the event itself. it is the response to it. or lack thereof. it has honestly been more hurtful to learn and imagine that people choose to not acknowledge or share with me than the messages themselves.

i know most folks would keep the messages to themselves out of good intentions–out of concern for me. this mindset is based in supremacy and the assumption that it is the job of one to decide for the other. to tend to the other. to fix or solve or save the other.

i am a grown up. treat me like one. it is dehumanizing, otherwise.

i promise, i will do the same. i will speak up when i see harm. i will do my best to not turn away from the pain.

i am now turning my inbox outward: nope. these messages of attack are not about me, alone. they are about us and who we choose to be, together. my hope is that if you receive one, please consider what feels right for you in response? don’t make it just about me. how do you want to respond to harm?

harm is never in isolation. violence is never private. pain is never meant to be experienced alone.

therefore, repair and response is communal.


“i’m here for transformation”–a mantra of sorts these past years, months, with a particular pitch these past weeks. i’m interested, devoted to creating a new story of love and connection. this requires transformation. it requires metabolizing the pain and trauma in the creation of new life.

when we are clear on what we want and open to it, the universe meets us there with lessons, gifts, wisdom, opportunities to practice. because when we utter a prayer and express a heart’s desire, our inner self has already taken the shape of that desire. therefore, the external shifts to reflect that inner truth.

it’s miraculous. magical.

several weeks ago, i heard a quote by marianne williamson that struck my heart and has stayed with me, working me in all kinds of ways: “Magic happens when you tell the universe what you want it to do for you; miracles happen when you ask how you can be of service to the universe.”

right now, it me has sitting with the practice of surrender.

on the path of transformation, there comes a point when we can no longer sit in the driver’s seat. we have been faced with the reality that we are not the Master Creator; there has been truth revealed that there is fact, a whole much bigger than us and if we can be honest…really honest about this, we simply do not know the way.

pema chodron gave me words to this a decade ago in her book When Things Fall Apart: “The off-center, in-between state is an ideal situation, a situation in which we don’t get caught and we can open our hearts and minds beyond limit… To stay with that shakiness–to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge–that is the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic–this is the spiritual path.”

if we can be honest…really honest about this state of not knowing, we can choose to surrender our will over and let life have its way with us.

last night during our second session of the Innerground Railroad series, a participant shared that they sometimes claw their whole fall into surrender. this is why surrender often comes on the heels of crisis–not of our own conscious choosing.

as Meg Wheatley says, “it’s not easy to give up the role of master creator and move into the dance of life.”

falling apart is, after all, not something we generally choose to do. it’s devastating. it requires death.

sue monk kidd recently gifted me with the etymological meaning of “crisis” as “separation”. there has been a separation from our old form; our old story no longer fits, no longer serves. a crisis point.

and with that, comes choice. what do choose to do? or, again returning to the words of Meg Wheatley, “who do we choose to be?”

it’s really a matter of fear or love. i’m not an either-or person. and, there are two forces in the universe. do we choose fear? and return to the comfort of the old story? falling back into the patterns of our old self? or, do we choose love?

and if that choice is love, then there is a surrender. there is a willingness to let go and let God.

i can’t believe i actually wrote that. LOL and, it’s true.

God, mystery, unknowing, LIFE.

because being in that not knowing state of being is the moment when the caterpillar dissolves into goo, preparing for its next stage of development.

unlike butterflies however, the invitation in surrender is both to go inward and reach out for community. we cannot truly surrender alone, in isolation. to really fall apart–and completely surrender into the dissolution of our own goo–there is communal holding required. i cannot relinquish my desperate grasp of the Master’s will without companions, guides, elders who help me to see whole self and allow me to practice myself into my new incarnation.

i wonder…maybe community is the chrysalis. and we form ourselves within in it, meeting ourselves anew over and over and over again.

last weekend, i was helping to lead a community who was in significant change. the question for me was whether there was willingness to transform. was there willingness to surrender? there were different levels of consent around this and as the group moved together over the course of a very messy and beautiful and challenging twenty-four hours, there were moments where the death of who they had been was named and a vision for who they were becoming was expressed.

then, painfully they’d be hooked back into the old form. even when it no longer fit. even when it no longer held true. making decisions and acting with authority that no longer operated in the ways it had.

i named this as honestly and clearly as i could, “we now have an opportunity to organize ourselves differently.” and yet, the collective choice was to continue on…

this is not to say that there was not transformation that occurred during that time, individually, communally. it is to bear witness to the role of surrender in our transformation. to allow ourselves to dwell in the not knowing, to honor it, to give it reverence.

i do not have the answers. actually, i’m no longer interested in the answers. it’s the questions that matter most to me.

last night’s game-changer

last night’s bengals and bills game was a game-changer.

i am not a football fan and generally am not tuned in at all to football. my husband and those with whom i have always lived and loved are. yesterday’s game generated lots of excitement for lots of reasons and so for some reason, i found myself snugglin’ in just at the very moment of darmar hamlin’s fall.

to witness that moment and the response to it has been moving…

…as in, i believe there was a shift in public consciousness. or, there is an opportunity for it, if we stay awake to the power of what has transpired and how/why the story is unfolding as it is.

i’m reminded here of dr. king’s question during his last sermon: “what does it take to stay awake during a social revolution?” a question that haunts me often when there feels like a BIG moment collective experience has inspired a big collective reaction…i know likely because of my desire for a response (vs a reaction) that moves and transforms.

i want this moment to be one that moves me/us, transforms me/us, awakens me/us. so i come here, to writing as an act of bearing witness.

last night, from 8:55-just a bit before 10pm EST, i witness acts of prophecy.

in the immediate aftermath of hamlin’s health crisis, all scripts were mute. there was no precedent. those contributing to the public narrative–sportscasters and analysts and reporters–were left to find their own way in a time with very little information and a lot of strong emotion. we were watching espn’s coverage and Booger Macfarland, Adam Schefter and Suzy Kolber were the commenters. it was a lesson in how to be present to the truth of here and now.

Macfarland led the way. his capacity to be clearly with the truth of happening–the life and death situation hamlin was facing was strikingly powerful. and painful, as Kolber and Schefter struggled, clearly with different capacities. Kolber (a White woman), clung desperately to the role and purpose of the “show”, attempting to direct their attention on the game and what was next and how the teams would “gather to focus”. Macfarland (a Black, previous football player) was like an oak tree. he refused to participate in that conversation; in fact, he refused to even look at her. i appreciated that from him so much as i could also hardly bear to hear what felt like sacrilegious blah blah blah blah at such a holy time.

Macfarland unapologetically stayed with the truth of the moment. he called for prayer–over and over and over.

this, during NFL Monday night football, at 8:57pm, moments after Hamlin’s crisis. he, along with the players themselves dropped into the truth of the moment–dropping to their knees on the field–and into prayer. Schefter joined Macfarland’s call for prayer, for reverance; Macfarland’s clarity demanded it. eventually, Kolber joined them. relunctantly, hesitantly, with fear…she eventually found them there, in the truth of the moment.

ultimately, so did the NFL and the Player’s Association as they affirmed what already was.

because Macfarland’s prophecy–his bold truth-telling–began insisting the game be suspended. he stayed with the reality of what was unfolding and the only thing that mattered: the health and wellbeing of Hamlin, who was not just a football player but a human being. he kept calling us all out into our own humanity. he especially called out the NFL.

despite what many folks are claiming was the right thing for the NFL and the Players’ Association to do in deciding to suspend the game, the game was already suspended.

a small debate broke out in our house around who was making the decisions. there is the illusion of power and last night, there was the illusion that the game (of NFL and of LIFE) was being called by those “in power” in the NFL.

i think this is both hilarious and also maddening. actually, i get pretty pissed at this. we miss the point!! last night, the power was not with the NFL!

for me, i witnessed clearly the power of prophecy in Macfarland and countless others who refused to turn away from the truth of what was happening–the players, those in the stands, those on social media–and in so doing, generated a power that transformed a Monday night football game into a collective experience of prayer.

we became church.




beyond any religion. beyond any faith. across race, class, teams.

we were humans, together.

the NFL didn’t decide this. the Players’ Association didn’t decide this. we decided. Macfarland decided.

and actually…taking it just a bit further…we didn’t decide. it wasn’t like Macfarland went into deliberation, took a poll, gathered information. his choice was different.

there was willingness to listen, be present to the truth, and to then respond. there was action. and it was Spirit-led.

to witness, experience that kind of power…

let me/remember this moment. let me/us be moved by it.

amen and ashe.

circle + Circle

i recently participated in a five day Circle Immersion led by Quanita Roberson and Tenneson Woolf. as a long-time circle practitioner of circle–through both formal training and ancestral/community knowing–it felt important to return as a participant, to be held and to fully experience the form from a different perspective. also, the timing was right as a way to deeply integrate all the learning from what has been a full season of life.

in other words, i wanted to practice circle as a way to become more Circle.

Circle is Life. Life is Circle.

the message i kept receiving was I AM CIRCLE. practice matters.

in other words: yes, circle is a methodology. there are structures, roles, tips for how to practice in way that cultivates connection, presence, community. and, it is a methodology that holds the potential to realize a truer Circle–both within and without. circle is an image; Circle, the archetype. when they come together–where the form meets the essence of Life, Truth is revealed.

here are some Truths revealed to me, still stirring:

the form can both support and undermine connection. when we hold too rigid to the rules, there is limited room for Spirit and the flow of energy. the question is: how can we build and cultivate connection? where does the form support it and where are we called to let go of it in order to follow the energy?

rest and spaciousness. rest and spaciousness allow room for imagination, heart-opening, for new life. we jam ourselves so full–with information, activities, busy-ness–there is little room for creativity and innovation. little room for growth. little room for the cycles of death, life, rebirth. we become stuck in a reactive mode of downloading the same patterns of addiction. response and response-ability require rest.

the center and Source. in circle/Circle, it’s not just the rim that matters. we are creating something, together. the center is that creation. contributing to the center directs our attention to the thing that is more than the sum of our parts. it’s a thing that comes when we are together, truly together in right relationship. it’s the life that emerges from the whole. it’s the third thing. and the center is different from Source. Source is inspires and encourages us–our own inner voice; it’s what holds us and allows for the center to be more than what we could imagine.

white supremacy, patriarchy, imperialism shape and condition how each of us enters and experiences circle/Circle. whiteness brings forth individualism; BIPOC lived experiences brings forth the collective. for white folks, circle supports the movement from the individual to the collective. for BIPOC folks, circle supports the movement from the collective to the individual. being together in circle promises balance where there is a willingness to both hold the form and let go.

the art and science of circle. there are methods and processes to circle that matter. there is skillfulness. and there is an art, a listening to and following the enerngy that the intuition, heart and body nkows that is beyond any trained skillfulness. circle is a dance.

circle. Circle.

Circle is life. Circle is God. Circle is everything.

circle practice helps us to remember. how to be human–what it means, what it asks from us, what is possible when we are together, what it feels like–so that we can take this remembrance into the Circle of our lives.

reality as sacred

open to reality as it is…this vow, first introduced to me through Shambhala Path of the Warrior training seven years ago has finally fully landed in my bones.

how could i ever want anything other than this very moment?

i know the stretch of this question. and i know the truth of it.

this morning on the way to the trail with the dogs, i discovered company–a man and his two dogs, who also run wild. it was unwanted, not what i envisioned for my morning time. i was grumpy. and then, leaned in. i chose to walk the trails with my pups, in the way that worked given the circumstances. we took a shorter route and headed to the dog park. we had it to ourselves. as the dogs roamed, i sat with the rising sun. finding myself returning to an old meditation practice of rooting and connecting, it was glorious.

i felt so alive that we came home and i went for a run. it’s been a long time since i ran. it felt so good. it felt like home. i felt like home. the quiet that comes with runing is like no other quiet i’ve discovered–a stillness that accompanies the motion of my body. a counterbalance.

there is not anything to fix or solve. in the arms of Mother Life and Father Love, all is beautiful.