the hunt

i am a Hunter, from a long line of Hunters. many of us carry the name.

i am/we are on the hunt for truth–the scent of love, liberation, life.

it is suiting that bo, a hound dog mix, has found his way to our family. Spirit is so exact (a term i’ll always credit to Jojopahmaria Nsoroma for its perfection).

sunday, on the hunter’s full moon, i set out to the farm for some solo time with bo, just the two of us. it wasn’t planned that way, in fact, it was far from our plans. life often has something better cooked up for us than what we can imagine.

on the drive there, a coaching client reached out in struggle. there was pain. there was heartbreak. i was reminded of Chögyam Trungpa’s invitation in these times–to “lean into the sharp points”.

i asked her first, slowing her down: what hurts?

there are layers of hurt. some ours, some ancestral, some collective. we don’t always know what the hurt is. in many ways, it doesn’t even really matter. the question supports our relationship with the hurt. it opens up curiosity, room for possibility.

and then, this offer: stay with the hurt. this is not the time for analysis, diagnosis, learning. simply be with it. allow the hurt to have its way with you.

lessons of the descent have been central in my training as a Hunter. western culture has conditioned us to fear the descent: it is hell; there is darkness; it is unknown. and for this, we have suffered. we turn away from the hurt with fear, from fear. we masterfully create walls, lies, compartments and take refuge there, in small worlds that exclude parts of our story, parts of ourselves.

this is a trauma reaction. it is both what has kept us alive and also what entropies. the time comes when this refuge is too constricting, when the lies no longer hold up, when the walls serve up an encounter with ourselves that reveals an ache, compelling us to either take on the fetal position or to spread our wings and glimpse beyond those walls.

the descent.

as a Hunter on the hunt for truth, i honor the importance of the descent. in a time of such collective awakening, i’m drawn to the power of the descent and also see trauma’s genius in seducing us instead into patterns of avoidance and denial–often through distraction and busyness. sensing this push and pull (to and away from truth) is a gift of unlearning whiteness and the devotion to turning inward and growing intimate with my fear, my pain; this conditioning has trained me well in my hunting. i honor the wounds for the medicine they offer, in time. i know truth resides there/here.

descent feels like a balance to the over-emphasized journey of ascent, a spiritual and mystical path that is a vital part of healing and transformation and yet, without growth in equal measure in descent, can result in spiritual bypassing, another form of avoidance and denial. the roots and the branches grow in balance.

bo and i arrive at the farm. we are Hunters on the hunt who have journeyed here in ceremony, to honor Life. to call it a farm feels somewhat ridiculous. the land is completely wild, barren. the earth feels naked, exposed, wanting. farm is an invocation for who we will grow into, together.

after some time in the pond, bo and i along with a newly aquainted neighbor-friend, german shepherd, make our way down to the dry creek bed. sycamore and autumn olives and cedar meet us along the way. ravens fly overhead, making quite a raucous. the brush is thick and the sky is blue. i am keenly aware of this track as a descent, in awe of Spirit’s exact teaching. here in this place, at this time, i was being offered an experience of the very journey i’d been honoring. and so we go. there is a spot at the depths of the incline that invites me to sit. alongside a wall of limestone and near a fallen sycamore, with wild roots unearthed, i stay. for a while. listening to the raven and the unfamiliar sounds of this place, listening to my heart.

listening to my heart.

giving thanks for my own intimacy with the descent, my relationship with the wounds, the evidence of the medicine those wounds promise. there is peace.

then, the shepherd and hound begin ferociously growling. gathered at my feet, their relaxation turns quickly to high alert. i could not see or smell or hear or feel or sense what they could. terror reached her long and crooked fingers around my neck and choked me.

i turned to bo, my first time doing so in this way of seeking support. let’s go, boy. he knew precisely what i meant and led us out, turning back periodically to check on me. i followed right behind him, my heart–just moments before so peaceful–now beating so loudly.

i am Hunter and i am hunted.

three minutes later and we ascended the hill and arrived at the first landing of wide open earth. the sun greeted us as we moved out from the canopy of trees. the dogs and i did a happy dance as we felt the relief of the landscape that offered absolute visibility, where all was exposed. mystery receded.

we did ceremony under the hunter’s full moon. we offered gifts to the land, to the earth, to the water, to the fire. we drummed. we chanted. we prayed. we sat.

i am a Hunter. i come from a long line of Hunters.

to be guided by grandmother moon and mother earth in the remembrance of who i am/we are with teachings on the nature of the hunt…for this and more i am grateful.


i’ve just arrived home from celebrating the consecration of my dear friend, Phyllis Spiegel as Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Utah. it was truly a consecration, literally meaning “with-the sacred”.

sacred and sacramental: an outward expression of what already is. to make holy/ wholly. honoring reality by making explicit what was already implicit. Phyllis had already been ordained by God as Bishop and this ceremony simply evidenced that truth.

just over a year ago, Phyllis invited another friend, Jane and I to join her on a pilgrimage to Red River Gorge. the three of us were what felt like a crossroads in our lives, discerning the next step in our soul and spirit journey. Phyllis is a believer in the cloud of witnesses and there was a strong sense that each of us needed the others to listen and discern.

the day after we returned from that trip, she learned of the Diocese of Utah’s call. we’d return to those rocks two additional times over the next several months, supporting and bearing witness to Phyllis’ journey and in nurturing our own. in these soul journeys, it is never just one of us to whom we are attending; the interdependence cultivates our own individuality–a mutual and reciprocal exchange of giving/receiving.

we each hold essential seeds for one another’s dreams, for one another. the magic then, when a dream is realized is just that: the dream is not just the individual’s. it is a manifestation of our collective, authentic participation in an unfolding that is beyond our imagination. in these moments of witness, we are both humbled in our smallness and emboldened in our essentiality. we belong to one another; we are one another. Phyllis was not the only one consecrated on Saturday. we all were.

i write this on the eve of autumnal equinox, the beginning of the Celtic Year of the Soul. i had plans for this day, this Year of the Soul. i’ve been calling it The Journey Home. i imagined it being a series of gatherings across Kentucky for women creatives and dreamers on the equinoxes and solstices to journey inward and in relationship with the land and creation. before offering to others, i decided to make the journey personally this year…

…and as life would have it, the journey isn’t quite what i imagined. it is much more. tomorrow, after years of holding the seeds of our dream to be stewards of land in our homeland of Kentucky, we are closing on our property. we are officially birthing Wild Roots Farm.

this vision is not mine/ours alone. many have held the vision with us, offering essential seeds to its manifestation…and will continue to do so, undoubtedly. it’s already happening.

so, today on this eve of autumnal equinox, i give thanks for the dream seeds that we each carry, in heart and soul.

we truly are magical, together.

writing my way…

sometimes i come here with a clear message. sometimes it is to follow and work out threads of story and to make meaning of life. sometimes it is to simply be with myself.

now is one of those times.

i’m reminded of a favorite quote by sportswriter Red Smith : “there’s nothing at all to writing. all you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” 

it’s not always painful. it can be cathartic. it can feel holy.

i have nothing to say…there are no words for now.

there are a lot of feelings. mostly, rage. and some grief. fury.

it’s not mine. and it’s in me. i’ve learned to tell the difference. and i’ve also learned it doesn’t matter–and in fact, is impossible–to figure out and analyze. i’m also learning the power of being with the feelings. they are here with purpose.

i recall meg wheatley’s teaching to acknowledge strong emotions: “there is sadness.”

in our world now, to slow down to feel much less name our strong emotions feels revolutionary.

because it is.

and i’m realizing that i’m here, i suppose, to utter aloud: “there is sadness. there is grief. there is rage. there is fury…and there is confusion.”

and it’s ok. it is what it is to be human.

an anniversary with Truth

seven years ago today, i resigned my job at the University of Cincinnati where i had worked for thirteen years. my resignation came in response to institutional bullshit and dishonesty that i refused to participate in any longer. the decision was part protest and part self-preservation. i chose the truth. i chose my Self.

i remember hearing about how a body is completely changed in seven years, each cell different. whether this is actually true biologically, on this day i find the story deeply resonant.

in the seven years since i chose Truth, i’ve learned and grown and stand here now, a wholly different woman. it’s been a journey to grow in relationship with the Truth.

Truth. as an eighteen year old college student, my desire to seek the truth led me to declare a philosophy major, pouring over and writing and studying theories of truth. it led me to the scholarship of women’s studies and the practice of feminist activism, seeking and fighting for the truth often hidden away by dominant, oppressive narratives/structures. it called me to train as a counselor and trauma healer, working with the dark and hidden truths that wound and hurt, and offer healing and medicine.

and i’ve also hidden and disconnected and denied and lied–to others, and most of all, to myself.

as i’ve grown in courage to be with the Truth–the good, the bad, the ugly–the truth has revealed itself to me as love, liberation, and protection.

Truth has been a LOUD theme the past several weeks.

the saturday after hannah died, i was to depart for alburquerque, new mexico for the first in-person teaching with the Living School. i had been preparing and the timing of hannah’s death felt very much connected. i thought at the time that hannah died on thursday to clearly release me for the pilgrimage.

that was true. just not in the way i imagined.

in the wee hours of that saturday morning, with a heavy and grieving heart, i boarded my flight. grief had emptied me and i recognized that i no longer cared about the week in alburquerque or the faculty’s teachings or any of it. i only hurt for hannah. turns out, the plane arrived in chicago and then announced that due to weather we’d be turning around to return to cincinnati. (as i often say, you can’t make this shit up!). as we made the trip back, i realized the relief that came with the reality of coming home. and then, the reality that home was where i wanted to be. and then, the remembrance of the core teaching of the Living School that our very life is the primary sacred text. and then, the truth of how attached i’d become to the idea of being in alburquerque with my teachers and how the idea of being in the Living School was actually pulling me away from The Living School, from my present life. and then finally, the question of whether i was actually going to get off the plane and after all of the planning/preparing/waiting, choose Truth. would i, could i, be with Truth?

i did. because while i know it is actually a choice–God gave us free will and we can’t screw it up–there are also consequences that come with our choices. i know the cost of denying the Truth, of looking the other way. i came home, took to the bed in grief and relished being among my beloveds during such a tender time.

turns out, the theme of the Living School teaching that week was Prophecy, the practice of listening for, opening to, and acting on the Truth. even more, on being the Truth. also, on grief as a portal to access Truth. (i’ll say it again: you cannot make this shit up!).

Truth. i am not talking about facts. Truth is more than this. i am talking about a knowing, wisdom. and also a journey in becoming faithful to our particular way of knowing.

last weekend, Quanita and i hosted a Feminine Wisdom Retreat drawing on the wisdom of Jamie Sams’ 13 Original Clan Mothers. the Clan Mothers are connected to each lunar cycle, offering a unique teaching on Truth. the ancient wisdom focuses on the Journey of Truth as the Journey of Transformation and includes teachings on How to Listen to the Truth; How to Honor the Truth; How to Accept the Truth; How to See the Truth; How to Hear the Truth; How to Speak the Truth; How to Love the Truth; How to Serve the Truth; How to Live the Truth; How to Work with the Truth; How to Walk the Truth; How to be Grateful for the Truth; How to Be the Truth.

today, on this seven year anniversary of my stand for truth, i can heartfully say i know the meaning of Jesus’ wisdom in John 8:31-23: “the truth will set you free.”

twisting and spinning and dodging and hiding so to not fully face the Truth is to turn away from life and living. it is to choose death and dying.

the Truth ain’t easy. it includes both shadow and light, parts that tempt shame and blame and guilt. and yet, when we can be with Truth, the sting of it dissipates. as James Finley so beautifully put it, “when love touches suffering, suffering becomes mercy.” love…because to be with truth both requires love and also bears love.

Truth asks of us to open ourselves to the in-flow and out-flow of an ever-present love that at times feels like a soft ember and at other times rages like a blazing fire.

in these seven years of healing and learning and practice, i’ve learned to be in relationship with Truth, to trust and respect my own unique truth and allow more and more space for other truths to join with that knowing. i’ve grown in my appreciation for grief and her movement and allowance for more of the story: the presence of others’ truths and for parts of my own that were still unconscious to me. i’ve grown in my practice of truth-telling not as a self-righteous act or a slap in the face or as an imposed threat with accompanying expectations but as a sacred act of integrity, alignment with the Divine, a sacrament to Self.

i’ve experienced Truth as protection, liberation, love. and on this, my anniversary with Truth, i renew my vow with her.

with a deep bow,


the mama’s heart

home, the morning after returning from co-hosting Feminine Wisdom retreat as much in the inner home swirls and finds it new arrangement, the external home does so, too.

so much big life stuff: Kate returns from New Hampshire weeks of being in her joy, coming home to face Hannah’s absence and Bo’s presence. Thomas going to college today, moving out this afternoon with excitement and loads of energy for this next step and life change. Michael, welcoming his teachers and staff today in his new role as principal at Reading. our land, now under contract with the seeds of our closely held vision sprouting. our grief for Hannah rising up in yet another wave as our family passes through this threshold: Meg sharing her dreams of her; Thomas expressing how much he wishes she was here to see him off, as she did for him when he began pre-school. and me, aware of all of it. my mama’s heart so full, breaking open as it does.

calling on the mothers and Great Mother for support. last night, as I lay waiting for sleep that never really came, i invoked them. be with me. show me. hold me.

i felt my grandmother near me like i did as a child when i’d sleep with her. her smell of baby powder, her hair net, her long, flannel nightgown and her snoring. we’d giggle and giggle at her “cutting logs” all night. i lay there, feeling the comfort of her presence, the embrace of her grandmothering. it had been so long since that memory sensation of her had been with me like this. and Hannah. my grief for her swelling up and drawing me to her, feeling her close and showing me: here’s how you take and hold it all. here’s how you remain present, each moment drinking in all of reality with love. the good, the bad, the ugly dissolving in and through love into love. all of life fermenting us, growing us. raising us.

She is raising us.

I am raising us.

We are rising.

knowing what we know

when i was eighteen years old, i witnessed my beloved cat, Suzie get hit by a truck and killed. i’d been calling her from across the street to come home. she hadn’t listened. i turned away from her to go back inside when i heard a truck coming down the street. panicked–knowing our pattern and that she’d likely begun to follow me, since i was no longer paying attention–i turned back around just in time to see her heading into the truck’s direct path. panic overtook me and i began screaming at her: turn back! run faster! stop! utter confusion and horror. and then, death. it was horrible.

how do we trust ourselves and one another to know what we know?

this morning, my girl Rosie was asking for a walk. she’s been through a lot of change with the loss of her companion Hannah and then the new addition of Bo. our constellation of family has wholly shifted and she’s feeling it. because i love her so, i’m paying attention. as I do, i’m noticing the deeply ingrained compulsions to spring into protection, comfort, coddling mode. there are times these compulsions make good sense: Bo plowing over her in his rowdy play; her refusal to eat; her pitiful eyes gazing into our hurting hearts.

it is here, in that exact moment when the compulsion to intervene returns me to the memory of Suzie’s death. despite what we know (as in, i actually knew she would be hit by that truck), we cannot know what the other knows. maybe, if i hadn’t screamed hysterically, she would have heard more clearly her own instincts and moved out of the way.

back to the walk this morning. i didn’t want to go. i had other plans. i tried to hand off her request to one of the kids. they fussed saying the dogs had already been out. “why do we have take them again?” it was not something i could explain. it was a felt sense and i wanted it be offered from joy and love, not resentment. so i dropped the plans and off we went. Rosie, Bo, and me.

walks, i’m learning are her favorite time with him. she is most at ease and most free to be herself in this time of transition.

we arrived at our favorite hillside, a completely open meadow where she always tugs at the leash to be released so that she can RUN. it always drove Hannah crazy and she also loved it. they’d play wildly, doing mad laps around the entire park. it’s always been total joy. since Hannah died, Rosie hasn’t tugged; she hasn’t found her wild; there’s been no interest in running. today, when we approached the hillside, i sat down with Bo. i told her to, GO. i unleashed her. and said it again. GO. Bo and i sat; we waited.

slowly she headed down the hill and found a puddle and laid there.

we continued to wait. Bo, so sweet and patient, with an unexplainable understanding of precisely what was happening.

we waited. we stayed. we waited. for a long time.

Bo and I slowly made our way down to her. she continued to simply lie there. oh, grief. she was in it and she needed to be alone, still. in that place.

Bo began to get excited to see her as we grew closer and then tasted the moment and stilled.

Rosie got up, turned for home, and led us along the path. she was different. we all knew it.

how do we trust ourselves and one another to know what we know?

as we came up the path, there she was: Mama Deer. standing with poise and power, staring straight at us. it was like she’d been waiting for us.


Rosie, still off leash headed for her, chasing her. just then, a car began toward her and i could anticipate just what i anticipated 30 years ago with Suzie. terror. my heart skipped, my breath caught.

i called her name, in more of a prayer this time. i respect Rosie’s knowing and have learned the painful lessons of intervening based on the lack of faith–lack of respect–of an other.

Rosie figured it out. prancing, head high, we headed home.

Mama Deer watching us, on her hillside. proud.

my heart, pounding with tears of grief and grace flowing. Bo, happily bounding alongside.

how do we trust ourselves and one another to know what we know?


it is wednesday morning. glorious thunderstorms.

the skies are sharing in this powerful, heartwrenching time of acceptance. hannah died six days ago.

through her death, there has been access to Love. the veil, thin and at times, completely dissolved. it is a holy time. all is sacred.

in times like these, all is here to support. i want to remember this reality. it is evidence.

there’s been the rain, the thunder. rosemary for eggs, the cardinal, skunk, and raccoon–both babies and flirty. Lily dog. Stanley, the prophet with the shofar at the park. hummingbird. movie milk duds with meg midday. even what is not is holy: Living School in-person at Albuquerque.

and with each breath, each single encounter with Life, there is evidence of a love story so encompassing…words fall short.

Hannah, my sweet apricot poodle mama dog loved us so completely, so absolutely, so unconditionally, changing us evermore.

changing me, evermore.

now, together we occupy this chrysalis time of change, taking on new forms within the womb of the Great Mother.

there is the universal pattern of life: life/death/rebirth. order/disorder/reorder.

let it rain down. the thunder is the amen.

true religion

a couple of weeks ago, i attended a friend’s consecration in her new gig as a priest. the ceremony was beautiful, a time of honoring a new story in the chapter of this community. during the sermon, the meaning of religion was offered, returning us/them to the purpose of faith community. it was pointed out that the term religion originates from the Latin root “ligare” which means “to bind”. religion–just like the term “ligament”–is the connective tissue that re-binds us together in the web of life.

the reminder was timely and has stayed with me these last weeks.

i’ve never considered myself a religious person. like many, i’d refer to myself as “spiritual but not religious” and i’d emphasize “religious” with a longer-than-usual draw and likely, a squint of the eye as my eye is doing that as i write this. i’ve held religion as bad, wanting to dissociate from it. for sure this has been in large part to how it’s been weaponized to oppress and dominate. this is happening today. and, the return to the intention of religion helps to be with the impact of it, rather than to fall back into shame/blame/guilt around it.

i remember an onbeing interview with Krista Tippett in which John O’Donohue spoke of the importance of religion in liberation and justice. he said, “memory is to individuals what traditions are for communities.” he went on to say that religion holds the traditions; religion connects. and then a challenge: “And I think it’s a critical question, always, for somebody who wants to have a mature, adult, open-ended, good-hearted, critical faith, to conduct the most vigorous and relentless conversation that you can with your own tradition.”

which brings me to Howard Thurman.

Howard Thurman’s Strange Freedom has been working me. i’ve stayed with the excerpt from Luminous Darkness for a couple of weeks now, allowing it’s wisdom to wash over and soak in. Thurman is this kind teacher whose slowness and depth call for slow and deep time. the reading of this piece has felt profoundly timely given this nation’s current political and legal climate, with the supreme court acting as it is, threatening and changing civil laws and the insurrection hearings underway.

Thurman wrote this piece in 1965, against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement, in the same year of the historic Voting Rights Act and March on Washington and Public Accommodations Act. his writing focused on liberation and the role of both the laws and the prophets.

Thurman writes:

The external symbols of segregation–the wall, the ghetto, the separate locale as a mandatory restriction binding upon groups of people because of race, color, creed, or national origin–cannot survive modern life. The emphasis here is “external symbols”…So much emphasis is placed upon the fact of the existence of the walls that the symbolic fact of the walls is ignored or is an unknown quantity…” 


it serves to take a breath here. to take in the revolutionary nature of what he is saying. that the walls themselves—the external conditions that segregate and separate–are symbolic.

he continues:

“…It must be remembered that segregation is a mood, a state of mind, and its external manifestation is external. The root of the evil, and evil it is, in the human spirit. Laws which make segregation illegal may or may not attack the root of the evil. Their great function is to deny the binding character of the external symbol by giving it no legal standing. They alert the body politic to the variety of external manifestations of the mood, the state of mind, and declare that whatever such manifestations appear, they are not to stand. This is most important because it calls attention to that of which segregation is the manifestation. As such it becomes a tutor or a guide for the human spirit. The law cannot deal with the human spirit directly…

the external reflects the internal. we can point fingers at our leaders (our presidents, our bishops, our school officials) and one another (our partners, our parents, our children, our neighbors, our colleagues) and this misses the entire point. how we see determines what we see.

there is no separation between the external and the internal. it is an illusion to believe otherwise.

which is why, when we heal ourselves, we heal the world. when we do the work of reconciliation from within, that reconciliation is reflected in our outer worlds. this is the focus of the book Quanita and i co-authored; it’s a very different approach at reconciliation than orienting primarily to repair with the other. repair with the other comes from a changed relationship with other, with self as source of relationship.

and to continue, he goes on to write:

“The issue is a moral and spiritual one and falls within the broad and specific scope of morality and religion…The first step in giving the kind of new orientation that will bring one into moral focus is the loss of fear. When the relationship between the groups is devoid of fear, then it becomes possible for them to related to each other as human beings and have far more that unites them than divides them...”


“…The burden of being black and the burden of being white is so heavy that it is rare in our society to experience oneself as a human being. It may be, I do not know, that to experience oneself as a human being is one with experiencing one’s fellows as human beings. Precisely what does it mean to experience oneself as a human being? In the first place, it means that the individual must have a sense of kinship to life that transcends and goes beyond the immediate kinship of family or the organic kinship that binds him ethnically or “racially” or nationally. He has to feel that he belongs to his total environment. He has a sense of being an essential part of the structural relationship that exists between him and all other men, and between him, all other men, and the total external environment. As a human being, then, he belongs to life and the whole kingdom of life that includes all that lives and perhaps, also, all that has ever lived. In other words, he sees himself as a part of the continuing, breathing, living existence. To be a human being, then, is to be essentially alive in a living world…”


that last sentence, once again: “To be a human being, then, is to be essentially alive in a living world…”

and then, he unleashes a wrath against Christianity its it failure to be…religious.

…Here at last we come face to face with the original claim of religion and here I refer especially to the ethical insight brought into the stream of contemporary life by the Judeo-Christian tradition.

It is most unfortunate that the trustees of this insight, namely the religious institutions, have failed singularly to witness to this insight. The impact upon the individual when he experiences himself as a human being is to regard himself as a being of infinite worth. Such a sense of worth is rooted in one’s consciousness which expands and expands until there is involved the totality of life itself. As important as is the clue to one’s self-estimate, as found in the attitude of others in the environment, this is not now what is at issue. To experience oneself as a human being is to feel life moving through one and claiming one as part of it. 

It may be that the experience of which we speak is not possible unless and until the individual sees himself as being contained or held by something so much more than he is that his life is brought into a focus of self-conscious meaning and value. Such an experience is possible only in the light of ultimate values and ultimate meanings. And this is what religion undertakes to guarantee: the extent to which Christianit is religious is the extent to which it would guarantee such an experience for the individual. …

Time after weary time, the church has dishonored its Lord. When I asked Mr Gandhi, “What is the greatest handicap that Jesus has in India?” instantly, he replied, “Christianity.” And this is what he meant.

ya’ll know i’m shaking my head and pounding my fists here. come on, Dr. Thurman! come on, Ghandi. say it again.

“What is the greatest handicap that Jesus has in India?” instantly, he replied, “Christianity.”

and then:

“The religious experience cannot become a dogma. It has to remain experiential all the way. The religious experience as I have known it seems to swing wide the door, not merely into Life but into lives. I am confident that my own call to the religious vocation cannot be separated from the slowly emerging disclosure that my religious experience makes it possible for me to experience myself as a human being and thus keep a very real psychological distance between myself and the hostilities of my environment. Through the years it has driven me more and more to seek to make as a normal part of my relations with men the experiencing of them as human beings. When this happens love has essential materials with which to work. And contrary to the general religious teaching, men would not need to stretch themselves out of shape in order to love. On the contrary, a man comes into possession of himself more completely when he is free to love another.” 


and that last line again: “On the contrary, a man comes into possession of himself more completely when he is free to love another.” 


“…I have dwelt at length upon the necessity that is laid upon the church and the Christian because the Christian Church is still one of the major centers of influence in the American community. Too, the Christian Church claims to be under the judgment of God as it fulfills itself in human history. But it must be remembered that what is true in any religion is to be found in the religion because it is true, it is not true because it is found in that religion. The ethical insight which makes for the most healthy and creative human relations is not the unique possession of any religion, however inspired it may be. It does not belong exclusively to any people or to any age. It has an ancient history, and it has been at work informing the quality of life and human relations longer than the records and the memories of man. Just as scattered through the earliest account of man’s journey on this planet are flashes and shafts of light illuminating the meaning of man and his fellows, so in our times we find the widest variety of experiences pointing in the same direction and making manifest the same goals.

Men are made for one another. In this grand discovery there is a disclosure of another dimension: the experience of one another is not enough. There is a meaning in life greater than, but informing, all the immediate meanings–and the name given to this meaning is religion, because it embodies, however faintly, a sense of the ultimate and the divine.

true religion connects us as spiritual beings to all of life; we become human through this aliveness, this sense of interconnectedness. it is this aliveness and interdependency, that sets us free and locates us squarely in right relationship with all else.

true religion therefore offers access into untapped, vital resources.

john o’donohue enters in again here, as if he and Thurman are in conversation in/through my heart/mind: “the spirit and soul dimensions are not luxury items, but are actually the very origins and sources which will enable everything to flow and unfold in a new way…the invisible world is a secret, hidden resource that can be released and excavated for the huge resources of spirit, guidance, for areas of ourselves that we’ve forgotten.

i hear the call to be more human/divine, to be the fullest versions of ourselves so that we can offer our gifts with and in love to the world.

and here, grace lee boggs comes on in with the last word (and perfect so as to offer her belated birthday blessings) :

“To make a revolution, people must not only struggle against existing institutions. They must make a philosophical/ spiritual leap and become more ‘human’ human beings. In order to change/ transform the world, they must change/ transform themselves.”

solstice and a revolution

summer solstice was tuesday. in the days leading up to solstice and in these days since, i’ve been so tuned in to the power of this time of year.

after all, humans have been paying attention to these astronomical patterns in nature since the beginning of time. we have devoted our lives to constructing sacred sites like the Great Pyramids and Stonehenge as a way of honoring these patterns. there have been festivals, rituals, ceremonies spanning humanity as a way to draw us into these natural rhythms.

because it matters.

there is meaning in being in rhythm with nature. feeling connected to something bigger than ourselves matters.

it is what it means to be alive, living.

as life would have it, our family was on vacation in st. helena, south carolina during solstice. there was intention around this. there was a desire to do as the sun taught us to do and to “stand still”. to put our feet in the sand, be with the ocean, and to slow down.

it was a beautiful time in a beautiful place.

for now, what i want to share on this, the day that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, is what evidence was collected by joining with nature’s rhythms.

the first day, there was Angela. i took this video before knowing her. she and her poodle made my heart sing–their freedom, their play, their joy. we’d just arrived at the beach and i felt like weeping at the beauty of it all.

afterwards, she approached me and her joy continued to overflow as she shared with me her skills for shark-tooth hunting. i was thrilled and went straight away to searching…after thinking i found one, i bounded to her–just like poodle–as she advised that it was not, after all, a shark tooth. she gave additional teachings on how to be sure. as we headed to our car later, i heard her calling after me. she came running my way–just like poodle–to gift me a shark tooth she’d just discovered. a tiny, itsy-bitsy treasure. Angela.

the next morning, i woke up and journeyed to the beach solo for the sunrise. it was quiet, peaceful, glorious.

as i began walking toward the shoreline, a voice yelled my way, “have you seen the turtle tracks?”

i turned and found a lone woman standing there, curly hair blowing wildly in the wind. her shoulderless turquoise dress flowing.

“show me!” i said and she simply pointed right in front of me.

i stood amazed at the very-obvious tracks before me; i was quite literally standing in the middle of them. i would have never known as i had never seen anything like these before.

she proceeded to tell them a bit of what she knew about the turtles as we waited for the volunteers to come and advise. she and i shared in a most sacred experience of digging up mama loggerhead turtle’s 100 eggs and relocating them to higher ground.

i know nothing else about her other than her love of life, of creation, of this mama loggerhead and her eggs. barely any words were spoken between us. and i’ll never forget her. her name: Skye.

later that same day, on Juneteeth, our family ventured to Penn Center, the first school for freed slaves. we were wandering around the property and a woman came up to us, pointing us in the direction of a map. i never caught the woman’s name but she and her husband, Mike were visiting from England to bury Mike’s father who had died just a week before. they were tender and raw, with hearts broken wide open. mike shared how his father had been a member of Mother Emmanuel Church and how they buried his father on the anniversary of Emmanuel Nine. He reminded me of the meaning of that event. and then as I spoke of the fact that we were together in this place on Juneteeth and Father’s Day, he asked me the meaning of Juneteenth. he, a Black man, me, a White woman. both of us speaking how we need one another to know these stories. as we stood in the place of Penn Center on Juneteenth/Father’s Day. he, offering love and encouragement and example to my son. Mike.

on wednesday, the day after solstice, i returned solo to the beach. i felt ready to listen more deeply. there was an inner stillness that i longed to be with. it was what solstice had been trying to teach me. i sat with Her. i asked Her to be with me, to speak to me. Her was God, Spirit, Life, the ocean, the sun, my Self.

just then, a woman appeared.

i’d noticed her blanket earlier–the lone item on the sparse sprawl of beach and wondered if the high tide had washed it up, a lost item at sea brought to land. turns out, it was her’s. she bent to pick it up, her dreads pulled back into a bright yellow headwrap. a bold floral sundress hung off her shoulders; a satchel hung around her neck like a necklace hungry for shell treasures. her shoulders were back; her head, high. she walked proudly, wisely.

she was the manifestation of the Her i’d been listening for. no doubt.

without thinking, i got up and walked toward her. i asked her if i could take her photograph. without missing a beat, she said “yes. but i don’t know why?” it was the kind of response that teased a question, her voice lifting at the end. but it wasn’t really a question. i answered, “i don’t know either.” and we both broke out in laughter. she replied, “sometimes we just don’t know.” and we laughed again. like old friends.

she went on to share a bit of her story. she had moved to Coffin’s Point back in 2004 from DC. her kids and grandkids are still there. her soul sisters are here. she’d visited years ago and knew it as home, knew she’d find a way here. and she did. been here since. loves the land, the ocean, the sound. the oyster beds and the mud. she laughed again as she said this last piece.

a moment hung between us and our eyes met. i do not know. and i know.

i asked for her name. Eve.

Eve gifted me the embodiment of solstice’s teaching.

the next morning, our last, i made a final visit to the beach for sunrise. i wanted to give thanks. to give reverence. the rising sun stopped me in my tracks and i took my seat, noticing a solitary man photographing the magnificence. i took a few photographs of him watching Her.

She rose, illuminating Life.

and the photographer turned to head back up the beach. his work, done. as he neared me, his light began spilling out (as a dear friend puts it), as if the Sun’s radiance poured into him, uncontained and uncontainable.

“did you see?”!

and we began laughing and almost dancing with joy. he proceeded to share with me some of the magical images he brilliantly captured/created. there was awe. his name, Simon.

his light continued to spill out, sharing with me the magic behind his brilliance, his craft.

and just like that, a soul connection. a soul friend.

we belonged to one another. we were family.

in times like these, it is easy to buy into the delusion that laws determine who we are and what rights we have and how we are together. yes, laws play a role. and like Jesus said so many times in his sermon on the mount, “the law says ___; I say…”

our humanity is not bound by the law.

when our hearts are open, when we are still enough within to be in right relationship with all of creation, then we cannot help ourselves. love pours out of us through sharing of resources, self, gifts, talents, skills. sacrifice becomes gift.

solstice and joining in nature’s rhythm offers evidence of the power of the human heart, of the human spirit.

now, we need these lessons. we need to remember. we can choose. the choice is ours. and no one can take that away.

Grace Lee Boggs’ voice echoes in my heart/mind here: “movements are born of critical connections rather than critical mass.”

it is up to us.

let us rise like the Sun, spilling light all over this mad, suffering and beautiful world.

thank you, Angela, Skye, Mike, Eve, Simon for the evidence you offered of the power we have within us.


my son’s high school graduation is tomorrow. today, marks pentecost in the Christian tradition. last night, was a night of magic as sister-friends and i planned a Feminine Wisdom journey. tomorrow, i begin a week-long Intensive in the Living School.

all this to say, initiation is on my mind.

initiation: the act of growing from one version of ourselves into a fuller, more integrated version. ultimately, moving from being earth-led to spirit-led.

in the weaving of this story, i want to begin with Thomas, my son.

he’s my middle child, my only boy. we’ve always communicated with clarity and understanding as if we are one. his birth story illustrates this perfectly: i told him it was time to come (my brother was in town and i wanted him to be here for the birth); and he came. we worked together during the birth like old dance partners, perfectly in sync. it was my first natural birth and he taught me to trust in myself and instilled in me a strength and courage in which i’d always draw. he came into the world with ease and beauty and took immediately to my breast. the origins of our connection was other-worldly; we had walked together for ions.

we still have this connection. the kind of connection that is evidenced in glances across the table, communication that calls for no words. his heart awakens the mama bear in me. i remember when he was just a few months old, sensing his tenderness and wanting to protect him from this world and what it does to our boys and men. so, i fattened him up. we still laugh about this–how fat he was a baby! i wanted so much to protect him.

i know that we receive not the children we want but the children we need. i’ve learned this first through his older sister and the ways in which mothering her has grown me, called me into fuller and fuller versions of myself in and through my love for her. as mothers, we are responsible for supporting the initiation of our children and through this process, we too are initiated. it’s a constant process of letting go, forgiving, grieving, and welcoming life that is unimaginable in its beauty.

on the eve of this rites of passage–both Thomas’ and my own–i am weepy. grateful, humbled, awed, heart-broken-wide-open at the beauty of it all. i do not yet fully know how mothering Thomas has initiated me. for now, it is not for me to understand. it is for me to allow.

i appreciate this awareness as it comes on this day of pentecost. i’ve come to cherish this day in the Christian tradition. it is a day that marks the birth of the Church, when the Holy Spirit filled the church with power and drew thousands of new believers. it was the church’s initiation. and by church, i mean here Jesus’ definition: “where two or more are gathered.” in other words, it was a communal initiation. a communal rites of passage.

throughout Scripture, Jesus refers to two forms of baptism: both by water and then by fire. baptism by fire is baptism of the Holy Spirit. it is initiation and what moves one into discipleship or a spirit-led life.

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. —Acts 2:1–4

initiation. in which each of the disciples were open to and willing to receive the Holy Spirit, individually and together. and the power that came!! it was unbelievable, unimaginable.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one of them heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs–in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?’ But to others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.“–Acts 2:5-13

one thing that strikes me in this story is the speaking in tongues and that each could understand the other in their own native language–meaning beyond words expressed and understood, a heart-to-heart communication. and when this power is generated, it attracts and awakens others. we know this now to be true not only spiritually but also scientifically. energy attracts energy.

i’ve experienced this power. the power that comes in opening our hearts to something beyond us, in community. and what comes from this experience–the knowing, the connection, the mystery. i believe it is this power that comes from these experiences that is growing our humanity. it is this power that is compelling our evolution. it is this power that is initiating me/us.

last night, some sister-friends gathered at my home to be with a vision that we’ve been holding for some time. we began with opening our hearts. this was not planned or scheduled or an item on the agenda. it’s the kind of heart opening that comes with a desire to be human, to be real, to be true. the three of us, across age and race and background difference, shared stories uniquely ours. we spoke in tongues. and as we did, we each other understood one another as if we were speaking in one another’s native tongue. the stories were particular and transcendent.

as we wove and followed the threads, tracing the vision that we’d been holding and was holding us, a mama dear joined us. speaking yet in another tongue. silence fell on our raucous bunch as we listened to all she had to say to us. there was a lot. she was a diva and took her time with us. it was magic.

it felt like pentecost. Holy Spirit filling us, as church.

today, i had plans to visit a friend who was celebrating a big milestone. there would be travel. and, despite the fact i’d had this on my calendar and heart for weeks, i realized i needed to be home today. i needed to be still. with my crew, in my place.

it’s all too easy to move so quickly by our own life’s milestones–the big, the small–to show up for others. to be the good friend, the good (fill in the blank).

how can i/we be present to my/our own lives? and allow life to have its way with us? to open to and receive the Holy Spirit so that we can awaken to the power within us? so that we can awaken and enliven?

today, i’m following the guidance of our recent and profound teacher, the diva deer who made another visit this morning, providing a refresher course to her teachings: nourish, move slowly, release the shit (literally–this was quite a dramatic teaching, let me assure you!), and walk gracefully, step by faithful step.

i know we are all being prepared and formed with purpose. what that purpose is exactly, is none of our business. it is our business, to allow it.

tomorrow i will begin a week-long intensive in the Living School, studying with wisdom elders of the Christian mystical tradition lineage. and i will witness my baby boy graduate from high school.

come, Holy Spirit, come.