Friday, July 8, 2016

Pondering the bullet points

WHAT the serious fuck is this nightmare I awoke to?!!! 

I have murder-fatigue: a hangover of emotions weighing down and threatening to crush my tender heart. I could retreat into myself and “my own”, disavowing any connection with life on Earth. However, reality does not allow me to hide away so easily. Reality is raw and real and two sensations in particular - sadness and anger – continue to reverberate into my consciousness via the cacophony of events. Through the din, I can’t fully distinguish which wail is the shrillest. Yet, I do know that an inner calling has inspired me to try and find out. 

So far, here’s the tally:

§  Sadness that, in two consecutive days, two innocent men were straight up murdered by those we entrusted with our safety and, basically, lives. Shot dead by people who likely shouldn't have even been awarded a badge in the first place. Heartbroken that families – children, no less!, were witnesses to these murders and will never, EVER be able to erase those images from their souls – forgiveness given, or not.

§  Anger that in retaliation, a vigilante took it upon himself to play judge, jury and executioner on a group that, based on their geography and actions, didn’t have anything immediate to do with previously stated murders. They were, in fact, a calming, protective force, doing their job with integrity just moments before being methodically executed. Tit for Tat – Eye for an Eye… and all that bullshit.

§  Sadness in seeing the leader of the United States of America, OUR country, wearily standing up, ONCE AGAIN, to report on the atrocities that citizens have committed on fellow citizens. His sorrow and frustration emanating like a dirge from his lips.

§  Anger…No! RAGE that a former congressman has the audacity to willfully ignore the laws of this land and openly spew treasonous messages to the masses by calling for war, no less, against the President of our country, as well as against citizens whose reality doesn’t fit lock-stepped into his own bitter narrow-mindedness. And – disgust, that there likely will be no repercussions to these and similar actions.

§  Profound sadness that too many of my dearest friends are in a constant state of fear and anguish about their children’s lives and futures – all because of the color of their skin! 

§  Anger that I too fear for them, with every beat of my heart, and that in 2016 racism is still even a fucking issue we have to confront – or neglect, as has been the case!

§  Sadness that everyone (myself included, at times), cannot seem to tear loose from the role of apologists in the tangled web of self- or group justifications for thoughtless actions or inactions. Embarrassed that “privilege” is now such a fully charged word, yet it is common practice to over generalize and pass responsibility onto “the government,” or “that group over there,” and not realize that WE ARE the government, AND that group, too!

§  Anger that too many are now emboldened by the deluded mentality of, “Just sayin’ it like it is…”, without an iota of human decency, civility, or even truth: all swaddled in privilege (yes, I said privilege) and clinging to an “us” and “them” attitude – “Us” being righteous, “Them” being evil, or worse: different. For those who rely on pseudo-victimhood, solely for the purpose of not exerting any effort into making their own (nor anyone else’s) lives better and more purposeful. These conceits are second only to the disregard of our planet itself, in destructive power.

§  Sadness, that regular, ordinary people, leading regular, ordinary lives in Newtown, Orlando, Libya, Turkey and Iraq were annihilated while simply learning, dancing, living, shopping, traveling, just BE-ing (and for some, during their holiest of days)! And more sadness that THIS particular list is missing FAR too many additional massacres, and could go on seemingly ad infinitum!

§  Anger that the US of NRA has been completely silent regarding a licensed gun owner’s rights being MORE than violated when he was shot point-blank while attempting to show his legal possession papers. Perhaps it takes a lot longer to write up a justification to cover up racism, than it does to blatantly lie and say that the government (remember – that’s us!) wants to take away everyone’s guns? No. No, they really don’t. Additionally, regarding allowing those assault rifles to be in the hands of “regular” Americans…? Isn’t that what killed the Dallas Police officers?

Oh my heart!

Sadly, I can continue with this topic, but for what purpose? Will one emotion eventually outdo the other? Hell, while I’m at it, I could shift topics and list the sadness and anger I feel for myself and for too many of my friends and countless other women around the world who have been abused, violated, taunted and traumatized – simply for being born female.

But I won’t. I can’t.

The effort of bringing to light the sadness and anger within me has drained me of energy. All I’m left with at the moment is an ethereal emptiness of utter helplessness…

What, then, inspired me to exhaust myself with this exercise?

I have to believe it was hope that sang quietly to me today. I have to believe that once a person can exhaust feelings of helplessness and alienation; when one is able to shake off the false pressures of humanness, then our innate spark can be kindled, (re)lighting the spirit of love and connectedness. 

So, perhaps, after a rest, hope will once again lighten up my soul.

~Peace to All

Thursday, April 9, 2015

livin' ma vida yoga

While it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted here – today’s events made this seem like the perfect opportunity to do express myself once again.

As some of you know, pretty solidly for the past 8-plus months, I’ve been editing and revising Instructing Hatha Yoga for it’s second edition. (If you didn’t know that, now you do.) Since my partner-in-crime and co-author for the first edition passed from this realm, it’s been a pretty solitary endeavor. Seriously, writing without KLee to converse with and to share ridiculous amounts of chai has been a long, drawn out, under-caffeinated process!

Happily though, there’s a shiny upside to wrestling this beast single-handedly. While I did kinda miss my first text edit deadline (only by 3-months…), I calmly bulldozed my way through storms of ennui and have met every deadline since. Shoot - I even turned in a cycle of re-writes three whole days ahead of schedule! Truly, this is a HUGE accomplishment for “Last-minute Lola” here. And when my editor thanked me for submitting early, I felt a cool bit of swagger! (Insert vision of Rosie the Riveter’s bodacious biceps…)

That feeling was short-lived though, as I began organizing the video and photo shoots. Luckily, picking dates to coincide with the publisher’s videographer, photographer and the yoga studio was a slam dunk, and April 10-12 was decided to be golden on all fronts. The tricky part here has been the tedious business of scheduling student and teacher models. A sampling of scenarios: He can do this pose, but not that one. She has tattoos. His work schedule is inconsistent. She can’t make up her mind if she’s able to commit. She, she, she and she are all having a baby any second now. (A while I think a live birth would be fascinating to film, it has NOTHING to do with how to practice yoga asana!) OK – so just breathe, I guess!

AahhhhhOohhhhhhOooooooMmmmmm! (Visualize angels parting the clouds) And, quite literally overnight – it all clicked into place. Last night, as a matter of fact! All of my yogi feelers and helpers drew in talent for the shoots. Yay! As of this morning there are only a couple of holes in the schedule and a few “orphan” poses to be struck by some currently unknowing, yet willing yogi.

Woo Hoo! Super excited! Can’t wait for tomorrow! Eight o’clock in the a.m. – our first video rolls. (I guess “records” is a more apt description.)

But. Wait… Yup, here we go!

The jaw-dropping phone message I received at 11:00 this morning required me to pass the phone to my co-worker so she could listen - and subsequently drop her jaw. After we simultaneously mouthed some blatantly “un-yoga” words, I understood that, no, I hadn’t just been swallowed up by a mischievous, random wormhole…

What the what?!

Seems Chicago is having some decidedly nasty weather (again) and my videographer is unable to fly out. He can (hopefully) get to the studio by 2:00 tomorrow; which is a bit like the groom getting to the wedding 5-hours late and then still having to get dressed!

While I continue to have a slightly twitchy eye at the goofiness of the situation, (C'mon Universe - these were my plans!), I recognize that it’s not with dismay. Now, a few years ago I likely would have gone stark-raving ballistic and ranted for days and hours! (Perhaps it was the chai?) But today, because I had a class to teach after I got the news, I send my sweet students some extra love for unsuspectingly grounding me with their mere presence. Today, I smooth out that slightly edgy left-over energy here on this keyboard. And I feel my heart swelling with gratitude.

Sure, this shoot is crucial to the book and all, but the loss of the tomorrow that woulda, shoulda been is not a catastrophe. Shoot, the first edition is still a best-seller and we had absolutely NO clue what we were doing at the time! And honestly, needing to reschedule 5-hours of work is nothing like having to be airlifted out of Yemen. (My heart goes out to all of those affected!) This? This is an open invitation for me to honestly live my yoga today, tomorrow and after that – which simply means to live in the sometimes muck-filled mire of life! My eyes also are opened to the fact that this project is not a solo project by any stretch of the imagination! There are SO many people who have my back, and me theirs, and together this will all come together. Yogis are flexible, and I'm profoundly thankful for that! 

Safe travels to Gregg and Neil! (Sending some San Diego sunshine to the mid-west!)

Keep you all posted on the finale! Peace!

 Edition 1!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

permanently impermanent

 “It is not impermanence that makes us suffer. What makes us suffer is 
wanting things to be permanent when they are not.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

It’s now been two months since my brother died. In the disorienting aftermath of that, and making sure my mom’s health is on the upswing, I find myself slowly morphing back into my previously scheduled forward trajectory. And as my life becomes more routine, I’m often asked if I feel “back to normal yet,” and if my mojo has returned.

Hmmm… that would be “no,” to the first and “I have no idea,” to the second.

I repeatedly ask myself what exactly this, so called, “going back to normal” is supposed to feel like; as if normalcy is a direct measure of healing an emotional wound. It’s a mystery, really. Because you see, there are many moments during any given day when my heart feels like it’s been shoved through a meat grinder, scoured with sandpaper, and blistered by a season in the Mojave.

Raw. Brittle. Generally deflated, as if a crucial internal element is MIA.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t skulk around in a continuous brooding slouch, and I’ve enjoyed numerous moments of pure joy and innate happiness. However, I still find myself moving forward wrapped inside a weird aura that’s not quite detached, and yet not quite tangible. Kind of like an astronaut caroming around in zero-G: Capable of movement, but not necessarily with much coordination. It’s dizzying, to say the least.

On a run recently my friend M pointed out that, for many of us, from the time we hit late adolescence or early adulthood, we subconsciously prepare ourselves for our parents’ demise. Since this is often the time that grandparents, or our parents’ “sickly” friends begin to die off, our minds can somewhat more easily come to grips with that inevitability. We think, “well, they are kinda old”…and “it’s the natural order of things,” right? And because the possibility of a sibling dying generally isn’t even a blip on our horizon, it’s easy to be blown out of orbit.

Unlike our relatively recent predecessors who, unfortunately, had siblings dying off left and right due to myriad diseases modern-day folk have pretty much forgotten about, we generally haven’t had to wrap our minds around the possibility of our contemporaries leaving us before we see them with graying (or missing) hair, Thomas Brother’s lined faces, and years of overuse and neglect suffered upon their bodies.

This is likely the reason that the demise of a sibling, for many of us, cuts so deeply into our soul. They represent a collective us. We connect with them on familiar level, perhaps because they often play a much broader part in the performance art of our lives than even our parents do. In my case, my brother acted out many roles on my life stage, and thus significantly helped mold my personality through the years. The guy started out as my first real baby, he was my childhood punching bag, my adolescent antagonizer, my prized athlete, my unlikely protector, my court-jester, my best-man, even my sommelier. However, his most important role was being my treasured friend and mutual confidante.

And now, he’s undeniably, wretchedly­– gone: An energetic and material gap in the middle of the diorama. No longer playing any quantifiable character, other than possibly, as a kind of Marleyesque spirit in some strange Dickensian rendition of my life. Sure, I’ve felt his particular energy since he’s been gone (thankfully sans any clanking chains), but there’s little real consolation in that.

My rational mind understands that he’s no longer a concrete entity, and to the furthest extent possible, I can accept that truth. We don’t get a “re-do” and he’s not coming back. But when I dare edge toward truly coming to terms with the permanence of impermanence within the confines of these tiny carbon-based body-suits we inhabit, I find that somewhere during the free fall of “understanding,” my heart/soul rears back like a horse confronted by a rattlesnake and shouts, “NO!” The void is far too incomprehensible and indifferent.

In “A New Earth,” Eckhart Tolle affirms that, “Only the eternal in you can recognize the impermanent as impermanent.” Obviously, it seems, I don’t have the slimmest grasp (or release, as it should be here), of just how to find my center and tease away the clenching barbs of attachment and tune into the boundless part of myself. And to be honest, through all my study and practices, I felt fairly comfortable with the principle of detachment and its relationship to suffering… at least on paper. Unfortunately, I didn’t receive a passing grade in the acid test of life: there has been abundant suffering!

While putting these musings down on paper (so to speak), and continuing to ponder what it is, exactly, that I’m unwilling or unable to accept about my brother’s passing, I realize I am wrong. There’s still space for his name on my playbill: He simply has a new role now, as that of my teacher. ­A guru of sorts. Not in a weird cult-like way; but in the truest sense of the word– as one who dispels the darkness of ignorance.

You see, reflecting on his life and his passing has put a spotlight on just how close to the surface the fear of losing my dearest ones has been. Facing that demon head on from this point forward will hopefully soften, at least to a certain degree, the heart-sagging sorrow of loss. Perhaps I’ll be better prepared. Who knows?

This new light of awareness also has made me appreciate the fact that permanence can and does, indeed exist: Love is a Universal energy, and can be permanent in any form. It lives in the eternal part of our existence. And thankfully, when I focus there, I can feel my mojo slowly returning.

 “Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, 
but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it.” ~W. Somerset Maugham

Sunday, July 28, 2013

the legacy of home invaders

A group of trespassers invaded our home about a month ago.

Thankfully, these aggressors had no particular interest in any of our material belongings. They were simply looking for a place to crash. (And no, our uninvited guests weren’t out of town family members: They actually got here the day before yesterday… and we invited them!)

As it turns out, a swarm of bees found our real estate an ideal choice for their new digs. And it is a fine place, to be sure. “Sexy as crap,” my son says - although, I’ve never thought our house to be particularly bee-worthy.

In any case, what we think really doesn’t matter, because bees have a pretty one-pointed intelligence…“Save The Queen!” And while they are amazing little engineers, their single-mindedness sometimes gets in the way of their innate skills, because their first attempt at a new honey factory was a raucous scrum under a small beam in front of the living room plate glass window. (Great visual I’m told – I’d flown out of town just the day before.)

After a week of ‘not vacationing’ in Northern California, my hubby arrived home and reported that it appeared the mob had taken flight to what must surely be more appropriate lodgings. You know, a secluded place out of the wind where the blue-collar bees could get their work done, and the queen could pump out newbies.

Wrong! Those resourceful little buzzers had actually found a bee-sized crack between the house’s support beam and the fascia board under the outside overhang. Busy, busy, busy! Buzz, buzz, buzz! They worked that crack hard for what turned out to be over three weeks. Oh dear!

Now – our family has had quite enough of death, destruction and the aftermath this past month and a half – and, being of the tree-hugging, nature-aware folk that we are, it was a definite that we weren’t going to obliterate the apiary.  However, none of us were willing to deal with a gaping hole in our ceiling when the honeycomb grew too heavy, nor to cohabitate with roaming bees when they took over the entire house. So - the professional bee charmers were called in to save us all.

The growing hive
Sadly, we had to trade the inevitable hole in the ceiling, for an immediate hole in the roof. This reclamation effort took a bit of time to coordinate, and cost a decent chunk of change to remove what could have been a much larger architectural calamity. And, fortunately, or unfortunately (depending upon your point of view), I missed the entirety of this phase of excitement.

Currently, we no longer have an infestation within the confines of our walls. Instead, we have a nice bee box atop our living room overhang that allows the entire worker bee network to much more successfully maintain their industry. And, soon our little canister of pollinators literally will be put out to pasture to provide support for the agricultural needs of our State.

So what exactly does this newest rambling post have to do with anything?

Well, first of all, it gives our family peace of mind knowing we did something positive for some of the smallest, yet most important members of our global community. We could have gassed them out, without a second thought, and moved on with our lives. That would simply have contributed to hastening the demise of humanity. Or at least for those of us who eat food.

Truth is, the ancient Sanskrit phrase, “Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu” resonates deeper within our hearts these days.

Loosely translated, this powerful adage means,
“May all beings in the world be happy and free, and may my thoughts and actions, in some way contribute to that happiness and that freedom for all.”
 You see, when a heart gets broken open - for whatever reason - astounding things happen. Just like the bee-sized crack in our roofing allowed us to see into the dynamic, living organism that is the hive; a crack in our heart allows the inner-Self to expand profoundly. It allows our energy to be similarly free and motivated by love.

And may we all open up to recognize we are happy and free.

Please Save the Bees!
Here’s more info:

Sunday, July 21, 2013

spinning naked in the rain

I flew back to my home yesterday afternoon. It was a slightly bittersweet homecoming, as I felt derelict in my daughterly duties by leaving my mom on her own before she is 100% better. And to make matters worse, as the plane entered the airspace of “my own private twilight zone”, I felt it’s oppressive nature more intensely than ever.

Sadly, there were no rainbows on this flight…

Peeking under the half closed window hatch, I was greeted by a foul gray-brown layer of haze, aligned slightly above our flight altitude: A miasma that extended well beyond my line of sight. And, while logically I know the layer of grime was likely caused by the numerous wildfires assaulting our fair State - as they do every summer - the smog certainly echoed my frame of mind.

After maneuvering the mosh pit of excited vacationers, exhausted travelers and WAY too much luggage in Lindbergh Field, I was once again reunited with my homeboys.  Both as excited to see me, as I was to see them. Hugs and kisses, a guilt-tinged sigh of relief and a bone crushing fatigue welcomed me home.

I awoke from a fairly comatose sleep to overcast skies, which was befitting my subdued emotional state this morning. Slow motion seemed the most prudent pace for such a shady day – how else should one move while in limbo? Not sure – but it appeared appropriate. The most exciting part of the day was a trip to Trader Joe’s to restock the “magic pantry” that apparently becomes empty and cavernous whenever I’m away.

On the way home, the tailings of the southern monsoonal moisture hit us. Ahhhhh! Sweet, scarce rain! Sure it obliterated my windshield, but moisture - no matter how smattering - is a welcomed sight here!

In fact, to me, there is nothing as naturally revitalizing as a mid-summer drizzle: Warm, inviting and cleansing.  It’s the kind of phenomenon that beckons one to strip down and run amok in the backyard. A lure that is almost impossible for me to ignore.

And this afternoon I heard the soft call of the raindrops’ song: Beckoning me to come outside, buck-naked, and play for a moment in my backyard. Coaxing me to twirl around like an unadorned dervish and allow the rainwater to begin divinely rinsing away the unnecessary weight of the world from my worn-out heart.

Rumi says it best:
“I dissolved as a grain of salt
in your Sea of Serenity:
Nothing remained, no faith,
no certainty, no doubt.
In my heart a star was born
and inside all worlds dissolved.”

Can dancing bare-assed in the rain save a soul? Well, for me, the “twilight zone” now seems like a distant memory, and I definitely feel a freer energy moving within me. And while the pain and overall grief still live here, I feel the windows of my heart now give a little clearer view of the paths of my life that lie ahead. 

Photo -

Thursday, July 18, 2013

the care and feeding of a strong woman

I intended to title this “the care and feeding of a tough mother”…

Anyway, ever since I was young, I considered my mom kind of a superhero. Which is funny since, in school, whenever asked to name our heroes, I could never come up with even one name. I had no time for “heroes” (still don’t, really). I mean, aren’t heroes just regular people, same as you and me?

But, back to my Mom: Why the “superhero” status? I mean, she’s never gone to the moon, or saved Timmy from a well, or made 75 touchdowns in one season. And honestly, as far as I can tell, she’s never done anything that much different than what other kids’ moms did. No overt or stupendous acts of valor, no stopping trains simply by force of will. Nope, none of the stereotypical qualities seemed to apply to her at all. And yet, she’s always been a titan in my eyes: Tall, sturdy and seemingly unflappable. I believed - and kind of still do – that she would have wrestled grizzly bears if need be to protect us. I suppose the “larger-than-life” quality stems from receiving a love that qualifies as a force of nature. That truly Universal, nurturing love: The actual source of ALL love.  

I find her inner strength truly awe-inspiring. She’s always been patient beyond measure, but never indifferent – although many have thought her distant, or even snooty. Fun, but not nutty. Supportive, but not in that controlling, helicopter kind of way. During our childhood, she laid down the ground rules and only really dropped the hammer when we dropped the ball. And boy, when she let loose, she threw down hard! Not with overt punishments generally – but with a subtle quality that made us recognize the rotten little shits we could be. And never to induce guilt: Just to remind us when we were ridiculously neglectful of our personal responsibilities.

Since my dad died we’ve been trying to coax, cajole, and guilt, (I know, right?) my mom into moving to San Diego. Early on, her argument was always that her part time job gave her something to do, and that she had her very own house and didn’t feel the need to leave it. Did I mention her strong nature?

Last October I had hoped to convince her with, what I thought, was going to be my very best argument for a move south. Unfortunately, my scheme was shot to hell by the announcement of my brother’s diagnosis. As devastating as the news was, my mother rose to the occasion and promptly became my brother’s main caregiver – for the second time in 30 years, as this sadly, wasn’t their first cancer-go-round together!

My brother told me time and again that he didn’t think he would have been able to manage without her help, and how tremendously grateful he was for her. And, for her part, she thought nothing of it. It’s what she’s always done; supported her children without a second thought for herself. Even at the expense of her personal health and wellbeing.

Spending the past two weeks attending to her needs has been an amazing experience. Have I missed my husband, son, and all that I do in Southern California? Of course! But, as weird as it sounds, the first time she actually asked me for something, I felt so honored: Fortunate that she finally tuned into her own needs and graciously (of course) received what she needed from someone other than herself.

After a bedside chat about my brother the other night, I saw the most beautiful serenity projecting out of my mom’s exhausted, abused body. It was a loveliness only a mother exudes when swept up in the emotion of loving her treasured child. I’ve seen that very look out of the corner of my eye when she didn’t think I knew she was looking my way. That night I realized that, that powerful, unyielding source of all love resides in the very core of her being.

So wow – how do you truly repay someone for a lifetime of devotion and support? For the woman who pretty much gave up her own soul for the care and feeding of my brother and me, (in addition to doting on her precious grandsons.) Someone who has sustained so much loss and pain in the past few years, yet continues to move forward: To her “whole new life,” as she put it the other day. 

Any feedback is seriously appreciated!

As I kissed her goodnight after our interchange, I heard myself say, “You are one f**king strong woman.” She tilted her head slightly and gave me a sly half-grin and said, “Yep – I guess I am one strong f**king woman.”

As she continues to heal and sets forth on her “whole new life” I believe her strength will sustain her - and I think she’ll be alright.

This pretty much sums it up! Thanks for posting this the other day, cousin K!

Monday, July 15, 2013

it's my birthday, you see

 Sooooo – It’s my birthday today. Yes, yes, thank you to everyone who has and will wish me a beautiful day. I’m overwhelmingly grateful for all of you in my life, in one fashion or another, and know how special and rare some of our connections are. I’m truly humbled for that – and always will be.

I’d planned to post something I’ve been writing about my mom. I will do that. Just, not today. I realized this morning that if I didn’t write these words down STAT, I would be in danger of a full-scale psychic explosion. (As opposed to the many spastic tremors that have been shaking me up all morning.)

OK, so here’s the deal: I honestly didn’t think it possible that I could be even minutely sadder today than I have been for the past month. I thought that gravity could push one down only so far and that there would be some sort of quantum shifts that, if nothing else, removed the gravity or at least brushed it aside. Seriously. I thought that! And while I do, indeed, find myself in an entirely new dimension here, I didn’t consider I could possibly feel worse! Quantum shifts apparently are not what I’ve been led to believe!

You might think, “Are you in a bad place, dear, because you’re another year older?” Nope. That kind of angst has never been part of my makeup. In fact, I LOVE birthdays!! Am I upset that this is the first time in 26 years that I haven’t spent my birthday with my husband? Yeah – and while that sucks BIG time, it’s not necessarily tailspin material. My mom: sleeping away most of the day while we’re both pretty much held captive in the house, awaiting nurses and phone calls and a possible trip to the hospital? Again, suck-fest, but not a mind-blower. Missing a phone call from my brother, as he laments about not knowing what to get me, yet coming through 100% on the gift-o-meter? Sure, sure – that adds to the melancholia – however, all of these things added up still don’t seem to measure up to my cavernous pit of misery.

Now, if you think I didn’t throw myself a pretty pathetic pity-party, you’d be wrong. It was a short, but crazy, snot filled gala that fell just shy of me throwing myself on the ground and pounding the crap out of the floor. I mean, it’s my birthday and I’ll bitch and whine to myself (Oh – and now you) if I want to! Thankfully, I’m aware enough to recognize that hitting things in a fit of despair is most definitely not Self-love. And it’s certainly not something a wise woman of advanced years does if she has half a brain in her head.

So there I sat – and as quietly and calmly as I could – tuned fully into to my irregular and shallow breaths and let the disillusionment of life, as I’d been living it recently, waft slowly out of my pores. Drifting slowly away from my base, like water vapor floating upward when hot rays of light scorch the pavement after a summer rain.

Did the heat of awareness eradicate my sorrow? Of course not. What it did, however, was erase the shell of self-absorption I began to enclose my pain in. It allowed me to separate deep from superficial discontent. To recognize fully that the effects of change, no matter how sudden or prolonged, often take time for the soul to fully acknowledge and accept. Hell, the first Noble Truth is “There is suffering.” Yet, by the same token, I confirmed what I always thought to be true: our self-imposed, egotistic suffering is so easily dusted away when we look at it with full, naked clarity.

As far as birthdays go, this one was definitely…different. And, as my dear friend L would say, “interesting.” Not self-indulgent, not “Birthday Queen-ish,” like it usually is. My gift has been – a deeper awareness of…well... everything. Ok, that, and the surprise birthday cake from our neighbor-friend down the street! Love you B! You saved the day!!