A picture is worth a thousand lifetimes.

Almost five years ago, I went to a weekend retreat and made this collage.

collage of many different faces, trees, paths, as a record of spiritual journey

Everything in it has come true.
I have walked dark paths.
Looked in on sacred truths.
Felt the joy of my own touch.
Much, much more.

A picture is worth a thousand lifetimes.

Of course, I didn’t know that would happen.
But now I believe in the magic.


I am currently in another collage (visioning) class.

The thing about collaging from a spiritual perspective is that it must be done by feel. It is one experience to have our ego say, “Oh, that’s a pretty picture; we like that!” and quite another experience to listen more deeply. To listen to places that can only speak by how a thing feels.

What you see below is about how it feels. Something deep in my spirit knew when the picture was just right. It is a picture of a deeper, subconscious knowing.

This subconscious knowing is guidance from a place that understands so much more than I’m usually willing to listen to.

Here is what I’ve made so far.

collage for a new office

collage about sensuality

(Indulgence yoga. Yes!)


the path of a woman collage - a woman's spiritual journey


collage about how to be spellbound

(The prompt for this was “How to Be Spellbound.”)


trailblazer made of stainless steel


collage of what turns me on

(Prompt: what turns me on. No surprise that skin turns me on.
That dude’s hair…I wanna flirt with him just to touch his hair…)

collage about my spirit guide


These are all about me. Places and voices within myself. Many of them I don’t understand…yet.

But I know what magic images can bring about.
These are my prayers, in visual form.
Many of them are prayers I didn’t know my soul had.

We shall see what comes of them. What answers.
What adventures.




On being asked for forgiveness.

There is a common perspective about forgiveness floating around self-help circles in the last few years. It looks like this:

forgiveness is a reflection of loving yourself enough to move on


The point being that forgiveness is not so much something you do for the other person, it is something you do for yourself as well. Primarily so that you don’t feel weighed down by the person, interaction, or relationship anymore – so that you can move forward with less baggage.

I definitely understand this idea of forgiveness. I think it is a very important idea; that forgiveness is about more than what you can give the other person. Every relationship is a two-way street; so is forgiveness when the relationship goes wrong.

This lesson of forgiveness came up for me a few weeks ago when an old friend emailed, asking my forgiveness for something that had broken our friendship. I was surprised. And unsure of what to do.

I haven’t been asked for forgiveness in a long time.

Mostly, I have been the one asking for forgiveness.

Certainly I have made many mistakes. I have asked forgiveness for things ranging from forgetting a meal for a big party (for a friend) to causing deep pain in others lives through my own selfishness.

Asking for forgiveness is a humbling experience. It requires me to reflect on my actions and intentions. It means I must accept that I did something wrong, even something bad.

Understanding that we have missed the mark (sometimes by a long shot) is often painful. We see where we acted out of fear, anger, or selfishness. It is psychologically painful to know I’ve hurt someone else.

And then I must be courageous and humble enough to reach out to the one I wronged and admit my poor choices and poor behaviors.

That takes a lot.


In the case of this person who contacted me, I had long forgiven them. There were a variety of reasons to do so, including the person’s level of development and my own desire to let it rest.

She was still asking for my forgiveness, though.

As I sat with it, I realized: she had not forgiven herself.
She was seeking forgiveness because she had not forgiven herself.

This, I think, is a part of forgiveness that no one really tells you about.

No one tells you that self-forgiveness is possible.
Or that it’s important.
No one tells you how exactly to forgive yourself.

Not that I’ve mastered it, either. But I know that forgiving myself has often helped me to really accept the poor choices I made and learn from them.

I have learned to forgive myself for making poor choices, even if that was the best I knew how to do at that time. This kind of forgiveness helps us grow into something better because we are no longer ignorant.

I have learned to forgive myself for making poor choices, even if I knew what I did was not the best I could do. This kind of forgiveness helps us grow into something better because we understand the consequences of not doing our best.

Self-forgiveness is about mending and learning from the relationship with ourselves. How what we do to others affects our own internal systems (psychology, emotions, spirituality, etc.).

It is important to bestow the gift of self-forgiveness on ourselves, for the same we reason we give it to others – so we can learn and move on.


I replied to the email of my long-ago friend and said what I wished others could have said to me, what I wanted and needed to hear when asking for forgiveness: that I hoped she could forgive herself for what happened between us, because that was the important thing. And also that I had forgiven her long ago.




We must let boys dance.

My son, aged 10, is completing a dance section in his Phys Ed. class at school. He is enjoying it very much and was quite excited to show us the dance he had created for the class dance competition.

He asked for music and started to bounce to the beat. He was grinning from ear to ear. As he showed us the pattern he had created, he started laughing and clapping. His joy was so apparent.

After dinner he and his sister put together a new dance. It was one of the few times recently where they laughed and helped each other. There was a lot of “no, no no! I meant…like this!” in happy tones. (Usually they are fighting over Legos and sneering at one another.)

As I washed up the dinner dishes, I thought about the point in life where boys lose their natural ability to dance, to move with joy to music. Some boys have dancing learned out of them rather early (I am thinking of parents who say things like, “man up” to their young boys).

I think most boys lose the natural joy of dance around 12.
(I could be wrong, we haven’t gotten that far yet.)

As I thought about it more, I realized how important it could be for boys to dance.
To keep dancing.

Boys – who turn into men – are given so few outlets for their physical bodies.
Basically two: sports and sex.

They can play sports and roughhouse to express physicality and receive physical pleasure.
And they can have sex for more intimate, sustained physical pleasure.

But that’s about it.

“What a damn shame,” I thought. Boys lose (or, have taken from them) another way to enjoy their bodies when they lose the interest in dance.

It shook me to my core to think about how sad this was. The pleasure of just enjoying their body is lost to them when we discourage boys from dancing. The pleasure of expression. The pleasure of release and expansiveness. The joy of feeling connected to one’s body through pleasure.

I was reminded of working in a place where most of the men (and a lot of the women) were very repressed. Some of the women kept quiet and/or used alcohol as an antidote to the closing of their hearts. Some of the men found release in addiction, extreme sports, and extra-marital affairs.

For months after I left, I imagined inviting these people to take dance lessons with me. To dance and laugh and release. They never would have gone for it, but I would have like to have tried.


a pair of dancing feet, in sneakers and showing jeans

Dancing is a spiritual practice for me. So I revere it and protect it for my own needs. But I also believe it is important for all people. I am reminded of how many tribes in faraway places include men-only dancing (sometimes as a courtship ritual) – and how important dance is to the health of their men and their community.

I am lucky in that my husband still dances. He went clubbing in college and never stopped dancing. Today we regularly embarrass the children (in our own home!) by dancing in the kitchen. Slow and soft or wild and crazy – we still dance.

It may be time to make this a family ritual. I do not want my boy to become embarrassed by dancing, especially his own.

I want this joy for him, for his whole life.


[After I wrote the notes for this post, I found this on The Unbounded Spirit. It is a much deeper article on the need for men to take back their bodies and emotions- dance is just one way. It is a long article but worth the time.]




Little boats of old memories.

The other day I was sitting cross-legged on the wood floor of my home office, picking through some files, looking for a specific paper. I put my index finger in my ear to scratch a little itch that made me want to wiggle it was so intense.

As soon as I put my finger in my ear, there was a sharp, piercing pain. It hurt and surprised me. I started to cry from the pain. My shoulders hunched over and a few hot tears rolled down my cheeks.

Then, a very small voice inside myself said, “Don’t cry. That’s dumb. You just stuck your finger in your ear. What adult cries about that?” It was an unkind voice.

I started to suck in my breath and wipe my tears away. Of course I didn’t need to cry about this pain; I am an adult.

But then I thought again: it hurt. Why shouldn’t I cry? Why should I stop myself? If it hurts, it’s normal to cry. That’s a normal, human response, I told myself.

And so, I cried.

I opened my mouth and let the blubbering noises out.

I let the warm tears gather in the cold corners of my eyes, and then fall on my cheeks, on my jeans, on the floor.

I let my shoulders raise and fall in the jagged way of crying.

And as I cried for the pain of my ear, I also noticed other things I was crying about. Other feelings came along and I cried for them, too.

There was a feeling – I don’t even know what it was from or about – that felt like an old, papery butterfly wing. The feeling was fragile and browned. So thin, so small.

I cried for it.

There was something about my relationship with my mother. It had no details. Only the feeling of deep, deep turquoise blue. It was soft, like a rose petal. It was not fragile, but it was small.

I cried for it.

It felt very much as though these extra feelings – the butterfly wing, the blue – were hitching a ride on the tears created from my pain. These extra feelings needed tears to find their way out of my body, so they did.

My tears were a river, a flowing, a movement. And the pain and the memories were little boats, riding the waters. Little boats of old memories, riding away.


close-up x-ray of dead butterfly wing



Folding Laundry So It Does Not Suck Your Soul Dry

I did eight loads of laundry this past weekend.
And that wasn’t even all of it.

If that “you’re an expert when you’ve done it for 10,000 hours” thing is true, I am a fucking expert at washing and folding laundry. I have been doing laundry since I was 14 – that’s 25 years of laundry.

I should have three honorary Ph.D.’s in it, I think.

Suffice it to say, it is something I do a lot of.

But I don’t always like it very much.


Only, this weekend, because I had so very much of it to do…I had to find a better way.

My husband and kids had been complaining about having to ‘dig for clothes’ out of the laundry baskets (from the clothes that were actually clean). Luckily for them, as they wore more clothes, and I washed less, there was far less to dig through each day.

Yes, I am that kind of mom and wife sometimes.

Okay, so, laundry. And doing it better.
Or, at least, not hating it so much that I don’t do it.

As I pulled two baskets filled with 2 loads each into the living room, I thought, “This is going to suck. What can I do to not make it suck?”

This is what I did.

colorful folded laundry as a sacred practice


1. Put on some funky, sexy music. Stuff that’s okay for the kids (!), but also still made me wanna shake my hips. Bopping while I folded the shirts was fun.

2. Did the conga or danced with each thing I folded. Yes, I danced with my laundry. And you know what? It made me and my kids laugh.

3. Really enjoy folding something. I like to fold towels and the old, cloth baby diapers we now use for living room napkins (for pizza and movies on Fridays). Towels just jam: fold, fold, fold, done! I took joy in those tasks.

4. Send love to each item. I just thought about the owner of each item as it passed through my hands and sent some love to it and them. This really felt good; that warm opening, deep in my chest. I let love flow through me into those clothes and into my family.

5. Notice the purpose of each item; imbue it with goodness. When I was folding my son’s shirts, I thought about how they protect his sensitive skin and I imagined the shirt as an armor breastplate.

My daughter’s jeans became pom-pom strings – moving her joyfully through her tough days.

My husband’s bike gloves (pro tip: don’t fold those) reminded me of how dedicated and loyal he is; I sent gratitude for their sacred purpose, which is to stick him to the bike he loves and receives love from.


Did these spiritual perspectives help?
You bet they did.

In one sense, I got through the laundry. But in another sense, they made folding the laundry a sacred task. A prayer.

As I held each piece of clothing in my hand, I felt it, saw it- the different fabrics, textures, colors, shapes. And as I held each thing, I connected with it in one way or another. And that connection brought me deeper into life and love.

I don’t love doing laundry, allofasudden. But I do see how good it is.