A ceremony to clear space and invite new perspectives

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I’ve had a vision board in my office for many years. Some images have been there since 2011, and I’ve been adding to them. There are pictures of people who inspire me: Wangari Maatthai, Paul Hawken, David Whyte, Joanna Macy, and Karen Armstrong, to name a few. Other precious images remind me of goals for my health, my family, and my work. Verses and prayers light me up or calm me down.

On the last day of 2014, I took them all down and burned them outside in a ceremony, during which I released specific goals and hopes and turned the next year over to divine order. As the fire quickly moved through and consumed the paper, I honored the many growing seasons of the trees that formed it, of leaves turning sunlight into the miracle of life and growth, now being released into the air by the flames. Continue reading

An ambition to witness and celebrate wonder


What do you want out of life? Who do you want to be when you grow up? These are questions we all have heard since childhood. Ambition is revered in our culture, even exalted. Without it, we are told, people are nothing; they are losers sitting on their couches watching daytime TV.

I enslaved myself to ambition for many years. I’m still motivated by it, though in a hybrid that oscillates between crass materialism and blinding spirit. In its purest form, my ambition comes more from within, in contrast to the culturally-sanctioned outward motivation I was taught. Like Rumi, I am burning with desire to serve the Beloved. To bring forth words and images, in the most beautiful, clear, inspiring and moving way I can possibly manage. Continue reading

Opening the door to ancestors and guides, humble and extreme


About twenty-two hours into Charles Lindbergh’s famous nonstop solo Atlantic crossing, having endured hours of fatigue and boredom, he was visited by the distinct feeling that there were a number of ghostly presences in his plane with him. This story is one of many fascinating encounters with the “third man” from John Geiger’s 2009 book, “The Third Man Factor.”

Lindbergh, of course, had his own understanding of their identities and purpose, and felt perfectly comfortable with their company. As I read, I thought how cool it would be if they were the ancestors of the invention of flight: Daedalus and Icarus, DaVinci, the Mongolfier brothers, Ferdinand von Zeppelin, Wenham, Ader, Maxim, Langley, and the Wright brothers. They would be crowded in there with him, celebrating his grand achievement and guiding him to a successful crossing. Who better to understand the trial of grueling endurance before Lindberg reached his goal? It was a shared victory. Continue reading

The love song of head, heart and hands


At my son’s grade school, there was a conscious engagement of head, heart and hands. Using them together requires a dynamic balance between intuition, reason, and action. These tools of the body enable us to interact with and make our mark on the world.

In a balanced person, the heart and hands have an equal role to play, not only to implement plans that the head comes up with, but in deciding what to do in the world and how to do it. Continue reading

Following the Muse



I have been journaling daily for two or three years and have come to depend on it as much as I need sleep. This turning inward has served me in many ways: practice getting in the flow of writing, a source of wisdom, keeping me honest (self-deception doesn’t fly on those pages), guiding me to juicy questions and insights, putting ideas together in new ways, and generally reminding me that I am not alone. This journal is my muse, spirit guide, big sister, unconditionally loving mother, and best friend, all rolled into a slim, black-bound, creamy-paged Moleskine. Continue reading