I Will Not Over-Edit

We're only three minutes to midnight, midnight being doomsday, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, for reasons of "unchecked climate change, global nuclear weapons modernizations, and outsized nuclear weapons arsenals." They say, "international leaders are failing to perform their most important duty—ensuring and preserving the health and vitality of human civilization." The way I see it, the human race drains the earth of her finite resources in an attempt to provide infinite stability and perpetual protection. The masculine tendency. Which is normal and necessary and effective when balanced with the feminine prerogative to nurture and give back to Mother Earth. Every mother knows she needs to care for herself first.

But we are off-balance. Because women, who hold the bulk of the nurturing feminine energies, have operated under varying forms of oppression for centuries.

Today I make a plea to the women. To balance the planet, we must own our power. We must live according to the truth of who we are, not who we've been taught to be.

I have a few ideas on how to get started, if you're interested. Treat these as mantras.

I do not over-edit myself or my work.

I do not diminish what I have to say.

I do not self-deprecate.

I do not apologize unless I've done something wrong.

I do not downplay my achievements.

I do not feel ashamed of my passions.

I do not measure my worth by my productivity.

I do not measure my life by my bank account.

I speak my mind.

I stand up for myself.

I nourish my interior self.

I listen to my intuition

I respect my feminine body. 

I feed my spirit.

I support other women.

I am worthy of recognition. 

I turn the other cheek to bullies and misogynists.

I assert my power.

We are this planet. We must fill our cups before we can fill others.

Go ahead, write your own mantras, empower yourself. Be unafraid of your power. Use it now. Nothing lasts forever.

This is day 20 of 30 consecutive days of blogging. I’m glad you’re along for the ride. If you liked this post, please share using the buttons below. If you have something to add, feel free to comment openly or anonymously.

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Flower Piano in the San Francisco Botanical Gardens

Imagine you are in a botanical garden in a city built upon seven hills. The skies have opened over the oft-foggy peninsula and the sun drenches you and the Pacific breeze cools you.

It is your wedding anniversary and you are in love.

You have three adorable children to help you celebrate.

Imagine pianos, twelve of them curtained by trees, planted in the garden like flowers.

Anyone can sit down and play, at any time.

Imagine the pianists in a wide variety of ages and shades, the focus in their gaze, the dance in their fingers.

You are tired from loving the children, but the city and its beautiful people energizes you.

You think of your own childhood nights and weekends set to the soundtrack of your father pounding out Beatles music on the piano. You remember your piano recitals. You remember your piano teacher. You remember your choir teachers and how they turned to the piano like it was God. You remember your sister playing in the high school jazz band. You remember when your brother learned to play. You remember that the piano is part of you.

But there is more, beyond your personal history. When pianos were not quaint, but a luxury, and to know the joy of music in your home, you must play. You become nostalgic for centuries past. When each song came from a soul rather than an imprint of a soul. You are happy to live Now. You are grateful for Now. For bright ideas, for trailers to haul pianos into gardens and also for the freedom to marry anyone you want.

You think that it doesn't get any better than this, the intersection of art and life, past and present, music and flowers.

You realize that each moment is like a note played on the piano. Sharp and flat, right and wrong, improvised and planned. As a piano must be tuned to sound right, you must stay in tune with your heart to feel right.

You wish you still played, but you sense there is something else that attunes you: writing words.

Happy Sunday, dear readers. What attunes you?

Hey, Bay Area residents, Flower Piano goes through tomorrow, July 20.

This is day 7 of 30 consecutive days of blogging. I’m glad you’re along for the ride. If you liked this post, please share using the buttons below. If you have something to add, feel free to comment openly or anonymously.

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The Fear of Being Seen

Perhaps you want something, but when it comes down to actually making this thing happen, you fear what you want. This fear disallows it from happening. Sometimes consciously, mostly unconsciously. When I owned Herbal Philosophy Teas, a home-based business in which I mixed locally-sourced organic herbs into medicinal teas, I grew to dread big orders. Though I was excited each time I added a new spa to my client list, I accepted the order with a certain unease. More hours spent in the office, away from my husband, away from my children, away from my blog, away from my manuscript in process. The money was nice, but most of the dollars would go back into the business.

Looking back on this discreet form of self-sabotage, I wonder how I lasted as long as I did under that business model. Hindsight is 20/20, no? I should have hired a co-packer from the beginning to mix the teas, no matter the investment. Alas, my first business proved a tremendous learning experience, not only as an entrepreneur, but as an herbalist and a human trying to sell something. It turns out you don't have to only believe in what you're selling, you have to believe in your credibility to sell it, you have to be willing to charge money for it, and you have to focus on it.

Since I started this blog, it has never been a significant focus. I have called it a hobby, a creative outlet, a labor of love, but never a business. I am not sure what the future holds for this blog. But I do know that I want to grow the readership, and in order to do this, I have to let go of a deep-seated fear of sharing my heart and being seen in all my wounded glory.

I heal by writing my way through struggle. Perhaps my struggles are somehow related to your struggles and we can work through them together. I feel intense pain in the world, I see so much brokenness. Rampant racism and sexism and materialism and depression and anxiety and dis-ease and the list goes on. And on. But change happens on an individual level before it becomes systemic. By changing ourselves, we change the world.

My greatest motivator is the notion that what I write here can help other people. In order to help other people, I must be honest. I must share what's on my heart in order to tap into the collective consciousness.

Naturally, we have inhibitions that protect us from over sharing. I fear being seen, I value my privacy. I have written a number of blogs I have never published and I have drafted many Facebook posts I have never posted. But let's be real here. Growing this blog readership will not turn me into a celebrity. I choose exactly how much I want to reveal. I am in control. I am learning how to love myself enough to see the value in my imperfections.

I struggle like everybody, but I am also lucky, and I am obliged to effect change using this platform because I feel called to do so. Even my marriage is a privilege. As good partnerships tend to do, it grants me support of my goals and strengthens my weak spots: if my husband, who knows my foibles better than anybody, loves me and respects me in spite of these fatal flaws, then maybe you can, too.

This is day 1 of 30 consecutive days of blogging. I'm glad you're coming along for the ride. If you liked this post, please share using the buttons below. If you have something to add, feel free to comment openly or anonymously.

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The Art of Filtering

"Always needing to stay immediate by removing what is no longer real is the working inner definition of sacrifice--giving up with reverence and compassion what no longer works in order to stay close to what is sacred."- Mark Nepo "The Book of Awakening"

I am continually humbled by this life I have chosen as a mother, wife and writer. The beauty lies in the nuances and they are so easily missed. The distractions are plentiful. I want to get back to the basics.

The blank page.

Thoughts and words, no matter their speed.

Books I look forward to opening.

Entire days with no purpose but to love and be loved by my family.

We are constantly bombarded with information and opportunities and even images. First world problems, I know, trivial but real. A favorite distraction of mine (Instagram) utilizes "filters" to communicate via images and text. Interestingly, it seems filtering is exactly what we need to do in every moment; to preserve what is real, we cannot let everything through. We must be mindful of the snarks and cynics, the media including social media, the books and websites that don't resonate, the habits that do not serve.

We must protect ourselves. No one can filter the noise for us. Not an app nor a partner nor a boss nor a parent nor a friend nor a child. No one can make our mistakes for us, and likewise, no one can know the depth of our potential but us. We are at the mercy of ourselves. Our thoughts, our words, our deeds. Our inaction and our action.

So much of my twenties I spent shaving away the layers that had calcified over my true self. Motivations, ambitions, careers, hobbies, lifestyles, beliefs. I made strides in casting away the debris and carving "me" out of the mess, and though I know this could be a lifelong practice of collecting and experimenting and releasing--I hold the hope that my thirties will offer more stability, more rootedness in the identities that cannot be peeled away. No one said it better than my sister: "I spent much of my twenties searching for myself, but in my thirties I am enjoying the person I found."

If we can be raw, if we can put our barest selves out there, if can we accept our callings and our quirks without reservation and negotiation, I think anything is possible.

What are you filtering? I'll go first. (See comments.)

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Life And Death Transformation

On the evening of Mother's Day, complex emotions and utter exhaustion induced sleeplessness, my head buzzing with metaphysical possibilities. I'd just finished reading "After This: When Life Is Over, Where Do We Go?" by Claire Bidwell Smith, the pages containing a litany of profound revelations about death and the afterlife. Claire helped me excavate a knowingness from deep within: there is no such thing as death, not in the sense that our souls leave these bodies and we cease to exist. Death is a transformation. There is consciousness after death, even if it looks and feels different than we look and feel while animating a human body.

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Behind Closed Doors

So much to do so little time. Ya feel me? So many books to read and stories to write.

So many faces to kiss and smiles to feel.

So many experiences to have and restaurants to try.

So many sites to browse and things to know

So many cities to visit and songs to sing.

So much creativity pulsating behind so many closed doors.

I like to put myself in the bird's-eye view and soar overhead. I try to stay on this peninsula we call San Francisco while I am here in body, because if I don't, I might get lost out there.

I see the beaches and the tall trees and the harrowing hills. The Golden Gate Bridge and the Victorians and Coit Tower, and then I go deeper. I see people walking and running and talking. I see them tapping away at their computers and moving across the land because they always have places to be. I see them wanting, wanting, wanting so much. I see their creative energy bolstered by mine and vice versa. I see our work weaving in and out of each other even if we're not sure how or why or what the end result will be. I see tapestries of thought, intricate patterns emerging, ideas becoming things, an invisible and indivisible underbelly of love.

The work you do in your mind is the work you do for the mind. The work you do from your heart is the work you do from the heart.

I hope you know where you fit in today. I hope you can step back and admire your patch in the tapestry, whether it be tangled and tight, or lovely and loose. I hope you know your value. I hope you do work and I hope you own it. I hope you do things that scare you. I hope you aren't too scared to back away.

I hope today is your perfect day. I hope you embrace imperfections as perfections, and death as life. I hope you see two sides of the same coin. I hope we can all understand the paradox that in order to create, something must die.

What are you creating? What's happening behind your closed doors? Have you thought about opening them?

To read more of my thoughts on motherhood, mindfulness and the creative life, please follow my blog or subscribe via feedburner.

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The Intersection of Art, Poetry and Motherhood

1505_May First Friday-rev(1) Life has a way of unfolding around us, in spite of us, for us. Do you agree?

I love writing poetry. I love making mixed media art. I love being a mother. And somehow in a whirl of synchronicity and serendipity, these passions that don't always complement one another, have joined forces and taken an unforeseeable direction.

In the month of May and mother's day and my birthday, we the three founding members of Maker Mamas will present "Maternal Matters" at The Shop at Flywheel Press in San Mateo, CA, a show exploring the intersection of art, poetry and motherhood. Cameras, keyboards, and canvases are the tools we use in the midst of nap, play, and dream time, nurturing our creations alongside our children.

The show opens on May 1st, 6-9 pm with the San Mateo First Friday night market, a food truck and live music. Please do pass along the information and invitation to Bay Area art lovers and mothers and non-mothers alike.

I look forward to telling you about the opening--and how it felt to scribble my heart on my sleeve and hang my stained laundry out for public scrutiny.

Until then, I leave you with my artist statement:

My intention is to coax feminine energies out of their centuries-old oppression by exploring the quintessential embodiment of femininity: motherhood. The divine nature of the feminine is to create and nurture creation; just as life on earth evolved out of our sister the ocean, dark and wet like the womb. This collection of poetry acknowledges the light and shadow sides of making and raising humans by taking a heart-centered perspective on maternal sacrifice. By seeing the unseen, specifically the woman as mother, we hold space for her to birth new ideas, inspiring women to take back their power--not just in birth but in life.

To read more of my thoughts on motherhood, mindfulness and the creative life, please follow my blog or subscribe via feedburner.