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When the Virgin Mary is on your front porch

August 8, 2016

I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in the darkness, the astonishing light of your own being. – Hafiz


In every workshop or retreat I have taught at, every online group I have been part of, and every gathering of women, the question of deserving has always come up.

The more I think about it, the more I think that this is the biggest block to us following our dreams.

We think we don’t deserve them.

We believe that we aren’t good enough to deserve love/ good things/ magic/ miracles because of something that happened in our past, and it’s just being proven to us by our new belief in the Law of Attraction.

Because now if bad things happen, or good things don’t happen, not only do I not deserve it because I am somehow a bad person/ unlovable, I am also to blame because I didn’t believe or attract enough. It’s a double-dose of un-deserving.

So no matter what, we suck. It’s bloody exhausting, but we keep doing it – believing in our undeservingness – and beating ourselves to an emotional pulp. So let’s do an experiment and try something else for a minute, because, as Dr. Phil would say: ‘How’s that working for ya?’

When people talk to me about us moving here, they get a funny look in their eye and they tell me how brave or how lucky or even how crazy we are. Know what? We’re not. We are scared. We are freaking out. We look at each other and question our decision every single day. But we never questioned – not once – whether or not we deserved to want this.

Why? Because I choose to no longer believe in the concept of deserving. It definitely doesn’t make things easier, but it sure makes things better.

The change happened for me when I decided to play with believing in a benevolent universe. I started asking, ‘what if?’ What if I deserve to follow my dreams just because I am here? What if I am allowed to believe in miracles just because I got born? What if I am a deeply loved, held, and a tiny piece of the divine having a human experience?

What if there was actually no such thing as not deserving? What then?

Adding ‘what if’ to any thought makes it much more playful. You aren’t committing to the thought, you are just checking it out. Your brain begins to look for answers; for proof. It doesn’t like not knowing something. And as you let yourself play with what ifs, the world opens up and the what ifs get deeper, richer, and more powerful – until you find yourself asking, ‘what if we were to totally change our lives. What then?’

So what if the universe/ the divine/ God/ Goddess/ spirit/ or even the Virgin Mary was actually present in your life all of the time as a loving presence? What would you do differently? What if you and Mary had a standing date for tea and all she ever wanted to do was talk about how beloved you are; not because of something you did or didn’t do, and regardless of what was going on in your life. Would you look at her and tell her all of the ways it wasn’t true? Or would you believe her because – well – she’s the Virgin Mary? What if, just for a moment at a time, you played with believing that it was true?

So I’ll ask you again:

What if there was no such thing as not deserving? What then?



My Religion is Wonder

June 1, 2016
The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper. ~ W.B. Yeats


You know how there are some places that just fill up your senses; places that manage to feel completely magical and totally familiar at the same time? Siena was one of those places for me. I had never even heard of it before I went there, but it absolutely had me at hello.

For some, the overt Catholicism of Italy can be a bit much, but for me, the unabashed glory was soul-filling. Yes, you can tell me All Of The Things about religion and church and I will agree with you on lots of them – but I will still stand still in the middle of a cathedral as ridiculously decorated as the one in Siena and I will hold my breath in awe.

And I will wonder.

I do the same thing as I stand amongst trees or flowers or see beautiful art or eat delicious food or admire beauty or ingenuity or feel connection or notice kindness or talent or magic of any kind.

I do the same thing when I see something that makes me really laugh, like this clothesline of tights (I don’t know if they have a technical name) hanging on a clothesline outside of another church in Siena. The sheer every-day-ness of the laundry coupled with the shrine to the Holy Mother filled my soul with just as much delight as any painting.

I know I should go all Dalai Lama on you and agree that my religion is kindness, but for me it is not. My religion is the moments that make me stop and wonder. My religious practice consists of existing as much as possible in that state of true connection; in those moments that pull me out of my head and put me right into a state of gratitude.

Of wonder.

I believe that in those moments, I am as close to God/ the goddess/ the Universe/ the Mystery/ (choose your own word) as it is possible for me to be.

And I am looking to spend as much of my time there as possible.




emotions, fear, spirituality, The Seeker

The One on the Bathroom Floor

December 22, 2014

You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star. – Nietzche


b3d57f856feee147f64dba0ed570fc40If this was the movie of my life, this weekend would have been the scene on the bathroom floor. You know the one: the moment when it all gets too much and the heroine cries ugly tears locked away by herself in a room. The one right before profound change.

That was me this weekend.

I’m not telling you this so that you will feel sorry for me or so that you will say nice things in the comments. I’m telling you this because sometimes it all gets too much.

Two weeks ago I was feeling high with possibility. Quitting my job, creating magic, moving to another country, shedding layers of myself – both physically and metaphorically – seeing change happening, having profound moments of connection, all felt possible and good and they were happening.

But then I started getting chest pains.

And this weekend it hit me that all of that is happening. The joblessness, homelessness, selling our stuff, still being at work for three more months, the mess, the paperwork, not spending any time with my family this Christmas, the being a wife and daughter and sister and aunt and daughter-in-law and friend and boss and colleague, and maker-of-Christmas – and don’t even get me started on being a writer – and all of this opening up? It’s bloody exhausting and painful and then there is the guilt that I’m not doing any of it well enough. And this weekend the overwhelm was just too much.

Too much = ugly tears.

But here I am again this morning. I am up and I am going to work and things look a little brighter.

It can be so tempting to only show the shiny sides of ourselves. It can be so tempting to look at other people and see their edited version. But if we are to grow and to be and to embrace all of it, we are going to have to go there.

To the darkness.

Because only in the darkness can we see the stars.


“At the end of the Tower the ego, the conscious idea of self, riddled with mistakes, regrets, illusions, delusions, untruths as well as truths, ideas, illusions of separateness, illusions of needs or instincts, of human life, they are blown completely away. The earth is blown away. The lie is exposed. And when that shell falls, when you find you cannot stand on that lie any more and you fall through the illusions that is self and life on earth and everything you know or knew begins to vanish and disappear, all will become black and empty and then, alone will be a single light. That is the truth. That is home. It is one. It is the Star. In the blackness that was the Tower the Star will guide you home. It is in the darkness that the Star shines brightest.” – Marie White – The Mary-El Tarot (The Star)

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