Reflections From My True Self

Remembering Who I Really Am


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I Didn’t Blog

Even though today is supposed to be my day to blog, to take myself out of the daily busyness and be still, hear what my True Self has to say, I did not.

Today, thanks to the Polar Vortex, my children are home from school.  It feels hard to pull myself away from them, I want to take advantage of this gift of time together.

 So, instead of gazing at the white sky and the branches of the tree outside my window, or visiting those caves in the waters of my imagination, where I feel a Wise Crone lives inside of me, I do this with my daughter:

Photo by Andrea Friedmann

Photo by Andrea Friedmann

It is a jungle, with a river of water running through it. Chiqui teaches me how to make pompom trees with the glue gun and a pipe cleaner. I make a berry bush of tissue paper and Golondrino contributes a tinfoil canoe.  We scrounge up some plastic animals that survived numerous toy purges, and fashion a pipe cleaner snake. We string a vine across it, and hang a monkey from it.

There are a few squabbles as we work: should there or should there not be signs of humans, who tend to destroy nature. Tempers flare, my son stomps off at my daughters’ intransigence. We come back together again, everyone’s heart softens slightly, we all give in a little.

When we are through, we put the box in the sunlight and gaze at our work with pride. We’ve used up a few hours of this long day where outdoor play is not possible.

And I am surprised that I am feeling nourished, my heart is full, running over with love and gratitude, my energy light, warm, joyful.

This? This is better than blogging!

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Nothing To Be Done

My friend Isabel’s marriage of 20 years is ending.  My friend Danielle’s daughter is scheduled for major surgery which she direly needs. My friend Janine needs to do another test to see if cancer has returned to her body, only this time she is a widow with a young son to care for.  I could go on and on: another friend can’t find a job, yet another can’t conceive.

I could feel despair, because I love them, every one; because I wish I could do something to give them back the sense of certainty, comfort, that they used to have, that they yearn for.  At least, I wish I could do something that would make them feel all better, the way I did for my babies when they toppled and I stood them up, dusted them off and set them loose again with a kiss.  But I can’t. There’s nothing that I could do that would come even close to that.

Except, hold loving energy for each of them, see them as their brightest, most radiant selves, and, simply, be present to them.

I know this, because, when I have been drowning, breathless and scared, I could feel them doing it for me. Their presence created a modest, but vital, space for me to be able to take a deep breath and remember my Self.

Nothing changed. And yet, somehow, it did.  I was held, and that made all the difference.

Photo Credit: Muriel M Sawicki

Photo Credit: Muriel M Sawicki


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Soul’s Friends

It is my good fortune to have lived long enough to have met a few people who naturally play the right tune to go with my own score, with whom I felt instantly attuned, with whom I just “clicked,” with whom I never had to strive to be understood. Truly, this is my fortune, in the most literal, materialistic sense: I am rich in these relationships, these friendships of my soul that fill my life with light and love.

And now I see my daughter struggling to find a social space for herself, a space that does not require her to squeeze herself into a different shape, that doesn’t require others to do the same for her. I see her feeling lonely in the world, while at home, her brother, her best companion in play is sending unmistakable signals that he is moving away from their childhood games and leaving her with a sense of loss, even if he is not physically moving away.

I don’t know when it will happen, but I do know that my daughter is an old soul and, sooner or later, she will find that other, perhaps those others, who know what matters about her without needing introductions, who see all of who she is, who, even at a distance, are always right there with her.

Photo Credit: Michael & Christa Richert on RGBstock.com

Photo Credit: Michael & Christa Richert on RGBstock.com


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Commitment

Oma, my grandmother, married my grandfather by proxy and followed him to Colombia from her home in Austria. When she told her friends that she was leaving, one of them advised her to have all her teeth removed, in case she couldn’t get adequate dental care there. That is how remote Colombia was from her world.

A generation later, my mother, after much demurring and postponement, accepted my father’s marriage proposal, which implied a move from Mexico, across the continent on a couple of flights, crossing latitudes and longitudes, to live in Colombia. She did this in spite of the fact that, not too long before, she had decided the six hour drive to Tucson was too great a distance from her family to stay in school there.

I am in awe of the inner resources that empowered either of them to take such a great, courageous leap.  I did not have that kind of faith. Regardless of my feelings, for years, I chose to remain a cautious observer in my relationship with Brujo. That way, I didn’t have to invest myself fully, I could keep one foot out, ready to flee, should that be called for.

Until one day it dawned on me that no relationship with a real, living human being (or, for that matter, the single life into old age) could feel perfect for me all of the time. That’s how I found the fortitude to finally decide to gather enough courage to commit fully to the relationship I was already (so happy that I was) in.

Yet even then, I feared losing myself. The evening before our wedding, I held a private commitment ceremony for my Self, vowing always to stay true to it, my Self, above all else.

As it turns out, all these years later, there have been times when I forgot that vow for a moment, and times when I wasn’t quite sure what staying true to my Self looked like. There have certainly been times when it would apparently have been easier to go along to get along.

But today I feel profound gratitude, for that vow has been a seed that helps me (and sometimes forces me) to know my Self more fully, it fuels my growth, and, magically, beautifully, deepens the connection between my Brujo and me.

Photo credit: Zela (Marja Flick-Buijs)at RGBstock.com.

Photo credit: Zela (Marja Flick-Buijs)at RGBstock.com.


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The Things That May Have Mattered

I chat with my mother, casually, about her childhood in El Barrio, in Tucson. We look at the picture of her, her siblings, and cousins, next to her Tata’s house on 5th Avenue, gathered for a brief moment in stillness before they all burst into movement and are off playing. She shares little, careless, details, to which neither of us give much thought: Richard, always dressed like a cowboy, my aunt’s penchant for standing up to their father, René’s constantly scraped knees. She talks of her school, and the house her father built, then she mentions my grandmother, and the dances she and my grandfather often attended.

Afterwards, I am left thinking of my grandmothers: Gama and Oma. Their form is long gone now. Yet, in some ways, they are more present to me now, than they could have been in life, because they lived half the country and (almost) a hemisphere away from me, respectively.

But today, I hold in my mind’s eye the elegant woman in a shimmering dress, her lightly veiled hat and long gloves — the Gama from the black and white photograph. I think of all the details of her life that are lost to me, things that may have mattered to her: what secret ingredient went into her Capirotada; why she was so captivated by all things Asian; how many nights she spent staring at the ceiling, wondering about her boys across the seas with the armed forces, or her daughter who was living so far away. What do I know of the secrets she shared with her closest friend, or what she really said to my grandfather’s ghost when he sat at the end of her bed at night? What of the dreams she never realized? And the ones that came true? I will never know.  And some day, no one will know the things that mattered to her.

That awareness twists inside of me.

But a moment later, I am touched in my core by the presence of permanent flow, from one from to another, that I recognize as Eternity, Oneness. I am overcome with a quiet that stills the twisting anxiety within me and softens every edge.

I am aware, then, that, ultimately, none of it really matters.

Gama walking down the street in Tucson

Gama walking down the street in Tucson


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What If

What if we all woke up one day, any day, today, and believed that a stage curtain had been drawn over night between the past and the present, and this was a new chance to choose right action? What would it be like, if I walked out in awareness that I see the light in others, and in myself; and knowing that everyone I run into sees it, too? What if I expected every slight to be born from misunderstanding, knowing I have nothing to defend, and entered every conflict prepared to listen deeply, my heart open? What if everyone around me did the same?  What if we all accepted our Self, and what if we all felt accepted, safe to be present where we are, who we are? What if we knew ourselves whole, instead of fractured, and saw the wholeness in each other? What if kindness and tenderness were the first emotions we experienced when we interacted with each other?

What if I let myself live this way, as if it were true….?

©Agnes Scholiers (TouTouke) atRGBStock.com

©Agnes Scholiers (TouTouke) atRGBStock.com


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For the Lake

The kids and I go to the lake in the morning. It stretches, vast and shining, beyond the horizon. I am overcome with its stillness and quiet. And yet, it’s waters are in constant, rhythmic movement.

Others arrive, many of them children, with long limbs and bouncy energy; they explore the water’s edge, venture briefly into the cold of it. We gather on the sandy shore and, together, we listen, to what arises from within each of us, for the lake, from it. And we play drums and rattles; one sunny child knocks rocks.

When quiet rises up amongst us again, we build mounds with the rocks, and a bird. The children quibble about the wing: it’s too long, too thin. They move the rocks, bring some sticks, open their minds. The bird is done to our collective satisfaction.

Then we line up where the waves end, and fill our cups with lake water. We hold those waters against our hearts. I think of all that we receive from it. I feel my gratitude radiate out of me, all around me, filling the cup and enveloping the children, the women, the couple sitting on a bench and enjoying their morning, the workmen tearing up the street on the other side of the park, the whole of this sprawling city and the corn fields beyond it, and further, further, where there are no edges, where nothing ends and all is beginnings.

I pour this all back into the lake with the water in my cup. One sprite-child begins a dance, slowly, magically, flinging her cup’s water out in an arc over her head, circling her body that dances and turns. The others follow suit. Everyone at their own pace, pouring water back into the lake, pouring healing and love back into the lake.

When we finish, a child speaks, from her heart, and says that we have made something beautiful, truly, because we brought only ourselves, and used what was given to us by the Lake.

Afterwards, at home, my son remarks that it’s usually girls who think about the Earth, about doing it service. But he thinks of it, too. And my heart is larger than my body on this day.