Reflections From My True Self

Remembering Who I Really Am

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A Reminder

Even though I work this way with others, I have not gone into retreat for a long, long time. I am inspired by the effect of retreating on those for whom I am companion and guide. But I forget how vital this work is for me.

I determine that it is time again, to go into retreat, in preparation for the turn of the year. As is to be expected, this feels inconvenient to do now, hard to find time for, requiring too much from me.  Still, I persevere, and sequester myself in silence, light my candles and bring out my rattle.

The past year floats under the glare of my gaze, and I rescue forgotten blessings, feel my heart tighten with unresolved pains and fears.  I honor all of the energies I find, witness them wholly.

In the smoke of the incense, I release what does not serve me, and feel lightened, heartened.

Then I remember, one last thing.

This year, too often, I have felt disconnected; disconnected from Nature, from the cycles of the year and my body, from awe and from what is sacred in my daily doings.  As this recognition comes to me, along with the question of how to release this large, heavy energy, a movement outside my window catches my eye.

It is a great bird, with powerful wings, gently coasting past, and my mind is slow to grasp, to process, to return to me: owl.  The bird alights in the high branches of a towering tree, the tree that I gaze on as I do my daily practices, the one that reminds me that trees are also my relations.

It can’t be an owl, I think. This is the city. It is broad daylight. Could it be?  The bird is still, imposing, enormous, unblinking. It is indisputably an owl.

My mind is startled into stillness. I remember the thought of disconnection and, immediately, a new thought arises: I could never be disconnected from Nature, from what is sacred, from my Self.

No sooner does this thought rise in my awareness, as the great owl takes flight and coasts away into the white sky, disappears from my view.

I could never be disconnected from my Self; Owl has come to remind me of it.

Photo Credit: Jay Simmons

Photo Credit: Jay Simmons


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I am grateful that I am here, whole, present, alive… and taking this time. I am grateful that this day that threatened chaos has moved me to center myself, to remember what is important. I am grateful to remember that my only job is to align myself with my Deepest Wisdom.

I am grateful to realize that what is before me is what I must attend to, and that whatever is important and not before me, is also already unfolding. Therefore, I am grateful for the promised scent of toast and coffee.

I am grateful to trust enough to relax, even though I could cringe in fear for one hundred thousand reasons. I am grateful for Reiki, for the warmth it spreads through me, and for the love I can extend through it to others.

I am grateful that I serve. And grateful, too, that I don’t need to understand how I do. I am grateful for the connections I experience each day with the people whose paths I cross.

I am grateful for the awakening that my loved ones open in my chest: my children, Brujo, the friends of my soul. I am grateful for their help in expanding my experiences, my awarenesses.

I am grateful for beauty: in the white sky brushed by naked branches, in the music of laughter, and the stark silhouette of a high rise by the lake. I am grateful for red: in my Oma’s shawl, and the cardinal in the window.

I am grateful that this day holds so many treasures that I cannot sit here and enumerate them, that I must go now and waken my children with soft kisses to warm cheeks, and feed them, and begin again the dance of the day, that wearies me, and enlivens me, all at once!


Photo Credit: John Boyer

Photo Credit: John Boyer

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Sage Mother plant came to my little bit of a garden late in the fall, when I wondered if she would manage to take properly. She came to me as a gift from a stranger, a gardener who loved her plants and wanted their care to continue even after they left her garden. It was a reluctant gift, because I am no knowledgeable gardener in these latitudes. Now it is summer and Sage has extended, lifted her branches, unfurled her velvety leaves. She blooms in astonishing purples, flowers that appear like tiny faces, ready to speak.

And I sit nearby, amidst the savory fragrance of her leaves. I am aware of her vitality, even when I look away from her. I close my eyes and realize that our roles have changed. When I planted her, I felt motherly, protective.

Now, sitting here, I feel her protective reach draw me in like a hug. She is my teacher, gently, silently, sharing some of her wisdom with me, inviting me to come often to visit her in my little garden.

Photo credit: Ayla87 (Michael & Christa Richert) on

Photo credit: Ayla87 (Michael & Christa Richert) on

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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)

©Agnes Scholiers (TouTouke)


Language Fails Us

There is a part of me, or perhaps it is a place, that is timeless and holds wisdom beyond my years. In it, some truths are stark, clear, indisputable. Like the truth that this life that I am living is a privilege, and, but a blink of an eye in the continuum that I am. Like the truth that I am a clear drop of water in an enormous ocean that ebbs and flows.

I yearn to share this with my children, this place, this part that I know they hold as well. Their awareness of it, it seems to me, could serve as a compass on their journeys.

But when I speak of it, my daughter says, “I am not like you, mama.  I am empty inside.”

And, so, this language fails us.

She feels empty, but I know that this part, this place… each of us has it.

I am at a loss.

So, I take her to a sunlit beach to listen to the lake’s waves. I take her to a denuded winter forest, to wade through fallen leaves. I show her, in our bare backyard, a black-capped chickadee with fluffed-out feathers. And, together, we look at the sky, stripped of clouds, with maple branches reaching for it.

When she says to me, “Let’s stop by the lake again, mama. Let’s walk through the leaves,”  I know she understands.

©Andrea Friedmann

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A Sense of Loss

When my Bleeding Days end, I feel a disquieting sense of loss.

 Without having full consciousness of it, I hold a fear that I may find myself suddenly disconnected from my oneness with the Earth, disconnected from the comforting knowing that I am soil and loam and humus.

 I fear that I will be unable to experience simultaneously my wholeness and my fragmentation.

I feel a disquieting sense of loss.

 And it is true that my body eases me into awareness of my oneness and my individuation, that the veil thins for me in this time. But it is also true that, at this time, I stop to notice, that I allow awareness to become humility.

 And that, that, I can do on any day.

A fern unfurls in the forest

©Andrea Friedmann

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As I go about my day, every day, I run into people whom I greet very briefly. “How are you?” “How are you doing?” Most of the time, these questions are answered with only a few quick words. Our exchanges are so often hurried, their content is less important than the very fact of them, of the connecting glance, of the acknowledgement we offer one another.

What would my day be like if, instead of the usual questions, I heard, “Who are you being?”

Who am I choosing to be? Am I showing up fully? Am I hiding parts of myself? Am I shielded? Am I being true to my essence?