Reflections From My True Self

Remembering Who I Really Am


Fully Here

My head is full of thoughts of conscious creation and of setting intentions to engage energy. I am planning a class discussion even as I am out in the world, at the post office, doing groceries. I am there, but not quite. Neither am I fully here.


I place an order for refried beans in Spanish, because I am shopping in that kind of a place, where I can speak Spanish to the man behind the counter. I am friendly enough, but somewhat absent, still thinking of the session that put me on this train of thought about setting intentions and making requests.


A voice at my side asks if I am Colombian. It is a young man, with skin so smooth, I think he can’t yet be shaving. He tells me his “prometida,” his intended, is Colombian, and he recognizes my accent. His eyes radiate joy when he mentions her. He leaves with a smile, when his order arrives, and I am left bathed in his fresh, expectant energy, in his exuberance.


Gratitude breaks over me, for the grace that comes with him, that remains within me, reminding me that I much prefer to be present to this, What Is before me, to this gift that is the Now, and experience this immediacy, the intimacy of what I am living and breathing at this moment. I much prefer to be fully here.

Photo Credit: Andrea Friedmann

Photo Credit: Andrea Friedmann




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Constriction, Release

For expediency’s sake, I call our social structure the Patriarchy. And I feel myself wounded by it, I rail against it, I resist it. It results in oppression and constriction. Today I am aware again of how this is true for men, as much as for women. If anything, the oppression and constriction of men is more subtle, camouflaged, because we are not taught to see it, because it is the lens we do not know we see through.

What irony, what joy, that I can find the strength to see this and to recognize the woundedness in me, to heal myself, and, through me, a piece of the world, only in the safety of a circle of women.


Human Eye, ©Dave Edmonds at

Human Eye, ©Dave Edmonds at



Answer For My Daughter

Dear Daughter,

Yesterday, when you wanted me to be available to you and I asked you to wait as I finished taking some time for myself, you asked me why I always need so much time for myself. I wanted to give you a thoughtful answer, and this is it.

I love being a mother. I love being your mamá.

Being mamá, for me, means that in a big way I am always holding energy for you and for our family. It means that I am always aware and alert, prepared for what you, what our family, may need (and, sometimes, want) from me. This can be beautiful, but it can also be very tiring.

Besides, in our family, being mamá means having a lot of other tasks. You know some of them. I am usually the one who makes your meals, I make sure there is soap in the bathrooms. Others, you may not be aware of, like staying in touch with your teachers or coordinating our family’s activities, or helping build a community around you. These are just a very few of those tasks. There’s a lot of them, and, no matter how much I may enjoy them, there’s really no vacation from them, even when we are off somewhere fun and far away!

I love my role as mamá. But I am much more than that. And I need to take care of my whole Self. Taking care of my Self, for me, means doing what I feel I need to do so that my soul, my heart, my mind, and my body feel healthy, at peace, and joyful as I am doing everything I need to do as mamá, as a wife, as a worker, a friend, and all my other roles.

To take care of myself, I need silence and stillness every day. I need to give thanks and pray. I need to be aware of my own energy, to allow my thoughts, ideas, my dreams to surface. I need to give myself time, to tell the little girl that lives inside me, that is part of me, that she is important and deserves my attention, too. She needs me to be creative, to embroider and make things up. I need to be alone in Nature, to listen to the Wind and feel the Earth. I need to read books that engage me, and do exercise. I need to connect with the people I love, one on one. All of that, and even more, is what I need to care for my Self.

I want you to see me fulfilling my needs so that, as you and your brother grow, you have great clarity and courage to care for your Self well, in all the ways that you need, regardless of whether someone tries to make you feel it is indulgent or selfish, so that you can feel joy and peace in the life you are building.

I need so much time for me because I love myself so much and because I love you so much. I do it, first, for myself, and second, for you. May you, too, care very, very well for your Self.

I love you, my heart, you are precious to me, always,


©Sanja Gjenero at

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Following Suffices

When I feel my Soul calling, I know I am ALIVE!  And this awakens me to joy and radiance.

Often, the call requires me to stretch beyond my comfort zone, to gather courage and strength, to remember my commitment to my Self in order to find the determination to respond.

Often, what I am called to do has direct and visible consequences, not just for me, but for those around me. I have been called to do community work, to hold rituals, to offer Reiki… none of those occur alone, in my room, behind closed doors.

Often, those consequences distract me, they become the reason for what I am doing.

And when they don’t look the way I expected, my confidence fails and I want to retrace my steps.

But that is a mistake.

I can’t find a “logic” to what my deepest Self asks me to do. I don’t really know why something calls to me with a power I cannot deny. I especially don’t know it when I experience the call.

I forget that it is the fact of responding to my Soul’s urgings that is the reason I answer the call: honoring my Self.

Doing so makes me expansive and generous. And I know, for the briefest instant, the white-hot, numbing cold, impossible-to-reconcile, utterly familiar Oneness.

That is reason enough.

Photo Credit: Sanja Gjenero at

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Gifts of Earth Day

Hands on a tree

Photo Credit:

Earth Day. I think of it as an opportunity to give back, collectively, to this home that nurtures us so generously.

But it is I who receives the gifts.

As I weed the foot of a tree that I am mulching, my fingers already tired of fighting the roots of grass, a man, walking his dog, stops to thank me for bringing beauty to his neighborhood park.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see Chiqui patiently helping a much younger child (one who walked up to watch while his Little League scrimmage started) manage a rake.

At a greater distance, Golondrina, my shy and slow-to-warm-up child, is weeding with a woman I don’t know, and they are deep in conversation.

It is gifts like these that I receive, when my intention is to give.

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In the Family of Things

I have been reading My Song, and Harry Belafonte’s story about finally being able to buy his mother a car, and a house with elegant furnishings, on the water. Finally, he was making inroads into segregation. He thought he could make her happy, at last, after the hard life she had lived, after all the disappointments she encountered and endured throughout her life. But no, she was unable to be happy, incapable of joy.

I know we are all capable of happiness. I know it means opening ourselves to prosperity in its broadest sense. It means allowing what life sets before us to enter our hearts and resonate with gratitude and beauty, and radiate outwards again in joy.

How much are we capable of receiving?

I am reminded of Mary Oliver and her Wild Geese.

“Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”

I know this: gratitude is a key to joy. And, as I remember that I know this, I realize my gratitude, of late, has been cursory and stale, a chant of words, of symbols, without emotion.

And yet, today, my friend is able to call me, able to tell me that the doctors say there’s a 40% chance of his survival. I am grateful for his life, for the spirit that inhabits it, and for the laughter we could share, in spite of, in the face of such news.

I am grateful for a wise poet; for wild geese flying in lopsided Vs; for a book with a story about happiness and fear; for my son’s embrace, all elbows and knees, but soft and warm, and nourishing. I am thankful for all the reminders of my place in the family of things.

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The Gifts I Wish to Give

As the shortest day of this year approaches, and the beginning of the various celebrations of light that our family celebrates, as well as the new year, I am inevitably thinking of gifts.

In the midst of the showering of things we can engage in at this time of year, and the danger of valuing the gift more than the sentiment behind it, I set the intention to stay very closely connected to the joy that giving joy brings to me. This is my gift to myself.

As for my children, may my greatest gifts to them remain my deep and abiding love, and  my awareness of their essence. May they remember not only the gifts wrapped in paper, not only the gifts from my hands, but also the gentle shaping of their world, my trust in their good sense and their vibrant souls. May they retrieve joy from the hours spent cutting and pasting together, and coloring inside and outside the lines. May they feel it in the whispers of shared questions, stories, secrets. May they receive my gifts in clean sheets and Pasta-Your-Way, in countless hours reading out loud and driving to school and to classes, and the warmth of our early morning snuggles under the covers.

May my gift to my friends and my loved ones be my complete presence, bringing the whole of myself to our relationship. And with that, my open heart.

May my gift to my readers be to gently brush something deep within you: an  awareness, a remembering, a yearning, a stretching, a spark.

©Alexander Abolinsh