Reflections From My True Self

Remembering Who I Really Am


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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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

Photo Credit: Michael & Christa Richert on



Over the summer, the kids and I volunteer every week at the Nature Center. It’s the best way I know for them to be able to get off the paths and close to what’s happening beyond the pavement. The other benefit is that most of the volunteers are a few generations older, not a group of people kids in our culture get to interact with in a broad way.

For the past few weeks, we have been pulling thistle (an invasive species in this ecosystem) out by the root. I love the fuzzy flower that, because it’s her favorite color, always reminds me of my mother. But the leaves, and the thick stalks of the older plants, are covered with spikes that sometimes pierce the heavy leather gloves I use to pull them. It’s hard, hot work, but Hawk’s Hill and the land alongside it, once covered in thistle, has no sign of it now.

This week we are cutting off the seed heads of canary grass, another invasive. The volunteers fan out into the blonde grasses, almost shoulder high, my children alongside me, lost in the sea of stalks. The sound of my son’s chuckles rise up to me suddenly, as  he says, “It’s funny how we come out here to help, and we wind up killing things.”

It IS funny. Weeding out invasives is a way to conserve the landscape and protect this ecosystem.

I wonder, in the hot, still air, in the swishing grasses and the sound of clipping, what I am to learn from this.

What weeding is waiting in my own life, in order to conserve and protect?


Photo credit: Michael Adams-Wade on

Photo credit: Michael Adams-Wade on





Letter to My Son: When You See Defeat Before You

My Chiqui, you committed to playing in this soccer tournament and realized, in the midst of it, that your patched-together-team was at a decided disadvantage, the rules and conditions were quite simply against you. You, my competitive boy who loves to win, realized you may not only not even have a shot at winning the championship, you could be setting yourself up for loss upon loss. Your disappointment, your anger, and misery were evident.

I held space then for your feelings, and I honor them even now. There are unwritten rules about what you may feel and how you may express it, especially as a boy. You have learned them in spite of my wish to shelter you from them. And yet, you choose to acknowledge those feelings, to allow them to flow, in spite of the disappointment and disdain they can elicit in others. You force me to recognize my own discomfort with them, and with your choice. I honor the integrity in that choice to attend your truth regardless of what the world has to say about it.

When you were gauging how to finish the tournament, knowing winning was not in the cards and was never entirely up to you, seeing your team-mates (some of them friends, most of them strangers) breathing defeat, you questioned whether you would even really try.

I said to you then, and am writing it again now, because it is worth remembering:  Play your best. Not for the championship, not for your team. Play your best for your own sake. Use that same energetic integrity you show in allowing your feelings, when you play. Because playing half-hearted does you damage, it drains your core energy and weakens you. Playing your best didn’t change your team’s standing, but choosing to be full-hearted in anything you do always strengthens your energetic alignment, it always fortifies your core energy.

I said it then, and I write it now because when you do anything full-hearted, when it’s all over, you have that inner power that enables you to find enjoyment, and good lessons, in spite of the score. Especially, it enables you to be strong from the inside, even in defeat.

Photo by Woodsy (Steve Woods) on

Photo by Woodsy (Steve Woods) on

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Golondrina has been struggling with her growing awareness of mortality. My mortality, to be precise. She is full of foreboding, warning me on almost every night that she has a “bad feeling that something is going to happen” to me. She told me once that she hopes she will die right after I do, because no one will hug her tight, in quite the way I do, after I die. I hugged her tight when she said that.

I also asked her to go inside herself and discover what Truth lies there. But I know this is the fear that blinds, and that my own, adult access to Truth is often obscured.

I tried to speak to Golondrina of my understanding of death as transformation. I told her again of my experience accompanying my Oma in her crossing: the weak, but chaotic energy before, and also the peace of it, after. Golondrina spoke to her own Grandma, who got started on that journey and then turned back.

But none of that matters to Golondrina, of course. She is concerned only with this physical form.

And I can make her no promises that change will stop its relentless course.

The only comfort I can give her is to hug her tight and whisper in her ear, “It’s a good thing I can hold you now!”

She smiles — wanly, but she smiles—  and turns to go back to her bed.

Photo credit: ©Bies at

Photo credit: ©Bies at


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


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