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Sunday, May 17, 2020



Saint John of the Cross introduced us to the Dark Night of the Soul in his now famous poem. Through his work we have come to understand the Dark Night of the Soul as a spiritual crisis on the road to unity with The Divine.

The key is to not be afraid of the dark. We are so afraid of the dark “negative” emotions. We wish to be Joy and Light all the time which is great but not realistic as a human. For humanity by its very definition is an expression of at least five senses; touch, smell, sense, hearing, and taste. And as humans we will be asked to feel everything at one time or another in our life.

If I can impart anything to you it is to not be afraid of the dark. Embrace it. Welcome it as you would a friend in need and LISTEN.

Listen with all your heart. Pull all your tools out of your tool belt for it will require that.

A dark night of the soul is formidable if we believe that it is stronger than the Divinity that resides within us. But my experience is that when I surrender and trust Great Spirit, the Creator to have my back as I allow the darkness to wash over me, I am reborn. I come through to the other side. It is the struggle to deny the dark night of the soul that creates the existential crisis.

It would be disingenuous of me to sit here and portray to you this image of a woman happily drumming her drum, filled with Joy and Light all the time. While this is a true aspect of me there is also the me that can be triggered by a smell, a sound, or something someone says and I am in the fetal position begging for mercy and grace.  That is truth!

I am all things. I am confident. I am loving. I am kind. I am generous. I am a generator of Light. I am a cheerleader for the Divinity within. However I am also human. I am also frightened. I am also angry. I am also petty.

The thing is when I find myself being those so-called “negative“ emotions or qualities, I choose to dig deeper.  There’s a reason I’m succumbing to a baser aspect of myself. I look at me. I look to the Divine within me to show me how to love myself in this less than desirable space.

And it’s work people. Doing family of origin work is hard!  For me it often manifests as self-loathing and isolation. It’s not as simple as reciting an affirmation or praying it away. All those things are helpful but my experience has been that I have to be willing to look at whatever it is I’ve been subconsciously suppressing. 

I have to repeat to myself, I know I’m angry, I know I’m sad, I know I’m in self-loathing, I know I’m afraid, I also know I’m Birthing the Light (first blog post). (;postID=1249090737562032802;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=14;src=postname ) And if I keep going through this most uncomfortable place, I will come out the other side wiser, softer with more space to hold and embody the Divinity that I truly am when it is not masked by triggers from old events coloring how I see and feel what is occurring in the now.

I used to hate dark nights of the soul. I judged myself as less than for having them especially since I’ve had such close encounters with the Divine.

And now, while I don’t necessarily like them, I have enough experience with them to know that they are just aspects of me that need to be invited into the Light of who I am. They hold nuggets of wisdom if I am willing to admit that I am not afraid of the dark. The Divine is present in ALL things. ALL things!

Whether we choose to embrace our darkness and temper it with our Love or give it full expression in a harmful way to ourselves and others is our free will choice. Do not kid yourself into believing  that this darkness is some outside force controlling you, absolving you of your choices. It is but an aspect of you, perhaps implanted by another’s cruelty, but still yours to accept into the light or to reject. That is at the core of humanity, our right to choose. It is not that the dark or the Light are good or bad. It is our choice whether to act from a place of Love or to act in a heinous manner that determines our level  of acceptance of the Divinity within.

I listened to lots of podcasts and watched YouTubes, and read lots of inspirational words from spiritual teachers this past week to help me address the darkness that had arisen in me. And someone said, I can’t remember who, that we are undergoing a collective release of fear with this COVID-19 crisis. That so resonated with me. It makes sense that a collective release of fear might just bring up in me whatever fearful, dark thing I may still have buried down deep inside. This is their opportunity to come out of the shadows and be loved and accepted into the wholeness of who I consciously know I am and choose to be.

The Art: Death

The Death Mask. Death. Such a scary word. I believe it is the thing of which we are most afraid. Most of us can’t have a conversation about death with those we love. My personal beliefs have taught me that my Soul will discard this beautiful vessel that is housing it at the moment and return to the Wholeness of All That Is. 

The death I speak of today, or through this mask, is not that death. The big one! I speak of all those little deaths we go through throughout our lives and especially with each Dark Night of the Soul we are privileged to experience. Each Dark Night of the Soul allows us to release back into the Light and Love of the Divine that which no longer serves just as we do at the end of this physical embodiment. Dark Nights of the Soul are practice for the ultimate surrender. It is a form of life review while still in the body. It’s an opportunity to choose who we are, who we’ve been, and who we choose to Be.

One of my favorite hymns is Be Not Afraid, “I go before you always. Come follow me and I will give you rest.” I’ve included a link to a YouTube video of this song recorded during this pandemic. It behooves us to remember that we are never alone and our Soul knows exactly what we need in each moment. May we all walk each other home acknowledging our fear yet transcending it and returning to the Love we know ourselves to be.

Saturday, May 9, 2020


Today is the Angelversary of our dear friend and Soulsister Brenda Bollman Baker. BBB, as we fondly refer to her and one of the many signs she shares with us to let us now she is still right here

Today is also the day before Mother’s Day. A day fraught with intense feelings. Some of joy and delight at having the opportunity to celebrate our mothers still in the body. And this year even that has been made difficult for those still in self quarantine.

However, today the focus is first and foremost on the Divine Mother, the Divine Feminine. For the Mother resides in all of us man or woman. She is a giver of life. She is the Creator and in this we are the Face of the Divine. Today’s drumbeat is meant as a healing and honoring of the mothers, all mothers and memories of mothers that reside within us. May it soothe your Soul.

Today we remember the mothers whose children are in Spirit. Be sensitive. These days painful for them. Today we remember and honor the sons and daughters of those mothers who are in Spirit. Be mindful. This is a weekend to just get through.

Let us honor and remember and ask for healing for the mothers who have lost children to miscarriage, infertility or abortion. They are hurting.

We honor the children with mothers who are or were unavailable due to emotional distancing or drug addiction or abuse or any number of reasons. We honor the mothers who birthed children from violence. We honor and ask for healing whatever your birth experience.

We honor the children and the mothers separated at the border and put in cages or deported. We ask that they receive as much of the love that we can muster as a group today as they possibly are able to.

We honor the Aunties, the sisters, the birth mothers, the adoptive mothers; those of you that step into the role of mother because your heart tells you to.

And today, we honor my friend Brenda. Brenda was not in my physical life for very long but she packed a wallop. She made a difference in my life and the life of so many of her tribe in Souls Awakening. A group she began after her spiritual awakening. I got to know Brenda intimately through a small subset of Souls Awakening she named, Desert Classic. Five of us would meet regularly for the last two years she was in the body. Our weekends together were filled with laughter, tears, healing. I would also often stop by on my way to and from California. From the moment I met her, our relationship was intense. On some level she knew she did not have much time on earth. And there was no time to waste.

Two years ago this week some of us from Souls Awakening gathered in Sedona with Brenda. It turned out to be an opportunity for those of us who had grown to love her, to say goodbye. We laughed, we cried, we healed, we held ceremony. She held court. Queen that she is she held court. And it was magnificent. And difficult. And sad. And joyous.

One of the things we did, because all of us in Souls Awakening are curious about the afterlife, is write down codewords on a small slip of paper, rolled them into a scroll and placed them in a purple velvet bag. The idea was that Brenda, once on the other side, would reveal our code words to us in some fashion and boy did she! And continues to. People who never met her, put out a code word after her transition and the words or image were revealed to them.

The only ones who knew these words were those of us who wrote them. Brenda never had the opportunity to read them while in the body as she was declining quickly.

Brenda, and so many of our loved ones, pop in all the time to reassure us that they are well; that they love us and; that we are going to be OK too. They also come to us to resolve unfinished business. Always, in my experience, is the desire for healing and a more profound connection.

Brenda popped in at 3am earlier this week. She wanted to make sure we got this right. I spent about half an hour taking photos so that I could create an event on facebook. I didn’t like any of them. Finally she whispered in my ear, you already have it. It was the picture I posted of her hands, Lynette’s, hands, Valerie’s hands and my hands clasped over her heart. She tells me this is not about her, even though she loved the limelight. This is about that force that drew us together in Sedona that week. It is about that force that guided Brad, Rachel, Valerie, Lynette and I in those last days. It is about a Love so grand it transcends boundaries, dimensions, laws. It is a Love so profound it makes us family whether we are related by blood or not. It connects each and every one of us to each other.

So again we honor and remember and ask for healing for our Divine Mother. We ask for healing for our Earth Mother. And we ask for healing for each and everyone of you, for you each carry the DNA and ancestral lineage of your mother in your cell structure. She created life, your mother. She shared her body with you. It is a unique experience carrying a child in our bodies and even if you’ve never given birth you’ve experienced it from the inside out. Men too.  Whatever your feelings regarding your mother and your role as mother, we honor you. We thank you for giving life to each and everyone on the planet.

I believe that if each of us traced our ancestry back back back, we would eventually arrive at the Source for we are ALL children of the Divine whether we believe it or not and we ALL return to the Source when our time here is done.

Let’s drum...

Monday, May 4, 2020


Love and Light Brigade


I read something yesterday that triggered something in me and I felt some sort of way. The person was referring to the love and light brigade and pretty much berating and judging them for their way of coping with this pandemic. Deciding they have their head in the sand and blah blah blah for a long time.

Anyway, it made me stop and look inward because I kind of consider myself one of those light and love people (if I must label myself) and I was offended. Generalizations were made about those kinds of people and you know what happens when we generalize a whole segment of the population.

What I came to understand about myself as a person who chooses to see what is in the way of me being a more loving presence to myself and to others is that filters of past experiences sometimes get in the way and I fail miserably. I can be judgey, gossipy, superior and oh so many more. The difference for me is I’m aware of this tendency and I choose consciously to change that behavior in me! In me! For I can only change it in me. I can then turn around and share with you IF interested in how I made the journey from self-loathing to Love. And as Iyanla Van Zandt says, “Call a thing a thing!” Whenever we are pointing a finger at someone else in a superior, I am smarter than you because kind of way, YOU, my friend, are in self-loathing.

I don’t tackle the challenges in my life with light and love because I am in denial about my situation or because I’m superior. I do it because it works for me! Love and Light = the Divine = Intelligence = Source = Something Greater than Myself. It is the force that allows the flowers to grow through concrete. It’s the force that allows trees to know when to shed their leaves, when to bloom, when to bear fruit. I call this force the Divine because all the other words are so charged for me and for others. Assumptions are made so easily based on a word. Dismissal occurs in an instant. So call it what works for you, God, Jesus, the Universe, Buddha, Allah, Jehovah. No judgement here.

I don’t want to get into arguments about why the COVID-19 is here or it’s meaning or any of those things that can distract from the fact that it is here. And let’s face it, we are all a little bit narcissistic. How does this affect me? What is going to happen to me? What is going to happen to me and mine? But hopefully once we have gone there, we can look out and say, now what?

Who do I choose to be in this new challenge? Am I going to be a person that looks at others and judges them. Or am I going to remember that sometimes when I’m frightened and facing the unknown,  I lash out, I shut down, I overeat, I might even hoard a little bit, maybe chocolate 😉). This doesn’t mean I have to agree with another’s behavior but I can understand.

We’ve all seen the stories of people (mothers/fathers) whose loved one has been murdered, going to the prison to forgive their child’s murderer. Sometimes after we get over our shock, we are touched by their bravery and courage and wonder how they can do that. And we admire them. So why can’t we do that on a global level? Why can’t we forgive ourselves and each other, even though WE ARE ALL Children of the Divine, for acting like buffoons sometimes? Why can’t we admire each other for choosing to be a loving presence instead of a divisive force?

When I offer my drumming sessions or guided meditations and prayers, it isn’t because I think it will make the “bad” situation go away. It’s because I’m offering tools that have helped me cope when I’ve been scared, alone and uncertain of the future. And in offering what might help others helps me to cope in that moment too.

Is the virus here to offer us a spiritual awakening or reset? I don’t know. Who truly does? All I know is that it is providing one for those interested in that journey. And it is giving our earth a much-needed opportunity for respite and rest.

So be gentle Children of the Divine acting like idiots and I include myself in this description for we are all in this together. We are inter-dependent. We need each other. All of us, together. We also need our earth for survival. I, for one, am going to tame my narcissistic tendencies with all the love and light I can muster. Love and light to all of you. Accept it or reject it. Your choice.

THE ART: Creation

I created this mask in the 90's. I didn’t sign or date things back then because they were just my personal tools for healing. I never dreamed I would share them in this way. I took this photo in August 2019. Thank you iPhone. I’m just sad it’s such a poor photo. I was so intrigued by the shadow I didn’t notice I had cut the top off of the mask.

I created this mask at a time when I was struggling with disordered eating and a friend was struggling with a child addicted to drugs and another with her addiction to relationships. In other words addiction. This mask represents our wounded selves crying out into this big old world where we didn’t quite fit in. This was my soul telling me the earth/world, The Divine loved me no matter what I was experiencing at my own hand or had experienced at someone else’s.

I love the symbolism of this photo. And that it rests above my Wizard of Oz lamp (flying monkeys and all). We are all wounded beings. If we won the parent lottery and were not traumatized in childhood, then it’s possible we have been traumatized at some point in life. If you were on the planet during 9/11 you were traumatized collectively. Life as we knew it changed forever. This pandemic is a collective trauma. We are all deserving of kindness and yes, love and light, as we try to cope with our fear, our anger, our grief.

This mask represents how I see us right now. One big screaming mouth. Differing views and opinions. A cacophony of sound. The shadow no longer lurking in the background but risen to the surface in a loud primal scream of fear, anger, sadness, grief, longing.

So yeah, I’m going to give that screaming baby some nourishment and that, my friends, begins with love and light followed by action from that place of higher consciousness.

Friday, May 1, 2020


                                   The Mask of Pain                     

UPDATE at the end of this post:

Pay Attention Inward Now. So says Iyanla Van Zant.  It has worked very well with emotional pain. I have paid attention to my emotional pain for many years trying to heal trauma from childhood wounds, disordered eating. I have felt physical pain from scrapes, falls, childbirth, surgeries, scleroderma, shingles and toothaches. But never have I felt this pain. This take your breath away, can’t figure out where or how to be pain. This pain is harder to pay attention to yet it levels me. I can do nothing but be present in my body when the pain is present. This body,  from which I have spent much of my life disassociating and whose needs I’ve been working to transcend, has brought me smack dab into its holy presence. Totally, fully, unapologetically. Pay Attention Inward Now, indeed!

And because I am who I am as a Soul and as a human I can’t help but ask myself in between the spaces of pain; what are you trying to tell me? I am listening. You have my attention. I’m here now. Right now. And I wait and I ride out the waves of pain and I notice.

I notice the anxiety in my husband‘s eyes. I notice the concern in my mother’s. She asked if she could rub my head and shoulders. She often did this when I was a child when the pain of fists and feet hitting flesh was too often the order of the day. I didn’t know I craved that touch, that nurturing. She lays in bed and rubs my head and my back and for a moment all is well. I notice that I can’t distract myself from my pain by helping someone else because my body won’t allow that anymore.

I notice that I’m asking for what I need more clearly and more directly for I no longer have time to waste on people pleasing or insecurity or being fiercely independent to prove I don’t need anyone. Truth is I do. I notice that I am crying more easily now than I have in a long long time. I no longer produce tears due to Sjrogen’s but my eyes get wet and I have gut wrenching sobs that feel good and moves the pain along.

I notice I feel vulnerable. I notice I feel humbled by this process. I notice I feel raw and naked and want to hide. Isolate and hide is what I have done most of my life. So here I sit humbled by an emotional and physical pain so massive it has me on my knees.

I pull out all of my tools. I try meditation, reconnective healing, all the modalities I’ve ever learned. I try writing, repeating mantras and still the pain persists. I call my friends, I call my family. I ask for help. It is hard to ask for help. Did I mention that I am fiercely independent? I prefer to experience my pain in privacy. We ride the wave together. I am not alone.

I start to notice that people love me and care about me. I start to notice that I love me and care about me. I start to notice that my team, my Spirit  team, Jesus, the Divine Mother, Archangels Michael and Rafael, my beloved ones on the other side are all pulling for me. I start to notice that in my pain I am not alone. I notice I am still Love. I am still loved.

And eventually, the pain subsides for a bit and I notice that I want to live harder, love more, be more present with the ones I encounter. I notice how grateful I am to be pain free. I notice that I no longer take this body for granted. I notice that my soul and my human body are coexisting, making peace with each other. No longer at war. No longer feeling invaded. I am One with both my human body and my Soul, my God Self. Who knew that pain could produce peace, gratitude, love, grace?

Pain has no mercy. It consumes you. I am familiar with pain. It is been a friend, a constant companion. From emotional, physical, mental and spiritual pain of my own to witnessing my son deal with his challenges and the pain caused by 14 surgeries and dealing with the effects of his living with spina bifida, I have known pain. Not to mention all the loved ones I’ve been privileged and honored to hold space for as they endured their pain. Pain was always something to get rid of, from which to get away. It was to be avoided at all costs. And yet here I am.

The pain is so debilitating. I sometimes can’t function. And yet, I ask, what do I need to see, hear, feel? And I hear; just be. Just be here now. Love yourself to the best of your ability. Allow others to love you. And I know that this too shall pass. When the pain does pass I feel such gratitude to have less pain or no pain. I feel like I want to hurry up and do what I didn’t get done while I was down with the pain. I’m learning to pace myself, to slow down. Because if I don’t, I create more pain because I overdid. Balance. I’m learning to balance. For a woman who has spent her life trying to get back in her body and be present there is no escaping it these days. There is no disassociating (my self-help tools have worked too well for that to happen) there is only being present, in this moment, in this breath, knowing that all is well and all will be well.

I move from my bed, to the sofa, to the guestroom bed looking to find relief from the pain. I call my soul sisters, my healing sisters, my family. They surround me like elephants do for a birthing mother, trumpeting their love for me, their healing prayers and thoughts for me, protecting me from my own negativity and tendency towards isolation. I find comfort in their presence. I find comfort in the touch of my mother’s hand on my head and back. I find comfort in knowing that this too shall pass. And it does, in between doses of medication it passes or eases and I am able to function again. I am filled with gratitude for the mercy and grace shown me first and foremost by my Creator, by my Spirit team, and all my loved ones. I am held in Light until I again am reminded that even with the pain I Am the Light. I am a child of the Divine. I am still here. I am still present. I am dancing with the Divine as I ride the waves of pain.

Oh such blessed relief when it eases or disappears. Such mercy. Such grace. And I know in my heart all is well. All will be well for I am Love. I am bathed in Love. I exude Love. I radiate Love. It is my essence. It is my core. I came here not to transcend my physical body but to embrace it, to embody it, to choose Love no matter the circumstances.

My condition is teaching me that I can no longer say yes when I mean no. I can no longer people please. I started saying yes to that which scares me. I can no longer chase people and beg them to love me. I can no longer hide or operate in the shadows. I can no longer worry about what people might think. Brene Brown writes so eloquently in her book on vulnerability, Daring Greatly, about Theodore Roosevelt and his Man in the Arena speech and I am reminded of those words. I have entered the arena. I am no longer the critic sitting in the stands judging my efforts as less than. I am in the arena! I Am daring greatly!

I must risk being vulnerable. I must risk being seen and heard. I must break down the walls of separation I erected to protect myself from pain. There is no protection from pain. There is only Love. I can only be in this moment, in this breath, in this body with this Spirit, with this spark of the Divine that I Am. I choose Love. I will always and in all ways choose Love.

UPDATE 05/01/2020: I wrote and posted to Facebook this piece entitled, On Pain, one year ago today. I was newly diagnosed with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. The diagnosis and prognosis were scary. The medications were debilitating which prompted me to write this piece. I am reprising it today first to update you on where I am today on my journey with pain. Second, to put it on my blog as I did not have a blog last year. That is one of the things that has grown out of that moment in my life. I now say yes to scary things. I have finally titrated the medicines and feel much stronger and healthier than I felt a year ago. I still need oxygen for exertion but I take walks, I ride my stationary bike 45 minutes several times a week. And until this Quarantine slowed my roll, I traveled a lot. I needed a Sherpa to help cart all my gear but I did not let my diagnosis stop me. I have made new friends in my support groups and I have strengthened all my relationships. I have a team of doctors with which I am happy, comfortable and that I trust. I feel so blessed. So filled with gratitude. I still have pain. I still have days when I need to rest and slow down but nothing like what I wrote about last year.

I am living with this diagnosis. Truly living. Not just existing. Not just surviving. I am thriving. I thank each and everyone of you for encouraging my writing, my artwork, my self expression in all it’s forms.

I chose the Mask of Pain to accompany this reprise. I created it about 30 years ago. It hangs with 5 other masks I created during the years I first started dealing with the physical, emotional and sexual abuse that was a part of my history. The masks in the series have individual names but I have not come up with a name for the grouping. Masks of Shame comes up for that’s what I was masking but it feels so negative almost 30 years later. For while they masked shame, pain, anger, grief, sadness and the clown it also masked Love. So much Love buried underneath all those masks.

I had no art training, had never painted or picked up a paintbrush. Spirit told me I could transform my pain into something beautiful. I consider these pieces much as an artist looks at line drawings. Very simple. Very basic. Primitive. They convey an idea, an emotion. To me, they were my wounded child speaking in the only way she could at that time. Since then I have studied art (I returned to college in my fifties), learned new techniques, got super confused by rules and what I was doing with art. I finally found a way to integrate what was inherently needing to be expressed with the new information I was gathering in my classes and in my inner work.

This diagnosis has given me the freedom to go public with my experience. The pain freed me to live my truth regardless of how it looked to me or to anyone else. Between the autoimmune diseases and the PAH, I don’t know that I will ever be pain free, but I know that I am free. I am free to be loving and compassionate first and foremost to myself. I am free to be forgiving of those who hurt me when I was a child. I now know they were doing the best they could in that moment. I now know my Soul and my human worked together to choose Love in unlovable circumstances. I now know I am not a victim. I never was. I’m just a Soul having a human experience. And sometimes it’s painful.