Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pie charts & politics.

Last month I finally subscribed to "High Country News".  (No, it's not about living in a town where there is a medical marijuana dispensary on every street.  It is thought-provoking journalism about conservation & natural resource issues, including public lands, water, climate science, wildlife, & energy development.)  I'd been meaning to subscribe for years and I finally did it.  It feels good to support independent journalists in a real way.

The reason I'm writing about High Country News today, is that I got a brochure in the mail from them today.  It was basically an annual report.  It included a lovely pie-chart of their funding sources.  As I sat gazing at this succinct little document, a question crept into my mind......

I contributed less than $40 to this magazine and here I sit in my living room on a Sunday morning perusing a document from them that tells where their money comes from and where it goes.  On the other hand, I contribute thousands of my hard earned dollars each year to government:  the homeowner's association, the county, the state, and the federal government.  I do get an annual report from the home owner's association.  And actually, Pitkin County government is very transparent.  I do know what their funding sources are and also I've seen the pie chart of where those dollars are expended.  But when you get to the state and federal level, things get pretty cloudy.

Before the next election, nay, before I file my 2011 taxes, I want to see the pie chart.  I want to see the pie chart of who is contributing what and the pie chart of where the money is going.  Why doesn't the federal government provide each and every one of us with a copy of the annual report?  I know it would be prohibitively expensive to mail each and every citizen such a document, but here we are in the age of the inter-tubes, why isn't there a website, maintained by the guys that pay the bills that shows where every single penny of OUR money is going at a state & federal level? 

If you are reading this from another country and your government does indeed provide you with an annual report, please share this info with me.  I feel a mission coming on. ;-) 

and thank you Wikipedia -- is this accurate??

Saturday, December 4, 2010

a photo from today.

I went for a hike with Mom tonight.  Here's part of what we saw.  Mt. Sopris and Sky from Arbaney Kittle Trail, Dec 4th, 2010 5:29 pm MST

Saturday, November 27, 2010

who are you? (originally posted in february 2010 on

I am the hero of my story.  I walk through this phantasmagoria.  I go the places I must go.  I do the things I must do.  I feel that I am waiting or searching for something, but I do not know what the something is.  I wait.  I search.  I wander.  I sit still and listen.  One day, your path crosses mine.  You smile at me.  I smile at you.  You give me a key.  You give me a clue.  You give me a gift.  You give me a blessing.  Perhaps, for awhile we walk together, you & I.  Someday, you go your own way.  Your ship sets sail.  I bid you adieu, with a tear in my eye and a smile in my heart.  They tell me you are gone, but I still feel you.  They tell me you are beyond my reach, but I know, that it is only illusion.  You are still here because you have become a part of me.

You are the hero of your story.  You walk through this strange world looking high and low, inside and out.  You listen.  You wander.  You laugh and cry.  You wonder if you are waiting for something.  You wonder.  One day, my path crosses yours.  I smile at you.  You smile at me.  I give you a key, a clue, a gift, a blessing.  We walk together.  We play.  We dance.  We laugh and sing.  Sometimes we just sit together quietly.  One day I go my own way.  I fly with butterflies and multicolored birds high into the sky.  For a little while you believe that I am gone.  You search the sky for me.  You wonder when I will return.  And then you realize that I am not far from you.  You know that I became a part of you with that first smile and more again when I wiped a tear from your eye.  You remember that we are not separate.

She is the hero of her story.  She has a path to walk, a song to sing.  She goes along.  She wanders.  One day our paths cross.  We give each other hope, friendship, fortitude.  We give one another affection, inspiration.  We walk together for a time and then we go on separate paths to look in other places, perhaps other times.  We think of one another.  We wonder.  And we know, that we are not alone on our journeys.  We have the gifts from one another, carried in our hearts.  We are not alone.  We are one.  I am you and you are me and we are she and she is he and we are all together.

He is the hero of his story.  He has ambitions, tasks to carry out.  He is on a mission.  Perhaps to rescue you or me or she.  One of us crosses his path.  We give him a wink and a smile.  We show him a hidden way.  We give him nourishment for his journey.  He continues on.  We do not know how his story will end.  But he takes a part of us with him and leaves a part of himself behind.  Our colors blend.  Our tastes create some new taste.  Our textures are changed because of a momentary meeting.  We are quantumly entangled.  There is no he without me or you or she.  We remember and so we are free of the pain of the illusion.

(Can you tell I have been listening to heartbreakingly beautiful songs, sung by one who has left this plane?  Can you tell I have been reading, "A Blue Hand, the Beats in India"?  Can you tell that I have been wandering through dream land in between episodes of Lost and Interview with the Vampire, The Last Emperor, The Ellen Degeneres Show and Slumdog Millionaire?)

Can you tell that I think life is beautiful?  I offer you whatever gifts have been given me and I accept those gifts that you have shared with me.  We are the heroes of our stories.  We walk our paths and sing our songs.  We dance our dances.  We dream our dreams.  We watch.  We listen.  We work.  We rest.  We become sick or injured and we heal or die.  As we live and die, we weave the tapestry, each a thread.  Without each of us, the tapestry would be incomplete.  Without the dark, how would we know the light?  What adventure will you have today?  What color your thread in the tapestry today?  What taste have you to offer to the mix?  Bitter, sweet, salty, bland?  What song do you sing?  In which tongue do you speak?  Which step do you dance?  How do you alter the lives yours touches?  It has occurred to me once again that I am not responsible for the entire tapestry all alone and that yet, by contrasting and mixing with the threads next to mine, I do indeed change the whole.  There is no me without you.  Today my deepest purple needs the contrast of your bright yellow and your cobalt blue, her blood red, his emerald green.  I thank you for being, for touching my heart.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

bedtime stories on the radio and a prayer for peace

headlights move along a lonely stretch of 3 am highway somewhere in the western United States.  behind the wheel of a vehicle that burns gasoline to propel it forward a girl listens to the radio.  she hears stories told by men and women with strong BBC accents of a fight for democracy in Burma, disputed territory in the West Bank, election speculation in Ireland, an exhibit about the evolving English language at the National Library in London, and also a story about the President of Uganda rapping a children's story.  snow falls softly on the frozen highway, not enough to need the windshield wipers.  the individual flakes sparkle in the headlight beams.  the girl marvels at the strange beauty of the world and prays for peace. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

gratitude, joy, love

I am overwhelmed with gratitude.  I'm so overwhelmed that I cannot type why. 

I am becoming something new, something I have no words or images to describe. 

I want to describe it, I want to tell what's going on inside of me, but first I have to experience it, to feel it, to live it. 

I'm living and loving in a way that feels new and good and indescribable. 

I'll share in words and images as soon as it is time.

Right now, all I can say is that I have deep gratitude, deep joy, deep love for the amazing universe of which we are all a part and not the tiniest little bit of fear.  This is new-- but also ancient. 

breathing in, breathing out, bowing in awe.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

getting the fear out.

I sent out an email almost a week ago, inviting all my friends, family members, & acquaintances to attend or help with a fundraising event that I've created.  Here's what I sent out.  

I was so excited.  I had a hard time going to sleep that night.  I was feeling so positive about the good we were going to do in the world.  In the morning, I checked my email first thing, so excited to see who would be joining us at the event.

Here's the first response I received.  I've left the name of the responder out, but otherwise this response is verbatim, exactly as I received it.
Hi there!
Now, you know I adore you...but...

I met a young woman as a passenger on my vehicle last year. She cheerfully told me that she had been working as a volunteer in an area where things were pretty bleak. It was a social sharing kind of thing, I can't remember whether it was soup kitchen, yeah, I think it was.
She was quite happy to tell me that she had been doing that, but when I (sagely) responded, "That must have been hugely disappointing.", she responded, much less enthusiastically, "Yeah, it kinda was."  She went on to tell me that none of the people there seemed to have even the least interest in moving forward with their lives. She was surprised that they weren't eagerly taking the needed help and 'getting out there to do it for themselves.' She came to the realization that everything she knew about 'the poor' had been instilled in her in 'school', and not in a way that was balanced, much less true. In short, the people, their psychology, their world outlook and the lies by which they live their lives were so overwhelming that, in spite of her best efforts to resist the thought, it all came down to the realization that these folks were in their predicament for their own reasons and failings, not because society had abandoned them. Their will to 'do anything' was simply not there. No amount of help will aid them, nor redirect them.
I fear it is the same with virtually all parts of Africa, except that you must include dictators with guns. All of the aid that will be raised in this effort to 'do something' will be either lost to bureaucracy, stolen by the dictators goons, wasted on 'contracts' that line the pockets of the elite's friends and as such, can trigger instability even in the ruling classes themselves. Great hearts, good intentions, donations, small or large do more to de-stabilize an abusive situation than to help. They'll go for guns, not butter. And the despair, and danger, will deepen, not lift.
Sorry love!
Say hi to Adam and Jordan.

I've been sitting with this email for almost a week, wondering how to respond to it.  In rereading it and meditating on it, I began to feel a deep, deep sadness.  Not because my friend doesn't want to help with my event, but because of how cynical his beliefs must truly be if he would send this.  What happened to him in this life to bring him to such cynicism?  How did he come to believe that the words he offers are "sage".  This email shocked me in so many ways.  And at the end of the week, I'm offering gratitude for it.  Not because I agree with it in any way.  But gratitude for writing down what some people must be only quietly thinking and not venturing to say out loud.  And gratitude that it has deepened my resolve to meet my goal, to be even more clear about what my purpose is, to show that the generalizations are simply not true, to offer hope.

I don't know if the girl that my friend was speaking to/of went on to find brighter days in her service work.  What I do know is that I have never felt bad or disappointed after giving a gift of service unless I attached expectations or judgments to said gift, thereby rendering it not a gift at all.  "A gift or a present is the transfer of something without the expectation of receiving something in return.

Gifts given with no strings attached bring as much joy to the giver as they do to the recipient.

I was a little sad that my friend obviously hadn't gone to the trouble of reading about where the money would go or why I was taking on this huge fundraising challenge in the first place, before telling me in not so many words that I was wasting my time.

I was deeply, deeply saddened that he believes that small children, orphaned or nearly orphaned, by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and the people that are helping those children, don't deserve our help in any way.  I hope my friend never finds himself in a position of needing help, but not necessarily deserving it, and finding only judgment scales offered to him.  And I can't imagine what would ever make me feel that I was qualified to decide who deserves to live or die, who deserves food, water, shelter and who deserves to be left out in the cold to suffer with hunger & thirst.  Who deserves life saving education about how to protect themselves from a deadly disease and who deserves to stay in the dark about that knowledge?

I do know that the author of the above email likes very much to think of himself as a wise man and as a critical thinker.  But what wise person lumps the population of an entire continent - more than a billion people, young, old, male, female, rich, poor, powerful, powerless, hopeful, hopeless - into one group all undeserving of our compassion or our action?

I do know that if I was required to live this life all on my own without any help from friends or strangers, that I would not still be living.  How many gifts have I squandered in this life?  How many gifts do I currently benefit from that I have done absolutely nothing to "deserve".  How "ungrateful" I was as a child and young adult.  How unproductive and self indulgent I've been even just this week while suffering from a little cold.  I'm sure glad I didn't have to prove that I was worthy of the tender loving care I received from my husband and mother this week.

In rereading my friend's email this strikes me...  "She was quite happy to tell me that she had been doing that, but when I (sagely) responded, "That must have been hugely disappointing.", she responded, much less enthusiastically, "Yeah, it kinda was."   It strikes me that my friend takes a certain pride in knocking the wind out of a person who is trying to do some good in the world in whatever small way.  And I want him to know that he knocked the wind out of me, for a minute, but I'm coming back up swinging.  I'm no quitter.  No small or large disappointment will keep me from doing whatever good I can in this world.

In nearly the same breath he criticizes "the poor" in this way....  "In short, the people, their psychology, their world outlook and the lies by which they live their lives were so overwhelming that, in spite of her best efforts to resist the thought, it all came down to the realization that these folks were in their predicament for their own reasons and failings, not because society had abandoned them. Their will to 'do anything' was simply not there."  So he is criticizing "the poor" for their lack of will to 'do anything', while it appears that the point of his email to me is to criticize my will to so something to help.  The truth is that just by living and breathing we change the world, the choice is HOW we are going to change it?  The comforting lie that we tell ourselves is that our actions don't matter.  They do.  All of them.  hmmmm.... 

"All of the aid that will be raised in this effort to 'do something' will be either lost to bureaucracy, stolen by the dictators goons, wasted on 'contracts' that line the pockets of the elite's friends and as such, can trigger instability even in the ruling classes themselves."

What I want to say about this is that the funds that I am working to raise with this event will go DIRECTLY to people who ARE ALREADY helping themselves AND helping others.  The organization that I am working to raise funds for has been working DIRECTLY with holistic projects in communities in crisis for severel years.  I took this Seva (selfless service) Challenge because I believe in the work they are doing, because I want to be a part of something larger than myself, because I want to deepen my yoga practice through service, because I want to raise awareness about how each and every one of our individual actions in life affect everyone else on this little blue ball we call Earth for good or ill and sometimes both at the same time.  And I am now even more determined to meet my fundraising goal of $20,000 and go to South Africa and work side by side with the people who are receiving these monies.  And I will take photographs of the work we do and the people we do it with and I will write about it and share it and be joyful.

My life has already been enriched by this challenge in so many ways.  I have already met so many bright, shining, joyful people who are ready to do whatever it takes to make our whole planet a joyful place-- to eradicate poverty and hopelessness wherever it lies.

"Great hearts, good intentions, donations, small or large do more to de-stabilize an abusive situation than to help. They'll go for guns, not butter. And the despair, and danger, will deepen, not lift."

Those two sentences are just simply dead wrong.  The money we raise will absolutely NOT go for guns and the despair is ALREADY lifting, not deepening.  I have been so blessed by the opportunity this challenge has given me to meet and better get to know some AMAZING hearts and intentions.  Even if I raise not one penny more for this cause, my life has been so utterly enriched already.

I cannot sort out what it is that my friend wants me to do, except quit doing ANYthing.  He probably thinks my job at 9-1-1 is a waste of my time too.  I mean, why bother sending an ambulance to someone who just got hit by a car, it was their own inattention that got them there, right?!?  What I think is that my friend needs to get his fear out and turn his love/joy ON.  I don't know if my writing this will make any difference to him- it might just tick him off.  I doubt that he reads my blog anyway.  But, I needed to write this for me.  To let the sadness and fear about the darkest sides of our humanity out of me so that I have room to embrace all the best of us.  It's scary being a beacon in the dark, maybe my friend is just afraid for me.  But I'm alright.  I'm surrounded by the brightest of bright human beings a girl could ask for on a moonless night.  And full of gratitude for them.

Here's the thing...   Selfless Service enriches the giver as much as the recipient.  Selfless Service enriches entire communities.  It is the opposite of greed.  It is the opposite of dictatorship.

I promise that if you take your own Selfless Service Challenge to raise some funds ($108 is a nice starting goal) and come to the One Love Colorado event and do 108 Sun Salutations with us, your body and mind and soul will get stretched and strengthened and it will feel GOOD, because it does feel good to do good in the world.  You can sign up or donate here....

And if you didn't already know - we're putting together a ROCKIN' silent auction with donations from local businesses, yoga studios, local artists, etc.  and we're going to have the sweetest little yoga dance party you've ever met right after the Sun Salutations.

It's all coming together.  It's the weekend before Thanksgiving, the weekend before the ski slopes open, the weekend before everyone goes shopping -- what better way to give thanks for all of the abundance in our lives, do some ski conditioning and perhaps even get some Christmas shopping out of the way.

Come out!  Have fun!  Dance!  Smile.  Feel good!!  You will meet some Great hearts and souls (probably a few quite pretty bodies too)!

Thanks for reading.  I know I feel better for having gotten all of this out of me and into the inter-tubes.  ;D

Sunday, October 17, 2010

But what about the people right here, in our own communities, who need help??

Well for crying out loud, help them, of course. 

AND do what you can, again- what you can, to help those who you can't see, who are far away, who are indeed in crisis. 

It's not either-or, it's both-and.

The way I see it, if the whole Earth is like my body, and the human beings on it are like the cells in my body, I would choose to take care of both the cells in my feet AND the cells in my hands, the cells in my face AND the cells in my heart, the cells in my legs AND the cells in my kidney and liver.  I couldn't choose a few cells, perhaps the ones in my eyes, over others, perhaps the ones in my brain.

That's how I see it.  We have to take care of all of humanity, all of the planet actually, even the birds and the bees and the hippos.  Even the worms and the mice.  Because we ARE a part of a larger body called Earth.  And if parts of Earth aren't healthy, we are bound to be less healthy. 

But I'm just one person.  What can I do? 

Each of us can do a lot, but not alone.  We need each other.  We can all do a little.  We can all do what we can.

With each inhale, I accept all gifts.  With each exhale, I give all that I can. 

Holding back hurts.  Pushing hurts.  But accepting and giving all that we can--- every moment--- this is where LIFE happens. 


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Give Love

What does it mean to give love??


Unconditional love.


It means that I will love you even if you are "a downer" for awhile.

It means that I will love you even if you ask me for more than I am willing to give right now.

It means that I will love you even if you aren't perfect.  Even if you are sick.  Even if you aren't capable of loving me back.

What?!?  Isn't that dangerous?  Loving people who aren't loving??  What if I don't get out of this relationship as much as I put in??

Ha.  That's just it.  Relationships where there is a scorecard about who gives how much, who is more "loving"--  those relationships end up feeling bad.

What IS love??  What IS giving??

Why do we give?

Do we give because we want something in return?

I find that when I give something with absolutely no strings attached, no expectation of reciprocation, it FEELS good.  and that's it.  that's all.  I just get to FEEL really good for a minute.  and then let that feeling go.  just like I would with a headache...   I've felt it and now it's over.

But don't people get addicted to FEELing good?  What if I'm just giving for my own selfish purposes?  What if I get addicted to giving??

OMG!  What if EVERYone gets addicted to giving??

OK.  I'm sorry for being a smartass.  But seriously?!?  What if we ALL just gave in to our addiction to the wonderful feeling that we get when we do a good deed, when we make a difference for another human being?   Or for all of humanity.  When you are well, when you FEEL well, my community, Earth, is strengthened.   and when my community, my environment, is well, I am more well than if it is ailing.

What I find in this life is that when I feel like I NEED something, I need to GIVE that something.  And the bottom line is that what we ALL want, beyond survival, is love, approval, recognition of our own humanity.

I am listening to this...  MC Yogi, Give Love

I love humanity, though humanity, as a whole is hot and cold toward me.  As a species, we really do remind me of my 18 year old son.  Responsible one moment, devil may care the next.  Loving one moment, violent and angry the next.  Confused.  But like my teenage son, humanity responds to leadership, to unconditional love.

Give your love away.  Give it in the form of a hug, an ear, a $10 contribution to a community that is suffering, whatever.  But give.

Choose to love, without condition.  You don't have to be perfect for me to love you.  I don't have to know you.  You don't have to be a part of my biological family or my country for me to love you.

I.  Love.  Period.


Thursday, October 14, 2010


you are a firefly in the night
it's dark
it's cold
the clouds are thick tonight
no stars
no moon
there is no light anywhere
you can't see or hear your friends
you feel so alone, so vulnerable
you are afraid to turn on your light
you don't know what is waiting out there in the dark

you are afraid

you are a firefly
you have a light inside of you
it is your natural inclination to shine brightly
keeping your light hidden for too long hurts
even though you are afraid, you switch on your light
it feels so good to shine so brightly that you begin to fly around in a beautiful, ecstatic dance
you forget to be afraid
you shine and shine and fly and dance
you laugh
you look around again
and you see so many other lights in the night
dancing, shining, laughing, playing
with you

you are joy
you are light

and so are they

your courage, your joy, your light, your dance, have given them courage to come out and shine too.

together you light up the night

the world would be a more sorrowful place without the courage, joy, playfulness, and delight, of you fireflies.

thank you my firefly friends, for having the courage to shine your light in dark places.
when I am afraid to shine I draw strength from your light, your joy, your dance.
thank you. 
I love you.


I typed this word in the title line:  gratitude.  I didn't know what I wanted to say beyond that.  Just then my phone rang.  It was my sister.  She and her husband own an electrician business and have 3 kids.  They are both hard workers.  Their business was incredibly successful in the years leading up to 2008.  They bought a really nice house in the town they love, where their kids go to school, where their friends live, where there was lots of electric work to do.  They had employees and more work than they knew what to do with.  It was Western Colorado and it was a construction boom.  Things were really good.  They moved into a neighborhood where most of the other neighbors were in construction of some kind too.  Then the crash.  In a nearby town new construction permit requests went from more than a thousand to just 3.  Yes, just 3.  All the construction contractors were in trouble.

Today every third house or more in my sister's neighborhood is for sale.  And not selling.  And these are nice houses.  It's a beautiful neighborhood.  The views of far off mesas are amazing.  In the past two years my sister and her husband have used up all of their savings.  They have had to let their employees go.  They have done everything they could possibly think of to get work or spend less.  They have tried to get jobs with other electrical companies, but no work was to be had.  They told their kids on Labor Day of this year that they were going to have to let the house go and rent a place to live.  The kids were devastated, so they decided to try to hang on just a little longer.  They have a little work, but not enough to make ends meet with that big mortgage.

Today my sister called me and she was elated.  They had applied for a loan modification program that the Obama administration has started.  They got approval for a three month trial period that will cut their mortgage payments by almost a thousand dollars.  If they are successful making the payments during the trial period, they will get a permanent loan modification.  Then she said they'd filed their taxes, which they had been putting off doing because they were afraid they'd owe too much and not be able to pay.  But instead of owing they got a hefty return and it will let them make their new payment for months!

This morning I have gratitude that my sister and her family can stay in their home and breathe just a little easier about money.

The sky is blue outside.  The leaves are bright orange and yellow.  I am going to get ready for work now, with gratitude in my heart that I have good work to do.

And I think I'll write a thank you letter to the folks who came up with this loan modification plan.  If you know anyone who is in similar circumstances with respect to their home, please share this story.  And I'll find out the name of the program and post it in a comment soon.

May you be well.  May you be happy.  May you be free from harm.

May you be healthy, wealthy, & wise.

breathe.  love.  play.....   smile.  work well.  be well.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

there is beauty in the world, so give love....

swings at sunset
I want this song, Macy Gray: Beauty In The World,
and this song, MC Yogi: Give Love, to be the soundtrack to my life.  especially when I'm interacting with these humans who will be in charge after we are.  especially when I'm interacting with those humans who are tired from so many years of living.  especially when I'm interacting with strangers.  especially when I'm interacting with those humans who are closest to me.  especially when I'm interacting with those in power.  and especially when I'm dealing with those who feel powerless.  especially always.

I want to always remember and never forget to give love and to remember to see the beauty all around me.

I'm so grateful to my friend Victoria for posting these two songs on her facebook page today.

yum.  yum.  yum.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

what makes YOU come alive?

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs.  Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go and do that.  Because what the world needs is people that have come alive."
–Howard Thurman

I read these words this morning at the bottom of an email and they were just what I needed.  I read them just before I sat down to meditate for an hour.  During my meditation my mind was busy (processing what a very productive and uplifting, but still challenging, day was yesterday).  

Yesterday I went to a Kundalini yoga class in the morning, taught in a smallish room that we had to get to by going through a lovely garden and taught by a beautiful woman with an English accent.  As we practiced the sky went from early morning light to the full, deep, epic blue that I've only seen in the Rockies (mind you, there are plenty of places I haven't been yet in this life, so I'm not saying it only exists here).  At noon I did a Bikram yoga class, a series of asanas in a hot, hot room with lots of mirrors, taught by a beautiful woman who knows a lot of ways to make a person smile, even while they are wondering if they will survive the hour.  In the evening I went to another Kundalini class, this one was taught in a huge room with tons of windows, at the community college, by a woman who speaks very quietly and is one of the sweetest people I have met in this life.  She had chosen a kria (yoga set that I don't really know how to spell) to enhance creativity and that was JUST what I needed at the time.   I love how Kundalini yoga classes often end with "The Longtime Sun Song" which goes like this:  

May the longtime sun shine upon you,
All love surround you,
And the pure light within in you,
Guide your way on.

Sometimes I sing it round and round and round on my way home from the yoga class.  Last night I was on a very crowded bus coming home after yoga and I didn't sing.

But this morning I got to wondering what makes me come alive.  And yoga does, for sure.  And meditation, done regularly, with love, does too.  And song--music of all kinds.  And during my meditation this morning I just started singing as I sat there.  I sang those 4 lines of the longtime sun song over and over.  I sang it to the little girl in me.  I sang it to the big girl who is still sometimes quite afraid of having her wild ideas rejected.  I sang it to my husband (and tears came out of my eyes then.)  I sang it to every person I remembered having come into contact with during my long day out yesterday.  I sang it to my son.  I sang it to my mom, my sister.  I sang it to my niece, my nephew, my other nephew.  I sang it to my sister's husband's brother and his whole family.  I sang it to Michelle Obama and her whole family.  Then I sang it to Sarah Palin and her family and THEN I sang it to the Dalia Llama.  I sang to the kids whose parents have died of HIV/AIDS and I sang it to the people who are taking care of all those orphans now.  I sang it to everyone I could think of during that meditative hour.

I don't know how many times around I sang those 4 lines, sitting alone in my bedroom with my legs crossed, this morning.  But I do know that each time I sang it, it was slightly different.  and I do know that as I sang, my heart softened and my judgments, of myself AND others, softened.  and it felt really, really good.  and I lengthened the syllables and sang softer sometimes and louder other times.  and I cried and smiled too.  and I think I came more alive.  and so I think I'll do that again sometime.  

below is a photograph from my last birthday -- my friends made my favorite breakfast and they had all the materials ready for us to make an Avalon cookbook.  then we went for a walk together.  that was a very alive day.

what makes YOU come alive?