Listen Closely

Step-by-Step Guide to Healing from Emotional Abuse

Once upon a time, on a mountain top, deep in my studentship, about five years and eight notebooks into the most serious spiritual journey of my life, I am mid-class in a week-long training that will change everything. My dear teacher bends down in front of my mat, picks up my pen and writes a few words in my treasured blue Clairfontaine notebook.  I’ve never shared this.   As soon as I see the ink forming the words, I realize I’m shaking. As a “good student,” I never want to disappoint this person, and I can’t believe I’ll have to. All of this happens as I’m watching a short poem unfurling on the page, inviting me to this person’s private quarters; clearly a sexual invitation. I’m horrified, confused, frustrated, lost. Mostly lost. And in my utter humanity, a part of me wants to say yes, to please, to be chosen. Which simultaneously disgusts me. Step One: Acknowledge the Abuse  Afraid to disappoint my teacher and wondering if my first extended training will now become the abrupt end to my long-awaited studies, I ask this person to meet me outside, just after class, in full view of other people. Step one of […]

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Open Letter to the Students and the Teachers

the confluence of forces leading to this door opening; simple to decode. earnest teachers eager students humans artful projections simultaneously accurate doggedly imprecise both sides do we choose to take aim and accuse or do we choose the lens of compassion in both directions we acknowledge our blame and all roles in our pain accept ourselves accept our humanity carry baskets of forgiveness unrelentingly unite with one final prayer may our actions bring us everything we need may your actions bring your everything you need

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Healing Haiku

The world is crumbling; I’m learning to temper chocolate to heal my heart. Every day I try a new detail, puffed quinoa, vanilla beans, vanilla-infused maple syrup, pistachios. It all seems so ridiculous. My blood runs in Ukraine; I’m one quarter from Kyiv, precisely. I’m at a loss for how to continue, but I do. The sun shines here right where my mind aches and my heart is breaking. So I give, I ask questions, I listen. Trying to comprehend the complexity of the beginning of this, in my mind I keep creating endings of peace and steadiness. And all that comes are these three lines. proposing peace, this moment’s chocolate sweetness what else can we do

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Why I Shaved My Head

Sky full of clouds, pensive piano notes in my ears, about fifteen minutes from home with all the groceries. She calls me with gravity in her voice, which is rare. I pull over instantly. Yes, cancer. Yes, surgery, yes chemo, yes radiation. Yes. My best friend. Yes healing. We’re holding one another from 2000 miles away, hugging over FaceTime, struggling to find the words. When I finally find mine, I tell her I’ll shave my head when she does. Together we’ve lived in the same house, studied, played, traveled, had our hearts broken, gotten married, had babies. She’s clearly ready to take on the true healing, though, and that’s what this conversation reveals. The softening. Strangely, her softening becomes my own; I can still see I allow agitation to seep into my day, hurling me quietly into anxious reactivity. Over months, I watch from a distance as she becomes more vulnerable, less afraid. I feel her shift and am moved to ease up on myself, to drive more slowly, to listen for the holiness in the voices of those closest to me. It’s still happening. When we finally shave our heads, I worry the new look might change me, harden

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January, A Love Story

When this time of year arrives, I’m back in the car, no more than nine or ten, outside school. She has curly hair, vibrancy, a cigarette, holding it elegantly.  She loves me, says it incessantly and her love puts me at peace. I remember that feeling; she always knows what I need and she’s trying her best, I now see. All of that love just seems normal to me, and I reckon all the moms do this with their babies. I now see they didn’t.  When this time of year arrives, I’m back in my son’s bedroom, he’s no more than nine or ten, we’re playing air hockey on his bed when the phone rings. She’s had a heart attack, she will likely not last. And now we’re packing — Books, games, comfortable clothes? Funeral dress? Remember to bring some nice shoes, her voice says. Not sure what this feeling is, I’m wheeling the clothes, the shoes, the grandchild through Penn Station. Seems everyone senses from my face what this trip must mean.  The last time. The last time I get to kiss her or resist her or rub her feet or hug her, the last chance to return all that

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The floor of my first studio apartment beneath my forehead, kneeling, a place in which I find myself regularly. I’m weeping. I’m begging. I’m grateful. I recognize myself. I’m high. I’m at home here. Two decades later, today. Seated upright in my favourite chair, impossible sunset pinks lighting up my almost-closed eyes. Floor of my studio flashing beneath my face in my mind. I’m okay here, finally; more than six years since I changed my state. Gift of age, gift of quiet, gift of time.  Thoughts fly through. I’m uncomfortable. I’m breathing.  Failing as a parent. Breathing. Such a good mother. Breathing.  Empowerment is a virtue. Breathing. Too fixated on others. Breathing.  So glad I’m sitting. Breathing. What else am I missing. Breathing. I wonder how long I’ve been here. Breathing. Teacher. Student. Breathing. Letting go. Breathing. Failing as a parent. Breathing. Such a good mother. Breathing. I’m back. And for a moment, the first in years, I wish for that high again. Take me. Ruin me. Lift me. Release me. Remove me. Disappear me. Deeply uncomfortable in this body. Breathing. This is fear, warping my mind, hello. I’ve been waiting.

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Flow State

Recently I’ve had the honour of crafting a spoken word piece in collaboration with Above & Beyond. Feel free to listen to it wherever you hear your music; below you’ll find the Spotify link to listen. Put on your headphones and get out in Nature if you can; it’s also great for work time. Listen to Album on Spotify

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The Education of Girls Changes the World

Practice You Podcast: Episode 26: Eileen Flanigan On the education and empowerment of adolescent girls as one of the keys to the future of the world. With results such as improved economic growth, survival rates and health, reductions in population growth, educating and empowering girls and women is now at the forefront of my personal passions. Too often, well-intended charity creates dependence on outside sources. While we cannot solve problems at local levels, we CAN train girls and women in the communities where need is most profound, granting them the opportunity to solve the issues in their regions with integrity. Girls on Fire Leaders is an organization dedicated to teaching girls to lead innovative social change in their own communities. The core belief:  solving our biggest problems requires educated girls, building communities of action, bonded to one another based on shared values – rather than based on race, ethnicity or tribe. Education is more empowering when gender equality, social emotional learning and the ability to solve complex social problems are emphasized. This is precisely what Girls on Fire Leaders has learned to do, with girls between the ages of six and sixteen years of age. In East Africa, where corruption,

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Making It Safe

It’s too late. We both know it. I’ve just made a joke about what a shitty parent I am, my twelve year old boy appreciates the joke with me. We remember to think of the kids who unknowingly live at that nuclear waste dump site in California. We are lucky, and he is apologizing. A little while ago he really handed it to me, inappropriately; he’s sorry for acting like a jerk. Now that I’m older (and done being ashamed afterwards), I whispered instead of shouted. So he heard his own irrationality in the ringing quiet. I’m no longer there to meet him in the electrical charge of anger; I’m listening. And as he apologizes, I hold his feet. I make it safe. and when he asks “Why are you being nice to me; I should be holding your feet,” I say, “Why should you suffer your mistake any more than you’re already making yourself suffer?” May 2019, In Honour of All Who Mother

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Why to Create a Career with doTERRA

On the ethos, efficacy and service of doTERRA;  as a company, a community and a creative source for so many of us. Over seven million of us to date have experienced benefit from the use of doTERRA Essential Oils. We didn’t purchase it in a store; we were taught by someone who’d learned about the compounds, and was willing to share with us. The company thrives with this futuristic business model; our success depends on our willingness to learn, teach and most importantly, collaborate. Would you prefer to compensate the head of a company who’s not been in contact with their products in years? Or would you rather pay your colleague or friend who’s been diligently studying, discovering their own personal results and teaching what works? Would you like to support your friend as they endeavor to grow a team of their own to support their family? doTERRA leads in the world of network marketing because the business structure lends itself to an evolution we’ve all longed for: in this business model, committed teachers can become accomplished, well-compensated leaders. I wish that were true in our schools. And what makes the Oils so easy to share? The transparency of quality testing

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