Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My 45th High School Class Reunion and More...

GPHS Class of '69 yearbook pictures of my twin John and myself
Grosse Pointe High School South, Grosse Pointe, Michigan
John and Molly on the shores of Orchard Lake, Michigan, 1953

Sunset over Orchard Lake, Michigan, 2009
Going Home

Thursday morning, early, Ron and I board a plane for Michigan. We will be attending my 45th high school class reunion. My mom also attended Grosse Pointe High school - this would have been the year of her 70th reunion! I am excited and grateful about this and so much more. 

When I reflect on "going home" what I am experiencing is a bone deep connection to the land of my childhood and my ancestors. This is different than my experience of the Pacific Northwest, which has been home to my heart, spirit, and soul since 1975. Oregon, and now Washington, is where awakening took root for me, where my heart opened to healing and love, where amazing people came into my life, where I gave birth to three extraordinary sons and now await the birth of my first grandchild, where I am graced increasingly with awakening to the preciousness of each day and each moment and all that I love. Life is such a miracle.

Michigan is where I have memories of much pain, trauma, and loss. And also much beauty. I remember thunder storms, wild thunder storms. And lakes that I felt like a fish swimming in, free and wild and at peace. Especially Orchard Lake, which was the same lake my dad had also grown up swimming in, as had his siblings and my grandparents. These are different roots, ones which live on in my heart.

My first trip back to Michigan in recovery was in 1989. I remember how my throat ached at that first reunion I attended as I stood up for a huge group picture with our 20th high school class reunion alumni. The loss of my twin was with me. Deeply. Painfully. And I was overcome with what felt like tsunami size waves of grief when I first drove by that home on Thorn Tree Road where I had lived from 6 to 18. And how stunning - what a miracle! - when I went to the first home my parents built on Harcourt where John and I spent our first 6 years. I rang the doorbell and the woman who opened the door was the same person who my parents had sold the home to 32 years earlier. I had not been back since. But she remembered me and welcomed me and encouraged me to wander the home of my earliest years. And in 1989 it was hard to leave Pine Lake Cemetery, where my dad and brother are buried. I wanted to stay there, sitting on the Earth between the graves, weeping. I had to pull myself away. And there was more, much more, that felt overwhelmingly sad...and also somehow profoundly blessed.

Today, in many ways, is different. Since I began walking this heart-path, each trip back has brought to me greater healing, clarity, acceptance, compassion, forgiveness, understanding, wisdom. And I am changed. Stronger, kinder, more whole, more loving. And now I know I will return to the home of my childhood to laugh and cry, to dance and celebrate, to play and explore, to share with Ron and other loving family and friends, and to embrace and integrate just that much more deeply the experiences of my life. 

Although I didn't know it, there was a time - my first 30+ years - that I was very fragmented. I stayed busy, addicted, pretending to myself and everyone else something other than the truth. There was so much that was within me that was not embraced, befriended, held, healed, understood, accepted, integrated, transformed. This is not my truth today. Today I experience that everything - everything - has changed. And continues to change and be deepened, understood, learned from, enjoyed, treasured. It is great to be alive! 

And now I get to return to Grosse Pointe and Orchard Lake and more, and this time with my beloved husband. And we get to see family and friends and open to whatever it is that emerges from this excellent adventure. And an excellent adventure it will surely be.

I am ready! I am grateful! And I say YES to Life! And to hopefully soon dancing to some great old rock 'n roll with a bunch of other "old hippies"! Blessed be!

And bless us all....


My dad (far left), his parents and siblings, at their home on Orchard Lake, 1925


Monday, September 15, 2014

Pema Chödrön: A Loving Relationship With the World

When we see difficult circumstances as a chance to grow in bravery and wisdom, in patience and kindness, when we become more conscious of being hooked and we don't escalate, then our personal distress can connect us with the discomfort and unhappiness of others. What we usually consider a problem becomes the source of empathy...

This can be the value of our personal suffering. We can understand firsthand that we are all in the same boat and that the only thing that makes any sense is to care for one another...

Whatever pleasure or discomfort, happiness or misery you are experiencing, you can look at other people and say to yourself, "Just like me they don't want to feel this kind of pain." Or, "Just like me they appreciate feeling  this kind of contentment."

When things fall apart and we can't get the pieces back together, when we lose something dear to us, when the whole thing is just not working and we don't know what to do, this is the time when the natural warmth of tenderness, the warmth of empathy and kindness, are just waiting to be uncovered, just waiting to be embraced. This is our chance to come out of our self-protecting bubble and to realize that we are never alone. This is our chance to finally understand that wherever we go, everyone we meet is essentially just like us. Our own suffering, if we turn toward it, can open us to a loving relationship with the world.

Pema Chödrön, Taking the Leap:
Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears 

I Bow To the Divine In You

Just Imagine
Several years into my awakening I began quite spontaneously 
to clasp my palms together and bow to people when 
my heart was especially touched in some way.
Just Imagine a world in which this is what we do
and what we teach our children
and what we remember.
Just imagine.

Namaste ~



Pema Chödrön: The Love That Will Not Die

The Love That Will Not Die

Spiritual awakening is frequently described
as a journey to the top of a mountain.
We leave our attachments and our worldliness
behind and slowly make our way to the top.
At the peak we have transcended all pain.
The only problem with this metaphor is
that we leave all the others behind --
our drunken brother, our schizophrenic sister,
our tormented animals and friends.
Their suffering continues, unrelieved
by our personal escape.
In the process of discovering our true nature,
the journey goes down, not up.
It’s as if the mountain pointed toward the      
center of the earth instead of reaching into the sky.
Instead of transcending the suffering of all creatures,
we move toward the turbulence and doubt.
We jump into it. We slide into it. We tiptoe into it.
We move toward it however we can.
We explore the reality and unpredictability
of insecurity and pain, and we try not to push it away.
If it takes years, if it takes lifetimes,
we will let it be as it is. At our own pace,
without speed or aggression,
we move down and down and down.
With us move millions of others,
our companions in awakening from fear.
At the bottom we discover water,
the healing water of compassion.
Right down there in the thick of things,
we discover the love that will not die.

~ Pema Chödrön

Rumi: Your Task

Photo by Molly

Your task is not to seek for love, 
but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself 
that you have built against it. 
~ Rumi

Sunday, September 14, 2014

For Ron: In Celebration of Our One Year Wedding Anniversay

Ron & I marry on September 14th, 2013.
Robert Beatty officiates.
With all our beautiful children - Kevin & Kristin, Brian & Marita, Matt, and Alli.
Love, love, love...

One year ago today Ron and I married. It was a beautiful day surrounded by beautiful family and friends. Each of our four children were part of the ceremony. Many helped to make this day as extraordinarily special as it was. Heartfelt thank you to all.

It took me nearly 60 years to find Ron. My heart had been so devastated, so wounded from the earliest moments of my time on Earth. For a long, long time I simply did not know how to allow my heart to be open enough to receive and give love with any degree of consistency. Around my heart was a wall of protective defenses. At a very young age I had unconsciously vowed to not allow anyone in, not into my depths. It was too raw, too terrifying, too beyond my comprehension... to truly open my heart to love.

Years passed, many years. It has been a gradual awakening. There was no experience of poof!, now my heart has cracked open. Rather, this has been an amazing journey of allowing my heart - gradually, slowly - to experience the attending to, the tenderness, the support and healing needed to grow into the person I have always been.

When I talk or write about opening to the beauty of our true nature, I speak to this out of personal experience. What I have discovered along the way is that under it all - under the ocean of grief, rage, terror, confusion, and loss - is this Love that did not die. This Sacred Love that today I believe is the true nature of us all.

Yet, without the support, courage, and intention to heal, I would have continued to thrash about and be a stranger to the nature of my own suffering and separation. And there would be no Ron. And there would be no fierce mother who fought with all my being to learn how in the world to be the mother my three beautiful sons need, a mother I had needed but not had. I also certainly would not be capable of holding my own mother - and myself, my father, my twin, our ancestors - today with a heart of forgiveness, compassion, and love. The list of miracles go on and on and on.

Life is so amazing. So amazing! And especially with the experiences I have had, which all gift me today, of knowing what it is to be asleep and what it is to be on this extraordinary path of gradual awakening.

So today and each and every day I awaken to profound gratitude for this beautiful man I married one year ago. Ron is my treasure.

And today my life is treasure-full with blessings and miracles and mindfulness that only grows with each year I am alive. Truly, each time I have found the support, courage, and intention to allow my heart to break open, more space has been cleared for love. And after nearly 60 years, this path of Heart led me to Ron and Ron to me. Wow.

I love you, Ron. My heart overflows with gratitude.... 

And for us all, may we each increasingly root into paths of opening to life, opening to love, opening to the beauty that is our true nature. Blessed be.

With deep gratitude and love ~


Photo by Molly

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee: The Deepest Purpose

The deepest purpose of life is to reflect what is hidden, to reveal the unknowable essence of which we are all an expression. Separate from life, we confront only our own separateness, our isolation and suffering. Simply to recognize that we are part of life is to radically alter our perception of our self and our surroundings. We are then able to perceive the patterns of which we are a part, the manifestation of the divine which is our true nature.
- Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
From his book: Working with Oneness


David Abram: Living In Truth

Ecologically considered, it is not primarily our verbal statements that are “true” or “false,” but rather the kind of relations that we sustain with the rest of nature. A human community that lives in a mutually beneficial relation with the surrounding earth is a community, we might say, that lives in truth. The ways of speaking common to that community – the claims and beliefs that enable such reciprocity to perpetuate itself – are, in this important sense, true. They are in accord with a right relation between these people and their world. Statements and beliefs, meanwhile, that foster violence toward the land, ways of speaking that enable the impairment or ruination of the surrounding field of beings, can be described as false ways of speaking – ways that encourage an unsustainable relation with the encompassing earth. A civilization that relentlessly destroys the living land it inhabits is not well acquainted with truth, regardless of how many supposed facts it has amassed regarding the calculable properties of its world.

- David Abram

from Working with Oneness
Art by Bruno Torfs