My Spiritual Life Healing Hit List

I have found a new toehold … (no, foothold … maybe even a comfy ledge?) in my healing.

As I tumble ever closer to God, I crave the comfort of light and sweetness around me. I naturally want more and more exaltation in mylife – the happy glow of artists living their highest calling. And I am discovering it.

Specifically, I am finding my way great music, beautiful landscapes, incredible books, and deeper and deeper friendships.

These all make me feel warm, loved, nourished and whole.

  1. 0701_singing-nuns1-624x266Angels and Saints at Epheseus sung by Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles. This Billboard chart-topping classical albums of a capella chants in the Christian tradition are simply heart opening. Angelic, pure and full of love.About them, the nuns who sing them say, “These CDs are absolutely non-essential to our life, our life of prayer … If we hadn’t recorded, or if we don’t record again, it really wouldn’t have any bearing, any effect on our life.”
  1. Gurrumul. This blind singer from Northern Australia sings in his tribal language of Yolngu, spoken by only a few thousand people in the world. But his tunes have the sweet, deep lull of childhood anthems – with an unexpected pop feel. Think a native Bob Dylan with the joy of Stevie Wonder. You can’t listen to this album and not feel his bliss.Furthermore, the songs themselves are written about iconic images from his tradition – things like a red footed bird which can mean all kinds of things. There is a fascinating NPR interview with his representative shares more. (Gurrumul does not give interviews.)
  1. The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling, by BhagavadGitaStephen Cope. This clever, well-written book explores the story of the Baghavad Gita (known as the Gita), a 700 verse seminal text in the Hindu religion. Cope takes the tale of Arjuna, a frightened, ‘stuck’ warrior, and weaves the Gita’s tale of his journey throughout stories of modern day hero’s large and small.For me, this book is helping me reclaim my path as a writer – which is the ‘great work’ of my own life. I love how it explains our resistance to our most basic callings using the Gita’s wise teachings. Extraordinary wisdom here.
  1. Tri-Yoga. I have been a student of yoga since 1985. Doing at least one hour of yoga nearly every week of my life. But I have never connected toa practice as I have with Tri-Yoga. This yoga practice is a slow motion series of wave-like movements that move through the spine and progress in a beautiful, meditative, dance like fashion. It is simply bliss.


It’s also very specific so I treated myself to the Basic level and then Level One for at least six months before progressing to Levels 2 and 3.

  1. Unknown-1Angels in My Hair, by Lorna Byrne. What a delight it was to read this book … it gave me an entirely new, believable perspective on angels in our life. Some people believe in angels, some don’t. I was in the latter camp until I dug into this tender biography of a poor Irish woman who has seen, felt and communicated with angels all of her life – to extraordinary result.


  1. HAPA, the music of Barry Flanagan and Charles Ka’upu.

    This is beautiful, soulful Polynesian music that completely changes one’s image of what Hawaiian music sounds like. Hapa means ‘half’ – as in one half of this duo is from New Jersey and the other half of South Pacific ancestry. What results is a gorgeous blend of sensibilities that are truly healing. Their new album Tuahine is totally worth a buy.

These are some of these treasured resources that are helping me on my path. I would love to hear some of your own as well – please feel free to add ideas below. What has been lighting you up?

What’s Really Happening With Fear

poor-stuck-puppy1Sometimes I get stuck. Maybe you do, too? Here’s what it feels like.

I have something relatively simple to do … like learning how to transfer videos from my new camcorder into my computer.

Read the manual and just learn the damn thing, right?

Wrong. Somehow the task becomes a behemoth. So for the last several weeks I have found myself spinning in place as I try this simple task with my camcorder.

I avoid. I read and re-read the manual and I don’t get it. I resist the suggested directions; I assume there is ‘an easier way’.

I make up things about the Cannon company while I gnash my teeth.

I even blame my poor brother who suggested I buy the camera in the first place.

Meanwhile a piece of my work sits unfinished because I can’t move ahead. I do not ask for help. I do not call Tech Support. I do not look for helpful videos on YouTube.

Instead I wallow in helplessness. No one can help me. I am hopelessly stuck. I will never get this $&*%$&)@ camera to work! 

It becomes one big drama with me in the starring role as Victim. Mind you I have a college education – from a good school, even. I know how to follow instructions. I actually am able to do this. Really.

Except that I am stuck.

So I brought this conundrum to my coach, Maya, and we looked at it together with a clear, dispassionate, 360 view. That is when it all began to make sense.

What I learned is this: Sometimes fear brings me down and lays me low.

Sometimes fear so disables me I forget who I am and what I know. I believe the highly defensive voices in my head who want to do anything but take responsibility in the moment.

Once I can own this fear of mine, then I can gingerly move ahead. I can even let my fear exist without running away from it. And I can love myself in spite of my fear.

If I can do this, so can you.

Here is the thing; we are all scared. According to Maya, even Mother Teresa was scared. In her collected letters, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light, she expresses grave doubts about her worthiness.

“If I ever become a Saint—I will surely be one of ‘darkness’,” she writes. “I will continually be absent from Heaven—to light the light of those in darkness on earth.”

In these tender, private letters, she cannot fathom why God chose her for her work. She insists that only an empty vessel can receive God’s will, and that she is not empty enough. Mother Teresa writes of a longing for union with God … of feeling lost, and entirely alone in her mission. She fears she has lost touch with God.

Yes. Even Mother Teresa.

So who am I to hold back – even when I am terrified? I will move forward, I will create the programs, the books, the new, broader, more powerful work I am meant to share.

I simply have to — at this point there is no choice. So I will take my place in the divine order. And most of all, I will remember ask for help. All along the way.

Again I repeat: If I can do this, so can you.

Life With an Empty To Do List

Empty-Todo-ListWhat do you do when there is literally nothing to be done? When the proverbial To Do list is empty, and you have no immediate tasks at hand?

That is the rhetorical question that keeps rattling through my formerly too-busy brain. My old workaholic self is dead, replaced by a softer, more tender me who is willing to relax a whole lot more.

Now I am acutely aware of how little I got done last week or for several weeks prior.

The fact is that I am still grieving. A lot.

Turns out year two after the death of a child is far worse than year one. I finally get it: Teal is not coming back. Part of me has dropped to the floor, shattered.

And yet, life goes on because it has to. Work needs to happen; income needs to be produced. Yet because God is good, all is at peace.

In June I suddenly received a commission to write a series of six novels with a transman hero (a person who has transitioned from female to male.) My patron, a wealthy relative who likes my writing, has always wanted these books written. He was hoping I might be the one to do it.

I got a ‘yes’ from my heart … and so the flow carries me forward in this interesting new direction. I can even write these books as I chip away at my own creative work.

I don’t know what ‘the new Joy work’ is or when it will happen, but I know online cialis review that it will and must. There is at least one more ‘Joy’ book to write for sure. But for now I’m simply being called upon to trust, and act only when the time is right.

So with this grief comes an unfolding throughout my life. As I let go of Teal, I am opening up in all aspects to receive more and more and more.

This morning I was hit with a particularly intense wave of grief. Sobs overwhelmed me and I cried through it for a while. But then it was time to reach out, so I called a new friend.

Six months ago I never would have done this, but life has humbled me now and I understand that it’s okay to ask for help. Not only is it okay, it is preferable. Furthermore, it’s what I need. Speaking the unspeakable aloud always seems to prime the pump.

We talked and her words soothed me like warm honey; understanding and love were stitched throughout. I hung up feeling heard, understood and at peace again … at least until the next wave takes me down.

The source of my pain was not only the incalculable loss I feel as I attempt to grok my daughter’s death. Even greater is the shame I feel at not being “productive” — or even knowing what I am supposed to ‘do’.

Hey, shouldn’t my grief be over by now? Shouldn’t I be fine now?”, demands my busy brain.

Apparently not. But not only can I trust this process – I have no choice but to accept it. In letting go of who 20mg cialis online I ‘should’ be, I can finally, totally love myself, just as I am, surrounded by soggy Kleenex and lots of supportive friends.

After I hung up from speaking to my friend, I checked my phone. Randomly, I’d gotten this text message from a cell number in California I didn’t recognize. It said only this:

“Trusting God in this moment feels/looks like the following:

Not waiting for IT (whatever IT is to happen);

Not trying to make IT happen.

Jumping off the cliff and knowing that I’m supported. So I can stop trying to be safe by obsessively trying to figure out how to protect myself.

Telling the microscopic truth no matter what.”

This was followed by a second text that said,

“Oops, wrong person, but hope this is helpful to you anyway.”

Not only was it helpful – it was a perfect manifestation of God’s grace.

Wherever you are today, you, too, are held in a web of perfect unfolding. Life has your back in ways you cannot even begin to realize.

Maybe only one word needs to be on any To Do list.

That would be ‘Surrender.’