Be Still. Listen to the Stones of the Wall

“In silence, we most readily preserve our integrity.” – Meister Eckhart

Maintaining silence is healing. It means removing not just speech, but all extraneous thought and chatter. It means quieting the mind.

It is something I say I want to do, but don’t do as often as I should. The chatter in my head is incessant, constant, distracting, numbing.

Often I am so concerned with the minutia of the moment, the constant movement and flow of daily life, I forget to just stop and breathe. Meditation is healing, and yet I don’t do it as I should.

So, a pact with myself: I will turn to meditation every morning, and even maybe a brief time in the evenings before bed, to be grateful. To thank the Universe for the many blessings that fall upon me every day, for the loved ones – dear friends and clients – who make my life so richly rewarding.

I embrace it all, even the unknown, and step into the breach, off the ledge, trusting that wherever I land will be the place I am meant to be.

I am whole.

I am loved.

I am grateful.

I am enough. (Thank you, Brené Brown.)


Pelicans - Being in the Moment

I walked at Santa Barbara's breakwater today, and took this image of a flock of pelicans perched on the deck of an old dredger that is always there, hauling sands out of the harbor's mouth so the boats can come and go. I never tire of watching the pelicans. They are so gangly and yet so graceful in flight and when they dive for fish. Their tremendous bills seem fitting metaphors for capturing an abundance of whatever life offers, and sorting through that which serves you, then letting the rest go. A fitting metaphor for us, perhaps.

Quote of the Day - Ralph Waldo Emerson

blog rose.jpg

I was strolling through the Old Mission rose garden a couple of weeks ago, and photographed this rose. It reminded me of how much we miss by worrying about things we can't do anything about: This moment is all that matters; do not let it go to waste with thoughts of past transgressions or frets about the future.


"Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson  


Seeing the Unseen

Playa Langosta, Costa Rica

A short break in the rain and I head out for a beach walk. One of the things I’ve learned here is to look closely; you will always see something you didn’t notice before. Corkscrew shells scattered in the sand. Tiny fish darting in tide pools. Lilliputian hermit crabs in multicolored shells on the volcanic rock along the shoreline. They move so slowly as to be almost imperceptible. Yet if you squat down and look, really look, you’ll see their tiny legs sprouting from under the shell, antenna moving this way and that.

When I was at Ecocentro Danaus, I would have missed everything without Olman’s trained eye. Monos in the treetops high above. A slow-moving gorrobos climbing a tree. Sloths sleeping in the tallest branches, even with binoculars appearing as nothing more than brown blobs, perhaps birds’ nests or clusters of decaying foliage. Even when he took my shoulders and pointed me directly at whatever creature he wanted me to see, I still struggled to detect it. The green lizard in the ferns. The tiny bat hanging upside down inside a decaying banana leaf. The sleeping Fleischmann’s glass frog (once I looked, I could see its pale eyelids closed, its wee sides expanding and contracting with each rapid breath). Even the bright orange-and-blue dart frog. At first my eyes just couldn’t find it in the leaves Olman parted with his hands. Then, suddenly, it came into view, and I had to catch my breath with its beauty.

How often do we not see the things so plain to others? I realize I’ve spent most of my life not seeing. Not understanding. Unable to connect the dots. It’s almost as if I’ve spent the past seven years slowly opening my eyes. Watching my life unfold, come into stark relief, colors growing vibrant with each revelation.

It’s been painful. And the journey continues. But, finally, I am moving forward with both eyes - and my heart - wide open.

Standing in Gratitude

I am preparing to travel to Costa Rica for the month of October, where I will finish my memoir (sans any more earthquakes) and complete my final manuscript for my master’s degree. It’s an opportunity that I am very grateful to have, and I am looking forward to experiencing Costa Rica as well as finishing my book.

As I’ve written over the past two years, I embarked on this master of fine arts in creative writing program at Antioch University, Los Angeles to force myself to finish this memoir, which I started more than five years ago. Along the way I have met wonderful friends and colleagues, and learned to have faith in my long-term writing goals. Given the current state of publishing, I have no idea whether my memoir will attract the attention of a publisher. But I advise my clients to try traditional publishing first, so I will too. Stay tuned on that.

Here are some things I’ve learned over the past two years: 

  • Go after your dream, no matter how outrageous.
  • Take one concrete step toward your goal every day.
  • Do not be discouraged by setbacks, because you can be sure they will happen.
  • Believe in yourself, even when it seems no one else does.
  • Let the past be the past; learn from it and then let it go.
  • There will always be people who try to make you feel small or pooh-pooh your dreams. Do not pay any attention; it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.
  • Take time each day to read, to write, to meditate.
  • A walk on the beach with your dog is balm for the soul.
  • A walk on the beach with your dog, your friends and their dogs is super balm.
  • Feeling gratitude is more empowering than feeling put-upon.
  • The world owes you nothing. Create the life you want to live.
  • Never, ever give up.

I never imagined in my wildest dreams where my life has taken me. Great failures, deep sadnesses, wonderful friends who stood by and supported me. I stand in gratitude every day, and wonder at the capacity of humans to love.