Meditation Before Glee

Busy day, and now in the first lull, the the kids want to watch Glee, which means I have to sit there with them because there are parts I must forward through. Not really into it but it means the world to them. I strike a deal.

“I’ll watch Glee with you, but first we do a meditation.”

Riley groans. Seth shrugs compliance. I bring my computer into the living room and sit on the floor, Riley sits next to me, Seth on the pink couch.

I bring up iTunes and choose a Martha Beck mp3 on anxiety. Riley and I snuggle up on a pillow on the floor, she rests her head in my arm, then moves it around in non-verbal insistence I stroke her hair. She’s pushy like that. Sometimes it gets on my nerves. The mp3 starts and it is nice and relaxing, and soon Seth is tucked in my other arm, and Yippee is on my chest, and we’re all in a heap on the floor, and yes, I’m stroking her hair.

And I forget being annoyed about it, because how lucky am I? To have these kids? Ones who at 9 and 11 will indulge their mother and get on the floor and meditate with her and how awesome it is that we came from a place of almost constant anxiety and walking on egg shells for years and now we pretty much just delight in each other.

Soon we’re all breathing deep and slow, and I’m no longer “the mother” but just with them, and we are all in a place of stillness, no thought, no time, together.

Twenty minutes later, we’re watching Glee, and the day marches on.

But the meditation, it’s there. It’s in us.

Put them on an index card, carry it around

I heard an interview earlier in the week on XM radio (I think it was on Dr. Oz’s show) with Marci Shimoff, author of the books Love for No Reason, and Happy for No Reason. She suggested an exercise which I thought was fantastic. Each person you see, silently wish them these four things:

May you be safe.

May you be happy.

May you be healthy.

May you live with ease. 

The driver in front of you in traffic. The person bagging your groceries. Your child’s teacher. Your spouse. 

May you be safe.

May you be happy.

May you be healthy.

May you live with ease. 

Your neighbor. Your friend. The people who read your blog. Your children.

May you be safe.

May you be happy.

May you be healthy.

May you live with ease. 

The bankers, the protestors, the contestants on Dancing With the Stars, your cat.

May you be safe.

May you be happy.

May you be healthy.

May you live with ease. 

Just thinking these statements softly to myself, I feel the good ju-ju pumping through my body.

I’m going to put them on an index card and carry it around.

Judgy Wudgy Was Amusing

There are people in our life who think we’re too “out there.” With our organic, chemical free food. Our homeschooling. Our limited TV time. Our lack of the latest technological doo-dads. Our old cars. Our second generation smells like dog pink couch (gonna replace it one of these days, I swear). Our recycling. Our shopping at Whole Foods.

There are other people in our life who think we’re too “in there.” With Seth’s extensive Lego collection, (consumers, we are), our “tutors,” our spending money on summer camp and bouncy castles, our shopping at Whole Foods (what, you don’t grow all your own food)? Our using paper bags instead of bringing reusable ones each time, and letting the occasional recyclable container go because I’m too tired or lazy to clean it out.

It might be easier if we were hard core either way. Full throttle consumerism or full throttle counter-culture. Oh what I wouldn’t give to pick one and be right! I used to be a right person. I had my opinions and they were “right.” End of story.

But “right” is just an illusion.

What I really want is to be a woman who is amused, rather than upset by other peoples’ judgements about her life. When I can pull that off consistently, I’ll be happy.

When I can stop judging others, and stop judging others for judging me, I’ll know I’ve truly arrived.

Until then, at least everyone can agree on our wrongness about Whole Foods.

I’ll be the one with too many products in the express lane, and I’ll be amused.

Sometimes I think life is just one big misunderstanding

Yesteday, we attended a child’s birthday party at a local public pool. There was a boy at the pool, (not part of the party), a teen, who flapped his hands, walked on his toes, and squealed a lot. In the water, he was happy.

Also in the pool, were two men, maybe in their late sixties. They were walking in the water, having a conversation. Getting their exercise while they got their chat on.

At one point, the boy, in his joy, dove into the water, right between them, making a big splash.

One of the men got in the boy’s face and shouted, as he wiped his glasses, “WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU? WHY WOULD YOU JUMP RIGHT IN BETWEEN US LIKE THAT?”

The boy looked at him, clearly confused, cowering slightly, then went on his way, swimming away from them like a fish.

I wanted to yell at the man, “What’s wrong with you? Can’t you see he has autism?” But the moment was over, and I wasn’t 100% sure, and anyway….

—-

Today I was at Whole Foods. I had a small cart full. At the checkout an employee came over and said, “I know you’re over the limit, but I’ll take you in the express line. We’re a little short staffed today so I want to help out the other cashier.”

As she scanned my pile of items, a mother/teen daughter duo approached from behind. They were obviously in a hurry. Both proceeded to glare at me and sigh, my haul clearly over the limit.

I decided rather than reacting or apologizing or explaining, to merely allow myself to be misunderstood. Sometimes it just isn’t worth the energy.

There is a lesson in A Course in Miracles which says, “I do not know what I’m looking at, so I must not judge what I see.”

These are two examples from the last 24 hours in my life which brought that message home for me. I hope to remember them, the next time I am quick to judge.

That’s so 1986

So we haven’t really talked about my 25th high school reunion, have we?

Well. It was interesting. It felt like walking into a time warp. All of these people, most of whom I had not even thought about for many, many years, are alive and well…going about their lives. We all wake up and put one foot in front of the other, every day.

Some looked fantastic. Some looked like they’d fallen on hard times. Some seemed more wonderfully themselves, really in a great place. Some were obnoxious, in that mean drunk kind of way.

Every spouse of a classmate I talked with was awesome. Our class sure married well!

I wasn’t sure where the reunion was going to be held. I didn’t recognize the name of the restaurant, and didn’t bother looking into it. A week before, I bought a summer dress, on clearance. Not super dressy. It was white eyelet. Simple. We got to the restaurant early to meet our friends Michelle and Cris and catch up a little before the party officially got started. Inside the bar, I got the nice wine goblet you see in the photo above. It turned out, the party was outside, and very casual. At the right time, we ventured outdoors, where wine was served in plastic cups, and my glass was coveted by many. Seriously. People kept mentioning it. I felt just a smidge over dressed, but not horribly so. Of course my goblet made me extra fancy.

There was one guy who looked exactly the same, and for some reason I could not figure out who he was. Once someone told me it was like, oh, of course! There was a lot of standing around, whispering, figuring out “Who is that?” Then we’d figure it out, and go over and say hello.

Food was buffet style. Todd and I got plates and as we sat down to eat, I saw out of the corner of my eye at the next table, a woman I’d always thought of fondly point in our direction and say, Is that Michelle H?” As those at her table nodded, she said, thinking I couldn’t hear her…What’s with the dress?” 

And you know what? I had been feeling a little insecure about the dress. I mean, I loved the dress, but was the dress too much? Only one other person was wearing a dress (and she was rocking it btw).

Perhaps my fancy wine glass filled her with fury and she just had to take me out verbally? It’s difficult to say.

Anyway…her snide remark freed me of all insecurities. What was the worst thing that could happen? Someone like that, would say something like that.

So what?

Should I apologize for trying to look nice for my 25th high school reunion? I don’t think so. Got my hair highlighted too. And after two years, I’m done with Invisalign. By our 3oth, I plan on looking even better. Maybe some yoga and pilates in my future? You never know. It could happen.

Cue the inspirational music and play the Marianne Williamson quote which is always falsely attributed to Nelson Mandela:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you….” Yada yada.

Who am I to wear a cute dress?

Who am I to have a fancy goblet? LOL.

I love that quote. And I really, really feel in my heart it is true, and if we all knew who we really were, we’d  never ever say anything hurtful about anyone else, it just wouldn’t be possible. One day we’re all gonna get there.

Love.

Love Thy Neighbor

For over two years, the house next door to us was vacant. The previous owners foreclosed, and left in the dark of night, never to be seen again.

Neighbors took turns mowing the lawn, making it look “not” vacant. And we waited. And we hoped. And finally a lovely young woman bought the house. Hurray!

Over the last several days, she has proceeded to have three of the gorgeous very mature trees on her property cut down. Trees that provided our yard with privacy and shade. Todd and I have felt sick watching it. Like we’re standing by witnessing a slaughter. The trees are what make this neighborhood special. The lovely, old, huge, trees. The house is small. She’s a young woman. This is likely her “starter” home, and she’s going to hack down something that’s been there probably a hundred years?

To add insult to injury, they’ve been cutting them down, all day, during the precious time when the kids are at camp, the only time this homeschooling mom has to herself to enjoy peace and quiet all year, and I’ve got to listen to the buzz of loud chain saws. It’s been deafening. We don’t have A/C and I can’t have the windows open or the sawdust floats in. Grr.

The other day I noticed our disgust had trickled down to the kids. Seth was peering out the window, shaking his head, and his fist, and something inside me said, enough of this.

A lesson from A Course in Miracles went through my mind, “I do not know what I am looking at, so I cannot judge what I see.”

Crap.

After sorting it through in my head and heart for a while, I decided to talk with the kids. We really don’t know why she is cutting the trees. Perhaps they are dying or diseased, and she was advised to do so. Perhaps they are in danger of damaging her home. Perhaps she’s afraid the next wind storm will bring a big limb onto our house? Perhaps she has seasonal affective disorder and craves sunshine and couldn’t get a blessed speck of it with all that glorious shade. Perhaps none of this is true and she’s just totally unconscious and doesn’t think twice before she does things. Even if that were so, is it reason to hate? No.

Either way, the trees are coming down. I can make myself sick over it, or I can entertain the possibility I don’t know everything, that I’m not better than anyone else, that just because I would choose differently doesn’t make another person wrong. She seems like a good person. Like everyone else, she’s a child of God, living her life and going about her business. Which, BTW, is none of my business. Even if I can no longer walk by my upstairs windows naked.

The kids and I talked and talked and during our conversation, we all felt more expansive. I told them how my Grandmother always said… “When you point the finger, you have three pointing back at you.”

We discussed what we don’t like about this situation? And how are we demonstrating the very qualities we don’t like, in our own lives?

She isn’t seeming to consider the value of the trees or how destroying them will affect her neighbors.

Are we considering her desires for her yard, when we judge her?

Crappity crap crap.

So, the O’Neil’s are letting it go. She’s got a lovely yard, with a gorgeous coi pond which she’s restored beautifully. She’s a good neighbor, never a problem. She’s a nice person. She has a vision for her yard, which we don’t understand, but which is none of our business. We’ll honor that with love, as her vision unfolds.

The whole situation has inspired us to plant some trees in our own yard, which is truly the only thing one can ever tend to.

What’s the Best Case Scenario?

Tonight I was feeling antsy. Not quite in a funk, but teetering, despite my best efforts to stay positive. I needed to get outside. We went to a park and as the sun went down we watched herons and the kids did some swinging and some climbing. It was just the thing. Fresh air. Trees, glorious trees. Cleveland is good for that. It is so very green this time of year.

Riley knocked our socks off, climbing what used to be the bane of my existence. She went higher tonight than she’d ever climbed before, and while there were kids half her age who made it to the very top, she was proud of herself, and not concerned with them. Not a tear was shed, though I almost lost a few happy ones. I was telling my friend Cindy yesterday about this blessing. This getting to be full out stoked about the seemingly smallest things. This never taking anything for granted which comes with having a kid on the spectrum. I’ve come to appreciate living life this way.

It should be noted that Seth made it to the top for the first time this evening. He’s always been a little scared of heights, not panicky, but not adventurous. Look at him up there, proud as a peacock (and hello cute little redheaded dude, whoever you are).

I was listening to an archived service at The Agape International Spiritual Center today, and Rev. Michael Beckwith posed the question, “What is the best case scenario?” In any situation….he advised us to ask this. I was surprised how many times today, I tried to ask the question, and my brain could barely go there. It was difficult to stay focused on the best case scenario outcome. Worst case was somehow easier to imagine.

Flip it.

So…I’m feeling a little funky. Nothing is exactly wrong,….but what is the best case scenario for this evening?

We go to the park and enjoy the sun going down together, and breathe in some nice fresh air in the hour before bedtime, and wind up having a good evening. And we did.

Super climber girl with excellent coping? She was just icing on the cake.

Do Unto Others and They Will Totally Make Your Day

Willy,ever sharp in his black hat and suit

After the peace pole was planted in the ground, and after Let There Be Peace on Earth was sung, the parishioners started to disperse. There was a grassy hill to navigate down, and I noticed one of my favorite parishioners, Willy, standing there. He is an older gentleman, and not wanting him to lose his step on the way down the incline I walked over and casually hooked arms as we walked down the hill. He looked delighted. That’s one of the great things about Willy. He always makes you feel like he’s tickled to see you.

We made it down the hill, arms linked, and as we got to the door, he said, “My mother always told me to help people. Whenever I saw an older person, she said, go help them. One day you’ll need help and someone will help you.”

He smiled at me and said, “You made it come true!”

I already adored him, but that is how Willy officially melted my heart on Sunday.

Such a sweet, sweet man.

13 moon walk 4 peace

Today at Unity Center of the Heights, we had visitors from 13 moon walk for peace, a group who walks the globe, bringing a message of love. 13 moon walk for peace goes into places many of us wouldn’t dare go, letting people who often feel forgotten know they are seen.

Everybody wants to be seen.

The group is leaving behind peace poles, creating a trail across the country. Their goal is to awaken the heart of America.

Audri Scott Williams spoke for the group today, and one of the things which moved me is she’s brought her elderly mother who has Alzheimer’s along on this walk across the nation.

Be it Alzheimer’s, or autism, the tendency sometimes is to not bring them along because they might be disruptive. I love inclusion.

Audri Scott Williams asked today, “What does peace mean to you?”

I’d love to hear your response to the question in the comments.

Lil’ Italy in the AM


I’m a friendly driver.

If you’re trying to pull out onto Mayfield, from one of those tight one way streets in Little Italy, and there is a long line of traffic, and you’re just sitting there waiting for what seems like forever….I’m your gal.

But here’s the thing. Often, when I’m right there, giving them an opening, smiling even, ’cause I’m a morning person,

“Hey poppa! I gotcha’!”

or

“Go on little lady! It’s all yours!”

They don’t even notice.

They are on their phone. Or they are rummaging through something in the passenger seat, or they are not looking in my direction, …or they are otherwise zoned out.

And I’m all….do you see this line of traffic I am holding up for you?

And they don’t. So I move on.

And I believe the Universe is like that. Like, all the opportunities are just lined up waiting for us, but we aren’t paying attention. And…it’s not a big deal, because eventually we’ll get a break, but wouldn’t life be a lot smoother for us if we were taking advantage of the good that is always being offered? If we expected it, and looked for it?

The other day I had the opportunity to give someone a ride home from a function. There were a whole group of us, and I had the urge to offer, but I had the kids with me, I knew someone else would step up, and they did.

What if she had a valuable piece of info for me? What if she knew a great baby-sitter who would be perfect for us? (Ours has plans to go to college, hmfph). Who knows? She didn’t live far from us. It wouldn’t have been such a huge schlep. And she got her ride. Everything worked out fine. But that’s the kind of thing I’m talking about.

Now the moral of this little tale isn’t to give every Tom, Dick & Harry a ride. This ain’t the Martyr Express. The point is to look for openings for your good which are happening all around you. Expect them. Feel for them. And listen to your feelings! And when the opportunities present themselves, be awake and take them!

And when I let you out in traffic, I appreciate a nod or a friendly little wave back.

Thank you.

It’s Okay

It’s okay to be healthy.

It’s okay to set boundaries.

It’s okay to say no.

It’s okay not to get sucked into drama.

It’s okay to be joyful.

It’s okay to survive.

It’s okay to take care of yourself.

It’s okay to ask for what you need.

It’s okay for your heart to sing.

It’s okay to grow.

It’s okay to change.

It’s okay to be happy.

Even if others are not.

Even if others resent it.

Even if others wish you’d shut up and stay small in their tiny view of you.

Joining in their sickness won’t make them well.

It’s okay to walk away.

It’s okay to breathe.

It’s okay to love from afar.

It’s okay to be healthy.

It is.

It’s okay.

Riley turned eleven

…and I’ve struggled with writing something about it. I’ve started half a dozen posts. How do I put my Riley into words? She’s fabulous. She’s sweet. She’s sassy. Okay, she’s not really sassy, but she dresses sassy. She wouldn’t be caught dead in the ratty old tatters her mom often wears around the house, as she “always wants to look her best,” even for bed. Even if no one will see. If an article of clothing has a stain on it, it’s dead to her. Even a tiny spot.

On her birthday we didn’t go anywhere, but she insisted on wearing a “birthday girl” pin all day, even though it was just us. That pin was from another birthday, and it was God knows where? in a box somewhere in the basement, but she knew just where it was. (Note to self…find a better hiding place for…things). I want to be more like her. Dressing to please myself, not anybody else.

playing a new Wii game she got for her birthday(playing a new Wii game she got for her birthday)

Riley has really come into her own this year. She’s so joyful. And she’s such a good and kind person. I’ve never seen her be mean to anyone, ever. She is intolerant of cruelty. Even when she used to scream, it was more an implosion rather than a lashing out at anyone else. And yes, I did say “used to” scream.  I can’t remember the last time she had a true meltdown. Can I get an “hallelujah?”

The other day, Todd walked in with some stuff from the store, and she asked, “Did you get me any birthday presents?” He set two bottles of bleach on the kitchen table and said, “Yep. I got you bleach.”

“You did?” she asked, taking him seriously, then in the next beat she smiled and said,

“I can’t believe I’m that gullible!”

They took the bleach and ran with it. All week long it was, “I can’t wait to give you your bleach on your birthday!” With him egging her on, and her laughing and playing along with the joke.

The morning of her birthday she climbed into bed with us, and snuggled up cozy under my arm. She was giddy to start her day, just bubbling over with happy. For I think the second time in her life, she said, “I love you,” to me unsolicited, then she reached for her daddy’s hand, wanting to include him in the lovie-dovie action.

Eleven years ago, Todd and I laid there on the same bed, with her between us. She was just a couple of days old, and we could do nothing but stare and marvel at her. She wore a pale green striped outfit. She had the roundest little body. Legs drawn up, used to being folded in my belly, not quite knowing they were out and could stretch all the way. How was she possible? How is she still?

How is it she comes up to my forehead already?

My baby…the one who birthed me eleven years ago…has turned a corner. We’re stepping off into a different and wonderful uncharted place. When she was three, someone I respected predicted when her peers were reaching the teen years, and their parents were starting to see the worst of it….we would be smooth sailing. Having a kid who couldn’t hop to it just because we said jump…we had to develop better ways of communicating. Parenting based on respect and not fear. Truly, we had to learn, that on a soul level there is no hierarchy. Our kids are not inferior to us or behind us on the path.

Hopefully he’s right. Hopefully we’ll just ease on down the tween-teen road. I’d like that.

So, yeah…she’s eleven.

I love this girl. I’ve always loved this girl.

May it be her best year yet.

It’s an honor being her mom.

Plans for Camp

A friend recently sent me an e-mail about Bittersweet Farms. I love knowing a place like this exists. In looking for the YouTube code to embed the video above, I came across a number of programs which beautifully serve kids and adults with special needs. One after another the videos popped up.

Riley has attended an inclusive music day camp the last two summers. She’s done really well, but felt a bit left out because the special needs kids were relegated to mornings only. All the other campers got to go full day. She was adamant she go full day this year, and I knew if I couldn’t get her in full day, she would likely balk at going at all, because she’s “not a baby.”

At every turn, people show up to help.

The wonderful aide who accompanied her the last two years has agreed to go full day with her, but still…the structure of afternoons is completely different. Would she be able to handle it? And what about the hurdle of the policy in place… about special needs kids only going in the morning? There has been a lot of discussion amongst the camp powers that be.

Riley’s music therapist…the one who teaches hip-hop dance, has been working to prepare her. She’s been teaching her various steps in isolation, then throwing them together every which way…to get her used to thinking on her feet and being flexible. To get her used to being unsure, and frustrated, and be able to recover quickly. The whole time, I’ve felt whether or not she gets to go full day, everyone was rooting for her and looking out for her best interest. It would not make sense to send her full day and set her up for failure if she truly wouldn’t do well.

Riley’s other music therapist has also been working on recovering from mistakes,…(acting like it’s nothing and moving along) while making music recordings and videos, letting Riley have all input into the creative process. Riley plays the drums, the piano, lots of other instruments, sings into the microphone, etc. She loves it. She’s doing well.

So.

The camp has made the decision to let Riley go full day this summer. She is the first camper with special needs to do so in their very,very long history.

And I think of all that has gone into this. And I think of the video above. And I think of what goes into parenting and supporting all of the kids with special needs who are here on the planet in droves, and I feel so much love for parents and professionals, friends and neighbors, who open their hearts wider, and make room for our kids.

And I have faith.

Reiki from Riley

At camp a couple of years ago, Riley learned about Reiki. She knows how to send her good energy out to anyone who might need it. At church recently, the kids learned more about it, and this is a picture she made to represent herself sending healing energy out into the world.

Call it Reiki. Call it prayer. Call it being present. Anytime we take a moment to stop and think about others with loving intention, it not only benefits the people we are doing it for, but also ourselves.

I asked Riley to send Reiki to all who read this.

You’ve been blessed, by one of the sweetest.

Love.

Parents….you are enough.

While in LA, I met up with some friends, (more on them in a later post) who mentioned Elaine Hall of The Miracle Project. I was familiar with Hall because I’d done a review on Autism the Musical for Age of Autism a couple of years back. It is a wonderful documentary. So she was on my mind when I got home, and I googled her, and up pops her blog with this gorgeous message: “Dayenu.”

For Hall’s full post on this video click here.

Take a breath.

Then another.

We are all enough.

Love.

The Source Which Created the Universe and Everything In It, Doesn’t Play Favorites

What would your life be like if you knew, really knew God loved you as much as everybody else?

This was a question (paraphrased) posed by Hans Christian King, one of the speakers at the conference I just attended. Hans had an amazing presence. People asked him questions, and he countered their inquiries with so much love…some of them squirmed, and tried to kind of move away from it. Not physically, but they’d start rambling or jump to a new question and he would interrupt them and bring them back, and force them to really be in the love,

“Wait a minute,” he’d say. “I’m loving you.”

Yowza.

(I’m pretty sure this is the first “yowza” I’ve used in all the years of my blog).

It was really powerful. Most of us are uncomfortable with that kind of full out loving attention. Plus there were about a thousand people in the room, more reason to squirm.

So, yowza. I just remembered there was a dance party Sat. and there was some disco going on and some “Freaking OUT!” and some “YOWZA, YOWZA, YOWZA” which put the fun word in my brain.  I love brains. They are so fun, and mysterious, how they work.

At the dance party Sat. I saw Hans standing on the wall. Everyone was dancing. Ricky Byers was playing some mo-town music,

“We’re having a party. Everybody’s singing. Listnin’ to the music, on the radio….”

In my joy I bopped over to Hans and asked him if he wanted to dance. He kindly said, no, and reminded me of his bum leg. Standing along the wall, I put my arm around him and did a little bopping, and he politely excused himself. SMACKDOWN! The whole exchange took about 30 seconds. I walked away feeling ashamed and began berating myself.

I shouldn’t have done that.

He was having a good time, and probably has had hundreds of conference participants globbing onto him. He’s probably tired of it.

Wasn’t he using some kind of cane the other day? How thoughtless of me to ask him to dance!

I pushed it aside, and continued dancing and having fun…but deep in the back of my mind, or maybe not too far back at all….the self-criticism remained.

After the party, alone in my room…my ego came back full force. But I was at a conference about unconditional love. That’s what Agape means. I stood in the bathroom, looked in the mirror and said,

“NO.”

“Is that the best you’ve got ego? Is that the worst thing I’ve done lately? Then I’m doing pretty damn well aren’t I?”

And just like any bully, my ego slunk away when called out on the table.

I refuse to be mean to myself anymore.

God loves me as much as anyone else.

Lost and Found

A woman at the conference lost her purse. When it was found, the $630.00 which had been in it was missing. Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith made an announcement about this at the dinner banquet last night, and asked the participants to each chip in a couple of bucks.

Her problem was solved in very short time. There was more than enough.

The extra money, will go to the offering basket at today’s service…to fund community projects at Agape.

Pretty cool.

The Universe is abundant.

All is well….

Green mat, third in on the left, closest row.

I’m in LA. Typing this from my balcony on the 17th floor. The picture was taken yesterday at 7AM from my friend Kathy’s room. We are at the Agape International Spiritual Center’s Revelations Conference. Amazing speakers. Incredible music. Abraham was here today. So much to take in. So much expansion. So much love here. The energy is incredible.

I’ve met many wonderful people. I’ve been prayed for. I’ve been massaged. I’ve had energy work done on me. I’ve been singing and dancing.

I’ve talked to my Hot Toddy and the kiddos on the phone, and felt the love from there. I am so very full right now.

My life is a good life.

And it is only getting better.

I love my family. I love my friends. I love the breeze blowing through my hair. I love my understanding of spirituality.  I love knowing I am one of God’s perfect ideas, and so are you. I love the sounds of happy people swimming in the pool 17 stories below. I love knowing I will be going to a banquet tonight, and there will be music. GOOD music, and I love knowing I’ll be dancing.

Ripples and ripples of appreciation for it all.

Amen.

En-lak’ech Ala-kin

On Sunday at church, Rev. Tony gave a talk about the concept of “what I see in other people is actually something active in myself.”

He spoke of “form vs. content,” a concept in A Course in Miracles, and gave this example: Two people are at a party, both of them feeling unworthy. One might retreat into a corner and hope no one notices them. The other, having the same sense of unworthiness might feel the need to call all the attention to themselves, wearing a lampshade on their head, etc. The “form” is different, but the “content” is the same.

He went on to say, any time you feel an emotional charge around a person or a situation…whatever you dislike about them, is active in you. You might express it differently, but the underlying emotions are there. The classic example which came to mind for me is the bully/victim relationship. Both feel weak and afraid. The bully deals with feelings of weakness, by picking on someone else who appears vulnerable.

And isn’t it always the cheaters who are the jealous ones? Show me a very jealous person and I’ll show you someone who can’t be trusted. Hello mirror.

The following video is the meditation which followed Rev. Tony’s talk. He asks you to picture someone you hold a grievance against. It starts out dark, for meditation, and then lights go up as the music starts.

A year ago Riley helped me overcome my fear of singing. Around seven minutes in, Riley and I get up on stage with our friend Kathy and sing a song we heard while taking part in Ohio treasure Hal Walker’s Intergenerational Peace Choir a few months ago. Walker wrote it based on a Mayan greeting, En-lak’ech Ala-kin, which means, “I am you, and you are me.”

I am your self.

The great news is, it works both ways. It’s not just grievances. The good you see in others is active in you. The beauty you see in others is the beauty in you. The kindness is your kindness. The love is your own love reflected back.

Come meditate with us, won’t you? Come here us sing. It’s not perfect, but I guarantee, what you see in it will be the perfect reflection of you.

Love.

* You can download Hal Walker singing this song and more Hal Walker music at CD Baby. Or visit his website for more info on Hal and his music.

Fill in the ________.

One of the songs we are doing in Windsong this season is called Stand. One of the lyrics in Stand is…

“It starts with a whisper, the smallest I am.”

When we were working on this song in rehearsal my friend Jan scribbled, on a piece of paper, “That line reminds me of Horton Hears a Who.” (Of course she did this when Karen our director was working with a different section…we second sopranos are always paying attention at rehearsal).

I scribbled back “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

Jan scribbled back,

“A person’s a person, no matter how _________.”

Fill in the blank.

Perfection.

And since we’re on a Dr. Seuss roll, the following is an e-mail exchange between HT and I last night.

He worked evening shift yesterday, and earlier I had whipped up a nice dinner for him(not a daily occurrence but he sure appreciates it when it happens), packed it up and sent him off to work. Later, I received this e-mail:

I ate my dinner and it was delish. Thank you very much. I appreciate you so very much and think you are the greatest. I hope you have a good night and I’ll talk to you later.

I replied with this:

Would you love me on a boat?

Would you love me on a float?

Would you love me though I bloat?

He shot back:

I would love you on a boat, on a float, and in a moat. I would love you on a train, in the rain or on a trip to Spain.

Note the glossing over of the bloat situation.

Well played, Todd O’Neil.