Become a Follower of the Big Dude!

Meet the divine Dude in this blog. This Dude has had and seen his share of sacred shit. He's not afraid of it or of its language. I can't relate to a god that's been crucified, but I can relate to one whom my government has imprisoned and humiliated. I can relate to one who's been raped by his own holy men. I can relate to one who grew up playing baseball or soccer and who dated the Prom Queen. I can relate to the god who knows the working of corporate conglomerates, pimps, and teen-age girls who are pregnant. I can relate to the god who loves alcoholics and drug addicts just a tad more than wall street hotshots. This Dude thinks all of us are mortal particles in an ocean of sacred shit. This Dude recycles.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I stepped out the sliding doors into my tiny back yard early this morning. My garden was shrouded in mist. Immediately I was brought into the moment, into my body, into awareness. Last night, as I was driving home from work, mist was materializing, softening the strip malls and industrial sites into mysterious, ancient ruins.

What is it about mist that so captures us and reframes our perspective? Perhaps we are so accustomed to the landscape around us and to our place within it that we stop seeing it altogether. We don't notice that the magnolia tree has produced a rare, purple fall blossom. We don't notice the enormous oaks and maples in the park slowly losing their leaves. We don't notice the massive fall clouds gathering above us. We don't notice the familiar. And, even the changing seasons are familiar after awhile.

Mist changes everything. It moves in unexpectedly and creates ghosts and medieval scenes from the ordinary. My neighbor's house becomes a castle. My garden becomes a silken shroud. The trees become silent giants watching over us.

And, mist moves. It's never the same from one moment to the next. It makes the landscape come alive. Mist is a shape changer, a messenger from the Big Dude and the ancient gods. It says, "Take notice. Be awake. I am here."

I love the mist. I love the mist at the edge of the ocean, the mist rising endlessly over Kentucky's hills, the mist sweeping in from the Great Lakes. It softens the sharp edges of what we think is reality; it softens our own edges. It invites us to merge into the landscape, to join the gods, the progression of history, the ruins and the castles. It makes us mythic for a moment. It's a kind of grace, a second sight, isn't it? Roxie

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Power of Very Much

So, I've come to realize that the great spiritual writers aren't kidding when they say "love yourself." Did you ever wonder how the heck you do that? It seems to me if you're trying to love yourself or if the need to do that even arises within, then you might not have a true understanding of love. In short, maybe you've not FELT the love of another.

This was brought home to me last week when I was talking to my shrink. I realized that I was cynical about love and praise. "People who say they love me WANT something from me," I told her. She said, "How about your dad?" At that moment, I couldn't remember loving words or acts from him. "How about your son?" she asked. "He wants something; he needs me," I said bitterly. "How about when you had your heart attack and he slept next to you for five days in the hospital? He didn't have to do that," she said.

I couldn't open to the specifics she was talking about but I did open to the possibility that I was CLOSED to the gifts and words of others. This week, I began stopping everytime anyone said something positive to me. I put my hand over my heart whenever this happened and tried to savor it.

That night, a student who had taken me previously said to the other students in one of my classes, "I LOVE Anne." Pause. Take it in. I had dinner with a good friend and I shared what was going on. She reached over to take my hand. Pause. Take that in. This morning I was video chatting with my son and he said, "I love you. I love you VERY MUCH."

Tears. Pause. I'm taking it in.

The other side of self-love is still the attitude we have within. I was watching "Days of Our Lives" and the female doctor in rehab was talking with her therapist. Her therapist said to her, "I'm hearing your children say the've forgiven you and they love you. You're not hearing it though." It was a big "aha" for me and I decided in that moment that not only was I going to "hear" and take the positive words of others at face value, but I was going to pause each time I felt distress of any kind and ask myself, "What would feel loving to me right now?"

I knew that I had found a path to self-love. Forget about tallying up how many "good" acts vs how many less good acts I did in a given day. Forget about gratitude journals, twelve-step programs, making enough money, having a clean enough house, being a good enough mom or teacher. Forget about everything, I said to myself. I will focus on only one thing--love right now. What nurtures me and touches me and heals me RIGHT NOW?

I didn't realize how VERY MUCH was being given to me and how I was totally discounting it. You taught a great class today! Big deal. Anyone can do that! (Stop. Seriously? Anyone? Taking it in.) I'm so pissed off at my dog (Stop. What would nurture you in this moment? I'm not walking the dog--I'm walking my heart so I don't have another heart attack. Taking it in--this commitment is to myself).

Nobody HAS to say anything positive to us. Nobody HAS to take our hand or hug us. Nobody HAS to help us out when we're down. Nobody HAS to say you did something well or that they appreciate something. We don't HAVE to say those thing to our self. But, we CAN!! It's time for this Thomas-the-Doubter to notice and, for the moment, accept the love of others. It's also time to pause and love myself through positive self-talk (as they say) or reframing or just by stroking my own soft face.

Mom, I love you. I love you VERY MUCH. (Stop. Did he say "very much"? He didn't have to say that. Taking it in.) With praise to the Big Dude for this grace, Roxie.