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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

More Thoughts On...My Current State of Fatness

I've gotten some lovely and interesting response to my last blog post ("My Current State of Fatness"), and I want to say this in response. I have no illusions about my weight - that it would be healthier to be at a lower weight, or I'd have more options for clothes shopping, or more people might be attracted to my physically.

I'm just not sure why I should feel bad or ashamed or hate my body. I'm not sure why the energy of hatred, of this kind of subtle violence against my body, against myself, is somehow required or expected. Does my health improve, or do I have more clothing choices, or I'm suddenly more appealing because I hate my body? Because I'm willing to carry around a burden of shame as well? Because I internalize other people's judgement about weight, and their own fear or shame?

I'm pretty modest, but I have been regardless of my weight. And maybe if I were thinner and more toned, I'd be more comfortable being seen in a bathing suit. But my experience with most grown women is that they feel a level of self-judgement or discomfort at being almost unrobed, even for seasonal reasons. I'm not sure I have any goal that includes wearing revealing clothing, or that a change in my weight would make me feel differently.

My observations about myself aren't political. If they fit in any category, it is in the spiritual, of being a soul living in a pretty wonderful body that is carrying extra weight, but I'm just not about to negate all the rest of the good stuff over this particular thing. There are so many reasons one might not be fond of me, and maybe somewhere on that list is my weight. But it's probably not at the top. And there are lots of reasons one might like or love me, and weight is probably not at the top of that list either.

So I'm just trying to keep some useful perspective about my life, myself, my body. My body is amazing. It supports and sustains me in life every day (so far), allowing me to give expression to who I am, to connect with others, to laugh and write and much amazing stuff. It breathes and digests and circulates and repairs itself, all without any direction from me. My arms offer the warmest hugs, my legs are strong from all the walking I do, my brain is sharp, and my heart is bigger all the time

This seems like some pretty good stuff, and I feel so lucky that all this can happen - in this very body. It's not perfect, but this is the human condition, and we all share in that reality. I don't hate myself for all the other ways I'm not perfect; I think I'm just going to keep being ok with who I am, or at least as ok as I ever am, knowing how much work there is yet to do on the self.

Because I know that on the spiritual journey, there are already so many challenges, so many difficulties in navigating how to be the best person that I can, that I simply don't need to create any more on my own. And because I know that love is what brings out the best in each of us, not fear or shame or guilt. And I want the best for me...and for you too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My Current State of Fatness

I am pretty fat right now. I haven't always been, and I might not always be, but right now, my body is pretty big...bigger than I expect a lot of times. I don't hate it, or myself, because of it. I also don't have some inspiring story about loving my body this way, or at least loving it differently than if it carried less weight. Because this isn't about acceptance or love or self-esteem. I'm just noticing what it feels like to be me these days.

I don't think things magically change if my body changes. I'm not my body; I'm the soul residing within it. But I do live in it, and lots of people see it before they see anything else about me. Which is just how it works. We all do this - look at each other, and evaluate what we're seeing based on our own preferences and values. I get it...I do the exact same thing. It takes some real work to be able to just see the light within and not get distracted by someone's body. If people do or don't like me because of my weight, it's not so obvious to me, and I get attention from men on a pretty consistent basis, whatever that tells us.

To me, my body - this body, at this point in time - is the external manifestation of some internal state where I have created a lot of space around me. There's extra physical space between me and other people with this extra weight I'm carrying. And at least in my mind, it's also psychic space as well that keeps me from being so close to the surface, not quite so visible and vulnerable.

I haven't psychoanalyzed all of this with any exactness. Mostly it's an energetic and intuitive sense of wanting to add a layer or two to the incredible exposure I felt as a young woman with the advent of unexpected and intrusive sexual attention. I didn't want this to suddenly be how my relationship with the world was defined, by people's attraction to my body, and that's true today as well. And maybe my body holds onto this truth even when my mind thinks that's in the distant past.

I'm not trying to create an obstacle course of hurdles you have to get past to get to me, but I have always felt that people, with their needs and desires and demands and expectations, could be dangerous. And while I can face things when I need, I've always felt safer being just a little bit invisible, a little distant, in a certain way.

And I think that this weight will lessen when I don't need to rely on it so much to create space around me. When I am comfortable being more visible, maybe more vulnerable, more connected and engaged and available. Because it would certainly be easier to clothes shop if I had a more average size, and my structurally unsound knees would be relieved to transport less weight with every step, and mostly I think I would look and feel much more like who I am energetically than I do right now.

But there's some necessary organic process going on here, and I'm not entirely sure what it is. And I want to honor it, whatever it is, and understand it. Because when I have weighed less it wasn't because of stringent diets or external discipline. It was about unleashing different energies into my life, and into my body, and maybe that's what this is pointing to now.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Use Your Gift

So many of us pray to G*d, asking Him to fulfill our needs, and I think part of His answer at least, is that He has entrusted each of us with a special gift and He is just waiting for us to bring it into the world..that the gifts we keep asking for are here already, held in trust by us. And we are too shy or too arrogant or too innocent about our gifts to develop and share them in the way the world is needing. Next time you hesitate to share your gift, for whatever reason, remember that it just may be the very thing we have been waiting for.

Monday, October 13, 2014


In confusing situations, or with confusing people, it's very easy to think you're misunderstanding something, and that YOU need to work on figuring out what's going on, what the confusion stems from, why there is misunderstanding or miscommunication.

But if you do the spiritual work, every single day, of paying attention to yourself, to listening carefully to yourself and others, and of adjusting to what needs work in your, then ongoing confusion isn't necessarily a problem that rests solely with you.

Ongoing confusion is the result of energies being sent or received in a way that is somehow crooked, not simple or straightforward. There is something from either the sender or receiver, or creator of the situation, that isn't clear, and so the energy of communication then becomes a reflection of that lack of clarity, and there is confusion.

For example, if we're playing tennis and you serve the ball to me, I can see it coming, anticipate my move, and either hit or miss it, and the game continues. But if you put some serious spin on it in a way that I can't detect, the ball ends up in a totally unexpected place, and in my surprise and confusion, I am unable to act quickly enough to return the volley. You'll win the point, but there won't be much give and take.

Sometimes this is exactly what confusion is - someone taking the lead and sending out serves (communication and energy) in such a way that they are communicating with you, but it's simply impossible to really respond, reply, return the serve. Or if you do, it's in a fumbling and off-center way, so you feel insecure and confused about the transaction.

Confusion with someone you care about is worth sorting through, especially if this isn't the ongoing pattern between you. And confusing situations are worth exploring, especially if you have to work within them. It's useful to understand the dynamic that is contributing to the confusion. It can be as simple as bad process, or as complicated as an individual who is deliberately sabotaging a situation.

But ongoing confusion with another, a pattern of confusion that has an irreconcilable quality, might just be that. It might be that the energies of the two people involved are such a mismatch that clarity is impossible, or at least impossible to sustain.

And when you see that lack of clarity, inability to 'get' each other, underlying tension from ongoing misunderstanding, that getting to useful clarity and understand requires more energy input than ever comes back to you, that satisfying connecting is always a chore, that you are drained by the ongoing confusion, then you can understand that it's simply time to step away, the give space to yourself,and move in a different direction.

You can't always leave the relationship. Maybe it's your boss, or spouse, or lover, or child, or parent with whom this confusion arises. But you can give yourself some room emotionally and spiritually to come back to a place of clarity and simplicity in yourself, to know that YOUR nature is not one of confusion or of creating confusion. And if the confusion is coming from you, pay attention to why you are creating confusion, and see what you want to do about that.

What does it take to come back to a place of clarity and simplicity in yourself and in your communication? Maybe you don't even know what that feels like? One of the central aspects of clarity and simplicity within, and with others, is moving away from fear. Fear creates static, tension, overwhelm, aggression or retreat - all the ways we try to accommodate what is beyond our capacity to manage.

So when you see yourself getting confused, slow down your thinking, relax your breathing and stay with yourself emotionally, even if there's discomfort. And if you can't do that, then to whatever degree possible, remove yourself from the situation causing confusion and fear. Cultivate a practice that lets you unravel the confusion in your own space and time. Not simply to acknowledge and then sit with it, but to do the interior, imaginative work of separating out energies, of unraveling the strands of your energy and another's, and not trying to intertwine them, or to make them work together where they don't. Like separating necklaces knotted together, patient, careful, attentive works is required.

But more than figuring out what is happening with another person, have the intention within to create simplicity and clarity in your thinking, speaking, acting, and relating. The more you create, cultivate, and sustain that energy within yourself, the less anyone or anything can pull you into confusion. Because simplicity and clarity will become your nature, your habit, and your personality. The confusion or drama that others create then simply has no home within you, and you will not be pulled into their energetic confusion.

And with simplicity and clarity, you will see and understand more quickly and fully who and what is around you, and know how to engage in a way that supports the best in your and others. Instead of being pulled into confusion, you then become the instrument to change confusion into clarity, static into simplicity.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Honoring Your Energy

The spiritual journey is filled with real challenges - lots of real life. It is doesn't bring you into the middle of where you live, where you love, where you fear, and where you most need to grow, then you're just side-stepping the real journey, and going along on some romantic notion of a spiritual journey.

Because the real journey is messy and full of unexpected twists and turns, and you can't possibly plan for all of it. You just can't have a contingency plan for what life might bring your way, and you're not supposed to. What you're supposed to do on the spiritual journey is pay attention.

  • What pulls you toward peace and contentment? 
  • What pulls you into chaos and struggle. 
  • Who do you feel energetic alignment with? 
  • What nourishes you and what drains you?
  • Who sees you as you really are, and encourages the best in you?
  • Where can you learn and grow?
Pay attention to how your energy resonates with the people and circumstances around you, because it's all about you use it, how you let others use (or misuse) it, if you connect it with G*d and elevate everything.

Because if you're in a situation or relationship that troubles you, then it's time to take a clear look around and see what needs to be done, what needs to shift, what needs to expand or contract or break apart or come together. It's not about finding one right answer, but it IS about finding yourself in the middle of all of it, and loving who you are so much that you don't get confused by the other stuff.

Love who you are so much that you can accept the mistakes and imperfections and all the places you don't yet know about yourself, but are working your way into, with patience and generosity, for yourself and everyone. Stay in that loving place even when it's hard, when it's ugly, when it's the hardest thing, because it pays off - loving yourself that much. Because ultimately it means you recognize the gift of who you are, what you've been entrusted with, and what you have to share. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Where do we start with religion?

Where do we start with religion? With theology? Liturgy? History? Exegesis? Hermeneutics? Homilitics? Or maybe we start at the most simple and important place, which is with the human heart...what nurtures and sustains and connects and enlivens the most sacred and intimate of human spaces. It's all about relationship - with ourselves, with each other, with G*d. Relationship and love.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

One Direction

There are times when the light hits your life in just such a way that the only thing in focus is off on the horizon, distant but certain. And your only job is to move toward it, one foot in front of the other, each step guided by what's so clearly ahead. There is no one right answer, but there is absolutely one right direction, and that is forward. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Not Being Held Hostage to Sorrow

It's so easy to end up being held hostage to sorrow. Your own sorrow. Someone else's sorrow. The sorrow from a terrible situation close to home or far away. The sorrow from failures in everyday life. The sorrow from inconvenience and irritation and discomfort. The terrible sorrow of untimely, unexpected death. The sorrow of who and what you love changing or disappearing. The sorrow of dreams dying, and hope ending.

What do you do when the sorrow is completely beyond your capacity to cope, when it overwhelms you and all you have built to stand between you and sorrow?  You can spend all your energy rejecting it and manipulating it and yourself so you don't feel the full impact, but it won't magically disappear because you have set out to overcome it or sidestep it or manage it.

As with physical pain, sometimes there is nothing to do but breathe slowly and move through it and let it move through you, and take the help and support you need where you can. And even that isn't always clear. Because sorrow and suffering can feel like a dark cave, a place of isolation where you're so alone that reaching out for help seems impossible.

There are no quick answers or handy solutions. In spite of what the talk shows and magazines tell you there really aren't any 3-or-5-or-8 simple steps to reclaiming your happiness when you've been devastated by sorrow. But as much as possible, move away from those who create sorrow, and surround yourself with those who know how to love and care for and respect you. Because there is already more than enough sorrow to go around, and keeping the company of those who use sorrow as relationship currency is dangerous to your well-being.

Notice the places and people that open up positivity and possibility and want the best for you, even if you can't see what that might be. Notice when there is calm or peace or comfort, and spend more time in those places and with those people. Experience solitude when it nurtures you, and company when it nurtures you. And time - give yourself time and then some more time. Know that on the meandering river of time, the currents slow down and speed up and there are straight-aways and curves, and you're not supposed to try to change all that. Even when it's hard - really hard - it has its own rhythm and movement and wisdom. If you get too stuck in the sorrow, you can miss
the lift that the currents offer.