Soul Stories

A Turning Point from Mind to Heart

It was 1989 and I was on the phone in a counseling session and the counselor asked me what I wanted.  As if something outside of me swooped in and replied – I said – I just want to be in California. I was shocked.  He said please let me hear more from the part of you that said that. I resisted, he coaxed, I surrendered. What flew out of my mouth was the heartfelt longing to be in California.  Why? I just started my own business in NY. I can’t move I tell myself and yet every bone in my body knew I had to answer that inner calling.  Within 4 days I was on a plane through a serendipitous unfolding of events for a 5-week house-sitting gig that has lasted till today. I was carried on the wings of an eagle who swooped down and plucked me out of my mind and set me down in my heart.  Arriving in Santa Monica having no idea in the world why I was here but trusting what was spoken from deep inside me, I cried and wept while standing on the sidewalk. Unabashedly knowing I was truly home in my heart and always would be no matter what. I feel that there may be wisdom in asking that question now – Sweetheart what is it that you really want. I want to keep surrendering what I think I know to simply being who I am in this moment. As I look back I know that was the moment for me of trusting what I didn’t understand yet knowing in my heart it was true. It did not make logical sense. But I knew I had to act. I relaxed knowing I was being guided and there was no reason nor did there have to be one.  Also, I learned that if I am meant to act./move on knowing I will be given the next step. Sometimes I try to make things happen vs allow myself to be led. If Daniel had not called with the house sitting offer I might still be in NY. It is all set up for me if I am willing to get in the flow of the river.  Observing is the key to letting go. And then watching for the signs that take me to what is next. I was willing to go deeper than I was comfortable. My heart never leads me astray

The Wedding Dress Soul Moment

What better day to share this story than the day Harry married Meghan. The excitement over the dress and who she chose to be the designer received great media coverage up to her reveal. I loved her dress because it reflected who she is. While I have not yet married I have heard about “the moment” when you try on a dress and know it is the dress you want to wear at your wedding. Last July, my sister surprised me for my early birthday in Manhattan with good friends. She booked me an appointment at the well-known Kleinfeld Bridal Salon in NYC that has an abundant selection of wedding dresses. It is featured on the TV show Say Yes to the Dress. She told them I was recently engaged and I actually wore my sister’s engagement ring for the appointment just to feel, and let’s be honest, look the part. After trying a number of dresses I started to feel discouraged. My sister and my friend left me with the consultant to search on their own. Another bridal consultant brought in a dress that I would never have picked for me and she encouraged me to try it on. I said ‘why not.’ I will remember that powerful moment as tears filled my eyes as I looked into the mirror and recognized the beauty of my own soul. Yes, I looked lovely in the dress but that moment of recognition was not about the dress but about what the dress reflected. It’s fun to know that “the moment” is real and to also understand that the dress is allowing your soul to shine through in all its beauty. When my sister returned to the room I saw her recognize the same. Thank you, my sister, for your love and generosity for allowing me a soul moment in “my” wedding dress. And I say “Thank You to the Dress.”

Toilet Paper Ministry

Ever since I can remember it seems like the toilet paper roll is always empty when I arrive.  So I have had a secret assignment for years – putting the new roll in place. Many of you know it takes a lot of coordination, to get that spring inside the roll and be able to snap it in place.  When I was younger, I used to get mad when this happened and I would begrudgingly fill the toilet paper holder.  As I got older, I decided that all of us in this world have jobs that are part of our own personal ministry that we do just because it is there to do.  No one thanks us and no one even knows we do it.  Now when I go in and see an empty roll, I just smile and sometimes giggle to myself.  This must be my personal ministry.  And I do it with joy and gladness.  And nobody knows.  It’s my little secret.  Do you have your own personal ministry too?  What is it?   Are you the one who wipes out the sink in the airplane bathroom when you didn’t make the mess?  Or are you the one who finds things people left behind in restaurants or taxis and returns them anonymously?   Maybe you are the one who wipes something up that you didn’t spill, but you know if someone comes by later they could fall.  Or perhaps you are the one who returns grocery store items to their correct shelf.  Are you the one who cleans the papers off the floor or street when you walk?  Are you the person who picks someone’s coat up from the floor and puts it back on their chair so it won’t get stepped on?  Or are you the one who ?  ?  ?    I love that we are all doing this together as a team and taking care to leave the world better than we found it.

Space Between the Lines

So simple it is to get caught up in the glamour of it all when the simple is even more exquisite. Going forward with only an inkling of where we might land is what God asks of us each day. We do it and surprise often meets us in the middle and gives us the meaning of our existence. Life is for being aware of the spirit in all things and to learn how we forgot about our true nature. This requires all of us to listen between the lines and let go of what we expected and choose what shows up instead. We are here to learn how to love. It’s that simple and that exquisite

The space between the lines is wordless. It is the eternal quiet that rests us if we can get in there regularly. It’s the place that is free of chatter, activity or judgment. It is pure love. Love is behind every communication – it’s in between the lines. When an actor says his/her lines – if they are not connected to the “space between the lines” we know it. We all know the “space,” we sometimes just forget to occupy it.

Curling Up with Myself

I often watch the cats in our house curled up and sleeping like babies.  They are so peaceful. Occasionally they stretch and then go right back to their curled up position, without waking up.  How lovely!

Naps have never been easy for me. They remind me of being sent to my room when I didn’t want to go.  So I have a new name for naps. I call them curl ups.  Curling up feels more nurturing somehow.

Curling up with myself is the nicest way I know to have intimate time with myself, to reflect, to be grateful, to just be without thoughts, just there to comfort and care for me.  I remember thinking when I was young that another person, in the form of a spouse, would be the one to fill that role.  But the neatest discovery was learning that I am the only one who can truly curl me up and give myself what I need.  Learning to curl up with myself is what heals my soul.

Cleanliness is Next to Godliness

When my things are in order, well cared for and clean, I can almost touch the peace and simplicity that is present.  I am always reminded of this on the days our friend Delia comes to clean.  She arrives with an intention so strong – it is simply to make my house beautiful.  It’s part of her being.  Her depth of caring goes right into the cleansing process and the house is literally blessed by her presence.

When I see her walk in the door my heart leaps with joy.  I trust her completely.  I get out of her way and let her do her thing.  As soon as she arrives, she goes straight to her work and doesn’t stop until she is done.  The “white tornado” doesn’t hold a candle to Delia.  I call her the white angel.  She puts 100% of her loving self into her work.  She delights in making my home special.  Everything is picked up, cleaned, and replaced.  How many of us take the loving care and attention to literally touch every inch of our home when we clean, even getting down on our hands and knees?  Delia touches places you and I didn’t even know were there.

My home becomes her work of art. Each one of my treasures is important to her and she knows how to take care of them.  She works with purpose, not stopping until she is complete.  A cup of coffee is the only thing you can use to bribe her to rest a minute.   When she is done she simply packs up her things and in her ordinary way she is off to the next house before I have time to thank her.

I know she has been there.  I can feel it the minute I walk in the room.  The cleanliness is tangible. The house sparkles.  The invisible is suddenly visible.  I see things in a whole new light.

I love standing in the room after she has left, bathing in the newness of my home and the freshness that is tangible.  Her loving is everywhere.  The simple beauty of my home is what I see, and I am calm.  I am filled with appreciation for this woman’s gift.

What is extraordinary about Delia is her heart and heart is in her work.  She keeps her focus on what she is doing, she does it completely and she does it with joy.  What a model she is for me.

My favorite part of Delia’s gift comes at the end of the day.  I crawl into my crisply made bed with clean linens and sigh with deep contentment, grinning from ear to ear, thankful there is a God and that she came to visit me today.  How blessed I am.

Cramps on the 405

With today’s technology, the opportunity for one word to change a communication is familiar to us all. The time I had “cramps on the 405” has become a  running joke with a friend of mine due to a glitch in voice mail.  I called him from the 405 freeway next to LAX seconds after being in a car accident. My car was hit from behind and then drove into the car in front of me and my car was spun into the fast lane and I was still driving.  I called 911 for assistance as I scared to navigate from the far left lane across 4 lanes of speeding traffic to stop.  Finally, I made my way to the shoulder and stopped. I called my friend crying to ask for Light and got his voice mail. Given my state of mind and tears between words, what was recorded on his phone was  “I am having cramps on the 405.”  He didn’t quite know what to make of the message thinking to himself – are cramps that upsetting? He couldn’t reach me back and had no idea what had happened. Later after all the police reports were taken and the ordeal was over and I was calmer I reached him back and told him about the accident. We had a good laugh.  It was the one light spot in the otherwise challenging experience that is still fondly called the time I had “cramps on the 405. ”

Quarantined in Nature

April 14, 2020  Happy to be in nature. Happy to be in the sun. Happy to be outside.

In this moment all I can hear is birds and more birds. So many birds. It’s like a symphony of sound. I do not recall ever hearing so many birds at my home.  With the staying at home mandate, it seems like the birds are all at home and they are singing as if in celebration. I love the warmth of the sun. I am grateful the clouds lifted.  Thank you for blessing me with this nurturing property. I like the unmanicured images all around me. I see new buds on the lime tree.  Thank you for bringing me outside to write. I am noticing my whole being calming down as the days go on with this quarantine. It’s been one month. I am welcoming the greater balance. Thank you for calming me down.

Underneath the clamoring of the birds is a deeper steady sound of being. A current of solid formation carrying me along, moving me from place to place, leads me forward. Its silent presence is deep, strong and buoyant holding me in balance and on course. If I surrender then I dwell in this reverie like state, receiving all that is.  My breath relaxes and rises in it’s own slow steady rhythm, soothing me a quiet calm.  There is no rushing available in this quiet beingness.

Nature is in constant flow as air breathes through the flowers and trees while the birds soar about. What the eye sees cannot be completely captured in a camera lens.  The eyes of the soul intimately capture the images to be seen.  Nature takes the thoughts and disperses them so the eyes can see clearly, receiving the magnificence being presented in this moment.

Let yourself be fully captured by the sound and Light.

Painting class at Ojai Art Center with nude model

October 25, 2011

Note to Spirit:

I get why you are asking me to draw. This art session lets me see the nuances of continuing and repeating and doing it again. Form moves continually to form a new vision. The eye keeps changing and the view shifts with it. Motion detects truth – nothing inhibiting the flow – just endless formations on the move morphing in essence with all its splendor. What is visible to the eye as seen through the heart is the goal. The heart captures the essence on the paper. We are all yearning to be captured in our essence. Form keeps me in line with essence as long as I stay fluid and allow the movement to keep recreating form into the formless. We are all divine on all the levels.

Treating Each Other Like Royalty

I now have an appreciation for all the preparation that is done for us when we arrive in this world by our parents.  They spend a lot of time and energy making our rooms just so, having clothes for us to wear and receiving blankets to wrap us in.  They know a very precious and royal being is about to arrive.  I love that I have friends who treat me as that same precious and royal being.  They know the importance of preparing a place for others in their hearts and in their home.

I remember staying at my friend Julia’s when I was first getting to know her.  I arrived late one evening at her and her husband’s home. I was shown to my room, which was a space on the floor in their office.  A simple foam mattress was made up with sheets, a comfy blanket and soft pillow. Then I looked more closely and saw the preparation that had gone into my arrival. Beside my bed on the floor was a small vase with lovely garden flowers in it, next to it was a candle and matches, and beside it a glass and a container of water.  Loving care had gone into each detail of what was chosen and where they were placed.  There was beauty in the flowers, warmth in the candle and thoughtfulness in the water. On the pillow was one of her teddy bears, and the bed had been carefully made with an extra blanket and turned down.   Inside I felt awe and deep gratitude.  At that moment I felt like royalty. While the gifts were simple the action behind them was rich and full of the beauty of service.  I was being treated as the beloved.  A place had been prepared for me. What if we all served each other in this divine way?  Bless you, Julia!

Following the Inner Lead

Completing to me is about respecting yourself in the process.  Completing happens organically if we are present and allowing things to complete and take their natural course. For me it is essential for health and well-being.

If I stop and listen and follow the natural thread of action a flow of doing and completing takes over and there are wonderful blessings to receive.

I remember living in New York and being over scheduled particularly on the weekends and how unsatisfying it was.  So I stopped scheduling anything on the weekends and let myself spend Saturdays following the natural flow of completion– not knowing what I would do and allowing whatever showed up. It was always remarkable what happened.   I remember starting out the front door of my building and following my gut as to which direction to go.  I would experience creative unusual days and would do and see things that were new, inspiring, simple and sometimes profound.

With the attitude of wonder and curiosity I had fun and I was open to things coming towards me that were also fun.  It was on one of those Saturdays that I wandered into a store on Columbus Avenue and had the most delightful interaction with the manager.  I bought a lamp (which I still have) and ended up with a friend for life.  This man has given me some of the most touching experiences and gifts I can remember. One was a 40 birthday surprise party that touched my heart deeply.  He and my friend realized given my sensitivity I would be shocked by people shouting surprise. So they lit candles, turned off most of the lights and had everyone move into another room. As I entered my apartment, I knew something was happening as I certainly didn’t leave candles burning when I left, nor the door open. Then I heard the softest, sweetest rendition of happy birthday I can remember as people slowly came forward to greet me.  The tears of joy and gratitude flowed down my face and I spent the rest of the evening weeping and laughing and completing the celebration of my 40th birthday day with deep gratitude for my friend.  His natural knowing told him the completing touch for the “surprise.  He is a true blessing in my life.

Where I Place My Attention Matters

One summer waiting on tables a posh resort on Cape Cod before my freshman year of college I had my first experience of what focusing on the outcome could produce with the simple act of carrying a full cup of coffee across a room without spilling it while looking like it was nothing.

I imagine it was a painful sight watching me walk across the dining room floor of the posh resort, eyes buried with precision on the coffee in the cup, hunched over as if that would protect it from slurping over into the saucer.   The Maître d’ surely sent this older server to my rescue.

She said all I had to do was focus on where the coffee cup was to be set down and I could walk fairly quickly to the table, relaxed and confident with my head held high.  And it worked.  The coffee always arrived in the cup and not the saucer. At the time I just was happy to complete the delivery of the coffee cup to the customer with all the coffee still in the cup.

Later on I learned it was actually a map for living my life.  With a clear intention and keeping the focus on the goal, the methods show up to assist you in reaching the goal.  Where I place my attention matters.