Navigating the Sacred and Mundane

Friday, February 29, 2008


Waiting in line at this coffee house, no tables, until I find a spot at the head of a community table, with five furiously, famously knitting women. I love them, two seconds flat.

Scanning the art installation on the wall, illuminated trees, shellacked layers, side by side by side, and rivers, shellacked layers, next to those. More love, sprouts of tears, and I'm happy to feel so full. Fully unknown, just noticing.

Last night in the bath, in the dark, I repeat my name inside the silence, over and over and over again, slowly, and each time, in the pause between thought, the experience Don't Know emerges. Years ago, it was an exercise in therapy training, to partner up and repeat the other person's name to them until they could reach a place of I don't know. Don't know that name, my name, don't know who that is. The questions progress: Are you a woman? I don't know. Are you married? I don't know. Do you have parents? I don't know. Are you a mother?.......
We find the places where we are utterly, wonderfully attached.

Then what? Who remains after the don't know comes and goes? This is where I've been, driving over bridges, walking streets, doing dishes. Don't know.

During the years that I sat with clients, it was hour after hour of Don't know. That first meeting where someone comes in with the whole juicy story, crisp clothes, full day timers - and we sit, sit in silence, unnerving. Expectant glances, unnecessary questions land and dissolve, until the discomfort gives way to being, just being together, finding that place of don't know, and then.....

The real conversation begins, and we are not speaking it. It is speaking us. The air feels pregnant, and suddenly, we are in the know.

Knowing is a consciousness that is always already here. We don't achieve it. We just let go of everything that crowds that simple scintillation.

River always says, "Like God, Mama? Like God?"

"Yes, sweetie, like God...."

Monday, February 25, 2008

Waves Coming In

I haven't written lately because I haven't been inspired. I guess that's what happens when one reads People magazine and watches TV alone at night all week. Add ice cream to the equation, you get the picture.

This morning it's time and I know it. In the middle of this city, at a table in the middle of this coffee house, I plug in my headset, close my eyes and agree to stop the coping motion.

In my body, beautiful chords link to memory of sunrises, beloved people in my life and that look in the eye of understanding, deep and abiding connection. I go there.

There is so much magnificence near the ocean....waves are comin in, waves are comin in. Hallelujah

Miten asks the men to sing this stanza to the women, to sing it to their feminine selves.

I take it in, so tired of the fight in my home, my heart. So tired of that fight that I just sit at tables when R is in school and try to find the part of me that remembers union, harmony, peace. I end up in neutral, driving home, going through duties, lost in the back drop. Not enough spark to ignite a thought or thoughtful follow through. And who wants to write about that.

My commitment in writing is truth, truth of my experience, and getting to the truth within and beyond my experience. Seems like sadness can be a habit. It can also be the most sane response to any number of things happening in the world that I am aware of or not. Or maybe it's not sadness at all. Maybe it's the emptiness after one action, emptiness before the next action. Potential in pause.

So much I could do, so much to write, so much to achieve, so much to fulfill, so much to complete, so much to manifest.

Not now.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Listening for hours to Ferron's music. If you don't know who Ferron is, she's one of the most amazing singer-songwriters of our time. I've listened to her songs for twenty years and she's carried me through so many stages of growth.

Her gift is turning trauma to beautiful truth, in a shamanic, metaphoric weave of words and music. She lays herself wide open and bare, and with brilliant intellect, let's us into the most vulnerable human struggles and awakenings.

If you feel inspired, download a few of my favorites at your favorite music site.

Ain't Life a Brook

Here's another favorite - Girl on a Road

Thank you, Ferron, for using your life as medicine. Blessings to you, wherever you are...

P.S. If you feel like hearing more after this song, scroll over the videos below and play Souvenir....love this one, too.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Seven Hours, Baby!

After conquering imaginary spider webs, bees, beetles, giants, and monsters, and two trips back to bed, River kept her word. "You are safe, you are loved, night night," and she turned on her tummy to sleep.

I really felt for her, that turning away from certain comfort, toward the aloneness of the night and the dark.

I woke every hour or two and checked the clock, and opened my eyes in the morning to little footsteps running down the hall. Opening the door, she whispers, "Mama, the sun is waking up!"

Glorious. Seven hours of uninterrupted rest.

So I don't get too spoiled, just thought I would add a few babies to the mix.....welcome to our new little boys. We think we'll call them Sage and Cedar.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sleepless Love

I don't remember what we did, what I did, at the age of three and no sleep. Don't remember no sleep. It's night 58 of clockwork waking, hour after hour past midnight, til I finally hoist her up beside me and tell her to lay down with that tone that could burn a hole through a heart. A wrangled foal, she stays down but with that sideways eye open to the upright world. Her legs twitch and find their way, every five minutes, entwined with mine. Because I'm her mama.

Because of that I go down nicely, easily in the way I brush off REM and all the other states of sleep. 57 nights I find a way to hang on to the corner of pillow, the edge seam of mattress, dancing gravity, repeating the mantra to myself. But then, hours past night and just close to dawn, I am in the audience watching the performance of bodies from a distance, wondering what are they doing?

She hasn't slept a night in her room since we moved into this house in late December. I go down easily until I don't.

Until I'm pacing down a hallway, back and forth, fuck the only word I know. In constant repetition until it's out loud and I hear it. And, finally, I wake up, night 58, to the fact that I have not slept for more than an hour or two at a time, not more than three and possibly, on the best night, four hours in a string. Fuck!

A little voice down the hall now echoes, I'm scared, Mama.....

For an hour there I am undone with anger and exasperation. That wave hits a pinnacle of air and drops, and finds conclusion in grace. Because insanity and sleeplessness and torture are simply changing acts. From emptiness, love rises from every way we think it destroyed. It wakes up inside the body, restores the freakish mind, says, walk with me - here, lay down next to me and let me hold your fear.

How many mothers are awake with me this hour......how many around the world? How many nights did my own mother lose sleep, nights in a row times four children, across thirty years between grown and teething?

Bless that force that makes us everything, if not always shamanic and ruthless and magical. It's a gritty job and so hidden behind a cultural facade. But not for me. Not tonight. It's nothin but a roaring ride!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's!

Many blessings to everyone today, may our hearts be full and open.

Thinking of you so much this week from the wings of quiet...and flu.

Love, Prem

Friday, February 08, 2008

Love for Chocolate

I'm going to have to spend a considerable amount of time testing this theory....

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Divine Sadness

New moon, 0% full.

This coffee house full of energy: toddlers tumble on a rug behind me, hipsters walk in for their joe, and here's me at the back table. Middle-aged yuppy with headset, soaking my new favorite rendition of Om Namah Shivaya

Out the front window, across the street, a gravel alley rises between the backs of houses. That's where I'm walking and thinking, gathering my vision to be with and not avoid discomfort. What is all the discomfort in returning from retreat?

The first day back home and I could still feel my own body, my heart. I could feel myself authentically. Day two, I notice the quality of separation - just allowing my husband to have his own anxiety, to not look at me or talk to me. It was ok.

Day three I feel the fatigue of choppy sleep, the weight of not being able share my joy. Doesn't that sound ironic? Sad because I cannot share my joy, he's not interested.

It's the juxtaposition of feeling so alive, so open, truly myself, and the silent drive home from the airport. Days unfold, nowhere to put a drop of joy. We talk bills and arrangements and details. I drink more coffee than I should, eat pasta on purpose, pull out hidden stashes of chocolate to the front of the shelf. I try to share my week but I can see in the eyes, no receptors. I cannot, for the life of me, figure it out.

But it's so familiar.

When I was in high school, one night after a fight with my mother, I ran to a park and cried under a tree. I talked out loud to God, very true prayers. My father had followed me and stood in the wings of another tree, listening to my pleas. When he revealed himself, he tried everything to distract me and change my mood. There we were, so intimately close with the heart of things, and he could not be with it, couldn't just be with himself in that space, or with me.

I stood next to that man in church for 18 years and we never shared an experience of the divine together. Together.

God knows how I was born into a midwest family with a tantric heart! It's been true from the beginning - I experienced the divine in everything. In the middle of the pulse of everything. When I discovered words like scintillating, sublime, luminescent, I already knew them. That light was my seeing. Right there in my back yard, shimmering radiance.

Through the years I've grown in my understanding of tantra - it has very little to do with sex, sometimes nothing at all. It does have everything to do with a co-mingling, a relational dance with the Self, where we come to identify more and more with its qualities. We mustn't mistake another for the divine, and yet, it is through seeing the divine within the 'other' that we recognize its reflection within ourselves. That's a key experience - having a true reflection.

Is it wrong to depend upon it? Yes. Is it wrong to long for it? Maybe. Is it wrong to want to share that kind of love? No.

I thoroughly understand my pattern of sadness. How sad I get that my partner does not, cannot, will not, should not, meet me where I am at. I get that it's not his fault. I'm considering the possibility that I manufacture the whole thing because it supports a habit (especially with a primary other) that I have known my whole life.

But where's the line? Is it natural to hope for that kind of partnership?

Just watching my self-esteem wither. I begin to take that disinterest personally and then don't want to hear from myself either. I look in the mirror for evidence and decide to gain more weight. I'm reading a new book in bed about a young man who learns tantra from a yogini master. Steve asks what I am reading but it's too late. "Just a book I got."

I would never be able to write it if I didn't have compassion for the way I compose a core issue. There is shame for how quickly I resume it after such a beautiful week of liberation from it.

Underneath and around it all, I have the strength to see clearly, so I am not being pulled under by the story.....just seeing how I weave it all together, and how I lose myself so well.

What it comes down to in the end is that it's a waste of time. And that's how the sadness turns to anger. I get so frustrated and angry that I walk around feeling sad. Enough already, what a waste of time! There's so much more that I need to do with my life.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Deva Premal chants Gayatri Mantra

Sitting here for a few hours, no words. This video shares just where I am - how we start out with a home deep within our being, and find our way back home even when we try other roads. With grace, at the end, perhaps our home will be sung back to us as we cross over.

Blessings and love today.