Showing posts from March, 2011

11 More Years with My Mother

The word "cancer" is evocative of all kinds of emotions. When your mother tells you, "I have cancer," it is evocative of utter despair and panic, especially at 16. I can only imagine how heavy it is to be the person carrying the tumor and the burden of the news. Her tumor floated seemingly innocuous on the surface of the skin, plain for the eye to see but invisible to mammograms. Small and hard like a frozen pea, it wreaked havoc in her body, with surgeries, radiation and heavy drugs called for to evict every last out-of-control cell. It could've been enough to make anyone wilt but my strong mama walked the road beautifully, fully committed to the fight and continuing to live. Tonight, 11 years later, my brother and I flanked her at a cancer survivors' mass at our church. It is with overwhelming gratitude that I thank her for not giving up, and God for keeping her with us for 11 years past what could've been a death sentence. The story doesn't end

Allowing for Polarity

The half way point in my Authentic Relationships course is a discussion about polarities. For the purpose of clear communication, polarities are "pairs of qualities that are opposites and yet relate to one another in such a way that they define each other." Day, night. Good, evil. Flexible, rigid. Introverted, extroverted. Tense, relaxed. I've been considering all the polarities that I contain and working on integrating both poles. Osho had this to say about Integration: "Rather than night opposing day, dark suppressing light, they work together to create a unified whole, turning endlessly one into the other, each containing in its deepest core the seed of the other." One of the issues we run into with these polarities is that we prefer one end of the polarity and treat the other end as a problem to be solved, conquered, destroyed, or simply ignored. This leads to the biggest problem I see in the spiritual communities I frequent in relation to anger and other

Fantasy v.s. Reality

High Fidelity is one of my desert island, all-time, top five favorite movies. First of all, it has John Cusack, who I find so terribly charming. Secondly, it's about music, which I love. Finally, I enjoy the honest male perspective it provides. In one of my favorite scenes, Rob proposes to Laura in a bar, telling her that since he was 14 he's been chasing this idea of a fantasy woman who doesn't come with the inherent complexity that arises when people get close in a real way. He explains that he's come to realize that this fantasy neither delivers nor exists and that he's tired of it. This week I've been resonating with this fantasy v.s. reality theme in relationships. There's this dance we do early on in relationships where we reveal little bits of ourselves, test the waters, carefully check out this new person. Some people are good at this. I am not so much. I have little patience for small talk and a total lack of interest in playing pretend. I want to

Letting Go.

It is only the reminder that life is cyclical that gets me through certain times. These are the times, dear ones, when I am so grateful that nothing lasts forever. This is a particularly auspicious week of endings for me with a full moon, the arrival of spring and the beginning of the 52 days before my birthday. Last summer, my Siri Shakti Kaur friend introduced me to a sort of astro logy system that breaks your year up into 7, 52 day cycles, beginning on your birthday. Each period features different benefits and challenges, when certain actions are better to take than others. During the 7th, pre-birthday cycle " the elements in your life that are no longer needed for your development gradually fall away in order to make way for those which are new and better." ( It's a time of endings and deep letting go, cleansing and renewal.  How perfect that this time coincides with spring- the season for a good basement to chimney top clean. Sinc

A Springtime of the Heart

Today is the beginning of Lent- traditionally a time in the Catholic Church of abstinence and repentance. My mom and I went to mass to receive our ashes and also walked out with some solid spiritual guidance from Father Padraig. Instead of instructing the community to give something up, he advised that Lent be viewed as a time of reflection in which we look into our hearts and see what's there. We are to spend the 40 (technically 46) days of Lent opening to the love of God and allowing the knots in our heart to be undone. He said that it's perfectly fine to give something up, but it's a superficial symbol of sacrifice if we don't take the time to turn in and consider what the sacrifice means and how we can grow through this time. Lent can be a time of abstinence in which we flex our will to avoid chocolate/caffeine/red meat/Facebook. Lent can also be a time of deep self-discovery and rebirth- so that when Easter arrives we will experience a true "springtime of the

Divine Union

Tonight I got a rare, precious private audience with our family patriarch- my brilliant, vibrant 98 year old great grandpa (check him out on Facebook- no joke). He told me the one story I can't ever get enough of- the night he met my great grandma. This was back in the day when everyone was always impeccably accessorized. Her- beautiful, graceful, wearing the green suit her mother had made for her. Him- super handsome, sassy and instantly in love. They met at a skating rink when he purposely knocked her over so he could help her up...and the rest, as they say, is history. Tonight, for the first time, he looked at me meaningfully and told me that that was the most important day of his life. We've talked about the importance and joy of family before, but today he admitted that at first marriage was hard for him- as he put it "Your grandma really got on me" (ha!). But he made a deep commitment and learned to compromise...mostly to her, smart man. He reminded me that I ne