Tag Archives: family


29 Nov


blanket and bundle.
At my back
a ball of breathing
black pillowdog,
a warm cocoon against
the cold coming day.
They say
be happy right now.
Not to wait
or time will run out.
So I am happy for this half
of the bed
that holds me.
And  dream chill stillness
slows the seconds
for the other.


20 Nov


I wonder

what happens to

women wizened and wise,

those bent inside their

cottage and fence.

Were once, they fae?

To dance fields of flowers

seems an awful bargain to

absent the flesh of rocking cradles.

To have pockets filled of

dustwishes to give,

but not for use.

What of her own

when there is nothing left

inside paperhusk and rind,

past fruitfulness?

Two wells for eyes,

the color of


Is that why they sigh?

To rock the ache away?

To be a sentinel of time,

the herald of fate,

scissors dangling from red ribbon

clipsharp ready,

full of lessons learned

like a compass needle toward

Mother and our inevitable return.

Are they not healers

of earthly souls?

Some say a magic far

greater than desire.

Would they not remind us

to hold a warm child tight,

the beloved other

to touch in the night?

A soft pillar of persuasion,

serving tea

and sacrifice.

On Gratitude. On Faith. On Love.

10 May

Recently, I have been musing about the meaning of faith and the seeds of its growth: gratitude and love. This first public v-log has me wandering through how the writing of this blog and the journey it contains has given me an amazing gift. It’s a bit slow and reflective and I am not promising any entertaining value. But in the telling of it, I discuss treasure surprisingly discovered without a map. I don’t know if I will ever offer one of these again in the future; its personal. But this once felt right.

Be Well.


20 Apr

“All you need is Jesus. He will fulfill all your needs, honey;  don’t you know that?”

“Love yourself completely. No one can love you unless you love yourself first.”

“When you give up the desire, it comes.”

“Accept what is and you will achieve peace.”

“Surrender, and then God will take care of the rest.”

“Love is Universal. There is no difference between types of love. It comes from everyone.”

“Accept people for who they are. Love their imperfections. Be the bigger person and love them no matter how they treat you.”

“You are only alone because you want to be. Nobody gets what they want.”

“They are men. Seriously, grow up.”

“When you aren’t looking, then the right person arrives. Stop Looking. ”

“If you build it, they will come.”

“Maybe be a little less confident. You know, men have fragile egos.”

“When you fix your thoughts, then the world changes. If you look at this negatively then it will be. Try to see the gift.”

“Everything is a lesson. What are you learning?”

“Be grateful. You could be in Syria.”

“All you need is yourself, babe.”

“Each day is an opportunity to start again. Don’t worry. It’s NEVER too late!”

“The only person holding you back is you. If you’d stop seeing the negative then you’d be happy.”

“If you move yourself into a place that feels the way you want to feel, then it doesn’t matter if what you want arrives.”

“Just join a ladies group. You’ll make good girl friends.”

“Suffering is pain times resistance. Make friends with the pain. Be with it. Stop resisting. Look at its texture and then your thinking about it will change. “

. . .said everyone (renunciate or householder)

already beloved of a calling,

of children,

of friends and family

of one other, above the rest.

Sharing the anchor of hands

within the deep fathomed current,

they toss toward me a wrinkled lifering of advice

about the dry dustshadow space in my heart,

an anomalous magnetic pull

bending its own needle toward a something nothingness.

This is the place where you should be

the one I want beside me,

our soul’s wisdom heaped like seed in a sack,

of hope to sow the world.

I’m not looking for completion.

I’m hungry for evolving into more,

swinging free of the pull of this black hole.


I never saw a starving man bow to bless

a dry plate upon which he must blame himself

for there being no bread.

No bread.

No fault.

That’s what Is.

Mercy is not found in gravity.

The Blue Rose Apron

19 Apr


When she smiles,

suddenly, I am a child

circling the Sunday dinner table

taking orders for dessert.

“With or without ice cream, sir?” I ask Grandpa,

penciling lines I imagine

a waitress might write.

Soon, she serves crystal cut bowls full of cobbler

like blackberries kissed by diamonds,

steaming and syrupy sweet,

cool white rivers of melting cream

mixing purple then blue

like the roses on her apron

as she bend around to hand me a spoon.


I notice her hands,

worn smooth as a lucky coin

while she fries chicken in a big black skillet.

Sizzling clouds of pepper and fat

mix with the back door breeze

billowing her blue rose apron.

I’m fifteen.

I cross the kitchen,

not too cool to sit on a corner stool,

the last one Grandpa made,

but my knees rise high

like a cricket held too close for comfort.

And suddenly,

I am tall.

Suddenly, she is ever so



She plays the upright Richmond piano,

my teething marks still on the bench,

And in each line

of heartbreak and Patsy Cline

I feel so crazy.

I am so lonely.

Into the pocket of her blue rose apron,

I reach for tissues layered with Windsong,

her low alto inside the ringing tones

against the storm of tears

from this heart, so far from home.

She knows this type of leaving,

this type of loving,

too sweet, too beautiful

to hold for long.


Time suspends me at seven

upon entering the lilac coolness of her room.

I lie across her bed,

my feet on muslin pillows spotted yellow and blue,

my face to the open window’s summer breeze,

lined with tears and truth.

On its hook in the closet,

a blue rose apron rests among clothes

too dear now for anyone else’s wearing.


The pause between bees wings and a bluebird’s echoing call

is the silence where you hear her,

her spirit, her smile,

now light,

now air.



Ollie Ruth Mullins Beard

12-09-1920  — 4-13-2017

What it Is

6 Jul
BW mock up of mixed media collage, Unamed. 24x18 June 2016.

BW mock up of mixed media collage, Unamed. 24×18 June 2016.


It’s been four years that I’ve been writing about this journey toward Self and most definitely this spring has been a spiral of endings and discoveries, wonder and disappointment. For months it’s been obvious, I’m in transition but to what I’ve no idea.

Should I sell the house my former husband and I bought and restored together?
Should I change jobs, change careers, change towns?

The only constant has been my mother, my dog, and a few close friends who are honestly in much different places than I. Almost everyone from my post divorce journey has moved on into their silver linings. I’m wondering if mine is here and perhaps I’m just not seeing it.

Last week, my role model Liz Gilbert announced her separation from the man she fell in love with at the end of her famed memoir, Eat. Pray. Love. I found out on Facebook, just exiting yoga class. And to be truthful, after reading her post and Jack Gilbert’s poem, I sat in the car and sobbed for an hour. All melodrama aside, it felt like someone had told me that the scientific community had just discovered that God doesn’t exist…they’d found it on some new MRI or something. It’s all in our heads and explained by chemicals, this idea of infinite unconditional love made human. There is no over the rainbow. Dorothy Gale didn’t go anywhere….she just had a bump on the head. We aren’t crossing over to anywhere.

It was Liz’s memoir and journey, the way she found her most authentic self and happiness, both inner and outer that told me I too could heal after the person I loved most on the planet disappeared. In December 2012, I put myself on an island and what I found at my lowest point was the inner voice, Beloved. The writer in me still lived and she has fueled every creative outlet which has unfurled in my life since. Writing, Art, Dance, Mindfulness.

But what I’ve learned is that the journey is not linear. That to eat, to pray, to love is nothing more than the cycle of living we should be practicing daily in moving forward. Ever present, ever mindful in the moment, but savoring each bit of air granted to us while we live from our most authentic selves.

For all the loneliness this way of life has been, it’s gift is a reminder that family and community is the core of being…not romance. Chatting with the 30 year old daughter of a fellow colleague today about the end of her most recent relationship, I told her, “If my two cents is worth one penny, you should focus on being with your girlfriends right now. Making lasting female friendships is what will sustain you throughout your life. If I had done that in my thirties rather than focus entirely on my romantic relationship, I wouldn’t be trying to find a community now.”

This isn’t to say that romantic love isn’t a worthy desire. After all, “the world must be peopled”. I believe this type of connection is a need. And one’s needs should be taken reverently and honored. To be intimate and physically touched, to be fully human and vulnerable with a beloved other is necessary. Walking without this is like being in the desert, trying desperately not to feel parched, or worse let it show. I often want to scold my friends who take their significant others for granted as if two arms and a warm soul are always available….they aren’t. Finding home is a lifelong journey, but it’s compass steers us toward connections to love and love comes from companions.

I’ve learned so much in four years. Much more than most of my young adulthood.

I’ve learned social and virtual media can rescue a person as much as isolate her. Silver hands never assuage for long.
I’ve learned that to really live can mean a simple icy lavender towel on the forehead during savasana just as much as feasting at 4 Leoni in Florence, a beautiful Italian waiter serving up Chianti and daring glances.

And I’ve learned that one never stops learning. Each day we eat, we pray, we love…we find ourselves in this recursive cycle of savoring what is and banishing the demons that whisper…this is ALL there is. Because lately, I’ve been feeling something missing, an absence of an innocence and playfulness at my core. For the first time in my life, I struggle with feeling way too grown up, feeling pushed to accept the existential realities in a long journey seemingly with no end but exit. It’s as if the expansiveness of my imagination has been emptied of intuitive air. I can’t seem to feel or believe that which I cannot see and this both saddens and scares the shit out of me. For childlike hope has always made me… well…Me.

If I lose something so essentially me, what have I discovered that now wants to squat in its place?

Ask any of my students and they will tell you of the faerie woman and her magical dog, of feathers and wands, tales of travel and synchronicity. They don’t see budding cynicism, self judgement, and loss of confidence taking root. They don’t see deep self doubt. What was all of this for? Have I really walked all this way only to find that I’m exactly where I started, just better able to sit with, dare I say it? The possibility that I might die before I fall in love again.

So this week, by accident, I find myself at a friend’s place in Charlottesville while she vacations. I’m alone, relatively, as per usual and trying to decide what to let go of and what to cling to. In yoga class this morning and in outdoor practice at the IX Art Park last night, glimpses of who I used to be flooded my mind, the best of what I was before my husband and I parted. And let me pause here to change the story of his leaving, because I have learned that I too was walking away many months before he made real the gulf that already existed between us. I see now clearly how I was beginning to grow, to want more out of life than taking care of him and everyone else too, everyone but me. But I refuse to believe that nothing lasts, that we move in and out of love with many others until our last song. The eight years tops theory of partnership, I don’t WANT to believe in. People do die together, eating, praying, loving, …….living in the myriad ways people in committed connection do. Giving goes both ways. It isn’t a one way street.

There’s no judgement on my part for those who grow in and out of long term commitment numerous times. Their worlds are created from the outside in, each new union an entirely new world made from the shift of gravity which brings a new celestial body nearer in orbit. Unknowingly, I have lived through that. But like gravity, I believe in something else that crosses time. Something else that is quantifiable yet not yet proven. I cling to it. Call me naive…but don’t we all believe in that? Furthermore, shouldn’t we?

So is there yet enough magic in me to recreate my world inside out…over and over…each moment, each day, each year?

And while one day I may find a beloved once again, right now I sit with what is.

Each day I sit,

to eat,
to pray,
to love those dear to me.
To cherish my mother and my dog, my friends both near and far.
To try not to focus on their eventual passing or the path my life has taken. But to look forward from a place of hope. It’s hard. It’s created in each breath.

This week, I’m on the mat every morning, swimming in the afternoon, eating out, having my skin and hair pampered, sleeping in the softest bed on the planet. I have three days left here in this nest. And I’m listening for the whispers of what used to be in me.

The priestess, the faerie, the lover.
The poet, the painter, the dancer.

Gravity is peeling back this skin to allow emerging new again..as before. But did I fly too close? Am I watching my faith fall into the sea, a tangle of wax and feather flotsam.

I’ve no idea.

It is what it is…or is it?

Dance Card

10 May


Singing and vacuuming,

Mommy is dancing with the Electrolux.

She carries the cord

in great lasso loops in her left,

the carpet attachment

like a tiny bottom trawler in the right.

They dance the brown berber

back and forth,

rapture gathering within the clink of motes.

Her voice crests over

a high metallic unwinding whine.

The plug has popped out.

The attachment drops to the deck

in front of the stereo.

After selecting a new

scratchy popping

of needle on the groove,

she grabs my hand,

slips her low arm to

dance me round the room,

“I’ll be there…. “


turning me into

a rhythm,

her eyes are like black diamonds,

her laugh

like the blooming of a thousand birds of paradise,

hot and orange and open;

her smile is an archipelago sky.

“Darling …Reach out…come on girl…reach out to me”


arms a tangle,

she casts me off.

I’m breathless

like the Electrolux.

Dancing into the hall

she’s singing singing. . .

her siren self.

Beautiful dark haired mommy,

a most lovely island entire.

Funny waifish mer-mater

like a shock of iced whisky

flooded with two seconds after sweetness

a sailor’s soul floats in the love of you

for you are . . .

still there.


The Gallery of Night

10 Apr


I look

at photos of myself,

review every line,

observe my skin,

a reptilian coolness

hungrily reaching,

impermeably separating


from you.

I follow its journey

toward the thin angelic softness

of my grandmother’s

whispering face.

“I want to go Home,”

she says slowly,

our twin eyes

in joint accord.

I kiss

the slope of her cheek,

lilac veins and bare blood

nearly vanished

under pearled whiteness.


Is it just

that the skin thins

until we are no longer able

to hold ourselves

apart from the coveting Universe?

Do we dissolve into

dark ianthine oceans

of unconscious stars?

Like once

into a pine shadowed forest pool

we dared our naked love

to venture,

wincingly frigid at toe,

until we embraced a slow


to its cold envelope,

a deceptive tomb of known



Some say the eyes

never change,

their color deepening

like blown blossoms to the light.

But within mine

I see

a graceless unwinding glimmer

of the knowing of

too much night.


Of Beginnings, And Again

1 Jan

This morning, I awoke to Beloved’s voice in my ear. Now, the dreams come in both words and image when I am allowed to sleep naturally. She arrives in the early mornings as once she did on Ocracoke. . . .in the tiny loft bedroom of a yellow cottage on the corner of Fig Tree and Howard. Within my dreaming consciousness, I stood on the right side of an enormous moss and lichen laced live oak, a tree well known to me. M’lady, the enormous live oak on Howard Street.


It is to her I have gone to ask the questions I did not know how to form into speech. Her curved and expansive side is the one I have embraced, hoping wisdom from her deep memory would seep into my consciousness, somehow showing me the way…the path to take. Once upon a time, I curled under the mercy of her shelter, hoping that she would heal me and then open a new heart into seeing. In this shadow state, as I admired the winter sky glowing silvery grey through her leafless limbs, Beloved said to me, “Look beyond the tree”. There, I saw a tiny acorn burnished and  gleaming on the ground. “That is what you have made,” she said. “Now its time to plant and watch it grow.”   For the last three months,  I’ve been blinded by the enormous tree of my life, but it has now birthed a “me” who is complete. In a state of presence, I see the cycle. This small acorn has so much potential and promise…so much wisdom innate within it, the tracings of the tree which grew it lying inside.

But, I sighed. A part of me doesn’t want to start all over…to plant …to tend… to begin the next. “No,” I said to Beloved. “I’m too tired to grow more”.

But perhaps winter is about lying fallow. Resting in the dark in order to gather strength and energy for spring. It seems that way to me today. In many ways, the last three months were one long labor, the pushing and the pain. Moments of wanting to give up and not breathe through what seemed to never come forth.  The building excitement of returning to a sense of home and yet the fear of leaving the dark space of the familiar otherworld.

And some might say that my reticence for this new year and plaints of emotional and spiritual fatigue smack of victimhood. I started 2014 selfish, angry, and frustrated, fighting the way the Universe wanted to shape me at every breath. But I finished this year in surrender and acceptance.  No, not a victim. . . a tired warrior, returned to find tribe and home turned to dust. Like Oisin, love and fate swung a pendant soul out into the timelessness of the otherworld for so long a time that upon his return, they knew him not. The former world had passed away. He eventually fell from his faerie stallion, never able to return to the magical world he had found. The fear of losing the gifts of the journey are ever present in my mind. It worries me that I must stay in the saddle and not fall into decay and loss.

Beloved directs my attention back to M’lady. Now a seed of integrated soul lies awake and expectant. The energy to grow into something beautiful takes both energy within and energy without. Fully waking from this dream, I realize the spark is there within me but the way to light the fire is missing. It takes a communal fire to grow a soul beyond its birth. And as much as I can tend myself, I also need the tending. The hard part, I own… I made the acorn. Now others are needed to help me grow into a beautiful grand old oak that someone else might come to embrace for wisdom, for solace…for love.

At this moment though, I need the quiet rest of winter and to lie expectant for sun and earth and water and air… a call which will open me further.

This year, I have two intentions: To keep a positive open heart and to help shape and belong to loving tribe of friends. So I reached into my tiny bowl of shells from Ocracoke this morning and found one which seemed to speak of the promise of more peaceful waters. By remembering the most beautiful shells are found after the most torrential storms, the space beyond the moment doesn’t hold the apprehension it once did. And the time seems to stretch out beyond the desires of my heart as if I had lifetimes to do all that inspires these wings to flight. May the new year be one of seeking and giving, of peace and love.


 I finished my day in yoga practice with the yoga teacher Cyndi Lee.  As we finished our practice, words of intention flowed as the tides of the shore I love so well. Each inhale and exhale united me to my heart’s home.

May I be Happy. . .

May I be Healthy. . .

May I be Safe. . .

May I live with ease. . .


Happy New Year to the wayfaring souls who bless me by following my journey.

Much gratitude.

Be Loved…..

Beyond the Rain

18 Nov


A real love letter is made of insight, understanding, and compassion. Otherwise it’s not a love letter. A true love letter can produce a transformation in the other person, and therefore in the world. But before it produces a transformation in the other person, it has to produce a transformation within us. Some letters may take the whole of our lifetime to write. ― Thích Nhất Hạnh

My breath carries a feather of knowing

upon its current, a tiny red remige

that still wants for growing.

From the root along the vane

it whispers,

We must live inside the Love.

My half conscious companion

has curiosity over coffee,

–What do you mean?

his thoughts thirst

like wintering window ledge botanicals

leaning long toward

the pale four o’clock sun.


Inside the Love? I say,

touching the top of his trembling.

Love, is the moted sun

in which the marmalade cat lies

half dreaming.

Love, is the knotted hammock’s

surest swinging.

Love, too is the icy white

lavender towel

the forehead’s scented savasana crown

like a Lazarene command,

compressing enlightened layers of being

backward into the inner eye.

Love is the tug of my long lock,

a plaything rapt round

your finger.

Living inside the Love

has changed my eyes

in equal measure with

their lines of singing skin.

A deeper London blue,

praises a preciousness

far from the reach of

impermeable youth.

One shouldn’t wait to

be in this Love, I say.

This present.

This here.

This now.

One should not be frightened of finding

that it peels the rind of self supposing

so that the webbed pith of soul lies naked,

a soft velvety skin of bitter white

its holdings so sweet,

so shiny,

so real,

its ripeness calls out

from under the lace of who we thought we were.

Inviting all souls to taste

of this now.

this here.

this me.

this us.

this we.

This Love is everywhere, I say.

And in everything.

I am the Love,

covered in the grey of walking

between the worlds

of the living and the dreading.

That which IS self suffuses.


His heart whispers

through eyes like empty cars

at the end of a carnival ride

gone much too short and much too fast,

door flung open,

rail lights blinking,

red tickets fluttering

across a worn grass path.


His eyes trace the path back

into the dark forest,

where  yellow brick cannot shine.

The newspaper he holds has headlines

clearer from this distance

and sweeter with orange juice.


Beyond the green curtain

my beloved,

one finds Love

in a click

of ruby red heels,

over the bow of rain,

within the curling banner of birds,

showing the soul’s way.

Love has been waiting for me there


in a blue rose calico apron

holding a light

at the front door

of Home.

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