Tag Archives: love

Art of Desire

23 Dec

monks-dawn

I’ve ruminated a great deal over the past year, some thoughts I’ve published to this blog and others I’ve kept in my heart where they belong. At this juncture I feel compelled to write one last post before we complete this orbit around the sun.

2016 will be forever carved into my soul as a year of nothing less than monumental change. It was a year of polarities and my breaking the most critical silences. This year was characterized by the greatest losses, heartbreak, and grief I’ve yet to experience. At the same time it brought forth some of the greatest gifts in love and spiritual freedom I’ve ever received. There is truth to the fact that at times you have to give something up to gain something far superior. I had to lose nearly everything I knew in order to gain everything unknown. I surrendered control over my life and learned what trusting my spirit really is about. Desiring only what is within me.

This year brought into me a river of truths that I’ve allowed to come in with natural vigor, and  flow out more polished and authentic than ever. It began with some of the most raw and harsh truths I’ve ever faced. I had become so disconnected with my spirit, it was languishing. I was both blind and deaf to all that surrounded me. I could not see the elephant that was before me and beside me day-in and day-out until one day the blindfold was hastily removed, revealing the harsh reality. Resuscitating my spirit began with me. I had no choice but to confront these strident truths with conviction and courage I didn’t know existed inside. One day the battle stopped, and I chose to see myself the way the Universe created me, to shine. Instead of battling in resistance like the bull in a china shop that I can be, I accepted a gift of grace and learned to embrace them with love and empathy.

Following some of the rather tumultuous events this year, a dense fog set-in, paralyzing me for a time, and making it difficult to navigate and make decisions. With hours and days of reflection, introspection, and guidance I was able to clear out years of debris and spider webs that cluttered and acidified my soul, bringing forth the most crystalline clarity I’ve ever known. This clearing away of the past, took months of intentional and deliberate work. It meant digging back into more than 10 years of painful memoirs, engraving their lessons in my heart, finding peace in their pang, and finally laying them to rest once and for all. It brought me back to my heart and gave me the courage to trust my spirit to guide me in this new phase of my life. I discovered my cardinal direction to move forward gallantly into the unknown. To desire only what is meant for me.

I do not know what the future holds, nor do I desire to predict it. I am perfectly content with what the moment is today, I found new beauty and solace in the ambiguity. I do know that life is full of challenges, tribulations, and from time to time catastrophes. These can not be prevented or mitigated in their entirety. All I can do is be better prepared to weather life’s storms.

As I look back at year where I both lost and gained everything, I am compelled to put a mark in time on the virtues that I must carry into this new chapter of life.

  • Always trade your expectations for appreciation.
  • Keep your spirit open to the gifts of the divine.
  • Be open to your secret desires to be ravished.
  • Glow with the light of your spirit.
  • Laugh abundantly.
  • Manifest wisely.
  • Give love with your hands behind your back.
  • Love heart forward.
  • Let love in.

As I bid 2016 farewell and welcome 2017 with an open heart, words can not begin to express the gratitude I feel. I vow to take time each day for silence, to nurture and keep myself alive in whatever form that may take. To desire only what is present. This moment forward my heart is light, love abounds, and my spirit free.

elephant_ravished

First Birthday Love Letter

27 Feb

Dear Sweet Baby Kai,

I write this just two days before your first birthday.  I look back on my life just one year ago and I remember so clearly the anticipation I felt, I couldn’t wait to meet you.  The remember the night that I went into labor.  I cooked a spicy Moroccan lamb stew and then I took Tico out on a long winter walk.  It was very cool but with you I walked and walked.  My body felt heavy, because it was, and it felt energizing to be walking.  I did this nearly every evening.  One year later and we still do it together, only now we get to sing songs while we walk and point out fun things along the way.  Sweet Kai, you bring so much joy to my life.

This year has been the best year of my life.  I have loved more this year than I have in my whole life, and I know I have a lifetime of love still to give you.  I can’t even begin to express how grateful I am that you have chosen us as your parents.  Our life is filled with so much love.  Your are the most beautiful soul.

Those first days were both awkward and amazing.  I fumbled my way through changing your diapers and together we figured out the whole nursing thing.  For the record your Papa is far better at changing diapers than I am.  We have a special bond that only Mama and son can have through nursing.  I am so grateful that we figured it out, and you still love drinking the warm sweet milk I make just for you.  And when you do, you gaze lovingly into my eyes.  Sometimes you play with my hair, touch my face, and smile.  I love every minute of it.  It is one of those moments each day that I wish I could just press pause and savor forever.  But I can’t stop time.

mama baby moment

We have had so many great adventures this year.  Our greatest adventure has been the day-to-day moments of life together – all of your little milestones, your beautiful personality shining through, and your smile… it lights up every moment.  We have also done some amazing things together. We visited a farm where you got to pet a baby pig, goats, and peacocks.  We went to the botanical gardens and had a sleepover with your Padrino and Aunt Kristy.  We go hiking a lot where we enjoy all the intricacies and serenity that mother nature provides.  We travelled to Connecticut and Costa Rica to spend time with our family, they all ADORE you to pieces.  We explored the splendor of Italy together.  I could go on and on, there are so many more moments.

Mama kissing baby

Watching you grow and develop in the most beautiful little boy is the best part of my life.  I love it.  Watching and listening to you play with the pots and pans, and sometimes banging along with you! Its a blast. Seeing your fun interactions with Tico and the kitties, and your attempt to chase them is most entertaining.  Oh our little DC row house is just exploding with life! The adorable grunting sounds you make as you dodge through the house on your hands and knees at full speed.  Watch out World Kai is here! The sweet way that you give me kisses with your mouth wide open, and each kiss fills me with more love.  Our evening bath time is so much fun.  I never knew that I too could have so much fun in just a few inches of water.  I love the way you snuggle up with me at night while we sleep.  Oh sweet baby Kai, I could go on and on.  I’m in love.

As we approach this big milestone in just a couple of days, I want to pay tribute to this most incredible year.  I realize that life is always going to be amazing with you, but it is not ever going to be like our very first year together.  We can’t turn back the clocks or calendars.  We will never be able to re-live these milestones with you.  They are once in a lifetime memories. While I know that there are many more to come, I can’t help but shed a few tears knowing that this first year has come and gone so fast.  All that really matters sweet baby Kai is that I love you forever and ever.  You are my baby and you always will be.  You mean the World to me and I can’t wait to spend a lifetime with you.

Happy 1st birthday sweet baby Kai.

With all the love in my heart,
Your Mama

Kai’s First Lesson – Openness

8 Jul

I just have to say, being a mom is quite simply the best.  Just for the purpose of  recording history, today is a beautiful day – sun is shining, birds are singing, and the wind is blowing.  Today I took some time to think about all I have learned in Kai’s first 10 weeks of life, how much my beautiful baby has taught me.  And as I thought about it, he actually started teaching me back when I was pregnant.  The first very distinct lesson is – Openness.

At 32 weeks pregnant my belly had grown too big to run long distances, and so I changed my routine from running to walking which worked out well because it was the dead of winter anyway.  However, my body and mind had been so used to the routine of long runs several times a week, that it didn’t fully know how to function without those bursts of endorphins a few times a week. As they say, endorphins are our most effective and most underutilized anti-depressant. This was also at the tail end of Hurricane Sandy, which had me working 12-14 hours a day to support continuity of operations in DC.

And bam –  I came down with the worst migraine headache of my life, and it lasted for nearly 2 weeks.  At the time, I could not figure out why I had the migraine or where it came from.  I tried my very best to push through it like I do every other ache or pain, but this was just different.  It didn’t subside.  It was waves of pain from the front to the back of head.  I couldn’t sleep.  I could hardly function but I kept going.  I went to the Doctor several times, it wasn’t pregnancy related, and there wasn’t much he could do besides prescribe me medicine I didn’t want to take.  Then one night it got so bad that I landed in the hospital.  They gave me a medication that was considered “safe” during pregnancy but I couldn’t fathom taking it more than once.  I was determined to figure out the root of the problem and so I paid a long overdue visit to my Acupucturist.  And I am so glad that I did.  She is an older woman, in her early seventies who has studied chinese medicine most of her life and raised a family while living around the world.  We got to talking about my symptoms and what had been going on in my life.  Like any ailment, my body (mind and spirit) were out of balance for some reason and my cortisol (stress hormone) was elevated.  As I talked with her the root of the problem came into perspective – I hadn’t run for about 2 weeks which means my body wasn’t getting the endorphins it needed to counteract the stress – and I had been dealing with a sustained high level of stress for several months due to the demands of being in disaster mode at work.  Considering that I couldn’t exactly just go outside for a run, I had to figure out other ways to manage.  We started to discuss breathing and meditation in place of the running.  This was essentially what I do when I run – and is what my body needed without the physical act of running.  I need to open my lungs, heart, and mind.  I needed to think deliberately about maintaining an open fluid state.  She explained that this imbalance is the result of the mind being clenched like a fist.  And my Acupuncturist right then and there pointed it out, she said “you see, you are already learning from your child”.  Tears came streaming down my face.  He had blessed me with my first lesson – Openness.

A month and a half later I was reminded of this lesson again.  Natural childbirth is all about opening your body up.  I visualized this for hours as a meditated during labor.  Later on a professional photographer who worked at the hospital came by to take photos of our baby. She was also of Asian decent.  We got to talking and she asked us about our baby’s name, and we told her it was “Kai”.  She commented that is was a beautiful name and went on to explain that the word “Kai” means “open” in Chinese.  I got goosebumps and chills at this moment and thought back to that afternoon in my Acupunturist’s office.  I knew about many of the meanings of our baby’s name but I did not know this one until that moment.  Indeed, my sweet baby Kai already began teaching me before he was born.  I am so deeply grateful that he chose us to be his parents.  I love you sweet baby Kai.

 

You cannot sow seeds with clenched fists.  To sow we must open our fists.

Below are some images that bring me back to earlier experiences in my life where other children taught me about openness.  Openness of the mind, and openness of the heart.  Enjoy!

Photo Children's Open Painted Hands

Photo Children painting nature scenes

A Love Letter

26 Apr

Life is a journey. Over the past couple of years I’ve written mostly about my journey throughout life, globe hopping to all these neat untrodden little niches in the World. I’ve recently begun the next diversion in my journey, and this time its not about the physical or geographic ‘places’ I am going that defines my present journey. I recently became a mother.

As we’ve all heard before, “children are our greatest teachers”. I hadn’t really internalized what that exactly means until I was about 34 weeks pregnant and then really when I birthed my baby boy just 8 weeks ago. I don’t really know what my child(ren) will teach me, I only know what I’ve only begun learning. There are a few life lessons that he has already begun teaching me and that I will share with you through a series of posts over the next several months.

Before I get started on that, I wanted to begin with a letter that I started to compose for my son just a couple of weeks after he was born. I have waffled on how to go about keeping a diary for him. I acquired a paper journal and attempted to write to him but the words just didn’t flow from the pencil as smoothly as they do on the keyboard. So I started a folder of word documents as a “diary”. And in the end I’ve decided to use this blog as the medium for my diary to Kai. The relationship between a mother and a child is an intimate one and I debated whether or not I should share it with the world, but really it is one of the most beautiful aspects of being human and if the intimate journey I share with my son can inspire just a little something in someone else – or even do so much as make someone smile – then I know I have done right by sharing it with the World. I may not ALWAYS post blogs that comprise my diary to Kai but from time to time I will, and likely most of what I write over then next year will largely be characterized by him and my journey as a new mother. I hope you enjoy the ride with ‘us’!

Color image of sweet baby Kai

Dear sweet baby Kai,
I write this on the day that you turned just four weeks old – and have come back to finish it on the day you turned just eight weeks old. Over the past several months I have “written” hundreds of letters to you but this one has finally gotten my physical fingers on the keyboard. I have so many things I want to share with you and I am so very grateful that we have a lifetime to share together.

You are the child I have wanted and dreamt about my whole life. You are the baby that your father and I have daydreamed about having together for the past 9 years. You are beautiful in every way. You are perfect in my eyes. The moment I felt the crown of your head and your hair as you came through the birth canal, I knew I’d be forever in love with you. When you were brought up onto my chest with the umbilical cord still pulsing I was so overcome with happiness… words can’t give justice to the vastness of emotions and love that I felt at that moment and that I know will be with me forever now that you are a part of my life. To have felt you skin on skin the moment you were born was so incredible. Today I held you in my arms skin on skin and felt completely fulfilled and content – and you were just so happy drinking warm sweet milk, that moment could have lasted forever. I love you.

You came into this world with your eyes wide open and your voice being heard. The world is a magical place – sweet, beautiful, sour, and scary albeit. You will need to use your third eye, intuition, to survive and also to realize all that you desire to become. You will need to use your strong voice as you actively work to make way for a better, more just and equitable, humanity. I am already proud of you regardless of all you’re yet to share with the world in a lifetime. I love you.

Your father and I have so many little dreams of the things we will do together and share with you. You make our life complete in a way I never could have imagined. We can’t wait to play with you in the front yard at our home in Costa Rica, play with the butterflies and show you the hummingbirds and toucans around the yard. We will dig into the Earth together in our gardens here in DC and at our other home in Costa Rica. We will smell and taste the Earth together. We will sow seeds together, and we will nurture them into fresh organic foods. We will cultivate harmony and balance. I love you sweet Kai.

I can’t wait for you to interact, engage with, other babies and children – as we can show you the way to kindness. We are already sharing with you our kindness – and both your Nanna and Grandpa have shared their love and kindness with you. We could see how deeply you already trusted them in your first moments in their arms. You already have a special bond with both your Nanna and Grandpa that will last a lifetime. They could not have been any happier, for them becoming grandparents is a new diversion in their life’s journey as well. And your Great Nanna just can’t wait to hold you in her arms! Just a couple more weeks!

We can’t wait to take you to the beach for the first time, put your gorgeous little toes in the soft sand and introduce you to the ocean, tropical palms, and almond trees that surround the sea. We can’t wait for you to meet your Abuela Lissette, for her to give you all her love… which she can hardly contain when we video call Costa Rica. You have a very proud and incredibly loving Abuela – and family – waiting for you a few thousand miles away. I love you sweet Kai.

There are also so many moments we can’t wait to share with you in the United States, here in DC and elsewhere. Your daddy is itching to get you on the soccer field and teach you all he knows, there is already a soccer ball waiting for you! Everyday we talk about all the adventures you two will have together over the next year, and beyond of course. Reading stories, learning to smile, laugh, and play. Learning the ways of gentle play. Cultivating kindness with the other babies at Moon Garden. Infancy is heaven on Earth sweet Kai. I love you.

We are so deeply grateful that we have the means and opportunity for you to spend the next year with your daddy during the day, it is just so amazing and I couldn’t be happier. I promise to give you my undivided attention when I am at home in the morning, evenings, and weekends. Our time together is so very precious and I feel so much joy in giving you my love. My greatest promise to you is to give and teach you love, kindness, and peace.

I love you sweet Kai, forever and with all of my heart.
Your Mama

Virtues from Asia

15 Aug

Color photo of Author Walking through the forest in Thailand

My time traveling through Asia has come to end.  So much to absorb, its almost sensory overload… I’ve only shared just a few ounces with you through this blog but I am sure I will “travel to Asia” again through my writing.  I have just one word to sum up the experience – Gratitude.  I could go on to list the multitude of moments during this trip that have taken my breath away, that I am forever grateful for.  However, here are 5  Buddhist words of wisdom that I learned in more ways than one during this adventure through Southeast Asia.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey!

  1. Personal Growth – He who experiences the unity of life sees his own Self in all beings, and all beings in his own Self, and looks on everything with an impartial eye.
  2. Family & Love – A family is a place where minds come in contact with one another. If these minds love one another the home will be as beautiful as a flower garden. But if these minds get out of harmony with one another it is like a storm that plays havoc with the garden.
  3. Paradigm – Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.
  4. Life Philosophy – I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done…There is nothing so disobedient as an undisciplined mind, and there is nothing so obedient as a disciplined mind.
  5. Professional Growth – An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.
Khop Chai Lai Lai Deu – ຂອບໃຈຫຼາຍໆເດີ
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