What is the Meaning of Love? How would you describe it?

Mermaid love

“These are the things I know:  you always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder, plant rosemary at your gate, keep lavender for luck and fall in love whenever possible.”

~ Alice Hoffman

For the last couple of months I have been thinking about the various meanings of love.   Every person would probably describe the word differently and there are so many kinds of love! There is the love of your lover, your soul mate, your significant other, there is the love for your children, there is the love between friends, family, siblings, there is even the love of nature and the love of things.  That’s a lot of love!  As I sit here, I continue to think of other kinds of love.  Self love.  Now that’s a hard one sometimes.

How would I describe love?  For the love of my husband, I would say that I rely on him, I trust him, I tell him things that I don’t tell anyone else.  I feel safe with him and weird when he is not around.  We have our own language and jokes.  We can be annoyed one minute and laughing the next.  We support each other in our goals and dreams and our growth.  We raise each other’s vibration.

For the love of my children.  That love feels so strong.  I do anything I can for my kids to make their lives easier.  My pride for them is so deep, they take my breath away.  I am a non violent person but if you mess with my kids… Look out.

Then there is the love I have for life and for vibrating as high as I can.  I love life and I love helping people to find JOY and happiness in their lives.  I love being able to make a difference by being a light bearer to a peaceful and joyful life.  I love helping people to focus on the beauty and magic that is all around us, if we choose to see it.  My cup is overflowing with happiness because I choose to focus on the positive.

Self love has been the hardest love for me.  I grew up with body issues and thinking I wasn’t smart.  I have unwound a lot of misbeliefs and judgments around myself.  It has been a lot of work, but I have improved greatly.  I believe the stronger your self love, the healthier boundaries we have.  I think the self esteem allows us to see when we need to say yes or no.

What do you think about love?  What does it mean for you?  I welcome your comments.

Love in the sand

“We can only learn to love by loving.” ~ Doris Murdock

What is a Soul Mate?


“I imagined you here just to love you.   Perhaps you imagined me here for the same reason.” ~ Matt Kahn

“Love is… the remedy, the melody, the poison and the pain.” ~ Louise Welsh

The other day I saw a post on Face Book that said most people are confused about what a soul mate is.  Basically that we romanticize the notion of a soul mate.  The quote said that a soul mate is a person you connect with and you both agree on a soul level to do your work.  I really resonated with the idea.

I think people are looking desperately for their soul mate, thinking he’s going to come in on a white horse or she’s going to worship the ground you walk on and you will be blissed out until the end.  That sounds romantically beautiful, but I think it’s horseshit!

I really do think our soul mate is part of our soul family and our soul family helps to support us in our goals and challenges so that we do the work we came here to do.  I believe soul mates have deep love and respect for each other, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.  I believe a good relationship or marriage ebbs and flows like the ocean as we work out our issues and decide what behaviors no longer serve us and then work through the changes.

The other day my husband and I were on a long car ride.  I was telling him what I thought about this quote and the idea of soul mates.  I told him for example, that he gets stuck in a pattern and my job is to challenge him to change the patterns and to make conscious decisions, not to do things by routine or habit without thinking about why he is doing something.

He asked what he does for me and I said that he makes me speak up for my needs (over and over) because I decided in this relationship I wasn’t going to be invisible.  But, he always forgets what I ask for so I have to ask again.  I get to practice saying my truth.  After thinking about that I became depressed, which led to more talking.   I don’t like not being heard.  That little quote led to such deep, healing conversations.

I love positive quotes.  They are food for the heart that helps to heal our souls.  I want to radiate love and light and truth and joy.  I want to help people heal and I want to feed their souls so that the love keeps radiating and rippling outwards, healing the world, one small act at a time.

“Because the best way to know truth or beauty is to try to express it.  And what is the purpose of existence here or yonder but to discover truth and beauty and to express it, … share it with others?” ~ Brenda Ueland

Which Goddess Represents You?


Years ago, I really wanted to get an Artemis tattoo.   I was going to redesign the picture above a little to make it more like me by giving her spikey hair.  I wanted to put stars on the ends of her arrows because her bow was a sliver of the moon.   I identified with her because she is strong and self sufficient and holds her own power.  I was proud of myself for holding down a business and raising my family and bringing home my share of the bacon.  My business was booming and I felt so good to be in my power.   I envisioned getting a purple motorcycle and a purple helmet to ride around town.  Everyone would know it was me because of my purpleness.  LOL!

I believe power is a word that is misunderstood.  I am not talking about greed or power over anyone.  I am talking about standing in your own power, living the life you came here to live, respecting yourself and having healthy boundaries.  Women are so used to putting themselves last that it is hard for us to stand in our power.  That wasn’t considered “lady like”.  Guess what people, it is Goddess like!

Each layer that I have turned over to look at, to work with, to heal has made me softer.  I have realized there is power in softness, too.  Now that I have put my “stories” to bed, I have a lot more patience and love to share.  I want to share my love and light and JOY with everyone who will listen.  I want to make a difference in the world just by being a quiet presence of unconditional love.  I want to help people to look at the world with a new perspective, one that focuses on the positive, not the negative.

Turning 50 was really hard for me.  So, as a gift to myself, I hired an amazing photographer, Tamara Trejo, of Coastside Photography.  She specializes in goddess portraits and these magical photographs show the women how beautiful they really are.  When she asked me what goddess I identify with, I said Artemis.  She said, “Really?  I see Gaia.”  Without realizing it, I had grown into a different Goddess.

Gaia is our Earth Mother.  She nurtures every living being on the planet.  She holds us all in unconditional love.   She is a sweet presence that is always there to support us. Yes, I do indentify with Gaia.

There are goddesses from every culture and each one teaches us a valuable lesson and helps us to build strength in different ways.  I read a wonderful book called, “The Goddess In Every Woman” by Jean Shinoda Bolen.  She takes each Greek Goddess and introduces their personalities, strengths and weaknesses.   Then she expertly teaches the lessons they have to  offer.  It is a really cool way to look at your growth.  She also has a book called “Gods In Every Man”, for men who would like the gift of this perspective.   It is a really amazing way to profile people and yourself and see where you need to focus to continue to grow and which God or Goddess can help you with making that change.

“God is not floating in the ether, but unbudgeably lodged in differing sizes, in the head of every single person on the earth.  and he grows and responds in exact measure to the amount of work we do for him.” ~ Caitlin Thomas


Picture by Tamara Trejo

Coastside Photography

Observing Vs. Judging

Judging mean girls

“Whatever foul mud might lie at the bottom of my private pond, it supports some healthy and useful growths.” ~ Claire Rayner

I have been paying attention to judging for the past 2-3 years.  If you start to pay attention, you notice it’s something most of us do all day long.  We think:  “That’s good, that’s bad, that’s weird, that’s ugly, that’s cute…”    We have an opinion about everything that comes across our senses.  We needed judgement to survive when we were cave men and women.  But do we really need it now?

We should have an opinion about whether we want something or not.  If something is affecting us, we can decide not to be involved with that event or person, but if it doesn’t have anything to do with us, why do we judge?  It doesn’t help anyone if we think so and so’s skirt is ugly or if we don’t like our friend’s date or life choices…  If it doesn’t affect us, we can just move on.  If we don’t understand someone’s choice, it doesn’t mean our opinion is wanted, needed or even correct.

I like to observe people to try to understand what motivates them.   What makes them decide one thing over another, one relationship over another or even a way of life over another.  We are not in their shoes, so we really don’t know what is best for them.  We know what we see and what they have shared, but we don’t know the whole picture.  We can only know what we think they should do or what we think we would do. We live our whole lives with all our experiences, trials and lessons from parents, teachers and whomever left an impression on us and we base our lives on those teachings until we examine them and decide if there are some lessons that need reevaluation.  So, I don’t really think we can we fully understand another’s motivation (or lack thereof).

I am tired of people judging people.  Can we just observe?  Focus on observing the things we like, instead of what we don’t like?  Can we take the focus off the negative?  If we need to make a choice, can we make a healthy choice for ourselves and not a judgement about any thing else?

It creates a wedge between people when they feel like they are being judged.  You miss out on all kinds of loving conversations when you are wrapped up in thinking you are helping by giving your well meaning advise.  Yes, you love the person, but if they didn’t ask your opinion, you are just creating defensiveness and the person will censor parts of their life so they don’t have to hear your judgment.  Create loving conversations and people will willingly share and you can offer ideas and solutions with love.  “Have you tried…  Oh that sounds hard, did you know you might be able to…”  Etc… Or just listen with reverent silence.  Sometimes people find the best answers for themselves after they feel they have been heard.

Maybe, just maybe that person’s soul came here to learn about just what they are learning, to feel that pain or that loss…  Maybe that’s exactly what their soul came here to experience.  Maybe, just maybe, their heartbreak, will break them open and they will do great things with that new knowledge.  I have heard so many stories where someone’s child or sibling died of a disease and the parent or sibling became a doctor or scientist, etc… to help heal that disease.  Adam Walsh went missing in 1981 and his father, John made it his mission to help children from then on.  His show, America’s Most Wanted has found 60 missing children and 1,200 fugitives.   His heart was broken wide open and he used his pain to help many others.

“I  believe there is so much more that we aren’t aware of an a daily basis, that our abilities as human beings are so much vaster than we give ourselves credit for.” ~ Gillian Anderson

Your musings and thought filled comments are welcome.

Standing in your Soul Filled Self


“I believe there is so much more that we aren’t aware of on a daily basis, that our abilities as human beings are so much vaster than we give ourselves credit for.” ~ Gillian Anderson

It takes courage in this day and age to stand out and be your own unique self.  Why did our soul come here?  We came here with a plan.  We had things we wanted to experience and learn about and we came here with our own set of skills and talents to share with the world.    We may or may not of come here to take over Dad’s business and we may or may not have come to make a big mark in the world.

People like Martin Luther King obviously came here on a mission. He came to make a difference to a LOT of people.  Maybe some people came to make a difference to one person.  Can you imagine if we were kind to one person on the day that they were contemplating suicide and it changed their mind?  I remember, I saw a guy I went to school with years later and he said that is what I did for him.  I never knew he was even contemplating it.  I just happened to be kind to him at a time he needed it most.   We all count and we all have gifts to share.  We need to stop putting ourselves and others in a box of what is considered normal or the right thing to do.  Sometimes other people’s fears paralize our own dreams and goals.

I remember when I was getting ready to open my own massage business with my friend, Mary. We were going to share space and each be self employed.   People really projected their fear on me about going into business on my own.  I LOVE being in business for myself!  Let me think about the times when I have regretted this decision… hmmm…NEVER!!  If I had listened to the fearful people and worked for someone else I would not be happy.  I have had 19 years so far of career happiness.

For the last year, I have been working with healthy boundaries and speaking my truth.  I ask myself, “Do you want to do this or do you feel obligated to do this?”  or “Will you feel resentful or taken advantage of if you do this?”  Or “Is this how you want to fill your precious time?”  I ask myself questions like this.  Sometimes it is the right thing to do, like helping my Mom with something, so I change the talk in my head because I like being able to help her and make her life easier.  I remind myself that I am choosing to do this.

Sometimes it’s good to just stand still for a few minutes in the chaos, while you decide what your priorities are and whether this is a decision you want to make.  By the way, even if you say no to something and have no other plans but to rest and rejuevenate, that’s okay, too!!  We heal when we rest and we get creative ideas when we let our brains take a break.

I am pledging to live a soul filled life.  If whatever I am considering doing or saying does not align with my body, heart and soul, then I need to say, “NO, thank you.”  Let’s create a positive movement together to support each other in deeper, richer soul filled lives.

“The remarkable thing about the human mind is its range of limitations.” ~ Celia Green

We believe what we tell ourselves, so let’s tell a better story!


Karma and Other Thoughts


“It is common to express surprise at the unprovoked viciousness of Mortal Man, let us sometimes wonder at their unencouraged Virtue.”  Hester Thrale

I have been thinking about Karma lately.  I think I am changing my mind about what I think it is and what it really means.  I think everyone knows that it basically means that if we do good, good happens and if we do bad, we will be punished.  If not in this life time than in another.  At first I thought this was better than churches threatening that you would go to hell if you are bad.  Because if you believe in reincarnation, you don’t want to be punished in the next life for something dumb you did in this life!  So, if this belief can keep us trying to be good people, great.

As I get further down the road of my life’s journey, I wonder if Karma is much more complicated than that.  I think I started questioning this when time after time I see or hear someone enjoying someone having to “pay” their Karma.  I think enjoying someone having a bad experience even if we don’t want anything to do with them invites Karma to come knocking on our door!  If we are enjoying their misfortune, we must be judging them.

Instead of judging, I try to observe.  I decide if I want to be part of that conversation or have contact with that person for my own health and well being.   I ask myself if I am within healthy boundaries.  If I don’t resonate with the situation or person, I just move on.  I try to let go with love and know that I don’t know what moves them.  I don’t know what their life experience is.   I get curious  about what causes them to behave this way.  I send compassion and light.

I don’t enjoy when someone is having a hard lesson.  It makes me sad for them.  I live in a state of empathy to the point that it is not always healthy for me.  I can actually feel other people’s pain.  Sometimes it is pretty intense.

I think Karma was created so we would have something to work towards and a way to keep ourselves in check.  Not so that we could pay attention to someone else’s work.  Everyone of us has our own shadow side to look at and heal.  We all have had hard times and have made bad choices.  The point is to learn from our lessons so that we can live a life that is more in alignment with our soul’s purpose and so that we can help others that are going through what we went through.  Maybe we can help them before they make the same mistakes.

I want to encourage people to try on another’s perspective and get curious about what motivates people to do what they do.  Not to agree with them or to disagree with them.  Just to learn and understand and empathize.  If we are going to send our energy out into the world, let it be our loving, compassionate energy, not our angry judging energy.

I believe, if we all did just this one thing our world would improve.  If we stay focused on our own growth process and don’t monitor other peoples’ process , except to support each other, we could stay in a state of love and compassion and the whole world improves.  We would no longer project our negative energy into the world irresponsibly.  We all have emotions and we all should be in touch with our emotions.  As my teacher Sandra Ingerman says, “Express yourself, but don’t send your negative feelings out into the world or to other people.”  Let’s be responsible and not project our feelings out into the world.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world:  indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”  ~ Margaret Mead
Choose love


Innocence Lost

innocent child

“I know the solution.  When we have a world of only now with no shadows of yesterdays or clouds of tomorrow, then saying what we can do will work.” ~ Goldie Ivener

I am one in many, many women who live with hidden scars.  Innocence taken away by men who abused their power and trust.  I do not talk about it every day, but I live with it every day.  Every day, standing between my husband and I when we hug, is my uncle. I don’t want him there, but he won’t go away.  I have done my work.  I have gone to years of therapy, alternative therapies, etc…  Still, he is there between my husband and I whenever there is an intimate moment, he arrives and the little girl in me runs for cover.

I thought when he died a couple of months ago that the spell would be broken.  I was so happy that I could close this chapter in my life.  Even in death, he still has a hold on me. Last night, my husband and I were in our “Insight Circle” class and we did a beautiful exercise where we looked into each other’s eyes to feel love and self worth.  My husband’s eyes held so much love for me, I could barely stand to look at him!  I didn’t feel I deserved to be loved so unconditionally.  I didn’t know how to receive such deep love. Then, the little girl in me became very anxious.

She knows that a gaze so intense can only mean trouble and she wanted to cut and run.  The problem is, the little girl in me doesn’t know the difference between a loving, trustworthy intimate moment with my husband from the look of a lustful sick man who takes advantage of children. I spent the rest of the night teary and pissed.  I have never been pissed this way before.  I sat last night and wrote and wrote.  This morning, I wrote some more.

What if we spent all day dedicated to healing our inner child?  What if we walked with our inner child, spending the day with her or him all day and then the next day, we did it again, only this time our inner child can be a different age? We can re-parent ourselves for each age we believe we had a trauma.  Or in Shaman language, a soul loss.  Shamans believe that when we experience abuse, trauma or even face big events in life like death and divorce, that part of our soul may break off because it doesn’t feel safe and doesn’t want to be with us any more.

Shamans also believe in past lives, future lives and parallel lives.  They believe that in “non ordinary time” that time does not exist, so we can be having these lives at the same time! With those ideas in mind, what if I do healing rituals where I talk to my little girl and tell her it is safe now, those things can never happen again, am I really there, in my past, giving my little self support and advise and that is why I am strong and safe now?  Did my younger self come into the future to see what life was going to be like later?  Is that how she was able to rise above it all?

My plan is to have my husband talk to my little self, a different age each night, and tell her that she is safe and he loves her/me and would never do us harm.  Tonight we started with my 4 year old.  Again, tears were streaming down my face as I looked into his loving eyes and he told me how much he loved me.

A Walk in the Redwood Forest


A Walk in the Redwood Forest

Time fades, the years roll back
The earth yields to my soft footsteps
I am walking back,
Loosing sense of time with each foot fall.
I am walking through the towering Redwood Forest.
The wind is blowing through the trees.
It sounds like ocean waves far off in the distance.
Is it wind or perhaps it is the collective exhale of these sentinel beings?
The trees exhaling,
Gifting me with rich abundant oxygen.
It smells heavenly and rich.
Now, the wind has made a new sound happen,
It sounds like a gentle rain.
Loosened leaves, dry from summer
Rain down on my upturned face.
The sun dappled trees are so quiet in this cool forest.
The silence is so quiet, yet so loud…
I can feel and hear the wise and stately presence of the Redwood trees.
I walk in a meditative trance.
The only sound holding me in my time
Are the sounds of hushed tones and reverent voices
Speaking in this out-of-doors cathedral.
Shh… don’t disrupt my silent reverie.
Their sentinel message comes through to my conciousness…
If I am microcosm in the macrocosm
I am also the leaf drifting down to meet me,
I am also
Mother Earth.

By Dina

20141026_11472920141026_114951 (1)

John Steinbeck

“The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.”

John Steinbeck


Hey Men, Listen Up!

Cat calls

I think if we haven’t started already, we need to begin to listen to our words and how we show up in the world.  We need to think before we speak.  For example, we should think about these things before we say them:  Is what I am about to say a fact?  Do I know this person?  Is this my business?  Have I tried to see their perspective?  Do I think I am being helpful or am I being judgemental?

I recently had a conversation with a woman who said that as a young woman, she wished she could cut off her breasts.  I said, “Wow!  Why did you want to do that?”  “Because of all the unwanted attention from men.” she replied.

MEN,  it is your responsibility to treat women and girls with respect.  I also had unwanted attention, but it taught me that I was a tool, there for men’s benefit.  I was supposed to be pretty and make them happy,  It didn’t matter if I didn’t want what they wanted.  I myself, pushed my femininity away and wished to be a boy for many years.  For me, I could see that men had so much more power in the world and many more opportunities.  Women, in general, have to try so much harder to get less.

Then, another woman enjoyed the attention when she was a young woman.  But, was it good for her to be 15 or 16 and having 40 somethings leering at her?  It is a man’s responsibility to not take advantage of the naivety of young girls and women.

A parent, teacher or other adult might say something to a child or young person and forget about it in minutes or days.  It may change the course of the child’s life, for good or bad.  I have heard stories of when a woman talks as an adult to the molester and they say, “That was so long ago, why are you bringing that up now?”  I’m here to tell you, that child who is now an adult, lives with it every day.  The abuser may have forgotten about it decades ago, but the abused faces it’s effects every day.

Growing up in my house, teasing meant you were loved.  When I began to get curves, my Dad began to call me lard ass.  He thought it was funny.  I was horrified.  I began to diet, and ate so little that my parents began to get worried I would be anorexic.  He didn’t think it was funny after that.  My whole life I have thought I was fat and disgusting from being called that.  For him, he was just being silly.  If we dig a bit deeper, he probably was getting uncomfortable with his little girl growing up.

What I am trying to get at, is something that seems silly or small to us, may not be to young impressionable minds.  We need to think before we talk.  Or act.  We need to be responsible.  Even for the young girl that liked the attention.  When men treat us like sex objects, we objectify ourselves and don’t give ourselves much value beyond that.

Stop.  We need to behave ourselves and watch our actions and our words.  These children and young people are our future.
Yelling at kids

“Our children want more than presents, that want our PRESENCE.”
Heather Schuck, The Working Mom Manifesto    

Can’t You LISTEN?

Listen - boy

“This is the problem with dealing with someone who is actually a good listener. They don’t jump in on your sentences, saving you from actually finishing them, or talk over you, allowing what you do manage to get out to be lost or altered in transit. Instead, they wait, so you have to keep going.”   ~ Sarah Dessen

I am really being challenged lately.  I am noticing that people don’t want to listen.  They want to assume and presume.  They listen to half of one sentence that I say and then they are off and running with their advice.  If they really wanted to know what was going on for me, wouldn’t they wait to hear the details and ask questions first?

I have been in dream circles for the last 6 years or so.  What I really like about dream sharing is the etiquette around it.  We have learned that the only one that can really say what their dream means is the person who had the dream.  So, when it is our turn to try to interpret their dream, we know we can only see it from our perspective.  We don’t stand in their shoes, we don’t have their background or their traumas or their personality.  So in dream circle we say, “If this were my dream…” and then we give our interpretation of what we think is going on from our perspective and we know it is our perspective and we learn about ourselves from the other person’s dream.

Why can’t we do this when we are listening to someone talk about a concern or problem we are sharing?  Why can’t we listen, then ask important questions and then ask if they would like to hear our perspective by saying, “If I was having this worry, I might try…”

I try to be a compassionate listener and wait until the person has told the story and then ask questions that will get to the meat of the problem or what is the obstacle so that we can brain storm together or they can brainstorm later after hearing some “burning” questions.

If we just advise someone about what to do, we take their power away.  Why do we think that our way is the only way or even the right way?  Did we really hear enough details to know if our situation is as similar to theirs as we think it is?  I don’t want to engage in idle chit chat anymore.  I don’t want to talk about things that I wouldn’t say in front of the person if he/she was standing there.  The more aware and awake I am when I am talking with people the more I realize how unsatisfying some conversations are now.

I am disappointed when I start to tell “my story” and the listener jumps in with advise because this has happened to them.  They didn’t hear the whole story yet and if they had, they would realize that this has not happened to them, or at least not in the way that it is happening to me.

It seems to me when I try to talk I get 3 responses.  1.  Advise before I have a chance to lay out the story.  2.  A quick change to talk about something else without any response about what I said.  3.  A “one up” story, showing me that I should be grateful because my challenges are nothing compared to theirs.  (Except that they didn’t listen to mine, so they really don’t even know.)

Whew!  Apparently I am a little annoyed because I wrote 500 words in 15 minutes!

When someone has a problem or concern, they are looking for support.  They are looking for someone to listen and reflect their concerns.  Why are they having this concern?  What brings this worry out?  What moves them to think that something is good or bad?  Maybe something bad will end up to be a powerful lesson that is really good.  Underneath the worry, is there a little child that was told over and over that they were not good enough?

I took a listening course a few months ago and good listening skills involve getting to the bottom of a problem by asking  what is happening inside and why.  Getting to the bottom and finding out what the fear or anger is.  What is the burning question?  If I lost my job, what would happen?  Five people could be worried in five different ways.  One could be worried about money.  One might feel betrayed.  One might by angry, shamed or even relieved.  One might see it as a blessing, taking the message that it is time to move on.

That’s why it’s so important to hear the perspective of why the person sees what is going on as a problem and what is their perspective.   How can you jump in to give advise if you haven’t taken the time to see where they think the problem lies.  If you jump in and tell them that they just need to fix their resume and you don’t know that they were hoping to retire in that job, you missed an opportunity to soothe their pain and help them to think about what other jobs they might like to retire with.

“We must remember that communication is more than a monologue.  Good communication is a balance of speaking and sharing, listening carefully, and absorbing before we speak again.” ~ Anne Wilson Schaef

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”   ~ Stephen R. Covey

Listening - Rules