A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside.

~dennis waitley

travel time again... i'll be sure to keep my light on; smiling, caring, and sharing as i embark upon this journey of discovery and connection.

posted by ashley


Sibling limits

Each day I take a moment to reflect on how my day was, enjoying and savouring every moment with my children and trying to learn to deal with the new challenges they throw my way. Today I found myself thinking of the time when my 5 year old daughter Zoe came running to me whining because my 6 year son Jared was poking at her. I reflected back to her that it aggrivated her when her brother did this and that she was to use her words to tell him to stop. She carried on whining so he carried on poking at her. Again I asked her to tell him to stop, but she refused. She wanted me to tell him and as much as I wanted to fix it for her I knew if I did she would never learn to build confidence in herself to tell him or anyone else to stop when she wished it.

As she stood at my feet her body facing mine, I lent against the wall confused as what to do next. I then said to my son "Jared, doesn't the whining drive you crazy?" His reply was "Yes, but I want HER to tell me to stop." There was a moment of silence and then Zoe turned to Jared and asked him to stop. He granted her her wish and walked away. I stood for a moment speechless, it totally blew my mind as I found this very exciting as a parent to be able to let my kids work it out for themselves and to give THEM control of thier own actions. How easily situations can be resolved if you give your children enough trust and faith to fix it for themselves. I continue to practise this now, as when there comes a time when I am not around I can feel comfortable that they will be able sort out thier differences.I contunually encourage Zoe as I know we all learned a special lesson that day!


Maria Darling!

You have been extolled to the heavens by our dear friend, Ashley, so I was compelled to indulge in your latest offering!

Tonight over dinner Ashley and I were talking about the importance of coming to an explicit recognition/understanding of those things that are yet only intuited, or lacking the manifest forms of words and concrete cognition.

Reading your account of the scenario with your children, and how you oriented yourself toward them and their conflict, cloaked my intuition/implicit understanding in the mantle of words, making concrete and SPECIFIC what was only held in my awareness as a vague principle.

After absorbing your words, my own explicit understanding of how to foster empowering conflict resolution increased exponentially, and I had the distinct impression that in the future (whether that be tomorrow or years from now) that I will be able to approach conflict--my own and others--in such a way that lends itself to the successful end you described in your post. (In other words, you have given me an invaluable gift, and as I have opportunity to employ and impart it in my own life, I will remember the night I read your words and how instrumental they were to my own growth and happiness.)



GravatarDear Brandy,

Yes our dear friend indeed! for Ashley is responsible for giving me this gift and I will forever be in her debt. Her very presence thrills me as I know she is the only person who really feels and understands how precious my children are to me.
and you sweet Brandy, after reading your comments I humbly bow, but am thrilled that you too were able to rejoice and feel.

with love,Maria

Labels: , , , ,

posted by maria


topics swirling together in this brain of mine...

what can i say about the devastation that is occuring in asia? how can i begin to marvel at the force of mother nature? besides donating to relief efforts, how else does one respond to such tragedy?

i find myself thinking about Reggio Emilia, a small town in Italy. Following the devastation of WWII, the town turned to early childhood education as a means for rebuilding their community, as a source of hope for the future. and now
Hailed as an exemplary model of early childhood education (Newsweek, 1991), the Reggio Emilia approach to education is committed to the creation of conditions for learning that will enhance and facilitate children's construction of "his or her own powers of thinking through the synthesis of all the expressive, communicative and cognitive languages" (Edwards and Forman, 1993). ~ Source
Maria recently taught me about partner emotions. She explained that for every emotion, there is at least one partner emotion...light-hearted joy intimately knows it's partner of sadness and sorrow:
How easily our emotional partners are switched. Skipping along, skip,skip,skip, a sunny happy day and my heart is light. I trip "oh no" as I stumble I reach out my arms to try to catch my fall. Its dark now and the rain drops fall from my cheeks. I stand back and observe and learn as the partner of sadness steps in. Deep breath in accepting and knowing that lightness is patiently waiting to return! I will smile again.
in this moment i am thinking about the partnership between devastation and hope. powerful how they fit together, eh?

in honor of hope and inspiration, i am thrilled to introduce my dear friend, Maria Zimlich to you. i've been honored and blessed to get to share in her enthusiasm for life and the whole-heartedness with which she openly embraces the opportunity to be a mother and to witness, love, and parent her children in the incredible journey of growing, of being, of experiencing life. i've pleaded with her to come and share at easily amazed her stories of parenting, her experiences as a living being, and her honest and radiant perspective of life. here's a taste of the deliciousness to come.

Story! "Mama you don't love me anymore" said my 6 year old son. I stopped in my tracks turned and looked straight at him, I raised my eybrows and smiled, he returned the same facial expression for he remembered that when ever he thought I did not love him to come and tell me and I would give him a very special hug and kiss. This went on for another five times (laughing and playing) as after 50 kisses and hugs he was now convinced he was loved... I am able to express my love through the eyes of my child and in a way for him to understand in his world.

may we express our love to one another (children and adults) in ways in which we are each able to understand... for in doing so, we inspire hope in humanity. welcome to easily amazed, maria. have fun!
posted by ashley


christmas love

i woke up this morning feeling the gitters and the joy that sprinkles in with the dawn of this day.
It's Christmas! We get to Play!

and as the jewish girl for whom chirstmas has no real meaning, i ponder what this day represents for me. i feel this day as one of honoring and embracing love: loved ones, love for Christ, love for being alive, love for the snow, love for the tree, love for the smell of the tree, love and gratitude for giving, loving the gifts of giving, love for receiving, love for the children's joy and excitement, love for the smell of the meal cooking, love for the food and the food and the food, love for the hugs, love for the loving glances caught between moments with people you love, love for the stories, love for the memories, love of the light that glitters and sparkles and splashes into our being at this time of year. . . (feel free to share the loves that i've left out)

the next wave that washes over me invites me to embody all of the love that i feel at this time of year. every light that i see glowing is a little taste of god and the joy and delight of the universe and its many miracles. every smile i see is an invitation to enter into that love and feel it permeate my being. every squeal of delight is a nudge to my soul to open up and just let it all in. let it all come pouring in. love, love, love!!

as christmas and hanakah are times for stories and solstice and new years are times for reflection, i find myself traveling back to the invitation that we feel our own story.

stop for a moment and breathe. close your eyes if you'd like, and feel the radiance within yourself. feel the gentleness in your closed eyes. feel the smile that creeps over your face. feel the blessing to this world that is you and your life. feel the amazing gifts that you have to offer. feel the beauty that you see within yourself, in the world around you, and in others. see the beauty before you. look at it and smile. embrace the light and beauty in those precious loved ones that are before you right now. embrace all of the love that you can wrap your arms around, feel all of the love embracing you.
the greatest gift any of us can give a person is to reflect back to them, through our faces, that we are receiving them and their wonder... ~ Rabbi Marc Gafni

here is a remix i did of dhana's words at IN. i love the invitation and offer it to you in this day of joy and celebration of love.

meet soul to soul
recognize the God in each other and emerge from the confines of your box

be open
give things away
bond with others
suspend gravity
make friends

celebrate existence

Joy promotes trust in oneself; when we are joyful, we feel self-confident and accept ourselves, knowing that our existence is not a matter of indifference.

accept yourself
be delighted in and feel accepted by the world

The moment we accept ourselves, our inner being, and the world around us, we dwell in joy

merry christmas.
in love and joy,

posted by ashley



What do we do, how do we respond when someone projects their "undesirable thoughts, motivations, desires, feelings, and so forth onto" us? (wikipedia) And how about when someone projects desirable thoughts, feelings, and motivations onto us?

How do we protect ourselves from taking projections personally? How do we cleanse ourselves of other's projections? How do we discern a projection from a genuine observation of a place in need of growth and attention?

In pondering these questions, I feel myself holding thoughts and words of another inside my heart. I let these imagined forms sit there and I notice how I feel... what I feel. When I turn deeply inward, I notice whether the thought connects to my heart or whether it simply hovers around, never finding solid, inviting ground.

I try it with a variety of different things that people have said to me recently... as a way to notice the various internal responses that I have. Some of these others' words are flattering, and some are flattening. Again, I notice which ones stick and which ones I do not own.

I think that the key to this process is being open to any perception of another being true to my reality. When I start in an open place, it's clear when a connection is made, when a projection or observation fits with the reality of who and what I am.

What do I mean by being open? My defenses are relaxed. Attachment to my identity -- who I perceive myself to be -- is weak. I'm open to seeing a "dark" place in my being, a place where I am not whole, a place where there's room for me to grow, a place where I may be acting unconsciously. When I'm open, and another person's words stick to one of those places in me, then I know that their words are an observation that is valuable to me, pointing out truth and areas in need of my awareness and attention.

And when I stay open, open, open... And the words never land -- a connection is not made -- a deeper part of myself knows that it is a projection. That the other person is consciously or unconsciously projecting a part of themselves onto me. This can be a bright and shining beautiful projection or the more typically noted dark and shadowy, needing attention type.

My current challenge: When my heart, my inner core, recognizes someone else's words as a projection but my mind and my ego hold onto it, trying to believe that it is "real", that the words describe "me". My challenge is washing the words out of my brain, letting them go, trusting and accepting that I don't have a lesson to learn from them, that I've already learned the lesson and can move on, walk away. I have a tendency to scrutinize from every angle seeking out the lessons to make me a wholer person. I need to just accept that sometimes the lessons are not for me -- they're for another.

I can just stay open and listen and Be...

Let us be fully aware of our projections, examining their angles and reflections, desires and demands without being caught in the literal interpretations of the craving self. Let us touch one another at depths of soul unrehearsed and unafraid, each moment of contact nesting only those waves aligned with the authenticity and passion of our deepest individual selves. ~Thomas Arthur


thank you for the joy of this ride ashley - ever illuminating the piercing, strange, beautiful truth of humanity. happy christmas sweet girl. love, penny

GravatarWow! Bravo, I tip my hat to how wonderfully you can swirl and bend me through our human maze. Exhale and empty for only then can you inhale and fill with freshness and silent peace.
Love, Maria

Gravatarwow ashley. reading these words, i feel like we are one and the same. thank God for you.


posted by ashley


~story people

vacation and celebration time. i'm off to explore parts of this big state i've yet to see and celebrate two years well spent in texas being educated and growing... growing... growing... learning to hear the music everywhere and bowing humbly when all i can say is thank you.


Dearest Ashley. How easily our emotional balance is tipped. How easily our emotional partners are switched. Skipping along, skip,skip,skip, a sunny happy day and my heart is light. I trip "oh no" as I stumble I reach out my arms to try to catch my fall. Its dark now and the rain drops fall from my cheeks. I stand back and observe and learn as the partner of sadness steps in. Deep breath in accepting and knowing that lightness is patiently waiting to return! I will smile again. ~

GravatarStory! "Mama you don't love me anymore" said my 6year old son. I stopped in my tracks turned and looked straight at him, I raised my eybrows and smiled, he returned the same facial expression for he remembered that when ever he thought I did not love him to come and tell me and I would give him a very special hug and kiss. This went on for another five times(laughing and playing) as after 50 kisses and hugs he was now convinced he was loved. You are in my thoughts always as through your wonderful advice I am able to express my love through the eyes of my child and in a way for him to understand in his world. I am forever in your debt for the very thought of not experiencing these "treasured moments" saddens me.
God bless you especially in this Holy season, sweet Ashley.
Hugs and kisses,Maria

Labels: , ,

posted by ashley


his world and my world

play therapy:

a child told me that he felt like he was in another world. he just felt blank inside (he's probably 7). he said he couldn't sleep at all last night and it just got worse throughout the night. he just feels blank... and he kind of feels like a robot.

(i should mention that moments before i saw him, i was in the office sobbing.)

we were talking and he was kind of playing with these crafty shapes that are hearts and a horse and stars... he paused. we sat in silence. then he looked up at me and asked what we were talking about. (i should mention that i'd never met this child before). i told him that he was mostly just playing with those things, but the last thing we had talked about was his friends in his class. he said, "oh." i asked him where he went when he "went away." he said he went into "his world and it's blank there". i asked if he wanted to make his world with clay. he said yes.

it was such a blessing to witness. he had three colors red, blue, and black. in the end, he created his home, friends, toys, sponge bob, his broken heart, and himself. he completely covered himself with the black. he set the black him seperate from everything else with the broken heart in the middle. then he moved the broken heart and everything else except for him very far away from him.

in his world, he's totally alone and all he can see is black. it's blank.

then he decided to rip the black off of him (the original him was red). he peeled all of the black away. i said "it's like you're rescuing yourself." he nodded. eventually he tore the black into many, many tiny pieces. he was going to break it's heart just like it had broken his heart. but then, he wondered if the blackness even had a heart. he took all the tini pieces, wadded them together and then moved them to another part of the play room. the rest of the time we were laughing and playing in a variety of ways.

while he was working on his world, i noted that i needed to do the same process he was doing. i don't have any clay, but i decided to make a collage depicting where i'm at right now.
posted by ashley


bridges and channels

whew... i'm doing all i can to keep up with the speed of life unfolding around me. yesterday i wrote to brandy :
holy shit, i'm on Fire. Growing Whole... learning big lessons on
purity and truth and goodbye and grief and dreaming and ... wow, wow, wow. pop, pop, pop. electric fireworks.
i am currently experiencing deep change in my life and am totally invigorated by the challenge of keeping up with the flow. i am loving the opportunity to feel all kinds of emotions, from the painful to the pretty, in such a condensed period of time. i feel like i'm on some kind of sacred emotional roller coaster and my only instructions for survival and pure in-joy-meant is to Trust and stay open. another analogy i've been using lately is that my world has been turned inside out... which seems appropriate as i recently reminded myself that i wear my heart as my skin.

one great gift that i am currently experiencing from this new life unraveling is the deep heart connections i am feeling with so many of my friends and family. i feel so clearly connected by the bridges or channels that connect my heart to theirs. i am being flooded as the wisdom of my loved ones pours straight into my own heart. from the shamanic way of the heart book:

You only have to establish a bridge of light between your heart and the center of others

my current focus and efforts are to keep those channels of love, the bridges of light, Open and Flowing and to keep receiving the amazing guidance that streams from the wisdom of my friends. Thank YOU to each and every one of you. wether that wisdom gets shared with words or not, if the channel is open and we are listening, then the wisdom is indeed being shared. wether we know each other in a personal way or we simply connect in some other way, if love is genuinely flowing, ours is a love affair, don't you think? dear mary dropped this jewel of wisdom in my heart this morning
When your fears come up, they're in the way of your love affair.
This mantra has become a new tool for me to use. When i notice my fears present, i will redirect my attention in efforts to find the love affair that is being interrupted. This will help me focus on the love and move beyond the fear while including the lesson that is wrapped in the fear's presence.

yesterday i met a new "random" friend. as we were talking about the currents we are feeling in the universe right now, she sent me an email about What's Up on Planet Earth. some of the author's language is not the same as i would choose (for example, i would define her use of the word higher as having an integrated and broad perspective, or a higher realm being a more inclusive realm). regardless of the language, i was delighted to read someone else's words of what i am experiencing happening on this blessed planet of ours.

warm love to each of you,

What, then, will 12/12/2004 bring? It will "cement" in this New energy and make it a reality that will BE HERE in this world. It will bring it "down to earth", so to speak and integrate it fully. As everything was shaken up and pushed out of its "groove"..., things are now coming back together and "joining" in spaces of perfect alignment at the higher levels....

What is reality like in this higher realm? We seem to want to "be", have fun, delight in everything, and play, play, play...Source energy runs free and clear with virtually no resistance to anything as all is in acceptance and just "is".

We have been rewiring for this way of being for some time. This is one reason why we don't want to do anything anymore. We are no longer wired for that kind of reality where we have to do it all ourselves. Source does it now. We need only put out our intent and stay in the higher vibrations with no resistance in the form of doubt, fear and assuming things will be as they have always been according to the Old World reality. That world no longer exists as we just made it up, kept it alive by buying into it and now we just have to believe it no longer needs to be. Heaven is here for the taking....

We can create anything here, so then, many will still go on creating realities with the limitations they believe are there. Only they aren't.

Things then, will still unfold according to what the masses believe is possible. The unpleasantness will still be a real reality to many until they "choose" to reach for something else. As the road to the higher realms is in letting go, "jumping", being in the NOW, and trusting, there are also some who are controlling more than ever as they are still feeling the fear of all the Old falling away and do not yet realize how beautiful it can be by getting out of the way.

With the nearing of 12:12, some are beginning to feel that feeling of things falling into place, of being in alignment, of feeling that everything finally "fits". The round pegs are now entering the round holes. In these higher realms then, we will also re-unite with our "twins". Oh, is it glorious!

posted by ashley


bird flu and you

Fred at Fragments From Floyd has been writing about the bird flu.
I clearly remember standing at the podium in a biology classroom in 1981 telling my biology class about a new and disturbing viral disease that attacked the immune system. In some populations it was highly infectious and there were no known cures present or forseen. I told those students I had a bad feeling about this newly-described disease, thought previously to be limited to African Green Monkeys. Six months later, the evening news had given it a name: Acquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome--AIDS. Thousands might die, they said.

This morning I had a terrible sense of deja vu. I pulled up a web page to show my class via the overhead projector. "This looks like a biological problem with the terrible potential of AIDS, but could spread much more quickly" I told them. Then we used this to talk about antivirals, antibiotics and prevention, epidemiology and population issues related to modern health concerns--like this one....

if it's not common now, human to human infection could be widespread soon: unfortunately this viral variant readily picks up genes from other viruses. Once a human or other animal is infected with both viruses (H5N1 and a flu type that already infects from human to human) the possibility of recombinant forms exists. Indeed, the experts are predicting that it is only a matter of time before this happens--a case of when, not if.

I see the potential mortality figure of 100 million deaths world-wide more frequently this week and coming from increasingly credible sources like the World Health Organization. Others feel WHO's figures are far too conservative and have projected up to a billion infections. Let's hope they are way wrong.
i really appreciate the manner in which fred explains this issue and clearly shows his perspective and degree of concern. another post shares some of Fox News' report and a suspected case in France.

i always wonder what to do with information like this. where to store it in my being.

recently i explored my own personal medicine wheel. I reflected on the meaning of and my own personal Purpose, Leadership, Vision, Community, and Management. Within my purpose I wrote:
I offer encouragement, nourishment, and support while holding space for, acknowledging, and honoring what is. Additionally, my purpose is to connect with innocence, purity, truth, trust, and authenticity, always learning from reflections around me.
so in this moment curiosity and concern about the bird flu is my reflection. accepting what is means reading this report with open attention. Connecting with innocence is accepting the simplicity of and truthful evololution of how this lethal virus can spread through humanity. connecting with purity and again with truth is not being injected with fear. hearing an alarming piece of information and allowing the concern to authentically arise within me does not mean that i have to be captured with fear. or, in regards to the recent election, overcome with despair and anger (notice i said overcome -- which to me is different from feeling dispair and anger). i feel like, to be authentic, i must remain connected to my core, to my purpose and my vision, accepting the realities of this world... all of the hardships and trauma and misfortune and disasters and terrorism and torture and genocide and murder; and i continue to offer encouragement, and nourishment and support.

another quote from my new favorite book, Chamalu: The Shamanic Way of the Heart : Traditional Teachings from the Andes
The Wanderer needs to know how to live in all realities, with the same fullness, coherence, and love. Then waves of peace and oceans of harmony will flow from within him... When everything is going well, there is no merit in being well -- any idiot can manage that. It is a question of being at peace during the storms, the adversities, in the worst circumstances... [Happiness] is our natural state of being, happiness flows spontaneously when we stop complicating things, when we see everything as a challenge, as a teaching, as an opportunity to keep growing.
i don't think that i would use the word happy, though i'm not sure what word would work better. i know that there are many times (especially lately) that i feel an array of deep emotions that i would definitely not label as happy. and yet, i am so utterly content and accepting of the challenges, teachings, and opportunities that present themselves to me via my emotional state.

i'm kind of rambling...
i guess my point is how important it is for us to maintain our connection to our core, seeing, appreciating, and loving Beauty while honoring, acknowledging, and accepting the realities of life. sometimes the external world gives us plenty of stimuli, inviting us into fear and hopelessness and despair. it is our challenge, as people living in truth and acting from the heart to stay connected to our Radiant Selves and shine in fullness, coherence, and love AND stay connected to the realities of war and violence and injustice and infections and (the list goes on), taking action in the areas where our heart leads us. (i seem to be also speaking to michael's post on Spiritual Passivity)

well, i've just jumped around and hit a lot of different topics. i'd love to hear some other perspectives on any of these.
posted by ashley


photo source

i decided to follow corrigan's lead and share some searches that lead folks to easily amazed. my list isn't quite as eclectic as his... but it's entertaining none the less!
  • Toys Tubers and zots
  • a child amazed
  • how to receive a compliment
  • How to determine if you have a good rap voice
  • camouflage, lesson, plans, gestalt
  • pie throwing celebration
  • petrol car verses diesel car
  • kumbayah Gullah
  • marianne mandela fearless
  • divine communion
  • Ashley Cooper in Knee High Boots
  • being humble

posted by ashley

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?