challenges of loving

When I know your total acceptance then I can show you my softest, most penetrable, delicate, beautiful, and vulnerable self.

~ Joseph Zinker
And what of the courage that is needed to own these delicate and vulnerable places? The space may be held, the foundation upon which an integrated person of profound self appreciation, self love, and self knowledge is established, the stage is set externally, the invitation has been released... and then comes the totally individualized, self-contained moment of choice. Do I release this hidden soft and tender part of my being -- this wounded, fragmented, repressed and rejected expression of who I am out into the world? Must I own it? Must I confront the fact that this is me -- is a part of me? And will this special other hate this part of me as much as I do? Will they acknowledge the grasp it has on me, the contraction it ignites within me? I know their total acceptance -- and it is that I am scared to look at my own soft, penetrable, delicate and vulnerable states -- I don't find them beautiful and I'm conflicted by the fact that another does. And so I pull away -- pushing another away.

And as I spiral into my fears, into my old habits, into my contractions, into my fear, into my pain, into my discomfort... I notice what's there. I allow myself to feel that which naturally arises. I allow those icky feelings to stay, rather than pushing them back down into the dungeons of my psyche. And when I come up for breath, I remind myself:

I am supported for all of who I am and I support myself being all that I AM.


I so needed to hear what you had to say.

I love you and think about you often,

GravatarMay the blessing of light be upon you
Light on the outside and light on the inside.

With God's sunlight shining on you, may
your heart glow with warmth like a turf fire
that welcomes friends and strangers alike.


i had actually written this bit (in my own journal) long before i wrote the first one. i thought i'd post the lovey mushy one first and then this one. after reading your's and mary's words on the other post, this one seemed to fit right in.

i love being a part of your sharing network and within the blessing of receiving your love.

loving you,


i would be sooooo honored and appreciative if you would share more of your prayers with me/ us. i needed what your wrote today so dearly... and it's shaped the tone of my morning in such a tender way, awakening sleeping and hiding light.

i am always so moved and feel such a core place of contact with heart, being, and Spirit when i read these prayer comments that you drizzle about the internet. what are some of the daily prayers that you say? do you have some favorites? would you email me or maybe even be interested in posting here at easily amazed some?

a forever fan in gratitude,

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posted by ashley



The experience of being loved is one of acute receptivity, of taking in the gift of another. It necessitates readiness to let the other person penetrate one's deepest stratum; it requires openess and lack of defensiveness and suspiciousness that the loving person will be injurious. In the experience of letting the other person love us, we willingly take the risk of being hurt. The fact that the loving other has the power to hurt (to reject) and chooses not to gives the experience a sense of magnetism.

When we feel totally loved by someone who really "matters," the ecstatic receptive experience makes us feel beautiful, perfect, graceful, profound, and wise. Our deepest, most profound stirrings of self-appreciation, self-love, and self-knowledge surface in the presence of a person whom we experience as totally accepting. It is as though we say, "When I know your total acceptance, then I can show you my softest, most penetrable, delicate, beautiful, and vulnerable self" (Carl Rogers).

~ Joseph Zinker in Creative Process in Gestalt Therapy
Do you have love like this in your life? Are you acutely receptive, drinking the gifts of others? Do you let others into the depths of your inner world, sharing the treasures that lie beneath your layers? Do you risk being hurt for the opportunity to feel beautiful, perfect, graceful, profound, and wise? Do you love in this way? Are you totally accepting of those that you love so that they feel at peace and free to share with you their softest, most penetrable, delicate, and beautiful self? Do the people that you love know how accepted they are so that they may expose themselves to you, open their heart to you, and trust that you will be tender and respectful, loving and appreciative of their vulnerable, undefended self? Do you feel seen and appreciated by the people that love you? Do you communicate, in clear and articulate ways, that which you see and appreicate in the people that you love?

And if you're seriously asking yourself these questions... what type(s) of loving relationship(s) are you imagining? Your spouse, your partner, your lover, your child, your parent, your friend? Who are the people that really "matter" in your life and thus have the opportunity to catalyze an ecstatic receptive experience, to travel with you, accompanying you, as you blossom and grow, radiate and shine as the most beautiful, perfect expression of you that you've yet to experience? With whom do you allow such intimate relationships to sprout?

There are so many rich flavors of intimacy -- physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual -- each with infinite shades and textures. One unfortunate facet of our society is a common myth that the depths of an intimate relationship can only be experienced with a life partner or romantic lover. Frequently when a person feels seen, accepted, appreciated, and loved, there is an assumption of the presence of sexual desire or attraction. And yet, this need not be the case.

So in honor of the many types of intimacy that decorate our world and make my own personal experience of living so incredibly rich, I would like to say THANK YOU to each of you that loves me, accepts me, appreciates me, receives me, and companions me on this wonderful adventure of self acceptance and trust, self-appreciation, self-love, and self-knowledge. Thank you for loving me and for giving me the opportunity to gush forth my love to you.



Sadly I am still skeptical about others loving me, much to my own surprise too. I feel like I should be beyond such blatant self doubt and vulnerability. It doesn't happen much but I so still get this overwhelming panic that sharing loving space with someone is almost too good to be true and my mind runs rampant with thoughts that make me contract and feel like I am drowning in doubt.

However, the experience of being truly seen and loved is something beyond expression; once the panic and clinging subside. I find being free of attachment and just wallowing in the love that is all around me to be one of the biggest reasons that I choose to stay in a body. I spent so much time contracted around such things, rejecting the sentimentality to the point that I wondered if anything like true love really existed. I hate it when I waste time buying into that fear, I miss so much yumminess that way.

Loving you is a very rewarding experience Ashley Cooper. You make my heart well up with love and pride. Thank you for being one of the reasons I live my life with my heart wide open.

GravatarDear Ash, You are kinda like the anthesis of a black hole. Hmmmm...a white whole? Don't know where I am going with that; part of me is tired and I don't want to struggle for words. Just feeling the space between your words, the pure white light, sparkles and dancing, filling and penetrating. I like to share this space that is made and offered up for the taking. I am so grateful for your unique way of offering it, Ashley!!! I need to bring my darkness too but the beautiful thing is that this is OK!

It is so easy to find myself in the dark part of existence (can I stand the grief and loss of another ending? What will I do with my life? Where will I go? Do I belong anywhere? Can I survive? What do I have to offer? What is wrong with me that I find myself here again?, Will I be rejected because of this pain I feel?). This ability to be able to find and see the darkness in itself is a great gift. The light shining on it allows me to KNOW it, perhaps even extend LOVE to it. I keep shining light on it, allow others to shine their light on it when I have lost my way, light penetrating my defenses, my contractions, feel the reaching outward, the accompanying fear and be aware of light shining on that too.

How do I keep the light on those I love at the times when I can't feel that acceptance, appreciation and love comeing back? How do I contract and give the same lack of acceptance in return? Does it really matter who started it? NO!!! Opening in the face of this is the biggest challenge. Intimate love with a partner sure adds a whole other dimension of trickiness for me; the darkness gets a little thicker, more foggy and so much is obscured, my light is hard to find, hard to trust. And we all know one can't hold onto light. All I can do is allow it in the best ways I know how, pray for it, invite it, acknowledge it and express my gratitude. Bow deeply to all of it.

GravatarFor me Ashley, i was once a victim of hurt and pain associated with relationships. no matter how much i trusted, the inevitable always seemed to happen in that i was the one cast away and left. its weird i became so used to it that i began accepting it, like i deserved it. UNTIL i met my husband, my knight in shinning armour who accepted the love i had to offer, it took a while for me to relaxe and forget the feeling of failure and that it was sure to happen. in away the continued brokeness was away of accepting pain,sadness,suffering,from our relationship i have been able to show my love and love for others (especially my family) i wonder sometimes what this life would be like without love, how empty, for love to me is the most powerful feeling humans possess and i do beleive we could survive without other feelings such as anger and frustration,but we could not without love, yet how much it is abused and laughed at. from my relationship with my husband i have nurtured and let grow and express the very essence of human existence,LOVE!
ashley,when i read your posts they fill my spirit and light up my world, thank you for that.
i miss you!
with love,maria

Gravatarleela, mary, and maria...

i am so touched by the depth and honesty of your sharing here. it is quite remarkable to me that it is possible to create "safe" spaces within the internet for vulnerability and genuine heart sharing. it is such an honor to feel that flavor at easily amazed. i feel like it's such a gift to be a part of this network with you all.

Mary, i'm so glad you know not to struggle for the words to use here. that you know that your light and darkness is embraced and accepted here. that you continuously, both when connected to your light and your darkness, reflect such luminous light. all of you, for that matter, that participate here are so incredibly reflective that i am continuously in awe!

leela, if you feel like sharing more, i'd love to hear some other reasons why you live your life with your heart wide open. and ways in which you do that. i'm always trying to deepen my practice (grin).

and maria, i give thanks to kyle and you for re-opening yourself and letting that precious love flow gracefully into the world. oh, the countless hearts that it touches.

love to you all,


posted by ashley

Overcome with blessings

My granddaughter Abby recently turned two. I stopped by to visit her tonight. She took me by the hand, leading me to sit on the living room floor next to her mom. She then began skipping and galloping in circles around her mother and I, singing and shouting whatever came into her mind. (free association- toddler style) Her arms were sometimes flailing, sometimes doing a chicken dance. Her face was excuberant. Her body aligned with the union of her heart and soul. She is innocence and celestial beauty, joy and love.

Each of us possesses this authentic beauty , although it is sometimes concealed. For example, defenses help to protect us from pain, but they may also diminish the joy of living fully and completely. Socialization teaches us etiquette, but if we are not vigilant, we are in danger of slipping into a persona.

Today I resolve to pull away one more layer of my earthly defense, and celebrate life a little fuller; boldly letting go of earthly pretenses, immersing my soul in God's creation of humanness. I will open my arms to all dimensions of being.

To Abby: Thank you for modeling lessons on living. Love, Nana


first of all, patti, i must again say how i love the poetic flow of your words... free-association toddler style had me busting rhymes and rhythms as i read the rest of your post!

"Her body aligned with the union of her heart and soul."

I wonder how you (we) know this when we see it. What are some of the clues that tune us into the fact that someone's body is aligned with the union of their heart and soul? (anyone can answer this!)

"defenses help to protect us from pain, but they may also diminish the joy of living fully and completely. "

isn't it interesting also how those very same defenses were probably completely necessary in order to protect us from external sources of pain at some previous point in our lives. how we become ingrained in the habit of depending on those defenses even when the threats no longer exist, or when we are now strong enough to to face such threats on our own (living fully and completely) and not dependent on those old habits.

and OH MY, patti. your intentions set in this post are amazing. please keep us updated on what unfurls from the peeling away of one more of those layers, from your courageous action of letting go, and the enticing drive to immerse your soul in God's creation of humanness. let us know about the textures and flavors of the new dimensions of being that pop out and become just that much more visible to you.

thank you abby and nana, for showing us how to be a teacher and a student.

with love,

Gravatarsweetest is the innocence of a child, to abe to freely express at all times what they are feeling. no fear or shame of thoughts of others, oh how i wish to be sooo free. from your post dear patti i too choose to remove a guilt layer , hmm! guilt just popped into my head, yes remove the guilt is what i tend to acheive. it reminds me of the day i was walking in the mall with jared and zoe. "come on mom skip with us" i hesitated, looking around to see who was watching, feeling ashamed, then accepting how i felt, off i went skipping along, having a wonderfull time with my kids. "skip backwards" they told me, so i turned around and skipped backwards, the kids and i were laughing and having soo much fun, enjoying life! everyone around faded away, treasured moments that will NEVER fade!
thank you abby and nana for reinforcing my desire to be free!
love maria.

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posted by Patti


Acceptance within

As I sit and wonder about the many many times one has to deal with each different feeling throughout the course of a day, I as an adult having lots of practice, begin to think of the tremendous task our young children have to face. Most of the day they are without their parents guidence, which is why I choose to invest time with my children on how to deal with their feelings as much as I can. Time worth spent, when one evening my husband and I went out to dinner and our baby sitter,jennifer was keeping jared and zoe overnight for the first time. They absolutely adore jen so i had no worries on how they would be. As i entered the house at 10pm the phone rang and it was jen letting me know that someone wants to come home. i asked who it was (it was zoe) and i immediatly asked if she was crying. Her words to me were "actually, she is quite calm and happy, i tried just one time to persuade her to stay, but her message was crystal clear" i spoke to zoe and said "zoe, do you not want to stay with jen?" she calmly replied "no mama i just want to come home" So I went and got her. driving home i realised how zoe was totally in control of her own feelings,accepting how she felt,no anxiety or worry of her wish not being granted. her communication lines were wide open and clear. i was soooo excited and felt a huge relief as now it was confirmed to me that my 5yr old was on a wonderful adventure of self acceptance and also trust in me. as insignificant and trivial it may seem now, this ability to deal and have confidence in how she feels will be a huge benefit to her self worth. how much we can teach our children when we invest our time!


her communication lines were wide open and clear. ... it was confirmed to me that my 5yr old was on a wonderful adventure of self acceptance and also trust in me.

it's so encouraging to read stories of how trust is built, clear communication encouraged, and how self-acceptance is nourished and inspired to grow. i'm moved by how conscious you are of actively developing such skills in your children rather than working so hard to GIVE them to your children.

i'm thinking about how often people think that if they show a child tons of acceptance and constantly tell them how wonderful they are, then the child will automatically realize it and integrate it for themselves... how sometimes that praise is empty and the child comes to depend on others for their own sense of worth. i love these stories that illustrate otherwise.

and i am eternally interested in the fruits that come through any relationship by simply
... investing our time!

thank you again for sharing.

with love,

GravatarWOW! That's so AWESOME! I'm so proud of Zoe; I feel like she's my own daughter!


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posted by maria


the "holding space" lens

stepping out of the full-ness of my experience -- the simpleness of delight, openness, and freedom that is my reality -- i move into words and a place of sharing. i strive to wrap together the many questions and ponderings that swirl through me as i travel through new lands, traverse unknown territiories and fall comfortably into the rhythm of Listening, Connecting, and Being.

One filtering lens that i'm seeing through these days is the "holding space" lens. I find my wide eyes roaming my surroundings and drinking in the many ways that people hold space for one another. Of course, as i focus my perspective a whole slew of questions arise.

What does it mean to hold space?
Are you aware when you're holding space for another to
How do you hold space?
What do you hold space for?
For whom do you hold space?

When I am open, listening from an accepting and fully present place, following the attention and awareness of another as they move into deep alleys of their inner world, i hold space for connecting to self, accepting what is, celebrating life, dreaming forth potentials and possibilities, and sinking into the embodied experience of being alive.

I notice that when we are relating with other people by engaging in action driven by our passion, we are often acting in service to others... holding space for them to experience the fruits of our passion.

Please (please, please) tell me what comes to you when you think of the phrase "holding space."

(and thank you sooo much maria and patti for keeping easily amazed so juicey while i'm on the road... i love reading your posts.)


When you write of listening, connecting, being....you are holding space. You are sharing
your highest energy, without giving of your earthly worries, thoughts, or opinions. By doing that you are allowing growth, nurturing, and stimulating the other's path to continue to move wherever they need to move. Ashley, you do that so often. It's no wonder that other's are drawn to you. In your holdig space, you send your love and listen. Like the night of our marathon walk. I was so distressed, but you held space for me to work through what was necessary for me to do at the time. Thank you!!!
That is what holding space means to me today.
I miss you! xxxooo Patti

Gravataryes, a space is necessary for things to be worked through....you helped do this for me that night at the mall, Ashley....and on the phone.....THANK YOU for that; sometimes it seems like no one can hear me....but really, it's not so bad if they don't hear me as long as they feel me and help me hear myself.

love to you,

Gravatarholding space for me, to feel honoured at the very thought of someone entrusting of their deepest thoughts, either to drown out the dark or to guide through the light of love... my first treasured memory of you ashley, is the time when i first met you and you sat and listened to the anxiety which i was feeling and the concern i had for my childrens future happiness in this big wide world! to just know someone really cares to listen! THANK YOU,

bunches of love,

GravatarThanx Ashley....holding space for someone, to me, means allowing someone the freedom to be and express who they are with no judgement affixed or attached.....nick "Today's mighty oak tree was yesterday's nut who held it's ground"....David Icke.


posted by ashley



Under mine and my husbands pillow one morning I found 25cents. (I might mention that my son Jared has had two visits from the tooth fairy recently, and my daughter Zoe wished that she could have a visit also). Curiouse to know why, I asked Zoe who had put them there and she told me that she and Jared had. I asked her why and she replied with a HUGE,PROUD grin on her face "because I love you"

The smile on your face,
The truth in your eyes,
The touch of your hand,
Says it best, when nothing is said.


How precious!!! The hearts of children are so pure and creative. They hide neither their shadow or their celestial love. It warms my heart to hear such stories, especially because you the receiver, Maria, are able to see and take in this most wonderful blessing.

GravatarThat reminds me of one Christmas several years ago: We always make Christmas stockings for our children, packed with all kinds of small toys and goodies (and still do, even though they're pretty much grown up!), and used to creep into their bedrooms around midnight on Christmas eve to leave them by their beds.

Usually (when they were little), they'd be up about 4am to unwrap them (and get suitably chocolatey!) but in the year in question, we woke to hear all sorts of whispers going on, followed by 'Santa's elves' creeping into our bedroom to place stockings they'd made for us. Nearly all the presents (and the stockings themselves) were tiny gifts they had made themselves - they must have spent hours and lots of imagination on it all.

I still have the tiny Father Christmas made from felt, complete with hat and beard, that sits by my bed - now about 10 years on. A tiny but very precious gift.

Gravatarmaria and andy,

your lovely stories make me wonder about those little tokens of appreciation that we can surprise and share with others... how such a little act can live for so long in the heart of another... perhaps a secret note hidden in a pair of pants...

thank you,

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posted by maria


Paper Towel Purse

A purse made out of paper towels was left in my office mailbox. No name, just a precious gift from a child. It wasn't necessary to receive recognition for making the gift. It was given with a pure heart. I have purchased a shadow box for the purse and will proudly display the purse in my office with the following poem. For those of you who have been blessed to see a child's heart:

Anonymous giver, follower of heart,
Treasure of imagination, creativity untaught,
Soul is your voice, voice is your soul,
Healing hands work as inner light unfolds,
Dancer of wonder, spirit pure light,
Silent love prints, heaven on earth's delight.


Oh Patti!
How precious,scrumptious,simply divine is your poem! I must have read it 5 times. Why is it that kids can simply melt me away and take me to a place where i feel wonderfully safe! where i can join my heart with theirs!

thank you! sweet patti!
with love,maria


i join maria in praise and delight of your poem... i had no idea you were such a poet. i know you have a poet's soul, it's so beautiful to see it expressed in words.

it makes me wonder about the many ways and opportunities that we have to anonymously give... all that we can give... anyone want to share an anonymous way of giving that tempts your soul? makes me think of corrigan and his daughter and the rocks they scatter about through their lives... are you out there, chris?

much love to you, patti, and gratitude for sharing here.


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posted by Patti


The healing world of play!

Sitting one evening reading my daughter Zoe a bed time story my phone rang and it was a good friend of mine very upset as her 3yr old great nephew had been burnt with a cigarette on his chest by his mother. In my shocked response to her I repeated what she had told me not realizing that Zoe was all ears (I guess the intensity in my voice caught her attention) I did what I could to consol my friend and hopefully gave her the advise she needed. I was mortified by the sheer thought of what had happened to this poor baby and began to think of how painfull this would have been for him.
I sat for a moment and Zoe said to me " did the baby get burnt Mama" I looked at her sadley and said "yes darling,he did" "is he going to be ok" I took her hand and reflected back to her how worried and concerned she was. she asked again if he was going to be ok. I reflected once more on how it made her feel sad that the baby was burnt and that I was sure Ju Ju(the great aunt who Zoe knows well) will put some cream on it for him. I kissed her on the cheek and told her that I loved her so much.
Afew days later she was changing the diaper on her baby doll and I noticed that there was a band aid on its chest. I said "Zoe whats wrong with your baby" ( I,remembering the baby who was burnt) she replied "she got burnt" then proceeded to remove the band aid and turned to me and said "see Mama she's all better now" I replied "yes sweetheart, she is"

I wondered how many other children were going through the same horrific ordeals and all I could do was hold onto the hope that the advice I gave my friend was enough to protect the little boy and Zoe was able to deal with the sadness through her toys.


oh maria,

you soooo capture the magic of play. thank you again for this story and all the ones to come. i trust you know how my heart melts and leaps as you share of the wonders unfolding and the opportunities for experiencing and FEELING the many peeks and vallies of life that you facilitate and embrace with yourself and your relations (especially your kids). thank you.

all my love,

thank you for your story, Maria. you are an amazing person.


It's funny that if we would only allow it, how the fountain of life can flow. If we would open the doors to our hearts the way our children naturally do, how beautiful this world would be! thank you once again for you endless encouragement!

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posted by maria

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