Michael Herman posts an email from a New Orleans pathologist, received via a friend of his, via family and collegial connections, and paints a pretty real picture:
The city now has no clean water, no sewerage system, no electricity, and no real communications. Bodies are still being recovered floating in the floods. We are worried about a cholera epidemic. Even the police are without effective communications. We have a group of armed police here with us at the hotel that is admirably trying to exert some local law enforcement. This is tough because looting is now rampant. Most of it is not malicious looting. These are poor and desperate people with no housing and no medical care and no food or water trying to take care of themselves and their families. Unfortunately, the people are armed and dangerous. We hear gunshots frequently. Most of Canal street is occupied by armed looters who have a low threshold for discharging their weapons. We hear gunshots frequently. The looters are using makeshift boats made of pieces of styrofoam to access. We are still waiting for a significant national guard presence.
posted by ashley


Help needed

“Volunteers are truly the lifeblood of the American Red Cross, and we are calling on them now by the thousands to help support relief efforts in Louisiana and other states after Katrina,” said Pat McCrummen, American Red Cross disaster spokesperson. “We are looking at a long term, very significant response to this storm.”

All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of this disaster and thousands of other disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need.
posted by ashley


'mama, what will happen if'

sometimes i catch my kids sitting, day dreaming and wonder what they are actually thinking. one sunday afternoon i walked into zoe's room and she was quietly sitting on her bed. i stopped and looked at her and said "hi" she looked at me and said "mama, can i tell you something" "sure you can sweetie" "what will happen if im shopping and my husband and kids are not there, i will be lost" i said to zoe " oh that worries you darling, but by the time you have a husband and kids you will be a grown up and you will know where you are wont be lost" she then said "and how will me and my husband be able to buy a car and house" i then said "well, you first go to school, then go to college and then get a job so that you will be able to pay for a house and car" "oh" she said and started to play with her toys. i was amazed that a child of her age (5yrs) worried about something so far off and began to think how much our kids worry about things but are not able to tell about them. typically i try not to fix their problems but i felt that zoe needed some help on this one! and as her mom am soo glad she had enough trust in me to ask!!

ashley, zoe says thank you.
posted by maria


Papa Hertz in Seattle!

I am so fortunate to get to spend a week with this wonderful man. My grandfather came and spent a week here in Seattle. We explored locally and traveled to Oregon's coast and the Columbia River gorge. I feel very honored to be loving and supporting him as he transitions into a whole new phase of life. He's spent the last 58 years of his life married to the woman of his heart. While her presence lives on within him, he opens to exploring this thing we call life from a different perspective. I can only imagine what it's like to spend 58 years of your life unfolding in relation to another human being... and the courage that it takes to begin to walk the path without them physically present.

I love you dearly, Papa.

posted by ashley



"Where does one go from a world of insanity?
Somewhere on the other side of despair." (T.S. Eliot)

Today is simply a beautiful day in New Jersey.... the air is clear, humidity low, and the sky is filled with puffy white clouds. Funny then.. that i find myself pondering darker emotions.

When i read the above quote this morning i began to think of the troubled kids i have worked with over the years. In all those years i have never met a troubled kid who wasn't, above all else, terribly lonely. Working with these kids has taken me on a journey into the world of despair... their worlds filled with a sense of emptiness and hopelessness. Going into this world...if one hangs out long enough... is a journey through pain.... not a departure from it.

Isolation is the biggest barrier to healing. Isolation is really a failure of our human community to reach out and offer connection to the individual.

The power to enter this world is the POWER OF LISTENING.... listening is the foundation of all healing. By a kind of grace...listening transforms suffering.

Listening to anothers pain is a primary form of nuturance... kids speak their pain automatically when there is a listener. The problem is that most adults do not like listening to anothers pain(especially kids). It is difficult and uncomfortable.

Listening to anothers suffering can result in dangerous knowing. As Miriam Greenspan points out in her great book, healing through the dark emotions:

What will we find out, if we really listen?

Will we be able to bear what we then know?

What will knowing ask of us?

Listening to despair, more so then grief or fear, has a moral and social dimention that calls us to pay attention to and make meaning out of human suffering.

Listening to despair tells us what we'd rather not know.... and once we know has a way of asking.....

What is it you will do with this knowing?

posted by kang


Letting Love In

When my friend, Mike, noticed that I was reading Marc Gafni, he sent me his personal notes from another book of Gafni's, The Mystery of Love. I offer these in my continued exploration of love:
  • Love is a perception; to be loved is to be seen.
  • Love is about in-sight. It is the ability to see in, to the inside of the inside.
What is it to receive love, to receive another's perception, to know that you have been seen? Often love is offered, one person sees inside another person, and yet the other person is not aware of such and thus does not 'receive' the love... does not feel fully seen. How do you know when another sees you? How does another know that you see them? How do you express Love?

For me, a glowing expression of Love is open and honest feedback and reflection. Taking the time and energy to clearly articulate my perception to another, to share with them that which I see as their inside is a way for me to offer my in-sight. When that in-sight matches with the other's own internal experience, the other feels seen. And in that feeling seen, the magic happens, they feel my Love in a way that sticks... at least for that moment!

For myself, sometimes I feel a flavor of 'love' coming to me from another person. I know that they love me. And yet I recognize that the feeling of love does not stick inside of me. My mind is telling me that I am loved and yet my heart doesn't have anything to hold onto. This is where I often have to take a risk. I strip myself down to my vulnerable edges and ask the other to be more explicit, to give me a clear reflection of their perception, to give me feedback around the expression of love that is rising in the moment. I always (yes always) feel awkward when I have to ask for such explanations from others. I tell myself that "I should just know", "I should just trust." Countless experiences have proven to me that when I should all over myself, I get nowhere. So now, I push past my pride and ask for more reflection. My heart is healing, I'm receiving so much more love these days and for that my gratitude and reflection gushes all over the place!
posted by ashley


Doors wide open

Thank you Chris, for this inspirational offering. Here is today's post at Parking Lot:
This is from "Synchronicity" by Joseph Jaworski. It is from a conversation he had with Francisco Varela in which Varela tells him about the power of being open:
When we are in touch with our 'open nature,' our emptiness, we exert an enormous attraction to other human beings. There is great magnetism in that state of being which has been called by Trungpa 'authentic presence.'' Varela leaned back and smiled. 'Isn't that beautiful? And if others are in that same space or entering it, they resonate with us and immediately doors are open to us. It is not strange or mystical. It is part of the natural order.

'Those that are in touch with that capacity are seen as great warriors in the American Indian tradition, or as Samurai in the Eastern tradition. For me, the Samurai is one who holds that posture in the world--someone who is so open he is ready to die for the cause. That capacity gives us a fundamental key and is a state of being known in all great traditions of humanity.'

Later in the conversation, Varela warned, 'There is great danger if we consider these people to be exceptional. They are not. This capacity is a part of the natural order and is a manifestation of something we haven't seen previously, not something we do not have. This state is available to us all, and yet it is the greatest of all human treasures.”"
For me this is a perfect summary of what it is like to live a life of invitation. It also nicely describes the Open Space facilitation practices of Opening and Inviting.
This brings to awareness the conversation Christy and I have been having about 'Companions of Destiny' and how we describe the sensation of being around someone whose door is open, and whom we want to invite inside. How do you recognize when someone's door is open to you?

Resonating in a place of open doors, experiencing authentic presence, reminded me ofthis post.

And of course, that which stands out to me as most inspirationally beautiful, and the perfect reminder is:
This state is available to us all
posted by ashley


This poem was shared with my family when my grandmother passed away. It spoke so eloquently to our experience that my grandfather read it at her memorial service.

Remembered in Love

God saw you getting tired
When a cure was not to be,
So he closed His arms around you
And whispered "Come to Me"
You didn't deserve
What you went through
And so he gave you rest.
God's Garden must be beautiful
He only takes the best.
And when I saw you sleeping
So peaceful and free from pain,
I could not wish you back
To suffer that again.

posted by ashley


Inviting images

For more tasty treats for your eye's delight, let yourself indulge in Todd Norman Guess' delicious gallery.
posted by ashley


Dissolve, Release, Liberation

Many years ago the modern mayan calendar was introduced to me along with a 13 moon calendar. I go through phases of using this calendar as part of my daily practice. Some mornings upon waking, I read about the day's glyph and tone (The tones are the bars and dots which represent numbers 1-13. Today is 11. The glyphs are the pictures and there are 20.), some days I use the glyph and tone to add deeper insight into my day, some days after experiencing the flavor of the day, I check in with the calendar to see how they connect. When I am in-tune with this calendar, I marvel at the synchronicity I feel with the tones and glyphs. The daily confirmations of alignment with an order that is more expansive than my own day's unfolding is quite awe-some to me. The first long period of time that I spent using this as my primary calendar had a dramatic effect on my perspective of time. I did begin to recognize that "time is a frequency, the frequency of synchronization."

Today is Blue Spectral Eagle. I'd like to share with you about Spectral (tone 11). These words are reprinted from the 13moon calendar. For fun, decode another date that has meaning to you.
Tone 11 represents the power of creative dissolution and dissonant structure. What can appear as destruction or chaos may actually be the necessary forces of liberation evoking a release from rigid structure and format. As we release that which no longer serves, we make way for new opportunities and understandings to emerge. Setting us free from expectation or definite notions, Spectral energy breaks us out of routine, releasing us into the spectrum of possibility! Like a prism refracting white light -- revealing its full spectrum of colors, Tone 11 provokes us to see aspects of our wholeness that may be yet undiscovered.

Guiding us to dissolve fixed concepts, fears, or habitual patterns that weigh us down, Spectral power declares: "I invite break-through; I dissolve identity; I un-solidify; I release old models for new models; I wield dissonance as a force of liberation; I redeem chaos as untamed order; I shed; I free limiting beliefs and constructs -- no box, no separation, no boundaries; uncontained; free-form; receptive to the prismatic range of possibility."

Spectral advises: Let go; let your self be absorbed by life itself. Be flexible in yielding to the formless flow. Allow your focus to cover a vast range. Dissolve feelings of constrictions. Welcome spontaneity, seeming disruptions, and unexpected detours. Release allegiance to limitations, reliance upon format, or fixation upon control. Un-do, break-down, mix it up! Allow energy to travel as it needs. Disperse into formless existence.
posted by ashley


Your soul print's voice of love

photo source

I'm reading the book , Soul Prints by Marc Gafni. Are you interested in your soul print?
"What is your soul print?

Your soul print is your spiritual signature. It is the contour and content of your soul--its character. It is more specific to you, and you alone, than the handwriting of your name scrawled on a check or a letter. It is even more singular to you than your genes and chromosomes. ...

Your soul print exists not only within, but also without--in how your soul touches the world. When you pick up a pen, brush you hand a cross a banister, turn a doorknob, shake a hand, touch someone's face, you leave behind an imprint of yourself--your fingerprint. Even after you've let go, a part of you remains. It is the same with your soul print. The people and places touched by your soul are imprinted with your mark, with your essence. Everywhere you walk in the world, you leave behind the beautiful, valuable, matchless print of your soul. ...

I hope we can learn together how living our soul prints can bring us happiness and profound connection to ourselves, to others, and to God--whatever our understandings of God may be."
I don't know how Rabbi Gafni will word this, but I know that listening to the Voice of Love is one powerful way to find your soul print. Rick at a new life emerging speaks beautifully on this subject:
"Do you hear voices?

What voices do you believe?

How do we silence the voices of fear, hurt, and abuse so that we can hear the Voice that calls out in love reminding of us of our belovedness? How can we hear the Voice of Love when the voice of destruction often seems so much louder or when the voice of hurt is tragically repeated?

We need to be reminded daily of who we are. We need to surround ourselves with people who build us up, not tear us down. We need to remind oursleves daily who we are, that we are created in the image of a loving God and that God sees us as good. We have to listen to the voice deep in our soul where our hopes and dreams impregnate our heart with new life.

What Voice are you listening to? The Voice of Love who wants to give you life or the voice of hurt that wants to take away life?

Perhaps the real question is what voice do you believe? God I want to believe, please help my unbelief.

My experience is, if the voice takes life it is not of God. If the voice gives life it is from God.

I hear voices... we all hear voices.

I pray that God will give me the wisdom and grace to chose life and to believe the Voice of Love."
posted by ashley



According to the modern mayan calendar, today is White Rhythmic Dog. Here is the description of White Dog from my 13moon calendar. I found this to be a beautiful description of Heart.
White Dog

The heart is both earthly and heavenly; a medium between spirit and matter. The heart is pure. Incapable of anything but complete honesty, the heart’s nature is unconditional acceptance. Its essence is receptivity, transparency, and devotion. Its strength is in its vulnerability; its beauty in its expression. Its function is love, endowed with infinite resources to share its graces. The heart, as a spiritual center, wishes to service in the glory of union, welcoming all inclusively. As we dwell in our heart’s simplicity, love takes the reigns, and a path of possibilities effortlessly opens before us!

The heart’s domain is relationship – temples of initiation offering vast insight into the celestial prisms of the heart and the myriad layers of connectivity among souls. White Dog urges us to seek out and enjoy our companions of destiny – our Kin who fulfill our heart’s longings to reciprocate true love. The basis of healthy relationship is to always honor the truth of one’s own heart.

Pain in one’s life, from unresolved wounds, signals our attention. One of our heart’s roles is to transducer pain into acceptance, resulting in peace. This personal process requires full awareness on feeling the sensations of pain, whether physical or emotional, while recognizing that in a transcendental sense the pain is not “who we are,” it is just showing blockages or imbalances. It is merely passing through us, seeking a heart to meet and acknowledge it. If we give all the pain over to our heart-center and surround it with a vigilant, patient, compassionate embrace, the fire of our self-loving acceptance burns away its veils, diminishing its intensity, and if needed, liberates us into the lessons underlying the pain.

White Dog asserts that the essence of our being is Love – everything we do is either love or a cry for love. The all-curing medicine of compassion is sourced from the Heart.
posted by ashley

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