Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Innocence & Forgiveness

We celebrate several sets of holidays around here ... the traditional American & Christian-based holidays, Jewish holidays and Chinese holidays. Every day is practically a holiday!

At Christmas-time, I talk to the children about Jesus and what I see as his essential message of Love & forgiveness. Alia (age 5) heard my little song and dance about Jesus over a light breakfast this year, and then said: "That's a good story."

There is a beautiful passage in A Course in Miracles that re-interprets the message of the crucifixion. Rather than being about the death of a son in "sacrifice" (how similar to ancient traditions of sacrificing animals, humans, etc. to God or various Gods) .... the message is rather about how one who, faced with the ultimate undeserved attack upon his body, his person, his name ... taught the message of forgiveness in the final moments before his, at least bodily, death.

How is it then, that we, when faced with slights and injuries of much less significant proportions, can so easily become enraged and vengeful? Toni Packer, in the somewhat obscure but revealing little book The Light of Discovery, describes many of our daily encounters as: "you say something that hurts the image I have of myself, and I say something back that hurts your image of yourself ..." (and she notes, "if that is all that is going on, nothing is learned.")

As a suburban Mom, I like to look at these grander themes through the lens of daily life. What does forgiveness mean with children, spouses, partners? Teachers? Relatives? Drivers on our commutes ... and other possibly troublesome folks?

How can we see the innocence in one another, "turn the other cheek" as it were? I am certainly no expert and could easily list a few people I have not quite, fully, er, forgiven. At the top of the list, probably, would be Me.

On Christmas Day, I happened to have scored with a nice gift for my husband, a set of very tall liquor glasses on thin stems--each a different shape and brilliant color. I had hoped ... and he actually liked them more than I expected he would. And then there was the moment when, in all of her excitement, our Alia reached quickly across the dining table to grab one of her presents and broke a glass--beyond repair.

My husband got angry. Why? He liked the present, actually, had already become somewhat attached. He interpreted Alia's actions as being linked to a kind of hyper-ness she sometimes gets into (a possible long term problem? ... worry, concern, are we parenting all wrong?) and spoke in stern tones to her about "moving too fast," and now look what happened, etc.

Alia burst into tears after a second or two of silent processing, and then went running to her room to ball herself up in blankets and be upset for a good while. Now it was my turn: I could get upset at my husband for over-reacting, for possibly marring our young child's Christmas Day, etc. etc. I had worked so hard to make a nice day for us all, and I saw the breaking of the glass as no big deal.

But by the Grace of God I saw instead my husband's innocence. I understood the reasons--rational or not--why he got upset (as listed above); and most importantly, I saw the seeds of all his reasons in myself. My heart went out to him (along with my daughter). I get attached to things too, I judge our daughter too, I worry about her future, too. How could I throw the first stone?

So, I let it rest. I helped Alia come back to our really quite lovely Day. My husband settled down and apologized to her. And I was relieved that I had not added more judgment and pain to the judgment and pain that had already occurred.

I say "by the Grace of God" because I am honestly not always so good at forgiveness.

I also realize that other sorts of slights are perhaps harder to forgive. Victims of physical attacks, of war and other sorts of violence ...

I am clear, however, that if we cannot learn to overcome these small, seemingly mundane incidents, the larger ones will go on and on in their endless and furious cycles.

The mysterious doors between life and death are opening around me now (in my circle of friends, in my family) ... Like the holidays, it's a time for reflection on what's important. And if Jesus was right, those things are Love & forgiveness. I think, in the end, they are really One.

As we are really One. Without Love & forgiveness our Oneness cannot be known and felt.

And our Oneness is ultimately that which is Eternal.

Do you have a story or thought on Love & forgiveness? If so, please share in "comments" ...

With Love,

Your Mystical Mama

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Work is Done?

The Parent's Tao Te Ching

Interpretation by William Martin ...

"Life can seem mundane
but it is not.
Children can seem ordinary,
and troublesome
and fragile
but they are not.

You may feel alone
and powerless
and separated

But you are not."

I rest my case.

It's Alright

It's alright to try
To try and try

As long as there is a space within You
of No Effort

It's alright to have Passion,
To burn with Fire!

As long as there is a space in your heart
that weeps with Contentment

It's alright to be angry, outraged

As long as there is a space in your heart
Of total Tenderness

It's alright to make all sorts of plans,
to Dream and Envision

As long as there is a space in your heart
That lives only in
The Now

It's alright to go out on a limb
To grasp for something, just beyond reach ...

As long as there is a space in your heart
That is Welded to the Root

It's alright to be firm and direct

As long as there is a space in your heart
That Swims in Softness

It's alright

It is All alright

As long you open your heart
And take your perfectly Still Space
for a good walk around the block
Twice a day

... Understanding that
when time has played its last trick on you,
And everything you borrowed must be

The Space
The Space
The Stillness and
The Space

is all you keep.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

At the End

As the dream dissolved,

My heart opened

and two birds flew

Into the blue

and endless sky ...


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lucky Girl

I am so lucky!

Born into small, trans-continental family
loving & dedicated mother,
spiritually-finding father,

(divorced, yes, it's OK)

To have been
Surrounded by Conscious people
To have known
Dear Mr. Sydney Banks
to have stumbled into arms of dedicated & loving husband
also spiritually-finding
who helps to guide me beyond ego
To have birthed two beautiful girls
Who fill the room with their whole-hearted Being

To live in an era of awakened Souls
Surrounded by wise and dedicated colleagues

To be healthy!
To live in California!
Trees on our street
turning toward their annual Splendor

To enjoy the blessings of
running water,
walking to school,
green parks,
central heat,
plenty to eat

But the miracle of all miracles
Is that there are times when I do not feel ...
& cannot remember


at all!

(Someone whack me with a Nerf bat, please!)

What can you feel grateful for?

Consider this poem your whack.

(& you're welcome.)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Angelic Visit

Our troupe (the Traveling Mills-Naim Circus) ended up, somewhat serendipitously, at Coit Tower in San Francisco yesterday. I say "serendipitously" because the way it goes in San Francisco now is that you basically end up visiting whatever area is around the parking spot that you find.

So we ended up on the shoulder of Telegraph Hill & trooped up, as Troupes (& Troops) do. The place was mobbed, which was surprising to me. I mean, Coit Tower is nice, but somewhat quaint as far as local attractions go ... & then I realized, (I had heard rumors of) that we were on one of the highest hills in San Francisco for Fleet Week. Huzzah!

So the kids and I (Barukh was on a phone call just down the hill) watched as three or four fighter planes zipped around the Bay, trailing pinkish, blue and white vapors and doing somersaults, complicated aerial formations and even making vapor shapes like a pink and blue heart with an arrow shot through.

This was followed by some rather large planes performing less complicated maneuvers and then there was a lengthy pause, as we all waited expectantly for the actual Blue Angels--slated to appear at 3.

Well, the Blue Angels came in with a bang, flying quite low and nearly taking out the tower. One came in so low that small children started to cry from the deafening roar, and as the plane pulled up, heading toward the stratosphere, I noticed a small bird struggling to stay aloft in its wake. The bird seemed to have lost all sense of direction, and fluttered about miserably, heading this way and then that, and I worried for its delicate internal mechanisms which seemed to have suffered a terrible shock.

The now famous parrots of Telegraph Hill also appeared disturbed by the commotion and the Tsunami-sized sound waves rolling over the Hill. They fluttered up and down in a flock, seemingly unsure where to be. (Please see "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill," if you have not done so already.) All the birds in the City, I thought, needed tiny little bird ear plugs for this event. Then I spent some time wondering if birds do indeed have ears. (I'm sure they must, to hear each other singing!)

The Blue Angels performed a few tricks and within less than ten minutes it seemed, they were done. The crowd was crestfallen, but accepted their collective fate, and started trickling off down the Hill.

As our Troupe descended the formidable stairs winding down toward North Beach, I felt sure that the reason the Blue Angel show was truncated was because the Navy pilots and their on-the-ground handlers got word that the sensitive birds around Coit Tower were distressed by the displays, and so shut down the whole operation right away.

On a more serious note, my understanding of Fleet Week is that it is sort of a testosterone-driven display of U.S. military might and skill, etc. I mused that the vapor heart was interesting in the midst of all that. And is that a maneuver that Navy pilots might use in the skies of Afghanistan and elsewhere? Creating smoky hearts and peace signs? Hmmmm. Not an entirely bad idea, really, if you think about it. On the other hand, possibly a perfectly horrible idea at this juncture.

The fog was rolling in over the city with all its gray and gusty might, but seemed to leave a pocket of sunshine for us to grab some pretty authentic Italian white bean soup, pasta, and antipasto in the lively neighborhood around Columbus Ave. We then snaked our way over to Portrero Hill for a latte and hot chocolate at Farley's (no whipped cream at Farley's mind you. This place is not frivolous.) I used to hang out at Farley's when I lived on Portrero Hill, and was single and wild, (etc.) Now I was at table with husband and two small children who have become a part of me like new appendages. Amazing! From one to four. How did that happen?

The views of downtown are lovely and sparkly from the Hill. We made a mess at the corner bookstore and then cleaned it up, and our Troupe packed it all in to the very suburban Subaru, having had our fill of the "big, gigantic" City (Alia's description) and sped home to Palo Alto, tired and satisfied.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pats & Hugs

If we could only treat each other,
us Grown Ups,
As we treat our own beloved, miraculous children

With Love & great affection
Pats & hugs
Heaps of praise

Understanding that we encourage the fragile seed
of Belief in Self and ...
Affirm their very Being

Remember? Remember?
You and I ran
naked through the house,
Screaming with joy
Madly in love
You did not even know I was a girl,
or I, that you were a boy

What happened to us,

my dear, dear Lost Love?

We began to collect ideas

& Now,

I don't like my idea of your idea

No more hugs & kisses for you!

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Job

I am coming to learn

(oh, it has taken such a long time! I forget my lessons everyday! I leave my school books out in the rain ... )

I am slowly coming to learn

That my Job

is simply to Love these people

(which people, you ask? All these freaking people, I shout, all of them!)

It is no easy task!

But it is easier,
so very, very much easier,

than anything else.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Last Sand Castle

My older daughter, Alia, began Kindergarten today! (She now insists that we call her "Ali," actually.) So Ali went to Kindergarten.

That was exciting and everything. We walked to school. We took lots of pictures. I shed a tear, being touched. And then went and drank a lot of coffee (no decaf around, for some reason) with all the other crying parents on the school blacktop. I left the school quite wired, and a bit puffy eyed.

It's been a big day. Ali loved her class and teacher and new friends. But I think I may remember yesterday, somehow, more.

Yesterday was a special day. Ali and I sent my husband and newly-three toddler home and stayed behind in Santa Cruz. We cleaned up our "beach cottage" and went for lunch at Gayle's Bakery in Capitola. Gayle's is quite famous in these parts, for baking and such, and Capitola Village is a little beach-side hamlet straight out of a Thomas Kinkade painting. We walked into the Village along the Soquel River, along the quaint vacation rentals, and run-down beach shacks with their grassy patios and decomposing patio furniture along the water.

We got to the beach and built a sand castle amidst the "seaweed fleas" (Ali's name) that were buzzing around at water's edge. Without the right tools, the castle was very, very round and very organic looking. Free range, let's say. The flies loved it, and moved in right away.

I had told Alia that the day was a Celebrating Day. And she had said, "But there's no cake or balloons or anything about celebrating!"

And I said, "You know, celebrating can just be doing something a little different, like having a special lunch together, or cooking something special, or going out to look at the moon. Or spending special time together."

We both got a little sun burned at the beach, 'cause we had no beach stuff or sunscreen. And as the day grew warmer in the afternoon, I knew we were supposed to hit the highway soon ... to get Ali home and into bed and "ready" for her big day at school.

But I let go of time, for the time, being, and we walked all through the Village, and Ali bought a Minnie Mouse clock at a second hand store, to "wake her up" for school (no alarm, though). And we meandered, and wondered, and held hands, and then, finally, reluctantly, got in the car, and drove home.

I don't always see the charm in Capitola Village. It sometimes just looks like a tourist trap to me. But it's interesting what happens when we put our Celebration glasses on.

And first-day-of-school is something special, for sure. But so is every moment with our children, with each other, that we declare to be special.

I know school means a schedule now, and some milestones to achieve.

And, somehow, the free ranging thinking and feeling of summer, seems more important to me on this day. The Me and My Girl moments, that nourish us both ... in ways that are impossible to measure.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so ... in my face!

Yesterday, everything I had was not enough. Everything I am "supposed to do" was nothing I wanted to do. I did not want to be a mother, a wife, a daughter, an "Executive Director." It was not clear to me that Life itself in any form would be enough. There was fatigue, sadness, anxiety. Where was the connection with my children? I was going through the motions. Doubt. Guilt. Morbidity.

And, in the midst of it all, I could see, like the slightest glimmer of light reaching through the cracks at the edge of a dark door ... I could see that it was all just Fine. Terrible thoughts, dreadful thoughts, run-away-to-Mexico thoughts. All Fine.

When the kids went to bed, I watched "Step Brothers" with my husband. Nothing to do, nowhere to run to ... No thoughts to even "get rid of."

And when I woke up this morning, the world was beautiful again, because my head was beautiful again.

And actually, the World, "Reality," was as it always had been.

And simply welcomed me Home, again.

You are safe, Darling! You just had a bad dream.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Present

I am reminded that, although I have come a long way ...

There is still nowhere to Go.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Attitude

"Find the feeling ... of being grateful."

--Mr. Sydney Banks, A/V materials (frequent theme in talks)

"Reality is always kind."

--Byron Katie

"If you imagine the universe is agitated, go out and look at the night stars."

--Lao Tzu

Last night, my husband and I were chatting about "Life," as it were/is/may be. There were some of the usual apparent difficulties, recessionary issues and etc.

I said to him, "See how the universe is being helpful to you."

"Yes," he said, "it's all in how you think about it."

And I said, no, "See how the universe is being helpful, not that you think it is, but that it is."

Which seemed quite different to me at the time.

Sydney Banks, who passed away on Memorial Day, talked often of gratitude as the doorway to inner knowledge. He told us all to be grateful for little things, big things, medium things, all things.

I am starting to see that gratitude shifts our thoughts toward how the universe supports us. A pause at a traffic light, a time for reflection. A child. (A child!) A soft hotel bed. A fresh breeze. Sunshine. A husband who comes home at 5 every day. A husband who stays late, working hard for his family. Time alone. Time together. A neck ache that puts you in bed for a rest.

As we shift our thoughts toward how the universe supports us, we begin to go beyond just experiencing the effects of "positive thinking" and toward the very Nature of the Universe and Reality.

Reality is Love, Intelligence, Power.

Reality is Love.

Reality supports us, as that is its nature. It could not fail to do so.

& if you seek, so shall you find ...

with Love,

Your Mystical Mama

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sydney Banks

Mr. Sydney Banks, author, philosopher, lecturer, father, husband, mystic, passed away in the morning, Memorial Day, May 25.

Mr. Banks' life and work demonstrated that an ordinary, uneducated person has access to unlimited reservoirs of Love and Intelligence.

In my own life, he showed me that what I thought was real, was not. And that this "boring old world" was full of mystery and miracle. What personal contact I had with him always brought great leaps of understanding and opened new realms for me of feeling and gratitude. Sometimes, in his presence, the world would tremble and wobble in my peripheral vision, & a great openness would happen within, a Spirit, a feeling, boundless in its magnitude--almost frightening--would descend. Then, it would be gone as quickly as it had come. Leaving a sense of promise of more to come ...

Mr. Banks was inordinately generous with his knowledge when he felt that someone sincerely wanted to learn. And his simple, workaday approach to mystical knowledge, his emphasis on "plain" positivity, hope and human kindness made an end to suffering possible for so many thousands of people--from professionals to inmates to young children.

It was always Mr. Banks' hope that the great helping fields of psychology and psychiatry--which nobly work to alleviate the world's suffering--would finally come to see the logic of his Divine principles: Mind, Consciousness and Thought. We experience what we think. And there is so much more in us than we know.

For more information, please see Mr. Banks' website at, or see any of his many books, including: The Missing Link: Reflections on Philosophy & Spirit, The Enlightened Gardener, The Enlightened Gardener Revisited, Dear Liza, and etc. Audiovisuals (DVD's, etc.) are at ... (Click on Self-Help or Psychology.)

Goodbye, Syd!

And Thank You.

I wish I'd had more time with you ...

Monday, May 18, 2009

When the Child Calls

When the Child calls

let her pull you in

(this time, at least)

Observe as she reaches for This Moment,

pulling it toward her, too

The sand, so different

there's a crunch-smoosh, crunch-smoosh

Each wave with its Name

& Spirit

The Beach! ... it is

Full of screams!

Shape shifting waters,

running, crashing, pulling,
each wave, pulling for Home
where all waves become One
after their brief lives, alone

(but not alone, really, were they?
This, the child knows)

And hot sand cools to warm sand &
wet & sticky sand

Sand crabs, broken shell
Sea gull, fetid smell

All awash in the freshest of breezes

(the Sea's is)

Maybe, a moment,

You will Live again

Play is just presence

The Child Within!

Who was with you, was you, all this time

(as wave with ocean)

Welcome back, my Friend!

Let's expect

More to come.

(Remember: He said,
You must be, He said,
Like the little children.)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Mouths of Babes

"Love will make you whatever you want to be."

Maya, age 3 & 1/2, in the midst of festivities, at Father's Day breakfast