Saturday evening Springsteen
Is fueling memories and tender wishes
As I watch the snow melt on the frozen hill
Dreaming of sand between my toes,
Salty hair tangled up in my baby’s fingers
And my hands on the curve of his sunburnt neck
Tasting first love kisses under the summer moon
That last as long as the tide’s retreat.


Relating to all


Beautifully said…

Originally posted on Mindfulbalance :

File:Baby Crane with Breakfast - Flickr - Andrea Westmoreland.jpg

One of the most toxic new-age ideas is that we should “keep a positive attitude.” What a crazy, crazy idea that is. It is much healthier, much more healing, to allow yourself to feel whatever is coming up in you, and allow yourself to work with that anxiety, depression, grief. Because, underneath that, if you allow those feelings to come up and express themselves, then you can find the truly positive way of living in relationship to those feelings. That’s such an important thing…..It’s not  about some “spiritual experience” of being high all the time. Not at all. It is about living with the ongoing stresses and strains and difficulties – and joys –  of life, but doing so in a way that we feel whole. Living in relationship with the struggles of life is what makes us human.

Michael Lerner, The Difference between Healing and Curing

photo andrea westmorland

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My Own Best Friend

I’m convinced that women taking care of everything but themselves is an epidemic in the US. I’ve heard and witnessed examples of this phenomenon on a regular basis and it’s been a real eye-opener! There’s a difference between “running on all cylinders” and running yourself into the ditch of burnout. I’ve been in both places and I’m sure I’m not alone.

Our culture encourages this unhealthy behavior. I grew up in the New York metropolitan area, where overwork is the norm; take a sick day and you’re treated like a slacker! Also, the necessity of two income families throughout the country was a game-changer, since women are usually expected to work at a full time job and then come home to run the household, doing their “women’s work.” Then there’s the double-edged sword of the rising divorce rate; it’s important to have the ability to leave an unhealthy marriage, but if there are children involved, the divorced woman is often the overwhelmed custodial parent.

No matter what the situation may be, added to the mix is the powerful “inner voice,” whose words and philosophies are as different as we are. Our self talk is deeply ingrained, since it’s formed during our impressionable young years and it’s often demeaning, self sabotaging and filled with hopelessness. Negative self talk is not a women-only phenomenon; there are hundreds of workshops, life coaches, books and articles to be found that address this subject.

I’m encouraged when I see women making the important commitment to self care. Why it’s often difficult for us to do so baffles me, but I’ve accepted this fact, beginning with myself. It’s easy to slip back into the old habit of care-taking without taking the time to check in and nourish myself. And when the events of my life overpower me with stress, it awakens the depression that sleeps inside me, often resulting in a state of frozen overload. The good news is I’m aware of these tendencies and I truly believe I deserve happiness, good health and all the loving kindness I’m able to give myself. Learning to love and care for myself is like recovery; there are peaks and valleys and those times when a cruel inner dialogue makes me say, “What? YOU again?!” But one day at a time, and with the help of inspiring voices and faith, I’m finally becoming my own best friend.

Family Matters

People talk about family trees and study their branches and their leaves. Lately I’ve been thinking about family roots, strong, sturdy and grounded deep within rich, nourishing soil. These roots supported each tree in my bloodline, those that lived long and strong with rings that counted more than 95 years and those that were felled in the greener days of their youth. I grew up with a landscape of trees surrounding me, thanks to my grandparents and their 14 children. At home were my mother, father and sister and nearby were aunts and uncles and their spouses and the many cousins born into my generation.

There were mighty oaks in my bloodline; I only needed to glance at them to feel safe. There were willows that showed me how to lean into change and accept life’s mysteries. There were other trees, one who coaxed out my talents and passions, one who made me feel special by simply calling me “Dolly,” one who made me proud when she called me the daughter she never had. We were all nurtured by the company of our family, whether at Sunday dinners or during the summers we shared down the Jersey shore. My family taught me about love in more ways than I can count and for this, I’m forever grateful.

In my mind’s eye, I’d often imagine sitting on a carpet of pine needles, surrounded by the landscape of my family trees. Now, so many years later, my mind sees a forest so barren that my eyes wander easily to the horizon, to the unknown that waits for me there. They say a family gives you wings, as well as roots, but these days my wings feel too heavy to lift me, damp as they are with my tears.

I’m sure spirits live forever and the love that I’ve shared with my family is eternal. My life has taught me that when I need strength most, it can come from the departed and the pieces of them that reside within me. I’ve experienced grief so often I know it’s twists and turns all too well. I know this weightless feeling will pass and I’ll become grounded again in my own life’s journey. But today, the endless horizon stretches so far before me that I’m not sure if I can take the first step.

Dedicated to my mother, Linda Ciccarelli Sanno.

Nothing to Lean On


When I need them most, words that comfort and inspire me appear. Is it coincidence? Is it magic? I believe it’s my decision to live in faith and God’s tender acknowledgement of my love and trust.

Originally posted on Mindfulbalance :

File:Old woman in Canebrake in Nishapur 1.JPG

She saw that all phenomena arose, abided, and fell away. She saw that even knowing this  arose, abided, and fell away. Then she knew there was nothing more than this, no ground, nothing to lean on, stronger than the cane she held.  Nothing to lean upon at all, and no one leaning…  And she opened the clenched fist in her mind and let go, and fell, into the midst of everything.

 The moment that Teijitsu, 18th century abbess of Hakujuan,  near Eiheiji, Japan learned to let go.

This is what the things can teach us:
to fall patiently,  to trust our heaviness
Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.

Rilke, Book of Hours, II, 16

photo sonia savilla

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The modern disease


We need to be “seen,” we’re aching for connection and we’re only human. But in a few moments, we can look, listen and raise someone’s spirit.

Originally posted on Mindfulbalance :


In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask them how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, “Kayf haal-ik?” or, in Persian, “Haal-e shomaa chetoreh?” How is your haal? What is this “haal” that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?” When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know.

I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. Tell me. Tell me your heart is joyous, tell me your heart is aching, tell me your heart is sad, tell me your heart craves a human touch. Tell me you remember you are still a human being, not just a…

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Art Journal






Joyful Noise


That’s Kevin Spacey, above, singing “Piano Man” with Billy Joel at a recent celebration of Joel’s music. Kevin said it was “one of the highlights of my life!” He also revealed that he learned to play the harmonica for Billy Joel and this tune.

Don’t you love the “highlights?” Love and magic and opportunity collide and there you are, LIVING in blessed moments of joy! The highlights of our lives may be different, but they are each wonderful gifts.

I’ve been revisited my highlights of 2014, recently. There are simple moments of awareness and grand expressions of ecstasy and I’m grateful for every one! It’s with delightful anticipation that I awaken each day to the possibilities of 2015.

Happy New Year! And thank you for reading me!

Since Cancer

The worst thing that could be,
Has already happened to me.
The surgeon said I had

But I’m still standing,
No longer demanding
That God should (please!)
Take care of me.

Not hope, but faith
Is left in cancer’s wake
And survival has inspired me
To be bolder.

I know worry is a waste,
And I’ve left that hurried pace
Time is too precious and
Life needs me.

I take new steps each day,
Letting love light my way
And give wings to childhood dreams
Still inside me.

The worst thing that could be,
Has already happened to me
But my life is much richer since

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