waking life studio moves to baltimore

3 new paintings in my brand new studio

The Giants Were Too Big for the World  12 x 12inches, oil on panel

The Giants Were Too Big for the World

12 x 12inches, oil on panel

Who Else Knew  19 x 30 inches, oil on panel

Who Else Knew

19 x 30 inches, oil on panel

Baudelaire's Daughter  22 x 30 inches, oil on panel

Baudelaire's Daughter

22 x 30 inches, oil on panel

When the Container Breaks

Recently I found this dream recorded April 13, 1997,in a letter I had written the day after the dream to my friend, F.  The letter that I do not recall writing lay in a file and it was quite by surprise I happened upon it last week.


Bound to a Red Destiny


Dream: I was in my workshop, my woodworking shop at the time in real life.  I had a can of acid or lacquer thinner in my hands. It broke in two and the acid spilled over my hands and down the front of me and onto my dog Jack who was with me onto his head and back.  I did not act quickly but sort of in a sleep walk state—I went to the sink and filled a bucket with water and soap.  It was the kind of automatic calm that can overtake you in an emergency.  There was a rag with a lot of soap powder on it.  I was holding Jack in a tight embrace, washing his head and back with the soapy rag. This part of the dream was so visual—there were already big scabs formed on his head and I remember thinking how I must have waited a long time to wash him and the acid must have really burned his head and back to already have formed scabs. It must have laid on him full strength a long time. The water bucket fell over a couple of times while I was washing him and I had to stop to right it. The water went everywhere and under things and I kept wondering if anything had gotten ruined from it, but I felt out of control to attend to everything and I felt myself unable to do anything about so many things, like the situation was bigger than me and the only tangible thing was this dog and myself. Perhaps I had been cleaning myself off during this time but I don’t remember. At this point in the dream my friend, F’s voice came in as an overlay like a radio broadcast.  She was telling me a story she had heard on NPR about a man who had been whipped by his commanding officer for some failure on his part, and then ordered to whip the men under his command. And that while the whipped officer was whipping his own men, as he perspired, the wounds from his own flogging stung and glistened with sweat and heat. I woke up with my arms tightly wound over my chest still holding Jack to soothe him.  Jack allowed this tight enclosure around himself so sweetly as if he had abandoned himself to me completely.

The soul is a strange doctor. It reads you your cure in reading you your turmoil and anguish.  It slows the meter down and drip-by-drip you see the eventuality of your spirit.  Your body and mind and feelings in a pile-up on the expressway, but the beauty of its telling is its fondness for you, the tightest embrace, utterly human in dimension.

It is nineteen years since the dream occurred. A big cycle of completion. And nineteen years later I see more clearly that Life is largely holding paradoxes in our hands.  Things break.  Containers of love break.  Love contains darkness and light. It contains pain and joy, despair and hope, it contains vulnerability, it contains sweetness and surrender. Love contains everything. And when its container breaks in our hands, for no apparent reason or perhaps we are holding it too tightly, perhaps we are not paying attention— who knows but it breaks, the paradoxes of love and life spill over us, we get burned AND we are held tightly in that wounding AND we heal.  In the dream I feel surprise that the burns Jack has experienced have already begun to scab over. Jack surrenders completely to being washed and held. He is my model and guide.  I feel overwhelmed and only able to attend to the burns and the washing.  I feel that no matter what else has happened this is my task.  The soap powder is mysteriously already on the rag.  The water spills over and over in the dream soaking everything running everywhere.  Life’s essence the souls essence is uncontainable; it is what cleans us washes us heals us.

The man who is whipped because of a personal failure is ordered to whip his own men and while he is carrying out his orders he feels his own wounds smarting, glistening in the heat and sweat. He does not protest, but he feels this pain in his own awareness and the pain has made him conscious; through his pain he is learning about his own humanity, his failings and his anguish. A thoroughly human being and a true warrior.




The Face of Love ~ Euro Man

In real life when this dream came I was in a difficult situation with a person to whom I was very attached.  My feelings were not being reciprocated and I asked for a dream to show me the face of love so that I could better embody it.


I am a witness in this dream but I respond at times with my voice as if I am part of the audience.

In the dream a young eastern European guy is a performer, one of many who has a performance act — his is with a unique bicycle that he has built. 2 American friends, a man and a woman the same age, without explanation ask the eastern Euro guy what colors does he like and see himself in, in a potential outfit to perform in.  They want to help him make his performance the best it can be but they want it to be out of his energy, his preferences.  It takes s a while for him to understand the question.  The American guy keeps asking the question and refining it until the Euro guy says "Feather Pink, and Dusty Denim blue."  The American guy poofs away instantly and comes back to the room of the American girl.  The American girl is dressed beautifully in black and white, very clean lines. She has bought a can of white paint and poured it in her chair and sat down in it without getting it anywhere on her front.  The American guy has come in to show her the outfit he has made for the Euro guy—it includes a hat with streamers in pink blue and white, dusty denim pants and a Feather pink shirt.  I hear myself exclaim from the audience in the dream—"that is great, that is great!"  I feel as if I am in the arena of a big top seeing all these scenes from there. In minutes there will be the performance. I wake up.

The dream shows the face of human love.  To me, it shows that we are here in the world to reflect our fellow companions their own true faces.  And from our own creativity to gift these reflections in a selfless way for the sake of each others 'performances'. Euro man is from 'some place else'.  He has the rudimentary ingredients for a great and brilliant performance but his outer appearance is lacking in color.  In the dream he is dressed all in grayish green and his bike is also the same gray green.  But despite this his American friends can see his brilliance and his gifts.  Their contribution is to ask how he would like to to dress if he could—the colors he sees himself in, and he responds eventually in a very feminine, receptive and surprising way.  The American man friend goes immediately to his task of creating an outfit for him from Euro man's colors. It is a selfless and unpretentious act. The American woman seems to be waiting in her tent.  She is dressed very concisely and elegantly in Black and White.  Her pants are black.  She stands up and pours white paint into her chair and very delicately sits down in it.  What came to me from this step in the dream was that she was introducing light into her lower chakras.  And that was an important cue for me.  The lower chakras comprise our first and second chakras. The root chakra—how we come in, our family of origin, the way we relate to the world from our upbringing, including our core wounds. Our second chakra is our relationship chakra. To bring light into a chakra is to begin seeing through our highest self, our light instead of through our needs, wants and wounds.  There is nothing wrong with needs want or wounds but when we see through them we see through a filter of often what has been difficult or lacking in ourlives. How one does this is to explore the needs, wants and wounds that have influenced the way we relate in love and family.  This was my work.  The work did not change the outside response to me but it significantly showed me what I was actually made of.  I felt the constructs of all the needs I carried around reciprocated love move aside and I felt shooting up and out of me -- real love. This was a life changer.  It was not something I had really thought about previously and when it came up I felt very attached to my right to be loved in the way I wanted to be loved.  It was only in attending the origin of those attachments that I saw the attachment move aside on its own and felt the reality of being a loving human being come through me in a new way.

Celebrating Alchemy

There is a labyrinth within the soul.  —John O'Donohue

In November of this past fall I was taking some training that was a very different approach for me and at times even during it was questioning its validity and rightness for me. On a night when I was about to complete the training and was still in the throes of self doubt, I had a trio of dream vignettes that told me to see what I was doing in an utterly modern way.  Modern in the finest sense of the word, letting go of the way I had been viewing myself and my creativity up until now.


I and another man live in a convent. The nuns of the convent have been caring for and housing the paint rags of the great masters. The man has somehow removed the paint from the paint rags of these masters that the nuns have been caring for, so that the paint can be reused and put into a modern printing press. I am staring into the drawer that now hold the "cleaned rags"-they are white linen-you can see flecks of the presence of the old paint but they are pristine and folded in the drawer. The man is worried that the nuns will be angry with him for taking this paint out of the rags.  I think he has done an amazing thing and I tell him it is very possible the nuns will be impressed and glad. This makes the man very happy.


Snippet two:  I have or own a huge vehicle like a utility truck as big as a Hummer, that is made of solid god. It seems that it is in the process being melted down and turned into something else, like a printing press.


Snippet three: I am replacing the inks in our color copier.  The inks are arranged like a large paint set.  I am removing the foil from the new ink paints—a gigantic tray of perhaps a hundred colors in their little pans. The colors are so clear, saturated  and vibrant and there are so many of them.  It is a very powerful feeling to open this brand new paint palette.  It is a moment in time.

End of dreams

This dream helped me to get current with myself and to see creativity not in terms of what it looks like-modern or ancient, but how it is being be used to create something new. The man in the first dream had the same anxieties many of us have when trying to do something totally out of our comfort zone--we are afraid we are making a mistake or doing something wrong.  Afraid we are going against the way it has always been. The removal of the paint from the ancient masters' rags to be put into a printing press seems almost sacrilegious.  But the rags are no longer in use, they are being cared for by the Feminine spiritual guardians in the dream.  The interesting part for my own character in the dream was one of admiration and awe, that this man had taken the primary ingredients of the Great ones and alchemically transformed them into raw materials for modern times, and in so doing—imbuing the modern vehicle with the sacred, without destroying the original materials.

The second dream snippet continues with the theme of alchemy and this time even uses the material of gold—a large utility vehicle of solid gold is being melted down and remade into a printing press. The snippet suggests that something valuable that was used in an utilitarian way is now being made into something that will be a form of communication, a new creative possibility for the gold.

The final snippet celebrates the feeling of power and awe that opening a brand new box of paints can inspire. The feeling state of the dream is one of being fully present in 'this moment in time'.  It is like an announcement on a loud speaker—"look at this, feel this, these are your new materials—feel their power and potential."

In working with the dream material I saw that I had been protecting an old view of myself, but that no matter how sacred I felt it to be,  life was bringing me a totally new way of presenting myself.  Not only as a painter of images but as a painter of words. Whose golden value was to be a new way (for me) to communicate to others, and that I could celebrate this transformation asone of many creative opportunities and shifts that will occur during one's lifetime; not to be afraid of change but to realize that we are a labyrinth and a mystery and there is good reason to feel joy and awe in the infinitely complex, and altogether unknown aspects of who we are.

Painting in Ireland, Memories of Ireland

In mid May I traveled to Ireland, Sligo County, town of Raghly, on the Northern West Coast of Ireland, with dear friend and fellow painter, Freya Grand. 8 days of sitting atop blustery bluffs painting and drawing the granite cliffs, the wild sea, the silent harbor and the mysterious mountain of Benbulbin / Benwiskin. Here are my take-aways so far from this trip. New paintings are still forthcoming.

Fossil Beach Watercolor
Benwiskin Notch
Raghly Harbor
Ruins of Raghly
Boat out of Water - Raghly
Inside Raghly Harbor

Nothing Trivial About a Trivet

A recent commission by a dear Washington, DC couple to design and fabricate trivets for their new dining table inspired these land and seascapes in Walnut and Cherry woods. Their bottoms are covered in wool felt to protect the table surface.

sea fish trivet_.jpg

New Work~Art Basel~Betsy Hotel~Miami

8 new oil paintings form the series: On Any Given Day... Girls of Baltimore to show together in December: featuring myself, Patti Tronolone, Joyce Scott, Oletha Devane, Linda De Palma, and Ellen Burchenal. Leslie King-Hammond, curates for Art Basel at the Betsy Hotel in Miami, Florida. Opening date December 6th. Show dates to be announced shortly. To be included:

On Any Given Day ~ Witness

Sacred Thresholds, Navigating the Corridors of Change and Retrieving the Power to Bless

This is the subject and script of a talk I gave at Unity of Taos on the cusp of the new year, January 3rd, 2016.  I offer it here as a segue and blessing into the powerful new year of 2016.


There is only enough room at the prow of the ship for one heart.

It is meant to be a tight spot

In that crease where the two sides meet

No crowds can gather.

Looking out from that place

From that place into the growing dark

It is always night there

Nothing can be seen.

But if you close your eyes and lean in far enough

If you really lean deep into your own darkness

You begin to feel the future

Making itself in front of you.

At first it will be the senses

Telling you about the weather

The wind and the salt spray

And you could almost leave it all there.

But if you stay on after your wits die down

You move into that other dominion

Where the eyes live somewhere outside of you

There hanging on the air

Hovering on vibration

Waiting for a moment in the world

And all the while still a child

Singing the quiet praises

Of ripe





Perhaps something breaks.

Perhaps something is taken from you.

Perhaps a season has simply come to an end.

It is at these threshold moments where everything is asked of you;

that it matters the most

to pilot your own crossings

to Love yourself,

And to stay present right here

in the gap.

For here is the passage.

Here is the transformation.

Here is the leap and

Here is your evolution.

the sun casts a shadow

the sun casts a shadow

The Oxford dictionary says: a threshold is a point of entry or beginning

The poet John O’Donohue takes it further. He says,

A threshold is not a simple boundary; it is a frontier that divides two different territories, rhythms, and atmospheres... a real frontier that cannot be crossed without the heart being passionately engaged and woken up…where a great complexity of emotion comes alive: confusion, fear, excitement, sadness, hope.

There is often a pause at the doorway when we are simply standing in a sense between two worlds—all that has gone before and what has yet to come and can still be shaped by our awareness. So we often relive events from the past so we can understand fully what we have learned and in doing so move forward aware. The desire on new years to complete the unresolved things from our life and to set new visions for our accomplishment, requires a threshold. We cannot set our new vision until we have rewalked the territory of what has passed.

It is an eternal experience that often feels disorienting because it does not inhabit time in the same way, they are energy fields on the verge of becoming something else, something new. And even tho this is always true, there is something unique to a threshold that crosses a significant boundary in ones life.

As human beings we have the right and the power to bless.

To make sacred, to name holy something or someone.

Blessing difficult endings, especially in relationship can actually be the healing force that allows us to move forward. This past year I had a relationship of 10 years come to an end. No matter how much I tried to repair it, it remained broken. Once I finally accepted that this was meant to be, I blessed it, I blessed both what had been a meaningful friendship and I blessed its ending. And in blessing it I said, I cannot change what has happened but I can acknowledge its change and how I am holding it, and in doing so was able to leave all bitterness and struggle behind.

buddha with lamp and flower

buddha with lamp and flower

I am not a Buddhist scholar but long ago I heard a story of when the Buddha was visited by Mara, a great force of distraction and distortion. Much like Jesus’s tempatation by a dark force in the desert, Mara was offering some power that was in conflict with integrity to the Buddha. In response the Buddha pressed his finger to the earth, and in doing so he called forth the presence of all the witnesses to his evolution from all lifetimes, to stand beside him to face this destructive force.

In times of trial, we too can put our fingers to the earth and call upon all the forces of Good that have seen us through our own many lifetimes, invoke our highest Self to face these times of peril.

A blessing is a protective circle of light.

Blessing difficulties acknowledges that one has or is stepping through a difficult passage that has gripped the heart and calling upon one's inner priest/priestess to bless the ordeal and the moments of tenacity of purpose.

The transformative power of challenges is no small thing. It was said by Paul Valery, the French poet, essayist and philosopher,

"That a difficulty is a light; an insurmountable difficulty is a Sun."

Sometimes it is the image of our task that we carry that makes a task difficult.

If we change the image of how we perceive it, the task itself will unfold more smoothly.

Ask yourself now, with the tasks you have in front of you, what image are you holding of your tasks? When you can name the way something is being held often you can walk thru it more easily.

The New Year is a time of looking back and seeing the blessedness and blessings of our lives and the Goodness that has been with us and followed us and guided us and continues to.

Where do we bless from? We drop into the vastness where we are one with everything and everyone and from there call for a blessing, and like the Buddha,invoking the vast to be with you.

Whenever one person takes another into the custody of their heart, they have the authority to bless. When we love someone we turn toward them with our Divinity and the Spirit itself is the wellspring of blessing.

Acts of kindness carry their own luminosity and in themselves become beacons of light that bless.

Seeing and acknowledging someone, raising them up in your seeing these are ways in which our blessing holds great power for the transformation of another.

Recently I left to take a long trip overseas.  I went to see my landlady before I left.  She is an elderly woman.  She looked straight into my eyes and said to me, "Always remember where you are and may God go with you." I felt the sweetness and the realness of her blessing and I thanked her.

A blessing is to call some quality of wholeness upon a person to make whole a loss, to make good a journey, to raise a life.

We do not bless by ourselves but we invoke the power of the universe in the name of love.

You will never know the true potential of blessing, the forms it can take, the ways it can alter one's life and the lives of others.

It is a private act, a sacred act of great power and humility. It says, I cannot change the past but I can bless it and say "so be it" and move forward.

There are places that are containers of blessedness. Places in nature, places such as these­­– of devotion and respect. The ancients knew this, we still know this. It is here right now.

How do they come?

Thresholds arrive in all shapes and manners.

Perhaps We have come slowly to realize that what we have been doing or what we have taken ourselves to be are no longer alive in us, we can look at it differently instead of resenting it we can see that this loss of aliveness is actually an opportunity, which will require some growth for a necessary change to occur.

So in this way, the challenges of change can be reframed as a portal to an entirely new sense of aliveness, life and possibility. What if we looked upon everything that occurred to us in our lives as an entry point to the new. Would we ever think or say the word calamity again? If our life is made up of a myriad of entry points what benevolent conspiracy is this thing called life? And how close to us is our soul?

John O'Donohue, in his book Anam Cara, writes:

"Behind the facade of the familiar, strange things await us."

Their beauty and mystery is that they come often when we need them most or when we are not the least bit aware that they are going to arrive. They are always a challenge; a challenge that demands great courage from us, especially when one opens up for which you are not prepared.  This could be illness, suffering, or loss. It could be a great and unexpected surprise or invitation.

Some Years ago I was living on the Cape in Massachusetts and my partner at the time was out of town when a hurricane blew up. His sailboat was in the water and I took it upon myself to save it from being blown away. In the midst of it I misjudged the depth of the water and I began to drown. I was so surprised by this I heard myself say out loud—now, now I am going to die now? If it be Thy will I give myself to You but if it is not Your will, I Choose Life. In an instant a great wave rolled over me and washed me up onto the beach. Over the next days and weeks, I wept. I realized that I had always felt a bit ambivalent about being here. The tears came because I saw that I had just been given the opportunity to say out loud, "I Want To Be Here". This was a threshold moment. They are not always like this but sometimes they are. The important part, in my experience, is to accept them and learn to look at them with great respect because they are being offered from our souls.

What do they serve?

Thresholds serve the destiny of our individual souls. They form us and draw color and the unusual into our lives. The things that happen to us tell us a little more about who we are. What aspect of our nature is trying to evolve and strengthen, what gifts are hidden in these life events, gifts that we will come to share and teach to others.

The script of each person's destiny is a secret, we never know who we are actually looking at when we face another human being. And so we do not often even know ourselves.

That we are even here is a huge confirmation that somehow life needed us here and wanted us to exist. To really take this in can open a large well of self-acceptance and self-love in the heart.

A threshold need not be a threat-instead it can be a call, an incitement to promise. We can trust that if it has come we are somehow completely ready for it.

How can we serve them?

We can learn how to rein back on the innate drive for accomplishment. And to really listen in the stillness of these transitions.

To recognize when we are somewhere in the corridor of a life transition and to accept that it has its own timing, divine timing. We cannot rush them. It doesn’t mean it is easy.

So too when a threshold is a great loss, the loss of the familiar has a grief period. Loss of the familiar can be devastating.  But it can also reveal the hidden resources we did not even know we had. Often we are numbed by what we are used to and we stop knowing ourselves as the creative gifts that we are.  We stop seeing the ones we love, the place we live, we are not guffawed by beauty. This is the hidden gift of change- it shakes us awake to what is happening all around us, to what has been happening. Transitions are crossings.  They are full of potential as well as challenge.

Loss of the familiar has available within it great creative forces  if we can learn to listen and appreciate the aspects of ourselves that don’t get seen when we are driving our ambitions, or making each moment part of an agenda. All that we have taken for granted gets eclipsed by a threshold.

Because in the loss of the familiar we cannot see ourselves in the same way we become privy to our essential self in a new way and we can ask new questions:

  • Who and what am I,
  • What is this container – the human being and what powers does it hide?

We can learn to see all the varieties of presence available; listen inward with complete attention until we hear the inner voice calling us forward that The time has come to cross.

And then one day, the way in which spring secretly overtakes winter, barely discernible, we pass thru the doorway, sometimes in a sweeping motion, sometimes in a gradual dissipation of small moments and sometimes both. We wake suddenly or gradually to a new present. And we are aware we have changed.

As we sit here together, or at any time you can ask yourself:

At what threshold am I now standing,

At this time in my life what am I leaving?

Where am I about to enter and

What is preventing me from crossing my next threshold?

What gift would enable me to do it?

Who would I be if I were to make this crossing?

What would my life be like if I were to gather myself

Trust that all that I need is within me?

To say to life to the cosmos to God

Here I am

I am ready.

I choose life.

I would like to end this talk with a blessing by John O'Donohue called:

Blessing for a New Beginning

In out of the way places of the heart,

Where your thoughts never think to wander,

This beginning has been quietly forming

Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire

Feeling the emptiness growing inside you

Noticing how you willed your self on

Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety

And the gray promises that sameness whispered,

Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,

Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,

And out you stepped onto new ground,

Your eyes young again with energy and dream,

A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear

You can trust the promise of this opening;

Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning

That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;

Hold nothing back; learn to find ease in risk;

Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,

For your soul senses the world that awaits you.


The Woman Who Is a Complete Human Being

Reflected Love One of the most heartbreaking realities in our culture is the fact that all of us have grown up with and been taught to see our worth and our essence through the reflections back from family, lovers, institutions, job performance, career success or failure, how we look, to name a few.

And from these erroneous assessments we go on to believe that we are something inferior; not the beautiful Beings of light that we are, but somehow always on the outside of a perfection that we perceive to be in others or in the future but not now, not in ourselves. We go on to attack ourselves in this way, continually trying to fix ourselves, to fit in with others, social situations, public institutions, in order to feel that we are okay.

As women growing up in this culture the reflection often is fused with how one looks, or acts or if we are acceptable in the roles we have taken on. And so even our sexuality becomes a torment of trying to be something for others and in doing so we subjugate ourselves to something we perceive as a measuring tool for our goodness.

I went to hear Robert Waterman speak, an original founder of Southwestern College in Santa Fe, NM last year. The title and prologue of his talk, drew me in a powerful way:

The Good That is Seeking You from Within

"The fear began when, in our curiosity, we stepped away from ourselves. The sensation of separation, while initially exciting, settled in as fear. From then on, we interpreted love through its reflections. Reflected love is a contrary and perverse partner. Love itself continued below the surface, growing in stature, yet undetected by fear. Our addiction and defense of fear masquerade as a dark lover. All this time, and we are ancient, while we fought the dragon, love continued to mature within us. On the surface we have come to believe we are experts, which effectively hides from our awareness the true mastery by which we guide our lives. When we discover how we actually make our lives, living from love is easy and powerful."ROBERT WATERMAN

I was personally and deeply touched by Waterman’s workshop that day. He is a calm very humble man whose presence is an abiding loving one.

Linley Solari of Taos, also attended this workshop and wrote a clear summary of the day’s offering by Waterman, which I include here in part:

“…And then he[Waterman] began, in earnest, by saying that our discomfort, our pain, our fear, our anger, our confusion is NEVER about what is actually happening but lies solely with our relationship to what is happening. “The difficulty is never the issue; it’s our relationship to the issue.”

“EVERYTHING is a reflection back to us, “he said. “It is not something to be judged or fixed or defended or protected. You are not something trying to find God…that is the reflection. You are already God trying to find itself in this world.”

What Waterman was addressing is the basic and fundamental split in our psyche between what we hold ourselves to be and what we actually are. We have all been hypnotized through thousands of years of imprinting into believing we are something separate from the foundational intelligence of the universe. We have all come to believe in the innate limitation and inadequacy of the individuatedself. And so we seek…we seek to find “something” in the “outside” world that will make us feel adequate: love, sex, money, family, knowledge, status, religion, accomplishment, power. We are seeking to somehow complete what we feel is incomplete: our very selves. “We interpret Love through its reflections.”—End of Solari’s summary.

the nature of illness

the nature of illness

Here is the dream I wish to end this year with…it is a celebration of human existence as learned from the woman in this dream. I pass it along to you.

2013   The Woman Who Is A Complete Human Being

I dream I am at a sitting with M and 3 other people, another woman and two men. M is sitting facing us and we are sitting 4 square facing him. The room is without light, it seems to be twilight. There is a knocking sound against the building. The woman behind me thinks there may be someone at the door. I know it is a tree branch but I cannot control my body from responding. My body crawls down to the floor and out of the room. When I cross the threshold I am facing an open door and it is broad daylight. I am in a beach town and the air and light have that quality and color to it. I walk out the door turning right without any idea where I am going. I wonder how or if I will remember how to get back here. I meet a child and she takes me to a house of an older woman. I met these woman years ago-she remembers what I wore, a silk shirt that she admired. The woman is lying on her back. A man friend is there who is my age, and she is showing him her chest, that is bleeding below where her left breast has been removed. Both her breasts are completely gone. The scars are there and her chest looks like a battleground-it is purpled with bruises and blood is seeping from below her breast scar. I am reminded of the portraits of Jesus on the cross. I don’t know if she has an infection or the wound is still healing. She shows this to him without any self-pity. To simply reveal herself. Then she is standing up and she has with her in her hands two of her favorite objects, which she seems to be gifting to him. One is a silver pen that she holds in her left hand. The pen looks like nothing I have seen before. It is about an inch and half wide, it is tapered at each end, it bulges a bit in the center. The ends that are tapered look a bit like the feather but it is symmetrical and very unusual. In her other hand she is holding a piece of silk, a small square of it about a foot square or a little smaller. The silk is gold but luminous gold, luminous from within the weave of the material. I love the realness of this person, and she strikes me as a complete and total human being, not simply a woman although she is certainly that.   I find I love her relationship to the man, the child and to life. It imprints me. I go to leave and as I walk out I think I am going back the way I came but I gradually see that the numbers are getting larger in the addresses and I see that I will not be going back the way I came. I feel at peace to be somewhere so foreign.

This dream in a way speaks for itself. I still see and feel the woman’s chest, my chest. I feel as if she lives inside of me and as if this potential is the most human and most awakened part of me. All that it means to be a real human being. The wounds, the pen, and the silk. Our human journey including our injuries, our creative ability to express ourselves and the essential fabric of our existence—the golden and luminous truth of who and what we are.

We can relearn our understanding of ourselves, our real selves, and begin to see that in others, honoring the truth of our realities to one another and to our children.

star gazers

star gazers

I wish you a very peaceful holiday full of joy and promise and renewal.



Ripping the Veil

And I have felt A presence that disturbs me with the joy

Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime

Of something far more deeply interfused,

Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,

And the round ocean and the living air,

And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:

A motion and a spirit,

That impels

All thinking things, all objects of all thought,

And rolls through all things.

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH, Lines Composed A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey (excerpt)

I would like to write about two topics over the next couple of weeks – one on the subject of persona and the other on the subject of reflected love.

We live our lives as if totally convinced of our stories of others and ourselves until we have an experience of another reality, a hidden reality.  Then the basis for all our beliefs wobbles and we see we have not been scraping the surface of bedrock, but the pillowed existence we have built on top of it.

Through this discussion my intent is not to bash the personality.  It is with us as long as we are in human skin.  It is shaped by all our life experiences and is part of the way we relate and make our lives work, pursue careers and have families.  It is a necessary aspect of our lives.

My intent here is to give it its place. And to raise the question about who and what we actually are, and what is keeping us in hiding.

In this first dream, a decision is made to face myself completely, not realizing what that might mean.

October 12, 2011

Papji, a 20th century Indian sage, once commented that the presence of a lion in a dream was a sign of the Higher Self in pursuit of you.

I am both in the dream and witness to the dream.

There is a lion, so small and harmless. I have it in a bowl of peanut butter. I am looking at it thinking if I let this cat out I will prove I am ready to face myself completely, knowing it will be life size if I do. With that thought the lion is out of the bowl, life size, in the room, my bedroom. It is very frisky and is nipping at me like a dog but it is a bit stronger. I look up and now there are TWO wild cats in the room. I watch my character get up on the bed with my back to the headboard, as far back as I can get. One of the lions jumps up onto the bed and with one stroke tears off my face. I hear myself saying, “Well there goes my face.” I am thinking, “I wonder what it will be like to live without a face.” Scene shift. I am with the lions again; we are in my living room. They are very lively and moving around. “It is Sunday,” I say, “and I can finally get to really look at the details.” End of dream.

Initially in the dream I am looking at a tiny lion in a bowl of peanut butter. The lion is like a childhood toy in a bowl of childhood food. When I see it there I am aware I am living behind the façade of being a helpless child, playing at consciousness, and that if I really wanted to know what and who I am I would only have to say it and the lion would be life size. And with this thought—poof! The lion is full-grown, there in my bedroom – the place of intimacy. The lion is frisky, not calm or serene, nipping me – making full contact with its mouth and teeth. And then there are TWO lions…and I feel their intent and pursuit of me. (When TWO shows up in this context I am reminded of the two headed snake, the two headed elephant, the Adam and Eve myth, the Shiva/Shakti story—the duality speaks to the masculine and feminine aspects but also to the sense that the Infinite embodies wholeness and is not in short supply. They come perhaps to represent the creative force of the universe-the ever-generative power of creation from which we are born.) I climb up onto the bed and press myself back into the headboard. I know the inevitable is coming and in the dream I want to feel the solidness of something behind me, bracing me for when it comes. With one stroke the lion tears off my face; there is no pain. Only a true wondering: “What it will be like to live without a face, what it will be like to be seen by others without a face?” And then there is a scene shift – and I am in my ‘living’ room (I have brought this shift into my real life).  The lions are there, very lively moving around. And almost in answer to my query of What will it be like,  I say aloud, “It is Sunday—(Sunday- the day dedicated to the sacred-the sun, the source of light), and I can finally get to really look at the details—(I can finally look without a mask at all there is to see.)

My intent is not to bash the personality.  It is with us as long as we are in human skin.  It is shaped by all our life experiences and is part of the way we relate and make our lives work, pursue careers and have families.

My intent is to raise the question about whether we actually have any idea who we are. And if we don't, what is keeping us in hiding.

shadow introductions

shadow introductions

“The ancient Greeks, in their renowned comedies and tragedies, had their actors portray their characters by holding up masks in front of their faces. The masks were known as “personas”. And so it is. We have come to identify with our “personas” rather than realizing that we are each but mere characters in a divine play. We get to explore life as our character and engage in the game of hide and seek wherein we seek and find the divine in each other and in all things. [But] More often we hide our divinity and hide the divinity of others and all things.”


So to ask the question is to begin to lower the mask, to admit that we don’t actually know what and who we are.  And perhaps opens the way for the God within us to reveal a glimpse of our true wealth.

Friend, this is the only way to learn the secret way:

Ignore the paths of others,

Even the saints' steep trails.

Don't follow.

Don't journey at all.

Rip the veil from your face.

SACHAL SARMAST, Translation by Ivan. M. Granger


Dust of the Earth, Dust of a Star

If you accept the nature of dreams as being from one's Higher Self then it changes the way you view your life and the lives of others.  In a sense we lead a double life – Earth and Star – and there is no getting around it. But how we treat ourselves, how we address our missteps – this we have control over. The following dream illuminated how I was seeing myself by giving me the contrast from the 'other side'.

I dream I am a soul named Lawrence.  I am looking back at my life, which I am still living but from which I am taking a time-out to look at certain events. In my living I have been somewhat hard on myself and impatient with the parts of my life that are filled with unawareness.  When I am on my time-out, however, my view of myself is softer, because I am in a place of Light, and I simply look at the events from my life, saying aloud, "Oh I am in unawareness here, and oh there, and there too." But there is no harshness or despair, simply seeing things for what they are –  more or less conscious. Then the scene shifts to me as Patti on Earth and I still remember Lawrence. I understand I have been feeling rough around the edges as I tackle some core issues especially when I look at myself through the bright searchlights of self-criticism as opposed to through the non-judgmental love of my inner light. I get to see—"ah just unawareness here in these areas."  I get to see what Lawrence sees. The weight of measurement and self condemnation lifts off my shoulders and heart. It is a relief.

I share the dreams on this blog to illustrate the instructive potential of the realm in dreams.  I invite anyone who would like to work with their dreams to submit a dream and I am happy to look at it and see what I can see, of course anonymously.

I wish you a Blessed and belated Thanksgiving holiday.



Taking One's Place

Taking one’s place, the place that belongs to you. Our dreams tell us exactly where we are in our lives — where we are shy or hesitating or playing small. And they give us exemplars that are not. In the following two dreams which came within 10 days of one another the subject of taking one’s seat or place in life, in the world, came into play.

January 15, 2013 looking for my place

I dream I was teaching in a school-it was a large institute or college. Something has occurred in the school or in the world that was being evaluated at a forum. I was entering the school through a large underground passageway or viaduct. Several students are straggling; other teachers and myself are ushering them along because of the event outside and in. I was going up into stadium-like seating. I see the rows for faculty. I am going to be speaking and I am telling myself that I don’t necessarily need to sit down. I see there are one or two ‘aliens’ in the faculty row. Two large elephant-headed men. They are giving one of the faculty, a man, a hard time for some way he has handled something. They are sitting to either side of the man. There are a number of empty seats around them. I walk toward the aisle not sure if I should sit down, or stay standing. I can see and sense that the conversation with the elephant heads and the other faculty member is very intense and I am not feeling at ease standing near them. I wake up.

In this first dream I am in a teaching position at a secondary institute and there is a forum to address something that has happened in the world or in the school. There is a sense of urgency in the dream to pay attention to something, something that has happened, is happening, of importance. I am in a teaching role with students, ushering students to 'take their seats' for this discussion. So the dream is saying something about taking a seat and addressing something of importance  through all these cues right at the beginning of the dream. I am also going to be one of the staff that is speaking. Inside I am feeling very indecisive about what and where and if to sit down. As I am combing the seats for a space I see two elephant-headed men I believe are ‘aliens’ sitting among the faculty. They are sitting to either side of another faculty member, a man, and are in the process of grilling him about the way he has handled something. Elephant-headed, for me, is symbolic for wise beings. The intensity with which they are pressing him is very uncomfortable to watch, mostly because I experience it as if it were happening to me and for this reason would like to keep my distance. So I am stalling sitting down as one of them and stand in the aisle waiting to know what I should do.

Waiting to know what one should do can be a place of power and it can also be a place of non-acknowledgement of what you are already doing.  I am already a part of the faculty of this institution and yet I feel uncertain about actually sitting among the faculty.  And then on top of it I see that one of my colleagues is being pressed by two very large wise beings to be more masterful in his way of handling things. So I see that it is not enough for me to acknowledge what I am already in the role of doing but I must find my mastery in it and apply it to each and every thing that comes my way. So taking my place is not only partly about assuming my position but involves what kind of commitment I will bring to that position.   We are all perpetual learners — students — no matter what else we are doing. And if it happens that you answer your calling with your whole heart you will in effect teach others something of value...taking it to heart what you are learning is the what that you are already teaching. Then one's own teacher becomes internalized and we hear what we need to learn through the wisdom of our own hearts; a wisdom that can be relentless and inescapable, a wisdom that presses in on you from all directions. It is a choice to step into this and embrace it this way and it is also a game changer. To accept that you are in charge and responsible for your own mastery and by your example are teaching others. The man in between the two elephant-headed men is my exemplar. He was not a super savvy bright slick star. He is a hard working ordinary-from-the-outside human being who was being called out for something he had handled unmasterfully. The most important thing about him is that he accepted it. He did not run away or change his seat. He took it. Sometimes this is the most we can do when we are facing a difficult learning.

i stood to face her

i stood to face her

January 25, 2013

An image of a lion, male, walking out onto a playing field in the bright light of day. The playing field is lush green; you step down onto it from steps off the sidewalk. The playing field is in its own plane. I have never seen it like this in this country, perhaps in Europe. Behind the lion came a dog and perhaps another animals or 2 dogs. Could be a dog and a lamb. It was a level playing field but somehow elevated so you could see the whole area from here where I am standing.

Scene shifts and I am on a train in Europe. There is a banquet taking place in another city that I am going to attend. I am near the passenger seats. There is an elegant woman with an enigmatic smile (reminds me of L) sitting next to the window facing the direction of the movement of the train. There is a ‘gentleman outlaw’ sitting next to L. They are not acquainted. The outlaw says to me about L, “I knew she must be an American because she sat down exactly where she wanted. I always sit in that exact seat. She didn’t even wait to see where I was going to sit, she simply sat where she wanted.” L continued her smile.

Later I am in the banquet room and I have become L’s character. I am a little late to dinner but not really, as it seems to be an ‘eternal buffet’. I am putting a white piece of cake into a glass — I don’t see the plates, and I am taking it to the place I am sitting. I am sure others will want what I am eating. I’ll take the first bites and give the rest to them.

This dream is rich in positive images. A lion steps out onto a level playing field and it is completely in view. The lion is often a symbol for the higher self and is considered auspicious in a dream. A level playing field signals that there is complete equality and equanimity in the situation, nothing is biased against anyone. Everything is possible.

Then the scene shifts and I am on a train going to a destination in another city in Europe where I will be attending a banquet. Another rich image-the banquet- the feast. On the train there is an older woman who reminds me of a friend, L, who has an enigmatic smile. A smile of mystery. The Mona Lisa smile. She says nothing. She doesn’t have to speak; she acts with complete authority without pushing, without self-righteousness. She boldly sits down decidedly in the seat she wants. A “Gentleman Outlaw”, a man who also lives by his own rules but without offensiveness is in the perfect position in a way to comment on L because he is like her. But he is mystified nonetheless. He sees that she is Free. His words are a book in themselves as he comments that she ‘did not wait to see where anyone else wanted to sit’, she simply sat down in the seat she wanted, by the window, the place with the most access to a view and facing in the direction of the movement of the train. What an invitation for a way in which to live one’s life.

The scene shifts again as I arrive in the city where the banquet is being held. Now I have shifted into being the woman character, L. This dream, which is one big summons from start to finish, has imprinted me and I have embraced a new potential embodied by the enigmatic L. I arrive a little late but see it is no problem because this is an ‘eternal buffet’, a dinner, not only where you can serve yourself as much as you want of anything, but a dinner that never ends. As I embrace my new dream character I am also embracing eternity and my own eternal and lawless nature. Again the sense that one could not do anything wrong here in this place as this potential. I help myself to a piece of cake and take it back to where I am sitting so I can offer it to others after taking a few bites. Because I am sure they will all want what I am having.

This is a dream that tells it all.  It says, "If you want to know how to live, experience the inner reality of these folks." And I was so imprinted inside the dream itself that I did just that.  So that when I woke up I still had the sensation of living in that kind of freedom.  This is the magic of a dream.


Metaphors in Dreams — Getting New Glasses

Dreams often come to us using a metaphorical set of images to get across to us a message or potential trying to manifest in our lives. One such metaphor that has repeated itself in several of my own dreams is ‘getting fitted for new glasses’. There are many ways of ‘looking’ at this metaphor. One way is just acknowledgement that we are seeing on a new level and we need the glasses that go with the depth with which we are seeing. Another way to look at it is there is a growth edge manifesting and we are being asked to ‘step up’ as it were to stay on line with our new potential.

Here are two dreams that came this past spring and summer having to do with getting new glasses. With each one of them there is a sense of self-consciousness, indecision, even irritability and fear showing me that I was not completely comfortable with the new requirements for growth.

April 20, 2015

I dream I am being fitted for a new kind of glasses. Each eye has its own lens and frame—each is very big and independent from the other— they look like camera lenses. Each one fits into the eye. If it fits well it stays in place. A man and a woman are helping me and fitting the new glasses. At times it feels like the experience of trying on shoes. At last we find the right fit and I pay for the glasses. They are somewhat expensive. As I am leaving the store I see myself in the mirror— it is the first time since I got the glasses fitted that I see myself and I am surprised that I have bought these glasses. They are huge and no one else has glasses like these. I look to another woman sitting there-she is very pretty and has these demure looking petit glasses on. I say to the man maybe I would do better with those kinds of glasses. He said you already had those and they weren’t right for you before and that is why you came for these. I say I don’t suppose you return money for glasses you have made just for me. He says no and waves his hand. So I leave with my new glasses. No one seems to notice them but I feel as if people will know that I can really ‘see’ them and they will hate me for it.

This is one of those dreams where you can feel yourself swallow hard when you go to work with it. While it is all fine and good to think you can see things that are going on in life and you can really see people in their innocence and appreciate them. It is quite another to have on a set of glasses that announces to others that you see everything, you see what others don’t want you to see, and that is a game changer. Because it takes a lot of courage to keep these glasses on and to know what and how and if to relay what it is you are seeing. It is a new potential that has a built in responsibility that you know right off the bat that you are not always going to understand how to use. The kind of responsibility that requires a lot of love to go along with it. There are always immediate tests for these kinds of potentials, and in real life they came almost within 24 hours. I was able to feel the strength along with the vulnerability. It is a difficult edge to get past-whether you care more about if people like you OR whether you care about being true to your self and to want to respond to that trueness in integrity and kindness.


In the next dream I am being taken to the ensuing stage of owning these new ways of seeing.

July 15, 2015

I dream I am being fitted for new glasses. My grown children are with me. When the fitting is finished I take the glasses off and they get all out of whack. And the glasses have to be adjusted again. Every time I take the glasses off they get wonky and must be realigned. I am complaining loudly to the man who runs the shop. He is a very elegant man, older, perhaps French. He tsks tsks me and says no, this is the way the glasses are. I begin to cry and say I want to return the glasses and the man says his store never takes glasses back. I am in an overly sensitive state –I have just heard that my former partner is remarrying his first wife. Though I think this makes total sense I still feel very ‘sensitive’ about it. My kids are being themselves with out any reactions. There is a woman, a by-stander, who is saying a word that seems to mean 'transient' or 'impermanent' or 'fugitive'. I wake up.

So in this dream I can see that I am feeling very sorry for myself, and I am resisting a growth edge and complaining loudly and dramatically about it. It is being exacerbated in my mind by another growth edge that I understand and which makes sense to me but which my little self ‘doesn’t like ’— that my former partner is remarrying his first wife. There are many things being modeled to me in this dream. The backdrop, which I say has made me feel emotional and sensitive, is the remarriage of my former partner to his first wife, which hints at a realignment with original Love, in a public and committed way. And then there are the conditions of having these ‘sensitive’ new glasses — that if you take them off they will need to be adjusted before you can wear them again. I am rejecting this idea because it means that I will need to keep the glasses on. I will need to continually see in a new way and that will take a level of maturity I am not accustomed to and have not been stepping up to. My grown children and the shop owner assume I can take this in stride and have no reaction at all to the conditions of the glasses or their sensitivity to being handled. The shop owner admonishes me not for taking the glasses off but for crying about the conditions I have to take into account and he tsks-tsks me like a little child, which is what I am acting like. I am the only one in the dream who seems to be having a problem and because of this when I wake up I see –oh I am being asked to grow up here. The way that I understood the insertion of the word being spoken by the by-standing woman meaning transient and fugitive is that I am in a state of transition from one way of being to another and that this too shall pass.

Although sometimes dreams have a shameless way of presenting things to us we are embarrassed to admit, the truly miraculous aspect is that once we do admit to our own foibles and where we are getting in our own way, there is a shift in us that leads to another level from which to live. Because growth is not accidental, it is part of who we are and why we are here.