Not just work-life balance: work-life integration


Becoming a birth doula has felt like a calling, not just a career. As I take each step, I've been asking myself  – to quote Carol Flinders – “What is at the root of this longing?" And I think it’s community.The truth is, though my life is beautiful right now, I am yearning for more community. What I’m imagining is something with a separate space for myself and my immediate family, and then communal spaces for cooking, eating and being sociable. I’m not saying that would be a panacea for all m … [Read more...]

Invitation to blog: t’is the season to be…


As winter closes in on us, we would like you to tell us about how the shift affects you: What is your intention as we enter the season of winter, when the days are short and the nights are long? How do you slow down in nature's season of quiet and rest in the midst of the frenetic activity of the holiday season? As you consider these questions, we invite you to dive deep into your wisdom, and send us a blog of 500-900 words. Send it … [Read more...]

Ancestry……how important are you?


I remember.......Charlie Cuozzo’s Italian grocer in Washington [D.C.]. Once a week, without fail, my Nonie and Poppa [immigrant grandparents] would drive slowly, and carefully, into downtown southwest Washington. Boisterous greetings and waves meet everyone who came and went in the store. Family, old friends, neighbors, kids, gathered; and yes, even long suffering rivalries were forgotten within Cuozzo’s store. Old men sat around and swapped tales or went out back in the tiny yard and played boc … [Read more...]

Saidi lights a candle in honor of her relatives.

She goes to blind school and otherwise lives in an attic. It is there she develops ceremonies that tender fervently the deepest nature of her heartfelt affection for her departed relatives. The composition of these ceremonies causes her to dig deeper and deeper for what she recalls of her vestigial leaning towards her indigenous roots. When Mom was a girl, it was not cool to be Indian. Better to be Italian! Saidi heard her mother telling her sister-in- law one day. Although Grandfather often … [Read more...]

Alter to our ancestors: bringing love into my life even now


My ancestors – the past few generations of them anyway - were an interesting bunch… to put it politely. There was amazing talent there and some very special gifts to be sure, but as people… well, they were nothing any compassionate, loving human being would want to emulate. If you come to my house, you will see one small picture of my mother with my kids but nothing like an altar to her. I’ll say this for my mother, at least she tried.That said, I do have an ancestors altar in my home and it … [Read more...]

Naming without shaming: forgiving my ancestors


On 31st October 2011 I wrote a letter to my ancestors. I began by saluting both lines but principally addressed my maternal lineage because I felt there were restless ancestral spirits there. At that Samhain I decided that I needed to perform a ritual of forgiveness to help heal some of the unhealthy limbs of my family tree.Two years prior, my mother had gone into a nursing home and the few ancestral items not dispersed with her house sale a few years earlier, needed to be rehomed. My mother … [Read more...]

Invitation to blog: our ancestors


Our exploration for this month will honor the ancestors. People of many traditions remember the ancestors who have passed over at this time of year, including Samhain in the Celtic/ Pagan traditions and Day of the Dead (Nov 1st) in many cultures. Indigenous wisdom keepers have told us it is urgently important to listen to the guidance and messages coming from the ancestors NOW to guide humanity through coming Earth changes.How do you honor your ancestors and what role do they play in your … [Read more...]

Tugging at my heart…

When I review my list of things to do, whose many items catch my eye, I realize my heart strings have been tugging at me since the beginning of time.When I look at my list, it seems to resemble the makings of a medieval palimpsest blinding contemporary eyes with irresistible twinges of potential luminosity. In other words, I have too many things to do. Instruments of another time and place, whether scribbled on a white-washed wall or on a post-it note appear overwhelming. I am drowning in an … [Read more...]

Sharing the heart-swelling gift of encouragement


I once heard someone describe how, while traveling on a bus in Africa, where many roads look like something Americans would reserve for all-terrain vehicles, he’d had an unexpected encounter with the power of encouragement.As the driver navigated the deeply rutted road, the passengers would repeatedly, and with great enthusiasm, cry out a phrase that sounded like “ay-kushay.” As the American man watched more carefully, he realized that this was a kind of cheer they made each time the driver s … [Read more...]

Make it Be So…and the Time is Now

Discover Ireland Centre, Dublin October 2013

I am sitting at a picnic table watching a steady stream of people team towards stages around the Ulster American Folk Park to hear some foot stomping bluegrass and soul resounding Gospel music. In a seriously post-viral state, I consider myself legitimately excused from this melee; I have ducked singing with the Festival Choir. Later on I will go and sit in the audience, listen and applaud. That is about the height of my power at this moment.As I sit here I find that I am doodling ideas. … [Read more...]