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

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...]

Believing in our own goodness – that’s what’s tugging at my heart

Recently I led a women's retreat in Berkeley called "I'm Coming From A Great Space: Learning to Tend and Befriend the Chaos in Our Lives".  The room was filled with some great women --"wimmens", I call us -- all of who were on intimate terms with Chaos in Her varied manifestations, and wanting, as I did, to find ways to not only move beyond the tumult but use it as a way to transform our lives for the better.One phrase that kept coming to me in between the exercises and conversation prompts … [Read more...]

Invitation to blog: What is tugging at your heart?

So much of our lives can be spent living the "To Do" list. Things we HAVE TO GET DONE - it's never ending, and exhausting. Worst of all, we can get to the end of our day - or our lifetime - and wonder where it all went. As life rushes past us, we too often forget to ask ourselves if we are living from our heart space - that place within us that is our personal truth, the place that allows us to be and to do what is authentic to us.So, dearest women, do tell us... ...What is tugging at your … [Read more...]


When I enrolled in massage school so many years ago, it was yet another foray into the quest for me-ness? You know, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Not expecting too much, after all it was just massage therapy, I threw myself wholly into the process. And, not realizing at the time, that it would save my life. Having said that, I must acknowledge that a series of unrelated, unexpected synchronicities fell into place to allow me to indulge this adventure.Coincidentally, and around the sa … [Read more...]