Sunday, May 8, 2016

And the Beat Goes On

Over the years I’ve read many, many books that have had big influences on me. Though there were one or two that were fiction (Mists of Avalon… sigh…) most were nonfiction; books on the spiritual path, women’s spirituality, psychology, dreams, symbolism, the divine feminine, the wild feminine, the goddess, the journey, the dark night, the cosmos, and so on. At one time I had shelves lined with these books, but over the years, too many moves, and the interest to lighten the “load,” most have moved on to new homes.

But there are two books that have been total game changers. The first was Listening to Wild Dolphins by Bobbie Sandoz. That this book even found its way into my hands was no small miracle involving an eight-hour delay in Honolulu on the way home from Kauai, an airline that cared enough to put all of its passengers on a bus and entertain them for the day, then on the way back to the bus, walking briskly past a bookstore and spying this obscure little title sitting upright on a stack of books at the door. (Not to mention some magical something that made me stop, and without preamble, run into the store, and buy it. Five years later, because of that book, I swam for the first time in the wide open ocean with wild dolphins and almost nothing has been the same since.)

Recently Dr. Christiane Northrup’s new book, Goddesses Never Age showed up. The title itself, plus the pretty boring first few chapters made me give up reading it many times. Though strangely, and almost against my will, I just kept picking it up again. And somewhere along the way (maybe the chapter about grieving and raging...?  the one about sensuality...?) I started to get it. I began to understand that this book was speaking directly to the subconscious part of me (not to mention the glaring conscious messages from our culture itself) that believed that once I hit a certain age (which I had a few years before thank you very much) that life was just over. Over the next few days, as I read, I literally felt a shifting, like a large seismic event inside me. Reading each morning, looking out the big picture window as trees burst into blossom, as birdsong filled the air once again, as desperately needed rain continued to pour on our parched earth long into spring (thank you, El Nino), so her words nurtured the part of me that so longs to live. 

I watched as one negative belief after another came up and was discarded, and soon one word began to float round me like fresh, new, air, like bubbles at a child's party, colorful and ethereal and I've danced with that one word ~ possibility ~ ever since. It has become my new mantra and it has led to things I could not even have known to put on a dream/wish list - like words finally pouring out again, like rediscovering my body, like driving sixty miles round trip twice a week to lose myself to incredible electronic sounds (literal dancing!) with one hundred strangers! Clearly that something that led me to the dolphin book (and yes, that led me to leave my marriage, that walked with me into the void and the dark night, that held me even in my deepest despair, even when I had no clue I had not been utterly abandoned) that something that's been there these long, long years, and all the decades before... that is always there. Higher Self, Beloved, Divine Mother, the Universe, God, Goddess, The Great Mystery, Light, Life, Love.

And the beat goes on... And anything is possible... Anything... Such music to these ears. Such unexpected inspiration. As one song ends and another begins, each moment that it hits me anew I am blown away, again and again, and yet again.  

Sunday, July 5, 2015

How Lucky

How Lucky it is to call such an astonishing planet home
How Lucky to live an hour's drive from the shore
How Lucky for birds for sand for painted skies for invigorating salt water for dolphin fins

How Lucky for an able body for eyes that see for lungs that breathe for a heart that beats (and loves and breaks and loves and breaks and loves again)

How Lucky for a long walk, for waves hitting legs, cool breezes on skin
How Lucky for a comfortable beach chair healthy food a good book a nice camera

How Lucky, how very lucky for good company, my own and others'
How Lucky for basic safety

How Lucky for deep relaxation
For the feeling I get when on, in, or near the water... that anything is possible... anything

How Lucky that somehow, through some bit of grace, in a simple moment, completely unexpected, I slip like Alice through a hole in the magnificent clouds and the Great Sky and I became One and I am utterly transported

Wow. How Incredibly Lucky to be alive.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Just Be

I'm not sure how it's possible that it's been a year since my Bimini dolphin trip, over the summer solstice last year. Quite possibly the most stunning five days of my life, swimming in the wide expanse of ocean with our sea sisters and brothers; floating mindless and free in the indigo depths of the gulf stream, where light plays with water in a way that is simply mind blowing, not to mention hypnotic (DEBBY, I kept hearing from far away, you're too far from the boat, GET BACK HERE!); sleeping outside on the deck while anchored over Bimini Road, the boat rocking gently, mesmerized by the night sky, then the lightning, and the deep rumble of thunder across the black waters. Feeling the absolute sacredness of this mysterious place - Bimini Road and our beloved planet - and a stillness and joy in my heart that I know has never been equaled.

In the last three months, creativity of all sorts has taken a backseat to healing. I know this is a gift of the dolphins, one dolphin in particular, on the last day, who circled around again and again to come back to me, to look me in the eye, to swim belly to belly with me, as though saying, Yes! You can do it! We are here to help and support your deepest dreams of healing, your heart's desire to live life as fully as possible! It was not your fault... it was not your shame, though by its very nature it is locked inside your body. You were not, you are not bad or wrong or defective... you are a beautiful soul with a tender and precious heart... (like all souls everywhere!) and we are here, in fact we are honored, and it is our greatest desire to be of such service. 

Back home, after a few weeks basking in the incredible glow, life became life again. Within a few months it began, one thing after the other coming up, making itself known. Just what I asked for I keep reminding myself. But oy vey! Had I only known... Family issues, health issues, emotions, patterns, belief systems. So many things that want to be seen, that want kindness and acceptance and understanding, love even. So many things that long to be healed.

And so it goes. Sometimes creativity has been a cornerstone of the healing journey. At other times, so much is happening internally that there simply nothing left with which to create anything. This seems to be one of those times. Way less doing, far more being. A challenge for me for sure, but a good one. To just sit. To just be. With myself. No distractions. Just being. My life stripped barer by the moment... so many things that used to matter going by the wayside. Sometimes difficult, challenging, painful even, but otherwise a pretty sublime invitation... To just BE.

Like the dolphins...

And p.s., gratitude to my writer friend who said the other day, just face the page, Debby... 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Longing & Sorrow

Maybe it's just me, but what is there not to love about spring? My goodness, and not just the beautiful color and scent of the blooming trees, or the precious new green unfurling on the stark winter branches, not just the longer days or the birds singing their sweet mating calls, but the feeling...  oh the feeling! ...of hope, and renewal, and the flat-out gratefulness at just being alive, and the privilege of witnessing such an exquisite happening.

For long moments I forget the sorrow. I forget the regrets, the worries, the out-and-out fears. I forget the lack of energy, the terrible pain that wakes me sometimes in the middle of the night. the doom that so often accompanies my first waking moment. I forget my aging body and limitations, that I can never eat chocolate again, or cheese, can never drink another margarita - all of these if I truly care about my health, that is. I forget to miss my garden, Hawaii, the dolphins, the butterflies that are almost nowhere to be found anymore.

But what I don't forget, what is impossible to forget, is the longing that spring awakens in me. The hunger to live completely and fully. To meet life with an open and tender heart. To let her soften the hardened edges, relax the habitual guard. Spring helps me remember that anything, anything is possible... I mean, just look around... if these trees can blossom again (especially after years of drought!), surely I can... surely our world can, and in the quiet roar, the secret longings of my being come up for air, the ones that I can barely speak much less entertain, that most of the time remain hidden, safely locked away, though what good they are there I will never know, you know the ones, that set you on fire, make you feel giddy all over, and scare the hell out of you...  all at the same time.

Surely, you know the ones... !

Joyful Spring Equinox
With Love...

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Oh the Beauty

Living in a serious, years-long drought might be the best ever teacher for being in the moment. Walking this morning, seeing the trees that are breaking out in their stunning colors after what felt like a nonexistent winter, part of me screams NO while another part of me is falling headlong into them, feeling the ecstasy of such beauty, reaching for my camera, and feeling the aliveness of spring coursing through me.

I know it does no one - Earth especially - any good the anxiousness that I feel on a daily basis living in a drought. How I look at the browning Redwood trees, the parched, cracked soil, the dry creek beds, the birds hovering over my now disconnected fountain through the filter of fear rather than love. How my body tenses up when I read what scientists say about the history of droughts in California - that some of them have lasted for hundreds of years. How many days go by without prayers for the earth because frankly, I just feel fearful and powerless.

There is absolutely no knowing how long this drought will last. We may be at the beginning of something long, or at the end of something relatively short. It could end next week, it could continue into next century. There's just no knowing. There's no knowing how long my current fibromyalgia flare will last, or the level of pain I will wake up with each morning and carry with me through the day. Nor can we, my daughters and I, know how long we will continue to live together while they are putting their lives, which unexpectedly blew apart, back together. I did not know that my marriage would end, that I would be torn from my home and my beloved garden, or that the man that I loved before my husband would be there one day and with no warning leave the next, nor how that experience would eclipse my life for decades to come. I did not know that when I opened my heart to life, to love, that it could be shattered in so many different ways and incredibly moved in so many others. I did not know when I was experiencing infertility if I would ever get pregnant; I did not know that gaining four pounds that I could not take off would lead me on a journey that would change everything, or that living in constant fear could become an incredible doorway, any more than I knew that the woman who walked so innocently (and blissfully!) into my women's group, in the middle of my torturous dark night five years ago, was destined to become my absolute soul sister.

We know nothing. We do not know what the next hour will bring, much less the next day. All we know is right now, this moment. If the last five years have taught me nothing, they have taught me this. (Really? Because still, I resist...!) And so when spring presents itself, when I turn a corner and my breath is stolen by such beauty, when my heart wants to close and my mind wants to struggle with what is, something else gives me no choice, something that knows what is true just gives itself to the moment...  Oh what an opportunity! To just be in this one moment, for better, for worse, letting it wash over us, the good, the bad, and everything in between, let it open our hearts - let it open my heart, big, wide, deep, which in truth, is all that I ever truly long for.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day for the Self

I've been trying for weeks to write a post to go along with this photo (not that it needs more words, this ironically tragic sentiment from Oscar Wilde saying it all). It's been a struggle. The whole self love thing is a struggle, the gulf wider than I thought possible between what I've experienced in my past and what I long for, between what's been expected, what I've been taught, how I've been indoctrinated and socialized, and what I know in my heart is true.

Into this gulf walks my neighbor, telling me - not as an idea to be explored, but as fact -  that in order to love ourselves we first have to be kind to others... . What? WHAT??? And in that moment, it was gone, the conflict, the gulf, the difficulty, and I found myself arguing passionately, with such fierce love, advocating for this being, for all beings everywhere, who come in so innocent, light and love incarnate, hearts wide open, sweet, tender beings, who deserve to be loved no matter what. It hit me then, when I asked if she only loved her children if they were kind to others, that what this is really about is unconditional love. Not radical self love, not even profound self love, but unconditional self love. Not based on anything we do or don't do, that I do or don't do, having nothing to do with merit or earning, but deserved simply and only because we are, because I am, because she, my neighbor, is. Tender hearts living in a world run amok, where they are - without bad intention - trampled, and in response, closed off from ourselves, from one another, from the Bigger Love everywhere; hearts put away where we think they will be safe, but in reality, cutting ourselves off from our own love, first and foremost and because we are cut off from it here, where the very source lives in our hearts, we cut it off from everyone, everything. 

Still, I have no idea how to get there, how to actually untie the knots of a contracted heart, how to untangle a lifetime of self-hatred and judgment (yes, I said it), how to heal the woundings perpetuated by others who were also, themselves, terribly wounded. I only know that it is calling me. I only know this longing, and to keep exploring, to keep talking about it, to keep writing, to keep making art about it, and to keep being inspired by others' words and journeys. And to see, that even though I have no idea how to do this, what a beautiful gift that it has arisen at all, what a sweetness that even this vulnerability has been exposed and seen, and that through some grace, I am ready, eager even, to begin this love affair. 

So... let's practice today, on the day we celebrate love, in whatever way we can... smiling at ourselves as we pass the mirror, buying ourselves flowers, or even just stopping for an instant and imagining we are our very own beloved.

With Love,
Debby Rose

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


"My heart is like a singing bird"
~Christine Rossetti

Aside from dolphins, and maybe butterflies, birds are my very favorite beings. They are just so magical. I love them, and I envy them. Mostly because they get to fly, but just as important, for songbirds anyway, they get to sing... whenever their little hearts desire.

Music has always been just about everything to me. From Dinah Washington and Johnny Cash, to Elvis and the British Invasion, folk, rock, musical, from aged ten when it really burst into my world, it was never the same. I carried my transistor radio everywhere, lay on the grass staring at the clouds with it, walked to school with it, lay down at night and went to sleep to it, fantasized to it, felt its music's beat, its wonder, its possibilities, its essence deep in my being. I studied the Top 10, poured through the sale, three-for-a-dollar 45's at Woolworths. Later, in high school when I had a job at the Five & Dime, I graduated to albums. Driving an hour to Tower Records on Bay Street in the City (S.F., thank you very much, the only City, home of the counter cultural hippie, peace and free love movement, and the best record store anywhere). Spending hours with the albums, black light psychedelic posters lining the walls... what will it be this time... I can only afford one... Joni Mitchell or Joan Baez? The Moody Blues? Jefferson Airplane? Cat Stevens? The Tijuana Brass? The Funny Girl or the Good, Bad and the Ugly Soundtrack? (I'm not kidding... I still listen to the hauntingly beautiful music from these early Clint Eastwood movies.) Losing myself in the album covers, the art, the sexy musicians, with their long hair and mustaches, shades, cigarettes hanging from their lips. The race home to see if it was a winner... Concerts at Winterland and the Filmore, music to dance to, feel so enlivened by, music to sing with. Usually, and whenever possible, at the top of my lungs. Learning to play the guitar... buying my first real stereo "on time," a sweet Sony, amp and turntable all in one... nice, good-sized speakers, then my first "real" component system, and with it big, incredible headphones for late at night, when the house was quiet but my soul still hungered for more sweet sustenance, and I was in heaven.

It was a love affair I took for granted, and like with so many things, had no idea what I had until I lost it. When at twenty-three I had my first major depressive episode  (there have been two, although my family would probably argue that number) one of the most painful aspects is that I lost music. I couldn't listen to music, not one single note, and I could not sing. It was a barren landscape, for over a year, such darkness, and compounded by the loss of that which had been my constant and most enduring companion, that had nursed my heartaches, assuaged my loneliness, brought mindlessness and a fully embodied joy in so many moments, that made me feel so completely alive.

Since then, it's been off and on. Raising kids, technology changes I was late catching up with, but finally fully rediscovering the joy of music in my mid to late forties, then losing it once again in the dark night that surrounded all of my life changes in the past five years. This time the dry spell was longer, until a year ago when I bought a new car and with it, the worst stereo ever. I drove directly to the nearest car stereo shop and said fix it. And they did. I went for broke, and in the process, brought music back into my life, in the biggest way possible, with the best sound I have ever owned, bar none. I drive around town boom-boom-booming like a teenager and I don't care what anyone thinks... because it is one of life's greatest joys and makes me feel completely and totally alive. It's my backup band, I am the lead singer, and it's all good.

Today, I gauge my mood by how loud I turn up the volume, by whether or not I am singing along. Some days are really good, some still have some catching up to do. But that's okay, because on those days, there are the birds... singing their little hearts out for all the world to hear... never depressed, just gloriously living their dharma... doing what they came here to do, being who they came here to be... beautifully, as though their entire lives depended on it... and I am so utterly grateful.