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.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Hurting & Loving

Sometimes it's in the seemingly little things. Like watching my bedroom slowly (finally!) turning into the soul nurturing space that I've long dreamed of. Like the small winter tree just outside my window, normally the resting place of purple and gold finches, the occasional hummingbird, but the other morning chock full of robins, sitting so still and peacefully, like beautiful ornaments, the first time I've ever seen more than one or two of them in that tree (and a day after I saw them in the willow trees across the complex, as though they followed me home!).When I walked my dog, there were dozens and dozens, maybe hundreds of them in our little courtyard, in the trees, the bushes, on the ground, another thing I'd never seen. It was completely magical, a totally unexpected thing, and I just stopped and marveled. The small things, like waking before dawn to find one lone and brilliant star rising and later finding that it was Saturn, such startling beauty for a planet that can challenge us in the most difficult ways sometimes... and yet the beauty, of course, is that it is always, always with our highest interests, our soul's very purpose in mind.

Like the poem or quote that appears at the most amazingly auspicious moment... like this last night from one of my favorite spiritual teachers, Gangaji...
Pain is pain...  feel it… I’m jealous I hurt I’m fearful I love... now what am I going to do? Withdraw? Hate? Close off? Or just hurt and love? I recommend hurting and loving.
Ah.......So profound... just hurt and love... it's the most vulnerable, the most heart-opening thing, the most loving thing we can do... hurting and loving... not closing oneself off in a misguided attempt to protect - which doesn't work anyway, and only causes more pain. Yet it is innocent, we want only to not hurt, but know no other way. Hurting and Loving. Not masochistically, but just as in life simply hurts sometimes, no way around it, might as well surrender to it. And love ourselves in the process.

Sometimes the little things are actually big things. Sometimes they bring us the magical, put us in touch with the mystery that is greater than we are, but reminding us that we are not separate. Sometimes they bring us closer to home, home being our own sweet inner being, our spirits, our soul. Sometimes they can point the way, open a door, ground and soothe us. Sometimes they bring hurt, and pain... It's often the seemingly little things that can change everything; that can alter the very course of our lives, bring profound opportunities, drop us so deeply inside there is simply nowhere else to go.

Hurting & Loving... thank you, Life, thank you, Gangaji.

* * * * *
It's so simple we miss it. We think it has to be something bigger, more spectacular. What do people think spiritual development is? It's not lights and trumpets. It's very simple. It's right here and now...  right here in front of us, so close we don't notice it. ~Tenzin Palmo,

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Nature for My Soul

This morning I'm grateful for nature... and for the energy to get up and out as the new day dawned. For the morning moon resting between the redwoods and the bare winter trees (see it?!), the remnants of fall leaves, the beauty of  sunlit clouds, for the joyful sound of birds, and the impulse to look up and see the trees full of red-breasted robins. (And for Ted Andrew's book, Animal Speak, which tells me that robin medicine is all about new growth... yay!)

Today I am grateful for and humbled by two weeks almost completely free of sugar, and one week completely free; a huge prayer answered; for sobriety, clarity, new insights, and renewed motivation. I am (almost) grateful for the hard life learnings; for deeper seeing of how entrenched certain patterns are: for deeper knowing what will truly be required in the arena of profound self love: for the rising up (again) of all that longs to be seen, held, witnessed, loved.

Today I am profoundly grateful for Marlies Cocheret, spiritual teacher, who speaks so beautifully about women, our bodies, about our essential and true natures, about hearts, and true love, unnameable, that comes before words, that there is no words for, that is before everything and of everything, who brought me to tears and deep much needed relaxation this morning.

And for my eldest daughter, who said, mom, write down your truest desires... go do it, right now...

And even though it felt totally scary and overwhelming, here's what's come so far... 

Our deepest desires and longings are sacred... As women, we are not just taught, but indoctrinated into always putting others' wants and needs before our own. Listing these desires felt both scary, taboo, and also exciting. Spiritual teachers tell us that what we long for also longs for us... I love this.

So, here it is. And what about you? What do you desire? I would love to know.                                                            

Sunday, January 4, 2015

In The Mirror

Oh woe is me... it somehow escaped me - at least long enough to publicly rocket into the whole radical self love stratosphere - that said radical self love would have to include my physical self. This poor body, that in so many ways has been through war and back - that I am ashamed of and embarrassed by, that is too big, that is very much aging; this body, that's been abused, misused, starved, over fed, neglected, pushed around, bullied, battled, seriously wounded. That loves to move and feel and dance and be touched, that loves the sun and wind on its skin, music in its ears, deep bass notes vibrating through its cells; that is tired and ragged and full of pain, that is frozen from post traumatic stress, this body... this body that I am mostly terrified to actually inhabit, that I long to fully inhabit, that has birthed two beautiful souls into the world, that has served me and continues to serve me so well... this body, the physical aspect of this self.

What better place to start than the very edge of the cliff, what better place to begin than the one spot that is the most challenging and that causes the most discomfort, the greatest fear. Toes poised at the edge of the jagged peak... and I find, much to my amazement, that I am ready to jump, ready to fly with it.

I had the most wonderful dream last night. Archetypal, filled with exquisite imagery and mind-blowing sensation as the beloved masculine merged with the beloved feminine, meeting fully naked and fully available; filled with profound love and self love as I opened and surrendered to this precious merging, a coming together on all levels, body, emotions, spirit, soul. It affirmed what I realized yesterday, that it's not actually "radical" self love that this is about, but PROFOUND self love... "profound" feeling much bigger, deeper, softer, more encompassing, in short, more loving. 

So here's to the journey into...

With Love,
Debby Rose

And p.s., on a practical note, it seems that this is going to be a big process and I am committed to showing up here for it. It will mean more posts than usual... so I just want to say that if you receive these via email and you aren't interested in this process, or the number of posts there might be, please unsubscribe... I know what it's like to be inundated with emails that are not wanted, plus it would feel better to me if I know that the folks who are getting this automatically really want to be getting it. Thank you.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The New Year

I've been thinking a lot about words, and the ones in particular that have been special to me this year... words like mystery, heart, stillness, retreat, nature, prayer, spiritual, and my very favorite word this year, sacredI think it's actually my all-time favorite word ever, it's just so beautiful, so infused with meaning and feeling...   And then there are the three little words that I have bandied about almost carelessly, tossed like stale breadcrumbs in the wind...uttered casually out loud in a phone conversation, written naively in a journal, whispered silently from the depths... innocently, blindly, as though words aren't energy, sent quietly or not so quietly out into the Universe, as though they aren't prayers in and of themselves. as though they don't have the power to radically change everything.

Self and Love are pretty much self-explanatory. Self = Me, Love = well, love is love, though that could be a whole other conversation - and most likely will be. But here are some synonyms for the word radical: 

cutting edge


Profound self love. Drastic self love. Cutting-edge self love. Deep-seated self love. Foundational self love. Extreme self love. Exceptional self love, Unconventional self love. Sweeping self love. Rigorous self love. Life-altering self love.


Quite out of my own conscious hands, radical self love has arrived at my doorstep as my theme for the new year. Along with it's cousins, radical self care, radical self acceptance, radical self tenderness, radical self honesty, etc., etc. Not an easy assignment, and already the ripples are spreading out from the pebble tossed in the pond. Things, people, ideas, beliefs, activities are all coming under the intense scrutiny of radical self love: How does this make me feel? How does it serve me? How does this impact my life? How does this affect my energy? Is this food for my soul? And on and on... putting everything through the radical self love filter. There is a serious urge to purge... radically... to eliminate all but the fundamentals from my life, all that does not truly serve, nurture, inspire, energize, and expand my heart, mind, consciousness, being - and begin again from that emptiness.

Years and years ago, when I first began therapy, I started taking a two to four hour bath every morning. I'd get up, get the kids ready and drop them at school, come back and run a hot bath and lay in the water for hours. I read books, had phone conversations, opened to memories, soul searched, cried, survived. One day a good friend told me that to take so much time in a bath every day was selfish. But honestly, I think those baths saved my life. It's the same thing here... there could be accusations that this is selfish, self-indulgent, narcissistic, even, but I don't think so. People in the spiritual and psychological know tell us that we can only truly love if we love ourselves first. Put your own oxygen mask on first... 

I'm putting my oxygen mask on and securing it in place. I know this is not going to be easy. There may well be earthquakes, great or small. Tears in the fabric of what has been my life and way of being. And I'm thinking maybe for the year, this space will be dedicated to the journey. A safe place where I can explore, and write about what it's like, about changes and challenges and letting go and the exact and true nature of  rigorous, radical, sweeping, challenging, potentially-painful-but-also-potentially-life-altering-in-a-most-amazing-way self love. Maybe you will join me. 

A Blessed New Year,
With Love,
Debby Rose