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green-skinned emma

perhap i feel ‘different’ to you somehow, in my relationship to God, to Christ, and in my
expression of that Love, a difference you can’t quite put a label on, but want
to for some reason. label me as an outsider, not belonging to the family of Christianity (in which i find deep resonance and ancient connectivity).   i don’t know, maybe so that you don’t have to let me in?
i feel as if i am a human being with green colored skin arriving at your door and you can’t quite decide if i’m really human or not and so you’ll close it in
my face. as if i might rub off on you. not interested, thank you.


may you feel safe.
may you know that all is well

vicki (emma)

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holding and healing

 march 13, 2006 i can only tell my own story. a story, pieces of which may or may not resonate with yours. there may be similar threads. however, the tapestry of my life that they have been woven into, the tapestry that now billows softly on gentle breezes, may look different than yours will. right now mine feels like silk, vibrantly colored and soft, although when all that i held was a few torn and tattered fragments, indeed perhaps a handful of broken threads, i could not know that this is what was being woven for me. your tapestry may be woven into a different pattern, added to different colored threads, may be of different fabric, still i trust that there is the Weaver of Life doing the tending, the gathering of lost threads and of fruits, the spinning and the weaving. unseen by me, i yearn to see the finished product, i yearn to understand the meaning of this moment, to understand how it will be woven into the beauty that is me. too often, i cannot, and in these moments the only thing that saves me from the torments of my current hell is letting myself go into the hands of love. when i cannot understand, this is the peace for me that overcomes my pain and fear and soothes….love. yet receiving love in the midst of agony may be one of the most difficult learnings that i have ever undertaken in this life as a human being. to come to know that everything is loved and held with the deepest of compassion, by a Love that understands it all, nothing is condemned nor judged…the anger and the rage, the anxiety and fear, the pain and the despair….is to discover that there is One who aches and yearns for me within this experience even as i yearn for Love. and each time that i allowed Love to come inside to Love this me within this moment experiencing this thing, whether it entered through my invitation or more often through the breaking open of my heart, a piece of me was healed. and somehow through it all the fabric of my heart is gradually being restored, and in fact it grew more lovely, for i have learned along the way that there is nothing i cannot also greet with love and compassion. i continue to heal, along with the rest of the human race, from brokenness, but i believe the process of life has made me both more human and divine. i have experienced deep and severe pain, and in that very place is growing Love. i have learned to exchange judgment for compassion..first for myself. perhaps it is the way of the universe that the loss of innocence is filled with the blessing of gifts. if your granddaughter hangs in there she may discover those gifts. if she doesn’t she will be loved the same. but perhaps you could begin to ask yourself and to look for the gifts…of compassion, release from old bonds of shame, etc….that you may be receiving through this intense experience of life. for the years that i was suicidal, when the pain and abuses of this life felt too intense to remain within it, the only thing that saved me was finally receiving the truth that i was loved… just as i was, just where i was…that i was understood, accepted, allowed to be….that Someone had compassion for my experience of life and…..after much healing i realized that this Someone was holding my life and all its experiences as a sacred one. perhaps it was chosen for me, perhaps i took part in the choosing of this journey, i don’t know. i only know that from where i stand today, i would not go back and choose for myself any other life than the one i’ve lived. as for the persons who walked with me through those treacherous years….even at the time they told me that they had the sense that i had been sent to them, an angel with a message of healing for them was often what was expressed. i awakened something in them….broke something open in them….healed something in them….released something in them….each of these persons would have to name for themselves the specifics of the gift i brought to them. they have shared these things with me, but i will not speak for them.  i trust that my walk with them was a needful part of their own journey…. that perhaps i held the threads they needed for their own tapestry to be whole. today we know that we were treading on sacred soil and we are eternally grateful and changed and blessed to have walked this journey together. this is my prayer for you. that you may come to know that god is deeply and compassionately within this sacred space with you. somehow it seems that it is in our moments of darkest depair and desolation, that God draws so close that we cannot see, deep within our hearts, both holding them and filling them, deep within the sacredness of the experience, within the other, within the pain, suffering and loving at once and blessing, blessing, blessing each step of the way. all is wellvicki  

on leaving church

dear cindy,


i believe we must learn to validate ourselves. as long as we need others to affirm our worth, we will constantly be in chaos, at the mercy of value systems that are not our own.

i do believe we received very little validation of our uniqueness, our giftedness, our experience and perspective and our feelings, as little girls from our mother. for whatever reason, probably her own wounding, she was unable to nurture and affirm our emerging selves in that way. we must now mother ourselves. i also believe that because nothing was ever openly shared…feelings, ideas, or otherwise…that we became very sensitive in other ways in order to pick up those same feelings, ideas, etc. in other words, because it was not spoken, we had to learn to read other signals. when it was dared to be spoken by one of us…it was silenced. at least for me, that was my learning….taught by the bar of soap in my mouth.


cindy, one thing that really jumped off the page yesterday for me was when i wrote the word invalid….i was meaning in the sentence that my feelings were not validated, not real, in-valid….but of course the word has another meaning, paralyzed, crippled, (incompetent, to use the word you use about yourself). we were made invalid, emotionally crippled. when we at last see the word in this way, perhaps we can have empathy for our selves that were rendered impotent, castrated. perhaps there were none of the things that we have both been searching for in order to understand, love, and heal ourselves…no horrendous abuse, sexual or otherwise, no alcoholic parent…simply (simply!?) a slow insidious negating of our worth,  an eroding of our selves as valuable and capable, a diminishing of our feelings as valid indicators of our experience, a disconnection from our selves, our intuition, our bodies, a denial of our experience as true.


i believe that when we were told that we were wrong to feel the way we did, that we learned not to trust ourselves. if this all-knowing adult in our lives told us that we were indeed not right to be feeling a certain way, that we either were or should be feeling another way, then we had to come to reconcile that in some way. inability to accurately read the signals from our body is a result of this. telling/convincing ourselves in our minds that what we are feeling as pain is really not pain is another. believing that our feelings are not important is another. constantly seeing from another’s perspective our own reality is another. how often i have allowed myself to be harmed because i could see the experience only from the other’s perspective!! i have allowed my compassion for the other to overrule my compassion for myself…denigrating my self and my experience to uphold another’s version of the truth, deferring to their need at the expense of my own. i am no more important than another, but i am no less so either.


i am going to make a concentrated effort to honor the wisdom of my body from this day forward….pay attention to the signals it is telling me. it does not lie. it simply feels. i am going to try to stop controlling it in order to manage my pain….that means both extremes of control….bulimia, exercise addiction as well as trying to cover up or nurture  the pain with food in order to numb it. i am going to believe it when it tells me i am hurting, listen to it, mother it.

cindy, are you aware that one theory of marriage…or of any experience for that matter…is that we recreate the experience in which we were wounded, in order to heal ourselves, and we keep doing it until we finally give to ourselves what it is we need to heal. we unconsciously look for in our partners some aspect of our parents, hoping to get the love from them that we did not receive, to find ourselves good and worthy at last. you yearn and yearn for honor from your husband and your sons, for them to value your experience, your perspective, your feelings, but the cycle is the same. you believe their truth rather than your own….and this is the tricky part. you believe it on some level even if you consciously tell yourself that you don’t really believe that,  even if you reason it out otherwise, if you can think otherwise, understand on the level of your head, you feel THEIR truth in YOUR body. and because we have been taught to not pay attention to the feelings in our bodies, we let their version of the truth, or of ourselves, in without knowing it!!! i believe we must begin to believe in ourselves, to give honor to ourselves, all of these things which we desperately and at great cost try to get from another, to ourselves at last…..gently, with compassion. nurture. not through closing off to the other in anger or defense or justification, nor trying to appease them with just how good we are. i am finished with trying to ‘make’ another honor my truth by justifying, explaining and re-explaining myself, ‘make’ them love me by ‘making’ them ‘see’ me…. that is exhausting and impossible…running around in circles trying to stop up all of the holes through which another may reject me. i need to see myself as good first. i need to speak my truth to myself first. let it find its own voice, separate from the expectation and the needs of others.


can i give a few examples? the disease, pain,  i feel in social settings is one. i think that because i have been taught to disconnect from my body, from the signals that it gives, that i allow myself to be bombarded by every negative energy in the room and i don’t even know it. i simply experience the mental anguish of incompetence and judgment. even when i can reason it out in my head…as i was saying earlier. i am not sure i have this all understood yet…i am just beginning to work on it. this is what i noticed last Sunday. i was standing with a group of parents for about an hour during the registration process of Jeb’s camp. i ‘thought’ in my head that i was merely observing, noticing the ways that this person feared for her child, the way that that person used harsh labels for hers (lazy, etc), the way another person had no interest in what was going on in anybody else’s life but her own (anybody else’s experience was not of importance to her). i really thought that i had detached and recognized what was the other’s stuff!!! why then was i so physically exhausted, so drained at the end of an hour? i had successfully detached alright, from myself, from my body. my body was absorbing every ounce of negative energy. no wonder i felt so exhausted! in disconnecting myself from my feelings, living inside my head, i had not even allowed myself the choice to accept or reject or let pass through the energy. i want to live inside my body, cindy. and i want to learn to do it in a way that does not hurt from the bombardment. right now, i think i escape it because i have no means of controlling it (ahh.. there is that word again, the one so often associated with eating disorders) and the inundation is too, too much for me to feel…it would annihilate me.  i need to learn ways to be in my body in a loving way….create a loving filter through which to receive, aknowledge with compassion, and let pass through somehow…or something.

i do not want to close myself off. i don’t want to erect rigid boundaries, but i am ready to admit that my current mechanisms for coping with the overwhelming pain are no longer working for me, nor what i desire for myself. as glenn and i discussed yesterday, this bodily sensitivity (intuition) is also tremendous gift….it is what may make me a good healer, for instance….this ability to feel  what another is experiencing. it is what persons have seen in me when i am in safe settings…on retreats, workshops, etc. it is what fills me with compassion….and passion. but i must learn to create safe settings for myself…take the safety with me, feel the other’s reality without the cost to self.


as to the situation at church. i will forward to you the dream, it is still in my files somewhere. i believe this was my subconscious screaming for my attention when i was so strongly denying the feelings in my body. what happened was this. during the month of May, one of the women who had questioned what i was teaching in the high school Sunday school class was given the opportunity to teach the class. she used the opportunity to espouse to the class her belief in a God who condemns to hell those who do not accept Jesus as their savior. to her, the purpose of life is to get into heaven or hell, to pass. she taught the kids that the idea of universalism is untrue….that the only true religion is Christianity. when some of the kids questioned this, they were told that they would be ‘prayed for’.


this is what i did…i understood in my head. i held her in compassion, understanding that she was living in a place of fear, and that for one whose meaning for life comes from such an understanding to strip that away from her is to leave her meaningless (although now, from this distance, i might be able to say that is not a bad thing…new meanings emerge from the death of old ones). i tried to stay detached from the situation personally, acknowledging that it was hers to own, not mine. her reality, not a judgment upon mine. i saw her wound and her fear. persons acknowledged how compassionate i was being…to see from her perspective. but you see, that is so easy for me to do..i have been doing it my entire life!!!! diminishing my feelings through understanding the other’s.


meanwhile, my body was raging. it felt like a knife in my heart, a blow to my gut. i ached for the kids being fed the poison of fear, being caught in the middle, manipulated and pulled in chaotic directions by a divided church. i felt the chaos of the unsafety, of not knowing who to trust. i felt the chaos of erratic values…the child in myself trying to figure out where to stand to avoid the blows of an unpredictable parent. then came the dream…and when nadia asked me if it reminded me of anything that might be happening in my real life, i denied it…..the last week that i went to church, i cried to don afterwards…i just can’t feel this way every week although i couldn’t name what or why i was feeling. i just couldn’t bear it, it hurt too much. it took me too long to release it. the church is so divided, in so much pain, so filled with fear and judgment…that is the energy that i received into my body each week….dividedness, pain, fear, judgment.


and so, i did it again, you see….understood the other’s wound, the other’s perspective, accepted the other’s version of reality, at the expense of my self….invalidated myself, my experience, my feelings, my needs for the sake of the system…family, community.  though i was probably angry somewhere inside, i silenced myself, turned the anger inward….when perhaps i should have turned the tables.  like i mentioned earlier, we do recreate the scenarios in which we are wounded until we finally heal ourselves.


of course, this is not new. the erratic nature of the system has disturbed my sense of safety for a long time. remember how i used to rail at the discrepancy between the love i experienced in certain settings, versus the fear i experienced in others….until i had healed that particular insecurity in myself, i could not understood that it was the other’s wound and detach myself from it. until i lifted that aspect of myself to a place of trusting in myself and my wisdom that i did not need it to be affirmed outside of myself. until i stopped giving away all of my power and my love…letting it leak through the boundarylessness that is me just as quickly as the fear of the other rushed in.


yesterday, i read something about that. it was talking about making oneself vast…versus bound. the illustration was the a teaspoon of salt in a glass of water can change its chemistry drastically….but a teaspoon of water in a lake has very little effect. i want to create that kind of vastness for myself…that kind of love.


i want to feel. i need to feel. my body is screaming for me to feel!!! if i don’t allow myself to feel a thing, i cannot make a choice as to whether or not i wish to receive it, i cannot make a choice to meet a feeling with compassion, to surround it with love….


my relationship with the church is so convoluted. on one hand, there is an indebtedness. the people of that church literally loved me back to life. but i must separate the individual people, from the roles they are forced to play, and from the system. indebtedness is a dangerous line that i must tread lightly…much of my accepting the pain and diminishing of myself in my marriage was tangled up in indebtedness to bob. on the other hand, i feel a deep longing to give to these people that i love, to help them to also heal, to offer a portion of healing in return. that is different from feeling that i owe them my pain. on the other hand ( i have a feeling i will be an octopus before i complete this) i too quickly slip into the familiar wounded child mode which was the basis of our relationship for so long….and too easily accept from them that the reason for my feelings is my woundedness…invalidating my experience as somehow a remnant of my wounded flaw or my personality. on one hand, i experience an honoring of the depth of my spirituality, a yearning for it to be shared, on the other a simultaneous resistance to it. the power structures are so confused….sometimes i am an equal and other times the need for control strips me powerless. a part of me feels like an adolescent who must leave home in order come into my own power as an adult, in order to be received on an equal footing with my parents. a part of me wants to simply assume that role without requiring the blessing of the rite of passage  (indeed at other times, i have yearned for a ritual of passage…yet a part of this new learning for me is that, as no one else can validate me, my feelings or my experience, likewise, no one else can empower…or disempower…me. i must give that gift to myself, by believing in my goodness and my giftedness and my connection to divinity) a part of me accepts their role as peace-maker, appeaser, centrist, relationship at all cost…a part of me bawks at the hypocrisy  and denial that requires, the fragmentation and inner dividedness which that creates rather than the wholeness that they seek. on oner hand, i empathize with how painful that reality must be. on the other it feels like the proverbial lukewarm…this mixing of the cold and hot of the church resulting in the suppression of passion.


sometimes i think it would be wise for me to look elsewhere for my own nurture, detach myself from the nipple…stop scrambling with the others for a teet, recognizing all the draining to the mother which that also implies….replenish my spiritual energies in another environment, so that i can return to give from the empowerment of that fullness, grow that vastness i was referring to. sometimes i think that would be gift to them. right now, i am also merely being depleted by the nonexistent boundaries and the negative energies of the system. perhaps if i could remain detached from the community in some way, i could be of greater benefit to it, offer my services freed from and unbounded by the systemic power loop into which i get swept. perhaps i could be more objective, less entangled somehow. glenn thinks i would benefit from such a professional setting, from the natural boundaries inherent in it. he has also recounted for me his own experience, following seminary, of being nurtured and grown by his first congregation into finding his own voice, then, how after he found it, he found he could not use it in that place…..

his own experiences of parishioners choosing to leave and the resultant equalizing of the power dynamics in the relationship.


i love many persons at the church. i really want to be a blessing to them. sometimes i feel as if i could be that if i were not in a position of needing them to be a certain way for my own nurture, or in a position where my passions are necessarily silenced because of my position in the body of the community, a position of freedom to be the gift that i am. sometimes i feel as if i hurt them when i speak my truth…but if i were separate from them, uninvested in receiving from them what it is i need, perhaps i would not feel the betrayal, the unsafety, the pain. i could come to them separate, different, but equal, choosing to  have compassion and honor for the place that they are in , in the role they have chosen to play in the growth of Love in this place…as they might be free to offer me the same.


enough for today already,

all is well,


breaking silence

i am lost within the depths of silence, suddenly too deep for me.  it has surrounded, encompassed, overwhelmed even the darkness that is life. until it is all. everything that is lies silent, empty, still…before me, and behind me, and around me. there is nothingness.



i reach out my hand. it stretches far into the dark, until i can no longer see. disappearing fingers reach, grasping through the emptiness into the blackness of the pool, striking nothing solid, nothing upon which they can grasp, hold on.  until they too are silenced, a cry yearning to be heard, but rather swallowed, swallowed up by nothingness.


here, where there are no words, i can still feel. the futile flailing of a soul, striving not to drown in the vastness that is nothing. yet it makes no sound, simply stirs the yearning, and i wonder what is there that could possibly be stirred. seek a word for its presence. any word. find none.


blank, i gaze into their eyes out there, somewhere beyond me. i am lost. i try to form the word. (so that i might be found?) but nothing comes. from nothing comes nothing. perhaps if i could form the scream, somehow gather all the stirrings of this feeling into one, hurl it up and out, out of this vortex that has sucked me deep inside, deep inside this silence. i cannot get out.


silence. in this place i am certain that there is no god. in this place where no figments can appear because there is no light. and so no illusive plays on it… rainbows and the like, making me feel safe, protected from reality. here i can construct no greater dark than this, no more powerful silence to overcome my fear, no meaning from this quiet chaos, no omniprescent emptiness. here there is no meaning. here i am simply powerless, caught inside this empty life. alone. adrift. untethered and unheld. as i am and ever shall be.


and yet she wants to rear her head, even in this place, silence even this.  no, she will not let me be, exist. for then i might finally, at last, make a noise, become. from the void. and so the silence stronger, vaster, deeper grows. until the distance is too great, the abyss far too deep, for you to see me. hear me. reach me.


hurt me.


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dear marti

marti, September 10, 2004

whatever you think for the prayer room, i am certain will be well.

i have been finding myself (interesting, i could end the sentence there) needing to be out of the center of things right now.

please do not miss me, but continue to let me touch you with my words. i am so fully in them, marti, unlike i am fully in any other place. it is the way that i be myself and give of myself most authentically. read them slowly and carefully, there is much put into them.

i will tell you this story, because it is coming to light for me just now. yesterday, i read an article in smithsonian magazine about an artist, a sculpter, from the 60’s. she was all the rage in the galleries at the time, the “find of the year”, and demand was high for her work. but she did not want to be famous. she was once quoted as saying “i don’t want to be star, it is the art that is the star”. she wanted to live in her cheap loft over the laundry and create. she wanted freedom. she simply wanted to express what it was she saw. shortly after a studio asked her to alter one of her sculptures so that it would fit into a buyer’s space…she disappeared from the gallery world and moved to a self-sustaining rural farm in pennsylvania with her husband and what she calls the greatest piece of art her body has ever created, her child.

she was recently hunted down, 40 years later, by a young curator who wanted to do an exhibit of her old work and was seeking permission. after long months of writing with no response, the artist finally trusted her enough to come out. as it turns out, she has, of course, been making art all this time in her barn. her “new” work is now making a tour across the country in museums where it is being received as a gift to the world.

….don will often tell me what a gift i am, what a blessing i could be to others if i would just put myself out there. but, marti, i get lost somehow “out there” and i cannot express what it is i see. you see, it is not me in the physical that is the gift, it is what comes through me when i go into my quiet place of connection with God and bring forth what it is i find there. my gift is writing words…it is not teaching them, or guiding, or hearing, or planning, or creating spaces…the only spaces i create perhaps are in the silences between my words.

…don and i stopped at kirkridge on the way home from our post wedding escape. i sat along the edge of the pond, there on the rock that i had sat upon 3 years ago when the tadpoles lit upon my toes. i again touched my toes into the water, with just a little wiggle and we watched together the concentric circles reach clear across to the opposite shore. i like to think that the small circle of persons to whom i send my ponderings, my letters, my poems, are also touched in some way, see something of what i am seeing and trying to express, and that the concentric circles grow in the same way…that i do not have to make a splash nor shout to be heard across the pond, that i do not have to behave in any way that is not natural for me, become anything but one who touches her toes upon the water.

i also do not for a moment delude myself into believing that some day, 40 years from now, someone will discover my writings and i will be a big splash…. but i do believe that somehow, in some way, my quiet littleness itself is a gift to the world right here, right now. even if i am wrong, i can do no different, for this is who i am, what i am made to be. to do different, to try to be what i am not is to divide myself again, is to cause great pain. i am painfully an introvert.

godspell tuaght me this in a very real way. while i could remain true to myself and to what i know of Loving, on the inside, within the microcosm of the cast, and within the microcosm of lovingly understanding my character’s and the author’s and even jesus’ woundedness, making a big “splash” out there (or “altering” what it was i saw in order to fit within the confines of the show as it was written) proved to be quite painful to me. i simply could not express my truth in such a big arena and i am afraid that i was lost, almost drowned in the tidal wave. i am also very afraid that others could have been hurt by it. i never want to do harm.

i think i prefer to return to more gentle wiggles of my toes…like the proverbial butterfly wings that flapping in africa can change the weather in England. (actually, i dreamt that butterflies were coming from my lips a few weeks ago)…i think i need direct and quiet contact with the words, with the water, with the one beside me…. the wedding felt good to me in this…although i was certainly out there and exposed, on stage perhaps,…it was more intimate, more gentle, more careful, more touching one to one, more concentric, as love simply permeated the air.

this week i dreamt that i had 3 children. an older, 2 year old, baby girl who was still nursing and twin newborns, one a boy, one a girl. the baby boy would not awaken from his sleep to eat. finally i picked him up. instantly he became so small that he fit into the palm of my hand and was to wood. don said “he looks like he’s black”. i replied, “he is. but i don’t think he’s negro. i think he is Indian” my milk let down and started squirting from my breasts. i expressed it into his mouth and tipped him so that the milk would go down the hole, like that of a doll’s, at the back of his mouth. instantly he began to grow and soon was the size of a 4 year old boy, laughing and playing with great joy..although he was just weeks old. i commented to don that we would have to take care with him, because people would demand more of him than he was capable of because he looked so much older than he was.

i have perhaps been starving, of late or perhaps forever?, not trusting in the value of this introspective, quiet eastern consciousness of mine. i know, however, just last week when i had no place to write, i was needing it sooo badly, i was starving, i was needful, i was hungry, until one day, josh stopped by and i just grabbed him and we carried the desk (unfinished as it was) into the basement and he set up the computer that day for me. when i finally sat down , the words just flowed, unstoppable like my milk in the dream…it felt soooo good to release, to express, to write, to find myself again, to feed myself again, to awaken my soul in this house!!! i gorged myself upon it.

…the place where i now write, is just below the surface of the earth, the windows over my computer screen sit directly on the ground. it is like i am sitting among the roots of plants. i love it… as i also go beneath the surface to bring to light that which has been rooted within me.

this male child of mine…the one who has been sleeping, who has been dead and stifled, this one who has been starving, this male child (whose role is to go out into the world, as the seed to fertilize rather than receive) is Indian…eastern, imagine that. he knows that his gift to the world is in the being, in the being love, and that simply his joyous expression of that as he plays brings to others great gifts. when i feed him he will grow. but i must protect him so that others do not ask him to be something that he is not yet capable of.

enough for today,
yes, all is well,