Archives for posts with tag: joy

In 1975 I was making $2/hr.  A minimum wage job in the 1970’s paid enough to live on.  I didn’t have money for out of town vacations, but I could go to the movies and eat fast food when I wanted.  I had a friend going through a difficult time financially.  I never knew that at the time – I just know that when I showed up at her apartment to visit, all her things were gone.  She had found a house in the woods to house-sit because she could no longer afford rent.  Even if I had known she was having trouble, I’m not sure it would have occurred to me to share my money with her, to help her out.  Money was a private affair, or so I’d been taught.

Ten years later, I became friends with a woman who told me that every time she received any money, she gave some away. Sometimes she gave to charitable organizations and sometimes to people who she felt supported by.  Though I’d heard of tithing to a church, this idea of giving away some of my income every month was a new idea for me.

Plus, on a selfish level, I’d read that when you give, the universe will give back to you tenfold.  Thus began my habit of giving — which I’ve recently begun to call Sharing.  The more I hear about disparate income, and the rich getting richer, and the poor getting poorer, and knowing the government isn’t going to fix this growing problem, it’s up to us, the people, to share what we have with each other.  To make reparations.  If I have enough, and I’ve always had enough, then I feel a duty, a responsibility to share.  Mother Teresa said “If you can’t feed a hundred people, feed one person.”

“To those who are given much, much is expected.”  I don’t remember who said that, I’ve heard it in movies too, and I’ve come to believe this, as my life philosophy.

This summer I imagined the following as I read about ISIL selling the girls they kidnapped:  advertising a 12 year old virgin for $12,000:  What if Warren Buffett (or some other billionaire) decided to buy all the girls that ISIL has on the market?  What if he bought them all, freed them, and provided them with the resources they needed to have a life of enough?  An education, a home, back with their families?  Safe and secure.

I began to pray for the hearts of the men in ISIL to unlock, to open, to feel – so that perhaps they wouldn’t be able to continue their atrocities.  What if a legion of people around the world prayed for this?

As I thought more about sharing,  and praying for all the hard-hearted people of the world, I thought about the imperative of JOY.  If peace begins within, which I know to be true, and that I have to love myself in order to love others — it follows that my staying in my JOY helps contribute to peace on the planet as well.  The world needs passionate, joyful people sharing their gifts with each other.  We all need each other’s gifts. I hope you will share your gifts, and your resources.  Together we can.




When I woke up on Tues, Dec. 16th it was to the news of over 100 children and 46 adults gunned down by the Taliban. Later at work someone told me about ISIL and what they do to young girls (I won’t repeat what I heard because it’s too horrific. I don’t want anyone else to carry that, though I’m sure some of you know. I’m sorry.)

On that Tuesday, my response was to to pray for everyone, throughout the day: for the grief-stricken families, the injured, the community, and I also included the Taliban. If their hearts are so shut down that they could murder children, they need prayers too.

I had just the day before been reading about Tonglen: breathing in grief, breathing out peace. I’d heard of Tonglen before, but I hadn’t practiced it in a very long time. All day I breathed in grief and fear, and breathed out peace and love.

Why pray for bullies? Years ago I read about a study in Japan that showed molecular changes in water when people prayed over it. Since humans are over 70% water, doesn’t it make sense that prayers help? I remember seeing pictures of both positive and negative prayer over water — seen microscopic pictures of the water’s structure. The positive is sparkly, snowflake-like, starry pictures, whereas the negative is cloudy and out of balance. (Dr. Masaru Emoto, 1999 “Messages from Water”)

Isn’t that what evil is: life out of balance? Evil is Live spelled backwards, a life upside down. Don’t the men of the Taliban and ISIL feel they’re holy men? To me they look like bullies and thugs. What if we all prayed for them? Could we melt their frozen hearts? (I hear a song).

Killing them is just the same energy they exude. Love is the only answer, the only way out of this madness we find ourselves in. Whether you believe in God or Buddha, or your dog or cat, we can all send love to the thugs. Love the thugs.

My resolution for 2015 is to seek joy — to stay in joy as much as possible. I believe joy is our birthright, and that being in joy contributes to love and peace on the planet. Certainly this doesn’t mean I don’t get angry or impatient, or sad or frustrated. Seeking joy means I return to joy whenever I’m able. When I’m present for my life, and I see a tree seemingly for the first time, on a road I’ve traversed hundreds of times, I know joy. I feel joy, and am so grateful for the bare branches that let me see the tree’s grace.

Pray for the thugs. Pray for the hurt, the hungry, and the lonely. Pray for yourself. It’s a wild and wonderful life, and I wish us all joy on our journey. Safety and enough for everyone.DSC_1349

After an amazing forgiveness experience last week, I read this article by Desmond Tutu about the importance of forgiveness, including the Science of Forgiveness (what science is learning about how forgiveness affects our health):

Without a plan, or any expectations of any kind, I found myself on the phone last week with the relative who sexually abused me when I was 4.  I’d actually forgiven him in 2001, but hadn’t an opportunity to let him know that until last week.  What I’d never received, but had always hoped for, was an acknowledgement and an apology from him….so here we were on the phone and I thought to ask for an apology…and he gave it to me wholeheartedly.  When the call ended, I cried with relief, with the surprise of receiving something I thought I’d never get.

It seems most people think it strange that I forgave him, but they don’t yet know that forgiveness is for ourselves, not the other person.  It doesn’t mean I condone what happened. I forgive to free myself.  Even though I forgave him in my heart over a decade ago, I felt even freer after both hearing his apology, and being able to let him know I forgave him.

Pear Tile 3

In the article on forgiveness, I learned that forgiveness is scientifically linked to greater health.  Not forgiving can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, and other diseases.  Holding resentments causes dis-ease, both mentally and physically.

I recognize a great gift that resulted from my childhood sexual abuse:  My art.  I began sculpting labia in clay to heal, and now it’s transformed into something that brings me joy and happiness. When it’s said that in pain lie gifts, they aren’t kidding!  I feel better the more I’m able to forgive, which, I’m sure, leads to more peace on the planet.



Last week I posted that everything is animated = everything moves, whether we can see it or not, within the inside of their atoms, albeit some are moving quicker than others, right?  When I despair about the state of the world, I want to figure out how we got into this mess, with the hope that if we understood how it started, we could figure out how to change it, on a fundamental, cellular level.

What I’ve come to believe is that our original problem is we’ve forgotten we’re all connected.  We wouldn’t be destroying the Earth, brutalizing each other in endless ways, if we really, truly knew that what we do to others, we do to ourselves.  We wouldn’t be talking mean to ourselves in our own heads either.  Now wouldn’t that be a relief?

Riane Eisler wrote “The Chalice and the Blade” in l987 in which she proves that there have been periods of human history when people lived without weapons and without war…i.e. we got along!  Men didn’t dominate women, and women didn’t dominate men.  Peaceful cultures have existed on earth!  What if we all knew that peace is in our genes, in our history?  Wouldn’t it be easier to envision a future with peace, a future without war, if we knew we’d been there before?

The world needs ALIVE, JOYFUL, PASSIONATELY LOVING people.  Isn’t living in Joy an act of rebellion against the death march our culture would have us take part in?  Our challenge, should we choose to join in, is to stay out of fear, worry, and despair, and allow ourselves to breath deeply, focus on the positive, love EVERYTHING, and be as kind to ourselves as we possibly can.

Chocolate YoniI started sculpting labia in 1988 when I heard that when a woman’s lower heart is abused, her upper heart shuts down. I was sexually abused when I was 4 and 5 years old, and over the years have done therapy, groups, and writing to heal. Once I heard my vulva called my “lower heart” I was inspired to do healing work (which helped me accept my body) by sculpting labia in clay. I made some beautiful pieces that have hung on my walls ever since.

Around 2007, I picked up clay again. I made a “Chocolate Yoni” that hangs in my bathroom (yep, this photo), and then I made the “True Origin of the Valentine,” (see earlier posts for this photo) when it occurred to me that a “valentine” is shaped much more like a labia than our upper hearts (which are shaped like a fist). I was off and running.  I LOVE sculpting labia. Most people don’t understand…”why are you still sculpting labia?” I’ve heard from friends…or similar comments.

Sculpting labia brings me joy.  Each time I grab a handful of clay, I never know how it will turn out, and I enjoy each minute. Last night, as I sculpted yet another labia, I remembered there are over 3 billion women in the world, and every labia is unique.

I’ve been selling my sculptures at In Other Words feminist community center here in Portland where I live. The most supportive environments have been there and also selling at college productions of the “Vagina Monologues.” My goal at this time is to find other venues/stores/galleries. I believe these are healing, and I want women who would benefit from them to see them and experience them.

What do YOU love to do? Are you doing it? I hope you will.  Joy is a great gift we give to the world — and I believe it contributes to world peace.

DSC_1058Have you heard about One Billion Rising? Get ready to dance for joy next February 14, 2013, all over the world. Dance to the end of violence against women and children. Watch this 3 minute video and share it everywhere: * More money or band-aids is not enough to stop the violence (though band-aids are critical when one is bleeding) – every moment I am in joy I counteract the violence/fear.

I’ve coined the phrase “Happy Labias = World Peace” — and the more I think about it, its deep truth is further revealed. Imagine a world without fear or violence. It really does start at home, in our own hearts….then it spreads everywhere.