Tuesday, September 29, 2009

ponder this...

"Perhaps the most important
thing we can undertake toward
the reduction of fear is to make
it easier for people to accept
themselves, to like themselves."

--Bonaro W. Overstreet

photo by lucy © 9.28.09

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sacred Sunday: I will not be Silenced

I want to feel safe on the page. Really, I want to feel safe everywhere. Don’t you? I have not felt particularly safe lately. I have so much I want to voice, and still I hesitate. I long to be seen and understood for who I am. I wonder if that is an impossible task to ask. I know it really is, especially since I am the one who knows myself the best and there are still many doors of unopened rooms in my life. Nonetheless, I long for safety, understanding and a strong voice.

Lately, I have been highly aware that people often choose to see others through their limited experience and have little curiosity towards a fuller view. But I am who I am because of ALL my experiences. I can be totally present to a single person because of all the others who have gone before. I can know his/her abandonment, because I have been abandoned. I will fight to stay, because I was left. I will hold, because I was not held. I seek clarity, because I have been misunderstood. I choose to see, because I was not seen.

My heart shares joy, because it is full and it has been emptied. I know a whole range of emotions and whether I like it or not they become real through experience, instead of staying abstract. My heart knows deep roots. I seek this alongside others, because I seek it for myself. I offer care, because I know the importance of self-care. I also know its absence. I know the pain of sorrow and what it is like to sob until I cannot breathe – to pound a chest and wail a primal scream until the wind has left my lungs and only sorrow remains.

I know the freedom of belly-laughing until snot runs out my nose and burns my nostrils making me cry “ouch” and then I roll over and laugh some more. I know the freedom of music filling my body and lifting me off the ground. I also know the weight of paralysis because the voice of my timid fool speaks loudest and commands me to stay where I am even when I yearn to dance.

I am perfectly equipped to listen and because of my humanity, I am equally equipped to fail. But I am strong and tenacious and I will get up again and again, because failure has not worked for me. It has instead taught me to be stronger. It is only a failure if I choose to stay down and let “it” win. I can choose to transform my failures – my weaknesses – my hurts. Failure wins if I choose to silence myself. Today I say, “NO, I will not be silenced.” Not in this moment – hopefully not ever.

On this sacred day, I wonder where are the places you long to feel safe? What is the voice that keeps you from living fully? How will you choose to speak? Perhaps in the smallest prayer, that says “Help!” Perhaps by taking the first step onto the dance floor of your longings. I hope you will join with me today and say for yourself, “No, I will not be silenced!”

Friday, September 25, 2009

dedicated to my friends...old, new, always

The glory of friendship is
not the outstretched hand,
nor the kindly smile, nor the
joy of companionship; it is
the spiritual inspiration that
comes to one when (s)he
discovers that someone else
believes in (her) and is
willing to trust (her).

--Ralph Waldo Emerson

photo taken last night at Golden Gardens (with my always friend)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Meet Aslan

We have a new member of our household. He has come into our life as many things seem to - by surprise AND all the while knowing it was only a matter of time. August 31 was the one year anniversary of our big old golden dog, Curry's passing. Our household has been in that curious mix of mourning and enjoying the freedom of no pet responsibilities. We always knew it was not a matter of if we would get another animal, but more the question of when or what.

Last week while in downtown Ballard, I walked by the pet store and there he was - a big golden kitty version of Curry. We bonded through the glass and I strolled inside to say hello. Then I read is bio - three year old male cat whose human mother had been orphaned by a drunk driver and his dad had been moved into assisted living. Name - Aslan. My heart strings were being pulled, but I walked away.

That night at dinner, I shared the story of the big yellow kitty with my family. My daughter broke into wild expression and announced we had to have him. My husband looked at me and said, "Why didn't you bring him home?" The decision was unanimous and the wheels were in motion.

So, for the last few days in the midst of facilitator training, my husband's travel and my daughter's work schedule, we have been filling out adoption papers for the big fluff ball. He came home with us yesterday and spent the afternoon and evening visiting each of us independently to see who gives the best loving. He is having a hard time deciding which I think is a very good thing for an orphaned and adopted kitty - so much love he can't choose who gives it best. (I will say, daughter scooped him up and carried him off to bed with her and I haven't yet seen him this morning, so she may be in the lead for best snuggles.)

Needless to say, the house feels complete again with the arrival of golden fur, pattering feet and a fuzzy presence to curl up with. Life is good.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Following the Thread

It's late and my mind is full. Today was day one of my SoulCollage® facilitator training. I should be in bed sleeping and actually had the lights turned out, but this poem kept stirring inside me. I read it a couple of days ago, but was reminded of it again today as I stood in a circle of new friends and we wove together a net of comfort and safety. Over the next few days, we will not only be learning about the art of SoulCollage® facilitation, but also weaving together the different aspects of our own lives that come to surface through card making. I am filled with great anticipation for this adventure.

The Way It Is

There's a thread that you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn't change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can't get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time's unfolding.
You don't ever let go of the thread.
--William Stafford

Today was yet another day in holding onto the thread of this life I call mine.

"fantasy" by lucy

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday

As a newcomer to Wishcasting... I pondered Jamie's question for today:

How do you wish to stretch?

And here is what I discovered: I wish to become like elastic and move smoothly back and forth between the many projects that present themselves (or not). I wish NOT to snap as with whiplash when the stretching pulls hard, but rather go with the flow and be present to where the pull beckons.

Thank you for supporting me in my wish(es).

Sign me up!!!

Come experience Serious Soul Play

“A little child shall lead them.” Isaiah 11:6

“Maturity means reacquiring the seriousness one had as a child at play." -- Nietzsche

October 3, 2009. 9:15 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. In this workshop, we will explore the heart of your playful inner child through gentle expressive arts, music, story and meditation. Consideration will be given to potential blocks that hinder living your most authentic life. Be prepared to listen to your own inner wisdom while experiencing the places that connect most deeply with God and your world.

Created and facilitated by Kayce S. Hughlett. Offered through St. Placid Priory, Lacey, Washington.

Limited space available. Register by Friday, September 26. Cost $60. Please bring a sack lunch & your journal.

Questions? E-mail kayce@kaycehughlett.com.

For registration information, please e-mail The Spirituality Center, or call 360-438-2595 at St. Placid Priory. Reference: "Returning Home to Yourself"

Monday, September 14, 2009

Weekend & Workshop Update

“When we care, we feel the bite of both success and failure deep in our bones.” Sam M. Intrator & Megan Scribner

This past weekend was a wild one. My birthday was on Friday and I must say it was an absolutely glorious day. The weather was perfectly stunning and everything fell into place with little surprises along the way.

Saturday was the “dress rehearsal” for my newly created workshop/day retreat. As you may know, I have been so excited I could hardly stand it and have been creating with wild abandon and praying for the women who would participate, as well as myself. Little did I know how participatory I would be.

No matter how many times I do facilitation, I always seem to forget how impacted I will personally be. I mean, I KNOW I will be impacted and still, some little part of me puts it out of my mind. I think it's a safety valve of my own internal making since the impact of which I speak often comes in the form of shadow work - those little things that hide in the shadows – both the sides of us we wish would come to the surface more often and also those pesky ones we would like to keep their opinions to themselves. This time, the painful shadows reared their ugly heads telling me: "I am not good enough – never good enough," etc. etc.

It has taken me almost 48 hours to come to the conclusion that the “dress rehearsal” was a huge success. It went just as it should with areas of perfection, wonder and grace coupled with clunky spots that are rough around the edges and need fine-tuning. When things were clicking, I could totally feel it, and when the timing was off or the participants seemed less engaged, I was aware of that too. The evaluations were quite reflective of my own experience, so I have to wonder why I felt so naked and exposed when everything wasn’t absolutely “perfect.” I went in saying to myself, “It will not be helpful if they don’t offer good feedback.” I wanted honest and realistic input. I want to grow. I want to improve. That’s why I offered a “rehearsal” in the first place….AND that’s where the beginning quote hit me hard with realization when I read it last night.

It was NOT just a rehearsal to me. The women were real and their experience mattered to me as much as I hope it mattered to them. I CARE about what I do and in large part what I DO is who I AM. Not in the “I am defined by my work” kind of way, but in the way that says, “my work is my PASSION and my passion is ME.” So, I feel both perceived success and failure deeply.

It all rolls around in there together and gets a little messy, so yesterday I let myself feel what I needed to feel. I couldn’t muster up the words to say what I knew others wanted to hear (i.e. "It was great!!") I did a lot of writing to process and as I was sorting through my supplies, images began to stand out to me to create my own collage. The end result speaks to me of intertwined shadow and light, the balance of caring for myself while caring for others, the nakedness of putting myself out there and a few dozen other things ☺. (I would have posted it here, but my scanner decided to go on strike.)

Over time, I soaked up the places of the workshop that need refinement. I slept. I read. I pouted. And today, I woke up and re-read the evaluations which expressed, in addition to the places for improvement, many thank yous and comments like this:

The experience was
“playful…restful…personally challenging.”
“enjoyable and special to be with friends and explore who I am in a creative way.”
“I had SO much fun with me today ☺ ☺ ☺”
“What a gift to the world of yourself!”

And so I smile and consider the process that has run its course in the last 48 hours: exhaustion and excitement, pouting and playfulness, rejoicing and refinement, creativity and criticism. I have paid attention to my own emotions, and realize I am probably right where I need to be. I was an active participant in my own workshop.

It was definitely a learning experience filled with beautiful moments, smiling faces, soaring hearts and places of imperfection. Oh, and IT WAS GREAT!!

Friday, September 11, 2009


May I live this day [and year]

Compassionate of heart,
Clear in word,
Gracious in thought,
Generous in love.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

What I did on my Summer Vacation...

“Transitions of the past have opened the doors to my future.”

My last post contained the above words and my pondering over the last few days has led me to see how true the sentiment rings. Last spring, it felt like doors were closing every day. A significant change was leaving the job I held for three years at the graduate school where I completed my own masters degree. I adored that work, but knew it was time to move on. With that closing, I could not be certain of what might open ahead.

Over the course of the spring and summer, I found my facilitation time with Soltura slowing down and feeling like the intensive focus of the past three years was taking on a new shape, and that season of my life was shifting too.

In many ways my summer was spent grieving those losses and also learning how each of them has been a gift preparing me for the future. During my "summer vacation", my dreams began to manifest in tangible ways. Not satisfied with my private practice office, I let myself dream about new space. I wanted something spacious with a welcoming atmosphere. I preferred to be able to walk or easily take the bus. On August 1, I launched my “new and improved” practice in a wonderful yoga studio just blocks from my home. A new website, Diamonds in the Soul, followed. Business cards were designed and ordered. And the creating continued. More doors began to open.

This week, I am offering a complimentary preview workshop to several women who might not otherwise be able to attend. It is a blend of expressive arts, experiential therapy and spiritual direction. The space is full with eight women (and an overflow list, too ☺.) I am so excited I can hardly stand it! I have been reading like crazy, taking notes, gathering music, selecting images for collage, making lists of supplies, choosing poems and refining what I will have time to share in our few short hours.

The follow-up (or official workshop) will be held on October 3 at St. Placid Priory near Lacey, Washington. Reservations are being accepted now and I would love to have you join me! Check it out here and let me know if you are interested.

Another door is shared with the lovely Christine of Abbey of the Arts. We will again be offering a supervision group for compassionate listeners. Our initial group for 2009-2010 has filled and we have had inquiries about offering a second group, this one entitled Soul Care Supervision (Click on the link to check it out.) If you are anywhere near Seattle and are interested, let us know. (A participant drove from Vancouver B.C. last year and vowed it was worth the drive!)

One of the additional fruits of my supervision work with Christine is that I am going to be officially published as co-author of the chapter on using the arts in spiritual direction supervision in the upcoming book she and Betsey Beckman have written. It will be available in February of 2010. How exciting is that?!??!

As you can see, my creativity and exuberance are over-flowing. Who would have guessed where those closing doors would lead? My summer vacation was indeed dream-packed! And I haven’t even mentioned my upcoming Soul Collage Facilitator training or my pilgrimage to Ireland ☺. Stay tuned for further details.

My party of the heart continues as I learn how to give and receive my gifts in love. I invite you to share in the excitement with me. Please let me know if any of the upcoming events are of interest to you. And by all means, let me know what doors are opening (or closing) for you as we say good-bye to summer.


images taken on my summer vacation - location - the cloisters, nyc

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Party of the Heart

“We have to create and discover the parties of the heart, the place where we know we can enjoy what is, and that we have indeed survived and even flourished another day of our one and only life. Just make sure you are somewhere, and always, definitively in love! Then you'll see rightly, because only when we are in love can we accept the mystery that almost everything is.” --Richard Rohr

Listening to: Dance me to the End of Love by Leonard Cohen

A glorious few days. A party of the heart. Working. Loving. Laughing. Creating. Watching the rain fall. Listening to music fall into place. Working alongside Bill. Walking with friends. Chatting with my sister. Picking silly songs. Writing. Collaging. Meeting Norah. Finding compassion for myself and others. Life is indeed a party of the heart if we allow the music in.

Life is full these days. My transitions of the past have opened the doors to my future. My now. These are the words I have today. Fullness is here and now. More awaits outside my door and through my window. The eyes of my heart long to put feet on my faith. Wishing you a blessed day.

"God is not a being. God is being itself." --Richard Rohr

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Norah and the Watchers

"It is here in the unwatched space that peace begins." --Mark Nepo

Have you ever experienced the paranoia of “the watchers” – the fear that everyone is watching you or worse still that no one is? I spent years shedding the notion that people were observing me and expecting me to fail or not live up to their standards. I learned that often people really don't care what you're up to as long as you don't get in their way. However, being raised under a highly critical eye helped me become finely attuned to those times when the watchers do show up. It’s a blessing and a curse.

I can’t always name it, but I know when something's amiss. I begin to feel it in my gut. Sometimes it starts elsewhere – a prickle of the skin – a twinge of the heart. I know something is going on, but I can’t exactly put it in words. I want to shrug it off – to deny the watchers are there - to hope for the goodness of others and deny the potential overreaction of myself.

For Buffy fans, you know that Giles is her watcher. He is there for Buffy’s safety, mentoring and training. In many traditions, God is known as watcher and protector. It is comforting to know others are watching on our behalf. But what about the other watchers – those who watch through fear-clouded orbs instead of eyes of the heart? At times, I am guilty of this clouded vision. If an issue is someone else’s fault, then I am absolved. It is much easier to blame our problems on others than to take personal responsibility. It seems that those watching for evil in others will find what they are looking for. My hope is that by opening our eyes to goodness it will also be found.

From time to time, my fine attunement tells me the watchers are present. Will they seek goodness or evil? Responsibility or absolution? My hope is that each of us will seek and find the unwatched space where peace begins - beginning with ourselves and then sharing it with others.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

People Watching

The following poem evolved from a couple of things - Memory from a Zeta Sister and Invitation to Poetry: Moments from Abbey of the Arts.

Do they know who they will become?
Are they already there?

Pink crocs and purple cast, she floats
across the playground.
Will she be a nurse mending others or
the daredevil breaking bones?

Tiny son in his own blue crocs,
raises his voice to the sky.
Budding opera singer? Talk show host?
Perhaps a bellowing father.

Newborn babes & scampering tots,
mothers, fathers, aunties too.
Do they know who they will become?
Are they already there?

The merry-go-round spins
faster and faster.
Which moments of the blur will
stand in clarity?

Bell bottom jeans, peasant top
& flowing hair, she sits upon the campus wall.
Could she know who she would become?
Was she already there?

Perhaps it is middle age or psychotherapy that has me remembering moments of my past, but I continue to be fascinated by what I am learning about my life. Recent discoveries have led me to consider the "clues" to who I have become that were there all along the way.

The things I loved as a child (which I thought I had forgotten) are still the things I love today. My authentic tendencies (not necessarily those imposed upon me by others) have been with me from ages 5 to 15 to 50.

So, what do you think? Did you know who you would become? Were you already there? Can you see the clues that were there along the way?

photo from Paris, 2008