Hummingbird.

I have the amazing privilege and gift of being a parent. I have been deeply grateful for that experience for my whole adult life, and what I have created with the person I call my son, over his lifetime, feels miraculous. We have each grown in very profound ways, and brought so many more gifts to our table as a result.

 

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Part of what our relationship looks like is in person connection, which is more challenging to come by at this phase of his life. He is in college, living far away from home, and building what is important to him. I see him only once every few months, and when I am with him, I feel overwhelmed with happiness and love.
However, old habits tend to be difficult to let go of at times in Life. I have long taken care of his needs, even long after he became an adult and started making his own decisions. I like making sure he is okay. I like cooking for him, filling his refrigerator with groceries, or taking him on a shopping spree when we are together. It feels safe, familiar, and nurturing.

 

Yet, it is one of those areas where I need to be cautious within myself and my intentions. There are times when my care of him feels over involved; when I become so focused on him being okay, and the need for me to care for him, that I don’t allow him the space to figure out things on his own; nor do I trust his ability to do so.

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I remember years ago, when he was first a teenager. His other mother and I had separated, and were living apart. It was an emotionally painful and intense time. I often had to pick him up after school at her home, the home that the three of us had previously shared as a family. I remember one particular afternoon, when I arrived to get him, he asked for my help. On the front porch of the house, a hummingbird had become trapped. It had actually tucked itself behind one of the shutters of a window. I wasn’t sure what to do, but felt compelled to do something. So, I gently and carefully reached in behind the shutter, and took the little bird into my hands. It didn’t move, and I was amazed at how small and fragile it seemed. We opened the porch door, I opened my hand, and it flew away. It was one of the most profound experiences of my life.

 

And, last weekend, as I drove away from my son, putting 12 hours of highway between us, I realized something. My son, my hummingbird, seems fragile and small and vulnerable at times, and I want to do all that I can to protect him. At the same time, I know that if I hold him in my hands, I cannot allow him to fly, to spread his wings, to create his own magic in the world. In Native American medicine, hummingbird symbolizes pure Joy. Yet, I cannot appreciate that joy in my son if I am holding him in my hands, not allowing him to be who he is, and trust that expression of his joy is the greatest gift I can allow for him.

 

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So, again I learn. I learn that in the letting go, I am experiencing some of the most brilliant joy of my life.

 

 

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The Other Side of the Story.

Oh my.

There are moments in life when I can hardly believe how detached that I am. And yet, I enjoy Life to its fullest capacity.

 

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I spent the weekend in Atlanta, Georgia, home of Coca Cola and Martin Luther King, Jr. It has been amazing, and awe inspiring, and I had no idea that any of that was coming.

 

So, I was supposed to be attending a conference in Atlanta this weekend. And, no matter how peaceful that I am, I still love being a planner of sorts. So, as soon as I knew of the possibility of the conference, I bought my round trip air fair to Atlanta.

 

Then, it got canceled. And, I decided that coming to Atlanta, for fun, adventure, and who knows what, was well worth the price of a plane ticket and an Air bnb (is that how I write it??). So, I arrived in Atlanta Friday morning at 8:00 AM, and had no idea what was going to happen.
Suffice it to say, it has been freakin’ amazing.

 

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I hugged a polar bear, hugged multiple humans, ate beautiful food and walked for miles. And, what added beauty and magic to every moment was my own presence. My own awareness of being awake. Alive. In a sense of knowing. I am humbled and in awe of how awake I am on any given day!  Something so startling and inspiring is happening in me, as I continue to crack wide open.

 

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Strange, and not that strange, we start out in this world as completely new and open, and having a keen knowing of who it is that we truly Are. Then, slowly and over time, we curl up, we close, we forget, and then we learn to pretend that we haven’t really forgotten. Then, we remember, just a little bit, but get scared. We get scared to be open, and vulnerable. Vulnerability is certain death, after all! Don’t do it- don’t risk losing that which is predictable and safe; security at its peak.

 

But, that is the joke, after all.  There is not truth to that. In this form, in this body, we are fragile. Anything could happen, and end this as we know it to be. At any moment. So, I tell you:
This is not IT.

 

Wait.  I will say that again.
THIS IS NOT IT.

 

It only feels like “it”.

 

I am not saying that this realm, this experience doesn’t FEEL real. It feels completely real. We learn about it, we invest in it, we protect it, build it, commit to it!

 

Then, something goes profoundly wrong-  “bad” as we call it here. And we feel completely turned upside down and shaken. How could this happen? What did I do to deserve this? Where’s G_d?

 

I admit, knowing what I have come to know doesn’t ease all of the pain, loss, and grief, hurt and anger. But, it helps.

 

A. Lot.

 

I still feel pain. Hurt. Anger. Grief. Disappointment.

 

AND- I remember that I can feel those emotions, as deeply and authentically as possible as needed, and then, allow them to pass. I get to watch them float by without staying attached to them. It is perfectly okay to feel what we feel- but we don’t have to attach ourselves to a story about those feelings.

 

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When I am one with all that Is, I see every circumstance unfolding precisely as it should; I see how every step makes sense to the overall picture, and I am available to an acceptance of things just being as they are. Life as it Is. And, I meet the most amazing other humans on that journey.

 

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I have come to more consistently see the other side of the story; the other side of the story in my mind. The other side is Surrender. Peace. Forgiveness. Everything that we already carry in us, and is our only possible saving grace. And, grace is not my doing. How could it be? I am part of and receiving that grace, but it is so much bigger than me in this human form. When I say yes to grace, and sink into that truth, it is the deepest peace that I have ever known.

 

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Rainbows and Glitter.

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So, it would seem that most people would know that summer is the season for LGBTQA+ Pride, especially, the month of June. Fifty years ago, in June 28, 1969, a group of brave humans stood up the the police and the public, in Greenwich Village, NYC, to be treated fairly and equally. The establishment is Stonewall. And, the rest is history. Gay history. 

 

I have been out as a lesbian, to friends, family, and the general public, for more than 35 years now. It has been a journey, that is for sure, one that has included self loathing, shame, and believing that there might be something wrong with me because I loved women. Yet, I persevered, I have been fiercely authentic as myself for many years now, and I love to model that for others also.

 

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Long after my own coming out, my son had his own version of coming out that was in store for him. It was painful and confusing at times, for all of us. Yet, it shifted something in me on a deep level, that helped me to understand that we all just want to be loved for who we know ourselves to be. It is that simple, and yet as humans, we make it so complicated and difficult.

 

As I stood out in the oppressive heat today, holding my arms open and offering hugs for any and all that wanted, or needed them, I felt humbled. I felt emotional. I felt so sure that I was right where I needed to be. And, even though I didn’t hear a lot of stories, of rejection and heartache that others have experienced, I felt the connection from one human soul to the next, as we held one another and squeezed.

 

I have attended more Pride events this summer than in my entire adult life, and what I can say is, beyond how fulfilling it is to give a hug to a person that really needs one, and is willing to give it to themselves, it is a completely awe inspiring experience, to watch humans of all ages come to an event and feel free to be themselves. To express it, loudly or softly, and to know that they finally can just BE. Today, at the very end of the day, I had a young person cry in my arms, and me along with them, about how grateful that they were that Free Mom Hugs was there, offering hugs and hope to anyone who needed it.

 

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And, my beautiful, loving son, came with his own sign, to show support, love, and connection with so many that took him up on his offer. It was so lovely to watch. I am in tears as I write this, so grateful that I have stepped upon this purposeful path; so overwhelmed with how it is needed and received; and so humbled by all of the souls that are now joining me on the journey.  I came home with a rainbow necklace, and with my arms covered in glitter. 

 

It was a very good day.  

Standing Out.

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Unless you have only recently come to meet me, or know what it is I do or who I am, then you know about how much I love hugs. I love getting them, yes, but I am completely addicted to giving them. There have been some pretty memorable ones of the hundreds I have given over the years, and every time I step out, another hugging human blows my doors off. 

 

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And, I have enjoyed having it be my “deal”. When I meet people they will tell me that they know I am the Hug Lady, or recollect that they have hugged me before. For my Ego, moments like that are like winning lottery ticket:  I am important. I am memorable. I stand out. And, that feeds me for a while in and of itself.  However, what also seems to happen is that I start to feel resentful about the recognition others receive for hugging; that seem to stand out more than I do. I get jealous and I want to separate. I want to stand out MORE than ever. My Ego is a sneaky sucker. 

 

So, about a year ago, by circumstances around my love of hugs, I was told about and started reading about Free Mom Hugs, and its founder, Sara Cunningham. I was blown away, and was so inspired that there seemed to be an actual movement, with national momentum. It was all that I dreamed of. For myself, of course!  I mean, I am only keeping it real here.

 

And, when I have hugged with them, and been representing them, I wanted then to be the Free Mom Hugs presence that would be the stand out; that would be more memorable than anyone else. My Ego loves attempting to solidify its position wherever it can. And, I fall for it, every time.

 

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But, in the last couple of days, instead of that being the story that I choose to believe in my runaway train of a mind, I looked at what is happening, with Free Mom Hugs and beyond. Humans are showing up for each other again. Love is being projected and people are hugging one another. And, there is room for everyone. Shit, it is the dream of a lifetime, dozens, hundreds, thousands, MILLIONS of humans hugging each other. At pride, on the street, at festivals and rallies. Just hugging. Just loving one another. Seeing and being seen by one another.
And, honestly, that means no one has to stand out, because everyone does. 

 

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What Do I Know?

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When I was a little girl, I wanted to grow up and be a social worker. Why? Because I saw the world as broken, and hurting, and I saw myself as the superhero who was going to fix it. To solve every problem, heal every wound. To change the world. To this day, it has created a belief within me that sees myself as the one with the right answers, and the one that is essential for a problem to be solved.

 

Additionally, by seeing the world as broken, and needing me to fix it, I have also developed the belief that had a certain talent with people, that I could tell if something was bothering someone, and even more than that, WHAT was bothering them. Sometimes, I would call that “gift” in myself being intuitive, or being empathic. And, I do know that those skills live within me, and I do sense things when I really trust myself. But, how I have most often crafted the stories of the problems of others that I weave into my mind, is by simply believing that I know what is going on with them. By the evidence that they show in their body language, the words that they use, or don’t, or emotions that they express. For most of my life, I have been thinking that I know, for certain, what is happening with them.

 

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And, to be fair to myself, sometimes, I have been right.  And, even though I appreciate being tuned into what others are going through, what I have enjoyed about being right is a way to pat myself on the back, to show my own arrogance of thinking how well that I know what the world needs, and how I am certainly the one that can fix it for them.  As I type the words, they sound ugly, and harsh. But, there is ugliness and harshness there, because all of those aspects live in me.  The arrogance, the self centeredness, the bold assuredness of being right, the feeling justified in taking a position or a side.  And, those aspects that are more difficult to look at sometimes live in all of us.

 

The deepest truth that I now understand, is that no matter what evidence I believe that I see to prove myself correct about someone, is that I can never, ever know what is going on with someone else. Even if they tell me. And, this includes myself as well. Although all of our thoughts can carry loaded stories along with them, and are always attached to some belief system we possess, we don’t even have to believe our own thoughts about ourselves. We don’t write the story for someone else, except in our heads. We embellish the stories in our heads with details that we feel certain are right, and then, have an ongoing battle within us based on our assumptions.
We can only ever know best what is going on with ourselves. That takes enough cleaning and clearing, for sure. I never have to take anyone else personally, and if I make assumptions, I am mostly likely going to be wrong, and I will be telling a story that does not include the other person, and only lives in my head. It is destructive and not loving.

 

I feel like coming to this realization again, in a really deep, profound way, is going to light the way for me to move forward with others, and circumstances, with Love, Light and Presence.

 

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