Saturday, April 28, 2007


I remember sometime in my late teens, after buying my first car, a 1974 blue Volkswagon Bug, feeling a true sense of freedom. To me, it was the freedom of opportunity, the knowing of the emminant possibility that there were adventures to be had. I had friends then, who shared my sense of freedom and adventure and we made the most of out time together and our freedom in the form of cars and driver's licences. It was the sense of freedom and the fire of our imaginations that we were high on. I remember thinking "why would anyone use drugs when life itself can make you feel so high?" I think that thought came on a night that we parked one of our cars at the end of the LAX runway off Vista Del Mar, in El Segundo, and felt the roar of the jumbo jets as they ascended into the sky from right above our heads.

Now that I am a mother, and a "stay-at-home" one at that, I like to have adventures with my kids. This town, (Santa Barbara- if you don't live here) is so full of the possibility for adventure that I sometimes am forced to piggy back one adventure on top of another just to take advatage of the cornicopia of possibility. The sperm whale is one example. I got word that there was a beached sperm whale on a beach in Santa Barbara, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I am so lucky because I have a friend who is willing and able to have just about any adventure with me- and our kids adore each other, so as soon as I had the idea in my head, I called Jill and we were off! The thing is,....that was not the end of the adventure. The day after our kids communed with the corpse of the great whale by playing "chicken" with it in the surf, we again were alight with the firy spirit of adventure. We took a picnic lunch down to a beach just south of where the whale had been the evening before. Again, I trusted Jill's natural ability to connect with wildlife and encouraged her to choose the beach. I was not dissappointed. We finished eating our lunch and started walking down the beach. We were rewarded almost immediately with the sight of a giant excavator digging a whale-sized hole for the black mound next to it. There was a crowd of people around and as we got closer, we could see why. It was what whalers must have looked like, covered from chest to toe on yellow rubber pants, standing on top or inside the whale weilding huge, four-foot-long scalpels. There was a scientific team performing a gross dissection. We had to cross a stream of whale blood to get to the up-wind side of the decomposing whale. The intestines were being extracted with the help of a large hook and I think I identified the huge black liver. The team working on the whale was either affiliated with the UCSB department of marine biology or they were from the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Either way, I was glad that the scientific community was taking the opportunity to learn from the magnificent creature who gifted her body to Santa Barbara.

As if the whale adventure weren't enough to keep us happy, just a few days later, we launched rokets off the blacktop at a local jr. high school, our imaginations stirring as they climbed though the low-lying clouds. A few days after that, I joined my daughter's first grade class on a field trip to the Santa Barbara Airport and we were treated to the most exciting surprize...a World War II B-17 Bomber, built in 1944. It was gleaming with it's polished chrome-riveted body, with thirteen gunnary positions to be located thoughout the plane. From the inside, we could safely imagine our young, brave soldiers, knowingly putting their lives on the line to man the war bird. We could even cross the catwalk in the belly of the plave to see where the bombs would be dropped as the huge doors opened exposing the runway below. It was a priceless experience. I returned the next day with Jill and our two young sons, to log another unforseen adventure in our book.

I feel like the luckiest woman in the world, living in a place where all things are possible and living like there's no tomorrow.
P.S. I realize that the picture of the gutted whale may be a bit much for some, but I'd like to take this opportunity to let you know that the smell was far worse than the sight. Decomposing life has a way of remaining in the olfactory lobe of the brain far longer than the image remains in the visual memory. I can still smell that whale, but I remain regret-free. A life devoured is guaranteed to be messy and smelly at times if not full-on GROSS.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


The adventure began when my sister Stacy called to ask about the beached whale in Isla Vista. It jarred my memory of a radio blurb that morning that I had heard but filed away somewhere in the back of my head for safe keeping. Upon jarring the idea loose, I was determined to commune with this amazing creature of the deep, and called my friend Jill. "Hey, you wanna go on an adventure?" I asked. "Absolutely!" She replied. We didn't know exactly where we were going, for the whereabouts of the whale had not yet shown up in the news. I told her I'd heard it was on Isla Vista beach. She drove. I trust Jill's connection to nature. She connects with animals (or they connect with her), even though she denies this vehemently. It may be purely coincidental, but Jill drove us to I.V. , found us a parking place. We descended the nearest set of stairs to the beach and found that we were within visual range of a beached sperm whale.

There was a small crowd marveling at the amazing creature. Kieran, my daughter, said it looked like a big plucked chicken. It was an accurate description. The whale was wrinkled and pink. "Possibly from a sunburn?", I speculated. The kids were fascinated and tried to get close but the whale was caught in the slowly rising tide and moved in and out, as if still alive, raising its caudal fin occasionally with the bigger waves. The kids were playing chicken with the carcass of the great sperm whale, chasing after it as the waves receded and running screaming back as the whale surged closer with the swell. It was wild and windy and I feared someone from our car was going to have a close encounter with decomposing whale tissue. I figured all was well though. This was in fact an experience of communing with nature, wasn't it? When else could my kids get close enough to actually kiss a sperm whale if they so chose? It was a great moment. A great present of the present where we acted in the spirit of adventure for a moment of discovery.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Presents of the Present

It's funny. Sometimes the gift is something you didn't want. It is something you didn't ask for.

I wrote this great blog this morning about seizing the day, living in the now and really appreciating this day- the only moment you really have- right now. I wrote all this stuff about not projecting your fear or anticipatory judgement on what your day hands you. Every moment of every day is a gift and some of those gifts come completely out of the blue and some are gifts you have asked for and worked towards. I said that you shouldn't shy away from the surprises. Don't think that you know what the box contains or weather or not you are going to love it once you try it on. I said all this stuff and then the whole essay got lost. I realized the essay was for me. The gift was mine. I know this because minutes after my essay was erased I received a call that could lead me to a new career. I was excited but began to feel scared with the anticipation of how this new development would impact my life. I was doing exactly what I advised my readers to avoid. The message was for me. The gift was for me. I am so grateful for the presents of my present even when they scare me or annoy me. I love it all in all my imperfection- able to cheer on others but left sometimes doubting myself. Life is funny. I can do nothing but chuckle.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Meditation for the REBIRTH full moon

This is a meditation from the TARA text called "Setting the Motivation"

Today, April 2nd, 2007, is the full moon- the first full moon of the Spring Equinox, the time for rebirth. On the full moon, all intentions and actions are amplified 10,000 times. I felt it important to share this. If you are reading this, it was meant for you, at this time. It is a gift for you. Receive it completely.

The fundamental nature of my mind is pure.
Within me is an inexhaustible source of love, wisdom and power.
The purpose of all spiritual practice
Is to reveal and make contact with this.

When ignorance is removed,
Unlimited wisdom, compassion and power arise.
It is the mind's conditioning that limits
Understanding of who I am
And what I can become.
I will cleanse my mind of faults
And develop beneficial qualities.
This removes obstacles to my path
And creates beneficial conditions.
Recognizing the interconnectedness of all,
I will strive to be my best
To manifest my enlightened potential.
Ever dedicated to benefiting all beings,
I will think, speak and act as