love

Night Vision

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Author’s Note: I was having trouble sleeping the other night, so I got up and started writing.  I have to say I was a bit surprised when this came out….

Once there was a princess, who had everything she ever wanted, but her life still felt empty. So, one night, while the palace was asleep, she slipped out the iron gate into the woods. The girl followed a trail of silver light along a path, lead only by the beckoning call of frogs within the wood.

Deep in the forest of pines, she stopped and stared at the moon. Away from the castle, this moon was much more beautiful than she ever knew. There beneath its brightness, she found herself smiling, experiencing a happiness she forgot she knew. So, alone among the oaks and pines, she danced in her shimmering gown of gold, her lithe body making silhouettes against the moonlit ground.

Every night, intoxicated by its greatness, she went into the wood and danced, sure that she could feel the moon’s silver kiss on her skin. In her gratitude, she brought her dear moon gifts: a white feather, a beautiful stone, and a deep green leaf. And although this celestial being did not speak, she decided she needed no thanks, for its constant glow alone was all she asked for.

Then one night, when she stepped out onto the trail, she could not see. The frogs did not sing, the crickets did not chirp. Her path was total darkness. Stumbling her way out to her space in the forest, she looked up to the sky and called out.

“Oh, moon? Moon? Where have you gone?” But there was no answer, only the cool breeze of the whispering wind.

The princess in the golden gown went home and wept. She cried, angry at herself as it dawned on her thatperhaps this moon, this creature of the night, was never hers to begin with.

What sort of foolish girl falls in love with the moon? she thought.

In her grief she was left empty… just a hollow girl, alone.

One night sleep refused to come. She lay awake in bed, her curtains open, looking to the black sky. Breathing long, slow breaths, she felt as if every golden spark of joy she ever knew was lost in the woods during the nights before.

As she lay there gazing at the subtle movement of blackened clouds, she heard a distant call.

Hoo, hoo, hoo….

The call of an owl.

She had heard once that owls were messengers of death, and in her sorry state death seemed dully appropriate.

Death of love, death of hope… she thought under a heavy dose of self-pity.

Hoo, hoo, hoo, it called again.

She covered her head with a pillow, but the owl kept on calling.

Fed up, she went to her window and opened it. On a nearby oak stood a white owl, its yellow eyes looking at her. It ruffled its feathers as if mocking her sorry state.

“Go away,” she called to it, but it merely flapped its wings and flew to a closer branch.

Determined to scare off this harbinger of death, she ran out of her room, down the stairs, out the palace gate, and onto the trail. The owl up ahead flapped its wings and glided in complete silence to a tree ahead. She followed.

And so it went–the owl, moving from tree to tree and the princess following behind, determined to scare it far away from the castle. This went on for quite some time until the princess paused and looked around. She was deep in the woods, alone, in the dark, without her moon.

However in that moment something strange happened. She realized that even without the moon above, she was not blind.

Far from it!

In fact, her eyes had become so well adjusted she could see the details in the bark of the trees, the dancing leaves on their limbs, and the tiny movement of small creatures on the ground.

Hoo hoo, the owl called again.

Then there, in this subtle darkness, she felt a change within herself. A warmth grew from within her chest. Her own heart was alive with radiance. This loving energy flowed outward towards her hands, her legs, her feet, until she was wrapped in that same luscious joy she felt from the moon, but tenfold!

As she stood in rapture, she wondered if maybe it was not the love she received from the silent moon that had driven her dance, but something grander, something that reached beyond the sky, beyond the forest…outward, full circle, then back into her own heart.

And so that night, beneath the cloud covered sky she danced, bathed not in moon light, but at light that came from within.

To this day, you will still find the princess in the golden gown out dancing in the forest. Sometimes it will be with the wise, old trees, the playful frogs, or the noisy crickets, and sometimes it will even be with her dear old moon, but regardless of who accompanies her each night, one thing stands the same: you will always find that princess dancing with joy, illuminating her world with her own golden heart.

 

Authors Note: To me this is a story about being pulled by our own desire for happiness, and the mistake we make grounding it in material things–people, objects, places, believing that they will cure your woes, but in the end all  these things are fleeting. Like the princess in the golden gown, it’s not until we learn to find that inner joy-that love of Self that we can be truly content with ourselves and our world.  The moon didn’t have all the answers, only the girl did, within herself.

All you can really work on is yourself.  That’s it. As my friends Tim and Marybeth say, “It’s an inside job.” 

That it is.

May you  dance everyday of your life by the golden glow of your heart.

Peace,

Becky

 

 

 

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Great Expectations (according to Luke Skywalker)

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Remember the scene in Empire Strikes Back when Luke is facing Yoda’s trials in the cave on Dagobah? There he faces Darth Vader in a lightsaber battle, only to find after decapitating him that beneath Darth’s mask is Luke’s own face.

That’s how I feel lately…..maybe minus the light sabers.

Some days I feel like I’ve been up against insurmountable “bad guys”, the kind of people who I seem to meet over and over again in my life. These people come in many incarnations, with different guises, but their MO is always the same.

They are never satisfied. These are people who beg for your love, yet nothing you do will satiate their need. Everything is conditional. They are what the Chinese call hungry ghosts. In China they depict these people as ghoulish beings with over sized stomachs and tiny mouths. Never can they feel full.

And so all along my life I complained incessantly about these people, who seemed to haunt me at every turn. I even wrote a book series about them (www.HungryGhostBooks.com) As far as I was concerned I gave and gave but never received.

In these scenarios I always saw myself as a bit of a hero—the do gooder. You know, like Luke Skywalker. I was the bold giver, who loves these people so much that she risks losing herself, wasting away, in some sort of glorious act of devotion…A picture perfect martyr, no?

Lately this whole Luke scenario keeps popping up in my head, especially when I’m meditating. I know this is weird, but once in a while, as I sit there alone with my breath, an intrusive thought pops up and I feel myself not as me but as these other people, the ones who have caused me so much trouble along the way. Part of me is thinking, “What the f#$@”and I try to push it down. When it doesn’t go down I push harder.

I’ve learned however that the most important part of meditation is to simply be with your thoughts. Don’t feed them, but also don’t fight them.

And so, that is what I did…I sat with the yuckiness.

In the process I’m learning something…I am not just the good guy in this movie I call “My Life”, in fact many times I am the never-satisfied one, demanding more of my friends, of my husband, of my kids than they could ever give. And like my adversaries, occasionally my expectations are so high that I put them in the position of the feeder, scooping their version of love into me faster than I can swallow.

This is a horrible thing to think about yourself, but I believe, like all of us, I too am a creature of the darkside. It cannot be denied.

When we’re in those dark winding caverns, we have a choice. With our light saber drawn we can knock our enemies down, we can run from their unshrouded masks, or we can acknowledge who they really are. Light and dark.

Rather than hating our enemies we can pause and acknowledge that maybe in some ways they are only us in disguise.

Loving one’s self, without condition, without expectation is perhaps one of the hardest tasks we are set out to do in this life. We all are hungry ghosts on some level, looking for an idealized  image that will never be, but when we wander the corridors of life, sometimes we see that glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel and we know, even in our darkest moments that each of us hold in our hands all of the beauty and perfection we ever wanted.

And we are forgiven….unconditionally.

In this maze that we all walk through, all we can do is love. I say that over and over again…it’s so simple but it’s perhaps the only real thing we can do.

Love and forgive.

May the Force be with you.

Peace,

Becky

 

 

Love everyone, tell the truth…and bake cookies

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Picture in your mind-India, 1970. Young Americans in the prime of life have arrived in droves to a foreign land with hopes of finding a guru who will give their lives meaning.

At one particular ashram is a guru named Neem Karoli Baba (also known as Maharaj-ji). One of the “kids” who stumbled onto him was Richard Alpert, a former Harvard professor who coincidentally had just been doing a lot of acid with colleague Timothy Leary. Well, for Richard (now Ram Dass) the acid wasn’t enough, which was why he came to India to find the real answers. And apparently he did.

So one day at the ashram Ram Dass was pissed off. Not only at everyone in the camp but also at himself. I can only imagine that living on a diet of bland lentil stew and being in close quarters with a bunch of hippies with hang ups was not an easy thing to do.

So all the students were sitting around their guru eating (lentil stew), when Ram Dass showed up late. He was still pissed. Maharaj-ji sensed his frustration and said kindly, “Ram Dass, come join us…remember love everyone and tell the truth.”

Well, I’m guessing Maharaj-ji’s words just pissed him off more. Not liking how he felt towards his friends, Ram Dass took a deep breath and began slicing an apple.

He knew serving food in anger was like feeding people poison, so he slowly went from person to person serving them apples, looking deeply in their eyes, until he felt love for each and every one of them. And it worked! After serving them all he felt a sense of calm and peace and was no longer angry.  Just handing out apple slices changed his whole state of mind!

Fast forward to 2016 (yesterday!). Now it’s me who’s pissed. Like Ram Dass…I was feeling mad at everyone, especially myself. My life seems to be riddled with heart wrenching conflict and I was having trouble seeing any way out.

That morning Polishing the Mirror by Ram Dass had arrived in the mail. As these things go I happened to open right to this story of the apples and the guru. The timing was perfect.

Inspired by the tale, I decided to bake. I made cookies, but not like I normally do. As I cracked each egg, scooped out that tiny spoonful of salt, then compacted the brown sugar deep into the measuring cup I breathed and smiled. As I divided the dough onto the cookie sheets I sung along to music, totally in the moment.

When the cookies were done, they looked perfect. I packed them up in little containers and delivered them to the important people in my life.

As I handed them out I allowed myself to feel unconditional love to the recipients—that same love that Ram Dass felt towards all his potentially annoying hippie friends.

Love everyone. Tell the truth.

I love this notion. I hope to devote my life to these words, but, I’m no fool. I promise you, some days it will not be easy, because people make me mad! They really do. No one sees things the way I do. Their goals, their motives seem diametrically opposed to mine..and quite frankly sometimes they’re just plain ridiculous!

But…but! I love them.  Because between the space of “you and I” is “US”.   And sure, it’s cheesy and hippie-dippy but WE are one. That gap we feel between us is only imaginary. It’s a construct we have all created. When we look deeply at one and other, down to the core, we see only love.

I can’t fix people…I can’t change them…and on some days I can’t even understand them, but I can love them and in that process of truly loving others, I am truly loving myself….and the world.  You can’t feel one without the other.

So maybe next time you’re making food for your friends or family or even just handing a beer to a friend, think of those words: “Love everyone. Tell the truth,” and see what happens.

Let me know what happens. I’d love to hear your stories.

Peace. Namaste.

Becky

P.S. Happy Valentine’s Day!!

 

Street Performer Wisdom…

I was walking down the street on Beach Street in Downtown Daytona Beach when I saw a street performer, a drummer, maybe in his mid fifties enjoying our mellow Florida weather.  He had a little basket with dollar bills in it as her sat situated in front of a little vegetarian bistro.  I stopped and said hello and he looked up at me with a wonderful smile…one of those smiles that comes from deep in the heart.

He looked at me a kept on grinning. As I was going for my wallet and he said “What a beautiful woman you are.”  Now I suppose one could say he was simply buttering me up, or maybe trying to make a move but that is not the sense I got, he was seeing ME.  Not looking at my goofy pants I had on or the state of my wild curly hair, but he was enchanted simply because I was who I am.

Of course my ego was stroked  a thousand times…I can be insecure about these things, so yes, it made me feel marvelous. But it wasn’t about the surface stuff, I had the sense this this stranger, this guy on a street corner got ME.

We talked for a bit more and in passing I mentioned my husband and the gentleman said, “Well, tell your husband that Spice Man says he’s a very lucky man.”

Spice Man!  What a funny, wonderful man.  I wish I had got his picture to share because he was so beautiful too!

So, very appropriately I came across this marvelous little video shared by a friend on facebook this morning.  Forget the violence in the news, the insane politicians, the noise of negative self talk and fear that follows us all and  watch this video… and know that you are beautiful too.

Peace my friends.  Have a great day.

Thoughts on Paris: Don’t Give in to the Hate

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We all have a single choice…to live in love or fear.

This decision is one we make every moment of every day.  Do we cower in fear or do we choose to open our hearts to the world around us and let love in?

Those who did the horrific damage in Paris, who do the horrific damage all over the world…those who kill, hate, cower, have all lost touch with the light, they have given into their own fears, acted on their own dark impulses. BUT…and here’s the catch, because we are all connected, every soul bound to one and other, we are also connected to those who fear, hate, hide…the terrorist,the power obsessed politician, the shooter…we have their essence with in us.  Maybe you’re saying “no, not me” but I believe we have the potential to be as horrible or as marvelous as we choose.  As humans, children of God, we are both dark and light.

If you’re going to do one thing in response to the tragedies in Paris, make the choice to not run from your own truths, to not run from your connection to the people around you, to your connection to the world.  Don’t be afraid to let love be the dominating force in your life…not just in these weeks of mourning, but every day of your life.  And as much as you may resist this- I suggest making the choice to not hate the haters.  For as much as we deny it, in some ways we are them…we as connected beings hold their, pain, their fear, their anger within us.  We are all dark and light.

Pray, meditate, connect with the world, love all of humanity. Be the goodness that you really are.  That’s all we can do, is recognize the beauty, revel in our the simple humanness, celebrate this marvelous existence, even in the face of it’s pain.

Fear or love…it’s up to you.

Peace,

Becky

Beautiful and Broken: Redefining Depression

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I have been depressed…well, I think that’s what you call it. I have felt unmotivated to write, uninterested in finding a job, failing to eat right, or care for my home. I have detached myself from my family and opted for time alone.

Then this morning I woke up at 4:30am, as I do sometimes, and I simply starred into the blackness of the room. Rather than overthink and brood (like I do so well), I just breathed in and out and allowed myself to shed myself of all the noise, the guilt, and the feelings of inadequacies that stirred within.

As I did this I tried something. I let the darkness speak back to me.

With gentle, loving firmness it said:

I see you running around in life, chattering away in your head, trying to make something of this little existence of yours.

“Ta da!” you say. “Look at me. I’m a writer!”

“Ta-da! Look at me I’m a good mom!”

“Look how lovable I am!”

But it feels empty doesn’t it? Because these labels, these actions are less about You as a human being and more about what you want people to think of you.

“I am a woman who writes good novels”

“I am a woman who organizes events”

“I am a woman who makes people happy”

or on the flip side what you tell yourself when you’re alone….

“I am needy”

“I am a disaster”

“I am mentally ill”

…and on and on and on…

These definitions are you if you choose, but really, if you ask me? I think you’re just using these labels as a disguise for the real wonderful YOU that you are.

Be depressed if that is what you want.  This is your choice but recognize that darkness is only what you make it. Perhaps this “bad” feeling you have is simply the sadness of letting go—letting go of who you think you should be.

Depression is about fear, but I know you, you’re not really afraid, not deep inside. Inside you know the Truth of who you are. Depression is just another mask you wear.

Picture this—Imagine those marvelous little selves that you have created, each a beautiful work of art. Imagine all these versions of “you” hanging as paintings in a gallery, on the walls of a museum. You’ve got one titled “Mom”, one titled “Writer” one titled “Fun loving”, one titled “Clever” Look how nicely you’ve treated these images your whole life, with their nice golden frames, so perfectly placed for everyone to see.

But think of this, maybe they are not You. They are likenesses, merely facsimiles of you. The truth of it is that your “you-ness” is constantly changing, a moving target. You will never be the image on the wall, not really anyway, and the more you try to preserve yourself as those exact paintings you will fail, because those pictures are static and you, my dear, are not.

So now, as you stand there in front of your masterpieces, imagine yourself, one by one pulling them off the walls, as aggressively as you’d like. Imagine even, if you’d like, splitting each of them over your knee, sending an echoing crack through the museum.

And when you are done, settle yourself on the floor around the broken frames, the torn canvases, the paintings you called “you”.

And as you sit there, looking at the mess, let yourself feel sad. Feel that loss, that realization that maybe you’re not really who you said you are. Maybe you never even were. And as you look at the debris let these words come to you:

“Without those paintings I am nothing,”

Pause for that for a second and say it again: “I am nothing.”

It feels scary, maybe?

BUT What if…just what if… in that nothingness you are in fact everything…an absolute duality of all and nothing. What if as you shed these “supposed to be’s” you become simply YOU.

Look around at how beautiful and broken you are: a glorious, glowing fragment of all that there is.

Yes, you are mom, you are writer, you are friend, you are fun and clever but you are those things not because someone told you that’s what you are, you are those things because it reflects your essence, your Truth. In the end people don’t care about the “ta-da” they care about You.

Don’t be afraid to be nothing…because out of the rumble of emptiness comes beautiful, glorious You.

You are not depressed my dear, just walking the path of continually letting go.

The Reason I Keep Falling off of Chairs

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Me standing on a chair circa 1973

My mom has a story she likes to tell.

I must have been about one and half. I was wandering about our little two bedroom house when I discovered my little rocking chair in the living room. Being new to the whole world of furniture and my toddler capabilities I decided I would climb it.

So I pulled myself up, got my chubby feet on the seat and stood. Ta-da! I could see the world from a whole new perspective. Now, keep in mind that was probably one of the first times I had climbed a chair in my life, so this was a Mt. Everest achievement.

My mom clapped and I smiled at my victory… I then proceeded to fall off, right onto the floor. I laid there and cried and cried, and then as the story goes, I picked myself up and climbed again.

But the show wasn’t over yet . After doing my little victory dance at the top once again—I fell a second time and cried, of course.

My mom says this cycle went on and on, over and over.  Climbing…victory…tears…crying…climbing…victory…tears…

I can only imagine this must have been funny—if not heartbreaking—to watch.

I tell this story because I feel as if I am that child again. Over and over and over I fall back into old patterns, heart broken, aching in confusion and doubt, yet here I am standing up again, climbing, climbing, climbing. I keep doing it no matter how hard…or how many times I fall. And let me tell you I want to give up. Many times I want to go running back into my mom’s arm and say “I quit. I can’t do this anymore.”

However what I instinctively knew as that toddler was that everytime I climbed that chair my muscles got stronger, my coordination got better, and I grew as I person. I became more of who I was supposed to be. And in spite of the bumps and bruises and the seemingly futile activity I pursued, I was going somewhere—somewhere big—not just to the top of that chair, but I was paving the way for the real mountains I would climb, for the miles I would run, and all of those other insurmountable tasks I would achieve in my 43 years thus far.

I keep “climbing” in my life now because I know in the depth of my heart that there’s purpose to this madness. Honestly I’m not even sure of my end goal, but I’m going to keep trying and eventually master the art of the fall.

I understand now that that the act of failing, suffering, and hurting are as important as the victory on the hill. These are the times we stand back and say “whoops, maybe I need to take this next climb slower” or “maybe I should try a different approach.” The power is in  process, not just the victory.

Ultimately I know my life is about more than just standing high to see the world, its about the bruises as well. . Maybe someday I’ll look back at to where I am now, and be able to say “look at all those marvelous times I fell….and climbed again.”

May your falls be graceful, your victories grand.

Peace to you.

Becky

P.S. I wrote this blog post and went into my photo files hoping to find a cute baby picture and lo and behold there’s me standing on a chair. I don’t even recall ever seeing this picture before. How weird is that?

Life without Exclamation Points

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Life came to halt last week and it was all because of one very tiny computer malfunction…

My exclamation point key stopped working.

Yes, I know in the real world this is no big deal. Its one key out of 30-some, but being without it affected me in interesting ways.

As a writer, I know better than to litter a manuscript with exclamation points, however when I chat with my friends on facebook, I like to do a lot of exclaiming…because that’s how I talk, with lots of drama, excitement, passion. In person I communicate loudly, dramatically, flapping my hands like a baby bird trying to leave the nest, pantomiming life’s dramas with animated finesse.

However with that punctuation mark missing my words just lay flat.

All of this happened at an interesting time. I had been oscillating between really happy and really miserable—singing in the morning, crying in the afternoon, and ready for bed by five. From a psychiatric perspective one might say I was “rapid cycling”.  Personally, I just saw it as growing pains. I was processing a lot of new information and like a teenager exposed to rapid life changes, I was feeling moody.

My friend, who for better or worse, has had a front row seat to the pageantry of my emotional ups and downs found my keyboard predicament amusing. After a hearty dose of teasing (and flaunting his own exclamation capabilities), he paused to point out a possible advantage to my predicament.

He suggested that maybe without the highs (as expressed with exclamation points) that maybe the lows wouldn’t be so bad.

I smiled at the notion that a punctuation mark could change my mood …but then again…I thought. Why not?

And so as a silly experiment, instead of taking that five minutes necessary to fix the key, I decided to let it stay broken.

At this time I was also trying out another experiment: mindfulness—letting go of negative thoughts, letting them pass through me, like watching birds migrating down the coast, each one moving by slowly, silently without significance.

And so the days without my favorite punctuation mark progressed. It was frustrating at first. My words didn’t have their normal power, but something else was happening as the mindfulness began to set in, I was watching my intense thoughts pass through me.

At first this made me feel kind of dull. I wasn’t used to the quiet.  I thought to myself,

What do I fill my head with when the intensity is gone?

The answer was astounding: in the quietness, in this life without exclamation points, there was something hidden…JOY.  Love in its purest form.

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure if there was any correlation between my broken computer key and my feelings of rapture. Could my missing punctuation make me feel more calm or was it the gentle acceptance that nothing in my mind needed to be grasped so tightly? Or maybe it was a little bit of both.

I do like to think that by removing the exclamation point I symbolically let go of some of the drama in my head. I don’t know for sure, but it’s fun to think about all the same.

I’m just beginning this lifelong path to mindfulness. It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve chosen to do, but I’m tired of the roller coaster. Sure, I’d like to keep the nice rolling hills, but I’m ready to say goodbye to the violent ups and downs.

Now, I’m not saying I’ve given up on excitement or passion. I love life and will gladly live it with a happy heart. I just want to start recognizing those overwhelming emotions—the useless, fear based ones that cause me so much suffering.  I’m ready to let them go.

I can do this and I will. It’s going to take a lot of love and perseverance on my part, not to mention forgiveness and a dedicated willingness to change.

Since I started this story I’ve fixed the exclamation point on my keyboard and I’m going back to telling my stories with pizazz, however something has changed. I am now a little more conscious of my highs, my lows, and the glorious feeling of life in between.

Peace,

Becky

Check out my books at www.beckypourchot.com

The Return of the Osprey—a Love Story of Sorts

I used to joke with my husband that I was like a kite in our relationship. He on the other hand was the guy on the ground with a roll of string in his hand. Under this model he was the one who kept things stable. When I start getting too high he reeled me in, and when I needed a boost he sends me outward.

This is the story I told myself for many years and for the most part it was true. As a creative sort, assigned a slew of mental illnesses, I had been told I would always need someone grounded and stable to reel me in from time to time.

This model worked for many years, and in some ways it still does, but it became problematic when I would feel the need to tug on that string and see just how far it could go. This just ended in sadness and frustration and resentment on both our parts.

So a few weeks ago I decided to rewrite our story.

In the new version my husband and I are on the beach. Once again he is the one with the kite and I am the kite itself, susceptible to breezes and shifts in the wind.

As I fly high, I spot on the skyline a bird—an osprey, flying towards us. I admire its strength, its focus, and its sense of freedom, but it causes me to wonder.   Could I too be more than just sticks, paper, and string?

As this thought passes through my mind the chord between he and I dissolves, fragments of string scattering in the breeze. I am scared, because I have been attached to a string all of my life. Aren’t I just a kite? I can’t do this on my own.

I panic as this man I love is getting farther and father away as I drift alone down the coast… but then something happens.

I feel myself changing, my support braces begin to crack, my flimsy paper tears and I feel myself shifting, muscles forming, bones developing, wings spreading outward.   As the wind blows, I lift up, flap and dive. I am no longer a kite, but a beautiful osprey.

I fly against the breeze to where my husband stands alone. I give him a nod. He is not concerned.

He knows I will return.

As this new being, I am my own agent. I am an explorer, a master of sky, sea, and land. I am now in control during the strong winds and the gentle breezes and though I am free I have not forgotten the man below. I picture myself finishing my journey, returning home, bringing gifts. In my talons I hold a white sea shell, with a small hole in it, symbolic of our love that is both perfect and imperfect simultaneously.

In honor of this story I have envisioned in my mind, in real life when I go for a walk on the beach I always return with a white sea shell with a whole in it. He’s got quite a collection growing on his desk. I have even tattooed a little osprey on my arm, wings outstretched wide, open and free.

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How lucky I am that I have found a loving partner who understands the importance to me of being able to fly down that coast alone…and you know, maybe he is equally as lucky to have found an adventurer, a lover of the sky who will always understand the importance of coming home.

Peace,

Becky

www.beckypourchot.com

An Education of the Heart

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I’ve been having dreams about college lately. In them I’m wandering down long hallways, finding new passageways and discovering hidden stairways. I love these dreams as they represent something playful and curious stirring in me.

My waking life lately is a lot like college. From time to time I have that bubbling feeling of excitement in my stomach, that passion and curiosity that I remember only from my college years.  However rather than studying academics I’ve been exploring the inner workings of my heart.   It brings on a lot more challenges than just getting a term paper finished on time but I’m finding the benefits of knowing myself are infinitely rewarding.

The best part about this “college experience” is the people who’ve come into my life. I look around and see my world is full of teachers–not the academic type…in fact, quite the contrary.  Their lessons aren’t derived from books, but from listening to their hearts, living life, and making mistakes.

So, in honor of my current teachers I’m doing something a little different.

Below you’ll see my “life course book” –you know, like those college course books that students get before the new semester, only my classes are hand picked and taught by some of the most special people my world…

Becky’s College of the Heart

2014-15 School Year

Course #1 The Power is Yours                                                                                       

Teacher: Daniela

My friend Daniela is sunshine. She is bright and open and has taught me to believe in myself, with a spark of optimism that doesn’t fail. Keep going. Don’t give up. Be the awesome person that you are. At one point in my life I would have been skeptical of Daniela’s optimism, doubted all that shiny positivity, but now I get it. She sees the good in people and fosters it, with honesty and love. She’s my cheer leader, shouting from the sidelines: “You’ve got this, girl!”

Course #2 Happiness is a Choice                                                                                            

Teacher: Tim€

Tim and I are fellow authors and I consider him one of my closest friends. Tim and I have an odd sort of mentor/mentee relationship. I resist pretty much every lesson he teaches me, however 99% of time I cave a few days later and I accept that he’s right and willingly take his lessons to heart. Our friendship is a more than a little antagonistic, but that keeps it interesting.

I remember when I first met Tim he was always humming to himself some song that nobody knew but him and I thought “This guy must be repressing some awful stuff. No one can possibly be that happy all the time.” Now that I know him better I see that most of the time he actually is just that—happy. He takes life as it comes and most importantly sees the world without that fear/worry lens that has followed me most my life. He’s optimistic, even when things are hard.

Among the many things Tim has taught me, I think most importantly I’ve learned that happiness is a choice. We have control over who we are, 100% of the time. This contradicts everything I was taught growing up, but somehow it has clicked lately. Tim’s blissful balance is rubbing off in every way.

Course #3 The Mind meets the Heart

Teacher: Lenny

Lenny is a big Italian business man (definitely not a mobster, but you might mistake him for one). I met him, oddly enough, while lifting weights at the gym. What I love about Lenny is that he does business with his heart as much as his head. He feels out his strategies, not letting heart or heart take too much of the call. Although all our conversations have been between huffs and puffs on the equipment, I have gained a great deal of practical wisdom from his insight on business and life. For me Lenny has modeled focus, drive, and a willingness to take calculated risks.

Course #4 The Inner Workings of the Heart

Teacher: Victoria

I have known Vicki for about a year. She is the heart component of my education. She is in her late 50s and by trade a sex therapist. In Victoria’s world love is like a flame that must be tended to and stoked, while at other times it must be disciplined and tamed. Vicki has taught me that this fire is who I am and that I needn’t apologize for my flame’s intensity. It simply is. In fact that fire in our belly, that passion is what makes me and this life we lead so wonderful.

Course #5 Speak and Your Subconscious Will Listen    

Teacher: Sue

Sue is a magnificent eighty five year old woman hypnotist. She’s teaching me about the dark caverns of my mind, where life whispers in secret symbols and shares ultimate truths. In this realm of the subconscious there is no reason, just purity and faith. Speak to the subconscious, tell it your desires and it will listen. And so for the past month, that’s just what I’ve done. Under her guidance, I have been breathing deep, closing my eyes and delving into the dark world, where I whisper my secret dreams, taking charge of my life, fearlessly.

I am stunned as I reread this list. It amazes me that there are so many incredible people in my life who are willing to take me under their wing and share life’s awesome secrets.   And this is only the tip of the iceberg! My husband, my kids, all my friends, my parents—they are teaching me too, every moment I am with them.

How about you?

Tell me about a teacher in your life.

What “courses” have you taken with them?

Peace,

Becky

www.beckypourchot.com

www.ThatsSOBizarre.com