In a Moment, Life Changes

•August 4, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I am putting this blog on hold for a while.

Last Thursday July 29, 2010 my son Benjamin was stillborn and my life is forever changed. While I feel that I will write here again as my journey toward wholeness will never end, right now I need to write more specifically to this heartbreak I am living with.

So for now, if you’d like to, you can join me over at Life After Benjamin.

In the meantime, I send you love, joy, peace and gently remind you to fully experience each moment, as it truly is all we ever have.



•July 15, 2010 • Leave a Comment

It’s official. I’m going on hiatus.

I’m giving myself two weeks (maybe longer) to turn off Twitter, to not read other people’s blogs, to not feel pressure to hit publish here. I’m going no mail on all my yahoo groups. I’m getting Charlie Gilkey’s Email Triage and I’m going to start dealing with the monsters that are my inboxes. I’m going to throw something away every day (or put it in the donation box). I’m going to curl up in a ball and read, dream, sleep, meditate, chant and cry.

You see I’ve got this debris in my uterus and the doctor thinks I’m going to bleed until it’s gone. Driving myself to the hospital in the middle of the night wondering if my baby was okay while my neighbor stayed with my daughter and my husband listened to me cry on the phone was hard. What’s harder though, is the feeling that I am not really living my life. I am holding myself at arms length, giving lip service to wholeness and joy while my heart breaks because I can’t figure out how to really, truly show up as me. I’ve got this debris in my soul and I’m going to bleed until it’s gone.

When I was 22 or 23, I chopped off all my hair to see if I existed without it. I loved it. I identified with it. People remembered it more than my face, or so I was told. It turned out that I like having long hair. I look better with it. But I existed without it. I survived and I grew through the experience as shallow as it may sound now.

I love the community I have found on Twitter. I love the blogs I read daily and the blogs I get to weekly or monthly, the blogs I discover and bookmark and forget to go back to. I am kept company by the constant flow of emails from my yahoo groups. I will miss you all. I’m a little afraid that if I miss two weeks I’ll be left in the dust, standing alone, wondering where all my friends went.

But I have this debris and it’s causing me to bleed. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. And it’s got to go.

Which means I need                      space

At least for a little while.

Here’s the crazy thing. I’m planning to launch a website in just over two weeks. So how the sam hill am I going to promote it if I’m not on Twitter and blogging and and and…? Good question. I don’t have an answer yet but I’m going to go out on a limb here and just TRUST.

Trust that it might not take two weeks for me to want to get back online. Trust that if I take care of myself, if I fill my own cup, sharing my excitement about the site will feel a whole lot different than if I’m running on empty and it’s simply an item on my to-do list. Trust that what my soul is crying out for needs to be my priority and everything is perfect just as it is. Trust that in Abraham-Hicks speak, letting go of the oars and heading downstream will be a lot more effective than the heavy upstream paddling I’ve been doing.


Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go get rid of a little debris.

Just to clarify after several notes of concern – baby is okay – thankfully. This one’s a fighter.

Truth and the trifecta

•June 26, 2010 • 4 Comments

I’ve stumbled a lot this year. Tripped and caught myself. Fallen flat on my face. I keep picking myself up, dusting myself off and putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes it’s easier than others.

I started the year with a vision. I also started with the intention to make six changes by adding one new practice into my life every two months. I got two – meditating and reading –  under my belt before it all fell apart. In May I was going to start writing daily. My personal trifecta. I know in my heart of hearts that if I do these three things every day (or even five days a week) the truth that lies deep inside me will come pouring out. These are my winning horses, carrying me deeper into my soul.

Along came Dian’s challenge to write about Self Evidence + Authenticity. Then Bindu Wiles’ to write 800 words a day and do yoga (or simply savasana) 5 days a week. I jumped in with both feet and a full heart. I failed miserably. Sort of.

I’ve slipped and stumbled yet again. Sporadic savasana. Not as many 800 words as I would like. My heart aches as I recognize my habitual inability to make my “priorities” a priority. I’m growing into it – slowly getting better at recognizing when fear keeps me checking my email instead of writing, or examining my face for the blackheads I know I’ll find instead of meditating.

At the same time, I’ve gone public with my story of childhood molestation. I’ve learned so much about how my fear operates. I now recognize my tendency to go invisible when what I desperately want is to free my voice, to be seen, heard and honored for who I am. My life is changing at breakneck speed and yet it feels like slow motion. I’m feeling drained and disconnected from those I love the most. I think it comes from the deep healing work that would normally have me sleeping for days in recovery but as a mom, there’s no time for that. Which is why that trifecta is vitally important. I am uncovering the truth about myself that I once knew and have long forgotten and I’m both invigorated and exhausted.

I happened to look at Rob Brezny’s free will astrology today in one of my local papers:

The plant known as the squirting cucumber has an unusual talent: When the fruit is ripe, it opens up and spits out a rapid-fire stream of seeds that travels a great distance. In the coming weeks, Pisces, you’ll have resemblances to this aggressive fructifier. It’ll be prime time to be proactive about spreading your influence and offering your special gifts. The world is begging you to share your creative spirit, preferably with rapid-fire spurts that travel a great distance.

Really? You mean there’s hope for me yet? As a spitting cucumber?

In the spirit of being ripe and squishy I am gently, with love and compassion for myself, recommitting to those winning horses. I don’t know how far my seeds will reach this time around, but I plan to honor myself and my truth as best I can. And I’ll work on my rapid-fire spitting too.

What are you honoring in yourself right now? Where can you be more compassionate with yourself? What fruit do you most currently resemble? I’d love to know.

In others’ words

•June 22, 2010 • 4 Comments

Are women human yet? If women were human, would we be a cash crop

shipped from Thailand in containers into New York’s brothels…?

Would our genitals be sliced out to “cleanse” us…?

When will women be human? When?

– Catherine A. MacKinnon, Are Women Human?

(via Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn)


There is tremendous freedom in being the one to change.



People who live on purpose with purpose are not interested in standing out in the crowd. That may happen, but it is not why they do what they do.

— Rhonda Britten, Fearless Living

The urge to do, the need to be.

•June 16, 2010 • 17 Comments

I want to DO something. Something important. Something that impacts the world in a powerful way. Something I can do RIGHT NOW at 11pm because it feels like the only time I have.

I finished reading Half the Sky today. I started months ago and had to take it slowly as it is both a searingly painful and achingly hopeful book. I wanted to jump up as soon as I put it down and take action but my daughter woke from her nap and needed me.

Then I read the story of the 11 year old girl who raised $70 000 to save birds affected by the Gulf oil disaster by drawing pictures in exchange for donations. Again, that urge to do something struck. But what?

Danielle LaPorte’s post on her birthday giveaway appeared in my inbox and I thought “I wanna be her”. Not in a crazy I-don’t-want-to-be-me way. In an inspired I-wanna-pull-my-best-out-and-offer-it-to-the-world-like-she-does way. If only I could figure out exactly what that best is.

I’m staying with my lovely sister-in-law and her family in Denver and they don’t recycle. It pains me to see the glass, plastic and paper products in the trash can. I smell her clean dryer-sheet-scented towels as I dry my face and all I can think is how much poison I’m breathing into my lungs. It becomes a physical ache when I think of how many other people out there aren’t reducing/reusing/recycling/buying local or organic foods/using non-toxic chemicals in their homes and on their (children’s) bodies etc. I wonder about the toxic load my unborn baby will have to bear. Overwhelm kicks in. I stop spinning long enough to breathe.

The amazing thing to me is how many people are taking action, are changing the world, are offering their best. It revs me up and knocks my socks off. I LOVE IT. It keeps me up at night because I get so jazzed about what others are doing. I know I’m a part of it, somehow. I know in my heart of hearts, when I listen to that deep, clear inner voice, that I am slowly taking my place in this incredible lineage. That if I keep putting one foot in front of the other, the journey will take me exactly where I need to go.

I remember my decision to move to Los Angeles from Vancouver over 10 years ago. It felt like there was a cord attached to my heart, pulling me south to my future. It feels different now – not so external. There’s been a settling in over the last decade, a settling in to myself.

That settling in is allowing me to realize that as much as I want to take action in this instant, I am in the process of healing ancient wounds, both my own and those I’ve inherited. I am learning unconditional love, compassion, gentleness, kindness. I am unearthing expectations I didn’t know I had and shifting (slowly) old habits and patterns. I am dousing my body in healing energies and I am forgiving myself my perceived mistakes. I’m growing another human being.

As much as I want to do right now, this is a time for me to be. A time to let both my body and spirit ripen so that they may bear fruit. A time to sit with all of the feelings, the wants, the desires and trust that when the time is right, I will move into right action. It is a time to acknowledge that I am enough, just as I am and that my quest to be “better” is misguided. There is no “better”. There is simply, truthfully, lovingly, me.

For everything there is a season.

Here’s to honoring the season we are in.

Forgiveness. Part 2.

•June 11, 2010 • 9 Comments

I’ve been working lately on creating a major shift in my life. Prompted by my troubled pregnancy, I was advised to really work at letting go of all the emotional, psychological and spiritual baggage that I am holding in my body. Easier said than done of course. Writing and forgiveness have been essential to this growth. This is why the 21.5.800 challenge came when I needed it most.

Inspired by my work with Mynde Mayfield, my Fearless Living coach (who of course came into my life at the perfect moment), I performed a Letting Go ceremony last week. I took myself to the beach, wrote some letters, burned them and let the story, the feelings, the hurt go. I focused on a specific relationship and the shift I have noticed since has been mind blowing. When I chose who to focus on, there was a bogeyman in the back of my mind, waving his hands and saying “my time is coming”. I nodded my head in his general direction and ignored him as best I could.

Two nights ago, that bogeyman told me in no uncertain terms, his time was now.  He is ready for me to look him square in the face.


When I was young – I’m not exactly sure how old – I was molested by a much older cousin. The memories came to me when I was sixteen, in two fluttery faded images, like old photographs with a hint of movement. I have two of these photographs and nothing else. In one, I am maybe 3 or 4. In the second I am older but I don’t know how much.

That’s it. That’s all I have. I don’t know if there were more times, more details. They are lost somewhere in the recesses of my mind. When they first showed up, I thought I was remembering a dream. They were unbelievable until I saw a picture of myself in the coveralls I remember wearing. My heart sank. For almost 20 years I acknowledged the memories but denied their import. I told almost no one. I figured since I didn’t remember pain, didn’t remember fear, that I was lucky and remained relatively unaffected by these foggy events. I didn’t consider myself a victim or a survivor. I saw my cousin periodically and felt nothing. I was FINE. Even my first therapist didn’t think it was a big deal.

For part of my Master’s degree in clinical psychology I needed to log some therapy hours. New therapist. Different take on the events. I dismissed them in my usual manner. She questioned it, she named it, she used the word “molested”. I cringed and fought her.

In the last quarter of my degree I took two workshops in the new LGBTQ specialization (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer, Questioning – the first specialization of its kind in a post-graduate psychology degree) at Antioch University Los Angeles. One of them was on feminism and sexuality. I was married, pregnant and one of the only straight people in the room. Through the discussion, self-examination and openness the two instructors facilitated so skillfully, I was suddenly sideswiped by the knowledge that my whole life had been affected by my cousin’s actions. The risky behavior in my 20’s. Allowing myself to feel violated over and over again in search of love. My inherent distrust of men. My head swirled as I recognized it was all related. But what to do with the sudden knowing?  There was no point in blame. I don’t know what happened to my cousin that made him turn to me but I know he didn’t have an easy life – he still doesn’t.

I told my mother. Apparently I had mentioned something to her as a child and appropriately horrified, she had attempted to limit my contact with him. I think my grandmother must have known. Eventually I told my father, my brother, my sister-in-law. It has not been an easy journey with them. My mother’s reaction was not what I wanted or needed and she continues to spend time with him, to talk about him when I am out of the room. When I asked for an explanation she shared that she had long ago forgiven him but didn’t know how to be sensitive of my needs and feelings. My father wanted to know when I’d “get over it”. I think it must be too painful to even think about. They both know, in no uncertain terms, that he is never to be around my daughter or my niece. Never. Ever.

No one else in my family knows and I realize by writing this – and publishing it – I could cause hearts to break, including my own. But I can no longer be silent about this. I can no longer keep it inside. The silence has wreaked havoc on my body and my spirit for too long and I need to forgive and let go. Forgive and let go.


The bogeyman was in my dreams two nights ago. I know that other people’s dreams are never very interesting so I will be brief in the explanation.

I was in my home (although it did not look like my home) and my cousin lived across the courtyard. I remember being my usual polite self with him, as though there was no secret we were keeping, no shared experience we were denying. Back in my home, the sewer line started to back up. It was like one of those movies where the ground breaks open and some massive creature comes up from under the earth. The toilet came loose and rode the wave of stench as it filled the hall. I remember being horrified. We called the landlord but before he could arrive, it slowly receded from where it came, leaving no trace of its presence other than a toilet that needed to be bolted back to the floor.

I awoke from the dream and knew that it was time. Time for me to write the letter I have spent years avoiding. Time for me to get everything – the rage, the shame, the pain, the forgiveness – on paper and set fire to it so that I can rise from its ashes a more whole being. It’s time for me to heal, to stop carrying these faded photographs in my heart, in my body. They may never go away completely but in the silence I have given them power they don’t deserve. I am ready, finally, to reclaim the shattered pieces of my little girl’s heart, to care for her and protect her the way I wanted someone else to do. But it’s too late for that and I am the only one who can integrate all that she experienced with all that I am.

It’s time to forgive. It’s time to let go. It’s time for peace.

P.S. I just read Bindu’s post on Fear. My life lately (even my dreams last night) has been all about facing fear. I am terrified to press publish on this post. So I am going to breathe, acknowledge that my fear is trying to keep me safe, let it know that I’m a big girl and can take care of myself, and consciously, deliberately, do what scares me.

Day 2. 21.5.800. Forgiveness. Part 1.

•June 10, 2010 • 10 Comments

Day 2 of Bindu Wiles’ challenge and I did nothing. No 800 words. No yoga to speak of. No Savasana. At which point I head directly to default position – beating myself up. Again. This is why my husband raised his eyebrows in concern when I told him I’d signed up. This is why I hesitated before I added my name to the list.

From 6:23 am to 9:43 pm I parented my daughter. Then I fell asleep. In one reality, that was my day. Measured against the impossible standard I hold for myself and the thoughtful, moving posts that appeared in my inbox and twitter feed, I failed miserably. The old Alana, the perfectionist, would have thrown her hands up in despair, taken the day as proof that I will never succeed at anything and given up. For good. End of challenge.

The new Alana, the slowly recovering perfectionist, took some deep breaths, asked for a little bit of time and space, forgave myself and dove inside. Here’s the reality of yesterday from this new point of view.

I woke after a short night of fitful sleep to my beautiful daughter smiling an inch away from my nose and saying “Time to get up mom!” My heart ached as for the first time in her young life, she did not ask to nurse upon waking. I made her breakfast. We played games. I put a movie on so I could focus on my Fearless Living coaching call. I took a 5 minute break from the call to deal with a missed potty incident. Then we baked vegan chocolate cupcakes for her daddy’s birthday, walked the dog, had lunch, walked to her new children’s yoga and music class, walked downtown to meet friends for take out at a park, came home and collapsed. Let me say too that yesterday was the first day I was able to walk more than a couple of blocks since I fractured my leg February 17th. In this reality, my day was a massive success.

In this new, more gentle perspective, I realized that this challenge is not about getting an A+ from Bindu for a perfect record. It’s not about writing and doing yoga for 21 days, checking it off the list and leaving it behind. It’s not about the result.

When I envision my ideal day, there is room for writing, for yoga, for family and friends, for play, for making mistakes and getting things right, for passion, for forgiveness, for love. When I remember this I know that these 21 days are simply a practice, a move toward my vision. They are a way to gently encourage myself, holding hands with a community of like-minded beings, in my quest to live as my highest self. In this reality I am allowed to forgive myself for being human. I am allowed to simply be.