tmbt: buttered life

•August 22, 2016 • Leave a Comment

buttered coffee

There was a time when I was vegan. Twice. It was wonderful. I had done some cleanses and was off dairy and meat, and it felt amazing… for a little while. Then, the fatigue and brain haze would set in and I’d be craving red meat like crazy. Now, I know that being vegan takes some creativity and real focus on nutrition. However, I find that I thrive on traditional foods and nutrient-dense meats, eggs and dairy – like grass-fed cow’s butter. My daughter is a huge fan of butter, so much so that it is a favorite treat to sneak off of the table when we’re getting set for dinner. I find finger scoops out of the butter all the time.

One way that butter has been blessing my life lately is by slowing down the caffeine absorption of my coffee. Blending high grade coffee (french press) with unsalted grassfed butter makes for a smooth, delicious and thick creamy coffee drink. I also like to add collagen hydrolysate (a highly absorbable high-protein gelatin compound) and a bit of date sugar and pure vanilla extract. It is AMAZING. I get a huge boost of protein, healthy fat and energizing caffeine. It is a brilliant breakfast.

So, buttering up (on my homemade gluten-free bread or in my buttered coffee), is my nervous system stabilizer of choice.

the most beautiful thing: small world, big joy

•January 1, 2014 • Leave a Comment


She said, “Maybe you should make your world very small.” It rang a bell in my heart as I sat listening to her on the phone and to the waves and the laughter and the wares-sellers’ calls from the beach. I thought of all the mil things that run through my head all day, just running circles of shoulds and shouldn’ts and maybes and what-ifs and should-haves (oh, the endless should haves). I said, to her, to myself, to my daughter laughing somewhere with her father I was sweetly sure, to my life, “Yes.” Make is small enough to succeed well, to be joyful again.

Today, I’ve made two resolutions I thrill to make. The first, lying in bed with my family, I proposed quite happily: no more complaining. 2014 could be the year we just stop complaining – about anything. “Deal,” he said. Second, toasted over hangover-busting breakfast beer and teary eyes, was to enjoy our days. Enjoy our life. Enjoy. We resolve. I resolve. I resolve to enjoy every day of 2014. I won’t spend much time here on defining the minutia of it, but every day I will effort (if needed) to enjoy myself – “bad days” assumed, tough times expected, immediately enlightened Buddhahood not part of the criteria for enjoying.

Beauty makes our lives smaller and our hearts bigger. Stepping into a world that I enjoy for the sake of enjoyment, for the sake of the love that arises from joy (and vice versa, markedly), for the sake of modeling a resounding “Yes” vs. myriad “No’s” for my darling toddling-soon-enough-to-be-running-her-own-life daughter, for the sake of nothing and everything to gain.

Thing is, all the joy in the world is right here, completely available. It just is. While I don’t resolve to stop planning or hoping or reflecting in my lean towards present moment(ish) bliss(ish) living, my resolution to enjoy my life and stop complaining brings me so much more into this right here, this small loveliness I can scoop right up into my face and smell, sip from heartily, share without a one whole in the bucket dear Liza. This smallness that is dear and sweet. This small life that is huge, for certain. The world in a grain of sand. The palette of masters in the petal of a flower. The hearts of multitudes of beings in the buzzing hover of the honey bee. It’s so so big, this smallness.

Right now, this minute, I am enjoying the breezy seat I have on my couch as my little and big family members nap, beach sounds call from a few yards away, the sort-of-ours cat with almost no name grooms herself at my side, and a new year bursting with opportunities to enjoy life opens up right at my feet. This simple enjoying is the most beautiful thing.

Joyous new year to you. May every day of yours be filled with something so clearly enjoyable that you are brought deeply present by it, as I know you are already. May each of us summon the courage to deeply enjoy our lives and my that courage, that enjoyment, the love that grows from it, soften our world’s pointy edges, bring peace to our breathing, offer endless other options to the very long list of reasons we suffer. Every last one of us, enjoying at last. That’s my New Year’s wish for the world.


You may enjoy more mini photography over at thechive.

the most beautiful thing: polishing stone sort of day

•April 22, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Chiseled Feet

Caught in a dance of beautiful friction, I step into my morning. The floor is cold, the sun trying to be warm, the face under the shower still cool to the touch and one foot in front of the other is a little bit hard. It’s a grind. What did they mean? We are thrown into the press chunky and thrown and throwing about, we are pulverized. It is a soft pulver. I frictitious shining. A beautiful friction, yes.

It is from here that I often run. When the mornings become heavy with thinking, the logging on heavy with dread, the saying good morning heavy with reservation. It is from here that exit plans flood in, flooding in to the space where the pumicing leaves chinks in the armor of an otherwise sweet life I am living. From the outside, it is so very perfect I suspect. From the inside, the grinding is never ending, especially now.

Staying put is not really an option. Staying put in this lead-heavy booted gloom of southern hemisphere autumn, of wood stoves fickle with flames and embers, of waves crashing a little ways off but too cold to dance in, of promises that are broken before the breath of them has cooled, of the nothing given without consequence/no consequence certain, of just not wanting to do it anymore. In this one right here, staying put is not an option. The exit plans, they are the suspects though.

Where to? Where from? Shift the address? Shift the partners? Shift the weight from one foot to the other in downward dog? Shift this, that, the other, that I can touch? Or shift something bigger, something grander, something surprisingly easier (some say)? Maybe the only mountain I can move is here behind the eyes, not out in front of it. And maybe there is nothing there to shift but the seeing, the where of the looking, the who of the meaning. Well, maybe.

You see, I am feeling a little ground to bits, my edges red and taught with the friction, my every mile of sinew and cell chains burning a little. And I think if I stay put, if I just keep on with it, grinding may give way to a gleaming sweet shine, a polished, radiant, luminous reflection of the rightness of every moment. Contrived as it may sound in the context of all this philosophical mumbo jumbo, I think maybe, just maybe it’s true, because maybe it already has. Maybe it was shining, most beautiful before I ever felt the grind. Maybe it’s always been the most beautiful thing. Maybe what’s being ground to bits is the seeing of it, or rather, the not.


Photo, detail of Winged Figure of the Republic, found here, credit given to Andre Costantini.

the most beautiful thing: tumbled wet reminder

•February 5, 2013 • Leave a Comment

sand prose poetry

It washes along picking up so much along the way. It washes along, this ocean. From the high ups, so very high, collecting black mountains to bring to the hills. It washes along down to us, little pieces, sweet bubbling rushes, tender knocking, chipping, loving away into this. It washes quicker than you think, up there and down here, tumbling, mixing, chipping, loving into this. right. here.

I sit and listen to what it is, same as what it was before the clouds carried it higher, dropped it down in a collecting softness, melted, swam inside itself all the way back to the coast bringing little bits of sparkling colors to tredge through on our way to and fro sunset viewing. The roar of the great equalizer lulls me, lulls us both, us four and I play quietly with the most beautiful evidence of time’s ever-present wish to remind us that we are so small, big together, beautiful and came such a very long way: the soft sand of the central Chile coast.


Image found and available as wallpaper here.

tmbt: soul blossom

•January 21, 2013 • Leave a Comment


There are so many things to call it, that thing which resides and dwells within us, flitty fleet and flies around at night (some say), and goes softly on its way when this round of earthly breathing subsides. Yours was hovering, watching, choosing wisely I believe, for what you needed to brush up against, love more, be seen by. It came and sat sweeting in my womb, it tumbles gently through celestial layers, landing, eyes open in the morning. It will come and go like the clouds, like the gulls until you are about seven is what some say. Then, it will be here humming ever-more, opening, reaching, swimming, dancing (ooooh, the dancing!) you into worlds unseen, unfelt, unheard right here in your darling human body.

So much unfolding, so much life being lived, to come, to pass, to lighten our days. What a dear privilege that it is me who gets to watch so closely your most beautiful soul blossom.



Photo via Cottage Garden Threads 

tmbt: six months quiet, loud enough

•January 15, 2013 • 1 Comment


Six months is a long time to be quiet about you. Six months fill up with a lot of days, those with hours and still I know not where the time has gone. Have I seen enough? Have I noticed everything? Have you felt me there, your body mine, mine yours? Has this six months of up and down and all around been the best start for your life?

Six months is a long time to be quiet about you, but I have not been so quiet. I have wailed and sang out, spoken softly and yelled with a ferociousness I had not seen before. I have not been so quiet in my thoughts either. I have been filled filled filled to the brim with love and agony and adoration and worry, and I have imagined so much and so far, climbing into the moments and swimming out of them past the deep end and under a sky filled with very, but very bright stars.

Six months is a long time to get to know someone when it is filled with so many days and them with hours close and closer and closer still. I give of my body, but is it enough? I give of my time, but is it enough? I give of my heart space, my mind room, my wish lists. You are my dear dear joy and it seems six months, long as it is, has not yet been enough time.

Six months is only the beginning of a great long life filled with more hours than we can count, which fill up days we may think we can imagine, all along ticking away moments of glimpses and reckonings, of presences and flight. I relish in your spirit, breath deep your scent and smile, and thank whoever it is that gives us the gift of time for these fleeting, blessing, bruising, enlightening six months. And I thank them again for whatever more I may have with you, sweet flower of my soul and womb.

the most beautiful thing: moments of any minute

•July 5, 2012 • Leave a Comment

It’s an enduring quietude, if you don’t count the squealy moments of excitement. My belly, grown large and round with the expectant arrival, knows that something has already arrived – indeed, that something arrives lo those nine-plus months ago. A spirit clear and of love, longing for us as we longed for it, even then not knowing so yet. And we have grown to meet its heart, as I have grown to meet the feet and head and bottom and breathing and hiccups and blessing of it all.

The most beautiful thing is that any minute a sweet new face will join our family, as this sweet being joined us already, and that every moment inside even the expectancy is the most beautiful thing.



Photo by Pablo Arenas.

the most beautiful thing: your new home, too

•May 3, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Lonely Dog Photo, Nicolas Leroy

You were the one who surprised me from your box bed under the house near the sand above the waves, and whom I surprised in kind. Did you know that in your search for a simple hiding sleeping bedding place, you would find a new home? Did you know? Simple wishes can carry you to the most elaborate dreams come true?

You are the one they called mangera, I call flaco, they all called ugly. You with the strange transfixed eyes waiting to ask or to run, never knowing which was next or needed. Did you know your wag would return, your steps would become so playful? Did you know that little piece of carpet would be yours for so long and longer when you first dared to claim it for just one night, just one night more, and one more still? Now, how long has it been? Two months? A lifetime?

You are the one who is here in the morning, sleeps softly at night, follows our beloved to and fro and can rest now, rest, and play now, play. You are the one with a person to call your own now, one who told me you belong here now, my heart softening at such kindness. Did you know that we would love you? Did you see a different kindness in us? Did you remember that people could be generous to even an unknown vagabond with crazy eyes and uncertain steps? Do you know that in your rekindled joy and fed appetite, you have also given us joy and that yes, in fact, we do love you?

You will be the one that joins us in our settling, long after we assume we have already settled right down. You will meet fresh and new the life growing inside me, too. You will remember because we will remind you that there is food, and peace, and beach walks, and cuddles to be had here, and you will keep relaxing your vigilance. We will do these things together here, because this is your new home, too.


Photo by Nicolas Leroy.

the most beautiful timeless breaks of light

•February 2, 2012 • 1 Comment

Nowhere and a million little pieces stretching everywhere all at once. Time lost to the space between the seats and the underside of maple leaves. Even the noise of it all scattered like so many thoughts in the face of death and it was death I felt, free and clear, again and again.

The bouncing remembering of where I am going and where I have already been stays between the dotted lines, the bright red flashing lights behind us. The exit is certainly to come and for now there is the view and the obliterated view of it all.

Lost in the flash of something here long before the thought of any of us by our parents or even a god. Found in the shadow of the awestruck. Kept secret even now as it is told.

Because nothing can describe in truth the weightless wonder of those flashes of sunlight intermittently breaking through the trees and flooding my eyes on the way home on the elementary school bus.


Photo found at Melly’s blog Existential Detective.

tmbt: wake up your baby

•January 16, 2012 • 6 Comments

“You need to wake up your baby,” he said with a smile after asking me seemingly out of the blue to go for a little walk. Wake up my… baby? Wow, he said that. Yes, my baby. Our baby.

We came back half an hour later, tummies fuller and blood a little lighter with the hum of sugar. And the baby? Dancing, dancing, dancing!

“What did you feed him, Red Bull?” was the joke. And so the sonogram continued, and the giggling… lots and lots of giggling.

This is how I remember that all else that day was forgotten but for the twelve-week-old dancer in my belly. A baby. A turning, kicking, (I like to imagine) smiling, little baby growing so fast, looking so forward to the light of it all. And we, looking forward, too – I’d venture to say more, but one never ever does or will know the hopes of an unborn but fully alive little human swimming in your very own genetic pool.

It was a hard first three months awash in nausea, emotional upheavals and excited preoccupation. But then this week sea sickness subsided, love and joy bourgeoned brighter, more fully fully intact, and we suddenly had more than enough certainty to carry us through. I now re-watch the little sonogram video and laugh at our little one’s animated nature – big head bobbing, little fists raising to the beat of something rock anthem-like I would guess, feet jigging up and down to the side of me, little spine undulating in the floating space of it all. Our miracle. Our total and complete miracle.

I’m not the first to say it’s a total and complete miracle. I won’t possibly be the last. And the miraculous moments of this specific beating heart beauty will run into the millions, billions, trillions I estimate (roughly), but this, this one right here on this very special day of watching the dancing, this right now is the most beautiful thing.


Baby (Dancer) Arenas Philipp is due July 25, 2012 and will be born in Chile to his Chilean father and U.S.ian mother (me).