Blog Page


Photo by Joseph Vasquez

Yesterday I was flooded with Light at the writing workshop I facilitate at the county jail. We may not think of Light being in there. I’ll be honest: many times it doesn’t seem to be. But that’s not because there isn’t Light inside everyone there, it’s because as souls living in this human experience we keep shutting that Light down out of fear.

If we recognize and dissolve fear sooner, maybe we never have to suffer. Maybe the struggle thrives in the fear of releasing what we know, which is, all too often, fear itself. It’s the fear that holds us back, and then it’s the fear of fear that holds us back even further.

There are some people that don’t know “there’s a huge difference between a dog that is going to eat you in your mind and an actual dog that is going to eat you.”*

Here’s the miracle: we get to decide what’s real for us. That choice is part of our journey.

Yesterday one woman wrote about being in fear to actually articulate any of her “sins”. It resonated with me; I grew up in a Midwestern town where “confessing sins” in front of large groups of people was thought to be healing.

What’s healing for you is exactly what’s healing for YOU. So if confessing your errors in front of groups of people can free you, than that’s healing. But for this woman, she was so wrapped up in a need of approval (as so many of us are) that the idea of “confessing” to a group was debilitating. It created more shame for her.

She can’t yet see that the healing is between her and herself. All she has to do is forgive herself for whatever it is she’s so afraid to say. She’s not a violent criminal; she’s never physically harmed another being. She has shortfalls that are human and that just happened to land her here.

She was brave enough to share one of her “confessions” with us: One day, she got home late from work and found a bowl of peanut butter on the counter with a spoon in it. She asked her husband why it was there. He said, “That was your son’s lunch.” She has been carrying shame around about this peanut butter lunch for years. THIS is the sort of thing she’s been holding onto.

So many of us are mamas, so many of us are fathers, so many of us are caregivers, are wives, are partners. Life asks a lot from us, right? I will say my son has never eaten only peanut butter for lunch, but that’s only because he’s allergic. He’s eaten carrot sticks and cheese sticks for lunch. He’s eaten cereal on occasion. He’s eaten goldfish. And some days we just snack around all day with apples and things from the garden and popcorn with a movie and a little guacamole: random things around that are healthy enough. Things that are fueling his growth in the same way peanut butter could.

The biggest take away from my day was the judgment we all too quickly pass on one another. I can assume that if I didn’t live alone at length with a toddler that meals might have looked different. But as a mom, my job is to feed him and nourish him. We don’t have to cook all day long. In fact, if we do, we cook and clean and cook and clean and cook and clean once more. If this is powerful for you and healing for you, it’s a victory. For others of us, we have a need to express, and we need to take time to put ourselves out in the world and live in our purpose. And really, what could be more nourishing for our children than us actually taking the time to Love ourselves?

I could tell hearing this woman’s voice that it wasn’t healing and powerful for her to make perfect meals. She said herself that she had trouble letting go of that, trouble letting go of trying to be the perfect mother.

We ARE perfect mothers because we ARE perfect mothers. The moment we begin to compare our story to another’s, it’s no longer us; it’s our ego. The moment we’re in ego, we’re in fear. And in fear, we can’t nourish anyone.

Compassion is a choice of Love. Yesterday in that group, progress was made for every person in the room. I’m grateful. It was another day of miracles.

Try starting the day out with an intention. I started yesterday (thanks to my tea bag) with compassion. And I ended up here full of gratitude. It’s a choice.

* quote by Jim Carrey, Graduation Address to the Class of 2014, Maharishi University


Simple Thai Curry

1382328_1544719139098420_6301620486003383611_n 10530898_1544719125765088_7947738159921432673_n

As requested, here’s the recipe.  It’s quick!

Simple Thai Curry

4 oz of Thai green curry paste

2 cans of lite coconut milk (unless you want to go all out with regular coconut milk)

1 lb of chicken diced

Olive oil

Jasmine rice

This is really simple.  I brown and almost cook the chicken through first before I dice it.  I use a wok, but a saute pan works too.  Then I remove the chicken and let it cool a bit.  Pour any excess chicken residue out of the pan.  Throw in some olive oil (or much healthier: coconut oil), and saute the green curry paste for a few minutes.  Then add the 2 cans of coconut milk.  Cut the chicken into cubes, any size you like, and throw it back into the pan with the sauce.

That’s it, people.  And it’s yummy delicious! Cook as much Jasmine rice as you need for your crew, and then serve sauce over rice.  I garnish with fresh basil and slices of hot red pepper.

“Oh, oh, one more thing, before I forget…”* the brains behind this curry operation belong to my good friend, Rory Boothby.  We went to undergrad together at Indiana University.  We’d have friend dates at his place.  He’d make curry, and we’d watch marathons of Columbo.  Do you know Columbo?  “There’s just one more thing, sir.”*

*Spoken by Lt. Columbo himself.

Roasted Garlic Hot HOT Sauce


I know we don’t all love the kitchen, nor do we all live in a rural setting full of farms with fresh produce.  BUT if you do, or if you want to invest in peppers from the grocery, you can make this pretty quickly.

I use whatever peppers I have.  Today it was Hungarian wax peppers.  It doesn’t matter which peppers you use.  (I saved all my jalapenos to make some jalapeno soup. . .wish me luck).

Roasted Garlic Hot HOT Sauce

Hot peppers of choice, enough to cover the bottom of a baking dish

One whole head of garlic

Mexican mint

Sea salt

Olive Oil

Here’s the truth: I don’t measure or follow recipes, so if you want to try this, you need to CREATE.  Get messy and go for it.

All I do with the peppers is slice off the tops.  Mine come from an organic farm, so I don’t even rinse them unless they’re noticeably soiled.

Tip: Getting a large stone makes crushing garlic cloves super simple.  You just smash them with the stone, and then quickly peel away the skin.  I’ve also heard that putting all the cloves in a towel, pulling the corners together (imagine a knapsack on a stick), and smashing it on a hard surface also removes all the skins.  (It makes a big mess of your towel though!) Kids love to smash garlic.  (Kids love to smash anything, don’t they?) I don’t get so much help with the hot peppers, but garlic smashing is a hit! Bonus: If your baby is young enough he/she will be so proud to “discover” the perfect garlic smashing rock for you when you’re out on a walk somewhere. Good job!

Mexican mint probably doesn’t matter to the “recipe,” though surely it will alter the taste.  It doesn’t taste at all like mint. I’ve no idea how it got its name. I used it today because I have a bunch from my garden.  Note: Mexican mint plants make pretty and tiny yellow flowers most of the season, and I use it in all sorts of burrito, taco, and rice dishes.  Bonus: It’s easy to grow.

Note: Use only sea salt. Don’t use regular processed or iodized salt (ever).

The olive oil I just sprinkle over the top of the peppers before I roast them.

After cutting the tops off the peppers, lining the bottom of a baking dish with them, throwing on the smashed garlic (no need to mince), the sea salt, and the Mexican mint (if you have it), put the baking dish full of peppers in the oven at 450 for about 20 min or until the peppers start to show signs of roasting (brown or black areas, see middle photo above).   Once the dish is cool enough to handle, blend everything up in a blender or food processor. If you need to liquefy it, use some apple cider vinegar (it has great health benefits and will also help preserve your sauce).

I store my hot sauce in canning jars, but I don’t actually can it. I keep my hot sauce in the door of the fridge all winter. It will last for months (unless someone in your household devours it sooner).

That’s it!  You might ask how this recipe is good for kids.  Well, it may not be.  Our oldest (9) loves hot anything.  For the others, it’s useless.  But this blog is about YOU finding what YOU are passionate about.  So if you like to cook, take a day to do it for YOU and not for the rest of the family.  (And don’t worry, they won’t starve. Over in my world, lots of them come around to my wacky concoctions.)

I’m so grateful for this Saturday, even though here in the North Country it’s a soggy one.  What I do today is a choice.  I’m choosing miracles.

Jail Mamas


I had a loved one end up in this place; my perspective shifted dramatically. I’d never stepped foot in a jail or prison, unless you want to count my tour of Alcatraz. I had no idea what to expect. Here’s what I found: humanity, humanity in many of the inmates, humanity in the visitors showing up to support them. Being an empath, I also could feel great heaviness. So I went as much as I could and wrote as much as I could and took phone calls as much as I could because the fact is everyone in there needs a little bit of Light. (All of us out here do too.)

If you’ve never been in this place, you might take for granted that every time you step out your door, even if it’s a short walk to the car, you get a breath of Light. The air cleanses you just a bit. It helps us to keep up with all the other garbage that floats in and out of our days. In there, there isn’t healing air.

I also learned that many people there don’t have a strong support system outside, or their families don’t have enough money to travel or visit or take phone calls. And so, this seemed clear to me: I need to go in and bring Light. I do it by leading a writing workshop at the local jail.

I worked with the men for some time, and recently I’ve been working with the women: jail mamas. What’s incredible is that they bring me Light too when I’m there. It’s so moving; each time I leave there I’m literally a different human being.

Yesterday I brought half of my St. Lawrence class in with me. I did a brief reading, and then we wrote letters to our former selves. Holy wow. If anything about that idea seems silly to you, I challenge you to get out the pen and paper and do it.

These women, all but one, are mamas; all are so open to share their work and experiences. They read their letters, and though each was different, they all resonated with me. My SLU students connected too, but I think my connection was so intense because their stories were all about being mamas.

What resonated the most with me was one woman who talked about her family and talked about how much she tried to make everything perfect. When the family went out, the kids had to have on the “right” outfits, and their hair needed to be combed. Dinners had to be perfect. She was trying to create the shit we saw on the television in the 60s. Families are perfect just because they are, not because they do everything “right” and please all their neighbors. That clear need for approval resonated with me, also the urge to control, to get it “right.” I don’t know why she’s in there, but I can tell you from her letter that it took this trip to this place to get her to LET GO of control and realize that each moment is a miracle exactly AS IT IS.

I have never lost my freedom in that way, but I can imagine that if you walk away not realizing the value of each moment, then you might have missed something while you were there.

There was one underlying theme for all of us, inmates and college students alike: there was a fear of not being good enough. There was a deep craving in all the letters for approval. What else was also true for ALL the letters is that each and every person writing back to their former selves had ALL the answers they needed to thrive in life. Isn’t that the truth?

Write a letter to yourself. Give yourself a little advice, a little encouragement. You’ll realize that there are different aspects of you, and the one that has the answers and knows your path is the one you have to start listening to.

It’s beautiful to hear how people learn and grow. It’s also heart breaking because there she still sits. But it’s a victory because she sees. It’s amazing that sometimes buried in darkness, we can still see. It’s simply because there is still Light, even if it is dim. The Light is INside us. We just have to accept that Truth and let it abolish the darkness.

Another day of gratitude. It’s a choice. I’m choosing miracles.