Simply not here



The flowing appearances of life are impermanent.

They arise briefly (sometimes for a millennium in the appearance of a white-capped mountain) and then they disappear.

One moment we’re cuddling our fuzzy-headed cooing infant; the next moment she’s walking down the aisle in a wedding gown.

One moment we’re throwing a football with Dad; the next he’s dozing in an overstuffed chair meeting death’s gaze.

A frozen snow-capped apple hangs precariously from a winter branch.  Wind arises; apple drops to the earth. Last year’s fawn eats it.  So precious; so fleeting.

Everything that appears disappears.  We tend to forget this in our desire to keep life stable and secure.

Our friends come and go.  Our interests rise, peak and wane. A thunderstorm shatters the heavens; sunshine drenches the meadows.  Breath rises and falls.  We try to grasp these flowing appearances in our hand, but they’re so often gone, gone, gone…

It’s time for this little blog, Simply Here, to melt back into the nothing & everything that birthed her.

Words can be the most fragile of fleeting appearances, can’t they?

Thank you for reading these past five or six years.  May you be blessed by what never changes, never disappears, never births.  May each of us learn the truth of what we are, if Life nudges us in this directionless direction.

Much love…

Fondly, yet another mask of your very own self



Bedtime story: Three levels of mind


Let’s pretend there are at least three levels of mind.

The first level of mind–let’s call it Everyday Mind.  This is the stage where our personalities play.  Mind has created an overlord called “ego” to direct our stage performance.  Ego constantly runs around with its loudspeaker announcing “Stage left!” or “Stage right!” It tells the characters what to do, how to think, how to move, what to say.

Ego likes to keep the audience engaged, so it insures we’re enthralled by drama or comedy or entertainment.  It really attempts to be a good director.  Its favorite plot involves creating and attempting to improve scenes.  It often pits characters against one another.  It builds expectations and dashes hopes.  Of course, it also often wants a happy-ever-after ending, so it runs frantically around attempting to fix the imperfect play, trying to make it better, polishing up all the flawed characters.

Most of us live in Everyday Mind, thoroughly engaged in the stage play, completely forgetting that other levels of mind exist simultaneously. That it’s possible not to live totally identified with the director, the cast, the small stage and the applauding or booing audience.

Another level of mind exists hidden in the wings.  Let’s call this Forgotten Mind.  What lives in Forgotten Mind?  All the feelings and thoughts and impressions axed by the director as he molded you into your specific character.  Everything not acceptable for the range and scope of the production.

Not only do the hatcheted parts of possibility live in Forgotten Mind, deep resentment, anger, fear, nervousness and confusion also simmer here.  It’s a powder keg of repressed emotions brewing just beneath the surface of the gay song heralding the birth of the Movie of You.

Let’s call the third part of mind Whole Mind.  This is the part of mind which produces the play, although that may be stretching the analogy.  It isn’t intimately identified with the play, although it deeply allows and loves the players.  It exists beyond–and encompasses–every movement, every dance, every birth and beheading.

Whole Mind is eminently available in every second of our play.  It underwrites every score.  It loves indiscriminately.  It embodies the deepest peace, and sometimes the highest bliss.  Heck, it embodies everything, including tying your shoelaces.  It holds you as you weep, as confusion threatens your beloved character, as your lover lies dying.

Whole Mind shines always awake, like a sun that never sets.  It embraces paradox without blinking its eyeless eye.

We’ve all sampled Whole Mind.  It’s not just the realm of the enlightened sage.  When we fall in love, when we finish a big project, when we stare in awe at a mountain range–for just a moment, an hour, a day–we’ve briefly forgotten the play.  The director is snoozing in the corner, forgotten.

Then, so often, we find ourselves back in costume arguing with Aunt Sue or trying to figure out why so-and-so behaves so despicably, or perhaps bored to death because our play isn’t meeting entertainment standards, let alone winning an Emmy.

A thousand paths exist between the minds (including No Path).  Many of us discover the sweet ripe plum of Whole Mind and decide to ditch the play, run out the door, and bid adieu to that crazy director.  Yet, to our chagrin, there’s often no leaving the stage.  The stage follows us.  The director is delighted that he’s now employed a “spiritual” cast member.

The Quest for the Holy Grail often begins in earnest as one meets the dragons and demons in Forgotten Mind.  So much fire-breathing energy exists in this level of mind, that it’s vital we travel down hedgerows and through emotional valleys and up rocky mountains.  Whole Mind invites us to reclaim the forgotten ones.  The weeping ones.  The ones so scared of silence.  The ones who feel rejected.  The one’s who don’t know what to do next.

The journey through the wilderness of the mind is not for the weak of heart.  Like the lion in Oz, courage exists.  So does vulnerability.  They marry in that wilderness–the warrior and the coward.  The one who wets her bed and the fearless sage.

Whatever happens in our life is Whole Mind’s invitation to realize itself.

And what exists in Whole Mind?  Why bother to search for that Grail?  Why seek?

I could tell you a hundred reasons, but that would just make me another director of your play.  Let’s just say:  your very wholeness seeks itself.  Or: the play is clearly seen to be yesterday’s drama.  It’s not who we truly are. And perhaps the desire to learn what we truly are ignites a passion which brings together simply everything.



In celebration of the separate self!



What’s the value of a small self?  (The self that thinks it’s separate from the Universe.)

Oh, I think many things!

A small self gets to play, to create, to sing an individual song, to dance a wild jig between squalling birth and sealed coffin.

A small self gets to experience Life from a seemingly separate viewpoint!  How unique, to see Life from only one angle, one focused view.

A small self gets to discriminate between itself and others.  How fun!  (Except when it’s not.)

A small self gets to wear many different hats, if it likes, or travel to Peru in search of what it thinks it lost.

A small self gets to forget, for a moment, what it truly is.

A small self gets to like and dislike.  It gets to think it can choose.  And choose again, if it doesn’t like the first choice!

It gets to forget about loving everything.  It can discern and judge and alienate and hate and adore and wallow in confusion.  So many opportunities exist!

It can forget about unconditional love for a lifetime or six.  The experience of a separate self is that it experiences other separate selves.  And one can compare, endlessly, analyzing, trying to figure it all out.  (And attempting to figure out things can be fun, I swear it.)

Separate selves get to decide who and what they love.  For example, ice cream.  A separate self can decide she likes ice cream better than chopped liver.  Or that the guy down the road is the one she wants to marry & live with happily ever after.  She gets to create concepts and beliefs.  She gets to think she’s the boss, captain of her own ship, pilot of her own airplane, driver of her own bus.

And oh the stories one can create!  A thousand novellas about this and that.  A million dramas.  One can stay awake all night long wondering how to resolve the latest crisis.  It’s the kind of life that keeps the reader spellbound, trying to figure out whether good will win out over evil.   A good book or play keeps us mesmerized, sometimes–if Life is in agreement–for an entire century.

A separate self gets to smoke cigarettes, drink bottles of wine, gamble at the casino.  It can polish off an entire chocolate cake if it desires!  It can judge itself as bad, oh you naughty devouring demon!  It might even decide to improve its crazy uncontrolled desires and judgments.  It can become a Mother Teresa!  Oh, wait, that role’s taken.  It may even become a villain, oh Snidely Whiplash, because all good stories need saints AND villains, better to keep the plot going. (We don’t want the audience to get bored with too much niceness, do we?)

Some of us also like the opportunity to try and become enlightened, to remember the wholeness that we’ve abandoned in our delight to see the world from a single view.  We try to become an enlightened person, which creates its own drama, as the person can never become enlightened.  (Enlightenment has always existed as the background of the separate self, sweet silly seeker, and it’s not something new to be attained…)

What do you like best about believing you are a separate self?

I think what I like the best–right now–is that it has been fun having adventures and telling stories.  (However, the believing part seems to be getting a little tiresome at times in recent years…)

Shocked by what love really is

The seed and the fruit

The seed and the fruit

Awareness IS love!

How novel, how amazing…

Look, the microwave beeps and tells you

the tea is ready!

What love, to witness the microwave song,

the enchanting gift of a machine beeping

its timer.

How can you not reach out and hug that


Thank you!



You want to kneel in awe.

Who knew love existed so fully in a glance,

the simplicity of seeing?

Your stomach aches.

Why in the world did you ever turn away from the aching,

not wanting it?

Awareness is love.

It turns toward the stomach ache and embraces it

just like the microwave.

Your mind judges microwaves and stomach aches and

awareness allows that, too, think of it.




It won’t push anything away, will it, not even cruelty, not even


Wherever awareness lands it shines so big,

so encompassing, so allowing!

It’s been here since baby’s breath,

here all along, at the base of us,

the reaching for tea,

the grace of a teacup giving itself to boiling water,

the steeping of a life in this

astonishing immersion.



We’re God’s sip of tea.

Drink me, whispers the tea leaves

and our heart reaches for the cup,

filled with the entire world, acrid and sweet,

your approval or disapproval.

If you want morality don’t pause here.

Will you take lemon or sugar with your tea or

do you want it simply as it is?

There is no wrong answer in awareness.  

It’s what it is.

shutting the book of fairy tales

how we create

how we create

No words rise here.

Thoughts on spirituality rise but often

cancel themselves out.

What possibly can be said that hasn’t

been thought a thousand times?

What use are thoughts about non-duality

when they come wrapped in gay packages of duality?

In between desire for a carmelized pecan and

regret for ten extra pounds

we call ourselves “I” and suffer.

We’ve told ourselves fairy tales for years

and wasn’t it fun, wasn’t it darling, even when

the evil witch stuffed Hansel and Gretel in the oven

we still cheered, anything to hold the story together,

anything to keep us dangling between good and evil,

loving and hating the mythical creatures of

our creation.


The desire to believe fizzles out.  Snap, crackle, pop

and the cereal is gone, the plot futile, the need for

answers extinguished.

The only light which shines illuminates the fairy tale book.

The only light which shines softens your eyes.

The only light which shines doesn’t know

where to go next.

And that, surprisingly, is enough

even when it’s not.

Divine suicide via Jeff Foster

Your angel

Your angel

Lately I’ve been gobbling up Jeff Foster’s words because they resonate with something within.

If any of you have Facebook, you’re welcome to gobble up his thoughts about Divine Suicide, too.

Please listen deeply if you’re feeling wounded, stuck, depressed, unable to move forward or backwards.  Please listen if you’re contemplating ending your life.

One of the things that it’s teaching me is to be more present to ALL of my thoughts.

What if our thoughts can’t be claimed as ours?

Can we sit beside our thoughts, anyway, and truly listen to them, as we would a dear friend, without trying to change, to heal, to convince?

My December challenge–to myself–is to meet every thought as a friend.  To find where I can meet every thought of my own and others in love, in agreement.  Not necessarily to act on every thought–but to be deeply present with all the thoughts and emotions that arise.

It’s an Advent gift to myself from myself.

Anyone want to join me?

To meet every thought and feeling as a friend?  From now until Christmas?

Full circle

Full mossy circle

It’s funny, isn’t it, how life tends to turn full circle sometimes?

I started this blog, Simply Here, to tell stories of Presence back in February, 2010.

Simple stories of Presence, Awareness, Being.

Somewhere along the way, as we follow twists and turns, I wanted to talk about Presence.  Talk, talk, talk.

It was good to share poems and stories and thoughts about *what Presence looks like, shining through a glass dimly*.

Strangely enough, now at my primary blog Lake Superior Spirit I have winged around to tell simple stories of Presence.

Not talking about Presence (I shall keep this blog open in case I still want or need to talk about spirituality) or offering ways to realize it,  but attempting to communicate its bare-bones essence.

What is Presence to me?

The rising moment.

This.  Here.  Now.

When a chickadee flies in our open window.  The possibility of grace and freedom.

When we can barely see our hand in front of our face in the dark of the moon as we approach the mailbox.  Finding your way home again.

It is not interpretation, judgment, labeling, a story.

It is the raw Presence of what arises.

It is the Beloved.

Someone just asked today, “Have you figured out how to do this? How to be present? How to live here and now?”

The answer is:  Sometimes.  Not always.

Very few of our species seem to be able to do it 100%.

Presence does not even care for the word “100%” because that’s the Mind attempting to quantify what can never ever be quantified because it’s too alive, magical, sparklingness.

I’ve noticed the sparklingness even within pain.  It’s an aliveness vibrating, noticing, encompassing.  It’s right now.  You’ll never find it otherwise, even though you search until you gasp your last breath.  It’s too alive to be found tomorrow.

You might wonder if Presence is always present.  Is it ever absent?  Not a second since your wailing birth.  In fact, Presence never births or dies.  It is always here, a constant song, a symphony, your entire being.

It’s that we mesmerize ourselves with stories, layers upon layers of stories, of thoughts, of feelings, of distractions, of creations, of this, of that, until Presence seems obliterated from our selves, hidden, something utterly impossible to grasp, like water running through our fingers.

If you’re interested in stories about Presence (in some ways an oxymoron, a belly laugh to even say that), visit my other blog.  When writing from Presence, it feels like being engaged with the entire body, especially the solar plexus.

Presence doesn’t matter about who reads or why.  It doesn’t matter about comments or interpretations.  It simply IS.  It offers itself just because.

Thank goodness for us that it loves so unconditionally, that it circles around an encompasses simply everything.