Sunday, October 21, 2007


i'm sensing the presence of the sacred now in my mind, my heart.
i'm thinking about what sacred means, feels like, looks like.

i just watched a beautiful reminding video of the very sacredness i too often skirt around, inch back from -- maybe because its so intense i don't know if i can handle its unsettling purity? i need reminders, i'm so forgetful and blithe.

i'm so profane.

i don't choose to be that way. its just programmed - i'm fallen and i can't get up.
really though this kind of falling isn't a joke.
i know, i always know - i live with the intimate knowledge of what it is to be fallen. . selfish, bad.
I despise this core nature of mine.

I find it so easy to dip my toe in the pool of God's mercy, walk around the periphery of his grace, afraid, afraid to commit to the plunge. . for that would demand my surrender, giving up the damaging ways i've grown accustomed to, the world's bent is my bent. . humanity's crookedness is my own. I don't need to stay there. . in fact i should not.

my feelings seem to govern me. one moment i feel a wellspring of love within, love for God, love for people. . .

the next i feel removed from this love, deaf to its voice, somehow beyond its reach, yet i'm not really.

my spirit gasps, i fade and faint
so i live in the shallows of myself, afraid of the depth of the sacred, of him.

feeling too shabby for his perfection.

when will i understand his heart? why do i try to humanize him? he's beyond parameters, he bursts them wide open.
i'm learning how to live with him.
relationships are never easy.

some might think that i'm not in my right mind with this talk of God, of sacred. .

some might think i'm weak, in need of a crutch, an opiate, a 'false' system of belief to prop up or medicate myself. .
I know this isn't the case. I can't tell you how i know.

How i can believe in someone invisible, mysterious?
I'm no flake.
I'm not deluded.

I just do.
I have felt within myself the sacred imprint of his spirit on mine.

I have 'heard' within my heart, his voice.
I have felt the power of all that he is, restoring my spirit's wounds.
I am flawed.
I am unworthy, but his willing-to-die love gives me worth, though this does baffle me and does make me feel unable to thank him properly.
tends to make me want to avert my eyes.
too bright, this light.
Still i am drawn by and to this love which is beyond my capacity to understand.
I am drawn.

I have felt and i do feel what it is to be in the presence of someone from whom nothing about me is hidden or covered up. .

from whom i can lay down the burden of the risk of such transparency and not count it as risk, with no guarding --knowing i am safe from rejection and disdain.

How can such absolute acceptance not attract me?
but why do i still shrink back?
i don't understand myself.

I cling to this faith i have and i don't want to let go.

Dawkins would scoff and bandy points, pierce my 'ignorance' expose my irrationality to the world. Hitchens would have a similar field day with my 'pathetic' state.
sacred? what does that even mean if i won't risk knowing what it means?
if i don't feel it, don't see it.
I can't measure it.
There are no pie charts.
No proof.

I do feel it.
I risk it, this intangible, beautiful force hooks my heart and pulls me in.
In to the mystery of the sacred.
In to the love unique. In to life.
In to relationship.
In to the sacred, to stay. . . . . .

to live

Thursday, October 18, 2007

brain-off, men v. women

i've always been fascinated by the brain.
i wanted to be a neurosurgeon waaaay back in the day. . . . it wasn't meant to be, though my interest has never waned.
Several years back, Rob and i watched a docu on the human brain. I watched with rapt attention, Rob's eyes often struggled to remain open and he occasionally dozed off. *he does that during documentaries - i guess cuz there aren't any car chases or commercials?* (don't tell him i told you!)

During this documentary they showed thermal imaging scans of two brains. 1 female, 1 male.
The female brain at rest was lit up twice as much as the man's active brain!!! WOOT! I love that moment in medical documentary history. I'll remember it always. Its like a mental trophy i like to take off the shelf, with which to periodically tease Rob *whisper voice - i don't think he likes it!*

Anyway, here are some brainy facts: --taken from "The Female Brain - How It Really Works" in November 07 issue of Canadian Living (abridgements and paraphrasings, my own) This is kind of unusual for me to blog like this. .i'm usually on about my feelings and i don't usually go 'factoid' on you. . but you have to change it up sometimes, eh?!

*the hippocampus (hub of emotion and memory formation) is larger in the female brain. The brain circuitry for language and observing emotions is more highly developed in females.

According to a 2004 Cdn study, a 3 month-old girl 's ability to read facial expressions jumps 400% above that of a boy's. . thanks to the amygdala, hippocampus and insula - which rule memory and gut feelings. Men are guided by testosterone which means they can instantly read anger, threat or extremes like crying, but are less capable of interpreting subtleties.

*females have 11% more neurons governing language and hearing than men do.

*the brain is divided into 2 hemispheres. Males use specialized regions in one side or the other to complete tasks sequentially. Females use both hemispheres equally to complete multiple jobs simulatneously. Females have an 8-lane super highway for processing emotion, males have a small country road. Males have an "O'Hare Intnl Airport" as a hub for processing their thoughts about sex. Women have a small airfield nearby that lands small and private planes.

*intelligence remains the same between the sexes, however there are gender-related variations.

*females possess a great number of 'mirror' neurons, which have been linked to the female's ability to empathize strongly. A British study had researchers adminstering weak & strong electric shocks to female subjects, using MRI to measure the brain's response to pain. Later their male partners received the same treatment. The women were told how strong the men's shocks were. MRI results showed the women's reactions to this knowledge of their partner's pain as strong as if the pain was their own. (i think that's almost mystical if you ask me. .)

*female "talk fests" *men say 'gossiping', women call it 'connecting'* release dopamine (the feel good hormone) and oxytocin (the 'bonding' hormone). A 20-second hug floods the female brain with oxytocin. Oxytocin is released in males through affection and tenderness, but the male brain is more apt to link this to sex.

*the amygdala and hypothalmus in the female brain are 50% smaller than the male brain. (these portions of the brain govern sexual pursuit)

*spatial awareness - testosterone is linked to increased spatial ability - directional tasks , map reading. Female brains navigate using landmarks, women have better visual memory and verbal skills and fine motor coordination.

*aggression - threatening situations ? men react with aggression because their hormones take a short, direct pathway through the brain. Women respond with fear and feelings about protection

*stress - men's heart rate and blood pressure skyrocket, with a strong fight or flight response. women feel the same stresses with the exception of the high-hormone phase of their cycle.. . in stress, women 'tend and befriend'. . become protective or talk through issues with their friends, which releases oxytocin and lowers blood pressure and stress hormone levels - making them less susceptible to hypertension and cardiac disease.

I find these clinical facts interesting but i do think that lists of such things can seem a bit arid. When i'm not annoyed by the differences between me and my husband, i can try to bust my thoughts out of stereotype and appreciate what i don't understand. I think men will always think that women are "a riddle, wrapped in mystery, inside an enigma' and women will always think that men are from Mars. Can't see this changing. No matter how many studies the ubiquitous 'they' do, no matter how many self'-help books promise to guide us through the intricacies of the each other's beings, i think we'll always be on this parallel, yet entwined journey together. . never quite understanding but always intersecting in love, respect and even awe.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

life without stories?

who would we be without stories?
has there ever been a time without them?
in the beginning. . .
once upon a time. . . .

act one
scene one
page one
chapter one

someone's always telling a story.
someone's always listening.

and nothing is new under the sun --


time is a portal
step through, drop in, go back, advance
you will find yourself no matter where you stop
written. . nothing changes
we don't change.
all this telling does not diminish our
infinite appetite for more
new ones are always joining
they need to hear
they need to tell

'the end' is a ruse
there is none.
if the story ends,
we do.

Monday, October 08, 2007


pumpkins in the patch are so cute, i can't describe how happy i feel when i see them lying there in the earth, like they're napping. . adorable. I know this isn't quite 'normal'. . . but what constitutes 'normality' anyway? Nor can i resist gushing over cattle. I love to watch them. They seem so calm. * i don't eat beef, so i really do love them just for the way they look* Their big eyes. In the green fields, chewing slowly, so serene. I like that about them.

i made 2 pumpkin pies today. also roasted some squash with maple syrup and a bit of butter and s&p. . lots of beta carotene - yum.

feeling very thanksgivingy and fallish, despite my puzzlement with this strangely hot weather. I prefer my falls crisp and cool, thanx very much. . i want to wear corduroy. I want to bundle up. I want to walk and have rosy cheeks, see my breath turn to little clouds. I want to smell bonfires.

It is nice though not to turn on the furnace!

These days are fine and golden. So many reasons to have a full heart.