Uma Bode

Love The Life We’ve Got

There is so much to be said for cycles. For knowing that there are cycles. For knowing that the pain always subsides, eventually.

So, today, none of the darkness has manacled me. Skies are blue with cooling autumn weather ahead. Potential is here. Love is present.

I’ve been reflecting lately on how powerful it can be to let go and surrender and love the life we’ve got.

It’s easy to get lost in ideas of how I (we) should be. What life should look like. And berate ourselves for not meeting the ideal we have created.

Why? Why do that?

Why not, instead, see who we actually are and what our life actually is.

Walk with awareness. Explore life and ourselves. Realize our assumptions and beliefs.

Freedom lies this way.

 

Slow Rejuvenation

Waking up today I didn’t feel like I weighed a thousand pounds. Instead, I felt energy slowly returning to my body and heart. The love and the light are finding their way into me. Rejuvenating me.

Being willing to walk through the darkness and grief and anger and sadness,

into it fully,

to wait there as long as needed,

not resisting,

just surrendering…

this has allowed love to find her many-tendriled way through the shields I had erected.

Slowly, slowly, healing is happening.

Thought you might like to know, since you’ve been witnessing my journey.

Witnessing is crucial. Doesn’t matter if you say anything or not. Just being there, willing to see me, holding space for my journey, is beyond measure.

Grateful for your presence. Yes, you.

❤️

Friendship Lessons

Today is another day. Sometimes when I wake up, I am grateful to be alive. Excited for what will come in the hours ahead. Other times (like this morning), I lie in the gray light and wonder why I feel like I weigh 1,000 pounds.

I’ve made a commitment (to myself) to write honestly about my struggles. As they happen, or near to them. To try to untangle my mind and emotions through writing and while doing so to create some interesting content that might help or touch a reader.

I’m not sure I’m achieving any of these goals. Yet, I’m going to keep doing it. Because I know in my gut that it is required of me.

Somehow, this is serving. Me. You. Someone. Well, definitely me.

Last couple of weeks, one of the painful themes I’ve been diving into (reluctantly, painfully, yet necessarily) is how I am in relationships. Not “Relationships” because I don’t have those, but all my relationships. Friendships, mostly, but also sometimes work/professional relationships. At this point in my life after close to 55 years, I’ve got enough experiences piled up to see patterns and learn from them. If I choose to.

Honestly, though, it feels like I have no choice. I must do this. If I don’t accept this assignment, I will die more and more on the inside because I will continue to not understand why things happen as they do. I have to understand, and probably change because of that understanding. And also, regardless of whether I change or not, I have to accept the results of this internal learning process no matter what they are.

Here are some of my observations of these relationship patterns I’m seeing:

Observation 1: I change in every relationship and context and I try hard to “grok” what/how the other person wants me to be and then be that.

Observation 2: I compare myself to other people and get jealous of them.

Observation 3: I judge other people but never figure out how to process that judgement so it grows and grows inside of me.

Observation 4: I re-live times that I was bullied, abandoned or betrayed and I project those experiences and the feelings I had during them onto the people I am with and situations I am in now.

None of these behaviors is ever sustainable. I tend to get so exhausted, resentful and overwhelmed that I leave. Either for good, or for the day. I CHECK OUT. If I don’t leave, then eventually I usually lash out angrily.

Although it’s starting to be easier for me to spot these patterns, they are so part of who I have become, that it is very hard to see any of this as it happens. And of course, other people have no idea what is happening inside of me, so, they come up with all kinds of reasons, most or all of which are not true, about what the behaviors they see mean.

I suspect that the most common things people think I am are: spoiled (my family especially might think this, leftover from when I was the baby of my family), selfish, angry. That I do not care about them. And often it gets so intense for other people that they get angry at me and sometimes they stop interacting with me completely.

So, I feel like I’ve alienated a lot of people in my life, and burned more bridges than I can count.

Was that what I wanted? Not on your life. Absolutely not. Not at all. No way.

Its all been the cries of a desperate girl, who just wants to be loved and have friends. Who just craves so hard to be important to someone. And in that desperation, I’ve betrayed myself over and over again.

This is no longer an option. I cannot do this anymore. I want to be free of all of it.

Easy to say. How do I do that? I can’t go back and change what happened. It turns out that I can’t just decide to be different and make it so. Because I’ve tried, and no such luck. Just failure and self-loathing ensue.

I can, however, put the light of awareness on these patterns. Pray for change. Allow what is. Release the judgment. Let light in through the cracks in my heart. And through this all, realize more and more that I already am loved and important. Just by being. This is my soul’s journey. Precious, unique and beautiful. Love is here. It doesn’t have to come FROM someone else.

This is my prayer today. Let light in to my broken heart. Know the truth that I am loved.

For some reason I don’t exactly understand, and in no particular order, I feel compelled to write and share these facts about myself.

I am a:

  • photographic artist
  • writer
  • visionary
  • healer
  • closet designer
  • botanist
  • tarot reader
  • web-mistress & wanna-be internet-marketing-mistress
  • teacher
  • chef
  • gardener
  • plant ecologist
  • horse rider
  • dog trainer
  • animal lover
  • real estate broker
  • baker
  • traveler
  • spiritual warrior
  • extroverted introvert

 

I am also:

  • creative
  • generous, kind and thoughtful
  • sensitive
  • service-oriented
  • loving
  • honest
  • analytic
  • very intelligent
  • spiritual but not religious
  • quiet
  • gentle
  • luminous
  • serene
  • shy
  • introverted
  • cautious
  • prone to hiding

 

I am not:

  • Christian. Or Buddhist, or Jewish or Hindu, or any other religion or system ever known, created or believed in.
  • dogmatic
  • willing to compromise my self-worth
  • willing to betray myself ever again

 

I have:

  • high standards
  • integrity
  • expectations

 

The most important things in my life are:

  • my relationship with the God of my understanding
  • my soul’s journey
  • awakening
  • my cat
  • being my own teacher
  • learning to see with the eye of the heart
  • understanding what the heart is
  • following the heart
  • my brother and sister and their wife/husband/children
  • helping the world be a better place

 

Self-Betrayal is No Longer An Option

 

Yesterday, August 23, 2018, right around 6 PM EST, one of the most wonderful dogs ever born left this world. Jake came to me in summer 2003, just over 15 years ago, after my dad died of cancer and my dog, Buddy, was hit by a car and killed that same night. The grief of that time for me was close to unbearable and when Jake came, he brought the healing and love that I needed to just get by.

Jake was a sweet and playful young dog transitioning out of puppyhood when he arrived in my life. I didn’t realize at the time, but I see now that he had a big responsibility to help me and he stepped up to it with zest and sweetness. He was cute and funny and loving from the very first day. He had energy beyond belief and his constant need for exercise got me out of the house to a local dog park and into social situations that I needed but wanted to hide from.

Over the following years, my life was not exactly stable. We moved around the Bay Area multiple times and my attention was not always on making sure Jake had the environment that he needed. I believe that the natural energy of a dog is to care for its person emotionally and that can take a large toll on them in some cases.

In 2010, I became aware of this and also that even more change was in my future. I did not know what was about to happen, but I knew that I needed to move, leave California, explore inner and outer new boundaries and places and spaces. So, I let the Universe know that I was willing to give Jake a new home and just like that, a wonderful family appeared. From the start, every one of the four members of this family loved Jake just as much as I did. They got him 8 years ago, so he’s been their dog even longer than he was mine.

So, he was around 16 when they let me know last week that he was failing fast. He’d lost most of his hearing and his vision was going. He was in pain a lot of the time from causes unknown. We had a video chat on Saturday so I could talk to the family and see Jake.  The picture on this post is a screenshot from that video chat. He’s already dissolving into the light.

I am sad, but the grief is not really different from what I’ve had all these years since I let him go, and also, death is a natural part of life. I’ve never doubted for a second that “re-homing” him was the right move for both of us. All the times I visited Jake over the years, took him to the beach and for walks and hikes, played with and loved on him, he has always been ecstatic as only a dog can be to greet me. And even more happy, it seemed, to go home again after our adventures.

I am grateful beyond measure to the family who has loved him all these years: Zeric, Sage, Sherri and Keith, thank you. From the bottom of my heart.

Dearest Jakey, thank you for everything. I will miss you and love you forever. May your journey onward be peaceful. Whatever mystery you are going to dissolve into, may it bring you even more adventures, love, fun and ecstasy than you had in this plane.

Calm After The Storm

As the days and hours continue to pass, things shift and change, as they always do. That’s the greatest gift and the important thing to remember. Nothing stays stagnant. You can’t step into the same river twice.

That’s about all there is to it. If you can remember and stay rooted in that truth alone, then you can weather any storm, emotional, material or otherwise.

The pain and struggle of the last week and the last post have subsided. The difficult decisions about how to manage my current financial crisis have been made. Family and friends have stepped up to support, listen and provide critical advice. I’ve figured out a plan to move forward that will keep head above water and keep foreclosure at bay for at least 3-4 months.

In that time, anything can happen. And I’m not in control of any of that, so I can relax, do the next thing, trust the process and enjoy the adventure.

Someone reminded me the other night about curiosity. To stay curious about what is happening, what is being offered, what the Mystery is communicating. Always. Through any crisis, real or perceived.

And I realized, curiosity is one of the keys. If I am curious, I can’t be hiding. If I am curious, I am receptive. Curiosity brings me out of the shadows and into the light of love.

Curiosity allows me to have a continuous conversation with the Mystery about what is happening. About how it is serving my evolution and all of humanity’s evolution.

And that, my friend, is ultimately why am I writing this blog. To stay curious and to share curiosity, as well as insights, adventure, pain and joy.

I’m writing this blog to provide a reflection for you as well as an outlet for me. I’m willing to let you see the struggles and the winding path and the circuitous route through what most of us feel we have to hide.

I’m doing this because I want you to feel less alone. And less like you have to hide. I’m calling to everyone (yes, everyone) to liberate yourself.

Freedom now.

Freedom from what you think you have to do, say, think, make amends for, cleanse, remove, change, purify, fix or make right.

Come to the temple dirty and unkempt, in crisis or with clarity, alone or enjoined. Enter at will. Allow the cool welcoming beautiful interior of your heart be your home. Become more and more willing to let what you think is shadow or darkness come out, be seen and drink from the light.

There is no enemy. Not really. Everything is happening for you.

Ask yourself: “What is Being Offered?”

If you’d like to comment below or privately message me your response to that question, I’d be honored to receive it for you.

If you just want space to be held for your process around this, okey dokey. Holding space is what I do naturally.

And, if you want some insight or response, I’m happy to offer that also. Just let me know.

Eternal gratitude to Vanessa Stone, whose words and teachings I am freely plagiarizing here. I know it’s ok, because it’s all just the truth and there is nothing that can really be copyrighted when it comes to truth.

Finally…please receive this gift from Rumi ( translated by Coleman Barks, set to music by Sudhananda, performed by Shimshai):

Come Come Whoever you are

From The Illuminated Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks, illustrated by Michael Green.

P.S. Sorry about the ads that appear in the youtube video – I haven’t learned how/if I can remove them.

No Bullshit Here

Been going through hard times the past few days. Within that journey there’s always nuggets of wisdom peeking out from the darkness. Navigating the confusion that arises in my mind is the only way to find the clarity that I seek. Bumping around the dark is required.

I’ve been rather silent here on my blog. The intent has always been to write the insights and the muddiness, to share the vision, to offer what I can to anyone who happens along.

One of my dearest friends, asked me last night if I’ve been writing about everything I’ve been going through. The answer was: “Sort of, no not really. In my journal somewhat each morning.” He has always encouraged me to write my experiences for everyone. To put my journey out on offer. It may be that my willingness to tread deeply into my own interiors, meet the God of my understanding in any locale, truly grow and stretch and change are of value to many.

It thus occurred to me that all I have to do to keep the blog going is to write my morning journal here, tidy it up as needed, and hit the PUBLISH button. Okay. Agreed. I’ll do it.

So, here we are.

It’s hard to know where to start with what’s going on, today. It’s hard to know what exactly to write in a digestible small packet for you. YOU. My reader.

My father was a writer. It’s been in my blood for as long as I have been alive.

And.

I am a spiritual warrior. Nothing fancy, nothing on the outside to call your attention to it. Just another middle aged woman, kind of an old hippie, going about life trying to get by. But inside…

Inside, it’s all about my soul’s journey.

Who you are and what you have experienced will determine how you interpret that statement. So, stay open, my friend.

It is doubly or triply hard to write honestly here and tell my story because so many facets of it feel intensely private and not something I want most people to know. I feel like I have an image that I need to protect in certain parts of my life. For instance, my new real estate business and any of my business personas from jobs past. People I know or have known “professionally” might find this blog. What if they read it? What if they find out my failures and challenges? These things feel like weaknesses and things that I should be protecting, keeping hidden.

After all, isn’t that what we all do? Isn’t that how life proceeds? Choose your image and grow it hard and hide all the other shit in some closet in a back room.

Well, yes. That IS how we usually proceed.

But for whatever reason, if I am completely honest with myself about what my mission is, really, here on Planet Earth, it’s to counteract all that bullshit. It’s to shine a real light on the human journey and do what I can to show a way to complete authenticity. Someone’s got to do it first. If I keep waiting for someone else to make it safe for me to show up as me in all my messy confusion and all my glorious clarity and everything in between…

I’ll probably be dead before I ever share anything of value with you.

And, guess what? That is not acceptable.

So, here goes.

I am in Chapter 13 bankruptcy to try to protect my house and deal with an accumulation of credit card and medical bills. I’ve been in Chapter 13 for 20 months. I’m behind in payments. I got fired, yes, fired, from a job I loved at the end of February. I can’t and won’t talk too much about that because, frankly, I’m legally prohibited from doing so due to a legal settlement. I’m not even sure I’m allowed to say that, but fuck it. It was unexpected, cruelly done by my former employer, awful and painful for me, and it put me through a ringer that I’ve never been through before. In fact, I’m still coming out the other side of it. It set me up for another round of financial ruin as well as an emotional dive so deep I actually called the National Suicide Hotline one night. As you can see, a nice woman on the other end of the phone talked me off the ledge.

However, because in general this is how I roll, I picked myself up off the floor, got to work figuring out what to do, talked a lot with God (and listened even more), started a bunch of new business ventures of my own, commenced legal action against my former employer, got my real estate license and hobbled along.

As of today, none of these are really bringing in much money and all the savings and small legal settlement are gone in trying to get everything started and pay bills and eat. At any point, I could get a real estate client and close a deal and things would even out for at least a while. But, nothing as of yet and it takes at least 6 weeks usually for any deal to close and to get a check. I have one source of income and that is my Airbnb. It brings in between $800-1200 a month.

Oh yeah, before I go further, let me clarify: I am alone. Completely alone in this journey on a daily basis. I have cheerleaders and supporters in friends and family who love me. That is an immense blessing. But, in the little moments of time, I do not have someone I talk to about what is going on, no one to run my ideas by each evening, no one to help me get the car to be serviced, clean the house, make dinner, do the dishes, keep up the yard, or any other damn thing. It’s just me and what I can pay for. (I’m just telling you the facts, ma’am.)

So, now, here I am. Months behind in the bankruptcy payments, looking at a foreclosure action if the BK is dismissed, with about $6k in a IRA and not even $500 in the bank. Trying to come up with possible solutions, to figure out how to play that little bit of money into keeping the house and getting by until things turn around financially.

A couple days ago, it all became more than I could bear and the tears came. They linger just behind my eyelids, a tightness in my throat. There has been complete meltdown and inability to see clearly what to do or how to proceed. Fear and sadness have gripped me.

Yesterday afternoon, in the middle of a meeting with the owner of the real estate company I’m affiliated with now, I got an email from the grown daughter of the family in Santa Cruz, California who adopted my beloved dog, Jake, in 2010. At that time, I needed  him to go to a safe and grounded environment as God called me onto the proverbial open sea in a boat without oars or sails (more on that story eventually, probably).  I have missed him so deeply and silently for 8 years. And now, she told me what I already knew in my heart, he is dying.

I have no money to go see him. My heart aches beyond words. So much grief connected to the stories of my life. So much grief to walk as a human no matter what our story. And the grief is balanced by joy. All of it wrapped up in messiness and mistakes and victories and lessons learned.

I sit today in the mountains, on the front porch of my cabin home, listening the crows and cicadas waking up, sipping coffee, writing this blog, completely steeped in the unknowing.

Last night, talking to my friend, I realized (again) that there isn’t really any solution. That no matter the fact that I had a different plan, this is being offered to me now. This whole damn clusterfuck of life. This is it, baby. It’s not gonna look all pretty and tied up in a bow. This is the truth of life as a human. I have no idea what the hell is going on. I can’t control any damn thing.

This is Life. Let it roll.

Religion. Spirituality. God.

We are religious, or we are not religious. We are spiritual, but not religious. We are atheists. We are agnostics. We pray to Jesus, our savior. We pray to God. We pray but not to anything. We go to church. We meditate. We do yoga. We travel to an ashram in India. We join a church. We move to a new church. We tell our children some version of what we were told. We try to say it like we mean it.

But…what IS it that drives us to these things, whatever they may be, that come under the category “religion.”

What IS religion? What IS God? What IS spirituality?

Having spent a lifetime concerned with this, focused on this, in one form or another: studying it at university, esoteric schools, hindu gurus, yoga, finding teachers and leaving teachers, meditation, now…I find it more and more to be, um, well, mysterious, frankly. Vague. Unclear.

I notice that we humans seem to have a tendency to corral ourselves into belief systems, (whether traditional or new age), into concepts of what God is or is not, what to believe or not to believe, what our life “means,”  and other such burning situations that come under the category of Spirituality and Religion.

Because aren’t they just a way to separate ourselves from each other? And what do we know, really?

It seems to me that mistrust grows bigger and bigger in me all the time. Mistrust of anything outside of my own heart and mistrust of any idea, institution or teacher.

And at the same time, paradoxically, TRUST grows bigger in me all the time. Trust of my own heart’s knowing and my own path unfolding and what my gut tells me is true. For me.

As Vanessa Stone says, “Your Life, exactly as it is, is the perfect prescription for the evolution of your soul.”

I’m on it. What about you?

 

In mid-August, I (temporarily) moved to Kauai. I’m not sure I’ll be here very long, but I have not blogged in a while so I thought I’d check in. I moved here because a friend of mine was dying and I came here with him and his family. To be part of that. The invitation was there, and I responded. It was intense. The whole experience from start to finish was intense beyond my ability to describe. Perhaps some day I will try but somehow it seems right to let it remain unwritten.

I am lucky that I work remotely. So I can literally live anywhere. As long as I have internet. So, why not live on a beautiful island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean?

 

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about God.

The Beloved.

All that is, and all that animates all that is.

The One and The Way.

The fragmented fullness of your path unfolding.

The Living Map.

Trust it.

I am moving rapidly but easily through layers that feel like gauze, but also like water. The light is shining and I see it above me through a kind of shimmering surface.

Movement is effortless and more graceful than the ungainly paddle of arms and legs. My body and mind are synchronized; forward motion happens just because I want it to.

Every day it gets easier, even as my tasks grow more numerous and endless ideas bubble up so fast I can barely contain them…things to do, art to create, topics to write about, more concepts for the Following Bruce adventure, visions for this website, for the journeys ahead, for my whole entire life.

I am fast approaching some threshold. It is approaching me. We are each on a locked trajectory, precisely aimed to crash into one another.

What this threshold is, I’m not sure. I think it may be the edge of the only atmosphere I’ve breathed in this life so far. An outgrown gravity that I’m escaping. An ancient boundary condition that I’m exceeding.

All I know is, nothing is going to stop us from coming together, this edge and me…

The
brink
verge
limit
frontier
border
perimeter
precipice

and me,

we are lovers.

My destiny is that edge.
Falling off it
is the home I’ve longed for.

I have no poems of light.

I have only poems of surrendering to darkness.

This world tells us “fight the darkness.”
But I have a different message.

Surrender to suffering
and allow your journey to REALLY begin.

Drop “affirmation” and “attraction” into the trash can.

Trust the Path, live the life you’ve got.
No matter the suffering…we all suffer…
What happens
when you are willing to walk through your own personal fire?

Rise up into your true strength
bestowed by flowing like water
down cool mountains
through valleys
deltas
into a salty sea.

Listen…

your own heartbeat
is all
you need.