Thursday, May 24, 2007


There is a Buddhist practice called Chod. It is meant to cut away fear, cut out ego, get to purity. Part of the practice involves the feeding of demons, and it's all gory, weird and scary. Unfortunately/fortunately, it was also one of the first Buddhist practices I learned. You feed the demons to the point of completion, until they are full. Again, lots of gory, icky terms and notions are used, but the essence is lovely. What you resist, persists. What you feed gets full, and will stop gnawing on you.

When my daughter was diagnosed with OCD, we learned the same damn thing. By trying to re-direct her, soothe her, rationalize with her, it only created more anxiety and obsessiveness.

I recently attended a workshop called Falling Awake . It is a life-changing action plan. Specific skills are taught for getting what you WANT out of life. Now, I know what you're thinking, "If I get what I want out of life, won't that take away from everyone else getting what they want, and isn't that Selfish with a capital S?"

No. Self-sacrifice, at least in my case, only causes resentment. I can give myself totally away to the needs of others, in the name of selflessness, but guess what they "get", grumpy, anxious, pissed-off Carrie. Nobody likes that Carrie, especially me.

By "feeding the demon", giving into the wants of ourselves and others, we are actually liberating ourselves. The key is to determine what underlies the want. Obviously, if we give our kids everything they THINK they want, we'll raise spoiled brats. Ick. Hate that. The trick is determining what they WANT from what they want.

Most of the times the want is to fulfill a basic need, love, acceptance, assurance companionship, safety or validation. Occasionally the need is more primal, food/clothing/shelter.

What do you want? Really?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


My son, nearly eleven, has never been able to listen long enough to have a book of any length read to him. Last night I decided to push the envelope. Desperately wanting to share the bonding experience of reading great literature together, I carefully pulled Stuart Little from the dusty shelf of his bookcase.

"It's short," I thought.

"It has enough pictures scattered in to hold his attention," I held.

"We'll read one tiny chapter a night. This will be great. I'm the most amazing woman on the planet to have thought of this brilliant idea," I boasted quietly to myself.

And so I began...

"When Mrs. Frederick C. Little's second son arrived..."

"WTF? Mrs. Frederick C. Little????? Mrs. FREDERICK????" I fumed internally.

RIght away Rojo vibed in and said, "But what is HER name?" (And he's the one with "disabilities".)

Choosing to get over the fact that Mrs. Little is only the tiniest bit surprised to have given birth to a mouse, and not a human, going big with the whole "fantasy" genre, I graciously allow her to seemlessly accept this alarming development, and go on.

"...One day when Mrs. Little was washing out the bathtub after Mr. Little had taken a bath..."

"Rojo, WHO should be washing out the bathtub for Mr. Little after HIS bath..." I quiz.

"Ahem. OK, let's resume," I coax myself.

"...she lost a ring off her finger and was horrified to discover that it had fallen down the drain.

'What had I better do?' she cried, trying to keep the tears back." Mrs. Little, beseeching of her husband and son, the only ones with problem solving abiitities in the book, besides the rodent, of course.

Enough. Book slammed shut, my ire fully invoked, I turn to Rojo and say, "Let's read 'Spongebob.'"

Monday, May 21, 2007


I am flying high from a weekend away with significant others. My husband and I were able to retreat to Central Oregon together to celebrate his birthday (48), our marriage, burn the past and embrace our future. We were double blessed to have our favorite couple friends there, too. The number of "happily marrieds"' we know is few. Dismally few, but understandably few. Marriage is hard. Brutally hard. Ridiculously hard. Temptingly quit-able.

Eckhart Tolle, Power of Now says, "Never have relationships been as problematic and conflict ridden as they are now. As you may have noticed, they are not here to make you happy or fulfilled. If you continue to pursue the goal of salvation through a relationship, you will be disillusioned again and again. But if you accept that the relationship is here to make you conscious instead of happy, then the relationship will offer you salvation, and you will be aligning yourself with the higher consciousness that wants to be born into this world." I e-mailed that quote to my husband recently, he replied simply, "choir".

I'm going to be turning over the rich mulch from this weekend for awhile, but for now, a quickie Top 10...


10. What do I want? Figure that out.
9. Disconnect "wants" from "expectations"
8. Practice without reproach
7. The past holds guilt, the future, anxiety, the present is all we have
6. Being happy and having what you want is not sinful, it's your duty/obligation to pursue with abandon
5. The things I love about myself, are the things that my husband loves about me, and vice-versa
4. What we love about each other has nothing to do with how we look or what we own, or have "accomplished"
3. Wouldn't trade my life with anyone's
2. We're all connected, with far more in common than not
1. It all boils down to love.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


My soon to be eleven-year-old son, Rojo, went with me to Jennifer's about a month ago. He played in her backyard just long enough to find a 3" plastic Care Bear Jo had left in the sandbox.

I didn't know Rojo even knew what a Care Bear was. We don't have ANY - correction, didn't have any - at our house. No mention of Care Bears, no videos, no NOTHING. My daughter had mercifully skipped that whole cutesy B.S.

"Where is my Care Bear?" Rojo asked in the car coming home.

"You don't have one, Honey."

"But I need a Care Bear." (He never asks for ANYTHING.)

Upon coming home he went through his 2,001 stuffed animals, determined to find "his" Care Bear. The exercise proved futile.

That weekend he spent some time with my mom. When she brought him home, behind his back hid "his" Care Bear, "Lucky."

"See, Mom? I DO have a Care Bear! His name is 'Lucky'! You were wrong, Mom! I DO have a Care Bear! See Lucky? See my pink, boy Care Bear, Lucky? See his rainbow? See? I DO have a Care Bear, Mom, you were wrong! Why were you wrong? Why did you tell me I don't have a Care Bear?"

"Because until Grammy took you to Toys R Us 1/2 an hour ago you DIDN'T," I thought, but was smart enough not to answer. I knew that Rojo being Rojo had some divine plan for his new pink, boy Care Bear, Lucky.

Lucky went to school in Rojo's backpack for several days in a row. Lucky came out each day at "sharing time" and each day Rojo shared his pink, boy, Care Bear with the other fourth graders in his class. My husband and I shuttered for a minute, thinking what the other kids must think, but then said, "what the hell..." and allowed it to continue. He'd already "shared" Elmo, Big Bird and Ernie, not to mention his girl-turned-boy doll, "Tarzan" a million times already. What was the point of ending our humiliation now? The horses were long gone from the barn.

Monday our dear family friend and long-term Rojo advocate, "Rosie" came over after school. She is a frequently requested house guest by both kids, and my personal favorite. All three feet of Rosie are packed with personality and wisdom beyond her years. I'll never forget her mom telling me Rosie came home from kindergarten one day and said, "Mom, Rojo is a lot smarter than you think. He can recite the alphabet backwards and count to 100!" I was ready to adopt her on the spot. She has not let anyone mess with him, ever, she's got his back, front, and both sides around-the-clock.

While Rosie was stuck watching Rojo play an odd mix of Go-Fish and solitaire, she told me all about Rojo sharing Lucky for the 10th day in a row.

"Some kids, well actually two kids, were kind of laughing at Rojo when he shared Lucky. They said, 'He has a CARE BEAR??? A PINK Care Bear???" I just gave them a look and said, "Yes! He has a Care Bear? What's so funny about that?"

I looked at Rosie and told her again how lucky we all are to have her as Rojo's good, good, friend.

"Well it IS a Catholic school, you know, that behavior is unacceptable! We are supposed to be kind to everyone! Rojo IS kind to everyone, it's not OK for others not to be kind to him!"

"That's right, Rosie," I agreed, "you tell 'em!"

"Oh, I do! I don't even care if they get mad at me. Their parents should be teaching them this stuff, but since they AREN'T, I guess, I'll just do it!"

"I love you and everything about you, Rosie!" I enthused.

"Just doing my job," she smiled.

As she languished on the couch watching the Go-Fish/solitaire game patiently, as directed, I just had to snap her darling picture. I called her mom later to ask if I could post the picture and this story on my blog, I told her all about it.

"Sure," she said, "and you ought to know, her brother's nickname for her is Care Bear."

Of course it is.

This from the Care Bear website...

"Cheer Bear is a very happy Care Bear who helps others see the bright side of life. She will sometimes even do a cheer to help make someone happier. Wherever she goes, Cheer Bear wears a symbol of hope and happiness—a rainbow.
Caring Mission: Cheers people up.
Symbol: Her rainbow symbol represents hope.
Personality: Happy and upbeat.
Character Quirk: Sometimes communicates through rhyming cheers.
Color: Pink.
Best Friend: Wish Bear
Relationship Challenge: Grumpy Bear - she's always trying to cheer him up!
Motto: When in doubt, SMILE!"

Monday, May 14, 2007

The first time I met her I knew it would not be a one-time meeting. There was a soul connection. I also knew it wouldn't happen overnight. There were issues of trust to overcome. That was OK, I could wait. Soul connections do not live within the boundaries of conventional time.

I was in her home. HER home. The place where my favorite words were put into my favorite books. I'd read thousands of books from thousands of authors, but now I was in the home of THIS writer.

I waited.

Someone else feeling similarly asked to see her office, just to "spin around" in the room where the magic took place. The magic of inspired words being put on a blank page, transforming the page and the souls that read them.

My head said, "Me too! I want to spin around in that space!'

My soul said, "Fear not. You'll see that space. You'll more than see that space, but for now, it is not your turn. Be patient. Good things come to those that wait.

I waited.

Together we took out the trust issues, one by one, and shot them all to hell.

Friday I moved my office into that office. THAT office. Our office.

Good things DO come to those that wait. And believe. And trust. And are more tenacious than dogs with a bone.



10. My mom spent it with my brother
9. No green Jell-O
8. We combined two May birthdays into the celebration
7. Check, check, check!
6. My mother-in-law is the easiest to please person on the planet
5. The party wasn't at my house
4. My husband gave me the nicest card in the world
3. Rojo gave me candy and then ate it all
2. Woo-Who gave me homemade coupons to clean her room and babysit her brother
1. It's over for another year

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

(Maybe if he were hanging from my bar, I'd re-consider...)


Head ducked, I walk into the laundry room.

Head ducked, I walk out.

Head ducked, I return to the laundry room.

Head ducked, I walk out.

Almost a year ago my husband installed a chin-up bar in the doorway of the laundry room, so my son could work on his upper body strength. It worked. He hung on that thing every time I went in or out of the laundry room, roughly 4 million times a week.

About two weeks ago I stopped banging my head on the bar, ALWAYS forgetting it was there, finally learning to duck.

Three days ago, realizing my son hadn't hung on the damn bar for months and tired of the ducking/banging, "Oh Yea!" moments, I removed the bar.

I never fail to duck now. Never.

They say it takes 21 days to establish or eliminate a habit. We won't get all judgmental and label habits "good" or "bad", we'll just call them what they are, habits. Habits can be very useful and productive, or not so much. Often, what begins for the "right" reasons and is super helpful at the time, outgrows its usefulness/helpfulness, but the habit remains. I'm trying to tease out those habits that are no longer useful. I'm starting with the ducking and moving up the list from there.

Sunday, May 06, 2007



"Hi! It's Carrie. I know you are both sick as dogs and haven't been out of the house in days. I am going to Safeway right now, what can I bring you/"

"Oh nothing. We're just fine."

"Really? You have everything you need?"

"Oh yes, we're good. Really. Don't worry about us!"

"How about juice?"

"Well, yes, we could use a little juice."


"Sure, orange would be great."

"Any particular kind?"

"Oh no, it doesn't matter."

"Do you like it to have pulp? Extra pulp? No pulp?"

"Oh we'd prefer it to not have pulp."

"OK, what else?"

"Oh no, just the orange juice."

"How about bread?"

"Well, we did use our last slice yesterday..."

"OK, I'll get bread. Whole wheat?"

"Whole wheat would be fine."

"Would you prefer something else?"

"Oh no, whole wheat is fine."

"Do you like a particular kind?"

"No, just whatever's on sale."

"Do you even WANT whole wheat?"


And so it went until $50 later I'd delivered all the things they were completely out of.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


Jenny Rough was the first blogger I met face-to-face. Can't believe that was only 14 months ago, I had only heard of blogs then, never read one. Jenny's was my first. You always remember the first!

Now Jenny is kicking some freelance butt and writing all over the place. Her newest venture is this. If you're into healthy eating, and c'mon, who *SHOULDN'T be, you'll be glad you stopped by!

* I am having a hard time keeping my fingers on the keys due to the greasy residue left over from my MSG, Red Dye #5 laced snack food I'm consuming while writing this...

Friday, May 04, 2007


My mom's a PK, Preacher's Kid, and I don't mean minister, I mean PREACHER. Baptist. Say no more. Although not raised Baptist, my brother and I were raised Protestant Christians, as opposed to Catholic Christians, which everyone knows aren't "real" Christians, because they worship false idols and are hung up on Mary.

My brother was the first to jump ship. He first went deep into Native American traditions. Eventually he found Buddhism and a community of Tibetan Buddhists in the unlikely town of Cottage Grove, Oregon (population 10 - or close enough). There he befriended a Buddhist monk that had immigrated from a refugee camp in India. This monk knew a girl that Michael, my brother, might like. 1 1/2 years of e-mails and phone calls later, my brother married this wonderful woman, Sonam.

Even my dyed-in-the-wool Christian mother couldn't help but be moved by the authenticity of this Tibetan Buddhist daughter-in-law. Such profound love, wisdom, compassion, peace and forgiveness we'd never seen before.

Meanwhile, I was involved in a women's book group. We read Anne Frank. While discussing it, one woman, perhaps my greatest teacher ever, said it was a shame Anne Frank and the other Jews that perished in the Holocaust are all now burning in hell. Had they only given their lives to Jesus, they could live in His perfect peace in heaven. That's it. I snapped. I had read Anne Frank at least twice prior. I'd dragged my husband to Amsterdam when visiting Europe, for the sole purpose of seeing her hiding place. I had read countless other books on the Holocaust. There was NO way anyone was going to get me to agree that these people were now burning in hell! Excuse me? Check, check! The Holocaust WAS burning in hell. Literally! WTF?

From that night forward I couldn't "be with" my life-long religion. It was great, but it was not enough. Too much of it never added up for me. I thought it was me, a rebel, until I realized eventually that there were many others with the same snags circling the globe, and had been, for thousands of years. What a relief.

I don't know what to call myself now, so I say I'm "everything" which is quite different from being "nothing." Someone else called this thinking Universalism. Another called it poly-religious. I don't really care to be labeled or put in a box. I'm fine with the fact that all good is good. There is one truth, but many paths. Different strokes for different folks, and all that stuff.

I do know that those with whom we most disagree, have the most to teach us.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


A few people asked me how I could go from talking about my time with the Dalai Lama, to Top 10 Grade School Come-Backs. Well, the answer is quite simple, I'm a NUT! My mind zips and zags a million times a day, never resting too long at any one place. The Buddhists call this "Monkey Mind". I prefer to call mine, "Gorilla Mind" because, like with all things, I believe my situation is worse/bigger/better/more interesting at least. Well, the old me, that is. To say that I have been profoundly changed by my limited time with ol' HH (His Holiness) is an understatement, and nobody has EVER accused me of having the gift of understatement!

The friend with whom I shared the whole experience and I have been talking about it a lot ever since. As the days progress, so does our processing and deeper integration of the experience. I think merely by being in his presence, you can't help but be changed. You'd have to be a rock not to feel that man's "ju-ju", no matter where you were in the gigantic auditorium. I'd be willing to bet the good vibes wafted several miles in all directions.

My friend had to miss a few minutes of one of his teachings, when she returned, she said, "What'd I miss? Did you get enlightened?" We've had a couple of chats about that since then, too. I hear it is possible to be enlightened, "just like that." I don't know, I think my "Everything is on a continuum" theory might also apply here. If you look just at the word, "enlightenment", what do you see? Light! Full of the light. It seems to me that some humans come to this life already more full of life than others. I wonder what a shock to the system it would be for someone with very little light to achieve enlightenment, "just like that." Could they even take it? Would the light be so blinding and burning they couldn't stand it?

Being a born and raised Oregonian, it takes very little sunlight to have me reaching for my sunglasses (although I'm switching to a maroon visor as soon as I can get my hands on one). Would the same be true for enlightenment? Wikipedia defines it this way: Bodhi (Pali and Sanskrit. Lit. awakening. Trans. enlightenment) is a title given in Buddhism to the specific awakening experience attained by the Indian spiritual teacher Gautama Buddha and his disciples. It is sometimes described as complete and perfect sanity, or awareness of the true nature of the universe. After attainment, it is believed one is freed from the cycle of Samsāra; birth, suffering, death and rebirth.

I'll continue to muse/brag/offend/incite and I hope, inspire, as I continue to work through what it is I saw and heard, and what it is I now want to BE.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Today I became a mother,
Thirteen years ago,
If you don't believe me
There are many grey hairs to show.

"Woo-Who" is what we call her,
Rojo named her that.
Always his big sister,
It's one of her many hats.

Some others she wears,
Are granddaughter and niece.
Cousin, baby sitter, friend,
Everyone gets their piece.

She's a stong-minded one,
Won't back down from a fight.
She knows when you're wrong,
And she knows when she's right.

Generous, thoughtful and funny,
She takes after her mom.
As anyone can tell,
She is quite the bomb.

Wouldn't trade her for any,
She's one-of-a-kind.
She's my little girl,
I've got quite a find.