Monday, November 12, 2007

Paris in the Spring

Before leaving for Iraq, I told my daughter, Raine, that when I returned in a year, I would take her anywhere in the world that she wanted to go. In my mind, I envisioned her choosing somewhere exotic like Kenya, India or Thailand. But that was my wandering spirit's longing, she chose Paris. So that is where we went.

Her young spirit wanted what so many girls her age dream of - fashion, shopping and glamour. She wanted to be a Princess in Paris.

We went up the Eiffel Tower, spent hoards of money on clothes, ate in the Latin Quarter, lit candles in Notre Dame, spent hours in the Louvre and at least 20 minutes in front of the Mona Lisa alone. We rode the metro everywhere and walked down the Champs Elyse. It was simply magical, just Raine, me and Paris.

Next spring break we are going to Venice and then taking the train over to Rome. I can't wait!!!

I Spoke to the Ocean

I spoke to the ocean the other day about my desire to understand and embrace expansive, abundant love and to let go of attachment and expectations in love, relationships and sex.

She showed me her expansive depth and then asked me, "What if I only allowed one whale or one fish or one boat to swim within my waters, how limiting would that be?

That was when I laughed a loud looking out at the infinite vastness of the ocean's surface and not even being able to comprehend the depths she reached and the life and love that she held.

She continued by telling me, "I can support and love so much life. Why do you limit yourself to living within the confines of your Puritanical upbringing. It seems filled with limitation, fear and shame. Perhaps your old ideas of love and relationship are old and outdated and no longer serve you. Think about it, expansive love may be your way of doing love." ~the Ocean

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I Have a Vision

I have a vision that a revolution of the soul begins and a whisper is sent across the fields and over the mountains and nestles into the hearts of little girls in every country and in every clime and place in the world. The girls hear it and it coats their soul like melted chocolate and ignites a spark of knowing – a re-membering.

Once heard, felt and tasted these girls are changed and cannot go back. The song keeps traveling around the world gaining momentum and gathering into one vibration that cannot be ignored. Through this vibration the girls of the world discover their innate freedom and power within and they carefully, wisely and audaciously shift the course of civilization.

Some move more quickly and are punished but they wouldn’t and couldn’t have acted any other way. These girls are the trail-blazers – the warriors – they sacrifice their safety and their lives for the millions that will follow.

Most of the girls are more subtly and in their slow yet deliberate change, people begin to treat them differently without being conscious of why.

It is all done with love, gratitude and forgiveness – love and gratitude for one’s self first and foremost. And forgiveness for not realizing the immense power that each of us holds. This is the message the song contains. It is powerful beyond measure.

In my vision the song continues to be sung as it travels around the world joined by the stars, the moon and the sun. This song can be heard only by the heart. The animals and the whales on this planet carry this song along as well. For they know it is in these girls that the world will become whole again. In the balance of the masculine and feminine there will be light and healing. Everything will come to balance once again with this song.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Birthing Love

11 years ago today I was sitting in a bathtub in a birthing center in Gainesville, Florida laboring with my beautiful daughter, Raine. There were 14 others in attendance to include her dad, my mom, sister, the neighbors, friends, the newspaper reporter, and photographers. The contractions had actually began the day before but we didn't go to the center until the morning of the 10th.

About 32 hours into the labor I was still stuck in the third stage, even though I was trying different tricks like walking around and sitting on the birthing ball she still wouldn't move any further. That was when her dad, Tai, took me by the shoulders and firmly told me, "we are having this baby now!" I guess he was tired. I agreed and then realized that I had not contemplated or even visualized her being here after the birth. I was actually afraid of having her come out and that was what was keeping her in.

I loved being pregnant. I savoured every moment of it. I loved my big belly and feeling her move inside me. But for some strange reason I had never contemplated the actual baby in my life part of this process of having a baby and it quite frankly scared me.

After Tai's insistence something clicked and she was off and running - well I wish, it still took another four hours of pushing (they don't show you that in the movies). She came out in the water into her daddy's hands and he placed her on my chest. She didn't cry. She just looked up at me with these enormous, peaceful eyes and I cried.
I created this!!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Rigidity Causes Pain

I have a problem of getting attached to projects (and men, but that’s another post). When I realized my book, that was due to be published in October was going to be delayed because I need to spend more time in rewrites, I immediately resisted the suggestion, I was rigid in my “plan” of when this book was to be published.

The pain caused by my rigidity overwhelmed me as I held tightly to my “plan” while knowing deep down the suggestion was right. With more rewrites my message would be that much more impact-full and powerful.

My attachment to having my book published in October was more about fear of not having enough income. In other words, I was making my baby (my book) my moneymaker. I was planning on birthing her prematurely and then I was going to throw her out on the street to start making money for me.

How nurturing is that? And is that any way to treat something that special? Besides my book is not ever going to be my moneymaker. The Me of me is the moneymaker in my life. The consciousness of the Source as my only abundance is what turns on the flow of money in my life. When I make an object or a job my moneymaker I stop the flow. It’s all about focusing on and trusting in the Cause not the effect and staying supple so that the need for adjustments doesn’t cause so much pain.

Staying Flexible,

The Power of Intention Took Me to Italy

A few years ago I set an intention to travel to exotic places more often. Since that declaration, I went to Iraq for year, Hawaii twice for extended periods, Paris for a week and I spent ten days this spring in Amalfi, Italy photographing an enchanting wedding. Ever since I can remember I've wanted to travel to Amalfi, Italy and here I was being paid to travel there and create images of their wedding.

Laura and Brandon’s wedding was an intimate event filled with love, family and inclusiveness. It was such a privilege to see such a close family travel to the other side of the world to witness their marriage. The ceremony lasted all day as we travelled from the bed and breakfast to the Maioria City Hall, to the plaza for snacks and then onto the necessary mid day nap as the Italians do. All through the day the bride and groom were applauded and shouts of "auguri" (best wishes) were heard around every corner. After the nap we walked from Maiori to Amalfi (above photo taken on this walk) for the reception dinner in a tiny bistro.

I felt so honored to have been hired to capture this enchanting day on film. We all laughed, cried and ate just like the Italians.
Audaciously Existing in Abundance,

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Trade, a Movie about Sex Slavery in the US

The practice of slavery in the US is something most people think ended with the 13th Amendment in 1865, but in recent years it has returned in an even more virulent form. Fueled by the collapse of the Soviet Union and other eastern European countries, new technologies like the internet, and sieve-like borders, the traffic in human beings has become an epidemic of colossal dimensions. The State Department estimates that as many as 800,000 people are trafficked over international frontiers each year, largely for sexual exploitation. Eighty percent are female and over fifty percent are minors. Many people in this country push this atrocity out of their minds, believing that it only occurs in faraway countries like Thailand, Cambodia, the Ukraine and Bosnia. The truth is that the United States has become a large-scale importer of sex slaves. Free the Slaves, America's largest anti-slavery organization estimates that at least 10,000 people a year are smuggled or duped into this country by sex traffickers.

As many of you know I am passionate about abolishing the human trafficking of girls around the world. This movie, Trade, is opening in selected theaters Friday September 28th. Please go see it and learn about this heinous crime that is almost too horrific to even acknowledge. Here is a link to the trailer: . The movie stars Academy Award winner Kevin Kline.
For more information on human trafficking:
I'm going to see the movie in Santa Fe next week. Please let me know what you thought of the movie.
"We are focusing on bringing the stories of these women to the world. These stories must be told if we are going to stop this from happening again." ~ Eve Ensler.
The Audacious Abolitionist,

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Current Took Me to Iraq

The current of my heart brought me to Iraq. I always swim with the current. The current finds me and away we go on a new adventure to expand my world and open my heart. This time it was to war.

On this adventure I realized that to go to war is to choose to live in two worlds simultaneously. In the first world I find myself looking for hope, constantly searching for meaning in all the death and destruction. In the second world I only see hopelessness and despair.

I naturally look for the beauty in every situation and this daily conflict between hope and hopeless-ness tore me up at times but nonetheless I stood as a witness to all of it while attempting to steer clear of judgments and failing daily.

I witnessed the unexplainable horrors of our Marines being killed and maimed by roadside bombs, mortar attacks and sniper fire. All of them seemed so impersonal and random. Why that particular vehicle and why did they wait to detonate the bomb at that particular point? Why did the sniper aim in on that particular Soldier rather than the one next to him? Why did shrapnel from that one mortar bounce up and impel him and not the civilian next to him?

On one day the reports of the slaughter of innocent Iraqis praying in mosques, playing soccer or just walking to school were overwhelming. None of it made sense.

On another day, I began to build a Cairn outside my barracks, adding a rock to honor each death, U.S. and Iraqi. Some officer kicked it over a few days later – scattering the sacred act into hopeless-ness. I built it again. He destroyed it again. Some days I spent hours looking into the eyes of each deceased Marine, Soldier and Sailor’s photo and silently and tearfully thanking them for their sacrifice.

I witnessed humanity at its highest where brotherly bonds were created between Marines that looked death in the face together. I also heard about Sunnis risking their lives to rescue a Shiite family from gunmen. In this world of hopefull-ness Sheiks rise above their fears and fight Al Qaida out of their neighborhoods and districts. An Iraqi woman puts a rug out on the wall to serve as a warning to oncoming convoys when a roadside bomb is present in front of her house. In this world of hope and meaning, Iraqi women show up to tell me their stories and their solutions while I listen with a hungry ear, tears in my eyes and an open heart. They leave me with hugs, multiple cheek kisses and hope in their hearts.

One day a Marine’s life is saved when a sniper bullet makes only an indent in his chest due to the illegal Playboy magazine tucked under his vest. But then that evening a pregnant Iraqi woman ready to deliver her baby is rushed to the hospital by her husband and relatives when all the passengers are killed by a Lance Corporal manning his checkpoint who is ordered to stop the speeding vehicle erratically approaching and ignoring all the warning signals. The Marine is required to treat the vehicle as suicide bomber and now he will live with that for the rest of his life . . . and so will they.

The constant mixture of horror and honor swirls around in the century old human game of war.

I lived in both of these worlds daily for an entire year – we all did. Each event cracked open my heart a little more with the intent to grow wider and more expansive. I was a witness to the sacrifice, the honor, the horror and the expansive human spirit. This is why I believe the current took me to war – to be a witness and to come back and tell about it.

Courageously Sharing,


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Mermaids Swim

Sometimes a mermaid can’t take another moment without being submerged in an icy cold body of water. That is what happened yesterday when Raine and I decided to drive an hour from Santa Fe to swim in Abiquiu Lake and allow our fins to soak and my heart to cleanse.

The lake was magnificent with red rocks rimming the edge and a flat rock ledge a few feet under the surface for us to stand on before swimming out into the expansive blue and resting in the support of the water’s icy embrace. She was just what I needed and she welcomed us so openly, even though we couldn’t stay long and had never visited before.

A storm rumbled in crackling with lightening against a dark cloud background. Every cell in my body danced with delight and exhilaration as we drove back to Santa Fe. What a gift to be able to dip into the watery womb of Creation herself. We are so privileged to be having such an amazing human experience.
Swimming with the Current,

Monday, August 27, 2007

Relationships: Security vs. Transformation

I throw myself into relationships to be transformed. To come together with another to create something beyond ego - an enlightened state. Only in that kind of intimacy can I experience the fire that demands integrity. There is no hiding in true intimacy.

Of course, my MEMEs or cultural paradigms scream from the depths of my mortal heart to seek security and to be attached and absorbed into another being. Thoughts such as, "Perhaps he is the one" or "Now I'll be taken care of" seep into my head and tangle my intention. These are so ingrained in me from all directions - songs, movies, stories, examples of my friends' lives - that they are difficult to maneuver around. But the pursuit of security in a relationship is death to the creative impulse that would have me realize an enlightened state and be transformed.

"The highest purpose of intimacy is to call forth the beloveds' soul." Marianne Williamson wrote this in Enchanted Love. In this state we can find healing and I'm not only talking about the calming, soothing type of healing but also the gut-wrenching, "I think I'm going to vomit" healing as well.

Being in a relationship is an audacious ride to the center of what is at the heart of every person. It takes courage to take that ride to the wounded-ness of your beloved and not everyone is up for the journey. It is a true Hero's Journey to be present and hold a sacred space and compassion for someone's wounds and it is not for the faint of heart to expose your wounds to another. Fears of judgement, betrayal and abandonment arise. But despite these obstacles, my true test of courage is to go with my heart wide open and scoff in the face of my fears, wounds and old patterns of thinking. It is not the beloveds' responsibility to heal us, but to hold a space for us to the do our work.

I have always felt that if I don't go - I won't see. In other words, if I don't walk through the fire and risk being slaughtered, I won't be transformed into my enlightened self.

Walking through the fire,

Take Yourself Out of Balance

A good friend of mine is struggling with her new state of residence. Born and raised a Desert Princess, she is suffocating amongst the green-ness of her present surrounding. She yearns to return to the comfort of her home, where her tribe lives and where she is cradled in the vast open-ness of the desert.

She is out of balance and I know that her moving across the country holds a great opportunity for expanding her consciousness, but that has to be done on her own. So I stand by her and hold her hand across the 1891 miles between us.
I have taken up dancing since arriving in Santa Fe and one of my favorite classes is NIA. It is a free-form style of dance that begins from the inside out. I find it both freeing and exhilarating. In the first class I took the instructor had us stand on one foot, intentionally loose our balance and then quickly find it again while still standing on one foot. She encouraged us to do this over and over again to the beat of the soul-full music playing.

I learned that day that it is in the loosing of our balance that we find it. We learn and then gradually know exactly how to gain our balance back. What an incredible lesson for my life and for my friend, Tink. I need to continue to throw myself out of whack again and again so that I can find that solid, steady, inner-connected Divine balance.

That's where I want to live!!

Audaciously discovering my balance,

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fierce Presence

Everyone keeps asking me why I came to Santa Fe and I tell them about moving here to be near Raine. Her dad moved her here, with my agreement, while I was in Iraq for the past year.

When I came out for a visit I became distressed about the prospect of living in Albuquerque. It wasn't until I drove up the 25 Freeway and came up over the hill looking down on Santa Fe that I knew this was where I was meant to live.

But now I know that my ending up in Santa Fe had little to do with Raine's dad. Last night, while at a magical party I was told by the host that women come to Santa Fe to be transformed. I've been here only three weeks and I feel that all my old beliefs about myself, love and relationships have been sliced open and spread out across the barren desert of my soul, exposed to be transformed. I know this is only the beginning.
It is the land that transforms us - wide, open and exposing - it is not an easy place to live. It doesn't cradle you in soft breezes or lull you to sleep with the lapping of the water on an island's shore. This land demands honesty and for me to live closer to the bone, where it is raw and real. She is fierce presence demanding that I rip myself open and look at my tired old addictive beliefs that no longer have a purpose in my life except in keeping me small.

I desire to emulate this sprawling land with endless skies - I want to be open and transparent - to exude fierce presence, demanding integrity of myself first. This land is truly enchanted and I am honored to dance barefoot across her healing soul.
Transformed by her presence,

Amazing Raine

Raine stepped out of the crowd last night, listened to her heart and went where no other adult could go.
She was jumping on a trampoline with younger boy at a friend's house. When the boy suddenly sprained his ankle and began wailing in pain and fear. He could not control his emotions. His mother couldn't calm him and the cast of doctors, healers, and body workers present couldn't reach the boy.

After the adults abandoned their hope of being able to soothe his weeping soul, Raine slid back into the trampoline and spoke to him quietly about his favorite things. She broke the mesmerism of his fear by turning his thoughts to things that made him happy.

I was up in the kitchen when I heard of the special healer within Raine. I was so proud of her, tears filled my eyes. She truly has always been her own being and what a privilege to be able to share this journey with such a wise, healthy soul. She is as much my teacher as I am hers. She constantly reminds me that making mistakes is a part of being human and shows me the silliness of my perfectionism.

I am humbled by the grace and beauty that our children express daily,
With Gratitude for Raine,
Karen (aka Momma - I love that she still calls me that!)

She Mocks Me

A crow soars above me with a laughing caw. She mocks my pondering and scoffs at my efforts to understand and become more aware. She is a Trickster. Life is so simple to her up on that air current with her black wings extended, floating effortlessly with a grand perspective. All the silliness we humans and me embark on seems funny to her so she caws at me while I scribble in my journal down below trying to resolve all that perplexes me this morning.

I pause to watch her flight and look upon who dares to laugh at my persistent inquiry - my search for healing and awareness. Looking up at her magnificent height she gives me one last caw and drifts away effortlessly with the wind making me wonder if I should go within or above, or are they even two separate places?

Just as the fish is not aware of the water that she lives in, the crow floats as one with the current, not fighting it or trying to change it. Perhaps the beautiful creature is reminding me to stop trying to control or manipulate the outcomes I desire and relax into the un-seeable song that pours from my heart with humility and become one with the current moving through my soul.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Pygmy Owls

Raine and I went hunting for Pygmy Owls this last Sunday up in the hills near Santa Fe. We found one named Antoinette and tamed her by feeding her gummy worms and singing a special tantrik whale song. Raine then made Antoinette carry her the rest of the way home before undoing the spell and allowing Antoinette to fly free.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Stand Up

I dropped my daughter, Raine, off after a laughter and hug-filled weekend for the school week with her Dad, I’m lost, alone . . . again. But in this alone-ness, tonight I chose to honor this feeling and step outside under the stars, drink a glass of Chilean red wine with gentle music pouring out the window swirling around me, soothing my heart. Still a part of me wants, yet again, to fill this emptiness but I’ve learned to pause, wait for the shift when I feel my soul stand up. She stands up to dance and sing. It is a different song than the one she sings with Raine, it is less playful and full of deep wisdom.

When my boyfriend suddenly and unexpectedly broke it off with me to go back to his estranged wife, I was cut down at the knees – hurled into the shadow-lands – laying in my lifeless skeleton waiting for the vultures to arrive and pick away at the remnants of my heart. But I didn’t lay there very long; I didn’t take up residence there. I knew I had a purpose and a child to take care of. So at first I started to crawl and then I stood up and walked my way over rubble of my future plans, around boulders of despair. I outwitted monsters that told me it was useless and I was unworthy of love. I walked over and around the burned out trees of the life we had – of who I was in that relationship.

The most amazing thing was that as my soul stood up and walked I found I was not alone. I met some wonderful, loving characters along the way. There was Uncle Aaron, The Eight of Hearts, The Wizard, The Garden Nymph, The Baby Hawk, The Wise Old Sea Turtle, Star, The Lifeguard, The Bearded Lady, The Rainbow, The Lizard Man, The Wild Boar Couple, Forrest, The Family of Dolphins and then The Whale Boy. They all took me by the hand and gently showed me back to my soul-self. Some I saw just once, some more often. Some of them pissed me off and others made me cry, but each encounter was significant. If I hadn’t stood up I wouldn’t have encountered such an amazing cast of colorful characters each with a message specifically for me.

In light of that adventure into and out of the shadow-lands I can’t wait to go back and see whom else I’ll meet or how my heart will expand. But these trips we can’t plan for we can only live our lives and dance to our song and when we are suddenly hurled into the shadow, embrace it for it is always a gift.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


In the void created after spending some intimate time with another, whether it is hours or days, emptiness can invade my presence and demand that I fill it with anything; another conversation, food, a movie, just something to absorb the void. But what will happen if I pause and don’t rush to call someone, email or drink it away? Perhaps something magical.

Sharing intimate time with someone in a conversation or sexually has little to do with the other person and everything to do with you/me. That person sharing my space is purely a mirror, reflecting back to me the aspects I either like or don’t like about myself.

Now some people are more pleasing mirrors than others and those are the ones I want to rush back to. But those are also the ones that make me desperate and depleted, bringing out the needy, reaching side of myself (and we know how attractive that can be). But this is not much different than Narcissus, the Greek mythological character who fell in love with his beautiful reflection in a pond and eventually died a slow death of starvation because he couldn't turn away from his mirror.

I am aware that I sometimes get involved with people, both friends and lovers, who are not the best match for me, yet I’m riveted by their view of me or my reflection in them and I remain in their presence no matter how toxic until it blows up like a bad concoction of chemicals sending me flying into the shadow-lands for healing and the re-assembling of my holy sense of self.

Today I’m working toward developing a connection with my inner Divine as my friend, lover and partner. That sounds a little fruity as I write it but what an empowered place to live – where I am not thrown about when others remove themselves (my mirror) from my life or are just not available. It feels like a step towards healthier, unconditional relationships - where I long to be.

Of course there will always be the temptation to find another mirror to lug around and plenty more visits to the shadow-lands for re-membering and healing – that’s what being human is about and I wouldn't change that for the world but perhaps in my pause before the rush I can lessen the temptation to locate a new mirror and just be present in my own sacred magnificence.


Empowered Women in Egypt

My friend Ryn, whom I met while serving in Iraq emailed me this interesting u-tube video about woman’s soccer in Egypt. Watching these women professional players and referees powerfully expressing their talents and gifts in the face of non-acceptance and possible violent retaliation brought me to tears.

This shows me that women are not victims, no matter what the situation. We are powerful beings with the freedom to choose. My passion and purpose in life is to call women and especially girls to discover their innate freedom.

My favorite line is where the coach says that men and women have different strengths and that women have more endurance than men.

Enjoy the video.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

I am Obsessed with Breasts

I mentioned to my daughter, Raine, that since moving to a new city and being newly single I wanted to start dating again – meet some interesting, soul-full men to hang out with while she is with her dad.

As only a child can, she said, “All you need is some new boobs.” I instantly shot her a questioning, disapproving glare and followed up with, “WHAT?” Understanding my question she quickly changed her statement to make me feel better, “Well at least ones that stand up higher, so they look like they did before you had a baby.”

I tried to make it into an educational moment and told her that a woman’s breast have a deep and profound purpose of nourishing life but it was obvious that she knew me too well. Kids see everything don’t that. She had watched me stand in front of the mirror assessing the boobage situation one too many times over the years. She was even a witness to my push-up, water bra phase that brought me instant cleavage and a ton of attention.

I must confess, I am a bit obsessed with breasts. I mean, I am constantly comparing and contrasting mine to others. I analyze and criticize those who opted for augmentation. It bothers me waaaaaay too much.

My desire is to settle into my body and truly love it for what it is. I wrote a poem several years ago called, “This Body.” I wrote it as an affirmation for myself to embrace the profound significance of my body and all of its beautiful, purpose-full parts. It was a first step in re-claiming my body with pride.

I think at 41 and a half it is time to embrace the all-ness of me/we. Women are truly magnificent creatures. (Do you know how scary this one was to write? – VERY!!)

Here is the poem.

This Body

These breasts may not be perky and proportioned.
These breasts sag and droop painted with marks of stretch,
but . . .
These breasts nurtured and nourished, gave life’s milk - overflowed with purpose and fortitude.

This stomach bulges, extruding beyond the hip bones.
Countless hours of exercise and weight loss and still the pooch remains,
but . . .
This stomach is a solid symbol of life once supported.
Stretching beyond recognition, over tiny arms and legs -
constantly pushing and turning.

These hips may not be narrow with skin smoothly covering defining bones.
These hips are wide and bulge with lumps of fat,
but . . .
These hips are wide with purpose, providing passage for my tender heart’s beat.
They symbolize strength and the power of birth.
Standing wide they shout stoic protection.

This body may not be perfection.
This body isn’t an hour-glass demanding heads to turn and hands to touch,
but . . .
This body is alive with life’s purpose.
Created to support and nourish and love life’s sweet breathe.
This body has achieved and demands appreciation and love for the power that is . . . this body.

by Karen Anderson

Monday, August 6, 2007

Transparent Vulnerability

Writing is an act of transparent vulnerability. It's scary to put my life, my feelings and my thoughts out there for the world to scrutinize, judge, condemn, to be moved and love. Sometimes I feel silly - thinking perhaps I exposed too much.

But it is my intention to be laid open like a river allowing life to flow through me, stopping for nothing just purely expressing my gifts. I've recently realized that this is true abundance and prosperity. Allowing our gifts to flow fully without any fears of being too much or offending or not being accepted and loved is abundance in action. We are the source of our abundance.
To the degree that I can be open and be honest with all that I do is the degree in which I am free. Freedom is found in congruency. When my life is congruently aligned and I hide nothing I am truly free.

I want freedom more than anything. And I realize now that there is no freedom in the dark hiding places of the wood shed that I hunker down in the dark times: There is only stagnation, loneliness and separation. Keeping my life, my passions, and my thoughts a secret stuffed down near my belly button only confines me.

I love being a Marine and the Marine Corps, but with it's many rules and zero tolerance for disobedience to those rules makes it difficult to fully unfurl my wings. I make it a point to keep my private life separate from the Marine Corps. In this disciplined environment there isn't much room for free expression or even individual expression. I push that envelope at times just by who I am, but I know the boundaries of what is acceptable. Guilt and anxiety are my constant companions.

This is my challenge to somehow in my heart align all aspects of my life and to express myself openly with true transparent vulnerability. It is my only path towards ultimate inner freedom.

Audaciously Transparent,
Karen (aka Agnes lu)

Sunday, August 5, 2007

My Love Affair with Santa Fe

I realize that I am in the delusional stage of my love affair with Santa Fe; it is fresh, new and exhilarating, I can't help myself. What I delight in most these days is the daily cloud show that emerges over the mountains every morning and continuously transforms throughout the day and into the evening. They call it "Monsoon Season" but it is purely enchanting. I feel so connected to the earth amidst the storms. They say that storm clouds on the horizon represent impending doom, but for me they are re-generative clouds shuttling life-giving rain to this high desert and to my soul. Storms pass near and over our park blowing the sweetest primal wind and rain I have ever felt. It is symbolic and significant of my life transformation in this new land discovering my new life purpose to share with the world.

"Forget not that the earth loves to feel your bare feet
and the winds long to play with your hair." ~Kabril Gibran

The clouds above Santa Fe are mesmerizing and they bring me back a year ago to the flight returning home for a two week break after seven months of serving in Fallujah, Iraq with the Marine Corps. The clouds brought me to tears that day - there was something so clean and pure about them that I felt held and comforted floating above them.

I wrote this poem somewhere over middle America en route to Dallas International Airport. From there I boarded another plane to San Diego where my baby girl was waiting for me.

A glacier of clouds
hovers over a meandering river
somewhere in middle America.

After four painful days of traveling from
the underbelly of the world where death
sits on the tongue of expectations
I fight back "inappropriate” tears
that want to cleanse the darkness that lingers
in the corners of my heart.

The memories created in the underbelly of that whale
fight to remain alive as I drift
through my daughter’s cotton candy heaven
towards two weeks of her sweetness in her arms.

The view from here is excruciatingly soothing
as I anticipate my R&R from Iraq.

by Karen Anderson

I want to share more about my experiences in Iraq. Up until now, it has been difficult to speak about it, but it feels like the right time now and this is my first safe step.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My Journey to Santa Fe

I'm here in Santa Fe staying at the Trailer Ranch, an upscale, 55+ RV park. It's really so cute and I can't believe I'm finally here starting my new life. I LOVE Santa Fe, especially the sky. It is always full of brilliant blues and robust clouds. This is no ordinary town, but then again what town is?

It was an interesting journey across Arizona in our RV, Coa Coa who was struggling to tow our PT Cruiser, Isabella. Just us girls, my daughter, Raine and I and our two vehicles. It was a relatively uneventful journey except I didn't expect so many emotions to pop up, but as it turns out the long straight journey across that hot, desert in the darkness was yet another birthing process for me. There is significance in everything we do.

It wasn't until India Aire joined me on my stereo that I truly understood the root of the emotions. She sang, "I've been learning to live without you now, but I miss you sometimes, the more I know the less I understand, . . . I've been trying to get down to the heart of the matter, but my will gets weak and my heart is so shattered, but I think it's about Forgiveness, forgiveness - even if you don't love me anymore." As I heard these words, tears streamed down my face and I wept while Raine slept in her bunk above my head. I realized that although I had done a lot of work on letting go and forgiving all the events of being in Iraq, falling in love, leaving Raine, loosing my lover, loosing friends, etc, I still needed more. I need to forgive them and myself again and again so that I can move on into my new life.

I had tried to forget that he and I had planned to move here and that wasn't happening now - those dreams died for new ones to be born. It's funny how I can cruise along being busy thinking everything is cool and then run smack into a wall of emotion showing me that I haven't fully addressed the pain and hurt. Despite the sorrow of loosing that love and all the dreams tied up around him, I know it is for the best and that something grander is waiting perhaps preparing for me as I prepare for him. With every change there is death and birth. It's all necesary to live fully.

Here in Santa Fe I am born again. A new woman arriving out of the darkness to let my light shine - I am here as a woman closer to her true being than I have ever witnessed from myself. This is audacious and this is exciting.

Audaciously Following My Heart,
Karen - aka agnes lu