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.