Barking at The Buddha™️

Barking at The Buddha™️
 (In 3 parts)

Part 1: What Is.

There are times when we are stressed and may struggle to accept what is.

A month ago, I had an accident, tripping on a sidewalk to avoid a construction zone. It turned into a trauma as I was rushed to an emergency room and into surgery on my femur and hip.
What is raw
What is harder than you expected
What is not what you wanted
What is painful
My new phrase to describe this difficulty to accept what is,
Barking at the Buddha.
I bought this beautiful handmade statue of a sitting Buddha, because it reminded me of a visualization, I had a long time ago of a healer. He was small, very round, and bald and appeared to help me get through a difficult time.
It’s been more than thirty years since I met this little fellow in my visualization, and when I saw this statue. It was him.
I brought him home.
My daughter visited with her dog, and the dog stood barking at the little statue.
The dog got me. I found myself so frustrated, so injured, I was barking at the Buddha.
Until I was able to go from seeing myself as injured
to seeing myself as healing.
Whatever “it” is that you are going through now, be right you are.
It’s okay to Bark at the Buddha.
The little round Buddha statue can take it.

Part 2: How does this relate to boundaries? 

Trauma and Health issues are two of the six extreme boundary challenges I teach about. Here I was having a double hitter.
Our boundaries feel weak and can collapse under the pressure of both a trauma and health condition. So many decisions to make, I struggled to decide even the simplest of things, what to eat each day. The expenses piled up quickly as I spent 20 days in the hospital. It was as if there were no boundaries on expenses. All this is part of the extreme boundary challenge. Decisions about when I could leave was out of my hands. The medicine, I did not want to take, I had to take. The decision was out of my hands. It’s hard to hold up your boundaries when so much is out of your hands.

Part 3: Where do you find friends like these? 

I am home recovering. I am being loved and cared for. I am seeing so much giving from my family and dear friends.
Someone asked me, “Where do you find friends like this?”
One of my girlfriends Karla, moved into my house for the entire time I was in the hospital, and she cared for our dogs.
My daughter Somer, took a week off of work and flew to be with me in the hospital to help get me moving.
My girlfriend Tammy in Florida where I fell, was with me day and night, communicating to my family till they could get to Florida, and she was bringing all kind of comforts to the hospital.
My husband slept in my room in each night in the hospital.
Where do you find friends like these?
My friend Charlene texts me every morning, what do you need? I am here.
My daughter Aliza reads all of my labs, looking for signs of hope, visits me at home with bright golden flowers.
Friends are cooking, a book is delivered on healing, a friend, Debra brings a huge basket of things she has baked, flowers are brought, the dogs are getting walked, I am lifted and carried.
A check came by mail. My office rent was returned because the landlord knew I couldn't work last month. 
Where do you find friends like these?
I have no idea.
Show up for others. Participate in circles of love and support. 
Give what you can. 
One day, you never know when, you’ll be grateful as I am for their compassionate care.

I will heal. This will take time. I'm being with what is. Grateful for so much love. 
May you be well.

What Happens at the Annual 3-Day Boundary Retreat?

The annual 3-day boundary immersion takes place only one time a year. It is intentionally held at the Whidbey Institute. The setting matters for this deep inner work. The trees, quiet, uplifting architecture, incredible food, simple cabins, walking trails, makes this a supportive setting to do deep emotional truthful inner work.

Why only once a year?   This is very courageous, brave work. It takes time for people to commit to this workshop.  It takes lots of energy to hold this space with the group and ensure that everyone is getting what they need from the experience. The rest of the year, I work with clients individually, I write, and teach in unique settings each month. Most of my workshops are privately scheduled for private groups. There simply isn’t time in my schedule to offer this more often. If you are interested in attending for 2020, please send me an email and I will be sure you hear of registration early.

What size is the group for this workshop? This year the group was 14 people. There will be a maximum size of 18 people for the future. It is intentionally small to ensure your questions are heard and addressed throughout the weekend.

What kinds of things happen in the workshop? All of the activities are designed to give you insight into your own experience with your boundaries. We use many mediums in the weekend to assure you are accessing your inner wisdom. We use clay, art, theater, journaling, music, collage.  This is not a boring lecture. It is playful while at the same time being deep and there are many tears.  Together, we work with the material and experiences you have lived through. You get a chance to ask your biggest questions and then we work on discovering the answers with you.

Here is a sample of some of the questions people brought this year

If you are thinking of attending next year, I would love to hear from you. I promise you coming just for the food would be wonderful. Here are some words from the participants who attended this year. 

"The location was amazing. The work was hard and rewarding. I learned so much. I'm looking forward to checking in with progress and questions."

"The workshop was extremely useful as a re-launch for clarifying my boundaries and next steps. I am going to try to do baby steps and move forward. Thank you for your gifts and sharing them with all of us."

"I learned. I grew. I felt supported! I have been avoiding setting my boundaries. We did a lot of work!"

"Thank you it was a great weekend. Glad the group wasn't any bigger. Your knowledge, wisdom, guidance is so greatly appreciated. The location, food, group was perfect! I loved the variety of things we did." 

"I gained a lot from the Boundary Theater. It was hard to be so honest. I recognized that although my boundary challenges may be complex and extreme, the way I can address them will be pretty straight forward. Thank you for a deeply meaningful workshop weekend." 

"I'm very pleasantly surprised with the depth and insight of the weekend. I'm so grateful."

Your time is precious. I hope you will make the time to join me next year for this extraordinary experience. May you allow your boundaries to take care of you. 

Hope Has No Boundaries

I was writing a holiday note to a friend and just as I signed off with Love, Sarri - a little word jumped onto the page. Love and hope, Sarri.
This happens, all writers experience this. Sometimes words appear out of nowhere and insist on being on the page.
The conversation in my head went like this: 
I never sign anything love and hope.
Don't cross off hope. You can't. That would feel awful, like killing a flower.
The little word is a message. 
Is it true? 
Do I really feel hope?
My answer was, it feels more like an endangered species. It needed protection.
End of conversation in my head.
But once that word jumped on the page it was ringing in my ears everywhere I turned.
It was insisting on getting my attention.

I started to feel responsible for hope.

I had several friends become very ill recently. And one thing I noticed was how much each of them were inhaling and exhaling hope. They were looking at life threatening illness with hope.
Their hopefulness was so large, I too was breathing in all the hopefulness just being around them. It made me wonder where has hope been?
What exactly was dimming my own hope?

Everything I ever did started with a flicker of hope. I have always leaned toward optimism. Infused with it. Rose colored glasses and all.

But something was affecting my hope.
As I sat wondering what it was, I realized how much my own light of hope had dimmed over how people stuck in the experience of migration were being treated all around the world. I had been horrified by the way families and children who crossed the US border were treated. Family separations, holding the children in cages, and now child deaths was just hammering on my hope.
The indifference of so many "leaders" at so much suffering and people fleeing horrible situations with no place to go. Homeless. Without a country. What is wrong with us that our boundaries lack compassion?

Boundaries without compassion was sucking the hope out of me.

I visited a friend in the hospital.
I felt the strength of her hope.
My friends who were very ill were reminding me that hope was needed, hope could not be dimmed or abandoned or forced into exile or extinction.

There are no boundaries around hope.

I have some work to do with hope. I can't tell you exactly what that is right now. I just have a sense that hope has lots of assignments for me.

I'll be looking for hope, sharing hope, sharing stories of hope, and bringing hope where I can.

Wishing you all the hope you need in 2019.
May hope defeat hate.
Love and hope,

Most Influential Read of 2018

I read a lot of books that I loved this year, but I decided to write about the book that had the biggest impact on me for 2018, The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker.
If you are someone who brings groups of people together for meetings, events, dinner parties,work or play, there is something in this book for you.
Priya Parker emphasizes the importance of boundaries for any gathering. "If everyone is invited, no one is invited." Size does matter. She covers a list of boundaries every organizer should consider. She helps you think about your role during the gathering as a connector and community builder. I can't tell you how many times I've seen organizers disappear into the background when actually they are needed to take on more of a role for their gathering. 

My take away: I think differently about my own events, workshops, and gatherings. I have a list in my head now that is different than the list of things I used to think about.  I also feel very relaxed hosting anything because I feel more confident that my attention is on all the right things to make it a great experience for attendees. I understand better the significance of why we gather and feel a deep commitment to it.
I used to spend lots of time over- preparing my content for gatherings to be sure I had enough for everyone to do. Now I have my attention on other things and it makes the organizing easy. Though I've had successful gatherings in the past, I believe this book has helped me take it up a notch. I keep giving credit to this author for the new ways I am thinking. And that to me is what an influential read must do.  

Your time is precious. And any gathering needs to be worthy of your attention. 

"What do you think is the most needed conversation for this group to have now? "

Taking the Deep Dive End of Year

As you wrap up the year, take time to journal and notice your year. December is a great month to look at the whole year and help set your compass for how you want to navigate 2019. Here are some journal questions I have used to help me look back as well as look forward. Consider sitting with a friend after journaling and discussing your answers.

Questions to Look Back on the Year
What was the most spiritually fulfilling part of the year? 

Who did you have quality time with?

How did you participate with your family?
How did you manage your finances? 

Did you accomplish goals or a vision? What progress did you make? 

How did you care for yourself?

How did you treat your body? What health needs did you have? 

What do you notice was too much? What was too little? 

It's important to do some research and really dive into each of the questions. One of my deep dives was to look closely at my calendar, my bank statements, my computer files - I keep track of certain things by the year. I noticed last year I did lots of presentations and I felt I did too many. It helped me to readjust for this year and to present less in person and offer online classes. This is just one example of the many things I noticed as I researched each of the questions.

The next part is to reset your compass for this new year.

Questions to Look Ahead for the Year 
Who do you want to spend quality time with?

Is there something new you want to learn? What is it and how will you get there? 

Do you have some health needs to pay attention to this year? What can you do to support your body? 

How do you want to participate in your family?

What financial changes do you want to make? 

What dream do you have, a promise you want to make for yourself for this year?

What would be spiritually fulfilling for you? 

Anything you need more of? Less of? 

The Compass setting questions require planning ahead. It involves looking over the months ahead and asking yourself what would you need to do in the months ahead to reset your compass. How can you make room on your calendar for your answers? What do you need to save money for? What do you need to schedule? 

And then of course we always have the unexpected. The great thing about this exercise is it helps you see your priorities. And then when the "unknown" happens, your priorities will be in clear view for you. When you need to readjust your compass, it won't be as overwhelming because you have a practice of looking at your priorities. You'll know how to ask yourself what matters most.

We Hear The Scream

It is time for disembodied people to stop pretending to lead. A few years ago, before the Women’s March ( I attended) and before #metoo, I received a note from a guy who was reaching out to apologize.

 He was apologizing from something he did long ago. We were both just kids back then.

 But he realized his actions were hurtful and he wanted me to know how sorry he was. He had not assaulted me or raped me.  He wasn’t running for office or seeking to be on the Supreme Court. He was just an ordinary guy who had done some soul searching. He realized what he did was wrong and he wanted to take responsibility. 

I told him it was a long time ago and it was not continuing to hurt me. I had long since healed. Though I was fortunate. Some wounds are harder to heal/ much harder. I was very moved that he acknowledged what he had done and that he regretted it decades later. So many years later, his regret was felt by us both. And It didn’t matter how many years had passed. 

It didn’t matter how many years had passed. 
Time doesn’t change the truth. 

A person who cannot judge themselves cannot serve as justice on the Supreme Court. Covering a woman’s mouth to prevent her from screaming while touching her is sexual assault.  It doesn’t matter how long ago it was.

 As a psychotherapist for more than 30 years, I have worked with many people who have been sexually assaulted and the wounds are permanent. It doesn’t matter how long ago it was. The trauma is significant and keeps returning in many ways over many years requiring continuous healing work. 

It is very difficult healing work. 

 If you cannot look at your own soul, you can’t sit in a seat of Justice. Period. We don’t need disembodied people pretending they can lead. We don’t need justices that don’t  understand the damage done during sexual assault. We don’t need justices that actually do the sexual assaulting. It doesn’t matter how long ago.  They can’t lead. Leadership is far bigger and requires more from mere mortals. 

And we don’t need Senators that want to cover the scream.