The Story of the Pebble

Pebbles & Clover, Stanley Park, Vancouver

Even the Smallest of Pebbles come from the Grandest of Mountains.

The plain, the colorful, the sharp, the smooth, the dull, the shiny… every pebble is a part of something larger, a part of the Earth. Rocks are an integral part of their surroundings, thoroughly connected to the elements around them: earth, air, water. Sometimes they’re even connected to the fire element, if you bang them together, creating sparks.

Animals walk over and around them, and use them for shelter or a warm place to sleep. They drink water that has been collected in pools laced with stones. And sometimes (such as with goats) they even ingest the stones themselves. Insects take refuge underneath them. Tree roots grow around them. And lichen and moss give softness to their edges.

Some of my special rocks

Frequently people like myself collect rocks, place value on them, PRIZE them for their beauty – their rare and precious gemstone hearts. Rocks can be extremely valuable in other ways too: they are used to make homes, roads, and many other useful things. To say that any one rock stands alone, or has no point, is absurd. Everything is connected. Everything has purpose.

Rocks look different in different parts of the world. Some are limestone, some are volcanic. Still others are formed by compressed clay. And one of my favourites is slate, which lined the gorge at Taughkannuk Falls in Ithaca NY, where my family used to visit often when I was young. Some rocks have pieces of seashell embedded in them, or fossils, diamonds… little treasures just waiting to be discovered.

Every rock has a history, tells a story. Where did it come from? How did it arrive where it is at this moment? Where will it end up? Perhaps it was from a great mountain, and carried to its current location by a rock-loving hiker, like the pebble I brought home from our trip to Mount Rainier.

View from our trail on Mount Rainier

Or perhaps it was created by a volcano, thousands of miles away, then cooled in the Pacific ocean only to wash up on shore and be discovered by a prayerful beach-comber, such as the lovely volcanic stone my best friend Evie mailed to me from Costa Rica. Some are carried in riverbeds and streams. Others still are moved by rain, or birds, or vehicles, or curious children. No two rocks have the same story.

I carry a rock in my purse for this very reason: To remind me that we each have our own unique story to tell, and that all of us (like rocks) come from something greater than ourselves.  These questions: Where did we come from, how did we arrive here, and where will we end up… They are the same questions we ask about ourselves. In this way, we have much in common with rocks.

Meditation Space on a Costa Rican beach, taken by my best friend Evie Stewart

Pebbles and stones of various sizes and shapes are used in zen gardens, koi ponds, natural landscaping. They make wonderful meditative sculptures. The statues of Easter Island, The pyramids at Giza, and Michaelangelo’s David – all are made from stone. We use rocks to enhance the beauty around us, to create a sense of peace and balance, and to inspire us to creative artistic heights. We have also historically used rocks as a means of inflicting pain on another. Every light has it’s darkness.

WE are like the rocks. We are the pebbles scattered about the earth. The earth itself is but one pebble floating in the vastness of the universe. We all have our own stories to tell. And we all have a purpose: for beauty and light, or darkness and pain. It is our choice. But regardless of those stories and choices, we all come from one Great Mountain.

God is my Rock”

Time To Have Fun!


Here’s a great video about The Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun, which I recently discovered via StumbleUpon. It really has some great advice, so I wanted to pass it along. Please enjoy!


On Letting Go

Observe the nature lover in her natural habitat

I am many things: Wife, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Avid reader, Nature lover, Daydreamer, Wine taster, Scone baker, Kitty spoiler, Closet singer, Meditator, and God seeker, just to name a few. But, as the keen observer will note, I have only listed those things which I like about myself- and failed to mention a part of myself that is less than desirable. So okay, here goes…

Confession: I am a control freak.

I hate to admit it, but it’s true. It’s been true for a long time. For example, whenever I travel, I have to be the one behind the wheel. If anyone else is driving, it makes me incredibly nervous, even if they are someone I trust. Or back in my school-days, if there was a group project I grabbed the reins. Some might call this leadership, but really it was my need to be in control of the situation.

At times, being a control freak has its advantages. My projects were always completed on time. My need to always be the driver has helped me to learn my way around new places faster (and to limit my wine). But in other areas of my life, I can see that it is a hinderance and it is time to Let Go.

The only thing I can have control over is myself, and even that’s not really a guarantee. Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow, or even today for that matter. There are no guarantees in life. We have no control over other people… I could be the safest driver in the world, and all it takes is some drunk driver or someone not paying attention and BAM- my life could change forever in the blink of an eye, or end completely. So letting go of my need for control, especially when real control doesn’t exist – that is my new goal.

Image from

I remember growing up in various churches, and hearing folks say, “Let Go and Let God.” And even though I knew it was the religious equivalent to Bobby McFerrin’s, “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” I struggled with this idea mainly because it seemed silly to give control to something we cannot see, hear, touch, and so on. It seemed careless to me. And so naturally every time I would try to pass God the reins, I would inevitably snatch them back again.

But at this point in my life, where my quest for spiritual truth has turned inward and my definition of “God” has broadened… Letting Go doesn’t seem so bizarre anymore. God is everywhere, and in everything. With this new understanding, passing the reins does not involve giving them up completely. Instead it calls for a deeper awareness of God -of that higher power in all things- and trusting in that part of myself rather than letting my ego call the shots.

So this new goal of Letting Go requires nothing more than surrendering to What May, God’s Will, Fate, while understanding that I play a part in this cosmic mystery of life. It calls for truly listening to the guidance of God from inside my heart and from those I hold dear. For God is all around me in the form of family, friends, nature… we are all in more than capable “hands”.

Life is never going to be perfect. But it will always be a gift. And I must learn to cherish it, not control it. To trust God and myself, and Let Go.

We Are The Woods

Hiking in gentle light today

We are the Woods
And We welcome you
To walk among us
To share our secrets

We are the Woods
And We listen still
To your soft footsteps
To the cries of your heart
That are too soft for words
And too loud for sighs

We are the Woods
And We will provide comfort
Sharing your breath
Healing your hurts
As you walk among Us
Searching for peace
And clarity

We are the Woods
And will always be here for you
A living constant
In this changing world

~By: CLB 2010


Marriage is like
Holding water in your hands.

It takes cooperation
Creativity and constant effort
To hold it together.

If one partner
Does not cooperate
Lacks creativity
And thinks that effort is not needed
Or important
And therefore does not try,

It leaves the other
To put in extra effort
Extra creativity
Struggling to carry the marriage
Until they are burnt out
And their hands grow dry
While their eyes
Grow wet…

The marriage is doomed
To  slip away
Just as the water slips between
My fingers.

My lonely, burnt out, dried up fingers.

~CLB 2010

Cleaning, Meditation, and GPS


Henry watching kitty-tv. Also known as, "there are squirrels outside."


I love this time of year: The cooler weather, allowing me to throw open every window in our house and enjoy the fresh air as it breezes through each room. The cats are thrilled, and fight over position on the windowsills to enjoy the outdoor smells and squirrel-watch. The downside? We have six cats. Normally that’s not a downside, but if you consider how much they shed in summer, and that I am not the world’s best housekeeper… imagine tumbleweed on a much smaller scale. That’s what happens when we open windows. Cat hair drifts across the tile floor. And given my allergies, cleaning becomes something I can no longer put off.

It’s not that I don’t like to clean and organize things- I actually love it. No, it’s 100% due to the fact that I am lazy, and that between working, cooking, and writing, I am not left with much free time. What with such wonderful prospects calling out to me, like hiking, or shopping, or hiking again (followed by napping)… the dishes stay in a heap in the sink and the dust bunnies start breeding -as all bunnies do- until it gets to be too much for my inner-organizer/cleaner to handle. That brings me to this morning.

My husband rolled out of bed this morning to the smell of bleach rather than coffee. When he came out to investigate, the bathroom was spotless and shining, and I was bustling around the kitchen – NOT making breakfast. No, I was on a cleaning kick. I may have pointed toward the cereal cabinet on my way out with the trash, but who’s to say. He was half asleep still, and I had reverted into one-track mode.

I find it’s easier to clean this way. Otherwise I start so many little projects around the house and, inevitably exhausted I plead defeat and there they sit- unfinished. Strangely enough, cleaning is the only facet of my life that operates this way. In all other areas I am a (sometimes successful) multi-tasker, but when I’m in the cleaning zone everything else disappears except the room I’m focused on. In a way, cleaning -for me at least- is a bit like meditation.

It relaxes me. It centers me. It blocks all other stresses and worries. I feel purposeful and mindful in each action. Cleaning de-clutters my house just as meditation de-clutters my mind. And when I clean, I know what will happen next. I have a process. Unlike the rest of my life, which is a constant guessing game. Should I or shouldn’t I does not exist for me when I’m cleaning. Well, unless you count “Should I take a break to write this while the dishwasher’s running?”

I wish the other facets of my life were more structured, more lined-out, like this. There’s a commercial about investments -I can’t remember the name of the bank- but it advertises a man walking along a green line they’ve mapped out for him to follow. As long as he stays on track, he will meet his financial goals for retirement. It’s a pretty cheesy commercial, but I LOVE the idea of saying: “This is what I want out of life. Point me!” I need something like that. Like a GPS for my life’s goals. Map it all out, tell me where to turn, and point my way to happiness and fulfillment!

But until someone invents one (c’mon engineers, get crackin’), I can at the very least content myself with a clean and organized house, our wonderful kitties, an ever-blossoming spiritual life, and a dream of better things to come. And, let’s not forget, this wonderfully cool autumn breeze for which I am so thankful.

A Candle In Darkness

I remember being afraid of the dark when I was a little girl, and how every creek or bump our old house made seemed to come from some invisible ghost or monster. I believed there to be an alligator lurking under my bed, and a skeleton nailed to the closet wall (I had to sleep with the closet door closed, lest it come to get me). Looking back, I now know that these nightmares were born out of my fear of the dark- of what could not be seen. Coupled with our human need to explain the unexplainable, my mind created monsters to explain away those disturbing noises, like a settling old house, that as I child I could not understand. All I knew was that monsters came out in darkness, and the light made them go away.

I never thought about it much before, but I wonder if children are afraid of the dark because we come from the Light, and somewhere deep inside they still remember that? As adults we grow accustomed to the dark, because we have forgotten… We have forgotten where we come from. We have forgotten Whom we are a part of.

There are so many sayings about light, so many songs and verses in so many faiths involving the light inside and out:

“Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light for my path” – Psalm 119:105, Old Testament

“Let our light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” – Matthew 5:16, New Testament

“God is the light of heaven and earth…. This is light added unto light: God will direct unto his light whom he pleaseth.” –Surih 24:35, Holy Qur’an

“ Thou art My Light and My Light shall never be extinguished” – The Hidden Words, #14, Bahá’u’lláh

“Be lamps unto yourselves. Be refuges unto yourselves. Take yourself no external refuge. Hold fast to the truth as a lamp.” –the Buddha, to Ananda

“I wanna be in the Light, as You are in the Light. I wanna shine like the stars in the heavens.” – lyrics, DC Talk

“You light up my life. You give me hope to carry on. You light up my days and fill my nights with song.” –lyrics, Debbie Boone

“Light gives of itself freely, filling all available space. It does not seek anything in return; it asks not whether you are friend or foe. It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished.” – Michael Strassfeld

“Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark or the man afraid of the light?” –Maurice Freehill

The list could go on and on. We are perfectly comfortable  talking about sunlight, moonlight, starlight, candlelight, firelight, flashlights, flood lights, headlights, nightlights, fluorescent lights, and lightning. We can sing songs about light, write prose about light, paint images of light, and complain about that monthly light bill. But when it comes to discussing that inner light, the light of wisdom, the Light of God, the Spark of the Source- we shy away. Is it out of fear of the unknown? Of what cannot be seen, as it was when we were children afraid of the dark?

Perhaps as adults we overcomplicate things. We build up excuses and rationales to hide behind, rather than recognizing and sharing our inner light with others. We play the game our way, and leave that ever-perfect Light in the stands. We neglect to see what is right under our nose: the Spark of Light that is in everyone and everything. The very breath of God in ourselves.

I’d rather face my monsters, trusting in myself and the Light of God within, than forget who I am and live in the dark.

Undefined Faith

Totem & Me, Vancouver BC, 2010

Souls included or shunned
By a definition that varies
Fluctuating with time
Between cultures

My Faith
Is determined
Not by your Definition
Not by your Understanding
But by my own Heart
And Strength

My Faith
And that is all you ever need know
For we are One
And labels serve No Purpose

I am Undefined

~ By: CLB 2010

A Blessing Manifest

One of my favourite singers/songwriters is Amy Steinberg. I discovered her by accident while hunting for a song on Itunes by a different artist, but couldn’t be happier about that accident. Her songs are very unique: deep, meaningful lyrics expressed in a way that truly captures your attention. I have to say, when I first heard her song “Exactly” from her album Must Be The Moon, I just sat in shock. If ever there were a song I needed to hear, to present itself Exactly when I needed to hear it, it was this song. Which is amazingly ironic, given the title! I hope that you all check it out on either Itunes or YouTube, but either way I still would like to share the lyrics with you. Enjoy!


Exactly, by Amy Steinberg

I am exactly where I need to be
I need to be exactly where I am
I am a blessing manifest
I can undress the moment
Naked time unwinds beneath my mind
And from within I find the kind of beauty
Only I can find.

I am exactly where I need to be
I need to be exactly where I am
I am surrendering so willingly
To be the perfect me inside this now
And truly how else could it be
Destiny she blesses me
Destiny she blesses me

When I try to fight or run
I only wind up back at square one
And when I think I know what’s best for me
Fate she takes me back
To exactly where I need to be

I am exactly where I need to be
I need to be exactly where I am
I am divinely timed and shining brightly
Yes I believe that there’s a purpose just for me
Yes I believe that we are Light
And we Shine infinitely
I am exactly where I need to be
I need to be exactly where I am
I am not aimlessly existing, see
I am in perfect harmony with universal energy
And I am truly free when I accept my own divinity

Look at me look at me closely
Tell me exactly what you see
If you are paying attention you will now begin ascension of the mind
Why, because if you look at me just right you will see a kiss
For it took a kiss to make this breath exist
The intersection of my mother’s and father’s lips
To touch, twist, perfect what came next to produce me
Look at me and you will see the breeze
The breeze it took to shake the leaves to make
My mother’s hair move, my father dare touch it and say
Please may i have a kiss
Yes the breeze made me exist
And if you want to get even deeper into this
When you look at me you will see a big old cloud
That’s right, the cloud it took to form the storm to make the breeze to shake the leaves to
Inspire the liplock – yes a raindrop will pop up out these words
You heard me right
If you look at me close enough you will see a dark stormy night
And what is night?
Well night ain’t night without it’s polar opposite of sunlight
So if you watch the way my hands sway
You’ll see the light of day
And everyday is a testament to the sediment of the earth’s core
It’s ever spinning enormous force so if you look at me just right
You will see a spark of The Source
But the most fascinating thing about this, and it’s true
Is that if you look at me just right, You See You
It’s only what you perceive how you believe the space between
You and Me
That creates reality
So when I sing you can feel it
When I cry you can heal it
When I speak words you can be the words I speak by singing with me:
Peace love free, peace love free
Peace love free, peace love free

Sunrise over Deerfield Beach, Florida

When I try to fight or run
I only wind up back at square one
And when I think I know what’s best for me
Fate she takes me back
To exactly where I need to be
And when I am alone and full of fear
I just remember the rising sun always appears
And everyday miracles, miracles that I see
Well they take me back
To exactly where I need to be

A Perfect Laugh

We strive to be perfect, letting society dictate just what “perfection” is. But that standard is NOT perfection. It is flawed, just as society is flawed. And it’s not until we let go of that false view of perfection, that we can comprehend a new definition. Perfection as seen by God, by Nature and the Universe. As seen by our own hearts, by our innermost being.

This perfection makes room for passion and emotion, for faults that we learn from, and gifts that we discover within. It celebrates a sense of humor. When society throws stress upon us like a cross to bear, our perfect hearts can look at that stress and blow raspberries at it (or bang the edge of our fists together twice, for those Friends lovers out there). This perfection acknowledges the value in every creature, and calls us One. Calls us Loved.

Nobody is “imperfect,” but society would have us believe otherwise. I know I’ve written about this subject before, but I admit that advice is easier to give out than it is to follow. Some days I can see everything clearly, and recognize the inherent worth in myself, in everyone and everything. Other days I am right back on that hamster wheel, running nowhere, and thoroughly exhausted. These past few weeks have worn me out, because I’ve been on that wheel, completely oblivious. And I’m tired.  Tired of trying to meet an expectation that is not right for me. Are you as tired of trying as I am?

In the weeks to come, I’ll be conducting a personal experiment: to Not Take Life (or myself) Too Seriously.

This will involve some creativity on my part, as well as some humbleness and (I’m sure) embarrassment. But I am determined to do this. To not take life too seriously, and to not forget to laugh at myself. Sometimes the best thing we can do is laugh. It’s both healthy and relaxing, and it can make any obstacle seem so much smaller.

Goodbye seriousness and etiquette, helloooo carrots.

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