Wednesday, October 27, 2021


I have grown to love the challenge of a blank page.

I do not and have never claimed to be a great writer. I write because there is an impulse deep within me that is always seeking expression. I write because I love to write. I go through periods where I write pretty consistently. I feel a stirring in my being, and I begin to ponder what is seeking to be put into words. I open a Word document. I look at the blank page before me. And I wait until I feel an impulse to begin typing. Sometimes the blank page feels like an open invitation for creative word play. And sometimes the blank page feels like it is mocking me. It seems to dare me to come up with something that is worthy of filling the space. And on rare occasions it seems to be a bit of both. And so, there are times when I take a break from the challenge and take solace in refraining from the invocation of a blank page.

And so, while I truly have grown to love the challenge of a blank page, I guess I also fear it to some degree as well. The blank page beseeches me to improve upon its pristine emptiness. The blank space is a gauntlet of sorts. My creative muse urges me on, while at the same time my inner critic lies and lurks in wait. If I allow the bulk of my focus to stay steeped in the creative process, I love filling the blank page with playful images and inspired ideas. I follow the leading of where my musings seek to go, with little thought of what the finished product might look and read like. I am always surprised at the unexpected twists and turns of my adventures upon the page. Where I think I may be headed is most often not where I actually land. That is a huge part of the fun for me. It is what makes the blank page a space I love to face.

If I approach the blank page with a sense of what I think should be an accepted finished product the joy is sucked right out of the process. Each word feels laborious and nagging. I can become fixated on the evaluations that are always a part of how creative endeavors are received. Rather than filling the page for the joy of simply filling the page I can get pulled into imagining how my writings will be read and critiqued. The process takes on a weight. My energy droops. My creativity falters. Process is consumed by product. The temptation is to delete the words I have rumbled with and to return to the scrutiny free blank page. It may result in being unfulfilled, but it also means I am unjudged.

Everyday is in fact a blank page.

I am invited into loving the challenge of filling the blank page that is this day. It is a very similar process. It is really all in the approach. If I remain alert and playful, focused on the creativity and the process I flow with the day and what I choose to place upon my page. I can witness and yet not heed the well-rehearsed inner critic that is ever ready to judge what is occurring. I stay centered in process and not upon product. I create for the sake of creating. I listen and give way to what is seeking to be expressed. I do not give sway to what I perceive to be other peoples criticisms of how I am living and expressing. I simply fill my day-page with inspired acts and playful creations. There will be times when I feel stuck. Lodged. When the next right word seems to illude me. And so, I do what I do when I am writing and I hit a snag. I pause. I breathe. I listen within. I let whatever is waiting beneath to rise and to come forth. I do so in trust and in expectancy.

I do not know how many remaining blank pages await my creative fulfillment. That makes each one more vital and more precious. I literally have today and only today. How I choose to fill it is totally and completely up to me. I have lived long enough to know how not to fall into the trap of being governed by the expectations or judgments of those around me. They have their own pages to fill. Rather than waste my energy in fear and resistance I stay focused in my own acts of creation. I intend that the way I live my days will be beneficial to others. That how I use my blank pages will serve and uplift the world around me. That my living will be about something greater than just me.

I giggle with the awareness that this is not the rendering that I set out to formulate when I began to fill this once blank page. This is not what I set out to say. And yet these are the words that came forth. This is how I filled this space. And so, beyond any projected evaluation, I am content in knowing that I followed my cues. That I dictated the words that sought to come forth. That I filled the blank page with words and ideas that matched the moments of my musing.

I wrote simply for the love of writing.

And tomorrow there will be another blank page and another opportunity to create anew. There is always a chance to begin again. No matter how many and how I may have filled previous pages a new blank page appears before me. As long as there are additional pages there are additional opportunities. There are new pages to fill and new stories to tell.

It is why I grown to love the challenge of a blank page.

Thursday, October 21, 2021


My mother nearly loved me to death.

It took me decades to realize that I had always been living in an atmosphere of extreme scrutiny and evaluation. I often refer to it as “the look.”

“The look” came from my mother. I am clear about that. I am equally clear that I perpetuated and augmented the look as my own internal perspective. I spent a lifetime living in the glare of never good enough evaluation. What I did was never good enough. How I did it was never good enough. What I am was never good enough.

I could not possibly live a fulfilling life from that faulty premise. Certainly not a joyful life. It was an all-pervasive lens. I saw myself and so my world in just that way. Not good enough. I lived in a subtle yet constant wince. Consistent scrutiny and evaluation left me in a state of oppressive torment.

Now, my mother did not set out to torment me or my siblings. I used to believe that was so. I came to know that it was not. Through consistent and persistent self-forgiveness work I came to the definite conclusion that my mother loved me so much that she felt it was her duty to correct everything she perceived was imperfect about me. And she found a lot that was in her estimation imperfect. I was sorely in need of fixing. Even the things I did well could be done better with her advice and counsel. It was like living in the energies of a microscope and a sledgehammer.

This state of perpetual evaluation is how my mother also viewed herself. Having known my grandmother provided added clarity to this realization. My mom saw me the way she saw herself. And the way she saw herself was largely the way her mother saw her. I came to know it as generational torment. I always felt like I was being judged and almost always came up lacking. Criticism was a consistent context. If I could put words to what was never actually articulated they would be “I love you so much that I simply must tell you everything that is wrong about you.”



This is not a missive about disparaging my mother. This is far more a manifesto of freedom from the tyranny of what I took on from her. I perfected it. I ramped it up with decades of practice. I made a home in scrutiny and evaluation. I hung art in this self-imposed hell hotel and almost never left. Whatever endeavors I pursued were done from a draining inner atmosphere of judgment, criticism, evaluation, and condemnation. It is a true wonder that I ever accomplished anything.

I was for a number of years a performing artist. I started as a professional gospel singer and then transitioned into being a musical theatre performer. My mother would frequently attend concerts or shows I was participating in. I have clear memories of seeing my mom in the audience with her head held down. When once I asked her why she never actually watched the performance she told me that she couldn’t because she was terrified that I was going to mess up.

She was terrified that I was going to mess up.

What must that have been like for her?

I gave up the performing arts more than twenty-five years ago and began my current vocation of ministry and spiritual lecturing. It was upon these platforms that I began to discover the subtle scrutiny I had always lived within. Though my mother never attended any of the services or lectures I have given it did not free me of her influence. I began to realize that every group I spoke to either had a woman who was not looking at me, or a woman who had a distinctly distaining look on her face.

There always appeared to be a woman in the audience who was terrified I was going to mess up.


This realization began with dread and slowly evolved into almost delight. I would stand to begin my lectures and with no effort I would spot my mother in the audience. I would notice a feeling of scrutiny inside of me. I could sense a level of evaluation. I would notice, sense, yet not be affected by it in what I was doing. No one else knew that while they were listening to me speak of things totally unrelated a liberation was happening for and in me. I was still standing in the glare of my mother, yet I was not being governed by it. As I knew what I was experiencing and where it came from it had no authority over me. I clearly knew that the women out there were not my mother, and I was also clear that the “looks” I was applying to them were coming from me. And even if they were disapproving, I did not have to give them dominion over my expression. It was in my evolving freedom that I found the delight.

I firmly believe that we each have a mostly unconscious love -equation that until we become conscious of it will subtly if not overtly rule our experience. Part of my love equation was that love equals never good enough. Love equals I will tell you what is wrong with you. Love equals judgment, criticism, evaluation. Love equals scrutinizing stare.

Love equals I will love you nearly to death.

There may well be those still reading who might expect that this writing will culminate with a reporting that I am now totally free of the torment of scrutiny and evaluation. That I never, ever live with a sense of the look.

That is not how this missive ends.

It is not freedom from that is my experience. It is freedom with. I still feel wafts of the glare as I go about my days, and particularly my creative endeavors. I feel a level of evaluation every time I lecture, write, express. I still attract disapproving mother figures to my services and groups. And because I am aware of all of this the patterning no longer squelches my expression. I feel a wince, and I write, speak, express anyway. I always have people in my life more than eager to criticize me. Freedom means not that it doesn’t happen. Freedom is that it does not stop me. I survived my precious mother’s scrutiny. I can certainly survive yours.

My mother never knew the lasting influence she had over me. I am grateful that she did not. I would not have wanted for her the pain that would have caused for her. While it at times felt like she was nearly loving me to death she clearly did not. She is gone yet her influence remains and is continuing to evolve. I ponder in this moment if at some level she is reading along while I write. I wonder what she might say about this perhaps strikingly transparent essay. What criticism might she contribute? What observations might she edit out? Or might she be in a place now that would simply relish her son’s free expression?

Having nearly been loved to death has given me a transformed perspective on how I choose to live and to love now. I soften my well-practiced glare into a gaze. My scrutiny into a smile. My evaluations into appreciation. I watch the critic as I choose to express regardless of the feared critiques. It is my inner atmosphere that has changed and continues to change. I change from an awareness that though not perfectly I was indeed loved.

I am living proof that nearly being loved to death is in fact not a mortal wound.

Thanks, mom. You were and are the perfect teacher for me.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021


It really does not make sense to choose to love after repeated rejections and hurts.

And I am choosing to love anyway.

It really does not make sense to continue to reopen after repeated boundary violations.

And I am choosing to reopen anyway.

It really does not make sense to continue to speak my truth when others shout right over what I am trying to say.

And I am choosing to speak my truth anyway.

Some of the most impactful choices I have made in my life made no sense.

And I made the choices anyway.

I have insurmountable evidence to justify staying closed, silent, and untouchable yet though it may be preceded by a wince I choose to open and to speak and to love anyway.

It truly makes no sense.

I guess maybe I will never learn.

Oh, it takes me longer than most, I guess. Or at least that is what others tell me.

It takes me a while to choose to love again.

It takes me a while to reopen.

It takes me a while to speak up and out.

I indeed have the timing of someone who has been hurt, rejected, silenced.

So, while my timing may not make sense to others it feels right for me.

The point is not how long after a bruising it takes me to reopen.

The point is that I choose to reemerge at all.

The point is that throughout my life I have continued to fall and then to rise.

To be hurt and then to reopen.

To be shouted over, and yet not remain silenced.

It truly does not make sense.

And I am not one prone to making sense of sense.

Nor am I one prone to explaining my senseless choices to others.

No, I have never lived and loved in ways that made sense to the masses.

And I pray I never will.