Tuesday, March 24, 2009


This past Friday, March 20th, marked the Spring Equinox. Did you know it was also World Storytelling Day? The theme of storytelling seems to be weaving through my life right now, coming at me from many directions. When that happens, I know it’s time to pay attention.

We’re all storytellers, you know. That’s how we create our lives. It’s hard to tell, sometimes, which came first: the events of our lives or the stories we tell about them. They share a kind of symbiosis, feeding off of each other, evolving together. The stories we tell shape not only our present and future, but can reshape the past as well. The stories we tell change us. I know this has been true for me in the telling of my story in The Deep Water Leaf Society. My shift in perspective, which slowly unfolds during the course of the book, reframed a tragic loss as a gift beyond measure.

We tell stories about who we are at the individual level as well as at the tribal and global levels. Those tribal and global stories shape our nations and our world. They shape the evolutionary direction of our species as a whole. Many of our stories come from religion and many others come from science. Every one of those stories influences how we feel about ourselves and the world. Some stories divide and some stories unite. Some stories victimize and some stories empower.

The story of “The War on Terror,” for instance, creates fear and divides us. The story of “The Economic Meltdown” creates fear and victimhood. The story of “Landing on the Moon and Looking Back at Ourselves” empowered and created a new sense of one-world unity for a time, until we forgot that our planet has no borders except those we create in our minds and our stories.

I’ve been reading don Miguel Ruiz’s The Voice of Knowledge. He begins with a story about Adam and Eve in the Garden way back in the day. It’s a different twist on what happened and what the consequences were for eating from the Tree of Knowledge. The snake in that tree was The Prince of Lies and what we swallowed, and what grows in us to this day, is knowledge polluted by lies: the lies we were told as we grew up, the lies we now tell ourselves and the lies we pass on to our children. These lies tell us there is not enough and that we are not enough. These are the lies of judgment that cause us to look at any person, place, thing or situation and judge it as “good” or “bad.” Before we ate the lies, we couldn’t make that distinction. Nothing was good or bad, it just was.

There’s an old Chinese story about a young man who lost his horse. The villagers said, “Oh, such bad news.” The lad’s father said, “Maybe bad, maybe good.” The next day the young man’s horse came home with an entire heard of wild horses following him. The villagers rejoiced, saying “Oh, such good fortune!” The lad’s father said, “Maybe good, maybe bad.” The next day, the boy tried to break one of the wild horses for riding. He was thrown and broke his leg so badly that he would be crippled for life. “Oh, such bad luck,” said the villagers. “Maybe bad, maybe good,” said the father. The next day, the Chinese army came and took every able-bodied son off to war. The crippled young man was spared.

The point is, events in our lives are not in and of themselves good or bad. It is our perception of them and the story we tell about them that makes them good or bad. It’s all a story, so why not pick a good one?

I recently watched a Barbara Marx Hubbard film called Humanity Ascending. Hubbard says, “The nature of nature is to transform. Crises precede transformation and problems are evolutionary drivers.” This film addresses at the macro, global, humanity-wide level what I experienced at the micro, personal, individual level: breakdown leads to breakthrough. Losing my son pushed me to grow into my next higher level of expression. Our current global crises—overpopulation, diminishing resources, economic meltdown, global warming—are exactly the conditions that can spark the next turn in the spiral of humanity’s ongoing evolutionary growth. We can welcome crisis as the wakeup call that will help us to shape a new story. Let’s pick a good one.

As always, I welcome your coments here or by email (Claire@DeepWaterLeafSociety.com)

Visit my website: http://www.deepwaterleafsociety.com/

Monday, March 9, 2009

One Heart Singing

The tears hit me again on my morning walk. As long as it’s been (nearly 5 years) and as healed as I feel, sometimes something still sneaks up and hits me—blindsides me out of the blue. This morning it was the music on my iPod—my “Cameron” playlist (most of these are also on my playlist here on the blog). These are all songs that I love and that normally bring a smile to my face these days. Especially “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” which always makes me feel like Cameron is near. But today the words just broke me up and broke me open. There’s a line about “the day I set you free,” and suddenly the enormity of Cameron’s sacrifice and gift to me just overwhelmed me—not with sadness, but with gratitude. Because his death did set me free. Free from drama addiction, which was just as deadly and disabling as his own addiction to crystal meth.

And then “The Reason” came on with its apologies for all the pain caused and its assertion that because of it, the singer has found a reason to change everything about himself. The first time I heard this song was New Year’s Eve 2004. Cameron had died in May of that year. It was around 11pm and I was journaling and crying my heart out when the words to the song drifted into my consciousness from the TV where they were playing the top 10 songs of the year. That first time hearing it, I felt like it was Cameron talking directly to me through the lyrics. All this time, I’ve thought that it was Cameron apologizing, Cameron telling me he left here so he could start over and become something different. As I heard the words on this morning’s walk, I suddenly felt like I was singing the words back to him. I was apologizing for all the pain I caused and I was the one changing everything about me. When I think about all that’s going on in my life right now, all the writing and the coaching and the planning of workshops and presentations, I can truly say, there’s "a reason for all that I do, and the reason is you,” Cameron. The reason is you.

And then I wondered, is it Cameron singing to me, is it me singing to Cameron, or is it just One heart singing to Itself?

As always, I welcome your coments here or by email (Claire@DeepWaterLeafSociety.com)

Visit my website: www.DeepWaterLeafSociety.com

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Tides of Life

I've recently returned from a week at the beach in beautiful Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco) Mexico. Great time with the whole family, lovely beachfront home, 80 degree weather, good food, plenty of cerveza. In other words, a little slice of heaven.

Yet on one very still afternoon, I made the following observation:

Midafternoon Rocky Point

Today the sea is flat and smooth
Like a satin sheet
Pulled tightly over an empty bed
Black birds float
Stillness upon stillness
The raucous cries of the morning’s gulls
Silent now
No wing or feather moves the air
No boat breaks the horizon
Not a soul stirs on the beach
The tide itself seems suspended
Resting at its high water mark
Off to the hazy west
Sea blends horizonlessly into sky

I say that I crave peace
That at the core of my every prayer
Is the desire for peace, for stillness
But this stillness leaves me restless
I don’t want a life
Flat and still like this sea
I crave the motion of the waves
Their sparkling diamond light
The pull of the tides
The gentle slosh and roll
Of water greeting shore
The effervescent hiss
As thirsty sand drinks in
The delicious foamy brew

How often we resist the rise and fall of our own lives. How often we resist the changes that come. We cry out for peace, yet it is the very presence of ups and downs that lets us know we are alive.

In the past few days, I've had quite a few "ups" -- and yet, if I look at them honestly, they come directly from my biggest "down." They are all gifts that have come to me directly from my experience of loss with my son Cameron's death. Would I trade them all to have him back? Maybe. Would my life be as meaningful if I did? I don't think so. My loss has allowed me to begin to find a way to make a small contribution to this world.

I am now a Featured Writer at Open to Hope, a website that reaches 30,000 readers each month and whose mission is to offer hope to those who are grieving. You can read my first post here. I will be posting a few times each month.

I did a wonderful Internet radio interview on the Conscious Healing show with Sherry Anshara. You can listen to the archive here.

My book, The Deep Water Leaf Society, won First Place in the Self Help category and was chosen as the Best Non-Fiction Book of 2008 by Reader Views.

A new follower (see The Journey) of my blog honored me with her own "Top 10 Favs Award." I am equally honored by this award, because it means that my words are reaching real people. That makes my heart sing.

So, the next time you wish for peace and an end to your current drama, ask yourself if you are wishing your way out of living. Life comes with highs and lows. Let's make the best of all of it.

Wishing you peace on the journey...

As always, I welcome your coments here or by email (Claire@DeepWaterLeafSociety.com)

Visit my website: http://www.deepwaterleafsociety.com/

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Just a few pieces of news to blog today:

I’m excited to announce that The Deep Water Leaf Society is a finalist (Self Help category) in the 2008 Reader Views Awards!! Wish me luck – winners will be announced at the end of March.

Also wanted to let you know that I’ll be on the Conscious Healing show on AchieveRadio at 5pm MST today. I’ll be talking with my host Sherry Anshara about finding a conscious and creative pathway through grief. Just go to AchieveRadio.com, scroll down the page and click on one of the Listen Live links (some are geared for broadband and some for dial-up). If you can’t listen live today, you’ll be able to listen to the archive at your convenience later. Just go straight to the Conscious Healing page and scroll down until you see the show for March 4, 2009.

Check out the Open to Hope website for more resources on healing grief. They have invited me to be a featured writer. You can read my first Open to Hope post here.

If you scroll down to the bottom of this post, you'll find a couple of new widgets on my blog page:

1) I'm now tweeting on Twitter - you can follow my tweets at the bottom of my blog, or better yet get your own Twitter account and follow me there.

2) I've also added a bookshelf of some of my favorite reads care of shelfari.com. I'll be adding more titles over time. Check them out. Many are great resources for healing grief and personal growth.

And finally, I came across a few interesting articles on the web. Just thought I’d share…

If the U.S. were a person, would it be an emotionally disconnected addict?

And here is a fascinating look at how creativity happens in dreams.

As always, I welcome your coments here or by email (Claire@DeepWaterLeafSociety.com)

Visit my website: http://www.deepwaterleafsociety.com/