Monday, November 15, 2010

My new blog is here:

Pay me a visit and sign up for the feed. It'll be worth your while!

Thanks and love,

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

You get to the high places by way of the low....
I had a transformative experience this weekend. I flew to Memphis for the memorial service of my aunt. It was a time, of course, for a family reunion, and our little family was in need of it. My aunt lived to be 97, so we all knew she had lived a full life.  After the graveside service, we gathered at a beautiful park for a picnic. 
I took my copy of LIFE WITH A HOLE IN IT. I passed it around and asked everyone to actually lay hands on it and I told them my prayer for the book—that it would find its way into the hearts of those that were open to receive it. My sister-in-law wanted me to autograph her copies and I said I couldn’t since she was out of town. “I’ll order the books, mail them to you, you sign them and mail them back to me,” she said firmly. I looked at her with wonder and she said, “Vicki, it’s a family thing.” I was moved.
My sister’s birthday was the next day and we all had brunch at Brennan’s of New Orleans. The food was ambrosial. At the picnic my cousin, whose mother we had memorialized, had served us the best barbecue on earth (Memphis, Tennessee) I realize some of you will argue with that, but I have a bully pulpit here in which I proclaim Memphis barbecue to be the best. We ended with an Italian dinner at a marvelous restaurant called Pete and Sam’s. Their barbecue pizza has been featured on The Food Network. My son got his picture taken with Mr. Sam, who is in his eighties and holds court at the register, where he rings up most of the sales.
Our flight back to Atlanta was yesterday morning. My son said, “Do you want to stop by the cemetery again?” I said. There was a crystalline blue sky. We walked over to the family plot, me holding LIFE WITH A HOLE IN IT  in my hand.  Rob, my son, had his camera in the trunk and I asked him to go get it. Then I placed the book on my husband’s grave marker and asked Rob to take a photo. 
“I’ve been finding pennies, heads up, recently,” he said. “ I intended to leave one on each grave after the memorial Saturday, but didn’t, so I’ll put a penny on Dad’s grave and Laurie’s (his younger sister.) The wind had picked up, so he put the penny on the book to hold the cover down before he took the picture. We stood there in silence for a few moments and savored the symbolic completion of the little book's journey. After all, it has its roots in the loss of the beloved. Then I moved the book to my daughter’s grave and we repeated the process there.
“Look,” I said, pointing to the sun. Light was breaking through the gigantic oaks. It resembled the book’s cover photo, which was taken in Norway. He took some shots of the trees and sun and I knew this day in the life of my little book was transformative. The roots of the book lay within my heart and the light was breaking through the clouds of illusion. It had been a long journey on the horizontal level and a wink in the eye of eternity.
As we drove to the airport, I left with a heart full of peace and gratitude. You reach the high places by way of the low.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How Sorrow  Gave Me The Gift Of Self-Kindness

I have not always been kind to myself. Like any other ego, I am capable of self-critiquing until the sky looks level. But my life took a sharp turn when I was thirty-two years old. My only daughter was diagnosed with a fatal cancer at the age of three. She became a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and I became drenched in sorrow. Sopped in self-pity and rage, I nevertheless found the courage to help keep her alive for another three years.

 By the time she died, I was exhausted beyond belief and knew I had to go with. Our son was ten when she died and he, too, had been through the hell of losing his only sibling. We were isolated deeply in our bereavement. No one knew what to say or how to treat us. Some mothers told their children that Laurie had moved away. She had finished first grade, been a Bluebird and made innumerable friends. Sadly, their sorrow kept them from coming around.
But I was on the spiritual path and knew that my burning desire to walk on until the end would keep my spirit alive. I kept it to myself, however. Within ten years, I had found my teacher and devoted countless hours to studying what he taught. That I was the Self in all beings and that God was within. My heart, however, was not light, even though I was bathed in it. I had to move through the grieving process one painful day at a time. It seemed never ending.
Life went on. We moved into a new house and my spiritual studies deepened. But in 2000 my husband received his own fatal diagnosis and he was told he had less than three years left. Believe it or not, this was harder on me in some ways than my daughter’s death. I was older and my husband was my strength, or so I thought. Now I became his and I cursed the situation like you wouldn’t believe.  All of my inner work seemed lost. I wept until my face looked like a giant puff. But I  was determined to grow. And grow I did. I had to witness my anger, fear, denial, all of the stages of grief. I went through them during the four and a half years that he survived.

 At the end I was left with myself alone. And kindness began to move in me. Self-kindness. Mercy towards this woman who had lost half her family. It manifested powerfully. I began saying no to things I had no interest or energy in doing. I kept up my meditation and writing. I moved slowly through each day, as if I was teaching a child how to live. But the child was me. And I listened to her and comforted her. I played soft music to her at night when she couldn’t sleep. I lit candles for her and let her watch as much TV as she liked.

 It was obvious to me that self-kindness was a spiritual teaching. And so it is. And so I am flowering in the wilderness of sorrow. And learning that kindness, as Naomi says, follows sorrow as surely as new flowers follow the rain.
You may buy my book at
Selling this book one heart at a time. May it come into your life if it is meant to be.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dear Readers,
LIFE WITH A HOLE IN IT is available for sale at

 I have spent all summer working on it. Those of you who are regulars know the story well, but now people who don’t know me can read it and hopefully embrace it. I have certainly given it my all and know that light surrounds it as it goes out into the world.
Someone gave me a reading almost two years ago in which she saw the book already written. This encouraged me to bring it to reality on the physical plane. I had lived it; now I needed to make it available to others. Bob Woodyard, I am sure, is keeping a benevolent eye on it from on high, since it is his story as well. Love does not end with the death of the body but grows richer by the physical absence. I  know that.
Here is a piece of good news. I am beginning work on a new website. This one is almost ten years old and in need of some sprucing up. My outlook has matured in some ways and remained the same where it counts. I want the new site to be a place that encourages regulars, people who can help spread the word about it, people that believe in what I do. That helps and blesses me no end. Right now I have no way of getting comments and the site will allow for that. I will keep up and running for now while I am figuring out what bells and whistles to put on the new one. 
My life is very simple and the website will continue to reflect that. No reason for jargon when direct contact with reality is at hand. Let me hear from you....and please order a copy of Life With A Hole In It.
Love, Vicki

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I have made the astounding discovery that I am not a neoadvaitist. Duh! That is just not a girdle I want to wear. The love handles of my bhakti disposition aren’t comfortable within the confines of an Indian philosopy adopted by westerners as their very own. Oh, I agree that “I am” is the most powerful sentence ever uttered; but it, of itself, can be merely a sentence that sends you to parroting jail.
Inside that jail are the parrots of parsing that dominate online nonduality. Polly wants a cracker and needs someone to put a file in it so she may escape. The bars of “I am” are restrictive if only intellectually squawked.
Wholeness is a term I prefer. In my wholeness I resonate with who I am. Perhaps I will always be a plus size in comparison to the runway  models of advaita. 
Right now the parrots are squawking madly in the cage. Bring it, birds, for I am about to fly away.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

I did Jerry Katz's radio show, Nonduality Street. Listen here. It's half an hour of entertainment. Give it a listen.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Musical Coda

I don't know if anyone is reading the blog these days. I may quit it altogether since I have the website that people can visit.

Anything I say here is usually said there as well. The only virtue of this blog is that people can comment. But few have found it.

My writing is musical and always has threads of sorrow and grace running through it. I didn't realize that until I wrote a little humor piece for someone  and she said, "It's so musical!" And I realized that is how I approach my writing and speaking. As if I were playing the keyboard of my Mac or speaking music into the air. I like rhythm, tempo and the emotions I can evoke in that way.

Any comments?