Manna Meditations

finding Narcissus by a quiet stream…

Manna Meditations, Day 33

The Stream snatches a slice out of the sky and pins it down in a furrow of earth, so that all the trees lean over to look, seeing the sight of themselves for the very first time:

They stand astounded, caught in this position for a hundred years, perhaps … Just long enough for their lean forms to lock in the shape of supplication, or prayer.

The Stream laughs all day long at their vanity. But the she laughs, too, at the gift of their beauty, which bends always toward her, backlit by blue.

In the face of our beloved, we seek our own reflection.

The Body Electric

The Body Electric: Day Eight

I don’t know when exactly it happened, but somewhere in the course of my 34 years, I accepted the idea that most of my clothes would be uncomfortable.

These days, I have a closet full of five-inch stilettos, nipped-waist pencil skirts and close-cut clothing in rough, hard-finish fabrics.  And most of the time I’m completely fine with that.

But now I can feel the winter coming on:  chapped lips and numb fingertips … knuckles so dry they crack and bleed through my mittens.  And in this season that, for me at least, represents a constant physical discomfort, I suddenly want to wear things that just plain feel good.

So I’m giving myself permission to wear cashmere socks and fuzzy loose-fitting sweaters.  I’ll spend a little extra on fabrics that slide silkily against my skin.  And maybe this sounds like silly self-indulgence.  But I am learning that when my body feels comfortable, my mind is free to think and love well, and to consider the comfort of others …

And that feels pretty beautiful to me. ❤



{Wonder what’s happening here?  For thirty days this December, I’m challenging myself to enjoy this body I’m living in:  to take pleasure in all my senses, to explore it and use it in new ways … and most of all, simply to cherish it.  I hope you’ll join me for the journey. <3}

The Body Electric

The Body Electric: Day Seven

You would think it would be easy by now — that seeing my own magic would feel as natural as breathing.

But there are still days when it’s work…  Days when I look at the mirror and see myself fading, and believe the lie that this makes me less:

Less valuable.

Less powerful.

Less human.

On those days, I turn my back to the mirror and tilt my face to the lens — even if it’s just the little lens on my iPhone.  And suddenly all the distance between subject and object collapses.  

Behind the lens, for a moment, I am the one in charge of the frame.

And I am the one who decides how to make beauty within it:


Just behind me, over my shoulder, I can see myself reflected into infinity. ❤


The Body Electric

One for the renegades …

I still remember where I was the first time I heard the radio hit Renegades by X Ambassadors:  on the dusty second story of a Staunton antinque mall, where the tune crackled and snarled through an AM/FM radio with a bad connection.

No more than 30 seconds elapsed before I Shazamed it…

I was smitten.


I remember the day I first stumbled over the video, too.

For the first 45 seconds, I was confused — what, exactly, was I watching here? — but when I realized what was happening, I wanted to stand up and cheer.

The video features short clips of individuals who most of us would term “disabled” … but all of them are doing remarkable things with their bodies — enjoying them in startlingly inventive ways. The video is a highly personal one for the band, since band member Casey Harris has been blind since childhood.

But really, this is not just a music video about overcoming physical limitations.  At its core, it’s about seeing all limitations as invitations to create and to innovate… To be unapologetically ourselves.

And I love that.


Can I tell you something?  I’m in a place in my life where I really want to live in my body… To inhabit it fully. To do things with it that make me feel alive.


And it’s true I’ll never be an Olympic athlete … or a ballerina.  But if I don’t dance in my living room at least once a week, or raise myself into a sloppy arabesque on a fencepost by the side of the road, then I’m accepting a tragic sort of lie… Swallowing it like bad medicine.

You know that old lie:  the one that says, If I can’t be the best, or do it the way other people do it, then I might as well hang up my dancing shoes.

And oh, friends.

That’s not just nonsense…

It’s poison.


So.  This little video is dedicated to all of us, in whatever bodies we’re living in, in the hope that we’ll go out and enjoy them wildly and unashamedly today.  That we’ll test all their edges, push all their boundaries and fill up all the little empty spaces within our fragile suits of skin.

Enjoy, fellow renegades … this one goes out to you.



On Shadow and Light, Sunshine & Silhouettes … & Seeing My Own Magic

There are days when I am an agnostic about my own beauty.

It’s not that I don’t want to believe in it.  Because trust me:  I want to believe.  I do.

It’s just that sometimes it seems too convenient – a sweet-sounding story to make the shadows recede on a lonely night – and I don’t want to believe something just because it makes me feel good.

And yet.


This evening.

I am walking the dog at sunset, stopped at a street corner, waiting for traffic to pass.  I am lost in thought.

Suddenly a car flashes by, and for the briefest moment I glimpse a girl reflected in the car window — sun falling over her shoulders, sparking in her hair.

I catch my breath.

I catch my breath even before I know it’s me.

And then the car is gone and the reflection is gone and all that’s left in its place is my shadow, long and lean and dark against the asphalt.

All that’s left is me, asking if what I saw was actually real.


I stand there on the street corner for a long time.

I stare at my silhouette, squinting to see the magic.  After awhile, I take out my iphone.  I snap a photo.  Because I do see it.  I do…  Almost.

And on the long walk  home, I realize that even a shadow can be beautiful — proof that something of substance is absorbing the light, if only for a moment:


If I want to see the sun, all I have to do is turn around. ❤

Second Glance

Same Body, Second Glance: Last Look

August 10, 2014


Today my heart is hungry
for some new horizon.
I’m not talking about a place
you get to with a passport.
I’m talking about a place
you get to by opening your eyes.

And I want to reclaim
all the places inside me
overtaken by darkness–
dark not because the light
stopped shining
but because my soul
stopped seeing.


 {{Wondering what’s going on here??  Almost a year ago, I found myself on bad terms with the person in the mirror.  So I made a commitment:  every day for forty days, I’d take *one* photograph of my body that I could honestly see as beautiful.  This is the final installment.  Want to follow my journey?  Start here.}}