Thursday, February 26, 2015

Grieving Well

Learning to grieve well in a grief phobic culture is challenging. My best friend from childhood died when we were both 35 years old. She trusted me, as her long time friend, with the discussions around ending her own life. She had terminal ovarian cancer and had been whisked away from home to the ER a few times when her health became precarious. On one occasion I was with her when the doctor was pulling fluid from her lungs so Tia would not drown in her own secretions. The procedure was excruciating and Tia begged the doctor to stop. I think this particular doctor from Stanford was one of the most competent and compassionate I have ever know. But her training would not allow her to stop mid way through the process. I reached over and pinched the tube and told her to stop, to listen to Tia. Thankfully the doctor was respectful. And this experience is what propelled Tia into her own reconciliation with dying. We stayed up all night not long afterwards talking, laughing, reminiscing about our shared life together and wrestling through our religious upbringing which called suicide a sin. Tia came to the conclusion that she was not going to die in a crisis. She would die on her own terms, knowing death was inevitable and coming soon. The next night she ended her life after a very sweet time with each member of her family who did not know her plan.

For a time I was quite high from the very rarefied atmosphere of uncharacteristically vulnerable and transparent conversation Tia and I had shared over the months preceding her death. It was returning to my everyday life that felt as if I had come to another planet. It was business as usual with no place to really be with the fullness of all that I had experienced with Tia in life as well as her departure. Even the Memorial Service was contained, no one freely weeping. It is like we have this invisible agreement to hold it together, stiff upper lip and all. Everyone racing around doing what they always did and no forum for being with loss. So I slowly sank into depression and got lost in grief. It was a slow return to aliveness, a tale all in itself. But the key piece was learning to feel deeply and be safe with myself, to trust myself. Several new friendships came into my life at that time (did Tia orchestrate from the other side?) which had the capacity to allow the intensity of feelings I had to come out. To this day I credit those friends with holding the space for the grief to be safe and seen.

I have lost many dear people since that time. In these subsequent losses I have come to trust the process of feeling the depths and knowing I will return. Each one becomes easier to navigate.  Grief is no longer a stranger and I do not resist her gifts. Each loss has been traversed with the help of being witnessed and shared with others. I do not believe we are meant to grieve alone. Not that I feel the losses any less, no, maybe more.The death of my cousin has brought an entirely new dimension to grief. I find myself simultaneously in mourning with an easy return to laughter and noticing the delectable beauty of being alive. I have become fluid with the dance of emotions grief calls forth. When grief was new it was terrifying. It is hard territory to navigate.  The gifts are rare and totally worth the dive. Remembering how to be fully human and alive is what is at stake. Having the support of others is key. Finding those others who can allow the fullness is essential.

Thankfully there are now many more resources for being with grief than when I lost Tia. Francis Weller and Sobonfu Some are two I have recently learned about. They are worth seeking out if there is not support in your own life for feeling grief.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


It is possible to grow entirely new ways to create relationships with others. For me, right now, the biggest has to do with surrendering the idea that I need to defend myself. I am seeing that to defend myself is not actually self loving behavior. When I truly and deeply live in loving myself I am taking care of myself and defense is not necessary.

Now this does not mean that when things happen that I don't like that I say and do nothing. But how I take action shifts. My own security comes from loving myself so well that I KNOW I am safe and well cared for, regardless of how another behaves.

The attachment I surrender is that of perfection. Perfection that thinks that relationships have no bumps and bruises or aches and pains. That any of those thing are the need to back away. I mean, they might signal something that is a true red flag. But often times my own internal red flags have more to do with my fear instead of what is actually and truly real time. This then limits me from finding more connection if I yield to fear.

In the case of the friend I spoke to yesterday, he was entirely willing to lean in to our connection. What caused me to be triggered was something I was able to speak with him about in a way that revealed how I am vulnerable, how what happened moved me, the unique individual that I am. The solution was simple in our case. He was entirely willing.

Surrendering my attachment to holding on to triggers as being all about the outside world is key. Triggers are my internal guidance system truly and lovingly guiding me to gentle inquiry around whatever it is that has come up. Those triggers are the opportunity to love myself.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Making Assumptions

Amazing opportunity today to practice choosing the love of other even in  the face of what was, for me, a difficult conversation. There are inevitably times that people trigger something in me. I have grown enough to know, generally, to sit with something for a while before I speak with another. I sit with whatever the trigger has activated in me and attempt to let the emotions sink to the deepest possible meaning in my own life. Sometimes it is not necessary to even talk to the other person, I gain enough insight on my own to grow through the trigger.

But there are times when things must be discussed. And there are times when the triggers are really big. The growth has to do with making assumptions about the other person. Rather than seeing the fact that I am triggered as meaning something bad, dangerous, hurtful or other equally dark imaginings, about the other, I am learning to create a little space. The space is about curiosity. In this curious place I breathe some room for a loving and peaceful outcome to occur.

Taking time to create spaciousness allows me to open up to being interested in the other person and what is happening in their world. I can put aside the anxious desire to talk about what I need and be open to them.

So today I had an exchange in which some deeply tender things surfaced from my friend and some sweet shared profound talk around what is alive and moving in the life of this person emerged. What I wanted to talk about came around and was so small and easily resolved in comparison to the depths they shared I am humbled to say that it might actually be possible that using triggers to be THE mechanism by which new possibilities in intimacy occur is very real and exciting.

Surrendering my assumptions that what had happened to trigger me had ANY ill will attached was key to finding a way into more richness in friendship.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Choosing Self Love

I have been wondering what it is that stops me from taking a step towards what I want. I'm not sure the inquiry into 'why' matters. Maybe it does. But at that exact moment in which I can go this way or that, I experience this sense of hesitation at times. In my earlier years I was deeply steeped in the bible. I am thinking of the apostle Paul. He spoke of life as a race. His encouragement was to run it well. I can't really say what it was that he was striving for. Maybe he was striving to live as Jesus did. And I don't think that was about the doing, but rather the being. I do agree about running the race of life well. But a big part of that is to know where I am running. Paul had his particular sense of direction, a vision.

I have found the last few years a time of preparation. One vision was completed, that of raising my children, and with that completion the end of the marriage that held the vision to the end. I have heard the time called 'empty nest'. Two words. Two words that fail to impart the full weight of this completion, at least for me. I've met other mothers who could not wait for their children to leave home. I did not understand that. Not that I wanted my children to stay forever. I am glad they have found their own directions. After all, holding their growth as my prime objective for 20 plus years included their ability to make their way in the world without me.

I have been in this simultaneous sense of being on a harbor watching their ships fade on the horizon. And now where do I travel? The other sense is that I entered my own ship and have been sailing and only just now have finally lost sight of that same harbor.

Which returns me to the original to sail...I take active steps in moving in to a new vision. The thing about having children is that the objective is clear and in front at all times. It is more difficult to see those hopes and dreams as tangibly as children and then do what needs to be done to make them dreams visible, at least for me, at this point in life. I am speaking of those things I hope to accomplish that are not dictated to me from external sources, like my job. Those things only I have the say in moving this way or that. Like will I exercise or eat healthily, to name some basic things. I suspect that the hesitation has something to do with choosing self love or not.

Carolyn Myss describes self esteem as caring about oneself enough to not let yourself down. And in the choice of self love, self esteem, there is needed the disciplined practice of choosing that direction over and over again, regardless of other possible choices. A captain sailing a ship, not in circles, but towards a fixed point. Making course corrections if the wind blows this way or that, but always righting the course.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Tuning in to the Value of Nature

Thinking, today, about how much courage it takes to step fully in to the people we most wish to be. It takes a ton of determination and practice to be that person we can see in our imagination. Or maybe it isn’t a matter of imagination but rather reaching deep inside to retrieve those deepest dreams and hopes and dare to live in to them, in spite of all the obstacles both apparent and invisible.

Living a long life guarantees suffering, somewhere, somehow. Having the ability to grieve deeply and find joy easily are important tools. Cultivating the inner life in such a way that we become resilient, flexible and fluid is key. Indispensable to the journey: deep self love.

Listening to the frogs it is impossible to ignore that life desires to live and do it abundantly. The life surging from earth near spring is undeniable. The challenge is to live in such a way that I get out of my way and follow the rhythms of nature, let life course riotously in its time, or hibernate. Following the lead of nature, tuning in so that I notice what the world that I live in is up to.

Moving out of the ways I live in which nature has no part can be fearsome. Placing importance on the value of attunement with the natural world in a modern society can be counterintuitive to the modern brain. But, I think, when we really let our minds contemplate this fully for a moment, the consequences of ignoring nature are perceptible. Moving in the directions of courage, well, baby steps.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Moving out of Winter

The sun crests the ridge line illuminating golden willow tips, crisp reflections perfect in the still water. In the pale blue above contrails that last begin their slow spread into cloud. The quiet of of a late winter morning yearning into the force of spring calling holds so much promise. I just want to sit and soak it up, watch it, feel it fully. Oh that chill which will slowly melt away into warmth is the dance of a perfect day!

I finally feel I am living in the season I am in.  I let myself sink towards the darkness, begin the slow drift, once the summer solstice has passed....which in years past I considered on winter solstice. No wonder the feeling of spring was so harsh. Like having a light turned on in the middle of the night. Once I came to terms with summer ushering in winter over the long arc of the year, well, the return to the light begins in the darkest night...and I let myself be carried back.

I feel new seeds sprouting in my life, in my soul. Possibility still exists. I find myself wanting to know what possibilities my friend Ruthie is living in to now. She is in her 94th year. How does she experience the riotous calling of spring now?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Shifting towards a Wisdom Culture

In aging there comes a crossroads...the time when you feel that you are no longer young but you are not yet old. Middle aged it is often called. In a culture that orients towards youth the middle years present a particular challenge.

Will I try to keep up appearances of youth? How far will I go? Keeping active, fit and healthy in  body is a gift for an entire life. This is not youth orientation. Working on emotional health and well being is an ageless pursuit.

Trying to 'keep up', whatever this means, might be considered an area to make inquiry around. What am I trying to keep up with? For?

As we age our natural timing and rhythms shift. The gift presented is the possibility to take time for thoughtfulness. What have I learned in all that I have lived through? What are the gems of wisdom I can share? How can I share my experiences? Am I able to take a clear eyed look towards old age and steer my life in ways that will help that time be the fullest and richest possible? Have I been real with myself about where I am headed?

Have you made friends with someone decades older than you? Asked about what life looks like from their point of view? What advice might they offer from their perspective?

Youth are loud. They are often outrageously outspoken. And as we age it is tempting to be quiet in the face of the louder volume. This is a mistake.

It is also a mistake to stay totally peer oriented. Having friends of all ages helps to create a healthy balance of the learning and sharing of wisdom creating connecting threads across generations.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Why are we a Youth Oriented Culture?

I was asked this question by a wise young woman. It is a sacred question really. I often refer to the truth of our youth orientation when talking with friends, the truth of where our culture chooses to put its focus. It isn't so apparent when you are in the up to 40ish age range. Once the entrance into the age when many try all kinds of measures to pretend they are not aging, well, then our youth worshiping nature is obvious. But I can't really answer a definitive why we are this way.

Imagine if the faces we saw on a regular basis in the grocery store magazine racks were those of the most wrinkled and frizzled beings. Imagine if it was their perspective we were listening for. What would it be like if lecture halls were jammed with people who were interested in hearing the stories of those who have lived one hundred years. What might they have noticed in all those decades, all the changes they have lived through?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Growing Self Loving

"I have been devoted to building and maintaining spaciousness to be free in." My friend Desiree wrote this to me a few weeks ago. It struck me as the perfect sentence to describe what growing self loving is about.

I suspect we all have different places to build spaciousness around. I may struggle with something that comes to you with ease. And what flows easily for me might be the very place you hope to push out the walls.

Sometimes I feel the very real boundaries of the container that is me in my body. When I only consider myself as my physical body a sense of constriction comes, like this space is too small. I am so much more. The spaciousness Desiree writes of is the movement of the invisible barrier I hold around myself just a bit further outward, breathing room. I'd like to think that the spaciousness is infinite and I suspect it is. There are times when I do experience it as such.

But mostly I am firmly in this physical world and the spaciousness, the self loving, around my full and total package, is somewhere in the middle between complete and total bliss with who I am and self loathing...with a leaning towards bliss over loathing.

Growing the bliss zone takes some conscious effort. Mostly, right now, my work has to do with letting myself sink in to the reality of being Crone. Rejoicing Crone. Embracing Crone. Being fully present to loving myself at this stage in my life. The biggest thing for me now is making time for the activities and self care routines that supports my older body feeling good. My relationship to this time is what I am working on. Rather than feeling I am checking things off a list so I can go do more important things, I am cultivating the time as self love and of the utmost importance. Doing all with care instead of racing through. Letting go of those things that do not help create the spaciousness to love myself, whether they are attitudes or real things.

A difficult attitude to release revolves around the cultural images of outward beauty. To look at the face and body reflected to me from the various mirrors in my life and choose to send love to what I see. This can be very hard when my face does not match the ideas of beauty commonly presented as desirable. I have been practicing smiling and with the smile speaking to myself those words that feel so good to hear from someone I know deeply cares for me....I love you. I am growing myself to be the one who loves me most.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Gifts in the death of my cousin...

He turns me to face myself

And see

I am a crone


Able to grieve deeply


And turn to

Embrace joy

In the same day.

Each one inhabited cleanly, clearly.

Accepting I am no

Longer a young woman

I still have all the wisdom of those times I have lived.
Holding now, like the flood tides of a river,

All that has been learned in the silent service of (at this moment, exact moment, my daughter pushes the care of her son into my lap causing me to abandon this writing)

Nurturing others.

This nurturing work is not work that gets celebrated as goals accomplished. Few write creative scenes wishing to do their invisible work well. Few are able to grow the humility, the deep grounded sense of selflessness necessary to truly put aside who they are and everything they might hope to accomplish in order to care for others long term. To see life from this place of invisibility is a rare gift. The edge, the challenge, is how to speak, write, share, the depth of all that is understood and learned in the years dedicated to this particular form of service. I’ve long thought that this nurturing work is actually the work of priestesses in the temple to all that is holy. Is there anything more important than nurturing others bringing to bear all the awareness and love one can possibly presence? But once the work of the priestesses is complete…a Crone is born.

The death of my cousin, a man who could be called nothing less than a saint in the truest meaning of the word, issues a call to me. And honestly one thing that is coming along with grief and joy is a desire to roar. This is not a blind roar, not the roar of a mad woman lost in unawareness. It is a desire to roar borne out of all the ways in which the wisdom of the crone is ignored, dismissed, diminished, belittled and appropriated by those who are not and never will be a crone.  And beyond, far beyond, the desire to roar is this deep desire to presence the wisdom. The paradox is how to take something largely nonverbal, embedded in the cells, and give words to it in ways that, even though they carry huge power, that they are not sourced from rage but rather from the ferocity born of deeply practiced nurturing. Finding words that offer nourishing, necessary and needed wisdom for the rebalancing of masculine and feminine. But make no mistake, it is only when Crones roar and others listen that it will be possible to truly balance masculine and feminine. I invite Crones to roar from the place of fierce love and truth. I invite those who will never be Crones to be quiet and listen.

Who will listen for the Crones? Only those who are able to pry their eyes and ears from the youth orientation of our culture. The trick is for those who are listening for the roaring Crones to learn that the voice of the Crone does not have to be loud or harsh. The Crone does not call in ways our celebrity youth loving culture has taught us to listen for. The challenge is that the humility of the Crone will be overlooked and Crones will continue to be asked to serve invisibly, their worth missed because of the ease with which they have learned to inhabit selflessness.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Return of the Red Wing Blackbird

I went to the river with my children yesterday. We went to watch the high tide. “I think of tides as belonging to the ocean,” a friend commented. Ocean tides move in response to the moon. River tides move in response to precipitation.  Flood tides on a river happen with heavy rainfall and can be accentuated when warm rain melts any snow pack to add to the flow. This winter we have no snow pack so the river is running full on the rains of a warm storm.

Our favorite swimming holes from summer often have large jumping rocks. We climb the twenty feet to balance for a moment on the top before leaping into the cool pools resting at the base. In a flood tide the top of these rocks are barely visible and sometimes visible only as a bump of water which suggests something underneath. In these flood tides giant trees bob down the river as if they are toothpicks.

It is a great thrill to watch water move this way. Living in the wilderness these flood times are the ‘superbowls’. They are not scheduled. After decades of life lived largely without a human dominated landscape these special times can be felt. This comes as the “drop everything and go out and see it now” call of the wild.

The exhilaration, inspiration, vitality and raw power of these times feed my soul and well being. Returning home afterwards I stepped out of the car. The first sound that greeted me was the call of the Red Wing Black bird. The seasonal dwelling of these beings near my home is one of my great pleasures. Their call is not quite melodic, the way they chase of larger birds is astonishing. The flash of red as they fly across the pond stimulates my eye. And this was the first call of the new season. “We’re back!” My heart swells to be present to the first day they have returned, to that first call, to welcome guests back after a long absence. Combined with the flood tide….I am so very grateful!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Competition and Knowledge

I’ve been in deep inquiry around cultural patterns that affect my personal thinking and belief systems. Family of origin patterns, lineage patterns, cultural lineage patterns and investigation of the belief systems and patterns of north America.

Two of the most insidious places I find patterns erupting in my own being have to do with competition and knowledge. These are strongly valued traits in western culture. They are, in my opinion, two of the most difficult patterns to presence in seeking the rebalancing of masculine and feminine.

The paradox of the feminine wisdom, which most serves rebalancing, is a quality of invisibility. This particular wisdom does not boast, does not call attention to itself in a ‘look at me’ way, rather, it is held as a stone that drops deeply into a pool and understand life from the resting place, the depths. Those that do not know these depths can not compete to know. This wisdom can not be ‘read’ or learned from a teacher. It is the gift of a lifetime of putting aside oneself in silent service and the immersion into observation and quiet belonging.

It is the wisdom of the Crone. Another part of the paradox is that a male bodied person will not be a Crone. The rebalance asks a male bodied person to give value to something he will not embody. When this wisdom is given a place at the table the importance will be understood. But this wisdom must come from the true carriers of it. Women of maturity. For when they speak you can feel the rippling of the waters in your own being as it resonates through your cellular memory. After all, each of us were in fact carried in the bodies of own grandmothers in the eggs that the fetus of our mother held from those times. When grandmother speaks, we ‘know’ that truth.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Call of the Wild...Frogs

I have dear friends who travel the world meeting different spiritual communities and joining them to learn from wisdom teachings. Occasionally I join in. It’s a big world with many delicious teachings to encourage awareness.

Today I was walking a trail through the forest, a trail I’ve walked countless times. Over the 17 years of living in one place, a place in the literal wilderness, I am struck by what it is possible to learn by staying in one place with a conscious intention to slow down and be quiet.

My friends and I go into other communities and join in meditations, vision quests, rituals, ceremonies, yoga and other pursuits. But just this moment as I write these words there is an orchestra of frog song just outside my door with such volume as to drown out all else. It crescendos at night with small practice sessions throughout the day. Living for 17 years with a two month cycle of frog song each winter is one of the richest rituals of all.

It is a song to life. A song to the ultimate possibility of more life yet to come. And year after year this incredible song continues. I have heard it said that frogs are an indicator species. When an environment is polluted the frogs, being ever so sensitive, are among the first creatures to die. I am grateful to live in a healthy place where there are few songs of human made origin and this amphibious ode to joy, this ode to the incredible immediacy of sensuous life in the making, and live in the meditation of the forest itself.

All told a modest count indicates that I have listened approximately 23,040 hours to the frogs. Their music actually vibrates my body. That vibration, in the numbers that are outside my door, is significant. There are tens of thousands of frogs singing. Imagine being vibrated for two months each year in the ecstasy of pure living!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Changing the energetics of patterned behaviors.

What are patterns? In human interactions patterns are those behaviors that are done over and over again. Waking up in the morning and kissing your sweetie is a pattern. Patterns can be simple or complex. Productive or frustrating. Patterns can move us in the directions of our dreams or they can be the recurring themes that thwart our progress to that we dream about.

The recognition of patterns takes intention. Having the desire to focus and concentrate on the melody of emotions as they play through the chapters of your life will greatly increase your chance of noticing patterns. It does take some work to unearth, uncover and notice patterns. The good news is that life is the playground to do this work if you desire. Why bother? To the extent that you know your patterns you are able to begin to be present in your life right now. Free. Make new choices unencumbered by the past.

Dare to take charge of your life rather than let autopilot programs run the show. A teacher of mine, Martin Prechtel, says ‘make as many mistakes as fast as possible’. I love this. It is only by doing something badly that we can ever get to find a better way. A wonderful book called the Practicing Mind, by Thomas M. Sterner, echoes this idea. We can’t get to new behaviors without learning. Watch a baby if you’d like a primer on how to do this.

Each pattern carries an emotional and energetic signature. Your key to make changes lies in noticing the feeling states, sitting with them, remaining curious and neutral, then letting yourself settle in to what lies beneath. Breathe.

There are many techniques to creating a new emotional state in yourself. Some people self medicate. Others use meditation or yoga. Tapping is exceptional in releasing the places where emotions are stored in the body. Dance!

A third eye exercise helps to rewire the circuitry. When you notice the emotions surfacing form a recognized pattern you have investigated and identified and are ready to release use this technique. Put your hands in a fist with the thumbs out. Press the thumbs into the small indent on your temple. Put your arms out to the side. Hum and think satanama vibrating your head. Imagine white light coming down into your head and going out of the spot between your eyebrows, the third eye. Imagine this going around in a circle. Do this for 5-7 minutes as often as your find yourself returning to patterned emotions.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Intergeneration movement towards rebalancing masculine and feminine.

“This has to stop, whatever this is. You’re a wife and mother and that has to come first.”

I was watching a television show based in the 1950’s and a man said this to his wife. In the generation of my mother the general culture believed and lived with the quote above. Oh the tension of the brilliant woman with so many gifts to offer the world. The priorities of an entire culture supported the idea that being a mother was work of merit. Now I’m not saying that women were given ultimate respect or accord for this, which is at least part of why feminism arose. Women wanted more, at least some women. And the ways in which feminism cracked open the opportunities for women of my generation were phenomenal. I was able to work in a field in which very few women ever went, allowing me to enter a world of brilliant minds accomplishing amazing things.

The challenge came, for me, when I had children. The birthing of my daughter dilated not only my cervix but also my entire way of understanding what might be possible in being a mother. The labor pains exercised anatomy that had never undergone such a rigorous workout. Having a child began the slow incessant exercise of a way of showing up for another human being.

And having a child also gave presence to a difficulty in my marriage. In this new feminist culture motherhood was not offered the same ‘protected’ status as a worthy ‘career’ choice. It was one more thing to do along with being a superstar at work. The Second Shift is an interesting read about that time period in which women were in the position of being expected to work and be the main parent in charge of taking care of the household.

Making a choice to be a full time mother was not easy. I was graced with the financial ability to not have to work. I was able to live out my belief that my children were more important than any of the projects I ever worked on. I am grateful that I was able to be a full time mother during a time in which there was lip service but not real respect given to the value of that work. Honestly, I missed the feedback about how important my other work had been and the difference was noticeable and big. I entered an invisible class.

I’m watching my daughter as a new mother and I see she and her partner and many of their friends finding ways to balance all of the richness of life with some skill sets I did not have available. I see the re-growth of the value of the place of mother in society. I see this including more value of father through shared parenting.  Livelihood questions are more conscious and inclusive of the value of parenting. I see all of this as the slow pacing towards the balancing of masculine and feminine.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Meditations on Rumi’s field…

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.” Rumi

This poem has been a meditation for over a year now. I return to this quote again and again when I encounter others whose behaviors trigger responses in myself. I’ve been learning to get curious about those responses and rather than point at the other, look inside and stay present to what I am feeling and what is revealed. Surrendering the need to make myself or others right or wrong and just being with what is. Releasing judgment of myself and others.

The release of judgment opens me up to finding the center of what is true for myself, the possibility of having loving relationships with other people and being in connections to others in freedom rather than a hostage situation.

I will meet people who live in many different places with many different value systems…it is endlessly fascinating to me how others live life, what they value, how they do it. Non-judgment allows for the possibility of peace rather than war. AND…non-judgment of how people choose to live is very different than having to live as they live… I can be in Rumis’ field but this does not mean I have to live as another. Nor does anyone else have to believe and live as I do.