Saturday, December 25, 2010

This week...

My favorite week of the year, the week between Christmas and the New Year.  New Year's Day is without doubt my favorite day of the year.  The week leading up to New Year is especially poignant and introspective for me.  I relish it.

I love new beginnings, fresh starts, cleared slates, clean pages, new chapters, wrapping up.  New Year brings renewed energy and expectation.  No resolutions!  Merely a day on the calendar to remind me to say "yes."

This last year was full of change and lessons, surprises and upheavals.  In the end it allowed me to remember who I am and what matters to me.  I walked away from managing and suffered significant withdrawal symptoms.  I sat with myself; I sat with mySelf.  I came back to me...

What I wish for us all is a new year to move more steadily in the direction of authenticity and faith --authentic faith.

Here is my New Year's card for anyone reading this:  May you embrace your unique and distinctive Life; may you readily share your Life with the rest of us; may you remember you are not alone, that it is good that you are here among us.  Amen.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


When I think it; I say it.
When I say it; I feel it.
When I feel it; I believe it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What I don't know...

Getting to the heart of it, the truth of it,
Circling overhead, making pass after pass,
Checking radar before landing.
There is something that is Known
That I’ve yet to discover, something that
Eludes me time and again,
The search for which brings me back to this circling pattern
Honing in, staying the course, not turning back,
Determined to remain true to myself in search of my Self.
My value is in doubt,
My capacity for growth, healing and transformation
Becomes more and more elusive.
Relationships that should nurture and sustain
Wobble and tilt, accuse and cause pain, no one to blame.
I surrender to surrendering,
I understand the process and concur wholemindedly,
Yet my heart stands back waiting for I know not what.
Might 2010 close in upon me, still waiting?

Monday, December 13, 2010

What's with those poems?

Someone recently asked me about the poems I write, so I thought I’d take advantage of the blog to describe the poems and the process.

I stumbled on “the poems” many years ago in the privacy of my own mind.  I would sit at my computer with a blank screen, mostly when I was troubled or confused.  I would close my eyes and drift inward (no other way to describe it) and before long I was typing a message to me from Me.  I have no idea why, but the form the message took resembled a poem more than  paragraphs.  For quite some time this process was very private, very personal and one I kept to myself.  The messages I received were always loving, supportive and non-judgmental…comforting and insightful.

A few months later I described this process to a friend who then asked if I could write poems for other people.  Her question was shocking to me, as I’d never considered such a thing.  I began experimenting with family and friends.  I found that the same Me who inspired and comforted me was more than willing to do so on behalf of others.  Though every poem is unique and personal, they also seem to have a universal message of support and affirmation.

 I decided to call the poems SpiritSpeak Poems and began accepting requests to write a poems for individuals, couples or groups at a charge of $40 per poem.  They do not foretell the future; they are not “channeled.”  They do not give advice, per se.  Nor am I clairvoyant.  The more information I have about the recipient, the more personal the poem. 

Often someone requests a poem for someone else to give as a gift.  In that instance, the poem is mailed directly to the recipient, much like a gift of flowers is delivered directly to the recipient with a card announcing who sent the gift.  Though the poems are written for other people, I retain ownership of every poem and ask that they not be published without my permission.

Here is a sample, a real poem, names changed, that was requested for a woman who was turning 70 and also about to celebrate a milestone wedding anniversary.

Milestones, benchmarks, turning points, arrivals, and
New beginnings.
70 years old, 50 years married,
A mature life,
A mature marriage.  Celebratory.
Imagine sitting with an open scrapbook,
Not a real one, you wouldn’t want the distraction of
Looking at old photos, old invitations, old mementos,
But an imaginary scrapbook, found only within your mind.
Snapshots of feelings, thoughts, ideas, dreams, horrors,
Victories and embarrassments, wins and losses.
You’ve had them all.  Some are public and acknowledged,
Others are private, poignantly secret.
Some expectations never came to pass and likely never will.
Other events, events that could never have been predicted,
Landed on you unannounced.  Who knew?
The photos you actually took and saved
Cannot begin to capture the felt experiences that color your life.
Take an imaginary walk with you as you were at 16, and
Explain to her what will happen.  Be gentle with her,
There is so much she doesn’t know.
When she has heard you out and thanks you for your guidance,
Merely say you’re welcome, I wouldn’t have missed it, any of it.
Now, take an imaginary walk with your fiancé, Leonard,
A week before your wedding.
Explain to him what will happen and how it will all come to pass.
When he looks at you with wide eyes and asks, “are you serious?”
Just nod, and smile and take his hand.
And then…and then
Find a cool pool of clear water, fill your lungs with air, and
Gently sink into the pool until you are totally submerged,
Your hair floating and dancing about your head,
And say “amen”, so be it, let it be, as it is, yes…
Towel yourself off, and walk back into your life.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Gently sliding, succumbing, releasing,
Stepping away from managing,
Backing away from accomplishing,
Drifting, free falling.
Allowing the year to wind down
Without my guidance, my effort.
Trusting the world knows how
To rotate without me,
Trusting that life goes on even
As I lay down the baton and
Walk off stage.
Controlling, managing, controlling, managing,
Exhausting myself with ill conceived
Attempts at prevention, forestalling,
Keeping the hounds at bay.
I surrender.
I relinquish the wheel and
Slide gratefully into the back seat
To watch the world glide by.
If summoned, I will respond,
Meanwhile, I will sit and reflect,
Knit and breathe,
Wait, and trust
She who loves and trusts me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I'm remembering...

Love teaching meditation again!  It has been more than four years since I've taught meditation or meditated with a group.

Here is what meditation means to me...I don't know squat.  Seriously.  Meditation affords me the luxury of stepping out of knowing anything, or believing anything.

I sit, I set the timer, and I consciously decide to sit for the next pre-determined minutes in "I don't know."  Wide open, clean slate, dumb as a doorknob.  

A member of my 12 step family asked if I would teach her to meditate.  I was thrilled and said sure and let's see if any other of our group members want to join.  Today was the first day of a 4 week mini-course, and guess who is the most inspired?  Moi!

I get so, so tired of knowing everything!  What a relief it is to remember I don't know squat.

Friday, November 12, 2010

What Defines a Career?

  1. Usherette at Houston Astrodome first year it opened.
  2. File clerk at title company
  3. Clerk/typist at Texas A&M Library
  4. Lab tech in A&M Poultry Science Dept
  5. Homemaker/mother
  6. Secretary at Bering Drive Church of Christ
  7. Adm. Assistant at BA Mortgage Co in Houston
  8. Adm. Assistant at Waggett-Tawney Executive Recruiters
  9. Legal secretary for Roy Willbern
  10. Public relations account executive at Bozell & Jacobs, Houston, TX
  11. Leasing agent for Wm Swift Co, Houston, TX
  12. Licensed real estate agent at Vanguard Properties, Austin, TX
  13. Licensed real estate broker, Robyn Whyte Interests, Austin, TX
  14. Co-manager Longhorn Ranch Motel and Restaurant, Big Bend, TX
  15. Accounting clerk Apple Annies Café, Austin, TX
  16. Spiritual teacher, poet, retreat leader and meditation instructor
  17. Bookkeeper, All Saints Episcopal Church, Austin, TX
  18. Bookkeeper, Lowell Lebermann
  19. Co-owner Bryte Constructs General Contractor
  20. Director of Operations, Roscoe Properties – property management
  21. VP Operations, Roscoe Properties – property management

The list above of every job or position I have ever held illustrates my multi-faceted background and highlights my lifetime aversion to planning.  With the exception of homemaker/mother there is not one occupation on that list that is the culmination of a childhood dream.  As a child I assumed that I would not work-outside-the-home unless my husband died (divorce was unthinkable) thus forcing me to get a job.  Thankfully, my mom made sure I learned how to type for just that eventuality.

Though I did not dream of having a job, I did dream of being a performer – a singer/actor, perhaps comedian.  I dreamt of being front and center, evoking laughter and applause, maybe even tears.  The performer dream was just that, a dream.  I never seriously considered pursuing it, and lawyer, surgeon, engineer, real estate agent, bookkeeper etc never entered my mind either.

My first job, a summer job, was at the age of 17.  Today I am at that certain age and stage in life when one “looks back and takes stock.”  As I create this jobs list I can remember being in each of those situations; the buildings, the people, the work… primarily the people..  The list of jobs is a hodge-podge that doesn’t add up to much, doesn’t really fit the definition of “career.”   My “career path” was primarily driven by my need to take care of myself and my children as best I could with the skills I had.

As I reflect on all this, it occurs to me that my career has been more about relationships than occupations. 

As I flitted from job to job, occupation to occupation, I rubbed shoulders with good, kind, interesting, challenging, courageous, funny, well-meaning people.  In every case, the value of each job was less about the task at hand and more about my co-workers and clients.  I unthinkingly assumed that I had forgotten most of them and that surely they have forgotten me.  But when I re-visit each job in my mind, I vividly remember the people who were there with me.   Remembering all those sojourners makes the prevailing theme of my working life abundantly clear.  It was about the people, Stupid.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I knew it would come to what?

Almost three months have passed since I stepped off the treadmill.  Am I fading away, becoming invisible?  Forgotten?  Do I want to be remembered?
Relief is gradually turning to expectation.  What now?  Which direction?  Who decides?  Does anyone want or need me?  Who?  Where?
Is there a discernible calling?  Shall I lean in the direction of The Encourager and Poet?  The Certified Property Manager?  The Co-owner of Bryte Constructs LLC?  The Bookkeeper?  The Real Estate Agent?  The Motel/Restaurant Manager?  Might I just wait tables at Dans?
Is there something new?  Some road not yet taken?  Shall I beat the bushes, fly resumes into the unknown, drum up bidness?
What is my highest and best use?  Who will pay me to do what?  Shall I look for signs, omens, portents?  Do I go after it, or let it come to me?  Can I be found?
I have a crazy quilt of experience, uncoordinated skill set, a longing for this stage of my life to be more authentic, a desire to learn something new and get paid for it.  Knitting isn’t as satisfying as it was a month ago.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I Know These Women

Tomorrow I head southeast to join some fab women for the weekend.  These are not just any ole women; these women are like, really cool.  And boy do they dredge up great memories of my former life, my pre-Roscoe life.
For lotsa years these women --10 in all -- met with me twice a year at the Red Corral Ranch near Wimberley to explore what It all means.  They are Christian--mainstream and not so mainstream--Jewish, and not-so-sures.  They met, mostly, in a Houston business networking group and made the bold decision to “step out” of their busy Houston lives to ponder and consider what makes life meaningful and more harmonious.  
On retreat, we sat together, usually in a circle, indoors and out, and told the truth.  They asked one another questions; they drew pictures and played games; they brushed each other’s hair and ate wonderful meals together, some in silence.  They meditated, shed tears, and they danced.
During those years some married, some divorced and some remained single, some received scary diagnoses, some became cancer free.  Some left jobs, some took jobs.  Some dropped out, most didn’t.  Some moved away from Houston but stayed connected.   All aged and became more beautiful.
When, four years ago, I accepted a full time job at Roscoe and I told these cool women that I no longer led spiritual retreats they continued to get together on occasion because they love each other.  A stray email found its way to me announcing they were gathering in October.  I sent a smoke signal asking if I might join them.  They said yes.  Tomorrow I will drive to be with them.  
It will help me remember who I am.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fine Tuning

Searching for the melody,
The one I remember from my earliest years,
The one composed for my part in the choir
Taught to me before I could speak.
In order to harmonize with it
I must first hear it, recall it, tune into it.
There is a melody with my name on it
No better nor worse than yours, just mine.
We are all better off when I find the right notes,
If all these years have taught me anything it is that
it is much better to stop singing and listen for the tune
Rather than continue off key.
These days are about listening, not dropping out.
Looking for just the right pitch before re-joining the choir.
Could it be that I am no longer an alto?  
Perhaps a tenor, or second soprano?
Voices change over time.
When today I sing in the privacy of my own mind
I hear a different tonality,
My voice has taken on a slightly different color, texture.
My song, though familiar, has a few added notes,
Some higher, some lower,
My range has altered.
Until I can master it
There is no choice but to feel

Monday, October 4, 2010

Me, Tame?

Recently some friends and I were discussing the power of the internet.  I told them that I had heard about a fella who interviewed for a job, and the interviewer was very favorably impressed until she searched the internet for info about him.  It seems he has a blog in which he discusses in detail his daily struggle with mental illness.  Oops.  

I then shared that when I heard that story I had kind of an “oh shit” moment, realizing that I am unemployed and recently started a blog!  One of my friends responded, in an attempt to be reassuring, I’m sure, that I needn’t worry as my blog was “quite tame!”  Me, tame?
Another friend asked me why, since I am so 'quick witted and  funny" in person, my writing is not funny?  Damn. 
I’m really working overtime on trying to come up with something shocking and hilarious; something that could cost me a job, ruin my reputation and embarrass my family and at the same time make you laugh or at least smirk.   I’ll get back with you on this.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Today autumn visited Austin.  I say “visited” because in our neck of the woods she comes and goes.  But oh my!  The first day she drops by each year is glorious.  Facebook pages of Austinites light up with exclamations about open windows, bike rides, renewed energy.
Because I am unemployed and at home on this first day of noticeable fall I am able to engage in one of my favorite pastimes.. fire building .  Our homestead is surrounded by oaks and elms, so fallen tree limbs are a common occurrence.  And because we do not live in the city limits, we can burn!
I wrote recently about knitting as a meditation.  Add fire building and fire watching to the list.  I become mesmerized by starting the fire, adding fuel to the fire, rearranging the fire, stoking the fire, watching the fire.
When John and I left Terlingua many moons ago, we camped in a tent for three months in national forests throughout New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Montana and South Dakota.  Each evening we would build a fire and sit and watch, as if it were a TV.  As there is no fire remote, I would periodically have to stoke the fire or add more wood to the with it.  Those are nostalgia days for us in large part because of those evening fires.
Today I am home alone with fall in the air and a small bonfire on our property.  The neighborhood is quiet -- it’s just me and Tunia and the fire.  I am relaxed.  I am at peace. I am grateful.  

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I'm Addicted to News

How to explain my addiction to news?  I visit multiple news websites daily, multiple times.  What is it about the taste of current events that I find so compelling?  It doesn’t make sense.
I’ve several friends who’ve sworn off -- they just don’t go there anymore.  My husband reads the Sports section only, the only section I toss aside.  I, on the other hand, check in daily with CNN, Google News, Politico, Huffington Post, Daily Beast, USA Today, News 8 Weather, NPR News, Slate, Salon, New York Times and yes even People.  And for the most part, I find it depressing.  Sad, really.
I want people to get along and play nicely with one another.  I want our elected officials to behave like mature adults.  I feel powerless reading about natural disasters and starving, displaced humanity.  The daily drumbeat of joblessness, rising poverty stats, bankruptcies, homelessness and frustration wears me down.
I want our country to provide equal healthcare benefits for every citizen -- a system that operates with no cheaters, no loop hole divers, no corruption.  I want the folks who pour into our country from Mexico without permission to have a way to live without fear--we need to provide them with a clear, tough but legal pathway to legitimacy.  I don’t like  feeling ashamed that my religious heritage is Christian.  I want gay folks to feel normal and welcome in our society and appreciated for all they contribute.  I want sexual predators of any stripe, be they Catholic priests or porn drenched perverts, to be isolated and rehabilitated.  You get my drift.
The antidote I generally rely on is recalling myself to attend to my own sphere of influence. beginning with my own mind.  The truly nourishing news is within, really.  When I access She Who Knows, the taste of optimism and gratitude creeps back in.  It is my best shot at behaving like a mature adult and playing well with others.  I’m also reminded how difficult it is, day in and day out, how much vigilance is required.   Please God, don’t let me get caught on CNN.

Friday, September 17, 2010


When I was about 10 years old my grandmother taught me to knit.  Of her 6 granddaughters I was the only one who ever showed any interest in her clacking needles.  I was mesmerized watching her rhythmic hands perform the same elegant motion over and over while she silently built something useful and beautiful.

During cold winters and during the most introspective periods of my life, I turn to knitting.  Knitting keeps me seated, holds me still, allows me to day dream and ponder.  It focuses my attention so that my mind can wander free.  When I'm knitting, I don't worry about wasting time "doing nothing."  I'm building.

My hands are following a pattern, a blueprint, adhering to a plan to create a shawl, or blanket, cap or sweater.  Sometimes I say to myself, "let this knitting be a prayer," with the hope and intention that while my hands build my mind will free itself to be open to revelation.  These days, between occupations, I don't want to miss a single revelation!

And, knitting is a great way to tune in to other folks.  Recently I took my knitting to a group meeting and found by occupying my hands I was able to better focus on what each person was sharing.  A group member commented after the meeting that he noticed I was not swinging my leg while I knitted!  I guess if my hands are busy I can keep my feet still.  Who knew?

If any of you want to bring your yarn and needles and sit with me awhile, I'd love the company. If you would like to learn to knit, I can get you started.  It would make my grandmother proud.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Conscious Choices

Today is the beginning of the sixth week of unemployment.  Someone mentioned last night how much more relaxed I appear.  How did I appear before?  Scary thought.

My cousin, Margaret, sent me a book rec.  Trusting her judgment I bought the book and find it very intriguing.  LEAP! What Will We Do with the Rest of Our Lives? by Sara Davidson explores the experience of baby boomers who are faced with 20-30 more years of living but no longer want to (or can't) do what they have always done.   She interviews numerous boomers  who are  rounding that corner and making a wide variety of conscious choices.

Personally, I'm enjoying relaxing and at the same time asking myself what I really want to do.  Most of my adult life I have "fallen into" occupations rather than making a conscious choice.  However, two conscious choices in the past do stand out.

John and I made the decision to step out of life as we knew it and move to Big Bend country to manage a little motel and restaurant owned by a group of folks in Switzerland. What an adventure that was!  I still view it as one of the best choices this city girl ever made.

Upon returning from our 2 years in Big Bend, I made the conscious decision to go into "spiritual work."  I had no credentials, no theology degrees, no ordinations or certifications.  I just knew that if I could spend time exploring reality and Reality with other folks I would feel fortunate.  And sure enough with each client I met with and each poem I wrote, I did indeed feel privileged.

Both of those choices rewarded me with some of the most satisfying and challenging experiences in my life, thus far.  Both of these decisions followed a time of deep introspection and learning to trust deep intuition.  I think I'll try that again.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Dependable and Reliable

One of the things that brings a genuine smile to my face is allowing my dog, Tunia, off her leash.  I love to see her sprint forward, running free.  There aren't many places that I feel are safe to set her free, but when I can, I let her go, and I vicariously enjoy the experience of freedom.

This last month I feel I've been let off my leash.  It has taken a while to fully realize that I am  no longer tethered.  I'm taking a break from the tether of "dependable and reliable."  How many Craiglist ads have I placed looking for employees who are "dependable and reliable?"   It takes one to know one.

When I choose my next employment (self or "for hire") I will voluntarily attach that leash once again.  But, for now Tunia and I are running free.

Today, at 10:00 am I will sit in my own home, knitting, watching Obama's press conference in real time.  On a FRIDAY, in the MIDDLE OF THE DAY!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bored and Restless

For the first time since I left my job I feel bored and restless, not knowing what to do with myself.  Oddly enough I am not satisfied with merely feeling bored and restless -- I find I am compelled to top that experience off with the experience of anxiety.

Why is "bored and restless" frightening?  I ask you.

B&R masks authentic experience.
B&R prevents the pleasure of deep relaxation,
Stalls and delays joyful action,
Veils true motivation and quells impulse.
B&R is a gambit to forestall perturbation.
However, B&R is best accepted
While acknowledging it for what it is.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


When I find myself saying something to someone else that I did not intend or plan to say, and I observe that I am expressing myself from a calm, confident and loving space, henceforth I am going to trust what I hear myself saying -- that it is authentic.

Definition of terms:  "authentic" - coming from a centered place; spirit led; spoken from deep intuition; often experienced as surprising or unexpected; rings true; trustworthy

This is hot off the presses.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Four weeks ago I quit,
Put on the brakes to reconsider priorities,
Came to a grinding halt, walked away
Four weeks ago today.
Today I folded laundry that had been in the basket less than a week,
Took smoked turkey sausage out of the freezer for supper,
No telling how long it had been in there.

I can still vividly remember the feeling I had each morning
As I climbed the stairs to Roscoe preparing to take it on another day.
When did it morph from challenge to dread?
I vividly remember the day I knew it had all come to an end,
Prematurely I thought, but now I know better.

Grateful to have been there; grateful to be released.
Grateful for trustworthy internal nudges that prompt us to the next chapter.
Grateful for the Roscoe family that nurtured me, challenged me, trusted me.
Grateful for John who supports me, as well as my mother, sisters and children.
Grateful for the grace to sit in "I don't know" without panic.
I am so grateful to be home.

Monday, August 30, 2010


I have a more than passing interest in the nature of power.  I majored in political science in college not because I had any interest in governments but because  I wanted to better understand power.  Attending college after having just emerged from a broken marriage, I felt powerless.

I crave power, and at the same time fear it.  Acutely aware of its ability to corrupt and abuse, I dance around power gingerly.  When I feel overly powerful I become frightened and find ways to deflate myself; when I feel powerless I resort to manipulation and subterfuge.

Having been told over the years that I have a "powerful personality," I struggle with inept attempts at containing myself.  At times I tamp myself down in order to blend in, and at other times I'm a bull in a china shop.   Every now and then I find a comfortable balance that feels authentic.

My internal war with power most often plays out in my marriage, but that is a topic for another day.  Most recently it messed with my head at work, and I'm still trying to sort it all out.  Another example of Life being a classroom!

Bob Lively once said there are only 2 kinds of power: political power and spiritual power. Political power is very tricky; spiritual power is rock solid. My quest is to handle the first with grace and to accept the second as my salvation.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Someone called today and requested I write a poem for a friend.  She asked if I was still in the "poem writing business."  After four years in the real estate rat race I wasn't sure I still had it in me.  I have written very few poems in the last four years.

I wrote the poem this morning.  I had forgotten how each poem soothes and comforts me!  Perhaps it is only an illusion that they are ever written for someone else.

I am grateful for the opportunity to remember the poet within. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Just returned from visiting my college roommate, Sheila Rae Morris.  When we get together mostly we talk about religion, politics and family.  Sheila is a writer, and she shared with me an essay on faith from her most recent (though not yet published) book.  Our religious experience as children was very similar; she was raised Southern Baptist and I grew up immersed (literally) in the Church of Christ.   Her essay is an honest and poignant description of how she made the pilgrimage away from her Baptist roots to celebrating the truth of who she is and always has been.

Our conversation reminded me of the time in my life when I no longer believed in the notion of "Scripture."  Sometime in my early forties I was having a conversation with a neighbor, a fundamentalist Christian who kept quoting the Bible to me.  She asked me how I justified my position on some issue when the Bible, to her, clearly disagreed with me.  I heard myself reply, "because I do not consider the Bible to be authoritative."  Our conversation came to an end, but I knew in that moment that what had once been true for me was no longer.

So many writings and teachings have informed me over the years.  Books and teachers have educated me, inspired me, provoked me, challenged me and radically altered my world view, and I am grateful.  Yet, I am even more grateful for the day I realized that none of them could, any longer, command me.  That realization afforded me one of the most exquisite tastes of freedom I can remember.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Years ago I published a monthly newsletter titled Stepping Out!  The header contained the two definitions of "stepping out," which are now shown in the header description of this blog.  I realize that these two "actions" describe the ebb and flow of my life,  or perhaps Life.

Four years ago I stepped out of semi retirement and plunged into a full time job in real estate.  Two weeks ago I stepped out of that job to retreat.  Both were conscious decisions.

Once again, surprisingly, I desire to write in order to rediscover or discover anew who Robyn is.  Here is what I know about me and writing.  I am terrible at writing in a journal.  Why?  Because no one but me will read it, and I bore myself.  Chalk it up to hubris or extroversion, but I write much more clearly when I have an audience.

Thus, this blog. Wow, this is so much easier than putting together a paper newsletter, folding, stamping and mailing!  And it is certainly a work in progress -- I've never attempted a blog so I've much to learn about the technicalities.  I welcome hints and suggestions.

Feels in some way like coming full circle and yet so, so different.  I've missed you.