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live it to give it is all about love and connection. Being authentic. Living our lives and sharing it with others. Life is messy and so is this blog. Somedays my organized coach self shows up. Other days it's my vulnerable author. There's a mom that lives inside me alongside a wife, friend, creative muse, ponderer extraordinaire, and multitude of others. I'll introduce you to people who inspire me and offer a peek into my world that very likely intersects with your world. In other words, I will share life in its full, glorious mess with you. I'm honored you're here and I hope you'll come back soon!!  Cheers! Kayce 


Entries in Breath (8)


Daily Mosaic

The morning began with a thoughtful reading and a pondering of the line: We are each small stones rolling toward the other to create one vast mosaic.* Oh, it sounded so lovely and connected in the moment. Next I engaged in my morning meditation led by the lovely Susan Piver who ended our time together with these words: May you have a day of unspeakable clarity. Ah, stones creating a mosaic... unspeakable clarity... I was set for the day... and then I opened my email.

Greeting me I found a sweet response from a dear friend, the usual spam and inspirational messages, and a note from CreateSpace letting me know that my Kindle-ready format of As I Lay Pondering was ready for preview. Yay! The long-awaited version I had enlisted the professionals to help create. Ready. Set. Drum roll, please. Open file... Gasp. No. Say it isn’t so. Ugh. Boo. Hiss. It looks like an illiterate chimpanzee designed the tablet. (My apologies to the chimpanzee.) Seriously? This is what I jumped through hoops to enroll in, paid good money for, and waited WEEKS to receive? It is no better than the free test copy I uploaded myself before I decided to turn it over to the “experts.” What ever was I thinking? My next question was what were they thinking? – (although I said it in slightly more professional terms.)

Their response: “I am sorry to hear that your Kindle Edition is not appearing as you expected.” Seriously? Whatever... Next came rote instructions about how they would be getting back to me along with details of how to contact a person immediately. Trying to stay calm, I followed their instructions verbatim and pressed the button that said, “Call us.” Pressing. No response. Pressing again. Still no response. My beautiful day's mosaic was swiftly turning into a jumbled mess. My “unspeakable clarity” was raging in words I dare not put into print. Name calling. A vicarious temper tantrum. Even an out loud bellow in the car on my way to the dentist. Yes, the dentist. A banner day all around.

What was I thinking? Stones rolling toward the other to create one vast mosaic? It feels like a boulder is pressing in on me at top speed and I will soon be flattened like a character in an old school cartoon. My inner dialogue begins... Breathe. Shut up. Breathe. I hate breathing. Relax. Don’t want to. Turn your ugly thoughts around. I don’t wanna! Meditation? Boo hiss. Peace and contentment? Give it to someone else. Knock out the Kindle-version myself? I’d rather knock out the Kindle creator right now!

Several hours elapsed... still no response from Kindle... The day only got more ludicrous, but I will spare you the details for now. Please know, however, I resorted to drastic measures and indulged in sugar cookies (which I did savor) and a tad bit of (necessary) retail therapy in order to move forward. To heck with Polly Positive... Some days a girl just needs to vent!

Chuckle chuckle... as I imagine my readers gasping that my positive outlook has been displaced by a computer glitch. You mean you get upset? I can hear them saying. I had no idea you set up expectations and then got disappointed. Are you kidding? All the time! And then the dialogue begins again between my inner sage and petulant child. Practice. Maybe. Keep rolling. I’ll try. Pondering? It might be worth a go. Vent and rage? Absolutely.

Today's mosaic lesson? Being fully human may just comprise the best stones for unspeakable clarity. Hmmmm. Now what to do about those Kindle people?

*from As I Lay Pondering, "Mosaic"

photos from Casa Battlo, Barcelona

MY NEW BOOK: As I Lay Pondering: daily invitations to live a transformed life by Kayce S. Hughlett. Available here and at Get your copy today!!


Riding the Wave of Breath

Before daybreak and slightly bleary-eyed from my night's sleep, I enter my studio. Touching match to wick, the soft glow of candlelight enters the room and morning shadows dance across the walls. Tenderly I curl myself into a comfortable cross-legged position, close my eyes ever so slightly and offer myself to this new day.

Inhale. Exhale. I ride the wave of my breath. As I meditate, there are moments where my curiosity stirs and I wonder from where this tranquility comes. I sit in silence and follow my breath. In. Out. One. Two. Three. Four. My body settles into a gentle rhythm. With the inhale, I hear the sound of wind through aspens. On the exhale, a storm is brewing in the midwest. My thoughts float by like gentle clouds on a summer day. Grounded. Breathing. Simple. I am tranquil. Again, I wonder how I got to this place until even that thought drifts on by. In. Out. One. Two. Three. Four.


A City of Surprises - Cairo

September 23, 2010 Pre-Pilgrimage Old Coptic Cairo and Islamic Cairo

"Lord, awaken me from the sleep of desire
That makes me oblivious to my
heart's longing.
Lift the illusion that hides the truth
That giving up self is really gaining." Sapira Journal

Waking up in Cairo. Where did the past two days go? Lost amidst planes and flying hours - learning to practice my presence with seat mates, kicking toddlers & foreign ambassadors. Meeting and greeting my fellow travelers, then venturing into this vast city of Cairo and praying jet lag will not cloud the magnificence of this experience. Using my breath to lead the way. I crave filling my lungs with fresh air. Two inhales. Two exhales. YHWH. Visiting the Coptic churches, Amma Regina reminds us God is as near as our breath.

Now I sit outside the Coptic Museum - enclosed spaces and jet lag taking their toll. I can walk or stand no longer. I am pulled toward sunshine and fresh air. Sitting on the sandstone ledge, I know my shirt will be covered with Cairo dust. Letting go has already begun and I sink back against the solid wall. This morning we've traveled through the Coptic churches in the enclosed area of Old Cairo. We've learned Coptic actually means Egyptian although many like to classify Coptic as Christian Egyptians (a population of 5% in this 95% Muslim city).

Our personal Egyptologist, Hany (pronounced Honey), leads the way with worlds of knowledge enthusiastically spilling from his mind and mouth. His heavy accent brings lovely new adaptations to old words like Deuteronomy and Pentateuch. We travel through the narrow alleys learning to say, "La la-la" (No No) to the hawkers of their "special ware." The day doesn't seem so hot, although a trickle of sweat slides its way down my back. Listening to the voices surrounding me, I can make no sense of this Arabic language that sounds guttural, but seems to come mostly from the throat. I'm saddened that the first word I've learned is "no" although perhaps I could slide "Salaam" in there and find rest with "go in peace."

I've been reminded today that I don't prefer history lectures and group tours, but rather enjoy the small and tiny sections of life - a backlit tree of life in a 4th century church - the trill of a bird I cannot see or name. I am grateful for Regina who invites us to slow down and reminds us to touch the portals and gates as we enter new territory. A dragon fly drifts by and I'm curious about the message she has to offer. I could lay down and sleep right here in this ancient courtyard pressed against hard stone. The breeze calls to me to drift and move back outward - onward.


Today was a day of attuning to the voices around - calls to Midday prayer, haunting and beautiful in the same moment - pleading vendors - laughing children - weary pilgrims - new-found friends.

When journeying in an unknown land, can a smile be enough? In the midst of the maze-like bazaar, a tattered vendor gives thanks for a beautiful smile. A pilgrim grieves over the poverty surrounding us. Do our "hosts" believe they are impoverished? Cairo exudes the mystery of a city both ancient and half-finished all at the same time. We are reminded of Marco Polo and his stories to the Great Kublai Khan as he says:

"Your footsteps follow not what is outside the eyes, but what is within... many are the cities like "Cairo", which elude the gaze of all, except the (wo)man who catches them by surprise." Sapira Journal

Did we catch the city by surprise today or did it catch us?
Following our trip to Old Cairo, we entered The Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha or Alabaster Mosque. We were met by the call of tinkling bells as the wind whispered through the magnificent chandelier. Shoes in hand, we entered this sacred place and waited to hear our own 100th name in our hearts. Words drifted through my mind - were the whispers my own or Another's? Tinkle Bell - Breath - Breathe - Breeze - Beauty - Be - Be still and know that I am God - BE.

The pull to stay here was strong. Spread across the tapestry rug, we, pilgrims, commingled with God, Allah, the 99 beautiful names as well as fellow travelers from around the world. A little girl caught our eye with her curly locks and sassy walk as she moved toward and away from her own family including her mother in full burka. Many of us pondered the question of when this little beauty would come to an age and be draped in black from head to toe. Would she look forward to this right of passage? Would she rebel? Those questions, however, were wrapped in the future and at that moment it was time for us to don our shoes and move from here.

Our next stop was the Cairo bazaar. Our first adventure included finding local bathroom facilities as we dug in our wallets for Egyptian pounds and searched our pockets for tissues and hand sanitizer. The brilliance of color and winding pathways felt like something straight out of a Middle Eastern movie. I could envision a chase scene where the heroine (or hero) knocked aside stacked baskets, swung from brightly colored scarves and swooped in and out of narrow passageways to escape the ensuing villain. Scarves, trinkets, and hidden treasures were tucked in every nook and cranny. Vendors promised they had the "best price" on all their wares and if you showed the slightest interest, the game of negotiation began. Intimidating to some, it reminded me of bargaining in Cozumel or Cancun - although here with a level of hospitality I was just beginning to see as wonderfully Egyptian. Alas, our time in this place felt too short to me. I would have loved to wander slowly (slowly) through the pathways and practice my negotiating skills for jewelry and scarves (a practice near-well perfected by our dear, Regina.)

Loading up the bus and heading back toward the Pyramids Park Hotel, we made a slight detour at an authentic Egyptian Cotton store. A few of us opted to stay on the bus while others emerged in a short while with treasures for loved ones - including themselves! Today, I caught a better glimpse of the Nile and then the pyramids rising through the haze like my own Mt. Rainier peaking out of the clouds - majestic, haunting, & ancient beyond belief.

The contrasts of this city are full of surprise. A woman passenger in royal purple burka rides sidesaddle on the back of a scooter. A donkey pulls the family cart amidst taxis, buses and automobiles via intersections with no traffic signs. Horses graze between buildings and a camel trots down the street with master atop the gaily decorated hump. Indeed a mixture of sights, sounds and surprise.

Back home, we parted ways to dine and rest. My evening included a light dinner, followed by a full Egyptian moon, gentle breeze, strawberry shisha, laughter, fun, fellowship and a photo by Andre Bottecelli's photographer. What a day!!!

"I will commune with my own heart upon my bed,

and be still... I will both lay me down in peace,
and sleep: for thou, DEEP SILENCE, only makest
me dwell in care." - Susan Muto

photos ©lucy
  • steeples in coptic cairo
  • "tree of life" - 4th century
  • old cairo alleyway
  • view from alabaster mosque and me :)
  • glimpses at the bazaar


sips and drops of blessing

“The element of water connects us to a sacred web across the globe and invites us into acts of blessing, pouring forth love and grace to the world around us and receiving it in return.” -- Christine V. Paintner

I’ve often thought of the air we breathe as being connected to everyone in the world. My neighbor in Puerto Rico inhales the same air that flowed from my Seattle home, across the United States and then south to the Caribbean. In my mind, it moves on around the world across Europe and Asia, crossing the Pacific and then back home again.

Air flows freely and although it may feel stagnant for periods of time, it is still fluid – as is water. While water may not be the exact same body flowing directly from one place to another, there is still the possibility and invitation to connect across the globe - if only in our heart and imagination. When I ponder my flowing tears dropping into a stream that flows toward the ocean which moves via gulf stream, I can witness a piece of myself touching the woman in Africa who washes her clothes on a rock while bending over a muddy river. Perhaps it is the same water melted from the Polar ice cap, evaporated, blown through the clouds and poured out on a different continent half way around the world.

While I am clearly no scientist, I do know that water changes shape and form and has a unique path of its own. What would it be like to consider water in the way Christine describes as “acts of blessing, pouring forth love and grace to the world around us”? Personally, I love the image of blessings passed through sips and drops of water.

photo © lucy - Ireland, 2009


morning's whirlwind

Focusing on breath, yet finding I scarcely have time to breathe.
Listening to the cat's purr - wishing I could be so content.
From where has this whirlwind of my mind come? How can I make it stop?
I've typed over a thousand words this morning. Breathed a dozen cleansing breaths.
Started and stopped and still...
the tornado of ideas and creations and concerns whirls through my mind,
creating it's own wind tunnel of chaos.

Yesterday, I walked in the wind. I felt Spring's air upon my bare legs -
my skirt floating on the breeze of God and the steps of my desire.
I watched the newly bursting lilac blooms nod to me as I passed by.
A floating kite appeared in the sky, its imaginary string held in my palm.
I paused and naughtily picked a dandelion puff and blew the seeds into the wind,
(being mindful, of course, to avoid the neatly manicured lawn along my path.)

Wind. Breath of God. Ruach.
I write and I recall those moments of bliss,
and in the recollection, I am once again - if only for a moment-

photo circa 1997 © h3 images - artwork currently on display here and here.