Best Friends


June 29, 2017

Dear Cherished Heart,

We stood at the kitchen island. I asked him a question and he needed to look something up on his phone. He reached over to the built-in wine rack, pulled out my gold-rimmed reading glasses and put them on. Such a familiar action.

I looked right at him, instead of at the space between us. He has lots of grey hair in his beard now. Though it must have started some time ago, I expected to be alongside for the changing of every hair. We had been growing old together.

I long to go back and find the exact moment when the rope of our marriage began to unravel and pinch the fraying thread between my finger and thumb and force it back into position. But, there is no rope and no moment.

If a marriage is not bad, does that automatically make it good?

Though I still believe that love is the key ingredient in a relationship; it is not the only ingredient. If you put flour into a bowl, will it turn into cake? Not without a bunch of other stuff and the right conditions surrounding it.

It felt like we had all the necessary ingredients to make our marriage last.

1 cup of Love ✔️

1 cup of Respect ✔️

3 cups of Abundance ✔️

2 tsp of Admiration ✔️

4 Tbsp of Commitment  ✔️

Add Pepper to taste ✔️


According to one psychologist, philia—Greek for friendship—is the most important component of a long-term loving partnership. To be friends with your mate includes all of the above, but also means risking conflict by being honest even when it feels uncomfortable, because it builds intimacy⁠1. And it means dreaming and planning together, instead of winging it.

For the length of our marriage, we behaved as if conflict would undermine love and connection. If Narcan is the antidote to Opiods; then avoidance was the antidote to the harmful effects of conflict and disagreement. If we disagreed that must mean we were not meant to be together.

I have friends who describe their husband as their best friend, and I have seen it on Facebook around anniversaries and birthdays. I felt confused by this, and pretty skeptical. It didn’t feel that way for me.

But now, I feel it as ABSOLUTE truth—as if it just got carved across my forehead.

How can it work any other way?

Words cannot describe how much I miss my hasband*, and how much sadness still pervades my weekly living. I don’t mention it because it takes me by surprise. I wasn’t fulfilled; we had unwittingly forsaken our relationship for our primary work—his outside the home and mine inside. Neither person known to the other. Best friends, not.


Yours Truly,

Mona Lott

* has been + husband = Hasband




Which one shall I feed?

Image result for two wolves

April 20, 2017

Dear Cherished Heart,

I chose separation over marriage. It was a decision that took months or maybe years to make. Therefore I assumed this would be easier than that.
I imagined I would handle the change with internal grace.
External grace? Yes. Nearly always.
But internally—there’s a freaking war going on.

I am reading the third book in the “All Souls” trilogy—“The Book of Life,” by Deborah Harkness, which is an historical fantasy novel depicting a life where creatures (vampires, witches and demons) live alongside humans. While reading, I was reminded of the legend of the Two Wolves.

Native American Legends: Two Wolves: A Cherokee Legend
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

In “The Book of Life”, one of the characters asks, “What if I can’t stop feeding the bad wolf? What if I fail?”

What. If. I. Fail.


I have heard and seen the story of the two wolves many times, but the message has always been the same. Feed the good wolf; starve the bad wolf; maintain order. How does one actually do that when the vibes of the bad wolf are so strong? My life seems messy and out of control at times. It’s a feeding frenzy.

The message in the Two Wolves story seems a bit too tidy to me…it reads well and it’s logical, but it hasn’t resonated. So after reading it again in “The Book of Life”, I did another search and found this by Teaching of the Ancients.

“In the Cherokee world, and in the original story of the two wolves that has been passed down through Native American tribes, the story ends this way:

The old Cherokee simply replied, “If you feed them right they both win.” And the story goes on. 

“You see, if I only choose to feed the white wolf, the black one will be hiding around every corner waiting for me to become distracted or weak and jump to get the attention he craves. He will always be angry and fighting the white wolf. But if I acknowledge him, he is happy and the white wolf is happy and we all win. For the black wolf has many qualities: tenacity, courage, fearlessness, strong will and great strategic thinking that I have need of at times and that the white wolf lacks. But the white wolf has compassion, caring, strength, and the ability to recognize what is in the best interests of all. You see son, the white wolf needs the black wolf at his side. To feed only one would starve the other and they will soon become uncontrollable. To feed and care for both means they will serve you well and do nothing that is not a part of something greater, something good, something of life. 

Feed them both and there will be no more internal struggle for your attention, and when there is no battle inside, you can listen to the voices of deeper knowing that will guide you in choosing what is right in every circumstance. Peace is the Cherokee mission in life. A man or woman who has peace inside has everything. A man or woman who is pulled apart by the war inside him or her has nothing. How you choose to interact with the opposing forces within you will determine your life. Starve one or the other or guide them both.” 

Image result for two wolves

Later that week I read a post on “Zen Habits” by Leo Babauta entitled, “Find Beauty in Every Freakin’ Moment, No Matter What.” He writes about the human habit of “rejecting the experience”.  This is me. I don’t want this to be happening to me, therefore I am going to push it away and dream of something better. I’m going to HOPE for a different past, and “what if” myself to death. 

Babauta writes, “The problem isn’t the situation. We’ll always face difficult situations in life, some dire and drastic, others small and irritating, but we can’t rid our lives of difficulty, pain and struggle. The problem is that we reject whatever we face. It’s not good enough, it’s not wanted, it’s not welcome. I don’t want it that way . . . I want it that way.” (Zen Habits)

What is the answer in all of this? What wolf should I feed? How can I find beauty when life sometimes looks like a sculpture carved out of shit? How can pain reflect goodness?

For me, it is nature, it is yoga, and it is a community of “yeah, me too” people. Pause…Be honest…expand…be mindful…and then accept this life, in pieces, one at a time.

“The future is completely open, we are writing it moment by moment.” Pema Chödrön

“When we reject pain, sorrow, anger and loss . . . We are saying we don’t want all of our lives. We only want the good parts.” (Leo Babauta)
The white wolf.

“What if I fail?” (The Book of Life)
We won’t let you.”


Yours Truly,

Mona Lott

Pen and paper processing

March 25, 2017

Dear Cherished Heart,
In my last counselling session my mental health advisor spoke to me about my “parts”. When I get overwhelmed by feelings, it is usually because one or more parts are highly activated and giving me all kinds of not-so-true messages.

What she suggested is that I “parent” my parts. What do they need from me? 

To the perfectionist – I see you and your desire to be the best you can be, but this is a road fraught with confusion, and trial and error. Even though you are 51 years old it is OK to make a mistake. When you make a mistake it is an opportunity for learning, and readjusting your sails.

To the wounded – Remember you are an emotionally sensitive being. Feeling sad and-yes-brokenhearted is the path to healing. There is no shortcut. But not everything need to be painted with the brush of sadness. Stop and smell the roses. Really. I know it’s cliché, but it is one thing you can wilfully do to get through this. Practice gratitude. Every. Day.

To the critic- Fuck off! I got this. I get it, you don’t see your way through all this lawyering, all this financial rigmarole, or all this separating. It is pretty uncertain. But I am good enough already-so please stop telling me I can’t do this or that. I can. You are clouding my thoughts with your nay-saying;  I need you to sit in the next room and talk to yourself so I can get some clarity. OK? Good.

In summary:
Be your best-mistakes and all.
Practice gratitude-every day.
I am good enough already. Seek opportunities and people who make this evident.

It is very hard work.

I do love pen on paper at times Cherished Heart. It gives me more than I realized I had.

Yours truly,

Mona Lott

Composting Death

IMG_7024March 23, 2017

Dear Cherished Heart,

I have suffered an emotional death. That sounds so melodramatic. And no such thing even exists. I have not died, for I still  breath. But . . .

If you could see me—really see me—you would see a hole right through my chest. How can that be explained?

The day we got married was filled with sunshine, love, laughter, and promise. Something inside of me opened up to a soul-filled kind of love. I leaned in. I am on a search for that blessed day, the one where we created affirmations of love and authenticity, and an intention to be together for a lifetime. Our people filled the pews and cheered for us as Handel’s Hornpipe, Water Music Suite,  danced on a breeze.  Hornpipe for God’s sake: optimism amidst playful banter.

But what was my point Cherished Heart?

Oh yeah. Living and dying simultaneously. Waking. Cooking. Driving. Crying. Walking. Loving. Eating. Aching. Washing. Buying. Petting. Playing. Flailing. Talking. Listening. Smiling.

Can I not curl into a ball on a feather-bed and sleep until the edges of the pain have softened?

Can I not be held up by others and shuffled through life like cattle in a chute—moving to a rhythm outside of myself?

Can pen and paper not manifest a set of agreements that are fair to all, and written with kindness and lingering admiration?

Can I let go and float wherever the current is meant to take me?

How can emotional death compost and support growth, when I am rooted to it?

When will the weight of it ease up? I am strong but weary.

Who am I outside of this grief and felled marriage?

Beside my writing chair sits a solid wood table holding the accoutrements of writing. Coffee. Candle. Cross. Cards. I had pulled a card earlier, which I immediately disregarded as bullshit.

I’m taking a second look.

You can recover from anything. You can heal from anything. There is nothing that has fundamentally damaged your spirit, your will, and your heart, no matter how broken those parts of you feel at times. They have only ever been broken to heal stronger. They have not been broken beyond repair, and never will be. You are breaking out of something, rising above it, trying to transcend a pattern within yourself, or one in relation to another person— and you will succeed. Focus on your integrity and truth. Be yourself. If you have forgotten who that is, don’t worry—that true self has not gone away, and never will.  It is ready and waiting to rise up, in original gorgeousness and glory, and be alive. It is never too late for you.” Wild Kuan Yin, Alana Fairchild

It is with utmost relief that I learn I am not going to die or be permanently broken by this experience. My soul will compost my pain, and that is a slow process indeed.

Yours Truly,

Mona Lott



February 26, 2017

Dear Cherished Heart,

What is next?

A good friend of mine forwarded a blog post to me, by Renée Magnusson. I love the ripple effect. She has a different story to tell; we are not experiencing the same manner of loss; and yet, some of the characteristics are the same. Living in the midst of struggle can rob you of your essence, your spirit, the things that keep you whole and make you quintessentially you. Grief is not only about the loss of a person, a dream, or an environment; it is, at its core, about a change to, a sacrificing of, or a burying of self.

The blogpost, “Sunday Sin: I saw the light and didn’t die…”, held sage wisdom for me, and maybe also for you. Read it. No adult exists who hasn’t known loss; we are connected to it, and by it.

I may have mentioned before that I feel stuck, welded to the onerous process of grieving. Every direction I turn toward seems to hold more sadness. When I contemplate “what is next” for me, it looks a lot like a grown woman stumbling and falling flat on her face into quicksand. Slow. Steady. Suffocating.

But after reading “Sunday Sin”, I wonder if falling apart is the only option? I wonder if there are other paths that intersect with the falling apart one—and I could, at some point, step over to that path. The imaginary doing of that fills me with breath and air and lightness, and the pressing emotional fatigue simply drains away.

Now, I’m just wondering how to take that first step.

Truly Yours,

Mona Lott


Dancing Dream


Feb. 17, 2017

Dear Cherished Heart,

Happily. Ever. After . . .

doesn’t always look like you think it will.

I have loved to move-my-body-to-music ever since I can remember. But I didn’t realize there was a beat until my much cooler sister Tobi helped me to find, and feel it. She sat with me on the near-royal blue shag carpet in our living room listening to the radio. She clapped out the beat for me and I imitated her, in the same way I later copied my french language teacher, “Écoutez, et répéter”. 

It may sound straight forward, but I had particular challenges in the area of clapping or moving to the beat of any song. My sister took it back a notch. We went onto the driveway, or maybe the sidewalk, and she stood in front of me like a mirror. As she stepped with her left foot, I stepped with my right, and we practiced step-together-step until I could synchronize with her. Then we added music.

My memory tells me I was around ten years old, and she therefore, eleven. I shadowed her dance moves all of my teenage life; sneaking into clubs with her when she came of age. My sister moved on the dance floor in a way that made EVERYONE feel the music. She continues to be the most expressive, hip, and in-and-out of sync dancer I have known. Fully committed.

We grew up with music. My parents played in a dance band when we were young: my dad on guitar and back-up vocals, and my mom on keyboard and voice. The whole band practiced at our house in a specially designed, fully carpeted room. I mean floor-to-ceiling gold shag carpet.

Music and movement pervaded my life, and it continues to lead me to places that breath and stillness cannot. I have grown into a satisfactory, if not fine, dancer.

On December 21st I went to a fundraising concert that my friend Carolyn organized in support of Discovery House. I had a few of my bestest and most favorite people with me: my mom, Kristin, Faven, Laurèn, and Yohannes. While listening to Tenille, a Canadian singer and songwriter, sing and tell stories, I felt certain that each member of my family would be as moved as me. They enjoyed the concert, the stories, the bake sale, and our time together—but it was a spot-light moment for me. The light of wisdom in that twenty-two-year-old singer fell upon me. I felt the pivot of the moment like a sharp turn, but I had no idea what it meant. I leaned forward and listened as she sang “Dare to Be”. I cannot remember her exact words after she finished, but the essence was to follow your dreams no matter what your age.

Enter La La Land. I want to tell you about the whole movie but I can’t—you need to see it for yourself. It might be fanciful, or it might be brilliant. You will love it, or hate it. I don’t know. For me, musicals are my all time favourite…add dancing, romance, and comedy, and I’m happy.

The female lead, is (among other things) a story teller—like Tenille—and like me. It is stories that create the fabric of our lives, regardless of vocation. The pivotal moment that occurred at the Tenille concert continued at the movie, not surprisingly, in a song. “Here’s to the ones who dream / Foolish as they may seem / Here’s to the hearts that ache / Here’s to the mess we make”⁠1

I am all that.

Happily ever after cannot be found in a person, a place, or a thing. But as we create stories with other people, they are woven into the fabric of our lives. The people and the experiences are not the most important part of the dream. It is courage and belief in one’s own strength that propels a person toward what they seek.

I had a dream that included love, and marriage, and family. But it is not the only dream I’ve had, nor the only story I am here to tell.

Truly Yours,

Mona Lott


1 La La Land