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a love worth living

a love worth living

“When love beckons to you, follow [her], Though [her] ways are hard and steep.

And when [her] wings enfold you yield to [her]  Though the sword hidden among [her] pinions may wound you. And when [she] speaks to you believe in [her]  Though [her] voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden. For even as love crowns you so shall [she] crucify you. Even as [she] is for your growth so is [she] for your pruning. Even as [she] ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, So shall [she] descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth. Like sheaves of corn [she] gathers you unto [her]self. [She] threshes you to make you naked. [She] sifts you to free you from your husks. [She] grinds you to whiteness. [She] kneads you until you are pliant; And then [she] assigns you to [her] sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

Two wooden hearts on a cut timber background.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart. But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure, Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor, Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears. Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love.

gentle roses

When you love you should not say, ‘God is in my heart,’ but rather, ‘I am in the heart of God.’ And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course. Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself. But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires: To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To know the pain of too much tenderness.

To be wounded by your own understanding of love, And to bleed willingly and joyfully. To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving; To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy; To return home at eventide with gratitude; And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

[L]et there be spaces in your togetherness.

And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

That which seems most feeble and bewildered in you is the strongest and most determined.

~Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

~~~~~~~~ amen

(c) 2016, candi dugas, llc

why listen to bey instead of mom* or g~d?

why listen to bey instead of mom* or g~d?

A gorgeous, wealthy pop star

without impressive traditional credentials – like an Ivy League degree


has never been embraced

by conservatively valued members of our community


as a worthy role model

to influence the beliefs and actions of our young people


– or even ourselves.

So, why should Bey experience anything differently?


Image: via Beyonce/YouTube . View “Formation” at

I am not surprised at the antagonistic comments I’ve read on social media over the weekend. Defiant even. “She will not take the place of my Jesus!”

I chuckle at comments like that – for a couple of reasons.


I don’t know Beyoncé, but I seriously doubt that she’s interested in becoming anyone’s savior.


I believe such adamance is an expression of a shamed and uncomfortable attraction to her work.

“Thou doth protest too much …” ~Hamlet

Even for women of faith who have great relationships with their moms and love the lessons that they’ve passed down still can find other voices beyond family and the bible, church, etc. to be relevant and valuable to their experience and goals.

Bey brings to the table an unapologetic sexy sense of empowerment that we sorely need. One Facebook friend posted that we’ve been looking for a black leader to rise up. We thought it would be Obama and it turned out to be Beyoncé.

Mrs. Carter is all of who she is. Surely, we can say that her wealth allows her to be, but she wasn’t always this financially wealthy. This daring and confidence began developing long before she had paper. In fact, these intangible qualities make what we can see and feel happen. In this way, Beyoncé is a worthy model for us to follow. “I see it; I want it. I stunt, yeah, little hornet. I dream it; I work hard; I grind ‘til I own it.” (sung by Beyoncé)

We don’t have to dress like she does or dance like she does (though that would be great if my body could still absorb the intensity of those moves), but we can certainly allow her witness to inspire us to be unapologetically free in who G~d created us to be. She’s leading in ways that traditional interpretations of G~d are not, do not. She’s able to say what most moms don’t feel free enough to articulate to and for their daughters – than we are able to pronounce for ourselves.

That’s why we listen to Beyoncé, sing with her and do our best to keep up when dancing with her.

“OK, ladies, now let’s get in formation!”

*mom – While we know that dads are present in our lives, for the purpose of this post as a response to online comments about how Beyoncé doesn’t trump a mother’s advice, we are only referring to “mom” as the parent.

© 2016 candi dugas, llc – Featured image:

just free . . .

Posted on
just free . . .

Feeling the perfectly temperatured breeze on my skin last week during my morning walk, I felt so incredibly FREE!

From the time I decided that my liberty would be the topic of this week’s post, I’ve been struggling with the words to aptly convey to you that moment and its continuation into now. But the words escape me. I want to share it with you fully because I want you to feel it too, or at least taste a bit of it or catch a glimpse. But the words escape me.

In one of my Kabbalah books I find that words don’t exist for these kinds of experiences because the encounters didn’t happen there [in words]. I suppose it’s like one of those humorous anecdotes that don’t translate well to others. To appreciate it fully, you had to be there.

For this story, though, I’m not willing to settle for “you had to be there.” Not that you can join me in revisiting that exact moment, but I do so long for others to be free. From what? From whatever keeps you bound, you know – fear, desire to please everyone, lack, disease, insecurities, settling for less, unhappiness – all of that.

When I picture freedom, I see one of the early scenes of Their Eyes Were Watching God, starring Halle Berry. In this scene (within the first minute or so of the clip below), Ms. Berry’s character, Janie, takes off running barefoot under the sun in a flowing white dress and jumps in the lake, fully clothed. We can just feel the refreshment that the water’s coolness and the splash bring to Janie.

Prior to this scene we learn that she is awakening to her sexuality. She’s always been one to notice the exquisite details of

exquisite details of nature like Janie notices in her freedom

exquisite details of nature like Janie notices in her freedom

nature, like the bee feeding on the nectar from a flower’s center. Now she notices the exquisite details on the rippling muscles of a young neighbor, Johnny Taylor, as he makes his way past her home to catch some fish.

Her grandmother, Nanny, observes them kissing and wears Janie out for letting him feel all over her. Obviously Nanny is reacting to more than the budding attraction she witnesses. Nevertheless, she gives to Janie all of the burdens borne by generations of women before Janie, including the obligation to marry a “good” man who is old enough to be Janie’s grandfather. Nanny doesn’t see the bee on the flower petal and she blinds her granddaughter to it as well – for a time.

“Nanny took the horizon and pinched it into a little bit of a thang.” ~Janie,  Their Eyes Were Watching God

I fully understand that when these similar kinds of life-altering occurrences happen in our own lives, for the most part, our foremothers are acting out of love. They are doing the best they know how. Yet, for every Nanny there is a Janie. So I cannot help but wonder what makes a Nanny accept being the “mule of the world” for her lifetime and what makes a Janie not? And so when I complain that my mother-ancestors could have advanced our rights as women faster and sooner, that leaves me refusing their answer of, “We didn’t have a choice.”

 There is always a choice.

My heightened sense of freedom is truly a gift, a blessing. But it is also a result of years of intentional work and hard choices. I suppose, then, my wish for others is not just for freedom, but the courage, perseverance, and strength to do the work, make and stick to the hard choices. Yeah, I’ve cried and lamented and seriously considered regressing to try to alleviate some of the temporary discomfort and pain. Somehow, though, there is something inside of me that fundamentally will not settle for that, no matter how difficult the progress is. I’ve never settled for less as far back as I can remember. And I don’t think I’m any more special than anyone else in our world.

“Candi! Candi! Whatcha doin’?”

“I’m feelin’ free.  . . .  I’m feelin’ G~d.”

I hope you’ll join me . . . 😉

(c) 2012 candi dugas, llc

Their Eyes Were Watching God – (c) 2005 Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc. and Touchstone Television.

All rights reserved.

Churches and politicians, take note: Disrespect women, and they will leave. – The Washington Post

“Feminism’s Final Frontier? Religion.”

Part of me responds to Ms. Miller’s reporting of the limitations placed upon women in Christian churches with thoughts that

muslim women

ISHARA S.KODIKARA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES - “In churches (and synagogues and mosques) across the land, women are still treated as second-class citizens,” Miller writes.

her presentation exaggerates the current status of women in leadership, particularly among clergy. Afterall, Ms. Miller – or her editors – choose a picture of Muslim women for this article, a rather stereotypical choice of female suppression (at least our western-Christianized perspective) within a faith system. The article seems to have a Christian slant; it needs more information about women in mosques and synagogues to be balanced – if the image of Muslim women leads its way.

Or perhaps my thoughts of exaggeration are clouded by my networks which are full of female clergy making serious contributions to our faith. The seminaries I’ve attended have 50+% women as students. But then I remember that women may hold advanced theological degrees and may be ordained, but consistently and more often than men are called to or are appointed to the most challenging communities – if not impossible – to pastor. And then when they revitalize the community, a male pastor and his picture perfect family replace her. I also recall images of lay leadership teams being comprised of mostly – if not all – men with a sea of women sitting in the pews or serving as ushers and cooks.

I don’t know if it’s our final frontier, but it is certainly territory to be tamed.

Churches and politicians, take note: Disrespect women, and they will leave. – The Washington Post.

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