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“Aimeriez-vous achiever un verrou?” ” Would you like to buy a lock?”

My daughter and I look at each other puzzled and start laughing. We are walking from the Louvre to Shakespeare and Co. bookstore in Paris, on a gorgeous June day, and suddenly vendors everywhere are selling… padlocks.

Not Eiffel tower key chains or Victor Hugo action figures, but padlocks. With keys. Random…

Then we get to the Pont des Arts foot bridge and we see the reasoning. The entire expanse of the grating on this bridge is covered with padlocks sporting the names and initials of couples, embellished with hearts etc. Once the lock is put into place, the keys are thrown into the Seine, so that the lovers are forever bound. The “Love Bridge”.

My daughter swoons, “That’s so romantic.” It makes me shudder.

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I am a deeply romantic person.  Madly in love with love. Love loves to love love. God knows I need that kind of fire in my life, but I am also realistic. I was married for 22 years. Then it ended. I have had other relationships in my life that ended too. Like they sometimes do. Not because they failed, but because they were done. Sometimes that choice was mine and sometimes not. No matter how emphatically you declare your love, you cannot promise that it will remain the same forever. That you can “lock” yourself to another human being. Chain them to you for all eternity. Control how that looks and behaves. That is a wild illusion.

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A couple of days later, we had dinner with some friends of ours and I asked what the story was behind the bridge. It was met with snorts of disgust from our hosts. It was not some romantic French fairy tale, but something that some tourist started a few years ago. Now it had become this crazy spectacle. But most intriguingly, the locks were changing the structure of the bridge…. the weight of the locks was destroying and weakening the bridge. Now there is a metaphor to end all metaphors.

I need another model. Marriage feels like a bizarre construct of play acting and conformity. The weight of the lock. A numbing sort of domestication and complacency. It feels inattentive. I know you are never supposed to say never, but I will say I have a hard time imagining ever, ever wanting to live with someone again, much less marry them. This does not mean that I do not love fiercely, with great devotion and cherish having someone in my life.

Polyamory feels like a weird new take on free love. It feels slippery and noncommittal. If you are just wishing to sleep with numerous people for sport and not get emotionally entangled, I can see how that could work. The idea of being one of many…”Monday, meatloaf with Marcia…Tuesday, that must mean it’s filet mingon night with Jodeen” does not fly with me. (Notice I did not say “two for taco Tuesdays”?)
If I am going to open my heart to someone, it is just for them, not to be an extra item on a menu. I need my relationship to be monogamous in all ways, and I will gladly do the same.

And….I love being alone. Really, dearly love being alone. I crave it much of the time. I love sleeping in my bed by myself, making snow angels in the sheets searching for the cool spot. Spending time with my friends, my family, my writing, my art projects, my books. In my home with my stuff. And…I think about the one I love all of the time when I am not with him. I miss him. I look forward to when we are reunited. That sweet ache. My time apart is not to keep myself “open to someone else”, but to keep myself available to ME. The “other” I seek is myself, and she seems to dissolve when I am in a relationship. This separation seems to keep her in tact and to also fan the flames of intention within the relationship.

This is very hot indeed.

“Love does not just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” -Ursula K. Le Guin-

So I want love in my life. Strong meaningful committed love. And I want my own life. Parallel lives, not a single track. I do not see that this is mutually exclusive. Some people can do that and be with someone all of the time. I cannot seem to do it.  I turn into a horrible version of me under those circumstances…and, yes, it is something that I am looking into, but.. perhaps, I am onto something healthier and more sustainable. At least for me.

So do I need to forfeit all together because it doesn’t look the way other people are doing it?

I don’t think so.

Love is a verb. An action. It is dynamic and changes all of the time. There is some magical sweet spot of committing and not being enslaved. Being willing to stick to something and knowing when it just isn’t healthy for anyone anymore. Longevity but not imprisonment. Total monogamy, not just “technical” monogamy. To have the courage to let someone go when it is the best possible thing for their soul, even if it breaks your heart. To love someone dearly, honestly, specifically and to know simultaneously that it can always change, on either end and to have the balls to do it anyway.

Let’s skip the locks and just jump into the river together and swim. Maybe that’s the key.

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ImageTulips are without a doubt my favorite flower, and I love all flowers. My birthday is in April so I feel an extra affinity for this jewel that blooms during this month. Just wanted to share some luscious pictures..ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

(that's me) in the corner...:

I have had a hard week. A very hard week.
It is Tuesday…..wow…..A very long and hard week.

This made my day.

She so preciously ties into my blog I wrote last week about the little girl dancing on the street corner.

I hope she gives you the same lift to your heart that she gave mine.

Originally posted on Spiritbath:

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i had a really beautiful moment last saturday as i was walking down the street to go teach a yoga class. i was on 8th street, a corridor of shops and restaurants, and as i approached the corner, i saw a husband and wife and their very young daughter. she was maybe 2. dressed in her fuzzy petal pink leggings, a cropped soft wool coat, and the most impossibly tiny and stylish shoes. but the beauty of this image was that this tiny girl was stopped on the sidewalk, dancing. music was being piped out onto the street from the restaurant and she was peering into the air wondering where this music was coming from, and moving, bouncing, stomping, rocking and waving her arms. she was entranced and utterly engaged and unselfconscious.

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so as wonderful as this scene was, the thing i loved the most was that her parents were letting her dance. they were not pulling on her arms and trying to hurry her to the destination, which is all too often the case. “no, we don’t have time for you to look at cars, or smell flowers, or pet dogs, or touch the rough wood, or the smooth wrought iron, or the warm stones or the cold water, or dance. we need to get to point B. NOW!” the only time in our lives when we are constantly delighted with the world around us and we are forever being pulled away from it’s magic. her parents did not do this. but smiled and laughed and danced with her. no hurry to move on. i stopped as i approached them and told them how they had made my day, and i told her to never stop dancing and being delighted by the world around her.

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i am a pretty magically engaged person in the world around me, but lately have felt that i have been forgetting that. missing that. this was such a sweet reminder of the magic that is always there. to listen for the music and dance like no one was watching you.

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as i went to teach class, i shared this story and asked that we find our playfulness and curiosity in our yoga. we do yoga because it feels good. because we want to delight in our bodies and in our senses, not because it is a punishment that has been foisted upon us. we need to remember that. each and every day. find the joy in your life and reacquaint yourself with your inner tiny dancer.

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(that's me) in the corner...:

I wanted to share this blog, from a site that I like very much. This post is really timely.
It is really fascinating to me the hold that new technology has on us, and by us, I mean me. I grew up with no answering machine, let alone a cell phone. I took long road trips, as a woman, alone, with no cell phone in my hand. If I went out and about in my life, I never wondered who might be calling me and just hearing the endless ring of my home telephone. My tethered land line with a curly cord… If you weren’t home, it meant you weren’t home, which meant you were doing something else.

I have only had a cell phone for 7 years. Only been using a computer for 9…More than half of my adult life was spent without these things, and now I never leave the room without my phone in my hand….What is up with that?
Having a cell is an incredible convenience. Where is my daughter? I am late at the studio. I am at the store, do we need anything? My car is broken down, please send help. My client can’t find my house or needs to cancel at the last minute.
It serves a definite purpose, but there needs to be some balance. I am so surprised and appalled at how it has taken over my life in so many ways. Need to recalibrate.

Oh, and I too have a Samsung Galaxy S5…..so sexy…..so hard to resist…

I wish you all the best with your divorce and hope you end up being better friends.

Originally posted on Bucket List Publications:

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I’ve been cheating on Darren for almost two years and it’s time I admit it to myself and the world. It’s with someone who’s a reliable, funny, genius and never leaves me feeling lost. But if you’re thinking, “What a ‘….'”, give me a minute to explain because I think you’ve been cheating too and it’s time we get a divorce.

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I have been quite taken as of late with images of flower x-rays. Last year my friend Heather, made an incredible encaustic piece for me commemorating my metamorphosis thru the cancer dance. She chose some x-ray images of flowers as a nod to the array of tests I underwent. I loved seeing the delicate “bones” of the flowers. The inner architecture, the scaffolding that supports from the inside. Remembering how fragile and beautiful and delicate this life is. Enjoy.

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I first came across the word “kintsukuroi” a few months ago in a blog that Tommy Rosen wrote. The pictures of these pieces of pottery were so beautiful, so much more interesting in every way. Not long after I read this article I had the first of several experiences that made me relate to this concept in my own way.

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Within a week, after reading this article, I was gifted a beautiful hand thrown mug by a client of mine who is a ceramicist. It is a vibrant burnt orange color, with glistening golden veins of lacquer running through it. It became my favorite coffee cup.

A few weeks later I was having an energy session with a friend and healer and we were discussing aging as women. She told me how beautiful and glowing I looked. (her words, not mine) She said, ” Although you look much younger than you are, I can see your strength and the wisdom of your years. I see your wrinkles, but your face glows as if the lines were filled with gold…”

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At Christmas, I received a most precious porcelain tea candle holder. A delicate lotus flower. Upon releasing it from it’s tissue wrapping, I discovered that a couple of petals had broken off. The woman who gave it to me was horrified, but I found it in keeping with a theme…

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Finally, a month ago, I knocked my new favorite cup over on my marble counter tops and the handle broke into three pieces. I could repair it, but not sure that I trust the handle would hold… best to just hold it firmly in my own two hands perhaps?

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If you break and repair a plate, or cup or bowl that has been broken, the surface area actually is larger wouldn’t you say? The glue adding more substance to fill the cracks.  A heart broken and reconstructed could conceivably hold more, albeit differently. 

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All of us are scarred and broken in some way. Mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually. Broken to different degrees, in varying numbers of pieces. I believe the defining factor in whether we will be stronger or be able to hold more in our beings is what we reach for to glue us back together.  My glues of choice are yoga and love. Not that too much wine or chocolate, or macaroni and cheese or sofa sessions of “Dexter” or “Breaking Bad” might not make it into the mix from time to time… But by and large my choices are healthy ones. That will make me resilient, not disconnected and closed. Wiser, but not suspicious and wary. May I always strive to repair myself with the honey of love, the liquid gold of my yoga practice.

 

Find your own golden lacquer and do your repair work mindfully, with attention to detail. And may we all find ourselves more beautiful for having been broken, with more to give. 

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“and we are so fragile

and our cracking bones make noise

and we are just

breakable, breakable, breakable girls and boys.”

-Ingrid Michaelson-

 

I worked long and hard on a Valentine’s Day posting and….it vanished as I was trying to publish it….hmmmm….

So I leave you with some sweet images and advise you to be loving to yourself first on this day. With every word, thought and action, ask yourself, “Would I treat someone I love like this?” Tend to yourself with your full love and attention, and then spill that out into the world.

Today, and every day. We will all be the better for it.     Love, Jodeen

 

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I realize it has been awhile since I have written, (I miss it, but other pulls as of late) I am writing one for Valentine’s Day, but in the interim wanted to share some glorious horse images I have found. As we just moved into the Year Of The Horse ala Chinese New Year, I went searching for images. I resonate with Horse immensely. Independence, wild spirit, nature, travel, movement, separate yet connection to the herd.  I have had horses in my life, still ride when I can, albeit infrequently, still nothing matches being able to commune with that kind of power and energy. I swear that February 1st, I felt that I was shot out of the starting gate, mane and reigns and in hand and picking up speed each day. Finding very clear intention as I fly to see what lies over the next hill, surrounded with love…..hope you enjoy these. 

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I know it sounds funny, but shavasana is an acquired taste. It develops over time and takes a great deal of practice to reap the rewards.

How can laying on your back with your eyes closed be hard work you say? Especially after a challenging yoga practice. But being still and quiet and not sleeping brings up a great many things for most people.

I have seen from time to time, people who will roll up their mats as the rest of us are getting ready to lay down at the end of class. True, sometimes people need to leave early and tip toe out. But still others seen no reason for staying, when the “workout” is over. “You are doing anything anymore, so just leave. It is a waste of time.”

I have seen those who fidget and fuss, eyes open, sighing loudly., and when it is time to begin to “bring awareness to your fingers and toes”, they have sprung up to a sitting position and are ready to bolt for the door. 

For some people, if they are asked to just be still with themselves, that is the most terrifying thing they can imagine. That would mean you have to actually be present with yourself and see what sorts of things might float to the surface. Thoughts that are easily kept at bay with being “busy”. You cannot hit a moving target, so as long as we remain in constant motion we won’t have to look at ourselves and see what is there. Quiet is the enemy. Sitting with yourself for too long will be your undoing…

My own personal experience was not that, but something else. I would finish a class, covered in sweat and suddenly not have the actual practice to focus on anymore. So my mind would spiral back to the outside world and all of the people, situations and things that made me insane and stressed out of my mind. On occasion I would drop into shavasana, that utterly relaxing in between space, not awake, not asleep, and I would begin to feel so blissed out. But then, I would pull myself away from it and think “you are wasting your time here pretending that there is bliss to be experienced.  You are wasting precious time that you could be spending being pissed off and furious at how not o.k. Everything is! You almost fell for it. Just say “no” to shavasana.

So I began to lay there, sharply awake and use that time to mull over and retrace the laundry list of how I was being done wrong by the world and the stupid people in it. I began to look forward to this heightend time at the end of class to more finely hone my powers of discontent  and plot the demise of my enemies. Amazing…

Slowly, ever so slowly, I would have experiences of going deep, sometims falling asleep, but sometimes dropping into a true shavasana. I would be weightless floating in space and enjoying the silence and I would begin to hear a voice. I would think, “Who the hell is that? Is it God? Why are they talking? I really need them to be quiet because I am so blissed out right now….” then I would realize that it was the teacher, and that I was laying on a rubber mat in a room full of people and that I felt like I had been asleep for hours. Reality: 5 minures.

 

As this happened more often, I noticed that I felt less and less inclined to “hurry up and be upset again at the injustice of it all. Time is a wastin’!” Then I began to notice that I just didn’t get as worked up over stuff the way that I used to. I was spending more and more time in a yogic state. On and off of the mat. The peace found in yoga is our natural state of being, the world outside the mat is actually more of an illusion. A contrivance. The scales had tipped.

I refer to shavasana as a time to “marinate in the juice of the practice”. It is like pushing the “save” button on the computer. It seals it all in. And in that time the body, mind and spirit can rejuvenate, reboot, rewire. Yoga changes us and shavasana seals in the newly edited version. 

Shavasana is now my dear friend and a state that I can dip into whenever I need it. Whether I am laying on my  mat or not. That is a sweet and  useful life skill indeed.

 

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