Archives for posts with tag: healing

 

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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one year ago today, I shaved my head on Halloween. the ravages of chemo and my “cotton candy pull it out by the handful hair “could be denied no longer. I went to my salon to have it done and ironically all of the stylists were wearing wigs. loved that. now I have a rather sweet soft baby animal growing on my head. I am told, most lovingly, that I look a bit like a who. this makes me smile deeply and I am embracing my seussian qualities. my softness and my wildness. cindy lou who and the cat in the hat…

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(me one year ago…)

last week I had my final herceptin treatment. herceptin is a drug that is specifically for her-2 positive breast cancer. (that would be me) you have to do a full 12 month cycle and then you are released back out into the wild… follow up appointments every 6 months.

interesting mixture of relief and anxiety around the end of my treatment. so grateful that I no longer have to go in every 3 weeks and have a needle plunged into the sci-fi borg port in my chest. ( I get that removed soon!) I will miss the warm blankets and the hour nap I got to take curled up in my hospital bed, but other than that, not so much.

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the anxiety comes from the thought that as long as I was having something blasted into my system that I was impervious. (not true, but a great illusion to hold onto) now I am just a free radical…:) waiting…?

there is something so trippy about the landmark of this happening around and on Halloween. my first trip to an oncologists office was 2 years ago in October. I wrote in another blog about the surrealism of taking an elevator to the bowels of the hospital, the rubber skeletons with ropes tied around their necks, suspended from the ceilings over the receptionists desk with a plastic pumpkin full of white death sugared Halloween candy…seriously….processed white sugar feeds cancer and there it is laying all around the cancer wards…ah….irony….

so here I am 2 years later….an entirely new life….my cat like self creating a new one…. by rough landmark calculations I am on life number 7 right now….or maybe 6.5….and I know for a fact that being here is a treat. a delicious, if often overwhelmingly intense, and complex treat, to be savored daily.

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two years ago last Sunday I was told that I had breast cancer. one year ago today, I had a mastectomy. and now on this same day, my dear sweet friend Carolyn, who spend a week with me after my surgery, feeding and taking care of me,  is having a service for her father who passed a week ago from cancer. and the wheel turns…

incredible how all of my stuff seems like life times ago. multiple life times ago, not just a calendar year.

have been reflecting on all of the change that has come for myself and those around me. it all feels fast forwarded and like it is picking up speed…keep wanting to say, “stop! can I just catch my breath for a minute? just WAIT please before anything else happens in my life…”

when I gave birth to my daughter it felt like that. the relentless, endless contractions. I was sure that if they would just stop and I could sleep for a couple of hours and then we could get back to it, and then I was sure that I would be able to give birth, no problem.  but to quote a friend of mine, “be ready. like life. once it starts it doesn’t stop….” 

a surgery. the ravages of chemo. healing. moving. reunited with a brother I had not seen in 15 years and feeling out that relationship as advanced adults. babies born to friends and new ones on the way. relationships I thought would always be there, shifting and drifting. some that had been periferal, being pulled to the forefront. climbing out of serious financial stress. losing clients I had depended on for a long time, other opportunities slowly manifesting. leaving a yoga studio I have been with since it’s doors opened and building my student base at 2 others. both of my parents with serious health issues I learned of within the same week. watching my parents get frail. watching my daughter move into her senior year in high school. college apps, financial aid paperwork, class schedules for the year. teaching thai massage trainings. exploring acro yoga with a dear friend who has been in town all summer. his third summer he has been here for. celebrating his birthday on the river. my daughter getting strep and having all 4 wisdom teeth out in less than 10 days. having most unexpected healing love appear in my life. 

the full spectrum of living, ever in play. there is nothing unique about my experience. this is being played out everywhere on the globe by everyone. birth and death, grief and love, change and possibility. relationships ending and beginning.  old ways of living and being, blown apart at the seams. hands forced to incite healthy change. second chances at a new life and sometimes just the inevitability that that life is ending and all you can do is make peace, give thanks and exit with as much grace as possible. nothing unique. it is a shared universal human experience. but by sharing, we all take a breath and say, “yes, I know that. I am not alone and we are all Alive.” 

I love you my friend Carolyn and you are not alone and I am so very sorry for your loss. I am so sorry that I cannot be there with you right now. He was such a beautiful dear man. It was a treat to spend time with him. You two were so blessed to have each other. You will always feel him with you.

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I am gifted beyond belief to be surrounded with friends who are artists of one kind or another. my friend heather is a renaissance woman of the highest order. self taught musician, singer, teacher, writer, poet, artist of all mediums, plant whisperer, communer with bees, all round good witch and now stepping deep into encaustic magic. what better medium for such a girl, than to work with bees wax…?

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a few months ago, I approached her about doing a piece for me. marking this time in my life. I put total trust in her and asked her to let her own inspiration drive the project, asking only that butterflies be included, as she has called be “butterfly” for as long as I can remember and I gave her a bag of my hair, (post shaving) saying that if she felt drawn, to use it in the piece, other than that, it was her process.  the result of this is astonishing.

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I chose a triptych format. past, present, future. maiden, mother, crone. she delivered it 2 weeks ago. I was speechless….every element is loaded with meaning….

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the moon. a huge constant in my life. she is part of my moon circle and the poignancy that it exists no more in it’s original form. she and I the last two standing. the x-rays of flowers, mimicking the x-rays/tests/science experiments of my existence, the last two years. two years…. we are coming up on one year from my mastectomy…might as well be 20 years ago…..lifetimes ago…

these strange sea creature/ ameba like creatures with the red nucleus, trailing tendrils of my hair….like cancer cells…?

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the embedding of basil and thyme seeds….basil, representative of mars, a fire sign…that would be me…love, protection, good luck and a potent anti-cancer herb.

thyme,: love, purification, restoration of physical power and frequently used in healing rituals. especially powerful coming from the master magical gardener…

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the third panel pulling away from the other two….their connection, a constellation, a subconscious constellation, she says….what does it look like to you?  made up of string and nails….hmm….not sure….but there are 15 nail heads…15 in the tarot is the “art/temperance” card. “the creator, the alchemist” one who achieves balance and integration through the creative process. the ability to balance and blend the masculine and the feminine. merging fire (spirit) with water (emotion) which makes a new element, steam (mental and spiritual creativity with passion) integration and synergy. in order to come into the  artistry of who we are, we must balance the apparent paradoxes, oppositions or polarities within our nature. the union of opposition to create something new.”

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15 : 1+5 distills down to 6, “the lovers”. “the synthesizer of dualities, polarities and oppositions. the art and craft of relationship. the highest card of balance in the deck. the love  of truth and beauty for its own sake. the highest art form is that of artful relationship.” Image

the butterflies….well…enough said…..transformation doesn’t get much bigger than that…right after I had my mastectomy, she gave me a precious necklace, that is one silver butterfly wing. I wear it all of the time.

lastly,  “I am not like I was before.”…I am all that I was before, and yet not arranged in the same way, so i am not like i was before. I am something more. somehow there is more power, strength and passion and yet also more softness, quietude and tenderness.  not sure how that works, but there it is. take the paradox and create something new and beautiful from it.  fire/water/steam. creating something new each day. making and remaking.

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thank you heather bee for creating something so beautiful and so powerful for me to look at every day and remind me “i am not like i was before”. you are a true artist and a true friend. i love you mermosa.

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(interested in having her do a custom piece for you…? )

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there is really nothing in the world quite like receiving a 2-3 hour thai massage. the only other activity that comes close requires that you be naked, and in thai massage no one is naked. well, when I do thai massage, no one is naked, and I can only speak from my experience…

 a longer in depth session is so utterly transformative, so why don’t I do this more often? this was what was running through my mind as I lay there with my eyes rolled into the back of my head, my cheek in a pool of my own drool, one leg lifted at an impossible angle behind me that somehow made me feel that I had been de-boned. in a really good way.

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I had received the phone call on Friday night. a fellow thai practitioner from the sun valley area was in town taking clients. he had some openings and did I finally want to make the trade happen that we had been trying to orchestrate for the last 5 years. yes. the answer would be “yes”. as luck would have it, I got to go first.

thai massage is an ancient healing art form that combines traditional massage, energy work, acupressure, focused breathing, deep twisting and stretching. the recipient wears loose comfortable clothing and the session is conducted on a mat on the floor, as opposed to a table. 

a standard thai session is 90 minutes in length, and generally just seen as a starting point.  2-2 ½, 3 hour or even longer sessions are encouraged and there is no such thing as a one hour thai massage. that would just be, well, stupid. profoundly teasing and utterly unsatisfying. 

I was assuming we had 90 minutess, but it ended up being 2 and 1/2.  as always happens with body work, time becomes rather slippery. first off, it is always a challenge to move out of practitioner mode and stay in receiver mode. the first 20 minutes, you want to keep popping up and opening your eyes and saying, “ok, wait a minute! that is so fantastic, how are you doing that? is that your knee or your elbow? can you walk me through how to do that? “ you just have to let that go to the side and purely open up to receiving the work and not try and figure it out.

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i think that it is crucial for body workers to receive body work on a regular basis, but it feels especially important for thai body workers. the work is such a dance with the recipient, when you receive it makes you more aware of the power of the movement on your partner. sometimes we forget how intense a particular move is if we have not had it done to us in a long time.

also, there are so many different lineages and teachers of thai work, every time I get  worked on, I learn something I did not know, experience a move I had never known about, and get to experience the free flowing jazz aspect of how that practitioner works their craft.

I know people who say, “ I could never be still for that long. wouldn’t that be boring?” short answer, “NO!!!” it takes a person awhile to drop into an open space to receive. so often a massage consists of serious damage control. the client has not had body work in a long time. so the entire session is spent trying to put things back together. that base line has to be in place before you can begin to go deeper, down another layer or two or three and start some deep shifting and healing. a longer session allows that space to open up and that’s when it gets interesting.

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my session with gregory was really amazing. ranks up there as one of the best sessions I have ever received. at one point after he had finished working the whole right side of my body and it felt as it it were made of feathers, while the left felt like lead. soon I was completely light as a feather and utterly grounded. that is a beautiful combination.

the next day I worked on him, and again I marveled at how much I love this work. that it is as satisfying to give as it is to receive. (o.k. maybe it is a bit more fun to receive it, but pretty close)  to watch someone let go and feel the tension leave their being. watch their face completely shift. see the light come back into their eyes. 

receiving body work of any kind, at the very least puts us back in touch with our bodies. ideally, it does that and connects our hearts, minds and spirits as well. and if we are willing to open up to it, heal old traumas and allow us to start fresh. imagine the world if everyone experienced massage as a constant regular diet in their lives? food, water, shelter, massage, love. check. so do your part to make this a wonderful world and have some body work done. I know someone you can call…

“move without effort, without pain

feel your cocoon crack open wide as

the spaces between your bones

become windows instead of dead bolts

your soul opens to a sense of awe and gratitude

breathe with your own lungs

feel with your own heart

shake out the sheets of memories and darkness

take one step closer to healing

one step closer to feeling at peace

and at home in your own body.

 come home.

-a description of receiving a thai massage session with me from heather bauer-

all photos of jodeen and eric wallace courtesy of anne cirillo

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(micheline berry on the orange mat….as if there would be any confusion…)

I just came back from an amazing weekend yoga workshop in mccall, with one of my very favorite teachers, micheline berry. she is a gorgeous, voluptuous, sultry, radiant earth goddess and her classes are beautiful and joyous with sweat soaked intensity. “fire in the belly, honey in the heart” is the name of her offering, and that it is.

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9 years ago, micheline came to mccall and taught her first workshop ever at the shanti yoga studio. deb Murphy, the owner of shanti, had taken a class from her in l.a. and invited her to teach a workshop. it was micheline’s first workshop to teach, it was the first yoga workshop that I would take. we were all together in this freshness. the workshop was incredibly powerful and she uses great music and dance that is incorporated as well, so of course I was hooked. this weekend was my 5th workshop with her.

I came to that first workshop with one of my dearest friends, j. we had started a yoga journey at the same time, in separate places, under very different circumstances for each of us. but parallel paths. a couple of years ago she and I and another friend, h., came up for a workshop with micheline. on the second day of the workshop we got a phone call that j’s mother was in the hospital and failing fast. the three of us jumped into the car and raced down the mountain. an intense sharing of stories about her mother, this incredible bonding of the three of us. her mother rallied, although she passed a couple of years later. j and I are no longer involved in each others lives, a sad fork in the road it seems. but I will never forget the intensity of that drive down the mountain. the three of us and where we all were at that point in time.

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so here it was four years later, h. and I going up to this workshop with micheline. “ so here we are again, back at the start again…” she and I poised in very interesting places in our lives and to share the fire of transformation that can only happen on the yoga mat, was fantastic.

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(joey and i (the blissed out yogini)

micheline got married a year ago, to a marvelous man, joey lugasy. a yogi, and musician and they travel together. he plays guitar, harmonium, drums and has this amazing soul stirring voice. he plays music and sings during her classes. they sing together, weave together, travel together, lead workshops together (italy, brazil, Jamaica) share this spiritual life together. they are beautiful and funny and so much in love and it is wonderful and painful to watch at the same time. I have had a taste of this and I want a full course of it. I know that it is possible. nothing less.

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the weekend was so powerful. sweet and hot. full of poetry, laughter, tears, snot and sweat. no differentiation. just the flowing of the river of the body, releasing and healing. such a beautiful community of people, open and honest and present in themselves and their experience. takes me to my knees every time. so grateful that this is my life. going to workshops, teaching workshops. my life is my spiritual practice. I am so freakin’ blessed.

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deb and her husband mike, share their gorgeous home with a handful of students and it becomes a big yogi sleep over. coffee in the big open kitchen, preparing meals together. two funny dogs and two giant cats. many pivotal and memorable points in time I have arrived at and crossed over in this house. when I knew my marriage was dissolving, friendships deepened and then in transition, being strong and solid and sure and then broken, lost and unknowing. falling so deeply in love on one trip and then on another seeing him begin to slide away from me. tearing myself apart and putting me back together so many times. it is a second home to me.

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it rained most of the time we were there. more memories…soft and gentle, but cold too. the drive through the mountains looked more like the columbia river gorge in oregon, than idaho. everything impossibly green. fresh tender shoots. new growth. a new season. let the fire in the belly clear the debris and allow the honey in the heart to flow like a river…

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breaking up with someone that you still love deeply is like sawing off your own arm with a pocket knife. a dull pocket knife. your very own version of “127 hours” only without james franco and less spectacular scenery.

generally when people break up it is because someone did something really shitty to the other, or you both did really shitty things, or you discover that you are terrible together, or you end up hating them because they are such an asshole. but sometimes people part because you find you are in different places in your life, paths that aren’t quite linked up, or someone is afraid, or there has been a numbing sort of indifference that sets in and when you discover you actually weren’t tending to the relationship and paying attention, perhaps it is too late to go back. it is not always because of a rip in the love.

I think it is rather unusual for people to part, to still love each other deeply and choose to remain loving and in each other’s lives. I can’t really do it any other way. as much as I would never have a serious relationship with someone that I was not in love with, I also would never have a serious relationship with someone that I did not really, really like. so, how can you not still be friends with them? I have been fortunate to have had really good men in my life. men I really liked a lot. men I loved dearly. men I still love, but in a different way now. 

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so back to the sawing off of your own arm… it is a slow process. many layers to slice through. bones, tendon, gristle, flesh: history, memories, love, friendship, laughter, passion, anger, disappointment, sadness, longing, ache, missing , love, and love and yet more love. you relive all of it as you slice through. all of it. what worked and what didn’t. how you got to where you are.

 when you have surgery, there should not be any pain and the instruments should be sharp, someone else should perform the procedure and you should be unconscious. but when you are severing a relationship, sharp instruments should be used but not too swiftly or impulsively. but, I believe you should be wide awake and feel every step of the process. yes, everyone’s process will be different, but you must honor your own time line. frequently it is one step forward, two steps back and then the pattern will eventually change.

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 “pain demands to be felt.” –agustus waters- it demands to be felt. no matter how many times it comes up. in each of it’s permutated versions, it demands to be felt. yes, people have different time lines with that. all you can do is honor your own process.

then you keep thinking, “jesus, surely I should be done now, right? get OVER this! but your heart will have none of that. no matter how rationally you know, how on paper it makes no sense: different places in time, different priorities, separate paths, blah, blah, blah…it still breaks you, because your skin and your heart know differently. your skin knows that when you are next to each other time stops, the utter perfection of how you fit together, how you smell together, the deep knowing in each others eyes, this is the happiest most perfect place on earth and nothing else really matters at all. not at all. this is true, so how can it possibly be that this love cannot be or has gone awry and yet, it cannot. and there is deep truth in that, and these two irreconcilable truths stand side by side. and eventually, eventually, there will be peace.

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in a favorite book of mine, which I shall not say the title as I do not want to toss out a spoiler alert…a character dies and that character’s girlfriend talks about how the only person she wants to grieve with and talk about the experience of his death with, and be comforted and held by, is, him. no one else will do. I get that completely. and when we break up with someone it is a kind of death.

david whyte says, ”one of the difficulties in leaving a relationship is leaving the dreams that were shared together. you know somehow that no matter who you meet in your life in the future, or what species of happiness you will have with them, you will never, ever share those particular dreams again with that particular tonality and coloration. so there is a lovely and powerful grief there that is the ultimate in giving away to make space for another form of re-imagination.

 i mourn the loss of the beauty of that particular coloration. those unfulfilled dreams. 

so I am almost through the last bit of gristle. I think… depends on the day. but, I do know, that even when the severing is complete, and it begins to heal and cauterize, and the friendship is strong and stable and your body doesn’t hurt when you are in the same room together, there will be a loving remembrance and honoring of what was. if that love was true and deep and real, there will always be a phantom limb that will ache from time to time, a place you will reach for that is no longer there outside of you, but always carried within you. they will always be with you. a muscle memory of the heart. 

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two years ago in february my grandmother stepped off of a curb wrong and fell. she did not break anything but it rattled her. a few months before this, she got word that the cancer in her lung was growing. slowly, but growing. after her fall, she just started an incredibly fast slide out of this life. valentine’s day she was having dinner with my mom, daughter, my boyfriend and i. 5 weeks later she was gone.

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she and my grandfather lived with my mother in her tiny little cottage for 5 months after the time when they were both in the hospital with pneumonia.  after he passed she was there with my mother for 2 more years. as she declined, a hospital bed was brought into the living room in front of the fireplace with a fire that never went out. candles were always lit. music playing. people came and went. bringing and sharing food. curling up in the bed with her. holding her, doing reiki on her, singing and laughing. it was a powerful healing time for everyone who stepped into that house.

people who said they could not deal with being with their own parents when they passed, came often and sat and held her hand. they were as healed through this process as she was. what a gift to see a place of rejoicing and celebration of a life amidst the grief of a passing. it was all of those things.

my dauther’s birthday was the 20th and she was in a performance of her dance company on that day. my mother and grandmother were supposed to come, but grandma was too frail to leave the house. in one of the pieces that was about dreams the choreographer had interviewed several people and played the audio of them sharing their dreams. she had interviewed my grandmother and mother. and as we sat in that theater, 5 days before she passed, we heard her voice over the sound system saying, “my wish is that lily has a happy life.” they were almost the last words we would hear from her.

my grandfather’s birthday is march 25. he had passed 2 years before in july, in the hospital with all of his family gathered around him. my daughter and i held his feet sending him reiki energy as he went.

two years later, early in the morning of the 27th, nanny went to join him. we had been expecting the call and my mother called at 3:00 a.m. to say that she was gone. we cried and held each other and at 5:00,  i got up to walk to my mom’s house a short 6 blocks away. the morning was fresh and it rained in the night. it was perfectly still. the sky was clear except for a few gauzy clouds over the moon. and as i looked up i saw an enormous smiley face made from the tattered clouds back lit by the moon. a perfect smiley face beaming down on me in the pre-dawn morning.

i feel so blessed that not only had i had my grandparents in my life until i was almost 50, but my daughter had her great grandparents well into her teens and still has her grandparents. i love you nanny and grandpa. we miss you both

two years ago, i was stepping into a beautiful new life full of untold promise. that life was blown apart at the seams and no longer exists, and here i find myself, again, poised at the edge of a new life. may this new life be sustaining, inspiring, exciting, ever evolving, but have deep strong roots, some stability to hold all of the change that will undoubtedly come. a balance. the strong rooted tree that stands by the flowing river.

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this is the only life we have, may it be glorious and full of love. my wish, is that all of us “have a happy life.”

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Contact. Wanted to share this woman’s writings on dance. Love this. Remember we dance this Saturday night….in love and light, Jodeen