Archives for posts with tag: spirituality

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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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“just like a white winged dove sings a song it sounds like she’s singing…whoo, whoo, whoo….”  I do my very best stevie nicks impersonation and baby dove seems very impressed. maybe not, but then she’s not speaking since she’s just a baby, so who knows what she really thinks….she is at my mercy.

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I just love an audience, and babies are a captive one, so it works well for everyone. as you may remember I have mondays with dove, and this last time my daughter lily was with me as well. lily and I love to sing together, and we do every chance we get, so we were excited to share our sweet singing skills with dove. we sang many different songs, but our rendition of “bohemian rhapsody” complete with me doing guitar solo sound effects, might be my favorite number. good times.

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I had missed a couple of weeks of dove time, due to travel, packing, etc, and so I was amazed to see how much she had grown and changed. babies are like stop motion photography in how quickly they shift. I remember putting lily down for a nap and going in an hour later and her not looking at all like the baby I laid down before. as if a changeling had been left in her place. total morphing. she slept in a laundry basket next to our bed for the first couple of weeks ( I did not have a basket made of reeds and rushes, so the next best thing…) one night she was screaming bloody murder and when I reached down to pick her up, I discovered that she was wedged in head to toe and couldn’t move in the basket. she had outgrown it that fast. yesterday it was fine. today not.

I have been observing as of late that our human lives  are bookended in these polar opposite accelerations. babies growing up by leaps and bounds, in a visible way, on a daily basis. then we hit a place where it seems like we just stay the same and are impervious to any outside change and the future seems far away and aging seems like an impossibility. and then all of the sudden, the stop motion picks up again. every time I look in the mirror, I see another line, a new potential jowl, a spider vein, an age spot. my supple skin has a grainy texture that no amount of water consumed can plump up.

I feel strong and supple and fit and sexy, (actually more so than ever before) but when I catch a glimpse in the mirror it doesn’t line up. there is a middle aged woman looking back at me. well past middle aged. I am 51 and seriously doubt I will live to be 100.

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I know we are supposed to believe that we are all the same and that any idea that you are different or special signals the early warning signs of being a sociopath, but we are not all the same. every one is different and special and uniquely themselves, but even within that context some people gravitate to be part of a collective herd. I just never have. it has never been the case and keeps becoming more defined as I get older. getting older by the minute. the aarp crowd, no offense, but you are not my people…

sometimes I wonder how much has been fast forwarded by the cancer dance of the last two years. chemo ravages you, literally from the inside out and then just the experience of making your way through a cancer diagnosis forever changes you. but I feel an interesting mixture of deep strength and peace as well as a poignant poise in my life. it is happening now, and now, and now, and right now….and can I bring all of me to each moment.

I always knew I only would have one child. only wanted one child. very clear on that. after lily was born in was even more pronounced. the very idea of having another child felt like I was being unfaithful to her. how could I possibly take away any time from her for another? so because of that, there was this incredible heightened poignancy to everything in her life. “ this is the first and last time I will ever experience this moment as a mother.” over and over again. the thrill and the sad ache of knowing it would never be again.

our lives are like that too, we just don’t really understand that, until something catastrophic comes into play. then you really get that this is not a dress rehearsal. so instead of striving for perfection and planning your ideal future, go for sheer whole heartedness. not wreckless abandon, but fully engaged involvement with what feels impeccably true and right. right now and right now and right now. and know that those things will change, because they always do. the only thing you can ever count on is change and that is a hard one to swallow at times. you want so desperately to be able to depend on something, on someone.  the basket fit yesterday, today it does not… we want so much more guarantee than that, and there is none.

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the clock is ticking…live. live beautifully. drink in the day.

”tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – mary oliver-

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(the sun rising out of my morning cup of matcha)

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was building an outdoor fire in the morning and watching the sun come up. I did it 3 times and then the rains came, and then the morning brought other priorities and now, today on this full moon morning, I built a fire again. it feels magical to build a fire outside in the morning. as if the flames you start light the fire of the sun as it rises. like you helped start the day, somehow.

I am an aries, a fire sign, anyone who knows me would roll their eyes and say “of course she is a fire sign. duh.” although my mother is a water sign, she has always in my world been the fire keeper. we have never lived in a house that did not have a fireplace. ever. my constant morning memory is coming into the living room and seeing my mother perched in front of the fire with a coffee cup in one hand and toast in the other.

I find it difficult if not down right impossible to live in a house that does not have a fireplace. it feels wrong.

fire is alive. it needs oxygen. it is beautiful, mesmerizing, comforting, passionate, exciting, warming and cleansing. I have burned and released many things into the fire over the years. the other night I released the heaviness of the initial cancer diagnosis and the hospital system , by burning all of my medical bills…

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I know right?! I grew up when you were told to keep 5 years of all of your bank statements and bills, receipts in a shoe box, carefully labeled and to not, repeat NOT, dispose of them for any reason until this magical 5 year milestone had been met. I remember panicking over whether or not to keep them, had I kept them long enough? would the same guy who shows up to take you to jail if  you remove your mattress tags come to arrest me if I did? now i figure that we are all modern and computerized and stuff, if they really need to find these records, they certainly can and probably find them more efficiently than I could in trying to dig them up in  my house.

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these are all of the bills from the first go round 18 months ago. the lumpectomy, the untold amounts of medical bills and paperwork and financial assistance applications and …..all of these accounts are settled. they are finished and they were taking up an extraordinary amount of room, physically and emotionally. this was not something I wished to carry forward into my life. I have been cleaning closets, going thru files, creating a massive yard sale/donation pile. stream lining my life. taking up less space with my stuff that I might fill more space with me. so 4 days ago I burned all the paperwork.

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I sat in front of my glorious wood stove and fed the papers in small amounts to the flames, allowing the burn cycle to complete before adding the next. the heat that was generated was impressive. each layer stacking on the next until it now looked like this book of ash. some plump ledger from hell. as it burned I relived and released this time frame in my life. not to erase it, but to give it space to turn into something else. to take all of the gifts that have come from this experience and to move forward with my life. cancer is a part of my story, but it is not all of my story.

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my story is just getting started… this girl is on fire…

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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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the moon yesterday morning

i woke to the sound of gentle rain this morning and I purred and smiled. of course it would rain on my birthday . rain is my favorite weather. not as a steady diet, but it fuels me in a very particular way. contemplative, peaceful, thoughtful, cozy, cleansing and deeply sensual. rain is far sexier than sunshine any day and I consider it my weather.

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due to this sexy rain, no outside fire this morning, but I built one in my woodstove and lit all of the candles, made coffee and smiled at the endless text birthday messages that began to chime in starting at 7 this morning. I am surrounded with so much love, so many beautiful amazing friends, family and caring community. how I have been held this last year humbles me daily. the greatest birthday gift ever.

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something has shifted in me the last couple of days. one of those rare moments where the clouds lift and you can see exactly where you are, how you got there and how utterly perfect every piece has been and that a new chapter, a markedly new chapter, is about to begin and that that is so very much alright. I feel light headed with anticipation of what is next.

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a couple of weeks ago, a friend gave me a resurrection fern, something I had never heard of before. they are an air plant that needs a host plant to anchor to and have the ability to lose up to 97 percent of their water content and still live. by contrast most plants cannot lose more than 10 percent of their water content or they die. when they are in that state they curl up into a dry grey ball and looks like a dead chunk of juniper. upon putting them back in water they unfurl and become green again in less than 24 hours. they have been know to go without water for up to 100 years and not completely die. although they need a host tree, they do not take any water or nutrients from their host. they especially favor oak trees.

you just put them in a bowl of water and they begin to unfurl almost immediately. it is amazing.

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this plant rings with me on so many levels, metaphor for my life of the last year. the fact that the body can live thru the annihilation, that is chemo is pretty remarkable. fingernails and toe nails, yellow ridged, falling out, skin dry and lined, losing all of your hair, cells dying, entire system slowing to a crawl and then rebooting and then dying again and again, until finally, there is no follow up assault and you can stretch toward the light. replenish your system. copious amounts of water, nutritious food, supplements, fish oil, olive oil, exercise, dry brushing the skin. and miraculously, you come back. your skin plumps up, muscle tone comes back, steroid bloat dissolves, strength returns, hair and nails grow. a brand new crop of YOU. 

the rain on this day. drinking it in and feeling myself unfurl. a fresh start. a new season. 

as I was looking up some information on the resurrection fern this morning, a song by iron and wine popped up, called “resurrection fern”.  I love iron and wine and have never really paid attention to their song titles and honestly miss a lot of their lyrics. their music is something you feel. a melancholy sound you drink in, that you just understand, no lyrics needed really. when I pulled this song up, I discovered that it is one of my favorites and I had never really heard the last line in the chorus. another part of my death and rebirth. I smiled. another perfect moment on my perfect birthday.

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“like stubborn boys with big green eyes, we’ll see everything.

and we’ll undress by the ashes of the fire,

our tender bellies wound around with baling wire,

all the more air underwater pearls,

than the oak tree and it’s resurrection fern.”  -iron and wine-

thank you for bringing me back to life. thank you for all of it. all of it. so very much love. and i am born again. 

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before I was a mother and I would daydream about having a child, it always ended with an undeniable “no way!” not because I was afraid of being pregnant, or child birth, or babies or diapers, or how to work a car seat or not sleeping. it was always because I could not willingly bring a child into the world knowing that they would have to go through high school. that was the most evil thing I could imagine doing to another human being and I would NOT be a party to it.

but then I did get pregnant at 35 and I forgot all of that. I loved being pregnant. I never felt sexier, more magical, more powerful. my dreams were amazing. I always knew I only wanted one child, so  every stage was fascinating and tender and poignant. the first and last time for each and every step of the journey. so the specters of high school  past and future faded into the mist…

as I write this, 16 years ago tonight, my water broke, and my husband and I , my mother, my father and my dear powerful, indispensable friend/massage therapist, Barbara made our way to the hospital for the 24 hour birthing extravaganza. I won’t go into all of the details, but it was long, and intense and nothing like I wanted.( i.e. no drugs, all natural, straight forward.) at some point after hours of contractions not making any head way, the clock ticking (once your water breaks it becomes a timed event in a hospital with after 24 hours being time to force something out of you)  I am breathing and walking and squatting and swearing and I am starting to swell shut. Barbara gets up in my face and looks me in the eyes and says, “you have to let her go.”

I just broke. “NO!” I wailed. “I cannot let go of her. she cannot come out. she is safe here. I cannot keep her safe if she is on the outside. I have to keep her safe. I can’t!” the enormity of what I had done, bringing another human being into the world that I was responsible for almost drown me.

but I had to let her go. so I did. I had no choice

and many hours later at 6:56 p.m. I closed my eyes and flung myself off of a cliff in my mind and pushed and screamed so that she might be born and our lives changed forever. they held her up and her eyes were wide open, utterly clear and focused. a room full of people, noise and chaos and she looked me in the eyes and then her father and she smiled. she smiled at us. eyes wide open. it was breathtaking.

someone said that being a parent makes for long days and short years. and it is oh so true.

so here we are and she is 16 and…a junior in high school. oh god! high school! I did the unthinkable to her. I swore that I would never do it, but I did. and it is so freakin hard to watch. I see the difficulty, the alienation, the heartbreak, the discontent, the senselessness of the institution that masquerades as “a place of higher learning.” I seem to never have anything of value to say except. “ I know honey, it sucks. really bad, but high school does not last forever.”

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and in the midst of the difficulty and the pain, I see her growing, developing ways to cope, to transcend. to change what she can and learn how to navigate what she cannot. what to fight for and what to let slide by and not let it take your energy. as much as I want to throw myself in front of the bullet that is high school, I cannot take that hit for her or I would be cheating her out of her journey. so her father and I can only stand by her and hold strong unwavering space. be there for her when she needs us and hold our tongues when she does not want that. she is also blessed with a huge loving tribe of adults, men and women who love her, respect her, listen to her and are there for her in so many ways. people she can call and talk to in the middle of the night and get a different perspective. another ear.

that is the biggest gift we as parents and adults can do for our children, our nieces, our nephews, friends, grandchildren is to listen to them. to really hear them and acknowledge how hard this time is. to respect them. to never, ever, belittle the difficulties in their life. to never accuse them of being dramatic, being a teenager, and insinuating somehow that their pain is silly and not worthy of  paying attention to. it  is the first time they are experiencing the feelings, the situations, the confusion of relationships, wanting one or not having one. the hormonal shifts, the physical growth, their brains are changing. everything shifting daily. there is no context. no frame of reference. this is utterly uncharted territory. be understanding. be there. love them. create clear boundaries and give them room to make their own decisions,  but do not judge them.

I may feel that I fall short in a million ways in my life and I forever see places I wish I could have been a more perfect parent, but I listen to her. i do not judge her as i remember all too well. I really listen to her and so does her father. we respect her. she is our favorite person on the planet. happy birthday lily. just keep being you. trust yourself as you keep stepping deeper into who you are.

you are remarkable. thank you for choosing us.

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“now that I am forever with child”

how the days went

while you were blooming within me

I remember each upon each-

the swelling changed planes of my body-

and how you first fluttered, then jumped

and I thought it was my heart.

how the days wound down

and the turning of winter

I recall, with you growing heavy

against the wind. I  thought

now her hands

are formed, and her hair

has started to curl

now her teeth are done

now she sneezes.

then the seed opened

I bore you one morning just before spring-

my head rang like a fiery piston

my legs were towers between which

a new world was passing.

since then

I can only distinguish

one thread within running hours

You…flowing through selves

toward you.

-audre lord-

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

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I was standing in my kitchen drinking red wine and eating the last remnants of an intense chocolate dessert brought to me from my favorite French café earlier this evening, and secretly wondering if I was shaving hours or days off of my life by doing what I was doing. these thoughts cross my mind a lot these days. today has been especially trying.

Sunday evening. day light savings. although you could feel the spring in the air, and sense things stirring in the earth, and it was a sunny blue sky day, it turned into a melancholy Sunday evening. when I was a kid, I would get profoundly depressed on Sunday nights. having dinner, watching the “wonderful world of Disney”….(yes, I am dating myself, but my dated self is another blog entirely…) and in the afterglow of the magic kingdom, was the depressing reality of going back to school the next day, and some deeper underlying sad panic that my life was only going to get harder and more complicated and yet boring and repetitive and nothing would ever feel like it was enough, I would always feel and or be alone and then I would die. this is not just poetic adult hindsight. I actually felt like this a great deal as a child. a young child.

this weighty depressed outlook has accompanied most of my adult life, sparked with manic bursts of insane happiness.( wow, I just used manic and insane in the same sentence to describe myself…hmm) as I found yoga and my own sort of spirituality and drank less and breathed more, it subsided considerably. for many years it was gone completely. the last few years this tenuous anxiety has crept back in on a more regular basis and the last year it has kicked my ass in hard, sharp and unexpected ways. I find myself floating between my calm yogic self ( my “ohminess” as my daughter calls it,) and the panic stricken 6 year old who feels that she will never be enough. and also this 6 year old self is on strange toxic cancer drugs so she is super extra messed up when she shows her face these days.  she is around a lot.  actually, she has kind of moved back home.

it is exhausting taking care of her. she is SO needy. so insecure. so relentlessly intense. she engulfs me multiple times a day. sometimes I am taken hostage by her for the whole day. sometimes days. her stories spin and spin and I experience them in visceral 3d. I get so angry. jesus! I am 50 years old. I am an adult. a strong, intelligent, lovely woman. I am funny and tender and wise (well, a wise ass…) I am a teacher, and a healer, and a strong part of my community. why is this horrible pain in the ass child still hanging around and ruining my life?

I can feel her breathing down my neck clutching, sobbing and I turn around and scream, “what the hell do you want?! can’t you see that you are making it impossible for me to focus on my life. to pay attention to critical things I need to pay attention to. the stress of dealing with you is affecting my very health. not to mention that no one could ever possibly love me for very long if you keep storming into my life and ruining everything. WHAT DO YOU WANT?!”

she is weeping. her eyes are pleading. she is so small. so alone. her voice barely a whisper. “just love me. please just love me no matter how horrible I am. please don’t leave me.”

I look into her eyes and gather her in my arms and hold her close. I breathe with her and I can feel the panic subside, my strength return and we are no longer separate. she is not outside of me, but a tender beloved part of me. not to be denied or marginalized. after awhile there is some peace.

I have been awake since 1:00 and it is now 5:20. I have been drinking matcha and eating toast as I write this. my daughter came to my room while I was reading last night and asked if she could sleep with me. I love it when she does that.

as I lay in bed awake wrestling with my broken 6 year old self, I could feel lily’s 6 year old self there as well. all of us together. all trying to find love and safety and peace. the bed was full.

too late to go back to sleep, so I will feed the cats, build a fire and do my morning meditation. I feel at peace and ready to begin this new day.  so grateful for my life even when it feels like way too much to even begin to deal with.

thank you for listening. we are not alone. have a beautiful day.

artwork by susan seddon boulet “bearchild”

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I just watched a fantastic film a couple of weeks ago called “Pina”. it is gorgeous, an homage to the German choreographer Pina Bausch who died of cancer in 2007.  her dear friend, director Wim Wenders and she had talked of doing a film showcasing her work, but kept putting it off for over a decade. they were about to begin shooting when she died 5 days after discovering she had cancer. Wim Wenders and her dance company felt committed to follow through as an act of love for Pina., the result is remarkable. her movement like nothing I have ever seen before. dancers of every conceivable age, body type, men and women. some people had been in the company with her for close to 20 years. that is unheard of.

“I am not so interested in how they move as in what moves them. “ –Pina-

I facilitate an ecstatic dance group once a month in my fair city. there are 5 of us who work together, taking turns “facilitating”. by facilitate, I mean, set up an altar, line the space with Christmas lights, set up the exquisite inter galactic star machine, do the play list, and then create an intention for the dance, a focus and hold this safe space and see what moves people. no drugs, no alcohol, no dry humping on anyone else. this is your clear dance with yourself and the divine that you share in a room full of open hearted tribe. it is powerful and joyous and incredibly cathartic. it is perfect for people who claim that they can’t dance.

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dance has always been a part of my life and it has carried me through some very  difficult times. it is my most primal self. a key part of who I am as a woman, my power, my sexuality. my heart.  it helps keep me sane and has contributed to my insanity at times as well, but that was when I drank way more than I do now…

“dance, dance, or otherwise we are lost.” –Pina-

people come there to dig deep, to grieve, to laugh, to love, to celebrate, to sweat their prayers. it is an honor to be there and share that kind of space with others. we have been doing this for a few years, and the family keeps growing.

as I watched this film I was saddened to know that this brilliant woman was gone, but so inspired to so see how passionate she was about her work and the mark that she left. I have thought of this movie over and over since I saw it and am planning on watching it again this weekend.

“sometimes she would say things like “go on searching.”

That was all that she would say and it meant you must keep searching not knowing where to look nor whether you were on the right track.” – from the film “pina”

I was so taken by this notion. “’go on searching”. not knowing if we are on the right track, but keeping all senses open, paying attention and trusting and saying “yes” every day to what moves us. living.

dancing or otherwise we are lost. Image

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by some interesting happenstance I ended up participating in a photo shoot for the susan g. komen event, race for the cure, a race that raises money for breast cancer research and screenings. I met a really lovely woman, mary lou, who was paired up with me in some photos. we sparked so gigantically when we met, you would have thought we were long lost sisters. I think meeting her is the reason that I did the photo shoot. we actually ended up being on the cover of the race brochure. anyway, last night was a get together with all of us who participated in the shoot. an opportunity to meet and talk to the others.

it was a small group, 10, plus friends and the staff. some fruit, cheese and cracker snacks, lemonade. I went around and talked to all of the women, and marveled at the stories they shared. two sisters who were diagnosed with cancer a month apart and were doing treatment together. they had lost their grandmother to cancer and their mother was a survivor. a woman of 28. a woman who was going thru chemo first to shrink the tumor then to have surgery. a woman 3 years out from treatment who had recently discovered there may be something happening in her bones right now. everyone on a different chemo  cocktail, a different duration, a different reaction. but all of us sharing the deeply lined faces, and overly shiny eyes, with exhaustion and fear lurking just below the surface. our bodies our battlefields.

during the evening, several women’s names were mentioned, followed by, “she’s not with us anymore.” the cold water in the face reminder that we had not broken an arm that would mend or had an appendix removed. this was a wild card game of chance we were dealt. no rules at all.

before I went there that night I received the letter in the mail from the hospital : “the results from your mammogram show no signs of cancer.”  exhale. big exhale.  and again I was struck by the fact that this was a letter I was to receive over and over in my life, always holding my breath as I opened the envelope. my reaction an odd mixture of huge relief and then a tinge of fear..not now. no sign of cancer right now

obviously a place I cannot hang out in, waiting for something to show up, but also realizing that your life matrix has been screwed with. you will never know for sure, so all you can do is believe that right now you are fine. you are cancer free.  and right now, and right now, and right now…