Friday, November 30, 2007
when you never went to sleep the night before because not only do you have to pee so badly you think there is no way you can hold it, and then when you try-every 3-excruciatingly, ant-like(both in pace of movement and pain of entire anthill's worth of them climbing up inside your urethra) minutes, it feels like shards of glass are exiting from your body--coping skills, including a sense of what is real and what is not start to loose any grip whatsoever on your brain--
that is a time when vulnerability stretches to an all-time high...around about 4:30 in the morning i began thinking of people that i could actually wake-up at such an hour, or that might already be up, or that wouldn't hate me because of their lost sleep. then i added insult to injury and began thinking about why i was all alone and i couldn't just lean over to wake somebody up to-at the very least run me a hot bath.
now i've had a little distance from those thoughts and a modicum of sleep...ahh, perspective. what does this "chance" for reflection give me? first i thought of what the hell does a bladder infection represent emotionally? am i not seriously, like, the most-fucking willing to deal with my emotions person that i know? do i not wear my heart on my sleeve with the best of them? what the hell is my body trying to tell me that i don't already delve into on a daily basis? and in the only tone that seems appropriate--that of chandler from friends--could i seriously be any more self-actualized and mature than i already am?
i guess the answer is no... no matter how aware, self-actualized, perfect, amazing and delightful a gal i think i am, it's all bullshit. this whole mask i adopt that somehow assuages my inner demons, does not dispatch them when i sit on the toilet all night long in agony--the demons reappear. someone asked me today..."do i believe that fear and shame based motivation are temporary and why?" my first answer was a resounding yes, totally temporary and possible to expunge the pain of fear and shame as a belief system. then i went into an internal review and questioned my own smug self...if i thought these beliefs were temporary, and then when i experienced my own crisis i returned to fear myself...just how temporary were they?
i don't have the answer, not even close, but i do have this...i never felt depressed or pitiful--and still don't, even as i share such a sad and pitiable story. i did feel grateful that i could draw my own warm bath, and that i had 4 or 5 people that i felt o.k. about waking up by 6:00 a.m., that at least that many people mobilized the next morning to help me get better immediately. and with perspective, i feel a tiny bit grateful that i have this amazing body that sends me an immediate wake-up call, or bullshit detector when i get too immersed in my own bullshit. it happily tells me that i am somehow not buying into to what fears are feeling real to me at the moment and that there is a part of me that is asking to be heard and nurtured, not ignored and toughed out.
i am impatient for perfection, but in the meantime i certainly don't want to be jesus christ, nor perfection personified on earth; and living this life sometimes punctuated with pain reminds me how mud-lusciously delicious the living can get.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
I have disliked figs since I was about 10 years old. I had never tried them before that, but that was the year that the fig tree in my own backyard bore ripe fruit. We had all kinds of fruit trees that my grandfather (an amazing planter of wisdom and trees) and father had labored religiously to bring to fruit; pomegranates, mulberries, apricots, peaches—we were truly spoiled when it came to summer abundance—a swimming pool and all you could eat fruit. But when the fig tree finally started to bare mature fruit I was one disgusted 10 year-old. When ripe, a fig will start to drip tiny bits of its luscious juice on the outside of its skin, to the ground and down the trunk. And when you bite into it, the flesh is almost meaty with its fullness and with little black seeds, almost like a kiwi fruit.
To my undeveloped and immature tastebuds the fig was quite disgusting—all that sticky juice, meaty flesh and obvious seeds—a little too much evidence of the messy, juicy, procreative ways of life. And I never even considered biting into one since then. Literal decades went by until my sensibilities entertained the possibility that it might not be the fig, it might be me. Happily, last summer as I dined with friends on a patio in bountiful, utah of all places—with chickens roosting in the trees, and the sun setting over the great salt lake, I was given the chance to revisit my definition of delight. My earthy hostess served a plate of ripe fig slices with brie and herbed crustinis—I hesitatingly bit into one and my tongue jumped in happy surprise. How mouth-wateringly delicious, what a jolt to my prior belief; how was it possible that this fruit of such offending history had made this miraculous shift in flavor?
Or was it me? …could it be that now from this place of experience and experiment, my tastebuds were finally ready to savor the deep and intense flavors the fig had to offer? Yesterday, as my family--extended, uproarious and exclamatory sat to enjoy thanksgiving dinner this lesson made its way into my conscious layers.
I had made the turkey stuffing for the festivities according to no recipe at all. I just started adding things that I knew should go in, and a few things that possibly shouldn’t—resulting in what I thought was a pretty good dish. Both my sister, who hated stuffing for years, and my brother-in-law, who treats it with a mild disregard, licked their plates clean of their turkey stuffing, went back for more; finding that our devouring party had made quick work of it and finished off the entire plate.
This morning in the shower it came to me, as brilliant thoughts often do, that sometimes we form an opinion or preference from a very certain frame of mind and we take that opinion on as a belief. Life will often present many opportunities to delve into our beliefs, see if there isn’t a different way we could look at them, or perhaps another opinion that might be formed if our frame of mind is different. And for myself, I often ignore those offerings, turn my nose with disdain, reject the experience out of hand because I know better. My beliefs will not set me loose to try something new, or something old from a new point of view.
Aha, but I will. With my newfound love of figs and excellent turkey stuffing recipe in hand, I recognize the chance to set loose my old beliefs, and try on each experience as if for the first time is a gift of sublime proportions. And for this I truly give thanks. New Perspective
- 1 lb sweet Italian turkey sausage (or Morningstar for the vegetarian inclined—might want to marinate this in maple syrup and chili powder for more flavor) browned and drained and chopped
- 2 yellow onions finely chopped and sautéed in butter
- 2 stalks celery--chopped
- 4 fresh apples with skin (I chose granny smith for a sweet sharp flavor—choose your personal favorite) chopped
- 1 pkg button mushrooms (can change to oyster mushrooms for truly decadent flavor) sliced
- 1 cup pecans diced
- 1 cup cranberries ( I was in a pinch and used a cup of granola with cranberries in it)
- 6 cornbread muffins (from any old packet will do, just cooked and dried out)
- 1 pkg. stuffing bread (not from a box, just the kind with cubes of bread from bakery section)
- Ground sage, dill seed, celery salt, thyme, parsley, cracked salt and pepper
- 2 cans chicken broth
- 4-8 tbls. Maple syrup
- ½ c. sweetened coconut
- 2-3 eggs beaten
Chop and slice all but the breads in large frying pan, on medium heat, sautee entire mix with butter until warm and bubbling. Add in corn bread and bread cubes and pour chicken broth over entire mix. I always add heaps and heaps of spices, but you can start with 1 tbs. of sage, dill and thyme and maybe 2 tsp of the others. This is truly a to your taste experiment
Finally add in eggs, syrup and coconut and mix thoroughly. Stuff as much of mix as possible into cavity of the turkey and cook with bird, if you are overly sensitive to this approach, heat in a casserole dish until warm throughout—approx. 30 min. @ 350◦
Thursday, November 22, 2007
- hot, hot baths
- books and authors
- the crisp, cutting sound of the sun setting over the great salt lake
- wood burning fires
- toe nail polish
- a 2 minute snuggle just before bed
- waking up to the sound of a coyote chorus
- help carrying in the groceries
- the amazing scent of freshly mowed grass bottled for me
- scads of family; laughing, chatting, crying, ignoring, playing, living, loving--as best they can
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
i can't provide any concrete reason and all indicators should point to a thanksgiving-glazed over sense of bliss, but the ebb season has kicked in with a vengeance! this commentary in no way discounts the many people and experiences for which i am viscerally grateful, that sometimes makes the ebb all that much more difficult to be in with any sort of grace. when there is no real reason to be unhappy and malaise seems to haunt my every thought, it gets a little much to understand. when i really take this feeling out and poke it with a stick, it isn't actually anything resembling depression, i don't have a name for it, just a sense of square peg in round hole
so maybe that's it, i keep on trying to wrap my fucking brain around the situation and it doesn't have a thing to do with the thinking part of me. this is a lesson i seem to need to learn with some consistency of late, that i choose to live based on intuition and feeling, asking that my everpresent "figuring things out" ego/brain dynamic duo kick in really more as a tool than as the director of this one act play. this lesson takes discipline...and honestly, sometimes more discipline than i seem to posses. this is where the whole "lama school" thing really calls for some kind of guru.
maybe that's it, what i am looking for is someone to just spill this all out to and get the ultimate answer, what is this and how do i fix it? damn, even as i say it, my inner-guru is already shouting the answer while standing on a podium in some sort of very large hat...a la rick moranis in space balls. so since i have already spilled it all out to me a million times, the little man with the large hat is screaming get over yourself, you know this isn't real and it will pass so just ride the wave. that feels like a really good answer, but doesn't serve my current need for wailing and gnashing of teeth. ahhh, how do we ever break the terrible cycle of seeking drama?
maybe that's it, just a great big sobbing fest, mirror staring, zit-picking extravaganza. i seriously do think there is something to be said for the sobbing therapy. my mom and a friend of hers--both therapists--came up with the "sobbing therapy" the other day on a road trip, and as they shared their recent lives with eachother, they decided that it would be great to just cry it out even if the tears were crocodile. i like this crocodile drama idea, everything feels stuffed inside and just needs to come bursting out in extreme loudness, breaking of a little bit of glass and maybe just a little hard core dancing to very loud music.
ahh, and now i feel calm, the right answer just appeared in this rant, hard core dancing therapy. this will have to be further discussed in later blogs because now is the time on schprokets when we dance!!!!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
rather i feel quite unsure...what is in front of me, i honestly haven't the faintest idea. i have some pretty clear intentions for myself, and i have learned that specifics are where things can get sticky, so while there are ways i would like things to look in my life, i am feeling this deep underbroiling shift. wow, on the constantly rolling waves out here on the sea of life, how do i gain my sea legs before i drown?
i have this idea that life rolls by us in these patterns of ebb and flow. while it may seem desirable that things are always going my way, i have learned the value of the waves flowing in the opposite direction from time to time. that's where they seem to be flowing right now, not actually against me, just opposite from how they have been flowing. typically i would want to interpret this as just plain against me, but i can't really say that now. it feels more just like i needed some learning from another source or an awakening from alternate resources. so the universe starts to shake things up for me when that kind of learning is at hand. some days it really is just not so easy to embrace the big waves in the spirit they were intended, as some kind of thrill ride. (now i understand how silly i have been to speak the words outloud..."i'm a bit of a thrillseeker")
at any rate, the labyrinth winds on and i weave my way, i'd fancy a scooter about this point in the game for a few moments of leisurely cruising.
Winding in, gathering up, collecting all
Starting a journey, uncovering where healing steps lead
Do craftsmen commence their plan at its end or is it in beginning a craft that
paths bend towards reward?
Each step a choice that leaves a choice behind, no wonder shoes are so adored
Each pair marks a moment, an occasion, a fleeting glimpse of lessons learned and meaning gained, soul’s therapy revealed in pampering each precious toe
Feet set firmly on course; walking running tripping down, up and around.
Each bump in the road unearths a moment’s memory; how the wind blows, when children play,
Will there be dancing and singing—there is love and laughter.
Reaching center, becoming still, conscious and aware
Hand on heart to hear the rhythm beat its song—is it nourished, cared for, cherished?
Slowed steps at center, closer attention to soles, shoes, path—sticks and stones
Grateful for mercury’s thrumming wings guiding feet to halcyon heights,
And the soulful grounding of steps in guarded message and symbol’s gilded tongue
What a gift this place—right in front of us,
Life’s edges become clouded outside this moment;
And what gods we think ourselves in judging past and future by casting suspicion on the now?
In time, perspective shifts, mirrors reflect another image,
a story untold, a way not yet made known;
How now to learn the fairytale’s end, but to turn again and enter the maze
Arms open wide, wrapped around middle, raised in praise
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may
Dare we recline as Ophelia, blossoms upon our lips only in death?
We must not refuse to plough the furrow, gather the wildflower,
harvest the thistle and drink the blessed wine,
With fermentation, gestation, determination reaching unchallenged heights and countering blows in glorious song.
Life’s coil, poised to spring, unveils evolving plot
Light shone on fear reveals and releases its mystic power,
Urging us to leave known and familiar; embrace unseen and shadow
Choose a new path, conjure undreamed frontiers, birth brave new worlds
Grab your slippers and enter the mist dancing, rejoicing
A voyage is not sailed; passage not conquered,
way not made clear for those who will not begin the journey,
Paint each little piggy, thrust on your shoes and join the throng with those who run the race; not to win—but to run, to spin, to love
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I have this little game I play with my sister on occasion when she has gotten to the point on one of her own misguided pursuits that I have reached my limit of human endurance and assume the state of a regular christian martyr. For several years it was at this point that I would revert to my inner-child, 12 year-old response of throwing a fit and perhaps a punch or two to bring an end to the inane choices I was witnessing. Finally, when maturity and good sense (of course on my part) became the norm and not the exception, I moved towards a solution to my fit throwing. Often it was humor, or even just letting off a tiny bit of steam to relieve the pressure. For a time these two ideas have joined forces in the form of a prayer to god, right in the moment, right out loud. Now because this auditory prayer was not the proposed relief from the religion of my youth, and in fact seemed sacrilegious at times—I completely relieved myself from the guilt of my blasphemy by changing my “dear god” or “dear lord” prayer into a foreign language—then you see it sounded so cosmopolitan and pious at the same time that it was certain to be recognized for what it was—an attempt at levity to lighten the mood.
At this point a healing gem of majestic proportions presented itself in our dilemma. Harking back to a time when things were kinder and gentler, my sister had long harbored a guilty pleasure for the show “felicity”—a drama of the 90’s based on a young woman in college seeking the lessons of life and a boyfriend to boot. My brother became aware of her penchant for oversentimentalized drama and gave her the box DVD set for her birthday. She immediately became a bit kinder and gentler herself. It seemed that the almost fanatical pace she had set herself for watching the entire 4 year series was reacting with her psyche as some kind of a drug and she was calmed and cheered by the stolen hours of guilty viewing. She was not alone in her viewing as she often turned the series on when both my brother and I were around—we became ensconced in the surreal existence of felicity, the heroine who went against her parents wishes to leave Stanford and move to NYC to a fictional university to pursue an art career instead of medicine and a boy named ben. Ben who personifies the concept of existential angst, had a rough upbringing with a drunken father and while any woman would love to take this man-boy in her arms as if he were james dean, the “devilish” pursuit could only bring unhappiness in the end. Noal—the dorm resident who befriended and then romanced felicity with his quirky and neurotic behaviors and finally, Javier, felicity’s bespectacled (in the manner of elvis Costello), homosexual and Hispanic manager at the Dean and Delucca where both felicity and ben slaved to make ends meet to pay tuition at their fictional college.
On the few occasions that we all watched the show together, we would laugh and cajole as one new crisis after another presented itself in the lives of these college mates. The phrase “we all have our issues” became a stand-by for us in respect to the unerring constancy with which the characters took turns in the dramatic limelight. It wasn’t until we had completed the series and I caught my sister starting to rewatch it immediately “just to refresh her memory” that I realized the impact these characters could bring to our lives. And so it was that I recognized the prayers to deus were unfair, we asked so much of just one deity, it might serve my sister and me if we spread out our requests, never abusing just one god, but allowing the “demigods” of the world of felicity to apply their healing balm to our most troubled interchanges.
And so our sibling issues have truly reflected such a concentrated effort at good will. All the blessing of each other to spot our own problems and cast out the beam in eachother’s eyes removes the focus from the nerve grating moment and casts a golden hue of humor and whimsy into what can become unpleasant interchanges. I offer this technique to those of you seeking a way to heal the difficult moments of any relationship. Select a constellation of powers that will do well in your environment, it might be politicians, sports heroes, maybe even car salesmen—imbue in them the power to intervene on your behalf when prayed to…out loud and in front of the offending other for which you intend the intervention to occur. Suddenly the power of the stuffed-up emotion is immediately relieved, the “other” in your relationship is made immediately aware that some disagreeable step has been taken, and the two of you are freed to speak of the elephant in the room with humor and sidestepping to relieve the pressure and identify annoying behaviors.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Our band of night weary travelers sits gathered by the fire in the warming morning light while a few of the group, unwilling to relinquish the powerful hold night’s vision still imbues, cling tightly to their rumpled sleeping bags. in sacred silence we each welcome the warmth and power of sun and fire into our own days.
what a strange sense of community, with no shared words--only shared space, each one taking on a task as the need arises, start the fire, make the coffee, lay out the breakfast food—until, finally the silence is broken and our dreams intertwine for the day.
the drum beats out the rhythm--arise, awake, come together--bring your spirit and attention to this place, this moment. Last night on the mesa i welcomed in the spirit of the dream for myself in ritual with tobacco, smudge and spirit; the clear chill in the air held at bay by a well-worn down blanket; the light of the stars, intensely singing their own night song, calming the cares of the day and lulling me toward my bed and dreams.
as mates and strangers, we band together on this mystic journey among the bold red rocks--with common history or newly gained common ground, answering a call that cannot be ignored--to step into the circle of this now, this here; to join the dance--awake to this dream and live.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
and then the magic--just allowing for the possibility, released the deathgrip of negative emotion and by the end of the day, serious bliss. i'm still a little shell-shocked by the ease when i just give over to it--so just wanted to throw a little gratitude out there for that gift. it's at that point that rumi's "stretchers of grace" come running into the scene i suppose. muchas gracias!!!