Monthly Archives: August 2018

powerful stuff

Last month, our big opportunity for Josie to be out in the world having fun came to a crashing halt with the Cranston Fire that evacuated Idyllwild Arts Summer Program. Huge drag, she came home just 3 days into a 2 week journey. The school evacuated quickly, and the firemen were heroes, as firemen are. After 11 days, she was able to go back and retrieve her belongings.

I wrote to the head of school about a week after the fire explaining that Josie worked hard to come to Idyllwild and I was curious how they will be handling compensating for the aborted session. The head of school wrote back and said, “we’re focused on the property and children still in our care. i’ll address this next week.”

A dozen days later, I wrote saying, “I neglected to mention that Josie’s homeschooled, and this represented a huge opportunity to be with kids her age and with interest in the arts – this is why she spent 16 months working to be able to do it. She made an investment in herself through you, how are you going to handle it?”

They wrote back letting me know that they are assessing the events of the fire. Tell Josie we said hi.

I got emotional and sent back a quick “B-. I wonder how you’d like it if someone withheld a year’s worth of your salary without speaking to you about their intentions”

The next day I sent a demand for a full refund. They sent me a note saying if I purchased the travel insurance, i should be able to get something back, but they’ll send a check for the $30 in credit she had at the camp store.

I freaked.

I don’t usually freak. I don’t usually get So. Damned. Mad. about shit. But I couldn’t shake the anger. And sadness. Disappointment. Frustration. Wish for things to be different. Anger again. Pipedreams again. ARGH.  Do I have to sue them? Seriously?

So, I get home and talk to Tucker about it and I’m visibly agitated by the whole thing. He asks: Did you do a feminine power practice around this agitation?

I’d thought about it, but I hadn’t.

So I did.

And, I’ll be.

Over the next 10 minutes I could see the whole thing as a gift. My dear friend who I rarely see is a lawyer. I think she’ll help guide us, giving us a great excuse to get together with a little more regularity!

This semester’s electives for homeschool will be 1) the US Judicial System and 2) documentary filmmaking.

We’ll sue them and make a movie about it. Seeking fairness, Josie becomes a teenage activist. Right. Fucking. On.

We needed a project. I thought we’d have one come that was slightly more pro-everything, but we can’t always be pro-everything. sometimes we have to stop others’ taking advantage. sometimes we have to hold a boundary. sometimes we have to stand up and advocate for ourselves or others who are being treated unfairly. Life isn’t all roses.

But when those not-roses come, really addressing the feelings it evokes, getting curious and caring about what you’re feeling and what you need can turn things around in quite the jiffy.

Powerful stuff.

healthy attachment

I’ve been remiss. haven’t been writing so much (because I have been working on a da Vinci journal ala Barbara Sher whom I am very excited about, but that is another story).

My body goes in cycles. I mean, everybody’s body goes in cycles, but i have distinct cycles of rest and work, procrastination and bulk accomplishment. My body has periods when it *can* eat processed foods, and times when it is having none of it. Things I wish were permanent, and other things i just wish would go away entirely.  Then there are things like  journaling, meditating, juicing…. these are things I can do daily for years and then fall off the bus with. And then I’ll get another inspiration and move into the practice again. I am this mosaic of personal practices. and today a tile fell off.

About 3 years ago, during our trip, i found Tandy Guitierez who had what was first ‘pimp your mat’ then ‘mat and kitchen’ now ‘unicorn wellness.’ I love Tandy. What she provides is outstanding. She is a great pilates trainer, with exceptionally good cuing and balanced 30 minute workouts that she keeps fun to do and are real and powerful. I found her through the online autoimmune community and she was just the best solution possible, especially traveling. Being able to go to her website and “just press play” kept my range of motion, strength and flexibility better than I’d been able to do – and in a more balanced way than I’d been able to do – for some time. But, last August I had a flair up that I haven’t been able to get back on the mat. Not in the same way. I have PT, but my strength is shit and I don’t really know how to use my arms yet. I know that sounds ridiculous, but last year I had to basically re-learn how to stand and walk because I jacked my body up so weirdly throughout my life. i have these strange tensions and compensations… It’s weird. and, i feel i’m making progress, but i really don’t have it down.

So, a full year after I quit using Tandy’s awesome workouts, I just pressed the ‘cancel my membership’ button. and i feel awful about it. i love tandy. i love her so much, i’ve paid for a year of service i almost never used and I don’t even feel bad about it. i’m delighted to support her, and her service is a steal. but i can’t keep doing it.

to everything there is a season

and it’s really important to embrace the season as it arrives and to wave farewell as it retreats. this hanging on is bullshit. and expensive. and full of crap like guilt which is truly ridiculous and has no place in a relationship like this.

Being willing and able to give things up and not have it mean something, just gentle knowledge that it’s time.

i’m getting excited about things again

Several years of illness really harshed my mellow. But it also restored a much deeper and truer mellow from which I had unwittingly led myself away. I believe our bodies are on our side. And mine certainly made me stand up and do an about-face. a whole bunch of reevaluation. New habits, new practices. Getting back to really simple basics (my kids used to call my range of motion exercises “baby exercises” both because they looked so simple and some other reason i forget…) like re-learning to stand. Noticing all of this freaking tension I hold randomly in my body. Releasing it. Checking in again.

I really was on a pretty intently-moving train of trying to “figure out” my health, the right formula, the thing that would make me “normal” again.

Oh, let’s face it. I never was normal to begin with.

Why on earth would i be becoming normal now?

It’s ok! I mean, No, thank you.

Normal is not the goal. Awake is the goal. Expressing love is the goal. Simply being is the goal. But if you absolutely must have a goal, facilitating remembrance of wholeness and relationship is the goal. Pretty good goal if you absolutely must have one.

This shift in focus (health was definitely a big part of the goal, spirituality was a big part of the goal, relationships were a big part of the goal) to a single goal (evolving! which has room for mastery in all the other goals!) certainly still incorporates inputs from all of the facets of my life. is my compassion growing? is my patience growing? or is my frustration growing? and if it is, at what cost? and which, of these many delightful tools might we want to use to turn back to God, to patience, to presence, to truth?

Evolving as an individual and as a collective is simply the most interesting thing in the world to me. None of the news of the day holds my interest, dramatic and invasive as it may be. Yes, the world is happening. Yes, infinite perspectives on things could have you quite mad or quite happy. But for what? What is that anger in service of? The fulfillment of what value does that happiness represent? These deeper questions, these essential questions, are the ones that bear the most fruit.

I have a lot of anger, and I am so grateful for it. It’s part of what spurs me on to really embrace compassion. I watched a comedy special that reminded me that my anger is necessary. Not to stew in, but to be driven from to make real my commitment to the sanctity of all life. Because enough really is e-fucking-nough.

 

(https://www.indiewire.com/2018/07/nanette-netflix-hannah-gadsby-lesbian-comedy-1201981484/)

armageddon

As I write this, another fire rages, this one just a few miles from my house. Important papers and favorite items are ready if we need to leave. Now, we’ve packed into a car about 100 times because of our trip, but it’s still never easy. And it is. All at the same time. Life is like that, I guess.

With all these fires, it’s hard not to think about the end times. and how often people have stood on soap boxes saying the end is near, and how often they are wrong. or are they?

i remember Y2K particularly well. i lived on a small lake with a wood stove and plenty of candles, so I wasn’t too afraid of a technology breakdown. A lot of dudes I worked with had bunkers and guns and MRE’s. I don’t like to work that hard.

Of course, the year 2000 came and went with no noticeable blip in services, but I’ve got to tell you, my personal life changed forever. That’s when I met my husband. I actually met him on July 2, 1999 and we began dating the following March. He was completely different from anyone I’d ever met, and through him my life changed dramatically. Few people who knew me would have predicted the change. For me, it was the kind of pivot everyone expected Y2K to be. So, in my life the prophecy was right on.

Same with 2012. Everyone wondered if some palpable shift might happen, or the space ships would show up, or *something interesting* and lots of people were very disappointed. I was not one of them.

On December 21st, my children finished their last day before christmas vacation and their transfer to a new school in the new year. Only, just moments before they got home, the new school called and cancelled. I was in bed with a flare up and had been already for maybe 10 days. I panicked. I jumped to trying to solve it and happened upon West River Academy, an unschooling umbrella school that basically soothed me in an instant. Speaking to Peggy calmed me right down. “Your kids will ask if they can do something, and you will say “yes” – and see how it goes. Public school will always take them back.”

after the holidays, i noticed my kids getting along better. And that our evenings weren’t spent with the sport/dinner/homework/bath series of arguments. It transformed our lives. It led to our big trip. 2012 transformed my life as drastically as 1999 did. Who could’ve guessed?

PEMS

One of my favorite and most important practices is called MAP and is a part of Perelandra. I need to do a post about it one day. But today, I’m just taking a piece. When I do a MAP session (called a “coning”), it focuses on four aspects of health: Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual. PEMS. I like it.

Yesterday I charted out what parts of PEMS are active to what degree in my life. Now, 5 years ago, earlier adulthood and childhood. I don’t feel like making a power point about it, so I’ll just describe it… Oh, geez. Now that I said that, I’m going to have to do it.

As a child from about 7, around the time I remember learning that I could not pay attention to my teacher, I could fantasize. It would let me leave the classroom and enter my imagination. By that time, I’d grown uncomfortable in my body (not being particularly athletic or coordinated) and already begun suppressing emotions due to difficult home conditions (standard stuff of being in a big family, for the most part, although that is also when my father was diagnosed with cancer). I give myself high capacity in spirituality because it is when I clearly remember 1) imagining that if everyone on earth held hands, what was in the center was god. and 2) that there might be a different planet for every option, and when I had to have PB&J when I wanted pizza, at least on some other planet maybe I got the pizza. So I was thinking about this stuff from a pretty early period…

Physical: 20% embodiment

Emotional: 30% embodiment

Mental: 90% embodiment

Spiritual: 50% embodiment

As I reached adulthood, I really got good at suppressing emotion. I also was really annoyed at my body, feeling it was just something to get my mind from place to place. My brain was still in high gear, though, and my spiritual reprieve my best escape…

Physical: 15% embodiment

Emotional: 15% embodiment

Mental: 95% embodiment

Spiritual: 60% embodiment

And then I got sick. Now, I was going to have to get into my body. And emotions. and quit with all of the rationalizing and defensiveness. And figure out what God might be trying to tell me….

Physical: 30%

Emotional: 60%

Mental: 85%

Spiritual: 70%

This helped very much. Even though i really sucked at it at the beginning. Now it has morphed quite a bit, and I would like to really explore my optimal ratio – but this one has more well-being than any of the 3 previous arrangements. Now it feels like this:

Physical: 80%. I am really learning to be in my body and listen to it and translate or intuit it’s needs.

Emotional: 50% After ramping up emotional capacity, I’ve developed enough strategies to process emotions, they feel pretty balanced and not suppressed or hijacking things…

Mental: 60% – I would like this number even lower. I’d really like this number to be 20% or something – where I’m typically in no-mind, but when executive function needs to pop in, it wakes up, does it’s thing, and resigns.

Spiritual: 90% – by no means am I 90% of the way “there” but my spiritual interests take up 90% of my time, and/or as 90% of the lens through which I am looking… I would guess I am around 3% of the way “there” but no matter. It is by far my favorite lens through which to interpret life.

Ideally, I want to be 100% spiritual and 100% physical, with a broad, balanced emotional capacity and mostly transcendence of the “thought stream”/mental body except when it’s actually important. Which is an eff of a lot less than my mind would like me to believe.

 

so much to say

I’m out of my depths with wanting to help someone and everything I do making things worse. So, obviously, stop. Or at least slow down, right?

It really is funny. Divine Comedy. the cyclical nature of things. how easily the thought stream can hijack a perfectly good day…

the wonderful thing about these practices… well, noticing I’m in my head (and trying to sort, strategize and solve) is now a cue to bring me into my body. And my body has a completely different opinion on the matter. My body is not worried at all. Not about me, not about those I perceive as struggling. Not one bit. My mind has this picture it would like to meet but my body has no such expectations. Yet, now checking in with my body, I notice areas of discomfort and I try to relax. and the more moments i can give to this part of my journey, the better the outcome will be. I’ve learned to befriend discomfort. I actually visualize myself sitting next to it, on a porch overlooking a vista, sitting in adirondack chairs, just being there together. That typically loosens things up. equanimity overtakes struggle, if only for a few minutes.

and then those minutes grow.

sometimes it probably works other ways, but for me this has become very effective. I wish I could sit down and go directly into presence. I am not so adept. Except sometimes. Right? We have touchstone moments. and we’d like to build our capacity to experience flow. But that too is attachment, and we’re back at the beginning.

So, I dont know what I’m about to do. I’m starting to do something and I’m delighted to feel passionate and focused. I have so much to say, but at the same time, why would anyone listen to me? And, truly, I don’t know the answer. I have a lot to say because evolution is exciting, personally and collectively. A lot of people aren’t even thinking about evolution, but i think an evolutoinary mindset is the answer to many, many prayers. Evolving itself offers purpose. Being a micro life cycle in the larger play, what we ‘be’ really impacts the direction of ourselves and those around us. and evolving is the most natural thing in the world, so it’s easy. you don’t have to worry about failing. It gives us a container and then says: make the most of it!

It’s the plane ride from NY to LA. It’s happening. It takes some time, but it reliably gets there. How you enjoy the ride is completely open to your own decisions and interpretations of the process and activities around you. We’re on the journey and the end is inevitable. How can we offer as much love as possible? how do we tweak the experience to leave the earth better, spread love, celebrate beauty…