mind over under

dark, velvety blue-black
an otherworld
closer than possible

I found it
held it
became it

surfaced
the world changed
but the same

with new knowledge
I returned
I craved its embrace

attached to finding
the place
so close …

there in my head
but elusive to my search

completely available
comforting
when I hadn’t been looking.


Image: ‘Under’, Martina Amati. © Martina Amati

darkness is back

Darkness is back
Pinning me to my bed
Releasing any desire to care
Leading me
To be overwhelmed by emotion
That has no discernible point of origin
Simply big and heavy and sad

Must rise
Dress
Ride to work

Do life
It’s a good life

But the sadness sits heavy

Insistent
Dark
Whispering otherwise

9/18/19

unexplainable mysteries

Kids who are touched by unexplainable mysteries –
The ones who know of conversations they haven’t heard –
The ones who talk to the people whom their homes were built atop –
The ones who share memories with strangers in grocery stores, stories only people who have died would know.
These souls we raise, souls touched by unexplainable mysteries will baffle us with ancient wisdom. Then scream when they can’t tie their own shoes.

These children – touched by unexplainable mysteries – are a different kind of gift. Transmitters with emotional antenna who receive pictures in clear colors from another spectrum, pictures that become wavy and fuzzy, then clear again. As guides to these little transmitters, it’s our duty to be patient through the waves and recognize their pictures may one day become full color.

Some will keep the the ability to witness spectrums that are not for all of us to see. For others, skeptical doubts from naysayers, may erase their vision and they will simply have an aching feeling there is more to this world. A feeling that they should be able to get just beyond the space they occupy. Regardless of their future sight, while we are keepers of their direction, patience must prevail. Protect their spectrums and listen to their ways.

The spectrums we cannot see have lessons we should hear.
We should work not to cut off access to what we don’t understand, but to guide it, raise it, and help them learn to keep those connections alive. Our children who are touched by unexplainable mysteries should have their sights loved and honored. They should be allowed to connect to worlds to which they have privileged access. Let them be the bridges and make the connections that has been dulled within so many. For in these children there are stories and solutions that have faded from view, but continue to connect through parts of our universe we don’t all know. In these children there is a future beyond anything we might understand.

broken promises

I break promises to myself. Frequently. The promises usually fall around restrictions and not having a believable goal. Whole 30 diet challenge, no drinking, no men, writing 30 days straight, sleeping at certain times so I can get up early to run are all examples of broken – some repeatedly – promises. The truths are:

I love food and eat beautiful meals (usually) and am blessed to not have food sensitivities – maybe because I eat really well, but I’m not going to test a 30 day junk food diet to check my math. I don’t drink all that much (a bottle of wine often goes sour in my fridge). So why limit something that is already naturally limited?

Writing happens everyday and when I do it more, it flows more freely, but if I demand of myself “Write everyday!” my words seem to dry up.

Men come and go and that’s just the way my life seems to be – most become friends which is lovely.

Finally, I am a night owl so I should let myself enjoy my natural rhythm when I can which means many 5-6 hour sleeps and occasionally sleeping in on the weekends. It’s all worked well so far, so why do I keep trying to futz with a good deal? This is all to say, I have a new promise for myself, but I am framing it as a gift and a challenge.

I’ve been training in Krav Maga for the better part of 2 1/2 years and, while I’ve taken a few chunks of time off and ebbed and flowed with my intensity, I’ve been steadily achieving skill. I am now eligible to test for my orange belt and I am really excited about this development. The exam is a physical trial that will last approximately 5 hours and will review all the skills our Section 2 curriculum. When I look over the curriculum, I feel a bit intimidated, but I know I have covered everything listed – just not all recently.

Over the next month, I will be focusing on training – taking the classes that make me uncomfortable so that I’ll be able to complete my advancement. These classes include choke defenses and groundwork that puts me in an extremely vulnerable situation, but I know it is much better to experience this vulnerability in the gym and learn how to overcome being overtaken than to experience such a situation in a real world setting and be harmed or killed because I didn’t have the opportunity to train. So I will train, eat, sleep, repeat over the next 30 days. Some days I will try to run, because I need to ensure I have my endurance built up, and I’ll definitely swim, but mainly I will try to get in lots of gym time so I will be comfortable when the test day comes around. Reps and endurance will be vital to ensuring I advance.

Endurance and good energy – can’t have one without the other – are important building blocks in the weeks before the test. So part of my training will be intentional food choices. I will eat well and at home as much as is reasonable. Considering I work from home this *should* be just about every meal, but I am bad about getting busy and not making time for my needs, so my daughter and I end up grabbing too many meals outside of the home. This month, and perhaps it will be a continued habit, we do more eating at home. I’m not getting crazy with my diet. There will be no eliminating foods or being low carb / high protein or high carbs or water til 2pm and coconut fat the rest of the day. Instead, I will be thoroughly enjoying my favorite foods and cooking. For me, part of training should be self-care. When I make the effort to feed myself beautiful, lovingly prepared foods, take lots of epsom salts baths, spend time stretching, and get enough sleep, I have more energy and train with a clear head. Hmm, taking care of my body seems to correlate to better performance … could it be that easy!?!

This evening I went to Fiesta and loaded up on my favorite things, plus added a couple new indulgences. I was starving and would have normally grabbed a burger before shopping, but I waited. Then, after groceries were in the car, I opened a tin of dolmas and the bucket of labne and used my finger to scoop the labne on the dolmas. It was completely uncivilized and so exceptionally delicious I am surprised I got any of either foods home. I also bought ingredients to make hummus, dal, and nopales, eggs, fresh pineapple, wonderful red leaf lettuce, avocados and lime and mini corn tortillas. Warm tortillas with avocado and lime alongside some nopales and eggs (nopales con huevos) may be the best breakfast ever.

IMG_7556.jpg            IMG_7557.jpg

I will be cooking a lot so I may need to have people over for dinner soon. Here’s to a great month and accomplishing goals.

unpartnered

“Even in high school, when all the girls were excited about their first boyfriends, I never had a serious relationship. I didn’t want that and it’s never changed. But don’t get me wrong, I love sex and affection and intellectual connection. I just love my autonomy more. Four men have asked me to marry them over the years, but I wasn’t born to be partnered,” said this woman, a wildland firefighter, standing nearly 6’ tall, long blonde hair escaping its bun and blue eyes filled with power and joy. She reminded me of myself at 19, except she was 45. She had never let go of herself, of her truths, and lived her life totally on her terms.

As a teenager, I dreamed of a solo life. After finishing a nursing degree, I would have a love child and raise her on my own. It would be us against the world and we would adventure across that world – learning and nursing. Likely, my mother would make up part of our home. We would move every couple of years and take on assignments in various communities across the world. I didn’t know specifics and I was too young to recognize the hurdles that would try to stop my dream. But I didn’t need those hurdles to stop me because in my early 20s, I turned on myself, let fears overpower me and partnered with the man who should have simply provided sperm for the child.

I slowly fell into a version of me that spiraled into self-doubt, insecurities, and depression. After 13 years of partnered life, I took my child and stepped away from that often incredibly sad and traditional life. I share custody with him, so can’t go too far into the world for too long, with her, but we have our adventures and she is learning her independence. She and I had a bond for years before she was conceived, but I am glad she knows her father. My child is why we came together. But nonetheless, she and I have not gotten the open road we dreamed of together, in those years before her soul found its home in the body I made for it.

Since leaving her father, I’ve tried to partner again and failed miserably. I’ve had a few madly gloriously frustrating love affairs. Now, I recognize the frustrations were in my effort to capture the moments of beauty with ill-founded notions of partnering. Partnering that I, in fact, had no desire to actually pursue. After five years of fumbling through the idea of partnering, I spent another two years nearly alone – unpartnered and wondering if that’s my road because, in my heart, it feels right, but doesn’t click with what I’ve been programmed to believe I “should be” looking for as a woman. Though I am incapable of defining exactly what I’m looking for in a partner. Then, I spend an evening, tearing around an art event, on a golf cart, talking about love and life with a powerful, safe, intelligent, sexy woman and in her description of her solo life, she reveals a simple truth of her soul:

I wasn’t born to be partnered.

In that moment, I feel free and I know I am not alone. The world is mine and my only obligation is to make a life that is unbelievable in beauty and independence, fierce love and simple joys. My life is my story and no one will tell me how to live it. I am reminded:

I wasn’t born to be partnered.

Rising Sun

I was recently asked to write about mental health and rising within ourselves during a dawn ecstatic dance event. Initially, I said no because the idea of writing in public save coffeeshops and school cafeterias and subways and bars was terrifying. Then I realized my concern was not writing in public, but the idea of writing in real time. The expectation was terrifying. Also, being up with a pen ready at 5:30am on a Sunday was not a thought I’d ever considered palatable. But after saying, “No, thank you,” the idea took root and soon I realized this was an opportunity. I write, that’s what I love and what I fear. As a child, it’s how I saw myself as an adult – as an imbedded war correspondent or moving through refugee camps or on the outreaches of the world in her most untouched places – I dreamed of telling our stories. So … I couldn’t very well turn down an invite to share thoughts about mental health as spurred on by a 5:30am Rising Sun ecstatic dance event.

What follows, isn’t a retelling of the event, but thoughts I had as I sat on a front porch of a warehouse reclaimed for community living space. People inside preparing fresh fruit and juices, colorful people smiling as they entered, whimsical flowing pants and long shirts tumbling around their sleepy limbs. Later, I would join in a cacao ceremony and watch from a makeshift stage as they danced. Those stories I may elaborate on another time, but now unedited thoughts on mental health that came to me as a reflection of the cycle of a life based in a day.
+++
+++
As is all of life and her conditions, mental health is a balance of energy. Mental health is dawn and darkness and all the moments of one life’s day. Birdsong and daybreak — possibilities are endless and bountiful energy pervades, but winds move in and storms can overtake — dropping a darkness of shadow on your soul.

In that darkness, rain hammering down, you can become lost and feel alone though people are close. Thunder of emotion rolls within and it feels as though the rain will never end, but it will pass. At times you must seek shelter in your day – regulate with food, water, rest, connection – in order to rise from the storms. After the respite – be it a day or a season – the storms end and the sun shines. It is your dawn and you will rise with the fierce beauty of desert sun. Nothing holding you back from your own energy. Nothing breaking the extension of your soul from earth to the farthest stars. It is your day and sun rise is imminent.

As eyes adjust to new light your place is revealed – the places that rested in shadow are reflected in light and opportunity. Energy shifts – night into day you can make your way. As you begin to see, you begin to stretch and those who have been there all along – those who watched you walk through the storm but couldn’t be heard for the rain and thunder within – as light glimmers – they are there – stretching back and creating space for you. Space you may have not known, but space that always existed. Space that had been waiting for your energy. Phoenix rising has begun.

You step forward into the light and can begin to see this new phoenix is you.
It is your dawn and you must rise.
Rise and reach
Rise and reach

Only darkness can hold you back and the storm is temporary. The fires of the sun are stored in each of us and in all of life. There is a chosen family waiting with a fire for you to join around and thrive.

+++
People love plans.
Creatures of habit are we with expectations and visions of what is to be. When things don’t go as planned we feel a catch in our breath – a sense of disappointment – sadness – anger – fear that we didn’t do right or aggravation because someone didn’t measure up. The thing is, life is chaos. Plans never go without a hitch – even when all appears smooth there is someone, somewhere that knows something didn’t go “as planned.”

When I would daydream about future plans, my wasband used to say, “Stalin had a five-year-plan.” Our marriage didn’t go as planned, beginning with our wedding day, but I stubbornly held on and tried to shoehorn myself into part of a couple that could get through anything. And we could, but not as a shape that was good for my soul. I ignored intuition and abandoned self-care during those years. I lived with checklists and mental guides of how to keep him happy and what not to do to make him grumpy or angry. I turned a lovely friendship into a frothing cauldron by trying to create what I thought was the frame of a “good marriage.” I never felt heard, but realize it was, in part, because I was not listening to myself. I became a shadow of the woman he originally knew and didn’t recognize myself by the end of our union.

I don’t plan anymore. I listen, I move, I let myself be guided. I manifest, I watch, I share, I love, I keep momentum. I sit still.

For some, plans make them anxious. For others, no plan makes them anxious. However, in both of instances it is not “The Plan” that’s at issue. It’s a loss of control. At the core, control and our feelings of control are key to interactions with life and our mental health. In the idea of the phoenix and rising to your truth there is a loss of control. Fire is not something to control, unless it is to be extinguished. It can be guided, but it is a natural, earth shaping phenomenon that creates growth and change by first burning down to the ash. You must allow yourself to burn down, before you can rise again. We must let the sun’s power release in order to direct it within our spirit and journey. Mental health is energy health and that is balance.

Letting go – holding on
Listening – hearing
Dreaming – doing
Stillness – action

++++
Watching adults dance and play in dawn’s light is somehow jarring. It is not what “should be done,” though you can’t help but envy their return to what appears a child-like innocence. Tantric playfulness is the language of adults who have reclaimed fearlessness and connection despite knowing there is pain in the world – perhaps for knowing their pain in the world. Those who embrace the play are outside the norm. There is a freshness to them – in watching them interact and play in the world – that may sit still behind the duty of adulting, but can be released and accessed in a moment. It is welcoming giggles – open arms – spirit of joy even if sadness of time may be known within.