Tuesday, June 28, 2011

what's this

there is a feeling i'm trying to sit with, something i don't like and don't want to entertain, but it's on my plate, it's staring in my eyes. and i'm trying not to flinch.

sometimes i lose the path, can't see for the fog, am wandering. this, perhaps, is one of those times. and i just have to ride it out.

i'm accomplishing tasks, but it's not the tasks i'm talking about. it's the abiding peace i lack.

i sat at the mechanics today, i risked missing yoga to go get my oil change, and miss yoga i did. i've missed a lot of yoga lately, and i'm feeling it. not just physically, but spiritually.

i sat there, reading a book and trying to be present to the wait at the mechanic's. i needed to take care of my car just as i need to take care of my mind and body. so, i tried to just breathe and be patient. that was tough and i jumped the gun once and told the guy,
it's done.
it wasn't. he didn't get irritated, i was grateful.

i went back to sitting and waiting, trying not to complain. trying to just be at peace with where i was at. i don't think one needs a cathedral or a particular setting to enter into a spiritual transaction. i think those are everywhere to be had. the trick is, realizing it.

so i settled back into the ergonomic metal bench and tried to mind my posture. something i thought i was very good about, but realize, since yoga, that i don't have good posture--or great posture. i'm not slouching, but i'm not elongating either. so i stretched my heart up toward the ceiling and felt the curve of my back receive the metal support of the bench and sat there focusing on the words which were also telling me to focus on the moment.

the signs are everywhere, yet i keep trying other roads, different paths. i don't know what it will take to wake me up. i thought i was awake, but now i wonder.

much is ready to change in my life. i'm on a great precipice, and the time is nearing for me to launch out. this is the birth canal. these are scary times in one sense, in that i'm leaving the comfort of a womb i've known, and entering a world unknown. in the best scenario there will be a guide, some motherly figure to ease the transition. but i don't know who that could possibly be. or are some birth canals leading to places where we are unassisted. that can't be right. i think we get the help we need.

today as i walked to the river, greggy, the cat followed me. he rubs up against me as i sit, and i take great comfort from this. i'm not the best cat owner, not the best mom, not the best anything. but i am here, present to the awful and the joyous. alive and free. experimenting and growing. it is the best i can do.

my girl is gone and that is disconcerting to me, but i know these separations, all separations are necessary.

i am trying not to long for reunion but to welcome the discomfort of absence, it helps me to realize what i have when it is in my arms.

so teetering i go, on shaky feet, but going nonetheless. i am trusting that i will know what to do next. that the universe will make a way and provide. with the abandon and openness of a child, i sit with this discomfort and try not to turn away.

Friday, June 17, 2011

hack job

it was ill conceived, perhaps, but then again, what isn't. i don't live my life in a contemplative way in the sense that i ponder the outcome of things. because one can never know the outcome of things. one can project an outcome, but i just dive in and see what happens.

so i finally convince my kid i can do as good or better a job cutting her hair as the hairstylist we've been to twice trying to get it right.

i didn't use good scissors, we were on the front porch and it was dark, these are not indicators of success.

but we were laughing, loud. i had to stop cutting many times because it was so funny. the neighbor pulled in and said,
you aren't allowed to have that much fun.

and we just kept laughing. (she trusts me, poor child.)

what she wanted was a hairstyle she saw in anime. and so, i knew i could do it, those styles are drawn jagged anyway, so why not, i figured, if nothing else, it will be jagged.

she finally let me do it, last night, and then when we came inside in the light (note to self: don't cut hair in the dark), she was saying,
fix it!
because it was, um, uneven. she was laughing when she said this, mind you, if nothing else she has as strange a sense of humor as i do. i love that kid.

well, i did fix it, and i said,
it will be fine. the difference between a bad hair cut and a good hair cut is two weeks. it will be fine.

that is how i live my life, the it will be fine mantra.

and mind you, i didn't cut her hair because i lacked the funds, i have taken her to more salons in the past year than i care to mention, and spent more money on extensions and color, cuts and styling, than i ever spent on myself at that age. seriously!

but what i noticed was the stylist lacked a certain bravado.

i've got bravado in spades, what i lack is the ability to style.

but it's a cartoon drawing hair cut, i mean, come on. bravado is required.

so i chopped off her hair at the hairline, and jutted severely down to the front. which is what she wanted all along.

i was mildly concerned when she hopped in the shower, but i just knew it would work out.

and this morning, when she woke up, her hair was fine. it looked great.

i straightened it for her, and off she went to school, sporting her new hack job.

i should probably buy a pair of shears.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


sophie reminds me to fly. she says,
in our culture it's all about the bottom line, but i want you to open your arms, open your heart and look up. we don't do this enough anymore. people used to throw their arms up to celebrate or receive.

and it occurred to me, she's right.

i got the image of a child throwing their arms up to be lifted either to a place of safety or joy, depending on the situation.

so we stand and she says,
find your shiva foot, grab your toes and extend your arms to the side. fly!

i can do balance poses with relative ease, and this one felt marvelous. it was truly something to extend the crown of the head to the sky and the arms out, including one leg, all while balanced on one foot. the trick is, sophie says,
to fly. not to think of the ground at all because we're not grounding, we're flying.

and fly we do.

i have my body back. now what will i do with it. i feel present to my life. to my child. to my friends in a way i have not experienced before. and each day is full of wonder.

even when the mail comes, and news arrives, i do not fear. i know it will be well.

i am excited for my sister to come to me and to spend over a month with her, but i'm trying to be here in my home, with my people that i love until then. it is so easy to wish it away, to be lost in what will be. but i refuse.

there are moments here, happening now that will not come again. i know this. i must stay in this moment of time.

even the uncertainties, the doubts, they are my teachers. i sit with them and try to attend to their lessons.

be open to everything,
she said.

and i am, i am trying to be, even when it doesn't seem that way.

so i've imposed an isolation of sorts on myself of late. and i'm ready to move out of it. there is much i need to accomplish and i can't do anything from a cocoon. i must emerge. i must fly. sophie is right.

and sometimes, when i'm in yoga, and the patchouli wafts, i am reminded that it is the scent of my liberation.

the scent vendor was not at her usual spot and i have to replenish my stock. also lost my jingly anklet last time i went to the city, i hope whomever finds it wears it with as much joy as i did. it's strange being silent and not jingling my way through my days. but in time, another will come to me, and i will sound again.

i believe everything happens for a reason.

and so, today when i stood, wings spread, chest hailing the heavens i knew everything would be all right. and when i, like a child throw my arms up in joy or for release, i will be lifted up. carried. in that utter surrender only a child knows.

the surrender of a bird upon wings.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

come back to me

reunion is a beautiful thing. but sometimes the reality of it is a bit awkward. and i've just experienced it on the smallest scale. but i am grateful for reunion whenever it comes. may it come again. and again.

my cat, i have a few, though they chose me, not i them. the cat that loves me most, the one who nuzzles up to me and sleeps beside me, the one that claimed me early on as his own, had walked with me to the bus stop to get nee. he got a bit scared on the way as it was far (to them) and new. they had never left the safe haven of the farm before. and i had them strolling down our lovely tree covered lane toward the busy highway.

i noticed geenie, that's what i call him, had gone off into the woods to wait for our return after spooking.

i was mildly concerned, but i didn't think he'd be brave enough to venture off alone again. he was so timid on that first walk. whereas greggy, the girl cat who walks with me all the way across the two bridges and to the busy road to wait for nee, walks with me down to the river, and is quite brave all things considered. greggy yowls the entire way and back sometimes, at least she did early on.

but i look back and there greggy is, or she is zigzagging between my legs threatening to trip me up.

i love these cats, they tend my soul in so many ways. but when spring came they were loaded with ticks. so i didn't let them back in the house. i'm brave but not a fool. they didn't like this, though the weather was fine enough. i think they had grown accustomed to sprawling out in front of the heater, they don't realize the heater is not on anymore. and i guess my place is safe for them too.

i understand why they want in. it saddens me that i can't explain to them why i want them out for the time being.

they are ferrel. they belong out.

so, geenie goes timidly with greggy and i to get nee that one day and i see him come out of the woods as we return. my heart sank because greggy always hid by the river if he was hiding, he never went into the woods.

i have since seen greggy in the woods, which also makes my heart sink, but they are themselves and will do as they must. the great lesson of letting go.

so, today, after weeks of not seeing geenie and deciding, though hoping he had found a home with someone else because he is a loving cat. nee walks outside and says,
geenie is back!

i wanted to celebrate right there and then, but couldn't i had to get nee to the bus stop. so i popped open a can of food (which is a cat's way of celebrating i guess) and drove off with nee.

geenie looked skittish and thin. lankier than when last i saw him, but he's growing into his cat self. he let me pet him, but seemed nervous.

i came home, put out more food, geenie was thin (and ate it all) and set about doing what i had to do.

when i finally landed home after laundromat and groceries (ah the life i live is divine, believe me, i'm grateful for the means to do laundry and get groceries), i pulled a chair out on to the porch and sat down. geenie came closer and rubbed my legs. i picked up his long thin body (he was alway solid before, the biggest of the bunch, his thinness is testament only to his being lost i think).

and i found myself wondering if there wasn't someone who loves him now. someone who got attached to him as i had. that someone is looking out their window with a sunken heart and saying,
where did he go?

i know that feeling too well.

so i lay him in my lap and he settled down after a moment, stretching his claws out on my legs and driving his claws gently into my leg as i rubbed his head. when i'd say,
i missed you,
he would turn his beautiful head around and look me in the eye as if to say,
i missed you too.

until i picked him up, we were tentative with each other. i guess that is how it is at reunion. there is a renegotiation of sorts that must take place. the one must ask the other,
do i still belong with you, to you? is there still a place for me.

i kept saying, in his absence,
i don't need him to be happy with me, i just want him to be happy.
i hated to think of him having been a meal for something bigger and toothier, but it was a possibility. there are a lot of things living in the woods.

i spent more time than i care to acknowledge thinking about him in his absence. wondering if he would return.

and today, he did.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

slogging through

it's been a strange week for me. one thick with forest to hack through. i've been slogging away at it, growing weary, trying to keep my chin up, wondering what the hell is going on.

then today, i'm in yoga and the instructor comes up behind me as we are doing triangle pose, and she mirrors me while we're looking in a mirror. she reaches around my torsoe and says,
stitch the ribs together, elongate the trunk,
and uses her other hand to turn my hip out completely, all this while she's flush up against me. we sidebend together into the pose. she has her arms completely around me, holding me in the form with the most gentle pressure.

needless to say, i'm lovin yoga.

she grabs my uppermost thumb, still mirroring me, mind you, and elongates it. she's taller than me, so this is easy for her.

and i'm just there, enjoying the right positioning of things.

it's easy to get lazy. to let the leg roll out or do things that take the pressure off. i'm finding when someone comes along and tweaks my body into that perfect form, the difference is amazing. not to mention, enjoyable.

i know i turn everything into this touchfest, but what is life, really?

a bunch of people thrown together trying to find their way. so we bump up against each other along the way, it helps. in a lot of ways it helps.

so, i'm lost in my thoughts, trying to draw my focus into yoga, and we're about halfway through when the triangle pose happens, and i realize, we do the best we can. it is all we can do.

i'm slogging through the forest of my mind, trying to see daylight and have no clue if i'm progressing. marion woodman, when asked by her analysands how they were doing, replied,
i don't know. i'm making the journey with you.

that's what i'm finding most of late, that my companions have as little perspective as i. which is how it is supposed to be.

i must be mindful of this alone, that i keep trusting. keep believing. keep moving forward for the doors will open at the right time, i need only walk through.

does it always feel that easy? no. i just said it didn't. i'm slogging through.

but sometimes. i get glimpses of where i'm headed.

and those moments, those mountaintop moments are divine.

Thursday, June 09, 2011


tonight i had a new yoga teacher. like all the rest, she kicked my ass. but something different happened. her vibe is very strong and i was weeping at the end of class. it was powerful. i had a realization that i am grateful for. i rushed home to tell my girl who made me wonder why i rushed home. it was such an overwhelming feeling of being cared for. of loving her.

i irritated her earlier in the day. she shouldn't be surprised by this, i am human. i do annoying things. so when i got home from yoga i apologized and said,
i'm annoying, what can i say. but everyone is annoying sometimes.

she replied. then pulled out her eighth grade dc trip picture and we talked about her friends and school.

i don't know whether it is the solitude of today, or what happened, but i broke wide open in yoga tonight.

there are concerns, issues on my plate that i have not discussed with anyone. and in savasana i got a terrible image. which i faced, and released. it is all i can do. trust.

then i came to understand, the way she, my girl, blindly trusts me to care for her, to provide what she needs. that is the way we all are. some of us are more actively engaged in bringing home the bacon, but ultimately, every job, every dollar, every bill is a gift. a circle. we give, we get. sometimes there is disparity, but mostly, it is all how it should be. at least that is the conclusion i am coming to.

i look around my tiny apartment and i have considered perhaps a larger one, but ultimately, i have everything i need. the only thing i concern myself about is how it looks to others. that should be the least of my concerns. i don't have a lifestyle of maintaining things. no lawns, no houses, nothing.

i understand that means i own nothing, but there is little i want to own at this point. i want my people to be happy, to be content, to find joy. i realized tonight, i can do nothing for them. for any of them. i can't keep one of them alive if i wanted to. they are all in the keeping of the universe. and i must entrust them to it.

and so tonight, tears streaming down my face, i released them all again, every one i love. to the trust and care, the providence and grace of the universe. goodness breathe upon them. abundance fill their days. joy lighten their burdens. these are my people whom i love. i can do nothing for them. i understand that. save give them my love. that is all i have to offer. but that love alone cannot do a single thing for them. i am powerless.

and so, i revel in my abject poverty, my powerlessness, and release it all to trust.

and i drove away not concerned about the things that were on my mind earlier, i drove away from yoga knowing, it is all a gift. every last bit of it. every moment we're here breathing and being together.

and i am grateful.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011


it's such a complicated word. idea. many people have many different ideas of what it means. who has the right answer. is there a right answer.

i sat by the river tonight, who was not as quiet as yesterday, it had a lot to say. and as i drove there, i could hear something that sounded like wisdom. i don't know if you hear things the way i do, or if it is peculiar to me.

there comes a point where i can no longer tell you i love you. i cannot convince you if i try. i can only let you find it in your heart, your mind, your soul, that i love you. believe that love.

now this thought led to another,
then, when you believe it, trust it, my love, that is, i am free again to say it.

what does all that mean. of course i am not entirely sure, but i've no need for certainty before i believe a thing to be true. it is a lot like life that way.

meanwhile, in the background, one of my all time favorite movies, out of africa is playing. now there is another model of love. something that intrigues me.

i want to stop myself from writing now because i feel a poem coming on. i don't write poems here. but it is, again, consciously subconscious.

the river then, darkening as the sun set. the cat i call greggy walked with me to the river and instead of keeping her distance, she rubbed up against me as i dangled my feet in the water, i took her in my arms a couple times but she's never been the cuddling type. she finally sprawled out on a large boulder beside me and meowed. this time, only once or twice. last time she accompanied me, she meowed in time the entire length of my stay there. it was painful. but she's braver now. trusting more perhaps.

and i could see the breeze rustling through the leaves. a calm and quiet was beginning to settle into the dusk. the heat had finally let up. and the warm rocks offset the coolness of the river. when i pulled my feet out and sat embracing my knees like they do in pictures of aboriginals in foreign countries, everything felt right. felt good.

i have trust.

i believe that the next door to open will be the one i need to walk through, and it will open at the moment it is to open. until that moment, i must stay in the present and tend to what has need of me.

i cleaned my apartment today, how the energy changes when neglect is swept away, and haste has been set in order. started the day at the laundromat and then hid out from the unbearable heat outside. i took a nap and retrieved my child from the bus stop. then arranged the things that i've been overlooking. all this to the soothing sounds of favorite movies playing in the background.

i have spent a lot of time in silence of late. i keep the ringer on my phone off as much as possible, and only look when i want to, i was beginning to feel a lot like pavlov's dog and had to break that habit.

tonight in yoga i did a full shoulder stand. it was lovely. sophie said
next week we'll do headstands,
and i laughed. she said,
i probably laughed last week when she said we'd do shoulder stands. it's amazing how when you take it slow and in steps the poses seem to reveal themselves.

i stepped out of a few balance poses and, well, i just tried to get back into them, no worries. it happens. i think it's more about trying than about perfection. there is no perfection anyway.

i'm ready for bed. tired of body, peaceful of mind.

tell me a story,
she said.

and there's my poem again, rearing its head. i will sleep on it and let it come from the halfshell, fully formed.

Monday, June 06, 2011

living poetry

the poetry intensive was lovely, i kept going awol but i think that's the only way i can manage these functions now. spent three hours sunday morning walking the beach, it was like visiting an old friend. and it gave me a poem. when i read the poem to the group there was a gasp out of one woman and surprise by others, though i'm told it is a familiar union, the image that i used. but it was the act of doing it, the way one starts out on a sunday morning, fresh from bed, showers, lands at the beach and removes shoes. the water is chilly so i kept my flip flops on for about a half hour, then carried them, as shoes should be in hand at beaches. the image began to present itself early into my walk, as the walk progressed, it got fuller, cleaner. i interacted with the image. took photos. found myself conversing with the image and finally shouting,
i got it, i got it.

i don't know if somewhere someone knows what is to be written. but when i finally caught on, the images began to fall into place in my mind. i wasn't thinking about a poem per se, i could just feel images lining up, falling into a particular cadence.

it was, perhaps the most conscious my subconscious process has been, ever. maybe that is where i'm headed now. to a complete consciousness, because i can see poems overlaying my days, like an architect's sketches. i see all kinds of possibility. but none of it is complete, or even concrete at that point. i just see an overlay, like webbing, from scenes, images, words. to something that looks like a poem.

when i turned around to make it back to my car sunday, i wasn't sure i could write that poem. that i would capture it. this is always the question. the issue at hand. it's one thing to see a poem, to hear it, to know it's waiting but another thing entirely to catch it living on the page. to elicit gasps from women.

so i'm approaching my car, i notice how my body began to veer away from the shoreline and toward the seawall stairs by my vehicle. in this realignment, i found the final line of my poem. it redirected my gaze and the images continued to play out before me, life happening, and i heard what would be the final line.

someone asked me once,
did you write about it yet

i said,
it's all words and images to me. i don't have enough distance from it yet.

perhaps it's because that was referencing interactions between people, which seem to take more perspective to make sense of. this, though, was no less important, but the immediacy, the presence. i was walking in that poem. living that poem as it was being written in my mind, and was able to go home and capture it on the page.

i don't understand how it works or why. i'm just grateful, every day, that i get to do this.

i thought when poetry was so much in my mind that i was living poetry, but now, this is something utterly new.

and i went back to the retreat, and wrote it down. called my best friend and said,
i don't know if i got it, i think i got it.

and after i read it, she was silent.

no poetry critiques, no commentary.

and i knew, i got it.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

edge or ego

sophie stopped herself short when she was talking about going to the edge in yoga. i wish she would have continued speaking, those are always the words i want to hear, the ones not said. my nature, i guess. so today when i saw her i mentioned how i appreciated what she was saying.

she went on,
breathe (imagine everything in a heavily eurpoean accent, like there are ds where none exist).

when you get to the edge,
she said.
transformation is possible. why do we come for yoga lessons. to gain strength and flexibility at first, maybe. then you realize it is much more.

will you be gone,
i asked. i had overheard her talking last week. the dates overlap mine somewhat, i had hoped considerably, but she will be gone a month longer than i. which bums me out.

she will come. she is very good.
she reassured me.

i realize that these women are really affecting me, helping me deal with the many things on my plate. helping me find my breath, reconnect with my body.

yoga is a conversation between your mind and your body,
sophie says.

i looked down at my foot today and it wasn't nearly as bulbous as it has been recently. this is cause for celebration. i have a long way yet to go.

so the ego comes in,
sophie says,
when you're holding a position not because it's your edge, but because everyone else is
and there is some pride involved.
this is just ego,
she says,
not transformation.

i am trying to learn when to let go.

yet i'm finding i can release and breathe and fall deeper into a stretch, today was hamstrings. provided i'm in the right position, i can sink and lift and stretch farther than i thought possible.

i enjoy the openness of a backbend. can i do it very far or very long, no. but something about opening oneself completely. i didn't think i could find my heels until today, which was probably the fifth time i've done the pose, and each time swung my arms around, flailed them about, unable to connect with my heels.

yet today, when i sank back into the bend, touching heels, it was quite a moment. i get images in my head of limbs snapping off because the stretches are so deep and awkward at times, but i don't think anyone's limbs have snapped off lately, though often mine feel as if they will.

i think when i go to my sister's i will try to keep up this practice of five times a week yoga. it won't be the same not in a class, but it's not the class that i'm after. it's the centering. the silence. the release. ultimately, this changes my body. and my mind.

that is why i take yoga lessons.


i just read the last packet of my final semester. i will miss my mentor terribly. she saved the program for me. saved it. her critique is invaluable to me because she knows how to push me without damaging what i'm after. she has a very socratic method, which i find intensely appealing. i try to model myself after her in that regard now.

there is so much coming, but let me stay in this moment for a while. i realize how rushed and harried i've been, and i'm trying to change that. to learn to linger. i've always been a lingerer but now, there seem to be many more lingerworthy moments coming in rapid succession. the bath last night. pool side with my bestie yesterday. memorial day's long hot embrace. stay there, for a moment.

poetry intensive this weekend, see, i've already ventured out of that moment initial moment of my packet.

i don't know that poetry is meant to explicate everything for the reader. to lay down a linear thread, i think that is the job of prose. poetry is more jagged terrain and drop offs than that. though i understand, the reader must get some enjoyment out of it too, but i trust when the poem comes, it comes as it is meant to come. this is the premise of my process. it is hard for me then to clip a line, to alter a sequence to suit anyone. this is my limitation perhaps. but i can't understand poetry by committee. even the best committees around. poetry is utterly personal. intimate. the choices made there are not without some meaning. though not necessarily linear and progressive in terms of a narrative.

this perspective has always been my liability. it is why i entrust my works to no one. though i do believe the time is coming for me to publish, or, more exactly, to allow another to publish my works. that is a huge trust for me. it has to be someone to whom i'd willingly defer. those people simply aren't around every corner.

i will read the poems critiqued to the poets who have been writing with me, and hearing me for the past five years now. such time has passed. we have all changed. grown. there are conversations i have to have, that i know are coming, which will be difficult. i see it down the road coming my way, and i know i won't avoid it.

i'm looking forward to the long drive up, to clear my head. marion woodman speaking to me of the conscious feminine, understanding how far i've come. time has been gracious with me. it has brought me love, poems, life, health, and strength. and i am reminded of so many things she said to me before i was free. so many things i yearned for in that captivity i once called a marriage.

i'm not down on marriage per se, i'm down on my marriage. i am still trying to finalize that end, but in the meantime, i'm moving on. trusting. who can know what is to come until it has been.

you can't take your garbage with you,
woodman says.

and i remember when we moved out to new york, how i wanted to be done with it all, to let many of our possessions go, not tuck them away into a workshop. i knew the day would come when i would have to return to texas and bury the dead left rotting above ground.

that day is nearly upon us. this summer looks to be the time for my sojourn back. driving back through tennessee and remembering where i came from.