Monday, March 26, 2012
The truth is, I could write an exposé on my life right now, and your jaw would probably drop open, hung like an exhausted dog on a hot summer day.
Escapades o' plenty.
Everyone around me is experiencing wild transformation and we're like a tribe of wanderers seeking comfort on a cloudy day. Bags, packed. Relationships, severed. Bodies, pleasured. Jobs, quit. Jobs, scored. Mystery, abound. Movement, happening.
I've got this new line that I live by. It's in response to the Emma Goldman quote, "If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution." Because while you know how much I love to dance, what you might not know is how much I love surrender and face-slapping truth.
There will be mystery at the revolution. That's all I know now.
There will be darkness and We Will Not Know Where We Are Going. That's what happens when you turn the ship against the tide, with no real map or compass for the land you're headed to.
All you get is your body and a choice: Will you journey in the dark, getting bumped up and bruised, as you seek the door knob to the next light room? Or will you sit frantically wishing that you could see--that you could make sense of the dark in your mind without ever wandering through?
Some of us seek a life with the lights on, always--not trusting that if we reach out our hands we will find our way in the unknown. But for the darkness walkers, the shadow trekkers, perhaps nothing matters more than friends... people to journey with, to help you know you're not so alone or insane or absolutely ludicrous for thinking you could turn that ship around all by yourself with little fuel and no direction... people to tell you that if you just keep meandering your way, the light will come, you will be unstuck, you will not regret your journey.
Alone, in the dark corners and caverns of adventure, there is paralysis, there is doubt, there is absolute hatred for how reckless you must have been to land in this pitch black terror. But if you keep going, there are breaths, tiny steps, and soft hands extended, asking Will you travel with me? Will you hold me when I get scared? Will you remind me that trying to see the light won't make it so--that the only way out of the dark is through old fashioned feeling, hands-out exploration, a mysterious navigation with no map but your own?
What is it about touching your two hands to the walls, following something strong and firm until you finally find a soft opening?
A mind's journey will only take you so far. Your body knows how to move courageously, how to dance and dance in the dark.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Madeleine and Jen on the kitchen couch--a mother-daughter sweetness built on freedom, love and friendship.
A year ago, she would say things to me and I'd have no clue what she meant. All I knew is that her words didn't come from a place of ego or trying to be wise. No--they came from Hell. And Hell's the only real trustworthy classroom. At least that's what seems to be true from the little life I've lived. Our sob stories are our salvation when we grow through them. Our shit turns to gold if we learn how to process it correctly. And sometimes, years of suffering in a certain shade or shadow, is just enough to push us into a cosmic kind of light. (And we're still left bemused; how did it take me this long to understand; to see clearly?!)
These days, we call each other on our cell phones from the floor above or below, beckoning each other into bed to tell stories of our latest escapades. Was I foolish? Have I said too much? Who knew that our lives could be this much fun? The top of the mountain is just as torturous as the climb. I forbid you to say another word. Only dancing and snapping allowed. I just love you.
During one of our day-lit pillow-lounging confessionals a few short weeks ago, she told me the best advice I've ever followed. Ever ever ever.
The only thing that's certain, ever ever ever, she said, is that everything around us will change. So if you don't like the spot you're in--if you want everything to truly change--Do Nothing.
My antenna raise and quiver. Huh? (I know the plot's about to thicken when Jen Lemen leaves me with a blank-faced Huh?)
Yes!-- She smirked in a serious kind of way. When you keep doing, keep striving, keep trying to change things--you're just repeating your usual patterns and ways. Nothing changes. Not really.
But if you truly Do Nothing--nothing at all--everyone else will keep moving around you, and when your part falls through, the world will scramble, and everything will be revealed.
Let them lead. Do Nothing.
Terrified, confused, and confident, I did everything in my power to Do Nothing. No conversations. No deep listening. No problem-solving. No sexing. No brainstorming. No facilitating. Nothing. Openness. Deflection. When asked to fill my usual Do Something shoes, I'd say--
"I just want to Do Nothing for now."
"What do you think?"
"I trust you to decide."
"There's nothing to be done here. Nothing wrong. Nothing at all."
"I love you but I need some space."
It took two days for my entire life to transform.
The whole ship changed directions. It was a painful, heavy load to move without moving a muscle, like being crushed or being stretched and having no say or no power--just surrender, just Yes.
I gambled without knowing what I was gambling for. I gambled for a chance at new; for a release from the stale air we were beginning to despise.
And my gamble was small compared to many--I didn't leave my husband or my country or my job or my addiction. I left one box that I no longer fit into; hoping and praying that something would be able to hold me.
The truth is--this new space is still hard (everything is), but I'm glad I'm here. And I'm finding, oddly enough, that when you break down the walls of your boxes, you're left with a round, expansive Earth who knows how to hold every bit of every thing.
I'm over here wondering what your darkest days in Hell have taught you, and the best advice you've ever given or received? The likelihood that you'll comment with such deep revealing seems rare. (Is it just me, or is blogging a dying art?) Either way--I'm excited that you just might share your story. Written, spoken, or otherwise; I'd be thrilled to hear a bit of your truth. I've been so touched by honest connection lately. If you're seeking a bit, reach out!
Sending you love and gratitude for being part of my life here in this little pixel of a place. I appreciate you so much.
ps--I love how raw and honest and alive Julie Daley is. Have you read her work? She's one of those people who seems to stay true to her natural expression, as opposed to trying to sell her worth/work. (So rare--so profound). This post is about spring and letting the earth kiss your feet. It's beautiful.
pps--If you're feeling sad or hopeful or resentful about love, this old country song might be good fuel for the fire. And sometimes, a fire needs to be fed and flamed before it can really die out.
ppps--I'm so proud of Jen and Ria and Henry for all their hard work launching the most exquisite of websites and missions. Take a peek at the little chicks and Hopeful World's new home.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
there are friends who leave you speechless
their wordlessness a song bigger than the beauty they sing
their ready eyes a moment's notice away from tears, just when you need them so
who forgive you when you've gone too far
who hold you when you refuse to open to so much pain
who fly out for your birthday, simply because you asked
who don't hold it against you when you can't return the favor
who stay out with you for the adventure that would never happen if you went in
there are friends who you can call back 10 minutes later to say 10 more things
even when they're out of time
even when there's other stuff to do
even when the kids have yet to fall asleep
friends who buy you dresses or chocolate or a nice bottle of red
who you tell your secrets to--who keep your shame at bay
who laugh just a few minutes longer, because we all know we all need the release
yes--there are friends like this
but they are few and far between
and when you find them, you are wise to sing their praises--
to hoot n' holler in just the right tone, any time they need support
to love them in all the ways you know how
because they are beyond worthy, and anything less would be sin
you are wise to write them poems
to sing them hallelujahs
to fill boxes to the brim with so much joy and magic
and keep nothing for yourself because you two--
you are truly, fully, together
and together is everything
nothing is better
happy birthday wild & free, jodi. thanks won't ever say it all. i love you, i love you, i love you. wishing you succulence & adventure & peace & discovery during this cosmic trip around the sun!
Thursday, March 8, 2012
they think i just go through the motions, emotionless, at peace
but there are days--days and days and days
of dying and dancing and dangling by a tired thread
even we fear the claw, the coming winter,
the winds at night when no one is watching
even we taste the sour scent of rotted skin and flesh
lying lifeless beneath our reach
even we are overwhelmed by our
our olive greens, our sage and steadfast stance
our giving and giving and giving
that asks for nothing in return
what alive knows not terror?
what living thing fears not the ultimate loss?
who that has died, would not answer Yes!
to all the torture and triumph,
all the wishing it weren't so,
given the chance to cry and shout out--
branches naked and free amidst a quiet sky?
for the trees, and bindu, and me and you and him and her and all the suffering in this wild world.
[best read aloud, over and over until you feel every word.]
It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.
It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, 'Yes.'
It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
Thanks to my dear dear friend Alyssa, for sending me this poem, which came my way long ago, but I'd since forgotten. It's the perfect timing, indeed, since over here asking myself these questions daily. And you? What would you want to know, if you could know anything at all about the deep & daring heart of the matter?
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
(on days like today, when everything seems to be a big broken mess).
- patience is truly a virtue--probably the most important of them all
- laying in the grass (even the wet grass) looking up at the sky and listening to the birds is the number one gift i can give to my mental health
- i'm really really loved
- slowing down, cancelling appointments, and calling in sick won't kill me--or my mojo
- regular showers and 8 hours of sleep a night are #2 in the mental health gift department
- and fresh fruit and water, #3
- words are far less healing than touch and presence
- i don't have to hold everything together for everyone, all the time
- i can ask to be held
- i can be angry and give myself space
- it's important to turn off my computer and phone if I'm serious about taking a nap
- everything will fall apart, with or without my efforts to save things
- when things fall apart (that's the name of an incredible pema chodron book, btw), there is grief, and when there is grief, there is room for unparalleled healing
- surrender is everywhere and everything eventually surrenders; like it, or not
- you don't have to like it
- you can resist whatever you want to resist for as long as you want to resist it
- but resistance isn't control--nothing is. and there's nothing we can do about that
- love is the weirdest, most incomprehensible and mysterious thing on earth
- and the boxes we put it within insult the holiness of the thing itself
- i really don't know what i'm talking about most of the time
- and i really shouldn't try to
- and i should still write/say/ponder/hold onto whatever makes me feel sane
- as should you
- and if your sanity and my sanity don't cordially overlap, that's okay--i still respect you
- because we're all just trying to make sense of this life, this world, this unbelievable chance
- that's all too big to measure
- gratitude is underrated
- individualism is overrated
- togetherness is the hardest, deepest calling us humans have before us
- i go for the gold.
- apparently, life carries on, without our doing anything.
- and heartache, dispair, loneliness and suffering are an unfortunately common human experience.
Friday, March 2, 2012
What if your vision were so big, so holy, that you actually called on 1 billion people to dance in the streets until the violence STOPS?
What if you knew that our capacity for healing and our desire for a new world were actually that strong?
--That we've just been waiting all these years for someone to call us into our power?
I'm dumbfounded and speechless over Eve Ensler--in my opinion, one of the most revolutionary humans on Earth today. No vision is too big. No dream unattainable.
I mean--her life vision is to actually END violence against women, globally.
No half-hearted dreams for this woman. She's TIRED OF WAITING FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO DREAM BIG. She's tired of WAITING for other people to come around about rape and violence in their own sweet (and lagging) time.
She's opened her heart so wide, so fearlessly, so boldly--that she's actually trudging through resistance and doubt--walking right past those voices of "reason" that say it'll never happen; war and rape and violence against women will always be reality.
Those voices of "reason" come from a deeply rooted source of denial--denial over the truth about how ugly and horrendous things have been for women (and men, and all living things). But there's no denial for Eve Ensler.
You can't deny the stories when they're told to you. You can't deny the broken woman standing before you, bullet through her head, genitalia in her hands. You simple cannot deny what you are shown in broad daylight.
This is the gift Eve Ensler has been given: she is shown the ugliest of truths.
But we are all given a gift. It's how we respond that makes us geniuses, or not.
What makes Eve Ensler a genius? What's her bedrock for complete and utter world-shaking instigation?
She has this thing down:
"The challenge of modernity is to live without illusions and without becoming disillusioned." -Antonio GramsciShe sees the truth and says "fuck it" in the same breath. Whatever she believes possible, is. She goes for it.
In this case--she insists on a better world for women; a world of peace, embodied.
Watch this video. Watch the glow around Eve as she talks: she knows so much how holy she is, how holy life is, and how much power we really have. She's going for the gold.
Tell me, friends. What would you really go for if you knew that anything were possible? That the world has been waiting and the time is NOW for embodiment?
Thursday, March 1, 2012
you are here. on this earth. a being made by patterns so incomprehensible that we have to describe those patterns as some form of love.
love makes so little sense. yet still, we try to fit into a box with neatly defined parameters, describing the what's, who's and how's of being a good lover; of being correct about love.
but here's the truth: all love is correct love--all expressions, all desires, all impulses, all honest-longings. no two flowers bloom the same. we do not chastise one for being frail and praise one for being bright. we lean in close to the whole lot, and inhale a deep and curious wonder.
today, our task is this: to treat each other more like flowers. to marvel at all the ways we express love; at all the ways we mirror this unruly source and nearly untouchable element.
unfortunately, our mass-consciousness has been misguided by invasive structural forces meant to keep us in line; meant to keep us from mystery and magic and a true expression of love. (after all, what powers might we have?--what agency might we take, if the wisdom of the human body, as opposed to the propaganda of the human mind, were setting boundaries and expressing visions?)
our bodies are wiser than even our consciousness. our bodies know the truth about love, even if we've been taught to mistrust, shame and blame our bodies for their desires. even if we've been told that our minds are responsible for keeping our bodies in check, rather than our bodies are responsible for teaching our minds safe and holy practices.
our bodies know safety. our bodies know vitality. our bodies know joy and ecstasy. no doubt about it.
after all, when we watch the ways of nature, we can see, we can recognize, how honorably most living things care for themselves. how loyal the lioness is to feeding her family. how sufficient the bird is at building it's chicks a home. how tender the trees go through their cycles--spreading their seeds freely, reproducing without drama or fret.
and while our humanness, our consciousness, makes us undoubtedly different, and perhaps more complex--sustainability and survival are not dependent on our conventional norms. they're not dependent on monogamy, gender norms, a nuclear household, or traditional family roles. in fact, most attempts by modern humans to uphold these expectations are far from successful. the divorce rate in the US is over 50% and most households are run with stress, suppression, and strain just to keep the ball rolling.
of course, some people thrive within the current cultural norms. but i'm going to go out on a limb and say it's less people than we like to believe. how many times have you sat with your jaw dropped in amazement over an old couple, living a "normal life" and still madly in love? we find it strange, anomalous, exceptional. because it is.
but still, we often deny ourselves the permission to go for a different game. we just keep playing the game we're only okay at, hoping that one day, we might improve. it feels shortsighted to me.
there are infinite games we could play.
there are no rules in love.
there is my truth, and your truth, and the way those truths overlap.
there is negotiation.
there is trial and error.
there is exploration.
there is compassion.
but there is none of this if we do not own our agency. if do not open to the mystery of existence. if we do not break the box.
and there is especially none of this, if we do not forge conversation. if we do not bring into the light the dark realities that so many of us hide from.
so here's to conversation. to breaking ground. to putting it out there that i think we can love more wholly, more freely, more like the wild mystery that we're born from.
please, sweet friends, let's talk. be bold and ask questions. any questions at all. what are you dying to talk about? what do you fear? who do you dream of becoming? what expression of love is calling you?