Friday, February 27, 2009

It Is What It Is (Isn't It?)

Yesterday I saw a bumper sticker on a ukulele that read:

Don't believe everything you think.

Let's add to that, the lesser known gem:

Don't believe everything you feel.


Oh, it's a pisser alright.

It turns out that just because we think or feel it doesn't mean it's fact.
How can that be? Aren't thoughts and feelings legitimate?
But legitimate doesn't make them facts.

I think to myself: 'Things aren't going the way I need them to. I'm scared.' Instantly it's as if my inner little girl starts to cry...and scream.

I've got to soothe and quiet that little girl, right? It would be horribly mean to let her be in such misery. She says she wants a cookie. better yet, 10 cookies. (Let's use cookies as a metaphor for whatever escape hatch we use, okay?)

Over the years I've learned which foods will put me in that instant coma I desperately seek. the coma where I can't hear the little girl and I'm not overwhelmed by today's circumstance. The thing is, the cookie sedative only lasts about 15 minutes. then self-loathing sets in. 'You ate 10 cookies, you loser!'

Nothing quiets self-loathing better than 10 more cookies. or some other mind-number of some sort.

And so it goes.

While digging around in my emotional basement today

I came across a shocking discover:

That crying,screaming voice doesn't belong to my inner little girl!


It's my super smart, super tricky inner critic.

My inner critic really hates when I discover things that make me more whole and more able, so it takes any chance it can get to slip in through the cracks to derail me. Any moment that I am over stimulated with the stuff of life, it pretends to be the voice of my inner little girl, and it says 'I am in pain! Only a cookie will help me!'

Well I call bullshit, Mr. Critic. Bull. Shit.

So I am now on an adventure of trying to catch him in the act. When I walked in to the grocery store and found myself inexplicably drawn to this huge hunk of chocolate, I picked it up and considered who was asking for it. it was not painful to set that hunk back down and move along.

Please don't discount this concept just because I'm using food as an example. I am not on a diet nor trying to be on one. It's not about cutting out certain things that are 'bad''s about challenging the inner voice that is shouting.

Deal with it, Mr. Critic, I am NOT broken beyond repair, as you'd like me to think.
I am NOT frozen by fear, as you sometimes try to convince me.
I am NOT doomed to be stuck in old patterns and beliefs.

I AM in the process of dusting off those old, worn out thoughts and feelings and trading them in for fresh new ones that fit me.

This IS my truth.

okay...enough for now...consider it food for thought.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Turn it Upside Down

A wise women recently told me that fear is just an emotion.
I roll that around my tongue a few tastes funny.

Intellectually, I know that fear is just an emotion, but my brain and my belly are in serious disagreement on this one.

This fabulous wise woman told me you can dismantle fear by laughing at it. Ha!

On some level that makes perfect sense...I want to believe her. Dissolve fear with a sense of humor...that seems just dopey enough to be true, doesn't it? At the same time I scoff - it couldn't possibly be that simple. If it was that simple why do I cower at the very idea of facing it?
As I work at untangling the knots in my soul, made of a lifetime of trying to survive the slings and arrows, I discover something useful: I have gotten so used to being 'an intelligent adult' that if I sit across from this wise woman or anyone else, and discuss matters of the mind/heart/soul, my insights into self and the world are as wise as the best of them.


That is not the same thing as actually TAKING IN MY TRUTH in such a way as to create a better way of living with myself.

What the hell am I talking about? bear with me here...

When embarking on investigations of those layered, historical 'issues' I realize that I am able to be more honest and more open if I don't just sit there like an adult. Lying on the ground with my feet in the air is sure to spill my intellectual armor out of my ear, leaving room for something new. Yes, feet in the air.Sure, there are other positions that will do the trick...sitting cross legged, scribbling with colored pens with my non-dominant hand while talking; lying on my belly, chin in hands -these are just a few positions that somehow help me bypass my intellect just enough to let a pleasant surprise invite itself over for tea. time you feel the need to work through something, try it upside down.
Shake it up a little. Do a dance and sing what's bugging you. You may find it oddly useful. Sure it sounds stupid. You may even laugh and accidentally scare the fear away.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Nearness

   /ˈɪnfluəns/ Pronunciation [in-floo-uhns]
noun & verb
1. the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior or opinions of others.

By the time we reached elementary school some of us

(Me. You?)
began experimenting with saying things, agreeing to things, or pretending to know things that were not essentially true to ourselves.

Perhaps part of the reason was that we felt an energetic pull to do so along with an unspoken suspicion that things would go better if we just said YES.
Of course YES is a magical thing when used wisely.

But even now we fall prey to than silent director that inspires us to say yes when we mean no. Someone near us likes something or says something, and rather than tell the truth 'I've never heard of the band Visqueen, or 'I hate sushi' we say - 'Oh yeah, that band is totally edgy. Or 'Yeah, sushi is so good for you!

Nearness provides truly extraordinary energetic experiences. For example, when I am near my brother I laugh a lot. It's not even what he's how he says it. This has always been true. Sometimes I start laughing as soon as I see him, before he's even said anything.

The ocean also provides a magical influence for me. When I am near the ocean, the incessant mental chatter of my city concerns fall away and i am left feeling like my essential self -the self that was its truest between the ages of nine and twelve or thereabouts.

One way or another, it's all about the Nearness. the closer you get to something or someone the more you can feel their energy, right? So there it is.

The question is:

What influences YOU for better or worse?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hearts Desire

Everybody had one.

Some people had two.

I had even seen a lady walking across the street who had five.

Clearly there was one thing sorely missing from my life. I wondered how it could be that I was one of the unlucky few who didn’t have one. Maybe it was one of those things that came with age. Maybe I was just too little to be trusted with one. Did they think that I couldn’t carry the burden or the responsibility of having one? Of course I didn’t know what it took to be worthy. Mom always said that good things come to those who wait.

So I waited. And waited. That can get pretty old pretty fast and I was almost six years old already and I still didn’t have what I most desired. A pocket.

You heard me.

And don’t pretend it’s not important because you know it is. You’ve probably forgotten how important it is because you’ve had one for as long as you can remember. In fact, you’re probably one of those people who has two.

Try to see it from my perspective. It’s almost my sixth birthday and I’m pocket-less. I guess there’s no sense talking to you about it. There’s only one place I can turn for important matters such as these. Mom. So when the day came that mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday I told her.

“A pocket.”

There. I finally said it.

And oh what a pocket she made me. It had different fabric on each side, it was reversible and it had a big safety pin so I could attach it to absolutely every piece of clothing that I owned.

And I did.

Friday, February 6, 2009


Isn’t, can’t, won’t,
Shouldn’t, couldn’t,
Were all invented
To kill the is
The try
The more
The might.
A maybe can be quickly murdered
By a can’t.
If all the tries are trampled on
The hoorays
Have little hope
Of being found.


Storage just isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

If you store food
It either molds
Or ends up as access
Stored memories
Rehash bad feeling
Emphasize good times
Dissatisfy you with today.
Store objects take up space,
Then time when re-found
Then space when re-stored.

Whoever invented storage
Will never be invited to my house for tea.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Whale Dream

My dreams are like a circus - insanely vivid, lots of storylines and colors and action and mystery and many dreams fill each night and many of them stay with me when I wake. The whale dream is exactly as i remember it except I have given the characters names.

The boat is big and there are many people milling about.

The director of the movie is huddled at a table with his two trusted assistants, trying to choreograph the upcoming scene.

Sylvie and her boyfriend Keenan have signed up to be extras for the day. Sounded like fun although it hasn't been so far. There is a tall blonde woman herding some of the extras to one side of the room and a tense balding man herding extras to the other side. There has been a mix-up with Sylvie's costume and she is shuffled to the changing room for a quick dress swap.

Zip up; button at top, cinch belt - quick and easy.

When she returns, Keenan is sitting on the other side of the room, which is now set up to look like a wedding chapel. The tense extra's herder is blocking the aisle, so Sylvie can't even sit next to Keen.

As it turns out, it is only Keenan's side of the room that gets into the shot and all of the extras on that side of the room are told that they'll be needed for the next two to three months. Two to three months! This means Sylvie and Keen won't be seeing much of each other for a while.

Sylvie slips out of the room and wanders around the boat. Funny not to have noticed it's rhythmic rocking side to side until now. She looks out the portal window at the gray sky. The waves are gray too, like her mood. She finds the door and steps out onto the deck. The waves are big and crash suddenly on either side of her. The movie making seems far away and the side to side rocking of the boat fills her with dis-ease.

Another wave crashes and she feels a sudden pressure on her shoulder - Keenan's hand. He kisses her cheek lightly.
She doesn't turn around, peering over the railing at the murky water below.


A big wave tugs the boat sloppily to one side causing Sylvie to lose her footing and fall into the cold, cold water.

Under. No air - no sight for a long choking minute, then up - deep breath, really cold and fear as she catches her breath.

"Grab my hand!" Keenan offers stepping carefully tot he edge of the rail.

Swimming is clunky. The dress wraps awkwardly around her legs, the effort to kick thwarted.

"Hurry!" He urges, as if she has a choice.

There is a presence suddenly. Huge, dark...right next to her.
The whale breaches and bumps her.

"Get me the fuck-" it bumps her again, aggressive;scary.
She is no longer aware of Keenan, only the voice she seems to hear saying 'come with me, won't you?'

Quickly she undoes the belt from around her waist and slings it loosely around the whales giant neck, climbing up as if onto a horse and braces herself for submersion.

She is surprised to discover no difficulty breathing underwater. her eyes adjust to the dim light and the underwater landscape begins to appear before her.
The feeling of fear dissipates as she senses the creatures thoughts.

'You wanted company?' She thinks to the whale.
The whale is bashful as it thinks a silly grin back to her.
'But you seemed so scary -' She thinks to the whale.
'Very pleased with self' the whale thinks back.

Days and nights pass as the ocean travelers discover kinship.
Keenan, sitting on the bow of the boat at dusk catches glimpses of her silhouette against the darkening night sky - girl, bareback on whale, hand raised in hello, then gone.

As months pass, stories are told of the girl in the sea - but most believe it to be the imagining of drunkards and poets, the only ones wild enough to go out past supper time and the only ones foolish enough to believe their own dreams.


The kind that shakes they sky
The kind that makes my blood shy

Not an earthquake or a belly ache
A surprise feeling behind my eyes

And the sea beckons me
The hourglass begs to be shaken
My arms are weak from holding

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Dad-ness

If the heart spoke English, what stories it could tell.

Instead, it's tucked neatly behind the walls and armor we've built up over the years. It's trapped behind the stories we tell which may or may not be the whole truth as only the heart could know it.

They tell me Dad has congestive heart failure.

Over the years I have tended to the wounds of my own heart, some of which came about from a different kind of heart failure....the failure of his heart to connect, care or listen in a meaningful way.

When I was a teenager i wrote a song about him, and his narcissism. it was a somewhat witty song, trying to express my disappointment and cover it up at the same time. Yeah, I tried to play it cool.

Over the years I braved it up and told him about the things in our past that hurt me. I always let him know I loved him, but tried to say what i needed to say to. Never easy, is it?

The heart is a funny thing.

It feels something and then we do all we can to ignore it, quiet it,or sometimes if we are very brave to listen to it.

I'm sad for my father. To see him shudder from some invisible chill, to see the confusion cloud his eyes. I'm sad.

As i left the hospital room today I kissed him on his forehead and held him for a long moment.

'I love you' he said, looking up at me.

'Know that.'

'Know that.'