adulthood · authenticity · band · compassion · courage · dance · discovery · letting go · life · maturity · music · performance · persistence · poetry · receiving · responsibility · self-care · singing · surrender

Pulling a Carmen: 2

When I began this blog-a-day back in November of last year,
my first post was called “Pulling a Carmen,” as I’d been reading and was encouraged by her own blog-a-day postings. In the time since, sometimes I
just find it hugely funny how parallel my path is to my fellow blogger and
friend.
For recent example:
  • I also just starting going back on to the internet dating
    scene. In fact, I have a coffee date today with someone I met on JDate
  • I too have said fuck it, and asked out a dude yesterday.
    Unfortunately, turns out he’s married, but it felt really good to do so.
  • Several of the books that are lining my desk and bedside
    table are travel books about Europe, underlining my intention to take a real
    freaking vacation some time this century.
  • And, I also rented a camera and video camera from the
    school’s A/V department to begin taking pictures again. 

Sometimes I feel awkward about our exceedingly similar
trajectories, as if I’m copying her, but the reality is that independently, we
come to these things, and then come here to write about them. It’s really
funny, and also somewhat comforting to know that there is someone who is
traveling a similar path toward “To thine own self be true.”
On that note, I went to see my friend’s band play in the city
last night, and then headed with my girlfriends to go out dancing in Oakland.
Prior to both these… we went to the Dharma Punx meditation – nothing says
spiritually fit like meditating for 40 minutes before downing coffee with an
add-shot. 😉
But to relate it to the ‘self be true’ part – each of these
are places where I want to feel more connection. I hadn’t been to see live
music in MUCH too long. It’s on my current list of “Serenity Moths” on my
refrigerator (a list of things that aren’t cataclysmic, but slowly and
subterraneaously eat away at my serenity and foundation). Yes, “Absence of live
music” is on there, and so should be “dancing.” I’m a white girl. I have no
ambition or goal to be anything but a mildly flailing Elaine Benice, but … i
love it. The absence of self, the absence of self criticism or posturing or
need to be anywhere or anything else. Lost in the music.
The band brought something else up for me. Like the
“dropping” of the whole acting bent at the beginning of this year, what I’ve dropped
more often than anything is the “being in a band” idea.
As you may know, I have 2 guitars, a bass, and a small USB plug
in keyboard. Each as dust-covered as the next. The bass amp sits as a monument
to abandoned dreams in my apartment.
Last night, watching my friend’s band, I remembered that this is
something I want to do. In fact, I’d emailed one of the guitarist’s wife about
6 or more months ago to talk to her about her own process of getting toward
singing in a band – embracing her inner teenage rock chick. If I had my … well, if I had my own back, I guess, I’d play
bass, and I’d sing. Talk about vulnerability.
This week, I stood practically naked in front of an audience
and spoke my poem into a microphone in a moderately full theater. That isn’t nearly as frightening to me as
standing in front of an audience, singing, or playing.
The truth is that for several years, I’ve been gathering information
about the whole bass playing thing. But, no, I haven’t been playing. A few
years ago, I asked a guy I knew for bass advice, and he sent me a long list of
places to start (which I didn’t pursue). About a year later, I contacted this other guy about bass
lessons (which I didn’t pursue). … And the guy I asked out yesterday is also a bass player. Apparently,
I have a thing.
Every few years, I’ll troll craigslist, and I’ll answer a
few ads for singers. I even recorded myself a little on my computer’s
Garageband to send as a sample. I got a “not a good fit, but thanks anyway” from one,
and no reply from another. And, hey, I don’t blame em. When I’m terrified, it
comes through. I don’t know. I’ve written here about it kind of frequently –
and dismissed it and been “embarrassed” by it just as often.
However, once again, the thing that occurred to me last night as I
watched my friend’s band was another case of “I want to do that” … followed by
“I can do that.” There is no one stopping me, obviously except for myself and
my fears, and that critic that says “Not good enough” and chops me off at the
knees before I start.
One thing I’m working on releasing at the moment, a pattern
and belief and behavior that is just not fucking serving me anymore, is my need
or habit to stay small.
When I was living in South Korea, my friend nicknamed me
“Ballsy Mollsy.” I had the absolute chutzpah and hubris to ask anyone anything,
go anywhere, and do pretty much whatever I felt like doing in the hedonistic
way most drunks do.
However, there is a quality of that Ballsy woman who still I am,
somewhere, and who I want to resurrect or reveal or uncover or let loose – or
even just let into the light a little tiny bit.
I find it’s happening in some ways. And I know to have
compassion for myself as I try to aim in this direction which has been a Siren
song for me (uh, no pun intended) for … oh, 15 years.
But compassion for slow progress, and acceptance of
stagnation are two different things. And I’d really like to move forward from
here.
So, for your reading pleasure, here’s a poem composed about
a year ago. Reading aloud is encouraged.  As is recalling the line “So let it be written, so let it be done.” Cheers. m.
Band Practice
Tnk tnkTNK thwap
Tnk tnkTNK thwap
Bzzzt FLARE feedback
TNK tnktnk THWAP
Tnktnk THWAP tnk tnktnk THWAP
TNK tnktnk THWAP
Tnktnk THWAP tnk tnktnk THWAP
Tnka tnka thwap
Tnka tnka tnka thwap
Tnka tnka thwap
Tnka tnka tnka thwap
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TNK TNK THWAP!
change · compassion · forgiveness · fortitude · life · maturity · poetry · progress · recovery · San Francisco

Poetic Noise.

I was all set to write a blog about 7 years. How really when
someone is 6 years old, they’re beginning their 7th year of life.
How I’ve been here in the SF Bay Area 6 years to the day, and so I begin my 7th year in
the Bay. And how, further, and don’t quote me, that our cells are said to regenerate every 7 years – all of them – so that I am now beginning a set of 7. Any and all cells that I had in my body when I arrived in San Francisco
have absolutely been purged and regrown, replaced.
I think about this, and intended to write about all the
things that have changed in these 6 full years. About where I am not as I begin
my 7th – about how I feel it’s completely cosmically appropriate
that I stand ready to graduate from a Master’s program and contemplate a return
to the East Coast, and even maybe a career.
I wanted to list things like getting my teeth fixed, a
several-year process that I started here, after 10 years of having a few molars pulled
in high school but never replaced, which made me self conscious in photos,
though few others noticed (I certainly do now, as I smile entirely with every
ounce of my cheeks).
I was going to write about my return to art. About taking up the pencil after several years’ neglect and the first tentative and
judgmental sketches which I shoved away for another few years before warming up
and into myself – culminating in selling a painting last year – me?! of all people.
The last 6 years witnessed a return to the stage, auditions,
head shots, community plays. Two acting classes, and two performance poetry
classes, and some modeling to further my return to being present in my skin.
They also signaled a return to writing, the scribbled in
margins and the back of notebook hobby of mine. Who knew that beginning to post
my poems as Facebook notes for several years would morph into what it is now –
reading in public, (almost) owning my mantle of poet. 
I got a cat, for chrissake. Something I was loathe to do –
my first pet-able animal I’ve ever owned, and having her hasn’t make me a crazy cat
lady… so I’m told.
I put up curtains, set root in San Francisco, didn’t run
away, cut and run, shrink or hide. I’ve emerged slowly, shyly, tentatively,
reluctantly and painfully for sure.
I took guitar lessons and voice lessons. Which I dropped,
but the piano creeps in these days, sending crescendos of joy into my marrow.
For years, while I’ve been here, whenever someone told me
that they were in school full-time, I looked at them as though they were a
movie star, a little starry eyed and goofy and admiring, and said (I remember
so clearly), I envy people who do that – go to school fulltime. And now I’m one
of them. I forget that I really asked for this. I asked for it often and
deeply.
As each of the cells on this corporeal form have dived their
swan song into the ether, I have changed. People sometimes use the term inwardly
rearranged
– how literal it is here.
Yes, I intended to write my blog about that – about the
nature and surprise of continuing to beat a heart consistently for 7 years.
But I read my email before I came to write this, and there’s
some poetic noise in the interwebs about some highly public class tension that
occurred last night in the direction of a classmate, and I’m just sort of sad
about it.
We are all human. We are all trying to be free from
suffering and doing the best we can. 
How we act and react — teacher, student, classmate … parent, co-worker, acquaintance, dude who cut me off on the highway — is simply and ultimately the best we can offer for that day. We may not like it or approve – we may reprove ourselves for how we acted or reacted or neglected to act – but we also get to reflect and change what isn’t working for us, whether that’s our perspective or action. 
So mixed with the awe and gratitude I feel for not being the sloppy,
grubbing, manic splash of a young woman I was when I arrived in San Francisco 6
years ago today, I also feel a melancholy compassion for last night’s wounded artist (who
for all I know, may not be), and for the reality that we are all somewhere in the process of this perpetual
self-renewal.
authenticity · healing · letting go · love · maturity · self-care

BFF

My best friend from the east coast is coming in tomorrow to
visit for 5 days. I’m excited and nervous – and I think I’ve written this
before! I tried to write a blog this morning about real and fancied fears (that
i’ll end up pushing a shopping cart: fancied; skin cancer: realish), but I
couldn’t get it going, so I dug around for what’s really on my mind.

So, that’s happening, and part of my nerves are that she and
I haven’t spent such significant time with one another in Years. We’d had a
pretty bad falling out at the end of both our college years, almost 10 years
ago, and didn’t talk for about the next 5 or so. We both had some growing and
changing to do, but as Fate would have it, about 3 years after I moved to
San Francisco, we began to reconnect.
Like any friendship, and especially a reconciliation, it’s
been by degrees. The warming up, getting to know you again phase. And
particularly with reconciliation, the “what’s it going to be like this time”
friendship fear. Will it be the same? Likely not; we’ve both changed our lives & ourselves dramatically. Will it be based on nostalgia? That, is something that a few
of my friendships from New Jersey have faded into, and have thence faded
completely. A friendship based on nostalgia doesn’t really work. It’s great to
reminisce, but that can’t be all there is – if there’s no current common
ground, no interest in pursuing something forward, then there’s really nothing
to bond over. The bond was made, but it’s … in the past. 
Luckily, with my
friend coming out this week, we’ve been able to learn that we have more in
common now and more to talk about and bond over than we had then. We have the
wonderful ability and common shared history to be able to talk about that
ridiculous party in the sand pit – the “pit party” – or the terrible yet funny
nicknames we used to have for people in high school (Money, Teeth, Banana –
because he looked like a monkey… go teenage girls…!). But we’re also finding
now that our lives, despite our separate courses and coasts, have miraculously
similar trajectories.
It’s been a blessing of the highest sort to have this
friendship come back together. There were a few years when I didn’t know if it
would, and I was viciously saddened by that, but it was not my business or my
plan as to whether someone wanted to be in contact with me again. So, when I
would hear a song on the radio that we’d played 10,000 times at the local
diner, I got sad, but wished her well. When that movie we’d loved as children
came on, I felt a twinge, but sent her the blessings for her life that I wanted
for myself. I hope she’s happy.
And then, as luck would have it, we came back together.
Slowly, for sure. We’re still in the slowly part. This visit is part of the
solidification, but also, I have to take my expectations out of it. I want to
make it a “great” time, so that we are friends again. I want it not to rain, so
the weather doesn’t reflect something about myself or my life. I want us to not be awkward or have tension
so that I don’t lose this again. But, none of that is anything within my
control.
All I can chose to do is to be myself. If this is a person
she wants to befriend, then she will. As with romantic relationships, if it’s
meant to be I can’t screw it up, and if it’s not meant to be, then I can’t fix
it.
I had a conversation several years ago with a girl friend of
mine about the power of female friendships. The “best” friend friendships. How,
really, in many ways they are – we said, then – more important and more
complicated than romantic relationships. I still think some of that is true.
However, part of the difference today with me is that I recognize that people
are human (duh), and cannot, simply cannot, fulfill all the things a person I
wish ought to. One person cannot be someone’s all. One person cannot be my only
friend, or my only social connection, my only vessel of personal relations.
Like seeds, you’ve got to spread it around. Part of this is
self-protection, but part of it is simply being realistic. And that is the protective part. If I am realistic about my
expectations of other people, then I won’t be hurt if they don’t live up to my
demands about them. It is simply unfair to anyone to expect them to fulfill my
needs. Firstly and foremostly, I need to ensure that I’m taking care of them
for myself to the best of my ability. Then, I can look outside myself to other
people, and form relationships where my needs are met. Where my realistic needs
are met.
Sorry for the tangent on what I think friendships and
relationships are, but this writing is also a reminder to myself of this as my friend comes to
visit. For someone who’d been labelled your best friend since the age of 3,
that carries a lot of weight – and I’ve recognized, unfair weight. Part of the
reason for the separation all those years ago was that we each had massive
expectations and need put upon one another – or, I’ll speak for myself, I did
that on her. That wasn’t fair, and the friendship burned down painfully.
So, coming to this visit in a spirit of open-mindedness. And
a loose set of expectations and desires will help us both to have a better
time. The weather isn’t a reflection of me. She’ll have a good time if she’s
meant to or wants to. And I can take care of myself, so that I don’t put the
onus on her.
However, those two hot chicks you’ll see blaring STP down the
interstate? Yeah, that’s us. 
action · community · growth · love · maturity · self-care · work

R+D

The past two days, I’ve been functioning according to
my new time plan – or schedule. My friend who helped me on Tuesday morning suggested things I would never think of myself (or let myself) like
“walk,” and then insisted that I write down “piano” in capital letters.
I spend more time than I like (cough – resentment) traveling to and from school because of the
shuttle schedule (though I am grateful to have it at all). On Thursdays, for a 4pm class, I’m on campus at 2:30pm,
because the next shuttle doesn’t arrive until after 4. So, I have over an hour to “kill” on campus before class.
My friend knows that a spiritual nourishment of mine is
playing the piano in the school chapel, and suggested I use some of that time
at the piano. If it weren’t written down, I wouldn’t do it. Like, take a walk,
or… the “important” piece, R+D.
Research and Development. That’s what we’re calling actions
relating to job, career, income earning. I like it so much more than writing
down in my new little schedule, “Job hunt.” That just sucks. Makes me dread and
despise it before I begin. But “Research and Development” sounds like something
significant and helpful for me. Just research. Helping me develop. Not a whip
or a chastisement.
So, over the past two days, I’ve spent 4 hours in R+D. This
is huge. Usually, it’s looked like a few minutes glances at craigslist, a loud
harumph, a resentment, despair, and click the browser closed … and then go off
to some other mindless activity to get my mind off my despair!
So, R+D for an hour, I set my alarm clock, then I have
something in between before the next hour. Something nourishing. A reward
perhaps. Tuesday it was “art,” and I made two little acrylic painted postcards,
out of the blank postcard pad I’d bought last week. I sent one off that
afternoon. Yesterday, my nourishment was a walk. Although it also included
calling my mom and coordinating logistics for her and my brother’s visit in a
month. But, that’s alright. I got out of the house, up into the gorgeous hills
near me with houses so beautiful (and enviable).
Yesterday, I also began “development” of a newsletter to
send out to the masses, announcing my new workshop that I’ll be facilitating in SF in May (G-d willing).
Part of my “Go big and go home” movement is to really take ownership of this
workshop, and to really put it out there. I have great support around it, and
have been encouraged by numerous parties. Now, the action ball is in my court,
and with those structured moments of time, I’m picking up that ball.
So, yesterday I went into Constant Contact, that mass email newsletter site. I logged in, actually, although I couldn’t remember when had been the last
time I did – I knew that I had an account with them. Turns out, saved in the draft
section was a newsletter I was working on in November of 2010. It was a very
ambitious letter about starting an creative events company. It’s more than
overly ambitious, and I think very sweet, now that it’s two years later. But
what it tells me is that I’ve been working on stuff like this for a while. And
there’s no reason why it shouldn’t work.
I went to brown paper tickets to check out their policies,
and saw you can have free tickets too, so as to be a great way to manage RSVPs
… not via a “Yes” on Facebook. (I don’t know about you, but I tend to click yes
to all kinds of things I later have no intention of going to…!)
Then, through a girl friend, I saw her website for her
creative coaching company. And started some work on one of my own. Because really, I
know if I were going to attend a workshop, I’d want to see a website.
So, here we are. Taking action. Moving along as scheduled
(although yesterday, despite being “art” time, I took a much needed nap!). I will
allow for the changes I need as I come to know how I work best. I know 2 hours
of R+D in a row is overwhelming. Splitting it up is helpful. I know that 15
minutes on dishes and cleaning a day will save me time in the end, and also
help me to feel proud of my home I’m trying so hard to keep.
I have been building toward things like this for a long
time. I have co-run this workshop before; I have a teacher singly devoted to
helping me put on the free version later this month; and, as irony would have
it, I have a decade of administrative, secretarial experience – so I know how to organize an event.
I’m supported in my effort of self love. Which in the end is
what this is. 

courage · fear · growth · loss · maturity

Tell the Truth, Tell the Truth, Tell the Truth.

This was the inscription in someone’s book I read once,
quoting someone else. I’ll have to look up who. But it occurs to me this
morning.
So, it is true that by vomiting out my thesis and the
actions therein that I have opened up lines to things that I didn’t have access
to before. This morning, I got to see one of them.
A while back, I’d written here about an “individuation meditation” I’d done regarding my mom. It was an exercise
out of that Calling in The One book, and
it was helpful and powerful and sad, but freeing, then.
This morning as I went in to meditation, I thought to go one
place, and instead was drawn to go elsewhere. So, I did. I ended up at Ocean
Beach, basically the end of the continent hemmed in and eroded and maleated by
the wide Pacific Ocean. There stood a large figure. It was my dad.
I’ve written some here about his ability to throw me off
course, with his demands that I live according to his ideas of what is right,
or with his pure denial of facts about his life and our mutual familial past.
Maybe I’ve even glanced at some of the violence that occurred when my brother
and I were young. But I don’t really talk about it. Hence, the title.
The truth is, it wasn’t nearly as bad as what I hear in others’ lives, and I
discount and play down the ability that man had to scare the … nearly scare the
life out of me. He is a large man, at 6’3”, with a larger voice, fiercer eyes,
and my brother and I would tense at the sound of his car pulling into
the driveway, as if getting ready for battle defenses.
There is a story that I’ve been told, that when I was about 7 or
so, in the middle of an altercation, I turned to my dad and said we were too old to be hit anymore. – No seven
year old should ever have to say or feel that. And my brother at 4, then, shouldn’t
either.
These are, granted, my own interpretations. But, my father,
abandoning physical violence, started in simply using his voice to holler. And
his hollering shook the foundation of the house. — Although there are some
poignant moments in my past when he took up that old tool of intimidation again. …
He was not a pleasant man – though you may not know that in public. You
probably sense you don’t want to cross him, but he’s like that Scorpion in that
legend – it’s in his nature to bite.
And then, too, it’s not in his nature to bite. He’s scared.
He never had proper fathering, never knew how, had his own shame about being a
bastard child, and then hated his step-father. He grew up in the army. Learned
how to make beds and keep time and everything in a row and in order.
Children are not on time or in a row or ever in order. This
frightened him. I know that now.
But, in my meditation, the phrase that I repeated several
times, as I sobbed a bit in real life, was, You don’t have the power to kill me
any more.
See, because, last night, I wrote a mini G-d letter, and
asked for some guidance on earning income, what I should do. And the letter
back asked, What do you want to do? I
cannot produce vagueness.
What a novel question: what do I want to do?
And so when I went in this morning in meditation to find
some answers within myself to this question, I found myself face to face with
my dad. My dad who has wanted me to live life to his rules for a very long
time, even though it’s years since I’m out of his house. I still feel the
stamping thumb of a demand for “normalcy” or whatever his idea of the “right”
kind of life is for me.
So, that’s what this morning was about. Of course I haven’t
really been able to consider what it is I
want to do in my life, if I’m continuing to struggle against what
his ideas are for my life. My therapist has tried to
instill this in me over several years – Molly, this is
your life. It hasn’t made sense to me. I haven’t known
what that’s meant. When I’m trying to struggle against the idea that I might be
swatted or, as the fear puts it, killed, of course I don’t have the time or
wherewithall to consider what
I
want to do with my life. First things first, right? Survival.
To move from the stance of survival to the stance of growth
means to move out from under the fear of elimination. It’s a “fancied” fear at this point –
but it makes my heart flutter and tells me to stay hidden and to stay safe.
Which is what I’ve done for a while, and doesn’t fucking work for me.
I invited him to leave. I told him, as the exercise in the
book suggested, that I was sorry I couldn’t be what he wanted me to be, and
that I forgive him for not being what I want him to be. That without his anger,
he’s just a scared old man, and a scared little boy. I have compassion for the
little boy. And I need to learn some right-sizedness around the man. To begin
to step into my own britches is to believe that they belong to me. In the face
of anyone else – good or bad decision, right or wrong, lost or found — this is
my life.
I don’t know how to do that yet, but inviting him to stop
throttling me is a good start. 
growth · humilty · maturity

Judgy McJudgerson

or “Spiritual Arrogance”
Through some inventory work I’ve been doing lately, digging
out the past-prime labeled items in my psyche, and assessing what I’ve been
holding on to long past its due date, I’ve been getting to see that I am spiritually
arrogant.
Now, no one likes to admit this, certainly not me, but it’s
been coming up more lately, much more front and center, and I thought I’d try
to parse it out a little bit as I (hope to) come to a place of letting this
character defect go.
It takes one of two courses: I happen to know you’re not
doing the same arduous work that I’m doing, and therefore when you complain and
bemoan your troubles and your life, I get to sit in moral superiority, knowing
that if you were only doing what I was doing, you’d get better.
Yummy, isn’t it … More like sour, I tell you.
Or, it looks like well, no, basically, that’s it. It just
takes several more devious forms from that.
For example, you have success in your field, but I happen to
know that you’re not tending your spiritual garden with regularity. I feel
affronted. And self-pitying. Why do YOU get the goods without the work??
Or, Why
do YOU get to go on vacation to Barbados when you’re still so messed up in all
these other areas that you don’t even
see how messed up you are??
Basically, it’s another form of jealousy. And laziness. I
want what you’re getting without doing the work. But when I don’t do the work, I get all kinds of cuckoo from
it. When I rest on my laurels, or feel, hey, you know what, I’ll keep my
internal stockroom filled with rotting fruit, I’ve got a good job now – well,
it usually turns out badly. The fruit turns nuclear.
The other side of this spiritual arrogance toward others is
the idea that I have any idea what the
path is for other people. When I sit in my head and judge others by their
continuous and bile-vomiting cycle of pain, it’s not doing them, or me, any
good. It’s none of my business if someone is attached to their pain cycle.
It’s my business that I
am.
It’s been said that anything negative we think or say or act toward
others, we are 10 times as harsh to ourselves. What we
say or feel toward others is just a reflection of the internal dialogue we
have.
So, when I’m sitting in judgment of others, I do know that I
use the same sword to bludgeon myself. Why aren’t
you doing better in your field? Why
aren’t
you going to Barbados? What is so wrong with
you
that you have to do this continuous daily work?
Sounds pretty shitty, doesn’t it?
It’s not always that vocal. It rarely is. Moreso, it’s the
undercurrent – the underground stream that runs with poison, and I drink from
that well.
Spiritual arrogance – the belief that I’m somehow better
because I do the work, but at the same time, must be worse because I need to do the work.
Perhaps … as I read yesterday: Humility makes us whole.
Perhaps, I am no greater or less than anyone around me. Perhaps I don’t have to
mark my situation against someone else’s like the height marks on a doorframe.
Perhaps I can simply keep my eyes on my own road, and let other people’s paths
be their paths. If I’m jealous, go do something about attaining what they have.
If I’m judgy, remember the times when I’ve been a screaming sobbing pile of
self-pity. If I’m arrogant, remember that, truly, we are all fucking equal, and
the lessons that I would have someone learn in this lifetime are not necessarily the lessons they’re here to learn.
So, for today, instead of wielding this double-edged sword,
perhaps I can have compassion for others, and a bit of action toward my own
lessons and goals.  

compassion · love · maturity · self-care

Savage Love

This morning, I couldn’t get quiet in meditation, tried a
variety of different techniques and styles, and then decided, fuck it, I’ll
just do a journey. A “journey” is a shamanic journey, and how I do them at home
is via a tape of drumming on my ipod that I listen to. I’ve mentioned some
about this here before, and believe what you will or won’t, but it’s one of the
surest ways I find to get in touch with whatever’s going on, and to find
clarity and, potentially, resolution. 
NOTE: I feel that describing a journey is much like the way some people tell others about their dreams – they’re fascinating to the dreamer, not so much to the listener, so feel free to read on or not. 
I usually shy away from doing journeys at home (as opposed to when I
do them in a group), because they are so powerful for me, and usually provide a
level of information that is hard to sit with when I’m by myself.
It was none too different this morning.
Back in January, when I was on the women’s retreat up in
Napa, we were talking a bit about how people get to the various places of these
shamanic “worlds,” and I mentioned that every time I go to the “lower world,”
as I go down, I pass through this room that’s like the indoor penguin enclosure
at the zoo. I usually just walk right through to the exit door, and on down to
the lower world, but I was curious as to what that room was about, if it was
just a “silly” fluke of my brain or what.
I’d never really looked around the space, having been told early that I was
supposed to be getting to a place in nature and if we hit a man-made environment to just keep going. This space has always been there during my journeys; it’s a dark
room/hallway, with that eerie blue lighting that happens in those enclosures
as it lights up the exhibits and penguin habitats and water.
It was suggested in January that I take a look at the nature
of the space, that maybe it is trying to tell me something. And, if you’re with
me so far, your suspension of disbelief will be needed further. …
So, today, in the journey, I head down, and when I get to
this room, I stop and pause. I walk through and go out another door, but I
just walk into a whole mess of large leafy plants, and I’m pretty sure this
isn’t the “right” way. So I walk back inside.
Then I walk up to one of the two exhibits, lit behind its glass, to see what’s inside. It’s not penguins. Perched on the craggy,
bird-shit stained fake rocks that you normally see, is a woman, naked, and
hunched over herself. Her head over her bent knees.
At this point, I call up one, then two of my teachers/guides, cuz I’m starting
to get a little anxious, and I ask them who she is. This dirty, matted hair
naked woman is Love. She is the part of me that is love.
I ask what I should do, and it’s indicated that I go and
approach her, so the glass in the exhibit between me and her disappears, and I
walk through, and up onto the stained rocks, and crouch down to approach her.
She looks up at me. Her eyes are wild, fearful, non-linguistic, but meaningful
nonetheless. She ticks and jerks, like we imagine cave-people did, like savages
did. Moving without grace, and in non-self aware spurts.
I ask her what she needs. She “says” she’s cold. I put this
enormous fur coat around her I’d gotten previously (like a prize in a video
game I can now cash in). It’s warm, and filled with love and calm. I give her
some pajamas.
— She throws herself on me, supplicant with gratitude, but
this strong, muscular woman is crushing me with herself. With her love. Her
thanks are out of proportion with the gesture. And she wants to hold on to me
with such force.
She, is Savage Love.
I ply her off of me, and don’t know what to do, where to go,
if I should leave. Instead, I take her to this safe place I have, this desert –
the cave of the penguin exhibit fades and we both find ourselves in the wide,
open, dry, sunlit desert.
I don’t really know what to do with her – this force that is
too big, doesn’t know her own strength, and once is shown affection wants to
consume the giver, to keep it.
I bring in my little 5 year old self who likes to hang out
in this desert, drawing at a picnic table. I sit my primitive, wild self down with
her to draw, and she makes a whooping and hollering mess of stabbing the
crayons onto the page. The 5 year old self tries to tell her no, that she’s
doing it wrong, and messing with her space, and quickly, she has had enough, and
gets up to go to the sandbox, an elsewhere safe place.
Savage Love is furious, rampant in her rage at this
rejection, at being chastised and rejected. She is dangerous.
I call on someone else, a woman who represents adulthood to
me, who isn’t me, but surely, as these all are, is of course me.
She comes in, and holds the untamed woman. Like a mother
calming a child. The differences between a toddler and a savage aren’t much.
And that’s when I realize that’s ultimately what this woman is. She’s an adult
in form, but in her manner, reaction, and action, she’s very like a small child
– you give me something nice, I want it all and more, and I don’t care or know
if it’s crushing you or more than you can give. If you reject me or chastise
me, I’m enraged and destructive.
This part of me does not know or have boundaries. She
doesn’t have language, or common sense. She has been in a sealed glass cage for
nearly a lifetime – of course she doesn’t have “people skills.”
And, to get “real” for a moment, I resonate with these
reactions and actions she portrays as I consider my own actions in
situations of love. If you show me affection, I will drape myself over you, and
become dependent upon you. If you put up a boundary or behave in a way I
perceive as rejection, I will shove you away and cause as massive chaos as I
can doing it.
As you can imagine, today’s journey has caused a great deal of
self-reflection, but is bringing about a great deal of self-compassion. This
part of myself has not grown up and has remained in reactionary patterns of
behavior that in the end cause isolation and solitude.
When I had to leave, which, by the way, I was considering
the entire time during my interaction with her – how can I get away from her –
which is interesting… well, I left her with the adult woman comforting her,
calming her. She was calm. And she will learn.
But, on the way out, reluctantly, I took a look in the
second penguin-like exhibit, to see who or what was in that one.
It was Depression.
And I backed away, knowing that would need a whole ‘nother
day of work.  
art · authenticity · courage · honesty · love · maturity

Occupy Life

Don’t worry, this won’t be a political diatribe.
As perhaps you’ve been garnering from some of the recent
writing, I’m becoming more open to be available to my own life. To occupy it,
as it were.
This has happened slowly, and is still a work in progress.
But I remember back to the “Life of an Asparagus” blog, about beginning to
sense that some of the seeds I’ve been sowing over the last few years are
beginning to peek through, and show me their colors and flavors.
I’m excited by this prospect, and still, afraid of it. Will
the asparagus be green enough? Tender enough? Snappy enough? Will I, as I begin
to show you more of who I am, and what I have to offer, be enough?
The un/fortunate truth is that I don’t really have a choice
to pull the emergency brake here, and say, WHOA buddy, let me make sure that
this is all kosher and “molly-approved” before I put it out there to you.
When I’d been contemplating The Cousin (*not my cousin*) a while ago before we ended, I said to a
friend that I felt like I wanted to put him up on a shelf, to pause him and our
romance. I wanted the time to figure myself out, get “well,” get fixed, and
then take him back down and continue the romance, with me as a whole, well
person.
Problem is, life isn’t like that, and people aren’t like
that. I don’t get to put anything on hold – others, myself, the world, school,
my finances, time – so that I can get a better handle on it.
It’s a constant game of changing the tire while the car is
in motion.
Constantly evolving means being willing to give up control;
to give up the demands for the future.
In all of this “lifeness” that’s going on, however, things
are changing, and have changed, and I find myself at a different place than I
had been, having arrived here somewhat circuitously, but somewhere where things
are, where I am, different.
I haven’t had to pause the world for me to get here. I’ve
had to, in fact, jump on board with the fact that this train is leaving and
will continue to leave, and I can ignore the fact it’s moving, or I can enjoy
the view. And more than that, I can let myself be shaped by its movement.
That “letting myself be shaped” has been the hardest part.
Or one of them. To accept that I’m not exactly sure what I’ll look like, who
I’ll be, and if I’ll or you’ll like me on the other side of it. But keeping my
eyes closed to the brilliance that is outside and inside, well, it’s kept me
pretty lonely and forlorn. And in the end, it’s not fair.
Who am I to shut my eyes to what I’ve been given, what
others are offering me? To the love that is being offered me – the help, and
the hope, and the encouragement, and the desire I’m told for more… of me. Who
am I to deny that?
I begin to think about this, and write this today, as I
start to recognize this new path of thought and action. One which, although I
may not be taking all of the action steps that are suggested, I’m becoming open
to taking them 😉 I see their merit – I see that these actions are helping me
to fill out my life, like an underinflated balloon that could be buoyant and
loved, if it only let itself get full.
Perhaps that analogy fell flat. But, I think I’m
understanding what it means! It means that I’m changing. It means that I’m
becoming more available to my life, and to my gifts, and to others. It means
that I’m beginning to choose community and vulnerability as opposed to
contraction and “safety.”
I’ve had to tell a
few more people a little more about what I’m doing, and what I like to do,
because those were the indicated responses. (I write, I sing, I act, I paint.)
Every time I tell someone one of these things, there is the reactionary twinge
of fear and the cavernous echoing “NO!!!” … but, I do it anyway, now. And every
time I do, I’m staking one more claim to my own life, and allowing it to open
up to me as I open up to it.

family · love · maturity · recovery · self-care

Family Planning.

(oh, who doesn’t love a little tongue in cheek!)
I spoke with my mom yesterday. It’s a new record. Twice in
6… well, more like 9 months. It went well. Better than with my dad at least,
but I know part is that she was simply excited to talk on the phone with me and so was on “good behavior.”
I’ve had to watch my balance between “maintaining boundaries” and silent
scorn/punishment. Because I can tend to tip the scales toward the latter, still
making my parents make up to me things they don’t know need to be made up, and
punishing them for things they do naturally, as if punishing someone for
breathing.
But, it’s becoming, and had become, time to step back into
our relationship, and hope that this is a dance floor not a boxing ring. I’ve
needed to time to cool off, to solidify my ability to say things like “That’s
not my business” or “I’d rather we didn’t talk about that.” And, as yesterday
at least was proof of, I am becoming better at it.
This isn’t to say there weren’t the few tinges of the same
old, but, they were few, and I wasn’t thrown by them, as I’ve been so easily
thrown into the drama of despair and self pity that my family is nuts, always
has been nuts, and ever thus shall be, amen. Including myself.
There’s been a lot of need for differentiation work. My life
being mine, and not a carbon copy of hers, or dictated by the mandates of my
father. Coming to believe that the life I’m living is actually my own …
well, it’s been harder than … it is for some people.
It’s something I’ve been repeatedly told over the last few
years. Don’t you understand that you are
the one doing the living? Don’t I understand that these are
my decisions to make?
It’s been hard to take that ownership. To believe that I actually am the captain of the ship, or the one
doing the breathing of this body. When much of early life is focused on the
needs of others and falling in line with those desires, the questions as, “What
do I want?” take on magnum
proportions.
Although the aim of school was to accomplish a number of
goals, one of them was to really do what I
wanted. This decision, let me tell you, was NOT supported in some corners of my
nuclear family, and they were
very
vocal about that. About telling me that I was making a wrong decision, that I
was making a mistake. That I couldn’t have what I wanted. And that I was stupid
to think something I did want was a viable option. … Only the first two were
actually stated – the others were interpreted by me, and my fear brain which
loves to tell me much the same thing.
I will here state, however, my mom has always been in my
corner around school. She hasn’t always understood what I’m doing creatively, she
hadn’t always supported it (or been aware of it, is more accurate), but she is now. And she has for a few years.
And part of my untangling my knot of self-sabotage is to
begin to see the support in my life around my creativity – and although it’s a
“nice to have,” not a “need to have” that she supports me, … well, it’s
*really* nice to have.
She’d contacted me earlier this week, perhaps the day after
I had my activating conversation with my dad, to ask about coordinating for the
graduation – my graduation. And, so, I told her I’d call her. And I did. And we
talked, and when it was getting a little maudlin, I kept it light and aimed
toward getting off the phone. And when she mentioned her retarded work schedule
(by which I mean 12 hours straight with no breaks, so that she sits with
clients while eating a Clif bar as lunch… <– no judgment there, eh?) I didn’t tell
her what I thought. I didn’t make suggestions. I didn’t, in fact, tell her she
was doing it wrong.
The thing which I so despise being told.
There were a few other minor things like that, where I
wanted to say, WOMAN you are marvelous and talented and beautiful and
intelligent and hilarious and creative and brilliant – OF COURSE you can find
something nice to wear for the graduation day. Of course you deserve to treat
yourself better than your work schedule. Of course … Well, Of course I love you.
Which I suppose is what it boils down to for all of us. All
of us, in this nuclear family, and all of us, us.
So, yes, it is nice to be having my mom coming out to visit.
To celebrate. She agreed she and my father (and his fiancé) will be cordial,
and that’s all they need to do.
I’m looking forward to putting that phone call in my
experience bank, diminishing the deficit of my negative thinking around both of
our “brokenness,” and letting myself live my own life, as I begin (continue) to let go of hers. 
acting · courage · intimacy · letting go · maturity · modeling · poetry · sex

The Hero’s Journey

See, perhaps it’s not that San Francisco is actually cold.
Perhaps it is the proliferation of single-paned windows and inadequate heating.
The wonderful high ceilings don’t do much to trap in the heat either. So,
solution? Munchkin houses. Winterized. lol. See, there’s even a word,
“Winterized.” I’m not sure that the Bay Area has much acquaintance with this
notion, as we all sort of seem to believe that it doesn’t actually get that
cold, or that we’re more like Southern California. Perhaps this is what they
meant when they said “California Dreamin’.”
In any case, drafty as my home is. Grateful for it.
Especially on what are Bay Area winter days.
There is a big part of me that wants to write an addendum to
yesterday’s blog. To somehow mitigate and soften the “I haven’t had a great sex
life” theme. Most of that is because I want you to see me “better,” some of
that is that I don’t want to insult anyone I’ve slept with who might be reading
this and tell them of course there are occasions when it’s been marvelous.
But, that’s only wanting them to like me too, another way of “seeing me
better.” So, I will leave the truth as the half-truth it is, because, for
certain, there are the good experiences, and there is the truth that it’s less
about them, and more about my inability to ask for what I need (in most areas
of my life).
And, I will hold the truth that, still, I feel naïve and
unexperienced or uneducated in this way, and am holding that with compassion,
and an intention to head in that direction. There’s a fair amount on one of my
collages that’s the phrase, The Joy of Kissing, and I wonder if perhaps part of
that is a call to start again at the beginning, you know? To start with one of
the most tender places, and just meditate there, pause there, let myself savor
it, and not skip to the main course.
Also, I want to soften the “this is not an invitation” line,
because although it’s not a plea for you, reader, to initiate me into the
softened world of pleasure, I actually DO
want to offer an invitation into the world/Universe. This IS an invitation from
me to the machinations of the world to head there, to gentleness, and intimacy,
and … well, whatever else I feel I’ve been missing in this area. So, Universe,
this is an invitation, written in velvet, in loopy script, and something less
intimidating than red for experiences of physical intimacy on a softer plane.
Speaking of physicality, I had my orientation for the art
modeling guild yesterday, and 12 year old girl that I still am, it was hard to
not giggle when the facilitator said, “And men? No Erections! Ever.” Lol. “Any
man who tells you he can’t control it is lying. And if he really can’t, then he
shouldn’t be a model.” It’s nice the systems of protection and comfort that
they have set up, which is why I’m really glad to be doing it this way, rather
than freelance, which can be ICKY (see
former blog about older man with vagina skulls).
After the orientation, I went directly to my audition for a
Shakespeare company, and guess what? Not that bad. 🙂 THIS TIME, I didn’t blank out in the middle of the monologue.
I futzed a few things, but, if you didn’t have a script in front of you, you’d
never know. Point being, I actually did better than my last spoken word
audition, and really, “Better than last time” is all I’m lookin’ for. I also,
miraculously, ran into a girl I have just been beginning to see around lately
over here in Oakland with some of the financial healing folks. She’s been doing
this circuit for a long time, it seems, and knew nearly everyone who walked in
and out of the building, and chatted with another girl about, “Are you working
with David? No, with Bobby.” and other such insider speak that I am totally
novice of. But… now, we both have an ally. Someone showing up and letting go of
the results, and also some who’s willing to sit with me and initiate me in some
of these lingos, and people, and classes, and companies. She even suggested a
company she thought I’d do well with. 🙂 Go G-d.
Finally, for today’s blog. I had a very vivid dream last night about an older friend of mine
who I found out – in the dream – had killed herself suddenly. I was shocked and
devastated, and went out from where I was directly into her funeral. It was
packed. And yet, even her husband, who was shocked was actually not as shaken
as you’d expect.
Part of Saturday’s spirituality workshop included a story about Minos
and the Minotaur, using the myth as a frame for us to see perhaps what part of
the story, what part of our own hero’s journey we are in. Minos made a deal
with Poseiden. Poseiden said that Minos would become king if he sacrificed this
gorgeous white bull. Minos said sure. Became king. … And then decided the bull
was too special and meant too much to him, and so he sacrificed 50 goats
instead. (This did not go well in the end.)
I said that I feel like this is the part of the journey I’m on. In order to ascend to the next
level, the next stage, the next iteration of myself and my life, I have to
sacrifice my attachment to what it had been, aka my bull (dying we awaken to a
new life, kind of stuff). Instead, I’ve been hemming and hawing, and saying,
well, what if I give you
this
instead, what if I sort of dance around the issue, and lop off my foot in the
process – won’t that give me the result that I ultimately need?
No dice.
I also said, that I also felt like the part of the story
when they kill the Minotaur, when this beast that cannot be a part of society,
but it’s really not his fault, is killed. With this spirit of sadness and also
with relief do I … intend? to kill my bull.
I think that part of my dream was about that, the death of
these attachments to my past. I put up a whole host of new (to the blog) poems,
and as I was editing what work I had, I felt like all the family stuff, all the
blamey stuff and most of the trauma stuff didn’t need to be up anymore.
Which leads me to wonder: if what I wanted my thesis to be was an excavation of old stuff, a laying to rest of it, haven’t I already done
that? In the very writing of it, and even in the sharing of it with my
professors and classmates, haven’t I given voice to this? Is this actually what
I need to say anymore? Is this anymore where the charge is for me?
I’m not sure. Well, no. Actually, the answer is no. But I’m
not sure what that will mean for this specific piece of writing I have to hand
in.
But, I also said in the workshop on Saturday that despite my
reluctancy to sacrifice the bull, my reluctancy to grieve for what was lost and
misplaced in my youth, the fact is, I’m already in it. It’s no use saying, I don’t
want to. Or I won’t. Or I can’t. Because, baby, I already am.