Something Magic about You

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It was a Tuesday.  the weather was warm, the season was almost summer.  it was California.  i was fifty-one years old.  I layed down – closed my eyes and exhaled.  that’s when it happened…

i saw their faces as they passed through my torn but opening heart – the women of my ancestral tribe – lots of them.  redheads, blondes, brunettes.   irish and italian.  lovers, sexy  and wild.  dancers, mothers, discarded, scorned, strong, courageous, drunk, fierce.  The women I come from – pieces to a tapestry I’ve been trying to fit together.  their wind blew threw me.  they came rushing forward, one after another, faces and screams and laughter and electricity, their faces blowing through me long enough to whisper their stories …

she had to marry her first lover while still a girl.  he cut tobacco in the south and traveled up the northern coast.  he met her at her mother’s boarding house.  Her mother caught them having sex….the end of her girlhood.  They married.  She had six children, raised them in a house with a dirt floor with a husband stingy with his time and attention, and when she found a lump under her arm she kept her ticket out a secret.  i am her granddaughter.

she traveled from a small northern town in Italy, across the world, when she was eight years old and would spend her life in service to people living with mental illness.  she loved a dinner table full of people – family and strays alike.  she had an odd array of characters sitting at her table, mostly ill, mostly quiet, mostly alone but she always made them feel they were ‘home’.  i am her niece.

she married an alcoholic who beat her so many times she lived and died in an institution – nobody knew when she died or which institution.  i am her niece.

she lived in Connecticut and had a swanky lifestyle – back when people had things like that.  she drank too much and pissed people off.   her two daughters were nuns until they both defected at different transitions in their lives.  one married, had children, was a ballerina and later a dance teacher, a delicate and beautiful woman.  the other moved to Ecuador and for several decades has been writing and teaching in a small village, accompanied by her husband of even more decades.  i am her great niece.

she had five children she couldn’t take care of.  She liked to drink and smoke and have sex.  she suffers from madness.  one of her children hung himself.  some say she was raped as a young girl, some say she was wild and wanting.  she talks about god mostly.  i am her niece.

she married a controlling, prejudice, intolerant man who treated her like property.  she had three daughters, cooked, cleaned, and worked.  she faced and survived breast cancer in her 70’s.  i look like her and i am her niece.

she left home at seventeen to escape abuse.  she married at eighteen and had children she didn’t want.  she loves to dance.  she drinks to ease the pain.  she suffers from madness.  when she was young she had the body of a goddess and the swag of an outlaw.  she moved her family from town to town in search of something she would never talk about.  i am her daughter.

she had an affair while married and because of it, her husband killed himself.  i am her great granddaughter.

she traveled across the world on a boat with three children.  she cleaned houses to survive.  she spoke only a bit of English.  she outlived one son who died in combat.  life made her tough but she loved deeply.  i am her granddaughter.

I spent a lifetime running from the story i believed these women wrote for me.  lately i’m not running.  lately i’m falling in love with the story itself.  it’s a magnificent tale of adventure, hardship, badass-ness, loss, sex, madness and love.  and i am that.

 

*this song was playing in the background……

Peace

 

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Just Another Roadside Resurrection

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“Seduction is always more singular and sublime than sex and it commands the higher price”

Seduction found me at a party, standing alone slightly high from newness and drunkenness.  It smiled sweetly, lips parted only slightly so I wouldn’t see the fangs hidden just inside, even though I smelled blood.  Someone else’s blood so what did it matter.  I didn’t run even though the sirens started sounding.  I stood and stared into the darkness and it called my name, a smooth whisper enticing me with all that was missing.  Singing the lyric of  ‘ I got just what you need baby’.  Seduction saw  through me, into the places where love was and made a pact to tear me open, but the cuts were small and calculated, just enough pleasure with the pain.  Because desire was non negotiable, it would devour every bit of me, deconstruct me, piece by piece and convince me that it was all of my own doing.

Seduction crawled inside of me and demanded my warmth, my flesh, my mind, my mouth, my time, and my soul.  Nothing less and plenty more.  As I started to unravel, seduction stood and watched, sliding its arms around me like a serpent.  Its tongue slithered down my throat and tangled itself around every part of me, squeezing until I begged for air.  Love every part of me, it insisted.  Take every bit of me and wear me as your own.   Seduction saw freedom and treated it like a slut.  Seduction saw love and lied to it.  It felt desire and fed it, and when it was done, tossed me to the fanged pack just in case I hadn’t been ravaged enough.  When I stood up and shouted “fuck you”, it rattled from its cage until it deafened me.  Seduction spun words around and through me attempting to shame and overpower and bully and lull me back into submission.  Words meant to mock and strike fear, words woven into a wall built to keep seduction safe.  Each word carefully constructed and pieced together, crafted to ensure my rightful place as slave to my one and only master; sweet, sweet seduction.

Detours and the places they take us.  Darkness and the places within us trying to deny that we like it, we crave it, we think we need it until needing it nearly kills us.  Out of some mercy or grace, it finally comes.  Just another roadside Resurrection in

3………….

2………….

1

‘I’m Nobody’s Girlfriend’ – and other spiritual musings

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Here’s what I believe to be true…..there will come a time in your life when the rubber will meet the road, the shit will hit the fan, the smell of coffee will wake you up, or you will be so uncomfortable that to remain another minute with whatever ‘it’ is, will kill some part of you.  Not really….but that’s irrelevant.  The need for change will be upon you.  That feeling is going to come, a hot hit to your chest, the taste of anxiety in the back of your throat , because you know what’s coming.  Because you know it’s going to hurt.  You know that you’re going to have to let go of some part of you or your life.  And you’ve stood on this corner before so you know that purpose and authenticity come with a price.  And yet, you can’t stop because something else is calling you.  Slight interruption………….SOMETHING ELSE IS CALLING YOU!  Hooray!!

Now what?  If there is a finite, concrete answer to that question, I don’t know it.  Here’s what I’ve discovered along my way:

A Survival Kit for Changing Your Life:

1.  Those experiences that are breaking your heart wide open………thank them….all the time, with everything you’ve got. It’s   the only way I’ve ever found, from reading the writings of great teachers and gurus, to the lives of my brave, dear friends, to my own attempts and failures, that we really meet ourselves on the path.  I seem to remember smiling and laughing, practically skipping down my path for shit’s sake when I crashed headlong into my passionate, messy, imperfect heart.  It isn’t predictable or logical. It isn’t even pretty, but we’re getting acquainted…….and I think I love her.

2.  Be Brave.  You’re going to have to be brave.  Trying to change your life is epic.  It’s hard, it’s scary, it’s beautifully weird, it’s clawing to stay connected to one piece of you that you recognize.  I like to think of it like this; you’re on that vacation it took you years to finally give yourself permission to take.  You went to Colorado because you love the mountains and you want to climb mountains because,………..you don’t know why you just want to…….. and you get there and you’re all like, yay Colorado.  Let’s climb some mountains.  Half way up you look over and you’re on a ledge….really high up.  You’re almost eye level with tall trees…..and you’re afraid of heights.  Instantly you break into a cold sweat and vertigo sets in and you know you’re going to somehow hurl over the edge to your death.  But just before that happens you stop and look out over the mountain and it’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen in your whole life.  Be Brave.

3.  People are going to tell you you’re crazy.  They’re right, you are crazy.  Your drummer is slightly off beat.  Your compass points true North-ish, sometimes, sorta.  This directly relates to numbers 1 & 2.  You need to be brave because people are going to tell you you’re crazy and some of that talk will break your heart…….and then break it open.  Don’t let the ‘C’ word scare you.  A touch of crazy looks good on everyone, no matter what the haters say.

4.  Let Love Rule.  All I can tell you about this one is I know for a fact it’s true.  Sounds simple right?   For me it’s a practice, a humble reminder of my flaws and my divinity, my imperfection, and my true self.  Whenever possible, let love rule you and swallow you and break you apart.  I hear it makes you flexible.

5.  Create a playlist, your playlist.  Listen to music that moves you, that defines you….at this time, in this place.  Pick songs that soothe you when it hurts, lull you when it’s sweet, and kick your ass when you’re too tired to continue.  Abuse the replay button.  Dance in front of the mirror in your pajamas (my favorite).  Music puts words and a sweet groove to what we can only feel.  Music helps tell the story.

6.  Be awesome.  YOU are the shit.  You have decided to show up for yourself and answer your soul’s call .  Give it everything you’ve got, and if you don’t show up gracefully everyday……so what.  To other people you are going to look like a hot mess, on fire, involved in a train wreck; on a good day, so don’t think perfection.  Think awesome.

7.  Get quiet.  Go outside, look at the stars, stare at clouds…………something is calling to you.  It’s calling you back really, calling you home.  The noise of life will distract you.  The voice in your head and the voices of the people around you who don’t want you to leave, will distract you.  Your job, your lover, your bills, your loneliness – distractions.  Only when you get quiet will you hear your heart.

8.  Be willing to accept that the path to the center of yourself is yours and yours alone.  Nobody can walk it for you, few will be able to walk it with you.  For me, it was the day I discovered I was nobody’s girlfriend; in the spiritual sense of course.  If you can accept that people will come and go, love and leave, promise and betray; and if you can accept that you will come and go, love and leave, promise and betray, ….then you will understand freedom and forgiveness.

9.  Ignore absolutely everything that says ‘you can’t’.  It’s not true.  You can and you will.  If you don’t believe me, look at your life up to this point.  All smooth sailing?  No pressures, no traumas, no addictions, no failures, no demons?  Exactly.  And here you are; bruised, scarred, wounded, and incredibly beautiful.

10.  Smile.  Smile with your mouth, your heart, your eyes, and your arms.  Smile for everything you think you’ve lost.  Smile because you are blessed to be alive, because you are blessed to be loved, and because you are an amazing human being on an epic journey.  Smile……it’s how happiness finds you.

From my current playlist…………………Dancing required, PJ’s optional.

Peace

The Shape of Things

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Life is weird.  Sometimes the experiences are long and languid and dreamlike.  And sometimes…all it takes is a moment.  I can’t decide which I like better, or even if I like one better……but what does it matter?

His name was Patrick.  He was in NY from Ireland on a working Visa.  He had blue eyes and black hair and he was the most beautiful man I had ever seen.  We had one weekend together.  Patrick made everything sound like a question, a question to which I could only answer yes.  We spent 3 days together….cooking, eating, making love, shopping, talking, laughing, and crying.  I don’t remember Patrick’s last name or the clothes he was wearing or the town he came from.  I remember the way his eyes looked when we said goodbye to each other.  I remember his hands and the way they felt on the side of my cheek.  I remember how his hair felt when I ran my fingers through it, petting him.  It was a moment……and it was sublime.

His name was Paul.  He was my uncle.  I was eleven years old and left alone in his house.  A little after midnight he came stumbling through the door with a six-pack under his arm and a weird look in his eyes.  He was someone I admired…..until that night.  I remember his lips on mine.  I remember trying desperately to pull away.  I remember his hands taking off my panties.  I remember crying and saying no……over and over again.  It was a moment……..and it changed my life.

Her name was Polly.  She lived down the street from me and was my best friend.  We were nine and ten together.  Polly’s mother left home one day and never came back.  I thought Polly was the luckiest girl in the world….until I realized that she woke herself up screaming every night.  I would rub Polly’s back and talk to her softly.  I would whisper to her that it was all going to be alright.  I told her not to worry, I was there.  Polly never told me what made her scream at night but it didn’t matter, because I already knew.  I loved her anyway.  We spent two years laying in the grass on summer nights looking at the stars, sliding down her stairs on pieces of cardboard, chasing fireflies, and stealing away to the library so we could read our favorite books.  We always picked stories about families….the good kind.  We had our books and each other and for those long, languid, dreamlike two years, that was enough.

Love; it seems I can’t stop thinking about it.  Within it, I have found many things; the edge of my sanity, the depth of my yearning, the darkness that sometimes lurks, the openness of my passionate, unreasonable, insatiable heart……and I am finding peace and grounding.  And that makes me smile because I know the weight of what I just said.  Life may be weird but it is also profoundly simple.  So what about moments?  The kind that alters us….the kind that make us question and the kind that make us surrender and accept.

Patrick…..that one encounter that still makes you smile all these years later.  The heat is intense, momentarily our brains are OFF and our body is ON and our heart is suspended in bliss.   We give each other these brief moments of everything we have.  We love and lust and fall desperately and sweetly into each other and for just a time, we die to each other and ourselves, deliciously. To all the Patrick’s and all the Femme Fatale’s……we thank you.  Paul was that one experience we wish we never had because the price is much to high.  Crimes and the punishments we give only to ourselves.  Climbing out of that darkness, it requires a bravery earned only by the situation itself and only someday will that give you peace. Polly, the first friend…my first unconditional love.  I guarded and protected Polly because we were part of the same tribe.  Because people were hurting her and she couldn’t fight back.  I fought for her and showed her how to be a warrior.

I have been fortunate in that I have had many moments that have changed me.  I have been fortunate in that I have learned a lot along my journey.  Here are some of those lessons:

I have learned that I do not know how to behave; not in the way most people have wanted me to.  I’ve learned that I’m okay with that.

I’ve learned that everything I think doesn’t need to be said, even if it feels like the truth.

I’ve learned that self-awareness  is incredibly fucking rare yet a lot of people think they possess it.

I’ve learned I can stand completely alone – naked, raw, vulnerable, needy, scared, and shaking…and not die.

I’ve learned that love is a foreign country and I have yet to learn the language.

I’ve learned that not loving yourself is stupid….and potentially fatal.

I’ve learned that I am incredibly beautiful and brave.

I’ve learned that I am deeply flawed and those flaws, like sobbing, broken on the floor, remind me that journey’s are better than destinations.

I’ve learned that I am not always compassionate even though I think I am.

I’ve learned that no one is.

I’ve learned that I can have roots and wings….I just don’t know how.

Perhaps within these contradictions and revelations lies the beauty.  I believe it to be true ❤

Peace

Gently Weeping

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I’ve always been a bit different.  When all my girlfriends loved Donny Osmond, I was swooning over Bobby Sherman.  When everyone wanted bell bottom jeans, I wanted white go-go boots.  I never envisioned myself married with 2.5 kids living in a cul-de-sac.  I forced my friends to pretend we were shipwrecked with no supplies and only our wits to get us through.  Whenever my friends wanted to play house, I wanted to be the dog.  I started writing poetry when I was ten, and started reading The Road Less Traveled when I was sixteen.  I have spent my entire life in some sort of existential free-fall.  I believe in risks and adventures.

A year ago I made a decision.  A decision that I knew would change my life and blow my mind.  I decided to give up my version of “living the dream”……working a job I didn’t like in a career that I had been in much too long, living in an apartment that I couldn’t really afford, and clinging to the “things” in my life. I was existing but not living my dream.  I released almost all of my personal possessions, sold some, gave the rest away.   And this was just the beginning of the ripping open of my heart.  It was just the beginning of what I would discover about myself and the world.

I don’t claim to know a whole lot about life or love.  Well, actually I do claim to know a bit about life.  But love….ouch.  Me and love have had a long, hard road together.   I have chased it, manipulated it, cuddled it, smiled at it, run out on it in the middle of the night, talked about it behind its back, sold it out, cheated on it, and sworn my undying loyalty to it.  Exhausting.  Hopeless.  Pathetic.  Why was everyone around me bitching and complaining about love and yet never or rarely sleeping alone?  Why was I…someone who actually still believed in “real” love, partnership, genuine kindness, and gratitude for another human being, spending most of my life alone?  Because I don’t know the first thing about love.  But I am inspired to learn.  Intuitively I know that I need love.  And love needs me.  Not the way a beggar needs a meal but the way a full belly needs appreciation and gratitude for each and every meal.

So back to my decision…….I moved to California.  This place I visited once and knew was my home.  And what a beautifully, weird place.  The weather is almost as intoxicating as the people.  Both smile at you every time they see you and both want to have their way with you.  And you let them.  Because let’s face it, you really don’t have a choice.  There is this sense of community that envelops you, and this sense of reality that feels like no other reality I have ever experienced.  I’m a New York girl.  We live fast, we live hard, and we live with our guard up.  Well not so much a guard as a perfectly timed “f**k you” followed by a worthy hand gesture, a sneer, and an eye roll.  Community is for college students and hippies.

I love California and feel like I have made the best, most right decision of my life.  And my comfort zone has been smashed to bits.  And honestly, I miss my comfort zone.  I’m vulnerable, and shaky, and confused, and scared.  Some days I feel completely out of control and cry…..because it hurts to be this exposed and this raw.  Everything I hate to be.  I have to ask for help and harder yet, accept it.  I have to feel these things and keep going anyway.

Loving myself.  It’s way easier in theory.  It’s way easier when all my needs are being met.  It’s way easier when I’m not sleeping on sofa’s.  In practice….it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  Finding my center of balance when I feel like I’m slipping off the planet.  Going back to my yoga mat, day after day, and believing that I am enough. Knowing that the way I feel inside is just one part of who I am.

At least once every day I decide that this transformation is too hard and that I want to “go home”.  Home.  Doesn’t home reside inside of us?  Isn’t home wherever there is love?  Every spiritual book will tell you yes.  And from some place deep inside of me a tiny voice is also whispering, yes.  A tiny voice is telling me to just hang on for one more day and I will feel more “at home”.  Having the courage to follow my dreams despite shaking with fear, isn’t easy.  I wish I could tell you that it is easy.  That you will make your decision to live out your bliss and all the rest will fall into place.  I’m sorry sugar.  Here’s the truth….you will fall, most assuredly, but it will probably be on your ass.  You will end up in a place, but it probably won’t resemble the place you daydreamed about before leaving, not at first anyway.  But do it anyway.  Do it because you owe it to yourself to find out what you’re made of.  Do it because bravery is divine, and because falling on your ass and getting back up is too.  Do it because nobody can walk your path but you.  So go……embark on your journey to the center of your heart.  Let yourself be ripped apart by hardship and heartbreak and disappointment.  What you find inside of you will astonish you……it’s called love.

What if….but in a good way

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I was driving behind an older model BMW the other day.  I don’t know the year or the series but it was from back in the day when BMW’s were built like tanks.  Square body shape, low to the ground, and solid.  I thought, boy that driver never has to worry about getting too hurt in a car that well-built.  That lead me (after my brain took a slight detour into wondering about how the leather seats in that car would feel and smell being so broken in and just right) to thinking about the deep division that is really taking hold.  Those that *have* and many, many, more hanging on tightly because they mostly *have not*.  Next thoughts…….

What if…………………..

WI – Well built, solid, luxurious cars were affordable

WI – People struggling to make ends meet got free “goody bags” filled with all the latest gadgets and goodies, instead of celebrities

WI – Organic food didn’t cost more than fast food

WI – Your salary increased at the rate of gas prices, utility costs, medical coverage, and college tuition

WI – We quieted our minds for at least a brief time every day

WI – Abandoned homes were restored and auctioned at a fair price

WI – Everyone who had a service to offer, offered it at a donation price just once a week

WI – Single parents had chauffeurs, chefs, and housekeepers

WI – We consciously consumed, purchasing only what we needed (with a few extra’s just for fun)

WI – We treated animals, trees, insects, and the planet as fellow beings worthy of love and kindness

WI – A college education was a right and not a privilege

WI – We all prayed, in whatever way we do, for something wider, and bigger, and so much more profoundly rewarding

WI – We chose honesty over lying, peace over war, love over money

Ahh, the rantings of an old hippie you’re thinking.  Perhaps; but what if doing the right thing came back in fashion.  Just plain, simple, straightforward, the way our moral compass points naturally, doing the right thing.  Because it matters. Because we all matter.

There’s never been a better day than today.