Friday, February 26, 2010

Lesson No 1


I had forgotten what it feels like to wake up and feel like this. Awake. Alive. Joyful. Ready.

Is is that I got to hang out with my friend Homer last night?

Is it just that winter is finally ebbing into spring?

Is it that I am 3 weeks away from something that I have wanted since I was 19?

It is all those things. But it is also having music hokey pokey itself back into my life.

The last time I felt like this was when I was studying drumming with Bob 5 years ago. There was a lightness and serious amounts of laughter that came to me thru those lessons. And Monday drum lessons were often followed by much better weeks. There was little to no pressure during these and Bob managed to teach me Elephant Stomp and Baladi among other rhythms. He also invented fish hands for my friend Suz, and would challenge me to learn a rhythm and then re-learn it with other handedness, all-one-handedness or some other crazy ass and laughable plan that constantly challenged my organized way of doing things. The one thing I remember from those Mondays - laughter.

As much as I loved Bob, his partner was unhealthy for me to be around. The drumming brought me spiritual elevation, the personal relationship with Bob's partner induced me to new lows in manipulation and negative energy. I chose to limit my contact with Bob's partner, so lessons with Bob fell by the wayside. I still drum, but I recognize that I was much better at it when I had those raucous lessons to enjoy. I never really got good at drumming, but I enjoyed every Laurel and Hardy moment of trying to learn.

That was a while ago. This year I decided to bust out of the winter doldrums by learning some new things. Even opened the floor for discussion with my friends on Facebook. Many suggested I learn a musical instrument: - cello, banjo, guitar, piano, oboe, even harmonica were suggested. I think my friends are intuitively brilliant, because it isn't really about which instrument for me as much as it is AN instrument. Homer even offered to teach me to play bass. Something about that just felt right. As if the push had really been toward that all along. He found me a bass on Craig's List and within a couple weeks I had a bright shiny new blue toy. (I always DO refer to it as my toy. Maybe I just like seeing it as play v. work).

Last night was my first lesson. It lasted 2 hours. Homer was amazingly patient as I fumbled and mangled every bit of the instrument he loves. And it contained all the magic and laughter I found with Bob and my drum. Oh don't get me wrong. It was hard. Hard to allow myself the place of beginner. Hard to give myself permission to be REALLY BAD at something. Hard to remind myself I will get better. Hard to coax my 48 year old fingers to move in new ways. Hard to keep the strings pressed down hard enough to get the clear ringing notes I wanted. Hard to integrate both hands. But every so often, I would get a good scale or even a couple of really beautiful notes and my heart would respond like a bird - soaring up. I did that! Me. Mary. I played that.

I got up this morning, fingers feeling like I dipped the tips in liquid nitrogen. But I got up happy. I mean REALLY happy. Almost better-than-sex happy. (Hold on there Baba Looey. I said ALMOST). Looking forward to more torture. Trying to figure out how I can get an amp and cable so I can practice more. Not practice so I impress Homer, but practice because it felt so good to play and it brought something into my life that had been on holiday. Practice to find more of those perfect little notes that made my heart feel so blissed out. Am an excited little kid. I haven't felt that in a while.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Spilled Milk

I am staring at the milk as it spreads over the counter. A whole gallon shot to hell. A whole gallon that will need cleaning up ASAP before it smells. As it drips slowly into the silverware drawer, now necessitating I wash all the knives and forks, I just have to laugh. Like this is the funniest shit I've seen in weeks.

I slide down the cabinets to sit on my fuzzy bunny slippers and hold the growing stitch in my side, the milk now dripping into my hair, my eyes, down my neck. Still laughing at the absurdity of it all. How futile it would have been to try NOT to spill it. The energy wasted. I slam the bunny into the puddle on the floor thinking of Doc Edgerton. POW! There's my crown.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Syllabary Love

A couple months ago I was telling my brother Phil about a friend of mine whose name is Fabeku Fatunmise (sankofasong.com) who is a just a funny dude and a great person to work with. Anyway Phil LOVED his name and kept throwing it out all day long whenever there was a lull in the conversation. Saying it a million different ways and laughing. No offense Fabeku! I didn't mind being reminded of Fabeku and Phil was getting a lot of joy from it, so why stop? Besides asking him to stop would only assure hours more of whatever he thinks has annoyed me. Case in point - Heeeeere Moosey-Moosey which he said non-stop for 4 days while we were in Maine last summer because I asked him to shut the fuck up after the first 10-20 minutes. Like Puxatawny Phil guaran-damn-teeing 4 more days of moose calling.

I digress. I was immediately reminded of Letterman and his Oscar hosting Oprah-Uma debacle. No, I didn't think that was funny, but there was something about it that felt familiar. Only when Phil did the same thing that day with Fabeku's name, did I see myself. I do that same thing. Only not to entertain or amuse myself. Certain words I just like the way they sound. Sometimes I will repeat them over and over just to hear the intonation until they lose their meaning and become mantra-like tones in my mouth and throat. (And now of course because I'm writing about it and want an example that part of my brain is suddenly on holiday - so probably a right brain activity not conducive to writing/thinking). Anyway, even as a child I can remember saying the word THE over and over until it didn't mean anything. Of course I didn't do this publicly. Being the smart kid was opportunity enough to be introduced to Mr. Swirly. I certainly wasn't gonna add to that by being the weird kid with the Tourrette's like affinity for words.

Certain sounds and syllables are hard for me to tone. zzzzzzzzzzzz. that one makes me laugh. I'm sure there are others. But that's the one that comes to mind today.

The Torah of Mary


At an ongoing shamanic training workshop last month, we were using each other as guinea pigs. Depending on where I am in my own life, sometimes I love this kinda thing and sometimes I frantically search around for a place to hide the icky parts I don't want them to see. (Ironically hiding stuff from this group is not easy, but that doesn't stop me from trying when I am strung out on my own drama). This time I felt great and I tried to allow maximal transparency. Yeah my peeps are good at fooling me into this kinda thing. I was prepared to hear something akin to what the rest of the group had heard, so I was a little freaked out when they each came back with the same verdict - one after the other. Carefully constructed half closure of second and fourth chakras. Hearing them talk about this gave me new respect for what a nail feels being pounded into the 2 X 4. Maybe that was a bit too much transparency. Visibility is one of those places I still struggle from time to time. When the last person finished their initial evaluation, I said fuck the hiding place I need a doorway - NOW. Eyes rolling wildly, I happened to catch my friend Suz's eyes. She smiled and her spirit gently bid me stay. Calmer for that connection, I stopped flailing and stayed put. Grateful for her presence that day or I might have laid rubber in her driveway in my haste to be somewhere, anywhere, but in that spotlight.

I am also grateful for Toby's words that day as he explained that sometimes things like that are a self-protective mechanism, that they are there for a reason and that thy are created knowingly and deliberately. (He was correct in his assessment. I know they are there. I know why and at some point I will decide I no longer need their protection). I think he pre-empted the possibility of having those blocks inadvertantly removed in an effort to open those centers. It requires an enormous level of trust to let someone see those blocks. It is exponentially harder to trust that they will not fuck with them once they do. I don't think anyone in this group would have done that, but I have certainly known my share of practitioners who would have blasted those to smithereens without ever asking what they were or why they were there. They would do it just because they could. They would work out of their own egoic needs and the consequences to me would have been enormously challenging (read BAAAAAAD!). Having had experiences like that with other healers probably added to the angst this time about having people work on me. Just a word to all my healer friends - next time you see something like that in a client ask your helper what that is and why its there BEFORE you tamper with it!!!

After whacking me with their shamanic hammers til I was pretty much flush with the ground, each person did some work on my behalf. The images were rich and wonderful. The healing was powerful as always. That leads to the next bit of this which is about something my friend Fabeku said about having a scroll wrapped around my left femur. That scroll contained all of the things a woman was "supposed to be" as handed down from my female ancestors. I didn't even want to look at what was on it that day. I was pretty sure I knew what it said and I wanted nothing more than to strip it off and torch it IMMEDIATELY. But I didn't. Maybe words are just too valuable to me to throw any away unread. Maybe I understood that if I did that I would always wonder what it said. Did it contain some ancient wisdom that I had thrown away in my haste to have distance between me and them? The image stayed with me and the desire to reject it entirely subsided. So every night I have been unrolling a bit from left femur to right like a Torah and reading about the woman who came before me. Allowing each generation of women to tell their own version of what womankind should be in their time. Trying not to judge or get angry. Trying to be sympathetic to their struggles. Trying to forgive them for any damage that came to me thru their constructs. When I came to the end of the scroll, I did not re-roll it. I sat for a minute and thought and then took up the pen and began to write my own version, not of how all women should be, but of what THIS WOMAN can be. The culmination of feminine evolution. The Torah of Mary. The last woman of her lineage. The last words.

Friday, February 19, 2010

That's on Them

I have worked for the same man for the last 24 years - the Universe willing it could be another 20 or until he retires. We are very different in many of our beliefs and approaches to the world. It has taken us the better part of those 24 years to really understand each other. And one of us needed to grow up quite a bit and learn how to speak up and talk about what bothered us (that would be me) - quite a handy tool for every relationship actually. We have found a way to make it work which is very cool given his rather right leaning Christian beliefs and my more all inclusive Earth-based woo-woo ones. I think it is a matter of respect. I am not trying to convince him that my ways are right, nor is he trying to convert me. He never has done that. If I ask a question about what he believes, I get an honest and well-thought out answer. I try to do the same for him because scientists are pesky curious creatures who like to know shit.....all kinds of shit.....even if they have no immediate use for it.

So today at lunch we were talking our round and round about all kinds of shit (maybe that's why we store it??). I was talking about how I saw no homeless people in London and wondering how the Brits dealt with that differently than we did. Sequeing (how the fuck DO you spell THAT word?) into how guilty I feel when I pass the sign holder who stands every morning at Eden and Reading to catch the drivers on the way to pill hill. I noticed that there are always a bunch of Graeter's coffee cups and bags that litter the ground at his feet. Super Science Geek Girl tells me its impossible that these are given to him by drivers given his location. So he must be buying it for himself. REALLY?? If you are homeless and panhandling you need coffee and a danish from Graeters?

Anyway, that's how the subject came up. My boss then tells me his homeless story that ends in what I think is one of the most brilliant things I have ever heard him say. While in Memphis he listened to a panhandlers sob story and handed the guy a couple bucks. A local then tapped him on the shoulder and told him that he had been conned. My boss, always even-tempered, shrugged and drawled "Weeelll, that's on him then. Isn't it."

Light bulb moment for me. All I can be is the most authentic me I know how to be at any given moment. If that means that someone takes advantage of my generous heart, callously dumps my ass and discards my love for someone younger and waaaaay more stupid, or hurts me in any way.....Well that's on them then isn't it? If I allow myself to feel used or taken advantage of then I probably behave differently when I'm in that situation again. Behave less like me. Nuh-unh! Because what happened is not due to a fault or flaw in my character. So the outcome with all its negative energy is on them. Isn't it?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I write shit on my bathroom mirror with a china pencil. Sometimes it's inspirational. Sometimes it's funny like the Groucho mustache and glasses that superimposed my face for a couple weeks. Sometimes it's more of a grocery list of things I need to do like Pay Pete, Return library books, Dr's Appt. A couple days ago I wiped off the directives to LAUGH!! and to Celebrate every day! They just felt a little stale having been up there since before the evil Santa holiday I hate. I made it thru another winter it seems without killing anyone or losing my mind, without drinking myself into a near comatose state of hibernation, without popping any pills - unless you count the herbal supplements. Those things were up there to remind me to find the funny aspect of whatever troubled me and to imagine each day as my last.

Despite the 2 feet of snow that covers my entire world, I feel spring coming. A faint pulse under my feet that makes me restless, ready to explode outward, to germinate, to GO!. I am ready for everything in my world to bolt into a riotous green - at first so delicate that it makes my eyes weep after months of monochromatic greys and whites. That sense of needing to GO however, is reigned in by a thousand questions. Questions I don't have the time or energy to answer. Questions that wont go away.

I have no sense of which way to go and a lousy internal GPS unit (I think it's busted. Can I return it??). How can I GO when I dont know which way to face? Have I planted enough seeds to feed me thru the long summer months? Did I plant any at all or was I so preoccupied with the gloom that I forgot? I forget? What if I planted all watermelon and I am hungry for corn? What if I go somewhere and I HATE it....like asparagus hate it? Can I still come back and sit quietly and tend the seeds? Do I just trust them to get where they need to go too- just like me??

to be continued.....

Rose

I am the fourth of five
the third rose
the third mary

The only mary rose -
that isnt me
she is the daughter
my mother wanted
a delicate Jackson and Perkin specimen
from a perfect specimen
from a perfect specimen

the rose that sees the canker
in the vine
while the vine sees only
canker in the rose

it fails to see that
this rose
is a new variety
uniquely colored
spicily aroma'd

it is not one that should
be pruned,
but one that should
be embraced
thorns notwithstanding.





fast write....

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Rose Among the Thorns


I am the fourth of five
the only daughter
of an only daughter
yet another mary
from a long line of
faceless mary's

to the passerby
just another rose
in a hedge of roses.

look a little closer
and you may see
this rose is a revertant,
a wildling, with
slightly richer color
spicier scent
a rose among the thorns
without any of her own.
yes, i care about you,
but
i care about me more.

yes, i miss you,
but
i miss me more

yes, i think about you,
but
i think about me more

yes, i want you,
but
i want me more

yes, i love you
but
today
i love me more.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Bass


This winter I decided to break out of my cozy box by challenging myself to learn and do some new things. So, when Homer offered to teach me to play bass, I jumped on it. He found me a beautiful blue (of course) bass on Craig's List and within a couple weeks I had my very own bass!

It was quite smitten, or as my friend Fabeku says - swooney-eyed, with my new blue friend. The lessons are proving a bit squirrely in arrangement and I have yet to have one. Not for any lack of enthusiasm on my part. Am trying to imagine the demons this may be stirring for Homer and to be sympathetic to that and to the fact that he is battling a cold. But the postponements are starting to dampen my joy around this.

I see that this is often the pattern in life. That new enthusiastic ideas are met with something less than joy and how we let that color our own feelings. The longer we let that be the case, the more likely we are to simply let go of that thing that brought us delight. That thought makes me bluer than my new toy. Determined to hold on to my joy and be patient. It will happen in its own way and time. And when it does I will meet it with my puppy dog joy and delight.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hucks


Looking in, I can see the scene she describes so deftly. The pair of young girls. The young adult mama of one of them. The slanting mountain sunlight illuminating their glowing skin. The large mountain newf ironically named Ladybug lumbering thru the brush.
They find what they are looking for and begin plucking and plinking the huckleberries into their small metal pails, eating as many as ever see the pail. Even Ladybug tentatively trying a few from the girls outstretched fingers. Resting in the sun, fingers stained purple, bellies full of mountain hucks and sleepy mountain silence.
I realize I want that moment to be mine too. Want to displace one of the ugly memories of my childhood - hell ALL of the ugly memories - with ones like this. Want to consciously create a childhood full of light and gladness. I want to be there and taste the hucks from the girls fingers with Ladybug. Want to stretch out in the grass share that afternoon sated, purple-fingered and innocent. I tell Sabine I am co-opting that memory for my own and she oh so graciously weaves a new image - of the four of us laughing, skipping down the trail. She the close guardian now of three small girls, two towheads and one shy brunette, lying tangled toegther in their sleepy huckleberry heap.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Voice Inside My Head

That voice inside my head is so busy all day long
telling me about all the things
I can't do.

That maybe it hasn't stopped to
notice that I already did.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Sparks of Winter


My mom is not a fan of natural fiber of any kind, so growing up all of our beds came equipped with some sort of acrylic thermal blanket in various colors. Mine might have been pink. It probably was. One winter when I was maybe 4, I woke up and went to pee. Crawling back into bed I noticed a veritable St. Elmo's fire that crackled across my blanket. How cool was that? As I reached out to touch it, one of the blue-white sparks jumped from the blanket to my finger. It didn't hurt, but it did tingle a little. Intrigued, I wondered what kind of magic was going on there in my bedroom. Where did the magic sparks come from? Why had I never seen them before? Could I collect them like fireflies? (You may recognize Super Science Geek Girl even in those questions)

I spent the next hour or so ripping the blanket away from the sheet, away from me and watching the delicious little sparks fly around me in the dark. When I got cold, I snuggled back into the covers and feel asleep. Night after night the little sparks and I played together there in the dark. Me giggling. Them crackling. Sometimes my hair played along, collecting little sparks of its own. I felt like Mickey standing on that cliff in the Sorcerer's Apprentice sparks flying at my command.

The little magic sparks didn't last though. One night they didn't visit me. Soon the blanket itself was gone. And I forgot about them.....until this week. I got a new blanket from a friend for the holiday and was enchanted to find it also makes the magic sparks. Heehee.....

Mean Girls Are Never Pretty

Mom's sojourn in Memory Care ended when she could no longer stand and became what they term a 2-assist.  She transitioned to Skilled C...