Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Morning light on Yom Kippur.
Jake died exactly three months ago. Some days it feels like years since I had to say goodbye to him. Sometimes, it feels like he should still be here, curled up in his overstuffed rocker. Death is incomprehensible, to me at least.
The journeys I took this summer, the friends I re-connected with, the changes of scenery and routine were intensely healing and in some way created a sense of increased distance from all the emotions stirred up on that sad day. Though I can access the grief that lay so heavy on my heart all summer (from before he died, even), it is no longer acute. The passage of time/space really does heal all wounds!
Last night for the first time I dreamed of Jake. There was nothing fancy about the dream. I found his leash and got some plastic bags, took him for a walk. We had another dog with us but the focus in the dream was on Jake, his soft gold fur and beautiful brown eyes. It was not a lucid dream, but I kept thinking, "It's so good to see Jake!" as if I knew in the dream we had been separated. He seemed rather nonchalant about our reunion. Oh well. It was a sweet dream, reassuring in an autumnal, melancholy way.
What is remembered, lives.
There are threads of old sound heard over and over
phrases of Shakespeare or Mozart the slender
wands of the auroras playing out from them
into dark time the passing of a few
migrants high in the night far from the ancient flocks
far from the rest of the words far from the instruments
God's crepuscular ray outfit shortly before sunset on Yom Kippur.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Yesterday turned out to be one of my favorite Yom Kippurs of all time. Part of that I owe to the wonderful clients who came to see me, each in a very different place; one about to give birth, another wondering what happened to her youth and vitality, one who is a good friend, and finally a Reiki student, luminous and reverent.
Variety was part of the magic of yesterday in the weather, too. Sunny, breezy and warm, then overcast, dark and threatening, then clear with puffy clouds, then overcast again, etc.
Before work I walked to Eastern Market to check out the vibe of the day. On the way, a car pulled out in front of me while I was crossing the street. Nothing unusual there. The miracle was when he stopped, rolled down his window and said, "Sorry I almost ran over you - I'm still kind of sleepy."
DC drivers never ever, not EVER, apologize. I knew right then that God was with me. A few minutes later I overheard a little girl asking her mother, "Does God have eyelashes?" Nice, eh? Some guy started a conversation just as I left Eastern Market, then walked with me for several blocks, just chatting. This, too, rarely happens between strangers in DC, even on Capitol Hill. The Big Divine Wisdom and Love was definitely close all day.
Because I didn't need to review the year just past, God and I engaged in several lively conversations about what's ahead for me. We talked about what I want for my old age, for instance. Here's the list that includes what I don't already have (such as my great good health - thank you God!!)
What I Want for Old Age, thanks for asking:
1. A husband
2. Eat-in kitchen
3. Two dogs
4. A porch with rockers
Right before sunset, God appeared in his crepuscular ray outfit. It was a very stylish hail and farewell, a perfect end to an exquisite holiday. Happy New Year, y'all. L'chaim!
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Tomorrow is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, one of the biggest Jewish holidays. Some would say THE biggest, others would disagree. That's how it goes with Jews - two Jews, three opinions.
Some years I cram myself into a rented church with the rest of the extended Temple Micah congregation (all of whom will not fit at one time in the actual temple). I find that experience extremely unpleasant for so many reasons, but sometimes it's good to be surrounded by hundreds of others on Yom Kippur.
Sometimes I take the day for myself, but instead of a food fast, I do a word fast - no speaking, writing or reading for the 24 hour period. This is always a humbling experience for me, oh yeah. How embarrassing to realize that I believe I have something clever - and important - to say about EVERYTHING. For heaven's sake. When I do the word fast, I like to welcome the holiday by watching the sun set from the steps of the Capitol or Supreme Court. Breaking the word fast has involved singing or "Ohmming" before speaking any particular word. It's a powerful and pleasing way for me to celebrate. In so many ways I really am what I think of as a "pre-Judaism Jew."
Tomorrow I will be working all day, a Very Good Thing for my threadbare bank account. My travels from coast to coast were extremely healing and wonderful in every way except financially. In addition to the cost of travel, when I don't work, I lose all my income. Sometimes it's worth it. But taking time off is always expensive.
Hence I will be working through the day tomorrow. I feel a little sad about it, to be honest, but on the other hand, bodywork can be prayer-like, and too the God I worship doesn't really care how I commune with Him or when. What works for me, works for Him. The God I worship is a really good God.
Somehow, in some way, I will come face to face with God tomorrow. It's Yom Kippur and so therefore inevitable. I wonder if my clients will notice the presence, or if even I will notice? We shall see.
Friday, September 25, 2009
"Diffuse Glow" is the name of one of the "distortions" that can be applied in Photoshop. I've placed a diffuse glow over both pics accompanying today's post.
My pics have not been all that interesting to my eye lately. I'm tired of looking at the same old things, the leaves scattered on the pavements, reflections in shiny cars, shadows. Placing diffuse glow on top of these images makes them slightly more intriguing to my eye as I search for something new to photograph.
It's actually no mystery that the same old sights are no longer so compelling. A recent onslaught of visions has been more intense than any psychic download of recent years, rendering my old way of looking at the world obsolete, dated, and boring. Most of these visions are showing me new ways to look at the same things, they are providing my mind with fresh ideas about the same-old, same-old from the inside out, mostly.
For instance, during a Reiki session this week, in my mind's eye, I "saw" the spirit guide I call Grandpa carving a totem pole of light on or close to the spine of my client. I realized in a flash of diffused glow insight that he has been working on a similar totem pole inside me for a long time. What that means, I can't tell you, but the realization had impact. At what level does an insight become a revelation? You tell me.
I also now "see" that the big dipper, in its rotation around the Pole Star, dips every night into the underworld, scooping up souls that are then carried into the sky and later "poured" into the small dipper. In other words, the constellations routinely perform soul retrieval on a huge scale, something we humans have been doing in a much smaller, more personal way since the beginnings of consciousness. I wonder if that's where we got the idea of soul retrieval in the first place? As above, so below. Oh yeah.
Is that too weird? OK. Another, more down-to-earth revelation is that for the first time this week, I SAW, with my own eyes, the Sufi acupuncturist's physical beauty. When I look at him what I'm accustomed to seeing is genius, brilliance, the legacy of Chinese medicine's ancient wisdom shining through his intelligent eyes. But when my clients go to see him, they always say, "Reya why didn't you tell me he is so CUTE?" I never understood what they were talking about. But this week I looked at him and saw what my clients are always talking about. It wasn't romantic or lustful in any way, but it was a visual revelation. He is so gorgeous! Wow.
Not surprisingly, my physical eyes have felt very tired and achey, overexposed. It's been difficult to gaze into the computer screen and TV, which is why I've not been around visiting y'all as I usually do.
What does it mean when one's field of vision shifts so dramatically? It all seems very exciting, as it should to a philosopher mystic which is, after all, what I am. But maybe it just sounds crazy to you. Does it? Has this ever happened to you?
Michelle Obama made it happen - a farmer's market on Vermont Avenue just behind Lafayette Park. All that organic food radiates good vibes in a neighborhood that's usually just businesslike. Talk about moxie!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
I know there's a soft drink called Moxie, but when I use the word, it's an adjective, my way of describing someone who is brave, energetic, determined. When a person has moxie, she is self-possessed, confident. People with moxie cast a serious glamour.
I have not ever heard the word used in association with men, but I'm going to forget about being gender specific here. I think President Obama has moxie. Since I'm avoiding the pundits, I listened carefully to the president's speech at the United Nations yesterday, but skipped the analysis afterwards. What came to me as I listened is that the dude has moxie. Of course Michelle Obama has moxie, too. So do the girls, when I think about it. The whole family exudes moxie. Oh yeah.
While I watched the speech, I knew the feeling but could not come up with the words to describe it. Later, on my way home from a visit to the Sufi acupuncturist, wondering how to describe Pres. Obama's je ne'sais quoi, out of the corner of my eye I saw a Park Policeperson walking her horse in circles around one of the fountains in Lafayette Park. I always want to know the names of these huge and beautiful horses - not sure why, but I always ask. When she told me the horse's name, I laughed out loud and clapped my hands together. Both the policeperson and the horse seemed startled by my reaction. Can't blame them, actually.
I just love it when the language I'm looking for, in this case no more than a one-word adjective, comes in the form of an answer to a completely unrelated question. How perfect is that?
Here is Moxie, the horse. The Park Policeperson told me that Moxie is still young and sometimes needs reassurance, which is why she was walking around the fountain, shoulder to shoulder, with her beautiful horse. Should also say, the policeperson was not petite. She was probably 5'8" or 5'9". Moxie is huge! Beautiful!! What a horse.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
On the mall side of the Hirschhorn Museum of Art.
What is your luxury? For some people, luxury is all about the earth plane: property, nice clothes, money in the bank. That makes sense to me. Earth plane luxury is a foundation, provides safety just in case. For some luxury is spacial - they like to travel around, see people and landscapes all over the earth. Health is everyone's luxury though it can't be bought or sold.
Time is my luxury. I don't work too much, and even though sometimes I think I should work like a dog, mostly I remember that life is going by right now. Saving my time until retirement might be a good plan but on the other hand I might die suddenly, like that bumblebee I saw the other day. It's hard to figure out a balance between work and time. I'm not saying I've figured out how to do it well. Oh no.
Having enough time is a creature comfort to me, like good food or clean sheets. When I don't have to rush around, I'm pretty happy. Pushing, rushing, hurrying will inevitably put me in a foul mood, elevate my blood pressure, and bring out the worst side of my personality.
So I take my time at work, with clients and between clients, while I'm cooking or cleaning, when I'm walking around taking pictures. I give myself plenty of time to sleep, eat slowly, read slowly. I even take a long time brushing my teeth. And though I have nothing in terms of earth plane luxuries (except my good health, thank you, God!) I am content.
I'm not saying my way is the "right" way to live. My lifestyle would drive many people totally nuts. It works for me. That's all I'm saying.
A makeshift rickshaw? Wow. It was small, so I wondered if it was meant to be tethered to a large dog. Also, about the rusty seat. Is that for a second rider?
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
The dude with the ax reminds me of summer busy-ness and activity. This is part of the frieze on the Senate side of the Capitol.
I've taken off my Star Trek wig and outfit and am now preparing to dive head first into fall. To be honest, I don't do well with balance. But I always try.
Now is the time of year when the trees start pulling in their energy, when gardens shrivel, when gardeners cut back the dried plants but do not try to revive them. The sun sets earlier each day, rises later in the morning. Soon I'll see my neighbors dressed in sweaters and long pants. Soon I'll be wearing sweaters and long pants. Oh yeah.
I saw a dead bumblebee on a marigold flower yesterday, a sure sign that fall is here. He must have conked out while feeding, like a drunk passing out at a bar. What a way to go, eh? Nice denoument, Mr. Bumblebee!
The bees, yellowjackets and hornets that are still alive become fierce and aggressive as daylight declines. They no doubt understand, on some level, that their days are numbered and are apparently not too happy about it. Mosquitoes, too, go for the jugular in early fall.
Maybe because I'm fairly sure I'll make it through the winter, fall brings out in me a gentleness I forget during summer. I, too, call my energy inwards and downwards, an act that makes me feel a sweet melancholy. Other than a seasonal fear of sunset, fall is probably my favorite season. After this summer just past, when I had to say my final goodbye to my dog, I welcome Autumn with open arms.
Hail and welcome, sweet Fall. Yeah!
Why did I dream of you last night?
Now morning is pushing back hair with grey light
Memories strike home, like slaps in the face;
Raised on elbow, I stare at the pale fog
beyond the window.
So many things I had thought forgotten
Return to my mind with stranger pain:
Like letters that arrive addressed to someone
Who left the house so many years ago.
-- Philip Larkin
In fall, after we bring in the harvest, we can rest. That Indian looks so tired.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Today night and day are perfectly balanced, not just here in Washington DC, but everywhere from the north pole to the south pole. My friends in Jozi, Tanzania, Botswana, those who live in Toronto, London, in the French countryside, British Columbia, Hooterville, California, my friend who is in Brasil right now - we are all experiencing the same day today, the same night.
It's kind of miraculous since this planet tends towards extremes in many ways, and enjoys crazy diversity in terms of landscape, animals and plants, people, and weather of course. Today everyone has at least one thing in common. If there was ever a day to join hands and sing Kumbaya, equinox is the time.
I said that as if it was a joke, but I'm serious. My prayers this morning included many requests for compassion, open minds, and for all of us everywhere to remember, if possible, that we have far more in common than we think.
One of the jolly young guys riding the Bolt bus told me he loves Star Trek because it portrays the future of the earth as completely positive. A few hundred years in the future, according to the people who wrote for the show, the earth is governed as one entity, no one is hungry, no one is poor. Diplomacy among other worlds, learning, and skillful expression of the arts become homo sapiens's top priorities. Sounds good to me! Maybe that's why I love Star Trek so much.
Today is equinox, the dark and light are absolutely equal partners today. I'm holding in my head a picture of the world of Star Trek, imagining you with some crazy hairdo and funny outfit, smiling. Every one of you, smiling.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I understand why the movement towards sustainable, earth-loving lifestyles is called the Green Movement. As an earth-based dweller, I associate that color with the bounty of the dirt, i.e. the green world of plants and trees.
But from anywhere above the surface, this is a blue world. Though I am indeed a creature of earth and depend on the green world for shelter, food and most importantly, oxygen, I also need blue. I get my daily quota of blue mostly from the daytime sky. Washington DC is a very sunny place most of the time, one of the reasons I love it. Sometimes I get my blue from the river, but day to day, I must rely on the arching cup of our atmosphere, refracting sunlight just so, to quench my thirst for blue.
The energy of Washington DC is very swamp like - low and close to the ground. That, and the fact that the Masons who designed this city believed no building should stand taller than the Capitol, means I have a lot of access to the sky even though I live in the center of an urban area.
Any prolonged stay in NYC would at last begin to drain my life force due to a shortage of blue. The rivers there are not particularly blue. It's a beautiful city of tall cliffs, like living on the floor of a metallic Grand Canyon. I wonder how New Yorkers get their fix of blue. Too long away from blue, and I begin to shrivel but maybe they have different color needs than I. Who knows?
It's a beautiful day in DC today. My plan is to take a long walk, breathe lungfuls of clean air, listen to the birds and drink in, through my eyes, the deep, robin's egg blue of this perfect early autumn day. It's good to be home. There's no place like it.
My your thirst for color be quenched. Oh yeah!
The Empire State Building was my constant companion on my recent NY visit. I saw it from everywhere I went. It was like a beacon showing me that, literally, the sky's the limit.
Friday, September 18, 2009
The island of Manhattan casts a charm, it really does. Every time I visit, from the first moment I see the skyline I start to smile. Yesterday I looked around the Bolt bus just to see if I was the only one. The truth is, everyone perked up, and most everyone smiled.
The energy of the island is sexy. There's an electric feeling of uplift that makes me want to stay up all night in spite of the fact that I am not a night person. It makes me want to get out and mix it up with all the people, though I'm a serious introvert. I get high on New York, I really do!
The tall buildings look to me like that energy made manifest, rising, rising, rising. I was wondering yesterday if the Indians felt that buzzy uplift or if it's more literal than energetic, an effect that occurs because of the many electrical cables running just beneath the pavement. Is the electric sexiness indigenous, or the result of the industrial revolution? Who knows?
On the subway last night, around 11:30 pm.
It's a very very special place. Only in New York are certain things possible, like a walk along the High Line, bright and cheerful, on a perfect early Autumn afternoon, followed by a drink at the Temple Bar, dark and mysterious, uber-atmospheric, with someone who traveled literally halfway round the earth to visit. In fact I was so elated all day yesterday I could hardly contain myself.
Today I'm back on the Bolt bus, headed home. Though slightly hungover (perhaps one cocktail would have been sufficient) and sleep deprived, I am still smiling. I love New York.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
St. Matthews Cathedral
I don't know where the quantum physicists stand on it these days - since I don't speak math I have to wait for books written for the layperson to be published before I find out about the latest theories, but at least a couple of years ago, some physicists were really into the idea of loop quantum cosmology, the idea of a breathing universe that forever expands and contracts. A quantum "bridge" connects one expansion to the expansion of the next universe.
This theory is crazily in sync with Hindu cosmology, but ... that's a whole post in itself.
In the micro-universe of my life, I have experienced the quantum loop of expansion and contraction several times over. You know the saying, "When one door closes, another will open"? It's a good colloquialism for the phenomena.
For the last few years, my universe has been contracting. I broke up with an ex and haven't dated since, I left my spiritual community and though I've been interested, I have not joined another. Even my work life contracted when I moved from Healing Arts, about a half hour walk from where I live, to Quiet Waters, which is right across the street from the house on Tennessee Ave. When Jake died earlier this summer, I felt my whole life had completely collapsed since he had become my Everything - best friend, spiritual community, partner, roommate. Not true of course, but I tend to be kind of dramatic.
Currently I'm experiencing a quantum time loop situation in which my universe is expanding, in part, by way of the past. I am looping backwards in time, re-uniting and re-connecting with people I knew long ago, longer ago, and from way back in time close to the big bang of my birth. In some way that the physicists might say has to do with crossing the quantum bridge, I am bringing my past into my present, re-securing relationships so that I can carry on into the future.
As usual the miraculous ways of the world, the intricacies of the rhythms of life, blow my mind. I am really enjoying my expanding universe, more than I can say. I am humbled and grateful. Wow
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
It's Heeeerrree - the Jewish new year, I mean. Always harrowing, always illuminating, always memorable whether or not I am officially celebrating them, the HHD are part of my DNA. Even when I was most deeply into the witchy world, a time when I didn't bother to check the calendar, I always knew, deep in my bones, when the HHD had started. I could feel Yom Kippur, even if I spent the day goofing around.
Or maybe I can always feel them because I'm psychic and it has nothing to do with DNA. Who knows? Nevertheless they are here.
I will not be observing the holidays with a community this year, a situation that's often the case. I don't fit into any Jewish community I've come across here in DC or elsewhere. That's alright, I have my own way of getting through this time of soul searching, making amends, and coming face-to-face with God. Though the way I observe the holidays is definitely ideosyncratic, as far as I can tell, God doesn't really care one way or the other. Our rituals and services are human constructs meant to help us, after all. At least that's what I believe.
I've got work to do, settling my accounts for the past year. Imagine me rolling up my sleeves, taking a deep breath, and plunging in.
L'Shanah Tovah, y'all!
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
OK I admit it publicly. I am a full fledged, true blue, card carrying psychic. But - so what? So are you. Please don't tell me you've never had a psychic moment - I don't believe you. The phone rings, you think, "Oh, that's so-and-so." When you answer, it is so-and-so. You wake up in the night and think about someone you love, or else that person is in a dream or you find yourself wondering how they're doing. The next day you discover that the person in question broke a leg while skiing or totaled their car.
Every one of you has walked into a room at some time or another, and thought, "Something is wrong here," or "What's going on?" before you had a clue about the dynamics in the room. Once inside, it's clear that someone is angry with someone else - or whatever. C'mon. You know what I'm talking about.
Everyone can read what one of my great teachers called "the subtle realms." Some of us ignore that talent while others among us practice tuning in to it. We work especially hard to develop a language for interpretation, the really tricky aspect of the Art. I've devoted a considerable amount of time flushing out and focusing this knack but it isn't a special talent, reserved for the few. If I had decided to practice playing the piano instead, I would probably be pretty good at it by now. Just sayin'.
I'm not one of those psychics who predicts the future. According to the Cosmology of Reya, the future is co-created, moment to moment, by every person, animal, blade of grass, by every breeze, lightning strike, rainshower, by every tectonic movement, by the effect of the solar wind, the gravity of the moon pulling on the earth, etc. etc. etc. I'm certain dark matter plays a role in co-creating the future. A person would have to see around every corner in order to truly be accurate. Because I believe in a very complex version of free will, I wonder how anyone could truly "see" the future. That said, there are a handful of psychics who are pretty good at prediction, don't ask me how they do it. But I'm not one of them. I don't really want to know the future, to be honest. What fun would that be? I'd rather discover it, moment by moment, as it unfolds in the now, then later on, reflect on it as it becomes the past. That's just me.
The visions I receive are more of what I would call wisdom teachings, a way of connecting the dots that doesn't come from any known source. Mostly the visions arrive fully formed, though I do have occasions when I'm specifically clairvoyant, clairaudient and clairsentient, too. While I was still involved with the Craft, I received a vision of what the initiation ritual could look like. This was after I had been initiated. The vision added some components to "flesh out" the ritual. Though I've been out of the Craft for many years now, that ritual format is still in use in that community. It had structural integrity that had nothing to do with me.
For a little more than a year I have been receiving visions that have to do with soul retrieval, destiny and fate. Boy does that sound pretentious. Sorry. I have received schematics and correspondences, trajectories of the processes. I have sketched the schematics at least 500 times in the last year. With every drawing, more details come to light. This week I received a flood of visions that connect our perception of stellar constellations to the processes of soul retrieval and fate.
A dark night sky is so full of stars that it's actually hard to pick out the constellations. They, and our stories about them, are a purely human construct. But I'm being shown how, by studying the constellations and the stories around them, I will be able to gain more wisdom about the shape of destiny, why we came up with the idea of destiny, and how it plays out in our lives. I'm being shown everything in the sky except the zodiac, by the way, a set of constellations that has been studied and quantified and described, that has been associated with human character and destiny for thousands of years.
This sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? Willow and Liza wanted to know about the visions, hence this post. I'm sorry this is the best I can do in terms of describing what I'm currently receiving.
True, I guess, even in the psychic realm, that a vision is worth a thousand words. Maybe ten thousand words. I'm getting a clearer picture in my own mind and heart of what the visions are trying to convey, but translating it, especially here in this very long post? Just silly, isn't it?
Monday, September 14, 2009
The "no pundit zone" experiment is going well. I'm reading news stories, but skipping all editorials and analysis type articles, for the time being at least. What I'm finding is that I really have to think when someone else isn't telling me how I should approach "the news." What I'm discovering is: thinking is good!!
After Ted Kennedy's funeral, I looked for stories that sounded more like biographies than tributes or obituaries. In obituaries and tributes, the writer chooses what's important about a person's life. That's also true in biographies, of course, but they seem to my eye to be more complete, more historical. I wanted to get a sense of the trajectory of his life rather than read about what made him famous. What I decided about Ted is that after he got his act together, sometime in middle age, he became a truly great senator. Mistakes were made, and I don't think he ever stopped drinking, but in later life, he was a force for good in the world. May he rest in peace.
I'm not thinking I'll never listen to the pundits again. I'm sure Merle Sneed (for instance) can listen/read them without being swayed. I'll need to practice for awhile, thinking for myself. You can almost see the dust bunnies blowing out of my brain these days. I am loving it and so is my brain.
In the meantime, as often happens at this time of year, I am receiving a huge download of psychic information. I don't know why but when I receive visions, I receive a ton of them. Too many, in fact. It's mesmerizing and intoxicating, so I usually just go with it. Ordinarily right around this time of year I'm glassy eyed and strange, more in alternate realities than here on planet Earth. For the first time in my life I'm using psychic barriers to hold a big chunk of these visions at bay. I'm giving myself time to sift through the visions, one at a time. I swear it never occured to me before that psychic downloads could be anything other than big ole hallucinogenic-like benders. Wow.
Strangely, what I'm doing in the psychic realms feels a whole lot like what I'm doing with the world of news media, taking on what I can and holding the rest of it at arm's length, thinking for myself. I wonder why I've never tried this before? Interesting.
Life is but a dream.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Between Labor Day and Fall Equinox, here in DC at least, it's neither summer nor fall - or - it's both summer and fall, all at once. Both or neither, both AND neither. It's a weird time of year.
All the kids are back in school, everyone has returned from summer vacation. Now the people here are tilting hard into their professional lives, but still wearing flip flops around the neighborhoods. The traffic has once again become incredibly fierce, and the crows are cawing their asses off (as they do in autumn), but it's still warm enough during the days to wear shorts and tank tops. I feel like I'm in an episode of The Twilight Zone or at least in some kind of alternate reality where worlds collide - or do they?
Evenings are cooler now, the trees are starting to pull their energy inwards, as they do in fall. The process gives them a shrivelled look, even though their leaves are still green. But the days are still slightly longer than the nights, the crickets and cicadas are still singing loudly and constantly, and the mosquitoes are fierce, which makes it seem like it must still be summer. Or is it?
One week till equinox, thank goodness. After that moment of balance, we can tip wholeheartedly into fall (while those living south of the equator can step fully into spring).
I'm always a bit wonky at this time of year, a bit disoriented. Is it still summer? Is it fall? Don't ask me!
Saturday, September 12, 2009
People like slogans, mantras. People like affirmations, statements of purpose, core values, principles of unity. They like to set goals. Ever since I found out that the prime directive of consciousness is to sort through all incoming sensory information in order to decide what will become conscious - usually choosing what is expected - I understand why manifestos work. If you set a goal and create a sentence to describe that, and especially if you repeat that sentence every day, then your mind will automatically begin to scan for anything that might support the idea. That's why, when you buy a car for instance, you suddenly notice how many other people drive the same model, or when you get a dog, a whole new society of dog people becomes visible.
Prayer is a wonderful form of manifesto because prayers almost always include gratitude, thereby generating the ability of human consciousness to perceive blessings and gifts. Donald Engstrom-Reese, a friend and ex-cohort, has been creating strings of "prayer beads" for decades now, assigning one sentence prayers to each bead, kind of like a Pagan version of the rosary, which is itself a very powerful manifesto.
Another friend likes to say "Believe me." I think this is her form of manifesto - short and to the point. I believe she is speaking to herself as much as to anyone else. I like it. And I tend to believe her, too!
Recently a friend who is also a life coach guided me through a session to determine my life's path, and though the exercise itself didn't really work, it did get me thinking. Eventually I came up with the following sentence: I remember and embrace my legacy as healer. After saying it a few times, I realized that this is not only my life's purpose, but an affirmation. Very cool.
Affirmations are a manifesto form that has never worked well for me, because if it's something that isn't already manifested, I feel like a liar saying it out loud. At least that's the story I'm accustomed to telling myself.
But I might be wrong about affirmations. This week a friend shared his daily affirmation with me - wow! It's so powerful, it would get anyone's butt up and out the door in the morning. When he says it, he speaks quickly - sincerely, yes, but not with any particular emotion. He is so convincing. Wow.
Below is a bit of my friend's manifesto, not too much since it's very personal, but enough to give you the idea of its potency.
I am light, light, full of light. I am radiant and energized, kind, gentle, and sweet, and only sweetness comes from my mouth.
Today I remember my kind word, my smile, my uplifting gesture, all through the day. When negativity arises, I remember the voice of God calling me to count my blessings and shine a light in the world.
I am strong and fearless, patient and calm, unhurried and unworried, poised and confident. I walk in glory with my head held high and fear no evil.
Today I make my space my own and I take my time.
I am wealthy now. I have everything I need. Everything I want is attracted to me.
I am healthy now. My colon is clear, my heart is strong, my chi is flowing freely in all my parts. I am whole and complete and happy now. I am a joyful light in this world.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Find out who you are, and do it on purpose. --Dolly Parton
We're a funny species, we homo sapiens. What other animal has so many psychic layers? What other animal spends so much time and money trying to reveal its "true" nature? We sit for hours with friends, sisters and brothers, hairdressers, bartenders and psychotherapists, talking and talking, trying to unwind enough to understand what's at the bottom of any bothersome situation.
We consult oracles, astrology forecasts, tarot cards, read Carolyn Hax's advice column, and of course we read many many many many many many self help books, in an effort to understand all the deep subterranean foundations of our behavior.
Yep, we human beings are funny animals.
I'm thinking about this because, through all the recent reunions with friends from a long time ago (and from twice as long ago as that), I am learning that I'm really not that different than I ever was. Long before my ten years of psychotherapy, I was pretty much the same person I am today, "the original free spirit," as my high school friend described it. In high school I felt anything but free spirited, believe me, at least on the inside. But the life I've lived definitely reflects my friend's observation.
All the therapy, etc. was well worth it because it wasn't enough (for me at least) to be who I was/am, I needed to understand, I needed to peel away so many layers and old stories, I needed to come face to face with the essence of me. Others saw right through me, but I didn't get it. It is ironic, in a very funny way, to come full circle with the process.
Maybe from now on I won't have to be so focused on my own navel. I know who I am and I do it on purpose. Now maybe I'll make time to do something different than all that. Wouldn't that be nice?
Thursday, September 10, 2009
President Obama has an impossible job. The presidency of the U.S. has always been debilitating, no matter what's happening at the moment or who sits in the Oval Office. Even George W. Bush, who went to bed at 9:00 p.m. every night, aged dramatically during his eight years.
When I think about how many presidents have "failed," or the way in which, after leaving office, they shine (think Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, for instance), I imagine that the job itself must be like one of those awful nightmares where you're trying to run but can hardly move, as if slogging through jello, or trying to talk, but the words get caught in your throat. You know that kind of dream? I think the U.S. presidency is just that bad.
I noticed last night that President Obama is going gray at an accelerated pace and that his face is drawn and tired looking. Even a tough guy like him is going to be sucked dry by the job. But his speech was great - clear, strong, and logical. Damn he's good.
After his speech I switched off the TV. My experiment was to listen to the speech but skip the analysis afterwards. As curious as I was to hear what my favorite news people had to say, I've been thinking lately that they just get me all worked up and angry, create in me a stronger feeling of "us" vs. "them" which is not an energy field that needs any more juice. I also skipped the Republican response. I wanted to hear the speech, take it in, sleep on it.
I think it worked! I was able to listen - just listen. Nice.
The enclosed courtyard at the American Musuem of Art. Such a bizarre space.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
The Chartres style labyrinth, a walking meditation, at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.
Some people romanticize the past. When they think think back on their lives, what they remember are "the good old days."
I think my memory lens must be faulty because what I remember about my past is usually about suffering or discomfort, unhappiness, awkwardness. It's not like I never remember the good times. More often, though, it's my tendency to remember what went wrong. Weird, isn't it?
The recent string of connections with people I haven't seen in ages is showing me, in no uncertain terms, that my sense of who I used to be, and what my life has been about, is seriously distorted. All my old friends in Tahoe and San Francisco reminded me how much fun I had in both of those locations. Why did I forget these wonderful memories? What is up with THAT??
Yesterday my great gift was a sit-down with an old friend from high school, someone I reconnected with through Facebook. We haven't seen each other in thirty-eight years, can you imagine? We meant to meet for an hour but that hour stretched out to three because we could not stop telling stories, asking questions, laughing. It was so much fun!
One of the greatest gifts of our reunion was when he told me stories about my father. I didn't remember - but he did! - sitting in my living room, being grilled by my father about Vietnam. It made him realize, he said, that if he was going to take a position on an issue, he had to do some research and fact checking first. That event had a huge impact on him, one that still resonates today. Wow.
I thought I had heard every story about my father there was to tell. He died in 1978, after all. Listening to my old friend's observations brought my father back into high def in my heart and mind. Who knew an old, long-lost friend held yet another piece of the memory of my father? It was genuinely miraculous.
I need to stir some fun, joyful, creative and positive stories back into the bitter mix of my memories. My memory pool seriously needs sweetening. As it turns out, my life has not been one long tragedy after all. Wow.
What is remembered, lives. Oh yeah!
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
I know it's not yet autumn equinox - we've still got a couple of weeks to go before the official end of summer. But for all practical purposes, summer ends here in Washington DC on Labor Day. The next day - today - Congress goes back into session, all the kids are back in school, and the quiet laziness of summer vanishes as if by magic.
The Congressional staffers who come to see me for massage are worried, emotional. One high ranking dude was almost in tears, and if you're an American, you can probably guess why. These tough, smart, hard working people must now re-engage with health care reform, among other things. If I worked for Congress, right about now I would be heavily into anti-anxiety medication.
The process is a quagmire. Did you know there are at least four versions of the bill floating around, each of them 1,000 pages long? Four thousand pages - whoa - that's even longer than Shelby Foote's history of the American Civil War and I bet not even a fraction as interesting.
Ronald Brownstein wrote a book called "The Second Civil War" a couple of years ago. It's all about how "extreme partisanship" has rendered our two party system inoperable. I didn't read the book, but I think he's completely right. Initially I blamed Newt Gingrich and later Karl Rove, but these days I think many of us are contributing to the split. We're all responsible now.
During the Bush administration I was outraged, as really I should have been. Somehow I believed that when Obama became president, the extreme differences between the parties would soften. I thought it would be automatic. Boy, was I wrong! In order for two groups to reach consensus, there has to be some common ground, but as far as I can see there is not one square inch of common ground shared by the two U.S. parties.
What about a third road for our country? I've been wondering how that could happen and what it might look like. So far I haven't been able to visualize it, but it's a less discouraging idea than thinking we're doomed, as I have been. It's more hopeful than to continue engaging in righteous indignation. I've stopped watching my beloved Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow because they just get me more worked up, an energetic state that does not help anything. In fact I'm ready to admit that they're just as sensationalistic as those crazy dudes on Fox News, really they are.
I'm trying to imagine a way out of this mess but my mind is like an empty blackboard. I can't see any viable solution if our country remains so rigidly divided, so what would a third road look like in this case? Do you know?
"O see ye not that narrow road,
So thick beset with thorns and briers?
That is the path of righteousness,
Tho after it but few enquires.
"And see not ye that broad broad road,
That lies across that lily leven?
That is the path to wickedness,
Tho some call it the road to heaven.
"And see not ye that bonny road,
That winds about the fern covered mound?
That is the road to fair Elfland,
Where thou and I this night must go."
--The Fairy Queen, explaining the Third Road to Thomas the Rhymer
Monday, September 7, 2009
I didn't mean to complain yesterday. I love my work, I do. My clients are interesting, complicated and all different from each other. I feel completely myself when I'm in the treatment room.
My job is a very technical kind of anatomical sculpture, combined with dance and prayer. I don't ever have to sit at a desk in a cubicle, pushing paper around, answering endless emails. I never have to sit in boring meetings. Of course there are tedious moments, but not very many of them.
Every session provides me with the opportunity to be creative. Every session requires me to pay attention, focus, and be present. In truth I wish I had greater stamina, more mental and physical energy so I could do more of it. Didn't mean to sound whiny yesterday. Sheesh.
That said, I'm off to work. Have a wonderful Monday.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
I suppose it's best that my work schedule is in exact opposition to the schedules of most folks because in my heart of hearts I am such a contrarian. Sometimes, though, like over holiday weekends, it feels like I have to gather twice as much energy to go do my work.
Labor Day weekend, which includes the first Monday in September here in the U.S., is sacrosanct. Everyone in the business world and government has the day off. For me it's a great time to hunker down and work my ass off - make hay while the sun shines. People are far more likely to take the time for a massage when they have a long weekend, so I book my days solid, a very good thing for my bank account.
Funny, then, that I find myself this morning wanting to be lazy, to sit around the barbecue with my neighbors and friends, hang out. For heaven's sake, I give myself So Much Time to hang out; I should be happy to put my nose to the grindstone. Maybe because the prevailing energy on a holiday weekend is that of relaxation, as a shaman I must push upstream against it in order to rally the will to go to work. Or perhaps I'm just lazy, who knows?
I guess I can figure it out later. Right now? Must gather my willpower and get to work. To everyone else enjoying a long weekend, hope you have a great one!
Saturday, September 5, 2009
It was a strange night last night on Tennessee Avenue. Somehow or another I had a big blowout fight with one of my roommates - I have no idea why. Right afterwards I heard my next door neighbor shouting at someone in a car on the street. This morning I saw friends at the market who told me someone broke into their car, but took nothing. Someone robbed another neighbor's daughter at gunpoint.
Really bizarre energy around here. I still feel uneasy. Anyone else experiencing a strangeness? Maybe it was the full moon. You think?
Friday, September 4, 2009
One of the great things about seeing my friends in California after such a long break was that it gave me the opportunity to understand how much I've changed over the last twenty years, inside and out. It helped me remember all the reasons I really love being middle aged. Really, I do!
As a young adult I was hot. I'm not saying I was the most beautiful woman you've ever seen, and certainly never a "ten." I'm Russian peasant stock, mostly, with the requisite short legs and long torso, squarish shaped body that would never make it to the cover of Sports Illustrated, no matter what. But I was hot, I was! I radiated pheromones like nobody's business. Wherever I went, men looked me up and down as if they were very hungry. My curiosity about the human condition, in combination with the pheromones, created an atmosphere in which men assumed I wanted to have sex with all of them. Yikes.
For many years I believed the only thing I had going for me was the hottie factor. Isn't that sad? Of course I was interested in sex, but in an ideal situation, I would have been a lot more discerning about who I slept with, when, and why. Sometimes I just did it so as to not cause energetic turbulence, sometimes because I wanted to, sometimes I just thought "Why not?" I dissipated so much energy during those years, energy I could possibly have used for many other projects and endeavors.
After menopause, the hottie factor recedes in all women. For me, that is such a blessing. Now I can do whatever I want to, since I've become (as many 50-something women) kind of invisible. I've been saying to myself that I'm much better suited to "life after juice," a statement to which my friend Kurt (one of my California friends) strenuously disagreed. He insisted I think of it differently; gave me a new mantra: I have learned to live with my juice. Nice, huh?
Middle age suits my personality really well. I'm so relieved to no longer be a hottie. Seriously. Life is better and better as time goes on, and I am grateful.
Yeah that's me, circa 1984, hiding my hottie thirty-something face against the cheek of my Tahoe boyfriend, Dave. He's the guy who drove me around the lake last weekend. Wasn't he handsome?
Thursday, September 3, 2009
The angle of the sun is perfect at this moment in early fall. All the tiny late summer flowers stretch up towards the fading days.
You know that phrase, cross stitched on a million pillows, or framed and hung in the kitchen, made famous forever when Dorothy clicked her heels together three times, right? There's no place like home. Of course you know it. That phrase is literally true for me.
I've lived in all four time zones of the continental United States, in cities, suburbs and rural areas (I think Lake Tahoe is rural, yes?) None of these locations (at least yet) has felt 100% like home, not ever.
I've done a decent job making myself comfortable everywhere I've lived - except Portland, Oregon, that is. I never felt at ease the whole time I lived there though admittedly I hadn't had a lot of practice and at the time I was one holy mess of unresolved issues. Can't blame Portland for the miseries, train wreck and nervous breakdown I suffered when I lived there. No wonder I began to call Portland "My City of Spiritual Lacerations" as soon as I moved away. Other than the non-stop rain, it wasn't Portland's fault.
Yesterday I made a lengthy list of qualities that would create the perfect home for me, ranging from specifics such as lettuce as good as can be had in San Francisco, air as sweet as in Lake Tahoe, and four defined and dramatic seasons like in DC, as well as more general attributes like "stars" and "proximity to a big body of water - river, lake or ocean." After I finished the list I tallied up the results. San Francisco, DC, Lake Tahoe and "Other city" scored exactly the same number of desirable qualities.
Had to laugh. I'm at home everywhere and nowhere. That's OK, isn't it? I say it is. So be it.
Driving tour of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
On the campus of San Francisco University.
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
Hmmm. Well sometimes it does, though other times, the fog blasts into San Francisco with gale force winds. I can remember standing on Bernal Hill, close to where I lived most of my years in the city, almost knocked down by the force of incoming fog. At those times, the temperature plunges by ten degrees within a matter of five minutes, while the landscape is transformed from sparkling and shiny, like yesterday's pics, to gray and moody - all at once. Fierce fogs like that are powered by the Pacific Ocean, so its no wonder they can be so extreme.
When I lived in San Francisco, getting out of the fog was my prime directive, particularly because I moved there from Lake Tahoe which is always sunny unless there's a storm brewing. Because I always turned tail and ran when the fog came in, (if possible) I missed out on its magic, failed to notice that every fog has its own personality and plotline (the way that every thunderstorm is a different creature.)
Also true is that fogs shifted gear as they moved east across the city. By the time the fog reached Noe Valley, Bernal Hill and the Mission (where I spent most of my time) it mostly consisted of a low and dreary overcast, unremarkable (and unwelcome) to my eye, though maybe I just wasn't paying close enough attention.
The friends I stayed with last week live in Cole Valley, a juncture between the part of the city that exists inside the fog and the neighborhoods that are mostly underneath it. Misty, swirling, mezmerizing, and right in your face, the fog in Cole Valley fools the eye as well as the mind.
It's no wonder San Franciscans understand magic so well. Clouds in most places are remote, but in San Francisco, it's an everyday experience to be enveloped by clouds. The weather gods wave their silky veils right in front of our eyes, sometimes completely obliterating the visual details of the land, sometimes putting just enough fog in a location to make it seem mysterious, other times yanking the fog away to reveal the aquamarine sky and brilliant sunlight. It's not uncommon to experience all three environments on the same day. I always loved the idea of fog being "burned away" or "burned off." It's conceptually so interesting.
Never before would I have imagined I could enjoy fog, but last week I was enchanted - even seduced - by its charms. Who knew that even the fog would contribute to my perfect vacation? Isn't that cool?
That house is not actually on fire. Its windows are reflecting the late afternoon sun. Between the house and the camera lens, a beautiful, thin, gauzy sort of fog created the dramatic vision.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Tahoe from its northeast corner.
I had high hopes for my vacation. I had secret agendas centered around some kind of miraculous and spontaneous regeneration of heart and soul. I prayed for some kind of shift away from all the sadness I've experienced since my dog died earlier this summer.
Having been around the block a few times, though, I assumed that perhaps my hopes were a bit too ambitious. I assumed (when I was being rational) that it would be a fun nice refreshing break from the usual, and I was of course very much looking forward to reconnecting with old friends I haven't seen in ages.
If that's all it had been, it would have been more than enough.
Sacramento Street, close to Montgomery (reversed and distorted, reflected from the hood of a black Prius).
San Francisco was in a good mood the day I was there, a really good mood. I was given the opportunity to experience the magic of the swirling fog. (It really is magic and deserves a whole post to itself.) At the perfect moment, however, the fog cleared away completely, revealing the city in sparkling technicolor. Wow. When San Francisco shines, it really shines.
As is my practice when I'm there, I ate as much lettuce as I could, marveled at the soft, clean tap water, and stared dumbfounded out of windows that are not obscured by screens. There are no bugs in San Francisco. Can you imagine?
The Ferry Building, at the foot of Market Street.
I spent most of my holiday above 6,000 feet at Lake Tahoe, gasping for air (I am a swamp thing, after all, so the altitude was a shock), gathering with friends I haven't seen in more than 15 years, feasting, toasting, bellowing, laughing, cooking together, drinking and making up for lost time.
There is so much love and commitment among those people. The core group have known each other since high school where they immediately bonded and started doing theater together. As the years passed they collected spouses and friends as people do, all of whom were immediately adopted by everyone in the core group. It's a family of spirit that I am honored to be a part of.
Reconnecting with this family was a miracle, it really was. The confluence of fifty-somethings in the deep blue light and sweet smelling air of Tahoe was an elixir the likes of which I've never experienced. The effect on me was spectacular, a soul retrieval of the highest magnitude you can imagine. I don't have the language to describe it. It was bliss.
The island in the center of Emerald Bay.
Each night after the sun set, we turned off all the lights, went out on the deck and gazed at the stars. STARS!! I saw So Many Stars! I saw the Milky Way three nights in a row. I wept with happiness three nights in a row, seriously I did.
Saturday I had lunch with Nancy of the blog Life in the Second Half who is as beautiful, lovely, smart and compassionate as she is on the blog. After our lunch, my old friend Dave drove me all the way around the lake. Tahoe is 29 miles long and 15 miles wide. It's BIG. Dave has a jeep, the top was down, my hair was flying around, the weather was absolute perfection. I was in ecstacy. He didn't wince, frown or stare at me as I shouted I LOVE YOU at the lake over and over again. He knows me really well, and understood exactly what was going on. Wow.
Nancy and her husband, studying the lunch menu.
Yes I am still flying high, yes I am. My vacation was everything I hoped it would be. And more - how could that happen? Someone up there really likes me, obviously.
My heart is full of love, splendor and more gratitude than I knew I could experience. All I can say is: wow.
Heavenly Valley, a ski resort, seen from the west side of the lake.