Saturday, July 31, 2010

Inner and Outer Storm Systems

This has been such a hot and stormy summer, so far at least. There is a way in which all that external storminess has made it possible for me to feel more or less serene internally. Of course I'm always involved in various dramas, of course. But during stormy, super hot July I moved house, dropped deeply into certain relationships, reconnected with great old friends, put other relationships at a loving arm's length, all with a great measure of calm. The weather gods took on the work of stressing out, it seems. Within the weather systems there was much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth, if (that is) you believe that it's possible for the weather to wring and gnash. Me? I had a smile on my face throughout it all. I should also say that it was really too hot to muster the energy for any big emotional outbursts.

Yesterday the weather broke. It was so lovely. It was a day of gentle air, gentle sunshine. The birds chirped, a slight breeze stirred the air. It was lovely. I finished working early so was able to take a nice walk. I did my usual thing, strolling and gazing around, taking pictures. I honestly believed I was dancing in perfect shamanic alignment with all that external gentleness. But then last night, a big ole emotional storm passed through me. I had a total meltdown. Whoa. What was all that about? Was I in some way trying to make up for the suddenly gentle weather? Because honestly there was no reason to get so worked up. Maybe it was just time for an emotional discharge, as my old homeopath used to say. Or something else. Emotions are, after all, not rational.

The weather predicts me, though at times it does not reflect me. Que sera sera. Happy Saturday. Shalom.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Now and Forever

The dog days are upon us which means summer is now officially in its third trimester. Wow. What happened to July? June went on and on and on, but then July? Poof. Gone in a puff of smoke. People always say that time speeds up as we grow older, but what I find more true is that time is less regular, less predictable, and a lot more wonky than it used to be.

As a younger woman my life was defined by many metronomic rhythms, like my monthly cycle, the 9-5 lifestyle and such. In the same way that the stitched squares of a quilt keep all the fluffy filler from clumping together in one corner, perhaps those rhythms served as chronological tick marks, helping me keep a better handle on the minute and second hands, the calendar, and so forth.

Here in later life, there is no recognizable time quanta. I keep track of the phase of the moon and know the day of the week as well as the date ... well, almost always. But my perception of the passing minutes, hours and weeks is all over the place.

Fitting then, that I've spent so much time recently in the company of very old friends, as well as in the pause between breaths, a place we used to call "between the worlds." And, too, I've been gazing, squinting, shading my eyes, trying to perceive the horizon of time, staring hard into the unshaped future, as if it were possible to see ahead, wondering, wondering: what next?

Happy weekend, y'all. Salaam and Shalom.

The class cups were a housewarming gift. They are my favorite things ever.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Time Travel

Speaking of cute guys, today I will be sitting down for lunch with my old friend Doug. He's in town doing some kind of wine thingie as he is one of the top wine guys in the whole world. He is now. If we travel back in time to around 1981 or so, you would find Doug and me sitting on a curb outside the VFW Hall in Kansas City, drinking Vinho do Porto straight from the bottle, after an evening of noisy music (Jody Foster's Army? MDC? the Embarrassment? We saw so many bands during that time, in the basement of the VFW). Or you might find us sitting inside the City Movie Center, watching some crazy film, or maybe with another friend, getting high and listening to music, dancing around, shouting over the music.

I'm always a little bit surprised when I see him these days - he's still a doll, oh yeah, but, just like me and everyone else, the years are visible on his handsome face. Where did the time go? His kids have grown up, gone to college and are now out in the world. I remember clearly when those gorgeous daughters of his were born. These days he's at the top of the pyramid of food and wine guys, but has absolutely NO pretentions about it. One time when he was in DC, he had a White House view from his hotel room in the Hay Adams. He didn't even notice his prestigious view till I pointed it out.

No matter how many decades have passed, Doug and I are still great friends, even though we don't talk to each other that often, and rarely see each other. I love friendships that are so long-lasting, so sturdy and dependable. And I love meeting cute guys for lunch.

I'm having such a great week. Cheers!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Life After Hormones

Of course there is no such thing as life after hormones. Literally as well as metaphorically, from day one until the time we check out of this form, those powerfully concentrated chemicals work us like puppets on strings. Once upon a time I had a fantasy that after menopause, I would suddenly be free from all cares and concerns, that I would be happy to gum my creamed corn and settle into old age. I am so funny sometimes.

Though it's true that my emotional state is rarely as fraught as it was when I was young, I'm still extremely passionate, I care deeply, love deeply. I still flop around. I laugh hard and on occasion cry my eyes out, sometimes for no apparent reason.

Yesterday I was in a really good mood. Had a nice long conversation with a dear one, sat around drinking coffee till 11:00 a.m. Then I got my act together, went out and took a sweaty walk down to Chinatown so I could buy housewares, my favorite thing now that I have my own place. En route, I sat down at Teaism in Penn Quarter to drink iced tea and watch the world go by. A guy at the next table started chatting with me; this is not uncommon in DC; it's a friendlier city than most people expect. But what was completely unexpected is that he asked me out! I was totally taken aback. This was not some old geezer like me. He was youngish (maybe 40 something?) and really cute.

I wonder what expression came over my face. I bet it was funny, whatever it was. I told him I was married. He said, "So what? Cork is a great place to have a glass of wine. Why don't we go - how about Thursday after work?" Whatever stunned expression I was sporting must have become much more exaggerated. What I'm trying to say is that even after he had a very good look at me, he was still interested. Whoa. Or should I saw wow?

I'm 57 and can still radiate pheromones? As you can imagine, I am rather full of myself this morning. I'll get over it. But ... wow.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Out and About

Depending on their mood (apparently), sometimes Brothers Lightning and Thunder, and Brother Wind, of course, sweep through the landscape just for fun, leaving behind a soggy mess. Other times, they pick up the weather and take it with them, which is what happened Sunday. The pattern of severe heat and oppressive humidity finally broke after six unrelenting weeks. Yesterday it was "only" 90, not too humid. It was a perfect summer day and though I had a lot going on, I did sneak in a decent walk between a gig at the yoga studio and my afternoon clients.

There's hardly anything better than a nice walk on a clear, not too hot, summer day. Oh man. The people who have the nerve to predict these things are saying today will be a repeat of yesterday. It's my day off, I have no plans. The day stretches ahead, unformed, full of possibility. My camera battery is charged up, I know where my sunglasses are. I'm going to get out there today. Oh yeah.

Thanks Brothers, for cleaning up after yourselves this time around. Thank you!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

But can I really pull a rabbit out of my hat?

After the storm, God stopped by to say hello.

Does magic work? Back in the day I believed, I really did. The spiritual community I was part of in San Francisco was based around the idea that if we put enough umphh into our rituals, we could literally send energy (we called it a "cone of power") for healing and social justice out into the world. If we somehow were unable to muster the faith, we were supposed to do the magic as if we believed, or as one of my teachers said, pretend to believe. Apparently that was almost as effective. Hmmm ... This is a link to the Principles of Unity we created over a two year period. I'm still proud of these ideals. At least we had the right idea - though I often wonder about our choice of methodology.

The Sufi acupuncturist tells me that sometimes people ask him, "Does acupuncture work?" His response is great; he always says, "Well, does fishing work? It works if you know how to fish, if there are fish in the water, if you have the right bait ..." In other words, the question, does it work? is without merit.

I'm wondering about magic this morning because just yesterday I grabbed my Chilean rainstick again (first time since the downpour on the day I moved). It's so hot and dry in DC, I thought, what the hell. Walked to work shaking it at the sky. Sure enough the skies opened mid afternoon. It poured. So - did the rainstick "work" or was the confluence of rainstick shaking and big ole thunderstorm more a matter of good timing on my part? I had a cohort who used to say, "We conjurers place a toe in the great current of energy and believe somehow we created that movement." To her, magic is about dancing in alignment with what's already happening.

The older I get, the less sure I am of anything. But that rainstick, whoa. That rainstick kicks ass.

Happy Monday, y'all.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Anything could happen

The Library of Congress - well - part of it. This building, the Jefferson, includes the reading room, truly the most beautiful room in Washington.

In summer, the song sings itself. --William Carlos Williams

It has been so relentlessly hot, and I've been so relentlessly consumed with moving that I somehow lost my connection to the season. That is very rare for me, even when I have a good excuse. Slogging through the heinous summer afternoon yesterday, to water a friend's garden, I heart cicadas. Whoa. I wonder when that started? I heard those little tree frogs singing in a freshly watered treebox, and crickets, too. The Symphony of late summer is well underway and the dog days will be soon upon us. Where was I as the sounds, songs, chirps and cheep-cheeps began? Buried in cardboard boxes, no doubt. If had to choose a summer that perhaps it would be appropriate to ignore, the summer of 2010 is definitely a good choice. It has been terribly hot every single day since June 1. OK, maybe there's been one nice day. Oh, what am I saying? I have no idea what this summer has been like. I checked out.

What a weird summer - June crawled by, July flew. So now onwards to August, ordinarily my least favorite month of the year. Who knows? It might turn out to be great. Trying to guess what's about to transpire this summer is pointless.

I love that Jeremy Taylor quote, that improvisation is the only skill worth cultivating. Especially this summer, anything goes. At least for me.

What next? Don't ask me!

I took a snap of these two chairs during the blizzards last winter. Here it is.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Join or die, eh? Cool painting on an arched ceiling, somewhere on the Senate side of the Capitol.

Once upon a time, the Capitol (and all other federal buildings) belonged to everyone. When FDR was president, it was possible to walk right up to the White House, knock on the door. Can you imagine?

Before 9/11, I used to take Jake down to the grounds of the Supreme Court where he frolicked with other dogs on the north lawn. I wandered in and out of the reading room at the Library of Congress anytime I felt like it. And, as I said yesterday, I spent time every week in the beautiful Capitol rotunda.

Before 9/11, was there security at the Smithsonian? Somehow I don't remember going through metal detectors, being scanned, having some security guard go through my purse, but I might be wrong about that. Everything was so much more relaxed.

People are drawn to the center point of the Capitol. When they stand on that point, they inevitably spin around. Everyone's a shaman.

Yep, I am in mourning recently, grieving for the old DC. Don't quite know why it took me nine years, except that I'm slow by nature. It's just now dawning on me how much I detest the security everywhere, how much I miss the simplicity and fun of entering and exiting from these national icons without being scrutinzed by some sour-faced guard. (Not that I blame them. What a terrible job. But - I could live without the scowls and power-over behavior, I really could.)

I don't feel safer. In fact, the security process, as it is actually practiced, is so random. Sometimes they check thoroughly, sometimes they just wave you through. Conceivably anyone could still smuggle a bomb into any of the so-called secured buildings. It's fake security, the same way that the big ole pepper grinder in restaurants is fake service. Or was. Most places don't make a big show of bringing over a 2 foot long pepper grinder anymore, thank god.

Pre 9/11 DC was a tightly-wound, hard-core city full of the smartest, hardest-working people I've ever known. But it was more or less accessible to the regular joes like me. Now it's a tightly-wound, hard-core city oppressed by a show of security that doesn't guarantee safety in any way.

9/11 was a terrible day. Its legacy is terrible, too. Dang, man. I miss the good old days.

There are a whole lot of boyscouts in DC this week. They must be having some big convo. That's Pocahantas in the background, being baptised.

Friday, July 23, 2010

I get by with a little help from my friend

"I think if you look closely at the imagery in this room, you'll see that you're definitely not the first person to do a shamanic dance in here." --Adrianne T.

Oh yeah.

Adrianne works for Congress. She is also a great friend and neighbor. She is a truth teller, she is a great shaman and healer who can sense energy while simultaneously working her great analytical mind. She has a hell of a job that she is somehow able to manage in the midst of all the energy of the Capitol. Needless to say, I am rather in awe of Adrianne and now forever indebted to her for taking me on an extensive "staff-guided" tour of the Capitol yesterday.

She asked me, while we waited in one security line after another, whether I was just now getting around to processing my experience of 9/11. My jaw dropped - man do I love truth-telling Capricorns. I knew I had been writing here about 9/11, but didn't put it together that I'm really mourning pre-9/11 DC these days.

The Apotheosis of Washington at the top of the dome. What a painting! Wow!!

Before 9/11, I spent a lot of time in the Capitol rotunda. The Capitol, just like all federal buildings, was accessible to the public. Before 9/11, at least once a week I used to enter the Hart senate office building, take the subway to the basement of the Capitol, then go sit on a bench at the periphery of the rotunda, or twirl in the center of that magnificent room.

I love the Capitol, I'm talking about the building itself, especially the dome. For those of us living on Capitol Hill, the dome is our landmark, it is interwoven into the landscape, it is our neighbor. Before 9/11 I became friends with the Capitol. I really miss the easy access, I miss spending time in that beautiful room.

Yesterday, because of Adrianne, I was allowed once again into the inner sanctum of the Capitol. It was like meeting an old friend after a long separation. I felt like crying, but instead, I danced, I twirled and spun, I turned my face upwards and downwards and tried to drink it all in. I took a lot of pictures, needless to say.

Life is different since 9/11, but even so, because of Adrianne, it's possible to go and visit my dear friend the Capitol. I am so grateful!! Wow.

Here's the center of the rotunda, an incredible place of power. Here is where the four quarters of the District come together. Lincoln lay in state here, Kennedy, too. Wow.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


My old cohort, colleague, covener and friend Anne Hill wrote a great post the other day about getting up again. She is a dream interpreter extraordinaire. She teaches about dreams, writes books and articles for the Huffington Post about dreams. Anne knows, better than most of us, about (as someone I love always says) "giving up" on consciousness in order to lie down and enter dreamtime. (There always is some kind of surrender involved in going to sleep, isn't there? As a kid I begged every night to be allowed to stay up just a little later, didn't you? I find I still want to stay up too late, even when I need the sleep.)

Anne also holds a black belt in Aikido. She knows all about how to fall, but also how to get up again after a fall. She gracefully embodies the idea of "fall down once, get up twice." Her post is excellent and provocative, well worth reading.

As always, Anne has me thinking. I tend to tilt against life; maybe that's part of my passionate engagement with all things. I tilt against the weather, against the things I'm "against." Even with all that I love, there is an angle of intent involved. When I see something beautiful, I tend to fall into it or at least towards it. Some kind of beauty-inspired gravity pulls me irresistably. I sense the gravity and go with it. Sometimes I push, another form of falling into, though definitely not as graceful.

Perhaps the truth is that I'm rather impatient. But whatever the reasons for all my tilting, falling and pushing, yesterday after I read Anne's post, the thought came to me, "Well. No wonder I metaphorically fall down so often! No wonder I have to say to myself all the time, fall down once, get up twice." Hmmm.

This morning I'm meeting a friend who is going to take me into one of my favorite spaces on earth, the interior of the U.S. Capitol rotunda. I used to go all the time, sit around, meditate or whatever. But since 9/11 I've only been once.

Needless to say I am so excited. It's like seeing an old friend after a long separation. I'm going to try to remember NOT to lean into the experience, I'm going to try NOT to tilt, fall or push. Maybe I should do what one of my spirit guides always suggests: Stand up straight, put your shoulders back, lift your chin, suck in your gut and walk tall into the experience. Yeah. That sounds right, right? I say yes.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I had a big ole post in mind for today, but I can't write it. A dear blog brother, Barry of Toronto, died yesterday. My heart is heavy.

I started reading his blog before he received his diagnosis. He was a fabulous writer, a graceful, loving, open hearted, generous, funny person. As his disease progressed, he kept all of us in the loop not only about what was transpiring in his body, but in his mind and spirit. He didn't have an ounce of cynicism in him. He remained hopeful, positive, and loving to his very last day in this world.

There are people who will insist that the relationships we establish here in the blog world aren't real. The tears I am shedding today are real tears.

Fly high, Barry, fly very high. I know you will. Much love to you.

*I fixed the link. Sorry about that.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Whoa there big fella

Sometimes you have to stop, just STOP, lean your head back and gaze at the clouds. I love clouds because they are almost always dramatic - well except for stratus clouds, universally known as the "boring" cloud.

In San Francisco when the fog came rolling over Twin Peaks, no matter how busy I was, no matter how much in a hurry or absorbed in other activities, I always stopped, faced west, opened my eyes and took in the drama. From my back deck, or from the living room at the house on York Street, or from underneath the rolling fog, such as in Cole Valley, that sight is completely breathtaking.

In Tahoe, (where it is mostly sunny and clear), every now and then lenticular clouds appear out of the nowhere. They are completely worthy of a slack jawed stare and at least one oh wow, oh yeah.

The clouds here in the American midatlantic are very different than western clouds. Last night the formations were incredible, reminding me of what the illuminist painters were trying to capture when they did those big ole landscapes. Yin clouds met yang clouds, a gold square screen of cloud and sky opened up for a few minutes just south of the Capitol (or so it seemed). A shelf of cloud hung just above some cumulus clouds. Earlier, a patch of cloud fringe dangled from the shelf into empty blue. Wow.

I'll admit I always chafe a bit when I read or hear that Buddhist aphorism about clouds obscuring the sky. I know they use that metaphor to help describe the ephemeral nature of passing emotions, passing thoughts. But what would the sky be like without my brothers, the clouds? Well? No clouds, no rain. No rain, no life.

I love clouds.

Monday, July 19, 2010

No commercial interruption

Love this little Federal era house on East Capitol, tucked between two Victorian era houses. It has the sweetest garden, all wild flowers and grasses. Might be a little weird to live there, I'm not sure.

The morning of September 11, 2001, I was talking to my friend Jack on the phone. He is someone I've been friends with since 1980. On that particular morning, out of all the subjects we could have been discussing, we were talking about the Civil War, specifically we were pondering what kind of courage it takes to walk out onto a battlefield. How do people muster the willpower to do that? At some point in the conversation, Jack said, "It looks like a small plane has just crashed into the World Trade Center. I wonder what's up?" He lives in Brooklyn; don't know if he was watching TV or saw it unfolding across the water. We said goodbye.

A little while later there was a super loud boom. Capitol Hill is about three or four miles from the Pentagon. Car alarms went off and Jake scooted under the bed in terror. I didn't think much about it at the time. In fact even driving to work that day, I wondered what the hell was up with all the traffic, why were there so many people outside the Capitol. It wasn't until I got all the way across town to the Whole Foods that I discovered what had happened. Getting home from work was its own adventure - of course the store was closed for the day. I got stopped for about an hour ... ah ... but that's another story. When I finally got home, my housemate and his boyfriend were sitting in front of the TV, watching the footage of the falling towers over and over. I sat with them, watched for hours. We were all in shock.

The next day I bought the first TV I have ever owned. For the first time ever, I felt like I had to be plugged in. I had been totally clueless! It felt so dangerous. That was such an awful week in DC. Everything changed. I didn't even know - and I'm supposed to be a psychic??

Of course I didn't just watch the news. First I developed an addiction for Law and Order. When that infatuation faded, I turned to the food network with a passion. Before the election, MSNBC was on constantly. You could hear the voices of Keith, of Rachel Maddow (before she had her own show) coming from my room every night. (Fortunately after the election I decided to go pundit free. The whole pundit addiction thing is really toxic.) But then I fell into the cult of NCIS, something I have remained charmed by to this very day.

When I moved into Chateau 7, I believed I would really miss TV. I was worried that the "folding TV" - i.e. my computer - would not suffice. The good news is, I don't miss TV at all. I can plug in to the news here anytime I want. I can even watch NCIS on the CBS website, sans the six minutes of commercials every ten minutes. I re-joined netflix so I'll have movies to watch on nights when I need to veg out.

The era of TV is now out of the saga and I don't miss it. It's one of many revelations that are a part of this move, a Very Good Thing. Oh yeah.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ch-ch-ch-changes ...

A friend who has been engaged for three years has finally agreed to marry her fiance. She swallowed hard (she is a commitment phobe) and just said YES. A client who has been fighting cancer for almost ten years has decided to let go, stop pummeling his body with treatments. He will try to stay comfortable. He will leave the hospital, go home and "fly away" as Steven would say, among dear ones. Another client who Could Not Ever Sleep took up rowing and kayaking this summer - out of blue or so she says. She has figured out she belongs on the water. She is Sleeping Like a Baby.

Though there is still a smallish mountain of boxes in my living room, I am in my new space. After nine years on Tennessee Avenue, just like that (sound of fingers snapping), I'm in my own domain. Wow.

This is a summer of transformation for so many of us. I know I say this all the time, but I am in awe. Years drag by sometimes during which it seems that nothing changes. (I know that's not true.) But then, out of the nowhere, everything is different. What series of events, which configurations of the stars, what oh what is it that sets the stage for these transformations?

Don't ask me to explain it. I have no clue how it works or why it works this way. I am loving this summer. I am in love with this summer. Life is change, change is inevitable. In spite of a serious learning curve, I embrace the changes I've experienced so so so much. I am grateful beyond words. Oh yeah.

Salaam and Shalom, y'all.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


My teacher Rose May Dance told us that the elements of life (air, fire, water and earth) are "one-eyed." What she meant is that the elements do not have the power of discernment. The element of air can be as soft as breath or as powerful as a hurricane, or anything inbetween. Water can be steam, vapour, tears or a tsunami, take your pick. In post-modern witchcraft, we regularly invoked the elements, asked their powers to join our magic circles to assist us in whatever conjuring we were undertaking. Rose's point was that as the priestesses who called in the elements, it was up to us, the "two-eyed" who possessed the capacity for depth perception, to figure out just how much of any element was needed for a ritual.

Reclaiming was a very creative, anarchistic tradition so almost always, the particulars of each invocation were left up to the individual. In addition to spoken words, people danced in the elements, sang them in, played instruments or whatever. I loved that part of Reclaiming. At least those of us who studied with Rose thought carefully about just how much of each element, and what qualities of the element, to call in. Allegedly, "spirit" or "center" was the fifth element, or at least was the fulcrum where the other four elements came together. Sometimes we called the center, but mostly we just called the four cardinal directions. I think that's because we had it wrong. Spirit is not the fifth element; love is.

Of course the image of Milla Jojovich wearing that crazy Jean Paul Gautier outfit springs to mind. Indeed, Luc Besson really nailed so many things right in that funny, groovy film. Milla (who is the fifth element) must feel love and receive love in order to save the planet. And she does - at the very last second, I should add. Then she and Bruce Willis, a cute guy but total loser, allegedly live happily ever after ... or whatever. It was just a movie!

I was thinking this morning that all kinds of people, not just modern witches, invoke love all the time. No one asks for gentle love - do they? When we wish for love in our heart of hearts, don't we always wish for true love, for deep, passionate, undying, abiding, mind-bending love? That's what I've always wished for. What about you?

Love is one-eyed. It "comes over" as Eric Clapton says. It comes over hard, I should add, like an all engulfing madness. No need to go on and on about this. Everybody knows how crazy love is, how it can knock you down even when you beg for mercy. It can make you fall for the "wrong" person, or someone falls for you, even though it's never going to work. I think about how much I loved my dog, Jake. He was a royal piece of work, but I loved him unconditionally. Oh yeah. Love is the fifth element.

I've been contemplating Don Shapiro's contention that love is a spiritual state. I like taking it out of the realm of emotion which really does it no justice. Even better, I like the idea of love as a force of nature, as the fifth element. Love is omnipotent and I bow down before it, I truly do.

Today in the mail I received a box of gifts: a book, a journal and a keyring made from many small beads and semi precious stone hearts, put together by the female half of the "band of gypsies" - a group of ten of us on FB who have in some miraculous way adopted each other and become family. We went to high school together; now after forty some years we are friends again, hanging out, telling stories, laughing, crying and getting crazy with each other. We are very different from one another, but we tolerate each other. Better than that, we love and support each other. Love came over the band of gypsies, oh yeah. We are swimming in it.

Love is the fifth element. If you doubt it, I'll show you my beautiful keyring. I am blown away by the power of love, by the kindness, generosity and beauty of the band of gypsies. Though it is massively insufficient, all I can say is: Wow.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Come in. Make yourself at home. Oh! Yeah, there is still a massive tower of boxes, just out of sight in this picture. I am far from settled! But I'm in.

In the past, when I used the word "blog" as a verb, in my mind it was all about writing and publishing, but these last few days during which I haven't read a single blog (noun), I've discovered that for me at least, blogging is as much about reading as writing. I feel completely disoriented, out of touch.

Of course it isn't just here that my rhythms have been completely disrupted. Nope. Every one of my beloved ruts and routines has been given a good shake-up. I do mean GOOD. According to the cosmology of Reya, it's important to stir it up every now and then. In fact, in Chinese medicine it is believed that change is so intrinsic that if everything remains stable, disease will result. Well, considering how completely crazy this summer has been in terms of surprises, unexpected changes and all manner of events that I could never have imagined, should I be surprised that we experienced an earthquake here in DC this morning?

I woke up briefly at 5:00 a.m. so I must have, at some level felt it, but it didn't register; I had other things on my mind. I have to laugh. For heaven's sake, what next?

I'm going to have some time tomorrow afternoon to get around and catch up with you all. I am SO looking forward to it!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Critical Mess

I steered a wide arc around Kramerbooks today on my way home from a much needed massage. My book addiction is clearly out of hand. No matter how many boxes of books I carry to the chateau, there are still many many many more here in the house on Tennessee Avenue. Yikes.

Last night was my first night in my new apartment, Chateau 7. (I like naming my residences; it is a Britishism that I shamelessly adopted long ago. I am such an anglophile.)

Brothers Lightning and Thunder stopped by to welcome me to my new home. It was a sound and light show unlike anything we've seen in DC so far this season, truly spectacular.

So OK, I'm really tired of boxes and mayhem, and feel so out of it here in the blog world. I haven't read any blogs in two days. Will I ever catch up? I shouldn't even be posting, there's so much work to be done, but I had that perfect title, and I like the picture of the only part of my kitchen that's somewhat orderly.

It'll all be over soon. Shalom.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

On the Road

Here's a preview of the living room. The cushions are not on the furniture because when I took this picture, everything was still drying out. I'm supposed to move a whole bunch of stuff this morning. Naturally it looks like rain out there. Perhaps I should retire my rain stick. Ya think??

I'll be in and out of the blog world until Saturday. I guess it's good to take a break from everything now and again ... I guess!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hitting the Rapids

Above is a preview shot of the kitchen, obviously still a total mess.

I have a lot of work to do this week. Ordinarily I would be experiencing a serious bout of trepidation but I am too excited for consternation. I am flying high, people, flying around while carrying cardboard boxes and such. Yes, it is paradoxical. Oh yeah.

No time to wax philosophical this morning, dang man. Happy New Moon, y'all. Shalom.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Corporeal Intelligence

The body is not a thing, it is a situation. It is our grasp on the world and a sketch of our projects. --Simone de Beauvoir

I'm a bodyworker, so it makes sense that I am a big fan of all things corporeal. I'm an anatomy nerd; I even enjoyed memorizing the names of the ligaments, muscles, bones and such in massage school. For heaven's sake.

Was thinking this morning that the body never lies. Like the weather, like the land, it always speaks the truth. Hey - I'm not calling the heart a liar, but ... well ... the heart is so changeable, so darn moody. And the mind? Forget that! The mind whirls, swirls, soars and dives, makes up stories, disposes of some stories, hangs on to others, all so fast it's impossible to keep up with it. I don't know about yours, but my mind is a dizzy babe, spinning out at all times.

Though the body is dense and slow, and harder to comprehend, it speaks very clearly, if we're willing to listen, that is. In this culture, we're not supposed to feel anything with the body. If you doubt this truth, go to a pharmacy and check out the pain killer aisle. There are so many ways to make sensation go bye-bye, turn us into zombies who can't feel a thing. When our bodies are fighting off viruses, instead of getting in bed to rest as the body asks us to do, we are expected to take some symptom killing meds and carry on as if nothing was happening. Whoa. Symptoms are messages. But we aren't supposed to listen? What is up with that??

Even before I was a bodyworker, I studied sensate intuition. I've spent many years listening to the deep, dense, dirty, bloody music of the body.

What my body is telling me these days is great. Every time I walk through the door of my new apartment, I feel lighter, my body relaxes, my shoulders let go. Every moment spent in that space, even though surrounded by boxes and mayhem, I am smiling.

My new apartment is calling me home; my body understands this perfectly. I yield to its wisdom. My body, and now my new apartment: home sweet home. There's no place like it. Oh yeah!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Life is a Sitcom

In front of the waterfall underground at the National Gallery

It has been weeks since it rained here in DC. It's been hot as hell. I've been petitioning the weather gods for rain every day, doing my shamanic rain dance, carrying my rain stick everywhere. I've been begging, imploring, demanding rain. Yesterday I spoke to the clouds. I said, "Can y'all gather yourselves together, give us some rain? C'mon." Perhaps I went too far when I challenged them to rain on me. "Go ahead, DRENCH me, I dare you!" I said out loud, shaking my rain stick at the sky.

That was yesterday afternoon after work. I heard rain during the night, but assumed it would taper off by morning. Ha! Just a few minutes before the guy with the truck arrived to help me move furniture into the new apartment, the skies opened and the rain came down. Occasional showers were predicted, but we got a whole lot more than that. It was/is a good steady, hard rain.


So my loveseat got soaked (even though we covered it with a tarp). My overstuffed rocker: drenched. Me? Completely sopping wet. Have you ever been so thoroughly doused that your clothes feel like they weigh ten pounds and your shoes make that comical squish squish sound every time you take a step? Think I Love Lucy, oh yeah.

Don't you know those weather gods are having a good laugh at me right now? It is funny, it is. I couldn't stop laughing through the whole process. When will I ever learn the wisdom of Be careful what you wish for ?? Ha ha. Weather Gods: 1, Reya: 0. Again. The joke's on me!

Nancy (of the blog Science Girl) takes her pink bunny Maurice whenever she travels. He seemed very happy to sit with us as we had lunch and traded stories. No, Nancy and I had never met - she lives in France! But as these blogger meet-ups always go, it was easy, comfortable and so much fun.

Friday, July 9, 2010


It makes me sad every time I think about the truth that there is a whole generation (maybe two by now) of urban people who have rarely - if ever - seen the Milky Way. Every time I find myself away from most of the ambient light of the city, I am in awe of the sky above me. The stars are such a presence! No wonder we humans have always looked to the stars for guidance and inspiration.

Just as we humans adopt each other, I believe we are related to the stars. They adopted us long ago. The stars sing to us, at least that's my experience. I believe that's why, when we look up at the night sky, we automatically see patterns. From those patterns, big, essential stories arise: myths, legends, tales of heroes and lovers and gods.

When I look at photos of the night sky, it's a lot harder to see the constellations. There are, after all (as Carl Sagan always said), billions and billions of stars. But anytime I get out of the city, take the time to let my eyes adjust to the dark, lean my head back and gaze, I see all kinds of evocative shapes. The dots connect. I feel that I am literally drinking (with my eyes), the songs of the stars. Whenever that happens, my relationship to the ancestors of long ago, who had exactly the same sense of awe and interest that I do, is literally palpable. Oh yeah.

I just made arrangements to spend some time at the end of August with a friend in his W. Virginia cabin. In order to see the stars there, you have to either get out from under the forest, up to a meadow close to his house, or get out on the Potomac where not only the stars and Milky Way, but their reflections, are visible.

Yes I love this crazy city where I live, I do. And I am an urban person in so many ways (not in every way). But. I love the stars. Can't wait to see them again. Happy Friday, y'all.

That's the east side of the Capitol on the right side of this pic.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Running with the pack

It's no wonder that canines and homo sapiens get along so well (for the most part). Both species are social predators, pack animals. Dogs who live with other dogs adopt each other, become family. The dog walkers I know say that even dogs who are regularly walked together adopt each other. Once dogs become family, they care for and defend one another as if they were related by blood.

Sounds familiar, doesn't it? We humans, too, adopt one another. Some of these adoptions are long lasting, such as when two people marry, thereby binding two families together till death or divorce do they part. Other adoptions are shorter lived, though just as powerful - such as the kind of connections that form within spiritual communities, in classes and clubs, in working environments, on sports teams, in the military, for instance. Right now on FB I am part of a very powerfully related family of people I went to high school with. There is so much trust and love among us, it truly blows my mind.

Certain adoptions only last as long as it takes to have dinner, like the scene last night at the Matchbox, a restaurant on Barracks Row. After drinking too much coffee, then packing boxes all day, I just had to get out, even though it was still 100 degrees at 7 pm, even though the air was hazy and poisonous. Sitting at the bar, I befriended the people around me. I love bar culture, so casual and friendly. That kind of connection never happens among tables of people in a restaurant. My fellow bar people and I temporarily adopted each other, talked about the weather, shared stories from our lives, confided in each other (such as folks will after a drink or two, don't you know?)

What amazing and generous hearts we have. I know I'm supposed to loathe my fellow humans, but I feel just the opposite. I love my quirky, clever, generous species in spite of all our faults, all our flaws. We're adorable, adopting each other so willingly, with so much trust. We make mistakes but our hearts are pure gold. I'm proud to run with my pack, I am. Shalom.

The Capitol looks ghostly in the haze.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Lord, I was born a ramblin man [sic].

Well, I was. I am a restless soul, apparently. I've lived in every time zone in the U.S., inhabited dozens of different apartments and houses. I've lived in cities, suburbs and out in the country. I've lived by the ocean, up in the mountains, on the plains, the Pacific Northwest, now the midatlantic swamps. I've lived alone (not for a long time, though), and with a variety of co-inhabitants. In spite of all the hassles involved with moving, I find the process exciting. I like reinventing my "lifestyle," finding rhythms that suit the shape of whatever new space I inhabit. There is a way in which, when I move, I become a brand new version of myself by virtue of the difference in how I cut through time/space. Does that make sense? It does to me.

The past nine+ years here on Tennessee Avenue are an anomaly in the life story of a Bedouin such as myself. I rented this space in a state of desperation, assumed I would only stay a short time, maybe a year or so, then move on. But I was so wrong. Whoa. Or should I say wow? Why have I stayed so long? That's easy: everything works, in the house, with my housemates, and on the block where I live. For so many years, every time I got restless, the guidance that came to me was If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

But everything has a lifespan, everything. I'm bearing down hard now on what is to come; the life I've lived for the past decade is fading, unwinding. It's spectral now, barely visible. The old world is passing away, oh yeah.

I should be packing right now! Onwards and upwards. Shalom.

I absolutely love these ancient tv videos from the 60's. The quality sucks. Sweet, isn't it?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Weather Predicts Me

Hibiscus seems so tender, but those flowers are tough!

The sky is metallic gray, the air is thick, hazy, heavy and toxic. It's going to be a Code Red day in DC today. On Code Red days the air is so poisonous, everyone is advised to stay indoors, not just the "sensitives." A Code Red day is summer on steroids. Yikes.

Though I tend to enjoy tilting against the weather, I might skip the punishment today. It's best not to tangle with a Code Red day. There's still a lot of work I need to do to get ready for the move and anyway sometimes I need to break my own rules, just to remind myself I can.

I remember that after fifteen years in San Francisco, the drastic weather in DC was such a shock, but I've been here awhile now. I love the dramatic seasons, love all the extremes, oh yeah. Drastic weather is an intrinsic characteristic of this beautiful, powerful, wounded city. To be honest, I find it charming, I do. I bow low before the weather gods, I succumb, I surrender.

Friends Effie and Andrew yesterday morning, before it got so damn hot.

Monday, July 5, 2010

One or Two Things

In April of 1991, at my first initiation, one of my initiators read this poem aloud to me. I have been reading it ever since then, over and over again. I believe I am finally beginning to actually understand. I love this poem. Happy Monday, y'all. Shalom.


Don’t bother me.
I’ve just
been born.

The butterfly’s loping flight
carries it through the country of the leaves
delicately, and well enough to get it
where it wants to go, wherever that is, stopping
here and there to fuzzle the damp throats
of flowers and the black mud; up
and down it swings, frenzied and aimless; and sometimes

for long delicious moments it is perfectly
lazy, riding motionless in the breeze on the soft stalk
of some ordinary flower.

The god of dirt
came up to me many times and said
so many wise and delectable things, I lay
on the grass listening
to his dog voice,
crow voice,
frog voice; now,
he said, and now,

and never once mentioned forever,

which has nevertheless always been,
like a sharp iron hoof,
at the center of my mind.

One or two things are all you need
to travel over the blue pond, over the deep
roughage of the trees and through the stiff
flowers of lightning — some deep
memory of pleasure, some cutting
knowledge of pain.

But to lift the hoof!
For that you need an idea.

For years and years I struggled
just to love my life. And then

the butterfly rose, weightless, in the wind.
“Don’t love your life too much,” it said,

and vanished into the world.

--Mary Oliver