Tuesday, May 31, 2011


No woman is an island - apparently! I used to think I was an island, that I didn't need anyone for anything. In fact I thought it was best never to rely on, or connect too deeply with, others. Yes I have had lovers, also many great friends, but up until recently, I kept most people, and most communities, an arm's length away. In the case of the spiritual community I was a part of in San Francisco, I found myself either at the edge of that circle, or in the very center of the action. I never took the opportunity to simply mingle. It never even occured to me to do so. What was that all about?

Ironically, during this past year of living alone, I've begun taking baby steps towards stronger interconnections with others, individually and collectively. I've been slightly more willing to reveal myself, to open my heart to others in a way I can't ever remember doing. It's kind of a miracle.

Over the weekend just past, I gathered with friends to celebrate a wedding, then again yesterday with neighbors to feast and toast the Dead. I call myself a serious introvert, but the truth is that neither one of these gatherings was in any way tiring. Maybe the strain of holding myself back all the time is the reason I used to be so exhausted after interacting with more than one or two people at a time, who knows?

What I'm thinking this morning is that I am RICH in friends, community and family with whom I can be quirky, bossy, passionate, impulsive and goofy, sometimes all at once. The facade I call "Mama Gaia Reya," something I hid behind for many years, is fading fast. I owe a debt of gratitude to friends, neighbors and family who have repeatedly encouraged me to be myself, to come back to the human community (I used to be so feral). You know who you are! THANK YOU!

Neighbors from Tennessee Avenue at last night's gathering.

Monday, May 30, 2011

As Tears Go By

Thank you, my brothers and sisters in uniform, thank you. Thank you for your valour, bravery, thank you for having the guts to get out there, thank you for doing all you could to protect us. Thank you!

Thank you for waking up before dawn, for trudging mile after mile, for carrying heavy packs and for putting yourselves in the line of fire. Thank you for stepping into trains, trucks, onto boats, into planes, for being willing to be separated from your family and loved ones in order to serve. Thank you.

I don't blame you and I don't begrudge you, nope. I respect you and I honor you today and every day. What is remembered, lives.

Thank you. I love you. Shalom.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Turn, turn, turn

In a little while Rolling Thunder will begin to gather. In the process, a whole bunch of them will rumble past the chateau. I've got my camera ready; hope to catch some good shots of those guys, doing their own quirky invocation of Memorial Day. I could create a whole mythology around their ride through Washington DC, how the potato potato potato growl of the Harleys wakes up their fallen comrades, the thousands of dead troops who forever haunt the District. But maybe the truth is that they simply enjoy a nice ride together during the first weekend of summer. Who knows? I'm not quite as sure of all my theories as I once was.

Folks tell me that there are a bunch of young fellows who have joined the crusty old Vietnam vets, which makes sense. These guys are Iraq and Afghanistan vets. It's sad. I believe with all my heart that war is NOT the answer, and I hold dearly in my heart those who put themselves in the line of fire.

Today and tomorrow, amidst the roar of motorcycles, I will engage in the dance of respect and love for my beloved soldiers, living and dead. Thanks so much for your valour, dudes. I mean it!

Friday, May 27, 2011

The harder they fall

There are so many things I want to write about today. I'm thinking about the B flat that's 57 octaves lower than what we know as middle C, the deepest note yet detected in the universe. This big ole honkin' B flat is part of the music of black holes, phenomena that we once thought of as massive vacuum cleaners. What we once believed is that there was only one thing black holes do: suck. Now we know that energy and matter do indeed go in to black holes, but stuff comes out, too - totally transformed by the experience I might add.

We "know." What am I saying? Should have said, our newest narrative includes a whole lot more than what we once believed. Everything, it seems, is much more complicated than we can imagine. I'm wondering if it's possible for humans to sense when one of those waves passes through the earth. I wonder if Gaia feels it. I wonder how many other things are passing around and through the earth that we sense but are unable to consciously name or articulate.

I'm thinking about the idea of ascending, about transcending, too. Thinking about how the sky dragons we call "tornados" suck air and things UP. Hail, too, is created when strong updrafts yank raindrops back into the coldest part of a storm cloud, where they freeze, then drop again. With repeated updrafts, hailstones get really big - as big as baseballs, sometimes.

The moral of the story of sky dragons and hail is that gravity always prevails in these situations. Even with black holes, what goes in will, in some way, come back out sooner or later.

There's something about this that the 5:00 a.m. Bird has been trying to explain, I think. Even the bird that died on my stairs was trying, in some way, to show me very specifically how true it is: what goes up must come down.

Don't ask me what story I'm going to weave around all this. I don't know yet but I feel a big theory forming inside my heart/mind. I love moments like this, just before the AH HA. Yeah.

Happy Friday, y'all. Shalom.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Twist and Shout

Human beings want to understand. We love the question why? Even more than the question, we love to answer that question. It's part of who we are at an essential level: creators of narratives, story tellers, theoretical philosophers. Yeah, we LOVE our explanations so much. (I like my explanations, definitely, though as I grow older I'm becoming more fond of the question than the story, which is in itself an explanation of why I've been willing to flop around this past week, wondering rather than pontificating. ... Maybe.)

Today I'm checking in with friends who live in Indiana, making sure they're all safe and sound. Thanks to Facebook, I know that every one of my dear ones in Missouri is OK. Thank god. This spring has been a season of terrible storms, hail and fierce tornadoes in the American south and midwest. Death and destruction is usually picked up by the news media, so it's likely everyone on the planet already knows that since Monday, dozens of people have been killed, many hundreds of buildings have been destroyed, by terrible storms.

One of my sister Deborah's theories is that the reason the American midwest is called the Bible Belt is because of its harsh weather. In the past, prior to the time when accepting meteorological narratives was the norm, I can see how people might have created stories of biblical-style punishment to explain the extreme weather in the midwest.

Among people who share my values, it's likely that global warming will be blamed for these storms. Because of human overpopulation and industrialization, our species has contributed significantly to climate change, true dat - but there have always been seasons of extreme weather. I hesitate to place blame on us. Saying it's because of us that the midwest is being pounded this week sounds suspiciously like we're being punished for being so wasteful and greedy. I'm not clear this is the reason why. I could be wrong, of course.

I have no doubt Harold Camping believes this outbreak of terrible storms is part of the destruction of the earth, the end of times. The timing of this weather, directly following his proclamation of an "invisible" Rapture on May 21, is pretty interesting. His interpretation sounds crazy to me, but his timing? Fairly amazing.

Here's what I'm thinking: I'm wondering about the boldness of the tornadoes this year, how they're slamming into residential areas and cities. Ordinarily, these sky dragons tend to stay out in the country, but not this year. What is that all about?

My heart goes out to everyone who has been affected by the devastating weather. May they all find the strength to deal with what has happened. May it be so. Shalom.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The 5:00 a.m. Bird

I didn't sleep last night, don't know why. Ordinarily I am a good sleeper. I lay there for several hours, tossing and turning, trying to understand what was going on. I didn't drink too much caffeine, nor did I drink alcohol yesterday; both of those can cause sleep disruptions. I had plenty of exercise, I wasn't worried about anything in particular. Who knows what was going on?

At 5:00 a.m. the bird came to my window to sing her pre-dawn song. I hear this bird often from a place that's just one level down from awake. Even though ordinarily I'm still sleeping at 5:00, her song registers in my memory because it is very complex. There are chirps, tweets, whistles and a sort of high pitched honking that sounds like punctuation or gentle cursing. Even her singing rhythms are complicated. I never hear this bird except just before the sun rises, hence I call her The 5:00 a.m. Bird.

Because I was wide awake today, I got up, brewed a cup of coffee in the dark kitchen, sat down at the table and listened carefully to her song. She's LOUD - and even more of a virtuoso than I realized. This bird isn't just singing for the hell of it, she is part of a symphony of pre-dawn chirping that takes place up and down E. Capitol Street. Her song sounded somewhat like a call and response with the other birds. It was beautiful to listen to.

Why she always comes to my window to greet the day is a mystery. I appreciate her willingness to include me in the morning music, even though I'm too sound asleep to rouse myself most of the time.

Bird language is not a specialty of mine; some shamans know exactly what those birds are talking about. For me it's like listening to someone singing in Italian or something. I can almost understand parts of it. This morning I opened my ears and mind, I tried so hard to understand.

Because I'm almost never up that early, the experience was very fun, and, too, sitting there listening to the 5:00 a.m. Bird, sipping coffee, watching the sky grow steadily brighter, qualifies as another example of how all my rhythms are wonky at this moment in time.

Since I couldn't fully understand, I made a conscious decision to believe the 5:00 a.m. Bird was telling me that all the foggy, blurry, spiraling shapes and energies I can sense but can not quite perceive may soon come into focus. I hope so. A couple of trippy days is fun, but after awhile it's difficult to remain patient and open. Also: I need my sleep.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Neither here nor there

I'm definitely in the midst of a shamanic journey of some sort on some level. Sometimes when I'm swaying back and forth, when I'm watching breath, body, connection, etc., I assume I'm just being a nut case because ... well ... I AM kind of a nut case. This week, I'm more inclined to believe that something is coming through, or that, as is my habit as a shaman, I am "traveling" - you know, not physically exactly, though I am physically impacted by what is ongoing.

I can't imagine a more grammatically heinous sentence than that last one. Please excuse me, Annie, if you're reading this.

Obviously, words are not coming easily to me this week. I feel like I'm having to squeeze hard to put two words together, a very very rare experience! Also I'm not connected to my usually hearty appetite, which is not a bad thing since I tend to overdo it in that department. Last night while gazing at the handsome face of a friend, I drank several shots of Irish whiskey but was only slightly high by the end of the evening. Ordinarily I'd be on the floor. It was almost like a chemistry experiment. I kept thinking, "Why am I not high?" It was so weird! This morning: no hangover. It's like I wasn't present enough in consensual reality to either get drunk or suffer the usual remorseful morning after.

It's OK to be slightly discombobulated; I'm content to wait patiently for whatever is happening to find its way to a conclusion, after which I expect my consciousness will be flooded with a new theory or story or who knows what. In the meantime I'll walk around, take pictures, do a lot of ohmming. Shamanic voyaging is such an interesting phenomenon. Once upon a time I found this kind of experience alarming, but I'm feeling happy right now. Go figure.

Tra-la-la. Onwards and upwards.

Monday, May 23, 2011


There will be something, anguish or elation, that is peculiar to this day alone. I rise from sleep and say: Hail to the morning! Come down to me, my beautiful unknown.
~ Jessica Powers

Breath, body, essence, connection, compassion. I'm thinking quite seriously about these things; the basics, I mean.

Actually, "thinking" is the wrong word. If I were actually thinking, I could come up with a language to describe what is ongoing for me these last few days. I am witnessing breath, body, essence, connection, compassion. I'm dancing (very gently) in an effort to align myself with these things. It's more like swaying back and forth than dancing. Sometimes I find myself turning in very slow circles, listening. It's not really dance, more like a moving meditation. It's not really witnessing in the way I am accustomed. What the heck is going on? Do you know?

I'm watching breath as it comes and goes from my clients, also from people I pass on the street, the folks standing ahead of me in the queue at the coffee shop. I am connecting with the truths our bodies express so exquisitely, sensing an essence that is both singular and communal. All this observing and gentle swaying is leading me somewhere. Don't ask me where!

Strange dreams, strange ideas and emotions are moving through me like weather systems, sometimes stormy, sometimes calm. Maybe this current moment of witnessing will evolve sooner rather than later, at which time I'll find a way to write about it. In the meantime, I guess I'm going to be enigmatic. Hm.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


The day is young, but so far, the world has not ended. It's a quiet morning in Washington DC. I can hear the fountain in the front yard across the street, some birdsong, and my windchimes moving around just enough in a gentle breeze to make sound. The sky is clean, clear blue, the air is sparkling, Brother Sun seems happy to shine but is not inclined to beat down on us. Ahhh .... if the world were about to end, this would be the perfect day for it.

All this week, reading about the cult who were (again) predicting doomsday, I wondered how the children of these folks are coping. I felt so sad imagining them preparing to die. Supposedly adults can make up their own minds about what they believe, but kids? It's just mean to tell them the end is coming. I know the people who espoused doomsday didn't see it as cruel, but please. To wake up today, to discover that the world is not ending, well - now what are those kids supposed to believe? Grist for the mill, I guess.

One thing my father used to say about being Jewish is, As long as even a single person on earth is suffering, we can never be completely happy. I've thought about this idea many times, worked through it in therapy, etc. I took it in at a very deep level. The idea that we must all be miserable forever and ever (since of course there has always been suffering) goes a long way towards explaining my father's psyche, but does not ring true in any way to me. I had to work through it, though. For a long time I believed him, hence I never allowed myself to feel completely happy.

My mother used to say, You are capable of greatness in any field you pursue. Those are not her exact words - I guess I've blocked the way she said it because this idea, though it sounds generous and encouraging, was not exactly helpful. I'm not sure anyone is capable of greatness in any field. All of us have talents and skills, yes, but they must be developed through hard work and focus. Somehow my mother left out the part about hard work, study, and discipline, all of which are definitely a part of excellence no matter what. The fact that I was not able to spontaneously perform brain surgery or rocket science by the time I was in high school made me feel like a failure. I don't blame her, but it was a set up. She didn't mean it that way.

One parental message that has really worked well for me was something my father said whenever he wanted to humiliate my sisters, which was, Becky does not have a weight problem. I still believe it - no matter what I weigh, it does not seem like a problem to me. I believe my sisters have worked through that particular humiliation so as to understand that they don't have weight problems either.

Bloody hell, everything parents say has huge impact. Those poor kids of the Family Radio cult. My heart is with them today. May they become wiser from this experience. May it be so.

Shabbat shalom. Seize the day, people, and live fully yes? I say yes.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The grunt work of lust

I'm jonesin' y'all, oh yeah, I'm full of desire. I want, therefore I am.

What do I want? My new sofabed. I want an iphone, a piece of media I feel would enhance everything. I want more herbs for my potted herb garden.

That's just about the stuff, though. My lusts run so much deeper than a desire for things. For instance, I long to touch the essence of the divine - how presumptuous of me, eh? That particular spiritual lust is why I pray every day. I pray with a passion because if I can sense the greater wisdom of it all even for a split-second, I am resplendent with happiness ... until I start longing for the connection again. That's part of what is so arduous about lust; it can only be temporarily satisfied. yeah.

I could get into how I jones for conversations and interactions with the people I love. But I think everyone knows how that feels, yes? It's enough to simply admit I am a human being with a passionate nature. The Buddhists suggest letting go of desire. Probably they're right about that. Jonesing for whatever or whomever is rather enlivening up to a point. It becomes a bit oppressive after awhile, or if I'm tilting too intensely into it. My guess is that it's the over-the-top aspect of desire that the Buddhists try to release. Those Buddhists are so smart!

Today I am in love and in lust with this beautiful day, the clear air, the blooming roses, all the different kinds of clouds floating around overhead. Oh man, what a day. I'm going to work in a little while. Letting go of my desire to possess this day, instead going into the office to work on clients, will be strenuous. Ah the grunt work of lust ... it builds character, right? I hope so!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

To sleep, perchance to dream

I'm thinking about my old waterbed this morning. Yeah, of course I had a waterbed. While I had it, I loved it so much. Imagine my surprise, once I moved on to the '80s bed of choice, the futon, to suddenly realize how bad that waterbed was for my back. I never knew how dreadful it really was - maybe because I was so stoned during those years I was unable to put two and two together. Maybe I just didn't care, your guess is as good as mine. One wonders why waterbeds became so popular in the first place. At least I do.

It wasn't until I was married that I started sleeping on a real mattress. Oh man, a good mattress is heaven, it really is. I didn't know that because growing up I slept on a couch. After that (until I bought my waterbed) I slept on foam pads on the floor. I was a hippie; that is how we lived.

I'm shopping for a new bed at the moment, some version of a fold-out couch, because I am going to move my massage practice into the chateau sometime this summer (my bedroom will become the treatment room). So many people now live in tiny spaces that the technology of fold out beds has improved dramatically. Last week I went to Ikea and lay on many different sofa beds. I was so impressed.

Though I don't think of myself as trendy in any way, shape or form, the truth is that these very nifty sofa beds are kind of "in" right now. What a weird society we live in - we are so into our fashions, even the way we sleep can be trendy or not. It's a little scary, isn't it?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Yesterday I swapped the storm door for the screen door, replaced my comforter with a summer weight blanket. Other signs that summer is just around the corner include the fact that I've heard and seen a few fellows riding around on their Harleys. On Memorial Day weekend, Rolling Thunder comes through Washington DC. That is always the clarion call of summer, oh yeah.

Spring 2011 was a time of massive personal revelation, beginning during the cherry bloom when two dear friends came to visit, continuing throughout the season. In so many ways I feel like a different person than I was last winter. Has that ever happened to you?

Deep truths on which I thought I had a secure grip slid through my fingers, becoming so much water under the bridge. Wow. One example of a complete change of perspective revolves around what was once my great longing to visit Poland. In my mind that longing sounded so noble, but a series of insights revealed to me that, actually, the attraction was coming from a side of myself that can be very destructive. I could say more about this. Should I?

Also, incredibly - miraculously! - I am suddenly unhinged from my ageism. What I used to espouse was that old is "good" and young is "bad." I called myself old (have been doing that since I was 35) until just recently. I've realized that every age has its bonuses and curses and while I feel more comfortable in middle age than I did when I was younger, that does not mean getting older is "better" than being younger. For heaven's sake! Many thanks to the people who have been tapping me on the shoulder, speaking to my closeted ageism, thank you so much for helping me move through that! You know who you are. THANK YOU!

There were many more revelations, but you get the idea, yes?

The intention of remaining open and curious is one of my founding principles, but I'm not as good at it as I think I am, or at least as good as I think I SHOULD be. This spring was a season in which I opened doors within my heart and mind that long ago I closed and locked securely. Wow. I am grateful beyond belief, humbled like you can't imagine, and, too, refreshed. Onwards and upwards to summer!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

I am very superstitious, oh yeah. Once upon a time I tried to hide that truth. Then for awhile I attempted to pump it up, make it sound important or relevant, or like my superstitiousness was in some way part of my psychic powers. For heaven's sake. These days I try to accept it, no more, no less either.

There are just three major arcana trumps I haven't yet talked about on the sidebar. I put off writing about these three because they are not images or energies I enjoy wrestling with. I will write today about Death and the Devil here in a post while leaving the gracious and powerful Temperance on the sidebar. If you want to see the images that go along with these cards, google death+tarot or devil+tarot and click on images. I have no need to post those images here.

I guess I could skip writing about Death, eh? Birth and Death are THE two mysteries, yes? Oh yeah. What could I possibly say about Death that hasn't been written about extensively (and far more eloquently)?

Within the tarot, naming the deep truths about Death (also the Devil) is avoided at all costs. Every book I've read about the tarot states straightaway that the Death card does NOT refer to Death. Huh? Me thinks the Emperor has no clothes! The Death trump is about transformation, or so say the people who write books about tarot. Terms like "dramatic change" appear often in describing the card. Euphemisms, yes? I say yes. I've even read that Death points towards intense sexual encounters. Imagine me with a look of incredulity on my face, shaking my head back and forth slowly. I don't know about you, but intense sex makes me feel ALIVE, not dead. I don't get it.

Death is the end, the mysterious end that no one can explain. It kind of bugs me that within the world of tarot, we can't call a spade a spade. Maybe the people who write the books are even more superstitious than I am. Who knows?

'Nuff said on that one! On to the Devil trump. This is another card that people who write about tarot are reluctant to face head on. In many decks, the Devil is portrayed as Pan, a randy, sexual, goat-like dude frolicking in the forest. Poor Pan - why oh why do we think of him as the Devil? He didn't do anything wrong.

Another approach tarot writers and designers take is to say the Devil is not real. It's interesting because the energies of the other trumps are never discounted (except for the Death card, that is). It is true that, if you've made a deal with the Devil, that contract can always be broken. Waking up and refusing to take a destructive path, or shaking loose from the prison you believe yourself to be trapped within, is what the Tower card is all about. (The Tower card follows the Devil in the sequence of the major arcana.) But the Devil is REAL. What I mean is, the tendency to think, "I can't," the energy that surrounds feeling trapped, stuck or the belief that anyone or anything has real power over you - that is very real. The Devil card points to the reality of all kinds of delusions, especially the painful ones like paranoia, fear, jealousy, bitterness and such. The Devil governs addictions and obsessions, arrogance, all feelings of disconnection and helplessness, and all the awful ways we humans act out these miserable states of being. Tell me that isn't real! C'mon.

Inbetween Death that is not death, and the Devil who is not real (or so they say) is the beautiful, competent, focused, gentle Temperance. Sometimes I think she's placed between the rock and the hard place to help us settle down when we get all activated over the two energies that must not be acknowledged. Temperance whispers, "There, there! It's OK. You'll be ok. Here - have a sip of my medicinal brew."

Now you see why I love Temperance so much? I mean really, what's NOT to love?

Tomorrow I'll write on the sidebar about Judgment after which I'm done with the major arcana. It has been a very fun project. Thanks, y'all, for listening/reading.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Life unfolds to the better way

Ten years ago yesterday my life changed completely. That was the day I poured my old life of cohabitation with my ex in Takoma Park, Maryland into my new life as a single woman with a big dog on Capitol Hill. In a state of shock, I carried boxes and furniture into the house on Tennessee Avenue, wondering what the hell my life was going to look like in this brand new neighborhood, living with strangers. Frankly I was quite worried.

Happy portents were all around - the neighbors came right over to introduce themselves and offer a hand while I was moving things into the house. The children were cavorting on the sidewalks, the birds were singing, the roses were blooming. I didn't notice any of that, not really, because I was in shock, and also because I had never lived in such a lovely village before, so I had no idea that this kind of behavior, the easy friendliness was totally normal here.

Should say IS totally normal here. At the time I wondered if I had somehow become part of a David Lynch movie in which everything on the surface is picture perfect, hiding some kind of awfulness. I was completely wrong. That's what happens when I worry; I create terrible scenarios. For heaven's sake.

The Sufi acupuncturist says that angelic interventions take place more often than we can ever guess. Based on how beautifully everything in my life has progressed since that scary day in mid-May, 2001, I'm guessing the healing angels were all around me, guiding me gently and lovingly into my new life.

Maybe I'll stay on Capitol Hill forever. Or it could all change tomorrow - you never know. I'm grateful that my destiny lead me here, more grateful than I can ever say. Thanks to the angels, my neighbors, my ex housemates, and current housemates. Thank all of y'all SO MUCH. Thanks.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


My first meditation teacher, the great Jack Kornfield, believes spiritual communities are meant to "ripen" us individually and collectively. I really love that idea so much. I believe it, too, even though it doesn't always work out as gracefully as it might.

For a long time I was part of the Reclaiming community in San Francisco. We did not gather in a church or temple, but we did gather, every eight weeks or so, at the beach or in a rented room in the Women's Building or at the pier in the Marina, to celebrate the turning of the wheel of the seasons. I never missed one of those rituals.

After I left all that behind, I studied Judaism at Temple Micah here in DC for a couple of years. I really loved that community as well, but I struggled with Judaism, even way way way Reform Judaism, because of the Torah. I hate the Torah; most of it makes no sense to me at all. Much of it is very disturbing and presents God as some kind of egomaniacal, bi-polar psycho killer. This is not the God I worship, nope. The fact that Jews idolize the Torah really got on my last nerve. Eventually I stopped going to Temple Micah. Square peg, round hole. Sigh.

There are wonderful spiritual communities here on Capitol Hill. St. Mark's, for instance, is a fabulously inclusive, active, community-based Episcopalian congregation. I've attended classes there many a time, but becoming a part of the congregation would ring false on every level. I am so not a Christian.

Like many people, I am spiritual but not religious, which means I'm at odds in one way or another with every established tradition. When I remember all the troubles that come up within spiritual communities, I try to convince myself it's best to commune with Brother Sun and the green world instead; forget the people aspect of worship ... but the truth is, I miss it. I even miss the friction and problems that arise within these communities. Is that crazy? It's such a juicy way to confront the problem of ethics. Those awkward interactions among people in spiritual community helped "ripen" me every time I took part. I miss that.

At least I'm missing my old communities this Sunday morning because my first two clients cancelled their sessions at the last minute. I'm thinking about how other people spend their Sunday mornings, at church or perhaps engaging in other Sunday rituals like reading The New York Times while drinking coffee. My Sunday morning ritual involves getting up and going to work, but not today. Today maybe I'll take a lot longer meditating and praying than I usually do. Yes? I say yes.

Happy Sunday. Shalom.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

It's good to be back

Do you believe in magic? I do. Maybe a better way to describe it is to say I believe in mystery, that there are things going on all around me, within my mind, heart, body and spirit that I will never - not EVER - be able to explain rationally. Though sometimes I find that truth a little (or a lot) scary, though many times I wish I could CONTROL all these uncontrollable mysteries, to be honest I have to admit that I love the mysterious synchronicities and juxtapositions, all the completely surprising events that are part of every life lived here on earth. If the world were not mysterious, wouldn't that be boring?

The magic I'm thinking about this morning is the mysterious synchronicity of writing about blogging (and other communities), waxing rhapsodic about the power of human connections through the network, as I did on Thursday. Within a few hours after I posted, blogger completely shut down. The post disappeared for awhile and, too, no one could post yesterday morning. The result of blogger's temporary collapse is that I was shown in no uncertain terms how it is not only the community of bloggers that's so dear to me, but the soul of the blogosphere that I like to rub shoulders with every day. By 'the soul of the blogosphere,' I mean the overarching energy and personality of this so-called virtual realm. Oversouls "hold" groups and communities in the same way that Brother Sun "holds" the solar system within his atmosphere. Oversouls are the ground substance, the matrix within which communities and groups operate. I was able to connect with many blog friends on FB yesterday, thank goodness, but I really missed Brother Blogger, the entity through which we communicate.

It's always a good idea to take a break from everything, even the good stuff. It was interesting to notice, during the day, how apt I was to write LOOOOOOOONNNNNNNG emails to friends. Julia Cameron is correct when she says that once you get in the flow of writing, it comes much more easily. I see that because I write almost every day, it has become rather hard to not write, even for one day. That was a great lesson.

I'm so glad I don't work for blogger. Can you imagine the atmosphere at the office yesterday? The stress must have been awful. It's rather incredible to think about how reliable blogger is, actually. Wow.

It was an interesting experience, but I'm glad the problem was resolved. I'm happy to be posting again today. I'll be happy to check in with my blog fellows as well, see what they have to say. Yeah. Shabbat shalom, y'all. Happy Saturday.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

We are all one, under the Sun

Why do I love the Matchbox bar so much? Why do I love Facebook? Why, oh why am I still blogging after all these years? A friend asked me that last question recently. What he asked specifically is what pleasure I take in blogging. It's a good question. What I told him is that I have a lot to say. Speaking my peace here is a no-strings-attached self expression. People can come read or not, whatever they want.

Of course it's more than that. I continue to blog because I love being part of the blog community. I love the intimate relationships I have with my blog fellows, how we share the adventures of each other's lives, the way in which we come together when a blog friend experiences loss or illness or some other shock. I love the community aspect of blogging so much! Same goes for Facebook. Some folks believe the blog world and FB create "virtual" friendships that aren't as durable as "real" friendships. I strongly disagree. Tell me the difference between "virtual" love and "real" love, please? Oh yeah! Love is not visible, but it sure the hell is not virtual, yes? I say yes.

The people I talk to at the Matchbox bar, with whom I connect in the "real" world, are complete strangers. We have no common thread, except that we're sitting there at the bar next to one another. Unlike my FB and blog friends, when we strike up a conversation, we have to start from scratch. What is your name, what do you do for a living, etc.

To be scrupulously honest, I have engaged in conversation with some of the WEIRDEST people at the Matchbox bar. I think of the poor fellow who wanted to pour out his heart to me about all the troubles he has seen. Normally I would have been quite sympathetic, but it was my birthday and I really did not want to hear his life story. Then there was "Pete" (or so he said), a smart, good looking man who had clearly been drinking for awhile by the time he arrived at the Matchbox. He was completely obnoxious, but I enjoyed talking to him nevertheless - because he was cute. Is that a crime? Last week I refereed for a couple of lesbians in the midst of what was probably their final argument. It was pretty interesting and - I think I did a good job, because they paid for my dinner.

I could go on, but you get the idea, right? So now WHY do I like the Matchbox bar? It's pretty simple, really. I live alone. When I go to work, I chat momentarily with clients who subsequently climb onto the treatment table where they close their eyes, zone out, and drool on the sheets - as it should be! I have lots of friends, but right now in my life, there is no setting in which I talk to complete strangers - except at the Matchbox.

It's good to interact with my fellow humans, both those I love and know well, and those I will never know very well. It's even a good thing to talk to people I would never WANT to know well, because I'm a human and that's what we do. As a homo sapiens, I, too, am a social predator. That's why I blog and read blogs, why I love Facebook. It explains why I am so rich in friendships both "real" and "virtual" and why I frequently find myself sitting at the Matchbox bar.

I love all the different kinds of connections we humans form, I do. Cheers!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


In a few minutes I'm going to drag my sorry ass into the shower, get ready to go see the Sufi acupuncturist. My ass is dragging because I stayed up late having fun last night. (Actually I should not have referred to my ass as "sorry" because I am NOT sorry about laughing, talking, drinking wine and dancing around the chateau while listening to the Clash. I mean, really! Why would anyone feel sorry about that?)

It's another beautiful day in Washington DC today. My plans (after acupuncture) include a nice long walk which will include, no doubt, a whole lot of shamanic dancing. Yeah. Dance is part of the shamanic lifestyle always, (not just for me; all shamans dance), though there are periods of time when I focus more on perceiving the energy at hand rather than dancing the energy at hand. Right now it's all about the dance. In fact it occurred to me yesterday that I've upped the anty lately; I am perceiving energy through dance to a degree I have not experienced before. The dance itself has become more than a celebration of the energy, it has become a path into the energy. I wonder if that makes any sense. Please keep in mind that I'm slightly sleep deprived and slightly hungover, hence not as coherent as I prefer to be.

The astrologers I admire most are saying that when a bunch of planets find their way from Aries into Taurus tomorrow, the energy of the moment will settle down. Maybe that means I will settle down, too, at least a little bit.

Maybe. We shall see. Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Kali Yuga

The wound is the place where the Light enters you. --Jalal ad-Din Rumi

I've been hearing that allegedly the Rapture is about to happen - on May 21 or so they say. I wonder if there's anyone who looks at this blog who believes that. I wonder if there's anyone I know in any of my circles who believes it.

Don't get me wrong: I am VERY superstitious, extremely so. And I get how, looked at in a certain way, every period of history feels like the end of times. But the specifics of the story of the Rapture, the exclusivity built into the story that damns most of humankind to suffer in the midst of the destruction of earth as we know it ... well, wow. The idea does not resonate for me, not even slightly.

The dream of an existence without violence, without war or poverty, of complete peace and happiness, is something I can not imagine. I'm not saying I love all the troubles we see, but it seems to be part of the life cycle of every being on this beautiful, wild, turbulent planet, always has been. We are capable of such great love and idealism, but we fight, we tilt against each other and the world. We are generous and selfish, cold- and warm-hearted, wise and just plain stupid all at the same time. We're - all of us - pieces of work! If we weren't, would we be human?

I don't blame anyone for wishing for a perfect existence, or to be perfect themselves. That sounds great, actually. But the juice of being alive exists in the struggle, at least this is true according to my cosmology. One of my great teachers said that in order to accumulate wisdom, we have to get a little bit banged up in some way or another. We are born perfect with absolutely perfect energy fields. Psychological, physical and/or spiritual wounds create openings through which we receive and gather wisdom and insight. That means making mistakes, bungling, and suffering. It just does. Am I crazy, thinking this way?

After about the age of seven or so, innocence and naivete are highly overrated if you ask me. I say this from my heart of hearts. I mean no offense to those who believe they are about to be transported to a place of perfection. Shalom.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ants in my Pants

My first great astrology teacher used to say that the more an astrologer knows about the sky, the better she will understand herself. Likewise, the more an astrologer knows about her motivations and values, the better she will understand the sky. As above, so below. True, dat.

Externally many of us are in the midst of reinventing ourselves: having kids, changing jobs, moving house, altering our plans, hopes and fears accordingly. Parents are dying, relationships are changing. Many societies and cultures are likewise re-inventing, evolving, shifting. Everything is in flux! Or so it seems to me.

In order to shamanically align myself with the energy at hand, I've been dancing. Oh man, I have been dancing my ass off. I'm listening to music at night, dancing, dancing around the chateau. I'm dancing as I walk down the street. I think I'm even dancing as I dream, based on how, when I wake up, I notice the sheets and blankets are all untucked and bunched up (I am usually a very peaceful sleeper). These days when I see an incredible cloud formation, like the one in the pic above, I stop right where I am and do my shamanic dance of alignment.

You should have seen my friends and neighbors laughing at me yesterday afternoon when I stopped to dance in alignment with the shining path I saw stretched out before me (see pic below). Though I invited them to join me, they all politely refused. Oh well. I'm glad to amuse others, really I am.

Constitution Avenue, facing west from Tennessee Avenue.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Maternal Mysteries

Mother's Day is always a little weird for me, not only because I chose not to have kids in this lifetime but also because of the very complicated relationship I had with my mother. Elizabeth (as she preferred to be called, or we could call her Mama, but NEVER "Mommy" - she hated that) was a total character. Everyone loved her, everyone found her fascinating. She was a great progressive thinker, a believer in the cause of the moment. She fought for Civil Rights and Women's Rights with a great passion. During the late 1960's she painted a huge, orange day-glo peace sign in our suburban Kansas City picture window, her way of letting everyone know she was against the Vietnam War.

Wow. That took guts in the neighborhood I grew up in. She was very idealistic, and very very brave.

That said, mothering was never her best thing. She loved us dearly, even me, the child she never quite "got." But she didn't really have the whole nurturing thing going on. She used to bristle at the idea of "raising" children. "Children raise themselves!" she would declare, as if mothering would, in some way, stifle us. It's true, we did raise ourselves more or less. She did what she could, and what she couldn't, she didn't.

I have absolutely no resentment about any of that, btw.

My mother used to look at me as if I had arrived by spaceship from another planet. She really didn't get me, not at all. She tried, but I was so unlike her, so unlike my siblings, that I'm sure she wondered sometimes if I was the product of alien abduction. I felt the same way. Even as a child I used to say I was from another planet.

The day my mother died was one of the most hideous days of my whole life ... that was BEFORE I found out she had died. Because of the timing, her death and that awful experience are linked forever in my mind/heart. It's no one's fault, it just happened that way. So you see when I think about my mother, as I often do (not just on Mother's Day) I experience so many conflicting thoughts and emotions.

It's all grist for the mill, eh? Oh yeah. Thanks, Elizabeth, for bringing me into the world. I hope you are flying high above the moon. Love to you, much much love. And much love to all you mothers out there. L'chaim!

Saturday, May 7, 2011


That's the Library of Congress in the background, a building FULL of overthinkers. Yeah!

I've been overthinking lately, a condition I'm prone to. Now don't shake your fingers at me - there are a bunch of you out there who have the same inclination. You know who you are!

Of course I love to think, I take pleasure in it. But too much cerebral activity tends to turn in on itself; my thoughts can get so distorted from overworking them that I don't know what is what anymore. The echoes inside my skull, after awhile, become deafening and impossible to decipher. You know what I'm talking about - right? Whew!!

It's a beautiful day in Washington DC, and as it turns out my work schedule is very light. My plan for the day includes looking at plants (since I've become severely addicted to gardening), hanging out at Eastern Market, cooking something good for dinner tonight. I'm going to do a lot of breathing and Ohmmmming today in an effort to keep my brain from overheating.

Wish me well, please? Thank you!

Friday, May 6, 2011

What was I thinking?

I was thinking (while allegedly meditating this morning) that I would write about love. Love: you know, that thing that no one can define, the big ole mystery that makes the world go round. I was going to write about brotherly love, divine love, I was even thinking I would write about romantic love.

What could I say about love that hasn't been said, sung, written, danced at least a million times? Well? My idea was to skip the task of trying to define different kinds of love (the Greeks did that already, so did C.S. Lewis, and many others), I thought I would address Love shamanically, as a force of nature that "comes over" (as Eric Clapton explained it). It is kind of amazing in that way, after all, how it arrives and then sometimes departs, just like that. (Sound of fingers snapping.) I was going to mention Cupid's arrow, the random quality of romantic love, the way it feels like a state of being that has been imposed, rather than something one might choose. Just as I began to think about unrequited love, I burst out laughing. I literally laughed out loud. I laughed hard. Oh man.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! Oh I am so funny sometimes. I should have been focused on my breath. Instead, I was thinking about love, and that thought, that idea, that image of me sitting down at the computer, letting the words flow, was such a beautiful, innocent, audacious concept.

For heaven's sake. I can be so ambitious sometimes. Forget that. Happy Friday, y'all.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dancing with the Green Dust

Growing older is an adventure, it really is. Most of it I like. I am an old soul with a long memory, so being in an older body makes more sense. I'm extremely healthy, so even though I have aches and pains, even though I can't stay up all night anymore, or drink too much unless I'm willing to be completely out of it for days afterwards, mostly I'm so good with aging.

There are aspects of youth I miss very much. Approaching age 60 as I am, I hesitate to name specifically some of the things I miss. Ah what the hell. I miss the "zipless fuck" as we called it in the '70s. Honestly I wouldn't mention this except after thinking long and hard about liberty yesterday, I remembered the exhilaration of the era of sex, drugs and rock 'n roll. The social revolutions of the late '60s and '70s made me believe that true, honest Liberty, if not yet real, was certainly right around the corner. It was so exciting. The current moment feels somewhat like that time, with middle eastern revolutions, the execution of Osama Bin Laden, the monster tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes and extreme weather. Things are shaking, oh yeah.

It makes sense that I've been contemplating the ways in which I navigated through that period of tumult, yes? C'mon.

I don't miss the drugs at all, especially the serious psychedelics or anything speedy. I don't miss the music because I have plenty of music at hand. But "free love" ? That, I miss. Well, ok, maybe I only miss it now at the height of spring when the natural world is in a frenzy of free love. Most likely that's why I'm waxing rhapsodic about no-strings-attached sex. It's my way of dancing in shamanic alignment with the season. For heaven's sake!

The great social upheavals that unfolded just as I was coming of age convinced me to try all kinds of things, to experiment. That period of time made me believe anything is possible and love is the answer. I still believe it. Do you?