Friday, September 30, 2011


In my own way, I am so Jewish. No I don't attend a temple (though I would go to Temple Micah except it's too far away, completely inaccessible for Capitol Hill residents without cars). I don't know Hebrew at all. Well, ok, maybe a little bit, just a letter or two. My cosmology includes many theories and interpretations that are decidedly NOT Jewish. Still, when the Days of Awe roll around, I always know it, even if I haven't checked a calendar, and I do take part, in my own way.

Yesterday was Rosh Hashana. I ate apple slices dipped in honey, baked a plum cake, listened to Charlie Parker (in lieu of a shofar) and thought about the past year. All day I prayed about what I'm supposed to get straight this year before Yom Kippur. Who have I hurt? What mistakes have I made? To whom do I owe an apology or two? Is there an experience I need to let go of? What can I learn?

Most years, the work of the High Holy Days has a theme. Some years I owe a lot of apologies! Oy vey. Sometimes it's more about letting go of grudges, aka forgiveness. Last year I had to stretch my heart, open up wider than I ever have (internally, I mean) in order to find a place of peace and connection with the divine that I had not previously experienced. It was rigorous and well worth the floppage that preceded the insight.

This year I'm still not clear what I'm supposed to accomplish, though I keep hearing the words "Let there be light!" in the back of my mind. This could be nothing more than a comment on the change in the weather - during September we only saw two or three sunny days. The rest of the month was humid, rainy, and gloomy with a pervasive overcast that finally broke up yesterday.

So, who knows? There are many days of prayer and discovery ahead before the somewhat excruciating rite of passage we call Yom Kippur. "Let there be light" is a rather lovely theme. What that means, if anything, is yet to be revealed.

Have a wonderful Friday. Shabbat Shalom and L'Shana Tovah. Onwards and upwards, oh yeah.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thanks, Carol. Perfectly said!


Less sleep but fewer tears
Prayers pared down to tweets.
Desire scrubbed of sullenness.
A propensity for sweets--

but not truffles, truffles
I find too dense; chocolate-glazed
bacon, the idea of it, too strange.
Fads tempt less. A glass raised

in sentiment, more.
The fleet beauty of words
no longer cased unsaid.
The glass in shards.

--Carol Moldaw

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

We find each other

The sky is in a piss poor mood. Still.

Remember when everyone was all crazy about how the internet was going to cause people to become isolated, stripped of the ability to interact with others? I remember - it was a big thing for awhile. Tongues and fingers were wagging everywhere about what disasters would arise if we continued to develop cyberspace. (Does anyone still call it that?) I guess that's when people were mostly conversing one-on-one through email, and only going on the internet to watch porn.

I read recently that social networking and video streaming are now the top two ways people use the internet. Porn has been kicked down to third place or maybe even fourth - a lot of folks shop on the internet. Yeah!! As one of the most Aquarian of Aquarians you'll ever meet, I am happy. The internet as a place to meet and greet, stay updated on one another's goings on, create friendships, share news both good and bad, makes perfect sense. We are pack animals, I tell you. We always find a way to connect. When in doubt, we cluster. We always have.

No I am not nostalgic for the "good old days," whatever that means. I am not a romantic in that sense at all. Life is the same as it ever was, overfull of experiences that are stressful (like being chased by predators, or wondering if the clan down the path is going to attack, or worrying about a business meeting with the boss). Life is also replete with experiences that are blissful always in any century or era (like the arrival of a baby into a happy family, a clear sunny day, the plush feeling of resiliency that comes after a very good night's sleep, feasting and toasting with near and dear ones).

I think we humans worry way too much sometimes, yes? I say yes.

All the years I lived on Tennessee Avenue I never paid much attention to the Mary McLeod Bethune statue. The sculptural style repels me, for one thing. But it's kind of growing on me, apparently, since I've featured pics of it almost every day lately.

Monday, September 26, 2011


I'm a writer.

What does that mean? For some it might be about recognition; a published writer, in other words. Or for some it's about how much focus, time and attention is put into writing. To be a writer one must be serious about it, struggle with the art, stay up all night suffering from writer's block, or be paid for our efforts? Writers have bad hair, smoke cigarettes, drink too much. At least they do in the movies.

I know there are plenty of people who don't read or write. We were, for most of our history, a species of oral traditions that included dance, song, storytelling and sacred drama. Reading and writing is a recent accomplishment. I believe we're the only species that reads and writes. Is that correct?

Near the end of the twentieth century, I feared reading and writing were dying out. But then the internet came into its prime. Suddenly people were reading and writing again, with a passion!

The evolution of texting is similar in certain ways to the development of writing. Remember BFF and LOL and C U L8R. Of course abbreviations are still part of texting, but not nearly as much as at the beginning. Texts are quite sophisticated these days. People blog, or leave long comments on other blogs. They post notes on Facebook, also very clever status updates. The art of status updates on Facebook and Twitter is the way we write haiku in the 21st century. It's interesting to think about.

I have always been a writer of sorts. You should see the stack of personal journals I have, dating back to the 1970s. Holy cow I should get rid of those things! I used to write letters regularly, got in trouble many a time in high school for passing notes with friends. For awhile I was Queen of Postcards. Email? I loved it immediately, of course. No I haven't written a book, and have had only a tiny handful of things officially published, but I am a writer. Yeah.

Lately I am even moreso a writer than I once was. I'm posting consistently on two blogs, keeping up with my personal journal and I'm also writing on Evernote, a very cool app I use on the macbook as well as the iphone. I'm writing about my failed marriage, a really interesting experience. Bloody hell.

I'm glad reading and writing did not go the way of the dodo. At least not yet. If we didn't read or write, what the hell would I do with All The Words inside my head? I'm afraid the words might reach a critical mass after which I might spontaneously combust. I'm not really afraid of that happening, should say - but I do enjoy writing, I do.

Have a happy Monday. Shalom.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Solarized at last

Brother Sun peeked out from behind the oppressive overcast for a little while yesterday evening. It was so glorious to see sunlight! Holy cow. No wonder I had a nervous breakdown when I lived in Portland, Oregon. I need Brother Sun. I really do!

Apparently I am not the only one. When the sun appeared, so did the people. Little kids with cabin fever and their parents blew off steam in Lincoln Park, bicyclists passed the chateau by the dozen, everyone else took a stroll up and down East Capitol. I walked the circuit around Lincoln Park without my umbrella. It was delicious. I took a million pics of the sky, most of them unremarkable to look at after the fact. In the moment, I was ecstatic, as if I'd discovered gold, which - if you think about it in a certain way, is true.

What would I do without our beloved local star? I guess none of us would be here. Hmm. Happy Sunday.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


I read somewhere that the word "artisanal" is falling out of favor in terms of being the "it" word in food marketing. It's interesting, isn't it, how certain words and phrases take hold of the collective imagination? Ten years ago, no one used "artisanal" to describe anything, but right now it is hot, viral, omnipresent. There's a groovy cheese shop in NYC called Artisanal. Here's a link to a story about a shop in Brooklyn that sells artisanal mayonaisse.


We humans are pack animals. We want to fit in, sometimes desperately, it seems. I think fitting in makes us feel safe. It's instinctual. Standing at a stoplight with a group waiting for the light to change, if one person jaywalks, others will follow suit. We dress like our heroes and heroines, try for the same hairdos and such. Slang is all about fitting in, hey? Yeah.

Maybe that's why everyone gets in line at the supermarket at the same time, in order to fit in to the prevailing pack behavior pattern. Who knows?

The latest hot phrase in the U.S. is class warfare. I've seen it in print, heard it repeatedly on the radio. Wow.

Clearly I have had way too much time to sit around and think. Today my plan is to be more active than reflective. I love to think but it's time for a paradigm shift. Remember when that was a prevailing phrase? Hmm.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The weather predicts my mood, again

I love this snap taken yesterday of Kim, a blog friend who is now a "real" friend, and me at the Portrait Gallery.

It's rainy, foggy, dreary and damn humid in Washington DC again today. The mosquitoes are biting like maniacs, the air smells a bit moldy, there is no sign of Brother Sun's beautiful light anywhere. Yuck!

What's it to me? I have a full day of clients ahead so I'll be mostly indoors until 6:00. After that I'll walk the circuit around Lincoln Park, though the weather is hardly inspiring me to do so.

I could continue to grump, but I won't.

Instead I'll set up the massage table, light candles, sprinkle lavender essential oil on the clean sheets, and queue up some nice music to help my clients relax. Focusing on the landscapes of my clients' bodies will help shift my attention away from the soupy non-day ongoing outside the chateau.

Happiest Friday to all. May the broom of weather sweep the humidity out of the air sooner rather than later, may it be so! I am hankerin for fall, I really am!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Neither here nor there, but busy somehow


Happy equinox, y'all. Can you feel the moment of balance?

I never feel balanced at either of the equinoxes, but I figure at least night and day are balanced, so if I'm wobbly, it's OK. A strange sort of logic, hey? Makes sense to me.

A busy day. But I wanted to post the collage below. Every day I learn a little more about that tree. He is amazing. Happy Wednesday. Shalom.

That's Mary McLeod Bethune giving Mr. Tree the staredown, or so it seems.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The anti-Demeter

The perfect east/west alignment of Lincoln Park, picture taken from the east side. That's the Mary McLeod Bethune sculpture, behind it the Lincoln, and beyond that, eleven blocks away, the U.S. Capitol.

In a few weeks when the leaves drop, the dome of the Capitol will be visible from the place where I took this picture. I love it when the canopy falls. All of a sudden the sky is open again. In summer, tree shade is beautiful and cooling, but I am not a creature who dwells easily on the forest floor. I like being able to see the sky.

Yesterday I washed long-sleeved shirts and turtlenecks, trousers, put away my tank tops and shorts. Though I have no doubt we'll see a few more warm days, the truth is, summer has worn itself out, or perhaps the season is now on the move to the other side of the equator where it will be more at home for the next six months. I bid it a courteous farewell.

Because I am sensitive - too-sensitive (as my parents always said) - I shouldn't be surprised when I'm overwhelmed by the roaring life force that accompanies spring and summer here. I've learned to tolerate it a bit better than when I first arrived more than a decade ago, but it still knocks me off my feet. A swamp is a fecund, fertile landscape, whew!

In fall everything quiets down except the traffic and the crows. I can hear myself think! Ahhh, I love fall.

Looks like someone skiied the clouds above Eastern Market.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Circuit

Pierre Charles L'Enfant, master designer of the original Washington City, had big plans for Lincoln Park. He conceived of it as a grand federal park, a gathering place for all of DC, a central space for the new capital. He believed Lincoln Park would be the point from which all distances in North America would be measured. Wow. That's why Lady Liberty (on top of the Capitol) faces east, why the Lincoln Emancipation statue used to face west.

Even the best made plans by high fallutin' masonic capital designers can go the way of the dodo. The park was originally used as a dump. Grand space, indeed. Later they built Lincoln Hospital on the site, during the Civil War of course. Walt Whitman visited patients there many a time. His footprints are all over the park.

As it turned out, the center of federal DC developed to the west of the Capitol instead, hence Lincoln Park became at last a quiet neighborhood square that is enjoyed, mostly, by those of us who live here. It is not a tourist spot in general, though every now and then a bus will stop so a group can see the Lincoln Memorial.

Fast forward to my years on Tennessee Avenue. Lincoln Park was a means to an end, mostly, a space I crossed on my way to and from Eastern Market. In fact there's a path cut diagonally across the park, originating at the foot of Tennesssee Avenue, ending at the corner of N. Carolina and 11th. I wasn't the only one making a beeline for Eastern Market, crossing the park without paying much attention.

Dancing, definitely.

When I first moved to the Hill, Lincoln Park was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. During the day kids in strollers with their nannies hung out at the old playground, dog owners gathered in groups while their dogs frolicked, people played frisbee, or lay on the ground reading books. In the mornings on Saturdays a group gathered to do t'ai chi.

But at night, all kinds of creepy stuff went down, based on the crack pipes, used condoms, and syringes that were scattered around in the mornings. The city was good about cleaning up, and in those days the parents always scouted the playground for detritus before turning their kids loose.

The lawn between the Mary McCloud Bethune and Lincoln statues was the scene of one of Jake's famous Ben-Hur moments when, in a fit of enthusiasm he began to run laps around the outside of the lawn. Shadow, who was also at the park at the time, chased him, of course to no avail. When she got tired of running she sat on the sideline. Every time Jake ran past her, she would bark angrily and snap. To this day I have never seen Manuel, my ex housemate, laugh so hard. Ah, those were the days.

Now that I no longer live on Tennessee Avenue, and work in the same building I live in, Lincoln Park has become "the circuit." I walk the perimeter between clients if I have time, or after work if I don't have time. I walk it at least once a day, come rain or shine. It's astonishing to realize I never did this when I lived on Tennessee. I wonder why?

I am very lucky to live close to L'Enfant's grand park, especially because it isn't so grand after all. The dogs, dog owners, nannies and kids, the people playing frisbee, are still around. I'm thinking the nighttime scene has settled down, too, probably. The park radiates a happy, welcoming vibration. I haven't seen a used syringe in years.

The tree in the pic below has been giving me the eye lately. The face is not subtle, and his eyes follow me when I pass that part of the park. What is he thinking? Can you tell?

Happy Monday to all. Shalom to the people and trees.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I greet the day early

Washington DC is quiet on Sunday mornings. It's the only time of day, except deep night, when the streets of this city are physically quiet. There's no traffic, hardly anyone walking up or down East Capitol Street, you can't even hear birdsong. At dawn on a random Sunday morning, this crazy, fierce city of uber brainiacs is energetically quiet. People are in their beds, dreaming of world conquest or some other happiness. It's so peaceful!

I've always been a morning person, maybe because I so love this rare moment of spacious quiet before the mayhem of urban life starts up again. Ahhhh. (I tried for many years to be a night owl like the rest of my family and every cool person I've ever known. Jazz musicians, artists, raconteurs - nighttime is when they come alive. Me? I'm nodding out by 10 p.m. So. not. cool. We morning people have other virtues, not coolness, though.)

Taking a walk first thing in the morning was one of my favorite parts of living with Jake; it wasn't an option to stay in my sweats, hair rumpled, for an hour before getting out there like it is now. I always love seeing people come out to get the newspaper, like animals leaving their burrows at the end of winter. Since it's just for a second, most folks wear their robes, leave their hair rumpled. Everyone is so cute when they first wake up.

It's a moody, chilly fall morning in Washington DC. I don't know about you, but my plans (before I start working) include drinking tea and listening to the quiet. Happy Sunday. Shalom.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Inwards and downwards.

Incredible sunset last night!

Fall blew in yesterday in no uncertain terms. The temperatures dropped sharply - it's actually chilly this morning. I always honor and appreciate the change of season - no matter what season is unfolding.

There are seasons, however, and then there are seasons. I love fall. I love everything about it in terms of the cooler weather, leaf color and clean air. I love the foods of fall - hearty stews and soups are the best possible things for my finicky stomach. I even love the emotions - melancholy and a sense of reverence and awe, emotional states that replace the cheerful inspirations of summertime.

Even the sky has been showing off fall colors, both the fiery colors of last night's sunset and today's icy ring around the sun. The sun (below) looks like a giant eyeball, doesn't it? Slightly creepy!

The shift in season is a visceral reminder of the turning wheel of the year, of the passing of time. I'm a little off balance today, which isn't unusual at this time of year.

Even so, I'm wearing long pants and a flannel shirt, socks. I am smiling. Happy autumn or happy spring, depending on where you are. Shalom.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


David Eagleman would be proud of me for switching up my life rather dramatically as I have recently. I am, at heart, a creature of habit; routines, regularly scheduled events and some degree of predictability are wonderful, soothing, and reassuring. Nevertheless I have lived a life of transformation and re-invention ever since I left my parents' home so long ago, breaking the pattern of my routines over and over again. Sometimes I wonder about myself!

I know people who have lived very stable lives. I look at my sister Hannah who had a wild youth, but then married at a tender age to the man she is still married to, a fabulous person, should say. They've moved house ONCE since they married. They raised two AWESOME children who also grew up to be stable, sane, wonderful. I am in awe of their whole family.

What I want to say about moving my practice into the chateau is that it is better in every way I could imagine, also in ways that wouldn't have occurred to me. The space is more cozy, it's much quieter - even the fact that there is carpet in the room where I work means that when I move the stool around, there's no clanking or banging against a wood floor. The chateau is set back from the street, so traffic sound is muffled. The location is much more convenient to the metro, and kind of snazzy, being on E. Capitol Street. It is professional, below the dentist's office. Some days I ask myself why it took me so long to make this big change.

I had to shake my routine, break a pattern I believed was right since the beginning of my career. It was a BIG change. So far I am enjoying every part of it. I'm certain there will be facets of this way of working that will get on my nerves eventually. I'm human, after all. So far, I'm rather in awe at how well it's working for everyone.

I resist change, mostly, or go kicking and dragging my heels, but it always helps life unfold to the better way. You'd think I would remember that, but somehow I always forget. I am so in love with my routines. For heaven's sake!

There's a car up in that tree!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Even my super zoom camera is unable to focus on the face of dear, crazy Luna. I guess it's ok that my moon pics are always moody and strangely colored (I didn't do that pink glow with photoshop).

Hair is important. Well, it is, c'mon. Whether we feel we have too much, not enough, or curly when we would rather have straight, or too much in one place but not enough in another, hair is something people think about. Not everyone! Many people, should say.

Hair is symbolic. Feminists in the 20s cut their hair as a symbol of their liberation from the old ways. During the 60s we went the other way, growing our hair as long and frizzy as possible as a protest against short military haircuts. Shaving one's head is always a powerful act, no matter the intention. I think of Sinéad O'Connor. In certain Orthodox sects of Judaism, women shave their heads because hair is thought to be so enchanting, it will distract the men from studying, or so I've been told. In other situations, a shaved head is a sign of shame, or purity in yet other environments. It always means something. Sampson and Delilah? The Dalai Lama. Robert de Niro in Taxi Driver? Please!

My mother used to say, Isn't it funny how, as long as hair is attached to your head, it's thought to be beautiful, but the moment it detaches and lands in your salad, it becomes absolutely disgusting?

It is funny.

The anatomy of hair is pretty interesting, too. Strands of protein growing out of your scalp - think about it. We are all chia pets!

I believe hair is an entity, somewhat separate from, though of course inextricably linked, to the ego I call Reya. My hair and I have a somewhat bombastic love/hate relationship. We have had many very bad years together, (I'm thinking now of the 1980s when my hair was frizzed out and dyed the color of eggplant.) My hair and I have had good times as well.

This morning I told Richard, the hair guy with the mostess, to do whatever he wanted. He cut off between 6 and 7" of frazzled, split ended, scraggly hair bits. Ahhh! I'm happy and my hair is happy, too, thank goodness. Sometimes a haircut can be traumatic - it happens - but it's also true that a good haircut can make my day.

Some days, it's all about the hair.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Brave hearts

The world I live in is very interesting. Sometimes when I hear people say they're bored, I want to tap them on the shoulder, I want to say, Hey! Study the subtle arts, people, you'll never be bored again! But of course one can't become a shaman to avoid ennui, my goodness no way.

Speaking of the never-boring shamanic lifestyle, I've been hanging out with the spirit of Eagle lately. He told me last night that pride is related to fire, and that without pride, courage is not possible. That's interesting, yes? Pride is like fire, Eagle 'tells' me - it must be carefully monitored so it neither flares up nor dies out. Pride, like fire, is unpredictable, powerful, transformative, but too much of it is terribly destructive. Pride goeth before a fall, oh yeah.

If you doubt me, check the pic at the top of the post. Seconds after receiving the wisdom about pride, I looked up in the sky and there it was. You can't make up this stuff!

In my society, we decided a long time ago to put out the fire of pride. Pride is seen as a Very Bad Thing, a very dangerous quality. I think pride is one of the seven deadly sins.

What Eagle told me yesterday is that without a carefully nurtured flame of pride, we become deflated, we collapse in on ourselves, become depressed, lethargic, hopeless, self loathing, powerless. This is a big problem in 21st century America, it definitely is!

Eagle says we need to re-kindle the light of pride, take on the responsibility of nurturing and controlling that light. Without pride, courage is not possible. Without courage, we are not able to develop nobility of spirit, Eagle tells me. Events like 9/11, natural disasters and other large events bring up in us our birthright of courage, a wonderful, inspiring thing to witness and experience. What Eagle was telling me is that if we cultivated and controlled the flame of pride, we could be brave even when there isn't an emergency. What a concept, hey?

Eagle is very wise, and (according to my animal guides) it is an honor that he has visited me. I will take in these teachings, I will work to nurture and control the light of pride in my own heart. I am honored, humbled, in awe and proud, too. Thank you, Eagle! Come visit anytime, you are always welcome.

Like I said, my life is VERY interesting! Happy Monday. September 12 and all is well. Shalom.

Looks like I am standing in a light-reversed field of comets, yes?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten years

I was talking to a friend on the phone about the Civil War, about soldiers and how brave and/or crazy they are to actually, willingly, walk onto a battlefield, knowing they could very well be killed. Bloody hell. My friend's TV was on in the background, he said, "Oh. It looks like a plane hit the WTC." We finished our talk, said goodbye.

I remember watching the video of the towers and pentagon over and over again, sitting on the floor of my housemate's bedroom, watching the TV. I had only lived in the house for a few months, I barely knew him, but I didn't want to be alone.

I don't remember much else about that day ten years ago except I do remember that around 9:30 or 10:00 I heard a very deep boom. Car alarms went off on the street, Jake crawled under the bed. The Pentagon is only 5 miles away. I think we heard the plane hitting the building.

After 9/11 everything changed. I'm still sad. Perhaps I always will be.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Standing Stones

People at the American History museum, waiting to see the 9/11 exhibit.

There are moments and then there are - you know, Moments. I'm talking about the moments after which everything changes, personally - sometimes, culturally. Those moments are monumental, like standing stones. They are markers in time. Everyone remembers where they were when it happened. Everyone wants to share a story. Everyone should share a story!

It's interesting to remember how much like standing stones the World Trade Center Twin Towers were. Yeah.

Ten years ago tomorrow, the skyline of "When Harry Met Sally" and a million other films, disappeared forever. Everything changed, just like that. Snap.

I went today to the 9/11 exhibit at the National Museum of American History. Walked down Capitol Hill this beautiful morning, arrived at the museum miraculously at 10:02, but there was already a line. We waited till almost eleven before we were allowed in to the exhibition.

It was plain, like a tiny high school science fair. None of the objects were in cases, nor was there slick, beautifully designed signage explaining everything.

Instead there were human beings, explaining why they had chosen the objects from NYC, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania. There was a fourth table but I didn't have the stomach to visit it. The energy was strong enough that I didn't even get close to the tables. It was powerful.

Interesting is that I was not particularly emotionally moved by the exhibit, nor am I by this anniversary, as far as I can tell. But the thing is, when I left the museum, all of sudden I felt weak and achey, as if I'd been brutally beaten. Seriously! It was a visceral experience. Holy cow.

Fortunately I had clients scheduled this afternoon. After work I felt much better. I know this ten year anniversary is a big deal. I know it intellectually, I feel it in my body, but my heart? I'm not connecting with the inevitable emotions that come up at times like this, I am staggering around, searching for Stonehenge. I know the marker is there for me, too, but I can't seem to connect with it. It's so interesting! Maybe I will feel it tomorrow. Are you feeling it?

Holding in my heart all the people who lost loved ones that day. May the anniversary be a turning of the wheel, may it help them let go. May it be so.

Salaam, Shalom, Peace.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A blank slate, my brain that is.

Another day of rain. Grump, complain, whine, etc. 'Nuff said about the weather.

Here's a funny thought that came into my head yesterday: Meatballs are the cupcakes of protein - small, cheerful, almost cute. Meatballs are like tiny meatloafs. Cupcakes are like tiny cakes. Yeah? Also: hush puppies are the cupcakes of corn, like tiny cornbreads.

Clearly there has been plenty of time lately to sit around and think. Maybe I'll have something more interesting to say tomorrow. Let's hope so!

The stump of a tree that came down after all the rain. It's so beautiful and complicated. Wow. That's a fly, that tiny spot close to the bottom of the stump, to the left of center. Can you see it?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Who knows?

The rain we didn't get this summer has arrived all at once. It has been raining, mostly non-stop, for three days in Washington DC. That NEVER happens. A day or so of good soaking rain is not that unusual, nor are big ole thunderstorms that dump a lot of rain quickly, then move on.

The remnants of Lee, slowly moving north, dropping salty, DNA filled rain on us for 36 hours, has turned out to be a much larger event than Irene. The weather is completely unpredictable! Even sophisticated computers and very smart meteorologists can never quite wrap their minds around what's going to happen next. Weather is unimaginably complicated. I love it that at least they TRY to predict.

According to my cosmology, weather is the emotional soul of Mama Earth. It is indeed like human emotion in so many ways: moody, unpredictable, potent, creative and destructive, sometimes at the same time. I used to try to figure out What It Means when it rains non-stop for three days after a long dry spell, or why the rain won't go to Texas right now, it just refuses. After years of hopelessly trying to make sense of the weather, I realized that the emotional goings-on of the planet beneath my feet are actually none of my business. I need to be in relationship with these features of life on the planet, i.e. I must carry my umbrella, but trying to attach meaning to the patterns of weather tends to steer we humans way off track, not in a good way, i.e. This is God's way of punishing the (fill in group you hate). I don't believe it for one second, that God uses weather as punishment or reward. No way.

Brother Sun has been very active lately. The other day I saw a vid of a magnetic solar storm encompassing the Earth (as well as Venus and Mercury), for instance. Maybe the quakes and huge storms and big fires are ways in which the Earth talks to her brother, the Sun. Who knows?

Don't ask me - it's out of my hands. I look forward to hearing that a nice soaking rain is falling on Texas, also look forward to blue skies above Washington DC. Be gentle with us, Mother Earth! We're kinda fragile. Shalom.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fire and Rain

Maybe because of all the rain, or maybe because of the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, or for some other reason, DC is very quiet this week. It's weird because almost always, the energy rises fast and furious following Labor Day. Not this year. It makes sense that a quiet, rather somber mood as gloomy as the cloud cover would lay thick over Washington DC. I wonder how it feels in NYC?

I'm not complaining, by the way. It was a very dry summer in DC, not as dry as in Texas, but very dry so I appreciate the thirst quenching steady rains Lee brought. As a contemplative, I enjoy quiet, even the enforced quiet of a two-day rainstorm, even the somber quiet of a sad anniversary.

One thing the quiet is providing is a lot of space to listen and learn from the Indians whose spirits got pushed up to the surface when the hurriquake peeled back the layers of history. I've learned a lot about smudge which is a good thing since I burn a lot of it between clients and for personal healing. For instance, they tell me that sacred white sage, burned alone, should only be used for ritual, not for clearing energy. It is disrespectful to use it as a scrub brush, they say. Hmm. I had no idea I was being disrespectful! Yikes. The best combo for clearing energy, they say, is sage, cedar and copal. When I asked how to make the smudge burn (mine never does) they said if the smudge "likes" me it will burn. In the past, smudge has disliked me because I'm afraid of fire, they say.

Yes I AM afraid of fire, very afraid. It's instinctual, for heaven's sake. Who isn't afraid of fire? Again this morning my heart goes out to a dear one who used to live in Bastrop County, Texas until the wildfire burned the beautiful woods behind her house and virtually every other house on her street. Her house was miraculously still standing, but she can't live there anymore - no trees, no neighbors. It is devastation there. Fire is fast and deadly; I am very wary of it. But apparently I need to work more with it, try to befriend it. I want my smudge to willingly burn.

Trying to visualize a nice soaking rain developing over southeastern Texas, a rain that lasts several days, slowly rehydrating the land. May it rain. Shalom.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

There's more than rain in them there clouds

According to Nancy, of the blog Science Girl, not only is water from the Gulf of Mexico a part of the rain today (as the remnants of tropical storm Lee pass over Washington), but also some sea salt, and even DNA!

"well, there is a -little- salt in the storm clouds, but only what comes from the sea surface being all whipped up and tiny droplets getting dispersed directly into the air and caught up in the wind. So there's more salt in hurricane clouds than in other clouds over the sea. Just as a non-sequitur - my lab recently sequenced the DNA of a local cloud. Indeed there was DNA in the cloud! More than I would have thought, all from spores and microorganisms caught up in the wind."

A little creepy, thinking about spore DNA in rain. When I go for my walk today, I will take the big umbrella.

What I wish more than anything is that I could send this rain directly to Texas. I have a lot of friends there, one in particular whose house has probably burned, another who is preparing to evacuate. It's out of my hands, but I'm praying anyway.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Big Gallumph

The dome of the Capitol is always brightly lit, but lately it seems even whiter and brighter than usual. It appears to me almost blue white recently, like the teeth of someone who has used too many creststrips. Check out how the Senate side of the building appears yellow by comparison.

Citizens of Capitol Hill relate directly to the Capitol. It is a reference point, also a boundary between our neighborhood and the national mall. The building is just so damn big you can't ignore it.

Before 9/11 the Capitol was part of the hood. Jake loved running wild on the Capitol grounds. Lots of people walked their dogs on the grounds, hung out. It was very friendly, the mix of locals, people who work there coming and going, and the tourists.

I spent a lot of time in the Capitol rotunda before 9/11. I was a conjurer at the time, perhaps not quite yet a shaman, hence I was always futzing with the swirling vortex of energy at the center of that magnificent room. On a regular basis, I placed crystals at the very center of the floor with the intention of clearing the energy. The four quarters of Washington DC come together at that place. It's where Lincoln lay in state, JFK, too. It is clearly a place of power.

The paintings around the perimeter of the rotunda are portals that seem to lead back in time to pivotal moments in U.S. history. I always felt I could step into them if I ever wanted.

I could write a book about the Apotheosis of Washington, the painting at the top of the dome, a ring of angels and clouds with George Washington gazing down. Wow. Here's a link to the wikipedia page about it.

Needless to say, I love that room, which is why, on August 17, 2001, I met with cohorts to cast a triangle of stillness at the center of the rotunda. The purpose of this casting was to temporarily stop time within the confines of the triangle. It was a harmless piece of street theater that involved three of us standing around the center of the rotunda, visualizing. When we completed the visualization, it felt like the triangle rose slowly into the dome. Very cool.

A few days later, I "saw" a sparkling crystal shape sticking out of the dome. A big ole crystal shape, should say. My cohorts all "saw" something that day, too, though each described it differently. What I saw was a crystalline structure which grew over time until it completely surrounded the dome.

On September 8, suddenly I could no longer "see" the crystal shape. It vanished overnight. I remember the date distinctly.

Three days later was September 11. After that, everything changed.

What is remembered, lives.

People on the steps of the Supreme Court.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The History of a Moment

I'm refining thoughts about moments, thinking this morning that the first bit of a moment is exciting, the fullness of a moment is sublime, vivid, notable, the waning of any particular moment brings sadness, clinging or the opposite, a definitive pushing off or pushing away.

Does this make any sense? An example: you see a beautiful butterfly - exciting. The butterfly lands on your shoulder - oh man! Sublime. But then it takes off, as it should, leaving behind a longing to have it land once more, or stay longer. A different kind of example: whatever you're cooking is boiling furiously when it was just supposed to simmer - exciting! You grab the red-hot handle of the iron skillet in which the boiling is taking place - vivid and notable, yikes! With superhuman speed you let go of the handle, attend to your hand, possibly cling to ideas about how you wish you could go back five minutes, or maybe you cling to the idea that you're an idiot, why didn't you ... blah blah blah.

It seems like a similar contour, even though the circumstances in which the examples play out are very different from each other.

I'm always saying everything has a lifespan. What I'm thinking about this morning is that even moments have a lifespan of epic transitions. It's no wonder when you get down to the quantum level, all there is is a bunch of vibrating foam. Holy cow. Life truly is in the details!

These moments that make up life, both the infinitely holographic moments as well as the finite experiences, well, these moments deserve my attention. I guess that's why I meditate.

Happy Sunday.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


I complain sometimes, I've been known to grouse, bitch, winge, whine. Who knows how many years I've spent feeling sorry for myself (not consecutively, but if you lumped all the pity parties of my 58 years into one chunk of time)? It's a bit daunting to think about.

Right now I can't imagine any of those emotional states. It's a quiet, overcast morning in Washington DC. I'm stretched out on my couch, gazing at the gray sky through the window, writing this post, drinking coffee, enjoying a long morning of leisure before I begin working this afternoon. It's luxurious and I'm feeling grateful. Right now, 8:30 on Saturday, Labor Day weekend, is a perfect moment. I appreciate this moment, I do.

You know what they say about how life is the journey, not the destination? I think that's right, life plays out in the moments. Seize the moment, appreciate it, notice and inhabit the great moments fully, yes? Because they pass, as do all things. The complete history of any person is a jumble - chaotic, layered, tangled, impenetrable. But moments are crystal clear.

Which is why I've been thinking I'm not so sure about the big picture. What does that mean, anyway? If you want to get really big picture, the story of a human life is: you're born, you live, then die.

So what? It's the subway train pulling into the station just as you arrive on the platform, it's the pie coming out of the oven, looking perfect, a butterfly who decides to land on your shoulder. A kiss, a particular conversation or dinner - this is what makes life juicy, right? I've heard people say the Devil in the details. Really? That doesn't sound right. Life is in the details, oh yeah. Moments.

Looking forward to many nice moments over this long, relaxed, peaceful weekend in DC. After Labor Day, all hell breaks loose in this overamped city. I'm going to enjoy this moment before all that, I am enjoying it. Happy Saturday, y'all.