Thursday, January 31, 2013

A large, lovely, freshly washed window

I asked the Sufi acupuncturist about atheists yesterday because I've been thinking about my atheist friends, how dear they are to me in spite of their world view. They don't strike me as "godless" or without faith, and too, these friends are kind and wonderful, creative seekers of essential truths about, for instance, the nature of humankind. They espouse all the best parts of spiritual traditions, such as wanting to help the less fortunate, and care for the natural world.

But they completely dismiss every idea of God. Two of my friends are hellfire and brimstone atheists, that is, they become instantly furious at even the mention of God or faith. They snap at me, "That's just superstition!" I try not to mention my faith when I'm around them. You'd better believe it. I don't want any trouble. I used to think they were correcting me, but given what the Sufi acupuncturist said yesterday, I'm more inclined to see their fury, the way they snap, as something they do for themselves. It has nothing to do with me and my abiding faith.

The Sufi acupuncturist teaches just like a rabbi. He began by telling me that the Arabic word for non-believer, literally translated, means "covered." In Sufism it is believed that everyone has a window that opens to God and divine light. Those of us who turn to face that window can feel the warmth, are wrapped in light and lifted up. But some people cover the window with black out shades. In extreme cases, they board up the window so not even a tiny ray of divine light can enter into their consciousnesses. But they're still believers, even if they don't consciously connect with the light, or so says the Sufi acupuncturist.

It's interesting to think about. I brought it up because it has occurred to me that in old age, those of us who have access to faith and therefore to the big picture (through the big picture window), have ways to manage all the feelings that come up: the regrets, the longing for the perfect life none of us ever lived. We faithful have context. It really helps!

My faith is anything but perfect. I wrestle with it all the time, but it's there, strong and abiding even when I flop around. My window is open and the light streams in, whether or not I choose to stand in that light. Some days, for reasons I can not explain, I forget about the light or doubt it. But I know it's there and mostly I'm open to it, even on my most suspicious days. I am so lucky.

I love my atheist friends and completely respect their points of view.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

You can't take it with you

Yesterday I first said there was no such thing as perfection, but in the same sentence I suggested maybe it does exist, but only for a quantum second, about as long as the life span of a Higgs Boson particle. As I typed that sentence, one of my fundamental beliefs shifted before my very eyes. I love it when that happens! There IS such a thing as perfection, but it does not last! Perfection, according to the cosmology of Reya, is fleeting.

Steven Weinberg talked about the Higgs Boson a few years ago, before the breakthrough discovery last year at the Hadron Collider. His talk was named "The Standard Model, Higgs Boson: Who Cares?" I love a sense of humor, don't you? Here's what he says about the lifespan of a Higgs Boson:

Traveling at about half the speed of light, they don’t even make it to a few trillionths of a centimeter. And you have to realize that you get one Higgs particle for every trillion collisions. 

Higgs Boson particles are not built to last - nope. And yet they are called the building block particle of our reality. It's so interesting to think about. Here is a link to the article about Dr. Weinberg's talk.

Is perfection some kind of other-wordly harmonic moment that comes and goes in the blink of an eye in our reality? I wonder.

I'm wondering if perfection really isn't that rare after all. The problem is that it's gone so fast we don't have time to study it, to understand it. We like to understand. Sometimes we don't even have time to enjoy perfection. We look back on it afterwards, realize what has just happened and try to enjoy our memory of it. It's so sad when that happens.

I've experienced perfect moments in relationship with others so many times, on so many different levels. I've also experienced perfection at least a few times anytime I'm walking, taking pictures. I even experience flashes of perfection when cleaning house, only when I'm really in the mood to do a good job. While cooking. While working, oh my yes. I sense many Higgs-Boson producing collisions with clients. Certain works of art, encountered at the perfect time, can trigger the creation of Higgs-Boson particles of perfection. So actually, perfection is always present, Higgs-Boson moment to moment.

These moments come and go so quickly. I'm inspired to redouble my efforts to pay closer attention to the seconds and minutes, as well as the hours and days, of life. I don't want to miss anything. For the remainder of the time I am a part of the Higgs Boson reality, I would like to notice when I'm colliding with perfection.

Am I too ambitious? You tell me. Shalom.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Nature of Desire

Sunday was extremely peaceful at Eastern Market.

Do you harbor a secret or not so secret perfectionism? Almost everyone I know does, which is so interesting, since there is no such thing as perfection. We homo sapiens can imagine perfection though, in spite of overwhelming evidence that it doesn't exist, or if it does, it is ephemeral. If you blink your eyes, you can miss moments of perfection, such as they may possibly appear.

Because perfection is either non existent or only persists for a quantum second, we mostly long for it. No one has a sustained relationship with perfection. No one. Hence, we humans long. We yearn. A taste of perfection is all we need to get hooked into a lifetime of pursuit.

Barbara Kruger, one of my favorite artists. You can buy a tote bag with this printed on it, at the Hirschhorn. A shopping bag, with these words. Ummm ... perfection.

Why do we spend so much time full of longing for the perfect life, love, job, vacation, hairdo, figure, wardrobe, house, car? Surely there must be some reason. Maybe the yearning itself (as opposed to the idea of what will be perfect) helps us or teaches us in some way. Does our yearning for perfection make our lives perfect? Let's see ... oh yeah ... never! So what does it do for us? Why do we persist? Does it make us wiser, kinder, more compassionate? It should, but does it? I have questions.

Today I'm thinking about all the people I know who - at the brink of early old age - wish for their youth again, or for the potential, the myriad possibilities young people have. All of a sudden, in a way never before possible, we are able to see how our lives could have been perfect. As we reach early old age, many of us go through a phase during which we're more desperate than ever for the perfect lives we had a crack at but of course did not not attain. What are we thinking? We should know better by now!

Longing to put old age wisdom to use in a young body is kind of hilarious, also universal and a part of the human psyche since forever. Young bodies are not wise - they can't be, what with the hormonal imperatives at work. Yearning, as a younger person, is very different. We must mate and have children, expand our fiefdoms, climb various social ladders, be good parents and successful businesspeople. Expansion is the energy of youthful yearning. At age 60, we want to go back for a do-over. Because we think now we know how to do it perfectly.

It's not rational.

When I was young, I was always on the make. That's where I put my longing - I invested a lot of time and energy into thinking about and having sex, really: an Awful Lot of Time. I pretended, even to myself, that it wasn't the most important thing, but it was, it really was.

Appalling, yet - I was normal in that regard, or maybe I can just say I was hormonally healthy. Good lord.

Now I'm almost 60. It's so different now. Where should I direct my longing at this point in time? I'm thinking about it.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


In my dream last night, I was in Paris! How exciting to be dreaming of Paris.

What wasn't quite as exciting is that it was my usual dream in which I'm trying to find my way home. Usually when I have this dream I'm somewhere in Northern Virginia, hoping to find a Metro stop or a cab. In last night's dream I remembered I lived "on that street off Rue Buffon, across from the Bois." That street, eh? I was trying to remember the Paris Metro stop closest to my flat. I was all turned around and couldn't get my bearings.

OK - so it was actually a Parisian nightmare, but it's a familiar nightmare and if you have to waste precious dreamtime having a nightmare, the setting should be Paris. Oui? I say oui.

The cold days are coming to and end. Temps are supposed to be up to 60 F. Thursday. At least for a week, we had winter.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

How much is too much woo woo?

Brother Sun

I "like" all the Reiki pages on Facebook. I love reading what other practitioners have to say, what they're working on, and especially I want to see how these people describe Reiki. I have yet to see any language that truly describes it.

One of my favorites is Pamela Miles, someone who has been working to bring Reiki into mainstream medicine for a long time. She is awesome.

As part of a recent conversation on her thread, I mentioned that I give the Washington Monument Reiki (that is, I did before the earthquake. Until they fix it, they won't let anyone close enough to touch it). When I posted that, I received a bunch of blow back about discrediting Reiki by being too weird. One of the other people on the thread said we will never be taken seriously if we're seen as "crystal waving, sage burning" crazies.


I don't wave my crystals, but they are good friends of mine. And do I burn sage? Oh you better believe I do. Before I said that thing about the Washington Monument, I was being praised for other comments I'd posted. They thought I was a Good and Proper Reiki Master. But I crossed a line admitting that thing about the Wa Mo. It was very interesting to feel the cold shoulders once they knew I was a crystal waving, sage burning crazy.

To me, the practice of Reiki is pure shamanism. I wouldn't dare say that to the Reiki people, though. Good lord, no. They would be as indignant as quantum physicists (who I also think of as particularly shamanic.) Listen, up, y'all: From the north pole to the south pole throughout all of history, our species has practiced shamanism. Is there a culture other than ours that has not? Our post-modern, post Enlightenment, overly rational culture is the anomaly. We are the freaks! We are.

I wasted many years feeling embarrassed about being a shaman. I'm so over that. The Reiki people on Facebook, in the aftermath of their shock and distaste at the idea of me giving Reiki to the Washington Monument, got all codependent, yet supercilious in their comments, patronizing me in case I was hurt or offended. Ha ha! Oh my ... how sweet of them, and how very unnecessary.

People are funny, hey? Shalom.

My favorite story about the monument. allegedly true: a shaman from Ecuador visited Washington and was bewildered by much of what he saw. But when he saw the Washington Monument, he smiled. "That's for the Star People," he said. It surely is!

Friday, January 25, 2013

La puissance de la langue française

I'm better than I was last week, I mean I'm not as intimidated by the looming reality of turning 60 as I was. Entering early old age is, as a friend says, an inner journey, or as another friend says, a "tight spot." I'm feeling both of those things! Gulp.

Having a themed 60th is really working for me. My theme: all things French, especially Parisian. I didn't decide to have a theme, but it came up. What is a shaman to do but dance in alignment with the prevailing energy? It can't hurt, and in fact I think it's helping.

I've been listening to songs sung in French, watching French language movies, looking at French websites. French is a fluid language, smooth and wavy. It's an energetic lubricant perfectly suited to moving through life's tight spots. No wonder it's the language of diplomacy! I'm benefitting from the soothing, smoothing sound. It's really helping a lot. Another benefit is that bits and pieces of French are coming back to me. I'm recognizing/remembering words, some of the grammatical structure. It's like remembering a wonderful dream, having tiny bits of French come back to me. It's a gentle form of soul retrieval. Tres amusant.

Yesterday on FB I announced what I want for my birthday: witty repartee and really nice red wine. Witty repartee can not happen when one is alone on the sofa watching movies on the ipad, nor - for that matter - wandering the streets of Paris. Hence I've scheduled a series of lunches and dinners with a variety friends and neighbors. I'm going to get out there a little bit around this birthday. This introvert of introverts is going to engage with people I think are great because that is the one and only way to access witty repartee.

The mundane truth of space/time in our reality makes it impossible to go out for drinks, lunch, and/or dinner with DC friends while simultaneously sitting in a cafe in Paris. Our reality is not the quantum reality, after all and may I say, thank God! My desire for witty repartee is really the only thing keeping me from pressing the "buy ticket" button on the Air France site. It's ridiculous how much I want to be in Paris. The desire to go is unrelenting. But even more than being in Paris, I want to sit down with friends, toast life and friendship, crack a few jokes. That's how I want to come into age 60.

As for Paris, all in good time.

All is well in Washington DC. Shalom.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Nice Time for a Big Chill

Yesterday was a wonderful day, a graceful, lovely day in DC. The inauguration was just right. It was a huge crowd, beyond the critical mass necessary to do the magic of swearing in a president, but there were not so many people that chaos was inevitable, like four years ago. It was cold but not too cold to stay outdoors for hours on end, much warmer than last time.

There was a quiet, calm joyousness and sense of relief up and down the National Mall. Watching Sonia Sotamayor administering Vice President Biden's oath was thrilling. I kept thinking about how things were when I grew up. I would never, not EVER, have imagined such a thing, followed by the swearing in of a black president to his second term. Things have really changed in my lifetime, dramatically.

I've gotten so much more politically realistic since I moved here. One of my FB friends from upstate New York posted a status something like this: "Lovers and haters ... I feel left out. I voted for Jill Stein."

Stein's values are much more in alignment with mine than President Obama's. Once upon a time I would have voted for her, but not now. I know money, power and influence guides politics as much or more than ideology. Is this a surprise to anyone? It's not right or fair, but it is as it is, same as it ever was. If I wait until the blood sport of politics is fair and above board, well, I'll never really be able to participate. When I vote these days, I want to be a part of the deciding energy of these elections. I don't need to idolize my candidate, I just need to basically agree. That said, I completely support - and kind of envy - those who felt OK about voting for Jill Stein.

This country is way too big and diverse to be lead by one elected official. There is no individual who, as president, can satisfy every citizen, or even any citizen. I'm telling you, that job, President of the United States? It sucks!

DC turned dead cold last night, never got above 20 F. today. Tonight it will be even colder, down to 12 F. they say. A hard freeze kills the insects, sets the bulb flowers and brings an enforced stillness to this crazy city. It's an excellent wrap up for an excellent inauguration.

I tip my hat to the weather gods. Thanks, guys.

Onwards and upwards. Shalom.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

I am one with the weather

One of my teachers used to say, "The Sun is everybody's brother." It's interesting, hey? I mean, humans from the north pole to the south pole, throughout history, have worshipped the Sun. The Sun is the life giving force - literally. When European scientists began to understand the Sun as a star among all the billions and billions out there, they were thought heretical, since common wisdom held that sunlight was the light of God. Yeah, THE God. Even within Christianity, the Sun was revered. It wasn't just a pagan thing. And why not? I mean, really?

Like many U.S. citizens of the twenty first century, I believe that God = Sun does not compute. God is algorithmically more complicated than a single star at a singular moment in the history of the Universe. Also, the Sun exhibits distinctly ungodly character traits, for instance the eleven year waxing and waning cycle of his activity, and the reality of his lifespan. God doesn't have a lifespan, but the Sun (and every star) definitely does. God does not wax and wane.

But the Sun is definitely a part of my divine family, a protective older brother, watching over me, shining light into the dark corners, bringing hope and good cheer every morning when he appears in the east. That thing my teacher said, that the Sun is everyone's brother - that resonates. This is why I refer to the Sun as Brother Sun.

After relentless days of fog, heavy, featureless overcasts, stormy clouds that promised but did not produce even one snowflake - yet lingered, hanging heavy over the city - finally - yesterday, Brother Sun ripped through the overcast. I wanted to cheer.

Today Brother Sun entered Aquarius. Everything feels different. Welcome back, Brother Sun! I missed you.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Many Worlds

What is real? I ask that question all the time of myself and others. As a shaman, I regularly travel back and forth through layers of what's real. That's what we do, what we've done everywhere I know about, from the north pole to the south pole, stretching back 100,000 years. Who says prostitution was the first profession? No way. Shamanism was the first profession, definitely.

This is on my mind after reading about David Deutsch, a physicist who created the "Many Worlds" theory. Here's a link to the New Yorker story about his quest for a quantum computer. If you have never read about quantum mechanics, well, you should. If you can find a way to watch the NOVA four part series with Brian Green, do it. He talks down to us, but the series is top notch.

I'm excited that science is reaching into the deep mysteries by locating and observing the quantum reality. What we refer to as "reality" ends at the atomic level, it really does. The way the quantum world behaves is completely crazy - particles are simultaneously in every position at once, entangled, foaming, things jumping around, time going forwards and backwards, good lord. The quantum reality is NOT of our world! No one has been able to square its crazy laws of nature with any of the great overarching theories in the physics of our world - of course. It isn't just small, it is other. That we have the equipment and imagination to detect and observe this other reality is so cool.

In shamanism, our focus isn't so much on proving that these different realities exist. It's our job to travel back and forth, act as messengers, mediators, between the realities.

Theoretical physicists like David Deutsch are more shaman than scientist, if you ask me. I'm certain most of these guys would be indignant as hell at the suggestion, though of course I intend it as the greatest of compliments.

My reality today includes many clients, who will arrive and depart in a recognizable chronological order and lie down, one at a time, on my table. This is a good thing. I love contemplating the unimaginable, I do. That, too, is included in the job description of every shaman. Still, it will be nice to snap out of my Reverie on the Quantum Reality, to work with beings of flesh and blood. Oh yeah.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Sacrificial Lamb Chop

Someone I know died yesterday, suddenly, after a bad headache and a couple of seizures. This is not someone I was close to, but still.

Since I received the news I've been pondering the life force - how powerful it is, powerful enough that the Cedar of Lebanon cone "knew" to slowly open and shatter even though it had not been connected to a living tree for quite a long time.

No matter how strong the life force, the truth is that everything and every one has a life span. When we die is completely out of our hands which might account for why death is so often anthropomorphized. We want to understand, but death is incomprehensible. Usually a "he" (though not always), death is portrayed as the Grim Reaper and by many other names. Frederic March played the part in the 1934 film, "Death Takes a Holiday." Fast forward a few decades: Brad Pitt is death in "Meet Joe Black."

There aren't subtitles in this clip from "The Seventh Seal." Indeed subtitles are unnecessary. What an excellent portrayal of death. Wow.

I could go on, but you get the picture.

As a shaman and philosopher, I often think about death. Since visiting my mother's grave, and with age 60 just around the corner, it has been rather more on my mind than usual. The sudden death I heard about yesterday snapped me out of my deep contemplation of mortality, thank goodness. It's ironic, isn't it? 

Live now, worry about death later, said the Voice in the Shower this morning. Great advice! Hence I'm out of here in a little while to Whole Foods. I'm going to cook all day, including pistachio masala crusted lamb chops, hence the name of this post.

Life is good and I am grateful! Shalom.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Siren Song of Paris

Last night's fog.

As a shaman, I talk to spirits. I talk to individual spirits and souls but also - and often - I address oversouls. I'm talking about a comprehensive energy field that encompasses groups of people. At work I contend with family souls all the time. Do you know what I'm talking about?

All kinds of human communities have souls, including every office and business, all organizations, clubs, also sports teams, orchestras and bands. The Grateful Dead had such a powerful soul that it continues to float around, even though the original members of the band are either now dead or old. If you have ever actually listened to their songs, it's easy to see that the music was not the thing people found/find so compelling. It's the Greatful Dead soul, oh yeah. Souls are powerful and influential, worth paying attention to.

Cities, too, have souls which accounts for the many love songs written about them.

I am an urban person. I love cities and could never be forced to say which is my favorite except moment to moment. Right now I am so in love with Paris. I can't explain why. There's something for me there, some wavelength I feel I need to immerse myself within. Though I'm not going now, will not go alone, I'm quite determined to get there sometime in the next year.

I wish I were there right now, even though it's cold and as gloomy as Paris ever gets, and even considering how lonely I would be. Actually I wouldn't be that lonely, since my friend in London promised he would come over for a day to walk around and take pictures, then drink wine and eat something delicious.

So you see I am still jonesin' for Paris. Good lord. If only I spoke French, maybe I could take a trance journey to speak directly with the soul of the city of light, see what it has to teach me. That would be shamanic armchair travel, hey? Maybe I'll try.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Radio Silence

A friend gave me this magical cone, from a Cedar of Lebanon, of all things. It was tightly closed when she gave it to me. But it began to open, slowly and gracefully, over a period of a few days. Incredible, how powerful the life force is! The other day it popped. Every one of those things on the right side of the pic are Cedar of Lebanon seeds. What should I do with them?


No one who knows anything about me would consider me a woman of few words. Really, no one. Usually I'm like the mighty Mississippi River of words, pontificating and explaining all the Very Fascinating Things I've been thinking about. It's the one thing about me that seems more extraverted than introverted, the way I come into understanding about things through writing and speaking.

Believe it or not, before I write or speak, I spend a lot of time thinking, pondering, wondering, following the meandering paths of imagination, hopping various trains of thought. As a very slow processor of - well - everything, it takes awhile before what's going on becomes word ripe.

One of my friends who, by the way is not yet sixty, called this significant birthday an "inward journey." Perfect words. I'm grateful I didn't have to come up with that language since the word processing center in my brain seems to be on hold at the moment. The meandering path that leads to age sixty is challenging. It feels a little bit like a trek around Annapurna, in my mind/heart at least. There is a swirling in my mind/heart, but the shapes are vague and the colors ever changing. This birthday is potent!

Some friends have expressed concern that the river of words here has inexplicably slowed. All is well. I'm no longer on the verge of buying a ticket to Paris and the idea of getting a dog has been filed in the "Not Right Now" section of my priorities. I wouldn't say I'm exactly balanced again, but I'm getting there, surfing these last few weeks of the year of the Black Water Dragon as best I can.

What I'm doing lately, instead of radiating words, is a lot of cooking. I bought Deb Perelman's excellent Smitten Kitchen cookbook. She's a blogger. The book is written and presented like a blog; of course I love it. She is an excellent photographer as well as cook and writer. The pictures are exquisite. Here's her blog.

Everything I've made from her book so far has been wonderful. Last night I made a gallette of carmalized sweet onions and butternut squash. Absolutely yum. What should I make tonight?

Cooking is the perfect metaphor for my state of mind/heart these days. I'm cooking up a storm. As within, so without.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

To dream the impossible dream, and then - wake up

Roses, in January. It ain't right.

One of my friends (who is 61) told me it's a sign of my emotional maturity that I was able to wake up from my impossible dream of the glamorous and lonely 60th birthday in Paris. I admit I still want to go. It's crazy, but ... oh well.

Today I woke up from another impossible dream. I ran into a neighbor of about my age, out walking her dog. She went on and on about how much she loves her dog and oh my that dog was so sweet. He did that thing of leaning into my leg while I scratched behind his ears. It is such a sweet feeling when dogs do that. When I tried to stop, the dog (whose name is Sandy), howled briefly, leaned harder into my leg. Could I resist that? No, I could not.

Initially I decided it was A Sign that I should get a dog, that a dog - yes - a DOG would in some way distract me from the immanent arrival of my 60th birthday. I parted company with the neighbor and her dog after a prolonged chat, thinking I should start looking for a dog ASAP. Two blocks further into my walk, I ran into another neighbor who preceded to tell me the Very Long Version of her latest vet story, how they wanted to do some special kind of suture on a wound her dog had sustained in the midst of a dog fight at Lincoln Park. She laid out the details of how much it cost her in the aftermath, mentioning almost in passing the trauma of having to break up a horrendous dog fight.

Of course after that I remembered why I actually do not want another pet. Good lord.

I'm so vulnerable right now. I know Brene Brown thinks it's the best thing in the world, but it doesn't work so well for me. When I'm all open hearted and easily wounded as I am at the moment, I can almost talk myself into the craziest courses of action. Almost is the key word.

When I wake up from these impossible dreams, the sense of relief I feel is rather thrilling. Right now is an inauspicious time to decide to do anything dramatic. And yet, I yearn to do just that. I really do.

It's a crazy time, but I'm making my way through it, almost doing crazy shit, almost.

Shalom, y'all, from strange, unnerving and pleasant, summery Washington DC.

Looks like it's wearing a bow tie.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Do the math, Reya

Farragut Square

I had a great internist, but then she retired. I don't blame her.

I've been a little slow to pursue a relationship with a new one even though I believe whole heartedly that if you have already established a rapport with a healer, things go far more smoothly when you actually need them for something.

That truth, and the fact that I'm about to turn 60, spurred me to join a very cool practice and schedule a physical. It won't kill me to bleed into tube, have my blood pressure taken and such, right? In fact I'm curious to see how it goes. In this practice they are committed to spending time with the patients. The fact that this is revolutionary is very sad.

In the past, follow up meetings after exams have gone like this.

Doctor: Your blah-blah is (insert number), but I'd like it to be (insert second number).  
Me: ... Oh. 
Doctor: However, your blah-blah-blah is (insert number). That's a very good number. Etc. More numbers. 
Me: Huh?

When the Sufi acupuncturist talks to me, I understand everything he says, but the western model for medicine, while great in emergencies, is completely bewildering to the likes of me. In emergencies, I don't care that I don't understand, such as when I developed pneumonia a few years ago. I was so happy to swallow the antibiotics. However for the mundane exigencies of regular life, it makes no sense whatsoever - to me.

However I'm going to submit to the exam and when I go back for the numbers, I will smile politely and nod my head, as if any number really means anything in and of itself. Does it? I guess so! The number 60, for instance, has got me scared to death.

It's kind of hilarious, really. I'm beginning to see, from speaking with my many Very Wise friends that this is a tight spot, an inward journey - it is. In a few weeks I'll wonder what the big deal was.

The other thing I'll be feeling in a few weeks is relief that I didn't press the "buy ticket" button on the Air France website. Whew. I'm going to buy a new computer instead, on which I'll actually be able to see my photographs. Thank you Jesus for my ability to wake up from that glamorous, lonely and very expensive dream.

Onwards and upwards. Shalom.

Discarded Christmas tree, shiny car.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

This and that, briefly

In my dream last night I was in a barn yard. There were many kinds of animals milling around, but what I remember looking at were the donkeys. As I prepared to leave the farm, a beautiful turkey approached. The bird was somehow able to hold up one of its feet, as a dog would, to shake hands. Its foot was soft, covered with fine white feathers. What a funny dream.

I wonder if it was inspired by one of Julia Child's cookbooks (which I've been reading and enjoying) or referred to the citizens of Washington DC: donkeys and turkeys. Probably both, yes?

Life in the "real" world is almost as surreal as the dream world. We are experiencing another non-winter in DC. Today and for the rest of this week, through the weekend we will see clear skies and temperatures around 60 F. If this was April, I would be so happy. Except it's January. 

But I'm not complaining. Really, I'm not. Do you believe me?


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Past, Present, Future, Pt. II

This morning, the Voice in the Shower told me, Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. None too original, I know, but it made sense, as it was in response to what I was thinking about while washing my hair.

One of my great teachers posted this on Facebook:

I agree that time is absolutely not linear, but remarked that it isn't this pretty. But she says it is, from a distance. Actually she was careful to say time, from a distance, is beautiful, not so much pretty. Hence the Voice in the Shower's remark is interesting. How can she behold time from a distance? Here's what she said:

"At the end of Chaucer's Troilus, after five volumes of much happiness and much dreadful grief, the dead Troilus ascends to the 7th sphere (I think it's the 7th) and looks back on the earth and laughs. That's where I'm at."

She's a professor of medieval literature, so she gets away with saying shit like this. Still, I wondered, How Does She Know? Because she is currently embodied, living within time. I guess so was Chaucer. 

I can't imagine time as beautiful right now, probably won't be able to for at least a few weeks. I'm closing in fast on age 60 and in a bit of a tizzy about it. I realize, as the Spokesperson for the Fabulousness of Aging, I'm not supposed to be freaking out.

My current strategy is to go with the flow of this tizzy. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. A friend of mine who turned 61 last fall says it was a tight spot, passing through to age 60, but afterwards, things settled down and she hardly thinks about it now. She said she is enjoying life, and hopes to linger a bit longer.

I'm going to try to hang on to that piece of wisdom because I, too, hope to linger a bit longer in this beautiful, crazy, troubling, intoxicating, endlessly fascinating thing we call life. Oh yeah.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Indeed!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Back to Square One

I have a notebook in which I write by hand, in pencil, everything I believe is best not said aloud, ever, not to anyone. When the notebook is full, I shred and recycle it. You wouldn't believe the things I hear in the treatment room. I also pencil thoughts I consider to be potentially embarrassing. For instance, just the other day I wrote, 'I don't want to grow old alone.'

Right after that I decided the best way to turn sixty (which is, in my mind at least, the beginning of early old age) would be to pay what is a fortune for me so as to come of early old age in the presence of a bunch of hauty Parisians. If that isn't the absolute essence of growing old alone, I can not imagine what is.

I want to make sixty very special but I keep thinking of honoring this important birthday in terms of what is customary in our society. First I thought I would have a party, until a friend quickly disavowed me of the urge by reminding me how much I hate parties. I really do.

My next least favorite activity is traveling. Hence, though romantic and cinematic as an idea could ever be, this plan to go to Paris for a few days was ill conceived.

I knew the second I woke up this morning that Paris for my birthday sounded right, looked great and glamorous on paper and received a tremendous groundswell of support among my friends. Except it would be all wrong for me, the person I actually am.

Paris is off the table until after my sister retires later this spring (she is very interested in going). I sent my passport in for renewal anyway. It's a good idea to be ready to flee the country at a moment's notice, but it won't be Paris for my birthday. Unless I change my mind again.

I know I am very odd. At least I'm funny.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

All signs point to allez

Above the clouds on the way back from Kansas City a couple of weeks ago.

Happy new year. Welcome 2013.

Believe it or not, and I don't quite believe it, I'm thinking seriously about going to Paris for my 60th. It's ridiculously extravagant. I live low on the food chain; it is rather insane to even consider this idea, but I am, I really am.

The idea is as compelling as it is irrational. I would rent a tiny apartment (they all are) with a kitchen so I could indulge in the spiritual experience of buying and cooking French food. Grocery shopping is one of my favorite things, but in Paris it is a transcendent experience. The last time I was there, in the early 2000s, my aunt sent me out to buy a few things at an épicerie around the corner from her apartment. It was one of the best parts of my visit.

I know, I am so weird.

I have no interest in rushing all over the city to tourist destinations. What I want to do is ... no drum roll needed ... walk around and take pictures. I want to sit in cafes and listen to people speaking French, I want to connect with that ancient, earthy culture. I'd like to eat some shrimp with their heads still intact, drink wine, oh and drink coffee. Coffee is another transcendent Parisian experience.

If possible, I mean, if I can find it, I would like to visit my aunt's grave, after which I would pack my things and get back on the airplane, home to DC. Is it crazy? Is this urge of mine an early-old-age crisis similar to a mid-life crisis? You tell me.

I did find a RT airfare that is no more money than it would cost to visit my sister in Oregon. So far I have not had the nerve to click the "buy ticket" button on the Air France website. But I did find my passport.

There are so many other things I could be thinking about.

Turning sixty is huge, good lord. Comments on my last post from others my age confirm that this birthday is a serious rite of passage, not just for me. I have a very short bucket list of places I would like to visit before I die. I hate traveling, as a rule. But I would really like to see Paris again.

So what am I waiting for? Age 70? 80? It feels like now or never, but I am the dramatic type, hence I am going to think this through just a little longer before making the commitment.

I have to decide tomorrow, because I need to renew my passport and if I'm going I need to study, find a place to stay, figure out how to get from the airport and such. Every time I think about this possible trip, I smile widely, inadvertently. When I imagine being there, a nice chill runs up and down my spine. The body never lies. I really want to go. But ...

Oui ou non? I'm going to sleep on it. Morning is always more clever than evening.