Over I don't know how many days
I've written down a gratitude, something I'm appreciative about,
and shoved it in a big canning Ball jar.
Now it is full.
It is full.
Even during these hard days,
I've found enough to be grateful for
to fill a giant jar.
I asked a friend what I should do with all these slips of paper,
all these little words on little scraps of paper
detailing people, experiences, things about myself
for which I am grateful.
Burning it didn't feel right.
Burning seems more about releasing (and sometimes destroying) to me.
(Don't get me wrong, those that know me know I love burning things).
She told me to bury them,
to plant those seeds of gratitude
and watch them grow.
I have a giant redwood tree
that stands far, far above our house
that I will be planting them under.
I think I will start to do this with wishes too.
And then set about refilling the jar.
If you could do anything today, what would you do?
Where would you go?
Who would you spend time with?
Would you be alone?
Would you be with animal, humans,
or in nature?
If you could paint, anything you wanted,
what would it be?
Which colors would you choose?
Would it be on a canvas,
on a wall,
on a building?
What would you paint?
If you could speak to someone you miss,
what would you say?
What would those words be?
Would they be full of love, of anger? Of both?
Would you ask for wisdom?
Or offer it?
If you could write the words
that needed to be written,
what would those words be?
Which would you choose?
What would your message say?
If you could show yourself kindness,
what would you do?
What would you say to yourself?
How would you treat yourself,
what offerings would you give yourself
to replenish your heart and spirit?
I would like to know.
To quietly listen
as you observe what is in your heart
and allow yourself
to color your own palate.
I have been making wishes.
LOTS of wishes.
I thought they were just for birthdays
a few wishes a year.
Less than a handful.
But a friend told me
about something called the
"Grandaddy Power Period",
when, based on our individual
astrological time period,
our power, influence and wishes are strongest.
Mine is happening right now, and lasts for about 26 days.
I get at least 26 wishes.
That doesn't sound like a lot,
but when you're trying to be thoughtful,
it starts to feel overwhelming
in a good way.
I wrote down a wish the other day,
(I'm writing a wish every day)
wishing to not forget all that I have learned since March 13, 2020.
But, what have I learned?
I've learned that what happens in the world
directly impacts me, even if I try to avoid it.
How connected we all are, even with our
disagreements, we are so connected.
We all must matter to each other.
I've learned that the most important things in life
do not include work.
Or job titles.
Or working longer hours than everyone else.
Or throwing yourself on the sword
to keep work going, to the detriment of yourself.
That the work ships keep going with or without you,
and that is a good thing.
I've learned how much I love my family,
and how much more time I want to spend with them.
I've learned that bodies are fragile,
that hearts are more fragile,
but there is actually a lot of strength acknowledging
that fragility, and it needs to be respected and protected.
I've learned how the system works,
and how terribly broken it is.
I've learned that I know nothing.
I've learned how hard I fight myself,
fight with myself, fight with the Universe
over how I think things should be
instead of surrendering to how things are.
I've learned that I can walk away from anything
that does not deeply resonate with me.
I can give up on things,
and that is okay.
I've learned that I get stuck.
Stuck in a rut. Stuck in time.
Stuck in a sick body.
Stuck in letting go.
Stuck in the idea that I have control.
Stuck in the idea that how I feel today
is how I will feel forever.
I've learned that I cannot
allow my pain to hold me back.
I am complete as I am.
I am complete as I am.
I have learned that life and people
can actually make you sick,
suck you dry,
if you allow that.
I have learned about energy vampires.
Woo. Those suckers can be nasty.
I have learned that I was a cool kid,
and that kid still lives inside me,
I am still her.
And she is still me.
I am trying to connect with her more,
invite her to play. It is hard,
but she is worth it.
I have learned the importance
And spreading hope to others.
I have learned how to ask for help.
I've learned that I need to be
more gentle with myself.
I need to speak real, true,
kind words to myself.
I've learned that death can come
death does come
to those we love. And we have to accept it.
It will come for me too, but not today.
I've learned that I can redefine my dreams.
That I can release myself from shame.
That I can use the power of gentleness
of my spirit to heal my wounds,
other people's wounds.
I've learned to soften,
to be like the warm summer breeze,
sunny and caring,
to stop pushing so hard
to get others to change
and to love them as they are.
And myself too.
I've learned that my old life is over,
change has come,
the winds are blowing in a new direction,
and I will to go where the strong breeze invites.
As you wake each day
wondering what lays ahead in the hours between
stepping your feet down to the floor
and tucking in back under the covers
before the day has moved ahead
on it's own timetable
and you wonder
how you will navigate
your way through
other people's needs, wants and ideas
Think first of yourself
That is the foundation from which
your true path will reveal itself
Pull yourself from complacency
and ground, bury your roots deep
in the rich earth
in the connections between all things
This life-force energy
must be taken and cradled
with sobriety and sincerity
as you observe
if you are standing tall in your dreams
or trying to conform to someone else's
If there is sadness
and powerlessness to uncouple
from a lost dream
it is time to walk away from
that does not intensely
beat with your heart
Let go of the shame
release and be free
It’s a New Moon tonight.
The beginning of a cycle.
I love beginnings.
I’ve been down in the deep, deep dark again,
but I can feel the shift.
I’m starting to recognize this cycle,
up and down, and back up.
I don’t go down as deep now.
But this shift,
I feel the abundance
to the point that I am making wishes.
Because I can feel the potential transformation
that portal door opening again.
Opening all the possibilities,
all the goodness that life brings.
All I have to do is keep getting up
and to keep looking
for the goodness.
I flew on a plane the other night,
got to watch the sun set over the horizon.
And then, to the left,
a thunderstorm exploded below.
Flashes of lightening
like fine thread
full of fire, light, life.
I took it as a good omen
like the Universe was putting on a show just for me.
Reminding me to try to stay on high.
We flew around it, then down, down, into the dark.
It was beautiful.
I wonder what lays ahead?
What other beautiful moments
will I be lucky enough to capture?
I am grateful to still be here.
Grateful for each moment, each feeling.
I'm processing (again).
I took a test a few weeks ago,
called the "Speech-Language Pathology Evaluation".
It's typically a test that they administer to people with traumatic brain injuries.
People with dementia, Parkinson's, Alzheimers, etc.
It rates you on things like
Basically, it's a test that gives you a score on your overall cognition.
I knew my brain was messed up over the last month.
I've hit a rough patch after significant improvements,
and I can feel my brain backsliding so quickly it's alarming.
I can't remember things, I have to prep for another healing trip,
packing, trying to teach the kids,
trying to remember to take care of myself, it's overwhelming.
My face hurts, my head hurts. Everything hurts.
Who wants to know my scores? No one?
Too bad. Here's what my brain looks like right now:
Informal Observations from my clinician:
-I can only remember 3 out of 10 words that were repeated 4x. Words like cabbage, metal, ladder, etc.
-I have difficulty recalling 30 word short summary of a story about a house on fire.
-I could only name 17 total fruits and vegetables with fair to diminished thought organization (e.g., as opposed to stating all berries, all big fruits, all oranges- often mixed items around). Normally people can recall 25-30, in order of group, rather than a scattershot.
-Trying to read coding and repeat what I saw was impossible (think standard eye exam but they take the image away for a second and you tell them what you saw)
-I could not find basic words for things like pliers (I said wrench instead, and I know my tools)
-I had a breakdown at 5 numbers for a multi-digit span, a list of numbers that I was supposed to repeat.
-During figure drawing section I missed the square and reoriented the three small circles
I'm 41 years old.
Total Scale: Average Index score is between 110-119.
Beth Martin's Index score: 80; percentile rank of 9 - indicated below average performance.
BELOW AVERAGE. HOW. WHY COVID, WHY.
What happened to my body that deprived my brain of what it needs?
Was there a blood clot?
Am I not getting oxygen?
What is wrong with my brain to the extent that I cannot THINK?
For someone that used to pride myself on my quick moving brain,
I can't even compute this.
I can barely compute folding laundry.
They have me playing memory games,
apps, reciting fruits and vegetables while I drive in the car,
I'm supposed to categorize them.
I don't even know how to categorize fruits and vegetables right now.
They told me I need more rest.
I made a sweatshirt. It says "Bardo College",
I got it in the mail today.
So here I am, going to my own made up college
with no brain.
A college made up of Tibetan traditions,
a reminder that I am constantly in this state of reality of being in-between.
I'm trying hard not to cling to this as a diagnosis,
trying to hold out hope for my next stem cell treatment,
trying to do the brain exercises.
Trying to be ok with in-between.
Testing my oxygen levels at certain times of day.
I can do this, I know I can do this.
I will heal. I will. I know it.
I don't even have the energy to reach out to my beloved friends.
I am so goddamn tired.
I wish I could speed up my healing.
I good friend Lynn always tells me that I was sick for a long time
so it will take me a long time to heal.
I get tired of being tired.
I get tired of whining all the time.
I get tired of feeling sick every day.
I get tired of trying new drugs, new treatments, the amounts, the dosages, trying to find the magic balance.
I get tired to trying to figure out which symptom is from which disease that I have.
I get tired of having to depend on other people all the time.
I get tired of having to take baths instead of showers, to soak my aching body in epsom salts.
I get tired of reading and listening to books about being groundless, being in-between, and accepting it.
I get tired of constantly trying to surrender to where I am in each moment.
I get tired of continuing to uncover more about myself, which means more work I need to do on myself.
I get tired of not being able to be show up for those that I love in ways that they deserve.
I get tired of being in quarantine all the time.
I get tired of knowing that I worry those that I love.
I get tired of having to make decisions about my children's safety, which means we are always at home.
I get tired of never leaving the house.
I get tired of COVID.
I get tired of the daily ups and downs, never knowing when I'm going to have an anxiety attack.
I get tired of how unpredictable my body continues to be, no matter how I try to support it.
I get tired of being abandoned by my government when I am at my most vulnerable.
I get tired of having a disease that is so new, no one knows what to do with me.
I get tired of all the doctor appointments, therapy appointments, speech therapy appointments, physical therapy appointments, MRI appointments, CT scan appointments.
I get tired of seeing how my illnesses impact my family that I love so dearly.
I get tired of being hard on myself.
I get tired of being disappointed in people that I thought were my forever people.
I get tired of not sleeping.
I get tired of being scary underweight.
I get tired of not being able to eat the things I love (cheeeeese)
I get tired of days without sun.
I get tired of seeing the life I had, the person I was, and the person I am now.
I get tired of constantly reflecting on my past.
I get tired of crying.
I get tired of not being able to find my gratitude.
I get tired of feeling like I am always disappointing people.
I get tired of trying.
I get tired about being afraid about my future. Will I have a future?
I am tired.
I awoke to darkness
the other morning
after an unexpected full night of slumber
made my coffee
and decided to sit outside
while the dog woke up
and said her hellos to nature.
Normally I would be hurrying
hurrying to do yoga before
the house begins to stir
hurrying to read
and maybe write a bit
hurrying to make breakfast
for the humans and animals
that inhabit our small but loved house.
But I took my warm cup
and stepped outside
into the fresh, crisp air
of summer turning to fall
and interrupted an owl
who was scooping up a squirrel.
I interrupted nature.
The owl flew to a tree
trying to find purchase
for it's talons
but there were no branches
it was so clumsy
so it flew to another tree
farther from the squirrel.
I just stood there
watching as the squirrel
dragged itself into a clump of ivy
curled up and hid
and the owl looked nervously around
as the sun began to come up
shaping the clouds into
streams of magenta brilliance.
And I was grateful for that moment
for pushing away the hurrying
to be present in those few breaths
to see the creatures
living their lives
and to feel part
of the turning of the world
and the essential
beating heart of the wild.
I was driving.
I was going to breakfast with friends - I was in college.
My friend Jess called me on my cell phone.
"Someone hit the World Trade Center in New York"
she told me. "A plane".
I immediately thought of my family - my Dad was from Brooklyn
(As Spike Lee calls it "Da People's Republic of Brooklyn)
and half of my family lived in New York or New Jersey.
Working on the Circle Line, the Staten Island Ferry, in the city.
Oh my God.
We got to the restaurant. We sat.
There was a small black and white television that the restaurant had set up.
It had the volume up, but my ears didn't work.
We all sat in silence, this room filled with people, everyone at tables,
food sitting uneaten.
We watched as the 2nd tower was hit.
And the Pentagon.
We watched in horror as the towers collapsed.
I was in shock.
We all were.
I know you were too.
I remember getting home, and calling my Dad.
My hands were shaking.
I was so worried about him,
about how this would make him feel.
I used to cry when he would cut himself and I saw blood.
And I knew this would feel similar to him,
seeing his beloved New York being cut, blood spilling.
"This feels so weird, this feels so weird, this feels so strange"
he just kept saying over and over and over.
It was a roommate's birthday. We did not celebrate.
We all just sat and watched the television in such disbelief.
It was odd, being so far away, on the other side of the country,
on the West coast. Something so horrifying,
this distance made it feel worse. Or easier. I don't know.
I wanted to be with my East coast family,
to grieve with them, to hug them.
So much changed as a result of 9/11.
Some bad, some good.
It's always hard to rectify the good out of such a tragedy,
but it is there.
I think of the families most impacted today.
Of my Uncle that still can't talk about watching the towers fall.
Of visiting the 9/11 memorial with my beloved East coast family
as we were grieving the death of my Dad.
Watching the water cascade down,
thinking of the towers that went down
and the people that went down.
And I think of how people came together
in the early days of the aftermath.
I wish this sense of unity for us now,
as we battle where we are today in this world,
and everything feels so divided.
I wish that the pain those friends and family members feel
is eased knowing that we grieve with them,
that there are heroes (like Jon Stewart) that continue to fight
for the rights of those that were on the front lines,
those now with cancer, those who are still sick
because they made the choice to help.
Those that died that day, those that died after.
In Buddhism, they call the "space between" Bardo.
This word describes the passage of space and/or time between death and rebirth.
Not everyone believes in rebirth, and that is ok.
But this idea of Bardo - this in-between place, I like it.
I think we can take the idea further.
Everything is Bardo.
Each day has a beginning and an end.
Each activity has a beginning and an end,
and then we move on to the next action,
the next moment.
Eating lunch, I start, eat, finish, and the meal is over.
That experience is over, those minutes are over, in the past.
And then I move to the next activity.
Our lives, the consistency of the regular metamorphosis,
each day is a new day.
Bringing new beginnings and endings.
Sometimes, I want to wallow in the anguish of nostalgia,
and I allow myself to do that now.
I no longer run from it, all the memories.
I cannot run from it.
It caught up with me.
And so I grant my soul that time.
I have to, or else it comes out in other ways.
I've learned (and keep having to re-learn)
that I cannot control everything
(but not for lack of trying).
So I try mightily
with each sunrise and sunset
to think of Today as Bardo.
I do not know how each day will begin
I do not know what will happen in these in-between
moments of both fleeting and eternal hours.
I cannot control all of the pieces,
and that leaves me sometimes feeling bottomless,
and so I will let it be.
And that is enough.
I do not know.
I do not understand.
I was wrong.
I am sorry.
I made a mistake.
I am lonely.
I am angry.
I don't remember.
I am confused.
I am sad.
I don't want to.
I am uncomfortable with what you said.
That hurt my feelings.
This is goodbye.
I cannot help.
I need help.
I miss you.
You have 2 adorable grandbabies here, and I miss you.
We have such a happy life, and I miss you.
I love my family and I miss you.
I love my life, and I miss you.
I know you're there, looking out for me.
I talked to a psychic today, and she said that you are here, around me and protecting me.
She said that we are soulmates, and have had past lives together,
and we are destined to be separated in each life. So, here we are again I guess.
She said things that made total sense, and said things that I've said to myself but no one else.
She said that losing you was my biggest fear, (true),
that you and I have a special connection (true)
and that we are soulmates (true).
She said that you were feeling isolated, and when I was born,
you found that special connection.
I feel that same connection, which is why it was so brutal when you died.
She said that I'm allowed to be angry at you for not telling me you were sick,
and that you are sorry that I wasn't allowed to have that time with you,
to help you and process the path that you were on.
She said that there is a beautiful turquoise light that separates us,
and that you are here, and are waiting to help me and communicate with me.
She said that you are trying to connect with me through bird energy.
She said that I don't need to worry about Kaye and Mom, that you are taking care of them.
She said that when you died, I thought I was dying, and that is why I'm having trauma.
Because we were/are so close.
She said more beautiful and true things, but I can't remember them all.
And I miss you.
And I love you.
Like, a cheapskate. I don't really like shopping,
I'm not a fan of "stuff", I remember when
Oregon was on fire last year, and we were in stage 3
evacuation "be ready to go at any moment",
looking around the house trying to figure out
what was essential to take. There were about 5 things.
3 of those things included my husband and 2 children.
I don't like buying things, spending money, and for that reason,
I NEVER would have spent $2,500 to learn to scuba dive.
My sister got certified, I was impressed, but the
idea of classes, studying, dive charts, it all seemed too much.
Too much studying, too much money. No, nah. Not for me.
But then, well, then I started dating a scuba diving instructor.
And he said he would certify me for FREE.
Magic word, that word. FREE. Free means a lot of things to me.
A lot of things to you too.
In this particular instance,
free meant I was going to get something for nothing.
It also meant I was going to allow myself
to be free enough to trust another human
to train me how to breath underwater at great depths.
Not something that ever would have been on my radar.
Then I realized the freedom that could come from
being able to literally dive, and spend time
in our underwater world. I love the ocean. So, why not?
And, those of you who have been diving with Mike, you know.
He's not in it to be tough, he doesn't tell every dive boat operator
that he has probably 4k dives under his belt, and has
done some of the most difficult diving in the world.
He doesn't talk about tri-mix diving, combining
oxygen, helium and nitrogen to be at greater depths for longer.
He never talks about being an Aquanaut (it's a real thing!)
or how he lived in an underwater habitat for 2 weeks doing research.
He doesn't care about any of that stuff, even though those
are things I'm VERY proud of him for doing, for having that level
adventurousness in him. He never tells anyone these things.
So I get to! Like how he has a big bright pink weight belt he always uses.
He keeps using it because he says no one will ever steal a pink weight belt.
So far, he's right. And there he is, swimming like a pro, with his
gorgeous pink belt.
And for those of you who have been diving with Mike, you know,
he plays a lot of pranks. It's all about laughing and having fun.
Which I guess is why I ended up in Victoria BC, in a 6 mil suit,
jumping off of Ogden point in 35 degree water.
It wasn't glamorous. But, he had snacks, water, we took our time.
2 dives, I had to be underwater for a certain amount of time.
I had to take off my mask and get it back on my face.
I had to not FREAK OUT. He taught me all the hand signals
(my favorite is the one for "Big Fucking Deal" for those starry
eyed divers when they see a sea turtle, I'm still that diver,
ask me and I'll show you the secret hand signal).
To pass the time underwater, we we running my dive drills,
and he found a dungeness crab, it is a species of crab that inhabits
eelgrass beds and water bottoms on the west coast of North America.
They are big. Eating size. But kind of slow and dopey, compared
to the blue crabs that I grew up with on the East coast.
To pass the time, we played dungeness crab volleyball. That crab was so pissed.
This was the start of my diving journey, and I've never looked back.
Mike always thinks things through, and has 5 reasons for
every decision that he makes. That is not an exaggeration.
He took me to Victoria, in those frigid waters, because he knew
if I could dive there, I could dive anywhere.
And so, we started diving EVERYWHERE.
At one point, we ended up on this tiny atoll
which is a ring-shaped reef, or island made from undersea volcanos.
We were somewhere in the middle of the South Pacific, the Tuamotus.
"Tua" means "far", "motu" means "island".
They told us we were going to on a drift dive, which is where you
just ride the current, you let the ocean take you.
If you get your buoyancy just right, it feels exactly what I imagine
flying would feel like. I didn't use my fins, nor my arms to swim,
I just let the current take me - it was fast, it moved quickly,
I felt like Peter Pan, flying over London. Except I was underwater,
and London was populated with turtles, sharks, and colorful coral.
It felt amazing.
I would like to think of my life more in terms of what it felt like to be in that current,
letting myself relax, and just be taken along by something bigger than myself.
I feel the need to do this more and more, to just let go, and to know
that something more substantial than myself is carrying me along.
I don't know where I am going, but I feel more at ease now,
relaxing into this concept of really trying to surrender to
the reality of who I am, where I am, what I am.
And it's ok to not know where the current is taking me,
I can just trust I am being carried.
So I will keep trying to just freaking SURRENDER.
I am the breath
and the breath is me
God bless the breath
and God bless me
I have a lot to say, a lot to process.
I don't know where to start.
It has been a hard week, but a good week.
We tried camping with my side of the family,
and all awoke to rain at 2:30 in the morning,
so we ended up at my Mom's beach house.
Normally, I cannot handle change,
it is hard on my mental health.
Even little changes throw me off,
it's been frustrating.
But I did ok with plan B,
I just wanted a normal weekend
with my sister, her husband,
my niece and nephew.
And I got it, just not the way I thought it would look like.
It was wonderful. To be able to step into the
role of being the aunt that the kids deserve.
It doesn't sound like much, but it is a
HUGE deal to me.
A few months ago, being around that level
of happy chaos would have put me into
the anxiety attack spiral that would throw
me into a encephalitis migraine, all my symptoms
would wake up, and I'd
be back in bed, in the dark for a week.
But not this time.
I'm working on listening to my body,
trying to understand its natural rhythm.
And what I'm learning, is that it is very slow.
I'm learning that I take on too much,
to the detriment of myself, which impacts my family.
And myself, I guess. I'm not good at putting myself first.
I don't like doing too much, having too much to do,
being over-scheduled, I can have 1 activity a day.
The stressors of life that we are all dealing with,
virus, vaccine, mask, lockdowns,
these giant divides between us all,
I FEEL IT, the uncertainty, the anger, it is so overwhelming,
it makes me not want to leave the house.
I can feel people looking at me as I wear my mask everywhere,
assuming that I'm an unvaccinated hippy who doesn't believe
this virus exists, or I'm trying to prove some kind of point.
Not that I'm immunocompromised, and cannot afford to get sick.
I do not have the choices that others get to have.
It is frustrating to see, to feel.
I still have rampant anxiety,
I'm still having to take medication for it during the day and at night.
I feel weak having to take medication to calm myself.
But this is where I am at. My body is so messed up,
it cannot calm itself.
I have what they call "co-morbidities",
Epstein Barr Virus, Fibromyalgia, and Long-Covid.
I don't know how all of these play into the anxiety,
and I don't like thinking of the amount of time
I spend trying to dissect which disease is causing what symptom.
It's really annoying, I really dislike it.
It was the New Moon the other night,
so I pulled an animal medicine card
to help give me direction for the next month.
The card I pulled was the Bat, which is funny,
since this was the one thing in the world
my Dad was afraid of. I remember my Aunt Dot
teasing my Dad when we saw a bat, she named him
"Chippy the Bat" and made us all laugh so hard.
I still call them all Chippy.
The Bat signifies rebirth,
bathed in the mystery of Mesoamerican tribal ritual,
they tell the legend of the Bat.
It has been cherished and worshipped as
medicine of the Aztec, Toltec, Tolucan and Mayan peoples.
It signifies shamanic death and rebirth.
I think that I have been going through my own process
of death and rebirth, the process of being totally stripped of ego,
all that I thought I was, and having to fall back
on humility and determination.
To say it has been a hard process...does not do this experience justice.
But I don't have the words.
I told my sister about the card, and she said:
"I was glad to read that since it is about transitions.
Bat is here to make this change as smooth as possible
and ease you through any associated pain."
So, I have that going for me.
I'm going to sit outside tonight at dusk,
and watch the bats awaken. And think on this time
of metamorphosis, and of all those who keep
these ancient teachings alive and accessible,
and all we can learn
from the animal kingdom that surrounds us.
I am so grateful.
I think yoga has saved my life multiple times.
I first started doing yoga in high school
before drama class started each day,
although I didn't know I was doing yoga then.
I thought we were just warming up our bodies.
But, in the tumultuousness of high school, I'm sure that
it helped me grow from an adolescent to an adult.
I remember making choices that were more mature than I was,
who I wanted to be friends with, where I wanted to spend my time,
what was out of my comfort zone, keeping myself out of trouble,
what interests I wanted to focus on.
I think this is because of yoga.
When my Dad died in 2007, I was in so much pain I thought I was dying too.
I remember holding my breath, hoping to stop breathing,
hoping to die so I could be with him.
But I knew it wasn't my time, my turn.
So I started doing yoga every day, crying, not crying,
feeling strong, feeling desperate, feeling empty.
My yoga mat had so many tears, so much grief,
and it helped me to center myself, it took away some of the
early pains of grief. Those pains rock the body and soul like no other.
You don't know until you know.
After 2 miscarriages and 2 pregnancies, my body was a mess.
My hormones were like a tennis ball, volleying back and forth,
they don't tell you the strength that hormones have on the body.
How your body goes from growing a human, and then switches
to feeding a human. That hormone switch is powerful.
The emotions are heightened, everything feels new and exciting,
scary and the stakes seem so high, this tiny human who needs you,
who you are trying to keep alive.
I didn't know how to handle it, so I did yoga.
I loved the daily practice, yoga, then coffee, then hanging with
my 2 sweet babies. I started to really recognize the impact it
was having on healing my aching body, clearing my thoughts,
centering my heart. So I wanted to go deeper.
I set a goal for myself - if I did yoga every day for a year,
I would go and get my 200 hour yoga teacher training.
And in 2019, I did it. 2 weeks in a sweaty jungle, meeting
wonderful people, and learning all about the Yoga Sutras,
which are a collection of Sanskrit aphorisms on the theory
and practice of yoga.
There are 196 total sutras, and they were compiled
sometime between 500 BCE and 400 CE.
And boy, did that blow the lid off my stacks, learning and
applying those ancient texts and practices for my own life.
It's funny, how this yoga thread that has woven itself through
most of my life seems to have lead me to right where I am now.
This has truly been one of the most difficult periods of my life.
Even when I was SUPER sick, I would make myself get out of bed
and do at least 1 sun salutation each day, even thought I could
barely think, barely move, I did it.
And now, as I heal, I am doing a little more each day, and
continue to go deeper, reading more about the essence of
yoga, diving into each sutra, re-reading all my homework
from yoga training.
I feel that it's given me a foundation during such difficult times.
It helps my mind, body and soul when I don't know what to
do for those 3 elements of my being, yoga does it for me.
As long as I show up on the mat. I am so grateful to have
this practice now so deeply ingrained in my. life, and am
indebted to those that have carried this knowledge from
the dawn of civilization, to help us all where we stand right now.
So, I will keep going. And thank all of those in Northern India
all of those thousands of years ago, and those that have carried this
It is an honor to be able to practice, and to honor those that
have come before. And to have gratitude for what has
become the most stabilizing force in my life.
I love listening to Ajijic waking up.
First are the chickens, the breeze.
Then thunder and lightening,
so loud and fast it reminds me of
being in the deep jungles of Costa Rica.
"Where are the Howler Monkeys"?
Yesterday a friend brought over a
Quantum Steel Drum. or a Tongue Drum.
I had never seen one before.
He had one, and a gift for a friend
for his birthday.
We sat, listening to them play,
watching the late afternoon set in,
feet in the pool, listening to the
480 hertz this drum was singing
into our souls.
Listening to it is like meditation,
playing it is also like meditation,
but with action - your body
in the act of creating something
that silences your inner demons,
those negative voices.
And for a few minutes,
you just hear the clearness of
yourself, the Universe, the
people you have surrounded
How amazing we can tune a sound
that will literally put a song in your soul.
"Learn everything you can, my dear. What is part of you, what you have already transmuted in this life, that wisdom, when you reincarnate again, you will be born with it and it will take you to help others. How many lives depends on you to get you to this point. "
- Mariola Arteseros - My Akashic Records Provider
I am not a good sleeper.
I have never been a good sleeper.
I remember being in bunk beds, on the lower bunk, sobbing before bed.
Seeing things standing in my doorway, knowing things were under the bed,
(I still see and know these things are there, how do you explain that to your children),
my Dad rubbing my back, for hours, just saying my name over and over and over again
until I would cry myself to sleep. I can still feel his hand on my back.
Then they would let me fall asleep in a sleeping bag on their bed,
and carry me back in my bed after I'd fallen asleep.
I'd wake up, grab my sleeping bag and head to the floor in my parent's room
I wonder how many nights I've slept on the floor in my life?
As I got bigger, I would sleep in their closet. This was probably middle school.
When my Grandma and Grandpa would visit, I loved it, because it meant
I would get to sleep in my parents closet for 2 WHOLE WEEKS.
I have journals from high school, 16 years old, writing about how
I couldn't find sleep. I couldn't stay asleep. Where was the sleep.
Meeting with therapists to talk about my sleep problems,
which were exacerbated after my Dad died, when I just wanted to die.
They asked me what I would think about before falling asleep at night.
"I think about all of the people I love dying", I answered.
"That is not normal." They responded.
I thought it was? Doesn't everyone lay down and then have the rush
of all of the things they fear the most come at them like a train with no conductor?
Or is it just me?
With COVID, it has gotten much worse. I have to take a lot of drugs to sleep...
Mike jokes that I'm like a 300lb man when it comes to what I need to take
in order to do a hard shut down on my body, so that I can rest, so I can heal.
It's an embarrassing cocktail, a little of this, a little of that,
some nights it works, others it doesn't. I remember having to call in sick
at least once a month, so little sleep I couldn't drive myself to work.
So, I'm very familiar with the "witching hour".
"In folklore, the witching hour or devil's hour is a time of night that is associated with supernatural events, whereby witches, demons and ghosts are thought to appear and be at their most powerful."
Who knows why this is the time of night when I'm up and around?
It feels natural and normal for me now, finally, to be awake while the diurnal slumber.
I know I am awake with the owls, the beavers, the bats. And those in between worlds.
Sometimes I even enjoy the time when everything is at it's most quiet.
I will sometimes stand outside for a few minutes and listen to the nothing.
I like hearing the nothing.
Other times I feel complete and utter frustration,
knowing that I have things to do the next day, and my anger and anxiety
just climbs, climbs, climbs. And then I am just up, starting my day at 2:30am.
Knowing that the rest of the day will be a struggle, tears, maybe a nap,
(naps are as hard as getting to sleep at night, equally frustrating when the
naps don't come),
and I hate this insomnia I have been saddled with in those moments.
I don't hate many things about myself, but this is one thing I would
love to let go.
It's becoming something I have just accepted, which is interesting,
there are so many other things I fight to accept, refuse to concede.
Always fighting the surrender.
Maybe I am meant to be one of the crepuscular animals of the world,
most active during the dusk and dawn, the twilight hours.
I long to wake and sleep with the natural rhythm of the world.
But maybe I am not part of the natural rhythm of the world.
1998 was the year I graduated high school,
and it was the year that I spread my wings and started to fly
towards college in a small town in Oregon called Corvallis.
I was the last child to leave the nest, it was such a good roost,
I don't think I was ready. I know my parents weren't ready.
I remember working that summer, excited, nervous, and sad.
It was hard to put myself in my parent's shoes, I know I will
have to someday, but not yet. Not yet.
They were clever, they dropped me off at the dorm,
and then left, got on a plane, and flew to Ireland for a month.
It's a good thing they did, because I would have probably
dropped out, come home, and lived with them forever.
It was a hard goodbye. I'm still mad, they should have just
taken me with them, we would have had the best time ever.
So, whatever Mom and Dad. Humph. I'm only like, 1/2 Irish,
it's only one of my homelands. Geez.
My roommate and I didn't gel, so I set out to make some friends.
But it was hard. I remember sitting in my dorm room writing letters
to friends (this was back when the internet was new, email was new,
letters and mail were still and exciting part of life). So long ago I had
the 1st generation Apple Macintosh SE, with Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing
and Oregon Trail (I have mad typing skills, thank you Mavis Beacon).
I was in a hall of girls, the ones right across the hall were also
not my people, but they had 2 baby turtles so I visited for
turtle time. There were a few girls that I did like, one in particular
was funny, and clearly was there to have a GOOD TIME EVERY DAY.
I could hear her very distinct laugh from across campus.
She was always out, busy, she was on crew, had friends, was
driving home to go to raves (!) on the weekends, I was trying out
combat boots, trying a new hairstyle, trying to figure out who I was
as an independent "woman" and trying to shrug off the high school
nerd I had been. (Now, in retrospect, high school me was a lot more astute
and like-able then I gave her credit for).
So this hilarious girl would haze the crap out of me. I was trying SO HARD
to be cool! And she kept razzing me. We had Psychology 101 together,
in one of those massive lecture halls that hold 800 people. I remember
walking in (by myself) with my boots, hair done, makeup on, all of it.
Cool ice queen. Studious. Smart. Looking like I didn't need anybody.
From across this enormous room, someone yelled out:
"HEY BETH! DID ANYONE EVER TELL YOU YOU'RE UGGGGLLLLY?"
I whipped around, and there was this girl, Becca, grinning at me,
ear to ear. Like the Cheshire Cat. I think I yelled back something like
"NO YOU ARE YOUUU" but I was stumped. Why was this super cool chick
even giving me the time of day? Was it the hair? The boots?
Now that I know her like I know myself, she was hazing me until I would be her friend.
I know this, because she told me. Girl cannot keep a secret it it's a funny one.
She knows her stuff, teasing is an indestructible method when it comes to me.
I'm my father's daughter, so I love being teased. It totally worked, damnit.
We started to REALLY hang out. And realized we both hated our roommates,
and our roommates hated us. So, we hatched a plan and asked them if THEY
wanted to be roommates, and they accepted so fast, they moved out in a day.
And then, we had 9 months of total paradise. We did everything together,
we did EVERYTHING in those 9 amazing and unforgettable months.
Tongues pierced, raves, bad TV, cracking each other up in class, going
to concerts (Marilyn Manson and Courtney Love, natch).
We walked the entire town every night, raided her mom's care packages,
had "who will take out the garbage first' competitions (I always lost,
she would NOT TAKE OUT THE FUCKING TRASH BECAUSE SHE IS SO COMPETITIVE.
It would be 5 feet tall and still climbing up the wall and she would drop
someone on top of Mt. Trashmore and sail on by RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME),
I remember we were on the cover of the school paper, us sitting in front
of the memorial union. It looks like we are studying, it was a beautiful shot
with cherry blossoms, the promise of spring, the glory of higher education,
but we were really pouring mini bottles of booze into sodas and laughing
at everyone walking by. I have the picture framed somewhere,
I'll try to find it. it makes me crack up still.
I knew I had found my person. Someone who actually got my sense of
humor, wanted to do the things I liked to do. I learned so much from her that
first year. She calls it "making your own fun", and it's her life motto. If she
is having a good time, that is really all that matters. She taught me how to
stop taking myself so seriously, how to let go and just have fun, how to
really party and have a GOOD TIME, and she taught me what it was like to
really have a best friend. She put up with me listening to Dark Side of the Moon
EVERY NIGHT FOR A YEAR, so she deserves some medal (Meddle, get it Dude?)
I remember one night, we were tipsy on something,
and wandered into the middle of the quad, laid on the school seal,
held hands, and made each other laugh until we basically peed our pants. I miss our
walks, I miss us being outside together, I miss all of the craziness we used to
get into (and I think we still do, there is no denying that, LOL).
Now we are older (in age, but not in maturity level), and the bond we had
then is the same, deepened over time. I'm so proud of her for all she
has done in the world, how hard she works, how happy she is in her relationship,
what a good partner she is, how much she loves my family, how much she loves
her own family, how much she loves me. I love her beyond all things.
We save each other from time to time, from the side of the freeway with a broken car,
from despair, from bad relationships, limp each other through deaths,
even when I was sick and we couldn't see each other, she would send me
things to make me laugh, it made me feel like I had more ground (any ground)
to stand on.
We lived apart for a long time, and those years were hard, something just didn't
feel right. we were both trying to find our paths, we didn't even live in the same
state anymore. All we had were the memories we had created (so many stories
for another time, I will get there). But, now she is home. The pandemic has
eased, at least for a bit. She moved close enough to be able to get to our house
in 15 minutes. I keep trying to get she and her partner to buy the house at the
end of the cul de sac (what a weird word), but I will settle for anything that keeps
her close. I am so lucky. I love her, not just because she is one of the most
amazing humans on the planet, but also because of a story she told last night about
how during a Bingo game, she named her team "Dumbledore Dies in Chapter 28"
right after the book came out. Knowing that every time their team scored, those
words would be read out OVER AND OVER. Who does that??? My best friend, that's who.
*Puffs up bird feathers proudly*
It's an odd thing, going from slowly dying to not dying.
Slowly dying of something that is so new,
no one knows what to do with you, for you, how to help you.
I guess you never know how you will feel until you're in that place.
Dying feels like you just can't. Can't think about your own feelings,
other people's feelings, how you are going to get through the day,
what day it is, who needs to eat, have you eaten, can you shower,
have you gone to the bathroom, when did you last eat, when did
you last go to the bathroom, how can you possibly walk to the mailbox,
what bills are in the mailbox, do bills even matter, how will you pay
the bills, what is the point of mailboxes, what is the point of anything.
Living. Living? I'm still wrapping my head around this.
I have the space to think about my feelings, but they are confusing,
I still don't have space for other people's feelings,
I feel like people want a piece of me after so long, but I don't
even have a piece of me yet. I'm grateful that I have been missed.
But how do I find myself after being out of my own body, mind, soul for so long?
How do I integrate all of those pieces back together? Were they even
together before? How do I solidify myself to be the person
that people deserve? That I deserve?
My husband has a cold. My daughter is afraid she gave it to him.
She is AFRAID. She cried. She thinks that he will get as sick as I
have been. I said he just has a cold, and if it's worse, we'll
get him to a doctor. "Who will take care of us?" she asked.
My heart broke (again, again, again).
"I will." She looked unconvinced. "I will." I said again.
She looked at me, tears in her big blue eyes.
I stared into her eyes, not blinking when I said this to her.
This is my new thing, if I don't blink, it means I really feel something,
something true. I guess it's my new poker "tell"
for myself, knowing how I really feel when I
am talking to someone, trying to convince them
(and myself) of something.
So we are all in this weird and strange place,
tentatively excited, but not truly believing.
I believe, but everyone else is still hesitant.
I guess I am hesitant too.
I have mandatory naps, rest times, it's just the 4 of us
for the next few weeks, It's a huge step, not needing
help from all of our families every day.
No one is pushing me, even though we're on vacation.
Except pushing me to rest, relax, recharge.
So I will do that, and see what comes next.
I see good things ahead, of course. I just don't
know the path yet, but I know I will find my way.
I've fought so hard to get to this point, so the
next leap should be gravy. I want to pay it forward,
I am paying it forward. More on that exciting news soon.
The synchronicity of life is carrying me onward,
and it feels so valuable and precious.
I met you in June of 2007
Mike's parents were out of town
and he (probably) got permission to have a party.
He was 30, so I'm guessing it was ok.
I was in a time of full transition, looking for newness:
New people, experiences, passions, all of it.
The party was a surprise birthday party for your partner
and the Art Car was ready, bar fully stocked
for Burning Man, and, as this was my first year going
after a horrifying breakup
I was ALL about living and adventuring. I was open. OPEN.
I don't think I've been so open since.
The party was crazy, like nothing I'd seen before.
The whole Burning Man crew flew in
from all over; there was a real rockstar,
fire-spinning, inside jokes, and I was ALL IN.
I kept thinking "Who are these people?"
My sister had met them all a year before, her first burn.
I remember meeting you, but you didn't remember me (yet).
Then, on my first Burn, my sister and her boyfriend (now amazing husband)
drove me, and we setup camp across from you, at 2:30 and D.
You and Ilan flew in, Mike went to pick you up
at this random airport in the middle of the desert.
It was all an amazing blur. We hung out, and I was sad
when you flew out, sad to leave the playa
(except Mike and G-shell who got stuck in a 3-day
dust storm and were living off of tortilla chips and
beer, but I digress (I love digressing)).
We met for our annual pilgrimage at Burning Man
in the years following.
I had no idea what you did for a living, who you were outside
of the event, but it didn't matter...
What chance did we stand against kismet?
And, as the years progressed, we would fly to San Francisco
to see you, go to parties, dress up, and make merry mischief.
I remember celebrating my 10-10-10 birthday with you,
you made me feel so special.
Then, I had 2 miscarriages back to back, my sister was also pregnant
and I didn't want my situation to mar her exciting time.
I didn't know what to do or who to turn to.
My hands did the work, they called you, and asked to go
somewhere with you
where we could be in nature, out of my element
to shock myself out of grief.
You were all in.
You took care of everything. We went to a place in New Mexico
with healing hot springs outside of Taos, I had never been before.
We walked, did yoga (napped), explored,
and you took care of me.
You told me I wasn't broken.
And this was about the time I realized I was intertwined
with someone who is other-wordly.
You took me to a Catholic Chapel, El Santuario de Chimayo.
It was built in 1816, and has a reputation of being
a site for healing.
There is a small back room in this pueblo looking church
where there is a hole in the floor filled with dirt.
People are allowed to pray and take a small amount of holy dirt
which is supposed to heal physical and spiritual ills.
I still have some of the Chimayo Sacred Dirt on my puja table.
I had never seen anything like it.
We laughed, walked, spent some time in Santa Fe, and created
enough inside jokes to last forever.
Then I saw who you were, who you really were.
You always say you are a mix of the sacred and profane,
which is one of the million things I love about you.
You are a real healer.
We realized that we wanted to see more of each other
(please move into the basement, the offer still stands)
So, we started doing 2-3 beach weekends, or I would
come to San Francisco when stinky Ilan was out of town.
I didn't know then how similar we are.
Like the Jane's Addiction concert that we went to
and left almost immediately, both of us saying
"This crowd is full of bad energy, lets get the fuck out of here".
Another old soul empath, before I know what that was.
I helped you get more of your magic out in the world,
and you took me on as an apprentice of sorts.
I haven't seen you in 1.5 years, the longest we've gone
without seeing and spending time together.
But this connection, it is something that only grows exponentially.
I think of you every sunset (along with my Dad),
I thinK of you when I look at ski equipment,
I think of you when I see those giant inflatable ducks,
I think of you every day as you help me make the
transition into this new world.
I think of how much your love has cured me,
and of how much you love our two monkey children.
You are the light.
I will hold my candle with yours, to try to light up the world.
Now, hold my boots while I go into this disgusting porta-potty
in bare feet with a fake mustache on
smoking a cigar.
I love you.
Sometimes I feel like I am in the river, part of the flow.
Tumbling over rocks, reeds and pebbles, but always in a direction,
comforted in the serenity of guidance from so many sources.
Other times, I feel like I run into a brick wall,
take 10 steps back, and run into the wall again.
I'm sure we all feel like this.
I keep telling myself I don't want to count the days,
it used to make me sad and bewildered.
But today, I am proud to say I am still here
after 463 days of struggle.
There is a lot that has happened
between 1 and 463.
Fear and despair,
confusion, regret, guilt,
so many hard lessons.
There has also been faith, hope,
love, laughter. So many doors are opening
and the sunlight streams in, it is blinding
I stand in the center in wonderment, looking at all of the
unblocked paths that lay in front of me.
Which direction will the river take me?
I do not know. But, now I have so much
more faith in myself, and in other people.
Faith that there are good people in the world that
want to help. That don't want to cause harm.
Faith that I am getting better about picking the people
that are right for me in this lifetime.
Faith that I am not alone in this confusing time.
Faith that I am getting stronger every day.
Understanding that sometimes the river will
toss me back onto the shore, and now knowing
that it is there that I rest,
gathering strength to get back into the flow
I wish I could give you all the hope,
love, laughter and determination that I have
been so graced with. I hope I do.