All the things I embrace as new are in fact old things,
“Peanut Butter” -Eileen Myles
There is a wild garden with prayer flags and bird feeders
in Sedona. At the center, more prayer flags stretching out to four corners.
The idea, I learned, was to circle for a time.
Turning the wheel of self,
the wheel of fortune.
I’m not so sure now.
I think the circling finds us,
more spinning wheels and tire ruts.
Circumambulating our fears.
part prayer wheel
It’s just that sometimes I get dizzy.
And I like to think I don’t know who’s at the helm,
Cruel monk or crazed carnie.
But it’s me.
The whole freakshow.
Fortune teller, Ringmaster, ticket taker, bearded lady.
That’s what happens when the ride stops.
I’m everyone I ever dated. I’m the ones who didn’t show up.
I’m my parents, my children, god and the devil.
I’m every point on the circle
I’m no one.
click, click, click.
“Right this way miss. Watch your step.”
And it’s quiet after the show.
And it’s okay.
“There was another life that i might have had, but I am having this one.”
44 is less anxious than 34 or 24.
It’s softer and more free but not at all what I imagined.
The pain and lost expectations of my 30’s is just a story to unravel now.
A fandom no longer followed.
I can relate to 20 years younger about the same as 20 years older.
What I’ve learned about dying and birthing
colors my days more than 17 year old me could ever prepare for.
“You get to decide what to worship.”
-David Foster Wallace
Most lives are best lived linearly
Hard wired for God
Finding comfort in ritual
We soften bedtime and holidays
Believe the believers before us
But there are straying sheep and corruption.
When we, like sheep,
Don’t wander to wolves
When we choose that path
How we burst forth
From interminable life
As with the word adultrey, not coming from the word adult
But from words meaning alter and to make other
That path opens
And we look up
We step forward
Wandering sheep becoming other
Marriage–baptism by water
Loving a married man–baptism by fire
Like a chain gang rhythm
The dross removed
Free now from indenture
but free too from innocence
The other sheep, the shepard even,
Hard wired for stereotypes
Like the ones about women choosing abstinence
Hard wired to typecast us
The women taken in
First. Burnt Sage for clearing and opening.
Next. Small Cedar sprigs with the energy of the mountains; the big animals of the forest.
With the energy of obstacles and lessons. The energy of effort and focus.
Finish. Sweetgrass. The energy of water. The energy of tears, tension; of washing, of flowing forward. Of life.
Moving to the pipe. A female theme, wood and beads.
The bowl for femininity, the stem for the masculine. Stored separately. Joined together in prayer. Coming together in oneness, in completeness.
Spinning the bowl in your left hand. Stem moving clockwise. Bowl touching Mother Earth. Bowl touching the heart. Raising the pipe to the forehead with an intention of balance.
Then comes the sweet pure scent of tobacco wafting ahead of the pipe around the circle.
The sharp inhale. Small draws of breath.
Circling the pipe. Handing it to the next supplicant.
Eyes closed, inhaling the sweet deep flavor left on my skin.
Tendrils raising up in my mind’s eye, felt in each breath until the scent and taste fade.
The deep arching taste of tobacco left at the back of the throat; at the roof of the mouth. On the lips.
Tasting it for humanity. Thanking the land, the water (bloodflow of the earth). The moon and sky circling, like the pipe, the tendrils.
I think I have been trying to be a dog person,
trying to imagine myself with one,
like all my friends,
for many years.
I tried to be a religious person for even more.
When I think, maybe I just haven’t found the right dog,
It sounds like a client saying she thinks her recently-outed lesbian daughter will probably find the right guy in college.
I have a goat now and I meditate occasionally.
I think dog people are suspicious of not-dog people
And of course we want our friends to like us.
And while I’m admitting things,
I might have a fear of power tools,
Coffee does not help me feel awake,
and I’m a feminist who still hasn’t read Virginia Woolf.
The crack in the glass started in summer.
The floral shape on impact
From object flung unknowing
Sprouted a stem that grew
Curiosity kept a watch
From left to right
Weeks of lunar cycles and holidays
The someday fix faintly being scheduled
On the other side of the far right end
To this story
The reach of impact
The length of brokenness
Until the excuses were gone
The questions answered
No longer mattered or held weight
In a day
Sunbreaking clouds and wide possiblity
This was the answer,
Not the impact
The light, undistorted.
Always ahead and present.
Here is an old favorite:
If it doesn’t happen
My body will still
Before the sun.
I will revive.
I will go into the day,
But what color will the sky be?
Will I notice?
I will show up to life,
But will it taste right?
Sometimes everything is
Orange juice after toothpaste.
If it doesn’t happen
There will be a great
Plume of smoke
City lights reflecting up and in
After the climax
And then nothing.
Il n’y a qu’un bonheur dans la vie, c’est d’aimer et d’être aimé.
There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.
I put the idea of you into a sieve.
All the extra bits poured through
and ran down the drain.
I had to shake what remained
like tapping an old flour sifter
Letting everything I can’t trust
I am hoping to see
enough left in the sieve
to hold on to.
I am hoping for something substantial.
I run some water over the last
and tap the handle once more.
I think, maybe, once I let go of what’s gone,
I think what I have left
still resembles you.
Enough to make me smile.
Gin in winter is lonely. Stolid in summer.
Chocolate with Ginger.
Chocolate with Brandy.
Chocolate tobacco, like potpourri.
Juniper and grapefruit,
Nihilism and mindfulness.
Bitters love company.
Compassion and Stoicism fall away while I sleep.
Gifts from the universe, a monkey’s paw story
How we learn.
Monkey’s paw answers to meditation.
An ancient monk waiting with a koan.
Parables. Metaphors. Rosemary. Cardamom.
Salt and cream.
The day before the winter solstice a therapist asked me
“Is it enough to hold a vigil of one?”.
And again, the next day, another friend, another conversation but the theme was “You are enough”.
To write and post my writing I have to believe there is value in the experience. Either for me or the reader.
I have to believe that one voice or perspective can matter.
If I have an audience of one and they disappear; if my listener abandons me does my reason for writing leave with them?
My answer sometimes is “Yes”.
Solitude is beautiful;
There is still connection in solitude.
I believe in connection.
I’ve led classes and workshops with one attendee. One person to teach is enough.
Somedays we practice alone.
But that’s where all my beliefs can fall apart.
I don’t place enough value on my own daily practice.
“Do your practice and all is coming.” -Pattabhi Jois
My intention for 2017 is my practice.
Daily practice can be reading ancient scriptures or prayer; mala beads or prostrations.
Daily practice can be milking the cows at dawn or running.
It’s about creating connection through solitude.
That’s where the ingredients for magic are found.
I’ve been missing magic for too long.
A vigil of one is enough.
You are Enough.