Sunday, September 24, 2017

Bloodsports

I love when we assert certain ideas for other populations. Like we assume that soldiers enlisted for one purpose or another, to defend a particular freedom or another.

I've known a few soldiers, a few airmen, some pilots, JAGs, and women and men in uniform. Some of them were admirable, and others were jerks. Mostly, they were all just regular people with a willingness to wear some pretty uncomfortable clothing.

When I see the things flying across my feed, I wonder how many of those in question have stopped in an airport to buy someone in uniform a cup of coffee. Asked them why they signed up. Thanked them for their service. Apologized profusely that budget cuts specifically preclude hiring someone to re-design maternity uniforms.

If you have, then good on you. If you haven't, you'll have an opportunity again, I'm sure.

Perhaps the appropriate question isn't why did they sign up...

But why didn't you?
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What would you do if you had the national eye for a few moments, but weren't selected for your verbosity or prowess? What if you stumbled into success because of your willingness to survive severe head trauma, brain damage, so that your children could go to school somewhere better? Or the love of the game?

And then all the heads turned to you, dear Men of the Districts? While we're all punch-drunk on bloodsports and self-righteousness, looking down at you from our high horses?

What would you do?

Maybe you would make a statement. With your body, which is the prize that won you this audience in the first place. A non-violent statement, a soldier in the legacy of great men who know that no battle is ever won with the torch or the word or the sword which could have been prevented simply with silence?

It is a symbol, this stance, is it not? It says I'm strong and capable, and I refuse to engage.

It gives me chills.

When strong men trained for battle

Make the world stop.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Proper Nouns

Oh, Fall.

We meet again. Proper nouns and verbs us both. Or at least, you're proper to me.

Carry.

Fall.
For a dozen years now, we've locked eyes in the windstorm, as summer leaves us both in the dust.

And leaves.

We had a romance, once. The fall and I. A magical day on a mountain, unseasonal sunshine, rainstorms of aspen goldness and long shadows. Cool nights and frosty mornings in the arms of various men, clinging to the sparks of summer and hoping it would be enough to light us through the winter.

It's lonely to imagine all of the ways life did not follow my instructions – did not consult my wish list. Lost my letters to Santa. The carefree and careless ways she led me down wrong paths, tempting me to find myself again.

And again.

So here I am, on the precipice of the darkness, in full understanding of the game. Maybe for the first time.

The darkness comes, and goes.

Let it?

Lie down. Surrender. Listen. Magic will come dance with you, mystery will whisper – maybe even destiny – if you shut up and stop looking for a meme or a gif that represents the way you feel (except for all of the yucky bits). Stop trying to bear burdens you can simply set down for awhile – if only for the winter. See how the snow falls and the thaw treats it, and decide in the light of the spring.

You fall, I carry.

Have carried. Maybe this time I'll fall, too?

The beauty of getting lost lies in finding yourself again.

Ten years ago today I got married. Three years ago today I got divorced.

Twelve I got engaged. Two I had surgery.

Last year I waited in vain for someone to rescue me from my circumstances, lost in the sea, clinging to a smoldering, sinking ship.

He left me hanging.

All of these ways I've tried to find myself in the reflection or salvation of another. Excision of the undesirable qualities of me, in an increasingly frantic effort to be exactly right. To do more work, my namesake, carry.

My current season, fall.

Maybe I'll take the hint, and find myself in the spring?

I wrote a book about all of the ways I've fallen in love. Carried myself. It isn't finished yet.

And neither am I.

Happy anniversary, My Ben. This day is yours.

This life is mine.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Hungry

I lost ten pounds recently.

But I didn't post about it here. I didn't share a before and after, because I'm starting to disappear.

That's embarrassing.

I grew up in a household that was well-resourced, with three squares a day, perfectly portioned. It was all pre-determined, sectioned, prepared. No one ever asked me if I wanted seconds.

If I was hungry.

My grandmother would give me a worried look - force feed me homemade chocolate chip cookies until I cried to my mother and she made her stop.

I get the same worried look now from strangers. Or a jealous look from the woman who watches me pick up my breakfast order

"Well you can afford it, you barely exist."

Yes.

I barely exist.

But this waffle is me trying.

I have tried not to exist. To apologize for existing. To fade into the background. To ask myself what
I'm really hungry for.

If only I could figure out what it feels like to be hungry.

Or nourished.

My body has not broken to my will, the trickery of me coaxing it to do the things I had wished it would do. My mind has pushed and fed, then punished and starved the poor vehicle that carries me around.

Yes. I'm starving.

But am I hungry?

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Graduation

I have always said that if you seek to teach, buckle up, because life will give you a lesson to learn.
Yoga agrees on this point – that if you don't learn it the first time, that's ok. You'll get the lesson again. And again.

And again.

I have shied away from teaching yoga, in part because I did not feel worthy. For years I attributed this to the Hero's Journey, my reticence to stepping into that role. Who am I? What do I have to offer? A refusal of the call, followed by heeding the call, followed by a return home, changed, lesson learned.

It was not until cambio opened that I decided to step publicly into the role of teacher.

And for years I don't think I had much to teach, because I had not been open to learning. I was operating from a high place, a pedestal, a seat of accomplishment, having done all of the things just right. I was pompous and overconfident, while simultaneously feeling (secretly) unworthy.

Classic imposter syndrome.

I measured my success by counting pats on the back, likes on Facebook, repeat students fawning over me. I was the person in the tight pants, the self-righteous vegan diet, the green smoothies in jars, the mala bead jewelry. And then, I fell from grace. I lost friends and respect – yours and my own.

I burned my life down.

Infertility taught me many things (including and most importantly that I am not, in fact, infertile). My body is not broken – it is on my team – most days it is the captain of my team. It is telling me important information, trying at self-preservation when my mind and spirit run into their self-destructive tendencies.

And so I'm writing to tell you what I have learned on this hero's journey, awash in the sea of the reality of life.

Addiction is no fucking joke, and it is not welcome in the life raft of my joy room. It is not welcome in my body. Only good things are allowed in.

And good things must be let in.

External validation is no substitute for the nutrition that can only come from self-worth.

My starving body has told me this – maybe yours has told you, too?

I have spent so much time apologizing for existing, for not meeting your expectations, for needing anything at all from you. For running on your validation, with which I have sustained myself rather than seeking true sustenance.

I have found my voice, and know my truth. I used to apologize for it.

I am a writer - an anthropologist.

I am ready to graduate.

On Wednesday, I will lead my final class at cambio., and I like to think of this moment as a graduation – a diploma I have earned, having learned so many lessons.

Join me, if you can.

Om bolo satguru bhagavan ki.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Rhizomes

Ben is getting ready to go to India for the next five months, to study Tibetan in an immersion school.

I feel so good about this.

Yes. I thought. This is your path. THIS is part of why we separated – so you could go, and I could love you for it rather than resenting you for it.

I got to see him for a few hours, and chat about the important things. Share feelings in a way I haven't been able to share with anyone else, because he knows me in a certain way that no one else does.
I find it interesting that we describe separation as part of divorce – it is what you do before you divorce, and then the judge and the notary are supposed to shove their gavels and stamps between the sides and create a clear separation.

But I don't feel that separation.

I feel roots.

When we got married, I carried a bouquet of golden aspen leaves. Our people wore aspen pendants and corsages, and we ate aspen-shaped chocolates. It's weird, I suppose, because the leaves aren't flowers, and it wasn't traditional. But it was authentic, and it has deeper meaning for me now.

Aspen trees are rhizomes – one root system lives for thousands of years, sending up various trees whose individual life spans are short, among the chorus of their neighbors.

Each tree contributes to the colony, investing it's life into the roots.

What we see as independent trees is simply an illusion.

How's that for poetry?

As I once wrote, some marriages fail without ending, and I believe ours ended without failing. I believe we poured our life-force into the roots, and we are each better for it. And while we may not be walking hand-in-hand in this life, tethered by rings and Official Documents, our connection persists.

The separation you see, is simply an illusion.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Dig

I am so tired these days - as though I have never slept.

I think it is the weight - or maybe the gravity - of the world.

We appear to have lost our collective minds, I think. Too much anonymous sharing, too much hopping into our respective silos and avoiding the reality we find ourselves in. Too many virtual masks and mud flinging. Too many post-apocalyptic fantasies that get us riled up for all of the imagined injustice.

As I teenager I spent most summer days ashamed of my skin. I am so pale, with so many freckles, and god knows no one in the fashion magazines ever wanted to see something so hideous as my french vanilla skin. Meanwhile, I benefited from all of the invisible privileges that came with it.

It has taken me a long time to embrace my outer shell, so I'm not about to say that I'm ashamed of being white. I've done that. And I can't help it. But I CAN use my unearned privilege wisely. I CAN use my voice to say - if you are spewing hate, you're doing it wrong. Hate has no place in this world - it is a distraction (and, the yogis would say, the highest form of devotion, but that's for another day).

When you have a feeling, as you are bound to do, particularly if you are sober or having a sober moment, it is your duty to unravel it and channel that energy into something more constructive. 

Passion, say, or digging holes. Digging is a spiritual practice, I do believe. My teacher, my dear sweet Hunter said so.

It was, in fact, the only word he ever said.

Dig, dig, dig.

If you're too afraid to do the inner work, then pick up a shovel. Call the electrical company or drive out into the desert, and have a moment with god. Dig. Stomp your feet. Yell into the ethers. Step away from pitchforks and tiki torches, away from other people who are also angry.

If you are afraid, as I am, as so many of us have been for the past nine months, then this is the place to gather. Look for the person who is more afraid than you are, and hold their hand. Get them water.
Let your eyes be soft on them - tell them you are a digger.

That maybe you don't understand how they feel, or what their experience is, but that your eyes and ears are open.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Interlude

There was a girl yesterday who both made my day and broke my heart.

I was walking through the Botanic Gardens, and we locked eyes from a distance. She said hello, and then came up and hugged my legs.

She knows - I thought.

She knows something, but her words are coming in, which means she's starting to forget.

Don't give up, she said with her eyes.

Never give up.