Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Home, if that's a thing

Let me start by saying that you will not understand a single thing I'm about to say – you cannot. You weren't there, and even though I'll do my best, what you'll get is the syrupy post-massage haze, where you try to explain an epiphany without full use of all of your faculties, as your body, mind, and spirit reintegrate into the same space-time continuum.

(See what I mean?)

Tomorrow I go back.


Tomorrow, my body, mind, and spirit fly to the States United by Disconnect.

But not back.

There is no way back.

You cannot backtrack through a hurricane, through the loss of your spiritual teacher, your partner, your president, the sanctity of unions, the freedoms on the line. As it appears, this is a one-way wormhole and resisting the ride is the definition of futility. This has been my experience so far – like doula-ing a scorpion out of my room, complete with gentle, supportive words – first for the scorpion, second for me.

It started with an exploration of what it means to be a woman – the power of a woman is in her prayer. Whoa. An invitation to return to some form of spiritual path, to have a semblance of reverence for something higher, something that has consciousness, if not a plan. And a song – the chant that started this invitation years ago.

Akaal. Dearly departed. A safe return to the union of souls.


A homeland, glowing red, connected by spotty internet and trapped sobbing on the floor of the kitchen, my head in my hands, my heart in my throat. Comforted only by a scorpion in the corner, as afraid of me as I was of her. Shit, girl, she said. That is not what we of the jungle thought would happen.

Choking up the lies I had swallowed, while learning how to breathe a new kind of truth, in the arms of a jungle shaman. She called me a jaguar seer – magic will have no choice but to dance with you.

And then isolation – a shipping crate in a rainstorm, a resolution to evaluate which decisions I was making out of fear, and where I might start to uncurl a finger from the curtain rod and come back down. Where I could say yes, or find a new answer that defies the binary of yes and no.

Practice saying yes – and no. And humbly asking questions, rather than assuming. Courage.

And then, the calm in the storm. Peace in the certainty of the hurricane. Alone in the night with my fear of the destruction that would come, once the lights were out and no one could see me. Staring into the darkness, having closed so many doors all at once.


The great crossing of the greatest teacher of my life.

My sweet Hunter, my angel. He wasn't mine, per say, but I was his. You could tell. The questioning look when I hadn't seen him in awhile – as if to say – why haven't you called? A little bit of contempt, and then without warning, he would grab my nearest arm and start chewing on my wrist, working his way up as high as he could get, giggling the whole time. Cara Mia. Forgiven.

When I lay on the floor, broken by a migrane, exacerbated by too much sun and not enough rest, he would pet my face. Get quiet. I understand deep pain, my love. It is palpable. But we're in it together. You hold me in the darkness, and I'll comfort you.

And his laughter. The sweet song that calls to mothers everywhere, but sweeter it seemed because of his pain. His dark abyss so deep that the joy upon overcoming it for a moment or two? Unlike anything I've heard since.

He taught me that there is nothing worth complaining about, that laughing in the darkest moments is the only way out. That humor doesn't always beget happiness, but it is medicine.

And finally, a temporary community that got me, that didn't ask me to gut myself, but lovingly invited me to let the light in. Who said, we see you, even if you're crying, even if you're holding yourself together with duct tape and a safety pin. A frantic photo in a white spiderweb. A paradigm shift. The piercing truth of what intimacy could really be, not the black and white chessboard I had always assumed it to be. An angel, holding me in the darkness.

I don't want to go home.

I want to find it.

To stop sealing a business deal, to approach a romance with it's own magic, rather than the same business tactics. Because that? That has been a recipe for disaster.

Unless there is sex involved, which there isn't.

Sex paves over a myriad of imperfections, files down ill-fitting puzzle pieces so they nestle as though they were always supposed to, even if the picture they create makes no sense. Fuck it. And so you do, and what happens is something fits when it shouldn't. Something stops seeking because it is wedged where it wasn't supposed to be, but why would it seek a better fit – a match it can no longer accept?

I've punished myself too much, too often, with too many negative words and mirrors of things I'm not and will never be. Things I'd never desire to be. And I think in part this is why. Because in the dark, under the influence of chemical messengers who have motivations of their own, we force a fit that is illogical, and then we use our wits to rationalize it in the light of day. Rather than forgiving our transgressions, we try to relive a moment – or make something fleeting last.

I am guilty of this. I've made things last in the hopes that some point I would feel like a grown up – like at some point the “faking it” would turn into “making it” but instead – instead the sick waves of self realization have crashed over me and I limp back to shore, a half-drowned rat who has spent 30 years faking it to fake it.

But no more.

For three decades I've looked for a home in someone else – since Mark Havens carried me across that footbridge, I've never asked what my country could do for me, I've only asked what I could do for it. What can I do for you? How can I cut off pieces of myself to fit within your puzzle? Tell me what to cut out, what to add on and I'll shape shift.

I am coming home in pieces. Ready for assembly.

To meet me where I am.

Haseya. She rises.

Like I said, you had to be there. The food was great, the sunsets amazing. Time expands and contracts in the jungle, and so, it appears, does spirit.

Magic will have no choice but to dance with you.

Sat nam.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Anne Lamott says bird by bird, but this chapter has been the kind of metamorphosis that typically exists in science fiction - no birds existed at the start or finish - rather, it has been completely bizarre, with full discombobulation and incomplete or incalculable recombobulation. I’ve become something totally unrecognizable, which seems to be par for the course these days, in these United States.

I’m in a state of mourning and grief, which I’ve tried to skip by paving over with more mourning and grief, inappropriate sexual relations, some stress, a few automobile accidents, some codependence, and a little bit of accidental home amputation.

Oh, and work.

I think I’m one of the fortunate few who doesn’t turn to the typical - the alcohol, the drugs, the evenings full of monotony: Netflix and News. It seems my preference is to attempt to transcend the pain and personal loathing that comes from the collapse of one relationship by immediately patching over it with another. And this worked - sort of - maybe - for a portion of my life, but in my vapid attempts to escape myself through the cunning use of other, I’ve never quite sorted out how to fully escape from myself.

Peter is escaping from me now - or at least, that’s what I keep telling myself. He’s going to India on a spiritual journey of the Self, amid the ashrams and meditation holes, the slums and cremation stations. If you’ve asked me how I feel about it, I’ve sometimes said sad, or abandoned, or angry. And these are all true. I have felt a variety of things, mostly at the same time, mostly on the 10 end of the 1-10 scale.

Intensity is something I do well.

My instinct is to jump into something else - seek out someone to fix, or someone to fix me. To be half of a unit, even if I have to do More Effort than would reasonably be my share. Because being alone is something I cannot tolerate. It’s a place I’ve never really known, a place my parents never warned me about and every movie of my childhood told me was the source of all suffering in the world. I’d like to paint over the bloodshed and the tears of this last chapter with a fresh coat of paint - maybe some stucco, to hide the places where I kicked through the wall. Spackle for the mortal wounds we each inflicted in an attempt to set the other free.

Except I think that this will keep happening, and eventually, the walls of this cave will swallow me whole.

I know that Peter isn’t doing this for me, even though he sometimes says he is, sometimes with nice words and sometimes with the sharp words that no one who knows him could ever imagine him uttering. I like to fight back, not promising fidelity or even that I’ll meet up in India with him at the end of this chapter. It isn’t exactly what I want to say, or what I mean, but I’m not sure that even the writer in me can fully express the simultaneous gratitude and rage at his decision. Gratitude at the time and space, rage at the abandonment.

It is difficult to admit that I’m a difficult person to live with. That the baggage I come with is that annoying-ass present that continues to yield box after gift-wrapped box, the sadist’s matryoshka doll of all of the Things I never took the time to feel or unwrap myself. An insidious gift for anyone who gets too close to see. I’ve recognized that this is not unique to me, that we all have various sorts of unusual baggage at the backs of our closet or up on cinderblocks in the front yard. We have this mistaken belief that we are here in this life to learn and take on, to earn more, make more, create more, have more. But I think that’s a modern mistake, compounded by our access to Stuff and our unwillingness to let go. I have it. I feel the inner hoarder in me, who has carefully and skillfully packed away all of the emotions I chose not to feel into matching rubbermaid containers in the basement, amid the original packing material of the things I haven’t decided belong to me, the dust, the erosion, and of course, the layers of sentiment. Or sediment. Grief, the silt that completely obscures my vision as I dig through treasures forgotten at the bottom of my emotional ocean.

I have withdrawn into the smallest room of my house: a nest I built for myself over the last seven years. It overlooks the canyon, the mountains, the sunrise. It doesn’t have other people’s shit in it, nor is it more than I can handle. I’m retreating into the tidiest corner of my mind to slowly and methodically unpack Jon’s death, my divorce, the infidelity and incredible and shameful compromises I made in order to fit into whatever identity mattered to be half of a whole. The incredibly old baggage that simply will not disintegrate on it’s own, like sexual abuse, relationship abuse, and The Ones That Got Away.

(I keep typing hole, by the way. Like I’m half of a hole, which is the most succinct way to describe how I actually feel right now.)

I suppose this is where the gratitude for Peter exists. That he’s escaping the mess that I’m in because he’s got his own baggage that he’s tried to outrun in his own ways, and boy does it feel cramped when everyone is unpacking and feeling. Wouldn’t it just be easier to drink, or gamble, or fix absolutely anyone else?

Yes. Except that it’s completely impossible to fix someone else. I know this. It feels like birth. Instead of doing the work that is needed, we have to do the surrounding work. Defend the door, the space. Bring cool towels and dangle precariously around the edges of the bathtub, applying the healing touch that reminds the animal body - the body that has no use for words - that as messy and as incredibly terrible as each feeling may be, the way is through.

And the way is alone.

This last chapter has felt most like transition - the angry, incessant and unyielding phase before one decides to walk through the fire. The chapter where we hang on to the life we lived, complain about the pain, lose direction and perspective. The rabbit hole that cannot be understood or explained to anyone on the outside: cracked-out caterpillars, unbirthdays, and all.

This chapter? I have a sense that this chapter is the pushing phase. Potentially equally long or longer, with sustained effort in a particular direction. Wasted effort as the path is paved, two steps forward, one step back. Better to conserve the energy and allow the body to push than to intellectualize the process.

Sweet Jesus, that’s terrifying.

What I’ve noticed about the pushing phase from watching birth, is that it feels as though it will never end - and then it ends. Almost as a surprise. With disbelief that something has been born – that something which occupied you has escaped.

Sat Nam