Monday, December 25, 2017

Hunter's Blind

I woke up this Christmas in the Hunter's Blind. Despite her access to an overabundance of the world's resources, my mother bought this bedding for the room that was once mine.

It is hideous. Which is a fact.

And it is an example of my mother doing her best to take care of me, which is what mothers tend to do. Once we're too big to pick up by the back of our scruff, or put down in a laundry basket or manger for a minute, shit gets too complicated and our expressions of love colored by unintended consequences of our behaviors, the stars, and reactivity.

My meditation this morning was at someone else's altar. Wood, grown and carved in Africa, the deities faceless yet iconic in context. Donkeys. Sheep. Primitive doulas. Peaceful bovids gathered protectively around the place where god sleeps.

As a child, my attention would always float to the angel, whose presence was the only thing that let you know that this birth was different. I was also concerned that the sticky tack holding her to the lean-to was going to drop her right into the face of god, so there was that.

(Worry is my own mother's flavor of love, and so I suppose that's fitting, too.)

This morning my eyes rested on Joseph, the unsung hero of the virgin birth. The neo-feminist in me has always appreciated the sacrifice, the devotion, the efforts of Mary, whose body was hijacked and used as a vessel. I'd love to hear her reports of the story of this immaculate conception, but unfortunately hers was not a speaking role.

But Joseph? He showed up. The faceless man in front of me still went to Bethlehem, bent over another man's child, and stepped in. Eventually shared his gifts of carpentry, craft as a good way of expressing love. To show up - share your gifts - and wait for the Wise Men to come and give you some tips on your next move.

Its fitting, if you ask me, that neither of these parents were given lines. Because love of any sort is not taught through words, but by example. By bizarre and mysterious action, repetition, faith.

My mother loves me through worry, through horrible taste in bedding, through kicking my ass at Scrabble and never letting me win.

*Be tough, my darling. The world has scared me. Don't get lost in the details, stay warm, and strengthen your mind, which will be your saving grace.*

My father loves me by letting me rest while watching football, by criticizing my taste in podcasts, by teaching me how to worry with intention and direction, usually about money or politics.

*I see your mother's tendencies in you, so let's use them for the good of the world and not waste your time on frivolity. You're a child of god, and your work is important.*

My lesson this Christmas is to be grateful for love in all forms. Worry. Faith. Courageous action.

Unexplained mystery.

What is yours?

Saturday, December 23, 2017


My computer just reminded me that tomorrow is Jon's birthday.

I wouldn't say that I had forgotten, but it did take me by surprise.

It still surprises me - takes my breath away - which makes sense, because I don't expect to lose people. I expect you to be here forever, on the other end of the phone or somewhere out in Facebook land. I expect his voice when I call his number, and am always surprised when I hear the Spanish-speaking woman answer instead.

Which is interesting, to me, because in Spanish, death is temporary. There are two verbs for 'being' in Spanish, and when forced to choose, the fathers of romance decided it would make better poetry to believe something you've never seen. To allow for possibility. So it seems more reasonable in the feverish moments that he might pop back in for a bit, even just in the answering machine. Inviting me to call again, or leave a detailed message.

"I'm out right now, splintered into my elemental pieces, being reborn and recycled, drifting out to the Caribbean and into the Gulf, intermittently haunting the dreams of my loved ones. Leave a message and I'll get back to you as soon as I can, in the form of a door creaking, or a gust of wind, or a sorrowful note...

Or a reminder on your computer, in case you can't bring yourself to delete me...

Merry Christmas, by the way. You're aging well - better than many of my friends, who smoke and drink, who pull "G"s and command troops for a living. I know you've been looking for a few things... Last year you accidentally packed your favorite scarf at the bottom of the box with Christmas cards, the one you were too sorrowful to dig into this year...

Oh, and David Bowie says hi."

The Goblin King and his minions, those dearly departed who tug at our heartstrings, unsteady in their disembodied forms? There is something that draws them closer in the colder, darker days.

And that's a good thing. To feel love.

Which according to Spanish, is permanent.

Thursday, December 21, 2017


Today is the solstice - or maybe I should say tonight is the solstice? I'm not sure. I've appropriated this holiday as a date that represents a scientific occurrence - the great leaning away. But I'm not sure I know what it means for me. It's the middle child between Hannukah and Christmas, the neutral force in the middle that makes no claim to magic, other than the cosmic dance of huge planetary masses floating in time around a fireball, mostly without incident.

I'm on the north side, which feels like a Fact from Science, except that it's arbitrary and man-made, like money and language.

Men make things we cling to, it seems. Like time, space, gravity.

The magic of women cannot be explained, which is why we like to blame ourselves for the things that don't make sense.

Just because we cannot be explained does not mean we are senseless.

The power of a woman is her prayer - her faith that the light will come again, or the baby will come out (even without knowing how the hell it got in there), or the oil will last. Faith is what we practice in the dark, cold moments before the dawn when God leans in and asks what is really inside of our hearts.

Valves - blood - bizarre muscle cells that operate in synchrony, more like a flock of birds turning this way and that, impossibly quickly without someone at the helm commanding "6 degrees right!" The physical heart is so easily explained - it starts from two cells - one with age, wisdom, and experience, and one with a tail. Eighteen days later, a few cells volunteer as tribute and start beating.

The man-splanation of the heart skips over the sorcery required.

I've spent so long on the science of the heart, trying to live in the logical world that I've negated the mystery of love, which cannot so easily be compartmentalized. It would be so nice and tidy - so convenient - to think of love as somewhere in a ventricle, or the result of a particular equation.

But my experience of the essence of the heart defies explanation, as does yours, I imagine. We might say that it is built on a foundation of respect, trust, mutual understanding, and maybe that is true. But at some point the logic fails and there is simply a placeholder for Mystery. And sometimes it manifests out in a manger, like a virgin birth, and the series of events that follows changes the course of the world.

My experience of love is that it is like gravity - evident, observable, reciprocal, and completely illogical.

I have written a book, trying to untangle the tired mess of the men I have and do love. Mother India cracked open the logical scientist in me and invited me to release some heavy and unneeded baggage as I prepare to lean in.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

India: Lookout

It is unreasonable that my trip home took only a bit more than a day, but the date never changed. That there is so much more to do, and yet nothing to be done, now that the lesson is clear. Mother India speaks in tricks and pixies. Hitchhikers who board you like pirates and drive you home, monkeys who steal your offerings from the mouths of stone gods. Land that knows nothing of time, whose people shake their heads in such a way to mean, "anything is possible."

Chai is a sacrament with an ancient promise of bringing people together, for appreciating friendship with no common language other than wrinkles and eyelashes and a shared devotion to the cow, the sage who wanders the back steps and rests in the road.

Nothing tangible is practical in the physical world, the higher value is spirit, a sense that everyone else shares - nothing you do will matter. Your body will grow roots or wings, and the pixies in your eyes will fly off to the next world, constellations of your spirit. And India will keep on clicking her heels, spinning around the same sun, but in her own manifestation of time which refuses to be measured by Gregorians or Mayans or anything a man could conceive.

The layers of irony in the Indira Gandhi airport - solar panels in a region that has lost sight of the sun through impossible pollution. Seventeen layers of security to access the hotel juxtaposed to immigration officers who couldn't care less about where you've been or what you've been up to. 

All flights depart at midnight.

I saw the Himalayas at dawn, after a silent screaming match in my head... the driver conspiring with India to make me puke one way or another. We chanted to them, from the edge of the roof, a temple to someone's left breast. And then, as the sun took the sky, they faded behind the haze, their jagged skeletons too temperamental to be bothered with daytime hours. India is all smoke and veils, and the mountains play, too.

I had found a certain peace before I left, and settled into it until everyone pulled me aside to deliver the same message.

Are you sure?

I'd like to be. I'd like to be certain about a few things, put others to bed. But I'm not in charge of fate - mine or yours or ours.

The yogis say to do your work, or sing, or stretch, or learn. Or really all of the above. And more than that, surrender.

Can you? Can I? 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

India: Before

I've been packing for weeks – five weeks – to be exact. The decision wasn't easy this time, as it may have been in other moments, as it has been, because I'm timid with self-trust in these days. Instead of the steady intuition I've had in the past, the unwavering trust of my own gut, I've had to relearn how to read the signs – how to diversify my trust, by gathering small pieces from people who seem to have nothing other than my best interest in mind.

Two days ago my suitcase was still only a third filled, and I couldn't think of what else to put in it. Full of snack bars and medications, disposable supplies and just-in-case contingency plans, the suitcase felt very much like my life.


Mostly empty.


The space has been crushing at times, so I've amped up the pace to try and fill it – untethered, I've simply kept moving to create the illusion of a full life.

And so the day before I left, a flurry of requests for things – herbs, vitamins, chocolate, batteries. Offerings for each of the people who has had a hand in this decision to go – the men who have answered my tearful calls in the past year, who have helped me recalibrate the experience of trust and not needed to consume me.

But soon my suitcase will be empty again, as these gifts fall into the hands of those who have lifted me up, as the supplies are used or gifted or abandoned, and I'll be left with all of that space.

Mother India follows the timeline and plan of no man, or so I've heard. She has her own wild ways, her own gifts. A lifetime is insufficient to explore her, as I suppose is true of any woman.

This trip is for me – a symbol, if nothing else – of what gifts I'm ready to receive, having unpacked so much of my own baggage in the past year. Having cleared emotional cobwebs and closets.


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.


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


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."


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


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


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


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


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.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Instruction Manuals

I'm vacuuming today.

Yesterday, my friend and her toddler came over to help me install a ceiling fan, because earlier this week the fan above my head decided the globe was ripe and dropped it right on me as I slept.

Knowing my limitations regarding electrical work and my lack of necessary limbs to both lift and unscrew simultaneously, I called in backup. Two tiny women in their thirties and a toddler.

(God help us).

We watched a YouTube instructional video, which was a bit disconcerting. Nearly a quarter of a million people have viewed it, but it does not give success rates, nor are there helpful Yelp reviews. The man started with “I had my home wired specifically...” and then I glazed over.


We tried. We successfully removed parts A-T from the box, found the instruction manual, and were flummoxed by step one, which referred to an essential part that was not included. Fastidious women that we are, we dutiful unpacked, unwound, counted and inventoried, naming each part as we went. I secretly missed the useless yet comforting image of the man with the pencil behind his ear, ala Ikea manuals.

Step one – find a man with a pencil.

(I'm pretty good at THAT step one).

Without the easy first step, and without the essential part that was excluded from my purchase, we gave up, packing up most of the things back in the box and shoving them underneath the guest bed.

This is what I do when an unmanageable problem surfaces in my life – first, call in backup. Second, give it the College Try. Third, shove it under something, and pave over the emotions of failure with cheese, chocolate, or conversation. Wait for rain, the cavalry, or the apocalypse, whichever comes first.

The fan was a bust, but the day wasn't. Because instead of spending a few hours with a very confusing instruction manual, and 20 different parts to assemble (some of which are not included, a conversation I intend to have with Mr. Lowe himself), we sat on the couch and watched the full joy of the experience of destroying styrofoam packaging, through the eyes of a child.

And today, I got to vacuum all of the tiny wispy bits of styrofoam that remain. The static cling of them ensured I put in due effort, and I was grateful. As has been taught to me, be grateful of the dishes you must wash, as it means you have both dishes and meals. Be grateful for the laundry you need to fold, as it means you have plenty to wear.

Be grateful for the flotsam left in the wake of a joyful toddler, as it means your life has been touched by friends and by God – her infinite wisdom that the joy of the thing was not the point of the thing.
That the fan will wait for another day, but that this moment is precious and sacred, and would otherwise be missed if we always kept things tidy and followed the Rules.

I am grateful for the wisdom of the child who shepherded my sanity on this day.

Who kept me walking in the light.

Friday, July 21, 2017


Everyone seems to have an opinion on my dating life these days – things you should and shouldn't do on a first date, or second date. What to wear. How long to wait afterwards to text or call. Whether or not no news is good news, or simply another loose end. My readiness, in general.

It's too much.

And so it appears I'm becoming an anthropologist of dating, a psychoanalyst of one.

I'm learning so very much about myself through this – first, that I'm an adult. Second, that adulthood is not in any way correlated with competency. That's the lie of the driving age, the voting age, the drinking age. The idea that time in service equates some level of proficiency in making decisions.

I have no idea what I'm doing.

The Greek Chorus of my friends and fellow wanderers seem to think I've got a few things going for me – that I'm smart and witty. Funny. Attractive. I've tried not to be – dumbed myself down, chopped off my hair. It's easier to accept rejection when you're not playing at full volume – accept the outcome when it's just the flip of a coin.

Harder when you're real, full force. Because then the rejection is real, fully earned.

The biggest challenge is not believing it's deserved. That the rejection is more about cosmic forces in slightly – but significantly – different orbits. See you again next life.

Or not.

My therapist is trying to help me embrace the idea that I have needs that must be met by other people – that I'm not entirely self-sufficient, and that this is not, in fact, a sign of weakness. This is a sign of human-ness. Humans are social, and even with my best cyborg impersonation, I am resigned to the fact that I am one. That part of being human is asking for help, and asking again and again at different doorsteps, at different feet.

The biggest lesson to date, in the field of dating, is that it takes a village. That my anxiety requires the assistance of 15 friends, a gallon of paint, a few yoga classes, a tribe of Al-Anon-ers to make sense of my disoriented position in the galaxy. And this is the gift – the realization that I have fifteen friends. A yoga community. A room of people as twisted and as human as I am in their preoccupation with calibrating off of the misguided signals of other people rather than their own screwed up and perfect molten cores.

I feel about twenty years behind at this, and pop culture is of no service. But neither are the opinions of a dozen people who are equally lost on this path. My solution – my resolution – is just to be me, fully, no holds barred. Less consideration for the shoulds and the thou shalt nots, more respect for the inner compass. More willingness to say, “help me!” when I need it, and “thanks for your opinion” when I don't.

Perhaps this is the mark of adulting.

Sunday, July 16, 2017


I've been lost for the last 24 hours or so. There are caverns in my mind... long, winding hallways filled with darkness and secret dripping sounds. Echoes and things that slither. The first time I held a human brain in my hands, I remember thinking that the labyrinthian folds and corners looked rather familiar... and I'm in there now, somewhere left of the lingual gyrus in a place that is deeply patterned.

Anxiety city.

I can't go into the details – they're irrelevant anyway – but the basic premise is that I'm looking for some external validation. I'd like to buy an ego-boost for $500, please.

I mean, welcome to America, right? I can hear you thinking that this is simply how we roll here – we buy the validation, the ladder out of the lost places in our mind. Or we ride the chute of addiction out. Have you seen my postings on social media? Mine, like yours, are cries for attention – validation – support of me as good enough. Right enough. Well enough.

Someone please tell me I'm pretty.

It's exhausting. Because I know I'm smart, and funny, and I do actually think I'm pretty (on a good day, with the right lighting...) It's hard to create my own light and shine it out, but that is the work. Especially on days when I am looking for someone else to light me up, to reflect my light back at me, these are the days when I need to put my hand on my chest and BELT, “I AM BEAUTIFUL – I AM BOUNTIFUL – I AM BLISS GAWDDAMMNIT.”

The yogis say that your thoughts become your words, and your words actions, and if that is the case then I believe we are royally fucked, my friends, because my thoughts are not yielding fields of blueberries and decent foster parents for all. My thoughts have a way of scampering into the dark places, of luring me down the hole, of clouding over the sun of my self-confidence.

After yoga, and coffee, and confession, and more yoga, I drove home ready to do the home-improvement work that I'm sure Jung would find particularly meaningful - rebirthing my guest room in Santa Fe colors. It's a work in progress, like my social life. And now I've retreated to the joy room – my life-raft of safety and security, containing only the things that spark joy and literally nothing else.

So here I am – on time out. Surrounded by things that spark joy, seeking the internal light switch. Recharging the crystal I wear over my heart, which took the place of the phoenix whose job was to remind me to lead with the heart, always.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Desert Sadhana

2:30 in the desert – tucked in between the witching hour and the dawn, while the fairies are still making magic and leaving stardust on the wind, we awoke. And so did the sliver of the moon, red and weary, but rising to conduct her motherly duty. Crossing the Milky Way, she was tired for us, as we danced our morning rituals in the warm desert breezes, sagebrush scraping our knees.

The wise people talk about the sacredness of the early morning hours, as a time when god draws closer, or the veil becomes thinner, or perhaps we are simply delirious and can no longer distinguish the voices in our own minds, and the echo sounds like god. But this morning I felt it, surrounded by the desert dwellers and the sacredness of pre-dawn prayer in a language I don't speak, from mouths of strangers on the same path. In line to receive the same download.

We practiced. Chanted. Napped. God whispered tangled messages into my sleeping ears – something about someone in San Francisco needing my help. Whale songs. Mysteries of the universe from a future time, yet to hatch. Seedlings and solutions, and somehow it all mixed and melted into the deepest sleep I've had, snuggled in on concrete with 2000 magic makers in turbans.

Singing the same song.

Hoping the god we pray to is real – hoping she hears us over the mele in our own minds, the sandstorm down south, the thunder, the fire that crackles and gives birth to ash and smoke. Whose essence is the same truth that we once were, before we forgot that we are perfect.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Thank God for Blue Carpet

Thank god for blue carpet.

Today was the hardest day in a long time. The Universe, it seems, is keen on teaching me many things.

That if I tell people that they can treat me a certain way, they do.

That I'm not a beautiful blonde woman, and never will be.

That men should not to be trusted.

That when the going gets rough, and I feel like this, it's better to channel my ferocity by tearing out carpet while blasting Magic Giant than it is to drink or act out in other destructive ways.

Thank god for blue carpet.

When I first moved in, I had thought it would be the first thing to go. That I would quickly replace all of it with some form of lovely wood flooring. Something eco-friendly. Something that would increase the resale value. But I'm glad that the economy tanked and the value plummeted, that we lived off of the money we thought we would invest in flooring, and that I don't currently have the financial flexibility to hire someone to deal with it.

Also, that I have some inner rage and ferocity that is on the warpath and looking for blood.

So it's me all day, old shoes and jeans, and a Barbie sized crowbar pulling carpet and tack rail or whatever the fuck Bob Villa calls it. Scrubbing and vacuuming, prying and crying (and bleeding occasionally). The karma yoga is the thing you do when you can't manage to meditate or salute, when your Sanskrit studies are worn out and you have to somehow live through this emotional weather pattern. It is second only to Bhakti yoga, which in my case, is where you sing along with Magic Giant (or perhaps, more classical chants) as you devote yourself to work.

I'm so tired of feeling less-than, and I'm most exhausted by the fact that I put myself in that godforsaken gauntlet anyway. I don't even need someone to manipulate or deprecate me any longer – I'll gaslight myself by convincing my own reflection that it is inferior to everyone else on the internet, the the TV, and even 36 year old carpet padding. Maybe you've never had this experience, whereby you compare yourself to imaginary or unknown others for the sincere practice of self-flagellation, but my guess is that maybe you have. It's so tiresome for me, particularly because I know I'm doing it to myself.

So the ripping is a metaphor as much as it is a tangible action. It's a way of slowly peeling back the layers of belief and misguided misunderstanding. Methodically rolling it up, and getting it OUT of the house.

The guest room is empty, now – bare to the bones – ready to reincarnate.

But I'm still raw and seething. Still working. And luckily for me, the are stairs and the ground level. The master suite.

Thank god for blue carpet.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Magic Giant Voice of God

Are you ready for this one?

I considered not writing one this year – just letting the day slip by while I do my best ostrich impersonation, but I just couldn't help myself. I have a few things to say.

Somewhere in my teens, I cleverly decided to give up prayer for Lent, as a tangible offering of my release of the very concept of faith.

(God finds this idea hilarious).

I didn't go back. Once confirmed, I really almost never set foot into a church. And now I'm not sure I belong, because of the marriage and divorce and the staunch feminism that just cannot keep her mouth shut when people pray for all of the “unwed mothers.”


Last year, right around Mother's Day – the day before, in fact – I had added hope and joy to the graves straddling my dead and buried faith. Love was on the war-path, like a goddamned zombie who just REFUSED to die despite my best attempts at burying it. I was so mad. Knee deep in the pit of despair, the cement of self-pity swallowing my ankles. Former friends and lovers launching spitballs at the back of my neck, kicking me while I was down. The internet was rife with people bitching about being mothers to heathy children.

Because it is hard.

It is. It is the hardest.

Well, no.

It's probably harder to be the mother of a sick baby. Or a dead baby. Or an imaginary baby.
Right? If we think about it? I know we don't want to, because we smell grief and bolt off of the nearest cliff, but even if you get a whiff of it you acknowledge that your life is better than that, even if you have banana pudding in your hair. Even if you haven't had banana pudding since Tuesday.

So there I was, sinking. People still saying THINGS about me not being a mother. Like it was a personal failure. Like it was God's Plan. Like I had so many babies from other people, or so many bags in my arms already, how could I possibly take on one more? Like I had missed my chance, like The Fates had moved onward.

And faith and hope, joy and love, all dead and gone. Just love wandering around emaciated and bloodthirsty, hand in hand with jealousy, chasing after their dog resentment.

And instead of starting to drink heavily, like a normal writer, like a well-adjusted person, I just started to sink into an empty, early grave, my own thoughts poisonous enough. I had the kind of angry, yelling-into-the-canyon conversation with God that ended in tears and back turning. I speak for both of us now (and spoke for both of us then, I suppose, as the canyon never yelled back) - and made sweeping statements about how difficult it had been to endure God's silent treatment – the lack of foretelling and magical symbolism. The true lack of magic, in fact, as life simply got more and more unreasonable, and I remained less and less pregnant.

There is a profound loneliness in infertility, as there is in partnership with an addict, as there is in your life, too, I imagine. Loneliness is strikingly common – frighteningly universal. God is literally laughing at every single one of us who peers at our toes and feels aloner than anyone else in the world, and yet is as alone as anyone could ever be.

We are supposed to give up on the fact that another person will make us feel less alone. That a partner or a baby, or a great job or tight ass will somehow elevate us from the condition of feeling alone. But in fact, everyone I know feels alone at some point, even the prolific and polyamorous entrepreneurs with butt implants and wickedly popular instagram accounts.

Sometimes they are the alonest.

But I did. I felt abandoned in the worst way, even though everyone who has a sense of faith tells you that God is always with you (unless you're a dinosaur). Rumi said something about god always singing your name, but Rumi often pisses me off because he is so right about things, and also because he was a man. And also because his god sang to him, and Rumi heard and wrote some amazing things – the sorts of things that echo for so long you imagine there must be a cosmic looper somewhere, instead of a big canyon in your mind.

It had been twenty years since my last confession, and a good 32 or more since I had last heard the voice of God with my actual awake and sober ears. Yoyo Ma had this cello, and through it, God had a channel straight into my heart, like a tractor beam of love with sparkles and unicorns. There was only one concert, but it was all I needed to remember part of what brought me here into this body this time. Since then, God and I had played this dance whereby she was always on the way out as I was on the way in. I could see her coat tails around the corner, or her shadow as the sun set, but she was always going away, and I couldn't ever quite make out what she was saying.

And then the silent treatment.

So last Mother's Day (the day before) I sat in the bath writing a scathing blog post about how hard it is for basically everyone on Mother's Day. It was me giving up on motherhood and life, with a voice of resignation, not surrender. It is different, to resign oneself and give over the hopes and dreams.

To drown love in the bathtub.

And I went through the motions of life, making no more plans. Wrapping up. Fulfilling commitments.
Waiting for the booming voice of God to give me some direction. Or lightning.

And one month later, she did.


Sometimes I work at yoga festivals, coordinating things like outdoor tents with music (and lightning)? After my partner left me alone for the millionth time, to head to spend the evening celebrating his birthday with other friends, I did the things – the motions of getting ready for an evening concert with the Big Band.

I kept calling the band Big Magic, because of the Elizabeth Gilbert book, and also because I had run out of spoons and fucks and was just trying to fulfill my commitment so that lighting could strike me dead PLEASE GOD. But they were called Magic Giant, and they were three guys with a whole lotta equipment and smiles and bouncing.

The violin caught my eye.

Sound checks are usually one instrument, one voice at a time. People plucking and clucking and saying “check” and counting incessantly. And that happened. And then they wanted to check balance, so they started into a piece of music.

And everything changed.

The violin had caught my eye earlier, but now it caught my ear. I stopped.

Everything stopped.

The first time it happened, I was nearly three years old, and my deranged parents took me to a YoYo Ma concert. It was 1983, the first time God sang to me.

And here she was again, on the violin, in the wind.

The vocals: I'm not leaving you alone.

It was the song of my soul.

Have you heard the song of your soul, my darling? Have you heard it from outside, from the mouth of another? Fully accompanied by the electronic magic that blends and loops in a way that man alone cannot? They were so happy. Singing my song. I'm not leaving you alone. As if God had placed them down in front of me and said:

“Try me now, bitch.”

God, on a looper.

Faith, hope, and joy, like the three wise men, singing a song of love.

(The lyrics are maybe a touch stalker-ish, but that's ok. God loves the stalker in you, too).

My life did not magically transform because of the song of Magic Giant, but the insidious mantra in my mind had been re-set as their words and melody took root in my mind and reminded me that I was not alone.

I would like to tell you that after that day, I never felt sadness again, that from that day forward, everything unfolded perfectly, but the reality is that life continued onward, in her steady chaotic way with car accidents and hurricanes, early unfathomable loss and plenty of tears and harsh words. Motherhood continued to evade me, love ran rampant and directionless. But the mantra remained, and miracles unfolded, too.

I have a lot of grief, and I'm all set on shame, too. Grief and I have a lot of work to do, because we are partners in this absurd three-legged race of life, and while it's easier to give up and lie down, we can also work together.

I've learned to mother my grief – let it nap when it's tired, tantrum when it doesn't get it's way. Sing to it, the way I encourage new mothers to sing to their babies. Charm it, like a snake who is mostly just heavy and occasionally deadly. And sometimes I leave it with a babysitter and fly across the country to hear the song of my soul.

To re-set my mindset, because life goes a whole lot better when the voice in my head tells me I'm not alone. To seek out joy, hope, and faith.

The voice of God, in three voices and a violin.

Sat Nam

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


A few weeks ago I was at an ashram in the Bahamas – the same ashram – the famed ashram, where I had once felt like a prisoner. This time it was different, because work, because age, because I knew more about myself and what I was getting into. A Karma Yogi – a young American woman – was filming a presentation I was attending, and when the opportunity presented itself to participate, she hung back. She sat, slumped in her chair, watching.

I could relate.

I've spent a lot of time slumped. Slumping. Protecting my heart from the risk of opening it up and letting anything in.

Or out.

Last November in Costa Rica, the sha(wo)man broke me open in, after Hurricane Otto and the travesty of the election, the abandonment and the scorpions had had their chances. She took me the rest of the way, and Shonda Rhymes told me that I could maybe say yes sometimes. That was the series of events that shook me down.

A few days later, I found myself slumping. Day two of a retreat. I wasn't behind a camera, but I was sitting out, not fully in. Holding space.


I love sitting on the fence. I should have been a cat, or a squirrel. Observing one side, the other. Never quite putting a foot down, because the grass. The grass is emerald green on one side, and jade on the other. Sometimes I think I'll die perched on top of this fence in my life – never making a decision one way or the other.

Gentle confrontation from a trusted teacher pushed me off of the fence. She didn't actually tell me to participate, she just suggested I choose. Like my friend AVT used to say: Shit or get off the fan.

Shit, or get off the fence.

(Or really, just get off the fence).

So I jumped in. Participated. Decided to speak, even if clumsy, even if inexperienced. To ask the questions I had, even if they were stupid, to share my opinion even if it was lousy. To say the words on my heart rather than hold them in, waiting for the moment when they were arranged perfectly. Because most of the time I can't arrange them quite right, especially when feelings or time are involved. I prefer to practice. Script.


So I cried and laughed, made friends and mistakes. But I participated when I wanted to hold back.

And I have since, too. Mostly. I've gotten on planes and trains and boats, tried the Korean spa instead of staying in and watching out the window. I talked with a woman in a loud, gay karaoke bar about grief. And again, I opened my mouth when the Korean grandma touched my naked belly in jealously and told her I would happily trade my flat tummy for a baby in a heartbeat.

So in the Bahamas, I did the unsolicited advise thing. To the slumping Karma Yogi I said - I don't like it when people give me unsolicited advice, but I'm giving you some now.

When life gives you the opportunity - participate.

If you need a nap, rest. Fuck fomo. Forget it. You can't miss out on your life if you participate fully where you are. Sometimes the face of God that looks like you needs a time out. Napping fully is a sincere form of prayer, just ask the Dalai Lama.

But you can't nap on the fence, you have to be vigilant. And that's no good at all. Vigilance and unnecessary guarding isn't participation. I have done this - grown weary weighing the options.

And I haven't always made the right choice. But god won't let you make the wrong choice more than 50% of the time, even if all you do is flip a coin.

The thing about the fence? Most of the time, the other side doesn't cease to exist because you chose one.

Most of the time, life gives you more chances.

So flip a coin. Participate.

Saturday, February 18, 2017


When I was three years old, a member of our parish community was kidnapped and held hostage in Beirut for seven years. Each day his picture was on the front page of the local paper, along with a count of how many days he had been missing.

That was my normal.

When he was released, he came to my elementary school and talked with all of us about his experiences. Which was also my normal. I'm not sure if long-term hostages typically make the elementary school circuit, or if God just has a tremendous sense of humor and thought in her infinite wisdom that I could use a few more things to front-load my impending mid-life crisis. Regardless, I recall everything he told us in excruciating detail.

The worst day was the day his glasses broke, and he could no longer see.

He was in solitary for a significant amount of the time.

He made chess pieces out of cheese and played with another man once they were in the same cell.

He said that what kept him alive was remembering – absolutely every single thing he could. Stories. Nursery rhymes. Songs.


This memory struck me tonight, as my yoga teacher shared a little quote from a book about the holocaust. Perhaps yoga theming based on desperate moments in history strikes you as bizarre as Tom Sutherland doling out hostage survival tips to elementary school students, but the two made peace in my mind as I realized that this kind of work is now essential.

We are currently in a hostage situation – the man at the helm of this great nation has no use of facts, and so it is incumbent upon all of us to remain vigilant. Yoga teachers need not get political, as that ship has sailed, but we can – should – must – keep the lessons of history, of science, of liberty alive as the sanity of the masses erodes in the wake of lies and abusive behavior.

Now is the time to study and speak.

The most radical and responsible thing we can do

is remember.

Sunday, January 29, 2017


In the tormented weather of the USAFA, there is always an eye of stillness over the cemetery, as if God is holding her breath

(Or at least there is every time I've been there.)

Eight years ago tonight you watched your final sunset – or maybe you missed it – maybe you were watching cable or still at work. Did you know that you would soon join the darkness that was rolling in around you?

Tonight I watched my shadow hold vigil above your grave. I watched it get taller and merge with the shadows of the forest around the artificial clearing. The memorial section forbids flowers and flags – any visible token of memory, as these service members died in service, and in uniform they remain. Forever, together, separated only by the thin whispers of time between the dates on their headstones. Their weapons and likenesses etched and cast in stone. It is comforting to know that they are with you each night, the trees and dwellers within them, your fellow men at arms – that you will never again face alone the darkness who drowned you.

I snuck in an espresso for you, poured it into the earth, hoping that the flavor might somehow trickle into your ashes – knowing full well that it won't. But maybe it will mix with my tears, the deer droppings and the wind and some day a molecule that was once you – that became me - will rejoin the surface of the earth. Maybe it will rise from the roots of the trees who surround you.

Maybe I will live to see it.

As I struggle to sleep at night, to pull myself out of bed each morning, to rest peacefully, I occasionally think of you. I'm grateful you don't have to work in support of this administration – or live with us beneath it's oppression. Your spirit is with the deer people now, which is, perhaps, the safest place to be.

Hearts are funny things. Mine seems to be well-tethered to the men I've loved, keenly aware of their movements and subtleties. The cords that tie me drag me down and lift me up, while also pulling my attention to the four directions – the four chambers of my heart.


I have a name for each of you – a need for each of you. An unanswered question in each chamber that keeps my love alive, even when I wish it would simply fade so that it would not keep me up at night. I don't have room for any more – my heart is full of stone - relics – stuffy emptiness - shrines to those departed through death or choice. Those dwelling in caves and tombs.

You died eight years ago tonight, dear Jon, and by now it must be time to rest. There is irony in knowing I can never call you, never hear your voice, never feel the warmth of your presence, and yet I know exactly where to find you. You've done all the leaving you can do, and the rest is up to me.

I'm taking the reigns of this cord, in this section of my life, and asking you to become an inspiration – to lift me up – to guide me in matters of life and heart. To guard me against the darkness that calls to me, that engulfs me each time the earth leans away from the sun.

Because I am not done living yet.

Because there is work to do.

Become the air I breathe – the words I speak.

The wind.

Friday, January 20, 2017

We the People

Five years ago I was full of hubris – the overconfidence of my youth glinting in the sunshine as I basked in the glow of a steady marriage, financial security, and a president who had a lot of good years left in him.

My, how things have changed.

As I write this, I'm alone in my Joy room, overlooking the twinkly lights in the canyon, a helicopter hovering in the distance like the Star of Bethlehem, a bed full of notebooks and journals and iProducts. My roommate is downstairs cooking something amazing, but I'm otherwise fully wrapped up in the aloneness as my ex-husband wakes up in Taiwan, Peter wakes up in India, and the other relevant men in my life prepare to depart into their own spiritual journeys to the Far East. 

I felt quite lonely yesterday morning as I put finishing touches on yet another email to end all emails. Probably one I won't send, because it always feels risky to bare your heart and soul, say what you mean, ask for what you want.

And need.

I don't like admitting that I have needs. I'm some kind of maniacle endurance athlete who tries to deprive myself of love, food, rest, fun. It was about five years ago that I started to punish myself in as many ways as possible, which is ironically the same time I started teaching yoga full time. I'm embracing that hypercritical nature I seem to have, where I advocate that you spend some more time and money on yourself – that you let yourself sleep in and treat yourself to a massage or a cup of tea while I figure out just how much more work I can do so I don't have to think about how alone I feel.

Which is my own fault.

A few days ago a friend posted a quote on instagram that caught my eye – she said it was a question her father used to ask:

“In five years, do you want to be five years older, or five years better?”

Shit, dude. That's a loaded question. Because in five years I would like to be five years older, and also, I would like to be five years better. I would like to feel better, have pictures of my journey along the trail that led me to higher ground, that let me see the valleys below, call to my fellow wanderers and give and receive key information – like where cool water is, the hanging vines, the best spot to view the sunset.

This is going to require a sizeable shift.

Yesterday I burst into tears in my therapists' office. Like literally burst. That has never happened to me – ever. Normally there is a surge of emotion that I try to swat away or push down, or swallow back into the dark hollows, but this? This was a tidal wave that came without warning.

Progress, right? 

Crying in front of strangers is progress, yes? 

Taking a moment to feel emotions and let them move through, rather than sitting tight.

This is not a year for clenching.

I've spent a significant portion of the last five years in despair. While the world got softer, I closed in, destroying relationships in every way I could think of. No matter what happens in the world, the White House, the remaining chambers of my heart, I am not willing to spend another five years mired in the darkness, catalyzing destruction.

In five years I will be five years older, five years stronger, five years better. I burned up the cushy years feeling sorry for myself, dissociating from my body, resenting my story. So I feel quite confident in telling you that it's not worth it. I've been down in those caves, and while their siren's song is tempting, it's really just a fancy black hole without friends and fellowship.

A dangerous person is driving the national bus, yes. But he's not driving your bus. You are. Not your children or your partner, or the people in the magazines and billboards who live in a fantasy world of perfect lighting and post-processing. 

In five years, we will be one year into a new presidency, the softer times will come again.

So let's prepare for that now – today.

Small, incremental change in a positive direction. 

A catalyst for good.

For the next five years, and beyond, God willing, I am going to do one great thing for myself and one good thing for someone else. Every day. It doesn't have to be feeding the homeless, but that's a good one. It doesn't have to be painful or hard. Using the life force within me for good does not have to be hard, no matter what else is happening in the world.

So if this inaguration makes you want to escape, do it. But don't do it by drinking or accidentally marrying a Canadian, by beating yourself up in the very special ways that only you know how to hurt yourself. Lie down. Turn off the things. Notice where you are.

Is there a floor?

Am I on it?

Am I breathing?

Then something is going right.

Start from there.

We the people are here to form a more perfect union. 

But let's start from the inside this time? 

Rather than fixing them, let's heal us.

And now, and now, and now.

Now begins the practice of yoga.




Sunday, January 1, 2017

Hail to the New Year

I woke up at 4:00 am (again), and after an hour of practice and an hour of writing, I opened Facebook to see how the world is bidding adieu to 2016. Some are happy, most are mourning the things we lost in 2016, like Prince and Bowie and Reason. Some of you birthed babies this year, some of you lost intimate relations, and some of you are drowning in a sea of grief.

I have to say, I am with you.

While I didn't birth a baby or a book in 2016, I made a significant number of mistakes, several of which I'm still learning from. My yoga teacher friends keep asking me, “What is the lesson in all of this?” and I want to both thank them for asking, and hit them with my car. Because some mornings the lesson is that I have survived things I did not anticipate surviving – yay me! And other mornings the lesson is that the world has added a few bonus pitchers to the mound, and I simply cannot keep up with the swinging and avoiding, and I keep getting hit – hard – in places that haven't healed yet.

What I wouldn't give for a slow-mo button on life tonight.

Instead, I remind myself that I came here, to this exact moment, in this exact ocean of grief, with these exact tools to prepare me for what is next.

When we heal from suffering – when we remember that pain is unavoidable, but suffering is a choice – we become present for the rest of the people. We become a lighthouse.

I feel that tonight.

Old, beaten by waves. Sundamaged and a bit weather-worn in a few key places. But my light is still shining, and if I can guide your ship to shore or give you a beacon of light when you are floating in the oceans of grief, or allow you to swim with direction away from the sinking ship that you've been holding onto for dear life? So be it. I cannot save you from the weather, from the unruly waves or the undertow, and I cannot force you to leave the thing that is pulling you under.

But I'll be here for you, and you'll be here for me.

Or someone.

Let's take turns in 2017, ok? Let's share the wealth when we have it, ask for help when we need it. 2016 has taught me that pride is indeed a deadly sin. That solitude can be medicine, and isolation poison. That love can exist in a vacuum of trust, and that it doesn't always make sense. That I have a lot to learn, and a little to teach.

The Lesson has two sides, if you ask me. Two paths. We can become angry, resentful, and bitter – and that is ok. And when we're exhausted by the negativity, the loathing, the second-guessing, we can turn our backs to it and look towards the light.

Let's fly together, tonight, into 2017.

Second star to the right, and straight on 'til morning.