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.