Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Calling All Creeps

Come, love. Sit down with me. This is for you...

When it seems like there's no where to put your love
When your desire becomes a splinter in your heel that you cannot remove no matter the tweezers
When you just keep walking, pain and all, beginning to limp from longing so deeply

When what you prefer giving and what they prefer receiving doesn't exactly line up
When you have no fucking clue what it is that you're meant to give
When you can't control your energy in ways other than outbursts of desperation or denial

When you're the only one at the party buttoned up, or wearing flannel, or ready to kiss with as much as a hint
When you're never invited to the party
When you always choose to stay home

When you're popping xanex in the bathroom to kill the edge
When you just can't shake your judgement
When you can't understand why everyone's judging

When you get the best gift of your life and then have nothing for the giver but a thank you that he won't even receive
When you know the truth will most definitely break something--like the inertia of your body or the frozen fear of your voice
When you'd rather lie than go through the pain of restoring a shattered life
When you decide to let things break, and no one likes your recklessness

When you begin to see yourself in everyone and everything
When you can call yourself what you really are, without pretending that you are not
When your big bold life begins to topple over the edge of normal and into the realm of whole
And when you let yourself worry that this--this expansive way of being alive--makes you even stranger than before when you had no where to put your love

What if your belonging doesn't depend on someone else's word or approval?
What if there's no one coming to comfort you--I mean down-to-the-bones comfort--but your own tired self?
What if you are the so fucking special and also the creep, the weird-o?

We are all so very vulnerable. No one immune. No one getting to play hookie in the health room during the math exam. Not forever, anyway.

We all eventually have to sit for that test--the one that exposes how little we know, the one that makes us feel like beginners again, the one that softens our ego and teaches us to ask for help, or say nothing at all and just be with our own tender limitations.

We are all creeps. All weird-o's. And there is someone out there, someone so fucking special meant to make your creep stand tall like hairs on your back. Meant to remind you of your fragility. Meant to point you to your strength by illuminating your wobbly parts.

Sit for your test. Struggle to let someone see your vulnerability. Over and over and over again.

Passing's not the point.

You're learning. Perhaps, if nothing else, how to let go of the need to get everything right, to know all the ways of the all the worlds, to always have an answer.

You're learning how to be a creep, and therefore, relatable. You're learning how to be a weird-o, and therefore, low-pressure for everyone else. You're learning how to be one of many drowning in the pool of desire for a perfect body, a perfect soul.

And this, this makes you more known, more normal, more human than you ever thought you'd be. It makes you just like me, just like her, just like him. It makes you one of us in this big, messy, beautiful human family that's trying to learn love despite our differences; that's trying play and grow up and stay young and feel free and feel safe all at the same time.

We see ourselves in you.

We all have our days (or months, or years) wondering, What the hell am I doing here?

We're all in this together.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Cycles of Creatitivity and Stillness

"Humans, like other animals, are shaped by the places they inhabit, both individually and collectively. Our bodily rhythms, our moods, cycles of creativity and stillness, even our thoughts are readily engaged and influenced by seasonal patterns in the land. Yet our organic attunement to the local earth is thwarted by our ever-increasing intercourse with our own signs. Transfixed by our technologies, we short-circuit the sensorial reciprocity between our breathing bodies and the bodily terrain. Human awareness folds in upon itself, and the senses – once the crucial site of our engagement with the wild and animate earth – become mere adjuncts of an isolate and abstract mind bent on overcoming an organic reality that now seems disturbingly aloof and arbitrary."
-David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous


I've been laying in the tall grasses behind our house a lot lately. Dancing in the thunderstorms, too. Long walks, while tired in the soon-summer heat, are keeping me humble. And I'm generally less interested in socializing, checking e-mail, going out, doing Bikram yoga, or working at the coffee shop than my often high-speed style.

An internal meditation something like stacking link-n-logs is being called forth. A way to piece together all the wild experiences I've had over the past few months. A new vision. I know not from a place in my mind, but from a feeling in my body. It's telling me to rest. To be quiet. To be still. To do nothing until something is coming all the way through me.

I'm listening, deeply. It's Saturday night and I'm home snuggling up against the possibility of a painting or a poem or a nice long rest. No particular pressures. Just space. Just stillness. Not even a song in the background plays to distract me. Just the quiet hum of the refrigerator and the memory of the birds singing before bedtime. (That's the way they roll, ya know, singing like crazy people before bedtime and then as soon as the sun truly disappears and the sky turns deep deep blue--sleep. The birds know how to go to sleep with the sun.)

The Earth is undergoing a great change these days, moving from a wild rebirthing drenched in diversity, to the sweltering stimulus of a hot hot summer. It's so easy to just keep going in a particular mode without pausing, without laying in the grass to check your own pulse against the pulse of the Earth, without seeing or listening for desires from the inside, out.

But what if you did? What if you stopped, turned off your phone, closed your lap top, left the ear plugs at home for a day, and just listened? Listened with your whole body? Not for something in particular, but for anything that's there.

That's my invitation to you sweet friends, if you want it. An hour, an afternoon, a day--machine-free--body returning to the body of the Earth, there to see what secrets she has to tell you. Because she's full of them, and she's always willing to tell. Grab a blanket. A journal if you'd like. Feel free to jot down her wisdom. She won't mind. She'll just be glad to have you for a visit.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

100 Things I Never Thought I'd Tell You.

Self as Subject & 100 Things I Never Thought I'd Tell You. Coming up...a post about all the self-portraiture and the journey of embracing my beauty.

1. Like Keri Smith implies in this beautiful letter, anger and excitement are two sides to the same powerful coin of deep desire.
2. To tell you the things that anger me and excite me, I'd have to toss all the rules of blogging and self-employment out the window.
3. As if those "rules" are the key to what makes me lovable--what makes me marketable.
4. Now that's something I'm angry about--that in this world, to do what I love, I'm expected to come across as marketable and follow these made up rules about what sells. I Am Not A Commodity.
5. I'm a human with a passion for connecting to other humans.
6. I also love to paint.
7. I also love sex.
8. I also love sitting hand in hand with another breathing body and soaking in their physical presence.
9. I also dream of smashing my laptop one day. It's one of my biggest Mondo Beyondo's of all time.
10. But to tell you that is almost as risky as to tell you that I Think I'm Beautiful.
11. So beautiful that I can use myself as a source of inspiration when no one else is around.
12. So beautiful that I can take 100 pictures of myself in one day and not think it conceited or self-indulgent to do so.
13. I've grown less and less afraid of other people's judgements.
14. Knowing that most of our reactions to others (good and bad) are simply projections of ourselves, undercover.
15. And simply noticing when we get stirred up by someone else's way of being, is the first step to understanding how full and divine we really are.
16. I have absurdly expansive beliefs about loss and brutality that it makes it hard for me to commit to "changing the world".
17. By which I mean, I believe, in a cosmic sense, that murder is necessary--that terrors are necessary--so that the remaining lot of the human family must learn to join together and rise up through healing and solidarity.
18. I suffer when terrible things happen. And at the same time, I do not back down.
19. Everything has a breaking point.
20. Everything eventually surrenders.
21. I've found that the best way of dealing with this truth is by surrendering myself--consciously deciding to participate in the breaking, instead of fighting and resisting.
22. That said--there are times when the breaking can be postponed, or the way it expresses can look differently through resistance and fight back.
23. I'm in favor of this sort of resistance when it truly speaks to me.
24. Like resisting the breaking of my marriage, when a small change could restore it to good health.
25. Like resisting the breaking of ____ (I'm too tired to think of another example. Hello, keepin' it real.)
26. And sometimes I think that our nihilism gets so lofty that we forget that truly--we could each contribute small acts of defiance to resist the breaking of our natural world and restore it to good health.
27. But it's hard to know, collectively, if it's worth the fight--if the promise of good global health is already too far gone.
28. In those cases, may we make music, may we feast together, and may we brush each other's hair as the world crumbles around us.
29. May we at least learn love.
30. And forgiveness.
31. And how to be with the terrible reality that everything eventually breaks.
32. And that we are part of the breaking.
33. And at this point in history, we could not save ourselves.
33. We didn't have it in us.
34. It was just too much.
35. And that's okay.
36. Are you with me on this?
37. Does this sound so ridiculous?
38. Maybe my work in the world is about surrendering after it's already too late.
39. Grief.
40. After all, there is so much loss and so little we can do to stop it.
41. But so much we can do to tend to our hearts and our spirits and our bodies when we're amidst it.
42. Like write blessings.
43. Like pay for a stranger's groceries.
44. Like give someone your full attention and tell them you don't blame them for all their faults and fuck ups.
45. Who's perfect?
46. Maybe our imperfections--our breaking points and bastardization of health--is the master plan, after all.
47. Nature would have us believe it so.
48. Ah, but we've never been that great at listening to nature, learning from the greatest classroom of all.
49. We get caught up in our minds, in our homes, in our cubicles, in our screens.
50. We think these squares are smart and wise.
51. But our bodies don't trust them.
52. Even when our minds are hypnotized, our bodies still do their protesting.
53. They get sick, sore, tight, tired.
54. They beg for our attention, an emancipation from inertia or perpetual motion--pick your poison.
55. They scream out as a last ditch effort for freedom.
56. Wisdom is listening to your body.
57. Wisdom is hearing the call to lay yourself down in overgrown grass and watch the clouds dance in the sky.
58. Wisdom is ... pausing.
59. Breathing.
60. Closing your eyes and slowing down.
61. Right here.
62. Right now.
63. Even though your mind says, "keep reading."
64. Your body knows what it's truly seeking.
65. Stop for a moment, and listen.

66. My body is a looming thunderstorm today.
67. It has no judgement.
68. It's just waiting for something release, wild and wet and a tad bit frightening.
69. And then, a balmy quiet.
70. Rest.
71. With the rest of my life, I'd like to make peace.
72. The kind of peace that expresses itself freely, like a painting or a song that has no clue where it's going before it gets there, but feels totally alive in the process.

73. Ze Frank is a genius. For beginners, start here. For people craving comfort, start here. All guaranteed to make you laugh, maybe cry.
74. Honestly, I just want to live in a straw bail house with a room full of paints and a river near by.
75. I want an electric blue moped that I can ride 10 minutes into town where everyone knows my name, and I know theirs.
76. I want a low-maintenance healing center where a pool of awesome people run their practices and chip-in on rent and space beautification. Music at night. Coffee and wine on tap.
77. I want to see my grandmothers way more often.
78. And go home once a week to watch crappy pop TV with my parents.
79. And play dorky board games with my brother while drinking high percentage beer.
80. And smoke weed with Brian and fuck like animals.
81. And did I mention, paint? Until the sun comes up in the morning?
82. And sing my heart out with Brian on guitar?
83. And visit Jodi in Portland every 6 months?
84. And make videos that make you laugh and cry?
85. And lay down in the grass, watching the clouds dance, daily? <--This one starts today.
85.5 And when everything falls apart (because things always do) hold each other in the bed until we feel a little less terrible.
86. What happens when we declare what we really really want?
87. When we stop trying to want what we think we should want?
88. What happens when we surrender to our deepest desires?
89. When we let the rules be damned, and let our intuition and clear sight guide the way?
90. If I can raise a happy family and embrace imperfection, forgiveness and surrender, my biggest dreams will be fulfilled.
91. If I can laugh and sing and dance and paint and stretch my body in all the best ways, what more could I want?
92. Maybe I don't care about the world as much as I had hoped.
93. Or maybe my biggest gift to the world is my own fulfillment and joy.
94. That part of me that breaks free, and invites you to do the same.
95. Even though it's an uphill battle in a world with few support mechanisms for the brave-hearted and self-expressed.
96. Even though I don't blame you if it feels like too much of a trap or too impossible a feat.
97. I love you just the way you are.
98. And I--I cannot conform.
99. I must lay down in the grass and watch the birds make love.
100. I must do this without knowing the cost, the gift, or the payoff--but only the unspeakable relief of letting my body's wisdom guide my life.