A Free Woman

“RAIN” installation, clay objects on nails sunk into wall

.

JUST RANDOM THINGS ABOUT ME:

.

I am comfortable not being married.

My decision not to have children was a good one for me.

Even though I ride out the day in a wheelchair I am comfortable with my STATE.

Knowing I know very, very little helps me.

I adore red lipstick.

My guard has truly been let down with just 3 people.

If you can make me laugh you got me.

The love I have for my dog, Emma, likely verges on quite unreasonable.

I feel safer in Nature than with people.

The health challenge of MS saved me.

Freedom is my top value.

I seem nice but can be very fierce.

When I go out to a restaurant and dine by myself I find my own company very entertaining. She never bores me.

It is really fun to be a woman who loves lowrider cars, old trucks, INDIAN motorcycles, the smell of Mercedes and the lines of a Porsche.

My family is made up of remarkable people I love. I am proud of us.

When I periodically lose my connection to Spirit I feel worse than MS could ever make me feel. Only then do I think about dying.

My need for “depth of living” and self-examination annoys some people and I am still learning how not to care.

My best medicine is silence. I need an extraordinary amount.

I don’t know how to live with another person because I give my power away.

Even at 63 and a lifetime of therapy to get me healthy (which I am) I still don’t have a very clear picture of my own power and strength.

Santa Fe is my beloved. I put my feet down here and my soul sprouted.

I think I likely will be forced not to have any work done on my aging face because how can I start erasing if I haven’t got the whole “me” yet?

I always thought not needing anybody and being very independent were the holy grail. Now I know it is INTERDEPENDENCE.

Respect for another person is a major litmus test for me.

I watch how you treat those who serve us.

Honestly, I do not know what I have done to deserve the aid and assistance I have had in my life to become who I am. I could never, never, never , never have done it myself.

A good cup of coffee is sacramental.

It Was Us

.

I saw a man on the street yesterday.

It was early evening.

I was feeling very fine.

He surfaces regularly behind his blue metallic walker

Pushing. Gripping.

He is old but a warrior I could tell

Because of the fierce determination he always wore.

Yesterday evening he was sitting down on the seat his walker provided.

It was a downtown street corner with a 4-way stop.

His head bent down to his chest he just sat there silently on that corner.

My heart strings began thrumming and I actually turned around and headed for him.

I was called to go.

No wasn’t an option.

I pulled my chair up close to his on that busy intersection.

He was drunk. He did not look up.

I had no adverse reaction to his state and

Slipped some bills in his loosely clasped hands.

He registered the sensation in his hand and grasped the cash gently, lifting his weary head up a few inches to try to catch my eye

But couldn’t quite do it.

He slowly stretched out his free hand and I took it.

A purely purposeful micro-movement like a dancer.

It was so full, warm and soft. Human.

So THERE for me in his gratitude.

I dropped my head like his and held his hand for quite awhile right there in that intersection.

We were two broken ones.

For two minutes we had communion on the street.

Two times in my life I have experienced a holy touch with someone.

He called me “Goddess” as I wheeled away.

His only word spoken.

I don’t know the mystery of what happened there on that corner

But God was surely near.

And it was us.

One Life As Art

hand-painted terry cloth robe, 1987

.

I was recently invited by an old friend who is the owner of the primo art supply store- ARTISAN’S in Santa Fe, to write something for the monthly newsletter. This goes out to 7000 people so it is no small thing. It felt good to do because so many of my peers haven’t seen me in years so this was a chance to let them know I am ok.

.

ONE LIFE AS ART-
Using the skills I learned as an artist to thrive in illness

.

I lost the whole damn thing. The “who” of me just wasn’t after a diagnosis of Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis in 2000. My right leg went first and over time disability has visited me in a hemispheric way affecting my beloved right side, generously allowing some use of my left.

My power wheelchair is fast. Growing up in Detroit I demand a cool ride with some sass. Surrendering my driver’s license turned my stomach. Seventeen years into this landscape of chronic illness has changed me for the better. It really all comes down to choice; in the moment do I go for the somewhat intoxicating (due to familiarity) downward spiral or do what it takes to elevate my self into “art” or something resembling beauty?

These are exactly the same decisions I faced over my long career as a textile designer, painter and sculptor. Life as an artist or musician or any uber-sensitive creative is precarious at best. We know the un-known intimately. Whether blank canvas, slab of clay or hungry piano keys…some THING has got to get done to make art. This tolerance of the unknown is the key to my curious “ok-ness” within the health challenges I live with. The big void is not the enemy for me as it, understandably, manifests for most. I know the thing, despise it, am frustrated by it, haunted by it, in love with it, addicted to it, nauseated by it yet have chosen it as my life-long partner. Why? Because in that very void is where all the magic lives.

To bring this closer to home here is a recent example: transferring from my wheelchair to my bed is a precarious move for me. I must park my chair facing the bed and exhaustingly use what little strength I have in my quads and push up to stand, pause, pirouette to place my behind on the bed. Very occasionally there comes a perilous moment when I understand the safe completion of this dance move is not going to happen and I slip with a groan to dead weight prone on the floor; a slow, yet uneventful humbling. This has happened twice before and I have a medical alert button around my neck I use to call the fire department to come get me up. Eight men in uniform enter my bedroom within minutes. I never have the right make-up on or even many clothes of course and the flush of embarrassment pours red for all to see.

The other day it happened once more and I realized I was bored by my historical hysteria and changed the story; like erasing a naïve charcoal line and replacing it lovingly and with elegant assuredness onto the paper to create something new. I pressed my safety button, adjusted my hair and clothing as best I could and lay there on the floor petting my dog in the lovely surety a host of gorgeous men were on their way to my bedroom. I was calm. They came in and I lay there smiling, looking up at a circle of hunkiness; thrilled as they exerted their herculean mastery and lifted me compassionately into bed. It was over in 10 minutes and the bright flashing lights of the EMT and fire trucks left my neighbors to the stories they would tell.
I, on the other hand, was easy in my body and oozing with gratitude for their help but mostly for the fact I had changed my own story from one fraught with angst to an (almost) fun encounter.

Don’t like the shade of red you chose for that paint stroke? Change the damn thing and move on.

.

Tidbits for the road:

1. Stay curious.

2. Asking for help does not mean anything other than you need some help. Let people be heroes.

3. By all means live with a dog.

4. Connect in small ways with those you don’t think need it or want it even. There are worlds there.

5. Try so hard you fail often enough not to fear it.

6. Your purpose is just to exist. Anything else is extra.

7. Judge profusely for 5 minutes max then soften back into yourself- nothing/no one can reach you if you are hardened into defense-mode.

10. Falling is just a new perspective. Look around. Find the gold. Bring it back.

END

Everything, Everything

ceramic, high fired

.

My existence in a wheelchair puts my perspective about 2 feet below yours in all likelihood.

My current penchant for going down to the Santa Fe Plaza very early in the morning has the effect of an archaeological dig at times.

This morning I saw deep brown skinned, old Mexican men lifting giant glass containers filled with fresh watermelon juice as they readied their street vendor food cart.

Pigtailed girls ran deliriously after taunting pigeons.

Native Americans sat stoically tolerating the tourist gum-chewing and innocent disrespect; their eyes slightly glazed and hungry at the same time.

I loved my soft awareness with its desire to attach itself to the surprisingly graceful choice the city gardeners made of planting corn in the large pots used to direct traffic.

Perception stayed cool and comfortably low..

Humored by high-heeled, polyester suit-clad women teetering blindly while worshiping their phones.

I could see their crowded thoughts buzzing like flustered bees above their hair.

The stately trees generously buffered the sun.

I was in love with it all; the clear air and green smell mixed with surreptitiously smoking folks trying to get small in their shame and pleasure.

The low down suits me.

All these different levels and layers of perception invisible to the others but carrying wiggling and lively realities unique to each.

How very much we miss by remaining in our familiar territories.

The lower I get the quieter I become.

.

Change

Emma and me at The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

.

.

Mike Tyson, the fighter said: “Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.”

I think one of the gifts I have to offer is my willingness to share with you all some of the welcome surprises and utter shit that can happen as we age or challenged by illness and are confronted with loss of our carefully crafted and beloved identities.

I can think about change all I want; make lists of intentions, affirmations, to-do’s and desires

But the important personal life “re-boots” never happen

Until we get excruciatingly bored, over-the-top sick of ourselves

Or we are forced to shift in some way.

Comfort and familiarity usually win out over consciousness

Because change is messy, inconvenient, humbling, embarrassing and fucking hard work.

The good fortune of getting flattened by disability like me

Is the option of choosing to entertain change was not even on the table.

I had to/have to…

And, inside moulding my new identities

I think about things you may not.

As an example- I think about Death more than most people because I feel my mortality deeply and want to grab juicy Life while I can..

Not like I want to check out but more to let Death inform my Life, ride on my shoulder; help me make choices that add up to the treasure that is me.

The thing is- living at depth (I call it) can challenge people.

The last post I wrote (topics like Death,suicide,too sensitive for the world..) brought a slew of PLEASE UNSUBSCRIBE ME‘s to my inbox.

I don’t want to be off-putting or lose readership so I deleted the offending post.

I now have the all-too-familiar sensation in my essence of shrinking my soul to fit…

Clearly not healing!

So- I am inside some of the messy parts of evolving my Self to Whole.

As Mike Tyson was saying in the quote above- not a one of us can ever know how we will react in the aftermath of the punch.

My writings here are part of my way.

I am working on not apologizing for taking up space in the ways I do.

The Loveliness of the Little Good

STORMY WEATHER, 44×44,m/m

.

The title for this post came from the David Brooks article I just read referencing the new documentary on Mr. Rogers.

There were so many weird things about Fred Rogers to make fun of if you weren’t a kid:

His voice made me kind of want to attach a jet engine equipped with mega-doses of testosterone to his voice box to make him talk faster.

To me, he seemed too slow, too overtly gay, too simple and at first blush, too patronizing of children.

He was a fun object of ridicule from my generation

Because we didn’t need him so much.

We were not the ones to be confused as to why the adults would not let us swim in pools containing black people.

When Kennedy was shot we were reduced to stoney silence in the face of all the adults breaking around us; The salve of Mr. Rogers was for those smaller than us. We had nowhere to turn.

I saw the documentary and realized every single syllable, inflection, clothing choice, topic discussed

Were intentionally chosen

To foster his one mission:

TREAT CHILDREN AS THE HIGHLY INTELLIGENT AND FEELING BEINGS THEY ARE.

He spoke slowly and put his face close to the child.

No question was stupid.

“Mr. Rogers..can I be sucked down the bathtub drain with the water?”

He replied softly and evenly: “No, Bobby..just the water goes down the drain.”

Phew.

He gave up his desire to enter the ministry in lieu of understanding he could be of service to his chosen congregation of tiny people in other ways.

He was not gay as his measured and intentionally soft voice suggested but married to a lovely woman who supported his unwavering attention to how best to use TV as his educational tool of choice.

Disability, racism, divorce, death, step-parenting, illness, loneliness, single parenting, riots, bullying, shyness…..each of these topics Fred Rogers approached with the assumption kids were very ok with the truth if presented kindly and without the slime of patronization.

In an interview I read, the black policeman character Mr. Clemmons said that once Fred Rogers had leaned in quite close and looked him in the eye saying: “I like you as you are. I wouldn’t want to change you.”

Instead of feeling the vulnerable expression maudlin Mr. Clemmons said he felt truly seen and loved.

He never forgot it.

When I roll around my neighborhood in my wheelchair and, with intention, extend a small “Good Morning” to most I pass

I get to see the seeming shock a verbal invitation to join in solidarity, if only for a moment, from a stranger can elicit.

It is my version of “I like you as you are”

And each time I see relief

At this tiny recognition

Of our shared

Shuffle

Down a sometimes very gritty road indeed.

Vulnerability

ceramic vessel, 24×18

.

When I began writing this blog over 4 years ago

The promise I made to myself was to avoid editing myself out of truly authentic territory.

That meant telling my truth as truly as I could and not spiriting away the messy bits, the unflattering occurances, the embarrassing shit.

I, as an expert people pleaser was in search of the woman under the mask

And telling my truth is my road to HER.

There have been 3 times I have chosen to go back and delete a post because I just felt too raw after writing..too exposed.

The thing about vulnerability is that it is a universal condition and no one escapes.

Knowing this I recognize that if I have had a feeling or experience there is likely a slew of others in the boat with me, maybe cowering in the corners.

After revealing to a good friend recently that I took down a post she reminded me that my readership come here in part to get the TRUTH as opposed to a prettified scenario.

” People, your friends, WANT to hear the vulnerable stuff you deal with. Puts the beautiful parts in perspective. And makes US realize we have nothing to whine about. Put it back up. “

Arriving at a place in which one has little to lose is a freedom gift extraordinaire.

I am here.

And somewhat broken.

But strangely grateful for the lovely, lovely scars

Each with a story of resolve and resilience

Adding to the creation

Of today’s Cathy

Who ties (sometimes with help) a Parisian silk scarf around her sagging neck

And re-enters Life

In partnership with the scars

Which are quiet

Having been given the air-time

They each demanded and deserved.

.

Civility As The New Politic

.

NEXT NEED

.

This morning I saw a dirty man.

I said hello

Partly to assuage the awkward guilt

I felt

At feeling so good myself

When he was not.

Also-

I wanted my tiny hello

To wash him clean

Buy him stylish new clothes

Have his hair cut

By the tenderest of hands

Be a prayer

Feed him

And then set him free

To pay it forward

Like I knew he would

Because kindness is like that;

Never static

It can not help its’self

But to address

the nearest

Next need.

Like a hermit crab

Kindness expands

With each deposit

Crawling intently

To discover its next

Home

Residing there

Only until

The pressure gets too taut

And we must give again

To save ourselves.

.

My Dad

monoprint,30×22

.

I am not really sure my father really wanted to be one.

He excelled in his job as a top gun at General Motors Styling;

Winning “BOSS OF THE YEAR” as I remember.

His iconic signage developed way-back-when for all the GM dealerships is still used today.

Having kids in the 50’s was just what people did.

I doubt many couples asked themselves individually or together whether having children was something they consciously wanted to do.

My dad was fairly awkward in the role of father.

He brought home a new car every few months to try out as an executive perk

And had a workshop to retreat to where he made amazing things like plaster castings of the huge Northern Pike we caught in the river nearby or hammered brass weather vane or our astoundingly lovely dining table.

He was quiet.

Private.

Lonely, I think.

My mother hated anything corporate so he tucked that part of his life under his hat when he pulled into the garage every night.

Then he drank.

A lot.

So we four kids got a half-Dad at best.

He was not a soft place to fall.

When he died at a young 51 I felt relieved.

When he was alive, as the eldest I slipped into the role of “psychic umbrella” in order to ensure my siblings and myself a future

Because living in our family was some scary shit.

But Dad left a profound and positive legacy to me.

He taught me to trust myself with tools. He supported my art talent. We silently worked together making stuff and that quiet camaraderie is the fathering I remember best.

My two brothers, without much modeling, are magnificent fathers and I am in awe of this miracle.

Willing and Conscious fathering and mothering are unequalled in importance.

A deep bow to Dads doing their best.

To all of us doing our best for that matter.

Gathering Evidence

.

Whatever the story we have concocted

There will always be someone out there who will validate our opinion.

It feels so slimily good to gather evidence for our belief in what is true

But to what end?

A well placed ” I told you so?”.

Is this the gold we are after?

Chronic illness is a lonely affair.

We can invite friends and family and God

To come in close

And witness our sufferings AND triumphs

But essentially,

We live within our own concocted truth.

I say “concocted”

In light of the fact I experience my level of suffering or grace is altered

By the story I tell about it

And the more people I can gather around me who agree

Set my experience in stone – good or not-so-good

RIGHT QUICK.

For this reason I have avoided MS support groups.

It feels so very lovely to share agreement

Whether that be in the realm of health or politics or religion or sport.

Yippee! We are not alone!

Except we are.

In the most important of ways.

We create our lives

By choosing where to put our attention.

My sense is that I continue to thrive

In the largest sense of the word

Because I am familiar with how to approach a blank canvas; having done this very thing thousands of times in my career as an artist,

I understand how to create and not stop until it feels right.

I use these same skills as a bridge to each and every “next moment”.

In the end they even out to quite a lovely life.

This is true for me.

I do not need your agreement.

The Dignity of Doria

.

I keep thinking about Meghan Markle’s mom, Doria.

After all the hullabaloo has passed, her quiet dignity stays with me.

She did not tuck her blackness in

Nor did she shove it in our faces.

She carried herself with an easy and powerful dignity.

She sat there in the pew, very alone, witnessing her baby marry a prince.

Prince Charles took really good care of her; recognizing the challenge of negotiating such an event with out a plus-one. He kindly guided Doria with seeming affection as Camilla stood by.

Today, on my morning roll I negotiated the crowded streets of SantaFe filled with tourist disconnect to my presence on the streets.

I found some quiet shade to do my voyeur thing.

The default posture I see most these days is a marked hunched back and collapsed upper chest.

Seeing this so much makes me feel claustrophobic.

It is a habitual and lazy stance of no possibility; armoring ourselves against the assault of internalized wariness of the daily unknown.

Closing off our chest like this truncates breathing so less Life gets in.

Thinking about this and noticing the same in myself I changed my posture

By rolling my shoulders back and subtly lifting from the muscles in my upper chest while pulling my lower back in toward my stomach a bit.

This is the basic yoga “at rest” posture.

I immediately felt really different as I opened my chest to hope and connection and ease and dignity.

If I don’t put energy into maintaining this posture I can go down the rabbit hole pretty quick.

This seems to be an immediate antidote to “victimhood”

And an invitation to poised liveliness.

It helps me meet the world from a far less “me-centric” place.

Keith Richards is Still Alive

.

Isn’t he like 165 years old by now?

I look at his face and his wrinkles seem to be placed well.

His wife is cool and she is still there with him.

He wraps a rag around his head and still rocks it.

I, on the other hand, woke up this morning and felt angry at the pain and sad most good friends have left town and pissed off that it takes me two fucking hours to get my two feet into both pant legs instead of one.

Blah, blah blah….

Keith is so in love with playing guitar.

I adore the strange faces he makes in creative reverie.

Making sculptures as I am at the moment with my one good hand has me making faces too..

Thankfully, the frustration turns to laughter pretty quick.

It seems so weird; Keith Richards weird; that I love my life.

I found this new milk substitute called OATLY.

Made from oats!

From Sweden.

With cool packaging.

I bought some as dairy is not my friend.

I ordered it online.

It was terribly good in my morning tea.

I mean- beyond good actually.

Crack cocaine good.

Entertaining to read the box.

Good enough that it gets me out of bed in anticipation.

Now there is no more to be had…

Anywhere.

I checked, believe me.

The UK has some.. but shipping…

Can’t get no satisfaction.

Mettle

ceramic,7x4x1/2″


.

It took me longer to forgive my mother than the guy that raped me.

They both took things from me; stuff I needed to thrive.

The rapist rendered my physical self insecure which has lasted a long time and I am defended where I wasn’t before.

My mother disallowed my essence and spirit to recognize themselves as innately good and worthy.

She could only give what she knew.

I have forgiven them both

And directed my life toward re-mothering my own self; my way.

It will be a lifetimes’ work.

I surround myself with beauty and know I love it because I feel my own beauty through it.

Flowers, antique linens, light, space, silence, treats like a daily visit to the coffee shop where I am known and appreciated, living with an animal that teaches me every day what love actually is, sharing my talents and creativity with others, acknowledging beauty and goodness in people when I experience it instead of staying quiet, dressing well, cultivating good manners, keeping gratitude very, very close.

I never wanted kids.

Don’t remember ever having even one “biological clock ping”

And I am so glad because somehow God knew I needed this lifetime to be about me and my own healing.

I had so many unmet needs myself that I was spared eventual resentment toward children.

Today, I would be a great mom I think

But I am 63.

It seems a bit weird that dealing with the constricting challenges I do

My heart has more love in it than ever.

I did/am doing the work and am so very glad.

It could have been a bitter pill of a life

But feels more like a swim in an infinity pool;

98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

How We Learn To Discern

my garden

.

Discernment can be a foggy affair

If we don’t know ourselves truly.

Meandering through life for so many years as a people-pleaser as I did,

In search of love in all the wrong places

Had me making decisions from a fake place.

This is where MS comes in as one of the best things to ever happen to me;

I now haven’t the energy to concoct much of anything

So most of me is true;

Solidly my highest accomplishment to date.

If one is not visited by the magnitude of an ego-crushing illness

Which can assist in the process if we let it

How can we learn what is true and real for us

In the way of food or belief or partner or career or fashion or art or music or terrain or color preference even?

If I wear the color green I feel sick…

In my stomach and in my head.

Every time…

Green equals yuk.

Now, it was many, many years into this particularly potent equation

That I finally understood why

But that is sort of beside the point;

Green is so viscerally NOT my color that I could not NOT notice.

In my beginning to pay attention to finding out my TRUE likes and dislikes

The ensuing reaction to BAD NEWS had to be big enough to get through the murk and sticky mire

Of trying to be liked

Because there is a sneaky little thing that feels really, really addictively grand

When you figure correctly and give someone what they think they want.

After a few years of this study my refinement increased and I can now feel pretty close to in-the-moment when I’m in-sync.

THIS SKILL IS CRUCIAL FOR A GOOD LIFE I think..

Otherwise, we are living a virtual existence created to achieve the “best” response from another.

.

ps- I abhor green because my mother re-decorated my bedroom as a child with chartreuse as the main color of rug,paint,fabric without asking me what I might like. My current self loves white…go figure.

.

Knees

“ONE BLUE SQUARE”, 5′ x 5′, 1991, m/m

.

This is one of my favorite works of art by Bruce Nauman.

The medium is beeswax and the impressions are of “five famous artists”.

I respond to it because it makes me think of the physical action of prayer; from the coolness of standing tall, our physique erect

We are drawn to break at the knees which instantly introduces vulnerability.

Surrendering to gravity the elevation of our brain comes down closer to the earth.

Physical height is halved and we perch awkwardly on our knees and toes.

This is not a power position in the sense of combat.

I am part of the 1% and therefore fortunate beyond measure

But there have been times where I have needed to ask my tribal extended family for help.

This kind of “asking” is very different than leaning into a partner or family or a bank for help.

This “ask” (I’m speaking of my recent crowd-funding project for Emma)

Is the type of need that heats up your knees;

Praying there with a shattered, fat ego broken in pointy shards spread around chaotically.

Actually, I feel sorry for those who have yet to experience this particular kind of deep dive

Because the loss of altitude changes one.

The vertigo kneads heart muscle on the way down.

The support I received allowing Emma to live longer from so many, known and not

Leaves me with faith;

In myself knowing how far I will go for love.

My heart is now embroidered with threads to you; I am not alone

So I must release this unintentional default mode (which feels so sticky sometimes).

Thank you for extending Emma and me your stellar and comforting company along our shared road.

I feel you there in the gift of witnessing me here.

We are good together.

EMMA and CATHY

Dear all,

Please click HERE.

xxxxxx

.

A Little Civility

.

In my previous life as an artist

I felt very good about my ability to create and spread beauty; one painting or sculpture at a time.

Rolling around in a wheelchair with marked loss of physical function prevents me from the creation of art-in-form.

I used to have so many dramas roiling around in my tired brain.

Things like deadlines and marketing and my presence in the community; an unrelenting barrage of “to-do’s”.

Without all that riff-raff I have learned to luxuriate in empty.

It scares me sometimes- that very emptiness can feel like obscurity or lack-of-potency or laziness or even disinterest.

This morning as Emma and I adventured downtown earlier than most

I passed by a number of landscape maintenance workers.

I said “Hola” or “Good Morning” or paused to chat about the fine weather.

I tipped my hat brim in acknowledgement of a hungry man rifling through cigarette butts.

The plaza sprinkler system came to life and it was quite a sight to see the pigeons fluttering in the mist.

My heart felt full to bursting from the salve of the tiny connections I had just made.

Tiny waves we are..each a part of but not separate from

the Ocean.

Good Morning.

Sovereign

When I married late in life I changed my name to his.

This unconscious soul-death move (for me)

Was just one in a lifetime of gripping the arm of the culture hard enough

To prevent my ignorant, fledgling identity jello-legs

From collapsing beneath me.

In my defense-

It was just part of the deal then and sometimes still; marry, surrender, serve.

Same thing in other arenas too:

Get hired, work too hard, shut up, be soft and supportive, let your boss’ hand rest on your butt and smile and smile and smile..

Have a child, don’t tell anyone how hard it is, try to find something exciting about diapers, have dinner ready when he comes home and smile and smile…on your way to the bedroom.

Go to church in a pretty flowerey dress when a button-down and khakis are your thing, listen to the fancy- robed man rail on about God and homosexuals and smile.. smile as your Dad in the pew next to you nods emphatically to himself…

Lately, when I speak my truth instead of remaining silent to avoid conflict

My voice arrives somehow fierce.

It can startle me and others

But if I take a minute to pause and acclimate myself to the authentic me I find that I love my true voice; a very different substance and gravitas mixed with dignity and self- appreciation.

The woman pictured in the photos above is a very good friend; Barbara.

We did not communicate regularly during the past few years.

She came to visit recently and drove up in this steely RV with impossibly elegant lines.

Her laundry list of shitty life-happenings included (she told me) divorce, breast cancer, career ennui, identity questioning.

When we lose ourselves how to we get Her back?

If we were performing in the costume of “GOOD WOMAN” too often in our life

Did we ever REALLY know ourselves at all?

My beloved friend Barbara, took her savings and invested heavily in her precious self;

Bought the van, carved out a month, taught herself all the stuff she needed to know about generators and driving a big rig

And she hit the road to feel who she is

Without any one else around to be accountable to.

When we sat together at a bar in Santa Fe she was strong! and funny! and smart! and vulnerable! and gorgeous! and curious! and very, very, VERY alive.

When I take myself out for dinner..just me and Emma,

The experiences I have build on themselves.

Over time I now understand myself as authentically Cathy.

Now I can choose more accurately who and what I am willing to give my life energy to.

This is my highest accomplishment.

Easter Redux

detail of “RENAISSANCE”, naturally pigmented earth, wood, 10’x3’x3′

.
.

I wrote this 2 Easters past but liked it enough to offer it again:

.
.

I just returned from a midnight roll with Emma; full moon.. me dressed in gratitude to the dark (meaning: just socks but no shoes, hair all sticky-outy, shawl range-ily wrapped round my dubious outfit).

Emma doesn’t care.

I obviously don’t care either. It was the adventure of the thing.

This past Sunday all the Catholics were out on the Santa Fe plaza in high church regalia in a Palm Sunday processional.

The head man swung incense to and fro followed by the ecumenically outfitted ..followed by the general public waving palms..

Emma and I watched.

I had to go home and google Palm Sunday.

I’m really keyed into this time of year because I know something about what feels subjectively like crucifixion and the journey of return.

My urge to be free finds me looking to all religions for keys.

It seems to help me very much to bring the Jesus stories in very close as metaphors and relate intimately to his teachings.

Surely my way is only that: my way. All I ask is for you to read here with a modicum of curiosity and forgo showing me the highway too soon.

By way of Easter time, Jesus is nailed to the cross and has to just hang out there with what is.

He has lost the luxury of his own will and by default must look inward for salvation.

His suffering goes on and on and on and on.

The agony is witnessed by those at his feet.

As his consciousness dims he pretty much gives up all “Woe is me” and “Why me, GOD?”

In favor of final forgiveness and surrender into Death.

But then…

after a little rest and recuperation

He RISES!

Not just good as before but better.

You may think me sacrilege but variations of these same transitions play out in my own life and I’m pretty sure a good number of you experience them too.

MS has shattered me, crucified me, wrested my trusty will from me.

It seems foolish to lend a hierarchy to suffering; (yours isn’t nearly as gritty as mine).

Divorce annihilates who we were..loss of job or spouse or child or fortune; addiction, depression, jail time, surgery, disappointment or betrayal.

Hell..even a bad break-up leaves us bloody and wrecked.

All our cells are called to re-assemble into some alien pattern and no friggin’ instruction booklet is included.

We’ve all just gotta hang there on the cross till every damn one of our precious numbing agents, blame-games, uber scavenger hunts for relief and distractions from what IS

Are used up.

Man, this can take a loooooonnnnng time.

And we die.

Metaphorically speaking.

We die to who we thought we were even though we thought we were pretty damn great and it looked like we had all the tools we needed to cut through the pain and discomfort..

HA!

Not.

After all that foll-de-rol we go through writhing in our suffering we need a big time Siesta with a capital “S”..

Three days is really not long enough (says me..).

I really do hope Jesus had a few margaritas to chew on in that dark cave..

Of course there were the intimates there to help him do his re-entry by moving the rock because not a one of us can do this ourselves.

I repeat: NOT A ONE OF US.

Released–he rose again.

And I have too..lighter, happier, less dense, more curious.

My neck is saggier but hey..the costs of war and time…

I am pretty raw as well. Naked to the wind.

Sometimes haphazardly dressed. Sometimes Chanel.

The Shattering. The Reconciliation. The Return.

Happy Easter to every darn one of us magnificent, brave, beautiful, beautifully human, humans.

We are the miracle.

We rise.

Steven Hawking Is So Sexy

“FINE LINE”, 11X11X4,M/M

.

I say “IS”

Because he’d want us to remember what he taught us about black holes and such:

That matter just gets gobbled up and redistributed

“…like burning an encyclopedia. It changes into smoke and ash so actually still there but harder to read.”

Yeah…as he aged his teeth jutted out and he looked crumply

But few of us turned away, did we?

No.

We watched carefully in awe as his devoted students fed him.

We read about his jokes: to prime minister he says: “I deal with tough mathematical questions every day but please don’t ask me to help with Brexit”

And trying out what it feels like in zero gravity for fun.

We heard him say “..anyone who boasts about their IQ is a loser”

And listened as he explained string theory to us toddlers.

He lived sooooooooo widely

And punctuated the gravity of his challenges with a grin.

Absolutely disarming!

Knowing he had that grin in him made it seem like he’d be open to a hug if I ever saw him in an airport.

I wish I could have been his dinner companion just once.

The crip jokes we could tell!

He told us in interviews that even though he is physically disabled he tries not to be spiritually disabled too..(grinning).

So- to me his beautiful mind, unhidden vulnerability, sense of humor, humility, kind of adorable crumpliness, love of women (he had a number of big loves in his life), intention to distill math and science mega-thought into words we toddlers could grasp instead of just writing for his colleagues , his mixture of warrior and leprechaun spirit and a sassiness that just popped out at times

Makes him very sexy to me.

I love you, Steven Hawking.

Next Page »