Frequency

detail "BLACK FOREST", 2009, ceramic, sand, wood, 8' x 18" x 52h"

detail "BLACK FOREST", 2009, ceramic, sand, wood, 8' x 18" x 54h"

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The physicist I worked with in Colorado is trained in brain mapping and uses a machine developed by NASA during president Gerald Ford’s watch to ease the effects of the havoc extensive travel did to his circadian rythms.

The machine carries a library of thousands of frequencies known to have an effect on the human body and it’s function and well being.

There are only three such machines in existence.

The other two people trained in this work practice solely on celebrities and athletes.

A treatment with my Doc consists of an initial report of current symptoms and her decision as to where to concentrate. There seems to be quite a bit of backround homework she does before and between each appointment.

During an hour long session she attaches electrode bands to my feet, hands, back of neck and forehead respectively for 15 minutes each.

The machine then makes frequencies available for my body to take up as it feels the need.

Nothing is done TO me. My body decides what and if it needs anything.

I feel nothing except a refined ‘buzz’ during the treatment.

The first trip I made to Colorado 8 weeks ago was primarily dedicated to working on my sluggish digestive system.

She said I could not move toward health until my body was adept in taking in the nutrients I gave it in the form of food and supplements.

I was down to eating around 10 foods that I knew would not irritate my stomach and cause a distended belly.

After our initial time together, I can now eat more normally and feel a boost to my constitutional strength which has stayed with me.

During this visit we worked with my ability to get a full 8 hours of restful sleep.

I seem to carry a hefty amount of low grade anxiety along with having to pee 4-5 times per night.

This disallows deep and restorative sleep.

We also worked on detoxing me.

I met with her twice per day for 4 days.  It was intense but doable and after each treatment I returned to the hotel to sleep.

I pretty much slept most of the time I was not in a cab or on her table.

After the first day, I itched and scratched my way through the night, breaking the skin at times from the release of unwanted toxins my body had been harboring.

This lasted the night but was gone in the morning.

She worked quite a bit on my sacrum area and the results have been that yesterday, as I practiced re-entry into my familiar world in Santa Fe, I was irritable and tired only to wake today clear and bright with strength and balance not present before.

I  feel a smooth quality and relaxation which has markedly changed my well being.

I now dream and remember them which was not the case previously.

She asked that I call her weekly with a report on changes which may occur.

I am fully aware this method of healing is no quick fix yet the fact is that I am getting results which are real and lasting.

I believe in this work.

I will return in 6-8 weeks.

In the course of my health challenge I have experimented with many, many modes of healing.

Understandably, treatment does not work for me unless I am 200% behind it.

Unless I believe.

Some may beg to differ.

This is one woman’s experience.

Today, I still walk with a walker and struggled to put my socks on but I have a much stronger foundation I move from and, to me, this is invaluable.

All joint pain is gone.  I can eat normally.  I sleep deeply and wake rested.  I have more of myself available to meet the world.

And onward I go…..

Home Is Wherever You Are

"BLUE SQUARE", 30" x 30", 2003, m/m

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It feels good to be home from my trip.

It was the first time I had travelled solo since belonging to the ‘walk with support’ club.

I watched myself truly shine as I negotiated wheelchairs at each transfer; to car to chair to plane to chair to regular chair (wait for the delayed plane and wait some more) to wheelchair to plane to wheelchair to cab to fabulous hotel.

I became the extroverted Cathy I think I almost lost.

Even in my weakness and exhaustion, I somehow pulled it together to engage with people I made lasting friendships with.

The shuttle driver from airport to hotel was an older gentleman who had a wisdom and open-heartedness about him I was drawn to. I began a conversation during which he told me of his daughter with MS and wife who had passed away a few years ago whom he visits daily at her grave.

He wanted to tell those stories and I wanted to tell mine.

I wanted to listen and so, apparently, did he.

And from there a thread of recognition and care extended throughout the week as he checked on me daily at the concierge to see if I needed anything.

My activities for my week in Colorado consisted of seeing the Dr. twice each day for an hour long treatment (more about this later), then back to the hotel to sleep or eat then get up the next day and do it again.

I did not rent a car as the hotel was close to the clinic so I spent a good deal of time in cabs.

The first two drivers were intent on asphyxiating me with pine-scent and converting me to their brand of Christianity.

I have nothing against Christianity, mind you…

The third man was Michael.

I hope to never lose contact with him.

He picked me up on time 4 times a day as I came and went to my appointments.

We slipped into an easy, extended conversation about life and family and thriving in a screwed up world and frailty and strength and the power of women (adores his wife and has 4 girls).

We became pretty transparent to one another during the incessant to-and-fro from Dr. to hotel.

Then there were Patrick and Lydia and Rob and Pat and the ladies in the Denver airport waiting with me and holding the plane which had just changed gates and now would depart in 10 minutes across the airport and my wheelchair was nowhere in sight..

What I learned about myself during this week away from all things familiar is a new kind of trust in my ability to distinguish where I want to put my energy and how much without ever losing track of myself.

I built a number of solid, mutually beneficial relationships in a short period of time and they each enhanced my well being multifold.

I witnessed the ease with which doors opened in every direction and I saw that the thing that felt like a bubble of GRACE was a bubble I had blown myself by showing up as authentic and true.

No hiding.

Willing to be seen.

There are certainly risks inherent in this way of being.

But what’s the worst that can happen?

I found myself unafraid and shiny with the confidence of a woman who doesn’t know much beyond what real and precious LIFE feels like when in it’s presence..

…and the flip side of pretense, veiled disappointment and black holes of needs unmet.

I saw that I could acknowledge all of it and choose intuitively the paths that led me toward vitality and an open heart.

These are the gifts of moving away from familiar territory; finding a self you may not have noticed was growing and preening and waiting to be noticed standing right beside you all this time..

I like the girl I met.

Colorado

"ALEXANDRA'S INFLUENCE", 1993, 16" x 16" x 4", m/m

"ALEXANDRA'S INFLUENCE", 1993, 16" x 16" x 4", m/m

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I am off to Colorado for a week.

As I don’t have a laptop, this will be my last post until January 30th.

I will be working with the doctor I visited a couple months ago with whom I got such great results.

She is a physicist and works with frequency medicine.

After spending my initial 4 days with her, my digestive system is better than it has been in my entire life which was her intention for the first round with me; to allow my body to take in nutrients so it has a chance to heal.

I am following the ‘results’ trail and will keep you posted when I return.

In my absence, I thought I would leave you with some things to look at which you may not have seen.

This is an eclectic list but, I hope, fun:

1. Elegant, intelligent, witty and wise ministrations from a wheelchair-

2. Interesting look at a ‘gift economy’-

3. A city girl marries a cowboy and moves to a ranch- This girl has the ‘blog-thing’ DOWN and I watch her up the visitor ante by the hundreds. This is LITE with a capitol ‘L’ but good to see photos of ranch life,kids,seemingly healthy family, good cookin’. The Harlequin romance of dirty, sexy ranchlife.

4. Fabulous street fashion. Spare, easy, fun.

5. Inspiring design site.

6. Prosthetic legs like you’ve never seen……

7. Fascinating inroad to what’s current in the technology, entertainment and design worlds.

8. Respect.

Blessings,

Cathy

Anger

untitled, 1999, 40" x 30", m/m

untitled, 1999, 40\

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Yesterday was a day of hardware.

Wearing the brace on my leg has caused a quickening of muscle loss because I don’t have to use all of them.

I have a giant resin band-aid that I strap on to do the work for my atrophying muscles.

It does give me support which is really good.

But now I need a separate knee brace to alleviate the hyperextension in my leg.

All this ‘strapping on’ of stuff can be slightly daunting until it becomes a familiar part of the story.

Yesterday also brought my new scooter to my door.

It is twice the size I had imagined in my state of intermittent denial.

I really know it will allow me freedom and it goes pretty fast but REALLY!

ALL THIS HARDWARE IN ONE DAY?

Give a girl a break. (not literally)

Right at this moment I want to be Jewish and say words like ‘kvetch’ (?) and all those fabulously succinct and descriptive Hebrew words that are more about the sound and emotion of the thing.

But here I sit, a rather pathetic version this morning of your everyday WASP, bemoaning change and ugly disability hardware and vanity issues and I’m sure there’s other stuff in there too….

So thanks for listening but you are probably through..

As a parting gift in appreciation, I will leave you with this:

Gifted

detail of "TREE OF LIFE", 2000, 36" x 3" x 14" ceramic,gravel

detail of "TREE OF LIFE", 2000, 36" x 3" x 14" ceramic,gravel

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GIFTED

A new friend came and

Scrupulously shoveled snow.

My heart was opened.

– CA

Dance

detail of monoprint, 1991

detail of monoprint, 1991

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I like to watch dance movies.

Girl from upstanding backround meets busboy and he sets her free.. those kind of films.

LITE entertainment, surely, but I do love them.

The girl with MS LLLLLOOOOOOVVVEEESSSSSS them!

Could be thought of a torture but, for me, they remind me of a kind of life in my body and soul; free and unhinged.

Last night I watched HAVANA NIGHTS which was the sequel to DIRTY DANCING.

Shot in Cuba, it was full of color-unAmerican, the street beat of their culture amidst the political landscape of the day.

The lead guy says at one point: “You can’t dance with someone if you don’t admit your fear to them.”

That line got me.

I think that means that if you want a masterful union with anything then we must become transparent, unhidden.

I often look at this PPMS I deal with as a sort of dance.

I must constantly take off the blinders and rose-colored glasses to see exactly WHAT IS.

It used to be a breeze to look the other way.

Now, if I do that, I may fall and complicate things terribly.

The “What is?” of this situation changes pretty quickly in my case.

So I really have to be real.

This particular dance is not romantic.

But the focus in mastering the particulars in twists and turns and emotions and physical needs seems somehow similar to me.

I am not a novice, here.

Probably, I would characterize myself as an intermediate student.

A large part of my education has been to make sure pleasure is a basic and constant medication.

For me, this includes dance movies, and dinners with friends, connections with strangers, my dog, writing here, communing with Nature, reading, musing about life and, as I think about it…there is the odd pleasure in being transparent to myself and others as I negotiate this terrain.

It is REAL.

RAW.

Uncharted territory.

But REAL, non-the-less.

That is really something, in this culture of pretense and glitter.

Here, up close and personal, if you’re fortunate you can catch the delicate fragrance of the heart. Open and exposed.

A rare thing, indeed.

Winter

Installation detail, 2005, ceramic,earth

Installation detail, 2005, ceramic,earth

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Everything about Winter asks me to go inside.

Deep inside.

The cold, snow, irritable people (self included).

As I was brought up in Michigan, I NEED the seasons.

Such a direct reminder of cycles we are a part of.

Bloom, fade, back-to-the-earth, gestate, gather, reach for the light, bloom.

In Winter I gather.

Early in my art career I self-flagellated a lot in judgement of my meanderings in magazine racks and coffee shops and the wilds of New Mexico in my big red truck.

I thought were anyone to know how I spent my days oftentimes, I would be judged irresponsible and lazy.

Quite to the contrary, I now know…

I am a gatherer.

I spend time witnessing, looking, sensing, appreciating, being appalled and back to gratitude again.

After I do this for varying amounts of time, some THING in form appears.

When it was art I was primarily creating, all the gathering would distill into something like the piece above.

These days, healing my body is my chief concern so this Winter’s gathering is taking shape in the form of inspired guidance concerning my quest for wholeness (whatever that looks like).

I am now, after all these years, familiar with and not self critical about this process of mine; gathering then taking extreme pleasure in watching for the form to appear.

This is surely NOT a heady endeavor.

More a softening into the cycle of the seasons in me.

Today is very white and still with a constant light snow.

I have paperwhite bulbs growing an inch per day in a glass vase on my counter.

The only thing we can count on is change.

May as well enjoy the ride.

Permeability

"LAVA", 2008, 14" x 14" x 3", lava, earth

"LAVA", 2008, 14" x 14" x 3", lava, earth

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This piece is made out of lava rock.

They came from a favorite place in New Mexico called the BISTI BADLANDS.

It looks like a god-forsaken moonscape.

I love it for it’s otherworldliness.

So, these rocks caught my eye.

I just notice stuff as I’m going along and ask if it’s ok to take it home.

In this case the answer was yes and here I am, 6 years later writing about them.

They went through the fire.

A very big one.

And today they are my teacher.

The rocks are HARD.

And COMPLICATED.

They know the shadow and are still here.

Transformed, perhaps. But still here.

Lava formations in New Mexico are mysterious places.

They can surprise you if they are hidden.

Or take your breath away with their monumental size.

I liked these particular rocks because they aren’t really a solid mass but a maze separated by air passageways.

I suspect from the bubbles as the firey mass cooled.

They remind me of me.

I am fairly complicated, I think.

Not hard, though. Anymore.

I have been through the fire as we all have at one point or another.

MS is my fire at the moment.

The thing is, I notice this fire I am in is leaving me more porous than before.

My guard goes down somewhat because I haven’t the energy for it anymore, really.

But the gift in that is I now feel and think about myself, the world, the whole game board differently.

I used to be much more serious than I am now.

It took a lot to make me laugh but not these days.

The witness in me takes a gander at Cathy trying to get to the bathroom in time and how her body looks making that desperate journey and who wouldn’t laugh?

This whole MS thing can be funny.

Unless it’s not.

And that, there, is the shadow side.

The thing is, there they both are.

Am I any different than anyone else in that respect?

Point-of-view…

That’s the key, right there.

Dirty old black rock?

Or teacher in disguise?

Boundaries

"GRAPH", 2004, 12" x 12", m/m

"GRAPH", 2004, 12" x 12", m/m

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My sister gave me dog training lessons for Christmas.

I’m telling you, it was THE best gift.

Turns out the training is 90% about the human.

What a surprise!

We think we are so damn smart but really we’ve rearranged our instinctual behavior to such an extent that confusion reigns.

Yes, I am fully aware of the life altering contributions human genius has allowed us; technology, medicine, the wheel, etc..

I’m talking here about TERRITORY.

My dog thinks she rules.

Not an uncommon situation in dog owners.

When the trainer came the other day, he spent 1/2 hour giving her corrections in a purposeful and directly in-the-moment manner.

He was certainly not without compassion because I was hyper-vigilant in my scrutiny.

At the end of the session, my previously ‘pseudo-aggressive’ chihuahua was nesting at his feet.

As he explained it, she was hankering after clear boundaries so she actually knew how to please me.

She wanted to know the right thing but I didn’t know how to tell her in her language.

I watched her hold her body proudly and her eyes got very bright.

(Stay with me here.. this isn’t all about dogs, I promise..)

The marked change in her sense of self made me think about how boundaries are used in our human world.

I have a strong boundary where people in my life know not to stop by my home unannounced as I get startled so easily.

I work with a physician who has many requirements for her patients regarding scented detergents, hair products etc. that may not be worn during an appointment due to her extreme sensitivity.

I notice I am often taken aback in situations in which I am required to alter my behavior and the request is delivered in a somewhat strident manner.

This is all ego-based stuff as we know but the fact is that confusion in our world reigns.

The microcosm of this is my world here, living with MS.

Confusion leaves the room replaced by sighs of relief when I ask for the help I need or make a clear request.

I grew up with non-existent boundaries.

It was a no-mans’-land of etheric galavanting.

I wanted SOMEONE TO SAY NO. I WANTED TO SAY NO!

But they never really did and neither did I so as an adult, here I am trying to put healthy boundaries in place.

Oh, it’s all a work in progress but aside from the discomfort of trying on new ‘behavioral clothes’, I see it as a gift to myself and others to be clear, timely and secure in expressing my expectations.

Who knows..I may even get what I need.

Thicket

sculpture detail, ceramic,giant porcupine quills

sculpture detail, ceramic,giant porcupine quills

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Two beloved male friends/collectors have taken their own lives in the last few months.

Seemingly highly functioning and fairly contented people have demons we could never even dream of.

My heart hurts.

And yet, I have an odd peace.

It almost feels embarrassing to say it as the expectation is for weeping and horror and countless other displays.

I’m certainly not saying I am immune because I am not.

I loved these two friends deeply.

I also respect them both with all I’ve got.

They were both extremely private men. Highly accomplished in work and play. Neither had children but left magnificent women behind.

Living with the challenges of MS gives rise to having death on your shoulder.

Not in a bad way.

But a way that changes me.

It is a good practice to make friends with death.

Life becomes very real and VERY precious.

One starts to have the feeling that you are LIVING in church, not just attending once in awhile.

Love is not just a yearned-for, imagined fantasy of picket fences and the like.

It is there in the eyes of the forgotten and ordinary if we choose to look.

I have more love in my life at the moment that I could ever have imagined.

I know, without a doubt that my two friends knew I loved them.

Never spoken, perhaps, but a knowing just the same.

If I love them them, I must allow for their choices in life and death.

The peace I experience when in the midst of bereavement exists because I treat death as an inextricable part of life.

I don’t want to go there yet though I have thought of it as an end to the constant and, at times , seemingly unbearable thoughts of THE FUTURE.

But I ain’t there yet.

And so, with death as my teacher, I live.

Until I don’t.

Death really seems to me like a total experience of the loss of the thread to love; for ourselves, each other, the planet and when Spirit is no where to be found.

My tears for my friends are my imagining that they lost that thread or forgot.

But, if I say I love and respect them, I must settle with that knowledge and practice the ‘let-go’ that is so hard in love.

It is pure ego.

I want what I want. Them back here with me to enrich my life like before.

Hmmm… that sounds like it’s all about me…

Dearest Frederick and Doug: I love you and wish you peace. You left your mark on me. I am different and better because of you. You will be missed but I can feel you in my heart whenever I want.  I will try to spread around to others some of the compassion, intelligence, love of beauty and service to many that you both practiced masterfully. It will be so different around here without you. Thank you for the gift of your friendship. I am more and better because of you.

Love, Cathy

Saving Grace

detail of painting "YES", 2003, m/m

detail of painting "YES", 2003, m/m

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Last night I watched a film in which James Earl Jones’ character spoke of being ‘saved’ three times in his life.

He told the stories of each which were significant moments of support or compassion or something very life-changing that allowed him to continue on the path to becoming the best man he could be.

Some obstacle was removed by another to let him open to his fullest self.

That scene got me wondering about those who have ‘saved’ me….

Here they are:

1. MY GRANDMOTHER, Gonnie

She essentially brought me up and tended my spirit. Showed me a secure and loving place to feel safe to begin ‘becoming’. I loved her.

2. TISH VELMETTI, grade school teacher

She took me under her wing as a burgeoning artist from 2nd through 6th grade.
I began to have a glimmer of self-worth because of her care and patient support.

3. LARRY REESIDE, principal of Kingswood school

Mr. Reeside was a first love. He GOT me. I was a depressed and delinquent kid in a girl’s school. I skipped more classes than I went to and disappeared into the neighboring woods to get high with the boys from across the lake. Mr. Reeside was well aware of my antics and lent me a blind eye but his heart was very knowing where I was concerned.

4. JOE LALLY, Boston police officer

I was raped in Boston in 1988. Joe put all the evidence together in a water tight case and the guy was sent to prison for 28 years. He died of a herion overdose two years ago. Joe is now a part of the homicide department because of the work he did on my case. We are still good friends and email regularly.

5. NEW MEXICO began her work on me in 1989 when I left Boston.

She has healed me, kept me company, helped me find ‘home’, let me use her for my art and a good deal of who I am is because of her.

6.   ERICH SCHIFFMANN, yoga instructor

I met Erich when I first moved to Santa Fe in a workshop he taught.  At the end of the weekend, I left to get into my car and began crying and couldn’t stop.  I finally figured out that being in his presence felt like HOME with a big ‘H’.  He somehow helped me experience the largest part of myself and my ‘core of goodness’ as he puts it.

7. CYNTHIA, my mentor

Because of her immense wisdom and guidance I have been able to peel away most of my inauthentic self and now feel like one of the healthiest people I know. I love my life as a direct result of the love and care and teachings she has shared with me.

8. My chihuahua, OLIVIA

Honestly, I don’t really think I knew what true love was until Livvy came into my life. She is a constant teacher, confidant and partner in the light and shadow.
She helps my light burn bright.

9. Cathy Aten, woman becoming..
I will include myself on this list as I now have enough solidity to my being to know a lot of the time how to make choices which move me toward a thriving existence.

Man

"MAN", 30" x 4" x 4", 2003, ceramic, steel

"MAN", 30" x 4" x 4", 2003, ceramic, steel

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I absolutely love the privilege of being a woman.

And men interest me.

Their way of being in the world is so different.

It intrigues me, this difference.

They seem like the dance of negotiation and ‘all-your-ducks-in-a-row’ kind of living is second nature.

Their confidence in themselves seems almost cellular.

And when that quality crosses the line into the dark arts of manipulation and entitlement, rest assured this is not of which I speak today.

I do envy the attention to foundation building men often display.

We, women love the circle.

Their energy, in the best sense, feels like the square.

Think of the symbol of the square with a circle drawn inside it; the circle touching the lines of the square in each of four meeting places.

Those four points of meeting become rare and precious and important when looked at in this way.

Then look at all the rest of the symbol aside from the four points where the two shapes meet and you see 99% of the action in the symbol.

But the power of the thing would not exist were it not for those four meeting places AND the rest of what is going on..

Because my life is guided by the circle and I have chosen it as my mentor does not mean I have no interest in the square.

I am well aware that the transformation, wisdom and access to ways of being other than the norm are DEPENDENT on the interaction of these two representations of energy.

I am not talking about gender-specificity.

Energy is energy.

I AM looking at my lifelong penchant for doing it all myself and the fact that that stance has brought me only so far..

(Please bear with me as I am thinking this through as I write)…

(The ‘circle-thing’ in action!)

I see that I can go no further without the foundational support of energy that is NOT my nature.

If I am to plumb the depths of anything there has GOT to be a force holding the rope somewhere.

Some would say all you need is God.

This ‘other-than-me’ energy can and does show up in many forms.

I’m just saying I’m well aware I need it to move forward in an effectual and thriving way.

A way that does NOT render me less, but MORE.

Swim

"QUARRY", 1991, 18" x 18" x 4", m/m

"QUARRY", 1991, 18" x 18" x 4", m/m

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Even in the midst of physical changes and concerns around future security, I can feel something new coming..

So odd, really.

Because I know the difference between something made-up and wished for..

And the core knowing of something-or-other about to change.

It could be anything.

But I feel it’s goodness.

How do I know it is not just a dream or desire?

For me, a wish has a particular feel having to do with complicated mind-constructions that need to be built from the bottom up..

A knowing has nothing to do with any kind of construction site.

It feels like it already IS and I just need to catch up to it.

I LOVE when this happens which isn’t often.

The pure intoxication of just floating in still water; trusting, ready, curious, not at all sure but not really caring either..

Something just feels RIGHT.

And I will practice active waiting..

Waiting with purpose.

Could be a cultural shift, or a physical one. Maybe a departure or arrival of an idea or a person.

Best not to speculate.

No future. No past.

A present.

Tree

detail of "BARK", m/m

detail of "BARK", m/m

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My cognitive function is beginning to be impaired.

This, above all else is scary.

It’s the short term stuff and only every once in awhile.

When one has all their faculties intact it is always a possibility to talk ones’ self into or out of any reality, really.

Meditation practices place high value on ‘no-mind’.

But I don’t think they had this kind of ‘no-mind’ in mind.

PPMS is a slow accumulation of various disabilities.

No respite.

When I feel myself change direction and the high road I travel more often than not turns toward the downward spiral, I look to NATURE.

Not to humans. To Nature.

I trust that if I look there, trustable and ready answers are to be found if I look attentively.

Today, my attention goes toward trees.

They act as a bridge between Earth and the heavens as they set their roots and reach for the sky at the same time.

In between is the trunk.

Strong, with the bark as protective buffer against the elements.

Inside runs the sap.. the life juice of the tree.

The sap can’t/won’t run without that protective layer.

The metaphor I’m inching my way toward is this:

I’m going after whatever I need to do or whoever I need to be to have that ‘bark’ of mine be in tip-top shape.

I can only do what I can do.

I always think I can do more than that.

There is that pesky ‘thinking-thing’ again!

I’m going to soften into the slow flow of the thing and see if I can’t clear these channels of some of the extraneous thinking (worry) that may be part of the problem to begin with.

I find it interesting that the theme of protection keeps resurfacing in my posts.

Something trying to get my attention, no doubt.

Not going to THINK about it, though…

Allowing the information to come to me as it will feels more the ticket.

Yes, that feels right…

Whew.. what a relief not to have to ADD another thing!

Allow. Trust. Receive.

Do-Over

detail of installation, ceramic,earth,rain

detail of installation, ceramic,earth,rain

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It is Sunday and I usually take a break from posting but want to continue on the ‘language’ line.

After what I wrote yesterday, I was reminded of my innocence and beginner’s mind in regards to exploring the worlds of language…

Yes, I yearn for methods of communication with access to more depth and breadth.

But wanting to know is just the beginning. A good one, yes, but a beginning none the less.

I want to be clear and speak from solid places but most of the time, these days, those solid places are no where to be found.

So we slog away through the swamps of ignorance, imperfection and tangled beliefs..

Shaky ground.

Visibility low.

My sister-in-law sent me this writing (below) from a HOPI elder.

The HOPI Indians live near me on a windswept mesa exposed to the elements and more visible to the Gods because of it.

This is a gift of language that gets into you by way of truth, absolutely correct timing and recognition of our tenacity and connectedness and fragility.

There’s also hope.

Here is their gift to us:

The first, a written piece. The second, a short video.

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WE ARE THE ONES WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR

You have been telling the people that this is the eleventh hour.
Now you must go back and tell the people this is THE HOUR.
And there are things to be considered;

Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.

Create your community. Be good to each other. And do not look outside yourself for the leader. This could be a good time!

There is a river flowing very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold onto the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.

Know the river has it’s destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above water. See who is in there with you and celebrate.

At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally. Least of all ourselves. For the moment we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.

The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather Yourselves! Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

———– The Elders Oraibi

Video: Hopi Prophesy

Many choose to hear these prophesies as the harbingers of dire news for the planet.  The beauty of language is the quality of subjectivity.

We hear what we hear.

I look at the MS I deal with as a microcosm of these larger ideas.

How to thrive inside change and let the river carry me.

I really do trust the river more than myself and that is a comfort to me.

The ‘surrender thing’ is certainly an honorable goal but easier said than done.

And so.. I’ll begin again…and again…and again…

Language

"THE CHERRY ORCHARD", 1993, 40" x 60", m/m

"THE CHERRY ORCHARD", 1993, 40" x 60", m/m

______________________

“Language is a virus from outer space.”

– William Burroughs

In a recent note sent to me, this quote appeared.

I was taken by it and decided NOT to go look it up to discover the meaning Mr. Burroughs had in mind, but to write from my gut and what the words stirred in ME.

I love words.

Make a martini.. Or a drink in a pineapple with umbrellas and blue plastic nude women stirrers with a strawberry thrown in…

There’s room for it all..

But the language we know and depend on as modern and sophisticated humans is beginning to interest me less and less.

I play with it because it is there and has enough mystery to keep my attention.

It is a good exercise for me, as an artist, to make myself verbalize the swimming things and varying currents in my brain.

To know what I know.

But the call is getting louder to listen with new ears.

If I shut my mouth, turn off my phone and ease myself away from the incessant addiction to “FILL ‘ER UP!” with regards to our culture’s hunger to destroy empty space altogether, I meet THE VOID.

Which happens to be filled with a lot of great stuff.

The following are things which interest me in the way of communication:

Do a person’s eyes have a glazed quality to them? Foggy and hidden? Or bright and present? Do mine?

Does their voice come from their belly or their head? How about mine?

Is my nervous system overflowing with my own machinations; too taxed for another to enter or am I open to be moved and changed by another?

There is a low and fierce, almost imperceptible growl when I touch my dog’s abdomen. I would have missed that if the music were on.

The wind changed from warm and smooth to the beginning of ‘something.’ The color and smell were different. It had it’s hand up.

The aliveness I feel in connection with people is so different than the aliveness I feel when alone. Not better.. just different.

My leg feels stronger when my mind is soft and free to give it the attention it needs.

I entertain myself by singing made-up songs and laugh hard at how wonderful it feels to be unsophisticated and free. I laugh and laugh…

I check out a torpid looking bird and don’t feel sorry I did not get it together to fill the feeder. I put down the worry.

The ‘language’ I speak of here is that of watching where the call comes from; the call to attention and the information we get from following the thread.

Doing this seems lazy when I speak about it because it has little to do with the direct application of anything ‘other’.

But this way of being changes me in directions I like.

It opens up new avenues when I am not FILLING, FILLING, FILLING..

I JUST NOTICE WHAT I NOTICE AND IT FEELS REAL GOOD.

This forced ‘slow down’ I’m in is full of surprises on either end of the ‘OK-thermometer.’

I do best if I leave that tool in the drawer and hunker down to hum a tune.

Little Death

"CHAOS AND ORDER", 2002, 40" x 40", m/m

"CHAOS AND ORDER", 2002, 40" x 40", m/m

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La Petite Mort is the French phrase for orgasm. Little death.

I used it in the conversation we had the other day in our support group.

One person gasped as it was spoken.

Death of any kind is normally not spoken of, especially in an MS group.

The way in which I was using it spoke not of demise but of surrender.

The first fighting with, then, hopefully over time, softening into the new situation, new symptom, new realization, new reality.

It is A LOT to ask.. this surrendering we as those challenged with MS are faced with moment by moment.

Yesterday, I didn’t do too well in this department as one of my best friends called to deliver something she had borrowed and it was a day when mt tolerance level was LOW.

…so I asked if she would drop the thing at the door so she wouldn’t see me disheveled and the house disorderly and I would have to walk across the room to open the door.

Pity full.

But, at the same time, WHAT IS at least for the moment.

I called her back and said, “I’m being ridiculous. PLEASE come in when you arrive. I want to see you.”

And it made my day… to see her.

Nothing in my life was ordered at that moment. At least that is how it felt.

I didn’t want to be seen in my chaos.

My proud self wanted to look good and have all my ducks in a row.

I wanted my nervous system to be more tolerant and less jaggedy.

To be able to greet her with a soft and grateful heart.

Too bad, Cath….

My dear friend loves me.

I don’t seem to have to be convenient or pretty or totally ordered and together.

She loves me.

Oh dear.. I sound like Sally Field.

I don’t care if one suffers MS or Cancer or the actual death of a loved one or loss of a job, a friend, a handbag, gets a bad review or the company who made your favorite lipstick goes out of business.

It is all LOSS.

The familiar and counted upon is no longer.

A void is revealed.

Then the choice to look at it and feel it and decide to fill it or not arrives..

Free will and choice.

Damned good invention.

Seeds of Change

"SHAMAN'S COAT", 1996, 12" x 12", m/m

"SHAMAN'S COAT", 1996, 12" x 12", m/m

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In Santa Fe, we have a museum, The Folk Art Museum, which houses the magnificent Neutrogena Collection of textiles.

It was here I saw an Eskimo parka made of the varying delicate colors of gut.

Esophagus, intestine, organs..

It is called a ‘KAMLEIKA’.

It was really something to behold as it was so modern and stylish in it’s shape and construction which was similar to applique’.

That coat was the inspiration for this piece of art.

Waterproof with a hood and gorgeous economy of design.

In the cold, Alaskan winters, one would have to practice economy in everything.

I’m finding myself integrating more and more economy into my own life.

Ways of making a bed without extraneous movement.

Putting on a sock.

Cooking, cleaning, thinking, dressing, socializing, budgeting, dog-walking and supplement-taking are all getting simplified and made more potent because of it.

My nature is to be curious about the gift available in each moment.

I am certainly blessed that way.

Somehow, the direction that continues to be most interesting for me is the one that has an unknown quality about it…

…a path yet untravelled.

I get myself into alot of trouble this way.

In my current incarnation as a woman dealing with MS, I am learning things like the beauty in economy.

Ten years ago, believe me, I was likely on the road to go GET SOMETHING: consume something, see something, make something, go somewhere.

Today, yes, it IS because my situation demands it, but I’m beginning to look at economy as an ART.

Just look at modern architecture!

And Zen Gardens.

And a good chocolate truffle.

NO THING EXTRA!

I love thinking about this and looking around feeling the ‘extra’ in daily life and making decisions to do something about it.

Like let it go. Give it away. Find a new way. Get help to do something that I don’t do well. Make space. Decide differently. Forgive. Stay silent. Set a boundary. Trust myself.

It is ALL about ENERGY CONSERVATION at this point.

Emotional, physical, psychic, mental and spiritual.

Would I be doing this work of editing in my life were it not for MS?

Probably not.

Would I wish this situation on anyone?

Absolutely not.

Because of it, am I changed, changing?

Yes.

Do I yearn for a soft place to fall?

Yup.

Is it all bad?

No.

Is it bad alot?

Yep.

Do I know anyone who would answer those questions differently than I just did?

No.

Ok… moving forward….

Undomesticated

untitled, 2001, 6" x 3" x 1/2 ", ceramic

untitled, 2001, 6" x 3" x 1/2 ", ceramic

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I once dated a man who knew how to wrestle.

“What is it that makes you so good?” I asked.

He told me he imagines his energy gets really heavy and almost liquid so it stays as close to the ground as possible.

It really made him kind of scarily immovable.

My 9 pound chihuahua, Olivia seems to use the same technique.

She doesn’t use it to overpower anyone..

She does it when she’s happy.

There is one toy she likes.

It is a dirty and tattered grey thing resembling a rodent of some sort with hair and a head and long, thin body.

Olivia goes after it when she is particularly full of herself.

She finds it.

Grabs it.

Takes it to a warm and toasty place on the carpet.

Her teeth grab the middle if the long belly of the rodent and she shakes her head ferociously back and forth while the grey thing hits her in the face on both sides.

She loves this.

When that part is over, she plops her haunches down and makes them heavy and wide and immovable (in her dreams).

She then starts this thing with her teeth.

The rodent which is now dead, is before her.

She takes little bits of fur in her front teeth and for hours, sits there quietly enjoying the feel of her kill.

This dog is so little and the enjoyment so huge that it almost makes me quake inside to watch it.

It makes me laugh.

But I also know there is that very undomesticated part in myself.

Dealing with a body bent on progressive contraction stirs up the desire to break out and KILL sometimes.

There, I said it..

The nice girl from Michigan with good manners and presentation has that fierce and potent force inside her that has nothing to do with comportment and everything to do with survival.

It’s the life force. The healing force.

Not pretty at all.

But there.. curled and ready should I need it.

I want to say I really love this thing..

But more accurately, I love that I’ve still got it.

I respect it.

Give it it’s place.

Feed it occasionally with attention to it’s presence.

And get dressed to go to the party.

Red, red lipstick it likes.

And the sound of pre-dawn silence.

It is always slightly at the ready, there behind the limping and pill-taking and too-careful acquiescence to a life attuned to frailty.

She’s there.. with her haunches riveted to the spot that smells like LIFE!

Just try to move her…

Energy

untitled, 22" x 4", 1998, ceramic,steel

untitled, 22" x 4", 1998, ceramic,steel

__________________

As I become more my authentic self over time, I am giving over my need for independence and watchful of the desire and necessity for INTERDEPENDENCE.

In Santa Fe there are many capable women.

The town is a magnet for women.

All the faces of Eve.

And then there are the ensuing complaints about there not being enough men.

I happen to like men’s company very much and see the male population wondering what it is, exactly, that we women think we want?

We don’t necessarily have a good answer to that question so we often make them wrong to save ourselves from the truth of it:

We don’t know.

And THAT is exactly as it should be, I think., at this point in time.

Things are a’ changin’ and NO BODY KNOWS MUCH OF ANYTHING these days.

What I do sense is the arrival on the planet of a perhaps very old and forgotten or maybe brand new energy which has little to do with the intellect-driven cultures we have been enchanted with for so long.

Women of substance play a role in the anchoring of this new thing here, where we live on planet Earth.

It is what we do best; open, receive and bring back the jewel.

I wrote the following little story a few years back with all this in mind.

It is imperfect, New Agey and saccharine in places but I wanted to post it in it’s original form and not get too sophisticated about it.

Please read it not as gender specific but as an exploration of energy.

________

SAFE HAVEN

Once upon a time there were three women standing forward with thousands,even millions at their back lined up as far as one could see. These women were smart, courageous and chosen. Their job was to create the path to the giant stone circle resting atop the bluff some 30 miles West. The stones rested on sacred ground and had been long forgotten and left to the tangle of overgrowth.

They gathered their machetes’ and cleared their minds. They moved with pointed intention and cleared the way, inch by inch. Together they stooped and cut back the brush.

At last, as they approached the threshold of the old stone circle, they saw a letter there. It read: “You may possess power, wisdom, strength and compassion yet all these are useless unless one last ingredient is included. Discover this and you may enter.”

The three women passed ten sleepless nights struggling with the riddle. On the eleventh night with the full moon, the women remembered.. The answer was the power of the OPPOSITES. They were half of a whole. Nothing of substance could occur without male energy to balance their female natures. With this flash of recognition, four male sentinels appeared and took their places in the East and South and West and North with the circle in the center. Softly, gently and purposefully they came.

The women paused to lock eyes in gratitude with each of the men who had heard the call and came offering their protective,honoring, intelligent force field for without which the women could not access their true purpose.

The women prepared to enter the circle. The men took their places and held. As the women entered the circle itself, a veil of shimmering lights sparkled softly and cloaked the circle as it dropped ever so slowly into the fifth world, invisible to all.

The men stood their ground. Unshakable and proud in the evening shadows. The wind brought the unmistakable sound of a whispered “Thank you” as it passed by and went on its’ way.

—C.A.  1997

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