Expand and Contract

textile design, 1987, silk menswear
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I am in love with expansion.

I’m not really that fond of contraction.

That’s my ‘on-the-surface’ thinking.

The cultural overlay that says light is good and the shadows are bad.

Or: happiness is the goal and discontent is to be run from.

Maybe this: Ease is the sought for mode of existence and the bumpy road needs shock absorbers.

The very alive human in me, the concoction of flesh and bones and reason and desire agrees wholeheartedly with those ways of being.

But the ESSENCE of me runs on a different kind of gas.

What if every day I got up and there was the crimson flower I had dreamed of right there at my door blooming and throwing it’s scent my way?

Or we skipped winter altogether and lived inside a constant 75 degree bubble of reliable sunshine and no thunderstorms or flash floods or soft rain of any kind touched our happy but innocent skin?

There is something in me that thrives on the sudden CRACK! of that thunderstorm and the quest for that illusive bloom.

I love sun and thrive on it but wouldn’t give it a second thought if it were my constant companion.

These days, even though I still cower at the contracting part of my life, I know it’s worth.

Having lived within a contracted body for awhile now, I value the stretch and lean into life more than before.

I don’t take the miracles of true connection with people, creatures, the natural world, God for granted as I’ve lived without and I now know the difference.

If I enter challenging territory as I have in the past week, I know it will turn toward the expansive direction at some point (which it has) and I needn’t fear I am stuck inside that place forever.

Truth be told, I often need reminding that the shift WILL take place and the tribe I keep close will remind me when I forget.

I seem to be getting more comfortable with the whole tapestry and not just the even and tidy rows one finds in the very center, but the frayed edges and renegade threads are now elements I call friends.

A little wear and tear makes for an unexpectedly unique and lovely patina that tends to draw me as opposed to the stock item on the shelf.

Tenuous Hold

“HIGHWAY”, 1993, 40″ x 60″, m/m
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Funny, how every single life moment, whisper, kind or cutting word gets stored in our flesh.

Not funny, really, but important to look at as those life impressions break from their weak tethers and run for the hills.

Since I returned from my time with the Dr. in Colorado, old trauma has plopped in my favorite chair.

I remember the sensations in my brain as the frequencies she hooked me up to wiggled their way to wherever they were needed.

I just did not expect to feel this bad.

Bad, in that ‘barely holding it together’ way when social interaction is out of the question.

It looked like (I’m blessedly on the other side of it now) tears and ANGER and frustration and zero tolerance.

It scared me as it seemed there was no cause apparent I could tie my anchor to.

Nope… this was free floating, old and insistent trauma let out after a llllllooooonnnnnggggg run as questionable company in my mind.

I asked for help from a trusted mentor in reclaiming familiar territory and she was there for me.

So I wake this morning with respect for the intelligence of my body to leave things alone until it knew I was up to the visitation.

Respect for the method of healing I have chosen as a powerful tool towards reclaiming my original self.

Respect for myself as someone who could ask for support when she needed it.

And high regard for the physical body to hold and cloister that which innocence could never make sense of.

Because, of course, this is ALL life…

I can almost see in people’s faces and demeanors the drops or quarts or gallons of life they’ve had the courage to drink.

It looks like LIFE on us; lines and chilly stares and caved chests,

And unedited laughter, rippling and wriggling musculature in a full out run or a peachy, blotchy blush in the Spring.

Our body IS the temple which means it holds ALL THE ARCHIVES.

I like that I have the ‘whatever-it-takes’ to pick up the crumpled and torn pieces of paper left in the dusty corners and read them; give them their due and carry on with the privilege of living a rich and multi-textured life.

Healing Hand

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THE HEALING HAND
.
.
The healing hand is
Not uncalloused or unlined.
It’s slap and sting ready.
.
.
-CA 2010
.
.

Truth Be Told

“RISE”, 1996, 60″ x 40″, m/m
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A friend asked me this question last night: “Do you find yourself moving toward being more positive in your blog than you might REALLY be feeling because it is such a public venue?”

Those may not be his exact words but you get the gist.

It is a really important question and I was so very glad he asked me.

I felt that if he had this question, then likely others do too.

Blogging actually helps me STAY HONEST.

I tend to lose some power when in face-to-face conversations as I see fear or anxiety come up in others faces and I change course.

I might think that is to protect them in some way but often it is the result of knowing I am in an unsafe environment which doesn’t REALLY want the truth.

When I get up each morning to write, I do it with a credo: AUTHENTICITY IS THE WAY THROUGH.

If I tell a lie, a sort of interior buzzer goes off and I go back and re-do until I get to what IS true for me IN THAT MOMENT.

And that, there is the key as what’s true changes.

I’m not here saying I write stripped bare with all truths left dangling out for all to see.

I am committed to DROPPING MY ARMOR in life as well as in this blog.

For me, THIS is the way to heal.

To unmask myself as I have the courage to do and thereby create space for a healthier Cathy to emerge.

So.. I give you my word that what you read here is not sugared-up or dampened down for your eyes.

My promise to myself, first and foremost is to SEE WHAT IS HONEST and be pretty sure that if it is there for me, someone else out there is dealing with it as well.

The part of this blogging process that makes it work for me is the WITNESSING that you all do for me.

The kind of healing I am interested in is never a one way thing.

It takes two. And that means you.

And I am forever grateful you have allowed my words into your sphere.

Without you, I am just alphabet soup on the wind.

You help bring me home.

The Line

2000, 11″ x 11″ x 4″ each, m/m
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As I traveled over the past week I got a snapshot of the state of the union.

Granted, most of my time I spent in a hotel or in the airport.

But I still found myself taking the pulse of the thing; my compatriots at arms: my fellow humans..

And what I found was this…

We are hungry.

Hungry not for the stuff of gardens and grocery stores.

But for the kings’ treasure of a soft smile with eye contact.

Or the recognition of a job well done.

Maybe the extra two bucks added to the tip when the wheelchair pusher guy waits a longer minute for me as I put on my lipstick in the bathroom at the airport and his boss is goading him to “HURRY UP!”

The unabashed “THANK YOU, so very much” to the three guys that chose to stand behind me to catch me if I fell as I climbed the stairs of the little tiny jet we boarded from outdoors.

Each day of travel was a challenge for me as it is for every person.

I saw so clearly that life gets good and fun and rich when I can pull it together to rise above my personal fears (I truly don’t have the strength to get from the hotel room to the airport), and complaints (There is no friggin’ way I can sit next to this person who is wearing this perfume), and beliefs (I am not strong enough to climb that flight of stairs).

To see that a shift in POINT-OF-VIEW is my only real savior.

It is more than ‘take a lemon and make lemonade’.

It really boils down to widening my sphere to INCLUDE OTHER PEOPLE.

In the case of the airplane stairs I needed to climb, one moment I was close to caving into tears but by God’s grace I turned it into an invitation to the three handsome men standing in line with me to back me up in case I fell.

They were on it like heros, all…

What I saw was the fact that those around me had me in their periphery view all along as we do for those more fragile than ourselves.

They just LOVED getting the job I gave them I think partially because it made everyone heave a sigh of relief that all was ok and the issue was fixable AND they were the FIXERS!

I am starting to get it that disability is a no-mans’-land because of fear.

I am afraid because I NEED STUFF THAT I DIDN’T USED TO NEED.

Others are afraid because they don’t know how to offer help without the fear of patronizing me or taking away my freedom.

And so, I saw that life becomes less solitary, sexy, an adventure and the big and fabulous mystery it is meant to be when I CAN EDUCATE AND INVITE others to participate.

I am seeing that it is tempting to cloak myself in a tight little tornado of self-sufficiency and certainly there are times for that.

But the rest of the time it gets more interesting with invited guests.

Threshold

"SELF PORTRAIT", 1992, 5' x 4', m/m

“SELF PORTRAIT”, 1992, 5′ x 4′, m/m
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I am just getting back from my periodic (every six-eight weeks or so) sojourn to Colorado to see my personal physicist.

I tell her my symptoms and she does something called ‘brain-mapping’ and programs a computer to dispense frequencies my body seems to be lacking.

In my past two trips to see her, the only vibe I actually felt as I received treatment twice / day for 4 days was a pleasant sort of ‘great mother’ buzz..

Infinitely comforting and unfamiliar as this was not a given in my upbringing.

During this trip things registered differently.

She told me that previous work had been to build up my foundation such as digestion and core constitutional strength.

I’ve received marked results each time I’ve seen her that have lasted.

Results are the name of the game for me at this much-progressed point so I keep pulling it together physically and financially and psychically to make the journey once again.

This time, the sensations I felt were all in my brain.

It felt like a peasant and soft scratching or molding inside the brain cavity.

I don’t understand the mechanics of the work she does with me and have little energy to wrap my intellect around it.

What I do know are the tears and anger and irritation that the treatment stirred up in me this time.

They had no recognizable core of origin.

But they wouldn’t stay in their cages.

I slept fitful 14 hour nights comforted by the sound of the TV remote clicking through culturally bereft snapshots in the night of miraculous body-slimming devices and bald undernourished guys preaching the latest multi-vitamin.

I spent too much money on room service as I hadn’t the energy to get down to the restaurant before the next appointment.

She was adamantly trying to get it across to me that I MUST EAT PROTEIN! ORGANIC MEAT!

My body doesn’t really WANT meat these days but I think that is partially because I like eating a clean and mostly raw diet.

BUT YOU NEED FUEL TO HEAL.. she says.

And I try it and see that she is right. My energy level goes up markedly within 5 minutes of eating some organic beef.

But I digress…

The gist of this trip was an inadvertent surrender to shadowlands.

I see my effect in the world.

The hotel staff talked about me in their staff meeting as someone with a great attitude and that I should be treated like a V.I.P. That I touched their hearts and should be recognized as such. There is no false front here. I DO seem to be blessed with the ability to take the high road more often than not.

Hearing that they saw and registered my challenges and efforts to connect in spite of them brought tears to my eyes.

I came away feeling uplifted by the miracle of creating connection where there was none.

And also sobered by the world of pre-verbal angst and the inadvertent archive of salty tears that I see are deadly poison if not unleashed and given air time.

Healing is messy.

Healing is connective.

Healing is gorgeously surprising in it’s twists and turns.

And it sucks in the night, alone in a strange hotel room with trust and faith taking turns with despair and terror as bedfellows.

And yet.. the linens were good and the Pinot Noir was deep and red in the restaurant and the cab driver kept showing up on time and the nice Native American man at the airport told me good stories as we waited for our delayed flight and walked right next to me as we boarded, slow and wobbly as I am; he stayed right there and kept me company as all the others passed us by.

Life is good.

Intriguing Territory

Well… I am off once again to Colorado Springs to work with the frequency medicine I am having such great results with. I spend my days seeing the physicist twice a day then come back to cool linens in the hotel and stay there till I do it again the next day. It may LOOK like nothing is happening but you can be sure I have gratitude I’m not expected to perform any gymnastic feat this week…

I’ll be back online next Saturday.

In the meantime:

Here are some things that have sparked my interest and perhaps they will for you as well:

I tried to keep them fun and short.. xxxxxx

1.
how to love pollen

2.
photos that changed the world

3.
cool visual thesaurus

4.
a favorite blog of mine

5.
learning from kids

6.
Best of YouTube in 4 minutes

SPRING!

“”GROUND SWELL”, 2000, 40″ x 30″, m/m

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NEW SEASON
.

The window opened
.
Tentatively to the night.
.
I heard birds wake up!
.
.
-CA 2010

Deep

“BLUE VIEW”, 1998, 5′ x 30″, m/m

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I have been watching the series “PLANET EARTH”

I keep going back to the disk about the deep ocean.

The part where they get into the submersible and drop into the black.. miles down to the ocean floor where the sun don’t shine.

It is there they find creatures of astonishing capabilities: complex series of neon light patterns, glowing tentacles to lure a meal, adapted forms of life that thrive in volcanic-broiling waters, lizards with no eyes but highly tuned tactile and olfactory skills allowing them to move slowly and gather a trustable sense of terrain on their way to the restaurant.

The deep.. the deep…

Unknown and scary and visibility low.

That’s how my life looks sometimes.

I must develop new skills to navigate.

To move. To love. To heal.

Sometimes, it feels as if the evolutionary Gods are having their way with me; pushing me beyond where I think I can or should have to go.

“Change faster, Cathy. Put a band aid on that skinned knee and here’s a double-ply tissue to wipe those tears. We KNOW you can do it. You see.. you’re on your way to a different kind of beauty. Capabilities unknown as yet. But trust us… surrender to the deep. We got your back..”

And I have to believe that they do.

Bullish

"ATTITUDE", 5' x 5', 1983, wool flannel, pigment

“ATTITUDE”, 1980, 5′ x 5′, wool flannel, pigment

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This piece was really the only work I ever did which is this representational.

It must have needed to come forward at that time.

I remember wanting people to take notice of me and my work.

I thought a little bit of ‘in-your-face’ might do it.

(I painted stuff like this instead of stirring up an argument).

For some reason, this textile took FOREVER to sell.

I kept seeing it over the years in my studio when I tackled straightening and cleaning.

Why? I asked myself, does no one want to take this home?

The only reason I came up with was the fact that I had used a photograph as reference to make sure I got the likeness down.

Now, one of the things I learned in art school is never to be afraid to COPY!

COPY, COPY, COPY!

Steal ideas and composition and color choices.

Keep doing it until you have a sense of what is YOUR OWN.

A style you can stand behind and not apologize to anyone for.

Because it’s genesis was YOU.

And you are unique.

Someone else can come close but they’ll never smoke the cigar.

And THAT is why this piece would not sell.

It wasn’t really mine.

I stole the power from another and TRIED to make it mine.

The way I live my life these days is surely informed by such experiences.

I create/live from more of a LISTENING stance than a: ‘I’ll decide this thing and will it into action’ kind of thing.

I WAIT more.

PAUSE till I get prompted to do.

This proves inconvenient in our culture of ‘fast and more’.

It is like the frustration we all (me, too) feel at the airport trying to catch a plane with a baby stroller or handicapped person in front of you.

You gotta slow…..it…..way…….down.

And we have little tolerance for that.

But, really, there’s gold in them thar’ hills…

And limping along as I do, I get to hear the sirens call.

But it likely is more of a whisper.

And if I can manage, I’ll stop and plaster my belly on the cool earth to make sure I catch the tune.

Power Chair….!?

I have a new member of the family and she is black.

Smallish in stature but with the guts of a champ.

She makes her presence known sitting quietly there in my living room (read: VERY visible in my small retreat).

She was a gift from my friend James, who hankered after a younger model.

She rolled off the truck and, surprisingly, I liked her immediately.

A little worn around the edges but so am I.

A good, good friend; call him tribal member, introduced the two of us yesterday.

It matters who makes the introduction, believe me.

Take me seriously here because a wrong move might kill you..

You want someone who is entrusted with keeping the highest and largest part of you present and alive during this important introduction.

Carlos lovingly cleaned her up and put some make-up on her. Washed her clean and brought her over.

Olivia and I took her for a spin around my patio and I found myself laughing at the tummy-turning feeling of spinning on a dime and the ultra -sensitivity of her gears.

She’s tightly tuned and I like her.

I don’t love her.

I’m proud of myself for the work I’ve done to prepare myself for her arrival.

I left an open space in my heart for an adventure instead of the dreaded ‘life-in-a-wheelchair’ thing.

Don’t get me wrong here… I just caught myself looking over at her with my eyes scrunched and scrutinizing at half-mast with the question: “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING IN MY HOME?????????????”

Take a lemon and make lemonade?

Gimme a stiff margarita.. please.

***IMPORTANT note: DO NOT get a haircut on the same day you get a wheelchair.

‘Nuff said…

Under the Bridge


"PYLON", 2008, 7' x 20", ceramic, earth, wood
“PYLON”, 2008, 7′ x 20″ x 4″, ceramic, earth, wood
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The inspiration for this piece was my fascination with all the stuff that ends up congregated in a group growing beneath the water line under a dock or bridge.

The life that sends it’s tentacles out and grabs hold of the solid and sure thing of the wooden pylon.

Such a big mish-mash of things.

And yet- they all end up together in this one place making a home for themselves.

Related,  in that the ocean or lake keeps on washing up against them and they stay put mostly, I think.

The whole thing reminds me of my own life; peopled with characters shiny and not..

I get the nicest feeling when I think of all of us: “Cathy’s clan (including critters, unmet souls, intimate strangers, inner circle people and favorite rocks..) all of us doing this thing called LIFE.

For the past two years I have pulled in to recalibrate.

My brand of healing needs silence and empty space.

If I’m not attached to myself as a ‘sick’ person, which I am not, there must be room and an invitation to let the ocean wash over me in all it’s saltiness and take the buffet of the waves intent on claiming me for their own.

The solace comes from those around me doing the same thing..

Just barely holding our ground waiting for the still waters on the other side of the storm.

There, we can relax into the ease of ‘no fight’, put up our feet and have a margarita or two.

Enjoy the press of each other’s company.

‘Till the waves start pickin’ up again.

Thrive

"THRIVE", 2008, ceramic, nails

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The installation pictured above is one of my favorites.

Of course, the home it is installed in ain’t too shabby but that aside..

I like it.

I like it because it is so very edited down to nothing extraneous happening there.

I also have a deep connection to the piece because it feels like a self-portrait.

The forms wouldn’t be of interest without the shadows.

The piece is alive as the sun moves through out the day and changes the mood of the work.

There’s that one renegade element insistent on not remaining in formation.

It tells a story from left to right as it begins with the meditation of slow and careful consideration; one foot in front of the other. Not drawing too much attention to ones’ self.

THEN.. it hits the abyss (the doorway) and all hell breaks loose..

Elements scatter and find their own way to spots that feel comfortable to attach to.

They are never really alone but always in relationship to one another though the tension between elements tightens and relaxes as the journey continues.

There is a sense of freedom but also chaos.

They seem to be drawn to the light and make their way in that direction, following the draw of the heat of day.

And this whole journey is a pretty accurate record of my own.

Order and chaos…

We go into both of those places almost moment by moment, don’t we?

I always get stuck when I like one state better than the other..

Or I am SURE the spot on the line is where I’ll stay the rest of my life.

How is it that reality feels so damned carved in stone?

I hate it that I can’t seem to remember in the midst of my body collapsing or my heart breaking that REALITY IS CHANGE…. ONLY CHANGE.

I find such peace in that.

Whenever I can remember to remember.

Dog Love

I woke up this morning with this creature stretched out to gargantuan lengths two inches from my eyes and snoring loudly.

This is new behavior as she has never been so ‘in -my-face’ as she sleeps.

I am pretty sure she knew I had dreams of bad men and complicated journeys in the night and was standing guard with extra attention to her human.

I love my dog.

I love my dog.

My extremely sensitive nervous system is still not too great at discriminating what is my ‘stuff’ and what of the collective muck and mire I register as mine but really is not.

Olivia returns me to baseline in an instant by her eyes at half mast when she feel my love.

Or, if my psyche is out far away battling whatever foe.. with a touch, I return..

..Washed clean and ready to pile up the armor in a distant corner and just sit with this even-breathing soul.

I say.. there is absolutely NOTHING better than watching her smile in her sleep.

Absolutely nothing.

Disappointment

untitled, porcelain, 6" x 3" x 3"

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I had made plans to go riding this morning after the long winter’s whack.

My body just isn’t cooperating.

If I counted the times I have said I’d be somewhere and, in the end, could not,

I’d crawl back into bed.

Which is what I may do anyway.

Not out of anything other than general physical weariness..

Who am I kidding?

It is downright depressing at times to deal with this condition that won’t let me do what I WANT TO DO!

Little deaths every day don’t really do it for me.

I really do such a great job of staying on top of the emotional quagmire of this thing.

I do give myself that.

But the grief.. the grief of sitting with the knowledge that my diet MUST be this way or my money goes to THIS thing or my body WON’T do what I want or my hand is no longer the one to make art…

Well.. It’s a post-graduate path to be sure.

But the only advisors I can check in with that I trust have my best interest in mind are myself and God.

It really is one of those 3-dimensional chess boards that provide the playing field for those dealing with a chronic illness.

Interesting when you make a good move,

And psyche-flattening when you CAN’T.

Reveal

"VEIL", 1997, 30" x 12", m/m

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Yesterday I withdrew from facilitating our local MS group.

I had taken this job on 3 months back as I was called to fill the vacancy when the facilitator-du-jour went on to do other things.

I like this group.

No victims there.

Only brave and health challenged folks like myself.

It its odd because I have always had some leadership skills but never felt comfortable in my skin enough to test them in the world.

(The fact that I was wearing somebody ELSE’S skin needs to be noted here…)

Now I am more real and feel comfortable in the world; enough to stand up and expose myself (so to speak) which I did in this group.

I had previously shunned support groups because I felt the presence of wheelchairs and progressed disease and people who had lost themselves inside the label of MS would not be great for me to be around.

As I progressed, I found I needed to be seen clearly and without pity or advice-giving.. just seen.

It has proven valuable to do this twice a month.

I realized that my nervous system was REALLY challenged as I sat there and introduced structure to a structureless group.

When I arrived it pretty much was a free-for-all chat time with no beginning or end and one had to fight to be heard.

The ones with the biggest voices won.

I asked if instilling a 10 minute time for each to speak would work for them.

I actually said: “I am not able to be present in the group as it stands now. Too much static.”

So everyone was on board and away we went.

As the weeks went on, I watched myself policing the group more than participating.

They had agreed to no ‘cross-talk’ but could not resist.

I felt resentful as I saw most of my energy moving toward taking care that others had the opportunity to speak instead of just a few.

I finally realized that I cared deeply about this group of people and no one was being served by my facilitatorship; ESPECIALLY ME!

I need support as well.

I need to be seen and heard and not given advice when I speak.

I need 10 minutes of sacred time to tell my story.

I need a soft place to fall.

And so.. I took steps to get that, yesterday.

Everyone was supportive and acknowledging of the job I had done.

I have had a full-life history of ‘holding space’ for others.

Now is Cathy’s time.

I will watch for opportunities to use any leadership qualities I may have and practice using them only when it feels like a MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL RELATIONSHIP.

ie:  I am more not less from the experience.

Truth be told…. Truth be told…. that is my current mantra.

Renegade

detail of "THRIVE", 2008, ceramic

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All you need is one…

One new thought, or belief or action

To change your point-of-view

And have the possibility of healing.

The MS road is arduously packed with vague promises and suppositions.

It feels so good to believe.

Like a religion, almost.

Believing gives us a place to belong.

To be seen in the ‘context-familiar.’

And belief is a powerfully transformative tool.

A community acting together can jive in a way that scoots evolution along in a quantum way.

Remember the 100th monkey phenomenon.

But it takes just one..

One lone cowboy

Comin’ into town

Dirty and wrinkled from the loneliness and stigma of riding fast and free.

Just one thought outside-the-box

And poof!

We got ourselves light years down this rocky road in an instant.

You gotta BELIEVE in healing to heal.

It feels like a warm fuzzy at times to belong to the walking wounded.

You belong! There’s ALWAYS a shared interest at parties as EVERY BODY knows suffering. Who’s your Doctor? Where’s your pain? What pill? What sorrow? What fear?

YUK..

Boring, boring.

I’m tending toward hitching a ride with that cowboy.

Destination unknown.

But the possibilities are endless.

Instead of securely carved in stone.

Where the Sun Don’t Shine

"UNDERBELLY", 2008, 20" x 8" x 5", ceramic

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‘Round these parts in Santa Fe where the sun shines 300 days out of the year, we get a little skittish when it doesn’t.

We blame our dour moods on the barometric pressure.

But really, we’re quite addicted to the light.

The huge population of ‘Santa Fe ‘seekers’ tend always toward the light.

The darkness holds no elan.

The shadows are full of stuff it takes too much energy to see.

Nothing looks as pretty or resolved or ordered there.

In between the parts of me I have scanned and tended to and ‘fixed’,

Are pockets of yet unexplored territory.

I shun them.

Push them to the back of the room.

Relegate them to the back 40…

Sometimes, like this morning, they scratch persistently at the edge of a dream.

Their face oddly familiar but I don’t want to answer the door.

They seem messy.

Unkept. Hollow.

Needy of my attention.

I say: “NO.”

“You may not have me.”

I fiercely protect the good life I’ve achieved.  The sunny Spring day.

But tucked under their arm, I see the glint of a golden thing..

Stained by perspiration and smelling a bit foul.

And still… there it is: SOMETHING I WANT IS THERE!

And I must invite them in if I’m to have any chance at all

Of a life of freedom to act and react and MOVE and create

From an untainted place

Of undefended life.

So…

Come on in.. you burly, revolting creature

I’ve built a nice looking cage for.

Come on in and have your way.

I’m a pretty good wrestler so be prepared to drop your gold

And scoot out the door

After I rip off your masks and take a strong bar of soap to your pernicious scent.

We’ll both be the better for it.

Christ and Us

4′ x 4′ x 4″, 2000, ceramic, earth, gravel, nails, wood

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Here, in Santa Fe, this is a holy time of year.

The time of Good Friday, when the Bible tells us Christ was crucified and Easter Sunday; the day the rock was moved and it was found empty of Jesus’ corpse.. resurrected it is said.


Many, many people make long pilgrimages from miles away carrying heavy crosses on their backs or crawling on their knees to a place called The Santuario in Chimayo.

I go there often myself during off-season just to sit and meditate in the old adobe walls,

It is a sacred healing place somewhat like Lourdes in France.

The earth there is said to carry healing power and people come with bags large and small to dig from a little hole and take some earth home with them.

I am intrigued by the space of time between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Some major stuff is said to have happened following Christ’s crucifixion and his revival, so the story goes.

We, humans spend most all our time in that very space between, it seems to me.

No one gets a pass in the suffering department.

And that very suffering is the key to the emperors new clothes.

By that, I mean we can have no possible idea or experience what NOT suffering feels like until we have done some of it ourselves.

It seems to me that this epic outpouring of inviting suffering which all the pilgrims walking in the snow and sleet and windy weather outside my door are yearning for, may be the accelerated version of:
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1. Take me and my masked ways of being.   Kill the false self I cannot kill on my own.

2. Grace me with time to sink humbly into my nakedness.  The me I have known is no more.

3. Wake me dressed in authentic and true clothes fit for a radiant being such as myself.

4. Call me to a higher order than my self-centric past.

5. Hear me as I give thanks for the right just to BE.

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For me, that right there is the gist of Easter.

Illness can get you there right quick.

With that in mind, God: give me the strength and Grace to bear this burden and try to control my involuntary salivating waiting and hoping for the rock to be moved and the light.. the light let in…

Grit and Grace

My brother Scott is a pilot for Southwest Airlines.

When I spoke the other day about living in a ‘whole-hearted’ way, his name comes to mind.

He has the gift of a true and count-on-able balance between his rational mind and his heart intelligence.

These qualities make for a great pilot.

You may wonder,and wonder often, I suppose, why in the world I have a blog with the words MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS in it and insist on holding forth about anything BUT most of the time.

For me, the fastest and most sure healing track involves NOT TAKING ON THE IDENTITY of ‘a woman with MS’,

But rather watching and listening for what it is that BRINGS ME ALIVE.

What / who do I have true affection for?

And it is THAT path I choose to take.

Using my precious and faltering-of-late attention and life energy and moving toward healing of ALL OF ME..

Not just my body.

So, yesterday was my brother’s birthday.

The first time I flew with him was into and through the Grand Canyon inside a tin can of a plane with two Germans.

He said: “Cath..don’t tell them I’m your brother.”

Well, that promise lasted about a nanosecond as the pride I had in my brother swelled to a dangerous level and I could contain myself no longer..

Against all odds, he followed his call.

He carved his way through the ranks of those others bowing and scraping toward a secure position with a respectable airline.

He held his ground and persevered until those who mattered couldn’t help but notice he was born to wear a uniform and they gave it to him.

He’s a guy who can stand there just owning the piece of ground he walks on and you just want to hand over your trust.

That’s the guy you want to be standing in the cockpit greeting you as you enter the airplane on a thundery, windy flight through black clouds.

Actually, I’d want him seated in his proper place in the cockpit doing the stuff he needs to do to keep me safe..

But no matter.. you get the drift.

The point here is pride.

I feel my boundaries swell when I think of what he has overcome to become who he is.

This feels whole-hearted to me…

For me, who gets to witness him..

And hopefully for my brother, who carved this life for himself.

I have learned a lot about persistence from him.

Never say die.

‘Cause on the other side of the muck and mire is often the gold we seek.

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