Progress, Diet and Humility


painting, m/m
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Out of the blue came this recognition: THE PROGRESSION OF CATHY’S MS SEEMS TO HAVE STOPPED PROGRESSING!

I am so used to being in the center of the storm and feeling the worry and watchfulness about which direction some new symptom would choose for it’s entry.

But for months now I been a’ sittin’ here expectant-like and no one’s showin’ up at the door.

Being in a state of ‘on guard’ for so long with all my weaponry neatly tied together on my back just in case..

I seem to have forgotten all together what it feels like to put the weight down.

The cause of this stasis are my dietary changes as I have made no other alterations in my regime.

My primary doctor has healed herself back from death’s door and she knows of which she speaks as she certainly did 10 years ago on our first meeting following my diagnosis.

She preached diet, diet, diet…

“Vegetables are your friends,” she tells me.

I thought: “Just give me a g-ddamned pill and let’s call it a day.”

I was in no mood for depriving myself of comfort food in the middle of a crisis.

Sooooooo… 10 years into this partnership with PPMS, I changed my diet.

This refinement has come in small increments.

Drop dairy.

Then wheat.

Then sugar.

This clean and health-fostering diet of mine has taken years to slip into it’s solid gear so I know it works.

I eat no grains. Pretty much just vegetables, fruit and good protein.

The dropping of all grains was the last change I made after looking at this.

And it clearly is the next step for me.

I do fall prey to an occasional cup of coffee or my favorite chicken mole’ wrapped in corn tortillas meal.

But I pay.

And pay hard the following day.

Like I can’t walk.

And so… 10 years following my doctor’s advice I am taking it.

And here to tell you that dietary changes and the miracles they foster are real and available to everyone, challenged by illness or not.

Here are a few favorite support sites I have in my arsenal:

SPECIFIC CARBOHYDRATE DIET; SCD
GREEN SMOOTHIES

Hungry


detail of textile, pigment on wool flannel
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HUNGRY- a poem
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My heart is tired.
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And hungry. She needs the best food.
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But the shelves are bare.
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CA 2010

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Detritus

DETRITUS:
Loose matter resulting from the wearing away or disintegration of a tissue or substance.
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Each time I make changes in my life or transform, I forget about what lies in waste in my shadow as I walk away..

I have changed so often that the process of flux is the air I breathe.

And I continue to marvel at the courage and gumption I manage to call forth to keep moving forward.

But, alas… I do not seem to remember that for each movement toward wholeness one needs to at least pick up the broom and look down and back as we sweep away the remains of what was and step into our new shoes.

For a law of change seems to be that to pass GO we must tend to each and EVERY pesky little particle related to the past we are divesting ourselves of.

Because those little left behind and forgotten dustbunnies will roll out to get ya unless we give them their due.

Projects, relationships, past ways of being which no longer serve must be looked once more in the eye and gently (or not) shown the door.

The only time I really worry that I am being a ‘BITCH’ is this process of standing up for myself on the other side of change.

My voice changes.

No more ‘making nice.’

Darwinism at it’s best as the survival of the fittest shows it’s colors.

I WILL be whole.

And occasionally it looks less than nice.

I have no apologies.

Because cleaning up after a job well done is usually messy at best.

And I left my starched and white pinafores at the gate a long, long time ago.

Pushin’ Through

I had a day yesterday that actually scared me a bit.

I miraculously had enough energy to grocery shop.

A sweet, young teenager has been doing my shopping for me recently as well as a few saintly friends.

But yesterday was Sunday.

And I had no food.

I made my list, grabbed the dog and off we went.

I was sailing through the aisles feeling happy and strong.

Come time to pay and I realized my credit card had expired and the new one was at home.

I left the groceries in the store and drove home to get it.

Took every energy reviving thing I could think of: electrolytes, lots of water, other concoctions…

Drove BACK to the damn store and was grateful someone had left a cart by the handicapped parking I could hold on to as I went back in the store.

Collected my groceries and headed back to the car.

Drove home in a (not dangerous) fog, but a fog non-the-less.

In my driveway, I opened the hatchback and swore a hundred times at the bagger who had made each parcel over 75 lbs.

Hung bags on my walker like a Christmas tree and dropped a bottle of sparkling water on the ground.

Bend down to get it and my knees won’t let me get upright again.

I was stuck.

The options were to fall down and start over or…..

My LANDLADY pulls into her driveway and comes to help!

Whew….

I get all groceries inside and put away and hobble over to bed.

I am so tired I can’t even get my entire body lengthwise on the mattress and I surrender to sleep as my dog licks my face with worry.

I stay there motionless for four hours straight.

And the day is gone.

Why do I do these things to myself?

Granted, I got caught in a series of events I felt I HAD to push through or I would have forfeited the groceries.

The answer is probably close to something like: “it gives me a sense of accomplishment”.

But if I’m dead, who will be there to enjoy it?

I don’t know.. I see us all moving faster, doing more and doing it alone.

And I wonder…

Wouldn’t the time and energy be better spent in gentler pursuits?

Sigh…………….

Witness


detail of textile, pigment on wool flannel
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A few days ago I was honored to sit with three women I respect and feel safe with.

Safety is the key word as I knew without a doubt they would keep a confidence and not judge me.

The woman I call my ‘teacher’ is wise beyond knowing and has shepherded me through many hills and valleys.

Her recent request that I choose two women to witness a disclosure on my part challenged me.

Who DO I feel safe enough to invite to sit with me as I say aloud something I feel deep shame about?

My task was to make public something I had kept hidden for so long that I really did think I had forgotten.

And yet.. it still had me.

Had me in a stranglehold choking off life that wanted to come in.

And my teacher knew that unless I unveiled the secret I could never be free.

And so she asked me to speak it.

And let the three other women in the room help me hold it from that day forward.

The time leading up to our congregation was charged with release for me.

I found myself afraid to speak the thing and tearful at the thought of being so exposed after 20 years of hiding.

What would it be like to tell the truth?

It doesn’t really matter what the subject of my shame was.

We all have something wrapped tight and hidden in some secret corner, it seems.

The thing is, when I finally spoke the words; sent them out into the light of day,

The weight of them was far less than my private stronghold.

After my companions witnessing my admission, the core of it was still with me.

But all the charge was gone.

Gone.

Gone.

And I was free.

I look different now.

My skin is a little more pinked.

And where all that shame was is now ready to hold something else altogether.

And I trust it will come in it’s own time.

But I won’t hurry it as this space feels awfully fine.

Very fine, indeed.

Rain


detail of painting, m/m
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New Mexicans love rain.

Because we hardly ever see it.

And yesterday was wet.

I mean borderline torrential.

I have mixed feelings about rain because of my driveway.

It is dirt with a generous grade to it.

When the rain comes, a giant river of run-off begins eating away my carefully constructed (and re-constructed) smooth access to the street for my wheelchair.

A friend had generously and lovingly laid bricks in at the bottom of the drive hoping the rainwater would flow OVER them and leave me access.

But nnnnnnoooooo..

Water weaves it’s own course of least resistance.

And I know when I go out this morning for my roll around the ‘hood’ that I’ll be marooned and unable to cross the gulch that inevitably formed last night.

I checked with the city to see if I could install a culvert and found the cost prohibitive.

So the bricks will have to be relaid.

And so..

Today I exercise patience.

And I’ll drive the dog to the park.

And just smell the deep and musky scents left hanging in the dampness by the reigning power-that-be.

Who slaked the thirst of every green thing and forgot to cover her tracks as she left in such a hurry.

Equinox

Today is the beginning of Autumn.

There is a full moon as well.

Tomorrow the days begin to shorten.

I absolutely love and need to live in a place where the seasons are obvious.

They help my inner tides ebb and flow so I make sure I don’t become stuck in the reflection and hybernation of Winter or
the push and electricity of new life in Spring.

Each are so seductive.

And I’m glad to see them arrive.

And leave.

I need the change they provide.

I am interested to watch myself become more and more tuned to natural cycles.

The apartment I now live in is a place where the weather and moods of Nature are mere inches away from me as I sit in the bay window during a big black storm or drop the shades to searing heat and sun.

I like the feeling of having ‘just enough’ shelter and no more.

In Michigan, where I grew up, the air was always choked with humidity.

You were hard pressed to even find the moon and stars were out of the question except on rare and clear nights.

Sometimes, I write and wonder what in the world this has to do with MS and HEALING THROUGH it?

The only answer I have to that question is the fact I continue to gain in health.

And that fact has me pay close attention to what I am doing, thinking, not doing, eating, revering, shunning, picking up and putting down.

This immense refinement of a life I am inside feels horrible

AND PRECIOUS.

How weird.

And so… something is working.

And I watch.

And listen.

And tell the tale.

As I wobble on down to the door that takes me into the next hall of mirrors.

And I charge myself with making all the adjustments necessary to get a grip on the shifting landscape.

And keep my lipstick looking fresh.

Too Tired


hand-painted textile, pigment on wool flannel
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Sometimes, I start feeling so good

That I forget.

It happened yesterday as I literally soared through my day.

It was a full one, to be sure.

I got up early, wrote, meditated, rode my new exercise bike, take Olivia for a roll, take lots of supplements and make a smoothee.

Take a shower, make myself beautiful, go to meetings and appointments, deal with disability stuff, rifle through unfiled papers to find something.

Go to storage unit and pray I can find one special photo to send to high school chum putting together a memorial for a friend, get dirty, dirty, dirty, find the photo, too filthy to do anything in public so go home.

Need gas in car to go further.

Hold my head in hands as I sit in car and wonder if I have it in me to do this.

Don’t cry but want to.

Save it for later.

Open car door, get out the walker, put in the gas while leaning up against car for support, get dirtier, put walker back in car.

Energy dangerously close to gone so stop at MacDonald’s for an iced tea to re-hydrate.

Pull over to side of road to be safe and rest while drinking tea.

Let seat all the way down to rest while I reclaim myself. Dog sits on chest.

Finally feel good enough to go home.

Pull in driveway and say prayer of gratitude I made it.

Unplug phone and computer and crash.

This kind of tiredness does not happen to me too often anymore.

It used to be my constant companion for years.

So, in a way, days like yesterday are good as they help me remember what is easy to forget:

That I AM HEALTHIER to be sure.

I could NEVER have pressed through a packed day like yesterday a year ago.

But I have got to take care.

Take extra good care of the health I’ve fought for and won.

Not squander it willy-nilly in undeserving corners.

I slept and slept and slept and slept last night.

And this morning I seem to get a reprieve..

Another go at the ‘life-in-moderation-for-the-moment’ thing.

It is another opportunity to refine my precious life.

A wake up call to my own value.

I want to live.

And live well.

So.. I’ll use today to begin again.

And thank God I can.

Moon

In New Mexico the moon can get so bright that it’s almost frightening.

When this happens like it is now I just can’t help remembering that Nature is so much more than we know.

We like to think we have everything all figured out.

But when I went out into the darkness last night to sit on my patio

IT WAS’NT.

Dark, I mean….

I could see my shadow.

The air was not soft and enveloping and ‘hide within’ black.

It was decidedly ELECTRIC and STUNNING with the light.

It was the kind of light the wise men may have seen and were compelled to follow.

Something unnatural about it.. and portentous.

So I sat there in that light.

And my heart was beating faster.

I wondered what it wanted me to know?

Because I felt oddly urged beyond complacency down unknown and winding paths.

I had wanted that little ‘patio-sit’ to be a lullaby.

A soft entry into dreamland.

But instead, it WOKE ME UP!

Grabbed the scruff of my neck and shook me.

I haven’t figured it out.

And really am so very glad I can’t.

Priority Parking


detail of textile, pigment on wool flannel
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A friend suggested a switch from HANDICAPPED PARKING to PRIORITY PARKING.

When he said that it made me laugh really hard.

First, because it sounds more exclusive (in the good way).

Almost red carpet-like.

Just the two words seem to erase any of the ‘WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?’

And magically turn it into: “What’s so darn RIGHT with you that you get to park here?”

But the more I thought about it the more I realized the ambiguity we’d be introducing into an already pretty charged arena called: “I AM GOING TO GIVE YOU THE EVIL EYE AS YOU GET OUT OF YOUR CAR TO SEE IF INDEED YOU ARE ACTUALLY DISABLED AND IF I CAN’T SEE ANY SIGN OF IT I WILL SEND DAGGERS OF SLIMY POISONOUS ENERGY YOUR WAY SO IF YOU AREN’T DISABLED NOW YOU WILL BE AFTER I GET THROUGH WITH YOU!”

You see, only by hanging one of those coveted glossy blue and white cards on your rear view mirror can you ever imagine how much energy is silently directed at those of us who ‘priority park’.

I have come to realize that the scrutiny I get thrown silently at me as I park and get out of the car is generated by well meaning people who have that inherent protective instinct that signals humanity.

But the thing is, the gene seems to have mutated into some weird sort of “James Bond-esque” gun slinging showdown conducted from 20-50 feet away from me.

And always in silence as no words are ever spoken.

They watch me with eagle-eyes to see if I actually have a visible disability and I hear the collective sigh of relief when I open the back door to get my walker out.

It feels like this whole “CARE IN RESERVE” thing like the fierceness of their remote protection of the handicapped parking place happens in lieu of the unwillingness to look disability in the face.

I love that you all are watching out that no one misuses my parking place and it is there for me when I need it.

I also love it when you open the door for me and look me in the eye.

A smile from you will probably make my day.

One time this week a woman with a watchful eye saw that my grocery bags were really heavy and walked over to ask if I needed help putting them in the car?

She walked clear across a row and a half of the parking lot to do that.

And you can believe me when I tell you I’ll NEVER forget that kindness.

It is good to watch out for one another.

And funny we’ve gotten so out of practice that we silently jive and jostle with one another as mute sentrys protecting the handicapped parking places for those who REALLY need them.

I am a PRIORITY PARKER… and I thank you for standing guard.

But I’m not terribly scary except when I need food.

So next time, please say: “HI” and I will love you for it.

Regrets


“BLACK FOREST”, 2008, 8′ x 24″ x 30″, ceramic, sand, wood
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I actually don’t have too many regrets in my life.

But there is this one I keep thinking about..

The piece of art pictured here was just meant to be created in bronze, I think.

Isamu Noguchi has always been an artist I admired above most others.

He knew about the element of “NOTHING EXTRA”

And his voice was always secondary to the natural ‘voice’ of the material he was using.

His work seemed to constantly point us away from him and back to Nature.

I always dreamed of a park somewhere inhabited by larger-than-life sized bronzes of some of these pieces I created.

Over time, grass would grow over the work in ways that would make it seem like they had been there for all time.

Kids would play on them.

Lovers would lean and kiss.

Snow would fall and leaves would blow.

And they would be there in the middle of it all.

An extra added attraction but not the main event.

Oh, how I would love to create that work of art…

And so.. today, I’m just giving homage to an idea that only made it halfway and which, I felt needed a bit more airplay..

And now I can better lay it down to rest.

Bandwidth


UNTITLED, 1993, 22″ x 30″, monoprint
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I consider bandwidth to be an important if not vital guide in my choice of intimates.

We’re talking people here, not lingerie.

The qualities of a person with generous bandwidth might look like this:

1. Can laugh too hard and long at a raunchy joke
2. Reads the New York Times Book Review
3. And the occasional PEOPLE Magazine
4. Isn’t afraid to leave a boring dinner party
5. Wonders what constellation that is
6. Asks a lot of questions and then some more
7. Someone comfortable with kings and the ghetto both
8. Thinks having Neil Armstrong at the dinner table is the best thing since sliced bread then asks him how he went to the bathroom up there.
9. Never wears a watch
10. Always on time
11. Considers whether to buy tickets to a monster truck rally or the chamber music festival.

Anyway.. you get the picture here..

I like / need people around me who have the capacity to tolerate, generate, create.

People with room for gut-splitting laughter and ancient, perhaps forgotten grief and everything in between.

My friends each have the qualities of intelligence on many levels; differing levels, but most importantly they share the ability to contain a huge amount of life.

That very quality ensures that I don’t feel the need or desire to make myself smaller in some way.

I feel free.

Free to roll my eyes, cry at a commercial, change the world, sleep for a whole day, pass by the political rally to watch the guy on stilts instead.

And if someone seems to have room for all the seemingly disparate parts of me… THAT gift I will cherish above all others.

In The Raw

textile detail, pigment on wool flannel
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IN THE RAW- a poem
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I’m going to stand here
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Dressed in nothing more than my
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Unsolved heart humming.
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-CA 2010
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Is Happiness Even Interesting Anymore?


detail of sculpture, starfish, black-eyed peas, earth
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The word HAPPINESS seems to have been reduced to something bordering on off-putting in our culture.

Even as I write it I sense the collection of letters making up this word has lost the gravity and honesty of what it used to represent to us.

“…the pursuit of happiness, ” and all that…

It has become sort of a luke-warm idea instead of an inspiring marker.

I hear a friend say: “I was happiest when I was a teenager on vacation with my family.”

I heard myself say in another conversation: “I have a great life” and almost feel embarrassed after I said it.

Why would a declaration on my part like that cause me pause?

And how come my friend is wistful in the happiness department?

It just seems like we are all working so damn hard to provide or bring forward something of substance or change the world or create castles or shine brighter than the next or get one step out in front of the present moment,

That now we’ve just got the past and the future with little or no attention to the middle part.

I have to wonder what it is that allows me to declare that I have a great life because if you look at the theater of some of my days, you’d be pretty hard pressed to make the bridge.

CATHY’S WELL-BEING / HAPPINESS LIST:

1. I am certain there are forces greater than me and I call on them when need be and usually get help or clarity. Not always but enough to keep doing it.

2. After pretty much a lifetime of living solo, I can now finally say I find myself utterly enchanting on good days and fairly entertaining on the rest. I say that because it has been a whole slew of decades steeped in the vestiges of self-doubt and a pretty dim view of myself all the way around (old mother stuff). It took me this long to love myself and only now can I even consider loving another fully and well.
I have a friend who said the greatest gift in turning 60 is the knowledge and freedom to know and declare (mostly to the mirror by yourself) I FINALLY LOVE MYSELF AND I DONT CARE IF YOU DONT OR CANT!
This is very ‘Sally Field’ I know, but I wonder why it is more accepted to connect through angst than the pleasure in our greatness?

3. I have gathered a tribe around me that remind me who I am when I forget.

4. I am not afraid of death but keep it on my shoulder as a friend to inform my life.

5. Creativity is my favorite food.

6. I have a beloved dog in my life and she keeps me honest.

7. I try to wear gratitude like a favorite cashmere sweater.

8. Learning how to live in an unguarded and more vulnerable way lets me be moved by love, kindness, beauty, horror, laughter and tears when before, I was too armored up to feel them at all.

9. I am curious about each person’s story. (with some exceptions)

10. I’m better at saying NO.

11. I’m better at saying YES.

12. I experience ENVY very infrequently.

13. I know where to go to get the perfect lipstick.

14. The only thing I know for sure is that everything changes.

15. And then it does it again…
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16. ….and once again.

Backroads

Backroads are better than highways.

1. They slow ya down so you can see things.

One time I had a date with a man in Colorado I did not know too well. It was my turn to make the long drive up to see him. I felt like a back road gal that day and ambled my way down two lane highways until I saw a cow. She was close to the fence and I stopped. She was at the very beginning stages of giving birth! So, I sat right down there with her to give support; I cooed and sung to her.

Two hours later I got up and continued on my way up see the man. I ended up being very, very late but it was just as well.. he didn’t get the magic of my story anyway.

2. The dialects and fashion choices and things-that-pass-for-food one can see in hide-a-way restaurants are fodder for stories to tell unbelieving friends and countrymen for years to come.

3. It feels intimate.

You stop when you want. You really feel the road. Peeing is never an emergency because there’s always a bush close by. With windows open the wind is a friend. Singing to the radio is more likely because of the happiness quotient.

4. Getting lost is likely.

That way, you let the gods make your map and get to see where you REALLY are meant to go. Or stay. Or see.

5. Treasures are to be had.

A fruit stand with sun warmed cherries from Michigan will rearrange your entire value system. Plastic ‘looks-like-straw-but-isn’t’ cowboy hats from a convenience store in Arizona are worth driving hundreds of miles for.

And so… there you have it..

Not a thing remotely MS-y about this post (except the peeing part).
Just playing devil’s advocate to the lovers of speed who insist covering a lot of ground is better than digging a hole to see what’s inside.

Amen.

Zozobra


“EVENING”, 10″ x 10″, 2000, m/m
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Santa Fe is a pagan place.

Last night was a celebration called ZOZOBRA which marks the beginning of FIESTA for our Hispanic population.

Historically speaking, this land was under the guardianship of the Spanish until the Native Americans got pissed off at the inequity of it all.

Some brave Indian warriors fought the fight in 1692 and it was called the PUEBLO REVOLT.

They took back the city from the Spanish.

Those guys held their ground until 1712 when the Spanish came back w/ canons a’ blazin’ and took the city for their own.

FIESTA celebrates that very changing of the guard.

The celebration of ZOZOBRA is the kick-off event and it happens at night.

Imagine a 50′ marionette stuffed with straw being lit on fire with wild dancers gyrating while a crowd of thousands yells: “BURN HIM!!!!!”

The twisting and turning burning thing represents gloom. OLD MAN GLOOM is his name today.

He used to be called “The Growler” because he makes sick groaning noises as he meets his demise.

The idea is for all the onlookers to give all their gloom, hardship and bad stuff to him and he takes it all down..

(I was not there, in case you were wondering..)

The whole thing is frightening, if you ask me.

But we all need some kind of ritual to make a mark in time.

A place to leave our cares on the doorstep and walk away.

I have talked about my secret (sort of) river that calls me when I have too much confusion in me or my thoughts are too heavy for my shoulders alone.

I go there and I give what I’m ill-equipped to carry to the river.

It is so accepting and patient and seems to have an endless capacity to hold what I can’t.

After all.. I’m just a woman out here trying her best to take up space on the planet in ways that open her heart and others.

It’s no small job, I tell you.

And I can’t / don’t want to do it alone.

And so I get help when I need it.

Do what I need to do to remain a fairly functional part of our human community.

The key here, I think, is knowing we can’t do this life-thing alone.

To know when something is too much to bear and get some help with the weight.

I guess that writhing effigy in the Santa Fe night provides that service for many who don’t even know they need him.

Rock My World


“SHIFT”, 1998, 40″ x 30″, m/m
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In Santa Fe, a favorite conversation of late begins with: “What in the HELL is happening in the world these days? Every single person I talk to is in the midst of some cataclysmic change in their lives! I’m not talking small here either. I mean HUGE CHANGE.”

And it does seem to be the case.

People are leaving or losing jobs, moving, divorcing, getting sick, finding children surrendered long ago to adoption agencies, asking for help when before they couldn’t/wouldn’t, taking up religion or laying it down, downsizing lives of excess and generally sitting smack in the middle of the eye of the storm with limited visibility.

It seems as though ‘re-purposing’ is the name of the game.

See what works and keep that but box up the rest with the knowledge someone else may benefit from your offering.

A health challenge is kindof like a bionic vacuum cleaner.

It’s as though I can sit in the center of my room as the giant sucking sound releases me of anything and EVERYthing in my life that is not fostering my well-being.

I often feel as tho I’m left with NO- thing.

And, in fact, that seems to be the point.

The gods that be seem to be giving all of us second chances by shaking up the status quo so vehemently that we just have to put our will aside and surrender to the insecurity of not knowing.

And we don’t like to do that.

I don’t like to do that.

But really, when I think of it, if I had not been visited by this health challenge I would still be barking up the artist tree that held me for thirty years.

I would never have known the utter perfection I feel as I segue into this new life I’m creating as a writer/public speaker.

If I wasn’t forced to do this change, I likely would never have done it.

And so.. knowing that helps me feel differently about how damn hard and uncomfortable and lonely it is to re-purpose one’s life.

I’ve had to get comfortable with not being sure of much except my desire to live by watching what wants to happen next and giving myself over to something so much larger than me.

I’ve lived a whole life deciding how it should go and now I am taking a pause and a half step back to witness what WANTS to happen.

It is a relief, I tell you. A true calm in the storm.

And I am so very, very grateful to find out I DO NOT KNOW IT ALL.

Dust


“MIST”, 30″ x 50″, 1995, m/m
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I am unsure of myself as I write this but it is there so here it is:

Yesterday as I rolled around my neighborhood in my power chair taking my dog for a walk I had an experience that moved me on a number of levels.

I live on a dirt road.

It feels pretty rural with more nature than people.

It is a bendy road so I can’t really tell what is too far ahead or behind us.

All of a sudden from nowhere there appears a silver Hummer car going way too fast coming from behind.

I had time to pull over as far as I could to be safe but they were going so fast that pebbles and dust spewed out behind them and showered us both.

As the dust settled I sat there motionless.

For a long time.

First, I couldn’t see from the cloud he left.

And second, because was just stunned.

My insides were all a-tumble.

I was mad. Sad. Scared. Incensed. Dirty. Revengeful.

But, weirdly, I was interested too.

My tendency is to lean into life of all sorts and get the gold.

And this experience was no different.

It made me feel deeply and know that I have lived a life of privilege.

More than likely, it has been me (figuratively speaking) in that Hummer flying along with so much unconsciousness that I didn’t see the immigrant girl frightened because she can’t read English yet or the teenager who just lost his best friend to a gang fight.

Privilege brings a good and protected life with it but it also tends to numb one to the realities of those who will never know that soft cocoon.

It often takes an experience like I had of being left helplessly in the dust to remind one that there are other realities present and existing right beside us that we often are too busy, numb, uninterested, unwilling, unprepared for, bored with to notice.

And we can’t feel them until we ARE IN IT OURSELVES.

Anyway, I came home after that experience with much more of a recognition of the edges in my life which privilege has smoothed and blunted.

It was good to be reminded of the fact that being left in the dust was an experience so outside my usual reality that I am here writing about it like I am,

When most of the population lives intimately with that grit between their teeth and the air never quite clears for them.

Cost of Labor


“GIRL”, ceramic, steel
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I was born in a car.

Really….

No joke.

As I am the eldest, my mother was naive to anything having to do with motherhood.

I still have the yellowed and crumpled piece of paper where she wrote down her contractions keeping track of the urgency quotient.

The list of scrawled numbers ends with an unintelligible “STOPPETTE!

It is a painful list to look at, I tell you.

Seems she was coached incorrectly regarding the urgency of contractions and she thought she had more time.

So Dad took off in the merry Oldsmobile for the hospital and he just about got there..

But not quite.

And I made my entry accompanied by a mortified father and exceedingly brave mother.

Right there in the great outdoors! (So to speak)

The story I heard was that I was instantly labeled “IMPURE” though I can’t imagine medical folks using that word, actually.

The stigma meant I spent a lot of time with the staff trying to get me back to a ‘pure’ state by incubating me and rendering the precious initial mother-daughter bonding moot.

We never got it back, the two of us.

So I had to find ways to create it for myself.

I’ve had mentors, surrogate mothers, teachers, friends and a rich spiritual life infused with Grace to shore up the foundation that wasn’t.

AND I LOVE CARS!!!!!

Probably a no-brainer when I think of it now but a fine legacy all the same.

This may seem like an odd segue from my birthday event to my enchantment with cars but it’s all about imprinting, right?

I love different kinds of cars.

Low-riders are the ride of choice here in New Mexico.

Never ridden in one but there’s still time…

A lean and sexy sports car slicing through clear evening air on a road somewhere driven by a trustable someone not worried about looking in the rear view mirror.

A vintage truck in robin’s egg blue patiently restored by the hands of a man who knows love and women well.

I, myself, drive a Subaru at the moment which is practical for my periodic dusty jaunts into the backcountry.

But I have cars in my blood.

And I am unashamed of my inattention to your very important story if I see a Ferrari out of the corner of my eye.

I’ll look every time.

It won’t mean I love you any less.

Wait for me as I’ll be more fortified when I return to our conversation.

With a slight upwards turn to the corner of my mouth.

And my blood running a faster mile.

3 Books


“LAYERS”, 2004, 11″ x 11″, m/m
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Over the years, I find myself returning to the pages of these three books time and time again.

They are not complicated but rather simple musings on things important to me;

Beauty. What’s really important in life. The unsolveable questions we keep asking ourselves. How to face down a challenge and win.

I wanted to share them with you.

They are little, little books.

With a lot to say.
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IN PRAISE OF SHADOWS,by Jun’ichiro Tanizake

This little gem is a commentary on architecture, drama, food, feminine beauty and the bathrooms all found in Japanese culture. The author makes clear his own love of the softer, quieter, more shadowy, older aesthetics of Japan and his pain while all that is squelched by more garish products Western technology has visited on them. Worth reading the 50 pages of this just for the bathroom description alone.
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BREAKFAST AT THE VICTORY, the mysticism of ordinary experienceby James P. Carse
He teaches us how to see and appreciate what seems at first regular and ordinary.
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THE ART OF LIVING, A Joseph Campbell Companion, by Joseph Campbell
This is my favorite book of all time. I keep it in my car to read when I have a few moments. It is a collection of quotes and short essays on things like marriage, Greek Gods, the meaning of life, work and the sacred. Every time I pick up this book, I mean EVERY time.. there is the perfect thing for me.
He is one of the wisest men I know of, particularly here, in this 6″ x 4″ tiny collection of pages.
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THINK ON THESE THINGS, by Krishnamurti
I was made aware of this book when my mind and spirit first began to be hungry for the whole theater of experience going on behind the veils. This is a brilliant and truly approachable book that makes it so much easier to be human after you read it.
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yes.. I know that was four books but I couldn’t help myself.
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xxxxx…..

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