Return


“DIRECTION”, 1999, 6′ x 3′, m/m
________________________________

I gave my talk last Saturday evening: “THE SHATTERING, THE RECONCILIATION AND THE RETURN”.

50 people attended.

I looked out over the shining faces and saw the most stellar group of dear friends and those I had yet to meet.

The purpose of the event was to come away with a DVD which represents the style and content of my speaking

Which I can use for future marketing.

Every single thing went without a hitch;

I was supported on every level.

I felt great in my skin.

I held to the podium for awhile

Then sat down for the remainder of the talk.

I used a few notes which I looked at once or twice.

Mostly, I told stories

Of what it has meant for me to re-make my life.

I was bordering on ecstatic as I spoke.

Strange, I thought…

People fear speaking in public so much.

Why should this bring me pleasure?

I realized that at the end of a very long road

Taking up space as a truly INAUTHENTIC person..

I now have little to hide

And the relief quotient gives rise to deep pleasure.

The thing I did not expect

Was the dry and wrenching weariness

I felt

After I shared my soul

In such a generous

And transparent way.

I will not say I am sorry

For the extended hiatus from posting here

Because you are privy to the hills and valleys

As I meet them, myself.

I understand now

That many of my precious supporters at this event

Had not seen me in too long.

I have led a fairly insular life

The last few years in order to RE-ORDER my life.

Mixing that energy with the kind it takes to give a speech with cogency

Was too much for me

And I crashed.

It was a great thing to learn for future reference.

I will keep the social separate from the professional

As best I can.

I have not seen the final film yet

But I am thrilled to have done what it took to put it together.

Many have asked about the availability of it.

I’m working on that and will keep you posted…

xxxxx.

Tomb Time


untitled, 1985, 5’x5′, m/m
__________________________

A friend who knows more about ecclesiastical stuff than I do

Mentioned that today;

The time in the Bible between Christ’s

Crucifixion

And the return

Is called: TOMB TIME…

The metaphor intrigues me

As today, I am giving a talk

Entitled: THE SHATTERING, THE RECONCILIATION, AND THE RETURN.

These three words were mysteriously downloaded into me

A couple months ago.

The words came first,

Then the work of deciphering the thing as it applies to me,

As a person in relationship with disability.

The SHATTERING part is clear.

The TOMB TIME or RECONCILIATION

Is a crucial part

Most of us would rather skip altogether.

I think, because this is all about the unknown, the Mystery, gathering ourselves

Before we return to the world

Essentially new,

Albeit, a bit tattered.

I have spoken before about Santa Fe

On Easter weekend

When hundreds of ‘pilgrims’

Walk many, many miles

As their own crucifixion, I imagine,

Arriving at the SANTUARIO DE CHIMAYO

For the Easter celebration.

Suffering,

Whether self-inflicted

Or visited on us unbidden,

Has the capacity to bring us to our knees.

And there,

The landscape is often unfamiliar.

You won’t find it in DWELL magazine

And when you DO find it

It’s pretty hard to tell someone else how to get there.

But, today…

That’s the topic of my talk, essentially.

I’ll let ya’ know how it goes..

Getting Dressed


textile designs, 1987,silk
________________________

I have a few embroidered coats I wear

To bridge the gap

Between the disabled world

And the other one..

These coats are power tools for me.

Each time I wear one

Without a doubt

Some person will see the coat before they see my walker and leg brace

And tell me how beautiful it is.

It IS beautiful…

But the beauty of it for me

Lies in it’s inherent bridging quality.

It helps me feel less isolated,

Less weak

And more engaged with the party…

Here are some people

Who practice the ‘MEDICINE OF ADORNMENT’

As a testament to their relationship

With ALL THAT IS.

Elk!


detail of painting,m/m
______________________

What, exactly, was eating like

When we, women

Did our version of the queen’s wave

At the entrance to the cave

As our scantily clad men

Turned their bows like a cheerleeder’s baton

And headed out to the veldt

For the hunt?

Ok…Ok… I doth go on in my fantasy world..

But, really:

I had a dinner that inspired such…

Vegetarians: BEWARE.

A friend and I shared an entree’ that truly sent me.

Tender, fall-apart tender Elk, poached pears, sweet potato mashed and three perfectly green sweet pea pods.

This was served on a triangular curve of simple,white dish ware

With the thinnest of wine glasses

Carrying a liquid: deep mohogany and leggy on the glass.

Ok- I AM a hedonist

And live in borderline deprivation most of the time.

So the girl needed a bit of sass in her life

And this dinner was IT!

There were miles and miles

Of distance

Between a plastic-wrapped-grocery store-bought piece of protein

And this slightly gamey

Delicacy which left me a bit less domesticated

In spirit

As we prevented ourselves (only just)

From licking the plate.

Daffodil Hill


detail of painting on textile
___________________________

When I was in High School

There was a place on the grounds I would go called DAFFODIL HILL.

I went there to reclaim myself

During days of mind-numbing

Classes

With too many girls (girl’s school..)

I smoked pot there,

Laid down alone

Or with a boyfriend

But mostly alone.

I stretched out

And closed my eyes

To let the fragrance

Of yellowness

Take me.

Hiding in the middle

Of this riot of

Harbingers

OF SPRING!!

I let dogs

And their owners pass me by.

I kept still and held my breath

So not to be discovered.

I let English class,

Math

And History

Survive without me

And the most movement I could manage

Was to cross my legs

At the ankle

And prop my head up

Away from the damp. dark ground.

I became yellow.

And hummed the tune

I thought the bendy stems

Might enjoy.

I was happy then..

And now am still..

Remembering the liquid sunlight

Pouring on me,

Holding my hidden self

There, in the new dirt

And innocent grass

Long ago,

On Daffodil Hill.

Hierarchy of Loss


“CHERRY TREE”, 1999, 30″ x 50″, m/m
_____________________________________

Yesterday, I gave a talk to a group of people

Who were negotiating the loss of their spouse.

I watched myself mired in nerves

The night before I was to speak.

I have not had the experience of a great love

Let alone the loss of one.

I worried that I would be able to make a bridge

Between our different kind of losses.

I needn’t have concerned myself

As the losses we each had/and were experiencing

Have more in common than not…

The core of loss is the human experience

Of living in a self-created tapestry

Of experience so familiar and trusted

That it feels TRUE;

Walking, waking next to a beloved, putting on a sock without struggle, calling home and expecting an answer.

When some sort of shattering occurs

And the status quo

Is no longer,

We meet the VACUUM.

Empty. (at least of what was..)

Foreign. (because it used to be filled with streets we knew by heart)

And unwelcome. (because we want what we want when we want it).

It takes years of negotiating the shattered shards of mirror on the floor

To see that our reflection

Is dependent solely on our point-of-view.

So…

When we’re done with the dirty and damp sheets

We’ve pulled over our heads

All the mornings we didn’t have it in us

To do the re-entry,

We get up

And chance a sideways glance

Into a different mirror

And perhaps dab on a bit of perfume

And see what’s out there.

‘Round a corner we’ve never travelled…

Stop at a pub and feign confidence…

Buy a hat with a feather

And feed the ducks in the park.

A moment, an hour, a day..

Whatever we can hold.

And onward we go…

And onward we go….

A slight nod to the person we pass in silence

As we see the carefully concealed tatters in her coat

That look just like our own.

Fit


textile design, 1987, silk
_________________________

Survival of the fittest…..

Reckoning with a disability

Allows some deep conjecture on this topic.

(At least, in my lovely, curious mind…)

What, exactly, does “FIT” mean?

Am I ‘un’FIT because I can’t do the thing the guy is doing in the photo above?

Does being fit mean walking without support?

Being able to run from a Tsunami should I need to?

Bear children?

Forage for dinner in the forest?

Grocery shop?

Plant a tulip bulb?

On NPR this morning I heard a 100 year old woman sparkle in her love of life.

The reasoning behind her longevity (109 years old…God, please spare me)

Was called ADAPTIVE COMPETENCE:

The ability to bounce back from stressful situations

By getting up and dusting one’s self off.

I recognize that capacity in myself

And because of that blessing

Consider myself quite “FIT.”

Really,

I’d rather this gift

Than running a 4 minute mile.

But I wouldn’t turn it down

If it was offered………………………………..

Harvesting Breath


“WOMAN and MAN”, 2001, ceramic, 14″ x 4″ x 2″
_______________________________________________

Breath, breathing, song, snoring are all themes asking me for their attention these days.

A flock of meadowlarks is visiting my neighborhood.

They make me stop in my tracks and drop my jaw

Because they carry the antithesis of winter with them

Under each wing. Listen…

I woke yesterday in the half-light of dawn to catch my dog, Olivia

Curled at the small of my back

Snoring in utter surrender

To sleep and dreams.

Today, I noticed my voice caught up in my throat

A bit too high

And reducing me to more of a ‘child-woman’

(in the not-good’ sense).

This phenomenon usually occurs

When I am worried or scared.

I also came across this YouTube video

Of a visionary man

Who is a composer/conductor/musician by trade.

He filmed himself silently conducting a choral piece he had written

And posted it on his blog along with an invitation

To all who were moved to,

To send in a film snippet of themselves giving voice

To his creation.

The result is this compilation of 2000 voices

From around the world

Edited together

To form a virtual choir!

I watched myself

Have to ease into a slowed down version

Of my customary eagerness to do ‘stuff’ fast

And close my eyes

And breathe slowly

In order to give myself

The gift of a proper listen

To this miracle.

It was the very best thing I have done for my sweet self

In a very long time.

I wish for you, the gift of the preciousness

Of shared breath

Which is right there for the taking..

A bountiful harvest always in season.

Dragonfly Medicine


monoprint, 1991, 30″ x 22″
____________________________

In the ZUNI NATIVE AMERICAN tradition

This symbol represents the dragonfly.

I had no idea why I was drawn to this design when I created it.

It was almost like I was craving a cross but couldn’t quite get solidly behind it

And came up with my own.

For a long time, I wondered if this represented the devil

Or the anti-christ.

This is how deeply our culture has imbedded itself in me;

Just fooling around with three lines in a composition

Can leave one waiting for a thunderbolt.

The other day; Monday, in fact,

I was shopping for a gift in my favorite store, KESHI,

Which hosts a veritable treasure trove of fetishes carved by local Native American tribes

Out of river rock, precious stone and everything in between.

Bronwyn, the owner, just casually offered up the information I needed about the real reason I was guided to create this symbol.

The DRAGONLY symbolizes transformation, a bridge to the Divine, the breaking of illusions.

Whichever pathway we choose to get ‘there’

Seems to give us just what we need

In the nick of time

Cloaked in the language we can hear most easily

And trust it was meant just for us.

The Ride


untitled, 36″ x 36″, m/m
________________________

Thank you for your patience (or not) as I took an extended break.

I know, having been an artist for so many years,

The process of ANYthing

Occasionally needs some of what I call “GATHERING TIME.”

In my life, it looks like the water spigot

Just has a mind of it’s own

And no matter how much I coo and coerce

It just ain’t happenin’.

That is how I was left following my brother’s visit

And I am well aware this is a signal

SomeTHING is brewing in me..

Family is a great catalyst…

Welcome or not-

None of us are neutral in this department.

Honestly..

At this point, I am still unaware

Of what, exactly, is making it’s way toward consciousness

But I do know enough

To pay attention

And give myself a break

In the ‘YOU SHOULD’ department.

In the news today,

There appears a Japanese hero who rode the tsunami in his little boat called: “SUNFLOWER.”

If he had wavered in his decision to meet the unknown thing

And let the boat slide to the side even a little bit

The end result would have been quite different.

Where does the courage come to ride the wave?

And is it like a cat with nine lives?

Do we run out of the stuff at some point?

I actually have the sense

It has little to do with us

And everything to do with GRACE.