Balance


detail of monoprint
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How does one create balance?

What does balance feel like in the body?

Mind?

Relationships?

Spirit?

Food?

Aesthetics?

Politics?

Heart?

Fashion?

Self care vs. Other?

Nature?

Food?

Money?

Sex?

For some reason, lately I have thought a lot about my fairly short-lived marriage and subsequent divorce.

Why did I say yes?

Why did I eventually say no?

What was the initial draw?

Why did that change?

Who was I then?

Who am I now?

When I am in questioning mode, I have always found indigenous people to have an intelligence I yearn for when my own ‘go-to’ places are beginning to fray at the edges and lose their initial usefulness to me.

I found a short video explaining The significance of the FOUR DIRECTIONS in the MEDICINE WHEEL

To the Lakota Indians.

It is digestible in a beginner Anglo kind of way.

I found answers to a number of my questions.

It is worth a look.

And maybe another.

Lying Down

Dear all.. I have lost the image upload capacity on my computer for the moment …
XX…
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It has been hot here.

Like everywhere else.

I keep moving through my life

With my edges continually toasted

Just going from car to home.

MS hates heat and weakens me.

They used to diagnose MS by putting the person in a hot bath

And watching to see if they’d be adversely affected by heat.

A couple days ago I lost my balance and fell backward

Hitting my sweet head HARD on the tile floor.

A big flash of white light

And much blood.

I lay there and collected myself

As my dog scrunched her brow

Like a Sharpei.

I didn’t pass out.

But I couldn’t get up.

After about 10 minutes I tried scooting my way to my phone in the next room.

I had an out loud conversation with myself

To test my level of consciousness

And keep myself company, really.

“You can do this, Cath… only a few more feet.”

I knew I had to call 911

And I also knew my dog would try to eat the EMT people

As she protected me.

I called Olivia’s second mom and blessedly, she arrived to help

Before the hunky EMT men got there.

For someone who has never been to the hospital before

(Like me)

The whole gurney-thing

And flashing lights

And concerned, gawking neighbors

Was a bit much.

But I surrendered.

Actually, my injury was very minimal

And I left the hospital a few hours later with 4 staples in my head.

In retrospect,

I see that I have been under a good bit of stress

As I face the changing landscape of my financial state;

Trying to find a new home that suits me,

Becoming TOTALLY transparent with my family

As places previously kept hidden

Come to light by necessity.

And, on top of all that:

THE HEAT.

All of it made for a slightly out-of-body experience.

Things I’ve learned:

1. Get MEDIC-ALERT system in place so I feel safer (that thing you wear around your neck as a panic button) My sister researched this for me and actually CALLED the company and told them to expand their marketing niche to include others besides the ancient examples they currently use as models!

2. I am so loved and supported.

3. My dog needs a vacation from trying to protect me from every darn challenging thing..

4. I am resilient.

5. Look into getting a swamp cooler and STOP ANY KIND OF WASP-LIKE TOUGHING-IT-OUT KIND OF MARTYR EXISTENCE.

6. Pay homage to the gods of insurance who we turn our heads from but grab hold of when in need. (and ask them to please get their shit together).

7. The progressive loss of physical capability does not diminish who I am at the core of me.

8. Asking / needing help feels weird to me still but if I let it, it feels somehow like communion; an unexpected church.

9. The value I once put on extreme independence is shifting into something else which I don’t have a name for yet.

10. In order for me to have the capacity as I do now, to begin receiving support in a grace-full manner, it was entirely necessary for the cataclysmic ’emptying out’ I have been involved in for the past years.

NO SPACE- NO ROOM

Got Your Back


detail of painting
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I was thinking about what constitutes a HERO for me.

It’s a great question.

What is it about those people we call “hero”

That separates them out from others in our lives?

I remember being in a therapy session long ago

In which I was asked to stand up

As the therapist proceeded to slap me on the back in a strong but supportive way.

He did that a few times so I could just settle into the feeling of it.

What the hell was he doing?

He told me that he was trying to give me the feeling of being “BACKED UP.”

It really took me awhile to get this, I tell you..

It was bordering on too weird even for me.

But I stuck with it and thought about it…

Remembered the feeling long afterward.

Guys do this on the football field, etc..

It is an important male form of connection as I’ve noticed.

But, as a woman, the good and solid feeling of it was foreign to me.

I realized I had a great sense of the FRONT of my body

As I soldiered my way through life,

WILLING myself into existence.

I was surprised in this exercise

To feel how untended and almost ‘young’

The back of me felt.

The heros in my live have helped me become whole

By their surprising entry

Into my wake.

They slip in and back me up;

Become a presence in my sphere

And bring me to life

By helping me remember those untended, unseen and forgotten

Parts of my self

That just need a bit of waking up.

Radical Security


detail of “LIFT”, ceramic, earth
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The fire has now burned 138,000 acres.

The smoke has blessedly stayed to the west of Santa Fe

But the raw unease of ash on my car in the morning

And a frightening stillness

In this unusual air

Makes us all keep one eye on the skies.

The heat is fierce.

It weakens my eager body

And I leave my ‘to do’ list

Undone.

Again.

I lie prone.

With Olivia draped on my chest.

In that small moment

I get bored with the frustration of TRYING TO DO stuff

And sink into listening

To my dog’s even breath.

I have too many changes going on in my life

And it would be so damn easy to wear my ‘worry cloak’ around at all times;

Signaling to all: THIS ONE NEEDS HELP! SHE IS SINKING! MERCY ON THIS GIRL!

But really,

I am so fine.

And why is that? you might ask.

Well, I am quite sure it is because I have done the work it takes

To unearth a truly authentic Self.

She has some gravity to her.

Some roots have grown long and strong

And my ‘beingness’ is not dependent on my circumstances

Anymore.

Of course, I am not immune at all.

But I am more curious

Than downtrodden.

And in the midst of the smoke and fire

I feel my dog’s sweet trust

Lying here on my heart

And I am rich.

The Generosity of Rain


“ATMOSPHERE”, 1995,30″ x 30″, m/m
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The smoke laying heavily on my town

From wildfires just to the West and East

Has been laden with the toxicity of the retardant the firefighters use

As well as whatever remains undisclosed

By Los Alamos Lab.

It got to the throat constricting point for me

And so I took my dog, clean underwear and my new teeth-whitening toothpaste

And we drove up to Taos for the night

In hopes of better air.

It was slightly less smoky there and there was some movement to the atmosphere which helped a lot.

The two of us hung out on a mesa and ate lunch and watched cows

As we waited to check in.

The hotel I found was pet friendly and accessible offering a great deal for the room.

Olivia and I rolled over to the room, the wheelchair laden with stuff.

I opened the door and met an acrid smell.

I tried to roll the chair into the room only to see that there was a large threshold preventing entry.

I got out of the chair and had to pull the 250 lb. thing over the bump into the room.

Olivia would not enter.

Would not.

Finally, she chanced it and I asked her to stay while I got more stuff from the car.

I had barely opened the door and she bolted out into a large and lovely, grassy courtyard

Pooping willy-nilly everywhere as the staff prepared for an outdoor wedding.

The two of us finally had a chance to settle in after all the drama.

The dog was utterly traumatized by the other creature smells left behind

Which the old hotel had tried to mask with various chemical sprays.

It felt dirty and neither one of us could settle.

She looked 100 years old to me

As she scrunched her brow and tightened her temples just like we do.

All of a sudden I realized we could not stay there.

I’d come for a bit of peace and clearer air

But it was worse here!

So we packed up and left.

After an hour.

I hadn’t the energy to go looking around for another hotel

As it is a holiday weekend and ‘pet-friendly’ is a challenge.

As the two of us meandered home along the Rio Grande river,

It began to rain.

The first rain we’ve seen in these parts since I don’t know when..

I think the last water was snow.

It rained and rained..

I almost cried from gratitude.

When the two of us returned home

The skies were crystal clear.

Scrubbed clean by the dripping skies.

I opened all my window to the pristeen evening

And we laid down for a nap.

Really tired.

Really happy.