She Walks So Fine


detail of painting on wool flannel
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I had cowboy boots.

They were blonde-colored with pointed toes.

The stitching was loose and they had age on them

But I loved them so.

In my lifetime of figuring out who I actually am

Aside from all the posing and dallying,

My gait has changed.

As a chubby and depressed schoolgirl

I walked with shame and anxiety.

As a lean and sinewy gymnast

I began to lift my head with pride

And my gait became solid and purposeful

But still a performance.

The girls’ school I attended

Taught us to lead with our chest as we entered a room.

My soul was left scrambling..

Far, far behind.

In college, I knew how to get an instant audience

Just by parading across the dining hall.

As a married woman,

Anxiety cut my stride in half.

Divorced, it returned.

These days

It takes me awhile

To strap on my assorted hardware;

Two braces with more velcro

Than any person should ever have to negotiate.

They are my support.

And I love them for that.

My boot-walkin’ days are quite over, now.

Strangely, since my limp and drag are real

I don’t hate them.

I am moving into my new home this weekend.

Walking over the threshold and out the door of my current little nest

And into this miracle of a safe and lovely place

Will likely silence me awhile.

I will need to stroll/roll around and pay homage

To the gift and nurturing

Of this circumstance.

I will let a new gait emerge.

Or not, as the case may be.

I will begin time in my new home with innocent eyes

And a curious heart

And let myself be led,

Even coddled a bit.

I will walk

Back to you, here…

Perhaps new.

Divorce


“SEED”, 1995, 40″ x 40″, m/m
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I said a prayer.

It went like this:

Dear God,

“Please send me someone who has all the qualities I need to help me get back into my physical body and curtail this muscular/psychic atrophy visiting me at such an alarming rate. If You could please find someone I would actually listen to without thinking I know it all, that would be great. Also- if You could get right on it that would be good because time is scratching at my door.”

And so….

Only a few months later I am attending a Yoga/Qigong class filled w/ other folks like myself who would not be able to attend a regular class due to various constraints.

Into my life comes Daniel Villasenor; our teacher.

He has a history of extremely debilitating illness himself

And found his way forward to become a man in service to Life.

He stand there; moves with almost unbearable grace and measure.

He holds the knowledge of how to get from ‘here’ to ‘there’

And I need him.

I listen carefully because he has nothing to prove;

Only the impetus to show and tell us (pilgrims)

About the ART OF BEING ILL

And how to clean our brushes

And begin a new canvas

With colors that have no name.

He pushes me in class.

Because I respect him,

I let him.

Parts of my body

And mind

And heart

Are rubbing the sleep from their eyes

And waking up.

These are facets of me I only vaguely recall

As it became too dangerous to hanker after what was.

So I took it upon myself to execute the divorce papers.

I separated myself from certain kinds of hope and possibility

And settled for tidbits and crumbs of who I was.

I walked out of the lawyer’s (my pesky mind) office

With all the strain of remaining upright

Dragging my right leg behind me.

Having the structure of this class

And the true and present support of my fellow students

Is a weekly infusion of hope

And it feels like church to me.

We each enter the room and spread our mat which is our pew.

LIFE is what we bow to, there;

In all Her strength and frailty,

Tattered costumes, all.

Want And Need


“BLUE”, 1995, 30″ x 6′, m/m
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I am settling into my new life

Of Social Security Disability assistance.

My new mantra: “What do I WANT? and what do I actually NEED?”

Sweeping away casual decisions regarding financing a life

Is sobering but fulfilling as well.

Now that I have accustomed myself a bit to the realities present for me,

I notice the high level of anxiety I’ve been negotiating

And have begun to soften my grip a bit.

I have found a perfect place to move to which is clean and safe and I adore it.

Nothing I need in life has EVER come to me through the inherent contraction involved

In the act of TRYING HARD TO WILL SOMETHING into existence.

Getting scared and scrunching my gaze down to slits

As I white- knuckle my mind into battle-mode

Gets nothing done, I’ve found.

This tactic is culturally generated because we are so in love with the mind.

We never learn the true power of INTENT, ACTION and SURRENDER.

In my own process of late, I practice being clear about what I need,

Take action toward that end,

Then take my hands off the wheel and let the thing happen.

This surrender part is essential, I’ve found.

And challenging to do.

My impetus is to ‘tough it out’

Or Keep fiddling with a situation (relationship. finding a home, getting published, getting healthy)

Until it falls apart from too much ‘handling’..

If it gets too hard something is off.

Time to step back from the scene and give it some room.

Then revisit.

Or not.

The assistance available in that very ‘SPACE’

Seems to be something potent and worthy of cultivation.