Silver Jubilee

"CALLIGRAPHIC STRUT",  40" x 30",  1995, m/m

“CALLIGRAPHIC STRUT”, 40″ x 30″, 1995, m/m

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This past weekend was GAY PRIDE here in my beloved Santa Fe.

The vibe was pure ecstasy on the heels of the Supreme Court’s historic decision.

I rolled down to the plaza to get some of the goodness.

There was a tall guy on roller blades dressed in a unitard covered in 1″ round silver sequins.

His face and hands were painted silver as well.

Over one shoulder hung what looked like a small tank gardeners use to spray pesticide but his was filled with water..

The guy held the spray nozzle with one hand and was going around giving unsuspecting people a spray behind their ears!

He came to me and decided I needed a bit more of his magic and sprayed delicately behind my ears, on my wrists, back of my neck and on my feet.

It was so startlingly sexy, kind, shocking, creative and fun!!!!!!

Healing comes in surprising guises.

I loved that Silver Man.

It made me so happy I just had to tell you.

I adore my town.

I Love to Swear

stigmata1
detail of hand-painted textile, 1986
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As the lover of words I am..

Swearing with authority is just plain good medicine.

I pity those who choose to deny themselves

The rip-roarin’ juice a confidently chosen “FUCK!” can deliver.

Often, these words are carriers of cultural or religious stains,

Tainting the utterance with a dampness effectively destroying their inherent power.

Most of the time they arrive unconsciously like an involuntary muscle spasm

And we are slightly alarmed at the fierceness that is ours.

My Episcopalian self

Most times stays hidden and curled

But when I swear she immediately pounces

Dressed in her starched and uber-white Sunday best

With some self-flagellating weirdness in her right hand

And offers it up to me.

I used to take the thing with my head lowered in shame.

Now I walk away.

Turning from her with my face hidden

My mouth curls into a slightly diabolical expression

Of intense but slightly dirty pleasure.

My eyes glitter.

I walk on.. straight and solidly contained.

I love the whole damn mess.

Entrainment

selfportrait
“SELF PORTRAIT” 24×24″,earth.ceramic,clay,bone,gold thread
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Each and every one of us was born perfect.

Then stuff happened.

Either we were blessed with a foundation to move and fly from with no cracks or faulty mortar

Or we lived inherently unsure the floor would hold us standing or falling.

All of us have our own laundry lists of curve balls we were thrown.

My personal list includes alcoholic father, depressed and emotionally challenged mother, perceived responsibility to keep four kids safe as the eldest child, extreme hyper-vigilance affording little rest, covert sexual abuse.

I have always been interested in why I developed MS as my physical constitution is unbelievably strong and always has been.

The metaphor of ones’ own immune system turning inward and attacking it’s self as happens in MS

Is an apt one when you think about it;

Living inside stress 24/7 with no let up would surely entrain the body systems into the ‘flight’ response.

I still don’t really know how to totally relax.

Coffee feels good because the vibe it carries matches the ever-present jittery core in me.

I drink it then hate it immediately afterwards.

I am so used the involuntary disturbed waters of my own frequency that I can mask it well.

The state of high alert is where the core of me resides.

My startle reflex is so high that everyone in my life knows never to stop by unannounced.

I live alone because living with another taxes my already ragged nervous system.

My whole life is crafted around cultivating peace.

I keep editing and editing and editing some more.

Each addition of energy comes with a tether and I must be judicious how I use my newly laundered life-force.

Ever so slowly my nervous system is reclaiming it’s original integrity with the salve of space.

My authentic voice strides proudly from behind thick and torn and over-used muscles I can begin to leave behind.

I am glad I survived. Survive still.

Thrive.

This recent TED talk is so potent in the discoveries of how stress affects us.

Make a Try

The light
6′ x 4′, m/m
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“Perfection is inhuman. Human beings are not perfect. What evokes our love – and I mean love, not lust – is the imperfection of the human being. So, when the imperfection of the real person peeks through, say, ‘This is a challenge to my compassion.’ Then make a try, and something might begin to get going.”

Joseph Campbell

Watching

gettingdressed
painted silk jersey, 1987
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In the heat of the day I rolled to the plaza.

My ice collar was concealed beneath a gauzy white scarf and my wide-brim panama hat gave me portable shade.

I parked beneath a venerable tree with the distinct voice of nonchalance

And surreptitiously watched lovers take selfies.

Peppered amidst the masses were other watchers; heads barely swiveling, secret smiles, seemingly static.

A dirty man played his guitar with all his attention on the playing and none directed toward his open case before him.

I dropped change there to acknowledge his focus.

He never looked up.

I loved that..

Smooth-skinned children chased pigeons flashing for a mate.

The man who dresses up like a real mountain man in leather, furs, beard and raggedy hat

Was still in his regular seat even with this heat

Waiting to have his photo taken

For a price.

All the watchers were smiling secretly still

When I felt my ice collar had melted to my own body heat

And I knew I must go home hurriedly

So as not to succumb

To the savage heat of the day.

I rolled

Rather out of control

Past grumpy fathers

Imagining a different Father’s Day.

Smiling still, I enjoyed the movie.

The Allure of Limitation

anger
12×12″, m/m

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With age and illness come limitations.

I notice when I am extremely direct in communication I feel the discomfort of not having had the energy to come up with the usual societal buffers

Useful in allowing another ease in receipt of what I am saying.

Not too long ago I remember having access to all the free-floating CHI I could ever need

To negotiate whatever I desired.

My stores of life energy are the currency I pay

As I live my life.

Illness and age arrive with a shaman’s bundle.

Inside is precious information revealed about how to live inside a life when the end is close enough to catch the barest scent of dissolution.

The limit to Life is a reality

When before it was just a wily trickster hidden capably in the thicket.

Feeling the power of this limit gives birth to many things.

Ones’ authentic voice can be heard perhaps for the first time.

Where I used to have olympian stores of energy in service to gracefully tailored communication

Now I have the fierce and compassionate directness of one feeling the limit of time.

I like this Me.

And she scares me a bit in the urgency and rawness of it all

But I am glad for the gift…of this new voice to learn and the palpable sense of limit.

I have never been comfortable with limits of any kind; preferring the anti-claustrophobic cure of a back door should I feel lack of air.

These days, my task is to sit with LIMIT and learn, converse, listen to her whispers and wails..

Invite her for tea and let her inform my life

Keep trying out my new voice

And revel in the breathtaking preciousness

We are.

Seduction of Story

matches2
detail: matches,earth, 22x22x4″
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I am unfiltered.

I can seem mean.

Parts of me that previously slept comfortably in the bed I carefully made for them are coming awake

And it isn’t pretty.

My sense is that each and every experience we attract is there to teach us something.

So I have to look at the volatile and jarring encounters I am attracting to me.

The common thread seems to be my lack of tolerance for story.

The stories we tell are enchanting in the shared electricity of empathy or understanding and especially agreement.

I told a particular story this past week to a variety of friends and it was cool in the beginning but after a week I was so bored with myself.

A crucial part of me remaining ok within this health challenge involves the moment by moment return from stuck belief (STORY): (I can’t do this…I will be this weak forever..I can’t heal.. THIS IS..)

To: the ALLOWANCE that everything is perfect as it is and that the person or experience is here for my benefit (Yes- the MS).

I was thinking- what if I had nothing to offer you in the way of conversation, art, thoughts, inspiration, beauty, reportage….?

What if we sat still in a room together and just ‘were’; NO STORY WHATSOEVER.

No beliefs, no “I know this and you are so wrong”… no ugly, pretty, smart and not.. no judgement..just stillness.

Would you still be able to feel me without my story?

Would I still interest you?

Out-rolling Rain

stormy weather
40×40″, m/m

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Santa Fe is uncharacteristically rainy this Spring.

Today, I braved the clouds; close to black in places and heavy like a new mothers’ breast too long full.

I needed food so I ventured to the nearby store.

Weather excites me.

I am a Michigander by birth and we seem keen on pushing limits and taking stupid chances weather-wise, confident that bargaining with God will always land in our favor.

I threw my chair into high gear and cruised slightly out of control between the cloud play…praying all the way.

Laughing as I hit potholes and skirting old puddles I turned the mid-way corner onto a narrow sidewalk cutting through overgrown weeds and wildflowers.

The leaves slapped my skirt like wet, rain-laden hands poking fun at the wheelchair girl on a mission.

Big, close THUNDER!

My brother is a pilot for SOUTHWEST. A captain in fact.

I think of him up there navigating skies like these, attempting a soft ride for his passengers.

In a jet I appreciate as close to zero weird and scary stimuli as the pilot can manage

But here on the ground..today..I love the electricity of not knowing.

Will I outwit the storm? I can see my destination but I just felt a drop and I am already wet from knees down from the wet, slapping weeds.

Do I need kale this badly?

Kale is just the excuse..

I am out here…

I AM OUT HERE!!!!!!

Wet and wild and wonderfully alive.

(Yes, I am purposefully not answering the question of whether I made it or not in time! After all is said and done it’s all about the journey anyway)

xxxxx

One Thing

riverenterer

If I were to choose just one thing to share that makes it possible for my life to be lived from the perspective of an eager and curious earth inhabitant

Rather than a disappointed, wanton victim of a tough hand dealt at the poker table

It would be this:

Freedom is a choice.

Don’t like your cards? Get up from the table with no apology, smile a secret smile, repair your lipstick and appreciate every damn thing you can: family, friends, walking, breathing, bugs and diamonds all…

Turn your face to the sky and say “Thank you for this opportunity to make a life.”

Your belly will soften and Life will pour in like warm and liquid gold.

It won’t last but you just have to keep on lifting your chin and doing it over and over.

Okay.. that was more than one thing..