Body Weight

hand-painted silk

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Taking a proper corner in my 1973 yellow and black Camaro

Felt so growly and low.

I was in college. Kalamazoo, Michigan.

In that state, anyone who got three speeding tickets in a year went straight to jail.

For a week.

That was me.

It sounds all Formula 500

But I got those tickets in 35 mph zones trying to get to an early morning class.

It was hard to get me out of that car.

That bucket seat just inches away from the blacktop

Was all the school I really wanted.

When I moved to New Mexico in 1989

I had an affair with a cowboy.

Born in Michigan and segueing to Boston following graduation,

This girl had never been west of the Mississippi.

I came here on a whim by myself and literally fell deeply in love with the high desert.

Four months later I arrived back in Santa Fe for good.

I immediately signed up for riding lessons with Joe.

He had all the right cowboy stuff: infuriatingly sexy quietness, sweaty hatband on dusty hat, stubble, cheekbones and well-placed creases.

We rode, just the two of us through squat juniper trees mostly, for two hours a lesson.

I wasn’t really learning much. Always felt stiff in my seat

But gamely took off after him as he teasingly tore down red river beds

Galloping in his cowboy confidence

As I, thrilling in my totally-fucking-OUT- of control

Somehow stayed on

No thanks to skill.

Cornering in my Camaro and “stupid-galloping” down riverbeds

Had this in common:

Those experiences were as far away from my current wheelchair-sitting

As one could get.

That feeling of out-of-body

Plus

“Never-want-to-be-out-of-this-body”.

I miss that.

Going fast in my power chair just doesn’t cut it

But my mind is, each day in better, sinew-y muscle shape.

As I bump down old Santa Fe Streets

In fifth gear

I can get just a whiff of juniper

And be right back on that horse.

My mind is getting a friggin’ good workout, I tell you.

My Hat as Medicine

Wearing a hat is serious business.

The most important feature being it is impossible to be invisible

And I can not afford to let myself fade too far.

I purposefully wear a hat out in the world at all times because my reality in a wheelchair exists two feet below yours

Assuming you are ambulatory.

It isn’t just that the very act of wearing a hat is unusual enough to draw attention;

The fact I must expand my energy to include the very “hat-ness”

Is potent medicine in itself.

In order to be comfortable in a hat such as the one above I HAVE to be confident

Even if I am just faking it

Because faking it is exhausting

And so I usually fatigue which takes me to the real thing anyway, in time.

Cowboys know about hats.

They have to, by god…

Or else they’d be hopping off and on their trusty steed till the cows came home (on their own).

Those boys and girls (and me to a lesser extent)

Have to have a handle on aerodynamics; where is the wind coming from?

In order to slice into it at the right angle

To keep their hat.

Crosswinds are killer for me at large intersections thus the stampede string which I sorta hate.

I often use my hat brim as armor.

Emma is such an inviting accessory that I can tell the fiendish gleam

In a tourists eye

(having left their beloved canine behind at home and in full meltdown)

Zooming toward us for a petting fix.

If I am in a magnanimous mood and have a bit extra juice I will accommodate

But if not

I drop my brim

And pass them by

In a heavy silence,

Attuned to the disappointment dripping from their hungry hands

Behind me.

I’m not mean.

Just practicing the fine art

Of loving myself

Enough

Not to give away the gold

Unless I choose to.

Being a hat-person has given me entry into a select club of like-minded souls

Who tend toward the fascinating, gregarious, adventuresome, creative, life-appreciating and curious.

Who wouldn’t want some of that?

I’m a rolling “Meet-Up group.”

I remain ok in part

By ensuring I stay connected

Through the use of dressing well, sporting interesting accessories, my beloved Emma and a ready smile; my “connection tools”

Which are far and away more healing

Than any pill I could take.

The Loveliness of the Little Good

STORMY WEATHER, 44×44,m/m

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Those words came from the David Brooks article I just read referencing the new documentary on Mr. Rogers.

There were so many weird things about Fred Rogers to make fun of if you weren’t a kid:

His voice made me kind of want to attach a jet engine equipped with mega-doses of testosterone to his voice box to make him talk faster.

To me, he seemed too slow, too overtly gay, too simple and at first blush, too patronizing of children.

He was a fun object of ridicule from my generation

Because we didn’t need him so much.

We were not the ones to be confused as to why the adults would not let us swim in pools containing black people.

When Kennedy was shot we were reduced to stoney silence in the face of all the adults breaking around us; The salve of Mr. Rogers was for those smaller than us. We had nowhere to turn.

I saw the documentary and realized every single syllable, inflection, clothing choice, topic discussed

Were intentionally chosen

To foster his one mission:

TREAT CHILDREN AS THE HIGHLY INTELLIGENT AND FEELING BEINGS THEY ARE.

He spoke slowly and put his face close to the child.

No question was stupid.

“Mr. Rogers..can I be sucked down the bathtub drain with the water?”

He replied softly and evenly: “No, Bobby..just the water goes down the drain.”

Phew.

He gave up his desire to enter the ministry in lieu of understanding he could be of service to his chosen congregation of tiny people in other ways.

He was not gay as his measured and intentionally soft voice suggested but married to a lovely woman who supported his unwavering attention to how best to use TV as his educational tool of choice.

Disability, racism, divorce, death, step-parenting, illness, loneliness, single parenting, riots, bullying, shyness…..each of these topics Fred Rogers approached with the assumption kids were very ok with the truth if presented kindly and without the slime of patronization.

In an interview I read, the black policeman character Mr. Clemmons said that once Fred Rogers had leaned in quite close and looked him in the eye saying: “I like you as you are. I wouldn’t want to change you.”

Instead of feeling the vulnerable expression maudlin Mr. Clemmons said he felt truly seen and loved.

He never forgot it.

When I roll around my neighborhood in my wheelchair and, with intention, extend a small “Good Morning” to most I pass

I get to see the seeming shock a verbal invitation to join in solidarity, if only for a moment, from a stranger can elicit.

It is my version of “I like you as you are”

And each time I see relief

At this tiny recognition

Of our shared

Shuffle

Down a sometimes very gritty road indeed.

Vulnerability

ceramic vessel, 24×18

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When I began writing this blog over 4 years ago

The promise I made to myself was to avoid editing myself out of truly authentic territory.

That meant telling my truth as truly as I could and not spiriting away the messy bits, the unflattering occurances, the embarrassing shit.

I, as an expert people pleaser was in search of the woman under the mask

And telling my truth is my road to HER.

There have been 3 times I have chosen to go back and delete a post because I just felt too raw after writing..too exposed.

The thing about vulnerability is that it is a universal condition and no one escapes.

Knowing this I recognize that if I have had a feeling or experience there is likely a slew of others in the boat with me, maybe cowering in the corners.

After revealing to a good friend recently that I took down a post she reminded me that my readership come here in part to get the TRUTH as opposed to a prettified scenario.

” People, your friends, WANT to hear the vulnerable stuff you deal with. Puts the beautiful parts in perspective. And makes US realize we have nothing to whine about. Put it back up. “

Arriving at a place in which one has little to lose is a freedom gift extraordinaire.

I am here.

And somewhat broken.

But strangely grateful for the lovely, lovely scars

Each with a story of resolve and resilience

Adding to the creation

Of today’s Cathy

Who ties (sometimes with help) a Parisian silk scarf around her sagging neck

And re-enters Life

In partnership with the scars

Which are quiet

Having been given the air-time

They each demanded and deserved.

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Civility As The New Politic

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NEXT NEED

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This morning I saw a dirty man.

I said hello

Partly to assuage the awkward guilt

I felt

At feeling so good myself

When he was not.

Also-

I wanted my tiny hello

To wash him clean

Buy him stylish new clothes

Have his hair cut

By the tenderest of hands

Be a prayer

Feed him

And then set him free

To pay it forward

Like I knew he would

Because kindness is like that;

Never static

It can not help its’self

But to address

the nearest

Next need.

Like a hermit crab

Kindness expands

With each deposit

Crawling intently

To discover its next

Home

Residing there

Only until

The pressure gets too taut

And we must give again

To save ourselves.

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Gathering Evidence

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Whatever the story we have concocted

There will always be someone out there who will validate our opinion.

It feels so slimily good to gather evidence for our belief in what is true

But to what end?

A well placed ” I told you so?”.

Is this the gold we are after?

Chronic illness is a lonely affair.

We can invite friends and family and God

To come in close

And witness our sufferings AND triumphs

But essentially,

We live within our own concocted truth.

I say “concocted”

In light of the fact I experience my level of suffering or grace is altered

By the story I tell about it

And the more people I can gather around me who agree

Set my experience in stone – good or not-so-good

RIGHT QUICK.

For this reason I have avoided MS support groups.

It feels so very lovely to share agreement

Whether that be in the realm of health or politics or religion or sport.

Yippee! We are not alone!

Except we are.

In the most important of ways.

We create our lives

By choosing where to put our attention.

My sense is that I continue to thrive

In the largest sense of the word

Because I am familiar with how to approach a blank canvas; having done this very thing thousands of times in my career as an artist,

I understand how to create and not stop until it feels right.

I use these same skills as a bridge to each and every “next moment”.

In the end they even out to quite a lovely life.

This is true for me.

I do not need your agreement.

The Dignity of Doria

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I keep thinking about Meghan Markle’s mom, Doria.

After all the hullabaloo has passed, her quiet dignity stays with me.

She did not tuck her blackness in

Nor did she shove it in our faces.

She carried herself with an easy and powerful dignity.

She sat there in the pew, very alone, witnessing her baby marry a prince.

Prince Charles took really good care of her; recognizing the challenge of negotiating such an event with out a plus-one. He kindly guided Doria with seeming affection as Camilla stood by.

Today, on my morning roll I negotiated the crowded streets of SantaFe filled with tourist disconnect to my presence on the streets.

I found some quiet shade to do my voyeur thing.

The default posture I see most these days is a marked hunched back and collapsed upper chest.

Seeing this so much makes me feel claustrophobic.

It is a habitual and lazy stance of no possibility; armoring ourselves against the assault of internalized wariness of the daily unknown.

Closing off our chest like this truncates breathing so less Life gets in.

Thinking about this and noticing the same in myself I changed my posture

By rolling my shoulders back and subtly lifting from the muscles in my upper chest while pulling my lower back in toward my stomach a bit.

This is the basic yoga “at rest” posture.

I immediately felt really different as I opened my chest to hope and connection and ease and dignity.

If I don’t put energy into maintaining this posture I can go down the rabbit hole pretty quick.

This seems to be an immediate antidote to “victimhood”

And an invitation to poised liveliness.

It helps me meet the world from a far less “me-centric” place.

Mettle

ceramic,7x4x1/2″


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It took me longer to forgive my mother than the guy that raped me.

They both took things from me; stuff I needed to thrive.

The rapist rendered my physical self insecure which has lasted a long time and I am defended where I wasn’t before.

My mother disallowed my essence and spirit to recognize themselves as innately good and worthy.

She could only give what she knew.

I have forgiven them both

And directed my life toward re-mothering my own self; my way.

It will be a lifetimes’ work.

I surround myself with beauty and know I love it because I feel my own beauty through it.

Flowers, antique linens, light, space, silence, treats like a daily visit to the coffee shop where I am known and appreciated, living with an animal that teaches me every day what love actually is, sharing my talents and creativity with others, acknowledging beauty and goodness in people when I experience it instead of staying quiet, dressing well, cultivating good manners, keeping gratitude very, very close.

I never wanted kids.

Don’t remember ever having even one “biological clock ping”

And I am so glad because somehow God knew I needed this lifetime to be about me and my own healing.

I had so many unmet needs myself that I was spared eventual resentment toward children.

Today, I would be a great mom I think

But I am 63.

It seems a bit weird that dealing with the constricting challenges I do

My heart has more love in it than ever.

I did/am doing the work and am so very glad.

It could have been a bitter pill of a life

But feels more like a swim in an infinity pool;

98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

How We Learn To Discern

my garden

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Discernment can be a foggy affair

If we don’t know ourselves truly.

Meandering through life for so many years as a people-pleaser as I did,

In search of love in all the wrong places

Had me making decisions from a fake place.

This is where MS comes in as one of the best things to ever happen to me;

I now haven’t the energy to concoct much of anything

So most of me is true;

Solidly my highest accomplishment to date.

If one is not visited by the magnitude of an ego-crushing illness

Which can assist in the process if we let it

How can we learn what is true and real for us

In the way of food or belief or partner or career or fashion or art or music or terrain or color preference even?

If I wear the color green I feel sick…

In my stomach and in my head.

Every time…

Green equals yuk.

Now, it was many, many years into this particularly potent equation

That I finally understood why

But that is sort of beside the point;

Green is so viscerally NOT my color that I could not NOT notice.

In my beginning to pay attention to finding out my TRUE likes and dislikes

The ensuing reaction to BAD NEWS had to be big enough to get through the murk and sticky mire

Of trying to be liked

Because there is a sneaky little thing that feels really, really addictively grand

When you figure correctly and give someone what they think they want.

After a few years of this study my refinement increased and I can now feel pretty close to in-the-moment when I’m in-sync.

THIS SKILL IS CRUCIAL FOR A GOOD LIFE I think..

Otherwise, we are living a virtual existence created to achieve the “best” response from another.

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ps- I abhor green because my mother re-decorated my bedroom as a child with chartreuse as the main color of rug,paint,fabric without asking me what I might like. My current self loves white…go figure.

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Knees

“ONE BLUE SQUARE”, 5′ x 5′, 1991, m/m

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This is one of my favorite works of art by Bruce Nauman.

The medium is beeswax and the impressions are of “five famous artists”.

I respond to it because it makes me think of the physical action of prayer; from the coolness of standing tall, our physique erect

We are drawn to break at the knees which instantly introduces vulnerability.

Surrendering to gravity the elevation of our brain comes down closer to the earth.

Physical height is halved and we perch awkwardly on our knees and toes.

This is not a power position in the sense of combat.

I am part of the 1% and therefore fortunate beyond measure

But there have been times where I have needed to ask my tribal extended family for help.

This kind of “asking” is very different than leaning into a partner or family or a bank for help.

This “ask” (I’m speaking of my recent crowd-funding project for Emma)

Is the type of need that heats up your knees;

Praying there with a shattered, fat ego broken in pointy shards spread around chaotically.

Actually, I feel sorry for those who have yet to experience this particular kind of deep dive

Because the loss of altitude changes one.

The vertigo kneads heart muscle on the way down.

The support I received allowing Emma to live longer from so many, known and not

Leaves me with faith;

In myself knowing how far I will go for love.

My heart is now embroidered with threads to you; I am not alone

So I must release this unintentional default mode (which feels so sticky sometimes).

Thank you for extending Emma and me your stellar and comforting company along our shared road.

I feel you there in the gift of witnessing me here.

We are good together.

A Little Civility

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In my previous life as an artist

I felt very good about my ability to create and spread beauty; one painting or sculpture at a time.

Rolling around in a wheelchair with marked loss of physical function prevents me from the creation of art-in-form.

I used to have so many dramas roiling around in my tired brain.

Things like deadlines and marketing and my presence in the community; an unrelenting barrage of “to-do’s”.

Without all that riff-raff I have learned to luxuriate in empty.

It scares me sometimes- that very emptiness can feel like obscurity or lack-of-potency or laziness or even disinterest.

This morning as Emma and I adventured downtown earlier than most

I passed by a number of landscape maintenance workers.

I said “Hola” or “Good Morning” or paused to chat about the fine weather.

I tipped my hat brim in acknowledgement of a hungry man rifling through cigarette butts.

The plaza sprinkler system came to life and it was quite a sight to see the pigeons fluttering in the mist.

My heart felt full to bursting from the salve of the tiny connections I had just made.

Tiny waves we are..each a part of but not separate from

the Ocean.

Good Morning.

Sovereign

When I married late in life I changed my name to his.

This unconscious soul-death move (for me)

Was just one in a lifetime of gripping the arm of the culture hard enough

To prevent my ignorant, fledgling identity jello-legs

From collapsing beneath me.

In my defense-

It was just part of the deal then and sometimes still; marry, surrender, serve.

Same thing in other arenas too:

Get hired, work too hard, shut up, be soft and supportive, let your boss’ hand rest on your butt and smile and smile and smile..

Have a child, don’t tell anyone how hard it is, try to find something exciting about diapers, have dinner ready when he comes home and smile and smile…on your way to the bedroom.

Go to church in a pretty flowerey dress when a button-down and khakis are your thing, listen to the fancy- robed man rail on about God and homosexuals and smile.. smile as your Dad in the pew next to you nods emphatically to himself…

Lately, when I speak my truth instead of remaining silent to avoid conflict

My voice arrives somehow fierce.

It can startle me and others

But if I take a minute to pause and acclimate myself to the authentic me I find that I love my true voice; a very different substance and gravitas mixed with dignity and self- appreciation.

The woman pictured in the photos above is a very good friend; Barbara.

We did not communicate regularly during the past few years.

She came to visit recently and drove up in this steely RV with impossibly elegant lines.

Her laundry list of shitty life-happenings included (she told me) divorce, breast cancer, career ennui, identity questioning.

When we lose ourselves how to we get Her back?

If we were performing in the costume of “GOOD WOMAN” too often in our life

Did we ever REALLY know ourselves at all?

My beloved friend Barbara, took her savings and invested heavily in her precious self;

Bought the van, carved out a month, taught herself all the stuff she needed to know about generators and driving a big rig

And she hit the road to feel who she is

Without any one else around to be accountable to.

When we sat together at a bar in Santa Fe she was strong! and funny! and smart! and vulnerable! and gorgeous! and curious! and very, very, VERY alive.

When I take myself out for dinner..just me and Emma,

The experiences I have build on themselves.

Over time I now understand myself as authentically Cathy.

Now I can choose more accurately who and what I am willing to give my life energy to.

This is my highest accomplishment.

Easter Redux

detail of “RENAISSANCE”, naturally pigmented earth, wood, 10’x3’x3′

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I wrote this 2 Easters past but liked it enough to offer it again:

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I just returned from a midnight roll with Emma; full moon.. me dressed in gratitude to the dark (meaning: just socks but no shoes, hair all sticky-outy, shawl range-ily wrapped round my dubious outfit).

Emma doesn’t care.

I obviously don’t care either. It was the adventure of the thing.

This past Sunday all the Catholics were out on the Santa Fe plaza in high church regalia in a Palm Sunday processional.

The head man swung incense to and fro followed by the ecumenically outfitted ..followed by the general public waving palms..

Emma and I watched.

I had to go home and google Palm Sunday.

I’m really keyed into this time of year because I know something about what feels subjectively like crucifixion and the journey of return.

My urge to be free finds me looking to all religions for keys.

It seems to help me very much to bring the Jesus stories in very close as metaphors and relate intimately to his teachings.

Surely my way is only that: my way. All I ask is for you to read here with a modicum of curiosity and forgo showing me the highway too soon.

By way of Easter time, Jesus is nailed to the cross and has to just hang out there with what is.

He has lost the luxury of his own will and by default must look inward for salvation.

His suffering goes on and on and on and on.

The agony is witnessed by those at his feet.

As his consciousness dims he pretty much gives up all “Woe is me” and “Why me, GOD?”

In favor of final forgiveness and surrender into Death.

But then…

after a little rest and recuperation

He RISES!

Not just good as before but better.

You may think me sacrilege but variations of these same transitions play out in my own life and I’m pretty sure a good number of you experience them too.

MS has shattered me, crucified me, wrested my trusty will from me.

It seems foolish to lend a hierarchy to suffering; (yours isn’t nearly as gritty as mine).

Divorce annihilates who we were..loss of job or spouse or child or fortune; addiction, depression, jail time, surgery, disappointment or betrayal.

Hell..even a bad break-up leaves us bloody and wrecked.

All our cells are called to re-assemble into some alien pattern and no friggin’ instruction booklet is included.

We’ve all just gotta hang there on the cross till every damn one of our precious numbing agents, blame-games, uber scavenger hunts for relief and distractions from what IS

Are used up.

Man, this can take a loooooonnnnng time.

And we die.

Metaphorically speaking.

We die to who we thought we were even though we thought we were pretty damn great and it looked like we had all the tools we needed to cut through the pain and discomfort..

HA!

Not.

After all that foll-de-rol we go through writhing in our suffering we need a big time Siesta with a capital “S”..

Three days is really not long enough (says me..).

I really do hope Jesus had a few margaritas to chew on in that dark cave..

Of course there were the intimates there to help him do his re-entry by moving the rock because not a one of us can do this ourselves.

I repeat: NOT A ONE OF US.

Released–he rose again.

And I have too..lighter, happier, less dense, more curious.

My neck is saggier but hey..the costs of war and time…

I am pretty raw as well. Naked to the wind.

Sometimes haphazardly dressed. Sometimes Chanel.

The Shattering. The Reconciliation. The Return.

Happy Easter to every darn one of us magnificent, brave, beautiful, beautifully human, humans.

We are the miracle.

We rise.

Steven Hawking Is So Sexy

“FINE LINE”, 11X11X4,M/M

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I say “IS”

Because he’d want us to remember what he taught us about black holes and such:

That matter just gets gobbled up and redistributed

“…like burning an encyclopedia. It changes into smoke and ash so actually still there but harder to read.”

Yeah…as he aged his teeth jutted out and he looked crumply

But few of us turned away, did we?

No.

We watched carefully in awe as his devoted students fed him.

We read about his jokes: to prime minister he says: “I deal with tough mathematical questions every day but please don’t ask me to help with Brexit”

And trying out what it feels like in zero gravity for fun.

We heard him say “..anyone who boasts about their IQ is a loser”

And listened as he explained string theory to us toddlers.

He lived sooooooooo widely

And punctuated the gravity of his challenges with a grin.

Absolutely disarming!

Knowing he had that grin in him made it seem like he’d be open to a hug if I ever saw him in an airport.

I wish I could have been his dinner companion just once.

The crip jokes we could tell!

He told us in interviews that even though he is physically disabled he tries not to be spiritually disabled too..(grinning).

So- to me his beautiful mind, unhidden vulnerability, sense of humor, humility, kind of adorable crumpliness, love of women (he had a number of big loves in his life), intention to distill math and science mega-thought into words we toddlers could grasp instead of just writing for his colleagues , his mixture of warrior and leprechaun spirit and a sassiness that just popped out at times

Makes him very sexy to me.

I love you, Steven Hawking.

The Salve of Other

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Down on the plaza today

Feeling sooooo good.

I seem to have made it through another winter.

Back to my full time job of professional voyuer

I sat with Emma on my lap and a latte within reach.

It was mid-morning but few humans were around save the Native Americans setting up their wares for the day;

Dignified, constant, quietly contained.

A low and grumbly noise got my attention.

It came from a “camo-man” (my word for the plethora of discombobulated vets carrying the weight of war for us all).

He was quiet in his delivery of some language known only to him.

His body moved strangely.

Not dangerously.

I wheeled over and handed him a five dollar bill.

Not looking at me he took the cash and reached to barely brush my hand with his own

And walked off.

I truly felt steeped in Grace; his slight touch so full of intent and a host of other things that silenced me with their power.

One of the most challenging aspects of my health situation is the necessity to be so body-centric, so dense in paying attention to my physical body.

I must be so CARE-full

Im each micro-movement

In order not to fall on the floor or into the vacuum of a death spiral.

I must take pills, struggle with dressing, bathing, stay functioning in my home and work and community with dignity and balance.

All of this I used to do without a cloying effort but now must micro-manage energy; both psychological and physical, to show up in the world the way I wish to.

The call to action I had with the “camo-man”

Took me out of my self-centrism.

For a moment

It was WE…outside of time.

I forgot about “me”

And “he” also vanished

And there was just the numinous “We”.

How easy it is to forget who we are outside our personal pains, frustrations and concocted stories.

These things are not “us” at all.

We must reach beyond our bubble.

Or be very aware when a fellow reached forward toward us.

It seems God lives inside the extension outside our (little “s”) selves.

To Settle the Soul

“LIGHT”.5×4′,m/m

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The first crocus pushed through as harbinger of better days.

It is more of a challenge to enjoy long threads of “better days” in Winter.

I asked a friend to be my meditation “accountability buddy” at the beginning of February.

Structure helps me keep my word to myself;

“Monday- yes, Tuesday, yes”…. we traded this way via email for two weeks.

Suddenly, some thing got me and I recoiled from confessing to my friend that “no” had entered the arena.

The silent backstory in my troubled mind was bordering on cruel;

I’ll bet you know it well.

I’m not entirely sure that when the crocus begins to wake up and have the urge to move all the dirt balls and worms out of it’s way to reach the nourishment of light

That it does so without a number of rests, pausing to do whatever ( laundry, dinner with friends, get a facial?), and maybe even some time in stasis

Where the direction toward Life is unclear.

Can I love myself a little?

Be gentle in my requirements for success?

Maybe just begin again as I am ready

And leave the jaggedy tailings of mind fracking

By the side of the road?

Easy does it, Cath.

Enjoy the ride.

It’d be a shame

To turn any more precious moments over to The Judge.

He is so fucking fat.

THERE ARE CROCUSES COMING.

Saying What’s So


my friend Jann and me (different friend from birthday letter)

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Today, my wonderful girlfriend took me to a fancy place for a celebratory birthday breakfast.

As a gift she gave me a hand written letter I will keep always in which she told me who I am for her and how knowing me enhances her life.

I watched an OPRAH interview recently.

She spoke of having interviewed thousands of people from all spectrums of life; presidents to paupers and they ALL wanted to know the same thing:

“WAS I OK? WAS THAT OK? DO YOU THINK THEY HEARD ME?”

My friends birthday letter made me feel truly seen.

I continue to direct my consciousness toward unpeeling the layers of myself which do not feel authentic.

A giant swath of my life energy has been devoted to this quest.

In her letter she let me know my hard work in this arena is inspiring to her and the woman I have become and am becoming is someone she loves dearly.

Now, at a ripe 63 years of age

As I sit here in my wheelchair with almost total loss of my right hand and arm

I wonder what my purpose is?

The identity of an artist is gone.

I find it hard to believe I am not sorry.

My creativity remains very alive.

These days most of my life energy is directed toward upgrading the frequency of my whole being;

Frustrated Cath? Can I move myself into the frequency of calm acceptance then a step further into small steps forward ensuring something resembling success?

Soaking in depression as I watch a highly regarded film I was hating I wanted to leave but not to disappoint my friend sitting next to me. I left..thrilled to access the double doors as I exited the theater and feeling my frequency jettison into happiness at my choice to vote for mySELF!

I have a sense my core purpose is to become the best version of me by continuing to elevate myself when I am so often tempted to just curl in and armor up or let unconscious behavior go instead of saying: “Yeah, I did that and I am sorry.”

My friend let me know she sees me and I matter.

This gift of really SEEING one another and TELLING THOSE AROUND US THAT WE DO

Is purpose enough for me.

Farmer

installation in private garden,naturally pigmented earth,ceramic

.

If one is a farmer of life
Times of drought tiptoe in.
Rough, old earth workers
Expect such chilly emptiness.
They wait.
Patiently by the fire
With a scrappy mutt
And darned socks
They wait.
Inside illness
As I am
Time is stained by fear;
Will I slide smoothly
Into a new season
Of fecundity?
Will summer sweat be mine again?
Or will I wither
From lack?
The oddest questions
Seek me out.
Really…ANYTHING
With expectation
Is suffering.
I should know by now
That emptiness
Is only
Rest
And possibility
We humans
Dress up
in
Anxiety.
Today, Riley
(my shaman barista)
Decorated my latte
With an artfully drawn frond
Of some sort.
That tiny action
Rose up to grab me
By the heart.
Can we make anything beautiful?
That little flower he drew
Affected me as such
Because it came
Suddenly
Into my anxiety-tinged emptiness
I feared
Might never end.
If the emptiness disappeared
There’d be nowhere
For the Love
To land.

Space


3 silly girls at a birthday party: Alexis,Cathy,Nymphe

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Recently I watched a wonderful film on NETFLIX: EMPIRE OF SCENTS.

One clip in particular fascinated me as the question: “What does space smell like?” was posed.

Only a handful of space-walking astronauts could answer this question with authority.

Not that they whipped off their headgear whilst meandering outside the space capsule but upon re-entry to home away from home they are sealed into a pressure chamber to allow the shift in atmosphere.

Coming in from outer space as the door closes behind them SPACE and its scent is captured in there with them.

After the cabin is re-pressurized they then take off their protective gear and for a scant few seconds can smell the scent of space.

The astronaut interviewed described it as “slightly metallic; maybe like a witches cauldron.” A little bit scary, old and a little bit mysterious was the sense I got.

It feels to me that all of us sentient creatures are just floating; crowded into the ante-chamber breathing the dark,hot breath of our centuries old history

Until the friggin’ re-entry door decides to open into maybe something that is beautiful and smells of hope.

How do we find the buffer for the acridness afoot in our world ?

Setting very clear boundaries regarding what we invite near us is key.

The effort to cleve to any intention I may set feels nothing less than Herculean.

There is always, ALWAYS slippage

And yet..

Sometimes I am RIGHT IN THE POCKET!

The things that work best for me in the current witches cauldron we are soaking in are:

1. good, authentic, forgiving friends
2. my dog, EMMA
3. a heating pad at night
4. always flowers
5. recognizing the little miracles when they happen like some stranger opening a door for me.
6. A good book
7. gratitude all day long
8. creativity
9. non-clutter
10. showing appreciation to people who enhance my life for seemingly small things like a superb cup of coffee.
11. prayer
12. lipstick.
13. film
14. tequila

onward we all go…

xxx

Re-Solve

detail,hand-painting on wool

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When I think of “resolution”

Like many of us do at this time of year

The word seems hard and one I don’t actually feel like approaching.

I never keep my word to myself, anyway, in the way of resolutions and feel like a failure.

Wondering how I could use this potent time of the beginning of a new year

And have an intention I’d feel eager about holding and continually re-visiting

I came up with this:

Create an IMAGE in my mind instead of a list of words which would be a symbol for the feelings and emotions I wish to evoke

That hopefully will translate to action.

Just musing about this idea brought forth an image of me;

Standing (no wheelchair) dressed in a butter yellow swirly ball gown (the kind a competitive ball room dancer would wear. I have always had the secret dream of being such…),

My shoulders thrown back as well as my head, arms outstretched in a totally undefended stance.

When I hold this image in my mind I FEEL what the essence of it carries: balance, athleticism, confidence, joy, faith, creativity, trust, Spirited.

Life.

Capital “L”.

This is the “ME” I will be living into this year.

Happy New Year fellow life-wanderers.

In the face of so much ugliness may we do our best to make and share a bit of the beauty we are.

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