Talking Down

textile design, hand-painted silk, 1987
Over the years I have seen nearly every neurologist in Santa Fe and a few in Albuquerque.

My experience is that of feeling sick to the core as I left the office. I arrived feeling fairly centered and lively.

What happened? And why is it important?

In each instance the neurologist was entirely sure of knowing what he (most often though not always) knew.

By that, I mean that the system he had studied and sweat over to corral into the brain acted as his bible and nobody could tell him any differently.

The knowledge was etched there, and he had a white coat to prove it.

I actually am not bitter but more interested in the healing aspect of this dynamic.

MS is a slippery slope and my research has told me very few specialists in the field are truly sure of much of anything. Yes, there is a grab bag we, as patients are given at the point of diagnosis filled with options for treatment.

And yet, the efficacy rate is minimal at best.

I, Cathy, am inhabiting this body and have my own empirical knowledge of what works and not.

When I am in the presence of ANYone who is disinterested in my experience of self, I just pull up the moat and find something more interesting to do.

I absolutely love being around smart people. I learn things and my life is enhanced. There is a way to be smart that feels derisive

And a way that feels inclusive.

Healing, in my experience, absolutely never takes place in a polarized environment.

Love is the same. A bridge must be there for each participant to choose to walk.. or not.

I’m just saying the choice must be there and entirely respected.

If you are so sure of knowing what you know then where is the room for inspiration or possibility or healing in the face of poor odds?

As my diagnosis reads: PPMS, I register that information, research, study and devour what is available to me and make healing decisions from there.

Seldom has a neurologist guided me toward anything other than another MRI and a cursory readout of lesion activity.

Our medical (political, economic, environmental) systems breed loneliness

And healing feels so very far away.


detail of raku ceramic objects, 2002

In my yoga/Qigong class this week my body faltered.

I hadn’t the strength to pull myself up from face down on the floor where we had been practicing a pose.

I was trying to get on all fours to then pull myself up to the chair.

My hand severely curled in made my arm a useless club and my reserve of strength was nil.

My teacher was at my side asking how he could help but I remained mute. I couldn’t answer him because I had no idea myself how to do what I wanted to do.

I wriggled there on the floor like a worm (albeit a beautiful worm) trying so hard to use my library of muscles to achieve my goal.

The fact the entire class was waiting and likely watching me never occurred to me because I was in a zone I know well: It felt quite similar to my gymnastic days when I needed to send my consciousness into my body and scope things out in a millisecond-

If I move this here will that there shift into place and will I achieve the desired outcome?

In gymnastics, things have to move fast. In my body these days, moving at all is the quest.

I wondered later: had grace abandoned me altogether? Why would I even care? I was trying to rise..

I chose the image above because the ceramic objects have a surface called: NAKED RAKU.

I coated them with a slurry of liquid clay and then fired them up in the kiln.

When they had reached red-hot they were removed and pitched into a container of dead leaves to smolder.

When cool they next went into a bin of water to be cooled washed. The gorgeous cracking pattern you see happens from the shock of temperature changes and the carbon in the burning leaves getting into the cracks.

I, myself, could never have created such beautiful fracturing on my own. It happened because of the heat and fire.

Is a worm less beautiful in it’s down-lowness

Than the gymnast swinging from parallel bars?

These are the kind of thoughts I choose to hang out in

Because shame and contraction and anger will kill me.

Better to love the worm.

PS- the genesis of my extreme weakness was human error: I did not eat enough before class and had no fuel. No gas- no gonna get much of anywhere..

It’s Good Enough

“FLAGS” 2003, ea. 6″ x 6″ x 3″, m/m

I am out for peace in my life.

All this ‘onion peeling’ going on in my physically challenged beautiful self

Has given rise to disinterest in swimming hard toward OTHER.

I ain’t got the time

Nor the inclination to look for love in any other room than the one I am sitting in at this moment.

From here I can see doors: That one looks intriguing with just a bit of light shining through the crack

Or the one over there decorated so beautifully in pale velvet and silk.

Perhaps the one with all the handsome people in it, laughing and seeming so free?

My best medicine of late is space;

The room to just BE.

This place is certainly not without the impetus toward creating a thriving life.

I get angry. Let it go.
Sad. Yup- she is here.
Wanton.. “It would be better if…”
Humbled. “Not THIS again..”

Or: “I have strength, today!”
Perhaps: “My beloved dog is a whole world..”
And this: “I can’t believe how that person just shimmered at me..”

What IS enough, actually?

Is my cup never to be full until I don’t have to be preoccupied with the location of each and every bathroom in Santa Fe?

Will I wait to be grateful for the warmth pouring in through the windows just cleaned?

My girlfriend, Jann, told me that a particular shade of red-orange lipstick is decidedly more modern than my own go-to shade of red. I tried it on and looked at myself in the mirror. YES INDEED! ME! MODERN!! I love how I look!

We move on to the next very important discussion

Which, I think was about what to eat for lunch..

What I’m speaking of here is about communion, really.

Doesn’t sound at all like ‘solve the world’ kind of stuff.

It is as simple as focussing on WHAT IS,

And loving it (or liking)

As if your life depended on it.


installation, ceramic,earth,1992
My brother, Peter came to visit me last week from New Hampshire.

We had THE BEST time. He came to my yoga class (his first) and did so great.

Both of us were nervous before class. He was unsure he’d be able to do the poses (I reminded him he was going to be practicing next to me who can barely get from chair to floor..) I was tense as he had not seen my body in it’s present state and I knew it would be startling to him. I invited him to class because I wanted to be transparent to him; let him SEE me instead of protecting us both from reality.

It was wonderfully freeing and my heart opened wide.

My brother is the kind of guy who doesn’t balk at picking up dog poop (for physically challenged family members). He makes me laugh all the time. I miss him.

I have more visitors this week.

I wonder if the fact I have had NO visitors for so many years and now three separate visitations in one month has anything to do with me feeling so very happy and settled in my new home?

Could it be that my very core of contentment allows others in closer?