I Have Nothing To Do

“SLIGHT WIND”,3×6′,m/m


I have nothing to do but pay attention.

This morning was hard.

Faulty physical performance gave way to tears of frustration.

I showered and went back to bed for a bit to see if the caustic vibe might shift.

Emma was sort of scared of me and lay out of arms reach.

Hell..I was scared of me.

I took a chance and Googled myself the other day only to find some obscure conversational thread about me.

Two women were hashing it out over whether I was super self-absorbed or an inspiration.

You put stuff out there risking any and all opinions.

I thought it was sort of funny, actually.

I feel much freedom in my opinion of myself which is quite good but getting here was epic, I tell you.

Dressed and ready to roll with Em a couple hours later found me re-calibrated closer to calm

And we tooled downtown.

My nervous system is so magnetic; attracting personal, cultural and environmental particulate

Which predisposes me to fatigue on many levels.

All I had energy or desire for today was to just move slowly and pay attention.

Awareness seems small judged next to almost any “doing”.

For me these days it is enough.

It almost feels like everything

But I’ll have to exercise my awareness muscles

And get back to you on that.

I Thought I Knew





I thought I knew
What Love was.
But what is true
Is that I knew
The smell and taste
Of just the base
Of the whole beanstalk.
I was so sure
It was all there was.

What I know now
Is the substance
A personality
Can only tell
Stories about.
Only a ripe soul
Maybe shattered
Can recognize
And carry;
Maybe share
The numinous
Which is surely
Our shared legacy
From God.

The daffodils
Don’t give a hoot
If you get their name right
But loneliness ensues
If you refuse
The yellowness of their best yellow
Quietly laid at our feet.
I think their gift
Is no different
Than the press
My dog keeps gifting my thigh.
Also- the toothless and unashamed grin,
Slightly shy
The street musician laid on me
Seems the same.

I only say:
The love I know now
Is too big to fit in words.
It is me
In my spectacular brokenness
And reclamation;
The whole shebang!
My breath
You breathe
And I breathe once more,
Gratitude laid
At my own feet
And yours.


C. Aten February 2016





In my teens I was part of a grape-eating contest.

I won with 27 grapes in my mouth at one time.

Never really won anything else..ever.

I have a very big mouth.

Tempting to apologize for leaving you with that image but I won’t.

I won’t because this post is inspired by noticing

All the stuff I do, noises I make, tidying up I don’t, songs I sing, times I rest my head on the desk (3 so far since starting this post), naps I take, middle- of- the- night fussing around, Pinterest looking, project avoiding;

Everything that happens in a single girl-living-alone-with-no-spying-eyes life.

I just love my freedom.

It has, since I can remember, remained my top value.

I chose it over family,kids, marriage/partnership.

Living in close proximity to another human is something I have never excelled at, alas.

Always, their desires and needs were put before my own (because of me, not them).

I became less rather than more in partnership.

Witnessing my interior landscape has and is my very best medicine.

I have had shame in my life bearing accusations of an overly examined existence

But here I am today..a champion grape- holder-big-mouth

Telling you intimate stuff about my hills and valleys.

The gift of insisting on enough space for my soul to thrive

Has allowed a truly extraordinary life

Underscored by astonishing gratitude

For what I learn

Between the lines.

Perks of Life in a Wheelchair


1. Many, many more smiles are directed toward me. I know this is likely all about Emma but it makes me happy.

2. A little bit more wine ingested is likely to go unnoticed by onlookers as drunken swagger is avoidable cruising home in the chair.

3. I never lose faith in humanity because I can tell without a doubt who has had great sorrow personally or peripherally by the genuine and immediate shift to empathy and connectivity in a strangers demeanor.

4. Going fast is very fun.

5. By doing nothing more than being myself I hear so often from strangers that I have inspired them in some way. This may have happened with art I created but I seldom heard about it. Besides..I roll to and fro effortlessly and art making is often very, very labor intensive.

6. As ways of being an ambulatory person get stripped away I have the gift and treasure of finding out what’s left.

7. Emma has great real estate on my lap. She is the prow of my ship.

8. As a woman interested in style, wheelchair sitting ends up being a kind of haiku-esque adornment effort.

9. Doors open magically on my approach! My heart blooms….

10. I know many street people by name and we care for one another. The slice of reality of two feet below most peoples’ is richly textured. It is a parallel reality I was previously blind to.

11. Neck exercises to allay droopy neck get done on their own looking up at every one.

12. Going fast is VERY fun.


detail of installation,earth,ceramic


I am feeling very quiet.

The world out there feels bitter; bitter cold, bitter politics, bitter blame, shame, gain…

One of the gifts of living intimately with mortality is a severe lowering of tolerance level

For the seduction in unloading personal woes;

“Woe is me…That bastard politico is going to be the death of our country.”

“I can’t eat this because of this and this and this…” (my personal fave).

“My arthritis, colitis, tonsillitis….”

Entire relationships can be built on the solace of sharing woes.

I want to be a loving container for the hardships my body and personality deal with..a porous container because it feels important not to live as an island unto myself.

I just work not to have my container spill all over those near me

So they have to do the work of showering me off themselves after my departure.

It is challenging to feel into who, how much, what to share and when to start and stop.

I think it takes an acute and generous awareness of tuning to the other person in order to gauge how much is too much. or not enough.

I am a perpetual student.

Recently, I learned that asking beforehand is really important as opposed to assuming anything: “Do you have it in you to listen to me kvetch?”

A generous act indeed.

I do hope I remember next time I want to hold forth just for the pleasure of unloading.