Friday, June 21, 2013

And the Walls Come a Tumblin' Down















A small blip on the radar of my childhood was taking ice skating lessons. I haven't been on the ice for years now. Decades, actually. I don't remember much of it. I probably couldn't even stand up on skates at this point.

The only things that really stuck were learning how to stop and learning how to fall properly. Two of the first lessons are the most important. If you can stop and fall without getting hurt, you're doing pretty well.

Putting on the brakes in time comes pretty naturally to me. I tend to anticipate fairly well and know when its time to stop before I plow into someone or something. Still, occasionally I find myself hitting a wall.

That's when the falling comes into play. Falling properly is an act of faith. It doesn't come naturally to me at all. No matter how much I practice, I still have to fight the urge to throw out my arms to brace myself even though I know it's better to just take it on the hip. Still, I keep falling. So I keep practicing, too. It may never come naturally, but it beats the alternative.

Life, with its series of walls and falls and unpredictable events presents me with ample opportunities to practice. Sometimes I'm grateful and offer up a sincere mantra of, "Thank you, thank you, thank you." Sometimes I want to scream, "Yeah, well fuck you, too!" 

I've been known to do both. Either way, the practice always finds me. And for that, I will always say thank you and leave it at that. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Where We Begin

I love you best in the morning
before the day intrudes
and you are the most you
in that space before you
pick up the burdens of the day
which you carry so well
on that back that is so much
stronger than it looks
under clothing and cares

I love you best in the sunrise
when your curls are unruly
and you wear glasses
not contacts while you
fumble with the coffeepot
right before you stop
to turn and put your arms
around my waist
a fortress against intrusions
of budgets, bills, and income

I love you best in the waking hours
in the space between the dreams
of sleep and those of a dawning day
when you pull me in close and
mumble, "Hi," before smiling
and closing your eyes for just
a minute or two more

I love you best when I am at my best
not thinking, processing, or scheming
just feeling and being in the presence
of nothing but the purity of it all
the love that behaves like a faithful
sun and returns again and again
never growing tired of its morning
obligation of calling in the day

I love you best in the morning
because it means that I ended
another day with you and we
both chose the course of our
yes and committed to another
without question, without regret
without what ifs or wandering
I love you best, simply because
you are you, and I am me
and I love you like the sun
loves the Earth in the morning

Homesick, Ready, Go.

Keep me. Keep me as close as everything you once flung so far with the force of your breath, blowing your wishes away, instead of holding them to your breast. Hold me at heart level so I can hear that you're alive and echo back the staccato rhythm of your light. Turn out the light and turn to me. The darkness doesn't mean I'll disappear. Disappear with me. Let's go all the way into the deep morning, where the day won't find us. Find me. I'll wait right here and never go anywhere at all. I never go anywhere, but my life does. My life is a home that takes the long way back to where I stand. I stand so solidly in your love. My every move is a deliberate step towards you. You move me. I move towards you and never away. Keep your wishes close to your breast. I am with you. Keep me close. I'll never leave home again.

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Shared Intimacy of Liminal Space

What next? I don't know. What's for dinner? I don't know. How are we going to pay for that? I don't know. When are you going to be able to move? I don't know. How are things going? I don't know. But are they better? I don't know. Is it lucrative? I don't know. When is the last time you slept? I don't know. Are you ok? I don't know. What can I do to help? stop asking. sit with me. stop asking. just sit. stop asking. be still. stop asking. just love. stop asking.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

In The Details Intro



Nothing fancy. Homegrown and obviously not scripted. A what you see is what you get intro to In the Details: Dwelling in the Epicenter of Beauty e-course.In which I ramble. A lot.

Friday, June 7, 2013

In the Company of Unknowns

“Run with the hunted.”  - Charles Bukowski
I was the sort of sick to my stomach that isn't a sickness at all. It's a deep in the gut knowing that something is... not. quite. right.

I couldn't put my finger on it, and thought I might throw up at any given moment, so I gave up on peace and got out of bed. Antsy. Anticipating. It's a feeling I've known well in the past. I've experienced it when I was on the receiving end of a betrayal of Judas proportion but didn't yet know it. I've felt it right before someone I loved died, and another small handful of traumatic times that blessedly I can't recall in this moment, and with any luck have permanently blocked.

Rather than wind myself up in knots, I just decided to say, "Fuck it," and sat down with the nausea and the not knowing what, but knowing something was off, and that was when the strangest feeling settled in. I wouldn't call it peace. Not exactly. So what is it? My mind got quiet. I grew very still, and very clear, and very calm. And I still didn't know a damn thing.

That's the being alive component of tragedy. The lie is outed, and the heartache settles in. Someone calls and says they are dying, and you start preemptively grieving. Things get too sketchy, and you decide you've had enough, and you get outta Dodge in the middle of the night, leaving behind everything that wouldn't fit into two giant Hefty bags you stuffed in the trunk, with a pot of water still boiling on the stove. It hurts, and it hurts, and it hurts.

But all of the nausea and panic and puking out your angst never would have stopped that hurt. All it ever does is make you crazy with anticipation and wondering while you prepare for its arrival. You know it's coming, regardless of what you do or don't do now. So you may as well get quiet, because you're going to need stores and rations of it when whatever is going to happen finally arrives.

The waiting is the hardest part. At least for me. In the stillness I make peace with the fact that I am not at peace. I have lived through betrayal and death and frantic, unplanned moves. I have left behind entire lifetimes that wouldn't fit into the trunk. Somehow or another, it never did manage to kill me. I might have had to scrape my guts off the sidewalk a time or two and reassemble them at a later date, but who hasn't?

Growing tired of my own histrionics was the kindest thing I ever did for myself. Probably for everyone who has to have any dealings with me, too. Definitely for the people who love me through birth or circumstance. It takes a lot of energy to have an exit strategy for every imaginable tragedy that might set fire to your happiness and leave you burning in your bed. It's kind of a waste of time. If heartache is hunting you, you only have two choices, no matter how many spins you may put on them. You can run. Or you can turn around and stare it down, prepare yourself for a fight. Both have their merits, but you never really know which one will be the right choice until it's an on the spot decision. Plans all fly out the window once the adrenaline sets in. And either way, you usually get out alive.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Crow Medicine

"I saw a crow building a nest, I was watching him very carefully, I was kind of stalking him and he was aware of it. And you know what they do when they become aware of someone stalking them when they build a nest, which is a very vulnerable place to be? They build a decoy nest. It's just for you." -Tom Waits

I am on the phone and we are talking circles. We are speaking nest, cocoon, tree ring, protect the tender green, the pupae, the fragile egg. We are talking acronym, diagnosis, disorder, rock bottom, real. The conversation ambles everywhere and goes nowhere, until the end, when it solidifies into something of substance.

She says, "I love you."

I say, "I love you, too."

And then we are back to circles, nest, cocoon, tree ring, time's up.

I say, " I will call tomorrow. But, hey... I love you."

She says, "I love you, too."

And I hang up the phone knowing that come what may, everything that needed to be said has been said. I watch my shadow sinking down the wall, curl up in a ball, and cry, cry, cry. I don't show it any mercy. I walk right by with barely a glance. And I sit down with my kid and make friendship bracelets, talk about salvation, talk circles of nest, cocoon, tree ring, tender green, pupae, fragile egg, truth. We are laid bare.

I love you. I love you. I love you.

There is never anything more to say.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

These Two Paper Hearts

It is 5:30 p.m. The last kid just left the house, until a different one comes back at some point tonight. My kitchen is disgusting. Every single dish I own is dirty. I need to take the trash out.

I have done two article re-write assignments today,  written two original articles for a client, and am in the middle of the third. Before I can go to bed, there will be a fourth, due before midnight.

There were five phone calls I was supposed to make today, but didn't, and now it's after business hours, so they will hop from today's to do list onto tomorrow's.

I spent the day wishing I was on the other side of the country with my fiancee, who was not having the easiest of days today. Only now she's probably getting ready for bed, and maybe sleep will be easy. And I am here, with articles that need to be written and a kitchen that needs to be cleaned, and a list that grows, no matter how much I cross off.

But in the midst of all of this, I sat down with my sixteen-year-old daughter on the living room floor and we made paper hearts. Her heart says Float, and mine says Try Again, and now they both hang from a ribbon on the wall beside my desk, in between a lotus and a ship anchor, and all that is left to do is try. And try. And try. Just one foot in front of the other, one step at a time, getting up off my ass when I get knocked down. One word, one dish, one heart at a time.

"Be careful," the instructions warned, "sewing paper requires a delicate touch."

But really, it doesn't. Our paper hearts are not so fragile as they seem. You can prick them again and again, weaving thread in and out of the holes, and pretty soon you can't see the holes at all, and everything is held together, tied up and knotted off. I believe that they deserve a delicate touch, but even when they don't receive it, they usually survive the process, and dare I say it, even come out more beautiful in a rustic, shabby chic sort of way.

I'm convinced that the secret is glitter. Everything is more lovely when it catches the light and throws it back out.