Friday, August 31, 2007
Thursday, August 30, 2007
It's no wonder that we're sinking down
Why should we stand in lonely shadows
with so much light around.
Hey friend why do we always cry
so many tears are going to dry us out
what ever they're selling
we better stop buying
cause' our pockets are empty now.
I thought about it and I prayed about it out loud..
And we can talk about it we can pray about it out loud..
Ain't it time we need a change
we need to change a few things.."
~ Mindy Smith
"Only a fool swallows every rule, paper calls protection
What we can and cannot use
Nothing belongs here, nothing realized – while I might
It only feels like feeding compromise
Happiness is something more than learning when to smile
After the healing had begun to climb, we were all so caught within ourselves we never really held the time
How can I feel what I just don't feel
How can I expect myself to recognize the one that's real
Hope can be closer beside you – if you make the room
Once I thought that I could never heal enough, but now I'm starting to receive it
All I wanna do is get a message through, it's important to believe it"
~ Brian Kennedy
When he and i got together, we did not realize that we had known each other as children. Then came the realization that when he was 8yrs old and i was 4, we were play pals. A clear memory came back to me that he had fallen out of the loft in my mother's house while trying to climb down the ladder backwards. my mom had tried to get him to turn around, and amazingly enough, in my 4year old mind, i remember thinking how silly he was in trying to show off -
and then he fell.
he still has the scar in his lip to prove it.
what a metaphor there is in all of that.. his stubbornness in doing things his way.. (i can't say i am much different in that department...)
and his falling...
and the scar in his lip.. and in his heart, there to prove it.
there was certainly a great kinship and love between us - though in many ways we were like brother and sister. there is no way i could encapsulate our relationship here in these words, as i risk trivializing it. each relationship is a way of learning, and it can be hard to know how and when to end it.
there are so many seasons and changes a person goes through, and this is particularly pronounced when we are young. And part of the.. long-range success of a relationship seems to be dependent upon whether two people can weather all these changes together. yet, what i see as a big part of this is really whether two people can learn to truly be themselves within a relationship and whether the other person supports that wholeness. it takes two people standing on their own two feet.
how common is that though?
well, anyway.. i was learning to stand on my own feet and step into my power as a woman, and as i did this, the relationship just seemed to crumble around me.. and no matter how much i tried to patch it up, more and more holes just appeared, until i finally found myself taking the whole thing down stone by stone.
although we each played our part, i found myself being the one who was firm and unwavering in our separation - at a certain point i knew there was no moving forward together. there were too many huge gaps in our priorities and desires. i remember standing in our kitchen together, embracing, and him telling me he still held hope for the future. i pulled away and looked at him - "No. this is it."
he did not really know how to be without me.. or the hope of me, and i did not know how to be alone.
so, now, almost 9 months later i have not only withstood my aloneness, but relished in it. And he has moved on... seeing someone much more suited to his temperament.
someone said i was a 'can-opener' for him. since our split, he is taking better care of himself, making more money, traveling a lot... The ache of losing me pushed him into healthier and more fulfilling ways of being.
of course, a similar thing happened for me as well. i have truly embarked on a journey, which would not have been possible with him in the picture.
i have also come to examine my ways of being in a relationship, and various behaviors, which do not serve myself or the other. i realized that i didn't really know how to allow myself to be nurtured by someone - even though i wanted to be. i realized i didn't quite know how to fill my own cup first.. And i came to see the various ways i was dependent upon him -
now i can't put on my 'pouty face' and say... 'babe... could you please do the dishes...?' pout pout.
the dishes are just there, no matter how bad of a day i have had.. and they are always my dishes.
why am i writing about this? simple - it is healing for me. i never imagined all the layers of myself i would peel away during the process of letting go and living alone. i never knew how long it would take to really let it all go, or come to terms with losing a best friend. because i was the one to be very firm in ending it all, i didn't know how to truly grieve that loss until many months later. i wouldn't let myself deeply feel or remember all the good that had been between us until i felt the bond had been severed.
of course there are many, many reasons a relationship may need to end, and i won't go into all that here. but, ultimately for me, in a very personal way, i needed to go deeper within myself - and sometimes letting someone go is how we can go deeper into life and find what it is we have to give to the world and not just one person. somehow, i also believe that when we embark on this journey of self-discovery, we bring ourselves to a place where a relationship with another person can truly flourish. it comes down to having a true, deep, and loving relationship with our own self.
Monday, August 27, 2007
sometime in the early afternoon, heavy clouds and rumbling thunder rolled in, so i made my way out. however, as i went along the trail, i saw this was an unusual weather pattern. i was actually making my way into the heart of the storm. the wind whipped around me as i scurried along the cliff side - lightning and thunder cracked ahead of me, the sound reverberating on the canyon walls. no matter which direction i went, i would be in the storm, and i felt i'd be better off getting to lower ground, so i continued on.
a little further along, i spotted a very small overhang in a rock wall next to the trail. i pulled my towel out of my backpack, laid it down in the fine red dirt and curled up under the shelter to watch the storm as it got more intense. the rain had not yet hit hard where i was, but i could see it was raining very hard to the S/W - further down the trail. i listened to the thunder continuing to echo through the canyon and thought about Native legends of sky gods. Then, i witnessed one of the most beautiful things i've ever seen - i watched the rain march its way up the canyon towards me, and heard its approach. many times i have watched rain move across a landscape, sometimes in a great approaching wall, sometimes as faint straight rays of water moving in the distance, but this rain rippled and danced its way gently up the canyon. The way the light hit the streams of falling water seemed to illuminate them as dancing grey ghostlike figures swaying and undulating in the strong wind. it was as though i could feel the rain gently giving its gift to the parched desert land. there are no words to describe what i saw, but it was marvelous.
soon, the birds twittered and came out of hiding, and a small gold finch came and sat on a catclaw bush in front of me, signifying that the worst was over. So, i moved along the path, sometimes in a gentle rain and sometimes in the sun.
"A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving." ~ Lao Tzu
Saturday, August 25, 2007
You are me, and I am you.
Isn't it obvious that we "inter-are"?
You cultivate the flower in yourself,
so that I will be beautiful.
I transform the garbage in myself,
so that you will not have to suffer.
I support you;
you support me.
I am in this world to offer you peace;
you are in this world to bring me joy
1989. Written during a retreat for psychotherapists held in
Colorado in response to Fritz Perls' statement,
"You are you, and I am me, and if by chance we meet,
that's wonderful. If not, it couldn't be helped."
~Thich Nhat Hanh
Thursday, August 23, 2007
i left Ashland OR at about 6:45am on monday morning and arrived in Sedona AZ somewhere after 2am on tuesday morning. When i got on I-5 in Oregon i felt so happy; i was rested and centered. i really understood more fully how important it is to do our best to act on our deepest guidance and intuition (even when it comes in the form of a missing wallet). This goes hand in hand with following our own innate and personal joy. As i flew past sign after sign that said "expect delays on Sunday." i thanked God i was traveling on Monday. my little Honda, named Alma, (which means 'Good' in Gaelic and 'Soul' in Latin) also greatly enjoyed doing what she loves to do best - Go Fast.
When i left in the morning, the light was silver and the sky lavender. As i moved south, low clouds crept down the california foothills near the immense Mt Shasta. And as i moved further south, i became part of the rushing river of metal that is 70mph noon traffic in Sacramento. I passed truck after truck laden with tomatoes, passed olive groves, orchards of all kinds, and many signs, which read:
"Where water flows, food grows."
The trip changed as i moved east on 58 through smoggy Bakersfield, in the late afternoon and then into the Mojave desert. In that vast and surreal place - a land with leaping, twisting joshua trees, i stopped at a rest area and stretched in the gusty desert wind. From there i inched my way through the hills covered in hypnotic windmills. i caught 40 east in Barstow and was soon shouting 'hurray!' as my headlights shone on the big sign reading 'WELCOME TO ARIZONA.'
throughout the trip, i told myself that as long as i was happy on the road, and awake, i would keep going; if i got too tired, i would stop. Everything was just dandy, and i was greatly enjoying the time to think and watch all this earth go flying by... until... somewhere before the Ash Fork exit around 11:30p, exhaustion hit hard and fast. I could hardly see, and felt i was leaving my body. oh yes. i prayed to God then. 'Please God help me stay present and make it to the next exit!' i did make it.. i'm not quite sure how (except the praying to God part).. and then, this stubborn girl knew there was no stopping when i had made it that far, so i refueled my body and the car, joked with the graveyard guy about recent sightings of black bears lounging on the freeway, took a nice cat stretch... and kept going - chipper and awake once again.
I drove through the sleeping city of Flagstaff, and once i had made it well into the familiar pine flats of 89a, i pulled the car over, shut off the headlights and lay on my back on the hood warmed by the overworked little engine. The milky way felt so close that it was a part of me. indeed, i felt a part of the earth and sky all at once, lying there sandwiched between the two, and surrounded by the intoxicating scent of ponderosa pines and the gentle singing of tree frogs. I was back in one of my homes. So i made my was down into the empty tourist town of Sedona.
After arriving here i told the friend i am staying with, how much i enjoyed my 2oish hour trip. She said, "if there is one thing that really IS weird about you.. it would be that..." (she doesn't find my naked 'fin thieving' escapades bizarre or anything.)
People have wondered how and why i could enjoy 20hrs all alone in the car. but, how could i not? it was a fascinating trip, and a wonderful way to connect with myself as well as the land (rather than flying above it). This was also very powerful for me to do alone, and in a way i find it funny that men commented "it's gutsy for 'an attractive woman' to drive such distances alone." i am only perceived as 'gutsy' to people these days because i am beginning to learn to follow my own gut and embrace my unique perspective in life - my own power. That is the hardest thing to do - not the action in and of itself. This trip was pure joy and a wonderful learning experience form me.
Here, my adventures have been many; all a succession of smaller moments and events, which have blown my mind. i have been through a full range of emotions since coming here. it is an odd and slightly sad trip too, as two people who mean a lot to me will be moving soon - one to New Zealand, and the other to Colorado. But, i will leave random Sedona stories for another blog entry - i am quite tired now. below are a few surreal photos a friend took of me at a spring the other day - 'you are always on the other end of the camera - why don't i take some photos of you!' they are interesting, and there are some other really hilarious and crazy ones, but they aren't quite pg-13 enough to put on the internet..
AND, thank you k-rocker for this Great Quote. how incredibly pertinent it is!
"Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power."
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
It is from this place, this earth inside and outside our bodies, that our memory of how to be well in a place patiently waits. The Indigenous Soul of humans is the soul of being able to be truly at home as a human being."
~ Martin Prechtel
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Nope. Not yet.
Am i even on the road?
Funny thing - as you all know, i had been feeling weird ('perturbed') about getting on the road. What i didn't say was that i had been feeling so perturbed, that for several days i had prayed to God every night and every morning to help me understand what i needed to do. i knew i wanted to take this trip; it means the world to me to see people and places i so dearly love, yet i can be strangely stubborn in sticking to certain plans - even when they aren't the best of plans.
Oddly enough, i am not one to 'pray to God' about things like this - pray for 'answers.' i often pray for others who are in pain, pray for the world.. and give thanks for all that i have. Sometimes i ask for help with a few things, but for the most part, when it comes to moving through daily life, i rely on a sort of 'inner guidance.' i felt so troubled about this issue though, that i earnestly and fervently prayed for help... 'please, God, help me understand my fear, and what course of action (or inaction) i need to take.' Again and again i prayed for about three days and kept to my original course of action until...
yesterday around 7pm, my wallet took a walk on another pair of legs. This was particularly problematic, as i was planning to leave around 5am the next morning. my plans were foiled! As you can imagine, i was not so happy at first. but, it did turn out to be the answer to my three days of prayer.
My wallet had no cash in it. I had withdrawn cash for my trip and kept it in a separate envelope. And, i have a duplicate drivers license, so the only crucial item missing was my bank card, which i needed to make the trip and access funds. ultimately, this meant i could leave Monday morning after straightening everything out with the bank...
i often marvel at parenthood: the incredible commitment it is. Unfortunately my parents often hear from me when something has 'gone wrong.' Particularly my mom - she is a comfy emotional armchair i can sink into when i'm feeling blue. This time i called her, not particularly panicked, but disgruntled about what happened and let her know that my trip would certainly be delayed. She helped me see more clearly how rushed i'd been with everything, and that this really was an opportunity for me to Stop and regroup before hitting the road - who knows what sort of accident i could be avoiding.
Something in me sighed a huge sigh of relief as i surrendered to this little setback. And i started examining this lesson as a part of a larger life lesson i've been peeling away at like old paint, one layer at a time.
There is something in me that feels i am never doing enough, and if i slow down, there is something wrong with me. This is no longer such a prevalent theme as it used to be, and i am very fortunate to have people in my life who remind me that who i am and what i do is beautiful - as is. i had a friend recently say that i didn't need to worry about being 'superwoman' because i already was, just in my nature and the way i move through life. It was really sweet, and i thought 'thank God for these people who help me stay sane.' Yet, when something is deeply ingrained in us, it takes time to change the behavior associated with that particular way of being.
It is also hard not to beat yourself up for such silly moments and setbacks. After all, it is just another lesson. i see life as a beautiful, if not at times terribly crude, series of lessons. i do my best to take each as it comes and allow the rest to unfold without trying to control the flow of it all. And at the same time, i know that in every moment i have the opportunity to choose love or fear. i have the opportunity to change my life and the lives of those around me by choosing love - love for myself first. in this case it meant stopping for a day and nurturing myself before speeding off on I-5.
i see in life, it is not our actions that count, but the intention and feeling behind them. it is not what we have, but how we feel about what we have, and who we are. it is our connection to our own heart and to God that ultimately births peace into the world.
i talked to my mom again this morning:
"The only productive things i have done so far, are to eat breakfast and look at my atlas."
"All the fear has left me now
I'm not frightened anymore
It's my heart that pounds beneath my flesh
it's my mouth that pushes out this breath
and if I shed a tear I won't cage it
I won't fear love
and if I feel a rage I won't deny it
I won't fear love
Peace in the struggle
to find peace
comfort on the way
~ Sarah McLachlan
"Love.. what more is there?
We need the light of love in here
Don't beat your head
Dry your eyes
Let the love in there
There's bad times
But that's okay
Just look for love in it"
~ Dave Matthews Band
Friday, August 17, 2007
"i guess we're destined." she said.
what a day today. in the end i feel so grateful to all those people who help keep my head on when i can't seem to hold it on properly myself (that probably includes most of you reading this.).
someone asked me today if i was ok.
"in a manner of speaking, yes.. well.. if you call 'ok' trying to unlock your car with your house keys... etc."
"sounds like you need to just stop."
"stop? but i... (blah blah blah)"
one of those days.
the big epiphany was a deeper understanding of why dressage is such a profound form of meditation for me:
it is about creating and containing energy.
i tend to rush.
dressage is utter stillness and focus in motion.
the best moments are when everything comes together, and i feel deeply connected to all that is - time disappears and horse and i are suspended there in a place of inner peace and silence with my hair gently tickling my back.
on another note:
An artist/sculptor (call him J) i used to model for, called me and left a message this morning, asking if i would model for him when i visited AZ. i called him back this evening:
"...Are you here yet?!!" he said.
"No. Not yet."
"But you are there somewhere... ?"
"Right.. i'm here."
we laughed at our quirky humor no one else seems to get.
i had thought it might be nice to pose for J while i was there, but the truth was i didn't want to pose for this sculpture he hadn't finished of me, so i had avoided talking with him about it.
so, i bit the bullet and told him on the phone about my feelings regarding that piece.. my reservations about it.... and he said:
"I completely understand..... i can even cover it if you want!... so you won't have to look at it.."
i laughed "that won't be necessary!!! but thank you so much for understanding."
it's settled then.. i'll pose for some other pieces and we'll have fun. i'll make a little trip money too.
"i'll call you when i get into town."
i am looking forward to being in the company of J and his wife. they are two Amazing people.
that's all i have to say tonight. i am feeling both perturbed and joyous about hopping on the road this weekend. freaking out right now because i look at the state of my apt and the packing to do and think: 'and this will happen when?'
may not write much until i'm in AZ, whenever that is...
so.. until we meet again:
hang onto your hats.. your heads... and thanks for helping to keep mine on semi-straight.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
i got up and did a victory dance in my living room. hard to believe a year of school has flown by.
Today i was thinking a lot about fate and free will. i seem to ponder this one quite often.
I bumped into zen-pirate in the grocery store. she was clutching several bottles of wine, with one cradled in her motorcycle helmet. "Hey!" we grinned at each other. "i just love it when i meet people, and then start running into them all the time." she said "i'm gearing up for this wedding this weekend.. i should have gotten a basket!" We chatted a moment, hugged and parted ways. i always seem to run into the right people at the right time. yet, i realized that the more this happens, the more it is because i am acting on instinct, or something that is deep within me rather than "what makes sense" in the brain department.
I know i am an active participant in my own life and my own decisions. My aim is to follow my heart, follow the very root of myself, my spirit calling through the insanity of the everyday world. And, at the same time, i have this feeling that when i am following that true part of myself i am walking on a path that was laid out long ago - as though i am choosing to step into my destiny.
Just today i remembered that almost exactly 2yrs ago i had the only 'real' psychic reading i've ever had. i started remembering all these things this guy was telling me.. that it was likely i would go back to school in the next year or two, that the money would be available... that i generally had a big chance to make some big changes. i remember thinking that he probably wasn't right.. that i wasn't ready to hit the books again for a while. And i remember he wanted to tell me some things about my relationships, but i didn't care; i felt secure where i was.
Now i remember this - after all these changes have happened. He was right! i moved, i went back to school.. i pushed myself out into the world and into my own heart.. and i believe he may have even predicted my break-up too.
And when i look back on it all.. all the changes i went through in that time, i see my greatest struggle was to keep listening to God, to keep following the call of my own heart. it's not easy, but to come into conscious contact with your own Self, your own Spirit, is the greatest gift. and it is all a journey. some days i feel just terrible, and it is ok. i just keep looking for that quiet voice at the heart of it all, the One who knows.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Even when you tear its petals off one after another,
the rose keeps laughing and doesn't bend in pain.
"Why should I be afflicted because of a thorn?
It is the thorn which taught me how to laugh."
Whatever you lost through fate,
be certain that it saved you from pain.
A Sheikh was asked: "What is Sufism?"
He said: "To feel joy in the heart when sorrow appears."
From: "Breathing Truth" Trans. Muriel MaufroyFrom:
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Just this evening i had a conversation with a random grocery clerk about the insanity of the media and what we are spoon fed via their publications and television shows. He said a few funny things...
"i tell people: 'if you want to know about some relationship drama, just sleep around, cheat on your spouse.. then you can stop living vicariously through others...'" and... "if you'd like to look at some cellulite, eat poorly, stop exercising and you'll have plenty of your own to look at in the mirror everyday." (this was in reference to one of those crazy tabloids covered with zoomed-in photos of celebrity asses.)
i am not quite as bitter as he is; certainly i read a 'girly magazine' from time to time (i call it junk food for the mind). But, i do find it all simultaneously humorous and disturbing. There is a war going on, one that is sucking more money than Vietnam, and here we stand in la la land, in millions of grocery lines, goo goo eyed at the most recent starlet scandal. I find this image to be skewed, but then again, i am not out there initiating or organizing a new peace rally - i am here, safe with my computer, a little peanut gallery of one.. talking to no one in particular!
Yet, what i feel this world needs right now is authentic communication and love.
How much of the insanity in the world is driven by people's desire to prove something to someone else? How much of the pain and the numbness occurs because people are afraid and sad deep down? How many people never followed their own dreams and because of their bitterness, squashed the dreams of others?
Perhaps what we need is more people willing to share themselves, share their dreams, and support others in doing the same. Peace happens one human at a time and radiates outwards like a domino effect. You never know how a single smile at a stranger might create a ripple effect in the world; it truly might be the one thing that stops them from committing suicide that day.
There is a cycle of bitterness and fear, and a cycle of love and understanding. Where do you want to put your energy?
i know it is not all as simple as that, but it is a question worth asking. It is hard living day to day. No matter who you are, there are many challenges to be faced, and if we could just face each other and say 'i care. i will be there for you however i can..' what a difference that little acknowledgement could make.
know what i'm sayin'?
i'm tired now - had my statistics final exam today. i met with a friend to study before the exam, but we ended up talking most of the time... an intense and profound conversation.
in the big scheme of things, which is more important?
A) connecting with others and finding our place in this wild world.
B) a statistics exam
Monday, August 13, 2007
Here's a little snippet about art and human freedom.
The most recent special event i worked at the gallery was an Art Opening. This was no ordinary art opening by any means.
The gallery runs classes of all sorts and is involved with various programs. One such program facilitates the artistic flourishing of those with disabilities. These artists who would not have had much of a chance to shine artistically or explore their creativity are given paints, canvases, brushes, and the gentle guidance of a few wonderful instructors who work in partnership with the gallery.
Each year, a show is put on in the main gallery, displaying the work of these unconventional artists who are set apart by their 'disabilities,' which range from head trauma to autism. Their paintings are powerful and inspiring, not because of their ability to perfectly capture a sunrise or the intricate details of someone's face, but because they are uninhibited, free, and daring. These people do not fear what others will think of them. They do not create their art to please anyone or prove that they can display some avante garde concept through their art. Instead, they are in the moment and expressing themselves from an authentic place, raw and powerful, with an instinctive, yet strong feeling for the use of color and composition. Artistic risk taking doesn't exist for them, they are just creating for the pure joy of it and the need and desire to do so.
This is a beautiful way to live life and create art: in the moment, alive, expressive, willing to risk exposing the deepest parts of ourselves. This is so hard though, and it seems that to exist this way is to challenge the very nature of the society in which we live. Yet, when we step into the fray, fearless and expressive, we have the power to help others - simply in our own ability to be free from inner constraints, we liberate others.
It is so heartwarming to see what a movement these people are creating within the community. About 150 people showed up at this opening, and the next day a few people came in excitedly, wanting to see the show because they couldn't make it the night before. Many paintings sold and all these artists received recognition.
I feel so grateful to these unusual artists of all ages who fearlessly bring their own hearts and colors to the surface, even if it is anger expressed in paint. I can sit in front of some of their paintings as i would sit in front of a Monet or Pollock at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and get lost in the purity of the brush strokes and the depth of feeling hidden therein.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
It happens... right? We humans pair off and... la di da. It's a beautiful part of life, but it's scary as shit too!
This weekend a whole bunch of women got together to celebrate and support dolphin-girl's transition into 'wifedom.' We gathered at a friend's house, way out in the country, north of Grants Pass.
I was one of the first to arrive, so dolphin-girl and i sat out on the veranda to chat and catch up. She and her fiance had just returned from Israel - a whirlwind of family events and sauna-like heat. She was exhausted, happy, and a little overwhelmed.
"I can't believe i'm going to be a wife in a few weeks." she said.
"Tell me... how are you feeling about that?"
We burst out laughing. My dad is a psychiatrist and it seems i might take after him a little more than i'd like to admit!
"I feel like i should lie down for this." she said, still laughing a little. Then.. "It's a big transition, it's exciting and wonderful, but at the same time, so much responsibility... i know we are ready to start a family.. it's just a lot all at once. Sometimes i still feel a little like i'm 19 inside.. but i'll be turning 29 this year!..."
Perhaps a lot of people don't appreciate that part of life - that a lot of the 'good things' are really scary and stressful. We often think we have to get through it all on our own and it seems that because we (for whatever reason) fear genuinely asking for help or saying something like, "hey, i'm having a really hard time right now, could you give me a neck rub?" we have a glass of wine, or become dependent on something or someone in an attempt to appease our fears and anxiety. I am in no way immune to this; however, i feel it is beautiful to find ways of being genuinely and authentically connected to other people as a way of helping to shift this... er.. 'predicament of humanity.'
This is one of the wonderful things about my dear dolphin-girl and the women there to support her: we were all honoring her new steps as a woman. We were acknowledging that they are daunting, yet important and profound steps to take, and letting her know that she is not alone. Each woman shared words of support, wisdom, personal experience, poetry...
One of the interesting things we did was to have dolphin-girl lay down in the center of our circle while we would all say "breathe deeply and Know..." and one woman in the circle would say what she wanted dolphin-girl to Know...
Comments ranged from:
"Breathe deeply and Know... Love is some crazy shit!"
"Breathe deeply and Know... Yourself."
It was so juicy to have all these women together - so may shapes of shifting hips swinging above legs of all sizes, feet that meet the ground in different ways. And a feast of food created by all of us, a new dish brought in every few minutes by a new set of hands - children running, mischievous, intense and carefree. One of our friends has a 2yr old son who can count to ten in Spanish, Japanese, and Hebrew - talk about a precocious child! He is simply bright, not because his parents are overachievers or push him, but because he is curious, alive and receptive. Beautiful.
A number of us have been belly-dancers or done tantric dance, so we had quite a lot of fun together, getting high on each other and the music, dancing in the evening. Another young woman brought henna and we all got painted in various ways. She was doing a design on my ankle and it started taking its own shape, so she went with it. It wound up being a Phoenix.. a firebird flying up my ankle. I like the symbolism of the Phoenix rising up from the ashes. A very pertinent symbol for me in the phase of life i am in.
I made a beautiful new friend. I will call her zen-pirate. She has these vibrant pale blue eyes, dark hair, and olive skin... but who she is, how she moves in life is what i find to be so captivating. She has a mission and passion... and, well.. in a lot of ways we look at each other and just see a 'kindred spirit' - someone on a similar journey in life. One of the wonderful things about meeting her is that i had recently decided i wanted to get into kayaking more.. and she's got all sorts of connections... and kayaks to borrow! AND, she is a horse person and wants to accompany me to one of my many training sessions. We seem to have endless things in common. She is sort of 'tough and soft' like me. We were just happy to cross paths. i love you, zen-pirate, if you ever happen to read this. i love all you women (red-delicious!) and thank you for being part of my life.
My life has been full of 'chance meetings' and an eerie weaving of people and paths. It's fun and i am learning to embrace it. We can create a fascinating flow in our lives - each experience leading us, preparing us for the next.
Speaking of flowing things, this is my final little story for this post:
Several of us went to the Illinois river the next morning. A few of the women packed a small picnic and we wandered down to a large, clear, secluded, aqua pool. We all took off our clothes and spent several hours swimming, exploring, and lounging. It was blissful. My experience got even better though, when, as i was standing waist-deep in the water near the bank, i spotted two young men making their way upstream, picking a path around a small section of rapid waters - they were carrying masks and fins! "I want fins!" i said. I tried to call out to them "Hey, can i borrow a pair of your fins?!" but they couldn't hear me over the rapids. I waited a while.. thinking.. 'well, this is weird.. i'm naked.. but i really want those fins..' i called out again when they got a little closer; one of them heard me and happily swam over. I moved a little deeper into the water.. so as not to be.. um.. totally out there... with.. everything..
"do you have those adjustable fins...?"
"No... What size feet do you have?"
"8. This might not work.. huh?"
He struggled to pry one fin off as he was treading water. He handed it over. i put it on..
"It's a little loose.. but i think it'll work." He gave me the other one. I thanked him... but, well, you know... with my body language etc, made it clear that there was no.. shall we say.. 'invitation.' i was just borrowing his fins.. and happened to be naked - which was true. He was respectful and kind... and soon swam off. Not long after though, he returned out of breath from swimming without the fins and asked if i wanted the mask too. "Sure." Again, it was so funny.. i did think he was pretty cute, but i really didn't care; i just wanted to play in the water in peace. They headed up stream and i told him i'd leave his things on the bank if we were gone when they returned.
In a way, i felt a little bad for some reason.. for nabbing this guy's stuff. When they were out of earshot, i said to my friend K, "i guess a naked blonde can get most anything she wants huh?" "I'm sure he would have given them to you anyway..!" We were pretty sure i'd made his day, or week, or whatever... And it certainly made my day, as this fish got her fins, and sank, swimming in that luminous silent world below the surface.