oh the times…

Suffice it to say I feel so far removed from new york these days. I have never had the chance (or desire, really) to see what sprung up out of the giant hole where the world trade center once stood. I never went back there.

Here is what i do remember: it was an ordinary day, a sunny day at the beginning of fall, and i was getting ready to ride my bike into manhattan and go to work. Instead, i left my bike flat in the hallway and ran to the roof, moments before a collective, citywide scream as the second plane plowed into a building, knowing i was standing on my rooftop watching thousands of people die, then watching the towers fall and knowing something wasn’t right – the way they fell was far too similar to the way the Purina plant in Brooklyn fell during its planned implosion just a few months prior.

The flag-waving frenzy that ensued, the free air conditioners, vacuums and air purifiers FEMA provided while telling us that air was “safe to breath”, the “missing” posters of suburban husbands in their white button-downs and ties, the exhaustion and sadness on the faces of first responders and rescue teams – it was a lot. It was intense. It was hard for me to express what I was feeling. What i saw looked like something out of a Hollywood movie. It was hard to believe it was real. When does anyone ever witness a plane flying into the side of a huge skyscraper and exploding? It has taken me years to sort this out.

New Yorkers slowed down for a minute tho, and suddenly everyone was kind. For a minute, we were a people united in a horrible, shared experience and that New Yorker way of dealing with shit: we took to the streets, expressed ourselves, and got stuff done.

9/11/01 was the death of thousands, and the birth of my full, acknowledged disillusion in so much. It was the day “we the people” took on a whole new meaning, a day a new faith was born in me, a deeper compassion, and a righteous indignation and rage that has been growing and refining itself since then as i learn how to be a true, peaceful warrior and how to use these potent expressions of power in an effective way.

There are people in this world who suffer these terrors and tragedies daily. Like so many of the New Yorkers that died on this day 15 years ago, they are everyday people with wisdom, lives, loves, and families, at the mercy of governments and war machines (aka “terrorists”). They are, daily, watching their worlds crumble around them and feeling the kind of horror, pain, sorrow and loss we got that one massive glimpse of so many years ago.

Never forget. Power to the people. More compassion. More love.

the mud

i’m navigating the ups and downs these days, mirroring the weather. 80 degrees and sunny today. Gray, rainy and cold the next. Ready to sprout and bloom and just hoping there isn’t one last freeze.

some days i can hang it all out on the clothesline and others… i just keep it on a rack inside. i’m only motivated to put it away because it takes up so much space.

i’m not an easy climate to be in right now. there’s some serious turbulence in the air. strong winds foment change.

i see how my process affects the whole. i am putting this time here consciously. i am giving in to a little more selfishness while the opportunity affords itself, while there is full excuse. i need to explore myself this deeply one more time, to savor some last moments with some bits of myself that will need to go find another way to be here soon. it’s taking time and i don’t want to rush it. i need to feel the expansiveness of it and get to know my fear so i can face it eye to eye. i realize that it moves as it should, that it will move as we allow it to, that it is what it is. i contribute to this with my process. i create the space for magic to happen. i offer my belief, i have faith that it will.

please forgive me. i am learning patience and acceptance and truth. this could take a while.

 

 

 

i’m a murderer…

i used to be the one with trays of seedlings, a doorway arched by night-blooming tobaccos, a full daytime array of succulents and blooming cacti.

come over, i’d say. you need to see the san pedro.

lately, i’ve lost several houseplants, most of which i’ve had for a few years since settling into this little mountain town.

i’m not sure why either, which troubles me – i have yet to identify the dis-ease, the un-ease, the lack of ease with which i used to care so deeply for my chlorophyllic friends.

this, more than many things, has sent me into an emotional tailspin.

things in my care are dying.

i am in agony.

right now i’m surrounded by wild bloom – a veritable field of mushrooms appeared first, followed by an even larger field of miner’s lettuce and a huge patch of luneria. dandelions, already providing opportunities to wish. it is green and awe-inspiring.  but also, it makes me a little sad. there is so much i cannot always walk softly. i haven’t yet learned how.

that’s the courage, too, i always say, of being a wildflower. you sprout where chance has placed you and start setting roots. you have a period of growth. if you are still lucky, you bloom where you are. if you are luckier still, you will be able to do that in a place where you will not get stepped on, where you will radiate with color and feed bees before you scatter your DNA and ascend, your essence carried on through the honey and the seeds…

it’s a risk you take if living in a pot doesn’t sound like an alternative to you, but even so you run the risk of having to push through pavement. just hope it’s a vacant lot. or a playground, depending how long you think you might want to have that trip.

what are we, though, really, without that particular struggle? it’s the thing that keeps us connected to the earth, the whole reason we’re here having this human experience, learning to be in harmony with ourselves and everything else. we will eventually learn it, or not. most children leave their mothers eventually.

whatever is inevitable is okay with me. all of it is as is. the journey will more than likely continue. or maybe not.

in the meantime, i wonder what is reflected in the death of my houseplants. is it simply a lesson to learn in letting go? if i take it as such, will i grow careless in places where i do not need to? or is it simply a message from my little green friends that i need to listen more closely, that the details of life really are far more complicated than i’d like to believe, that all things require dedicated focus and special care, and anything that doesn’t, doesn’t currently require my time. some things adapt to their circumstances, and some do not. there is always the compost, which is also a spiritual thing.

i know. i am sensitive, it’s true. i mourn the loss of my houseplants deeply, even though i understand that i am witnessing the cycle of life in all ways. And that i also have the power, here, to honor their deaths with dignity. it still hurts. i think all living things have sentience. something in my care is dying. i am in agony.

open air

I’m in a state of being right now
Seeing now and future
feeling deep healing
even as I once again
open this wound,
As I expose it to the sunlight
I learn to once again relish
these hours alone
Now that I’ve sunk back in
to the moonlight
And the silence
Now that I’ve breathed
more deeply
Exhaled more fully
No longer concerned
with being defined
or choosing an identity
if it limits me
on how I can love.
What privilege.
I am back home in the trees
At ease with the lack of distractions
that keep me outside of myself
It’s time to reacknowledge the mystery
The one inside of me
And let her just be who she is
without judgement or exclusivity.
Goddess bless us all.
God help us.
Under your giant circus tent skirt
we dance
inhaling your scent
your laughter tinkling in our ears –
It feels so different to everyone
Tho in the end it’s all the same umbrella
Of love and warmth and safety,
Of that trembling sense of security.
Just sing to me, mama.
I want your softness in my ear
and your hardness elsewhere.
I speak of none of this
These secrets of holiness and divinity.
They are gems placed on my altar,
A private display of sacred experience,
Crystal sparkling memories of joy.
No wish to have it picked apart
No care to figure it out
God and goddess have gifted me.
I am
drinking instead the beauty of this land
drinking in the pleasures of your hands
This fresh air and silence soothes me
when the noise becomes too much.
So many other things have lost
importance.

Spider

There weren’t that many spiders in New York. We were used to cockroaches but spiders were cause for alarm.

I finally left and moved to portland (i know, original). I moved there during the fall, one of two seasons in which spiders explode in population. I knew people who kept a broom on their front porch so you could sweep through the webs on your way to the sidewalk.

I would forget sometimes.

In time I grew to marvel at them, from what became a shorter and shorter safe distance. Contact was still beyond my abilities to handle, and then I was bit by one. A bad one.

I was healed by Chinese and indigenous South American medicines.

That following year and some of the next I spent wandering around Mexico and Guatemala, mostly, and my dealings with spiders were on another level altogether. This time i knew how to ask one to comfortably share a room. It all had to do with where I was coming from.

My last month in Mexico was spent on the desert floor of a mountain range in northern Mexico. The area was known to bring people seeking communion with a cactus that grows wild there.

I was there for that, too. But first the place made me soak in it – everything from the horror to the stark beauties of it all. And when the medicine and I finally found each other, it was with Its help that I noticed, finally, the colony of black widows I had been sharing space with that past month.

They were there, and they had left me alone. Now that I knew they were there I had to be more conscious to return the favor.

They were still there the next day. So was I.

So now I am living at the base of a mountain in far Northern California and I live in a house of spiders – there are spider plants everywhere, and at least three or four different kinds of actual Arachnida dwelling here along with us all. I found a black widow in a closet and begged it for days to relocate, and eventually it did. I could not think of the alternative. I had made a promise.

I have not seen another black widow since, and so I examine the rest from a safe distance. I check my daughter’s clothes and shoes before she puts them on, and I check my own shoes, too. I look at the sophistication and varied techniques in their webs, study their body structures and watch their patterns – some build squat, thick webs they appear to sit on, and position themselves in the same place for days. There are two such as this that I am observing at the moment along with a myriad of the long-legged wispy ones, and I am ever on the lookout for the brown recluse.

The spider, she keeps me conscious and aware.