This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Deep in the Throat

I'm looking for my voice. I'm standing still, still as a deer listening for predators, but I am listening for grace. The dark lush path I once navigated has passed its time. I seek a return to light. The color, sound, feel, voice of my light is mostly unknown to me. I write, have written, for ages but the voice I write in was born not in my throat or heart, she was born lower, somewhere more primal.

My ego has many parts. The predominant part of my ego for the last twenty years has been a mothering one, but not a nourishing mother. My ego, which shrinks slowly as it loses control of my mind, was composed first of a desire to please and later of the worries of those who I sought to please. I took everyone on. I did a good job, because my goal was to do so. None for me though. Sneaking moments of rebellion was where I lived. It began with my desire to try alcohol - which burned and at first, didn't get me drunk but made me stupidly pretend to be. It moved to drugs. I lied through later years in high school and early years in college about having done more than I had. I smoked cigarettes because girls growing up, finding their way, being reborn into adulthood romantically in movies did. I never liked cigarettes when I was young. Later the grief I had borne for others seeped in, it was my own now, and cigarettes fit well with those anxieties. I became addicted.

One of my most vivid early adolescent memories is of a thing I said to my mother one morning. I had been getting torn up inside. I was thirteen. I walked into the bathroom where my mother stood, curling her hair while wrapped in a towel, and announced my rebellion to her. "Mom," I said "I don't have to be good, you know. I can be bad too." She had no idea what to say to that. I think she mumbled some confused agreement with me. I began smoking less than a month later.

It's been over a week since I've had a cigarette now. But this post is not about cigarettes, it's about my throat and the voice that doesn't know how to come out of there.

I cry easily. It used to embarrass the hell out of me. I am finding ways to accept it, and even feel good about it. I guess, if there are tears to cry, I should cry them. There is no shame in that. In the last three years, as I have pushed, and pushed, and tried to see the value in not pushing, and so relaxed, and learned about my struggles with attachments and outcomes, I have talked to quite a few people about my path. I always know when I'm about to cry because my throat constricts almost entirely. My throat knows before I do most of the time. It starts hurting, getting tight, before I even broach the subject that will make me cry. Usually, lately, the subject is my throat itself.

I saw an energy worker on Monday for a Healing Touch session. For some reason I made it seem more important to me that she work with me on releasing any lasting trauma to the area around my liver, damaged in last year's bike crash. I guess I thought that was the most important. Again, the mind is the last to know. I had been feeling some blocks in my breathing when doing deep breathing in yoga and meditation. The session did do quite a lot for me, I can see days later, but I need to work on my throat. There are layers there, woven, into bad patterns of behavior. It is really hard for me to listen to my own voice. It is hard for me to let my throat be a conduit of energy between my heart and my head.

I'll keep working on it, and I'll keep writing. There's no pretty summary paragraph for this post.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kaleo: the Core Cosmic Dharma of Venus

What I think is more interesting is that the focus of men's desires and responses were identified as being so narrow. I don't hold it as a virtue that men succeed at knowing what turns them on, within a very narrow range; it could be that both their minds and their bodies are shut down to the rest of reality that they don't think interests them, but which might, were they more open. Evolutionary roles differ as well: when you hunt an animal, you must be aware of the environment to the extent that you listen to the birds and don't fall off a cliff, but that's all designed to help you focus on one goal. This includes the goal of pursuing a woman, often described by both men and women as a kind of hunt.

Planet Waves: Kaleo: Venus Unbound by Eric Francis
Finally! Someone else backing Dr. E's serotonin/hunter/gatherer theory!


In the above quote, Eric Francis is writing a response to the NY Times report, called "What Do Women Want?" that generated a bunch of attention early this year. The report focused on a study that was looking at a "new generation of female sex researchers who are studying the mysteries of female desire, or trying to" according to Francis. Francis in turn, in his weekly "Astrology News" article on his site Planet Waves, responds with a breadth of information that makes my head light up like any good biophilic woman. (Biophilia is coined by Francis to mean "being turned on by life itself" which the study negates and which Francis disputes.)

He closes his response to the article, and to the current state of affairs at large with this encouraging observation:
Shutting down will not work, is not working. We need more sensitivity, not less. We need to focus on goals, but not at the expense of reality. And we need to consciously embrace the chaos that is gradually enveloping us. How do we call to the chaos with love, and not try to delete it, filter it out or stick it in a folder? How do we engage the chaos -- perhaps as a creative source?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Parts I Like Best

An Incomplete List of Thing/Ideas I Like Best Made Specially to Attract Those Things Now
in no specific order
  • Kitties purring
  • Driving open roads
  • Alpaca wool
  • Joy
  • Laughter
  • Surprises
  • Flowers
  • Trees
  • Grass
  • Hand picked fruits and vegetables
  • Money for traveling, clothes, gifts, shoes, stationary, food, drink, toys
  • Taking photos
  • Orgasms
  • Cooking for friends
  • Remembering my dreams in the morning
  • Singing
  • Skipping
  • Headstands
  • Pigeon pose
  • Dresses and skirts
  • Having my hair brushed
  • Having my back rubbed
  • Having my anything rubbed
  • Rainy days at home
  • Fleeting spooky fear from games and movies
  • Story time
  • Poems
  • Gifts
  • Avante Garde
  • Oil paintings
  • Talking
  • Answering questions
  • Kissing
  • Hugging
  • Crying from happiness
  • Dinners outside in the setting sun
  • The ocean air
  • Feeling my heart burst to brim with goodness
  • Dancing til I'm sweaty
  • Watching bugs
  • Reading books
  • The northern lights
  • Starlight
  • Moon light
  • Sunshine
I've decided that I'm gonna feel good now.

Mock Orange, a poem post

Mock Orange

by Louise Gl├╝ck

It is not the moon, I tell you.
It is these flowers
lighting the yard.

I hate them.
I hate them as I hate sex,
the man’s mouth
sealing my mouth, the man’s
paralyzing body—

and the cry that always escapes,
the low, humiliating
premise of union—

In my mind tonight
I hear the question and pursuing answer
fused in one sound
that mounts and mounts and then
is split into the old selves,
the tired antagonisms. Do you see?
We were made fools of.
And the scent of mock orange
drifts through the window.

How can I rest?
How can I be content
when there is still
that odor in the world?



I want to spend hours deciphering this right now. What do you think it's about?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Questions on Living in the Now

"Learn to listen to your heart instead of to your mind. The mind always lives in the past, in fantasy, base on memory but the heart is present. The heart beats in the now. In the truth." Sunrise of the Soul, Jeru Kabbal
Sitting and breathing for an hour, or even 35 minutes, is unbelievably powerful. Quickly, all the detractors composed in my mind become over-large and active. The thing I'm doing is so simple and natural, I'm only sitting and breathing deeply. Why then? Why is it so difficult?

I can catalog negativity for miles. Just sitting with my back straight, or breathing all the way down into my belly and all the way up into my chest, can frustrate me enough to get me up and running toward some comforting busyness. And it's interesting! It's so interesting to me to see where my body seems to hold resistance to breath and tightness for sitting. I get the urge to stop meditating, however unconsciously, and pick up the distractions, which all are labeled "painful," to turn them over and analyze them in my hands.

But am I only be adding to the trash pile that my mind is so familiar with, so used to picking over?

I've recently spent seven days with myself coming back and checking the quality of my energetic bubble, my egg. In those days I found mostly challenges around me. I received, and subsequently decided to publish four comments on this blog from a person in Hadj's past who does not know me. Again, I am inclined to talk about my reactions to these comments, but am I only feeding some dark detour? If I'm not going to talk about these comments here, why did I publish them?

Over two years ago I spontaneously decided to sit down and meditate and an amazing thing happened. I tapped in to the energy many have described as kundalini. I felt the energy at the base of my spine heat up and waken and ascend up my spine bringing good, bright energy to me, and, many texts would say, to my chakras. I felt the energy ascend and bring me light and I was completely in tune for a few moments. As soon as I tried to think about this energy it began diminishing and I have never been able to recreate the complete centering I had in those moments. It seems a trick to me: my mind, or the universe, or my posture, gave me a glimpse into the very prize (enlightenment) that has sent thousands of people searching all across time. But it was a glimpse only. Now I have to practice just sitting and breathing, no easy blue energy climbs my spine.

Reacting to the comments this week, which did disturb me in plenty of ways, I returned to my copy of Women Who Run with the Wolves. I left off many months ago on Chapter 14: La Selva Suberranea: Initiation into the Underground Forest.
We can be smart in the ways of the world, and yet almost every mother's daughter, if given half a chance, chooses the poor bargain at first. The making of this awful bargain is a matter of enormous and meaningful paradox. Even though choosing poorly could be seen as a pathologically self-destructive act, it far more often turns into a watershed event that brings vast opportunity to redevelop the power of the instinctive nature. In this respect, though there is loss and sadness, the poor bargain, like birth and death, constitutes a rather utilitarian step off the cliff planned by the Self in order to bring a woman deep into her wildness. (426)
Was the brief tango with the kundalini energy a step off the proverbial cliff for me? It was not from a poor bargain, but it will propel me deep into my roots.

Finally, how does one even write about meditation? It seems absurd to try writing my experiences, because I was not supposed to be holding them in the first place.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Three Wise Tales

"In Latin, senex means "old man." More properly, and without the gender attribution, the symbol of the elder can be understood as the senescent force: that which acts in a way that is peculiar to the aged.
In fairy tales, this aged force is personified by an old person who is often portrayed as one-sided in some way, indicating that one's psychic process is also developing in a one-sided manner. Ideally, an old woman symbolizes dignity, mentoring, wisdom, self-knowledge, tradition-bearing, well-defined boundaries, and experience... with a good dose of crabby, long-toothed, straight-talking, flirtatious sass thrown in for good measure.
But when an old fairy-tale woman uses these attributes negatively, as in "The Red Shoes" we are forewarned that aspects of psyche that should remain warm are about to be frozen in time. Something normally vibrant within the psyche is about to be starched flat, given a drubbing, or distorted beyond recognition. When the child enters the old woman's gilded carriage and subsequently her household, she is captured just as surely as if she purposely stuck her paw into a double DD fang-hanger trap.
As we see in the tale, being taken in by the old woman, rather than dignifying the new, allows the senescent attitude to destroy innovation. Rather than mentoring her ward, the old woman will attempt to calcify her. The old woman in this tale is not a sage, but rather is dedicated to repetition of a single value without experimentation or renewal."
Women Who Run with the Wolves, Estes


"Have done with learning.
And you will have no more vexation.

How great is the difference between "eh" and "o"?
What is the distinction between "good" and "evil"?
Must I fear what others fear?
What abysmal nonsense this is!

All men are joyous and beaming.
As though feasting upon a sacrificial ox,
As though mounting the Spring Terrace;
I alone am placid and give no sign,
Like a babe which has not yet smiled.
I alone am forbidden as one who has no home to return to.

All men have enough and to spare:
I alone appear to possess nothing.
What a fool I am!
What a muddled mind I have!
All men are bright, bright:
I alone am dim, dim.
All men are sharp, sharp:
I alone am mum, mum!
Bland like the ocean,
Aimless like the wafting gale.

All men settle down in their grooves:
I alone am stubborn and remain outside.
But wherein I am most different from others is
In knowing to take sustenance from my Mother!"
Tao Teh Ching, Lao Tzu


"What I thought I was doing was being in love. What I was doing was just like every other sorry man I'd ever known. Running from one woman to another. Running from mother to wife. Head still up one woman's cunt while stuck like a dog's dick fucking in the other.
At the edge, where the rock stuck out the furthest, as far as you can go, the wind came down to me and blew on the grass around me, blew on my ears and my eyes. I could smell the wind. Smelled of me. I picked up a sharp piece of granite. Took the granite and scratched a circle all the way around me. I stood in the center of the circle and made it known, loud and clear, to the spirit of the mountain, Not-Really-A-Mountain, and to anybody else who wanted to hear, that from then on I was free of woman's hole. That I had pulled my head out. I had pulled my dick out. I was free, unencumbered.
And if, in fact, a man needed a woman, then I'd make a part of myself that woman for me."
The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon, Tom Spanbauer

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Appointment with Venus, pt. 2

The weeks leading to Burning Man were challenging in new, creative ways. Hadj was a frenzy of action. He was finishing a mass of regal projects like a home-made geo-dome composed of hand pressed metal rods, hand sewn and dyed canvas tarps, and hand tied knots. The thing was glorious in its late stages in his yard, I can only imagine what the dust and wind on the playa are doing to it. The distance is grueling to deal with already, added to that was his unrelenting focus on the projects leading to his week and half of life-drunkenness in the desert which left me feeling a bit overlooked and crabby. I also had all the time in the world to be thinking about L, that odd situation in the past, and what oddities were going to arise from their future week in la la land together. I found all sorts of dark secrets in my heart. I also, eventually returned to love and acceptance. The day Hadj left for Burning Man he shared with me a realization: we had spent the weeks leading to Burning Man focusing on things that will have very little bearing on our real lives afterwords.

We also know that reality is all perception. If a week of ecstatic art communion isn't real life, then I don't know what is. It all matters. I have to keep busy. I have to keep aware. I have to remain sensitive and also relaxed.

The Museum of Contemporary Art has a phenomenal exhibit by Scandinavian artist, Olafur Eliasson, right now. I returned to the MCA yesterday intent on seeing this exhibit alone and doing as the title of the work, collectively called, Take Your Time, instructs me. I spent an hour in two of the four galleries dedicated to this exhibit. An hour interacting, inspecting, wondering, playing, and being awed by his work and by what seemed, to me, to be an unmistakably playful aesthete. He covers a wall in heat pressed soil geometry, leads you through a hall of spectral glass into a round white room of ever shifting light. He takes you into a hall that washes every color yellow and then wonders, will you wait in the hall and watch the exiting viewers' clothes and accessories magically regain color under more natural light? He sets up a room, so black you can miss its entrance, and leads you on a dense but flexible floor to a misting shower of water, where light is pointed creating rainbows; where no guards stand watch so you are free to interact with the life of water and light as you please.


Some stuck tentative hands into the water, some blew shots of air at it, some walked through gleefully, and some paraded. I got up close in wonder, held out my hands. I flapped my arms. I stood back watching, awed, and laughing.

Another of the galleries of Eliasson's exhibit presents a wall that is covered, floor to ceiling, in moss. When I went to the show a month ago the moss was greener, and the room smelled less dank. As I returned I took pleasure in seeing the decay; how the light is bleaching the green moss to yellow, how dry pieces have become brittle and fallen, now laying scattered at the piece's feet, how the smell of the earth is stronger in the usually stark white rooms of the museum.

Decay is one of the things I love about street art. Street artists know, and work with, the fact that their work is on public land and will be changed, covered over, or even destroyed by removal. They build this impermanence into their work. As my friend put it to me early this week, the desert is like this and people going to Burning Man know, the desert gives and takes away. It may destroy your expensive camera and give you the love of your life. I think artists of all time must know this. Artists, and strong livers in general know that, to create you must allow death.
Even as [Love] is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
There is not a lot of creation and death in my life this week, but I find it where I can. I am allowed a rare week of reprieve in which to process my favorite way, silently, all the events that have led me here. I am making a commitment like I've never made before. I am not "just" moving to Washington and in with Hadj, I am saying that I am ready. I am ready to begin another initiation, into the kind of life I can be proud of; the kind of life I always knew I must have. There are so many questions and unknowns. Only my attentiveness keeps the monkey mind from filling in the holes with fear. My friend remarked on the journey I am preparing to embark on at the end of this month. That's a good word for it, I said. That's what it is, she replied matter-of-factly. I had not thought of it that way yet. The word journey brought images of the Lord of the Rings characters to me, specifically when they are on the pass in the mountains before the cave where Gandolf falls into the abyss. I thought about their journey, and every other great journey. It is full of peril and success, of life and of death. Needless to say, I'm beyond excited as I take these steps. In addition to all that is Burning Man 2010.
This is the liminal period. When you leave, you are ready to be the next version of you.

from "
The Goddess of Love in the Liminal City" by Cybele Knowles

Appointment with Venus, pt. 1

I have written this post.
In an age of manufactured desire, Venus is on a mission to reacquaint us with the things we truly love. She manifests through the citizens of Burning Man to show how it's done. How can you see an art car full of hedonists penetrating each other with dildos and not rededicate your life to your highest values? Because if those people are okay doing that in plain light of day, then the least you can do is become the game programmer, novelist, naked dude, or other relatively modest thing you wish you could be.
And I have written this post.
I was the one who did something wrong. I decided that the things I loved were dumb. I forgot that the dumb things are the things that make life worth living, and I settled for less.
And this one, of course.
I was a secretary, but I didn't want to be a secretary. Does anyone really want to be a secretary? No. No one does. I'm entitled to say it, because I was a secretary for a billion years.
And I'm going to write one just like this too.
Here's how a rite of passage works. It's the same the world over, Ndembu and Trobriand and Kwakiutl. They take you away from your ordinary life-your online banking, your myspace.com, your commute. They bring you to a place set apart. They give you a new name and they don't let you bathe. As the dirt rubs into your skin, you return to the earth in a symbolic death. And in the words of Mircea Eliade, a scholar with a poet's name, then comes "a time of marvels." Masked figures and sculptures, dancers. Grotesque or beautiful beings that teach you the things you need to know. This is the liminal period. When you leave, you are ready to be the next version of you.
But not today. Today I'm going to keep being the secretary. I'm going to keep little fires alive in myself today because I have no other rational options and no support if I slip and wind up in the irrational blood bath that causes us to feel alive.

Hadj is at Burning Man right now and I haven't spoken to him since he went into the "dead zone" (obviously dead only to the cell phone companies) since Monday afternoon. Not only is Hadj at Burning Man, but he's at Burning Man with L.

None of what Hadj is, or could be, doing bothers me. I know where I stand, and I stand firmly placed in his heart, and in his perception of what it is to be fully alive. What bothers me is that I am not there, that I am waiting still. I fucking hate waiting. I think I need to throw myself a little celebration to honor all the patience I've learned since coming to Chicago. The schooling I've put myself through here, one half-composed of obstacles, grime, lifeless routine, freezing winters, trash tumbleweeds, dishonest and sad people, empty wallets, empty hearts, days empty of hugs, AND SO ON has been really, really challenging. But it had to be this way. If it wasn't this way I wouldn't have gotten to where I am and where I am is the end of the rainbow folks. I am at the entrance to Oz waiting for the wizard to come take my hand so we can journey forth.

My decision has been made this way not because nothing else before was good enough, but because I wasn't ready. I didn't know that I was good enough and so I pushed and pushed and pushed and choked and cried til I was blind so I had to lay down and ask for help. And you know what? Help came right away. Doctors, friends, dream spirits, cunts, cocks, the whole universe, and all its chickens showed up at my door and began nursing me back to health. They began taking me to yoga classes and teaching me all the definitions for the word union. They began listening to me without interruption and seeing what triggers brought my tears to my eyes and stuck thistles in my throat. They touched me and got my nerves talking to each other again. They suggested I run as far away as possible, maybe to the Pacific Northwest, they said. Two years ago, a little more, they bent down and lent me a hand. Go, they said. I'm not good enough, I cried. They stuck with me, without judgment, without sarcasm, without rushing. They saw my potential and my stubbornness and stuck with me, had my back, as I continued down a very thorny path. And when I got to what I thought was a dead end, I saw a fountain - a little bird bath - and a fork in the road. The team of helpers behind me said nothing. They didn't even try to move me by thought. They trusted, they knew, they watched me as I chose the right path. They squelched their cheers best they could, knowing I was unsure yet, but I'm sure a few high-fives were had. There are but few goals in life: love, play, accept.



excerpts from The Goddess of Love in the Liminal City, from BurningMan.com, written by Cybele Knowles