Strong Woman


I sit on the steps, holding a cat who doesn’t like to be held; she purrs while she tries to push vainly off my lap.  I am quiet now, in this empty house, the last bits of detritus scattered over the floor.  I do a mental checklist, and find it small, all of my paintings, the remaining tools, the pieces of furniture that won’t fit in my car.  When he left he said, this will always be our little house we bought together, the words were a tolling bell, as though he was telling me that as long as I lived here, I would grieve.  I go through a mental checklist of all the things his life broke in mine, in hers, his karma will be great and for a flick of a bit I feel sorry for him, I know how painful it will be.

I walk into the house, and go to him, I lay my head on his bare chest and sob.  He wraps his arm around me patting my upper arm and kissing my forehead.  Last night I told him that one of the worst events in my life led me to him, so in some small way God has made right for the heart break.  I think of the handful of loyal and steadfast friends who have been with me on this journey, some whom that event brought to me too, one of those who led me to the man on whose chest I am crying now.  I sigh, and he tells me, we can only hope for the best for them.  I know I say.  I know.  What’s done is done.  I saved you dinner he tells me, I ate out with them I say, but I will eat it for lunch tomorrow.

I realize, as I set the cat down on the brick colored linoleum, that even though I loved this house, I will not miss it.  I run my hand from her head to her tail and she wraps herself around my hand and then walks away.  I see a picture of the road ahead and the shared load of both the financial and work burdens seem like a giant relief.  As I sat this morning drinking coffee someone else made because “we both drink it and it will save me the $2.50 I spend on it at the coffee shop every single day”, and listening to the sounds of the lunch he is making for himself because he “just doesn’t have the extra money to buy out this week”, I feel a profound sense of being in grown up man land.  A place I have never been in before. I have a lot of work to do but I don’t ever have to ask him to take care of his own, and I don’t even have to do for him what he should do for himself, he already does.  That alone seems enough.

A friend whom I made on my own calls me, how are you this morning he asks, ok, I say.  What can I do?  Just hope for the best.  Did anyone go with you, he asks.  No, I say, I put on my back brace and my big girl panties and a nice dress, jewelry and shoes, and put on my best smile.  I have been facing this world alone for a long time, this was no different.  I give you a lot of credit, he says, you are a strong woman.  I know, I say.  That I am.

I face my day.

Be careful what you wish for, it may just come true.

Buddhism · Small Joys · Strong Woman · Treasure

giving birth.

The truth is that I am scared, and did you ever notice how scared and scarred are so close in spelling.  The truth is that I am scarred too, and right now I can feel the tightness of my skin as I morph into this new life.  I am afraid that I will not be wanted, that I will not be loved, that I will be thrown away, that I will be left for another version of me, or a version of someone else.  It is not as though it occupies every moment of my thoughts, but just now, as I am giving birth to this baby I am realizing that moment when I cannot stretch anymore is upon me, and I am no longer able to bear the pull just now.  I cover my face and say I am overwhelmed.  You always are.  No, I say, that just isn’t true.  But my mind says, yeah you stupid ass, you always are.  See that is what happens when I am stressed, I feel small and ugly, stupid and un confident and angry.

I want to not be this way, but I am.  I claw through the hard baked dirt of my consciousness, not softened by meditation or walking, my fingers bleed.   I push myself away before I am pushed away.  I withdraw to cope with these feelings.  I am taking note of what I am feeling, and that is the first step.  I am in pre school again.  I have not yet learned my abc’s.

Even so I stand back and observe the changes I have made, the clarity is coming bit by bit, and he admits to me as I inhale the masculine smell of his warm bare chest, his muscled arms wrapped around me, that his life is better with me in it, even though I have asked him to make so many sacrifices on my behalf.  He says, wow this room looks bigger as I remove and reorganize, bit by bit the years of things.

We all use things to ease the pain of loneliness I say.  Really?  he asks, I don’t.  We all do, that is what it means to consume, that is why they play depressing music in the stores, that is how they get you to buy stuff, by telling you your life will improve if you buy this product or that one.  Myself, I throw away things I thought I would own forever, I sell things that I never thought I could bear to part with.  I silence my own voice for weeks on end to get the results I want.  I look around this single room, filled now with my most cherished things, what more am I willing to part with.  Hands on my hips, maybe just a little bit more, maybe just a little bit more.  I am trying to sooth a case of colic, I rock myself, I hold myself, I go for days without sleep.  My undeveloped muscles leave me crying out for help when I cannot move my limbs, I am asleep.  Meanwhile back at the ranch.

I feel so, troubled.  And I just don’t want to feel these things any more.

I know that pushing them away will not help.  But I find myself doing it anyway, because it is just too much.

I want to just delete this and not publish it at all.

Its like a mental illness.

I am disgusted with myself.

This is a mortification.

Small Joys · Strong Woman · Treasure


I close my shades and my curtains, I peek out to make sure no one is looking, I have that butterfly feeling in my stomach, I do not want you to see me anymore.

I look at my berry brown skin, dark and freckled a little from the sun, I watch as my skin fades to February blues pale, and then the color goes completely leaving my skin translucent, and then transparent, like those clear pages of an anatomy book, revealing first my striated muscles and then my veins, blue and red and my pulsing heart and the power lines crackle of my nerves.

I can see all the way through me.  You could never see past the end of your own nose, held high.

He fights me over every scrap of paper, and I take off my glasses and rub my face in frustration.  Forget it I say, I am just going home.

Later he kisses me, his face all covered in sweat, on my cheek, as I cover my face a little teary eyed.  You deserve being treated well he says.  You deserve being taken care of.  I know I say, but it is awkward.  We pass over the floor, here still dirty cream berber, there oak and walnut pegged.  I say oh it looks so awesome.  You come in, man that floor looks good.  Did you want to do this because you know I like hardwoods or because you wanted too I ask.  Both he answers, smiling at me with those eyes all crinkled in the corners.

In the hot tub I go and sit on his lap, my arms wrapped around his muscled shoulders my lips soft on his neck.  I whisper in his ear, I am so blessed to have you in my life.  He kisses my shoulder, and I go back to my place.  Ok, finish your beer, and we will get out.  I already did, I say, I guess I chugged it.  You are awesome he says.  Why is that I ask.  Because you burp and fart and curse like a sailor and smoke cigars and chug your beer.  I laugh.

Can you see why I feel blessed?




I dream I am an inventor, though I wake myself saying, but I don’t have an inventor’s mind.  I am not being self depreciating, I really don’t have that kind of mind.  Is it wrong to think true of yourself, to say, I am not the best of everything, when you recognize and acknowledge your faults, your weaknesses, and your truth?  But those people in the future, who are trying to survive a reformation of the earth, they need me, they require my gifts of invention to solve their dilemma, what gift I ask?  What gift?  There is no gift.

I sit beside him on the granite washed rust with tannin in the water, the effervescent bubbles of the rapids tingling against our feet.  He hugs me with his big arm, telling me how much he loves me, and that if I ever need him he will be there for me.  He holds open doors for me, opens the door to the car, is the perfect gentleman.  He adores me.  I have missed you, I say.  It is good to be with you again.  I hug the off kilter birdhouse his lover has made close to me as I leave, and the tiny pink tea roses, his garden is astonishing, his house like a museum.  I will be back I say.  I hope I will be welcome.  I am not always perfect, but I love perfectly.

I ache with frustration, I want to fit in but I don’t always.  I tell him, I know you would choose her over me, you already have, I feel ugly and I feel nervous to be next to her.  You are beautiful he says to me, and I love you.  Later, as we eat dinner in our shorts and tshirts in a fancy restaurant, he says see we are fine in here dressed this way, we are not like a sow’s ear.  I laugh, I totally get that I say.  And frankly I am not interested in being a silk purse, they don’t hold much ammunition, what they make up for in beauty and fine quality, they lack in strength, and in sturdiness, they would be utterly useless in a zombie apocalypse.  And later still I see an old boyfriend, I tell him, I would choose you again, you were right for me and I knew it the third time I met you.  It just took you longer to realize it.  Annoyed I break from the parade and go to the bathroom, to the coffee shop and for a promenade on the dock.  I will not tell him I am irritated by his abandonment, but then he has a town full of pirates searching for me, and doesn’t leave my side again.  I made my feelings known without speaking.  There are a few dozen photos taken by strangers of me and me and him and all of us together.  My friends like you he says.  I smile and say nothing.

I hold my finger tip to my lips.  Shh I say to myself, tell no one.  The dates that gather are auspicious, and I am fearful of cursing myself.  Shh I say.  I walk through the cemetery looking for an old grave, my body always feels so heavy, I tell him, this may sound crazy but sometimes I wonder if it is psychic energy, why do I always feel this logyness when I pass between the stones.  Maybe he says you feel the spirits of the dead, no energy is lost it is just transferred from one form to another.  I turn and look at him, he looks at me with his green amber eyes, and chuckles, what he says.  Nothing I say.  Nothing at all.



Birds · Buddhism · Energy work · Musings · Small Joys · Strong Woman · Yoga · Zen Center of Syracuse

Phoenix Soaring

I do not know how long it has been since I have been to yoga, but I make up my mind that this weekend I will return.  Perhaps it has been a year, or maybe only six months, it feels like forever.  The long term pain in my hip is more or less gone, and from time to time the pain from last summer that plagued my right knee is still a twinge here and there.  Though not nearly as painful as it was when I decided a break was in order.  I have not walked much either, I decided my body was telling me take it easy, and still all the work on the house has created a completely different set of muscle aches and joint issues.  Sore ankles plague me in the morning, and the tightness in my shoulders, upper back and arms is evident in the opening stretches of the session.  I walk in to my dear friend Karen and the joy from both of us is delightful, she too has been plagued with severe health problems, and even when I was going often, she was not.  There are others too who greet me with pleasure.  It is good to feel this sense of Sangha for lack of a better word.  Perhaps that word is just right.

Usually I gripe about certain poses and postures or asanas, but today I have come with this resolve to do it no matter what without complaint, adjusting on the first night only one pose which I feel unsafe in, a stretch which opens up the legs in a split forward to back, that feels like the tendons behind my knees will pop and roll like a rubber band cut at its furthest stretch.  I alter it to a hurdler’s stretch, it does not open the soas, but it does open the hamstring.  I close my eyes, and for a moment my spirit feels a deep feeling of being on a balance beam, or  a log stretched across an abyss, I am maintaining a balance here, I do not want to sway to one side or another.  I do not call it torture pose, I call it opportunity to work through the difficulties.

My dear friend tells me when she meditates she has a mantra that seeks to wish well upon all beings.  I want to be there, though I am not yet.  I have only just learned to not wish bad karma on those that have hurt me so deeply, have hurt my child.  I feel the sting on my own cheek as though it were my own.  She had the bravery to accuse a now guilty teacher of molestation, and for it she was called a liar, called a troublemaker.  He now no longer allowed to teach teenaged boys, due to his solicitation of minors who reported him.  She is redeemed.  And in a flash I think, I should no longer wish the bad karma to flood the life of the one who slapped her and the one who used this as a wedge in our marriage, I think, I should just let it all go.  And I do.  But wish them well?  Hope they are happy and free from harm?  Not yet, but I know as I walk this narrow bridge that it is there just ahead on the other side.

As it turns out two days later I am at yoga yet again, after an hour on the bike and weights for my arms.  It feels good to stretch and I feel the stress and months of stiffness open up my body.  My teacher knows how much I love hamstring and hip openers, and he says, near the end,  grab your straps, and I do, he makes eye contact with me and I raise an eyebrow, he grins at me and says we are going to do a hamstring stretch, I softly clap my hands together making no sound and grin from ear to ear.  He smiles knowingly and teases me gently for my joy.  Sangha.

In shavasana, I think, though I know I should only be breathing,  that though I have been set free, for some of the time I have carried a heavy weight around with me, and as I work slowly, cautiously to cut the last bits of its weight from me, as I make plans on how to create the future I truly want, as I work to let the lazy drift become a focused destination, I realize how very fortunate I am, how good this practice is for me, and how much I love the serenity of this place.

I look up inside the backs of my eyelids and I see a beautiful phoenix, soaring though the turbulent sky.

Musings · Small Joys

At home

There it is, I think as I lay on another layer, this is all there is.  I do not walk, I do not write.  I sleep, day upon day, I feel an exhaustion I cannot shake.

In it comes this inner quiet, I savor it, it beats the worry, and the stress and the ugly things that sometimes go on in here.  I relish this quiet, though its life is so short.

The summer nearly done and what have I accomplished?  I think nothing, but only because I have half an afghan, half a sock, an unfinished work of art, half read books, sleep only half good, my spirit tries to be happy in two houses.

I talk all night in my sleep.

I wake unrested and sleep through the news, and then later through some show about the geological era when Pangaea split, leaving Morocco behind to sail off to Nova Scotia, I wish I had actually gone to graduate school for archaeology.  I would have like that.  I would have studied ancient textiles, or pottery sherds, or petroglyphs.  I wonder how old the men’s clothing style is in Morocco as they twirl the tassel on their hats dancing in the red dirt.  I cannot imagine what the world was like then, I want to be the detective who discovers the secrets to the history of the earth.  I think of that guy in my primate anthropology class and his auburn curl that I touched in the last days of the semester because it was so beautiful I could no longer keep my hand from touching it.  I am in that place now.  The curl of my life drawing my hand, but I cannot move it.  I am caught like a man in the gaze of Medusa.  I am stone.

I wake to the phone and join the others in the pool, it is cool and refreshing, I kick my feet and wave my arms for over an hour.  I need to walk.  The dog needs to walk.  I am so tired though.  I just want to sleep.  But then, I think, I so want to write.

Part of it, is having a secret, that I don’t want to share on the blog, just in case she or he is watching.  I don’t want them bothering me anymore.  I want to live here in this town without them invading my mind, or my space.  I feel his teeth on my tongue, biting me so hard it hurt for weeks after he left.  I am silenced only because I do not want to feel that anymore.

I curl against his body, and he pats my hand as it rests on his chest, and then he turns and wraps himself around me.  I like this, here in the middle of the week.  He looks at me later from the side of the bed, and he is grinning.

And I don’t feel giddy.  I just feel home.