Thursday, February 20, 2020

Wise Woman


I finally saw Her!  Felt Her wisdom like warmth from the sun soaking into my skin.  She is sitting calm and resilient, like flowing water that cuts through rock and etches  canyons with long, liquidy fingers.  Her hair falls straight, dark with gray streaks that pick up the highlights of her serene face.

Rest, my daughter.  I've got this!  You're going to have to start trusting me.

The miracle is that I do.  I feel my body soften, malleable like clay in Her hands.

My child, who told you to carry this load?  
Why do you think you have to have all the answers?  
Just do your work, the result is none of your business.

My work, yes.  Breathe.  Check myself.  Clear the debris.  The more I do this, the easier it becomes to recognize those thought barnacles that cling to me but are not mine.  It's simple really.  Constantly questioning each moment, each experience, each person standing before me to see if they are part of my journey or just a distraction from my path.  Continual course corrections.  Sometimes just a minute shift can alter everything.  The trick is that it is not always the easiest or even the most pleasant.  But I don't want to shy away from the yummy stuff either.  No more martyr shit, ok?

Whatever I do, let it be deep and may I be willing to dive wherever it leads.  I can't carry rocks in my bag anymore.  No time for that.  That was when I was young and feisty.  Shooting off like fireworks in the sky.  Now I need to be agile and use my light efficiently to travel farther.  If I find I've tucked away a stone in a secret pocket, I kiss it and gently let it go.  Not out of anger, but from love.  Love for the purpose it served in my life but also love for the woman I am becoming.  No more contorting my soul to fit into someone else's drama.  They are but twists and bumps to check my balance, carve lean muscles and strengthen my endurance, my resolve.  It's all about coming back to my story, again and again and again.

As I do, I feel myself taking up space, letting others adjust to my mass.  Woman spreading.  I plant my feet and expand.  Push against the envelope like the suffocating walls they have become.  I need room to breathe!  Remind myself that I have a right to clean air.  Allow my lungs to fill...

Then I return to a relaxed fight stance, ready to spar again.  I am finally enjoying the training.  Find the world a worthy obstacle, and me a confidant warrior.  At last I am moving from my core, defining myself, looking out from my own eyeballs.  No one can make me feel inferior if I don't let them!  It has to start with me.

Balance

Feel like I am on a train,
my body hurling through time and space
even when I am sitting still.
Been having dizzy spells.
But instead of frightening me,
I enjoy the shift in equilibrium.
Relish each tiny muscle
twitching into action
to reclaim and rename, balance.
Like trees that bend in the wind
so they won't break,
a new kind of trust is forming,
burrowing deeper in my flesh
every time I find myself still standing
after a storm.

I am so utterly intoxicated by each moment,
that the past and future have become fuzzy things.
They dissolve quickly to the touch,
like flaky pastry.
My whole life,
a moving incantation.
Steps rise unbidden to meet my feet.
Sounds pour from my mouth,
and I watch them dance unhinged in the air before me,
swirling into new thoughts and ideas
like incense.
I listen, enchanted,
as if to the advice from an old friend
curious what she will say next.

I have long since lost interest
in the stagnation of keeping up appearances.
Time and energy
too precious, too costly.
I feel the mask slowly slipping,
like wet paint dripping from a wall.
All that is left is my bare face
transparent and visceral,
sinews exposed.
A slow sigh escapes as luxurious space unfurls inside me
and there is no facade left to maintain.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Red Woods

I am a European American citizen.  I say citizen but though it is legally true, I do not consider myself an American.  From my point of view, the only true Americans were the ones who were already here when my European predecessors arrived on this continent.  I struggle to live with the legacy of what my ancestors did to wrestle this land from those people and the indignity and arrogance of us now claiming it as ours.  Not only that but for us to have the audacity to tell more recent immigrants to “go home” is humiliating.  And to further our disgrace, we plundered the natural treasures of this land and even enslaved other people and brought them here to do our work for us.  And now we think we can claim the inheritance of their work? Their land?  And bully the rest of the world to follow our example?


I recently took a road trip with my kids, my partner James and his kids to the Red Woods in California.  The rangers told us not to walk close to the roots of the massive sequoias because despite their mighty grandeur, over time it erodes the soil they need to survive.  So we walked the trails lightly in awe of these majestic beings, humbled by their amazing size and noble age.  I found myself wondering what our civilization would look like through their eyes.  I pondered all they have seen over the past 600 years and what wisdom they could share with us.  

But I was torn abruptly from my reverie when I heard James yell out to a European family who was roughly kicking at the bark of a towering tree to get their footing on the roots for an instagram photo.  His voice was guttural, thundering, and threatening.  I put my arms around my kids and hung back.  I felt a twinge of discomfort for that family, making excuses in my mind that maybe they didn’t know better, didn’t understand English, or were just momentarily taken by the wonder of what they were witnessing that they weren’t thinking clearly.  

But when I looked at James, proud Comanche descendent, I felt shame rise hot on my skin.  I could see the deep wound that image provoked in him and the warrior it awoke. Is that not the legacy of my people... Carelessly destroying on a momentary whim what was meticulously protected for thousands of years?  For what, a trinket to send home?  Do we have no sense of greater responsibility to the earth?  To our community?  To the Great Spirit that created us all?  

Time collapsed.  Suddenly I felt no difference between those clueless European tourists and my own uninvited presence on this land.  My family has just been trespassing longer!  And as I looked around me at James and his children and my own children with Zapotec heritage, I was acutely aware that I was the only one in our group without legitimate ties to the earth we were walking. My lungs contracted, and I found it hard to breathe.    


I felt a similar twinge as we crossed the El Paso checkpoint.  “Is everyone in the vehicle an American citizen?”  James’ “yes” rang hollow in my gut.  After years of living with an “undocumented immigrant,” crossing the borderlands still triggers unbearable anxiety.  Yet from where I stand, my ex had more right to claim this land than many of the people who indignantly ask the question.  Do I even believe in borders anymore?  Particularly ones that were won through bloodshed and deceit.  As I looked out over that vast desert, I couldn’t help but wonder who was risking their life at that very moment to cross it.  I could feel the pounding of their heart and the parched cotton dryness in their mouth.  And who can fathom the child who was right now crying out for the safety of her mother’s arms from which she was cruelly ripped in the name of some arbitrary laws written by and for my own forefathers who stole this land in the first place and never seemed particularly concerned about their own broken treaties.  

It’s a heavy legacy I daily heave upon my shoulders and wear slung over me like a searing Scarlet Letter.  Yet to ever set it down feels like the pinnacle of unearned privilege.   

Friday, April 26, 2019

Mother

Towering tree 

with protective branches
Not to be cut down
and used as a crutch
or a stump.
Fuck that Giving Tree bullshit,
just another way to indoctrinate and exploit
women and mothers throughout time.

Get off your ass, young man
and show some respect
for your MOTHER.
Fierce waves crashing in the sea
and blustering wind,
rain pouring down your face
as you cry bitter tears
grieving your failures and missteps.
Did you think you wouldn’t make them?
Own them.
So you can own your own power.

Then come to me,
face wet, muscles soft.
Come to me as the little boy
under all that posturing and rustling of feathers.

There we will meet,
two travelers
with open hearts.
And I will take you in my arms,
like the sweet runaway bunny
coming home.
There I am all tenderness
and love for you.
I will dry your tears 
and remind you who you are.
Then send you on your way, 
to try again.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

You can’t break this heart


I’m older than time
Even though I occasionally forget
I can tap back into Her womb
And lose my little self to the bigger one
Both mother and daughter
I sit here amazed
Who is it that watches me?
Who witnesses my thoughts,
Who acts?
Who feels the emotions
And who allows them to wash over clean?
I love the smile that inches across my face
As I dissolve in meditation
Realizing my story is one of many
Wrapping back through a deep, deep Herstory
But how do we go forward?

I am perched on the moment
Eager and tingling
What of me will be carried forward?
Through my daughter, my daughter’s daughter, my son?
How would their father carry on if I were not here?
Even he once said he would make the small details special because that is what I do.
Something settled inside me,
Maybe this is my imprint on time

Sunday, December 9, 2018

FIREWALK


I walked on fire again last night. 
Surrounded by women I may have never met.
Except for our shared searching in the dark 
for the light of fire, 

still burning in our bellies.

We’ve always gathered in circles,
cycling back through ages.
But every time feels new
as I stare into the shimmering, crackling coals.
I try to tap into that ancient wisdom,
the retelling of stories
until each woman’s voice blends into one.
And we toss them all into the flame
through tears and laughter and pounding drum.
Burning the illusions and agreements 
that no longer serve us,
wondering if we too 
will be consumed by heat.

But a funny thing happens 
as I step out the other side,
as my foot touches the cool, moisture of grass.
The sensation of heat and cold lose their meaning.
And all that is left is a sense of tingling with life. 
The old fears, sadness and pain rise like smoke,
leaving me giddy and light and 
ready to face whatever comes next.  

Sharpening the Knife

Here we are
Eye to eye
And thirsty
Tenderly testing the waters
Of this deep, crystal clear pool.

But we are no longer young and foolish
We can still hear the sizzle from the last time
We let such enchanting water 
put out our roaring flame.  

We are sweaty and weary
And wear our battle wounds with pride.
We are warriors not unfamiliar to the weight of a sword
We’ve slashed ties and built a fortress
And guarded it fiercely to raise our young.

So we dance carefully around each other
Stealthy and alert
We poke and pry
And make careful notes of each response.

But allow ourselves to be curious 
of the shape taking form in the stone
As we each chip away at deceptions,
mirages, and alluring sleights of hand.
Our machetes drawn, we are determined 
to clear out the briars of our own illusions.
The taste of salt and blood rests soothing on my tongue. 
And we find scars braid stronger where the skin was torn.

So I let my mind sharpen against you 
like a knife against leather
No need anymore for anyone to validate me
Your power feeds my fire.

And your yang gives space for my yin to finally breathe.