26 February 2009

My Rose Labyrinth

I've started Boot Camp

HA! Friend M and I started boot camp this week. Our coach, Caroline, is good. I found myself complaining left and right --

"I hate this!"

"What am I doing here!?"

etc...in the middle of crunches, running the miles, jogging up the bleachers, etc. But, M is great and so encouraging, and I feel empowered already.

La Cita

Enter confessional: --( thanks jpc)

I confess that I went to La Cita twice last week.

Exit confessional.

25 February 2009

Painting again

It feels good. Last week, S and I went to Viento y Agua for an art class led by a lovely woman named Marla. Here's my painting of Oliver in an Alice in Wonderland tree. I painted in a moon later:

Power of Now -- ah eckhart

I heard this in the car this morning:
Let me summarize the process. Focus attention on the feeling inside you. Know that it is the pain-body. Accept that it is there. Don't think about it - don't let the feeling turn into thinking. Don't judge or analyze. Don't make an identity for yourself out of it. Stay present, and continue to be the observer of what is happening inside you. Become aware not only of the emotional pain but also of "the one who observes," the silent watcher. This is the power of the Now, the power of your own conscious presence. Then see what happens.

Judgment is either to confuse someone's unconscious behavior with who they are or to project your own unconsciousness onto another person and mistake that for who they are. To relinquish judgment does not mean that you do not recognize dysfunction and unconsciousness when you see it. It means "being the knowing" rather than "being the reaction" and the judge. You will then either be totally free of reaction or you may react and still be the knowing, the space in which the reaction is watched and allowed to be. Instead of fighting the darkness, you bring in the light. Instead of reacting to delusion, you see the delusion yet at the same time look through it. Being the knowing creates a clear space of loving presence that allows all things and all people to be as they are. No greater catalyst for transformation exists.

"Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."

23 February 2009

A stolen passage -- pass it on?

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in a casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless- it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is hell."

-C.S. Lewis

Eat, Pray, Love.

Picked up Eat, Pray, Love again. Wabi Sabi friend gave it to me, oh, it must have been, this past Fall. I got stuck halfway through Pray before, but now I'm determined to make it to Love.

"I have a friend from High School who now works with the mentally handicapped, and he says his autistic patients have a particularly heartbreaking awareness of time's passage, as if they never got the mental filter that allows the rest of us to forget about mortality every once in a while and just live. One of Rob's patients always ask him the date at the beginning of every day, and at the end of the day will ask, "Rob--when will it be February fourth again?" And before Rob can answer, the guy shakes his head in sorrow and says, "I know, I know, never mind...not until next year, right?"

19 February 2009

The History of Love

Been thinking about Love lately. What is love? What is real love? What is unconditional love?
Nicole Krauss has some thoughts:

When I'd come in, she'd call me into her bedroom, take me in her arms, and cover me with kisses. She'd stroke my hair and say, "I love you so much," and when I sneezed she'd say, "Bless you, you know how much I love you, don't you?" and when I got up for a tissue she'd say, "Let me get it for you I love you so much" . . . and when I said I was going up to my room she'd call after me, "What can I do for you I love you so much," and I always wanted to say, but never said: Love me less.

She's kept her love for him as alive as the summer they first met. In order to do this, she's turned life away. Sometimes she subsists for days on water and air. Being the only known complex-life form to do this, she should have a species named after her. Once Uncle Julian told me how the sculptor and painter Alberto Giacometti said that sometimes just to paint a head you have to give up the whole figure. To paint a leaf, you have to sacrifice the whole landscape. It might seem like you're limiting yourself at first, but after a while you realize that having a quarter-of-an-inch of something you have a better chance on holding on to a certain feeling of the universe than if you pretended to be doing the whole sky.

My mother did not choose a leaf or a head. She chose my father, and to hold on to a certain feeling, she sacrificed the world.

There's hope....Denise Levertov

Advising Myself

When the world comes to you muffled
as through a glass darkly –
jubilance, anguish, declined into
faded postcards – remember how,
seventeen, you said
you no longer felt or saw with
the old intensity, and knew
that the flamelight
would not rekindle;
and how Bet scoffed
and refused to believe you.
And how many thousand times,
burning with joy or despair,
you’ve known she was right.

18 February 2009

Mental Slavery: I'm Floundering

At a recent fundraising dinner, the speaker asked us to consider being honey bees instead of locusts. I liked reading The Secret Lives of Bees and appreciated Tori Amos' tribute to bees as well. There is something so contented about bees to me even though they are often referred to as "busy bees."

However, I'm floundering in becoming my true honey bee self. I'm muddled, and being muddled reminds me of Laura Riding's Four Unposted Letters to Catherine written in 1930. I don't want to be a part of the muddle. No-sir-ee. But, I do think I was/am this child.

The trouble is that people interfere with children – not because people are wicked but because of the way of the world. The way of the world is do a lot of unnecessary things. And so there is less time than there should be – I mean less laziness. And so children are hurried along and made to grow up and start doing things before they really start doing thing, that is, before they have finished knowing about themselves. And so there are a great many grown-ups who don't know everything about themselves. And so they do not light up everything around them. And so, however well they may do things, it is as if they did them in a dim light. They do things hurriedly and blurredly in order to seem to be people…

People say to [children] when they think that they have been playing long enough: "You are no longer a child. You must begin to do something." But although playing is doing nothing, you are really doing something; you are thinking about yourself. Many children play in the wrong way. The make work out of play. They not only seem to be something, they really are doing something. They are imitating grown ups around them who are always doing as much instead of as little as possible. And they are often encouraged in this way by grown ups. And they are not learning to be themselves…there are many people who are not entirely themselves because as children they were not given time to think about themselves….

…these people try to make up for not knowing everything (about themselves and the world) by doing things…the wrong kind of doing is doing that people do not do for comfort or fun but in order to prove themselves to other people…showing-off. The greatest show-offers and busy-bodies are men. And so this world is ruled by men because it is a world not of doing but of overdoing. A world of simple doing would need no ruling. It takes really very little doing to be comfortably and happily alive. We ought not to pay much more attention to doing than to breathing.

There are two things to understand about learning: one, that it is not real; two, that it can be of some good use only if people remember that it is not real….It all depends on its helpfulness to you. And no matter how helpful it may seem you must always remember that you could have got on very well without it – in the long run, of course, which is the only run that matters. …if a person is more inclined to doing than to thinking, if a person is so inclined to doing that she finds it difficult to get away from doing to thinking, if a person, that is, instead of knowing herself, continually prevents herself from knowing herself by inventing jobs for herself to keep her mind off herself, then learning can be helpful in winning her away from doing, for learning seems like doing is not really doing. Learning can teach her laziness, and laziness can teach her to think. So learning can be a bridge between doing and thinking. …it is nothing in itself and that is has no meaning, that is, no value, either as doing or thinking. From learning-laziness, then, you don't come to know everything: you do nothing and you know nothing about anything, you let things do and know for you. And you really aren't , and they really aren't. Now, what about thinking-laziness? From thinking-laziness, which is roaming idly in and out about yourself, you come to know everything about yourself. And this is not repeating old things but being something new, something that cannot be repeated, something that is yourself as long as you can be it and after that nothing else at any rate. And if you can be as newly true as you are because of you – providing, of course, that being yourself comes so easily to you that you a have a lot of being to give away.

…Once you know there is a muddle it is easy to be simple yourself. The trouble is that scarcely anyone will admit (least of all to children) that there is a muddle, and so it goes on , without a great many people even knowing about it. …some are aware of the muddle, and some are not. Some are wicked, that is, and some are stupid. The wicked want the muddle go on because in some way they profit by it' they are the crooked, or unstraight, or unsimple, people who have power over other crooked people who are wicked but only stupid. The stupid crooked people, as I said, are not aware of the muddle; they are just anxious to be good – not good in themselves but good meaning being nice, and being nice meaning pleasing the people in charge of things, the wicked crooked.

The straight people can't do anything about [the muddle] because they are not parts of the anyhow muddle: they belong to a straight way of things. They can only fight against the muddle by not being part of it. And of course this can't do much good because the muddle is so big by itself that it doesn't miss them. They can only fight by being straight and saving themselves from the muddle – by setting a good example. Sometimes you may even find the straight people trying to do more than set a good example; they may feel it so difficult to be easily simple, because of the muddle, that they may try to change it forcibly. But this is generally hopeless; they throw themselves into the muddle, which is so much bigger than they, and they disappear in it when, if they remain outside, they would at least be noticeable to others like them and make them feel less lonely and uncomfortably odd. It might even be possible to clear up bits of the muddle, if a great many straight people concentrated on a very small part of the muddle. But the only way that the whole muddle can be changed is if the wicked crooked people themselves change, and so the stupid crooked people after them – for these are the muddle.

…thinking is just being yourself. …knowing all about everything is being yourself over and over on and on as if forever, so that yourself is like one day of everything, and so as good as everything when it comes to the question of knowing everything about everything.

…if you knew all about yourself you [are] like a bright light that lights up other things. Well, just as a light shines outside of itself, so thinking is not locked up in a brain. Thinking can go beyond a person, and since a person is her thinking, a person can be more than she seems when you look at her as a person. Indeed there is no limit to what a person can be, that is, there is no limit to thinking. So we can put the whole thing like this: knowing everything about yourself is thinking building itself up, training itself, making itself strong, sure, exact, independent of the brain that you might say is like a nest for it in the beginning: and knowing everything about everything is thinking grown up, thinking not only being thinking but thinking thinking.

Nature you might say is the muddle that comes of anything being at all.…It is a muddle that doesn't prevent anything. It is only a muddle because it is always a beginning of things. The other muddle is a preventing muddle. …a really wrong muddle…is a sort of stale nature because it is neither a beginning nor an end. It is history....the most discouraging word that I know.

15 February 2009

India Arie -- Understanding

I've been enjoying India's new CD quite a lot; she heals me, or she reminds me to heal myself.

Nevertheless, the focus on forgiveness in her other album still speaks to me. What is the "heart of the matter"? Understanding? Seeing from a different perspective?

I recently wrote some thoughts on understanding of self and others on a drive to Tribal Cafe in Echo Park -- a new favorite of mine. http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewProfile&friendID=18629582

I give you my guilt;
I give you my shame.
There is no one to blame.

I release my fear;
I release my doubt.
I choose to live without.

They may have been passed on from them to me;
but I let go so I can be.

They hurt me more than anything else;
I am free to be myself.

I've felt used for a long time now, but I'm realizing my negative thoughts (intellectual violence as a good friend calls it) harm me the most. I figure it's time to get down to the heart of the matter. I choose to be the change I wish to see in the world.

14 February 2009

Michael Franti and Spearhead.

A good friend took me to see Franti in Oakland last weekend. The show was amazing, and we danced like there was no tomorrow. I had never heard of them before a couple weeks ago, but then, all of a sudden, friends like rhino and mother moon arts and others were singing Franti's praise. Lucky me to have such awesome friends.

Goodbye Office

This is my first week without my English office job.
I went snowboarding, to grandmother's house, and dancing!

We had some rough patches, ole office job, but I honor you and the space you provided in my life:

Snowboarding yesterday in a blizzard!

It was really blustery, and J and I had an adventure!

walk from San Fran to Machu Picchu?

For one night I stayed at the Piedmont House Hostel (www.berkeleyhostel.com) when I was in the Bay Area. On the communal fridge, someone had posted an invite to walk, starting Christmas Day, from SF to Peru. I wonder where they are, and I was thinking how cool it would be to join them -- perhaps in Guanajuato? Anyone down? We need to email Christopher at movementismedicine@gmail.com

09 February 2009

Dive, dive down in the deep dark waters; swim your body to me

I can't tell you that i won't hurt you
But I'll promise to try
Everybody wants a piece of pie, honey


Hold on to what is good,
Even if it's a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe,
Even if it's a tree that stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do,
Even if it's a long way from here.
Hold on to your life,
Even if it's easier to let go.
Hold on to my hand,
Even if someday I'll be gone away from you.

Great Mystery,
teach me how to trust
my heart,
my mind,
my intuition,
my inner knowing,
the senses of my body,
the blessings of my spirit.
Teach me to trust these things
so that I may enter my Sacred Space
and love beyond my fear,
and thus Walk in Balance
with the passing of each glorious Sun.

Hopi Prayer...

A new friend inspired me to research native-american tribes. I found this Hopi prayer, and it reminds me of the last book in His Dark Materials series when those in the underworld dissipate in the air, joining their "souls," and are free.

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there.I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet white doves in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there,I did not die.

05 February 2009

My cousin died today -- To Heather Montoya!

I feel completely morbid writing this on my blog, but I think putting what has happened in written form will help me process the loss of someone I felt connected to -- a new thing for me.

I met Hezzy at our family reunion in the little town of Golondrinas, New Mexico. Our family, the Montoyas, have lived in this gorgeous part of NM for a good deal of time and the family ranch is immense. As a child, I'd visit and swim in the river, cross the rope bridge, and eat Aunt Daisy's homemade tortillas and chile con carne. AWESOME! In the summer of 2007, we had a huge family reunion, and it was at this reunion that I met Hez. 6 years older than I, I saw her as the older sister I'd really like to imitate. Vivacious, spunky, ain't gonna take crap from anyone, she was pretty much the bees knees. She and I talked about our travels, our passions, our lives as we gallivanted with the fam, drinking and dancing around the bon-fire. That Fall, I visited her in San Francisco, and below is one of our many fotografias. I've decided to leave out the many she took of me when I was pretty tipsy. HA!

I was hoping to visit Hez again this past Friday, but things didn't work out. I've been up in the Berkeley for a writing project, and on Monday, I received a call from many different family members (in NM and in CA) that I needed to go to the ICU of Pacific Campus in SF because Hez had had a stroke Sunday evening and then soon slipped into a coma due to the aneurysm in her brain located near the spinal chord I think. I was pretty much unbelieving of the seriousness of the situation until I saw her that evening, and then and there, I realized that it was bad, very bad. Tuesday we heard that her reflexes had shown some reaction and that there was still blood flow on the top of her brain, but Wednesday, yesterday, the doctor revealed that the scan showed a larger hemorrhage than anticipated and irreversible damage on the lower part of her brain.

Conversation then became more about organ donation and the celebration of her life to be held Saturday. Fortunately, providentially, I happened to extend my flight until Sunday morning, so I'll be here, and I'm glad and moved because I've been present with Hezzy during this whole time; what a privilege! Even today, I walked to the hospital from the BART and a visit to CIIS, and I arrived later than I hoped, but as I arrived, I encountered Hez's mom, Francesca, and we had this amazing healing conversation about my shawl that I had put on Hezzy while in the hospital and how Fran planned to wear it the next few days, put it on Hez's altar at the celebration on Saturday, and then give it back to me with all the blessed energy! And, yes, it was as I was talking with Fran, at 3:11 (Hez's birthday and room number in ICU) that Hez was pronounced dead.

I'm here, I'm present, and I'm thankful. I love you, sister, prima, Hezzy Montoya.

You lived life fully; you were larger than life; you were an inspiration to LIVE OUTLOUD!

"Life is on our side" -- Thomas Merton to Czeslaw Milosz

Just got a start on the letters between Merton and Milosz, entitled Striving Towards Being. A mentor recommended the book, and the title sealed the deal. I feel I've come across these letters before in undergrad, but this morning, these passages -- on integrity and our own dishonesty -- stood out to me.

There has to be a third position, a position of integrity, which refuses subjection to the pressures of the two massive groups ranged against each other in the world. It is quite simply obvious that the future, in plain dialectical terms, rests with those of us who risk our heads and our necks and everything in the difficult, fantastic job of finding out the new position, the ever-changing and moving “line” that is NO line at all because it cannot be traced out by political dogmatists. And that is the difficulty, and the challenge. I am the last in the world to pretend to know anything about it. One thing I do know, is that anyone who is interested in God Who is Truth, has to break out of the ready-made shells of the “captive” positions that offer their convenient escapes from freedom — one who loves freedom must go through the painful experience of seeking it, perhaps without success (4).

In silence and suffering, in the heartbreaking effort to be honest in the midst of dishonesty (most of all our own dishonesty), in all these is victory (19).

04 February 2009

What i mean by spirituality....

Yesterday had a meeting with my potential mentor/advisor up in Berkeley. We talked about story-telling has the connection between theory and action! And, we talked about spirituality...

This morning, I found this in Oliver's Winter Hours.

What I mean by spirituality is not theology, but attitude. Such interest nourishes me beyond the finest compendium of facts. In my mind now, in any comparison of demonstrated truths and unproven but vivid intuitions, the truths lose. . . .I would therefore write a kind of elemental poetry. . . I would not talk about the wind, and the oak tree, and the leaf on the oak tree, but on their behalf. I would talk about the owl and the thunderworm and the daffodil and the red-spotted newt as a company of spirits, as well as bodies. I would say that the fox stepping out over the snow has nerves as fine as mine, and a better courage. I would write praise poems that might serves as comforts, reminders, or even cautions if needed, to wayward minds and unawakened hearts.

Reminds me of this Oliver poem from "Thirst":
when I sleep I feel you near.
When I wake, and you are already wiping the stars away,
I rise quickly, hoping to be like your wild child
the rose, the honey-maker the honey-vine;
a bird shouting its joy as it floats
through the gift you have given us; another day.

A map of our own: the 100 aker woods

J-A and I pondered the goodness in Christopher Robin's map the other day. We decided that an adapted map would be perfect for a baby's room. I also said how inclined I am to make one of my own. I really want to have the tree house.

Here is CR's treehouse, here is Oliver's sandpit, here is J-A's tree with the door on the side. :)

02 February 2009

Dancing for six hours....

is easy with the right group of people.

Horses horses horses

I really enjoy trail-riding with my brother. This last time, I was nearly thrown from the horse, but I prevailed. I'm quite proud of myself, and I owe my skills to brother Scott.