Breach

whale breach

One of the reasons whales burst out of the water, reach back, twist and splash back through the blue stained glass surface is to knock off dead barnacles from their skin. Cold water barnacles attach themselves to the whales in the waters of Alaska and die when the whales move through warmer seas.

 

I rise
like this whale.
I break through
twist, turn, flip,
towards sky.
I splash down
all white foam
and spray.
The ghosts
that have attached
themselves
to my back
like barnacles,
parasites that feed
on my soul,
finally
they fall
back into the sea.

That Was Then…This is Fabulous

 

It’s been a year since I started this blog.

My commitment was to put it out there
It, I mean Me…put me out there

I might write something I’m unsure of
Something that makes me feel uncomfortable
Vulnerable
Something that makes me think I’ll be judged
I post it
Float it out there

I’m surprised with the response I receive
positive
a post on Facebook
or an email
thanking me
‘me too, I’ve felt that way too’

with the letting go
I’ve create space
for new friends
new fun
new writing
new perspective
new adventure
new avenues
new ideas
rekindled relationships
exploration
even more love

Space enough for a huge party
Yes, that’s right
I’m planning my BIG birthday party.

FUN
Lists upon lists
Of friends
That grows
Lists upon lists of
menu ideas
Caterers to call
Lists upon lists of what to do next
a backyard barbeque
with Ruffles potato chips and
onion dip
has turned into
a catered event

we’ve planted new grass

A celebration
Fabulous at 50
Maybe that’s what the cake will read

The other day someone asked if Bill and I were going to have children
We smiled.
“We gave it the college try.” I said, my arms around Bill.

“That was a compliment”.  Bill said to me on the way home, “He thinks you’re 40.”

Some years ago, when I was still mourning miscarriages, my best friend from high school had called me.  I wrote about our conversation.

Naomi hadn’t changed.  She was judgmental, tight, nasty.  At her wedding, a weekend affair in La Quinta, she asked me which of her guests I thought was the prettiest.  It’s your wedding Naomi, do you really care? I said or I thought, I can’t remember which.  In high school she was the pretty one everyone wanted to date. She called me to catch up, she said.   She was complaining about her husband, how he wouldn’t let her talk on her cell phone when he was around her, he needed her undivided attention, he was like a kid; her friend had hung up on her during a political discussion, (Naomi loves Rush Limbaugh).  Her Laguna vacation house was under construction; she wouldn’t be able to spend weekends there with her three kids, husband and two of their four cars.  She asked me how much money Bill and I earned. She asked how large our home was and how much we bought it for.  She had a checklist.  She asked about our vacations, our boat, our cars and then “Well you guys can do whatever you want because you don’t have kids.” She said.  Spitting at me through the phone line..

In that piece I wrote about the assumptions people might make because Bill and I don’t have kids.  Like my Dad used to say to me, Assume makes and ass out of u and me.

I thought about getting a t-shirt.  The front would read, I DON’T HATE KIDS and on the back, JUST REPRODUCTIVELY CHALLENGED.

I choose to glide into this new chapter
with grace
why carry with me
the heaviness
that belongs to someone else?

It has nothing to do with me

That was then

Fabulous at 50

Fabulous at 50

And this is Fabulous

Lessons Learned From Writing a Book

I’ve started working on my next book of poetry.
I loved how I felt when I was working on as simple as that. 

Driven,
focused,
relaxed,
happy,
passionate,
excited
creative
juiced

Yum

I imagined that once it was published I’d sell lots and lots and lots of copies.

“Honey, I wish more people read poetry.  They’d buy your book and love it.  Its mesmerizing.” Bill said.  as simple as that cover

I was sitting on the sofa, editing a poem for my blog.  He was standing in the doorway holding my book open in his hands.  I love the cover.  It’s a picture I took with my Blackberry one day when Bill and I had driven to the Esplanade to look at the ocean after a rainstorm  The sky and the ocean were the same color, slate gray; separated only by the sepia setting sun pushing it’s way through a cloud filled sky.   That day, I had no idea I’d use that picture for the cover of my first book.

“Yeah.  Well, I know I’m nuts, I thought I’d sell a few more copies.” I said.  It’s true. As embarrassing as it is to admit, let alone write about here (but I am getting naked after all), I thought more people would buy it.  I sent emails to my community and posted it all over Facebook.  I even changed the signature on my email to read, “Have you purchased your copy of my book yet?” with a link to my blurb bookstore.

My ego toys with me.

I was too attached to selling it. According to the Buddhists, attachment and avoidance are the causes of human suffering.

A gentle lesson.

I  thought that all the people that I support and have supported would support me back.  Did I give to others expecting for something in return?  That’s not the reason to give.  I know that’s not why I gave.  But, I can’t lie, I thought that the people in my ‘community’ would give the way I had.  Have I stopped giving? NO!  I have stopped expecting.  Isn’t expecting something in return the same as being attached?  Expectation. Attachment.

On Friday, I was walking to my car from spin class and a women came up to me.

“Can you spare some money for a cab?  My car broke down and I can’t get a hold of my son to come pick me up.” She said.  She was pretty, with dark hair pulled to the side in a pony tail, black rimmed glasses and a striped shirt.  She was holding her smart phone and her driver’s license in her left hand.

“Oh.” I said. She followed me to my car.  I opened my trunk.  “You don’t have triple A?” I asked.

“My son is a mechanic. I know the whole electrical system is shot.” She said.  “I’ve been calling and calling him to come and pick me up. He’s not answering his phone.”

My purse was in my trunk.  I placed my spinning shoes next to it and grabbed my wallet and opened it.  I had three ones and a twenty.

“This is all I have and I don’t think three dollars will get you very far.” I said.  I handed her the twenty.

“Thank you. Can I give you my contact information so I can pay you back? Here’s my license, take my information. She thrust her hand forward at me and showed me her license.  “I’m really telling the truth. People have been so mean to me. I’ve been asking for help. No one would help me.  Thank you so much. I don’t know how to thank you.” She said. She seemed as if she were going to cry.

“Don’t worry about it.” I said.  I put my wallet back in my purse and took it out of the trunk.  I slammed the trunk shut.  “Good luck with your car.” I said.

“Thank you so much.” She said.

I walked to the driver’s side, opened the door.  “No problem.” I said.  I opened my car door. “Good luck”.  She waved at me and I got in my car.

Over the next two days, two other people came up to me and asked me for money.  They didn’t seem as sincere and I had used the last three dollars  in my wallet to buy Bill an Italian ice.  I keep forgetting to get cash. I don’t know if this woman was ripping me off or not.  All I knew is she needed the money either way.  So I gave it to her.  I left the parking lot that morning with a smile on my face.

I like giving.

A gentle lesson.

I ordered thirty of my books to use for poetry readings and give as gifts.  I’d love to give them all away for free, but that doesn’t feel quite right.   There’s a lesson in that.

Here’s the woo-woo. Are you sitting down?  It’s an energetic thing.  Yup. Energy.  I want to receive.  I want to be paid to write.  You get my drift, yes? I want to receive.  With grace, with joy, with ease. I want to receive.  Yes? Yes! You do get my drift. I know you do. I see you swooshing down the slope.

I was accepted to write for Demand Media.  I’ll get paid for each article I write.  Energy.  I’ll be receiving money for my writing.  Energy.  (I met a writer in dance class.  She’s a screenwriter.  Lucky you.  I said.  I laughed.  I’m a poet, I said.)  Ahhhh, but who knows how the future will unfold.

Meanwhile, I walk by the stack of my books in my office. Sometimes I’ll stop.  Pick up a copy.   This is my book. I say.  I feel its weight in my hands.  Marvel at the shine of the cover, how good I look in the picture on the back.  I’ll read the ISBN number.  I’ll open it and read a poem.

I wrote a book.
I published a book.
I have a book.

It’s gorgeous
It’s good
It’s worth-while
It’s touching
Funny
Silly
Astute
It’s real
It’s true
It’s my book
I wrote it
And at poetry readings
I read from it

I’ve always wanted to stand in front of the room
Open my book to a page marked with a pink post it
This is from my collection of poetry called ‘as simple as that’ I say to the audience
And read a poem from my book

At the last reading I went to, a man came up to me
And asked to buy a copy of my book
And I signed it
And handed it back to him
And he smiled, he said thank you
And I smiled at him
“Thank you” I said

My Breath (Dedicated to ‘the exercise’)

IMG_0094

 

 

Catch your breath, Katina says, her voice bellows above the music.

Catch my breath?

My breath lifts up, flies through the glass door, out over the cars in the lot, flows onto PCH, makes a right, then another, and heads off toward the beach.  I watch her, music trailing behind a kaleidoscope of color and sound swirling and circling up and down in and out behind her.

I imagine her swan dive off the Esplanade.  My breath flutters away, floating off to Hawaii or Fiji or somewhere out in the South Pacific.  Some exotic island where I might not be able to catch her.

Stretched out in the sand, bronzed golden with vacation and tropical umbrellas and sweet ice blended rum, white, pink, blue liquid chill that calms and cools and warms her body from the inside. The sun beaming down warming her from the outside.  The breeze lifts up off the water, tickles her toes and the bottom of her feet, moves up her calves, shins and settles in the well between her thighs.vacation to cayman 099

She has hung a sign. It dangles from my chest, gone fishing.  She’s sleeping in.  She’s strolling the beach.  She’s sarong wrapped, coconut oiled, topless, hammock napping, afternoon love making, wave lapping, sun set watching, dancing the night away.

Maybe my breath walks along the canals in Venice. In and out of bricked passage ways only she could fit through.

Maybe my breath sips hot chocolate in Paris and watches the women walk the streets, contemplating styles and fashion. She’s learning French. Uh oh, what if she’s taken up smoking?

Maybe my breath rides on the back of a donkey in Santorini, riding up to the Principal Town Fira. Sun shining, reflecting off white and blue and cobblestone and water.  Why come back?

santoriniWhat if she never comes back? My breath has left me here peddling, legs pushing, pulling, up down up down around and around and around up down around, my heart goes ba boom ba boom ba boom and the tick tock of the clock and the music pounds b aba ba boom b aba ba boom b aba ba boom and my ba boom and the b aba ba boom up down around and around and one two one two one two.

This is your recovery, Katina says.  The music plays on. I feel my chest push out, ribs expand, back fan, as my breath fills my lungs and I am happy that she’s come back to me.

and the sky glows orange

morning meditationthis morning
during my meditation
focusing on my centering thought
          Through rest and play, I open my creative channel
focusing on my Sanskrit mantra

Om Anandham Nama
My actions are blissfully free from attachment to outcome

focusing on my breath
focusing
letting the thoughts float in and out
not serving them tea
focusing on relaxing
ignoring what she said
focusing on my breath
ignoring what I said
focusing too much
ignoring each click tick tick of my brain
tick
should I be working this hard
focusing?
my actions aren’t always blissfully free from attachment to outcome
I’m plugged in
to the outcome
I’m plugged in
to how I’m getting me there
I’m plugged in
unconscious even
someone or something or both
have more of me then I’m willing to give

I need that back
that piece of me
I’ve given away to
her
them
the giggle
gaggle
of women men groups others
that piece I’ve given away
I’d like that back please

thank you

cloud flyIt’s time to
peel myself away

I open the door
The smell of cut grass and wet earth
washes over me
I bend
into myself
I flip outside
upside-down
into the day

I grab a tree branch
trapeze myself
somersault
up
to land
cordless on the lift of cloud

I look down

No line
No note
No tone
No chord

Just my song

Bye-bye
I sing
Bye-bye
Bye-bye

Sweet crazy swirling
velvet sky stretch me humble and whole

happy cartwheel slices
I am unrestrained, unbowdlerizedand the sky glows orange
gritty open soft
pulling sweet
coursing through my own arteries capillaries veins
streams of me
flowering creative flushing flows of me
whistling energy surging gushes of me
painting the sky
purple red blue pink green

Below
I catch
in the corner of my eye
a frayed line spark

and the sky glows
orange

doors close…

 

All that worry
All that comparison
All that fear
Turn it out
Let it move through
Let it leave
Open the door and
Let it out
Dance it away
Sing it away
Write it away

Let it
Be gone

When God shuts a doorclosed door
some where he opens a window …

wait for the breeze
let it kiss my cheek
let it wrap itself in me
let it lead me to what’s next

Let go of the closing door
Let it close
Let it be
Let it

Allow

Let it close

Let it slam shut
If it has to
Let it

Allow

Lots of closed doors
Lots of open windows
Lots of attachment
And the practice

Let it close
Let it slam shut
If it has to
Let it

Allow

I can hear the crumble
Echos
Tumble and fall
Echos
Of a dream
Echos
As it rams head on
Into that iron door
Ahhhh but my dreams
will stand up
back away
maybe examine a wound
treat it
or not
let the breeze from the open window
heal mend strengthen fortify

breath
Let it open wide
Let it enter
it will
Let it

Allow

begin from this placeopen window

I’ve done this
Over and again

Let the magic
Blow in through that open window

The magic of unknown
The magic of letting go
The magic of trust
of knowing and desire and bliss
of miracles

all I have to do is
breathe

 

 

Born From Heaviness

ripple lake
A vision presents one morning.
Pebbles thrown, skipping over the water,
ripples pushing out from the shore.
I walk forward, my feet sinking into the silt.
New verses, like raindrops, are born from heaviness.
Words I’ve scribbled on napkins and used envelopes,
are the scraps I hold, as offerings.

An apparition floats at the foot of my bed.
I reach for him and watch my hand cut through time.rose petal
I plant a rose bush to remember he was here.
Soft petals float, like feathers, they rest before his alter.
I open the door.
I carry my journal to the earth.
There are days I have carved history onto the page
desperate to understand.

Integration

see the light two catalina

Seeing The Light

Once you know you know. There’s no going back. You’ve opened your eyes and seen a certain kind of light. That’s it. Now you know it’s there. You can’t shield yourself even if you wear dark glasses. The light is there. You know it, the light knows it.  The light is there.

It started after my Dad died. I was 25. His death pushed me out of LA, through England, Whales and Ireland and then to Santa Barbara.

It was during my time in Santa Barbara that I started doing personal growth work. It was more my Mother’s choice than mine. I’d journey to LA on weekends to sit with a group, cross legged, hearts open, minds open, ears open and we’d take the dive into ourselves. For seventeen years I sat in this group learning about myself, diving in, fishing and digging and pulling, prodding, tearing, expanding, shrinking and expanding again, all the while, breathing. I was cultivating a practice and I didn’t even know it. I mean I knew it intellectually, our facilitators told us, but I wasn’t integrating this practice into my life.

Instead, the practice was shadowing me. She kept her distance. She would follow me back to Santa Barbara, take a seat a few bar stools over and observe as smoke circled above us. My tequila kept me distant and warm.

I didn’t fight against her but I also didn’t turn completely toward her either. Instead I let her trail behind me.

shadowself

Shadowing Myself

At 28 I was straddling two worlds, a world that was being built in awareness and one that was anchored in too many men and too many late nights and too many white lines.

I remember the day when those two worlds collided.

I was sitting on the curb outside of his house. He, M, was sitting next to me. I was crying.

“You’re a big fat liar!” I said. I knew he wasn’t a liar, he always told me the truth. I knew about most all of the other women he dated, I knew that I wasn’t someone he brought out in public, I knew we were an on-again-off-again-not-really-a-relationship-at-all relationship. I was just pissed about it.

“No I’m not”, he said. He was laughing at me.

“I’m in love with you and you don’t even care!” I said.

It was a few hours later that something hit me. BOOM. We were lying in bed after sex. I was jerked upright and I grabbed the sheet, pulled it to my chest and smiled.

“Oh My God!” I said.

“What?” he said. He sat up, moved a pillow behind him and leaned back against the wall. He turned to look at me. “What is it?”

Whenever I was with him, it was as if time stood still. I could escape my life and rent his for a while. I would go over to his one bedroom apartment on the second floor of the Victorian house and disappear.  I used to say, “I love how no one knows where I am right now except us.” We’d spend a day or two at most tripping around Santa Barbara, going from one bar to another.  Once we even drove up to the top of Gibralter where he surprised me with a picnic of champagne, grapes, cheese and crackers.  We made love, watched the sunset and drank our champagne. The light went on that afternoon, as the slid out of the room.  I breathed in and inhaled the sensations, reactions, moods, and feelings of the women who had been there before me. I had absorbed a little bit of Lisa, Wendy, Beverly, Karen, Missy, the hairdresser we called ‘Squishy’, the cocktail waitress, the girl that owned that restaurant, the crazy girl that jumped off the booze cruise for no apparent reason and the girl that was afraid of wind.Even the women I didn’t know about, they were there too and I drew them in and expanded.

“Oh my God! I’m going to be so over you one day.” I said. I was giddy with excitement. “I can stop beating myself up. I don’t even have to worry about how or why or when. It’s just going to happen. So in the meantime, why beat up on myself?” I took a deep breath in. I exhaled. “Wow, I feel so good. Like a weight has been lifted.”

“Gee thanks,” he said.

“No, thank you.” I said. I reached over, kissed his cheek, got out of bed and went to the kitchen for a glass of water.

Now, looking back at that moment I realize it was about more than just us. That moment was about integration. That moment is the moment I turned toward my shadow.

We ARE Married 10 26 03-1Life unfolds.  We don’t have to work so hard. All we have to do is believe. I didn’t try and get over him, I just did. I didn’t try and integrate a practice into my life, I just did.  I didn’t try. I wanted, I desired, I believed, I received.

By the way, we are still great friends. He and his wife were at our wedding. To this day, I joke with him.

“You had your chance,” I say. And we laugh.

Trying Too Hard

 

I’ve tried too hard
only to watch
everything I’ve tried too hard for
fall apart.
Each brick I’ve tried too hardbrick wall
to lay just so
on the brick
Before it,
falls.
Topples to the ground
in a cloud of dust
which I then
try too hard to clean up
so as not to leave
evidence of my crime.

 

footprints in sandBut there is always evidence
a foot print left
in the soft sand
a wave can’t wash away
a streak of dirt on a window
an over-worked rag will smear
a dried leaf
dropped from a dying plant
left ignored in the corner
of a room.

 

I’ve tried too hard
to be right,
to hide my truth
clenched in my fist.
I watch her
push against
the bars
trying to wriggle
herself free
as she gulps
for air.

Until one day
I remember
to stopsoft focus
to listen
to open
and welcome
the whisper
before she
has to scream.

Now, when I look out and
watch others trying too hard,
I can see me.
My lens is more focused
and less accurate,
I know, it’s what,
an oxymoron,
like a hard pillow or
a tender arrow.

It’s true though,
I am more focused,
just softer.

Hot Mess

 

“You’re a hot mess!” Rebekah said.

I was still catching my breath.  My skin was hot and sticky.  I was on my knees pushing into the pole, my arms stretched,  tugging at my shoulders, gripping the metal above my head.  It felt cool on my belly. My hair was wild, covering my face, a strand caught in my mouth.  Rebekah was smiling; standing with her right knee bent, right foot resting on her left, leaning against the stereo console.  She held my gold Nano, like a gift in her hand.

I could still feel the swell of my song, the sax, the drum brush, the heat of my music, strong and powerful, wrapping itself inside of me, moving down massaging my spine, circling its way around my hips, through my belly, inside my thighs and diffusing itself in my legs and out my red tipped toes.

swirlsofcolorI had just let go.  I let my body take over. My head would fall to the right, stretch out and around to the left and pull back and down, my body side-stretching vertebra by vertebra snaking itself, following my head. I had to grab onto a wall, crawl on the floor or lean into one of the white overstuffed chairs for support as I danced. I let my body find her  way as she slipped underneath the song and twisted through to her own pulse.  She curved up and down and around poles, landing, back arched, chest forward onto the floor, on her back, writhing onto her belly and pausing, leg lifting into the air, bending back and pulling herself around to her back again. She melted into an oozing rainbow of red, ruffles, black patent leather, lace and skin.  She painted me with splashes onto the wall, with swirls that dripped down the poles, with splatters that marked the chairs.

Now I’m part of a living memory, a history that’s grooved itself into the wood floor, part of the tradition of stripping down and diving into spirit.

I’ll come back in the New Year and sink into soft purple. When I reach my fingers in front of me, arms stretched, legs splayed open, pulling myself into the room, I’ll feel the pulse of my history as I trace my fingertips along the raised surface of tongue and groove boards.  I’ll absorb the celebration of the women who’ve danced before and cheer for those that’ll come after.  I’ll feel the pieces of broken shell and watch soft yolk ooze golden yellow.  That glowing knowledge and love, freedom and truth decorate this room.

I broke free of my shell this year.  I tossed it away piece by piece.  I watched it burn as I flung it into my fire. I watched old memories, old ways and old cares spark orange and light the winter night sky.bruning fire

I like that.  I like that I’m a dancing, happy, free, inspired, chest open, heart forward, arms raised, gorgeous, strong, grateful, smiling, stripping down, layer-by-layer, hot mess.  I like that I’m peeling into myself.  I like that the deeper I go the messier and happier I get.  Yeah.  Rebekah’s right.  I am a fucking HOT MESS.

I smiled.  “That’s my new year’s resolution.” I said.

 

 

The song I danced to on December 31, 2012 was Christina Aguilera’s Nasty Naughty Boy.  Happy New Year!