processing the process


stencil graffiti of Buddha face painted onto grey concrete sidewalkGood morning good morning — happy Monday morning to you. Happy June! I just spent about an hour and a half cuddling into my half-dreams, dancing with the snooze button on my alarm, waking up slow and easing into this day. Then, when I finally get up and get the puppy ready for her walk, we find that it has rained. In June! Just when I think I’ve gotten acclimated to Northern California weather, it all changes on me.

Monday often feels like my Sunday — most weekends, I’ve got a workshop on either Saturday or Sunday (this past weekend, it was our Dive Deep meeting on Sunday afternoon!), so the better part of the day is devoted to workshop: prep, meeting, and clean-up/aftercare. I’m grateful to have worked out the sort of schedule where I can take Monday as a down day, a sleep-in-and-move-slow day, a dream day. A sit-in-my-window-and-watch-oakland-be-grey day.

(I’m having a hard time settling into the writing today. I pop up, fix my tea, sit down and write a little, get up and go make breakfast, sit back down with the quinoa & yogurt and write some more, hop up to clean up after breakfast and then think, oh, let’s get some of this stuff off the wall in preparation for tomorrow’s painting job — then I yell at myself, you’re in the middle of something right now! Go finish your blog and then you can do whatever you want! The puppy snaps her head up, cocks it at her confused angle. Now, this yelling is maybe not the gentlest self-parenting. But my butt is back in the chair.)

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Some of what’s coming up around writing ourselves whole:

Writing the Flood meets this month on June 16; next month we meet on the fourth Saturday (rather than the usual third!) on July 28.

– the summer session of Write Whole: Survivors Write begins on July 2 — this workshop is open to all women who are survivors of sexual trauma. Join us, and write yourself into your whole story.

– I get to co-present (with Alex Cafarelli) a Body Mindfulness workshop at the Femme Conference, August 17-19 in Baltimore! I’ll also be performing with Body Heat at FemmeCon. Absolutely can’t wait.

– On August 25, I will facilitate a master class entitled Embodied Words: Writing Your Body’s Narratives, offered through Memoir Journal’s Workshop series. This class is intended to help writers of memoir and fiction get more comfortable writing the body’s stories, and to bring readers into a character’s bodily experience through sensual and sensory detail. Visit http://www.memoirjournal.net/events/master-class-embodied-words-writing-your-bodys-narratives/ for more information or to register!

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How was your May? I missed this blogging-space during my excursion into my May project of daily blogging about self-love and healing; the Coming Home project continues, but I’m ready to get back to this wider thinking about writing and healing and other forms of radical self care, too!

What do I want to say about Coming Home, this engagement with embodiment and trauma and masturbation and orgasm and fear and joy and want and sorrow and breath? When I talk about it with folks, I describe it initially, salaciously, as a masturbate-a-blog, an orgasm-a-day blog. But it wasn’t really as hot as all that, I don’t think. The writing was complicated — that is, the process of generating a blog post a day about my relationship with my orgasm was complicated, and then the writing itself was a layering of fantasy, bodily experience, explicit reference to my trauma history, and the ways that my orgasm has shifted and opened in the, maybe, twenty-five years since the first time I had an orgasm (at least, the first one I can remember), which I had after my stepfather began abusing me.

I write about this for a reason. I think this is obvious, but that’s not necessarily so, is it? I write about all of this because I don’t read about it enough, and I’ve needed to. Because when I write about something, I both know and alter how I think about it. I write about it because I never imagined myself healing into this place of embodiment — I didn’t even know it was possible. And because I’m still mourning what I’ve lost, and because I still want more. I write about it because when we tell our true stories, we allow for connection, we disallow isolation, we stretch our hands across the shadows of shame, the threats of violence, the deep space of shame — and we are met by those who needed to hear exactly what we share.

And, too, after this month of intense daily writing, I am feeling depleted; had to take the weekend off from blogging — feel over-exposed and drawn out. I want to be here in this space, all open and authentic, and also just want to curl up with my mint-jasmine tea and a good book: let someone else do the exposing for awhile. Can’t I just watch the clouds unfurl?

The answer has to be yes sometimes, doesn’t it? How do you take care of yourself after a big creative push?

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Here’s to singing in the rain on a June Monday. Be easy with you today. Thanks for your fierce tenderness with the soft and hurting places in you, in others. Thanks for your strength and bravery in vulnerability and open-mouthed honesty (whether spoken or unspoken). Thanks for your words, always.