Tag Archives: trauma transformation

questioning the broken story

patterns-closeIn Tuesday’s post, I said: How we tell our stories matters. The words we use for our stories matters. The metaphors and symbolic language, the imagery – all matter, all influence how we perceive ourselves, our bodies, our physical being, our agency, our history and our possibility.

For instance, consider the story inside the word broken as it gets applied to survivors of violence. Broken is commonly incorporated as a metaphor into survivor stories – he left me broken. He ruined me. She left me in pieces. He tore apart my soul.

I climbed into this fragmented narrative, this narrative of fragmentation, when I began to identify as an incest survivor. Identity is a story: we don’t just take on a label when we identify as something, we take on the narratives that accompany that identity – we have to interact with that identity’s story. The incest/trauma survivor story contained these: “broken, ruined, dead.”

These are powerful phrasings, necessary to use to describe how the body feels, how the victim feels, how the raped child feels when she is violated by someone neat to be a protector, when she is physically and psychically assaulted, then silenced, shamed and threatened, then psychologically tortured so that she will comply with the abuser’s demands of silent complicity. We need a brutal narrative to match the brutality of our inner experience. We need a story that will wake people up, we need a story that will make standers-by understand why we need help. We are attempting to counteract and supplant the other, deeply entrenched stories: the child is the parent’s possession to do with as the parent wishes; children often lie and are not to be believed when they say their parents or other adults are hurting them; child abuse is a family problem and outsiders should not intervene; children often invite sexual acts; America puts women and children first – those stories hold powerful sway, culturally. It makes sense that with the rise of an Incest Survivor advocacy community, we would reach for language as incendiary as the experiences and silencings we suffered through: he might as well have killed me; he left me for dead; I felt like a ghost; I didn’t exist anymore.

As I came into an Incest identity, I latched onto the story of broken: And the more I told the story of how broken I felt, the more the story of broken is what I inhabited.

Broken was big enough to explain how I felt. Broken was also irreversible. A shattered vase might get glued back together but you can always see the cracks, the scars – and that vase was now weaker, easier to break the next time. We were broken and proud of it. Fuck you, we said. We might get better, but we were never going to be the same. He ruined us. He broke us. He stole our childhood. He stole my adolescence. He broke my sex and now I would never be normal.

These stories express our extreme disenfranchisement from our own agency. And we tell them over and over and over – and, each time we tell the story, we deepen its neuronal pathway inside us, making it easier and faster for us to tell again the next time.

Just a few years ago, I began to question: What if that story was a lens that I was looking at my experience through? Certainly I’m using broken metaphorically, to express my sense of internal fragmentation, and of not being a normal and regular (which, my necessity, means unbroken and whole) woman. Aren’t I?

What if there was another story, another lens I could look at my experience through? What if broken didn’t have to be my name? What if I am whole, my sex is whole, my complexity is whole? What if I struggle, still have questions, but am whole, intact?

 What if I could tell a different story?

“The truth about stories is that they’re all we are.”

Taking a stand against a cultural story and meta-narrative is resistance work, builds muscle.

In learning to live outside the lens or silo of Broken, I am flung (if I’m not careful) headlong into the relentlessly cheerful Gratitude story: whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

What if I didn’t want a cultural narrative, a grant application anecdote, a Hallmark card, a cup of soup for my soul? What if I was ready for a less-than-simple story, something more complex, more complicated, more real; something less pithy, less easily told?

In our survivors writing groups, this is what we hold open room and hold out hope for – the messy story, the fragmented telling, the rape story with jokes and laughter in it, the story of the loving parent who put his hands inside his child, the story of turning still for support to the mother who abandoned you – the stories that friends, surveys, some therapists, family, nonprofits, social workers, activists and advocates have a hard time hearing (literally comprehending) and holding because these stories don’t match the language we have acquiesced to as a culture: ruin, devastation, dismal, hopeless, broken.

Our human, lived stories are more complicated than one lens can reveal.

Outside of one story are a hundred other stories. Outside of Broken is frightening, still – I feel uncontained, sprawling. I also experience myself as having greater agency. Not broken or unbroken, intact and imperfect. Wounded, sore, struggling, whole. Human, like all the rest of the humans around me struggling with something.

Thank you for the stories that have carried you this far, and for the stories you are beginning to question and upend. Thank you for that risking. Thank you for your words.

opening to new stories

Thomas King writes, in The Truth About Stories, “Stories are wondrous things. And they are dangerous.”

What is a story? It is a rehashing of events, a narrative, an anecdote, a lie, a truth. The dictionary isn’t helping me here, just giving me synonyms. What is a story? It’s a telling or a making up. It’s offering an account of an experience, so someone else can can come to know or understand what happened. It’s a fabrication, a weaving into existence something that wasn’t, that didn’t exist, until we put it into precise words.

 Story is contextual. And who determines a story’s context? “She’s telling stories” is the way some folks call us liars. But we know what truths come from storyteller’s mouths.

 Thomas King also writes, “The truth about stories is that that’s all we are.” He repeats this line throughout his slender book, driving the point home: we create ourselves, we know and understand ourselves, through the stories we tell and/or listen to and believe about ourselves, about those like us, about our communities, society, families, world.

Trauma is a story. Identity is a story. Religion is a story. Sex is a story. The body is a story.

Yes, the body is also bone and tissue, chemical reactions, pulses, electrical leaps. The body is fluid and organ, is emergence and excretion, is breath and heartbeat. The body exists as an object in this precise moment, entirely independent of its context, its historical situation, its experiences. Doesn’t it?

Would this body be what and how it is independent of the stories I have told about it? What is my body without its stories, its histories and herstories? What is yours?

Is my DNA a story? My musculature? What can you learn from the story of my skin, her scars and stretch marks, her stains and curves? What can you read in the complicated interweaving of my neuronal infrastructure (which would be transformed if the stories of my body were transformed)?

We use story every day, throughout the day. When someone asks how we slept, we offer a story of deems and waking. When a friend calls to tell us about her morning, she gives us a story, an anecdote. We tell childhood stories, baby stories, coming out stories, the story of how we met, the story of an illness, the story of our experience of abuse, the story of our recovery. When I ask someone, “Do you know my story?” – I have a particular story in mind. I meant the story of my trauma, most of the time – and this is the story of my body.

Every story is an illumination and an occlusion. Every story highlights one side of a situation while leaving out other information. This is out of necessity. We can’t remember or apprehend every detail of a happening or an experience. We remember what’s important – we tell what we remember and, over time, what we remember is what we’ve told repeatedly. We believe our own stories. We can forget that there are other ways to tell, understand, consider those stories – and each different telling provides a different lens through which to consider ourselves and our experiences.

How we tell our stories matters. The words we use for our stories matters. The metaphors and symbolic language, the imagery – all matter, all influence how we perceive ourselves, our bodies, our physical being, our agency, our history and our possibility.

What stories do you have about yourself and your experience that no longer serve you? What happens when you shift, examine or change the stories you’ve been living with, and by, and through? What happens when you expose yourself to other people’s stories, really listen to them, and consider how they compare to your own?

What was it in me that expected and wanted to live?

dancing is the solution

Good morning this Wednesday morning. How is your heart today? What is the light doing with the edge of your teacup, with your mirror, with your windowpane? How are the words finding you? This morning I was up early, 3:30 and the body said, Ready? Let’s go. I had almost two hours with the candle and the notebooks before the light came. That’s some heart-feeding time there.

But don’t I always go back to the same places? The dreary trauma, the swollen girl lost and locked inside? Isn’t there more to that child? Where else can I find in that girl to fall into? What about the endeavorer, the explorer? Talk back to the girl who spent a lifetime listening to birds, harvesting sourgrass to eat, investigating every backyard, gulley and alleyway — what constitutes her humanity now? How did her curiosity survive all that he put her through? The only way I can think is to keep writing. But these bones aren’t mine anymore.

I investigate the shadows, pulling that husk out from under the body of a man who never belonged on top of her. And she had — I would tell you, it would be easy to tell you that she had by then shut her eyes to sweetness, but the truth is harder than that. The truth is she didn’t give up hope, and she eventually released all possibility of a future. How does a person learn to do that at the same time? The flowers that lived insider her had all gone to seed, gone dormant — this is why she was waiting for tomorrow. Someday — not soon, she thought, but someday — there would be a place to plant again.

Rachel Naomi Remen talks about plants forming spores when the conditions aren’t habitable for their nurturance, their growth. She says people do this, too, but we forget to peek out of our shells, our carbon containers, the tight nub our hearts become — we forget to peek out to see if things have gotten better. We remain spored, tightly bound up, protected. Plants know that spore is meant to be temporary.

Who was that girl who turned up the music and danced alone and wild, fully in her body, when she thought her stepfather wasn’t there to see? Who was that girl with so much audacity, so much life? He caught her dancing, shamed her even as he couldn’t hide his arousal. What he took from her body after couldn’t touch what had been dancing.

How frustrated her stepfather must have been with that young woman’s temerity — thinking she deserved joy. What I’m trying to get underneath is this: What was it in me that expected (and wanted) to live?

(Could this be a prompt for today? Give yourself twenty minutes, write all the way in: what was it in her, in him, in you, in me, in us that wants and expects to live? Follow your writing wherever it seems to want you to go.)

All the gratitude today. Thanks for your words.

 

begin again

graffiti of a stone self wearing a manacles that have broken free of their chainsGood morning this Monday morning. Outside, the light is just bringing me the green of everything that’s finding fall to be a delight; inside, the candles remind me that the day is still early. I tend to berate myself if I haven’t started writing before 6 (let’s not even mention 7), but today there’s a different voice in my head. The dog has her ball. Today, morning looks like something of promise, not a place of loss.

This is the song in my head this morning, ringing over and over, singing me into this morning. And this is what I want to say today – it’s not too late.

Begin again. Continue reading

touch(ed)

graffiti of a hand, fingers poised to snapGood Thursday morning! It’s cool here so far today — the tea is skullcap & moroccan mint: relax and wake up, I guess.

Sophie has learned a new game that I adore — we got this at puppy school. I put out my hand flat and say “Touch,” and she puts her nose to my hand. She learned this quick, partly, I think, because I am so excited about it, so we practice a lot. When I first watched our teacher demonstrate this trick with her assistant’s dog, I was underwhelmed — So, she touches your hand with her nose. Big deal. It’s not like she’s really doing anything. But then we learned it on the first day of class, and I learned that she is doing something! I can’t stop asking Sophie to touch — it feels like a real connection between us: I ask, and she reaches her neck forward, or looks around for where my hand is, finds where her nose can go, then presses out, reaches for me. She’ll come back to attention, when she’s distracted by smelling for deer, to give me a touch.

What a wonderful thing to teach your pup to do, to get to ask them for, to get to accept from them. When she’s curled up next to the couch and it’s time for bed, she won’t budge (so far) for come, but she came running last night when I asked her to touch!

Getting to ask for touch from someone else (let me move from pups to persons)– this, right here, is a gift anytime we feel it’s a possibility. The touch itself, too, can be precious, but the asking — isn’t that newer for some of us? Something we thought, at one time, we would not ever want to do? Something still difficult to make our mouths form, something risky to put out to another person?

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This got me thinking about another touch that I’d come across recently, an amazing multimedia piece by Magdalena Donea, Touched, that appeared in the online journal Fray — my friend and colleague Scott Youmans recently introduced me to her work, and I was blown away by the complicated beauty and difficult, deep truth-telling in this layered piece. (Know that this piece deals explicitly with sexual violation, and be easy with you, ok?)

What are the stories we’re not supposed to tell about touch?

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What does touch mean for you this morning? Are there touches you or your character want to ask for, or want to ask to have stop, or have complicated feelings about? Take 10 minutes today — let that touch come out onto the page, follow your writing wherever it seems to want you to go.

Thank you for your bravery, the way you allow yourself to accept touch even when you might have decided, once, that the safest thing to do is not to let anyone ever touch you again. You are deeply resilient. Thank you for your words!

passionate reason

pictograph graffiti -- an eye, a heart, and a female sheep (eye love ewe)This morning it’s nice and cool out — I woke up to the commingled sounds of birds waking and foghorns warning. Nice to be in that space between alarm and exuberance.

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We’ve got a full house for this weekend’s Writing the Flood — that means more opportunities for folks to connect with one another and build writing community. Plus I’ve got all these new workshop ideas after spending a weekend with AWA facilitators. I’m looking forward to Saturday!

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I believe I have mentioned (can’t stop mentioning) that I’m preparing for to take the GRE on August 1. So I’m re-learning old arithmetic, algebra, geometry formulas (dividing by a fraction or quadratic equation,  anyone? triangle inequality theorem? isosceles triangles? the volume of an irregular quadrilateral?), practicing vocabulary (I’ve recently learned mulct and mountebank) and reminding myself how to write the five-paragraph essay (about which in particular I have a great deal of anxiety — more on that in a minute). I’m doing practice tests and reading practice/prep material, all of which reminds me that the GRE is not a math test, not a vocab or spelling quiz — this is a critical thinking and reasoning assessment. So, in addition to all the rest, I am dusting off my inner skeptic.

I tend to think of myself as relatively un-skeptical — at least,about most topics. Of course, when someone in a position of authority over those with little or no power speaks, my skeptic wakes up. When the president opens hir mouth, my skeptic pays attention. When the mainstream media asserts most anything, I question their declarations. Hm — I even talk back to commercials, refuting their blithe and cheery diatribe whenever possible. So what gave me the idea that I wasn’t skeptical, that I couldn’t find logical flaws in arguments, that I’m not able to think critically?

Here’s what — when someone wants to have a ‘reasonable, measured’ conversation about something I care passionately about, I freeze. Do any of you have this response? Say someone wants to talk calmly (that is, unemotionally) about child sexual abuse in the country. I have to turn off half my brain, half my heart, to talk in an unemotional way about something I have such strong feelings about. And what happens when I enter into the conversation is that I 1) get triggered and shut down and 2) feel a trainwreck of thoughts and ideas piling up inside my throat, unable to all emerge at one time. When did I get the idea that it wasn’t ok to be both emotional and logically reasoned? Well, from Western cultural indoctrination, of course, that pits emotion and logic against each other — and that has equated emotion with womanness and logic with maleness. To be emotional is to be a woman, to make a weaker argument, to be always attenuated. I felt it was inherently impossible for me to engage in these conversations successfully, so I avoided them. This meant, in some cases, that I avoided some important critical thinking about, critical engagement with, issues that are important to me.

I had a great conversation with my friend Chris deLorenzo last week — he’s an AWA workshop facilitator (check out Laguna Writers) who also has taught composition classes to college freshmen. He reminded me of the need to interweave logos and pathos (and ethos) into a good essay — we need both the logical/rational reasoning and the heart-engagement (and we want to create a credible, trustworthy voice in the writing). A piece of writing that’s all logos, all logical reasoning, feels like it has no center, no heart, and is hard to connect with. Writing that’s all pathos ends up feeling sentimental and mushy, like it has no core to hold it up. When we bring them together, however, we provide an emotional connection with information or a new way of thinking, and this brings readers into the work.

So I’m practicing remembering a couple of things: first, that I know how to do this, and second, that I can slow down and still have room, time and space, to present my argument. There’s no stepfather here to interrupt and move the goalposts halfway through the writing, changing the terms of the discussion so that it’s impossible for me to engage consistently. I remind myself that heart and passion in writing, even in essay and nonfiction, isn’t just a good thing — it’s necessary. And I remind myself that I have the capacity to think and engage both open-heartedly and critically. We each do.

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Is there a topic that you find it hard to write or talk about because there’s so much you want to say and it gets jumbled inside your mouth or about which your mind goes blank when you’re asked to speak ‘rationally’ about it? Want to take a few minutes today for that topic? Maybe it’s the rights of animals or child trafficking or rape laws or gun ownership or environmental protection or… just notice what comes up for you. Give that subject 10 minutes today — take a few deep breaths, and write down what you believe. Then write down why.

Thanks for your heart-centeredness, your passionate reason, your thoughtful, though-out exhuberance, your creative acts, your compassionate logic — thank you for your patience with others, and thank you for your words.

renewing old strengths

graffiti of a small green-eyed child reading a book, with a stack of books next to her; the title of the book reads, "the more I read/the more I know"This morning we just had clean, flush air that was bulbous and bright with the early morning sun — the light reflects off the windows in the houses across the bay, on Belvedere Island, and they look like talismans, no, like beacons. No animal friends, though — well, lots and lots of birds, always.

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Writing the Flood is on Saturday, 7/23 this month — want to join us and give some time to your writing?

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In studying for the GRE, I am reconnecting with the academic in me — by which I mean, I’m remembering how to think the way school wants us to think. I remember being good at this once upon a time, could easily determine what test-makers would determine to be the main point of a paragraph or reading selection, make test-appropriate inferences, think well inside their boxes.

When I withdrew from school at the end of 1993 because I no longer had any money to pay for classes (when I told my stepfather he couldn’t touch me anymore, and he ‘fired’ me from the company that had been paying for school, withdrawing all financial support, of course, from anyone making fear choices) , I wanted to be done with the mainstream Academy; what I was doing in school (computer science, primarily) seemed to have nothing to do with the real world I was living in, couldn’t help the friends I was meeting who’d been raped by fathers or brothers or mothers or grandfathers.

I wanted out, into real work with real people. And I began to distance myself, once I moved away from school, from my educational-class background: I wanted to forget how to talk like an academic, never mentioned where I went to college, thought that these things would make me suspect in the social change world, and, too, with the battered and formerly-battered women I wanted to help/work with.

Never mind that I completely associated that particular academic world with my stepfather and his pursuit of and into an elite society that deemed itself better than others and thus able to behave without compunction for any societal rules or taboos. You see, maybe, where this is going: Did I believe in my inside heart that if I stepped out of my book learning and school-taught self and into the ‘real world’ (i.e., working class society, or rather, non-profit class society, in my case) (Because, wait, working class can’t also be book learned? I was working with some simplistic thinking), I could be safe and free of his classist (and class-climbing) elitism and racism, free always, too, of his hands on my body?

It was a running away, a part of distancing myself from who I’d been when he’d had access to ever part of me. And now I am reaching back through the fire to get some of those parts back. I spent a good part of my 30s wrangling with a femininity I thought I’d left behind for good; and now I want the full breadth of my ways of thinking and interacting with the world: critical thinking and skepticism can be powerful tools, not just wedges or doors used to slam down social change movements (this has been my experience of them).

Is it possible to bring these old tools forward, learned under the worst conditions, and apply them fresh and new? I am afraid, now, that it’s been too long — I’ve been outside this way of thinking for such a long time, maybe I can’t step back inside. How do I reclaim it — or claim it new?

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What’s something you and/or your character used to be good at, something you used to love, something you left aside when you thought you were supposed to outgrow it, or when you began to associate it with something negative? Want to take 10 minutes for that old skill or practice today? Describe how it felt, what you liked about it, what happened when you put it down?

Thank you for the breadth of your abilities, including those you’ve lost awareness of. You’re amazing. Thank you for how easy you’ll be with others today, how you’ll let others be easy with you. Thank you for your words.

when do we let our dreams come true?

stencil graffiti, all green capital letters: Stop. Look upGood Friday morning! Here’s a longing for you, a hello from young lettuces, strawberry plants, new eggplant leaves, tall mint and basil, furry borage leaves, tiny, reaching arugula. No owls or deer on our walk this morning, though we did meet a couple of dogs, and at least one of them we didn’t bark at, so that’s some progress.

Last night I dreamed that my home, our home, was a homebase for a good friend (who, in this real life, just recently moved far away) — she was a world traveler who would come back and stay with us whenever she came through town. She had her own key, could let herself in, and I met her in the bathroom, when she was showering, and I was filled with this kind of deep joy to find that she’d come back. It was a sense that what we had was enough to share.

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Getting all prepped for tomorrow’s Writing the Flood! This is a fun monthly workshop, where you can join with fantastic community and dive into and play with your own writing. We have several spaces still open if you’d like to join us!

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This morning I’m thinking about what it’s like when you have a strong sense of your own presence, and an awareness that others don’t share that sense.

Sophie is teaching me about my presence. She listens when I’m here, as in, all the way in the moment with her. She doesn’t listen when I’m not here with her, when I’m giving commands from just my head or from just my frustration or ego. Then she’s gone, because I’m gone.

I thought about how often, in crowds, I disappear as far as others are concerned — people will walk directly in front of me without any acknowledgment, no sense or idea that they have just nearly interacted with another human. I have spent lifetimes feeling like a ghost. Who am I ghosting? Who’s ghost am I?

I think it’s this: when we give up our dreams, we become, at least in part, those dreams’ ghosts. The dreams don’t evaporate from the world. We carry always what passions lie in us unfulfilled, what desires festered in our bellies and hearts, what possibilities we turned inside out (in order to be practical) instead of following to their true ends.

Yesterday I talked with her about my lifelong dream to write books, and sat with the feeling that old dream manifests still in my body. Felt the longing and sorrow and fear. How to turn back and let the dream come to fruition?

What we pay attention to is what we care about, what we love and revere. I notice what I’ve been attending to all these long years that I haven’t been actively working to write/edit the books I want to publish. It’s been 32 years since we first knew what we wanted to do when we grew up, the 6 year-old in me says. We were going to be an author. How long do we have to wait?

Do we finish growing up when we let our dreams come true?

Yes, we got turned away from that desire. Yes, someone actively shamed us until we turned our heads another direction. Yes (I put my face in the cold water of it): we aren’t in that situation anymore. Could it be time to look back and let the dream (that old driving force, the place I felt I betrayed) come back home to us?

Today I have a writing project I need to finish and will send my book proposal out to another publisher.

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Are you working with a character who has some unfinished/unrealized dreams? Where do those dreams live inside them? What about you? Where do your unlived dreams reside? Take 10 minutes, begin with the phrase, “My (his/her/your/hir) dreams live…” — complete the sentence however you’re most drawn to, then follow your writing wherever it seems to want you to go.

Thank you for your fidelities, your presence with and to and for what really matters to you, the way you have let your dreams become deep inner fires, and the ways that you let those fires blaze up again when it’s safe to do so. Thank you, yes, for your words.

small screech sounds, something full-moon related

graffiti -- a crescent moon smiling at the young child sitting at its pointTime for a 15 minute write — the dog is rolling around a toy that releases food when she turns it. this is helping her slow down when she eats. I could have used one of those at several different times in my life. We are working on sit-stay, working on heel, working on walking with a loose leash. We are testing and pushing each other. Yesterday was her first bath at a pet store up in Strawberry Village. Is this what I want to be writing about? Yesterday, on my self care day, everything was all about Sophie. Even the time that I took away from her, letting myself go to the cafe for some writing after her lunch (the first time I’d left her alone when I was by myself — the Mr and I together had left her alone, walked out of the house together, but this was the first time she and I said goodbye just the two of us, and the first time I walked back in to let her know I’d always come back), I spent writing about her or listening to a podcast about training your dog to walk on a loose leash. I guess that’s what new furry-baby-parenthood is like.

We had a couple of frustrating walks yesterday, she and I; she was too excited (how I hate using that phrase for a puppy — isn’t it her job to be excited?) and I wasn’t doing a good job of calming my own self down. I thought about how dogs can read and respond to emotions, and how, when I’m tense and anxious, she’s going to sense and react to that. And that stressed me out, too, given that I have spent the last 30 years feeling tense and anxious a good percentage of my everydays. So here’s another thing she’s going to get to help me work on — my quality of presence,  being actually all the way here, being solidly in this moment with her — calm and focused, clearly in charge. Since these are all things I’ve actively avoided being for a number of years, it makes sense, I guess, that I’m frustrated and in the midst of a serious learning curve.

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June’s Writing the Flood meets this Saturday! There’s still time to join us — we’ll be gathering in Berkeley this time around.

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Last night, under the full moon, there were three, and then four, big fat birds out on the hill behind the house — owls? They, their silhouettes, were giving off these smallish screech sounds, somehow smaller than their bodies would seem to allow for. One took off flying while I sat on the concrete stairs and watched, a huge wingspan, slow, steady downbeats, pushing air away, heading for another grove. It looked like a small convention, something full-moon related.

More wild animal news: we walked, Sophie and me, within spitting distance of a young male deer yesterday (his antlers just barely poking up and fuzzing around his forehead) (‘spitting distance’ is kind of  an awful phrase, isn’t it? and so imprecise — in reality, we were on one side of an asphalt road, and the deer was on the other). Sophie didn’t notice the deer — not only were we working on heel, but she was paying close attention to me while we were in the midst of the lesson, for a miracle. the deer, of course, noticed us. I’d stopped at the bottom of the hill when I first saw him, a ways away, and tried to encourage him to go ahead and cross the road. My deer(-speak) is rusty, though, and he didn’t get what I was saying, just stood there and watched me, us. Wanted to see what we were going to do. So I had Sophie keep on heeling, we crossed to the far side of the road, and she ended up being more concerned with the storm drain that we had to go by (these totally freak her out) than the fact that there was a huge animal just 10 feet from her. The deer watched us with his big eyes; I made eye contact with him several times, said Thanks the last time. And as soon as we were a short ways up the road past him, he went ahead and long-0legged it across the street and into the neighbor’s backyard.

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Today’s write: Give me something from your natural world, the nature pushing its way into and around your life, even (especially) if you’re living in the city. Take 10 or 15 minutes, and show me the trees growing through fencing or wires, the daises pushing up through sidewalk cracks, the bird dances on fence posts, whatever nature you notice and that wakes up up this morning.

Thanks for all the patient, persistent wildness that lives in you. Thanks for your creative brilliance, and, always, for your words.

“change is the only poem”

cartoon of a brown-haired woman with a megaphone standing in front of a crowd all holding signs -- the ones near her say, "The moment of change" "is the only poem"

"the moment of change is the only poem" -- Adrienne Rich (artist Karen Rustad created this image for her freshman year 'graffiti wall)

Good morning!

I should be getting in the shower right now, not just starting my blog post.

There was a dog to walk, to run up and down a long flight of stairs a couple of times, just to work off some puppy energy. There was dog breakfast to make (fill those Kongs — how does she empty them so fast?) and a new garden to water.

My shirt, from the SFBC, says change is happening. That’s not wrong.

There’s change happening that I resisted for decades, change happening that I’ve only just opened to — but the change happens, no matter what I do or how I’m feeling. It happens. Change is.

So, it’s another quick-n-dirty today: What change is present, happening, poeming itself around you or your character right in this moment? Let yourself dive into it for 10 minutes (or more, if you like), explore all its edges, show us, and yourself, what’s cracking open in and around you or them.

Thanks for the ways you let change happen around you, for the awareness of your resistances, for your presence in it all. Thanks for your consciousness. Thanks for your words.