Tag Archives: transformation

puppy gratitude

sophie on the deck

I started this on Sunday, but didn’t finish — so here we go!

Good morning good morning. How are you morning-ing so far this day?

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how do you know you’ve committed?

graffiti of big, multicolored flower mandala with eye at the centerHello & good Monday — how is your Monday-ing so far?

(No post this morning ‘cuz we me and the pup took too much time practicing ‘heel’ on our walk — or at least practicing, ‘Don’t yank mama’s arm out of the socket, please.” )

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where we’re from

a body sitting crosslegged, wearing headphones, presented in rainbow silhouette -- over the heart is a triangle, pointed down, containing the words, 'You are here'Change sometimes feels like catastrophe, doesn’t it? Even if my conscious mind understands that what we’re going through is just transition, learning curve, new growth, my body/psyche/other parts are battening down the hatches and armoring up, trying to hold their ground, ready for battle. If change provokes anxiety, if we’ve got something at stake in this new learning, the inside selves run around in circles, worry the underside of my eyes til we’re blue with bags there, send out the old voices: why are you so weak? why are you so tired all the time? why aren’t you working harder?

I understand that those voices, once upon a time, just wanted to keep me safe — to get me to start questioning myself before anyone else started to question me. Didn’t that give me a sense of safety, or rather, a sense of control?

So I breathe into the questions now, and check in with my friends a lot: what’s the matter with me? nothing’s the matter with you — you’re just doing some new learning.

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re-training power

graffiti of the outline of a woman's face, eyes closed, with the word Power above her -- the O is a woman's symbolGood good morning — it’s Memorial Day. Who are you remembering today? How are you remembering them?

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I had so much fun in Sacramento on Saturday at the second Reclaiming Our Erotic Story workshop! Thanks so much to John Crandall and the Sutterwriters for organizing a beautiful write — we writers all got to do so much laughing together, and got deep into powerful, important, erotic/body/sensual story. I continue to hold images and lines from each writer’s work with me, and I’m so grateful.

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let it wash through

graffiti of dog with wings, by the words "Orasul e al nostru" (Romanian for "the city is ours")

she says, "the city is ours!"

Good Monday morning to you! Right now, I’m in my living room, and just to my left, at my feet, is a 5-month old, hound-lab-mutt mix puppy called Sophie. We found her in the animal shelter up in Mendocino County (a great road trip for us, a less fun road trip for her) on Friday and brought her home to live with us on Saturday — today is our second full day together, this new pack of ours, momma & poppa & Sophie Star. She curls up into a small ball when she’s sleeping, then stretches out wide and long, and is a fireball of energy when she’s awake. She’s quick, smart, and has been making this huge change very easy on us.

What do I want to tell you? I’m exhausted from not sleeping, really, for two nights — there’s a new life in the house, one I’m responsible for now. What sounds will she make? How will she take to her crate? Will she let me know if she needs something? This morning she let me get up and do my morning pages before I opened her kennel and we went out for our walk, just as the sun was about to lighten the sky. It’s 6:42 now — I stayed in bed as long as I could, and got up at 4:23, listened to some tail-thumping coming from the crate, but no whining. We are learning how to be with each other, how to flow with each other’s movements, how to accommodate each other’s needs. Yesterday we went on 5 walks together — in the past, I could go days not taking one walk. The past is finished now. (That, of course, is a tautology, but still…)

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prejudice and rethinking

mural of young woman bunching up huge numbers of calla lilies for marketToday I woke up from a dream about us living in a house here in town, one we haven’t been able to see inside of yet: in the dream, I could see the big, fat calla lily in the front yard. I’ve been having a hard time getting enough sleep, and somehow managed to wake up, get out of bed, when my 2nd alarm went off just after 6. I spend most of the morning spinning about my to-do list, which I am best able to tackle early in the morning. With this day job, I spend the bulk of my best and most creative working hours either getting ready for work or in commute — by the time I get to the office, the yoke of the day has set in.

What would it be like if this were my priority, the workshops, writing about the workshops? Have I told this story already? The person who controlled and sexually abused me/my family from 1982 until 1996, when he went to prison, my mother’s second husband, was a therapist — both he and my mom worked with kids who had been sexually abused. This has meant that I have been suspicious of all therapists — all therapists. Even my sister, now, I ask myself — yes, maybe even her. And this is why, named just this week by my former employer: because of my prejudice. I myself have felt it to be a fully-justified prejudice, but it’s a prejudice nonetheless, a preconceived opinion about every therapist I meet, at least momentarily, that isn’t based in any knowledge about that person. Yes, there are lots of shitty and manipulative therapists — and there are lots of shitty and manipulative and abusive teachers and clerks and computer programmers and… abusers aren’t limited to the realm of the transformative/healing arts.

Let me be gentle with it: this prejudice, like an armor, kept me safe — I needed to question and work to trust anyone who called themselves a therapist; I didn’t want just anyone thinking they could get at my brain. I still don’t. I know what they can do — ok, what some people who call themselves therapists can do with the skills and knowledge they have been entrusted with.

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photo of uprooted tree, facing the light brown soil and roots

I want to give you something hopeful today, but I am not feeling hopeful at this moment. Sometimes it’s ok, isn’t it, not to paste on the mask and pretend like everything’s fine. Sometimes we’re not fine, we who have been through hard shit, we who work too much for too little, we who are aching and frightened and can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. There are days like that. Yes, there’s a light there, maybe we’ve lived long enough to know it must be somewhere down there, but right now we’re in the dank middle, and it sucks.

I am at a low point — there are low points that happen every month, low energy points when I am bleeding and releasing, and I find it frustrating that I have to keep on going like everything’s normal during this time in my months, like I’m not releasing a part of my body back to the earth.

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a loss of familiar and yes to change

one of the small altars in the workshop space, with an image of ganesha, sea shells and stones, dried flowers... and lots of hope

I wanted to talk about transition, how it’s exciting and difficult, simultaneously, in the same brea(d)th. But today the writing is coming hard. There are some times when you know that something big is happening for you underneath all of your surfaces and terrors, under your day-to-day-nesses and the funk of old drama that sits on your shoulders. I am getting ready to move out of two places that have held me and my work and those I love, and that doesn’t necessarily even feel like the biggest transition that this self is undergoing — I mean, I have the sense that more is working it way out from under where I’ve hidden it, where I hid it a long time ago.

Still, all transitions, no matter how small, deserve to be honored; and, too, I think about how I often feel sad during times of change, even if the change is of my calling, even if the change is exactly what I wanted. There’s loss in change, a moving away from what has been, a moving into new. There’s a loss of familiar, a release and a relenquishing.

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no wonder everything hurts right now: birth is painful

image of new stars being born

"Massive Young Stars Trigger Stellar Birth," Spitzer/Chandra telescope images

When something major is falling apart around you (or/and inside), sometimes you have to let go of the reins for a little while.  At least, that’s true for me.

I’d set up a practice of writing in the blog every weekday — then, Thursday and Friday of this week, I just couldn’t do it.  What I wanted to write about I don’t have words for, and if I did have the words, I wouldn’t yet be ready to share them with the world.  So I took a break.  I slept a little bit more.  I did my Thursday workshop with the MedEd folks, worked on administrative tasks (finally got the August writing ourselves whole newsletter out), got my hair cut (again, finally), watched movies. I’m thinking I should re-read Trauma Stewardship. I’m making space to cry, to curl up into a ball. Space, too, to laugh. Yesterday afternoon I went to Bolinas and talked to the sea.  That’s an important part of my self-care routine, and I just don’t do it enough.  I wanted to swim, but forgot my bathing suit or a change of clothes (the last time we came to Bolinas, I had a different pair of jeans in the car, so I went ahead and got all the way in the water in my shorts and tshirt, and it was perfect) — so I just kept rolling up my jeans, and sister ocean kept on splashing me big enough that they got wet no matter how far up my legs they were.  It was a good talk.  I watched the little black dog-heads of sea lions peeking and poking up now and again, far from the little boys running and screaming and throwing logs to their shaggy, soaked dogs. I scoured my feet in the sand and found excellent shells.

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crime scenes and containers of consciousness

body in gas mask and rubber gloves -- graffitiNote: this morning’s write contains info about my personal sex life, and stuff about incest. Just a heads-up. xox, Jen

I woke up this morning coming.  It keeps repeating in my head, that phrase, those words, over and over. (Maybe I won’t post this, but I still need to write it.  I want to learn to use the computer like I use my notebook, writing without editing, writing just as fast, writing like my heart and life depended on it, writing honest and alongside fear.)

I woke up this morning coming.  I’d been awake not long before that, I think. It was 4:29, realized I could get up if I wanted to, could get up and have even more dark good time here at my writing desk.  But I closed my eyes, also realizing I could sleep more. And what happened then was I woke up with a strange sensation in my body, like something letting lose, something clamping down, something weird.  I didn’t know what it was at first.

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