Pink Aura

Yesterday I went to a day spa to use the gift certificate I got for my birthday from my partner’s wonderful sister (I guess I can’t say sister-in-law, even though that’s how I think of her, because “in-law” is exactly the one way we AREN’T related!) two months ago.  And man was I ready for it — I work in a spa so I see the fancy ladies come in for their multiple services and float out the door five hours later looking absolutely blissed out.  A month into the semester I was ready to be blissed out too.

But sometimes when I do things like that, i.e., go to the spa by myself, I DON’T leave floating on a cloud; instead I feel like the cloud is inside my head.  And it is: my negative thoughts, my undeserving thoughts, my recurrent thought that I am doing everything (even relaxing) all wrong.  I had really been looking forward to this day and I really didn’t want to sink myself with self-criticism.  So while I sat in the waiting room I tried to think of a mantra for the day — something I could direct my mind to whenever it started to go off on an unhelpful track; something my brain could hold onto like the hand can hold a pebble, to ground it when it starts to worry.   The mantra I chose was simply “I love you,” repeated on the in breath and the out breath both.  Later, when I was, indeed, so relaxed that my posture resembled that of a cooked noodle, this writing came out:

I love you I love you I love you I say — to myself, I love you as I breathe in, drawing this truth up from the ground beneath the floor beneath my slippers beneath my feet — finding the love in the energy that radiates from the earth — the Earth is the “I,” the mother Gaia.  I love you I breathe out, filling the bubble of my aura with this phrase — now I am the “I” and the “you” is me too.  I just want to fill my own field with the pink glow of loving but I know that as it fills with light it will shine those waves out and have an influence on the air, the crowd, the trees, and the earth all around me — so really I am breathing out “I love you” to the whole world.


Mich Fest Vision Quest

One of the trips I took this summer with my partner was up to Hart, Michigan for the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.

MichFest has always been my partner’s thing, from long before we got together.  He liked to go every year, and so I’ve gone with him every year since I’ve been with him.  (He? Isn’t that festival notoriously womyn-only? You may remember my partner’s a female-to-male transsexual, and he started going to this fest back in his angry lesbian days.  Hey, we’ve all had them, right?  Anyway, you may also know this fest has an official ANTI TRANS policy, so you can imagine what a can of worms it is for him/us to be there.  He’s been productively processing that, with amazing wisdom and beauty, in his writing since we’ve been back.  It’s been cool to see.)

Well, because I am working two part time gigs, neither extremely well paying, and I was making less as a part-time community college teacher in the summer, I was unsure about laying out this big chunk of dough to go to something I knew from experience would be simultaneously both a good time and major drag.  Last time we went, right after his firing from Women’s Studies, between the trans hate, our own issues and the thunderstorms, we un-pitched our tent a night early and departed, growling that we would not be back for a long time, if at all.  Two years later …

I know I tell way too much of the story and take too long getting to the point.  Okay, since I was committed to going but feeling ambivalent, I decided I was going to make the whole journey (we were planning to travel around for another week afterwards visiting friends, culminating (for me anyway) with seeing my Sufi friends and teacher in MO) a sort of vision quest, less in the Native American sense than like Parsifal and the knightly quests of the Grail days.  Since I was going into a big festival of music, getting the opportunity to see a lot of shows, hear a lot of musicians and artists talk about their process, go to workshops like the intensive drumming class I took, and basically be surrounded by creativity in action, I wanted to open myself to greater knowledge and clarity of my creative vision.  I have known I have been pursuing something, but it has been more of an unnamed feeling than even a thought.  I’ve been after something, trying to develop something in me, it has to do with playing and writing music, and maybe other writing too, and teaching (and doing) chant … but it was starting to get a little crazy-making so I decided to make the whole trip a spiritual quest and to seek in all things, from acoustic stage folk music concert to Twilight Zone panty party, whatever information or insight might be there to be found for me.  I tell you, it made things very interesting for me.  It really made me pay attention – I had my antennae up all the time.  I found myself savoring the times I walked alone on the paths – in the company of truly magical trees, mulling over the bits and pieces that came to me.  Though there was definitely upset going on around me, I was having a very close, intimate and sweet time with myself.

I am sure I will refer to more stuff from this time, because it brought a lot that I am still working with (yay! that was what I was hoping for after all), but I wanted to share one of the things that seemed both the most “duh” and also perhaps on some level the most important: and when this came to me I was, in fact, sitting on the grass at a concert at the acoustic stage.  I don’t remember who was playing or what prompted this thought, just that it suddenly occurred to me, It seems I have a lot of anger in my life, and one of the main things that anger attaches itself to is this idea that I don’t have time to play music or write or learn how to play the guitar better, etc. etc.  I would like to reduce the anger in my life because I don’t enjoy being in fights, either with myself or with others.  So – maybe if I devote more time to music and writing, I will actually have less anger in my life.  OMG!  This was like a lightning bolt to me (and incidentally, lightning did actually strike a tree the second night we were on the land.  I brought a piece of it home with me “for use in magic” as they said).  It seems very simple, almost stupidly so – like, why does this seem so profound to me? 

I guess it seems profound, even if obvious, because its implementation makes such a huge difference.  I really did/do have a ton of anger – which is frustration at not following what my heart is pushing me to do, aka my inner guidance, which is strongly suggesting I work on developing my music and writing, counterproductively turned against my own self (if I am self-hating) or my external circumstances (if I am blaming).  It is the blocked energy that has been wanting to go toward these things, becoming something else.   Because I have not been able to honestly acknowledge the importance of those things to me, and the role I really want them to take in my life – as a big part of what I am doing on this planet.  Putting myself out there and committing publicly to the fact that I am pursuing a creative dream of some kind – well of course it raises all sorts of terrifying anxieties of the “who do you think you are, lame-o?” variety.  But when it came down to a choice between actual greater peace of mind and continuing to thwart my own energies, well, one just sounded a lot more enjoyable so there became no excuse not to go for it.

So hence the guitar class that I enrolled in immediately after I got back from this journey.  Hence new commitments about writing, and a lot more experimentation, and, of course, the revival of this blog.  Truthfully the main reason I didn’t want to give it up even though I haven’t written all this time is because I like the name.  Hey, whatever works. 

That’s all for today.  Peace be with you!

Balance: Life and Art

What a year it’s been.  Moving to Colorado, many ups & downs (and not just my commute over the mountains ha ha ha) … a lot of fodder for thought packed into a relatively short amount of time.  You could say the stimuli have been highly concentrated for the past while.

Lately I’ve felt my pendulum swinging from a strong drive to go out and meet people, join groups, visit family and friends all over the country and interact constantly with others, to a definite and un-ignorable desire to go inward.   I have really felt most like getting down on my hands and knees and digging around in the muddy earth that is my brain.  Since May (spring Sufi camp, actually) my main desires have been to pray; to chant; to push deeper into understanding, even just a tiny bit more; and to create and create and create!  The feeling of fertility in the inner landscape has lasted a long enough time to surprise me.  Though I hold the awareness that it IS a cycle, and it WILL end, and swing in perhaps a third, as yet unknown direction — I still fear its end because I don’t have faith in myself to make the most of it.

Instead of just sitting down and making stuff, which is what I want to do, instead I sit down and ponder how best to divide up my time, and then I have a discussion about it, and then I dust my furniture, and then I remember something I need to do for work, and THEN I might squeeze in half an hour of letting neat things flow from my hands.  But really, even those half hours, even those fifteen minutes sometimes, they come around more often than is normal for me and so *I* feel like it is a rather lavish abundance.  So, that’s a good thing!

The more I decide to let myself be absorbed in what I really want to do, the less fear will have room to rise up and distract me.  So, that’s what I’m working on right now.




Dealing with Feeling “Left Out”

Well, I took a lot of trips this summer and I really enjoyed the heck out of them. I got to see all of my family in the whole USA, and then I immersed myself in the worlds created by my spiritual families out in the woods somewhere, bringing back so much learning, so many insights about my path, and so many new projects that I want to pursue. In the process, I used up all my vacation days and spent all my money, so now I am saying “sorry, I can’t” to a lot of fun plans being made in my vicinity.

When my partner told me the dates he planned on going to California for our only niece’s first birthday, I got a little bummed. And when I thought about what it’s gonna be like around the holidays when he is all excited about the music he’s singing with the choir, I felt a little bit panicked. Like, sure, right now I feel like I need to scale back, cut down, and prune some things out of my life, but what about when the fun is actually happening … somewhere else? How am I going to feel then? will I be kicking myself for the decisions I’m making now?

So I guess I need to get clearer on my motivations. And I can’t put the blame for my choices on external circumstances — like whether I have a lot of money or not. (The real question, anyway, is whether I feel myself to be abundant or not.) I have this nagging fear that if I let my negative perception of my financial condition to determine my choices, I will be making all bad decisions. Really I have to ask what the voice in my heart is telling me.

And she says, “Stay home.”

I am afraid of missing out on stuff, especially social stuff. I don’t have sufficient confidence in my own social abilities to think that I will have “enough” friends, “enough” interactions with other people, to keep me from feeling isolated, depressed, sad, jealous. So really it comes down to an inner battle between two scarcities — scarcity of money vs. scarcity of friends. And if that is the level on which I deal with the issue, NEITHER choice is going to feel quite right — I will end up with a nagging anxiety that the other scarcity is going to get out of control.

What I really must investigate within myself is what I am going to do about the pressing need I feel to go within, to explore the boundaries of my creativity, to see what is there on the edge of my awareness, wanting, waiting to come through. Is it worth it to cut fun trips and social activities in an attempt to bring the muse to the foreground, to listen to what is there? It’s an unknown. What if it’s nothing? A false alarm?

Maybe I just need to trust that there will be “enough” in the future — “enough” opportunities for connection — in fact, the opportunities are really infinite. Choosing to go within now, to pare down my activities, doesn’t have to mean I will have no friends.

And loneliness, jealousy, feeling left out — these are not unproductive states, maybe. They are teachers. They will teach me to have confidence in what is within me: infinity.