the legacy

February 28, 2008 at 1:51 pm (beauty, history, longing, wealth)

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when i was a young girl, my grandparents owned a lovely old, adobe home in the hondo valley. over the years, they expanded on the house and it became very, very lush. it was beautiful beyond belief, not just the house and furnishings, the incredible hondo valley.

visiting this magical place was a treat for my brothers and i. there were lavish parties and gifts galore. it was the height my grandparent’s wealth and success. still it was lonely. there was nothing to do there but play outside which was more rewarding for my brothers who liked to fish and hunt.

at some point, my grandfather who fancied himself some kind of modern, american king, imported peacocks to roam the property. in my memory, i still hear their aching calls and see them in languid pose. i used to roam around looking for discarded feathers, the beautiful blue and green eyes were treasured. as an adult, i learned that the peacocks were picked off by coyotes one by one. their lives were difficult in the valley. the importing of peacocks had been vain and unrealistic.

my grandfather passed away about 6 weeks ago. though he lived a long and by all accounts a good life, i find myself feeling a mixture of feelings about him.

he was the kind of person that could sit with you calmly, seemingly relaxed but a million miles away. his mind was racing, racing, racing. i often felt invisible around him. he half-payed attention.

he was selfish, creating an empire and letting it crumble to nothing. if only he had told us all not to expect anything. instead, my mother and her siblings are riddled with depression and a seeming lack of direction. their expectations of inherited wealth clipped their wings and kept them in competition for the great patriarch’s approval.

the hondo valley house was sold long ago to pay off the mountain of debt that had accumulated. i dream of it often. the lovely, crystal blue swimming pool that i can never get to. that pool seems to be symbolic of the abundance and magic my grandfather created and destroyed all in the course of one life.

i loved him and i see my tendency to be like him when my mind is racing, racing, racing…always working out ways to make my business stronger.

i have no hope (or desire) of recapturing the level of his creation, but i do want the beauty he was so fortunate to experience. the beautiful lines of an old adobe, the green lushness of a fertile valley in the desert, peacocks drifting across the lawn.

hopefully in the version i create, the coyotes will be kept safely at bay.

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layers

February 25, 2008 at 3:45 pm (grace, innocence, mothering, simplicity)

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layers of meaning, layers of moments. the complexity of life is astounding. my feelings shift quickly from a moment of gratitude to a deep lament.

i want so much for myself and my family. i feel the intensity inside, a fire burning, burning. i want to relish this short life despite the complications and annoyances and struggles.

when i was younger i wore crazy clothing…layers of velvet and satin. i ran about in the wee hours sweaty and stained, starving for more. those layers of old fabric sticking to my skin, concealing a black heart.

my self absorption was legendary. there was room for no one else in my narrative. i wrote the play of my life and cast all the players. i never let them break from their prescribed roles.

how unfair is that?

now i want safety. i want rest and comfort. i want peace for my children. i’m still selfish as hell. it’s a constant battle to put aside my pettiness.

the layers i work with now are the layers of protection i place around the tots. the prayers for safety and prosperity. the layers of meaning i need the children to understand so they can grow up and navigate the world with some degree of effectiveness.

i layer them in alternating emotional responses; love, annoyance, impatience, celebration, play, disapproval, and on and on.

they are bundled up for better or worse in the concept of reality i created for them. someday they will free themselves to write their own stories.

where will i be then?

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the pirate ship

February 23, 2008 at 11:29 pm (archetype, friendship, history, sexuality)

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i lived in a house full of beautiful boys a long time ago. they were rebellious and rowdy and drunk. i played with them and bore the brunt of their frustrations. it was uncanny how many of these boys had pirate flags. the jolly roger hung from windows and walls at every turn.

when the sun dropped and the sky darkened, that house with big windows felt like a ship rocking on the water. we were drifting on the sea, waiting for a ship of riches to come along to pillage and destroy.

the boys didn’t frighten me. i grew up with rough and tumble brothers.

i thought of the boys as brothers. i wanted to be one of them with the rights and privileges young, handsome men have. i thought they saw me as one of them, thought they saw past the obviousness of my femininity and sexuality.

they didn’t.

my lover at the time was threatened by the pirates. he wasn’t one of them, could never be one of them. he didn’t want me getting drunk with them. it puzzled me that he felt threatened. these were my friends after all, though deep in my heart, there was lust for some.

i unknowingly toyed with them. i flirted mercilessly, all the while denying it.

how could i help it? they were beautiful and i had them all to myself.

those boys chased me, teased me, adored and spurned me. by the end of our time together i was a howling, wounded mess. abandoned by my lover, i had no protection.

though i knew they didn’t want to hurt me, they were often mean when intoxicated. they turned on me more than once, channeling their frustrations with women onto me. we brushed against some blurry lines.

IT WAS FANTASTIC.

years later i know where most of them are.

one, dear to my heart, (the catalyst that drove the lover away) came to my wedding and ate supper with my new husband and i. it flattered me deeply when he said to my new mate, “she had this energy…and everyone wanted to be a part of it.”

it was just me, wanting to be a pirate with the rest of the boys.

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death of sardanapalus

February 18, 2008 at 2:35 pm (destruction, history, innocence, power, sexuality)

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my family had a book of delacroix paintings when we were growing up. i remember being fascinated by this particular painting. i felt naughty looking at it for it hinted of things i didn’t understand…sexuality, the power of men over women, violence…

i couldn’t understand how the man in the bed seemed serene amidst the carnage. the women, so helpless, what had they done to deserve this?

it turns out, sardanapalus was under siege and when he knew defeat was inevitable, he ordered all his riches (including his women) destroyed. still, it puzzles me that he is so relaxed watching such horror unfold. imagine my confusion as a child!

as a young girl, i keenly felt the disparity between men and women. my brothers had masculine chores like taking out the trash and working on the yard. i was relegated to dishes and housework. i protested as soon as i was able. my family was politically liberal but my protests fell on deaf ears.

as a young woman, it bothered me that boys could behave a certain way and be cheered and encouraged. when i tried to pioneer, i felt resistance and sometimes even shame for being so bold.

i resented the physical vulnerability of being female and resented the attention that came from being pretty and charming. it took years for me to grow into my power. even now, i have moments of fear about being attacked, physically and or/psychically. i worry on behalf of my daughter, knowing that just being female means being a target of certain crimes and injustice.

it’s no wonder that for many years i distanced myself from anything too feminine. it just wasn’t safe.

is it safe now?

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baby moon

February 16, 2008 at 12:07 pm (divine feminine, friendship, love, mothering)

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i went to a baby shower recently. i didn’t feel like going…i never do. i’m a hermit by nature and have to force myself out. fortunately, i’ve developed the ability to talk to anyone about anything and have enough charisma to make it charming and fun.

i was glad to honor my friend. it has been her dream to be a mother, long before it ever occurred to me. she suffered greatly to get here. even now, she’s facing an uncertain future with the father of the baby who refuses to move out of the home he lives in, deep in the mountains. he refuses to compromise in order to honor his partner and child.

oh well…at least she’s getting her baby. at 40 years old, she might not get another chance.

the baby shower was lovely. we played silly games, trying to guess the inches of the pregnant belly. we cooed over the little clothes and blankets. i couldn’t help thinking that my friend has no idea about what she is being initiated into. i didn’t know before i had my children.

a world of love and worry. a world of chaos and exhaustion. a lonely world at times.

we had a moment of prayer for the mom to be. i found myself hoping my dear friend would have an easy labor and birth. i hoped she could manifest more support than i did. i hoped that she would have time to rest with her newborn while others handled mundane daily details for her. i hoped she could create and relax into a lovely baby moon.

i also hoped that i could get myself together to offer her the support i longed for after giving birth.

we shall see…

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my own oasis

February 9, 2008 at 2:08 pm (beauty, grace, innocence, simplicity)

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friends, i’m tired. how i wish i could curl up like a cat and nap the day away. it’s been a long time since i had such a luxury!

i used to live in a little, old house with big rooms. there was a wonderful tree in the front yard. it was over a hundred years old, the biggest tree on the block. i loved to look out the window at the big old tree. the western sunlight would glitter off the leaves and the breeze in the branches made a sweet rustling sound.

the house was a shrine to comfort and beauty. it was an oasis and a retreat for me and me alone. i hardly ever had visitors. i didn’t know the neighbors…didn’t want to. my bedroom was in the front and i used to rest in bed with a pile of books and that shimmering tree out front. i felt safe under the canopy of that great beauty.

i would get sleepy from reading and drift off. it was a lovely time in my life. the absolute quiet and the delicious freedom of being bound to no one now seems incredibly seductive. of course at the time i remember being lonely and concerned that the future was stretching out before me with no surprises in store.

things changed when my future husband moved in.

he is a friendly guy and quickly met everyone on the block. my anonymity was slipping away and i gladly gave it over. i didn’t want to be alone anymore. the naps fell by the wayside as our different schedules meshed and we started creating a life together.

i miss that sleepy little house. i miss the fantastic tree. i miss my soft bed, covered with books and the western sun casting shadows across the floor.

still, i wouldn’t trade it for what i have now.

a life bustling with noise and intensity, little children who smell like sugar cookies.

the messes, great and small generated by the torrential energy of the little ones.

shrieks and screams and conflicts galore.

still, a day in my old oasis would be wonderful. i could use a little rest.

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house on fire

February 7, 2008 at 10:32 am (destruction, grace, mystery, reflection)

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the house next door caught on fire the other night. at first, i didn’t think much about the sirens, since i live a block away from the fire station and hear the trucks all day long. then i realized they were crowding the street in front of my house.

then i smelled the smoke.

the house next door is ten feet from mine. i live in a dense, urban area. i looked out the window and saw gray smoke rolling out of the basement windows and creeping out of the cracks in the windows upstairs. i started feeling panicky as i heard the firemen smashing windows and talking on their radios.

i never saw flames.

the smell of smoke built up for a while. i worried about my sleeping children and wondered if we would have to leave. these houses are old and made of brick, so i wasn’t too worried about the fire spreading. it crossed my mind but i put that thought quickly aside. fortunately the wind was blowing the smoke away from us and we were able to get some fresh, cold air from the south side.

no one was hurt. no one lives there. the house has been sitting empty for almost two years. our former neighbors got a “great deal” in the suburbs and moved away. they were unable to sell the remaining house though and it slipped into foreclosure. someone had just purchased it and was starting to renovate. now it’s a burned out shell.

i was just starting to make peace with the idea that we were going to give up the dream of a simpler, more natural life. i was beginning to commit to living in the city and tolerating the intensity of sound, smell and other stimulation. my dream of the small town with a more relaxed lifestyle was fading and the THE HOUSE BURNS?

don’t get me wrong. i am so grateful that no one was hurt and that things are relatively fine but i was excited about the renovation. excited at the possibility that there would be an improvement to the neighborhood, that someone finally cared about the old beauty. now i wonder what will happen. will it sit there empty and burned, continuing a vortex of energy that never gets resolved?

what does it all mean? is it an omen? am i supposed to make meaning out of it?

maybe there is no meaning…just a random, life-changing event for someone else.

i wish i knew.

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the church of woman

February 2, 2008 at 2:17 pm (divine feminine, grace, mystery, passion, power)

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i’m not the most grateful gal in the world. i’ve been known to fret and fuss, fall into longing for what i don’t already have and throw a tantrum or two over unmet desires. sometimes it’s not about things but more about how i want to feel. it is the work of my life in some ways, to strip away the falsity and find satisfaction in the simplest of pleasures.

women are lusty creatures. we want more, more, more. the life force coursing through our bodies drives us to distraction sometimes. i know that men know this. it must be tough for them to weather the storms of female wanting.

so much spiritual philosophy has been geared toward the transcendence of desire and the transcendence of the body. as a woman, i find this offensive. how can a creature of the senses like me transcend the very seat of my power? why would the deity in the sky require me to subvert my nature to get closer to HIM.

i am the earth…can that be my religion? can love and passion and pain and procreation be my religion? must i force myself to stay in a space of gratitude and servitude when i feel like roaring across the sky? should i dim my light and limp around and pretend to be humble when my nature is so fierce?

if anything, i want my experience here to be more primal, more fully human. i want to get closer to nature even if it means discomfort and a loss of control. i want to be in harmony with the rhythms and cycles of nature. i want, want, want.

i put the judgment of wanting aside now. it is my nature after all.

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