Navigating the Sacred and Mundane

Monday, May 21, 2007


I had an impulse to totally spill the contents of my mind, without any thought of censorship, because I need to and I have about an hour where I don't have to tend to the thousand things on a list....but upon arriving to the cafe, I opened email to discover news of my dear friend Gry's labor and the birth of her newborn daughter, Alma, in Denmark.

I burst into tears. And here I am, moments later, still pulling myself together, but not all together. And the copious items on my list seem inconsequential in comparison to this other glorious event.

River's teacher called to say that she had a hard morning, cried for twenty minutes about tea spilling on her shirt, and she won't eat lunch. "Is something going on at home?"

"Um, we gave the cat away last night (Bye, kiddy, yu goeen new house, bye bye). Racoons came in and peed all over the bathroom and ate River's muffin, leaving it in a pile on the floor (Daddy, coons ate mufeen, coons come, coons eat River's food!). We looked at four houses this weekend to rent for three weeks. ("Dis our new house, mama??") We're moving to a different new house. Her sister is leaving for college. We're packing her toys. That's about it...."

Meanwhile, the new owners have changed the move date twice. So twice I call back our mover and the storage place and renegotiate dates and cost. Changed the rental house contract, too. Our realtor informs me that (oops) our washer and dryer are included in the sale. The new owner keeps asking if I will be leaving things for them....and I want to scream at her that we are already spending thousands of dollars to move twice, etc. She's in my kitchen right now with her contractor (can't she wait a few weeks?) Apparently not. Our realtor informs me that they can come in as many times as they want until escrow closes. Truly, not a moment to myself to exhale.

The minute one step resolves, another piece of the equation waves at me. Oh, right, plans for the remodel at the new house. Have I ever remodeled before? No. Will I have the plans complete, choosing paint, tiles, fixtures, tubs, closet configurations in a week or two? Yep.

I'm bitching. Totally bitching. I just feel like I am doing 95% of everything to do with this major transition. Should I bitch about that? Organizing all the financial information that is not yet organized. Who will pack if I spend hours and hours on that? And who will tend to my daughter if I am doing those things?

I can't do it all....but I am. I notice that I do everything that needs to be done, then am too tired to take care of myself at the end of the night. Others in my family take care of themselves first. You do the math.

Is it wise to accept this as my training? I'm learning a lot. I think I could manage a large business confidently at this point. Is this my training....and my practice? Or am I a martyr? In any given situation (especially a family) there is only so much one can control or change. I do ask for help, do hire help when I can, but I find myself holding most of the details of daily functioning......and I don't know if that's normal. Is that my job?

My husband calls. I say, "I have a five page list of stuff that needs to get done before moving to Portland." He's working out. He says, "Oh, I thought you called for sex."

Thursday, May 17, 2007


We sold the house last night, accepting our only offer. One contingency - we have to leave in 21 days, which is a week before my step-daughter graduates from high school. And it leaves us with three weeks of nowhere to live.

So...back to packing, and packing...and packing.

I'm looking for a beach rental where I can work on my manuscript. I found out two days ago that a publisher has given the green light for me to send in my book. Wow. When I'm not feeling sick about it, I really want to get back to work!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Go Mama!

Look who passed through my neck of the woods? How lucky am I?

Admittedly, blogging is a fantastic connecting force. I've met so many amazing women in the ethers through writing. But to sit in a cafe on a lovely day and share our experience in real time is great food for the soul!

Such a treat to get to know Tanya, of Go Mama - a beautiful woman, mom, artist, writer. I'm so grateful for the opportunity.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Real Property

Over two hundred people have walked through my bedroom in the last week. That's pretty much all I have to say. Two more days to go before the offer date. Crossing fingers....

Also thinking about my women/mama friends who married late and mothered late. We didn't 'grow up' with our husbands. These are marriages after many, many relationships...and previous marriages. We've had travels and lived a long while as single women, found our tribes, formed communitites, explored deeply meaningful, soulful sex. We've meditated and studied, started and left careers. Mostly, we all explored what was for each of us sought after heights and depths.

Approaching forty we married and had babies and find ourselves in more (or very) 'traditional' marriages. And we are all struggling. We all say it's the hardest thing (by far) that we have ever done. Not for the hard work, but for the loneliness. The isolation. The dissolution of self-esteem. The exhaustion of relational arrhythmia.

Other women I know who married young are also lonely, but they do not have clear ideas of what, exactly, they long for.....they experience a generalized loneliness.

It's very particular when you know exactly what is missed. The quality of eye contact that you once knew with another (for years at a time), or the companionship of someone who loved to share in certain shared joys. Or the hands on skin from that one, exactly six years ago in July. Or the house full of friends, melded in all sorts of family structures, who wave to you through the sliding glass door as you leave with your toddler wrapped around your body. They blow kisses and shout and laugh and mouth good-bye as you return for the long drive home to an empty house with one other silent person in it.

It's just another sort of growing up........and it was requested. I sure do get further insight into my mother and all mothers. The island of being a wife and the crucial (and historical) importance of friendships with women.

This is not about men. I love men. I just think the instituition of marriage in today's world, with the combination of transformative and archaic methods for being and living, make it a tiring business.

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Conscious Evolution

Picasso's Old Guitarist hung above my mother's ratty chair in the family room all my life. A crowning mantle on her throne, she painted black walls to surround, with thick black carpet under foot. Large black beams jutted up across the ceiling, holding up the roof. Between the beams, white paint, enough to keep your eyes upward, ever open to the possibility of heaven.

After all the lights were out, who wanted to get up alone and wander down the hall to the bathroom? Not me. The ghostly figure, crucified like dead Jesus, always hovered above my mother's drunken head. She'd fall asleep with a lit cigarette more nights than not, red glow in the black room burning to her fingers. I wanted desperately to help but the white kitchen linoleum was a moat that required more than my supply of courage to cross. The oreos were in the scary antique armoire, middle drawer, at the edge of the kitchen. I'd reach across from the hallway, put my finger in the deep key hole and pull it open. I was sure the creaky, haunted sound would wake her, so I grabbed fast and ran back to bed in the dark. Oreos under covers, better than fear. That kind of sensation in the dark, cream against the roof of my mouth, crumbs spilling on nerve endings across my chest, in my ears or eyelashes - seductive, as if someone cared.

Frame it on that wall forever, the way it is in my mind, still. A beautiful drunk artist sits under a sad Picasso for decades. Then ask, What is consciousness trying to discover?

Walking through the Picasso exhibit at MOMA last week, the most remarkable, notable feature was the placement of several American painters' work beside Picasso's. I stand before a rendition of a simple bowl. So what? What's so great about that? Yet beside it, suffered attempts to replicate the same piece by several other artists. Everyone wants to ride the wave of the impulse behind the that image. Why?

Without understanding and context we see a simple bowl. But when we commit to living through every step and stage of the experience of how awareness unfolds - the dormant seed, the breakthrough furl of the first shoot, the unfolding sprout, and the manifestation of form into embodiment - and it ends up looking like a simple bowl.....ah, freedom, arrival, achievement, union. We've been there, we know it, we are in the fluid orb of new awareness.

If we don't ride that wave, we stare and wonder why someone would want to catch it at all. And the feeling of separation ensues. Easy to think we're better than that, or that we're too stupid to get it, or that we don't care anyway.

Many artists, upon seeing Picasso's first American show, were distraught. They couldn't pick up a brush for months. Jackson Pollack's wife ran to his studio to find out what the crashing noise was, to find Pollack sitting on the ground, having thrown his supplies. He looked at her and said, "Picasso, dammit, he thought of everything!"

What happens when someone walks at the frontier? Others are compelled, out of deep sleep, out from pleasant dreams, to follow in pursuit of that dazzling, scintillating precipice. Even for a shape, if that shape is a burgeoning new idea of consciousness. Once one person begins that dance, watch, around the world, the same act of art will appear at the same time.

Consciousness becoming conscious of itself.

Relationships are like this, too. Sure, we can have an affair, a fling, an experience of union, but it's a weather balloon, above everything else. What happens when we attempt to replicate the bowl? All the late night hours in front of a blank canvas. All the shitty attempts that miss the mark. And the pain of our position, always somewhere else than where we ideally want to be.


Dinosaurs, plants, poems, planets, and people - we inch along filling the shoes of all the similar forms close by....and then we are lifted by consciousness into layers and realms that we will come to embody (just to give us a glimpse), but not yet.

We have to take every small step, every mile and year and a thousand pages out, to live into what is already inscribed upon our cellular spire.

I'm cleaning, packing, cleaning more. More cleaning that I've possibly ever done before. Who cares, right? But I do it. I repeat the simple tasks again and again and I begin to see that the door is everywhere. The door to that wave is within every object and every action....and there's a standing, open invitation to seek, find, and enter.

You can scrub a sink until you are no longer scrubbing the sink. You may as well be hiking in a drove of Willow trees. You can contemplate the placement of one sacred object on a table for longer than is required and you will enter a zone of geomancy where light enters the equation. And others feel it.

Passing the first couple, early to the Open House, I hear the woman stand in the room and say, "Something about this, the feel, I don't know....beautiful." And I trail out the door, unseen, smiling. There's a gift we can give each other. Just be willing to be all bothered and bitchy about doing the unpleasant task before you and stay with it long enough to see the light, then join with it, continue your task, and when you feel happy and released and grateful, complete it. Bless it. Then leave it for someone else, who may need that particular kind of shimmer to help them take their next step.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Walk on the Wild Side

If you are looking for a wonderful opportunity to dive deeply into your life and writing, check out Jennifer Lauck's upcoming writing workshops.