Delicious coffee explorations continue, and my coffee sketches are being shared by the cafes I’ve visited! Today we went to Mercado Lazaro Cardenas in Del Valle; no pets are allowed in Mercado, but ask nicely and the Señora selling bancos to the side of the main entrance will kindly watch your doggies while retrieving a delicious swan-topped coffee. Not possible to sketch this one, so I’ll look for another opp Deeeeeeeeelicious coffee!!!
CAFÉ Passmar serves up a damn fine cup of coffee, and I bought some to have on hand.
Adolfo Prieto s/n Local 237 Col. Del Valle Norte, Deleg. Benito Juárez, CDMX
I wasn’t always afraid of the water, I grew up in Crystal Lake, Illinois, swimming in the crystal clear water and other area lakes at every opportunity and truly loved being a mermaid. But then came the dawn of JAWS and my swimming career was effectively halted. I remember trying to drown out my fears by singing to myself as I swam, in an attempt to not think about that shark and it’s reign of terror, but I sank in the fear of it all. One last swim in Crystal Lake at summer’s end, a snapping turtle poked it’s head up in front of mine and snapped at me — it was officially over. More sea-terror movies were rolled out, which effectively sealed the deal: Barracuda, Piranha, JAWS 2, JAWS 3, JAWS 4 (*cough*), Creatures, Tentacles, Titanic, ETC., I became content to stroll along the shores, even in the most docile of waters. The fear was big and silent and I gave into it.
Because if I swam, it would look like this:
I sometimes get a little embarrassed that so much of my life became unhinged (and is still unhinging) after my mom’s death. I hear a voice back there “yeah get over it already, it’s been two years now, do your thing whatever, stop talking about it!”
I understand grief knows no bounds, yet why am I quick to scrutinize and criticize myself when I find myself still grappling with it? Oy, the personal pangs that tug at me in the wee hours of the night when no one is looking, oy oy oy.
It’s true, I still struggle with grief and the confusion from everything that is now different in my life — I am mostly okay with my evolution, but some confusion remains. I’m certain many of these changes were inevitable because of my age ta boot; as I approach 50, I understand with more compassion than ever that many women simply must re-invent, re-discover or re-up, or literally lose themselves. I have found many of Dr. Christiane Northrup‘s books and workshops have helped me sort my way through this with better clarity and assurance I’m not losing my marbles.My mom’s death was perhaps the the dime I turned on, bringing with it new opportunities and exciting adventures, although — in hindsight — I can see it was going to happen no matter what. I was ready to shed my skin.
On Mother’s Day, 2013, I put my mom’s ashes in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin on a brutally cold and windy May day. Her ashes flew up and around me like a tornado before they landed in the lake. It was surreal, for real. I was surprised to learn there’s a boat service available for people to put ashes in the lake, and I sometimes wonder how many people are in that lake?? Ashes-to-ashes, I don’t really care, but I do like that my mom is there. She wanted to be in Green Bay because of the Packers and I decided that was too far; I wanted to keep an eye on her in Lake Geneva. So began my frequent visits to the lake.
There is an amazing 22-mile walking path around the entire lake and as the cold spring turned to summer, I began to sink my toes into the water. And then I dangled my legs and stared deeply at the water. One day I jumped in and cried. This happened several times. I had lost so much… jobs, addresses, people, things… it was terribly scary because I had no idea how I would climb out of this hole, but I had faith and this lake helped me. I felt tingly energy all around me and something about my existence had been elevated — it was hard to explain, but everything was different. By mid-summer, I was helping myself to absent-summer-resident’s personal boat docks and full-on jumping into the cool waters of Lake Geneva and feeling the calmest I had ever felt in my life.
The summer of 2013 was an amazing, amazing summer and I am forever be grateful for all of it’s lessons.
I left Illinois mid-November of that year and life became very, very different. I had made a promise to myself that the rest of my life would be “magical”, although I wasn’t even sure what that meant, except that it was fodder for jokes — and I love good jokes. Guess what? My life has become magical in many ways, and while there are still mundane and challenging things about it as there should be, I am totally enjoying what my life has become. Call it magical or intentional, I love they way I feel in my skin these days. I miss the Midwest and my days in Lake Geneva — Chicago too, but life has carried on, as it should, and my dreams keep me close to it all. Someday I will be back.
I am having the good fortune of spending this winter in Mexico with Reed; first at the house in San Miguel de Allende, and then traveling through Central Mexico while he attends to business. Situated in a lovely situation here in Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico, this past weekend we made plans to spend the day on a boat with Chica Locca Tours that promised whale watching, water activities, food and drink, snorkeling, cave diving; a day out at sea on a very comfortable boat. This group completely delivered and we had an amazing, amazing day. Well I did, for sure.
My fear of open water is still pretty HUGE and when we arrived off the Marieta Islands (“there’s only one way to get there, and that’s to swim for it!“), it was up to us to gear up and swim to the island, where the fun would continue. I did not read this bit in the brochure and my heart sank a mile or two when this was mentioned. I put the fins and snorkeling gear on and became a blubbering, quivering lip awash in a terrifying wave of fear. Everyone was jumping in the water and I stood at the edge of the boat, trembling — NO I could not do this. It was too far away and it was OPEN WATER for Christ’s Sake and surely I would be eaten alive by some monsterous sea creature before I hit the island. This was the OCEAN, did they not realize??! I whelped to the guys I could not do it, no way, my heart was going to explode out of my chest and I was not strong enough. I waddled to the back of the boat to take off my gear and pout it out.
I looked over to the ladder on the side of the boat and said, “fuck it, I will hate myself if I don’t do this.” With that, I jumped into the terrifying (not!) waters and swam to the island. Holy Moley it was gorgeous!
It was a gooooooooooooorgeous adventure and I am sooooooooooo glad I jumped in! We swam to the island and explored the caves and tunnels and dark holes that I thought for sure electric eels lived in and were waiting inside to kill me or eat me and guess what? They were no electric eels waiting in darkness to kill me nor eat me because they couldn’t care less about me! I was the happiest clam in the ocean this day!
After this awesome adventure on Gilligan’s Island, it was time to swim back to the boat. Oh shit….. who moved the boat soooooooooo far away?? It’s even farther away now because some dumb law says it can’t be too close to the island. I was never going to make it and oh my gawd I can’t breathe and so why not kick wildly and claw at the water as if there’s a magic rope to lead me home …
I totally panicked and gasped for air as I attempted to swim for several minutes; holy Mackerel I was scared! Wait. Stop it Meag!
I put my goggles on and looked down into the water and saw holy mackerels but no sharks. I knew I had to stop this panicking and rolled onto my back and looked up at the sky. I needed to breathe more normally and take myself out of the equation. A song came to me that I sang in the temescal a year ago; we sang this as a way to pass the time while sitting in pitch dark, soul-cracking, sweltering heat:
One little, two little, three little Indians
Four little, five little, six little Indians
Seven little, eight little, nine little Indians
Ten little Indian boys.
Ten little, nine little, eight little Indians
Seven little, six little, five little Indians
Four little, three little, two little Indians
One little Indian boy.
Whad’ya know, I made it to the boat safe and sound!
Again, I was the happiest clam in the ocean! I have been walking on my tippy-toes ever since this glorious day, even though every muscle in my body is sore, but it is a good sore, a sore I am grateful for; a soreness that reminds me I swam to the damn boat, RAWR!
I realize there are people in today’s world who are facing much bigger fears and maybe not by choice, but by fire and I by no means intend to compare to anyone’s challenges. This was a first world challenge, for sure. I believe I become a better person, first to myself and then to others, if I take an opportunity to break down any personal barriers that have held me back in life, or have kept me feeling fearful. There is a freedom that has grown within me in the past two years that has altered the course of my life and I, for one, choose to celebrate all of these personal achievements, great and small.
This past week, I had the golden opportunity to attend a NIA White Belt training at a crystal farm located just outside of Little Rock, Arkansas. I chose this instead of driving to East Austin every day for 7 days, as this option included a free stay at the farm. I discovered NIA dance several years ago, well after I had trained years earlier in Gabrielle Roth’a dance, and felt its principles were speaking to me now as I prepared to deepen my practice. As of last Friday, I can now teach NIA and will be doing so at the end of September at two studios in Dripping Springs, Texas.
It’s an intense training; the days are long and obviously, very physical. I loved every sore-muscle minute of it! The farm was absolutely beautiful and I am completely grateful to have had this opportunity to learn and get certified in Little Rock. I especially enjoyed the early mornings with my roommates; I so rarely get the opportunity to have coffee and spirited conversations with such diverse characters, well before the sun’s day break. I feel a bit smarter and a dollop stronger for having completed this week on the farm. I’ve made some awesome new friends and hope to know hem for years to come.
It was a tremendous experience — including the few days I arrived early to explore Arkansas. Who knew this state was so gorgeous??! They call it the Natural State, I had no idea! Arkansas is an easy target for hillbilly jokes, and while of course I made many, I also learned an awful lot, and that’s a beautiful thing. Arkansas has quartz crystal mines, so there is quite an influx of people in search of said crystals; I even found myself in a mine and spent an afternoon digging. Amazing!! I explored the hot springs of Hot Springs, climbed a few mountains, greeted the rising sun from some breath-taking perches and spent an afternoon in the William J. Clinton Presidential Library; it moved me to tears more than once.
I’m thankfully out of hillbilly jokes because I have seen “the purdy” side of Arkansas. It was an amazing week and I’m excited to start teaching NIA!
A quick 9-hour drive home, a few loads of laundry and then Reed and I were off to Aspen, Colorado to stay with his Aunt Lucy and see the high country burst into the autumn season. Oh what a gorgeous country it is!
I think back to where my life was one year ago — it’s completely different today and thank God for this. I was working a corporate job (or two!) in Chicago and really thought that would be my path, but obviously I kept falling flat on my face. Losing so many jobs — okay being FIRED from so many jobs, having to sell all my belongings and then eventually moving out of Chicago, was extremely painful and has deeply changed me forever. The cake-froster was my mom’s death. Only one year ago I was crawling out of the mire and uncertain about where my life would go next. It was, in a word, terrifying.
Reed came back into my life last Thanksgiving when he invited me to Mexico for Thanksgiving. I never thought I would see him again after our divorce in 2008, but alas, never say never. I never felt right about how things ended between us; so I am grateful to have this opportunity to get right with him — but mostly to get right with myself, because I cannot help others until I help myself.
When we were married, I was restless and had absolutely no direction. I was adrift in my pointless life and unmotivated to change it. I had lost that sparkle in my eye, that spark that had enabled me to endure almost anything in my life. Reed had offered to let me do anything — yet I could not decide and chose to do nothing instead. Can you imagine? We did a lot of traveling and moved into many houses, yet I became increasingly annoyed by it all. “Unattractive” is the word I would use to describe myself. I was once an artist! Not anymore; I would pick up a paint brush and cast it aside, feeling literally nothing except a dull pressure to be something I was not anymore. I blamed the world and especially blamed Reed for my injustices.
Injustices. How outrageously arrogant of me.
I have never been more focused in my direction, nor more excited to live an adventurous and colorful life, than I am today. I have pangs of guilt for not currently having a job, but I’ll get over it. I am working toward an entirely different career experience and how lucky I am to have the opportunity to explore these new heights. I start teaching NIA later this month, but that is only the beginning. I am aiming high!
I believe we cross paths with people who are meant to teach us something, even if it is delivered through a painful, one-two-punch lesson. Upon arriving in Aspen, Aunt Lucy completely nailed me to the wall, ridiculing me, wagging a finger in my face, wanting to know why I am so happy and what is my secret because she DOESN’T UNDERSTAND. It was scary and unsettling — this is a very angry woman who is deep in her Stage 4 cancer battle and is duking it out with her demons. Lucy has everythingand more than the “American Dream” would suggest, yet her heart is cold and empty. And scared. She does not like unicorn-chasing, skip-to-the-loo-tree-huggers like myself, yet she is surrounded by them and pursues them here in Aspen. She went above and beyond to hurt me and succeeded.
I was a wounded pup for a few hours but quickly recovered. The fruits of my emotional labor; I now pull myself out of the hole, rapidly, with very little drama.
I composed myself in all that is gorgeous and illuminous in Aspen, Colorado and it dawned on me that no matter who we are, we are all searching to get out of our pain and to know what love is all about. It can take a lifetime. Thank God we all have one.
im·pec·ca·ble (of behavior, performance, or appearance) in accordance with the highest standards of propriety; faultless.
During my NIA training, we were asked to be impeccable. Impeccable in our words and actions. Interesting! It has caused me to think before I speak and I am now acutely aware of my impeccability — even if I am anything but impeccable at times. I am responsible for my happiness and my involvement in life. I am not expecting a doctor to hand me a happy pill, nor do I feel that anyone owes me anything. My life has become impeccably easier to navigate since I lost everything last year and re-discovered my true self and a deep desire to be helpful. I have that spark in my eye once again.
One year ago, I awoke early and headed out for a dewey, crisp morning Northern Illinois walk, in an attempt to sort my thoughts about my current job, and what the heck I was going to do because I knew I had to get out. I hadn’t even been with the company three months, yet I knew I needed out.
I fretted. My thoughts were half on my walk and half worked up into a lather because who was I to think I could quit a job with nothing lined up behind it? What would I do? What was my purpose? What was my passion? Money!!!? Oh my GOD, what would I do for money?! My head spun ’round and ’round and ’round because I had ZERO answers to these questions, but I did have a feeling that it was the right thing to do. But how do I ….
It’s my Manager.
She fired me.
I read my blog from one year ago and while I feel I was a wee-harsh on my mom in that post, I do believe I had tripped onto “my calling” but was not able to see it as such. It actually has taken almost a year, but oh what a year it has been! I truly believe I have someone watching over me, because it has been such an amazing year, since I no longer have that job in my day-to-day reality.
The first few months I paced and paced and focused on the fact that I had been fired, AGAIN. It is never, ever fun getting fired, even though it happened often. It always feels like a punch in the gut. Then I arrived in Central Mexico for Thanksgiving and stayed until March. After that I moved to Central Texas with Reed, my ex-husband, and it is because of him and his spectacular generosity that I have been able to pursue the things that matter most to me. And what really stirs my pot is….
I have been studying under Sonia Choquette for about a year, although I first worked with her approximately 20 years ago in Chicago. I thought she was weird back then… but now I have become just as weird and I LOVE IT! It’s not weird at ALL, but I had my judgment back then even though I have always been drawn to the healing arts. I became jaded and cynical and included a bit of an eye roll when someone became “too spiritual” or in too deep. Surely there’s something fishy about someone who hunkers down and gets serious about metaphysical topics. Or perhaps I heard my mom’s raised eyebrows… “you’re dong WHAT?” “Meag, you need to get a job and keep your mouth zipped!” “Nothing is ever easy, nothing, we are stock people and life will always be hard.”
I continued these assaults on myself when no one else did.
Alas, for the first time in my life, this makes perfect sense to me. I have a plan and I am ON IT! I no longer hear my mom’s criticisms, but I do feel her smiling down upon me. No really, I do.
I’ve also started to share good energy tips on Instagram, called #newenergyin15; I am excited to tell a good energy story in 15 seconds! You can see the Figure 8’s here and the Slapping the Monkey here.
YOU CAN’T FIRE ME FROM THIS! Stay tuned….. and thank you Universe!
Today my friends from Sweden arrived in the Texas Hill Country. They flew into Dallas and spent the first two days dining on America’s culinary delights from Taco Bell, Outback Steakhouse, In & Out Burger and McDonalds before heading on over to Driftwood for dinner at the Salt Lick. When I saw Marie-Therese, it was as if we had known each other for a very long time and hugged and squealed like long-separated friends who were finally being reunited. They are staying in our guest house, Marie-Therese, her husband Hakken, her 17-year old step son Viktor and her four year old son, Alfred. They could not be more thrilled to be here in the heart of Texas, eating barbeque, swimming in the swimming hole and riding in the back of the pickup truck.
They were in love with Texas before they arrived here; now they want to marry it and bring it home to Sweden to meet the parents!
Truth is, Marie-Therese and I met through Instagram and had never set eyes on each other before today, but there was a certain familiarity, how can you explain? Except to say that Instagram can be a window into someone’s soul and you can sometimes feel really comfortable meeting someone who you follow on Instagram. You could even fall in love through Instagram, but that is a story for another day.
My new friends from Sweden LOVE Texas and their plans for the next day involve cowboy boots, shooting off guns and liquor, but not necessarily in that order. It was so fun to meet a friend from Instagram; I just hugged and kissed each of them as I left them to collapse in their air conditioned house on the river for the night.
I recently took an online photography class with Creative Live and learned some wonderful mobile tricks and tricks on my Sony-NEC5. I had not expected there being a mobile photography nod, well, well because “real” photographers do not like to bother with the mobile phones, but c’mon, we all know that our smartphones have the capacity to shoot some great images.
These are my tree panoramas shot with my iPhone 5; there are some truly amazing trees in Texas and now I want to get a reference books for them, in addition to the wildflower book. First up, Blanco Proper, then a lavender farm just outside of Blanco.
If there’s one thing yesterday’s wild, wicked storm did, it officially ushered in the hot and sweaty Austin heat; the morning started out so nice and fresh but soon turned to sweltering. Much like a Midwest winter, now is the time all good Texans head indoors or out of State. In the mean time, I hit up the Blanco Lavender Festival today, before the weekend crowds swarmed in. Lovely! Lot’s of fairy hits! I smell great right now = )
If there is one thing about living in Central Texas that raises the hair on the back of my neck, it’s the amount of creatures and critters I must learn how to do the two-step with, because they rule the land. I am far less frightened of them at this age in my life, but that does not mean they are not showing up in my path, no Siree Bub, this land is their land, this land is their land. this land was made for them and them.
Scorpions are hideous creatures and seem to appear in places you’d never expect; in the sink when doing dishes, on the inside of the bathrobe that I’m about to put on, inside the ovenmitt, discovered a moment too late after rushing to get the hot burning bread out of the oven. After I met my first scorpion while doing the dishes a few weeks ago, I literally launched off into The Scorpion Dance and bounced my ways backwards through the house in order to distance myself from it. I had the creepy-crawlies all damn day. But you can’t let them stop you. Keep on keeping on.
I am torn whether or not to post the pictures of all the creatures I come across. That means I have to look at the photos again, and I always take photos. I can’t seem to stop myself, it’s a gross fascination with that which I abhor. That said, here they are, a few of my buddies:
I attempt to make peace with them, in order for them not to rule my life and appear everywhere and this tactic seems to work — somewhat, but c’mon this is Texas. Mostly you must be smart about it and proactive; I always shake my shoes out, spray my bed with peppermint and lavendar each night before going to bed, and now I carry homeopathic pellets with me, so that I don’t have to carry an epi-pen. For the dreaded Red Imported Fire Ant.
In 2007, I was bit three times on my big toe by a fire ant or three fire ants, I am not sure because it happened so quickly and then they were gone. My toe blew up and I had to get to the Emergency Room to have my toe lanced off. Followed by two days of being a zombie while the pain meds did their magic — it was AWFUL.
I suffered five fire ant bites on both feet last week, and again my feet blew up and I was in searing, burning pain, just as their name suggests. I didn’t see a doctor until I came up for air and the pain subsided. I was told my allergic reaction to these bites would get worse and now I need to carry an epi-pen. Ugh, an epi-pen! That’s what Uma Thurman got to the heart in Pulp Fiction!!
This did not set well with me so I made an appointment with a Naturopath doctor and have since been taking homeopathic pellets made for stings and bites, called APIS.
I got bit by another fire ant on Saturday night. It swelled up for an hour or so and then chilled the hell out. I will continue to take the pellets as opposed to an epi-pen, because that’s just how I roll.
I also went to Allen’s Boots in South Austin to get some epic short cowboy boots, because my feet get hot but I need to cover them ankles!
Aways be prepared for what Texas is gonna throw at you, and never, ever jump without looking. xoxo
Last November, I attended a brilliant Sonia Choquette workshop in Chicago, along with an amazing group of my now-new-peers, peers whom share a desire to live an extraordinarily rich and vibrant life. At the end of this three-day workshop, I declared that I want to be a Modern Farmer. These words felt as if they came rushing out of nowhere, and I’m still not clear I know exactly what being a modern farmer means for me; but my path has definately veered this direction since making the declaration.
Pay no mind to the fact that I was living in my deceased mother’s empty condo in Woodstock, Illinois and was once again “without employment”, which is jargon for “unemployed”.
All things told, I knew swift changes were headed my way.
A week later I was in San Miguel de Allende for Thanksgiving with Reed Burns, my crazy cowboy of an ex-husband. We found our way back to each other, something that surprised us both because we had both said in the past that we were DONE. We have become family again and more important, are friends this time too.
A few months later, here I am in Driftwood, Texas, living in Reed’s 1940s farmhouse on a few acres of land, across the road from Reed, as he lives on the main ranch. I’ve got my dog, a new job (more on than later, when I’m sure I still have a job HAHA), and up until this morning, I had 28 cows living in my front yard.
I wouldn’t quite describe this as being a “modern farmer”, but it certainly is a million miles closer to being one than I was last November.
These are Red Angus cows, and are most commonly raised for beef production in the US. Reed’s family ranch is named Charro Ranch, and the cows of Charro have almost 300 acres to graze upon before they go to market twice a year. These are, without a doubt, very HAPPY COWS. They roam, they graze, they reproduce, they raise their young, they yell at each other, they do it all over again.
We moved the cows to this property, across the street from Charro Ranch, in order for them to maintenance the land and keep it safe from grass fires. Exactly four weeks later, there is no more grass for them to eat and this morning they went home.
I adored having the cows here; there were back at the house just about every other day because they work the land in a circular motion, and it took two days to move around the fourteen acres. When they were close by, there were two gals in particular that would hop the fence and dine in the front yard. At first I would escort Helen and Syliva back across the fence line, but then I began to enjoy having them in the yard. Soon their babies joined them and I loved having coffee with the girls and their kids, every other morning in the yard.
They have personalities; some bigger than others, and I enjoyed getting to know them. There is a solid calm about cows that I really admire, they emit a calming affect. Reed thinks I’m crazy for this, but I know what I feel. My dad used to reminisce about how heartbroken he was as a teenager after he sold his favorite cow, Daisy, so he could buy his first car. His eyes would well up with tears every time he told that story and we would laugh at him for getting all emotional over a cow. “Don’t have a cow over a cow Dad, ha-ha-HA!”
I always liked that story and now I get it.
Maybe a modern farmer has cows that cut her lawn and then they go home; I’m not sure.
I am still sorting this out and I love the daily exercise of this life because although I have very few certainties, I am certain that I have never been more awake than I am these days. It’s a whole-lotta-Texas to take in, and sometimes I need a breather from all this country thunder, but *yahoo* I’m living in the Wild, Wild West and am totally grateful for this opportunity.
So I find myself back in Dripping Springs, Texas; a town I honestly never thought I’d return to — nor wanted to because I never felt I was on the “same page” as this town or its people. It was full of bugs, critters, snakes, Republicans and I was bored to tears. I never looked back when I left it years ago, so it was a complete surprise to me when I had no resistance to moving back to this Texas town earlier this year.
Downtown Dripping Springs:
It’s a hum-dinger of a tiny town and now there are things to do! Places to go, people to see! There was nothing here in 2005 except a tiny (gross) grocery store, and a newly minted liquor store because Hays County had been the “dry county” for…. well I think forever and it had recently been declared NOT DRY, so yes, there was a liquor store too. The feed store was about the only business that had wifi and people would line up their trucks out front with their laptops to steal the internet. It has only been very recently that we’ve been able to get internet service out on the ranch; and even so it’s satellite service, which means we have to pay for each and every little kilobyte of internets.
I do believe, however, that Dripping Springs is just an idea, as there is not much to it (yet), but it’s a place where people want to escape to. It’s motto is the “Gateway to the Hill Country” and many people trapped in Austin and other cities, dream of getting away to the Hill Country and enjoying the Texas countryside, but few have access to it because there are so few parks and wildlife areas. I am totally grateful for the land that I am living on, with my ex-husband, because it is essentially our own National Park. I’m know this will change in the coming years, as there’s a mad dash to conquer the Hill Country. For now, I love the small town feel to it, I hear the schools are the best in Texas and aside from the sweltering heat and fiery fireant bites, it sure is purdy.
The booze-hounds have CRUSHED Hays County! And I concur it is all very interesting indeed.
This is my slice of Dripping, although I should probably mention that I live in Driftwood, an unincorporated community and even smaller than Dripping with nothing but a wonderful Italian restaurant, a legendary bbq joynt, a post office, a church and a few wineries. I am totally thrilled and grateful to call this funky part of the world my home for now.
This morning I had a early appointment in Austin so I decided to head out a tad early so I could attempt to kayak the Mighty Lady Bird Lake. I have been all around this lake, which is actually the Colorado River, but never on it, so I was excited for this outing– I haven’t been on a kayak since that chilly day in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin last Fall, when I closed out the season.
I prepared everything the night before and then just as I was ready to hunker down and sleep for the night, Reed said to me, “be careful of the snakes out there.”
WHAT? I forgot all about the snakes. No, this is the middle of the city, there are no snakes. Are there?
This warning did not stop me from waking at 3am to google Austin snake facts, because I wanted to make sure I was not going to die on this morning or at least miss my appointment. After reading a few forums and lists, I felt fairly confident that even if I did see a snake, I would survive.
And so it was. I was more moved by the amount of garbage in the river at the intersection of Lady Bird Lake and Barton Springs, but all-in-all, it was a lovely morning spent on the water, and I will look to do this again. My arms are sore — oh how I’ve missed this pain! I saw plenty of snapping turtles, pretty birds, fishes down below, but no snakes. The water was clear and beautiful once I made my way down towards Barton Springs. The only thing missing was Henry on the front of my kayak, and that will happen once I decide to buy my own vessel.
I rented a kayak from Texas Rowing Center without a hitch ($10 an hour or $25 for unlimited), but learned out on the water that I should check out the Rowing Dock (located just up west on the river) because they have a better selection of kayaks to choose from. Easier to manuever, sitting higher on the water.
Either way, I will continue to get on out there and do my thing… :)))
Years ago, I don’t remember where, possibly Chicago I think, maybe San Francisco, I saw a reverse glass painting of a Parisian cafe scene and I couldn’t take my eyes off it. I didn’t buy it, but boy I wish I had — why didn’t I buy it?
I love the layers that were created by painting on glass and the elements that could be placed behind the glass, as if you are looking into a room or cafe or whatever the subject may be. Reminds me of the shadow box painting my mom used to do. My mom was such a talented artist in her day, well even to the end of her days with her quilting, but it was her early painting that always mesmerized me.
So I didn’t buy that reverse glass painting I saw years ago in some far-away city, of some other far-away city’s hopes and dreams, and recently I came across another reverse glass painting at an antique gallery in San Antonio, Texas that made me stop in my Texas tracks.
I. Did. Not. Buy. It. D’oooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh why not, I do not know! It was from Istanbul, as well! Of TWO ANGELS are you kidding me what’s wrong with me?!?!?!?!?!?!
This recent stumbling across this angelic reverse glass painting, which I rarely see, reminded me of that other glass painting I saw years earlier and how I’ve always wanted to try this method. It’s tricky, do you want to know why? Because you have to paint in reverse of what you are accustomed to painting. Highlights first, dark shadows last. Front-to-back.
I’ve done two now and feel like I am ready to stretch out of my comfort zone. One thing I have always struggled with when I first begin to paint or do any sort of creative exercise, is that I am so afraid to make a mistake. It holds me back until I can talk myself out of it. There are no mistakes, but I certainly have to warm up to this.
I may have to go back to San Antonio to look for those two angels, but in the meantime I will be more adventurous, and not just with the reverse glass paintings! 😀
I have a new Sony NEX-3n camera and I took it for a spin on our mini-road trip through the Texas Hill Country to see the wild flowers; which ironically were not out, but they are out in full force in our front yard. Still a fun two nights cruising the countryside. Texas LOVES Texas. xoxo
I used to scoff at people who claimed they were blessed and/or were grateful. I had a hard time being grateful a few years back…. not so much anymore; I’ve had more than a few brushes with magic and now feel grateful everyday — even on bad days. It’s not perfect, but I stay committed to looking for it.
When I packed up my life a few weeks ago in Illinois to move to Texas, I had five days to do so because I was starting a new job in seven days and had no time to spare. Needless to say, I blasted through quite a bit while sorting things out and tried my best to keep on top of everything, but recently I discovered I overlooked something fairly huge.
More like gargantuan:
My checkbook, my mother’s checkbook, her savings account book, my bank statements with credit card info, a stack of new meagburnt biz cards and a *signed* blank check for made out for $900.00. Oh and a cow notepad.
Apparently I missed the opportunity to include my social security card to this stack of goods.
I received a call with a Michigan area code and of course did not answer it, because who answers an unrecognized number? I then listened to the message from a woman named Becky who recently purchased a red suitcase from the Sparrow’s Nest thrift shop in Woodstock and I almost ran off the Texas Highway, because she had all of the above items that I had left in a donated suitcase. ALL OF THEM.
She was a lovely, lovely woman and asked if she could mail these things to me; of course, of course you can mail these things to me, I would be forever grateful if you would mail these things to me.
I received a large envelope in my new Texas mailbox on Good Friday, along with an Easter card from my Aunt Nancy, who feels incomplete in life if she is unable to send me a card. Life is right again; I have a mailbox!
However, I still need to clean out the bird’s nest…
Inside the big envelope was all of my sacred financial information, as well as a handwritten note. Becky tells me she purchased the suitcase for her son & daughter-in-law, who had just moved to London. Becky and her husband were soon to depart for a visit and had filled the suitcase with 41-pounds of chocolate chips, organic peanut butter, cheez-its, walnuts, Mexican ingredients; all the things the kids were sure to miss from America — she literally told me my suitcase is now very happy in the UK, having delivered all the goodies to the kids! And thanked me for donating the little red suitcase! Becky thanked me in a wonderful twist of karmic goodness.
I read the letter as I walked up my driveway and I was in udder shock by the time I got to my door. Does this type of kindness even exist in our world today? Yes, apparently so! The proof was in my hands and in this wonderful envelope I received on Good Friday. I’ve thought momentarily of everything that could have gone terribly wrong, but instead I say THANK YOU.
I sent Becky a text when I composed myself and thanked her for the safe return of my things and for her generous spirit, wonderful integrity and cheery letter. I promised to send her a hand-written note within the next few days — but first I needed to gather the supplies necessary to send an actual hand-written letter.
I wrote that letter-slash-card to Becky and again thanked her for her kindness. I even sent her some photos of my adventures in Texas — and of course London too! My suitcase is having a marvelous time in London! I had a marvelous time in London! I love London!
Now that I have started to gather the materials needed to send hand written notes, I think I will make a habit of this. It was an awesome gift to receive and felt really good — affirming and solid — to send a letter in return to a perfect stranger who saved me from possible financial ruin.
Thank you Universe! I did cartwheels in your honor this Easter Weekend!!
Do you want a Texas postcard? Send me your address to email@example.com
Recently I was driving out of Charro Ranch on a pleasant warm day, when I saw one of the workers standing out on the road waving his arms — and then I saw a cow close to the road. One of the cows had somehow hopped a fence or discovered a broken fence line, and was now out there close to the highway. People drive crazy fast down the Texas highways, so there’s no need to discuss the possibilities of a sad outcome here; there was no time, I jumped into action!
I had to get this cow on the other side of the fence NOW!
I obviously had never rounded up a cow before and especially using my jeep as my lasso to get him back home. But after I cut left in front of the cow, he quickly turned around and started to run towards the main gate. “WOW THAT WAS EASY”, I said to myself. But wait, no…. there’s a cow gate at the main gate, and cows won’t walk over nor jump a cow gate to get out, let alone get back in. So as I leisurely drove back to the front gate, this cow, whom I shall call RALPH, looked at the main gate and then kept right on running. WHOAAAA NELLIE RALPH!
I ran with Ralph for about 3 miles down the road, trying to get him to turn around and stay out of traffic. Ralph did not care if a semi trailor was hauling ass up the highway, he would dart out into the road and I would lay on the horn. I had no fear of getting creamed on the highway; I was all about saving Ralph and getting him back home. But Ralph kept running the wrong way. I yelled at him, “Are we going to see a show in Austin??!!” He didn’t respond. Yikes!!! When I would cut right in front of him, he would back up and cross the road. I called Reed and got voicemail; who does one call in a situation like this? Cowbusters?
Ralph & I kept running like Forrest Gump down the Texas highway.
And then a pickup truck pulled up alongside me; a woman yelled out, “GET HIM TO THE NEXT RANCH GATE, I’LL OPEN IT UP FOR HIM!” And off she blasted.
Ralph and I ran up the highway and like the friendly cowgirl said, the gate was open and Ralph ran in, without bothering to say thanks or bye or THAT WAS HILARIOUS or anything!
I got out to talk to the woman; she was the horse caretaker at a neighboring ranch and ony wanted to help — which she did so tremendously. No one was hurt, no accidents were caused and Ralph was safe inside our neighbor’s ranch! I was now so relieved and estatic about what just happened and that nothing happened except that Ralph was safe!!!!!!!!!
I made a FLIPAGRAM of the adventure! Just click this photo:
That was an awesome freakin’ day, thank you RALPH!!
Up until a few weeks ago, I was in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where I thoroughly enjoyed the brutal Chicago winter, as this winter was truly one to miss — and it appears to not yet be over in the Mighty-Midwest. I had an exceptionally playful winter and will be forever grateful for the ability to spend my time doing yoga and taking dance classes, studying and practicing qi gong, completely art workshops, cooking glorious meals in a dark cavernous Mexican kitchen, swimming in the natural hot, healing waters and spending time getting to know old friends and an ex-husband.
It was glorious and great healings occurred after the butt-kicking year or so I had endured. However, the pressure of leaving my mom’s home unattended for the hard-hitting winter was ever-looming, and I knew I needed to get back to Illinois to wrap up her affairs for good. I knew in my heart that my time in Illinois had come to an end; time to pack up one final time and move on. I had decided to return to San Miguel de Allende to pursue my interests in the healing arts, organic foods, other worldly pursuits while working with some business owners on their marketing efforts. It’s challenging to find work in Mexico, but I was ready for a new page in the books and to get back to work.
—————–> Not so fast.
Although I knew my time in Chicago was up, I remain very grateful for my time in ‘Tucky after my mom’s death and multiple job losses. (Tucky = Woodtucky) I needed a quiet place; a place where I could completely unravel and then put myself back together again. I lived in my mom’s empty condo. No stuff except some of my stuff, which I never unpacked. I didn’t even have a refrigerator nor stove for the first six weeks; it was like camping every day. But I was able to spend time in and around Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, talking to my mom, walking around the lake, kayaking and paddleboarding; exactly what I needed. I made peace with the waters and I was starting to make peace with myself. Grief continues to change me in so many ways — the tears continue to fall but I’ve continued to face my fears and tackle them. I am far less afraid of things out in the world today!
The unraveling of grief also made me aware that I needed to stop punishing myself for losing so many jobs. This was no small task and it’s probably not over. I do however, finally understand that it is my badge of honor to have lost these jobs in such a rapid succession, so I could move closer to more important things in my life. I am not supposed to work for people I do not believe in, selling things I do not care about. How lucky I am to have lost these jobs. It has made me a better person.
I have been told by more than a few that I am a nicer person, and do you know what?? I feel like I am nicer person. I feel softer, easier, slower and my laugh has improved. I love it! Oh sure I can still cut like a knife with my tongue, but I’d really rather not because I don’t think it’s cute anymore. I genuinely enjoy connecting with people, sans sarcasm.
I am totally grateful for the lessons of loss during the past year.
When Reed & I landed in Texas, we were both THRILLLLLLLLLED to be back in America. We ate shitty Tex-Mex tacos and loved it; for a few minutes. It only took a few hours for the “American gumption” to seep back into my veins and I was essentially high as a kite from it, and feeling the pressure to get back in the game. That get up & GETTER DONE attitude; I was hungry! Everywhere I looked, I felt as though I was being asked about my work; where do you work, what do you do, what’s your background, do you have a job? — because after all, this is AMERICA and we work fifty weeks of the year to buy cool stuff dangitall!
We moved into Reed’s family ranch, “Charro Ranch” in Driftwood, Texas, and soon I re-discovered the beauty of a Central Texas ranch. I’ll be honest though; when we lived here after we were first married in 2005, I did not like the place at all and could not wait to get back to the city. A decade later, I simply adore the place and enjoy every day that I am here. The baby cows are multiplying, and I’m having such fun meeting them (from a far) and talking to all the animals.
Within the first week, I had secured a job at a local olive oil orchard and I was really thrilled to get back to work. But first I had to go to Chicago to close up mom’s place, which I did in about five days. I was at my mom’s place on St. Patrick’s Day; which I hadn’t really thought about until that morning, that morning of Paddy Day, that has long been a strange day in notsomuch that we celebrated the day, rather it’s was more a day to make fun of our Irishness and everyone gets drunk.
That morning I sat on the floor of my mom’s empty condo and began closing up the final boxes for shipping, then fired up my music. When Van Morrison’s Jackie Wilson Said came on, I totally lost it. I could not stop the tears; it was a calvacade. My uncles Tim and Tom loved Van the Man and it was one of the few songs that they would move to; we all would dance to it. I blame Tim for kicking off this family death spiral party; I was angry he had left me with all these neanderthal relatives who couldn’t talk about anything beyond sports, weather, goons, traffic and the good ol’days; Tim was the only one in the family who really got me and I will always miss him terribly. They all went tumbling down after him because he was the glue of the family that was trapped in the old school ways of the West Side Irish. God Bless Them All!
It was a stupendous cry as I packed up the remains of my life and two days later I hopped on a plane to Austin to start my new American life. I have way too much spunk in me to live in Mexico; I still want to make magic happen and work and do good. Central Texas it is!
Next I move into my house and get re-acquainted with the creatures of Central Texas…. bugs too!
If I think about it too much, I can get totally freaked out about the amount of collateral damage I’ve done to my body over the years, even though I strive to do the right thing now — I have had many mortal failures. I was quite rowdy in my youth even though I always knew that was not my right nature, I did it anyways. I have not always treated my body with the respect it has deserved and my struggles in the wee hours of the night are how I hopefully have not done irreversible damage. I always keep getting back on the well-being horse. The human body is a miraculous healing machine with magical powers and I will always look to improve and heal thyself — even though I still stumble.
Being here in San Miguel de Allende this time around, I am all about taking better care. I am experiencing this town with different eyes and a whole new world is available to me here, when once I had very limited vision. There are many places to heal thyself and I am on a mission to experience these people, places and things. It has been challenging living in my old house that is full of my old behaviors, but I am making the best of it. I am grateful to my ex-husband and the opportunity we’ve had to mend our relationship. It’s been a glorious and exciting couple of months here in the city of St. Michael the Archangel.
Once a month, on the weekend closest to the full moon, there is the opportunity to sweat out all the muck in a three-plus hour sweat lodge ceremony, called a temazcal, using aromatic herbs and wood-burning steam in a hut made of clay, at San Miguel de Allende’s 170-acre botanical gardens, El Charco del Ingenio. The gardens themselves are not quite lush or perhaps even all that interesting, but it becomes more endearing to me each time I visit. When I mentioned to a Mexican friend that I was going to spend the afternoon there, he looked at me wide-eyed and said, “What?? Are you going to bring your cane and wear a big floppy hat?” So maybe it doesn’t have a great reputation as a hot spot, but it IS a place away from the bus and car fumes of Centro, and I am all for escaping the city buzz and taking in the many species of cacti, birds and even the cafe has a great little (mostly) organic lunch.
One really cool tidbit, in 2004 El Charco del Ingenio was proclaimed a Peace Zone by the Dalai Lama during his visit to Mexico. Five Peace Zones were designated in the country, places free of violence and arms, dedicated to the conservation of nature and community development. In a country that is being somewhat ravaged by a fierce and on-going drug war, it’s nice to know there’s a few places free from the violence and mayhem.
I attended the temazcal ceremony in January, 2014, just two days before the actual full moon. Upon arriving and registering for the event ($350 pesos), I set out across the preserves to the historical ruins of Hacienda Las Colonias on the north side of the park and meet the Shaman who leads the ceremony, as well as his helpers, who keep the fires aglow. The ceremony is in Spanish, and I was the only American in the group of 11, which was fine as I understand Spanish, but am not so great when speaking it.
A temazcal is an ancient cleansing ritual of Mexico’s indigenous people, very much like a sweat lodge. If you think you are going to freak out about being in such a tiny enclosed hut for a long period of time with a bunch of almost-naked strangers in unbelievably hot conditions, you are not alone. I almost backed out, but Humberto, our Shaman who led us through the day, assured me that I could leave if I wanted to, but it really is okay once you get settled.
He was right. It was unbelievably hot and I thought I was not going to make it, but I’m so glad I did because I felt AMAZING when I emerged 3.5 hours later. I felt as though I was being smothered and freed all at once, and my mind kept playing freaky movies that I knew were in my head, but I watched as if they were on a screen. A scorching-hot-flame-engulfed-screen. We sang songs, doused ourselves in herb-soaked water and could lay down if we needed to, because the air was cooler at the ground. Suddenly time had gone by and we were able to emerge from the hut. I crawled out on my hands and knees and kissed the ground and thanked my God, the Clouds and Guides Above.
As I walked through the land after the ceremony, I felt high as a kite and precise as a falcon. I ate a nopal omelette at the cafe and drank a liter of water. I slept like a rock that night and hope to experience this again, but not every month. Twice a year sounds about right to me.
I sweated out all the demons that afternoon and felt completely grateful and sparkly to be alive. I highly recommend this experience!
Let’s face it, there are a lot of painting and other art classes available in San Miguel, and up until January of 2014, I had never taken any of them. Most are catered to visitors, and when you live in a city, you tend to overlook things targeted to tourists. However, I met Cristi of CristiFer Art Studios in December at the Instituto Allende‘s art fair, and her painting style really spoke to me. Cristi is an artist from Romania and her partner Fernando is an artist from Mexico City. They create paintings together (can you imagine?) and their use of colors & styles really delighted me. I signed up for their “One Painting in One Day” class, which happened to be on January 1, 2014. What a perfect way to usher in the new year.
One of Cristi’s painting in their home/studio in Colonia Independencia she shares with partner Fernando:
I arrived at CristiFer’s studio about 1pm and met the 5 other people who were there for the class; a couple from San Antonio and a mother & her two daughters from Portland. We were split into two groups and we each had our own table and painting supplies.
We first did some warm-ups, like shaking out our hands. I started jumping up & down in true qi gong style, because I knew I had to wake up the chi in order to get over the apprehension of putting paint to the paper. I would have loved to do more physical exercises, but that’s me and what I need to be doing. Cristi led us through some exercises which helped us break down the fear — and not only did it break down the fear, it got us laughing. “Grab your pencil in your non-dominant hand, cover that hand with a piece of paper and draw these objects from your memory” sorta of a thing. Loved it!
Cristi then led us through her teaching steps to paint a picture; a San Miguel street scene. This was a perfect way to whet my chops and feel the love for painting again — something I had not done in about 15 years. The day was fun, lively and very educational; both Cristi and Fernando were helpful with suggestions on what to do next, without ever grabbing control of our paintings. I enjoyed the day tremendously and was hungry for more!
At some point during the day, Cristi said to me, “if you had just three drawing classes, it would change your life.” I thought about this for a day and said BINGO. I took those three drawing classes with Cristi and they DID change my life. I lost my fear of drawing poorly and just started drawing. It’s amazing how just a few hours of instruction really helped me to get over the fear of making a mistake. Who cares if it’s not perfectly correct and out of perspective. WHO CARES???
And by stepping through that fear, my drawings and paintings were starting to come to life. And that made me happy =)
Soon after this New Year’s Day art class, I started Julia Cameron‘s 12-week spiritually based program, The Artist’s Way. Through reading exercises, daily journal writing, group discussions and weekly artist dates, I am starting to melt. And I mean that in a good way. I have art projects going all over the house and say to Reed, “it’s like kindergarten here every day!”
Buenas Dias from Mexico; I wish I had this office space in Chicago! But no, this is the house I used to live in, when I was a married woman living in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico, with my Texan then-husband, Reed Burns. It is a glorious gift to be back here after all this time and I am grateful for each day here as I not only do my part to heal this once-rocky relationship, but also take time to explore the things I never made time for when I lived here all those years.
This town is a wild explosion of colors, culture and people and it really is a wonderful haven for artists and those you prefer to live outside the American box. I first came here 1999 to explore the scene after a friend of mine that I had met during my two months at Escalen came down here to teach yoga. I was working a big corporate gig for AT&T at the time in Chicago, so I could only visit for five days, but that was enough for me to decide I wanted to spend more time here. When I returned to Chicago, I focused my time and efforts on taking a two month sabbatical in San Miguel de Allende to teach Gabrielle Roth’s Five Rhythms dance class; a style of dance I had been studying for a few years in Chicago and had taken a two-month workshop at The Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. Little did I know this two-month sabbatical would become my life for the next several years. Still to this day, my heart and thoughts are a part of this magical, colorful town.
I arrived in San Miguel for my sabbatical in June of 2001. I rented a house with my friend who was teaching yoga and soon after, I began teaching the dance class at Bellas Artes and had such an incredible time; I was living the dream! About one week later, I met the most crazy and hilarious Mexican named Juan Nieto and decided I didn’t want to go home. 9/11 hit and my fate was decided; I did not want to return to America.
I flew to Chicago in October, flew to New York to see my friend Andrew and to see how he was doing; I even walked as close as I could to Ground Zero; a very solemn and moving experience. Even now it seems like it was just a dream, to be that close to such massive destruction and radical emptiness. I’m not sure it was such a great idea to get that close, but what did I know? I still have the cross I bought at one of the only stores that seemed to be open so soon after the attacks. I returned home to Chicago, put my stuff in a storage unit and off I drove to Mexico all by myself, with my zippy Honda Civic jammed to the gills with what I thought would be important to me in Mexico.
It took me 3.5 days to drive from Chicago to San Miguel. It was….. in a word…. SCARY. Crossing the border is scary. Driving through the mountains of Mexico is scary. Stopping at the very few gas stations is SCARY; I even once had to stop at a hand-drawn sign gas station because I was out of gas. A gaggle of boys walked up to my car and started looking in it as some kids used a funnel to pour gas in my tank; I looked up and said, “please help me get out of here.” I handed one of the kids some pesos, got in my car, sped off like a BAT OUT OF HELL.
It’s not scary like this anymore to drive though Mexico, but there are different scares; the drug wars and their escalating violence have dumped out into the highways and public venues. I would not drive through Mexico today but back then I did it about three times by myself. Never again. The scariest incident was probably when crossing the border at Laredo, a bunch of guys ambushed my Nissan Pathfinder and dumped black oil on the windshield and then all jumped on my truck to rock it — and they ROCKED it. I screamed as I peaked through a tiny portion of the windshield and hit the gas. They eventually jumped off and I drove with the black oil on my windshield for about 20 miles; until I felt I would actually take my foot off the gas pedal and stop to wash the window. Terrifying. What was I thinking?
The San Miguel de Allende I live in now and over the past few years was very different from my beginning years here. The relationship with Juan lasted about two years and then I was a starving artist. Mostly starving. I then met a big laughing Texan who I found sitting in the streets one day, and his name was Reed. I had no idea who he was or what he was all about, but I immediately loved his kind eyes.
And now here I am visiting him as his ex-wife but one of his closest friends. My life has changed drastically since we parted ways in Corpus Christi, Texas in 2008; I’ve often wondered who that girl was that was unable to accept happiness in any form. It is only now that it is starting to make sense to me and if possible, I want to make amends for that girl and her short-comings. I was not a bad person; I was just messed up and unable to be at peace in the world — no matter what I had in front of me. I believe I always preferred the struggle — but had I been told that, I would have flown off the handle in rebuttal.
This is the most non-crazy I have ever felt in my life — and I like it. Being back here in San Miguel has given me a chance to make amends and how wonderful is that? I have been punishing myself for years for being a lousy wife and now I can do my part to be a better person to myself and those who love me. I don’t know that there will be a next time for me to see Reed, so I am making the most of this time here with him, in his home, in San Miguel de Allende.
When I first arrived in November, I celebrated with him and our friends and made a glorious Thanksgiving feast, but soon after I realized this was not who I am anymore, and so I have resumed my search and exploration of the higher vibrational side of life. Reed looks at me funny now, but I suppose he always has. I am peaceful and enjoy creating a peaceful environment — even in the middle of his outrageous chaos.
I am going to stay a while longer. It’s 25 degrees in Chicago and 75 degress here in Central Mexico. I’ve done the math and decided to stay, xoxo.
Being your true self is the coolest decision you’ll ever make. — my yoga teacher, Leslie.
That’s it! I have officially acknowledged myself as a WOO-WOO. I have the sweat and guts and tears to prove it and I couldn’t be more delighted about it! This is my reality and I have decided to finally embrace it.
I uploaded my first vlog about my past few months and I look forward to adding this medium to the mix, because sometimes words should be spoken. I recently attended a night of storytelling by three seasoned storytellers and it really moved me. Good ol’fashion spoken stories, like the days before we all stared at tiny electronic screens. No really, something in my heart jumped, I loved it. I’m knocking around the idea of trying this artform live on stage — a lost art that appears to be making a comeback and I welcome it. From wiki:
“Storytelling is the conveying of events in words, and images, often by improvisation or embellishment. Stories or narratives have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation and instilling moral values. Crucial elements of stories and storytelling include plot, characters and narrative point of view.”
I also watched a beautifully made documentary, “Mythic Journeys” that looks at the role of mythology and mysticism in modern society and storytelling — very informative and pretty too!
Twenty years ago I embarked on a spiritual quest that took me from Chicago to San Francisco to Europe and back; I learned so many incredible lessons about growing up, relationships, personal responsibility, shamanism, religion, spirituality, the 12 Steps, Gabrielle Roth’s 5 Rhythms, Feldenkrais, Law of Attraction, ETC., so now I am adding on this foundation I started a few decades ago. I admitantly walked away from all of it for about a decade. I was frustrated and felt like nothing was working. This past decade had it’s own lessons and the journey carries on. How lucky am I that I have this opportunity? Thankyou Universe! xo
I participated in a “Trust Your Vibes” workshop with Sonia Choquette this past weekend and also saw Sonia in London a few months ago. She is brilliant and her courses require brutal honesty, something I have now become prepared to face. This is not easy. I saw Sonia 20 years ago before I moved to San Francisco and I recall only ONE THING she said to me, “I would suggest eating more spicy foods because you are smothering yourself with all your self-imposed rules and your soul wants to live.” Lord that was true, I was the biggest food nazi around and I’m happy to say that even though the search for healthy foods is a wee challenging, I do allow myself some comfort foods because I no longer think it’s cool to punish myself.
There’s no lying about this; this is no weekend-warrior-self-help-workshop-stuff that allows me to compartmentalize my internal calling for knowledge and compassion, and then allow me to slip back into the comfortably numb mentality, come Monday morning. No Siree Bub, this is all or nothing and as much as it’s kicking my ass, I have officially surrendered to the process, have great trust in the plan and am super-excited about the adventure that lies ahead.
I’ve lost it all and I’m not dead or nor without hope. I still have a sparkle in my eye ;D
I also respect all the folks who are doing the weekend workshops and whatnot to improve their personal well-being, because I believe my years of participating in those made me ready for the commitment to greater health possible today. Baby steps. I applaud them and take them.
In this weekend workshop, I broke through some huuuuge barriers and let my intuition (read: psychic) flag fly high — I loved it and have been told that now that I’m proudly waving it, there’s no going back. It was brilliant and I saw and learned things I will never forget. I will write about these experiences some day, as soon as I swallow them all.
The other day I received a “thanks-but-no” letter about a job I believed I was P-E-R-F-E-C-T for, and also heard absolute crickets on another job I was really hoping to hear a good word on. After a good cry and stomp-about over a slap of rejection, I stood up and said, “FUCK IT, LET’S GO HAVE SOME FUN MEAG.”
I am off to San Miguel de Allende tomorrow to climb the Mexican mountainside, breathe the high altitude air, swim in the healing hot spring waters and cook a turkey dinner with my ex-husband, whom I still adore and am very excited to see.
ANDALE! Happy Thanksgiving, peace to all. Don’t forget…… I see you!! xoxo