The week-long celebration of the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing gay marriage in all 50 States has been buzzing all week, although we’re probably assured it will not be without further pushback, unfortunately. On this 4th of July, dozens of gay couples gave up their independence to join in holy matrimony — and the steps of the Texas State Capital were alive with love!
I was a witness, and what a wonderful, wonderful thing to witness.
Love, the ultimate energy, and it has won this round xx
Have you ever experienced the magic of a labyrinth?
Being from Chicago and having travelled a bit in Europe, I have seen my fair share of labyrinths, even enjoyed the movie, but honestly, I never paid them much mind. They certainly are pretty. I used to walk one during lunch breaks when I worked near Saint James Episcopal at Huron & State in Chicago, but I probably stood there smoking butts on most days, pondering my daily dilemma.
These days labyrinths have taken on a much deeper meaning, other than wrecking the depths of my lungs thankfully; they have become a place of revitalization. Walking a labyrinth is an opportunity to experience a divine imprint through a walking meditation, a different manner of praying. I like different manners of praying. While I appreciate mediation and continue to explore the hidden nuggets found within, I’m always anxious to get my butt up off the floor, preferring to walk, dance, hop, skip, jump as I strengthen my third eye. It works for me and through this, I discovered the magic of the labyrinth.
The labyrinth is an archetype in the human mind and represents the many twists and turns we can take to arrive somewhere — anywhere in life. “SOLVITAR AMBULANDO.” IT IS SOLVED BY WALKING says the sign over the labyrinth at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Austin. Labyrinth patterns are universal, have only one path and there are no tricks, nor dead ends. Many times my thoughts are chattering away in my head as I begin to walk, starting from the outside, zig-zagging towards the center, but the experience changed for me when I walked with a group of women on the night of a full moon in Butler Park. It completely altered and lifted my spirit — the moon beams surely helped — and I’ve been a big fan of walking in these magical circles ever since.
If you would like to find a labyrinth in your area, the World-Wide Labyrinth Locator is shock full of information and will point you in the right direction. If you have never tried it, I would suggest walking a labyrinth with a group of people because the opportunity, for me, represents life. Often times churches will offer a free monthly labyrinth walk; I like free.
The labyrinth walk is a chance to see how I navigate around and through others. Do I dance smoothly or dart sharply with my world, what are my thoughts telling me? What makes me hesitate? I have always gone to great lengths to avoid people throughout my life, but I’m changing my tune — it’s now or never. This sacred map is teaching me things.
I have been in Texas for just over a year and in the past few weeks — no, days really, it has truly begun to feel like home. I am feeling so much support in this cradle in the middle of Texas, I find myself caught off guard and tingly-all-over by the kindness of strangers and not-so-strangers that have helped me get acclimated in my new hometown.
After several months of travelling and setting up shop on the ranch, I have turned my focus to getting into the groove in Austin. I’m back at Square One in that I need to get a job, an address, a routine… and it’s finally starting to happen. I know what I want and now it’s time for the legwork. I have found some work; it is not my dream work, but it is putting me out in front of people, which is a great start. I am highly animated these days and eager to work with others. One foot in front of the other.
Austin is a very fast moving city; hottest city in America, some would say. The recent cover of Austin Monthly magazine quoted 158 people are moving to Austin EVERY DAY. That’s a solid stream of buses dropping off musicians everyday at the Greyhound station.
New friends, YaY!
Austin’s NIA dance community has been a great source of support; it’s teeming with women who are excited about life, love to shake their moneymaker and aren’t afraid to let it all hang out. Their stories are extraordinary and many times moving, and I’m thrilled to have found this support as a new whitebelt teacher and as a new citizen of Austin. Many of these women are undergoing profound personal transformation and have been a great source of comfort as I go through my own. Plus we spontaneously break out in dance when out in public.
There’s something very delightful about not caring if you cause a stir –when stirred properly.
Meetup.com has been a great resource to meet new people and learn of new ideas; I attend about four meetup groups on a regular basis and the momentum is building. One is an art and technology meetup with it’s focus on creating a community in Austin for new digital artists; I volunteered to be the gatekeeper of information and gather everyone’s name and interests. I even presented my #PicTweetArt and #NewEnergyin15 at the last meetup! It was a bit of a departure from the amazing new media presentations that were being highlighted, but I think it was all very well-received. There were LOLs :D. I joined the group to discover new ideas in video and to meet some interesting people.
The artistic sparks are flying, she said with a cheese-eatin’ grin!
I am a member of a Women’s Shaman Circle; the wisdom that’s being shared within this sacred circle has altered my life forever. I am honored to be a part of such a experienced and educated circle of women.
Women helping women. SHAZAM.
I’m also a new member in a specialized qi gong training called Jingui Golden Shield. It is a rare Temple Style of qi gong designed to achieve super health by developing the human energy body very quickly. I discovered this through my Chinese doctor and acupuncturist, Dr. Zhang, who diagnosed me with a deficient spleen a few weeks ago. We are working on this, but basically it’s the early stages of a thyroid condition, and it is my goal to reverse this condition NOW before a Western doctor prescribes daily pharmaceuticals.
Nooooo pills for me.
A worrisome mind, my age and irregular eating patterns are probably to thank — oh and the stress of absolutely everything changing in my life.
I am turning 50 this year and this health condition has added an extra 10 pounds around my belly. It freaked me out — well hell’s bells it still freaks me out, because it gets in my way and I want it gone. Given the amount of energy work I do in addition to biking, hiking, dancing, yoga-ing, qi gong-ing and walking, it drives me craaaaaaazy that I have this new blob that just won’t budge. Then I read a book called “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. I’m remarkably embarrassed I’ve had the audacity to cry about a little midlife weight gain.
I have the privilege of being alive and living pretty well for half a century. I digress. This profoundly moving book about surviving a Nazi prison camp put gratitude in perspective for me in a manner I shan’t easily forget.
My body can still move in amazing ways. I have great new friends I can lean on. I am networking. I’ve always hated networking! I love, love, love learning about energy and sharing it. I am branding and self-promoting, gaaaaa the dreaded self-marketing. I am in Austin, f*cking Texas, the hottest city in America and the good vibes are growing. I have a tremendous friend and confidant in Reed Burns. Sure it’s terrifying to be starting all over, but I am totally grateful for this life.
I am scrappy and I live in America — and if there’s one thing America loves besides Cheezwhiz, it’s scrappiness.
I have decided to lay down my roots in Austin, Texas after sitting on a fence for about a year. I actually cried as I gazed up to Lady Liberty on top of the Texas State Capitol; this State can annoy the heck out of me at times, but fault can be found in any state. I don’t look for that because I have found some awesome new friends, some bubbling opportunities and a fairly clear path ahead of me. It’s where I want to be.
These past few weeks have been especially awesome because Deep Eddy pool has opened its gates at 6am because Barton Springs pool is closed, due to all the recent floods and storms. The water is spring fed and suuuuuuper-cold, which is a fantastic way to greet the day if your heart can take it! The pool goes back to regular hours (8am) on Monday, June 8th, so I am grateful to have enjoyed it these past few weeks in my favorite sunrise hour.
Best laid plans until Vladimir the Russian Wolf Hound decides it’s his party, then it’s best just to roll with it ;).
Things have definitely settled down after last weekend’s torrential storms and flooding here in Austin; even Red Bud Isle dog park is back in business. It’s a very pretty park to start the day in and even to do some qi gong if you know how to go with the flow!
Sure it’s cornball, but I believe the key to happiness, which is fleeting, is to look for the good stuff in times of chaos. What do you believe?
I love that Henry is still game to come along with me on adventures — he really is the most docile dog in the world, without being annoying.
In what was a rather stressful week, a bike ride along Lady Bird Lake was the perfect medicine for the day; I rented an Austin B Cycle and away we went. Henry gets all the smiles — he alone changes people’s energy. My energy was changed too, Bless His Heart as they say here in Texas.
In Qi Gong, there’s a practice called “7 Precious Gestures” and while there is no perfecting them, I hope they will be a part of my daily routine for the rest of my days. The slower, the better, the bigger the burn — the bigger the test on my patience. Even though it’s done very s-l-o-w-l-y, these 7 gestures totally fire up my life force energy and that’s what I’m here for.
Central Texas had a special visiting NIA dance instructor, Holly Nastasi, and the Who’s Who from Austin’s NIA dance community came together to bing-bop and reach for the stars. Holly created the new REACH routine — it was a blast! I was binging:))
I have overcome my fear of doing qigong in public (mostly), and at this groovy Austin museum on a rainy January day, I pull out a Heaven & Earth followed up with a Knocking on the Door of Life. Good Day Austin!
Which the big holidays quickly approaching, I am attempting to do Eden Energy Medicine’s Triple Warmer, which is a breathing technique that will calm you down when done properly. This was the one & only time I asked Reed to play cameraman for me — and I will never do that again because he completely stressed me out!
If you need to ground yourself, you can swat your body lightly up one side and down the other to check that you are in your body. A fun place to do this is while on the Lone Star Riverboat that cruises Lady Bird Lake as the bats come out at sunset boooooo scary it’s Halloween!
Once, many years ago, when I returned home from Mexico, my mom told me I looked dirty and weathered….. and I was deeply offended. Even shed some tears. Today, as I prepare to head to Texas after a winter in Mexico, I laugh because I AM dirty. And I love it!
I’ve got the dirt and dust under my fingernails and the sand from the ocean lines the bottom of my suitcases. I haven’t really done my hair since I was in America, and although I got dolled up a few times while I was here, for the most part, I rolled out of bed and galloped off to yoga or t’ai chi, and then began my chores upon returning home.
I like getting dirty, it feels good. Keeps me young 😀
It’s a dirty I am grateful for because it has taught me things and brought new experiences. Whether I was climbing the mountains to greet the full moon, stretching in the morning sun while standing in the ocean’s edge, eating street tacos with salsa running down my arm or riding in the back of a pickup to get out to the country, I have enjoyed my time in San Miguel de Allende, Taxco, Mexico DF, Puerto Vallarta and Bucerias tremendously!
Maybe I have always been too sensitive, this is probably true. I am dirty and weathered and it feels great. I would not be offended by my mom’s words today.
This Dirty Bird is ready to go home, and is profoundly grateful to Mexico for it’s lessons. ANDALE get me home to that bath tub so I can scrub my weathered, sun-kissed face!
And aw geez I gotta get to work! Adios Birdies! xx
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… :)))
When I lived in the Hill Country in the mid-2000’s, I barely noticed the colorful array of wildflowers that blew up the Texas roadways come each Springtime, but that wasn’t the case this year. As soon as the State’s prized first bluebonnet showed up in late March, I was all over them with my new Sony-NEC camera, and I have since taken quite a fancy on all the wildflowers I am being assaulted by.
Reed came home one day with a book for me, to help me easily identify the flowers I was exploring with my camera, called very simply, “Wildflowers of TEXAS” by Geyata Ajilvsgi.
Ms. Ajilvsgi (no clue!) is a native plant expert on all things Texas, and the book is broken down by colors, because that’s the first obvious way to describe a flower you’re trying to identify, as I’ve not heard anyone ask the question, “well it’s a low, upright, rough-hairy perennial, almost shrub-like, standing about 9 inches high…”
Botanist humor, how’d I do?
I’ve learned quite a bit with this informative and easy-to-figure-out wildflower directory, but I’ve got nothing on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Aficionados of the Central Texas Area just yet. I do keep this book handy, however, because everytime the wind changes or there’s a spot more moisture in the air, a new flower seems to pop up, and then *poof*, gone in a blink.
I’ve totally been having fun running around shooting the Texas Wildflowers, that is until the fireants took me down a notch and all five bites on my feet got infected and I was out of the game for a few days. I’ve been told I need to carry an epi-pen now….. it’s that serious.
Now I get to wear my cowboy boots all hot sweaty summer because my bare feet should never come in contact with the Texas soil ever again in my life. Why is this State so dramatic?
Sure is purdy though; here’s a few of my shots that I was able to identify & tag on Instagram:
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!