On a cloudy sunrise on Horseshoe Bay, three little ducks paid a visit as I did my morning qi gong, which is all about opening up my energy lines by gently twisting from my spine. Figure 8’s, beach-balling, pulling up the earth’s energy… QUACK!!
On a cloudy sunrise on Horseshoe Bay, three little ducks paid a visit as I did my morning qi gong, which is all about opening up my energy lines by gently twisting from my spine. Figure 8’s, beach-balling, pulling up the earth’s energy… QUACK!!
On a bright & brisk March day, I did some qi gong moves that focus on releasing grief from the lungs, by literally letting the lungs breathe (stretch), while pointing index & thumb like a gun (Chicago-Bang_Bang). The Bean is a HUGE Figure 8 ta boot, such a magical place!
I was in Chicago to say goodbye to my Uncle Buzz, a bittersweet trip for sure as his dance card was up. I tipped Buzz’s Chicago Whitesox hat my uncle, to the Loop; and to the Irish of Chicago. I bid you a fond farewell into the Mystic xx
I am following the suggestions of Dr. Christiane Northrup from her book, “Goddesses Never Age” although I have been practicing standing on one foot with eyes closed to find my balance for some time now — it never gets old;). But now it turns out it will help you stay young and mobile! Although you probably shouldn’t try doing it the first few times on a cliff overlooking a busy highway… :DD
Qi gong is great to wake up in the morning and also great to help you prepare for sleep. By rotating your arms around in a bird-like fashion, it helps quiet the mind and encourage deep breathing. A soothing Beatles tune helps :))
Gorgeous days and nights on this beach; it was incredibly easy to do my qi gong exercises here because it was so amazing. The gratitude is bursting out of me!
Have you ever put your whole heart and soul into your morning stretch? It feels amazing, doesn’t it? Greeting the sun on the morning beach and RAWRing as I stretch is a tremendous start to the day… xx
I’ve started doing t’ai chi with fans, because it helps move the stagnant energy out and away from my body, and on this Valentine’s Day, my guy Reed joined me with his ice cream cone to dance a little t’ai mambo. There are classes on this in San Miguel de Allende btw. Hearts & Loves to you!
Children do it, athletes too. When you have nervous energy in you, sometimes it feels great to shake your hands as if they are pompoms and let the tension fly out! My hound dog Bandito is with me for this sped-up version of shaking it out.
Heading out of Little Rock on my way back to Austin, I stopped at the Big Dam Bridge at sunrise to give my thanks for an amazing NIA Dance-filled week. Sunrise and sunset are absolutely my most favorite times of the day and I love to honor these times xx
Another birthday is upon me and I wanted to acknowledge this year by doing something with my hands and not buying something, because quite frankly I can’t even force myself to walk into a shopping mall these days, even online shopping gives me the hives. I am a Country Mouse now and have millions of mouse friends to prove it out here in the Texas Hill Country. Quite happy with this and I am making the most of it, although I do miss the Big City life on occasion.
In early November, I met a Woodstock artist through Instagram named Wendy Piersall; she has created an amazing adult mandala coloring book that does wonders for quieting the mind. I have played around with zendoodles (or is it zentangle?) and the effect is similar; I start to loose my thoughts when I am lost in the patterns or colors, thereby reducing stress and worry. I may feel tense when I am about to start a doodle, but in no time I disconnect and lean into it, and the end result can be pretay cool!
I had also been doing some work with one of my energy healers in early November and she mentioned that my hands were screaming to say something. “What does that mean, should I write more?” I asked. “I don’t know, but you better put a pencil or paintbrush in them NOW.” It was true, my hands were on fire. I was constantly wringing them out like a Nervous Nellie and I had a tension in my clenched jaw that was driving me somewhat batty.
Wendy had started a 30-day 15-minute-a-day-art-project and on November 10th I said to myself, “Ohhhh for Petey’s Sake, I am going to do this 15-minute-a-day-art-project and when I am finished, I will have a nice little birthday present for myself!”
It was an awesome experience and I can totally see how I eased into trusting myself and really did let my hands do the work — after I warmed up to it. I was somewhat amazed by what was coming out of my hands and onto the paper; it had never been this easy before in my life, and I have tried many times over the years. My brother Sean is the artist, as was my mom, so I always had this feeling as if I was copying someone and thereby never really felt like an artist myself. Austin Kleon‘s books, “Steal Like An Artist” and “Show Your Work” helped me get over my unrealistic fears.
Several months ago, I started studying the practice of space clearing and have even begun the certification process to become a professional space clearer. Space clearing is the ancient practice of literally energetically clearing the space in one’s home, office, building, land, etc. It is a fascinating subject I took to immediately and have been practicing many of these ancient techniques here on the wide open Hill Country land I have the honor to call home these days. This has put me in touch with some Native American Indians, both in book and in spirit, and they too are coming through in my artwork.
I will talk more about space clearing later, as I have much more work to do before I am certified; I have to space clear 18 homes/properties before I am official, in case anyone is interested! (Seriously, contact me if you are interested in space clearing for your home or property.)
I had a blast creating a piece of art every morning; the excitement made me jump out of bed almost every day, even while traveling to California and staying at friends’ house in Austin. I am hooked and now the sky’s the limit!
Happy Birthday to meeeee, wheeeeee xx
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.
Reminds me of the brain teasers I learned in Lydia Wong’s t’ai chi classes; “Anything that breaks up normal brain pattern is a good thing, because it keeps your mind sharp and creates new thinking patterns.” Does this instagram video link work for you?
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! 😀
How well do you know your Texas Wildflowers?
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:
…. that magical buzzword everyone is in search of.
when I was in San Antonio about a week or so ago, I visited a darling bookstore named Twig and asked if they had the book, “Notes on Graphic Design and Visual Communication” as was recommended by Jack WOW Davis in his CreativeLive Creative Photography class that I took last week. The clerk told me they did not have it in stock but she would be happy to order it, to which I replied, “no, that’s okay, I’ll order it from Amazon.”
Well the clerk just about crumbled to pieces and said, “nooooooooooo, not Amazon!!!” “Oh my gosh, I am sooooooooo sorry, that’s probably the worst thing I could have said in here! I will not order it from Amazon, I promise!!”
I did not order it from Amazon, I was able to find it at the independent bookstore Half Price Books and need to pick it up one of these days.
While the lovely clerk and I were chatting about books and graphic design and whatnot, a book called, “Steal Like An Artist” caught my eye. I felt a tad guilty for making the Amazon mention, so I decided to purchase this little book; I liked the title and it looked like a quick, interesting read. It’s a GREAT little read about how to stop making excuses and pop open that creativity. And of course it got me thinking…..
I KNOW I am a Creative-Type but, but, but…..
I have been taking loads of lessons in the past year, and even though my brain is sparky with all sorts of new lessons, I feel a little embarrassed to share most of it. There’s a part of me that says I should already know how to do these things, so keep it mums, no one wants to know. Well that’s It’s the evil side of our ego, something I learned all to well while doing Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way 12-week creativity program in Mexico this past winter. I still am doing the morning pages, which is H-A-R-D because a million other things draw my attention when I first awake in the morning. But I have been diligent about this sunrise exercise. Writing free-form morning pages does this lark a world of good to dump the junk out of my head to so it’s easier to focus on my goals.
Now…. what are my goals?
Well, y’see, I know I can do a million different things. I practice them all the time and then keep it to myself. Phooey, no more. I want to begin to fine-tune some of these skills I am learning. I want to publicly learn new things, and this magical thing called the internet and my little Lark of a blog will help me achieve this goal.
Tonight I attended a book signing for Steal Like An Artist’s author, Austin Kleon. He encouraged publicly learning things as a way to bone up our braveness. I want to bone UP the brave! I get scared but so what! No more.
Tomorrow, June 1, 2014, I start my 30-Day Public Learning Challenge. There are no rules.
These are just some of the things I’ve learned in the past year and I’m totally excited to learn more new cool things. Tomorrow I’m going to learn about raising chickens in my front or backyard, I haven’t decided which just yet. I am excited for this cluck-CLUCKKKKKKK! And don’t be chicken again!
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!
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!”
When I lived in San Miguel de Allende ten years ago, I started to write a book called, “Under the Spell of the Mexican Moon” and my personal downfall was that I showed it to too many people and the fear I experienced from hearing the feedback caused me to set it aside indefinitely. Until then, I kept all my writing under wraps — and since then I mostly have kept it private. I’ve written AMAZING letters to friends over the years. And to my mom.
I had forgotten about the letters I used to write my mom, but while cleaning out her condo earlier this year, I found all the letters I sent to her. I was hilarious — and still am. I laughed and cried as I read my letters and postcards. Here’s a postcard from I sent from Santa Fe, New Mexico after arriving via Amtrak from Chicago:
“Hi Ya Ma! If it’s an Indian you want, get your buns out here! They are so beautiful! This town is beautiful! The weather is beautiful! What can I say, I am in love. I met a guy from Italy on the train, we will stay in touch! I’ve fallen in love 8 times in Santa Fe and I’ve only been here 2 days. I think I’m going to move here if I can get my migraine to stop. Love you like an adobe Ma xoxo”
Over the past few months I have been told by friends and complete strangers I should write a book. It’s always been in me, I’ve thought about it over the years but again, the fears have stopped me. “Who wants to read what I have to say?” Although many many times, when I share a story of my past, the response I hear often is “you should write a book about that.”
Since my mom’s death, this idea is coming more into focus. My mom apologized to me and said she wished she had been nicer to me. Said she was wrong about me. These words have completely changed my world — even I am surprised at the impact of her parting words. I mean I was knocked flat on my back after she spoke these words. My mother’s apology has been life-altering for me and I no longer want to be that passive girl. I want to be the woman who moves through grief and loss without losing herself. even if that means I lose my way for a bit.
I had thought for a spell that I was choosing to “duck out on life” by returning here to San Miguel; returning to my ex-husband’s home and this town that I angrily departed from several years back. But this is so not the case. This was the perfect time for me to come back here and make peace with my past. For years I had been feeling bad about who I was as a married woman — that I was the sole reason why our marriage did not survive, let alone succeed. Good Lord this is not true. I love Reed dearly and we are family; we are just not the “one” for each other, nor do we “get” each other. I care for him deeply and I know he does for me as well. We are family and sharing this holiday with each other has been healing beyond belief. Well for me it has been, I don’t think Reed would ever admit to this, but when I ask him if he wants me to leave, he says no. We have fun together! I also cook for him, I don’t ask a lot of questions (!!!) and I busy my time out of the house with things that are important to me — and he provides me the resources to pursue my interests because he likes to see me happy.
I have been using this time of unemployment to get right in my head. The recent deaths in my family have broken my heart and then to have lost so many jobs at the same time….. I was operating from a place of desperate grief and needed to step out of my hamster-cage life. I cannot take another job with a fear-driven company — because honestly it offends me to the core and I then operate from a place of asking to be fired. “But you’re not independently wealthy, Meag, are you!?” No, I am not, but the desire to not work with these four companies was so huge, my time with them was no more than six months, when in the past I would suffer for years with miserable jobs. This last job was probably the quickest in terms of synchronicity; I had thought I found my tribe, it was a healthy foods company and seemed to be generally interested in living a healthy, complete life. I quickly realized this was so not the case and my time with them was under two months. This was my personal tipping point.
(note: no disrespect to the companies I worked for; there is nothing wrong with them; I was not the appropriate person for the job.)
So when I leave this pretty home, I spend my time doing the things that make me happy and peaceful. Yoga, swimming, hiking, walking, looking at art, meeting up with old friends, etc. But I recently took a huuuuuuuge back step. I smoked some cigarettes — the thing I hate the most and have since been berating myself that I’ve destroyed all the good work I have done.
I am flawed. I have more work to do.
Everywhere in Reed’s house, there is an ashtray. And a pack of Marlboros. They have been taunting me. It’s no excuse. Well I made it an excuse. And I could TOTALLY sit here ALL DAY and beat myself up and tell myself what a damn loser I am and how I’m going to die a horrible death… whoops, I’ve already done this…. but this is a HUGE waste of time and I want to do things that will get me out of the hole, not keep me in it. I don’t normally use ALL CAPS, but I am totally fired up about this as I pound out the words.
Smoking makes me feel bad.
You know what I don’t want to do anymore?
This quote found me this morning:
The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.” ~~Ferdinand Foch
My soul is on fire so that must mean I am still alive and that I care deeply.
I’d rather my soul be on fire than my lungs.
All is not lost, I just lost my way temporarily, but I am determined.
I was under a spell.
I can no longer blame the Mexican Moon.
I now will be more focused about my writing and tell my story of being flawed yet never settling. Mending my broken heart. Always growing, always looking for a way to improve — at the same time while not damning myself to the depths of hell for being human. I need to stop over-thinking every little detail…. and this is the hardest thing in the world for me to do. I have struggled with this my entire life.
FEAR FEAR FEAR fuck everything and run.
I really want the fears to stop stopping me from being awesome, know what I mean?
Two books by John Amodeo Ph.D. have been recommended to me by Sonia Choquette, to get me through these next hurdles: “The Authentic Heart: An Eightfold Path to Midlife Love” and “Dancing with Fire: A Mindful Way to Loving Relationships“.
Respiro profundo Meag… Exaaaaah
(deep breath, exhale…)
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
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