Who Am I?

Welcome to this healing blog.  This site focuses on writing; the content related to my professional healing practice has its own space.  Click here to enter that space. 

I practice as a Feldenkrais teacher, TARA Approach practitioner, and counselor who is trained in EMDR. I teach various forms of shamatha meditation as I learned them under the instruction of my teacher, Thrangu Rinpoche. In August of 2014 I began shamanic initiation and training.  Essentially, I'm an indigenous American healer, born and raised in Austin, Texas, with many healing threads that weave together into a tapestry as unique as the person I help

I dance with Julie Nathanielsz and Heloise Gold, both recipients of Austin Critics' Table awards for their work.  In addition to dance, I studied percussion for a number of years, and have recently come back to the study of music and drumming under the tutelage of Hossam Ramzy.

I hope that your visit here finds you something to laugh about, something to think about, something to dream about. 

You can subscribe to the blog through the boxes on the right. 

Peace to all, and thanks for visiting.

Springtime Velvet And Cars

Silver velvet dress again today. Anyone who knows me knows I own and wear a LOT of velvet. Far more than the average person. Year round, too. Nothing keeps me from my velvet.

I did it: I got into the car and drove to the office. Wow. So weird to do this after more than 2 weeks not behind the wheel. Cars are cool. Cars are very powerful. It was kind of an amazing experience. 

I went to the office and saw one client and watered my plants, which were suffering considerably. Now they're happy. I took some books to the office and will take more stuff later. My office is such a wild little place. It has a particular energy. I really felt it today walking in, having been away, and it made me happy.

It was so good to connect with my client. I miss being at work. I got a card in the mail from a couple of my Feldenkrais students yesterday that said, "Elaine, Take your time but hurry up and get well. We miss you and need your Feldy fix and we really like you too. Love." I laughed and it made my heart happy.

I've got a couple of little things this week, a little more next week, will let it gradually build back up. I'm feeling pretty tired due to blood loss, but alert, not mentally foggy. Taking the Tramadol with Aleve makes all the weird mental effects go away, I figured that out, and it makes the pain relief a lot more effective as well. I'm giving myself the rest of this week to see how it feels to do a little work, to drive, how my energy levels are, all of that. This morning was very encouraging. It felt good to get out of the house.

I saw some little mini orchids when I was in Whole Foods with Jonathan. Thinking about going back to get one or two to brighten the office and my room. I love orchids. They are so ethereal and so special. I'm not very good at keeping them alive though. I keep trying. I'd have a whole roomful of them if I could.

Springtime. Humid air. Cloudy. Silver velvet. Car, moving through the world. All good. The simple things, the happy things.

Just Be Easy, Pleasy

My friend came back. Did a healing. She'll need to continue the process, but we got a good chunk of movement on the situation and she was far better when she left. 

She said, "This relationship is really putting me in a place to take time to heal and stop doing what I've been doing with men. Why do you think dysfunctional, deceptive men are drawn to women like us? Is it our feminine power, our strength?"

"I think it's a lot more basic than that," I said drily. "I don't think they recognize things like 'feminine power.' They're lonely and needy and selfish and want a hit of attention from a good person, and that's about all it is. You can't look for esoteric motives from people who have very little insight and self-awareness. Don't give anybody too much credit here." 

She laughed. I said, "You know, I actually think that becoming a therapist, though it was a hell of a hard road, has done a lot to make it clear to me the kind of person I like to hang out with. When you go to work and help people with the most dire pain human beings go through, it becomes important to have balance in your personal life. I automatically exclude people, now, who are hard to get along with, negative, difficult, dramatic, lost, don't look at themselves, don't have insight, are actively addicted, etc. I want to be around easy, affectionate, kind people so I have good energy to bring to the people I help. If I spend my time outside of work dealing with Drama Kings, it'll affect my ability to be there for others, which I'm unwilling to let happen. You are way more generous than I am about that."

"These guys you dated last year were pretty dysfunctional," she said. "What about them?"

"I wouldn't say I dated any of them," I said, and she laughed. I said, "Look, I deliberately chose guys who were not boyfriend material to work out my sexual issues. There were certain things I needed to figure out, and I didn't want to be a project or a burden for a healthy, nice guy. I did what I needed to do to figure out what I needed to figure out, and once it was settled, I stopped and kicked them all out. That's all there is to it. A bit mercenary perhaps, but those men chose to be jerks to women long before I ever entered the picture. They thought they were going to play me, and instead they got played. They got back a taste of their own medicine. I wouldn't call that dating. None of them were people I would socialize with, and I didn't."

I mean hells yea. I've already spent more time with Maestre Wargames in a week than I spent with any guy from last year. He be smart. I be enjoying that.

Sometimes a woman gotta do what she gotta do. My friend is all about feminine power, which I love. Me personally, I don't talk much about feminine power. I just exercise it. And now that all the research--so to speak--is over, and the surgery is over, the bar has been reset for Easy People and New Friends. It's nice.

Rattle, Shekere, Clearing

A friend comes to visit. I've not seen her in a while. She looks like she's in pain to me. Last time I saw her, she talked to me about this new relationship she had gotten into. I had a bad feeling. I told her, "Check this guy out." Something didn't feel right, something was off. And I could tell she was really drawn to him. This was about two months ago.

I texted her about a month ago to check on her. She never answered and I figured she was busy, though I thought it was strange she didn't answer, that's not like her. Turns out my text never showed up, and the relationship was blowing into a shitstorm when I sent it. Energetic vampire stuff. She said, "I feel like I need to get something out of my body." She showed me the places. I asked if she could come back and see me during her visit. She's going to try to come back later today.

I walk around the house, pondering. I don't have my healing drums here--I think all of my drums are healers, but there are particular ones I use right now to move things for others. I may eventually use all of them to do so, but right now, there are specifics. 

Then I smile. I know what I need to do.

I pull out the two shekeres. I made these many years ago. They are a set of three but I never finished the third. It sits on my bedroom floor. They're a family. I've never played them. There was a baby rattle too, but I gave this to the psychic worker who is my client to help her with the spirits in her new house. The big one and the small one are finished. I made these years ago after a series of dreams I had. I didn't know how to make these instruments. I drove out to a gourd farm in East Texas and went through the whole process from raw dry gourd to finished instrument within a few months without any instructions. I still have a number of big gourds I intended to make into shekeres, but for whatever reason, I didn't at the time.

I pick up the big one and start to play it. It is a really loud, powerful instrument. There's no energy I know of that a shekere like this won't cut through. It almost hurts, the sound and the intensity of what it delivers. It has to do with the type of beads, the net and the size of the gourd. She's one powerful mama. There is also a lighter, softer baby one that can take things down and finish them as the healing comes to a close.

If my friend makes it back today, for the first time, this instrument is going to be played for her intended purpose. She's waited many years for this moment. My friend needs a powerful clearing. I've got one for her if she's meant to come back and get it. I told her to bring an egg. I pulled out the crystal toolkit for others; it's laid out and waiting for her.

If you were to ask me how it is I know what my friend needs, I can't answer that. I just know, and I know what I can do for her. I think I've always known this stuff. I just let myself actually do it now. That's what it means to have crossed the gap.

It's all connected. Yea?

Pain and Oh Whoa

Well, today is not so great. But this is to be expected. The first Big Readjustment was the time immediately following the actual surgical procedure. Now the second Big Readjustment has begun, which is how my body is processing the changes to blood and hormones. Allen warned me that this might be a Big Deal and yea, it's certainly starting out that way. To quote him exactly, what he said was, "Your body might go nuts with your first cycle following the surgery, so I'll need to see you during that time even though that's not what we usually do with acupuncture." 

He certainly predicted the Going Nuts part. That seems to be starting with a bang. The bummer is, it means I may lose all of that blood I've rebuilt over the last two weeks, meaning I'm tired again. I do see him on Wed for whatever adjustments can be made. But part of this is letting my body find its way through. The way he explained it--from the Chinese medicine perspective--is that the tumors, for months, diverted blood and other resources that will now become available as I heal. But it's a big adjustment because the growths were so numerous and had been there for such a long time. So there is some pain and some craziness around all that. I'm glad I was warned is all I can say. I also see Lozano this week, so if by Wednesday I look like I've been attacked by a herd of vampires, I'll be able to get her expertise, too.

Just le wow, all of this. What a process. Who knew?

Early this morning the dogs went crazy barking. Then something giant hit my window with a whomp like the impact of a body. Giant tree branch came down. I'd been lying awake, restless, processing some things anyway, and it happened at this particular time in my thoughts. I was thinking about this conversation I'd had with a friend about people who are energetic vampires. People who just leave you feeling drained even if all you did was have lunch with them. Sometimes you can't even put your finger on why spending time with them leaves you feeling irritable, drained, angry, and like someone stole your wallet. 

I was thinking about how some people are like that. I haven't met too many people like that in my life--they tend to avoid me, or I kick them to the curb fairly quickly--but I've known a few. They're like negative vortexes that only suck your energy and positivity and never give anything back. Passive Aggressive Ex was definitely like that. Paramedic Guy was definitely like that, which is why I'm glad he left the state. Some people just don't HAVE anything positive to give. They go through life leeching off of others. Like vampires who have to live off the blood of others. It's very unpleasant. 

I can only imagine that if you ended up married to or in a longterm relationship with someone like this, you'd have to pack your bags and get the hell out in order to save your own soul. I was thinking about how Paramedic Guy's wife did exactly that. She packed her bags and disappeared while he was gone, leaving only a note. I understand why she did that. I did the same after only barely knowing the guy. I strongly suspect that he was a sex and porn addict. Just something about him said that that was his deal. I'm glad he's gone.

I was thinking about how I feel protected now from people like this, how this is part of the energetic leap I made. Right as I was thinking about that, the branch hit the wall next to my headboard, whomp. Shook the house. I became very calm and still. The rain lashed the branches against my window. And my next thought was, Yea, I'm fine. Nothing wrong here, everything is still safe, warm, and dry. 

I am protected.

Because I am. I know it. It's true. Some people get hit by that branch. I don't. I used to. Then I became wise. It has come close a time or two. But it doesn't hit me. Not anymore. The wall between me and that branch is solid. I might feel the vibration, but that's where it ends. Sometimes I think I'm here to help all the people who do get hit by that branch. It seems to be what I'm good at.

Late night thoughts, strange happenings. Pain today, but it's all healing stuff, a uterus trying to figure out how to be now, working to do her natural job in spite of three incisions and all that. Good body, doing its good work. Glad to have her.

The Redesign

One of the things I'm doing with this time--other than resting and tracking what's happening with my healing, which is of course the biggest part of it--is redesigning some of my approaches to my overall health. If possible, I never want to go through something like this again, and I've learned a lot from this experience. 

I thought I would share what I'm doing here. Healers need to practice what we preach; we can't just tell others to take care of themselves, we have to do it too. And while overall I'm a pretty healthy person, there are things that need to change for me to have a better life. 

1. No more coffee except for now and then. I think coffee is the closest thing I have to an addiction, and its effect on my adrenal glands may well have played a role in the development of multiple benign tumors, since stress hormones flooding your body can lead to estrogen dominance.  Allen has been telling me for a while to switch to tea instead of coffee, but I was in that mental/emotional thing where coffee was a habit and a comfort, so I couldn't find a way psychologically to give it up. I'm ready to make that change now. I knew it was an addiction because I didn't even enjoy drinking it anymore--it was just a habit to get me going in the morning.

I don't particularly enjoy drinking straight black tea, so I've decided to try making a pot of masala chai with fresh ginger and coconut almond milk on Sundays to get me through the week. This way I can heat up a cup and add the coconut oil I'm supposed to be taking back into my diet. It goes better with chai than coffee anyway. Not making the time to do this was definitely one of the things that kept me stuck with coffee. I'm looking at that--how important it is to make the time to do the things that support my health.

2. No rats. Meaning, no relationships with weasely people, male or female. Good boundaries. Speaking my truth. Only spending time around people who enrich my life and where there is love and affection freely present. The time spent with friends visiting has been one of the most healing and important parts of this healing process and has reoriented me to how important these relationships are to me. Friendship and love are medicine.

3. Regular and more exercise. Now that I won't be hurting any more, I'll be free physically to train. I stopped doing a lot of things I enjoyed over the last year and a half, like swimming, paddle boarding, dance classes, the lyra. I want to reintroduce these things gradually as I'm ready and, again, make time for them.

4. Dietary changes. I only tend to eat sugar when I'm bored or sad. It has a bad effect on me. Even chocolate can really do a number on me sometimes. I strongly suspect that over-consuming sugar has a lot to do with why so many of us women are tired all the time or depressed. I'm cutting it out of my diet except as a very occasional thing. Also, more veggies. One of the great things about people bringing me food has been learning how they do things like veggies. I've learned some simple tricks that are awesome and easy, like roasting broccoli, squash, and mushrooms in ghee. A good portion can last for some days and easily be mixed into other dishes.

5. Reconnecting with art and my spiritual path. The time I spent lying in bed reflecting on what happened, holding my crystals, letting myself be, reminded me of how much more peaceful my life is when I connect with the Other World and That Which Is, just resting in it. Music, dance, and nature are hugely important. Time for visual art should also be made.

6. Appropriate alternative care and supplementation. Acupuncture, this lady who does specialized work on post-surgical uterine care and scars. Herbs as needed, AdreCor and Kavinace, and Vitamin D. My general MD actually put me on Vitamin D two years ago. At some point, I forgot to keep taking it. This may have been a mistake, as there is some research suggesting that Vitamin D prevents fibroid growth in general. It's back in the regimen now. 

I actually have one of those daily AM/PM pill things that dear Charlotte gave me and by God I'm using it. I can forget to take things and I don't care any more if this is what 96 year old ladies do, I'm going to do it too if it helps me stay healthy. And it'll make me think of her every day when I open the little pockets. If Charlotte taught me anything it's that you should never be embarrassed to do what you need to do to be healthy. She wasn't.

And the big one, 7. Reduce my stress level. Whatever that means. Take more time to go for walks. Read books. Time with friends. Deep Eddy. Art. Meditation. 

I am absolutely sure that the heinous stress I was under for a number of years had everything to do with how this happened. While my life is not in that place anymore, I formed some bad habits during those graduate and post graduate school years that now need to be broken completely. Now is the time to do that. 

When your own clients, who are trauma survivors and need you to be there for them, are telling you to Stay Home Don't Be A Superhero Elaine, that message is loud and clear. I'm listening to y'all. I'll always be a hard worker, but there needs to be more balance so I can continue to be there for my people year after year. 

So that's the Big Seven. The redesign.

Ridiculous Lip Balm

You wouldn't think such a small thing would make your life miserable, but it has: Ever since waking up after the surgery, I have had horrendously chapped skin on my lips and around my mouth. We are talking, to the point that it is peeling, and hurts. It got really bad in the hospital and I've been trying to get it better ever since, with not much success.

Jonathan took me to Whole Foods today and I bought an assortment of balms to try to address the issue. He explained to me that the breathing apparatus they put into your mouth during surgery is taped into place. It's possible that I'm having some kind of dermatitis reaction to either the adhesive or the tape. I had an allergic reaction to the tape that held the Foley in place; it welted up for a day or two after they took it off. Who knows, it could also be a reaction to the drugs; I had a facial rash that lasted 3 or 4 days that Allen said was a detox response to the anesthesia. That was pretty unpleasant but it finally cleared up.

So I invested some change in a variety of high end lip balms at Whole Foods to see if one of them can help clear this up. And a tub of cocoa butter which I'm told is going to be good for the scar after the liquid bandage comes off. 

I also think I'm not eating enough healthy fats. I got off my coconut oil daily regimen and am having trouble getting restarted. It really does make a difference, I just have a hard time getting the stuff down.

All these little things. I'm really grateful to have so many people knowledgeable about healing in my life. All the little tips make a difference. So grateful for all the support.

To Knit The Core Back Together

A little time on the stability ball last night. Simple: hips on the ball, hands on the floor, a highly supported plank position, to see how it feels.

All I can say is woof. She had to separate my abdominal muscles to do the surgery. It didn't hurt, but man, can I feel the work I need to do to allow those muscles to "knit" back together. Hanging out on the ball and letting my body shake and process its way through the feelings was good, and gentle too. The body has been through a shock with all this and now, post-surgery, has to find its way into a new integration, because it's going to feel different without all those tumors obstructing both the feelings and the possibilities. 

I probably haven't fully or really engaged my core strength for a number of months. It was good to spend that little time there, to start feeding in the information my body needs to find where it's going to be in the future. Rebuilding the matrix. The liquid bandage comes off on Wednesday morning and I can then start addressing the skin and numbness around the scar. A friend gave me the name of a really good bodyworker who specializes in this kind of thing, supportive work for the uterus and scars from this kind of surgery. I'm going to give her a call this week.

Because it's never just the body, I reflected, hanging out on the ball, what it meant to not have my "core" accessible for all those months. It probably had everything to do with why I was having so much trouble exiting that toxic relationship, since I remember having abdominal pain as far back as 2013. It probably had everything to do with why I had such a hard time last year finding a relational direction. I feel so different now; I think of the guys I dallied with and I wouldn't even be remotely attracted to any of them if I met them right now, not physically, not emotionally, not sexually. Those men were failures: failures as lovers, friends, and partners. 

I was reading this study the other day about how when people are under high emotional stress, the type of person they are attracted to physically changes. Looking back, I'm pretty sure this is what happened to me, since I can't imagine making the same choices now. The one exception is my Colorado ex, who I genuinely love and is actually more the type of guy I have always been drawn to: tall, athletic, lanky, sharp featured, super bright. The others, though: not my type at all, and it's a puzzlement what I saw in them now. Just another case for it being worth the effort to keep your stress levels well managed, huh?

I just feel completely different about all of that; like it happened years ago in a far distant past I can barely remember. Speaking of which, the text blocker has a little folder in which it keeps the blocked texts. I looked into it and cleaned it out; there were some in there, which I deleted without reading. The Invisibility Matrix is doing its work. 

I told my friend yesterday--this is the friend who saw the huge rat snake with me--that I've spent quite a bit of time over the last week processing the rat/rat snake/snake stuff, and that it seems to me that part of the message is this:  Elaine needs to watch out for "rats" (i.e., sorry, weaselish people) and that the best way to do this is to "rat proof" my life, which I've now done technologically. The house I live in has been rat proofed, so I know how they do it--they go through and close up or cover any little hole a rat could get into, with mesh or whatever, simply eliminating this house as a place where a rat can enter. So I've done the same. 

My friend laughed and laughed. She said, "That sounds like a good use of the information you got. And those rats, they'll deform themselves to squeeze through even the smallest space. So you really have to make sure everything is sealed."

We laughed. Everything is sealed. I feel good about it. 
To re-knit the core.

Soup And Motorcycle

It's not everyday that a good friend shows up with homemade beef soup--doctor's orders. Blood builders. A good visit. I am so grateful for all the friends who have helped me so much during this time at home--with food, with visits, with rides, with encouraging text messages and phone calls and emails. It's really helped a LOT. I haven't felt too depressed or lonely, with so many people checking in on me and sending good wishes. That has helped a lot with Charlotte's passing happening at the same time. All the love helps with the pain, too, which is still worse some days than I wish it was. I'm doing my medication regimen, but it's just going to take time.

Soup. Then Maestre Wargames emailed, "Let's go see a movie! I'll  pick you up!" I said yes. I didn't realize I would be riding on the back of an electric motorcycle to see said movie. I've never been on a motorcycle before, but when he pulled an extra helmet out of his backpack, I was like, alright, I'm down for this. 

I'll admit to being scared shitless and also to rather enjoying the experience. However, the lack of shock suspension on a bike means the ride overall is a bit tough for the old incisions right now, so not something I'd do again til I'm good and healed up. A learning experience. Good film (Ex Machina) and good conversation. He is a super sweet guy and I'm glad to be getting to know him. He's also astoundingly good looking, which matters when you have to get as close to a guy as you do on a motorcycle. I'll admit to feeling very glad that he's a former track athlete with super fast reflexes, navigating that traffic.

Sore and tired now. Rest. Soup and motorcycles.

Should You Tell Them?

I got a text message today from none other than Muy Loco. Something humble and sweet. Which is what he always did/does after having a hissyfit blowout and is trying to get back into my good graces. 

I thought I had added him to the Invisibility Matrix, but I guess I hadn't, so I went ahead and did that. I spent a little while debating whether or not I want to write him back and explain to him that his behavior is such an incredible turn off that there is no chance that he is ever going to see me again. I think of what South Texas always admonishes me to do, which is "use my words." He says to me, "Elaine, men your age don't get it. You need to TELL them why you're walking away. If you can. So they can learn. Because they really don't know why you are."

But you know what? I don't want to anymore. I don't want to spend any more minutes of my life telling people who Don't Get It how self absorbed, annoying and unsexy they are. How the hell can you get to this age without realizing that some or a lot of the things you are doing are repeatedly turning women off? How dumb do you have to be? 

I've worked with men in their early 30s who have more awareness than this. A LOT of them. In fact, I think that's part of the problem--a lot of men of my generation are still stuck in that old-school, macho thinking about "I'm a man so I don't have to change anything about myself or look at myself, it's a woman's job to adjust around me because she needs a man like me." That's what they saw their fathers doing with their mothers and so they continue to be that Dumb Guy who thinks he isn't the one who needs to change. And they're single and continually getting dumped because of it.

So dumb. Just so dumb. I really see the difference in men even one generation younger. They look inward. They're not so sexist. They're willing to do things like take feedback from women and go to therapy to learn better skills. A lot of this is because a lot of them were raised by strong single mothers. They respect their moms and see what their moms went through and what it took for their moms to leave their dads. Divorce is hard on kids but it can also have good outcomes like a young man respecting his mother's strength for leaving when she needed to, and respecting women overall more because of the courage of his mom.

So I thought about it. And I didn't do it. I didn't tell him. I actually think it's a gift to be told something about yourself. None of the guys I blocked deserve that gift. They're too busy thinking it's everyone else but them who doesn't get it. If you want to talk to me, write me a letter. Come to my house. Be a man and do something that shows you've got some cojones and maybe I'll reconsider. 

Yea. Didn't think so.

I'm happy to let the silence be just the way it is. It's not my job to change it. 

And, strangely, along with that, I might be making a couple of new friends on Tinder. Something changed. It's really nice.  :)