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.  My own healing journey has flowed through developmental psychoanalysis, somatics, Karma Kagyu Buddhism, dance, and energy medicine. Essentially, I'm an indigenous American healer, born and raised in Austin, Texas. My healing gifts developed along several pathways over the years, all of which flow together and interweave as the need arises. 

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 music and drumming.

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.

Starting Again

You just have to start where you are to get it going again.
Especially when things kinda royally suck.
Here's where I started tonight.

One Thing At A Time

I'm in some pain today.  Hel and I have this theory that when this mass in my abdomen gets poked, it gets super angry and inflames, hence the lymph nodes light up.  I surely don't ever remember feeling as awful as I did for the two days after my doctor visit, but that was the first time it had been poked and prodded at in an extensive way.  This is why in spite of myself I dread what comes next, because it surely involves more exams and more of the same, meaning a lot more subsequent pain for me and more days of just feeling awful.  This is also how we can be pretty sure this is not something like a fibroid--fibroids don't hurt, or cause this kind of pain, in most cases. Allen expressed some concerns about a cyst that may be partially ruptured or trying to rupture, which could explain the sickness and anti-infectious response, though it doesn't explain the texture of the thing.  Firm masses are a clinician's least favorite kind, especially when they appear quickly.  

Anyway.  I think it helped that I just cried it out last evening.  I will say this, J. was very supportive and gave me lots of hugs and expressed a lot of sympathy even though I was pretty numbed out by that point.  Just a hard week you know. I found out that some friends and colleagues will be around this week and available to give support if I need it, so I won't be totally soloing it, which is good. I actually think some time to myself in the house might be a good thing--I know I've been keeping a lot of my own distress away from my housemate because of what he's going through, and this way I get to have some space around my own process.  

It's not like I'm totally alone--I have these nutso dogs that have to be cared for, particularly his insane bulldog who I have a funny relationship with.  She is--in my opinion--brain damaged and sometimes goes off the rails in bizarre ways, running in circles, random barking, and she has what I call the "crazy eye," which I could only describe by taking a picture of it at the right moment.  She's like a cute girl with an evil look behind her cuteness.  So I get to deal with managing her, which can be a handful because she hates it when Housemate leaves and starts eating random things out of her upset feelings. However, she's the best guard dog in the world, along with my little one.  

So that is what that is.  Couple of clients today.  I really want to go to the studio tonight and try to move around. I'm not feeling great but today is a stand-up-straight day so far, which is good.  

It's Karma, It Is

J. was telling me last night about how he's in this place in his life where he needs he feels to spend a lot of time alone.  Another thing that annoys me:  why the hell does a man pursue a relationship worthy woman and then spend her time telling her that he likes to be alone?  Do these guys not realize the huge, conflicted mixed message they are sending just by the clash between their behavior and what's coming out of their mouths?

But I get what he was doing was trying to tell me about himself as part of making up with me.  So I listened.  Finally I said, "Well, I'm at a place in my life where I value relationships.  Loving others. I suppose it's because of the work I do.''

"How so?" he asked.

I looked at him for a long moment.  Finally I said, "Do you know what I do all day, six days a week?  I'm a trauma therapist.  Week after week I sit with people who have experienced the worst things human beings can experience.  Getting raped repeatedly by their parents, or hit or kicked or burned or emotionally abused.  War and war crimes. Being cheated and cheated on, left, witnessing traumatic deaths, murder, you name it.  

"I don't see these people just one time.  My job is not a one-and-done. I see them time and time again.  Help them to try to put together the pieces of their story. Do you know what every single one of those people wants?  Someone to care. Someone who won't leave them alone. Someone to be there, to listen, to hold their hand, to understand.  To not be alone.  Some of these people are very successful people who on the outside have everything--all the money, the houses, the cars.  But what they really want is a human connection that means something.

"Relationships are the most important thing to human beings when the shit lands. This is why you shouldn't be cavalier or treat relationships with disrespect."

He was silent.  I said, "You can go ahead and make self centered choices and push people away in favor of your own comfort.  Go ahead and do that.  And the day is going to come when you are the one who is sick, the one who is helpless or has lost everything.  At that point you may regret your choice. You very likely will. And by then it'll be too late."

He was quiet for a long time. Finally he said, "I'm listening to your perspective and it's informing me.  Thank you."

Sure. You're welcome.  I see so many men doing this.  Me Me Me.  Selfishness.  It's OK for them right now because they're still relatively in charge of their lives.  They run over others, try to run over me, thinking it's all good and it doesn't matter.

But it does.  Because things change. What goes around comes around.  It's karma.  You get the result of the seed that you sow.   Like selfishness.  Sow the seed of selfishness and you will get it back. You don't get the result of the seed you don't sow.  Like love.  You don't sow love, you won't get love.  It's inevitable.  It's not that hard to figure out.  Karma is like a snowball rolling down a hill.  It gathers.  It accumulates.  And by the time it gets to the end, even if you want to, you can't fix it.  Its course is set.  Better to take time to make the actions at the beginning to steer the course in a better direction.  You won't have another choice after a certain point.  Thinking you're going to have endless chances to change something is foolish, and the #1 way human beings get into deep shit.

Good for him that he's thinking about it.

We'll Be Friends

Maybe.  J. came to my house during an unexpected work break. I was practicing so he sat while I fooled around with the darbuka and the new riqs.  I explained to him a little bit about what these instruments are about, where they come from, how they work.  Other than that I wasn't talking much; I'd finally had a huge, crying,  sobbing, collapsing meltdown about an hour earlier and wasn't in a space to really communicate, only to play music and try to soothe my nervous system a little at a time.

He said, "We can be friends."  
I said, "It's OK if you don't want a relationship.  It's not a big deal."
"I didn't say that," he said stubbornly.

I shrugged.  No, you didn't say that, but anyone who wants to do things all their own way doesn't want a relationship, because relationships involve compromise and caring about how another person feels about your behavior.  I mean, this is OK, we only went out like four times or something, it's not a big deal.  I finally said, "Okay, if you want to be friends, we can be."

I mean maybe this was his way of apologizing.  I don't know.  I took it as such. He wants to talk about what happened sometime soon, or so he said. That's fine or not doing it is fine. I appreciated that he came by to maybe try to show what he's too proud to say, which is that he feels sorry he acted that way toward me.  Fair enough.  I have no idea what it would mean to be friends with someone you went on four dates with, since basically you barely know one another, but I'm game. He's not a bad person, he's just kind of selfish, that's all, and that makes him pretty normal for a single middle aged man, I guess.  He did enjoy watching me practice and learning about the instruments because he likes music and drums, so there's that connection.

So that was that. I played some.  Housemate leaves tomorrow. I admit that I too am not really looking forward to being here alone right now. But it is what it is. He has to do what he has to do. I hope he won't get horribly delayed getting out of here tomorrow because of the weather.  I just feel bad for him.  He went and bought a black suit today for the funeral and got my opinion on it.  It looks great on him; it's just so sad that that's why he had to buy a suit, you know?  He's testy and irritable and looks tired.  

I wish he wasn't going to do this alone--he doesn't feel very connected to his family and it's hard for him to be there--so I told him to just call me from there once it becomes unbearable or weird, which it will, pretty quick.  His family just kind of ignores him despite his flying so far to be there; it depresses him.  I hope he will call when it gets weird.  I'm actually that "call from the parents' house" friend for a LOT of people, because for one thing I won't exactly be hanging out with my own during the holidays, and for another thing I'm a good lifeline that way.  It's sort of like what I do at work but much much lighter and easier.

It also keeps me from getting lonely hanging out by myself. :)

Ending, All OK

Ultrasound today.  Hel went with me. It was pretty quick and although "pressure" was not that nice a feeling, it was over fast and I got out of there fine.  I so appreciated her coming with me.

I wrote J an email and just ended things.  The spark and joy are gone for me; I don't want to see him again.  That's fine. No hard feelings, though he seems to have quite a few.  But it wouldn't have worked. He's an addict, with a lifestyle that isn't commensurate with that of a mature 46 year old man, and there wasn't any future to it, as sweet as he was.  He seems to want me to think I'm missing out on a great guy (Just like every other guy I ever met online--what is this, an epidemic of egotism?), but I see too many issues with the hostile way he responded to me today to believe that.  It's for the best, and I just wish him well.

The happy part of today--though it was sort of brief in comparison to all the mess--is that, just at the same time, two beautiful Middle Eastern tambourines showed up on my doorstep.  Yeah. Both the Emin and the Hossam. I couldn't believe they showed up on the same day.  The Emin wasn't even boxed--just sort of bundled up in a huge mass of bubble wrap taped round and round, which is a funny way to send such an expensive instrument. 

It was so exciting to unwrap the two--to pick them up, hold them, turn them round in my hands, and finally to play them.  They are both exquisite, and so different. The cymbals on each are magnificent, and they couldn't sound more different--the Emins wet and rich, the Hossams high and dry and almost...I don't know...leafy? why does that word come to mind? Like what golden leaves would sound like if you played them. Can't explain. Hard to describe. 

Feels good to have these in my hands--a reset button. I haven't played this week hardly at all due to the stress, the pain, and the other stuff going on.  Hel said, "Do these a lot this weekend. Just play and play and play."

I will.

A Conflagration

Well. I got a sarcastic email and a phone call from J. Which turned into a conflagration since I was not in a good place emotionally at the moment. Whatever. He said he wants to take some space and see what he wants to do next.  I said, Take all the space you need.

Yea. Take a week. Take a month. Take a year. What I'm not going to do is agree to any kind of "my way or the highway" arrangement. I had something like 500 guys respond to a posting I put up for three hours. Out of that 500, there's one guy in there somewhere who understands how to talk to and work things out with a woman rather than pulling the whole schtick about how he's so busy because he's such a great guy and so together and how I should just understand and blablabla.  

I said to him, "Are you the only one who had a hard week? Are you the only one who worked hard this week? Because you don't have any idea what kind of week I had, or what my work days are like, do you?" He didn't have much to say to that because it's the truth.

I told him, "This isn't about everything being your way.  It has to work for me too, and I value communication and compromise.  I don't disappear on people for days and days without communication and then show up using my busy life as an excuse for why I'm acting like an indifferent jerk. It would hurt the people in my life if I were to act that way and I try hard not to do such things even though I'm a really busy person too.  Maybe you and I are just different and that's fine. I figured you'd bail anyway, after that length of time without communication and the snippy response I got the last time I tried to to contact you."

I'll give him this: he said he wanted time to think about it, which is fine.  At this point I don't need anything more from the situation, and am good with moving on. I'm clear that I'm not teaching a man in his late 40s how to negotiate with a woman, because if he's gotten to this point in life without this basic skill, the chances of his acquiring it are very small indeed--this much I have learned. 

O well.  Onward through the fog, so to speak.

Moving On

I woke up to an email from J. Sweet, but the usual kind of "I've been so busy and here's all the things I've been doing" thing.

I kind of wish he hadn't sent this, because it's a turn off.  The whole point is, I was looking for someone who is actually available to see me, not someone who disappears and then writes me texts or emails about why he wasn't.  I really wonder why so many men think I need to know what they were doing while they weren't contacting me.  I am not your girlfriend after a few dates and I do not need to know what you were doing that made you unavailable.  All you need to tell me is, I am thinking about you and here is when I AM available to see you.  That's it.

I got another text from one of the old OKC guys yesterday too.  It was the same thing:  how are you, here's all that's been going on in MY life!  I just wrote back, "Okay, good for you." I mean what did he want, applause? This kind of thing is just such a turn off and it's obvious to me that this behavior is a LOT of why these men have been single for such long periods of time.  I mean, what kind of person disappears then contacts another person with an essay about all the cool stuff they were doing?  I'll tell you: a self centered person, that's who.  And that's why these guys do not have nice girlfriends.  It's all about Me Me Me with them. 

So I debated not even answering J's email, but I finally did write him back and say that while I am glad he's doing things that are important to him, his email gives me the impression that he's just too busy to participate in the kind of arrangement I had in mind.  And that this is OK but that the whole reason I did what I did is to avoid receiving long elaborate tales about why someone is not available.  If I wanted those, I would be doing regular dating--ha!  Right? So I said, I'm glad you are good with your life, and if you aren't available that's cool, but I would like clarification on that.  And have a good weekend.

Straight and to the point, right?  But I already sense this is prob not going to go.  He is a very sweet guy, but excuses this early into knowing someone simply do not reflect the kind of character I am looking for--an excuse-making guy always turns out to be someone who has a lot of personal drama and chaos that he tries to make my problem by using it as an excuse to behave badly, and I'm just not interested in it.

Bless him, he is very very sweet though. 
Moving on.

Nobody Said You Have To Be Fine


Housemate's father died a couple of hours ago.

We had a long long talk.  I provided tissues and comfort.  Something I kept saying to him: Nobody says you have to be fine.  Like I've mentioned before, Housemate is a pretty stoic guy with a substantial "I'm Fine" thing going on.

So I talked to him about not having to be fine--how when big things happen in life, you just get to feel how you feel.  You might not choose to share with everyone how you feel.  Maybe just people who are close, or a therapist, or someone you trust.  But the feelings are what they are and there's nothing wrong with any of them.

He leaves Saturday through the 2nd. Strangely the only client I managed to see today also just had her father die, and she and I talked about the same thing--how all the feelings are valid, how there's nothing wrong with any of it, and how you take care of yourself when you don't even know how you feel from one hour to the next.  Grief is different for everyone; there's no template. It's so important that people know that there's no set way they "should" grieve or process something.  They do it how they do it.  At their own time.

Housemate is concerned about the stuff happening with me.  I think he feels bad about leaving me alone in the house right now. But it's just one thing at a time.  Allen figured out today that the nausea is being caused by pain, so he did a treatment for both that got me standing up straight and able to eat a bit of food after a few hours. He wants to be kept in the loop with the process. I am now carrying a thermometer and am supposed to go to the ER if anything radically worsens or I develop a fever. I also brewed a stiff batch of my best anti-nausea remedy, the one I used to use when studying aerial silks to counteract nausea caused by spins. A couple of mugs of that took me a long way.  I had to move some appointments this afternoon so I could take care of this stuff, getting things to take care of myself and time to rest, as today was just not a good day for the Body.  I didn't like doing that, but you just do what you have to do.  

I did see one client, I did get medical stuff, I did get some help with the pain and nausea, I even spent a little time helping my friend Amae construct a dance she's performing tomorrow night. Hel is going with me to the ultrasound tomorrow. If I feel up to it afterward I may go into her studio tomorrow evening and gently gently slowly move a little.  I do not feel up to any kind of hard exercise or movement right now but I could slide around on a wood floor and get myself moving to just do something, which would help me feel better. I think. I hope.

One day at a time.

Something Just Aint Right, Eagle Hunter

I just did something I've never done before: called my doctor's office to ask if I should come back in.  Something just doesn't feel right. I'm really hurting and I can't even touch these lymph nodes because they are so swollen and painful.  Maybe it's unrelated, maybe it's unimportant but my gut told me to go ahead and make the call.  I am also really nauseous again today which is weird too.

I also had an asthma attack yesterday, which is the first time that's happened in well over a year.  No idea what triggered it but I was able to get through it without using the inhaler.  It was pretty damn unpleasant and scary.  But I got through it and I have an appointment with Allen today, should I make it that far without having to change today's plan.  Something be going on.  Something be going on with the Body.  It happens. It's an invitation, to patience, to self compassion, to working with fear and being gentle and all that good stuff. I wasn't so good at first but now I'm OK although I am ridiculously uncomfortable in a lot of ways.  Today is a light day thankfully. I don't know why I have the feeling that something might move really fast around all this. Whatever it is. Could be my own anxiety talking.  Just a feeling.

Buffalo sent me this amazing picture of a young Mongolian eagle hunter.  My jaw dropped because so much of the image is what I saw in my first journey with him.  I looked up the rest of the series and yea, it's so similar to what I experienced that...I don't even know what to think of that.  Here's my favorite from that collection of photos.

In the shamanic journey, even the rocks I was standing on were almost exactly like these.  I have never seen these photos before, or heard of Mongolian eagle hunters.  I wrote back to him and expressed my amazement and he said, "Why are you surprised? Everything is connected in our world, dear friend."

Astonishing!  Even more so because there is actually a connection between the nomadic Mongolian healers and the African healers my friend wants to take me to visit.  Long story but I know someone who already did both those journeys after being told by the one to go to the other.  And looking at my animal map, suddenly I get it--Siberia, Alaska, Native American, at one point the same peoples, so same thread, same difference in some ways.

Small world?  Big world?