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 and complex as the people 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.

A Long Talk

The Writer invited me to tea last night. I hesitated. He wanted to return my book that he had. I didn't want to go; I thought it would just be awkward, and awful.

But I went. And it was awful for a good bit. But we finally ended up talking for hours. I got real with him. Talked to him about all the things that drove me away--the things in his situation, the negativity he's been displaying, my need to have positive energy in my life because what I do for work is so challenging. I was able to be really blunt and really open for the first time about all of it without his shutting me down. I told him about how his negativity and stubbornness create a situation where I feel like all I can do is walk away.

I felt him listening, for what felt like the first time, about a lot of this stuff. He let me talk. He finally said that he really got it--about how so many things about his situation could be perilous for me if I were to get closer to him at this point in his life. He talked to me about how he's trying to and wants to change those things, which was new--I haven't heard him talk about that before. It turns out he's already done some exploring of options around his divorce agreement and also is holding off on the bankruptcy stuff to see if he can take care of the debt another way. 

We talked a lot. A lot. It wasn't easy. There is still that intense chemistry between us. And love. I do know we got to a place of understanding each other better during those hours. We talked about a lot of things. I told him that I know he loves me and that I also don't know that I'm the best partner for him. I think I overwhelm him with the intensity of my drive and personality and that he gets aggravated and triggered by it. He agreed that sometimes he feels that way, also that he wonders if maybe someone who has a child might be a better fit for him. But he also said that what it comes down to is, he loves me, and he wonders if it can work between us, despite the difficulties, despite the differences.

I don't know the answer to that question. There's a lot that would have to be sorted out. I feel gun shy right now, not just about him, but about dating anyone. I know that at the least I need to have some space around things, which is perfectly OK with him. He's always been good about respecting my autonomy. I do feel that I saw, for the first time, some things inside of him that I need, a certain clarity of direction, a determination. 

So I don't know. Nothing has to be done right now. We can continue to spend time together as it comes up and as it feels right. No rush to try to figure it out.

Lead And A Few Laughs

Shooting this morning. New range. With my friend Jason. I like Jason. He's a quiet guy, doesn't say much, but very perceptive and thoughtful, and super smart. He also likes to shoot and has a fun car that he sometimes insists on driving me in, a snappy 6 cylinder, very sweet and edgy.

He asked how my week had been. I told him, and about the OKC thing last night. And he started laughing in spite of himself. He said, "Wow, does that guy think you are stupid? You are not the right woman to run that kind of story on. That's not how OKC works. Everyone knows that. Oh, man. That's ridiculous."

And, in spite of myself, *I* started laughing too. One of the things I love about my male friends is that they do that. They just straight up laugh at situations and it helps me see the funny side and laugh along with it too. Somehow it just puts it all in perspective. That definitely happened here. He's right. It's ridiculous.

So then we went to the range, which was SUPER nice, a find of his. He instructed me in his big pistol and his .22 rifle. Big stuff! I yelled, holding his gigantic metal pistol, "Help me! I'm scared! This thing is huge!" He laughed and helped me get through the first shot or two, after which I relaxed. I was really really nervous about the rifle too, but even that started to get better after a few tries, and I could see myself getting into it, honestly, with more exposure to it.

I worked on my own drills too, and I saw him looking over at my target and giving that little smile dudes do when they're impressed but aren't going to say anything. The range officer came over and gave me a pointer about my grip, then added, "Everything you're doing looks perfect, stance, the way you're working on your dots, all of it. Keep doing what you're doing, you look like you've had some really good instruction!"

So I did, and turned out to shoot quite well today. As Brian would say if he looked at the paper, "All of those are lethal." 

Then I went to work and helped this young woman with medical trauma whose story makes me want to cry. It went great. EMDR is gonna help her. A lot.

And now a nap, and a swim. 
Everything's alright.

It's Alright, It Is

Text conversation with the Writer last night.

He claimed that he got on OKC to find my phone number when he lost his phone and got a new one. That OKC said he couldn't disable the profile for a week, and he left it up for that reason.

Interestingly, I was able to both activate and deactivate my profile within about 90 seconds on OKC last night. No problem. I also noted to him that he was online about 10 pm last night. Not exactly a week or more ago. In fact, his timeline means he put it back up while we were still actually in a relationship. Even better. It's very strange that someone who works in tech would not be able to do what everyone else does on OKC without a problem. 

But you know what? 
It's alright. 

It's none of my business anymore. He can move on whatever way he chooses to. Clearly, I can do the same, since he chose to roll that way. What it came, comes, down to for me is, I'm not putting any effort--ANY effort--into a guy who puts a dating profile up while he's still seeing me or supposedly trying to work things out with me. Not acquaintanceship. Not friendship. Nothing. Because I don't have the time for that, those games, that drama, that kind of childish, chicken bullshit.

I made this clear. He claimed that he disabled the profile again. Maybe he did. Maybe he didn't. I didn't check. It doesn't matter. I'm really at peace with it. He may have had it up for longer than that, been meeting people. That doesn't matter either. What does matter is, I saw what I saw and now I know. He's the kind of person who, when there's a problem in a relationship with a woman, instead of looking at himself, he goes looking for another woman and starts the cycle of drama all over again. I can see that now. I have no reason to think he wasn't looking for someone else; after all, it's what he's done before.

And that's alright. It's his life. His karma. I still have a book of his. I put it in my car so I can drop it off to him when the time is right. I'm not angry. I'm just clear. I don't hate the guy. I had a really difficult time with him, and his life is what it is, and it's way, way less happy than my life on a number of fronts. I'm sure he's doing whatever it is he thinks he needs to do to feel better.

It just makes me think of this Amy Winehouse song again, how much I still want her dress in this video, and grateful for the lessons life brings.

Now, I'm going shooting.

Because He Didn't Love You, That's Why

Tried reaching out to the Writer again today. Another surly response. I backed off. He sent me something nicer later. I felt he was making an effort.

But I had this feeling tonight. I had this feeling that I should log into OKCupid and see if he's back on there. So I did. And he is. One week after we separate, after I make the hard decision to step back to try to preserve our friendship and be there for him in a different way, he's back on the hunt.

I sat there for a minute. I felt very, very, very hurt. I breathed deeply and let myself really feel that hurt. This man said he loved me and acted like I was the One. He's not even taking a week to grieve. He's just looking for someone else. Already.


I sent him a text letting him know that it was nice to see him on OKC and that I am clearly wasting my time by reaching out. I said that I really did love him, and I really did try, and I was truly sorry for what happened between us. I did love him, and I also get it. Said, take care of yourself.

What I get, I guess, is that he didn't and doesn't love me. That wasn't the truth. No one who really loved another person like that would be back out there a week after a very difficult process and separation. I guess those were just words after all. For all I know, he's been on there for weeks and I didn't know it, and maybe that's why he was asking if *I* had someone lined up. I disabled my account immediately again after I saw he was on there, and don't intend to reactivate it. Because why? This kind of thing is what you get with online dating. A guy who is broke, unemployed, lies to you  about loving you and starts looking for someone else a week after putting you through 6 weeks of hell.

What's weird, though, is that I don't feel angry. I mostly feel sad. Really sad. Sad for me. Sad for him. Sad that this is the choice he's making. Sad for me that I've been putting all this time and energy into thinking things through and trying to make the right choice with someone who obviously does not give a shit about me, or the efforts I made, or any kind of appropriate grieving process.

I cried over this guy, which was obviously a mistake. Well, I shouldn't say that. I cried because I really cared, and really caring is never a bad thing. And I still know I did the right thing by stepping back. I just thought he'd care enough to give it a minute before looking for the next thing. The fact that he didn't tells me so much about him.

And it really sets me free.

I deleted the hundreds of texts we sent each other.
I deleted his phone number and all logs of calls between us.

I thought about him for a long long minute. I held him, and the time we had, in my heart, really felt that. I deeply wished him the best for his life and his fortunes. I felt we really had something, love, compatibility, whatever it was. I was trying to preserve things between us, our friendship, by stepping back instead of having the whole thing crash and burn beyond repair.

I feel quiet. No anger. Just quiet. Peace. Sometimes that's the lesson you learn. You learn that someone who said they loved you, who you believed about that, didn't. It's not an easy lesson. It's also a really important lesson, and one I accept fully.

Tomorrow is another day.

It's OK If You Hate Therapy

A call the other day from a young woman thinking about counseling. She's never been. 

We talked for a bit, and I could tell she was nervous about it. Finally I said, "You know, it's OK if you don't want to come to therapy. Nobody wants to come to therapy." She burst out laughing and was immediately more at ease.

But it's true, right? I mean, it's not like people show up in my office, plunk themselves down on the couch and say, "Well, I just had nothing better to do with myself than come and tell someone like you good news for 90 minutes." Nah. Not so much. Pretty much everybody ends up in therapy because some shit is blowin' up and they don't know what to do about it. Fair enough? So my expectation is that people generally would rather not be there, and this is OK. I've spent a lotta lotta time in the client's chair myself. I get it. I try to make the experience as enjoyable as it can be, which, for a trauma therapist, is a bit of a feat. Humor is a great curative, though.

Incidentally, this is why I like also having Feldenkrais and energy medicine clients. Everyone feels happy to come to Feldenkrais because their back or shoulder or hip is going to feel better. Everyone who wants drumming or energy medicine looks forward to that. So it's nice to have a mix. A couple of my counseling clients have gotten interested in the Feldy side of my practice and explored that a bit, which is new. I would like more of that to be available to my counseling clients; I think the block is not in them but in me, because I don't really know how to explain the Feldenkrais work in a way that relates to counseling, even though I know it's deeply healing. So right now I'm just letting the people who see me take the lead while I try to figure out how to make it more transparent. Anyone who comes to see me can get anything I practice as part of their healing, so it's all available.

In other news, I texted the Writer yesterday. South Texas had suggested I check in on him. I was hesitant, but finally decided to do it, since I'm in a good place with all that. He was kind of surly at first; I sighed and persisted and he got friendlier and it ended up being a nice conversation. He sent me some Youtube music stuff that he likes. Of course, it was all rather sad and melancholy. I guess that is kind of how he is, a rather romantic, dark type, which would probably actually be OK if he wasn't in a shitty situation that brings out the most unpleasant side of the depressive personality. If he was in a good place there would be more balance. 

Strangely enough, I came across an article about how unemployment affects your personality (i.e. it makes you more sour, less agreeable and conscientious the longer it continues), as well as this rather pointed Jezebel refutation of a U.S. News article that makes the way men behave during unemployment toward their female partners (i.e., like dicks) into a problem the woman is somehow supposed to solve. The comments to this article are pretty telling.

I felt he did a pretty good job, though, of being positive toward me. I know now that he has weird ideas inside his head about the kind of person he thinks I am (i.e., negative ideas about what my motives are for doing just about anything), so I'm just staying away from anything provocative in terms of conversation. It's OK; he doesn't really know me, or understand me, which is pretty normal. I told him that if he wants to take a break from the job search grind, grab a coffee or a swim at Deep Eddy, just let me know, and that I'm around until the 11th.

Life, man. What are you gonna do? Go forward with another day, right?

The World Of Nightmare And Dream

Been working with that over the last couple of weeks. Nightmares and dreams. My clients are very surprised to learn that we can use the EMDR tappers and the process I generally use with EMDR (not the standard protocol) to navigate their dream worlds and find out the meanings of their dreams. It's basically indigenous-style shamanic dreamwork with the modern twist of adding the tappers, which induce the light REM sleep state and hold the container for anything that comes up.

What's so interesting to me is that the way in which Aizenstat is working with dreams, when we look into it, is completely familiar to me: I'm like, yes, of course, I'm already doing that. It's why the inclusion of this work in our new curriculum feels so right: it's second nature and has been for a long time. It's where I take people when they journey. It's how I do EMDR. It's how I take someone through the TARA sessions. This is all stuff I've been doing for years, with his own twist on it, and it feels good to listen to his take on it. 

Strangely, both my computer and iPod insist on playing the course in a "shuffle" format, so I never know what section I'm going to be listening to. I long ago learned that my little electronic friends deliver me information in they way they want to, not the way I think they should. The iPod, in particular, will punt up albums I don't know I have, or songs I haven't heard before, pertaining to situations I'm working with in my life. Or it will refuse to play what I want and play me something else. I've learned to trust it.

The world of nightmare and dream: a place where things happen, where ambiguous meaning can become clear; where parts of yourself show up with messages for you, things you didn't expect become true, and figures appear and disappear. I consider this to be a real world, which is where Kalsched comes in, as he agrees. It feels to me like internal psychodrama (another form I love and hope to do an intensive in someday; I'd love to be part of a psychodrama group--I was a KILLER director in my psychodrama class, and it was one of the best things I did in my graduate program)--the figures that appear within us and the parts they play out in our visions and dreams. Yes?

The tray is the same, the world of characters, fragments, relationships, meanings in space and time. I have been making little notes on things the tray needs based on what people are telling me. I haven't been to a toy store in years; going to one will no doubt evoke my own childhood, the vast number of hours spent making and playing with figures and clay--which is perhaps why sandtray is also innate to me--I literally spent the first decade of my life making giant versions of a sandtray in every house we lived in, hours and hours crafting stories and shaping situations in time. I never had an actual tray; I just spread it out on the floor of wherever and would leave it there to evolve over the period of days and weeks. To me, sandtray is like, "Oh yea, of course that's what that is; of course that's what that means." 

It's like I came in as a little sandtray dreamtime shamaness. I remember doing this stuff before ever being in school. We are talking a very very little kid here. 

Yea. I remember. I'm smiling. I can't wait to go to the toy store.

It was my world--and still is.

Text, Check In

Text conversation with South Texas. He was really looking forward to meeting the Writer and it was with sadness that I let him know that probably isn't going to happen.

He was disappointed for me, and for himself. He asked, Does he miss you? Do you miss him?

Of course I miss him, I typed back. He wanted to be left be. So I'm leaving him be. It's better that way. I didn't want to get my hand bit any more. It's really tough to get treated that way when all you're trying to do is help.

He probably has a lot of humiliation triggers, he mused. He's going to have to work through that. 

Funny you should say that. I thought the same thing. But according to him, he's all fine and dandy and happy and I'm seeing things, I wrote back. Nothing for me to work with, with that.

Our conversation made me feel a lot better. He finally said, You certainly did and do need the conversation, about all that stuff, to happen. It's essential. And who knows, you may get it. But you don't know when.

I'm not counting on it. But thanks. I meant it.

I mean yea, of course I miss the Writer. I don't miss being treated like I was trying to hurt the guy. He accused me of treating him like a "sad sack." That made me mad because, as usual, it's not in any way where I was coming from. Because I was mad, I said to him, "Do you think that in any way you've been acting like a sad sack? You don't seem to have any friends. You don't seem to have many interests, if you do, you're not sharing them. If you have this whole rich life that I don't know about and that you're not sharing with me, I don't know what to say about that. I'm not trying to portray you as anything. I'm just concerned, man."

He couldn't hear that. He couldn't hear me about a lot of things, apparently. I have no idea where that came from, the whole sad sack thing. It certainly wasn't something on my radar. He had a really bad habit of doing that--making up things he thought I was thinking or feeling, or what he thought might be motivating me, and then presenting those things as though they were true. I told him many times to stop doing this and just ASK me what I was thinking or feeling, or why I did something, but he never seemed to be able to make the switch. I don't know what that was--projection, or some kind of need to be right, or some kind of attempt to manipulate or control me by telling me what's inside my own head that I don't know about.

But I know who I am and what's inside my head. And I get lots of feedback about myself on a daily basis whether I want it or not. I said to him that it was obvious that he was used to holding power in his previous relationships by being the "psychologically astute one." In our case, he didn't have that power; and he was consistently, and strangely, wrong in his assessments of where I was coming from, which was frustrating beyond belief. 

I think I know myself better than he does himself, just because I do live in a matrix of getting that feedback. He rarely spends time around anyone but his kids, so he doesn't have a good perspective on who he is through the eyes of other adults. I do have that, and because of it, I'm not hypersensitive to criticism or fragile in terms of my ego; I couldn't do what I do every day and be that way. 

I have a pretty good idea about what goes on inside the monkey mind of La Pistola. Making a guy I care about into a sad sack isn't part of it.

But, people believe what they wanna believe, right?

Centering, Process

A handful of my clients are getting married. It's so good. It makes me so proud. I seem to be really good at getting other people into stable relationships that turn into happy marriages. Hunh, so how about my own situation, eh? So funny, right?

It's OK. Someone said to me today, "I just don't understand what happened with that guy you were dating...You, above all people, are the most amazing resource for people in a bad spot...why wasn't he leaning into that and valuing and learning from you, rather than fighting with you?"

That's anyone's guess. Male pride? Arrogance? Ignorance? Who knows? I've been thinking about that. I don't think he, the Writer, really understood the baseline for my concerns. Basically, I knew--from what I know of law, and finance, and the situations I see in counseling--that, as his situation currently stands, any woman that marries him is vulnerable to being royally screwed 60 ways from Sunday, with very little to protect her. A woman with even modest assets could easily lose all of it and end up in debt by tying her life to his. It's a combination of his debt, his divorce agreement, the age of his children, and a couple of other things. It's entirely possible that I knew more than he did, quite a bit more, about how badly things could play out for any woman who becomes entwined in his life. Which is why I needed the conversation, without the defensive and nasty attitude, to happen. 

When a situation like this is the case, there are three things that need to happen: the person in the bad situation needs to fully own it and understand what it is and take responsibility; they need to be completely honest, open, and willing to have hard discussions with a positive attitude; and they need to show their integrity, responsibility and reliability in other ways. Those things go a long way to offset an otherwise offputting situation. I just didn't see those from him, unfortunately.

Everyone has their stuff. I do too, student loan and chronic illness. But my stuff is handled and will continue to be. It isn't about being materialistic or wanting a certain lifestyle. I don't give a crap about being rich. It's about, is this person trustworthy? Do they acknowledge their role in the situation they are in? What have they done to try to fix it--or are they even trying? All of those things speak to character much more than to the specific situation. And character is the center of the relationship, really. Without it you don't have much to work with in terms of trusting your partner or feeling they have your back.

I wish I had seen those things from him. There was love between us, and a lot of compatibility. It's sad. I think of how things started collapsing between myself and Crazy Ex the day I learned he didn't have a credit card to buy his own plane ticket and wanted me to do it, for a trip he had booked for the two of us. That was just the tip of a big, big iceberg of personal irresponsibility and debt that he'd kept hidden from me. 

I think of Passive Aggressive Ex and how he, too, was in a shit ton of financial trouble because of bad decisions, and hiding it from me while also taking it out on me. Those two exes are people I do not talk to any more because the way they handled money was just the precursor of the way they would eventually come to treat me: disrespectfully. They weren't people who, at the core, felt responsible for their bad choices; they preferred to play the victim and blame others. As a result, their situations grew worse and worse. I would have been caught in all of it if I'd allowed myself to stay with them.

I suppose I may be gun shy now; but I've got good reason to be. 

That's life. The trip to the ocean was very restorative. I am once again clear and firm in the healer's seat. It's obvious that I need to use more of my Sundays for trips into nature. The West Coast trip will be good for me. I'm glad now that I booked it.

I can wish for my own happy wedding some day, right? 
Sure I can.

Ocean Women.

Julie and me. 6:30 am, headed south.

You want music? I ask.

She muses, It's so early. Have you got something twee?

Twee is something I definitely do not have. However, since I purchased my previous computer from an old lesbian who loved 80s music and it all transferred over to the new one and therefore to the iPod, it might be worth a look. 

So I invite her to surf the iPod and see. She settles on something relatively banal that feels acceptable at 7 am.

The rest of the trip, in the car, we talk. I ask her how she feels about doing Morocco and Agadez if the Kalahari trip doesn't happen for some reason. Her answer, of course, is just what Julie would say: I'm there. She is applying for a grant to study in Indonesia for 10 months; if she gets it, I have promised to visit, especially since it would allow me to also experience the dance teaching of Pak Prapto, which sounds right up my alley.

Then, the ocean. The waves. The smiles that break over us and the laughter: "We're here!"

The deep silence that falls over the two of us as we walk into the waves with our boards and feel the first crash of that morning water. 

Two dancers and dancing sisters having this newness together. How many times have we been in this place, she and I? Stepping together into a new experience, onto a stage, in the studio, so many places, so many times? I've lost count.

Playing, hollering, laughing, pure joy. I ALMOST manage to high five her on one ride as I sail past her, but it's a couple of feet short. I do a much better job of riding this time than I did the last time I was here; I'm stronger, and my body now feels the difference between "set" and "swell" in an intuitive way, letting me conserve my energy and go for the good stuff.

Dancing sisters. Ocean women.