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 with Buffalo Thunder Tatanka Waikia of San Antonio, Texas.  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.

Challenge LeChallenge

So man. Tonight is a text deluge.  I want to drink tea with you. I want to walk in nature with you. I want to come to Texas and see you.  Wow le wowwow fellas.  What gives.  

I'm issuing challenges just for fun.  Not to anyone i already know. New guys.  Would you go to trance dance? Would you go to wild artist solstice party? Would you go to play? Would you this, would you that? This is really fun. Something I figured out is that most men THINK they have a sense of adventure, or see themselves as Guys Who Are Very Exploratory.  However, this is not really the case, mostly. It's about their ego more than their actions.

As I've written before, it doesn't make you worldly to do things that are inside your comfort zone.  If you have lived in the woods, you are not really stretching yourself by living in the woods.  You would stretch yourself by taking a dance class. And vice versa. You really expand when you go for something that you have never done before or that you think you might hate or that might scare you.  Dudes are not good at that. Especially not older dudes. 

I mean, I don't like the idea of a shooting range. But I'm going to go there.  I don't like heights. But I studied aerial silks assiduously for two years.  That's learning: doing what you DON'T want to do. Like facing your fear of heights, or your fear of big loud noises, or your fear of intimacy, or your feelings. I was talking about this with someone today--about his need to do the inner adventure, get to know himself, because he hadn't done that despite traveling the world, being a war hero and a high level professional. It was a really cool conversation.

As it happens, there are wild solstice events going on, and I'm checking it out to see if someone might go for some of it with me on Sunday. So far the tech guy is hanging in there. He seems amazingly fun and is super bright and assertive, which I like. It's probably worth mentioning that the four men that interested me from this round are all younger than me.  There wasn't anyone my age or older that was even remotely interesting or flexible enough to even meet.  Guys get very set in their ways and they want to do things their way and no other way, and this is a drag.  They tell you about their gym workouts and oatmeal breakfasts and it is like, I cannot go there. I am sorry.  I cannot.

I told myself, be open minded, don't get all judgy and weird about younger men this time.  That was a stretch (yea, out of my comfort zone in a BIG BIG way) but. I had a great time the other night, that guy is 39.  These others, 42, 38, and 36.  I will meet all three of them. Why not? Colorado is 34. Muy Loco is the only one my age and he's my age, 46.  He is the one who wants to drink tea.  This is sweet.  We are technically just in this for the physical sweetness, but he wants to drink tea with me.  This is how I know he is truly fond of me despite our vast differences.

So I'm following advice I was given months ago: Go younger and see what happens. This is a growth point for me.  It's Challenge LeChallenge. But I gotta do something different, so this is the different. 

You Did Good

Bret called me to check in. "How you doing?"

"Eh. Shit pain yesterday and today," I said. "Not so great. Not sleeping or eating well. Tired. But OK otherwise. Still having an occasional tiny residual fit of annoyance over the whole Paramedic Guy thing.  How aggravating to have to deal with that bullshit when I'm sick, man. I'm more mad about that than anything."

"No kidding," he said. "But you did good. You did real good with that.  Not only was it funny as fuck and astounding reading, I'm glad you sent him the card you made, Elaine. I felt good when I read that you did that."

"Well, I made it for him," I said simply. "I put some effort into it and it was kinda cool. I was gonna toss it in the trash, but after I thought about it I realized I didn't want to, I wanted him to have it so I just stuck it in the mail."

"I really like that you did that," he said simply. "Just feels good."

I meditated for a moment.  Finally I said, "Apparently the girlfriend is someone who lives or works in Buda."

"Oh, LORD," he said. "That explains everything."

"I think so too," I said. "But ya know what? I try to learn from everything. And here are the good things about that guy. For one, he had good taste, because he chose me.  And he was really trying to keep something going that was impossible, so he had some dedication. And he was sweet to me and he supported me during some tough times.  So those are the good things about him. I just think he must have a sad man inside him somewhere."

"Infidelity is always an act of self sabotage," he said. "Always. I mean, it's yet another great way to make sure you end up feeling like shit about yourself, because it's not something anyone has to do.  It's a way of not dealing with other things inside yourself, for the most part, like addiction or the fear of intimacy."

Well spoken.  I has smart friends, ya?

A Missed Opportunity

Thinking about something else South Texas said to me the other night.

This guy really missed an opportunity to learn about and deal with himself. There are very few women in the world a guy could really come clean with, Whipdragon Girl.  There are very few women a man could sit down with and say, look, here is my deal.  I'm in a sexless relationship, I'm messing up, I'm cheating, I know I'm fucking things up.  And I really like you and I want to talk about this.

But you are one of those few women, Whipdragon Girl.  What a missed opportunity. For him. He's not going to get another chance like that for a long long time, if ever again.

Probably true, that. Men have frank conversations with me about sex, all of the time. Friends, clients. I am, indeed, that woman.

Poor Paramedic Guy.  It all just seems rather sad. I've never known what to do with cowardly men.  Mostly I don't do anything. I just give them a wide berth.  I don't hate them; I'm not a coward myself, it's a character trait that I just don't relate to or really understand.  I don't date people I don't like. I don't stay in unsatisfying relationships and try to run around on the side. I don't act shady and lie to others and try to cover things up.  I just don't.

Anyway. I feel clear of this deal. I'm not the one who has to carry the shame, guilt and cowardice of being a cheater. Or, still worse, the pathos of being someone who isn't getting what you want out of life and doesn't have the courage to change anything. It occurs to me that the reason he told my friend about the girlfriend is because he didn't have the balls to tell me himself and this was his way of trying to get someone else to deliver the information.  My friend told me he never intended to say anything because the guy had disappeared, but then the guy resurfaced over Thanksgiving which is why he decided to tell me.

Oh well.  It wasn't a lot of sex.  Five times in five months. It wasn't like it was really great sex either. I think he thought it was great. I thought it was pretty good until I had sex with other guys and realized it wasn't. I mean, it was OK. It was like having H.E.B. chocolate cake and thinking it's pretty good until you have chocolate cake from Upper Crust and go, "damn, THIS is what chocolate cake is supposed to be like."  

I tried a couple more times after that, of course, but it just wasn't the supagood chocolate cake.  But he was sweet to me as a person, which I liked, quite a bit.  

Still, though, chocolate cake was the whole point of this deal.
See, now I know.

Got another date this weekend. Maybe two dates.  Both very direct sorts of guys. I don't know much about the first one, but he's not a texting kind, so I'm guessing he's like me, more of a face to face type.  I will say this:  the whole Paramedic Guy situation completely taught me that guys who text and sext you all of the time are a waste of your time. They ultimately never have anything to really offer. I'm interested in the guys who are like, "Let's meet." They aren't wasting anyone's time, not mine, not theirs. I'm glad I had those text sext experiences, now I know what that's all about, but it's not something I'm interested in repeating.  First guy is a high level professional trainer:  MMA, boxing, all kinds of stuff.  Should be something different, anyway.  The other is a high level tech guy.  Good looking dudes.

Ya. The missed opportunity wasn't mine, for sure.  I'm just going on to create and find other opportunities for ME. I'm pretty good at that. Shouldn't be hard. 

I dropped Muy Loco a note to see if he can fit me in sometime soon.  Got a text from Colorado:  Today is my birthday, and I wish I was spending it with you.

Me too, sweetie.
Me too.

Heal Up, Guru

A client texted to ask about the meditation group, which I've paused while I figure out this health stuff.  

I briefly explained the situation and he wrote back, Oh fuck! Like you needed to get any tougher.  This made me laugh. I generally don't think of myself as "tough." I'm pretty soft...very soft indeed...if you treat me right.  It's only when you don't that it changes. I'm neither dominant nor submissive...I'm independent. It's its own category. 

I pulled my ad down; I think I've gotten all out of it I'm going to get. As usual, you get 300 responses and maybe 3 of them are people you would want to talk to more or meet, and the chances of one of those working out is negligible--but it's good to try now and again.  Now I'm going to focus my energy on getting myself into basic firearm training, since this is something I really need to do anyway, and checking out the the shooting range where I would practice.  It's time to start moving forward on this issue especially since Master Strategist is wrapped around the new girlfriend and doesn't have time. But, I don't need him to train me; I really just want access to his collection so I can try things out, but I can do that at the range too from the look of it.

I mean what are you going to do. Life goes on and you have to do what you have to do. I'm going to be, supposedly, running around in the African bush in summer of 2016 and there is some stuff I need to learn to make myself comfortable with doing that, so. I just need some basics that's all. Nothing hardcore. He told me all of it is stuff an 18 year old kid could learn to do in a few months, makes sense.  Shouldn't be hard and is something new.

Tough? That makes me smile. I know where it came from.  It's an expression of admiration and respect.  He wrote, "Heal up, guru."

I will. It'll take a little minute, but I will.

You're The Unicorn

A client said that about me. "You're the unicorn, Elaine. That woman that no man believes exists except in fairy tales.  Smart, self-driven, no drug or alcohol problems, attractive, caring, and not crazy. I wish I'd met someone like that back when I was dating."

He looked at me regretfully. I looked at him regretfully. I said, "It's not that easy out there."

"Well, yea, because you're a unicorn," he said. "No one believes you're real."

That was sweet, and really kind of discouraging.

I was late for a session this week. I texted my client to say I was delayed.  He wrote back: I just here lookin suspicious, thuggin' like everyone else. I laughed aloud because this one sentence completely captures the general vibe of my little office complex. 

When I arrived, he looked at me with solemn eyes and said, gravely, "I think I'm having paranoid delusions right now."

I think we got him landed. A bit of EMDR, some strong interpersonal support, and I made him play a drum for a bit. He felt better. PTSD or paranoid delusions, which is which? It's hard to tell. Paranoia can be tough stuff. I just kind of went in there and did my thing and it seemed to help.

A fairly typical day at the Unicorn Saloon.  Paranoid delusions. Being plagued by the dead. (The rattle worked.) Spirit visitations and dreams. Heroes and their delusions. Budding shamans. Little Buddhists in training. Somewhere in there, your mother, your father, your ancestors, and all your stuff around that.

And me, the unicorn, in charge of it all.

What Were You Thinking

My friend Kirk came over to see me last night. Gave comfort and laughter even though we didn't get to go dancing. I think he's going to do some photos of my ink before I have to have surgery.

I told him what happened this last weekend. He is a trauma nurse that works in one of the big hospitals here, so he is quite familiar with the weirdo/paranoid ex military paramedic type. He wrinkled his nose and looked at me with a mixture of pity and disdain.

He said, "Elaine. What were you thinking. A man in khaki slacks with a tucked in Tshirt. A dude. Ew." 

Kirk is such an artist. He has high standards. He is fearless about aesthetic.

"I know," I said regretfully. "But you know, there were some good things. And I'm still just getting used to all this after Crazy Ex. And he was sweet and made me laugh."

"Dudes, you're describing a dude," he said. "I hate them. So dumb. And infidelity is just so gross. Please don't ever consider another dude. In slacks. Again."

"I never went out in public with him," I said. 

He scowled. 
We laughed.
Yea, alright.

Pain. Ugh.

Today was a bad day for pain. I woke up and ugh. It is so hard to know within 45 minutes that your entire day is going to be shit due to abdominal pain.  

The last four days were really good. Really good. I felt totally normal yesterday. And then today. Ugh. Just discouraging, draining. I don't know if I am going to make it to the Ferris wheel after all this week. It's all about how any given day is going, and I can't predict or control it. I can't go dancing tonight because of this but Kirk is going to come over and spend some time with me instead so I still get to see my friend.

The Dark Angel is sure out when the pain is up. That's just what happens. But today I thought to myself, this torment is part of getting me ready for the surgery, I will be ready by then to have these things out of me and this helps me overcome the fear of the procedure.  I know I'm not mentally ready to have surgery right now, or financially either. I will be ready or more ready with both by April. I need this time.

My mother keeps calling and wanting me to call. I just can't seem to find it in me to return her call right now. I can't take care of the two of them about MY pain and MY discomfort and MY struggles. I can't carry that. I'm sure I will eventually call her but this week has been insane. It started with not much on the calendar and then it blew up like Vesuvius.  People are having their happy holiday PTSD from trying to deal with their families and having it blow up in their faces yet again.  So it's pretty intense. 

I remember this from last year, I remember how heavy it was. I'm less well this year than last so there are times when it's super hard, just physically. Emotionally I'm always there. The Tuning Project starts in 2.5 weeks and well, I'm not physically ready.  But I just have to do my best.  Just do my best every day. Sometimes it's not that great.  That's life.

Hanging on. Hanging in.

Light Angel, Dark Angel

I did the final piece today. Sent a small note to Mike S., Paramedic Guy. I won't contact him again. It said I can forgive and let bygones be bygones, and if you can as well, it would be nice to stay in touch. I don't expect anything; it's just the final piece of what I needed to do to complete this.

I thought a lot about what South Texas said about ordinary guy problems. He said, Whipdragon Girl, this is all ordinary stuff, stuff men struggle with every day.  This guy clearly isn't happy or he wouldn't be doing what he's doing or acting the way he's acting. He isn't solving his problems in a good way but I don't think he's trying to hurt you. You are just so non ordinary that you never deal with this stuff, but this is ordinary stuff.  Try to forgive and be kind and understand that a lot of people just can't roll through situations like you do.

One of the reasons I value South Texas as a friend is that he always pushes me to see things in the broadest light, to allow for the fact that people are just fucked up and as a result do fucked up things even when they don't want to. He pushes me to open my heart more, to understand more, to be more compassionate and tolerant and to forgive. 

I listen to him always, even when I'm mad as hell. And I listened to him this time too.  I sat with it a couple of days. And then I wrote a brief note. I mean what am I going to do, hate a guy forever just because he broke the cardinal rule of being a lover which is do not in any way make your problems into her problems. I know for sure one of the big reasons this pissed me off is that I am sick and in pain and do not need additional stress and this caused additional stress.

I have no attachment to outcome. Whatever happens happens. I said my piece and it's done.  The only person I've ever not extended that olive branch to is Crazy Ex and I doubt I ever will; other than that, though, I've made peace with almost all the men I've ever been with, except for the few who were so negative and toxic that there wasn't anything positive there to hook into for me.

I was thinking about angels too. Why, I wonder, does this word keep coming up in reference to me. I don't feel like an angel, unless it's a dark angel.  Maybe the light angel lives inside the dark angel. Both are healers but with different styles. The light angel touches and soothes and heals and uplifts.  The dark angel cuts your limbs off one by one until you get it. They work together. It's the way I am; it will always be that way; there's no way to change it. I know that both are driven by love even when it looks like destruction. This, I trust. 

The angel of light loves you completely. The angel of darkness destroys you completely. It is what it is. It is what I am. The sword, the branch, the chalice, the tree.

It's Always On At The Healing Saloon

Ya. I was thinking about that last night, today. I'm focusing my efforts--well, or allowing their efforts to focus on me--on professional men with some intensity about them.  It would be alright with me to go on some dates and enjoy myself and maybe have another lover, someone I can talk to and feel I could go out in public with. There are a couple more guys in the pipe.  Both of them are high earning professionals in power positions, just like the man last night. Both seem interesting.

I was thinking about how, when I re-entered the dating stream and met Paramedic Guy, one of the things I liked about him was that I thought he understood intensity because of his paramedic job.  Now, though, I see how intense my own job is, because once I show up at the office it's on. There are no breaks during sessions and I'm doing some of the hardest work a therapist can do in terms of what I help people with on a daily basis.  That can be anywhere from 6 to 10 hours of straight on time, time during which I need to be focused, to pay clear attention, to give big love and support and navigate that stormy, gigantic sea of trauma and grief.  So it makes sense that I would get along best with men who get what it means to be on, and to have to hold something.  They're more responsive, more attentive, more real, more mature.  And the Wolf actually wasn't that guy. He just wasn't a strong person in a lot of ways--the stuff on the inside didn't measure up.  My friend told me bluntly, "That guy just isn't good enough for you." Now I know what he meant by that. That was a good lesson for me.

I mean yea. Thinking back, I just haven't done well in relationships with men who are not edging into their careers like they can.  I get approached by a lot of those retired-veteran-Special-Ops types, it turns out, and the thing that always strikes me is how old they seem, how being 'retired' just seems to age a guy into an old-man lifestyle I don't find appealing. I'm gradually coming into the power period of my career now, and 50 is just too damn young to be done with it all. It always ends up being a source of resentment that I'm powerhousing it, doing well, being well loved and going for excellence rather than just what's easy. I get along better with men who are more intense, more focused, more driven toward excellence themselves. So I'm looking for that too this time.

I feel happy; I don't need anything in particular; just to enjoy myself, to have some fun, meet interesting guys, have good conversations, some good times. I have to say that the slightly younger ones, late 30s early 40s, are a lot of fun; they're smart, assertive, and generous. They are not like the cheap, broke down old men my age and older who just want to buy me a coffee and then bed me.  These guys want to take me out to nice places and talk about interesting stuff.  And they're damn good looking.

It's nice. It's really nice. I'm becoming more open. Always learning.