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've been in the performing arts for 28 years; I dance with my friends Julie Nathanielsz and Heloise Gold.  Recently joined the Midnight Lotus dance collective with my lovely friend and teacher Amae Amani.

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.

Sweet Technology; Different Worlds

Y'all.  The new Ipad Air showed up yesterday--I guess they gave me the fancy shipping because I got the best version plus an Otterbox case.  I spent time last night trying to understand it and set it up.  I don't know that I got so far with the understanding part, but the setup was easy.  This thing has the sweetest screen I've ever easy on the eyes, and so much lighter than the old Macbook.  

If anything, I'm now realizing what a true dinosaur my old Macbook is.  I'm going to make an appointment at the Apple store to see if it can be upgraded or somehow improved, or if I need to start saving for a new Macbook or what.  I don't need a lot from my old computer, but it's slow as all getout and I often give up on doing certain things because of that.  Time to figure that out.  In the meantime, the Ipad will let me do the streamlined things I need to do, and I can take amazing pictures with it too, negating the need for carrying a camera around.  Having the images on the big screen is just the best, and I love not having to guess what it will really look like.  It looks like what you get.  Perfect.

The Verizon people were mystified about why I have an Android phone and an Apple computer and now an Ipad.  I explained to them that these are different worlds and I use both.  It made me think about how that's true in a lot of my life.  I don't live close to my office, and people ask me about that a lot--why don't you move closer?  Again, it's different worlds.  Sometimes I think about how nice it would be to live in the same neighborhood I work in, but there is a value in the time I take every day to go from one to the other--time to listen to music, think about the clients I have that day, see the world's differences.  I sort of think that living too close to work would make me feel like my world was very small, too small.  

It makes me think about my last relationship too.  I thought we shared a lot more than maybe we really did.  It seems to me now that I don't know who he really was and never will.  I thought I did, but seeing him so out of control so often over the last year I knew him makes me think that he had a lot of really deep problems that I never got a full picture of.  I think of his mother and how much she seemed to want things to work between us, and think to myself that she knew a lot about his history and his problems that she wasn't telling me and that this may have been part of the reason.  She pretty much said, on that fatal trip, that his life since he'd met me had been the best she'd ever seen it, and looking back, I think she was hoping I could fix whatever was going on with him.  

But, you know, I couldn't.  I'd done a lot of work on my core issues way before I met him.  I was living a lot like my ex when I started psychoanalysis in my early 30s; through almost 10 years of hard therapeutic work with the same person, I gradually became someone else, and the personal and professional success I'm starting to experience is still growing out of that commitment to that work.  Despite his claims to having done years of therapy, it's obvious that my ex has never addressed the broken stuff at the center of himself that has caused him to fail in life and relationships over and over again, and that he's probably never going to do so because it's too scary and would break down his denial.  I've seen what he does--he jumps from therapist to therapist, chooses people who aren't experienced for the cheapest price he can get, and never stays long enough to get to the bottom of anything.  

He'll just keep blaming others, fabricating stories about how external circumstances are to blame for his failures, and running from things; that's what he's done his whole life.  And that's his choice; he can use his free will as badly as he likes, just as every other human being can.

I will say that one of the unexpected good things that came out of all this was a re-evaluation of my mother.  After the ex, I no longer believe that my mother has that much control over her negative behaviors and dysfunctional emotional states.  She has a lot less education and many fewer tools than my ex did--she's not intellectually sophisticated, she's not educated, she doesn't know about mental health, she's a refugee etc.--and seeing him lose it, over and over, even WITH those tools in his toolbox made me realize what an incredible disadvantage my mother is operating under, and has been her whole life.  My ex could have chosen to address his issues; he has the resources and the knowledge to do so.  He chooses not to.  But I don't think my mother can do the same.  She doesn't have most of the basic equipment you need to make those choices or efforts.  It's really been eye opening.

So I decided I'm going to send her a Mother's Day card.  I don't want any extended contact with her right now, but I can send a card now and then and think of her with compassion.  For now, that's enough.

Good stuff.

Commitments To Myself

For our last dating class this week, we asked the women to write out their commitments to themselves in their dating future--things they won't do and things they will do.  

I came up with this a couple of months ago because I think the most important commitment you can make in looking for or being in relationships is to your own integrity and true self.  If you don't do that you're starting out with a deficit and a lot of confusion.  I told our students that I feel the commitment list has to be some combination of wisdom learned, humor, and the work we are doing on ourselves so that we can be good partners if we meet that right person.  

Here's mine:

The "Will Not" side:

I will not date anyone with strong narcissistic tendencies.  I don't know what it is about guys like this but they find me in a crowded room.  Particularly if they have a history of alcoholism as well.  No idea why this is, but my commitment is to not engage this weirdness anymore, not for the sake of being nice, not for the sake of anything--it's a waste of my time.  I don't want a pathologically self centered friend, boyfriend or partner.

I will not date anyone with empathy problems.  It's the little things that tell you.  You are not feeling well that day and they don't say anything kind.  They don't offer help when you are trying to carry too many things in your arms.  They don't reflect anything about your feelings back to you because they can't, although they can talk about their own feelings at great length.  Nope.  This is an issue I have not paid enough attention to in the past.  I'm paying attention now.

I will not accept any kind of abusive or controlling behavior.  Obvious.

The "Will" side:

I will work on my own physical and emotional health.
I will reconnect with my spirituality more deeply.
I will speak my mind about anything that bothers me.
I will look for people to spend time around who are sweet, kind, patient, engaging, honest, and real.

This is the original short version of my list, which I sort of like because it makes it workable.  I'm rather in favor of shorter, more do-able goals, which I guess comes from being a Feldenkrais teacher--change a little at a time, with lots of rests in between.  

To Take The Leap...

Into an Ipad Air.  Yup.  I decided to do it after thinking hard about it.  I currently can't answer emails at my office due to a lack of Wifi, so they all have to wait until I get home because typing on the phone keyboard is just too aggravating and takes too much time.  The Ipad I'm getting is set up to use the same data plan my phone runs on, which I pay for and don't use enough (I was informed that on average I use .7 of my data allowance, which is kinda ridiculous).  It will give me the ability to Skype with clients who are remote or traveling or if I'm traveling, a lot better than the crummy little camera in my old Macbook that I never take anywhere because it's so heavy and not equipped for wireless.  And let me make movies of seashore dance practices.  All things considered, it's probably going to considerably improve my productivity and make my life I ordered one.  Yea!

I'm also thinking about taking another leap into possibly writing something for self-publication.  Both Heloise and Megan think I should write a book, Hel in particular.  I'm not sure what I would write...little essays?  Short stories?  Tales from my own life, i.e. "My Last Relationship, Or, The Battle Of Stalingrad Redux," or what.  I'm not sure why anyone would buy a book I wrote when they can just visit this blog for free.  But I have to admit that the idea has taken hold of me more deeply than I even care to admit.  I like the idea of some combination of writing and artwork.  It could be very quirky and weird, and then I'd be able to say "I wrote a book!" like all of the other insecure people in the world who need to say they have written a book.  Haha!  I mean, I don't need to write a book to say what I have to say, but I'm starting to feel like I want to.  I kind of think it would end up being darkly humorous and weird.  I would make only so many copies and sell them for affordable prices, like those Zendik Farm kids I used to see hawking their homemade books on the drag. It could be really fun.

In related news, I recently learned that you should never ever use two spaces after a period at the end of a sentence anymore.  Negating everything I ever learned in school about this supposed golden rule.  I don't know if I can change.  I kind of like that little breath between the end of something and the beginning of something else.  Running it all together feels like sitting down and eating seven courses back to back with no amuse-bouche, aperitif or pauses.  I don't think I like it...

Really Out Of Looney Land; Healthier Habits

For whatever reason, last night I was remembering some of the crazymaking stuff that happened in my last relationship, and shaking my head as I remembered it.  Particularly, I was thinking of a scenario that happened a lot toward the end:  

I would try to set up a time and day to talk to the ex about things--couples counseling, what was happening between us, where things were, all the stuff you need to talk about when a relationship is in serious deep trouble.  He would inform me that he was busy and "didn't know when he would be able to talk."  

I would then say, "All right, fine.  Be well and let me know if you do want to talk sometime."  At that point I was focused on not engaging unnecessary conflict for the sake of preserving my time and energy.  And he would then go ballistic.  Calling me and ranting me out about how I clearly didn't want the relationship to work, how distant and uncaring I was, and how he had time to talk on this day or this day and he never said he couldn't talk to me.  And I would listen to this, thinking to myself, "Actually, yea dude, you did just say you couldn't talk and didn't know when...About 15 minutes ago."

This kind of stuff happened ALL THE TIME with that guy.  Man.  That was nuts.  I'm a human being and I make mistakes, but I'm not so far gone that I don't remember what another human being said to me 15 minutes ago.  For God's sake I'm a therapist.  I remember things people told me two years ago.  Not verbatim, but the gist, and I'm pretty good at it--my clients have often commented on how well I remember things that happened a long time ago.  That was another thing:  if I didn't remember something he said exactly the way he said it, word for word, he would get really agitated and condescending and tell me that I "misunderstood" and try to force me to both admit I was wrong about my memory and to repeat after him what he claimed he said, word for word, which was often substantially different than his original statement.  When I would refuse to do this--as you imagine, there was no way I was gonna play that--he would rant at me.  Everything, every little thing, had the potential to create some kind of nuclear sized drama.

Man y'all.  That was crazy, and dumb.  And my ex was someone who worked in mental health, too.  I was starting to think about whether I needed to record our conversations to bring into couples therapy, or what.  He had actually apparently done that before--recorded our conversations--he threatened to post them publicly somewhere to prove I was mentally ill.  I told him to go ahead, but he never did it.  My guess is, he listened to these recordings that he supposedly made and realized that he sounded way more nuts than me, but it's also possible that he never actually recorded anything at all and was just trying to intimidate me in that way, who knows.  That's dumb, too--I'm a performer and not afraid of anything another person might say about me.  I've had people try to ruin my reputation before, and every single time, time made everything come out in the wash--on my side.

Anyway, the moment I realized I was thinking about recording anything was the moment I said to myself, "No way, this is ridiculous--this isn't worth it."  If you have so little voice in a relationship that the only way you can substantiate your side of things is with an actual voice recording, you're not in a relationship--you're in a dictatorship, an emotional police state where everything you say and do is under watch and under fire.  That is how it felt being with him, and I guess that's why I don't miss anything.  It feels a lot more like escaping from North Korea than a breakup, being gone from Looney Land.  

It's good on this side of the barbed wire fence.  I spend time with my friends and do things I love and no one guilt trips or yells at me about it.  It's very peaceful and nice.

So.  The focus now is rebuilding healthier habits, since apparently (unsurprisingly) I was way more depressed in that relationship than I thought and had allowed some things to lapse more than is good--exercise, eating well, overall taking care of myself.  I'm now feeding those things back in and supporting the healthy emotional habits that I'm working on too:  time with friends, only spending time with people who love me, not being alone too much, satisfying work, art making.  It's all part of what I need and always needed.  Even while I was living in Looney Land.  There isn't much fun to be had in Looney Land, as it turns out. 

Conversations About Cheating, And Such

Part of dinner conversation with the Count.  He likes to pose theoretical "what if" questions to me, which is always interesting.  This time it was, "What would you do if a guy who was committed to you went on a date with someone else and then told you about it, admitted that it was wrong, said nothing happened and that he knew it would hurt your feelings?"

"That's easy," I said calmly.  "We'd be breaking up."

He seemed astounded.  "Really?  But what if he was committed otherwise, nothing happened, and he told you?"

"Darlin', someone already in a relationship with me who has just gone on a date--his words--with someone else is not committed, and what 'happened' is that he went out with someone else behind my back," I said drily.  "Do you see the irony in what you just said?  I know that you, yourself, have a lot more tolerance for ambiguous situations than I do.  But I think you have your own reasons for putting up with that stuff, maybe because you also have ambiguity, I don't know."

"Don't you think it's kind of extreme to end a relationship over one mistake?" he asked.

"Fair question," I replied.  "But I don't think it's extreme to end a relationship over lying, which is what you're talking about.  Lying is corrosive to the trust that relationships are built on.  It's just about the most serious issue in a relationship that you can have.  

"What your scenario would really tell me is that the guy I was with had no idea who he was with.  Look, I'm a strong person, as you know.  But I am able to take in and listen to feedback from my partner and talk about things.  If a guy I was seeing did something like that, what it would mean to me was that he was either a coward or had seriously misjudged my ability to have a conversation about issues in our relationship that he wasn't happy about.  There is no reason for a grown man to act out like a teenager would instead of just opening his mouth and talking to me about things.  It's so passive aggressive."

It was an interesting discussion.  I told him, "A lot of people want someone to be with who is more healthy than what they've had in the past.  But they don't want to do the work on themselves so they're healthy too.  Then they meet that healthier person, and they're the dysfunctional one, and the healthier person walks away...If you aren't working to be deserving of someone healthier and more mature, in general, you can't expect someone healthier to enjoy being treated like they're the same as your previous partners.  I just think the scenario you described is the behavior of someone who is very immature and can't or won't communicate.  I'm also sensitive to this issue because my ex continually accused me of somehow being unfaithful or having relationships with other men, and I've never cheated on anyone in my entire life."

"Well, maybe he was projecting all of that, doing it himself," he remarked.  "I don't think lying is good.  I do think people do it to avoid drama."

"I think people do it because they're weak and trying to put one over on another person," I said.  "I'm just not like that.  I would never want to be with someone like that either.  It's really not that hard to be someone with integrity, despite how much people whine about it."

Haha!  How's that for a bit of soapboxing on a Saturday night?

Seashore Dances And Good Men

I told Hel this morning that I'm going to work on our dance while I'm down in South Texas in just a few more weeks (yeahhh!).  I'm extremely envious of her Ipad Air for movie making, but I have a little video camera I can take if I want to record anything.  It's good to work on dances at the beach; I've done it before, and it should be quiet down there at that time.  The water might be a bit chilly still so it could even be preferable to doing typical beach stuff.  Mostly I want to go for long walks, think about things, paint pictures, eat, hang out with no schedule and no plan.  

Hel said, "I like your friend, the Count.  He seems like a great guy."

"He is," I agreed.  "He's living that confirmed bachelor life, which is cool, he's happy that way.  You can't ever go wrong by having good friends.  He's a pretty awesome person.  If he ever decided he wanted to go down the road of commitment and partnership, I'm sure he'd be a great husband.  He's just not in that place in his life.  Ya know, it's not only about meeting people, it's about meeting the right person at the right time, isn't it?"

"Yeah, that's the art of it," she remarked.  "I'm so glad to hear from you that you've got so much clarity about what you're about and what you want.  It makes you a good person to give men life lessons about how all this works with a real woman and a real partner."

I laughed out loud.  Am I giving lessons?  I said, "You know what's nice?  I'm really good at picking good men.  If you put me in a room with 50 men I will pick out the good ones in less than 30 minutes.  I know a good heart when I see it.  I guess that's why generally I don't have the same complaints about men that a lot of other women do.  A man can be a good man and just not in a place in his life where he's ready for a partnership.  I always think women should know men like this as friends."

Hel said firmly, "I think that when you meet a man who is obviously a good guy and he's in some kind of ambivalent place, that something happened in his past that caused that.  And it's something he has to look at and work out on his own apart from you in order to become someone who's really ready for a good relationship.  That's my opinion."

I like Hel's opinions.  Clearly, they brought her the love she wanted, since her husband is one of the coolest men and best partners I know.  I figure it's not my place to tell anyone anything about their ambivalence.  It's really only my place to stay in touch with who I am and what I want.  And to go to the ocean and dance. 

Ketchup Throwing...The Theater, And Love

Okay.  So I took the Count to see Wunderbaum not knowing that it would turn out to be a full on extravaganza of food throwing, partial nudity, extreme situations, and so forth.  It occurred to me as all this was going on that I'd never even asked him if he particularly liked theater in general.  These are the moments where you are very glad that someone is already your friend.  At the end of it all, I turned to him--after inwardly debating how I could possibly feel this out--and asked, "Was that too much?"  

He said, "That was the best show ever."  

Phew. K.

I am having a fabulous time at Fusebox--even made it to a late night event thus far.  It's good to see friends and practice being engaging (I have not made it to flirtatious yet but at least I'm talking to people and being available to be talked to, which maybe counts for enough).  And been having vigorous discussions with others about relationships and love and all of that.  For whatever reason, the theater opens all of that up for me, maybe because it's a world where all kinds of relationships get fashioned and played out in the course of an hour or two. 

I was talking with the Count tonight about teaching the dating class (one more week--I'm gonna miss these ladies) and how I think of love as not something we 'get' but as something we do.  I see love as generative; an outward moving force that wakes up happiness in others.  He said something really poignant:  "That's what's hard about breaking up, I think.  It's not the love you are not getting; it's the love you are not getting to give that you miss."  I was struck--as I often am--by the depth and thoughtfulness of his words.  

It made me think of a text exchange I had with my dear old South Texas friend last week.  He wrote:  I've been thinking about your situation.  I get what the hurt is.  You never wanted to be in love with a vindictive person.

You're right, I replied.

Loyal is real but it isn't all to that mess, he wrote back. Folks like you and me don't get it.  I had to learn about boundaries.  Crazy people don't care.  They can't leave their hell.

Somehow this exchange was very comforting to me.  Because my dear friend gets it.  I helped him through something similar once, actually.  And, most of all, I know my friend is someone who knows how to love; he's got one of the biggest hearts of anyone I've ever known.  He is very in the present with others, open to who they are, on top of his own projections.  When someone like that speaks to me, I listen.  I know I'm getting it from a good source.

Theater and reflecting on love--they go together.

Just Say No To Negative Nelly

When I saw Hel this morning, she said, "I heard late last night about your flirtation-fest...who did you meet, who did you like?"

I named a few folks.  Some she knew and others she said she could "find out about" (how awesome to have friends who can spy that stuff out, eh?).  And one person she said, "NO, don't you even think about it, he's an alcoholic, that guy..." She shook her head.

"I don't really count that guy in the experiment," I clarified.  "I'm not surprised.  I immediately got that whole Negative Nelly vibe from him.  He was interesting to talk to but he wasn't on the short list of guys I could see myself getting to know more."

"Well, he's nice enough, he's just..." She shrugged.

"No, I wouldn't call him nice," I said thoughtfully.  "He was not nice.  He was just interesting.  That's all.  That's not enough.  I'm not surprised he has a substance abuse problem."

This conversation kind of tickled me.  Also made me realize how interesting really isn't enough.  Me no like that Negative Nelly, fussy vibe.  I really don't have any interest in getting to know someone who is full of criticism and disparaging remarks about what's going on around them.  I notice how people like this often are not engaged in making any art themselves and have therefore made themselves immune to other people looking at their process and making their own comments or snide remarks about it.  I kind of think that anyone commenting snidely on the art of others who is not making work themselves isn't really in much of a position to unload their vomit on others.  If you're in the ring, you get to play.  If you're not--sit in your seat, eat your popcorn and leave those of us who are actually trying things out to our devices.  

And that fussy thing--whew.  I can't do fussy people, people for whom nothing is ever really good enough.  I have this theory that people who are difficult in this way have higher than average narcissistic tendencies in their personalities, or they're depressed, or both.  (I guess you get depressed when you're narcissistic because the world somehow doesn't ever seem to agree with your self assessment of what you're entitled to, eh?).  I envision myself only getting to know people who are essentially positive and looking for the good in the world around them.  I have no idea why that fussy thing is so prevalent in people my age...but who cares?  Focus on that which I like and am drawn to, and let the rest be the rest.

And well, finding out more about that adorable playwright would be cool too...

The Good Looking Men Of Fusebox

It has been some kind of 10 days of good looking men.  Who knew there would be so many of them at the Fusebox opener tonight.  It's always the gentle, shy sweet ones that get my attention, especially in a crowd full of theatrical folk, and there were some of those around, so delightful.  I am most certainly not ready to be fully "out there" just yet, but I was very much enjoying meeting and re-meeting and talking to so many attractive and engaging people, both male and female.  

I love this festival because I see so many people I know and haven't run into in a while, and meet so many new people.  Fusebox events are events where people hang around and talk and share what they are doing.  People aren't just standing around getting drunk or staying bound up in cliques.  There is time and space to have real conversation and get to know people. 

Julie was getting some manly interest too.  I said to her afterward, "So nice to be out here and remember that the world is full of people for us to meet."  We both had a great time and went over to East Side Kings afterward for some amazing food.  

We decided that in addition to being our favorite Austin festival, this year should include an experimental mini-flirtation-fest for the two of us.  Just to see how that feels, you know.  It's off to a pretty swimming start.