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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 30 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.
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Rehearsal Schedule, With Warnings

Well, I've never had a rehearsal schedule show up before with warnings embedded about the intensity of the process, but that's what I expected for this show and it arrived today.  I sighed and felt happy at the same time.  Basically my life is probably going to go away for 8 weeks starting the week of August 10 because that's when rehearsals start.  Doing 8 hours of butoh a week is probably going to reduce me to a fragile mess for the first three weeks, that is, before I turn into an unstoppable uber-shaman for the last five.  This is why I decided to go ahead and go on a few more dates before this starts--it's highly unlikely I will be able to do anything new after rehearsals begin.

I'm glad I did the OKC thing and I think I'm done with it for right now.  I met/am meeting a few interesting guys and hope I make a friend or two out of it.  Honestly, the most I ever expect out of anything online is to meet a few people, have a few dates, if I get lucky make a friend or two.  I say that, but today, I found myself wondering--what if I actually met someone out of this, someone who would actually want to develop something with me even though my schedule is going to fall into the depths of hell in a few weeks?  Would I be open to that?

You know what?  I probably would, actually.  I've been avoiding looking for anything serious because I don't feel it would be fair to someone interested in me that I can spend so little time on a relationship right now.  But what if he himself was in the same situation and wanted to date me more seriously, to build a connection however it could be done?  Would I do it?  I just might.  Because that would say to me that he might just be flexible and mature and have his own life too, and know how to balance things.  I've tried dating a workaholic before, and it was a huge bummer--he never had time to spend, was always tired and preoccupied when we did see each other, and everything had to revolve around his life--it wasn't equal or balanced.  I don't want to be that person to someone else.  I would try hard to be fair.

It came up for me as a question because the two guys I've not yet met are performers, and have their own things going on.  They get how a performer's life works.  I've heard from rocker guy every day so far, and this is someone who works a hard regular job, plus has his own studio setup, rehearsals, etc.  I honestly don't know where this guy gets the energy to do all the things he does and then find time to send me texts on top of it.  And they're not stupid "hi" texts, but real questions about my day, conversational stuff, interesting things.  I'm enjoying it--a lot.  I told him honestly that he kind of scares me a little bit because he looks extremely fierce and burly in his photos.  I just had to get it out there.  Not used to this Manly Man thing!  

A friend said to me, "What if he just wants a hookup?"  

I pulled up The Picture and turned it around to face her without comment.  She gulped.  Finally she said, "Uh, yea, okay."  
I think this meant, "Whatever happens, go with that."

Sometimes the texting before you meet is one of the best parts.  Right?  Nobody's been disappointed yet.  Everyone's having fun and learning new things.  He seems like a cool guy and full of surprises.  Life is so strange!

It's The Unusual Ones That Get Me

I'm still laughing at Jonathan's reaction today to the picture of the metal guy.  I mean the guy is a heavy metal frontman, so you can imagine that look, right?  But what I really remember about the conversation I had with the guy was the discussion we had about what it takes to keep looking good enough to wear a fishnet shirt on stage.  

I told him that I'd seen someone at Justine's who was wearing a fishnet shirt who definitely hadn't done the work needed.  It wasn't a pretty sight.  What's even worse is that he was a friend of mine.  Should you say something when this happens?  I don't know.  I kind of don't think so.  There are some things a woman should never say to a man no matter how glaringly obvious.  "Hon I don't think you should wear that fishnet shirt" is very likely one of them.  There's just no good way to say that to a man without the meaning being obvious.  Ya think?

What I was really thinking, though, is that conventional good looks don't faze me.  I often can't fall for a guy unless there is something really unusual or odd about him.  I think that if I were to ever disclose to people the full list of men I had the hots for, they would be very, very surprised at who was on that list, most of all the men themselves.  I am so good at hiding it.  I keep such a good p-p-p-poker face about my crushes.  No one knows.  

I like brains.  I like spirit.  I like a sense of humor and a certain amount of cocky arrogance, IF it's warranted.  I like a sweet earnest heart and a somewhat unfiltered mouth.  And I like the unusual ones.  The ones who have something different about them.  They are short, or thin, or have a crooked tooth, or a stutter, and so forth. 

What's even greater about this is the fact that a lot of my male friends are attractive men.  I kind of think that if I ever get married again someday, I'll know I picked the right man because he will relish watching me walk past all these attractive guys, up to him, and he will turn around and say to everyone, "I took her home, dawgs."

Maybe it's because being a dancer and artist, I've been around a lot of pretty people my whole life.  And as an artist who is on the dark side of unusual, that is what draws me.  Something a bit odd or off or unusual.  It gets me going.  Just the way I am.



This Ink Has Always Been Here

No woods tonight.  Karuna's other house sitter wants to stay through the night so I'm going out in the morning to stay tomorrow and Friday night, though I'll be coming into town on Friday for work and so forth.  It actually makes things easier for me, so I'm relieved.

I finally peeled everything back to take a good look at the new ink, which has now formed a healing layer over it.  It's funny--I can't even remember what it was like before this was here.  I looked in the mirror and my first thought was, This ink has always been here.  It feels like it's been a part of me forever.  There are two, maybe three more stages of this process--the final part of it came to me yesterday.  

Funny how the process of adding sometimes is one of taking away to show what is really there.  It's like passionate love and resignation, which is what the final piece of symbolism will be about.  I have been thinking about that, about how falling in love and resignation are the same, the giving in to something, the stopping of trying to control what's happening.  The last symbol appeared to me in a dream, as have the other parts of this design.  When I looked it up, I found this sentence:

I love what is rare and difficult to obtain.

Yes.

The Kill Bill Gesture

I went into my usual Mexican restaurant near the office to get tacos on my way into work.  I ordered at the counter, turned left, and a stately Mexican man sitting in the next booth said, "Please.  Why don't you sit and talk, beautiful lady?  While you are waiting."  He turned his palm over in that slow, regal gesture that only Hispanic men can make.

It was so, so Esteban Vihaio, just like this clip.  OMG.




"My name is Donato," he said, and started talking to me about machacado and his mom.  It was very sweet.  His order was called and he stood up and said, "Thank you for talking to me, beautiful lady, see you again soon."

It's very strange, but lately I've been getting hit on a lot by very manly men.  This has never happened before in my entire life.  It happened a few weeks ago in this same restaurant and I was so embarrassed I couldn't even make eye contact.  The other week, I was walking down the street to Allen's clinic, and there were two cops standing across 38th in front of Cherrywood Coffeehouse looking at me, two handsome men standing there in blue uniforms. 

I kept on walking--it was that really bad day and I was crying and tears were running down my face so I was feeling very, very exposed and unhappy--but even so, I finally thought it was rude of me not to say hello, so I said, "Hi there."

"Hi!" they said, smiling.

"What are you fellows doing, standing there?" I asked.

"We're looking at you, pretty lady," one of them said, and the other smiled.

I was so, so embarrassed.  All I could say was, "Oh...Have a good day."  I turned and went into the clinic.  It's really, really strange.  Why am I suddenly on the radar of the Manly Men?  I've never been noticed by men like this before.  Ever.  I always think I'm in trouble at first, for some reason.

Am I doing something wrong?  Am I doing something right?

What up with that?

What?

Just Let Me Keep This Phone, Okay?

I went to see my dear friend in the hospital today.  He was pale and stoned from the morphine and utterly bored.  I sat with my hand on his arm for as long as I could stay.  Didn't want to leave but had to go back to work.  But we had a good visit and they sent him home later on.

He said he wanted me to talk about my dating life to distract him from the pain he was in.  I smiled and said, "Well, it's not much of one.  I have a couple of coffee dates coming up, I guess."

"What's going on with that guy you liked?" he asked. ''

"Eh, he seems to have backed way off," I said.  "I guess he's not that interested, I'm not his thing, or he's seeing someone he likes better.  That's okay.  I asked if I'd done anything to upset him and he said no, so, I let it go.  That's all you can do you know?  I don't think I did anything that horrible.  I hope not, but even if I did, nothing I can do about it."

"It's hard for professional men," he said. "I know you don't know this, Elaine, but there are a lot of crazy women who lie in wait and scope out these guys.  I get approached all of the time by women because I don't have a wedding ring on, pretty much anytime I'm alone and someplace a woman could talk to me, like sitting at a table alone or waiting in line or whatever.  Men are guarded about this, and then if they actually like you, whatever their stuff is about it comes up, so you have two things going on already that aren't even about you."

"I did my best," I said simply.  "What else can a woman do?  I'm not for everyone.  It just is what it is."

"What are the coffee dates?" he asked.

"Couple of musicians," I smiled.  "Younger guys.  They seem interesting.  One of them fronts a heavy metal band.  Want to see the picture he sent?"

He did, of course.  And then he took my phone and clasped it to himself.  "Can I have this one if it doesn't work out?  I mean, I know I'm in a committed relationship and everything, but if this doesn't work, could you send him my way?"

"I don't think he goes that way," I said.  "It's just a coffee date for Chrissakes."  

"No really," he insisted.  "Can I just keep this phone?  Do you promise you'll try?"  

Okay.  Do I think the morphine drip had something to do with this?  Yea.  I do.  It was pretty hilarious.  I finally got my phone back.  It wasn't that easy.

The Woods Approaches; The Kali/Shiva

I pack up today to go to Karuna's for a few nights.  I took all of tomorrow off to allow myself the time and space to be out there, at her place, in the woods, in that beautiful sacred studio.  I need it right now.  I feel a bit fragile and tender with Jonathan in the hospital and the heaviness of some of the sessions this week.  Something I've realized is that I need to get into nature more often to recharge myself.  Not so easy in the Texas summer but it is what I need.

I took my OKC profile down again.  I don't know why but this round I was utterly besieged by messages.  I lasted all of 72 hours.  I made some changes to my settings and what I wrote which maybe made the difference.  I was specific about the fact that I shouldn't date anyone with children at home and that I can't date anyone who smokes because those are the big things.  I also was clear about the fact that I don't know how much time I have for someone but that what I want is someone strong and independent who can take his own space and give me mine while still working on building a genuine connection.  This feels right right now and truthful.

I chose three men to meet out of this rainstorm.  Two of them (yes two) are musicians with Native American ancestry, which is interesting to me that they showed up at the same time.  Both are in their late 30s and quite alternative.  I liked what was shared in both of those interchanges.  I got the impression that both of them are looking for relationships that have some depth to them.  I'm intrigued and also touched by how sweet they were to me.  One of them asked me what I was looking for, which struck me so much--men mostly spend time telling me what THEY are and aren't looking for, and never ask me what it is I want at all.  I really thought about it a lot and wrote him a response that went something like this:

I don't believe in answering questions like this with lists.  I've been through a lot the last few years and am starting to emerge.  Looking for people, fellow souls, who walk the path of the other way and understand me.  It makes sense that I would be in some kind of partnership at some point because I've always been a monogamous person who doesn't need a ton of attention from a ton of different men.  I'm not in a rush for this because I'm different, and it takes time and knowing someone.  I want to meet those who understand that healing and art is my life and path, that I'm not a mother, that I'm doing what I'm here to do, who are open to walking together.

He wrote back:  I completely get this.  This is magnificent.  You're beautiful inside and out.

The sweetness of these two younger men has been completely touching.  The other, the metal guy, when we set up coffee and I asked him when and where he wanted to meet, said, "I would drive anywhere anytime to meet you, Elaine.  You're amazing and I can't wait."  

This was just so...I don't know.  My heart melted.  These guys don't have that hard, opaque wall that I am used to encountering in older men and it's beautiful and it opens my own heart.  It makes me think of Kali and Shiva--how Shiva laid down on the ground while Kali was raging and when she put her foot on his chest, she looked down into his eyes, and everything just stopped.  Shiva understood that trying to control or manipulate Kali was not the answer, that it would do nothing to tame her.  He laid down.  He showed her his heart and everything changed.

I think I am done with the wall.  Yes.  Feeling into it right now I know that I am.  Show me your heart.  Let me know you by looking into your eyes.  If you are not going to do that, if you can't do that, I  have no business spending time with you.  It means you are scared, or too controlling which is the same thing, trying to make everything go your own way while giving nothing up.  It doesn't work like that.  I am scared too, but I fly into my fear.  I need the same courage, fearlessness coming back toward me, because that is the match for what I have.

I would also like to meet the aerobatic airplane guy but his schedule is more difficult.  He's older, 50, and really really a good guy, I can tell.  Full of interesting things about art and culture.  

It's about meeting people and seeing who they are and who I am in these situations too.  

Glad to be going to the woods tonight.

When A Healer's World Bends

My dear friend Jonathan is in the hospital.  Third day today.  He's in terrible pain and they can't figure out what's wrong.  But I talked to him a bit ago and he's doing OK.  No idea when he will get to go home.  Of course, he's bored as all hell.  And all doped up on pain meds so feeling kind of jolly which is better than being doubled over and unable to walk.  I'm going to visit him tomorrow.

What Jonathan doesn't know is that the clients we share are freaking out about the fact that he's in the hospital.  He truly doesn't know how much he means to the people he serves.  I know a fair number of healers, but he is one of my close ones, one of the ones in my immediate web.  When one of us falls, the web bends, and I feel the listing, and reach in to steady those who get scared.  It's like that when you are friends and colleagues, as he and I are and have been for years.

I was thinking today about how when people are vulnerable, like when they're in the hospital, it brings to the surface all the fragility they have, healed and unhealed.  I have two or three people I am treating for medically related trauma.  Every word, every touch, every cruelty or kindness, is remembered with the vividness of a film.  When the human animal is in a state of complete vulnerability, things that happen are recorded with an impact that strikes to the center of the person.  I sometimes think that medical professionals don't fully understand the impact their words, gestures, tone of voice, choices have on the nervous systems and memories of the people they work with.  Some do of course.  Others clearly don't.

The client I saw this morning was one of the ones I share with Jonathan.  It was one of the most intense EMDR sessions I have ever done with anyone.  The degree of pain, shame, helplessness and fear of her hospital experience was so raw and precious.  I just kept saying, I'm right here, I'm right here for you.  At one point she said through her tears, "I'm thinking of Jonathan and him being in the hospital and I'm so, so scared for him."  We passed through all of that too as part of it.  

I am working with another man.  The things that happened to his child-body were 65 years ago and when we touch them, he cries like a baby, tears running down his creased cheeks.  His body shakes and trembles as the old fear and helplessness are released.  It took a long time for him to get here.    

I hold these people in so much precious love as I think of them right now.

People in medicine:  Touch carefully.  Be gentle.  I know your job is hard.  But try.  Love them.  You don't know the power you have.

Things Aren't Ever What They Seem To Be

I'm going to tell Joanna the next time I see her (next week) that I'm so grateful to her for pushing me into doing this online dating thing.  I'm learning so much.

The big thing is that things aren't what they seem.  I know that, of course, as an artist, but this is even more of that on a different level.  And it's helping me see how screwed up our criteria for selection can be, as women.  We are taught to look for the college degree, the house, the income, all these other things.

But so far the most interesting men have been those with different paths.  The heavy metal frontman has been the clearest person about what he wants out of a relationship of anyone, and he's the guy you'd think, "No way."  I liked that about talking to him.  The guy who sent me the stuff on Paul's Boutique turns out to be someone who works in film, plays sax and flies aerobatic airplanes, and he doesn't have a college degree.  He's a super smart, sweet, thoughtful guy.  And all these "regular guys" with all the "regular stuff" just seem to be brimming over with all kinds of barely-hidden resentment toward women and expecting, at the same time, that their degrees and incomes entitle them to having whatever they want from whoever they want.  

It's very weird.  I'm starting to wonder if men who have the pick of a lot of women are kinder to women, and more discerning, because they don't hate us or feel taken advantage of.  The coolest men I've met from OKC are the ones who have a lot of choices in terms of female companionship and are discerning.  They don't want just anyone, because they can have just about anyone.  It's really interesting.  I don't know what is going on with these other guys.  I feel like I want to say to them, "It is not my fault that you are not cool.  It is not my fault that you made mistakes and chose the wrong person in your previous relationships or had kids with the wrong person.  Go work on yourself and get over it.  I did."

I'm learning, too, that sex is only the front end of these conversations.  The cool men want me to know that they are sexual, and that they want sexuality in a woman.  This is OK with me.  They throw it out there and I say something about it and then they relax and really start talking to me.  Isn't that interesting?  I said to the frontman at one point, "Could you be ANY more overtly sexual right this minute?  I think you're maxing it out."  And you know what happened?  He apologized, stated that he's into being honest, and then we started talking about other things.  I have found that this happens more often than not.

I mean I get it.  Men want sex.  It's important.  You know what?  I'm a sexual person too.  I want that too.  I couldn't consider being in a relationship with someone who wasn't sexual.  It is all OK.  I'm glad they get it out there.  And what I'm learning is that there is more, a lot more, under that.  It is not all of what they want.  Not by a long shot.  They want way more than that.  They want companionship, intelligence, wit, loyalty, drama-free femaleness, someone to love and care for and protect.  This is cool.  They are just making sure that I know it's important to them.  And I let them know I'm getting the message and then everyone relaxes.  

And I'm learning about me.  I'm learning that I am pretty sensitive to getting my feelings hurt by snarky rudeness.  I don't like that and it makes me feel bad.  I also think it's a sign of someone who could become emotionally abusive, as I learned in my last relationship.  If a guy gets snarky with me, I'm backing away, and probably disappearing shortly thereafter.  I don't care to try to work anything out with a guy who gets rude like that.  It is unsexy and off-putting and rude and makes me feel unsafe.

I'm a really sane, honest, thoughtful person.  I try hard to be sweet and I'm always open to honest feedback and learning.  I don't deserve snark.  If he's that way and I don't know him, that's not going to get better with more closeness.  I learned my lesson on that one.

It's just amazing to see how all this works.  It actually makes me feel good about people.

I'm Kinda Freaking Out Right Now

It's something my old ex, K, used to say.  He would look at me with serious eyes.  Grab his beard and pull it and say to me, "Elaine, I'm kinda freaking out right now."

I think about that with fondness.  I always respected how totally emotionally honest he was all of the time.  He never tried to hide anything because he was secure in who he was.  He was a guitar hero in the country world.  He managed his life and bought a house playing music, which very very few people do.  He was open hearted and always learning.  And if he was freaking out, he would say to me, "Elaine, I'm kinda freaking out right now."  

I had dinner tonight with my new friend Charlie, who I met at Marty Brickley's tea party.  I really like talking to Charlie.  Charlie also played music professionally and built airplanes in his day and was quite successful with both as I understand.  We have good conversations.  I told him about entering the sea of OK Cupid and how I realize I am not in the same place as most people my age.  And he said something very striking.  He said, "Elaine, there are far, far fewer people who can do what you are doing as an artist than there are people who can make money and buy things.  I hope you can appreciate that."  It touched me.  A lot.

I ended up getting into a long, long conversation today with the rocker.  He fronts a heavy metal band--for real.  Has been married before, wants a relationship, doesn't want to date anyone from bars or shows or groupies.  I get that, having been in a relationship with someone who was very successful in music before.  He said, "I want someone who doesn't spend time in or really know about that world." It was really cool talking about a lot of other things--cooking, spirituality, reading, culture.  It was REALLY cool talking to someone else who is a performer and person of color and totally gets all the crap that people project onto that, how your being on stage seems to create a canvas for the insecurities of others.  He was kind of awesome, actually, and I think we're going to have coffee.

I had a session with Michelle the other day and I told her about the need to have support for re-entering the dating world and how I can't navigate the "have a man treat you like a princess" thing.  She looked at me thoughtfully for a long moment.  Finally she said, "Princess?  You're no princess.  You're a sorceress/empress.  You skipped the entire princess stage.  You didn't need it."

I guess a sorceress should go have a coffee with a heavy metal frontman.  It just sounds too good NOT to do.