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.

Red Sheets And Sadness

I finally called my mother back. Boy that was a tough conversation.

She is so worried about my upcoming surgery that she went out and bought me a matching set of red sheets and red slippers for it. OMG. My crazy mother. That made me laugh. I mean that's the thing about my mother: part of her crazy is funny as hell, though unintentionally. The way she chooses to cope with her anxiety usually comes out in a pretty funny way.

Then it got tough. My brother apparently just got his heart broken by a 33 year old woman he wanted to marry. My brother always dates much younger women, and he tends to treat them like shit. He's arrogant, narcissistic, bossy. I can't stand watching it. It's one of the reasons I don't try to talk to him any more. He has a big ego and thinks he deserves women in their early 30s even though he is 44 years old.

I told my mother, "My brother's immature. He refuses to date anyone his own age. Women that age don't want a guy in his 40s. They can find someone their own age easily without all of the problems and baggage of a guy having a midlife crisis. He's got a lot to learn."

And surprisingly, for the first time ever, my mother agreed. She said, "I see how he get older he getting worse, not treating women nice. I don't understand how it happen like that."

I do, but I kept my opinion to myself. My brother is a Mama's Boy who expects women to treat him like my mother did: a little tin god. He's a jerk. It's too bad really.

Then it got even tougher. She started in about my dad. I confronted her. I said, "I'm tired of not having a mother because you focus so much energy on this topic. You are 80 years old. I am 46 years old. I have never had a mother because you insist on spending so much time hating my father. If you and I are going to work this out, you're going to need to do something really different. Because this is why I don't call and why I don't visit."

She started crying. It was rough. Real rough. But I may have gotten through. A little. Man. More on this later, but, shit, this was not easy--and at the same time, there may have been just a tiny tiny little glimmer of understanding, for just a minute.

I know better than to hope--but the truth is, both of my parents need their asses kicked, and I'm finally old enough and wise enough to do it if I decide I want to. I mean what do I have to lose? I don't have parents in the emotional sense. Never have. Any gain no matter how small would be a gain.

Phew!  Looking forward to rehearsal!

Perfect Dance, Birth And Death, Cinnamon Bun

Last night I had the privilege of seeing Junko Coelho dance. She is Abel's wife and a supremely accomplished butoh dancer. Man. That 35 minutes was pure magic. I felt like I had just eaten the best 10 course meal of my life afterward. Perfect, beautiful dance. Pure art.

Then I came home and goofed off. Really. Not a great choice but somehow needed. Today I got up and went to the office early to work with one of my beautiful clients. She almost died during a previous childbirth and is near having another child, so doing EMDR on the previous trauma has become an absolute necessity. It was a pretty intense session and I was so, so glad to be there for her, holding that space, that container. I was looking at her, so beautiful, so pregnant, feeling how sacred it was to be there for her and for that baby--clearing the way for the next little one to come through.

Yea. So, after that, I went by my favorite little secret deli in Austin to get containers of quick and easy food, pasta salad, beet salad, this kind of thing. I love this little place and they make deli stuff like your Mom would make it if your mom was an old school Southerner with a gourmet twist to her culinary style. I also picked up a freshly made cinnamon bun.

I thought about the age old dilemma, do you eat the outside first or just go ruthlessly for the best part, the middle? As a kid I always did the first. These days I do the second. Life is short, right?

The next week looks like the biggest stack of stuff you have ever seen. The year has officially begun. It's gonna be intense. A bit of goofing off, birth and death, a cinnamon bun--all preparations for the dive inward, the deep one that sustains and brings others with it in the healing river.

And, almost time to dance with Heloise and Nat today.

You Have The Perspective Of The Crumb

I taught a pretty good Feldy class today. Not super great. Pretty good. I get rusty as a teacher when I don't teach for this long (about 2.5 months--too long, but unavoidable due to repairs to the office building over the holiday season). Back in the saddle. SO GOOD to see my students. SO GOOD to teach, to feel into that room, to warm it all up again.

My body is finally recovered from the show. I knew Sunday night that I needed a full week off doing NOTHING. That floor was concrete under the wood slats and wow did my joints and ligaments feel it. Now, though, I'm good. I can start moving again tomorrow.

Such a good visit with East Texas Ex. Funny stuff as always with him. He explained the meaning of "The Lord Will Provide" using a visual graphic that involved a bread crumb, an empty soup cup and his reading glasses. It was actually quite enlightening as I am not Christian and have never understood the Christian thing about "It's God's Will" and "The Lord Will Provide." 

I understand it now, amazingly, and I have him to thank for it. He works with kids, so he is an expert at explaining Big Concepts to Little People, which was apparently just what was needed in my case. The big takeaway was, "Elaine, in this model, you only have the perspective of the crumb." I believe that he was acting as God during the 3D demonstration, which makes sense because he's a good looking, smart Leo man. 

I have the perspective of the crumb. I won't forget.

He wanted to know about my life, and I vented a little bit about how hard it had been to try to date, hard in terms of disappointment more than anything. I told him I went on a handful of dates with a guy I enjoyed but who seemed to be more and more revealing himself as a functional alcoholic, so common in this town. How the story kept evolving, from "I occasionally drink with my clients" to "I sometimes drink excessively" to "I don't keep alcohol in the house because I'll drink it." 

He said, "Yea, a lot of people in MY age range do that. Go out three or four nights a week and spend time in bars. I don't get it at all. Seems like a waste of time, and super boring. Sure sounds like an ad hoc solution to an alcohol problem, that one."

"Well yea," I said. "If I put the amount of time into anything people put into sitting in bars, my music, dance, writing, my teaching, I'd up my game 50% in a year. I try not to judge but I honestly don't understand it.  AT all. Just not my lifestyle. Don't get it."

"People just consume in this culture, Elaine," he said. "Most people are pretty passive about most things. Creativity isn't common at all."

True, that.

I had a good time. I left reflecting on how it's my MALE friends who encourage me to keep on trying to meet a good guy. I put up another ad just looking for a person or two to do things with. I probably would have gone to that punk show last night if I'd had someone to hold me to it. I didn't so I copped out and went home.  Unsurprisingly, I got lots of hate mail for using a four syllable word in my ad ("generative"--who do I think I am being all smart, and shit?). 

I sincerely love hate mail. It always reminds me of the "Mr. Show Cracker Barrel." I delete most of it, but sometimes I write an epic, stunning response just for the hell of it. I'd like to have a new person to talk to over a matcha, or to go to a play with or something. Couple new friends would be nice. The usual 1% return rate, but far fewer to sift through, so we'll see.

But do you know who wrote to me? Paramedic Guy. Yea. Oh, wow. I laughed. I mean I really laughed hilariously. I thought I would be mad, but instead I just spontaneously laughed and laughed. It was very healing. I was like, wow, how can this guy be that dense? But there you have it. He IS dense, and keeps doing the same dumb shit over and over. Even so, though, I don't think I was laughing at him, as much as at the whole situation.

And then there was the photo he sent with his response, which showed him perched uneasily in a tree, like an elf. To give him credit, he looked uneasy about it in the picture. But still. He used it. I'm sure the girlfriend took it. It was so twee.

I wrote him some pretty funny stuff back since he clearly did not realize it was me who wrote the ad. Funny to me, which is all that matters really. I don't think I was too mean. 

Strangely enough, after laughing myself silly, what was left was a sense of feeling deeply sorry for him. I don't know why. Oh well.

With any luck, I'll have a couple new tea buddies in a bit. 

Coffee And Problems

Man. Today was a crush. The phone has been lighting up all week. Next week looks like a tornado hit it already. I'm not complaining. Tax time is coming. I already paid my last quarterly but I imagine I will owe more for the year. And then there's the new insurance costs and saving for surgery. I'll be in East Texas for three days shortly, chasing raptors through deep rainforest, so it's alright for things to lay on thick and heavy right now.  I'll do the work. It's alright.

East Texas pending made me think of East Texas Ex, who I haven't seen since he came to the play, so I shot him a text. We're getting together tomorrow to, as he put it, "drink coffee and talk about our problems." He's a good guy. He was very concerned about the surgery and wants to ask lots of questions. It'll be good to see him. I always wonder if we would have dated longer if we'd met at a different time, when he wasn't so shell shocked from his recent divorce. I'm glad we've stayed friends, it matters. After all, he's responsible for the Champagne Bowl Incident.

Which was this: While we were dating, he was talking about how back home they used "champagne bowls" for parties. I told him that he was shitting me, that there is no such thing as a champagne bowl. He became very indignant and said, "There is too such a thing." I was like, yea right. So that night, I went home and Googled it.

It turned out that there is such a thing, and it looks like a punch bowl with handles on it. So the next time I saw him, I apologized. I said, "I owe you one. I thought you were pulling my leg because you're from East Texas, but you were telling the truth about the champagne bowl."

"Of course I was!" he huffed. "Why would you think I wasn't telling the truth?"

I hesitated for a long time, debating whether to give the real answer. Finally I said, "I don't know quite how to say this. Have you ever noticed that champagne glasses are tall and thin, without a lot of surface area? I thought that you were lying because, well, pouring champagne into a wide, shallow bowl would cause it to go flat, and I thought to myself that no one would ever do that with champagne."

He sat there for a minute. Finally he said, "Well, you wouldn't do that with expensive champagne."

Oh, boy.
Those were some funny times, with that guy. What's even funnier to me is that when people hear this tale, they think he must be a dumb hick. However, he has a master's degree, an interesting career, and is a pretty accomplished visual artist. A total weirdo who made me laugh, usually unintentionally, and was also one of the best looking men I ever went out with. 

Good stuff. It'll be nice to see him.

Strange Guilt

Julie and I caught up yesterday. We had a good talk, processing the show, our journey with Karen, all of that.

I shared with her that I'd seen Muy Loco and realized somewhere along the way that I may often carry this strange, ambient burden of guilt that attaches itself to things. I told her that I'd built up this whole thing inside myself about how I needed to work out all of my conflicted feelings before seeing him, and that when I did I suddenly realized that he wasn't thinking about any of that. He was just happy to see me and catch up and say hello and hang out for a bit. It was pretty amazing to me to realize that the story inside my head didn't have one thing to do with his experience.

Julie laughed. She said, "So he wasn't upset that you're not compatible to date each other?"

"Not at all," I said. "He was just happy to see me!"We both laughed. I said, "I think I'm just realizing that there are times when I avoid people because I think I need to 'fix' things inside of myself before I see them again. The Tuning Project really brought me into a space where I realized it's alright to be conflicted, to be ambivalent, to not really know what's going on inside myself and to just be there with it. I'm really noticing my habits that are NOT that, now that its over."

We had a good talk about all that, habits, learning, what we noticed about ourselves through dancing with Karen and noticing her noticing herself, her being a really strong model for that.  I'm just so glad I did this. It was all worth it. 

So yea. Strange, ambient guilt, and I don't even know where it's coming from. I didn't grow up Catholic or anything. I guess part of it is that I'm someone who, with rare exceptions, gets along and stays in touch with guys I've been with. It's just so rare that I wouldn't care about or occasionally talk to one of my exes, I can count those situations on one hand and still have fingers left over, you know? But I think I get very very guilty about backing up from people. I'm sure it has everything to do with my feelings about my parents and my guilt about not being closer to them. However, happily, most people are not like my parents, so the same issues don't apply.

Yea, the only exes I don't have any contact with are Mr. Passive Aggressive, Crazy Ex and Paramedic Guy. That's it. Everyone else I think about or hear from once in a while, even with years in between. I suppose that in my perfect little world everyone would make peace with everyone, but it just doesn't happen sometimes, and I have a pretty high retention rate of friendly breakups, so I guess the thing is to be happy about that and not worry so much.  Everyone else I've dated outside of those three was a really good guy who I'm glad came into my life. And come to think of it, what characterized all three of those guys was their tendency to habitually lie, which is a character trait that no one should spend time around--what's the point?

Take the good, and let the bad go, little Buddhist!

Rain And Perfume

A lot of time driving round in the rain today. My one client rescheduled so I took the day off, since I don't generally have a day off when shows are being worked on. I did errands and generally tried to catch my life up to speed. 

Rain and perfume. I like perfume, and have lots of little sample vials of stuff. Most of them I don't wear because I'm very particular and/or some ingredient or other bothers me. But I like to keep the little vials and whiff them and sometimes dab on a drop of something new. I did that today; something about the rain, and the greyness of the day, and my blue striped-down-the-back rain boots, made me want to press a little scent into the mix, to bring some rich element into a monochrome world. I can feel how the rain and grey pulls down the mood of everyone around me, out doing my errands, and it felt right to wear a little perfume to brighten things.

I also saw Muy Loco. He'd been texting me, and finally asked, "Can we just hang out?" I was feeling guilty about not having really given him a reason for not connecting. So I went over, and we hung out, and it was really nice. I guess I was feeling guilty about the fact that I never talked to him about why I pulled away from him, even though it's not like we were ever in a proper relationship. It was sweet and funny to see him, to be reminded of the funny and odd character he is. 

He informed me, "I have absolutely nothing to report to you about my life that's new. Things are pretty much the same, I just wanted to see your pretty face and spend some time with you." I had to laugh at his candor. He then informed me that he had been reading about how the cells in your body are all under the control of your mind and that he had, lately, been telling the cells in his body to have a LOT more energy. The last time I saw him, he was exploring Kombucha for the same reasons.

I said, "Is it doing anything, to tell all your cells to wake up?"

"Oh, yes," he said, and I stifled my laughter. He is a sweet guy and he totally lives on his own planet. He isn't bothered by my amusement at all. I really wonder how he became who he is. I suspect it may have had something to do with smoking a helluva lot of weed at some point in his history. Who knows. Anyway, it was a sweet visit and I left guilt-free and at peace.

I get that way sometimes. Strangely guilty, and I avoid people because of it. I'm looking at what that might be about and why I feel that way. Sometimes it's hard to put words to what I feel toward a particular person, when I have internal conflict about those feelings, and I'm noticing I tend to keep it to myself, thinking I have to work it all out to be neat and clean before I talk to the person again. But I've been musing on the possibility of just sharing my conflict with the person without having to have an "answer" to "fix" the situation. That would be new.

Rainy days give you a chance to reflect, for sure.

White Food Sadness, IKEA Panic, Doing Vs Consuming

I went to lunch at a little restaurant near the office yesterday. When the food came, it was white pasta, with white chicken strips, accompanied by white bread.

I sat and looked at it for a long time and wondered to myself how I managed to miss the fact that the dish I ordered would be completely devoid of any sort of color or viva. I felt a great sadness well up within me at the great blandness of white food. I ate it anyway, but it was a mildly depressing experience. It made me think about New England and how depressing I always found it to eat up there, even though the environment is amazing in the brief summers they have. But the food is just terrible, as it tends to be in places where peppers don't grow. I'm a Texan and I grew up accustomed to a sunburst of colors on my plate, peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes and the whole bit. 

When faced with a plate of white food, I experience this slight feeling of panic and being trapped, like someone locked me in the mall. I almost got locked into a mall once, it was the Galleria in Houston because I got lost and couldn't find my way out, and it was a frightening experience. Interestingly, I find that almost all of my clients with PTSD have the same experience with IKEA. Most of my clients who have PTSD have brought up IKEA repeatedly as a place they cannot visit. I've even done EMDR sessions on the experience of people feeling trapped in IKEA.  It's pretty common. I've thought more than once of writing to IKEA and telling them that a good redesign of their store layout would bring in all the people who are literally afraid to go in there. Haven't done it yet.

Anyway. I ate my white food (which tasted alright, I wouldn't do it again) and thought about the Talking Points session. South Texas asked me, Can you just let guys try? If they try it counts.

What does that even mean? I countered. Apparently I'm supposed to play all these games and make men 'work for it.' That's not my style at all. I don't have time for bullshit.

A good guy will work to win you without you having to do anything, he replied. If these men don't realize what an over the top good woman you are...

Maybe. I don't think it's about that. For me it's the more direct question of the active vs. passive way of living. It's easy to be a consumer of everything, films, booze, movies, music. It's much less common and easy to be a creator of something. However, a lot of what I need in a man resides in the second category. I suppose this is why I've always gotten along best with men who are active doers, who have interests--reading and talking about books, skills development (Master Strategist is a competitive rifleman for example), professions that require them to be creative. 

Most men my age are just more consumption oriented, and it's hard for me. Anyone with money can drink or go to films or see music.  You don't need brains, talent or creative skill to consume--you only need money. To do, to develop--that's so much more rare.

Again, that's all me, my stuff, not anything about guys. They be doing what they do, I be doing what I do. I'm just minding my own business. I found someone posted an ad looking for someone to see "American Sniper" with, no kidding. I wrote to him because why not. A new friend. 

House Arrest

Ahhhh. Allen told me to stay inside. It's that time of year. Cedar. I asked if he could do me a formula. I knew it's a stretch because I'm already on a very complex and heavy duty formula to deal with the tumors until the surgery. He sighed and said, "I could, but honestly, Elaine, I'd much rather you just try to stay inside as much as you can the next few weeks. It would be the best thing for you. You're doing better, I don't want you to push it right now."

It's been a while since I've been on house arrest. But, I know to listen to him after this many years of his advice being unerringly correct. I left the door of the office open yesterday on and off because it was so pretty out, and last night I was sick, and even wheezing a little, which hasn't happened in a long time. It made me a little panicky but I was able to get to sleep and this morning I'm OK. I have a tincture I can use, but I'm not going to push it, like he said. The punk show on Friday is outside. I want to go but now I'm not sure I should. 

House arrest is kind of weird. I feel like an invalid, a little kid with the flu or something. The good thing is there is plenty to keep me busy inside. My little room looks like a tornado hit it, the usual thing after a run of performances. This week kind of filled up a bit which means there's less time to get it in order. When this happens I'm always reminded of how glad I am that I don't own a house or live in an apartment, it's all I can do to keep up with my room, my office and my cars. The ADD thing really makes life challenging in this arena and I can't imagine having more stuff to deal with than I already have. I've tried all kinds of organizational systems, but the simplest is the best: Don't have that much stuff. It's the only thing that works.

House arrest. Fun times. 

Talking Points, Chapter 217

So South Texas enacted the usual "Talking Points Pep Talk." He doesn't want me to give up on dating. He is full of ideas about how to see it differently. The long text thread that ensued was truly a co-authored work of art and one of the best things that two humans have ever written, and it was so raunchy and funny that I cannot post any of it here. There were many instructions of varying degrees of bawdy, a fair amount of hefty criticism of my lack of grit, and a lot of tender solicitous "just pull up yer bootstraps and keep goin girl" type of support, all mixed up together and delivered with the greatness of an oracle. It was pure genius. I'm saving the whole thing.

So, as always, I promised him I would take all of it under advisement, which I always do with Talking Points, which could become an SNL character skit the way we do it. I get it, I get what he's saying. Don't give up. Be generous and all that. I just don't know that I'm feeling it right now. I feel no interest. My tambourine seems a lot more interesting, my books, text convos with Colombian shamans and ex Marines and SF guys, friend type stuff. I don't know what happened exactly, it's like my little dating balloon just ran out of air all of a sudden and floated gently to the ground and it's just resting there in a nice green field at the moment. I kind of like how it feels. Very peaceful and kind of curious too. 

It happens, right? You just run out of energy for things sometimes and then you have to take a nap for a while. Muy Loco has been texting. He wants to see me SO BAD. No idea where that is coming from, since I've not seen the guy since Thanksgiving. I'm not feeling it. It's nothing against him, or anyone else, I'm just chillaxin' I guess.

Anyway. I might just need to solo it for awhile to recharge. Or just do random things with guys I don't know well. Like go to the range, or to a movie or something. I sometimes like those hit and run non date activities (I don't consider a movie a date because you don't spend any time talking to each other). DarkChapeau told me to see "American Sniper" because of its presentation of PTSD so I might find a way to see it with someone. Why not. I love having a little randomness in my life. Dating sure wasn't bringing it, I'll tell you that. I seem to be the only one who ever has cool ideas for dates and none of them happen anyway because men are such stick in the muds. So freestylin' is the way to go right now!

Speaking of which. I might go see PUNK on Friday. So important to periodically see punk. Two drummers and a bassist, that's the real old school deal there. I have not yet met that guy I could go to a punk show with. No one my age is that cool. The Count goes, but he spends all evening hitting on me and I don't have any interest in being one of his harem of google eyed ladies infatuated with the European neuroscientist. I love him tons but jeesh. Please stop. You won't convince me after this many years of not convincing me. Because of this I often go to punk alone.

And then there's a butoh thing on Saturday eve. Abel's wife. Awesomeness. It's a full weekend, with rehearsal starting for Hel and Nat's show too. Next week I gotta meet with my friend and learn the logistics for the East Texas Into The Wild trip. This is a real test run as this is deep wild land and us in a crude hut, which is basically a small mockup of the Africa situation.  Whee!

Always a lotta stuff to keep the Lady Elaine busy!