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, both recipients of Austin Critics' Table awards for their work.  

I hope that your visit here finds you something to laugh about, something to think about, something to dream about. 

You can subscribe to the blog through the boxes on the right. 

Peace to all, and thanks for visiting.

A Review

So, we got a really good review for the play in Broadway World.  Hard to believe I perform tonight again.  The last three days of rest have been amazing.  Now time to go attempt being amazing in another way.  Right?

BWW Reviews: STILL NOW is a Fresh Take on an Old Topic

BWW Reviews: STILL NOW is a Fresh Take on an Old Topic
How do you deal with cancer? How do you deal with other people's reactions to your cancer? If you're a dancer, how do you face life in all it's un-choreographed glory?
While these are not new questions, Katie Bender's STILL NOW manages to put a fresh face on them in an engaging and moving performance.
The performance actually starts as soon as you are seated in the theater, although you aren't aware of it at first. What appears to be crew setting the stage is actually a choreographed moment that starts before the actual play proper begins. As the play starts, Annie, a dancer, has just experienced the events of 9/11. The destruction is beyond her comprehension, so she heads to Japan to study Butoh, in the hopes that the dance form can help her express the un-comprehendible. Ten years later, we see Annie's diagnosis of stage four cancer which sends her back to Butoh to prepare for her final dance.
Butoh is a form of Japanese dance theatre, first seen in 1959, that encompasses a diverse range of activities, techniques and motivations for dance, performance, or movement. The art form is known to 'resist fixity" and to be difficult to define. Founder Hijikata Tatsumi viewed the formalization of butoh with 'distress'. Common features of the art form include playful and grotesque imagery, taboo topics, extreme or absurd environments, and is traditionally performed in white body makeup with slow hyper-controlled motion. In the early 1960s, Hijikata used the term 'Ankoku-Buyou' (dance of darkness) to describe his dance.
In STILL NOW we, along with the doctors, teachers, friends and lovers, experience a woman learning and then losing her body. The butoh dance discipline also applies to Annie's situation. At the center is the question 'what can our bodies teach us that our minds cannot fathom'? Butoh dance of darkness is not only how Annie dances but how the play as a whole dances.
Director Rudy Ramirez has done a lovely job with this material. His direction imparts the qualities of butoh across the evening. Abel Coelho's choreography is fluid, supportive and never overwhelms the acting, but rather enhances it. Ann Marie Gordon's set is simple and clean and hints at Japanese influence. Patrick Lord's projection work is stunning and builds on the work of Gordon. Megan Reilly turns in another beautiful lighting design and shows herself to be one of the best in the Austin area. If I had any issues at all with the tech work, it would be that the multiple black outs at the very end of the play are a little too long which arrests the flow. I am hoping these were opening night issues that will be resolved.
This is a great cast at work here. Amelia Turner, as Annie, delivers a sensational performance that is capped by a stunning piece of dance movement. Jonathan G. Itchon, as Amagatsu, the butoh instructor, is a study in control and understatement. Also delivering strong, believable performances are Joseph Garlock, Jennifer Coy, Cara Spradling and Shannon Grounds.
To go into more detail would spoil the experience of STILL NOW. This is a thought provoking and moving evening of theatre that I highly recommend.
STILL NOW by Katie Bender
Running time: Approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.
STILL NOW, produced by Shrewd Productions plays City Theatre (3823 Airport Blvd. Suite D, 78722) September 12-October 4, 2014. Thursdays through Saturdays, 8pm. Tickets: Regular - $20 ($18 for Seniors, ACA), Students - $15 with valid ID, VIP Donor Tickets - $30 - get priority seating & a free Cherry Blossom cocktail, $5 of your purchase goes towards the American Cancer Society. Reservations:

Words Into The Air

I was sitting with a new client yesterday--a beautiful young woman who's been all over the world, living as an expatriate.  Maybe our second, third meeting?  She said, "Elaine, it's like I have all of these thoughts, or words inside of me.  And you just pull them out and put them into the air.  How are you doing that?"

"I'm an indigenous healer," I said simply.

She looked at me.  "You really are," she affirmed.

After our session was over, she asked me a handful of questions.  Have you ever lived anywhere else?  Traveled outside the States?  How did you become this person that you are?

I said to her, "No, I was born here, raised here.  I came from a really poor family with a lot of suffering.  There wasn't ever the opportunity to do such things.  And then, you know, I had an artist's life for many many years, so there wasn't ever the money, it was always a struggle.  It's really only recently that it looks like things might change in the future.

"But, you know, I think that this is part of the true story of an indigenous healer.  Most indigenous healers spend a large part of their lives in the place they were born.  They don't get on airplanes and jet all over the world and then come back to where they are from and proclaim themselves a healer.  That's some kind of rich white-person thing that has nothing to do with how real indigenous healing actually works.  Most healers are integral to the place they are from, they know the changes, the land, the culture.  They live in their village and serve the people around them.  That's very much been my life, though it's all happened in America, in Texas.  I have been told by multiple people, though, that my life is going to expand in the second half, perhaps involve a lot more travel, teaching, other things.  So maybe I will be seeing the world for the first time then." I smiled.  

She was very intrigued by the conversation.  It was cool for me too.  I don't think I've ever actually said that I'm an indigenous healer to anyone except my good friend from yesterday up until now.  But it's so true that...well, it's just true.  I look back over my childhood and see that I've always been that shaman, that indigenous healer, ever since I was small.  Artist, shaman, teacher, healer, that's me.  It's always been the same.  It's so steady.  You know?

I kind of had a blowout in my supervision group last week.  Someone said something to me about being in touch with my own madness.  I looked at her and said, "It is not I who am mad.  It's that our entire mental health system is so ungrounded and screwed up and most of the people practicing in it are not in touch with what real healing is about.  I am not the crazy one." This was a very strong statement to make but its truth is what I have been coming to terms with over the last handful of months.  I don't really like hanging out with most other clinicians and I'm not nourished by what goes on in my field.  It's disappointing, but it is what it is.  I'm now in the process of making peace with the fact that I am never going to fit in in my field, but that I am doing amazing and beautiful work that matters.

I had a long talk about this with my friend yesterday.  She told me that she refuses to lecture or speak to almost all mental health groups anymore because of the craziness and aggression directed at her by people in my profession, and I believe her, because I experience it all the time myself.  She said, "You are so right in what you are saying, and I am saying this as someone a lot older than you who has a lot of exposure to trying to teach these groups about what I know.  They don't want to learn it.  Be you, Elaine, be you and let's figure out how you and I are going to do what we need to do."

Sounds right.  Feels right.

I also realize, this morning, that I do have this simple faith that someone, someday, a man, is really going to love me for just who I am.  Quirks and all, and he's going to think having a Gothic dancer shaman as a partner is just about the most awesome thing that could happen to a guy.  I don't know why I have this feeling in my heart that this is true, but it's so strong that nothing can shake it.  Sometimes I think that this man might not be American or that if he is he would have a perspective that is broadly outside of the way most Americans think.  

People here are so hard and cynical about relationships, treating them like business transactions, trying to protect their emotional assets, treating everything like shopping.  I know that what's right for me is something more soft, more organic, more willing, more in touch with nature.  A man who looks at me and sees what is precious about me instead of thinking only either about what he can get from me or how he can protect himself from me, both of which are dead ends in terms of development.

I mean yea.  Dating, hookup culture, all this crap--it's just crap.  For me it is.  I am a nature based person and I believe in letting things develop, being there, watching, being with, noticing, being open.  I am an indigenous healer.  This is what I do.  

Because You're Scary, You Know

It's the last thing my friend said to me today before we parted.  She said, "Today has been dizzying.  Almost overwhelming.  We will talk soon.  I need some time to gather things.  And..." she paused and looked closely at me.  "You are kind of scary, Elaine.  You know that, right?  I've known you all these years.  And you even scare me. I feel that you see all of me, not just parts.  It's wonderful, and it's sometimes frightening."

I smiled. "Yes.  I finally got the message. Owl brought it last night.  I don't quite know why it took me so long to understand it.  I get it now and it all makes sense."

"I love you and will be in touch," she said.  We embraced and then both got into our cars and drove away.

Scary.  True, yes?  I see it all the time.  I see the people around me get scared.  It is because of this uncanny ability to see through the masks that most people wear, that owl people are often unpopular and feared by others.  Not sure exactly why I didn't understand this until now.  It actually brings me a lot of peace, because up until pretty recently, I kept wondering what I was doing wrong, or if others were offended.  But no.  They're just scared.  That's all.  At the same time, they benefit.  I think. I hope.

I mean really, it's no wonder I often spend years alone between relationships.  A spooky Gothic shaman is probably not really what most men are looking for.  And the truth is, I'm not that good a girlfriend.  I forget to call, I space out on things, I go in too many directions sometimes.  I was a much better wife than girlfriend, which is really the reason I'd like to get married again someday.  Being married really made me get my shit together.  Just being a girlfriend...It never quite happens.  I try, I try hard, but it just doesn't.  And then I'm going around scaring people on top of it.

Well, what are you going to do.  You can't stop the ocean.  

To Find The One Who Knows The Story

I step into the parking lot.  My friend turns and sees me.  We look deeply into each other's eyes.  Finally she says, "You."

I know that she knows.  She has spent the last 30 years of her life around powerful indigenous healers.  I don't have to explain anything to her.  I know she knows, and there is no one I would rather see, this morning. I have not seen her in many months.  She's been gone, working with the healers.

We talk for a long time.  She has mentioned before that a female healer in black fringes is a part of the tradition of the people she works with.  So I tell her the dream about being the woman in black fringes and the Cape hare.  She goes very still.

Finally she says, "The Cape hare is a woman healer.  She is a healer who reminds people that they are going to die.  There are connections with the moon, and..."

She falls silent.  Finally she says, "I need to go away now and give myself some time to process.  There are things I need to put together for you.  This is huge, and it is very deep.  The Cape hare is central to a very deep set of stories."

"I need those stories," I said quietly. "I need your help.  I will give you healing, pay you, whatever it is that you need.  I need you to tell me those stories.  The time is now.  I may need to visit your friends sooner rather than later.  Some time within the next two to three years.  Not as a needy supplicant.  Not as something broken to be mended.  To learn.  To be taught."

"Yes," she said quietly.  "I know that this is how you are supposed to be there.  And that the next part of our lives is intertwined.  Let me go away now and do what I need to do and I will be in touch."

She presents me with two headdresses and a necklace made for me by her healer friends.  She had to go all over to find the healers as they are itinerant, and then there were the materials themselves.  It was a long and complex process.  She says, "I don't know if they'll fit, they are rather small."

I drape them over me one by one, standing for her to look at me.  The two headdresses are ones worn by healers in that culture.  She smiles.  She says quietly, "Of course, they fit perfectly."

To find the ones who know the stories of these dreams and visions and can teach me--this is the next part.  

Owl Medicine

Something that happened last week.

I stand outside, tending my plants.  The client pulls up.  He gets out of the car and walks toward me with that cheery smile he wears.  

I glance over and say, "I didn't think you were coming today."

He stops dead in his tracks.  Stares at me.  He looks scared.  Finally he says, "How did you know that?  How did you know I almost didn't show up today?"

I turn and look at him intently.  I don't answer.  Finally I say, "Do you do that?"

"Yes," he said.  "I run away.  I bail."

I reach out and gently push open my door a little, my fingertips pressing against the veves upon it.  There is a long moment.  Because now, right now, is another chance for him to run away if he really wants to.  I understand this.

I say, "Come in.  I'm glad to see you.  I'm glad you came."

And, after a moment, he steps through the door.

People who possess the power of the owl share many traits with their totem animals and feel a strong connection with the night and to the occult. Owl medicine brings the gift of wisdom and insight.

It is almost impossible to keep a secret from an owl-person, as they see through even the best hidden ploys. They always grasp the whole truth and often take this gift for granted. It is because of this uncanny ability to see through the masks that most people wear, that owl people are often unpopular and feared by others. 

The gift of owl medicine is wisdom and the ability to see in the shadows, this translates into great insight, for the self, and for the others. People with owl as their symbolic spirit guide find it easy to intuit deeper reasoning and meaning in relationships and events. Like the beat of the owl’s wings you must be gentle in sharing your wisdom, and subtle about its delivery. If all goes well the subject of your gaze may not even be aware that you are giving them valuable advice. 

Last night, after writing, I dug into my things.  Searched and searched.  Finally I found it.  A silver necklace with a custom made mythical feather hanging from it.  And on the chain, a cast of an owl talon.  Of course I had such a thing.  I don't even know how long I've had it. But of course I already had it.  I put it around my neck.

I also made a little contact with South Texas last night.  He always helps me when things get rough.  I told him about the sadness around the ex.  I wrote, in spite of everything, I know that he suffers.  And it's just so sad.  

He wrote to me, He has suffered always.  And he always will.  You did something remarkable. You worked to end his suffering as much as was possible.  Don't be empty and lost.  That's his job. Not yours.

True, as he always is, so true. 

I think of the last few months.  What a strange journey this is.  I understand now why men hesitate, why they shy away, why they get nervous and try to push things toward something they feel in control of, like sexuality.  Because yes.  I know all their little lies.  I don't say anything about them, but I know, and remember, every little divergence from the truth, every little fib, every little cheat.  I know far more about these men than they think I do, or want me to. And on some level, they know that I know.  They feel it. It stirs a great uneasiness. Particularly in those who believe that they are great judges of character and can read women easily.  Those men consistently make the biggest errors of all when it comes to me.  They are playing out of their league.

But this is OK.  I understand being afraid.  I am not offended by the selfishness any more, or the lack of awareness.  My job here is me. I do no harm to anyone.  There is the key to a great gateway in my hand and the knowledge from the other side is right here.  Perhaps this wisdom is not for those who try to keep lies intact.  I don't know.  I do know that I am working on the gentleness of my delivery.

Owl medicine.

The Crushing/The Rain

I am pacing.  Restless.  The animal wants out of this house.  I can't work.  Sadness crushes me, crawling all over me. I hate this. When will it be over? When is it enough?  I feel like a prisoner in my own emotions, my own skin.

I step outside barefoot.  I haven't run in several months; I haven't done anything at all since Sunday when my knees were hurting so badly that all I could do was rest and walk.  But now it's Tuesday, I can't work and I have to move.  

It's dark. It's pouring down rain.  I stand under the little awning over the front door, looking.  I feel defeated. I turn and go back inside.  Two minutes later I am back outside, running shoes on.  I tuck the iPod into my jacket pocket best I can, and take off down the driveway.

It's hard, like it always is when you start again, when you start over again.  Water falls over and through me and I'm wet to the skin, hair clinging to my clothes.  I know to go slowly, but I go, I just go. 

I'm going through a dark patch when suddenly I look up.  Just as I look I see raptor.  A giant owl, much larger than a barn owl, flies to the top of the telephone pole I am approaching.  I stop in the rain and Owl and I look at each other.  Quiet.  Moments pass.  Just the sound of the rain falling on a silent street.  

Finally I open my arms and heart upward, toward the bird.  Owl bows toward me after a moment and dips gracefully off of the pole, vanishing silently into the darkness.

I keep going forward.  At some point I turn round and come back.  Owl is waiting for me this time, a different one, a small barn owl, this time on my side of the street.  Sitting lower on a telephone wire. I stop underneath and close my eyes, and flash, I am flying low over a scrubby land, dark low treetops and blazing sky.  I recognize the place; it's part of the Boca Chica preserve that you have to pass through to reach the most remote beach in Texas.  I've never seen it at that time of day, but I know that this is where it is, I can smell the salt, and that for just a moment, I am Owl, flying through his territory at sunset.  I thank Owl for this vision. 

I go home.

I think about how, long ago, a palm reader said to me, You will be pregnant twice and will lose both babies.  Your life will be short and end suddenly in violence.  I was 20 years old.

I didn't trust her.  She had a darkness about her that was not good, something doubled or shady.  It was not her, but the things she was messing with in the occult, which were beyond her capacity to handle.  She thought she was stronger than she was, and she was arrogant.  I've always wondered what happened to her.  It seemed to me at the time that this would not end well.  But it was also true that the things she was doing gave her a certain kind of sight.

I am not sure.  But the first part of this prophecy has now come true.  The second?  I think about it almost every day.  

Can we thwart fate?  Can we overcome our destiny?  

If I do what my heart wants, if I become strong enough to run down Boca Chica, to the end where one world becomes another, and I meet someone there who ends my life, is that the fulfillment of what I was meant to do, and to be, here?  Or was she talking about another death?  Because in many ways, I feel that something within me has died within the last 12 months, something I'll never see again.  And that if there is to be life beyond that, this is the only way it could happen.

I don't know.  I live my life.  I do what I do.  I meet new people.  I look intently into their eyes while they talk. I think to myself, are you the one, the one to end it?  

Or has it already happened and I'm already on the other side, starting again?

When I stepped out of the coffee shop this morning I looked up.  Raptor.  Buzzard, hovering above me.  This is how I know it is starting again.  The animals are appearing again, as before.

I'm not afraid.  Not anymore.  Let what will be, come to me.

A Note, A Sadness

Allen called me this morning to check in.  I'm finally feeling some rebounding from the insect bite, just a bit; we discussed my treatment at length and he's going to tweak the herbs and keep me on them for a while longer, contrary to how we usually run the cycle of treatment for me.  I told him I've been suffering from some depression and sadness over the last week; it turns out this may be an effect of the formula I'm on, though of course some things have happened too.

I found a note from my ex in the envelope.  All it was was a card that said: "thank you." I looked at it for a long time.  If something happened for him in last week's blowout that helped, I guess I'm glad for that.  I truly wish him no harm.  I really think he doesn't know how to be a person--how to behave, how to love, how to be a man, on some really deep level, and it isn't something I could help him with.  I loved him deeply for a long time, but he was so destructive and selfish that finally I went empty and didn't have those feelings any more.  Perhaps it's that which makes me sad, to look at something he wrote and to feel nothing about it.  I cried so much about everything while we were together that it seems like there are no more tears.  I just wish for him that somehow or someday he figures out how to be a human being, how to be kind, how to think of another in an empathetic way.  He may not be capable of that.  It's not my journey to find out.

I also messaged briefly with Buffalo, who wants to check in this week, which feels like a good idea.  There are deep currents starting to move again; I can feel the stirring in my body and in my field.  The next wave is starting.  This is just a big ride, one I need help with.  I feel a little lost.

I got mad at myself, too, because I somehow agreed to have coffee with someone I knew I shouldn't meet with.  I could just tell it wasn't a fit and that something was off about it.  Yet somehow I didn't get myself out of it, and the meeting was approaching.  I am somewhat reminded, here, of the thing with the predatory psychologist that happened several years ago, which had a similar feeling about it.  That time, I not only met with the guy, but suffered through an hour and a half of his game playing bullshit.  I was feeling that, and being pretty angry at me for getting into this situation again.

But, then I said to myself, I can change this.  I took this special little blade I have, a handmade knife from a man in Oklahoma, and I did with it what came to me to do.  And I said, Don't let this person show up.  This is not right.  I am not supposed to meet this man.  There is something shady about him and I made a mistake.  Don't let him show up to this coffee shop.

And you know what?  He didn't. That has never happened before.  Ever.  But it did this time, and I left, relieved.

I make a lot of mistakes right now, because of the big ride, because this is all new stuff, because I get confused, because I am still healing.  But this was important, because, it turns out that in this world, the crossover plane, it may be possible to fix my mistakes. I think that previously I believed that if I made a mistake on a certain plane, I had to let it play out.  What happened with this woke me up to the fact that things may be more changeable up to even the last moment than I believe, that the whole situation is far more fluid and flexible than I even know.  But I am going to try hard not to make those mistakes because they can be costly indeed.

Narrative, And Reflection

This week is light, so I have some time to think about and prepare for my Feldenkrais class, which starts again this Saturday to run for 6 weeks.  Preparing for teaching is something I really enjoy, and something I haven't had the kind of time I wanted to put into it for the last year.  Strangely, I don't feel worried about money even though work is very light right now--I remember a time when a lull would have made me panic.  But not anymore.  I am appreciating the space after a full year of barely any time off.  I'm steering toward more work/life balance as a big thing I want to establish over the next year, year 2 of my business.  Time to work on these different aspects of my practice is very nourishing for me, and benefits my clients exponentially.  I was sitting with a Feldenkrais client the other day and guiding her shoulder, and realized that I was doing things with her I've never done before, probably due to the fact that I've had some time off from teaching and some other layers have opened up, which always happens when I do have the opportunity to change the frame.

I reflect upon narrative, that of others and my own--someone asked me again the other day how I remember so much about them and their story.  I explained a little to them about the visual/somatic matrix I see and feel when I look at another person and how the information about them is stored within it.  It's a form of mnemonic device, perhaps, but not one I learned--just how I innately remember things, as a "field" of information, a gestalt with 3D details.  I gave some feedback to a friend about what I see about him the other day, and he was surprised at the depth and accuracy of the information I had observed about his process and where he is in his life at this point in time.  

I reflect upon how I don't think I come up with this stuff.  In many ways it feels like these things do not come "from" me; they come *through*me.  This is why it is not hard to be humble as healer and teacher; these things are not my invention, they already exist within the matrix of the person and my only job is to help the person become aware of what's there.  I consider most of what I do to be teaching, on various levels, and my master's degree is from the college of education, not medicine.  Teaching awareness, teaching about the mind, teaching about relationships, teaching about this and that, is what I do.  That's part of my story as a person on planet Earth.

The other parts, of course, are the artist--she who is unfettered, wild, free, roams around and gathers and observes and totally does her own thing, and the shaman, who sees and sits with and doesn't always "do" something.  There isn't always a need to do.  Being is very important.  

I think about attention too--about how there is a place for that, in my life as a performer, and how outside of that, I don't find that I need much of that.  I think I have realized that this is a large part of why I can't handle the stress of something like online dating.  It feels like too much of a kind of attention that I don't want.  The same is true of being a professional; I have no desire to be some kind of rock star in my field, known by others.  I feel like I get talked about enough in ways that make me uneasy, and I'm not interested in monetizing my reputation.  The stage is art, a place where one challenges oneself, and also gives deeply to the audience.  Celebrity?  Bah.  Who cares?  I see nothing in that kind of thing for me.  It doesn't interest me.  And in the online world, it's very much about that kind of thing, flattery, compliments, seduction.  

I have a couple of friends who are in new relationships with people they met online and they seem quite happy.  And I am happy for them.  I also know what it took for them to find even one person they would spend time with, and that I'm not someone who has the tolerance for the process they went through.  This just isn't how I work, and if there is anything I have learned in recent years, it is that I need to deeply protect, defend and stand up for the way *I* am, the way I work, the way I think, the way I connect, the way I love.  I am protecting a resource that is precious to more than just me; it's precious to my clients, to the world, because it is something that is dying out, that is becoming rare, that is symbolic and deeply needed, like pure water.  

I want people to really get that you can live in a world without mirrors, without Facebook, without online dating, without all these things that create a false self that you then have to sustain and live up to.  I have done those things, but they are not needs, and they become dangerous to our integrity very quickly when we depend on them for our sense of identity.  I teach and protect the core human--the awake one, the wild one who runs through the desert or the woods, fully in the world, without artifice.

Killer Lace

I worked a light day today, then put on a killer lace dress and went out to dinner with a friend.  Just because I can, and it was nice.

We talked about his new relationship--which is going well and he's happy--along with a lot of other things.  He asked, "Are you dating?" 

I said, "Nah.  I'm not.  I don't seem to be very motivated right now.  The show took up the last month and I have a few more weeks to go with it.  I was interested in someone, but I haven't seen him in a long time and my sense is it's not going to go anywhere.  I don't think it's because he didn't like me; I don't know what it is, why he's hesitating so much, but I'm not taking it personally.  I've met a guy or two in real life, but things always seem to devolve into the same dumb text conversation where they are trying to sex me up and I'm tuning them out.  Because you know what's not sexy?  A guy who doesn't realize I'm smart.  

"I'm just waiting for one guy, just one, to catch himself mid stream and realize that I already know the next 10 things he's going to say and that he needs to change direction.  More than that, though, I just wish someone would talk to me about art, or beauty, or something that stimulates me.  But, that's not happening, so I'm here at dinner with you, where it is."

It was a long dinner and we had a nice time.  He said, "You just need to get out more.  Just go anywhere and stand there, you'll get noticed and talked to."

"Yeah, I know," I said.  "I'm rusty at socializing.  Keep me in the loop when you get back from traveling, would you?"  He said he would.

It's alright.  I told him, "I don't feel insulted by the universe that it's not happening for me right now.  It's just not my time yet.  We all get old and die...Or we just die...It would be good to have that passionate connection, that deep relationship, before it happens...but if I don't it's not like I think it's a personal insult.  My life is really good in all other ways, and I know what I really need.  I'm still cleaning up some broken pieces and rough edges from my last relationship.  I don't want to dump that on anyone anyway.  It's all OK, I'm at peace with it."

I got home and there was a package.  The ex actually sent back the things, which I didn't think he was going to do.  I'm glad he did, it actually makes me think better of him that he did something he said he was going to do.  A lot of my aversion to having any contact with him has to do with the number of promises made and broken during the relationship; I lost all trust in him, so getting this package feels like a good closure, something positive to end on.  I'm not angry any more that he sent these things back.  If he needs to get everything that reminds him of me out of his life to move on and heal, more power to him.  I wish that for him.

All in all, a fine day.