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The Healer

Welcome to this blog.  This site focuses on personal 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, shamanic 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. 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 and complex as the people I help

I dance with Julie Nathanielsz and Heloise Gold, both recipients of Austin Critics' Table awards for their work. I've also worked with Abel Coelho, Maureen Momo Freehill, and Karen Nelson and Margit Galanter learning Tuning Scores. In addition to dance, I studied Cuban, Brazilian, and Puerto Rican percussion for a number of years.

My nickname/stage name for many, many years has been La Pistola. All I'm going to tell you about that is that you'd better believe it.

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.
BlogCatalog

ZaFiguring.

Think I figured out what's causing my fatigue. Sadly, it's a last supplement for my joints that I had hoped to be able to add to my regime because the research on it is good. However, I'm having a considerably less than optimal reaction to it, so I pulled it out and now I'm feeling like myself again. I think I need to amp the adrenal supplementation and B12 to counterbalance for the heat, so am going to try that today and see how it works. Overall, though, already feeling better. It's too bad because I really could have used the joint help, but, you win some, you lose some, and when you have a sensitive immune system, some things just aren't going to take for whatever reason and it's better not to mess with it.

So I'm going to keep researching what else I can do to work around that. I don't think I can make it to the pool til Sunday this week, just too much work, but that's OK. Happens that way sometimes. The Sicilian doesn't swim laps due to a shoulder issue, meaning that time is always going to be mine or with friends, which is nice. It's important to have those things that are only yours, ya know? He did tell me that I really need to go with my original plan to get up early on Sundays and practice moto as this will afford me the chance to be on bigger roads with less hazard, and I know he's right. I don't think I'm ready to get on any main thoroughfares, but I'm ready to cross them and explore other neighborhoods, for sure--both south and west of me. 

Honestly I don't care if all I ever do on this bike is piddle around in my area. The point wasn't to go anywhere particular on the moto other than maybe Deep Eddy eventually. The point was to ride to learn and have the experience I've dreamed of since adolescence. Whatever comes out of that or doesn't is not as important to me. I have no interest in commuting on the bike; sitting in traffic on the bike sounds far less appealing than doing so in my car, which has A/C and music available and filters the incoming air, an important issue for an asthmatic. 

The bike is for emptier roads and quiet times, situations without pressure, where I can pay attention and learn to listen to the bike and my body and my environment. It's really something; there's nothing else like it that I've ever experienced. It takes applied skill, practice, determination, a certain amount of grit combined with smarts. You're a better rider on a bike with a bit of aggression behind your choices, just a bit, which has been something I've been working on. All that takes a long time to build up little by little. 

Good stuff. 


Motogirl.

I've decided to donate the first moto jacket, the one that hung in my closet for years, to an organization supporting breast cancer research. It's a really nice jacket but I've now learned that, surprisingly, I am actually a cafe-racer style of girl as far as jackets, and also that I strongly prefer something that's armored. 

I imagine that somewhere out there might be a teenage girl, like I was all those years ago, who dreams of a motorcycle but can only afford a jacket. I'm going to wish that this ends up in her hands, and contributes to helping women with cancer in the process. It feels right. I'm likely to pick up a second leather jacket at some point just to be able to rotate out. It's amazing how much you really sweat in motorcycle gear, so you have to have a couple of things in order to let one dry out while you wear the other. Just kinda how it works, as I've now found out. 

For the same reason, I'm likely to try to find one pair of moto jeans, putting me back in the Search for Pants that went on for so many months. Might not happen, but I'm going to look into it. It took me about 10 minutes to get the Kevlar leggings off the other day; they were so glued to me with sweat that it was like trying to peel a unripe avocado. Way tough. Plus having to do laundry every single time I ride can be a drag. 

I find myself looking at motos everywhere and their riders. I'm astounded at how many people I see riding with little or no protective gear. Especially people on scooters; I wonder why people think scooters don't need protective gear, or is it that full motorcycle regalia looks totally dumb on a scooter? The point though is, a two wheeled crash is a crash regardless of what you were riding, and it's the dumbest of dumb to have no protective gear on. I imagine a lot more people probably get hurt on scooters because they mistakenly believe they are somehow safer, which they absolutely are not. When you are handling a big machine, you have to have a certain respect for it as well as a certain level of skill to ride it at all. I can see how scooters might lead people into dangerous ways of thinking about their riding as well as a lot of injuries.

But, I was trained ATGATT, so that's what I do. Anything else would feel weird. I'm actually proud of that, now, remembering what a struggle it was to just get myself into a helmet without freaking out in the MSF class. I've come a long way; I wouldn't ever dream of riding without one now. It's what feels right now. Makes me glad for the good instruction and the emphasis on safety. 

Good habits are easiest to install on the front end.
Something for me to deeply consider as I morph gradually into VersionNext.

This while I contemplate this utterly insane video made by a scooter rider.



MuuMuuMoto.

After clicking aimlessly through Etsy and another website, feeling dreary at the sight of the muu-muu-like nature of modern fashion (What is up with that? Is it because people are overweight? Did all the fitted patterns get lost? What the eff happened here?), I clicked away, shut the computer and thought to myself, It's 7:12 pm.

And I wasn't feeling it. Nope. I was tired after the 700 and the Mom. I was not feeling getting on the moto. Lazy, you know. It was hot out today, all of that.

So I had that talk with myself: Pistola, how are you going to get better at riding? You have to ride. You're not going to get better by lying here and feeling sorry for yourself because you're tired and took too long a nap. You're going to get better by gearing up, going out there, and doing it.

I realized, in that moment, that I need to take the same attitude here that I do to my dance and running and swim practice: It doesn't matter that much how I feel, unless I'm downright sick or disabled in some way that means I shouldn't get on a bike. It doesn't matter that much what mood I'm in as long as I'm not agitated or super upset. What it comes down to is, I'm only going to get better at this by practicing, whether I feel like it or not, whether it's a hot day or not, whether I'm lazy and tired or not. It's a discipline just like everything else, and I need to see it exactly the same way.

So. I got geared up, went out, pulled the cover, unlocked her, started her up and got on. 

I went through the hood. It was busier than last week. I headed myself toward the other side of SoFi with determination because it's an unfamiliar neighborhood. More traffic: I got into traffic! Small traffic, wee traffic, but still, I interacted with cars, the first time I've done that.

I got into second gear. I got into THIRD gear. Got a little scared and went back to second gear. It's sensitive on the bike; it's easy to pop past it into third. Have to try to feel that tiny adjustment through the Elsinores, not so easy in that boot, but man do I love those Mad Maxine boots. It's a matter of practice. Practice practice practice. There's a big parking lot on the other side of Lamar, where Hel and I developed the tricycle piece. I'm going to try to head there next Sunday. I'm gradually getting over my fear of hills, sort of, but there's a railroad track between me and that stoplight, new experience again. 

It's all a matter of increments. I still hear Bryce's voice in my head, usually when I'm about to make a mistake, like slowing down for a turn, or still having my fingers on the clutch when riding, something he got on my case about over and over. I'm feeling into the lean a hair more; it's a psychological thing, to be able to trust that the bike won't just tip over if you lean into a turn. You have to make like Fox Mulder and just believe. I had to get on SoCo for about 100 yards before turning back into the hood, which wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be because traffic was light and I happened to be in an easy part of it. So there was a little more Dances With Traffic there, for about 30 seconds, which was okay.

Practice practice practice.
Real conditions.
Breathe. Pay attention. Don't lose your mind to fear.
Improving. Slowly and surely.
Taking time to learn.

Yeah.

ZeMom.

Not only did I survive the MomCrazee, it was actually kinda fun, in that weird, hallucinatory way it can be kinda fun to spend time around a crazy person who's in a good mood for a change.

The Chinese Grocery trip was long and talkative and involved lunch and hauling huge bags of rice. At one point she came up behind me and started poking me in the shoulders with her fingertips: "Tootoo. Tootoo! Hoo hoo hoo hoo! You like? Why you have?"

She meant my ink, of course. I kept it simple. "I just think it's pretty."

"You was born in 1960s," she declared, moving off, which I guess is some kind of blanket explanation for something. For the most part the trip was pretty normal-ish for her, except for the 20 minutes she spent rooting around in a bin full of some kind of hairy root ball things that looked, I kid you not, like some kind of alien plant testicles. 

That part I had to go stand somewhere else for, because it was freaking me out too much to watch my 80 year old mother throwing around plant testicles that she apparently plans to boil and eat. 

That was one of those "I just don't want to know more about this" moments. There are things in life I allow myself to pass on and this was one of those things. At least she's not into durian, which I find horrifying and awful tasting no matter how it's presented.

I'm OK with the constant questions, like "You sure you pick a good one?" when I get a bottle of soy sauce. I'm OK with letting her check to see if I did and griping at me. That's all bearable.

Right? 
You gotta pick your wins.

I did an imitation of my mom the other day for the Sicilian. Not to make fun of her, but because it's actually easier for people to get a sense of her personality if I just do her.

He laughed until his eyes watered. He said, "I get it. Toward the end, my mom was seeing strangers in her house."

I looked at him blankly for a minute, not understanding. 

Then I said, "Oh! My mother doesn't have dementia. This is how she is. This is how she's been my whole life. There's nothing technically wrong with her mind."

He stared at me for a minute openmouthed...
I burst out laughing...

The700.

That was this morning. I added the fins back in because I know I'm breaking my own rule about The Increments. I just wanted to see if I could do it. 

And I could, and did. If I'm not hurting in another day or so, I'm going to park it at the 700 for a couple of weeks. I can't believe I started at 500 and have already gone to 700 in just about four weeks. It's got to be the diet changes and supplementation. There is no other reason this could be happening, especially given that I barely swam at all last year post-surgically. So it's been about two years since I did regular swimming. I've never started with a 500; usually it's half that and it takes three months to get up to what I did today. 

So another first. Yea. Fuck yea. Makes me wonder if I could actually aim for 1000 by the end of August. That's a big leap, but I'm wondering. 

Bret showed up to swim with me. One of the things I love about the DE experience is that I never know what friend or person will show up. It's just so fun, like a surprise present on the weekends that it happens. Of course, Metaphysicalis isn't going to make it again. He's too busy partying and drinking beer and snorting lines of coke in that way that middle aged men in Austin do. This is one of the big reasons we're just friends. He likes to party too much for me, and while he still looks pretty now, that's not going to be true five or 10 years from now the way he's living his life. Lack of sleep, bad food, alcohol and insufficient exercise have a way of catching up to you and it's damned hard to reverse once they do. I don't expect to see him at the pool again this summer. I simply don't think he has the personal discipline to do it. That's cool; it's his life, right?

But me, I'm glad to be there, and will probably be teaching Bret and another friend to swim this summer. I'm no coach, but I can teach the basics of a good solid freestyle stroke because I had to learn it as an adult and it took me a looooooong time. I'm always amused when people tell me that the reason they don't swim is that they're not a good swimmer. How do they think people become good swimmers? By not swimming? I mean, how do you become good at anything? You DO it, people. Zat is the way that it is. Do they think Michael Phelps just woke up one morning, walked out the door and started winning the Olympics and shit?

People just amaze me, the way they self-defeat their learning and achievement by creating little rationalization circles like this instead of just asking the smarter question, which would be, How can I become better at X? 

I mean, duh. 
But, no worries. I'll teach the friends who show up and want to learn. 
I can do that. 

WardrobeNext.

Going to the pool in a bit--slow start this morning--but, continuing a bit of the WardrobeNope project to turn it into WardrobeNext.

Instead of trying to fool with the whole "outfits and ensembles" thing, which clearly doesn't work with the way my monkey brain is organized, I decided instead to ask this question: Pistola, if you had to flee, and all you could take was the one safari-worthy bag full of clothes, which ones would you put in there?

Because, you see, I am of the firm belief that probably my wardrobe should be based around what would go in that bag. It is a very clarifying question that sorted almost everything into the right category in a matter of moments. Because you clearly need the stuff to move in, the stuff to shoot in, the stuff to seduce in, and the stuff to ride in.

So that's fun.

TheSticky.

Welp, nothing like a brand new set of sticky tires to get you racing through downtown Atown because your friend didn't confirm going to the play until the last moment.

The play was really good, too--young actors, a new company. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Afterward I was thirsty so we headed to Casa Colombia so we could get their fruit drinks and talk about life. Things are moving forward with Metaphysicalis and the woman he's been seeing. He was excited that I met someone, too, it seemed.

I smiled at him and said, "I find myself not worrying about it. Right before I met this man, I'd come to a place where it was quite alright with me to be single. If this goes somewhere that's great. If it doesn't then I'm simply going to keep on doing the things I'm doing, particularly where the motorcycle is concerned. It's the right path for me either way. I learned a lot from my online dating experiences, but the biggest thing is that I don't ever want to do that again. You had a lot of fun; I just got stressed. Different experiences."

He liked the fact that the Sicilian waited an entire month for me to have enough time to do something like a proper hanging out date, which was yesterday. I agreed that this was pretty cool. It was making me smile, thinking about something the Sicilian said to me yesterday--that if he had ever driven by me sitting on the street fooling round with my bike, he would have parked down the street out of sight, sauntered up like he was going for a walk, and offered me help in order to start a conversation. 

Tonight was a nice time. Metaphysicalis is a funny sort of fellow, but also a sweet and dear new friend. I thought I'd end up with a couple more friends out of all the work I put into the online thing, but nope, he's the only one. Kind of sad in a way, but it's not my domain to teach men how to have effective relationships, not at our age. He already knows, so it wasn't hard for him to stay in my life. He doesn't need the fundamentals of mature adult friendship explained to him (face to face, be interested in me, no marathon texting, and don't be snarky or passive aggressive). Makes it easy.

So, no studio time tonight, but there's always tomorrow, depending on rain. The rain makes me want to run. Maybe it'll happen in my dreams tonight.

WardrobeNope.

Thought I was going to a play with Metaphysicalis tonight, but never heard back from him, so who knows. Could still happen, but somehow I'm doubting it. This is totally fine, as it gives me time to cook, do laundry, read, and possibly go to the studio if I feel like it. The Sicilian is up in Dallas at a concert. I wouldn't mind having the night off, especially since it would let me dive into the WardrobeNope project, formerly known as the Wardrobe Recombination Project.

Instead of finding new ways to create ensembles, what I'm learning is that my brain doesn't really work like that, and that a lot of things need to move out of my life; I'm just not feeling them anymore and wanting a streamlining anyway. So that's what's happening instead. I was remarking ruefully to Hel's husband this morning that instead of finding amazing new outfits in my closet, what I'm finding is that I probably need clothes, which faces me with shopping, which I hate. However, I don't need much, just a few things.

He suggested trying the Goodwills in some of these swanky neighborhoods. I said, "Ya know Rich, I just don't see it. I'm guessing that what I would find there would be little pastel sweater sets with rhinestone buttons and matching slacks. I mean..." I paused. 

Finally I said, "I'm still just a punk and a Goth. I'm still old school black leather and chrome, boots and fitted dresses, heels and pleather leggings. I don't know that I'm ever gonna make it to the pastel sweater set. I just can't see it."

He laughed and laughed. 

I also received a very stern note from the Ukrainian woman on Etsy making the white ensemble stating that I had failed to send her one of the required measurements, of which there were many many. It was very, er, admonishing. So I sent it to her and apologized. You don't mess with the Russians. I've learned from experience. I really wonder how all this is going to work out. Actually, in a certain way, this white suit-dress-ish thing is very Goth. It would completely work with massive heels and red red lipstick and dragon lady fingernails. Goth is not all about black. It can be worked a lot of ways. 

And I know the ways. So no worries. This ensemble, if it looks like the picture and fits me and is worked the right way, could make Catherine Trammell look like the First Lady. You know, all J. Crew and shit.

My fingers are definitely crossed.


Changes. A Woman.

Well.

I meant to make it to the studio last night. I didn't. I fell into a deep dreamless sleep and woke up early this morning. Between blasting through those laps, being out in the heat looking at and fooling around with the lightbar, and running around with the Sicilian finding a ceiling fan, it wasn't meant to be, I guess. I'll make it up sometime this weekend.

Changes: I feel very very tired still, which I'm concerned about, but it could be the heat. Otherwise I'm starting to see deeper changes in my body, shifts that have to do with strength building and the way it changes your shape and the way you hold yourself. I've started small with the core training stuff again--so unpleasant, but the missing link for so many other things--and very much looking forward to the arrival of the Flowin board, which is a Cirque du Soleil training tool and much more adaptable around this issue than anything else I've looked at. Of course, the lyra has many things that can quickly build your core strength on it, but I'm not re-engaging the lyra until I'm sure that my shoulder girdle is strong enough to stabilize and protect this old injury. It would be so fun to be on the lyra again, but that's a good ways off, at least doing it safely is. 

So for now it's the building process. I don't own a lot of fitness equipment--only the TRX, their Rip Trainer which I haven't really started to use yet, a foam block and an exercise ball. That's pretty much it. Very simple. I don't even use the foam block or exercise ball very often. I've never been one to belong to a gym or accumulate elaborate equipment for anything in life--the basics of the sport, and then that's it. It takes me a long time to form a relationship with how I want to use any piece of equipment. I'm a minimalist, and so far it seems that everything I need can happen with these simple things, which is pretty great. I came across the pair of climbing shoes I own the other day, which made me nostalgic for doing that for a while. These days, though, I'd have to toprope it. No more bouldering for this old lady. I'm over falling like that. Ya know? Traverses would be OK though. 

The Sicilian wants to go kayaking. I told him I'd take the board and accompany him. No kayaks for me--I hate the feeling of being restricted, and the seating position hurts my back. He kept making me laugh yesterday by saying over and over, "You're so hot! You're a woman!" When I finally asked him what he meant by the latter, he explained that he loves the fact that I'm both curvy and strong at the same time, that looking at me makes him happy. 

He's a funny one--so appreciative and vocal and affectionate and loving. He doesn't hold anything back, that one. He's such a confident and masculine man that he has absolutely no insecurities about being openly warm and loving and appreciative. It is very, very satisfying to spend time around a man who has no deep insecurities about his masculinity. It's pretty freakin' great. 

Yeah. Changes. I notice I'm starting to get more organized, too. It's happening slowly but it's definitely happening. I'm starting to gain ground on stuff I've been trying to get a handle on for literally the last 6 years of my life. It feels like I'm starting to become the true me on all levels, the me I always wanted to be, the me I always was on the inside but for so many reasons was afraid to be on the outside or didn't know what I needed to do to become her. 

That's all gone now. I'm ready to be her, and now I also know what to do.

I was looking at Lady Blue yesterday and thinking about how glad I am that I don't own any kind of bicycle anymore. Getting rid of that last bicycle started a whole series of events of being and doing and becoming what I really want. The moto is the symbol of all that. She is the only recreational vehicle of choice for VersionNext. VersionNext is a powerful woman who knows her own power and competence and is completely comfortable in it. As such, she only belongs with a guy who's the same way, which it would seem has actually appeared in her life against all conceivable odds.

It feels damn good.