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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, 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.
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Forecast, Expansion, Journey

I wake up this morning and this room feels more right already.  Putting the drums in here really changes the feeling.  It's good.  There is actually not that much to do, looking around--it's the matter of a few weeks' work perhaps.  Probably the same with the office.  

Late session with a client via phone last night.  She is one of those lovely intuitive psychic people who knows things.  At the end, she said to me unexpectedly, You are going to expand.  Your life is really going to expand, Elaine, I feel it coming.  You are going to travel, teach, do something much bigger than you are now.  And you are going to find love.  But he needs to be someone who is super smart, who is deeply interested in healing, someone whose life is expanding, not getting smaller.  Someone who wants to travel with you and grow with you and be with you as your gifts expand.  I feel all of that for you.

I was touched.  I said, "A book? Keeps coming up."

Yes! she said emphatically. That feels right.  That feels good.  A book.  Start working on it.

"Writing is easy," I smiled. "The hard part is, what about?"

Such a lovely woman. Later I got a text from her.  How about writing about your healing journey? That's interesting, because I feel like I'm always ON my healing journey.  It's not like I've "arrived" and now I'm some kind of expert who can say, "Oh you just do these 10 things and you are gonna be OK." That's not my experience, and I'm wary of the kind of arrogance that would lead a person to believe or say such things. I don't have "the answer." What I do have is a unique perspective, perhaps, and a tapestry of things that weave together to support my health.  That's not to say that this would work for another person. 

One has to be mindful, you know? Our culture is full of people writing about things that mean nothing, things meant to blow up your ego and make you into "somebody," to sell tapes and seminars and get you on the lecture circuit.  I am not interested in this at all unless it leads directly to the one thing I am interested in, which is healing.  Not understanding, not intellectual masturbation.  Healing.  The real thing. And for that, to work with groups, I need to make this visit with my friend, and study with people who essentially specialize in that kind of thing and have for 30,000 years.  Yea? 

I talked to my friend about the healings I did during the run of Still Now.  She was very very interested and asked me many detailed questions about what I did and how I involved other people in it.  I told her all I could remember and finished by saying, "And this is why I need to spend time around healers who have a group perspective.  I did it and it worked, but I was completely improvising. It's not like I could replicate what I did.  I would like to know more."

I've gotten through the manuscript now, which seems to have actually been written in the late 70s, later than I thought, and is not by my friend--it's by the anthropologist who mentored her and it includes some of my friend's work (there is a lot more that is not in there that she plans to publish herself).  It's a strange document, typewritten, constructed in pieces, literally taped together in some places, with 10 different kinds of paper, little drawings, etc.  The real thing, something a person labored over by hand.  My friend said that she has been looking for this manuscript for 20 years and that when she went to her archive with the intention of finding stuff for me, there it was.  

And here's the intriguing part: there is a small, very small, section of the manuscript that talks about the black-fringe-healer woman.  Not enough for my curiosity of course.  She is the only female figure involved in an extensive, secret rite that transitions boys into being men and bestows them with healing gifts.  All other women and female figures are kept out of these rites, but this one female healer is a central part of the transition into manhood.

My friend, when she handed me this, made a couple of jokes: one, that she said she saw things about me and this healing figure that are similar, and upon reading it, I have to agree there are some things, things that are funny, unsettling, humbling, and deeply thought provoking; and two, that in the region of the world we are going to, women my age and older are considered creme de la creme, the best, the sexiest, the most delectable, because of the wisdom we carry.  

Hmmm.

Clearing, Restructuring

This time, through the end of the year, is going to be devoted to clearing and restructuring.  There are changes that need to be made--in my little living space, in my office.  I look around and I see the scatter of 7 years of running too fast and too far, doing too much, not being able to get or keep things together due to time, stress, exhaustion, what have you.  And it's time to change that.  It's part of the bigger shift coming within the next several years.

I sorted and removed all of my instruments from my housemate's clutter and put them into my little room for a few nights to work with them using palo santo and rum.  Sacred music, a lot of it, has been played on these drums and bells, was for years, and they need to be reawakened.  They don't belong in the mundane chaos of the living room, forgotten. I only have two drums that weren't played for this purpose, and those are going to Goodwill this week; it's time to let those go and only have what's already been seasoned. Buffalo was right: I need to start playing again, it's a need not a want, and the first thing is to live with the drums for a bit even if it makes it a bit cramped in here for a minute.  If they sit here, I will play them, because they are here, reminding me of what it is I need to do and who I am.  When I lived in a painting studio for a few years, I positioned all the paintings so that I would see them from wherever I was in the space, so they were the first thing I saw in the morning, all through the day until I closed my eyes at night.  My best paintings were all from this time period.

The second thing is just getting rid of stuff.  Clearing. Papers, books, anything that doesn't need to be here, things from a past that is now over and done.  I can't do anything about housemate's clutter, but I can get rid of my own without too much effort.  All it takes is making the time.  A little at a time goes far. It's completely workable and doable. I've done it before. That part won't take long. When you come down to it, I don't really own that much, but what I have is chosen and meaningful, and getting rid of everything else will bring those things out in the right way.

The third is energetic; shifting the things in these spaces so that they hone the quality of feeling and the energetic focus.  I made some changes to this bed, adding some objects that have meaning and qualities to them and removing others. The shrine needs to be reworked again.  Candles need to be added and burned.  Rose petals scattered. Stuff like that.  

Shifts.  Happenings.  I know what I need to do.

Phone Call From Channel Z

Well, it was bound to happen.  My mother was bound to call at some point.  I'm ashamed to admit that I totally dropped off radar during the entire play process and purposefully avoided talking to either of my parents during that time.  I mean, I would think, backstage, What if she dies during this play and I didn't talk to her? and I would, literally, say to myself, I guess I will just have to work it out during these shows along with everything else.

I'm well aware that everyone "should" talk to their mother if they can, even if she's a morbid nutcase like my mother.  However.  There is a time and a place for these things, for the conversations consisting of strung together, en-masse non-sequiturs that all start with "Elaine youuuuuuu...."  Yeah.  A woman, even a dancing healing shamanic therapist woman, can only take so much of that while also playing an Angel of Death on the damn weekends.  So this is what it is.  

Anyway she was bound to reappear.  She always does.  And it's OK.  I will call her.  She has reinstated her offer to take me "shopping." Anyone who reads this blog knows that shopping is something I really hate to do, and it's the only thing she ever wants to do with me, of course.  Such is the nature of life and the cosmic joke of her and I being blood related. In between the en-masse non sequiturs, I will be lectured at length about topics like my appearance, money and the need to keep myself from being beheaded on my trips to South Texas.  Yea.  That last has already been explained to me at some length before, about how I'm going to get my head cut off and it's going to show up at her door packed in dry ice.  

I no longer ask where this stuff comes from because even if she knew, it wouldn't make a difference.  I assume a grave expression, as though I am putting serious thought into how I am going to prevent her from getting such an unwanted package. I mean, that's what's really important here, far more important than the fact that there are people who want to behead me running around in South Texas.

But I've been thinking.  As difficult as my mother is, I owe her some things, things she didn't even try to give me.  I'm probably moderately good looking only because of her, as all the women in my dad's family tend to give substance to the saying "rode hard and put away wet." I am a really good cook because of her.  I am creative because of her.  The fact that she would have ripped these gifts out of my little baby hands if she could have is not really relevant at this point.  The fact that I will never figure out relationships because she is so damn nuts is something I might be able to forgive her for by the time she dies.  I'm working on that part.

Channel Z.  All static, all day long, forever!  Here it is.



It's All About Original Thinking

Playtime with Hel.  We will attempt a Tricycle Rehearsal in earnest this coming week.  This is gonna happen.  As usual, we ended up collapsing on the floor in laughter as we worked out different ideas for what to try.  There is no way, no way at all to tell how this is going to play out.  It is definitely an example of Original Thinking being put into action.

She wanted to know how I was and I said, "I'm both weirdly depressed again, AND I feel like 100% better since I got rid of all that online dating crap.  That's just not for me.  New leaf!" She talked to me about her ideas for building something around text messages for the piece.  I started laughing and she wanted to know what was funny.

I said, "Well, this is really raunchy, but there was this one time I was at some kind of spiritual thing, I don't even remember what, or some kind of peace-out woman thing, and at the very end, in the middle of all this peaced out stuff, when I picked up my phone, right there on top was a text bubble with the most sexed-out, graphic text message from paramedic guy.  It was like, amazing, this Big-Lebowski moment of satori, hard to describe..."

"Right, out of context, right?" she asked excitedly. "That's the whole point."

I sighed. "I never told him that happened.  I wanted to but somehow I felt guilty about even bringing it up.  That poor guy.  I feel bad now that I kept on bothering him.  I mean I get it.  Guys my age don't want to go out with someone they can't bring to the neighbor's barbecue.  They want someone who fits into their world, someone comfortable, you know?  And I'm so clearly not that person."

"Well, you're really unusual in that you're such an artist, but you also have a master's degree, run a business, are super smart," she said.  "You're not just this artist who can't get her shit together.  There's a lot more to you than that."

Yea. I remember my psychoanalyst used to call this many speeds on your bicycle.  He said that I was a multi-geared thing with lots of settings.  That didn't exactly help me figure much out, as true as it is.  I mean, there may be a guy out there who has the balls to bring the Gothic spawn of Elsa Schiaparelli to his neighbor's barbecue, especially if he's totally happy because he knows he has the good stuff dialed in and that the neighbors drank the Kool-Aid, that unlike them, he will very likely get an amazing homemade tagine and a lot of sex this week.  However, this is probably not 98% of men.  Even the crazy ex, who was a musician and creative, didn't know what to do with me, and I totally should have known not to continue going out with that guy the day that he suggested that I should wear jeans and a T-shirt to something.  I do not own either, but you want silk harem pants, I'm your gal.

"It's about original thinking," I said to Hel.  "That's what it is really.  The outside life can look like whatever.  But the inside? Original thinking."

She said, "When I first met my husband I thought I couldn't be with him because he wasn't an artist.  But as time went by, and it became  more and more clear that he was genuinely interested in what I was into and who I was, that changed."

"You felt accepted," I said quietly.  "Yea, that's the deal isn't it."  She nodded.  

Wouldn't that be nice, to be accepted by someone.  A guy who thinks for himself, who didn't eat the blue pill, who holds out against the mindless crap he's been taught about relationships, people, love, life.  An original, independent thinker.

Til then, tricycle rehearsal it is.


Hunt, Find, Dream

One of the things I'm really starting to get along the shamanic path is that I need to listen, always, to that little voice that says, Go here.  Do that. I don't know why sometimes I resist it or refuse to do what it says.  The good thing is, it doesn't go away--it insists.

I finally went to this place this morning that that voice has been telling me to go to for the last three weeks. I argued with that voice.  I said, Why should I go there?  That place makes no sense.  It's not going to have what I'm looking for.  For Chrissake it's between an office park and a shopping mall. So I didn't go, and I didn't go, and I didn't go.  Finally, this morning, I said, Alright, I will go.  I will just go. 

So I go.  Pull up into the little parking lot. There's a greenbelt entrance there. I put on my little, light backpack and start to head toward the entrance.  

Then I back up.  And look up.  I count. 13 raptors overhead, circling.  One flies very low over me several times.  I see.

I head down toward the trail entrance, but it's in the opposite direction of the one the voice is telling me to go in, and what's more, it's besotted with people in sporting clothes, bikes, kids, with their helmets, water bottles, equipment.  Right?  I get about 20 feet in and I'm just going slower and slower.  I stop.  I can't.  I stand there in the middle of the traffic passing me.  And a whisper that only I can hear comes through my lips:  This is fucking obnoxious.

Whatever it is, this isn't it.  I know that much. I turn and head back toward the entrance and get the hell out.  I stand in the parking lot again and look up.  A group of men is there now, ogling me, fixing to go on a hike, I guess.  They stare at me and mutter among themselves.

I turn left.  And I see them. Black raptors now, different than the ones on this side.  Across the highway, sitting on a tower.  Alright.  I turn away from the parking lot and walk toward the highway. Not so safe.  Doesn't matter. I wait. I wait. I cross, six or seven lanes of speeding traffic. Careful. I go through a ditch and long weeds and grass and all kinds of stuff.  As usual I am not wearing the right footwear.  So what.  This is what it is. 

I come up on the tower.  It's on the other side of a barbed wire fence.  I count. 26 raptors. All black. I stand and look up at them.  Suddenly I realize, this is their place.  It's not our place.  It's theirs.  Go right and you'll find what you need. They are OK with it.  It's alright for you to be here.

I turn right. I go down through long grass.  Then I start seeing them. Feathers.  Huge ones. One after another, lying at different angles in the long grass, or near the top. So many. I've never seen this many anywhere, and most of them are in perfect condition.  

I gather. I am full of amazement and wonder. I am grateful. I go down and down.  Yellow flowers, untouched, bloom everywhere.  I come to a place where suddenly the energy changes and I sense that humans, ones who are hiding from something, come here.  Like any smart woman I silently back up and get out of that part.  I'm not here to get myself into trouble.  The call isn't about that.

Dream this morning:

I am lying on white rocks.  In black again.  As in the dream with the Cape hare, I am in some kind of drugged or injured or ill state, maybe, can't tell.  Only this time I'm alone.  I'm wearing black. I'm lying on these white rocks. Around me is long grass.  I can't move, and slowly winding around my throat and arm, maybe it's my left, is a large snake.  I can see it clearly and feel the cool, alien texture against my skin.  It's reddish in color and it has a diamond-ish, angled pattern on it.  

Strangely, paramedic guy is in this dream.  This is the first time anyone from this world has appeared in there.  He's standing about 20 feet away.  I can't move, but I can speak, and I say to him, Don't come closer.  If you come closer it's going to bite me. Don't do anything.

And he sinks down on one knee in the long grass.  He does the right thing; he settles down like an animal, to watch, and wait.  I feel this huge sense of relief when he does that, because I know that he's listening. That's where the dream ended.  Just that image, the slow movement of the snake, across my skin, and that feeling of waiting.

I wondered if I should tell him.  Somehow I don't think so.  I think being connected to me--and he is--disturbs him, and I don't want to disturb him.  Plus how do you tell someone about stuff like this.  It's alright to leave it here, in this world, I think.  No need to create problems for others.

The hunt. The find. The dream.

A Ritual

I went out to Paige last night for a lecture and ritual by Artemis Mourat.  I decided not to take the dance workshop this weekend; I just need to rest and decompress and do my own thing before the Serena Ramzy workshop in a couple of weeks.  This was my first time to meet Artemis and she's wonderful; a real wise woman, you know?

The lecture was fascinating, an overview of sacred dance throughout humanity, and then we did a ritual that she's been performing for years that involved dance, song, and two lists: one of what you want to bring in over the next 12 months, one of what you want to let go of. It was beautiful and mysterious and wild and powerful and exciting to be a part of this and to be led by such a wise woman so deeply steeped in dance and the sacred.  Just wonderful.  I was also invited to a major costume event last night, but after going through the ritual process, the last thing I wanted was to go downtown and be around a bunch of people posing and drinking.  So I just took all that good energy and took it home with me, rested, and slept deeply.  

As per her instructions I took the list of what I want to bring in and placed it under my Vajrayogini statue in this bedroom.  This little gold statue has a strange history of how it came to me, and has also been blessed by my teacher, so it's an item of great personal importance and power for me.  I usually put things I'm working on or wishing for under the bigger Buddha in my office, but this list is much more personal, much more about who I am as a woman, so it feels right to have Vajrayogini be the caretaker of it.

I was thinking about the little conversation with the Knight, the things he's told me about himself, the UPS guy, paramedic guy who sent me a sweet, gentle text earlier in the week too, what it means to me to be "out there" again.  One of the things I put on the list we burned, stuff to let go of, was hiding.  Somehow, what happened with the UPS guy brought to my attention how often I think there is something wrong with me when I feel awkward or don't know how to handle an approach by a man. I really spent some time with that; finally I thought to myself, you know, the right guy would probably really like the fact that I'm not slick; that I'm not a hustler who knows how to talk to any man, that I haven't had so many relationships or dated so many men that it's all become a routine, far from it.  

There is maybe just some quality of innocence that I still have about all of this, and I'm not going to feel ashamed of it any more; I don't want to be some kind of expert "dater" who goes on a million dates a week with different guys, treats meeting men like a shopping expedition, is burned out from online dating, or any of that.  I think that the way I do things is innately protective of many of the best things about who I am as a person and a woman.  I still believe in love and connection.  I still like men, very much, and appreciate them.  I still have my heart, my soul and my intentions intact, my integrity, and now I've healed enough to be able to share those things. 

I feel such a huge sense of relief and restoration at having gotten rid of everything having to do with the online dating world, and I'm not going back.  That is simply not how I work; it doesn't align with anything I'm about in this life, and I'm not putting myself through it any more.  The ritual last night indeed did feel like an ending to all of that, an ending that allows the beginning of something that I really want.

Think I'm going to go see if I can feather hunt this morning for a bit.

I Miss You

Brief text conversation with the Knight earlier today.  Only a few sentences. And one of them was I miss you. Flashing across my screen.

I looked at the words a long time, startled again at his daring, the way he cuts through things, as though he knew I was wondering how he's feeling about me. He appears to be wickedly intuitive anyway, but I find myself surprised.  

I'm surprised too at how open he is about things regarding relationships.  The last time we saw each other, during that conversation he told me he doesn't do one night stands; that he doesn't get involved with more than one person at a time physically and doesn't believe in it; and, interestingly, that he doesn't approach women--he approached me because he had met me before and thought of asking me out then (although, actually, I am now sure we never formally met--we were just in the same room at the same time on two different occasions years and years ago).  He's been in a handful of long term relationships, so apparently there's no obstacle to women approaching him, not that this is a surprise given how attractive he is.  

If even half of what he said is true, though, he's certainly a rather unusual person, especially for his profession.  And no, I didn't ask for any of this information. He volunteered it.

I mean who knows, we've been out twice, but I find myself surprised. Perplexed. 

And missed, and something about that touches me.

Nice Ink

UPS guy.

I'm walking down the driveway. Going to mailbox. I nearly bump into him.  Package for Housemate. I accept, say thank you.

I walk to mailbox.  He gets into truck.  But he doesn't leave right away.  He says something to me about the weather.  I look up, startled, and he's gazing intently at me.  I see in his eyes that flash of animal magnetism.  He's very attractive, built, with a nice tribal tattoo half sleeve down his right arm.

We make a bit of small talk.  All I can think to say that isn't about the weather is, Nice ink. He just looks at me intently. I sense he wants to say more but doesn't know how to go about it.

I don't either, and eventually, he drives off.  

I'm a dummy, huh? 
No idea how to talk to a guy. 
I wonder, how I can learn?

I Know You're Afraid To Fall

I kneel behind my student.  Curl one arm around to embrace, the other around the lower ribs to press.  Gently back, toward me.  

That's it.  This is big for you, I say softly into my student's ear.  It's OK. You will be alright. I'm right here, I've got you.  

Gently. Gently press. Back, a little.  System startles into forward, then again.  I hold my student in the place right before that and press.  Then, finally, it happens.  Ribs melt backward and everything, top to toe, softens.  And immediately, the next thing I feel is that deep shaking, that says that the tears underneath are rising.  I figured that would happen.  When we let go, when the fear finally moves through, the next thing are tears of relief.  That's healing. Yea?

The Feldenkrais lesson today is about softening through the chest, back, ribs, gently learning how to fall a little, safely, to let go. It brings up so much for people.  Falling is such a big deal.  We are afraid to fall because we think it's a place where we lose everything. Most of us don't have the experience of having someone there, holding us, helping us learn to fall a little at a time, safely, surrounded by love.  It's a powerful thing to feel, and a powerful thing to give another person, that support; to hold an adult like a child in my arms, to let them feel, find, experience themselves in this way.

I wish I could do more of this work with others.  Especially with men, who trust me so much in other ways, and almost never get to experience this kind of holding and love in their relationships. It changes your life, who you are, to know that you can fall safely, that you can trust another and find something that frees you at the same time. Being able to feel that safety sorts out a lot of things.  It lets you want without problems.  It lets you move, unfrozen, clear, become the beautiful human animal that you are.  We all need so much of that.

Class is quiet at the end, people deeply in their experience of feeling and falling.  I get a text from my student after.  All it says is "Thank you."

You're welcome, tender human.