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Who Am I?

Welcome to this healing 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, 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.  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.  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

TehPerspective.

So, there was a pretty hilarious text conversation with Positive Guy today. Apparently he had tickets to the Levitation Fest that got canceled and decided that in lieu of this experience, he was going to go down to Eeyore's Birthday Party. 

I really, really like the fact that the autocorrect on Blogger tries to repeatedly change this to "Eyesore's Birthday Party." Personally, I do, in fact, find Eeyore's Birthday to be more of an Eyesore's Birthday, but on the other hand, Positive Guy just moved to Austin a little less than a year ago, so what are you gonna do, ruin an Atown institution for someone new? 

No. You are not gonna do that. So you just inquire generally about their level of readiness for nudity, body paint, and bad drumming fueled by weed and then you say, "Have a nice time and let me know how it goes!"

Well, later on, I got a series of texts along the lines of, WTF did I just experience? So I helped him process it. Then I asked him if he had come away with any new thoughts or perspectives on reinventing his life and sexuality. There was a long silence, then finally the answer came:

Don't be a dork. That kept coming up for me.

I laughed out loud at this. Yeah. He's a pretty funny guy when he gets into the pocket. Apparently it took four beers, a turkey leg (ew) and a bunch of cell phone pictures to get him feeling grounded. I think he's going to be OK. He's somewhat prone to mysticism, so I'm sure he'll be searching for archetypal meaning through coming days. More power to him. I can't wait to see what he comes up with.

It's just funny sometimes to get TehPerspective on these Atown things that I take so much for granted because I grew up with them. I forget that to others they can seem so out there. To me they're just everyday Austin stuff that never goes away. I include the new everyday Austin stuff in that, i.e. hipster type stuff, bad art, too many taco trucks, bicycle and skateboard obsessed dudes in their 40s, all of it. Austin is just that kind of place. It draws and creates weirdos. That is just how she roll. It is just part and parcel of the landscape of this place, and as a village shamaness, I just hang out in it and go, "Yup."

I bought Handsome Guy a drink for his birthday the other night. He didn't have the best birthday because someone crashed into his car and didn't leave a note or any info. So I was happy to buy him a birthday drink and talk and give him a little birthday love. He's a sweet and funny guy. I still think I am not his type in some way I can't put my finger on. It's cool though. 

Somehow, he found me on Facebook and for the first time in forever, I actually accepted a friend request. I'm a reasonable person in real life (I think), but on Facebook I'm an unreasonable, temperamental despot, randomly refusing to let people friend me even if I've known them for years. And no, I don't know why I'm like that. I've never figured it out. 

What makes it even weirder is that I never look at Facebook so it shouldn't matter. I get those scolding messages from Facebook about how I have 47 notifications and I haven't looked at any of them, that's how little I keep up with it. But, I had to add a couple of people because of the possibility of the Cyberopera Revival that's being talked about, so I got on there to do that and bing! there was his friend request. So now he can look at all my dumb performance photos. Ha!

Okay. That was that. I had a food relapse this week and I paid the price. In an ugly, painful way. Two or three days of letting myself eat wheat ended up in a bad inflammatory situation which I am now working on fixing. It's back to the basics. Gotta go cook and get Pistola's pistols ready for the AM.

PleatherCrisis.

It's not really a crisis. But 007 sent me a list of things I need for going out to the range. Among these were listed "pants with belt loops" - for a holster, I guess. I have a holster, but it's not the kind that goes on a belt. 

I circled the avoid-this-issue airport for a full day and a half before finally typing him a text: I have to come clean that I own no pants that fit the description you provided. To tell you the truth, every other time I've gone to a range, I've been wearing a pair of pleather leggings and tall boots. 

What, are we switching to sword fighting? he typed back, and I cringed. I'm sure he was laughing his ass off. I replied defiantly, It's worked so far. Because it has, but apparently there are these things called "tactical bays" and "static bays" and these things have something to do with whether you need pants with belt loops or not. I understand none of this, but I guess I'm going to learn.

I do have these three pairs of super flared badass 1970s style jeans but this is not the kind of thing he was thinking about, I am sure of it. You don't see superflares on the range, though perhaps there's a new tradition that could be started there. They must have worn them back in the actual 1970s, right? Because they didn't have pleather leggings.

So what are you gonna do. I'm not gonna break a tradition of not wearing regular pants that has extended well past 40 years. I do have this awesome rockstar belt with white stripes and stars on it. Maybe that can work. Hell, what do I know? Who knew the question of belt loops was going to get involved in all of this?

Well, I asked for it. Live and learn. We'll see what happens.

ZeWalk.

Breakfast and walking with 007 was short, because he had important stuff he had to do. But it was pretty great. I'm getting more and more about why I like this guy so much--in certain important ways, we have a lot in common. We both have a physical training practice. We both work in fields that require confidentiality. We both know what it is to dedicate yourself to something for many years and the maturing process around that. There is just a lot there to connect around, and he's also just such a sweet and open and stable kind of guy. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. He suggested we go to the range, I said yes, and later on received a fully detailed plan for the when and where of going. I thought this was the height of awesomeness, and said so. I'm really looking forward to it.

It's really great to connect with someone so stable, who knows himself and is mature and strong and clear about what his deal is. He's been very open about his relationship history and what he's learned from that. This is something I've learned--good men don't have to have those details dragged out of them. They share them openly because they're not hiding things. 

I've really been appreciating that transparency. I've also been appreciating myself for having the good sense to choose good men to get to know. That makes me feel happy.

It's alright. All good. 

Tactical Strategies To Deal With Life Shit.

The title of this post is what a client said to me today. "I can't tell you how much these last few sessions have helped me. These are some serious tactical strategies to deal with life shit! The ROI on this therapy is huge!"

I burst out laughing and he did too and we couldn't stop for a long minute. I said, "That's quite possibly the best paraphrasing of this process from a business perspective that I've ever heard. I wonder if I can get that onto a business card: Tactical Strategies For Dealing With Life Shit. That just about sums it up."

It really does. That was pretty great. I got a call from a corporate type person inviting me to participate in some kind of "expo" at some kind of corporate thing. I tried to understand it. Apparently I would get some kind of table and be able to promote my business. It sounds kind of weird and vacuous and it costs $100. I'll think about it. I'm such an enormously weird character to show up at things like this, but sometimes that's actually what makes it work--people are like, who the hell is that chick and how is it that someone like her is right here, right now, and how does she know so much damn stuff? The lid is kinda poppin' right now in terms of work, but gonna sleep on it. I actually wondered what it would be like for me to bring the Feldenkrais skeleton and just put him on the table, posing him mid sequence in a lesson. That would be seriously freaking weird at a corporate expo. I'm not sure the mirth is worth the $100 though.

Anyway. I was laughing about that all day today. I find myself once again wanting to give up the OKC profile and telling myself I told myself I would try to stick it out. Just something about getting the message from the Batman guy made me feel like a new rock bottom had appeared in the morass. I'm probably letting it get to me a bit too much. The whole thing is a Loch Ness of confusion interspersed with little frissons of desperation and smug self contemplation, with a few cool folks scattered into the mix. Well, it's time to take a break anyway. I've not had much incentive to follow up on conversations  happening there, and quite frankly, I need some Me Time. I'm aching for that time in South Texas and wishing it wasn't an entire month away. But. That is how it is. That is why I book that time; I get to critical mass and then I need to check out of things and go run around in the wilderness for a handful of nights and days.

I've been thinking about that, too. I'm thinking I'm going to check out the range inside the Boca Chica area this time. The whole thing is a giant soul recharge, yea? Days of speaking to no one and getting lost in sand and wind and feathers and marsh and bay. Might as well let some ballistics fly down in the deep lands just to see how it feels.

I also got an email from Charlie listing the rest of his shamanic trainings this year. Given that I am not going to Africa, I'm going to put that energy into this direction. It's time. 

Tactical strategies for dealing with life shit. Let's roll a little drumming and healing and dance into them strategies. Let's. I'm ready. The people are ready. Let it begin.

TheCracklinn.BlackCoffee.

Check in with my friend, howzit goin' out there?

I told him, wal, I got some weird ones on the OKC. Like the guy with the huge Bat Signal tattooed on his chest. It's one of those things you hope is never gonna happen to you, and then it does and it gives you an existential moment. So I wouldn't say this week is going great thus far. But I'm going for a walk with the 007 on Thursday, and he's a really cool guy, so that's good.

How about the guy who gave you the tickets? Friend asked. You think he's into you, doing something like that?

I just never got the impression he was, I replied. For whatever reason I kind of get the impression that he thinks I'm cool and all but I'm not his type. Dunno why. That is alright, you know, because he's still an awesome guy. Or maybe it's me. Sometimes I just can't tell. I just kind of think if any of these guys are interested in me, at some point, they're going to tell me, or something else will happen that makes it more clear. Til then I'm not gonna worry about it. 

Because what is a woman gonna do? Drive herself nuts trying to figure it out? I figure if a man is a man, he can at some point let me know what he's thinking or feeling about me. Right? I don't assume that just because a fellow is being polite that it means he's interested in me romantically. He could just think I'm an awesome girl and an awesome friend (and I am). Or he could just like that I have cool ideas and plan cool outings (I do). If he got to know me well enough he would also realize that I am someone who does not assume and that therefore he needs to be clear. 

I'm not one to jump boundaries; if anything I play it more conservatively than I'd like to because of the "crackling effect," as my friend called it last night. I'm (now) well aware that I terrify the livin' shit out of guys, so, I think I'm best off assuming that everything's a friendship until proven otherwise. I also know that a guy who was really interested, and also the kind of guy I need, wouldn't try to make me guess or play mind games. He'd be straightforward and sweet about it, because he'd be a strong enough person and man to be that way.

I think I'm sweet too actually. But I'm sweet like strong black coffee with honey in it. I'm not, you know, milquetoast. I said that to the Leo once and he burst out laughing. I guess he'd never heard that expression before. Maybe people don't really say that anymore. I dunno. Whatever, man. Are you gonna apologize to my mule, or what?

Speaking of friendship, Bond Guy/007 offered today to be an "accountability partner" for my motorcycle practice. In other words, to be an encouraging person to keep me getting on the bike and working through whatever mental obstacles I'm encountering. I learned some interesting stuff about him. He used to play music, a lot, and still studies guitar. He's almost completely deaf in one ear. He's been through a coaching program. He took a world level medal in martial arts just a couple of years ago for his division. I thought it was especially cool that he saw that I might need some help and came up with a way to offer it that WOULD actually help. So often when guys offer help--if they even do, which most don't because they're too self centered--what they really do is talk down to me and act condescending, which is not helpful at all and has the additional negative side effect of angering the Pistola. He's actually offering me something that makes a difference and makes me feel good, and I appreciate the shit out of it.

It kind of got my wheels spinning on other things. Frankly, I want to know what this guy does to be in the shape he's in, since he's 53. It's not easy to be in that kind of shape and I wonder what his training regime is like. I don't need to be as ridiculously fit as he is, but I'm thinking I'm going to pick his brain about what he's doing and how he's mixing it up. I see that I'm back on the path to getting stronger, and that the things I'm doing work for that, but I'm curious and want more information about what he's doing. Training changes as you get older. It's always impressive to see someone in such great shape at any age, but even more as we get older. 

So I thought that was really cool. Ya know, I like it when a man realizes that a strong woman still needs his help with things and actually can't always figure it all out by herself. And is confident enough in himself and caring enough toward her to offer that help. That's just pretty cool. That's a perceptive and empathetic and self confident man. Yup.

TheAche.TheMusic.

Woke up sore. Two solid hours in the studio the night before. Running. Walking. Jumping. Crossing. Dancing. Pausing. Anything and everything. Just kept going and going. I sense that the deep core of the dancing body has awakened and is now in its training cycle. The art and the practice are the same. Dance. Dance. Dance. There are going to be three long days of dance and a South Texas trip in May. I want to be ready.

Then, in the morning. Bond Guy texted to see if we can walk on Thursday. Yes, if it's in the morning because I have to work that day. Okay. A surprise: Handsome One texted and asked if I wanted tickets to the ACL taping happening in the evening. I asked if he was serious and if he had anyone to give them to who already had someone to go with since I wasn't sure I could find someone. He said no, he wanted me to have them, so I accepted them, and somehow found someone to go with me within moments, an amazing thing. 

So I went. And the music was deep and dark and magical and took me to many places. What a special gift it was. I'm so moved by it. I sent him a thank you. What a sweet fellow he is. I don't know why he thought of me for these, but regardless of the reason, it was like a divine gift--a really soulful, shamanic, woman power kind of experience that astounded everyone in the room. I am so glad I was there.

On the way back, my friend and I were walking and we passed by a group of homeless guys. One of them looked at me and started talking and yelling and then wailing. My friend took note of it and I nodded. He remarked on how strange it was, and said, "It's like he picked up on something about you. That was really odd."

"What do you think? I have that effect on people," I said simply.

He pondered. Finally he said, "Yeah. I can see that. You do have this kind of energy about you. It's intense and crackling and really alive. I can see how that might set some people off and scare many many others. There are very, very few women who have the kind of presence you have. The containers of most people aren't really big enough to handle it."

"Well, that certainly seems to be what's happened on OKCupid," I said crisply, and he laughed. I paused, then I laughed too. Oh well. C'est la vie.

Tired. But feeling good. The dance. The ache. The music. It's all one.

ZeArtist.

Well. I may have found someone to take photographs. ZeArtist has been bugging me about it. I finally got the hint that he might like to have some professional photos for his own portfolio. So I've been looking around, and what I've learned is that most professional photographers are kinda dicks. He actually said that, and said he didn't want to send me to the people he knew because he thought they were skeevy. Okay. I believe him because of the nature of what we're talking about.

As it happens, I randomly clicked on the OKC profile of a guy because I thought the photo was really good, and it turned out he's a photographer with experience photographing ink, so we had a talk about it, he sent me some images, and we may meet soon to see if it's a fit artistically. He would like to do something more abstract, which sounds cool. His work was really nice, and he's a younger guy, too, which I like--I think younger artists have a fresher perspective sometimes, a less jaded eye. The other reason I haven't looked into getting photos is that I find a lot of photography of tattoos really cheesy and overdone--not even remotely artistic in the way I would wish. But this guy's work was really nice, spare, elegant, beautifully composed, so, it seems worth a conversation. I have a friend who can take photos informally and has an amazing eye, but ZeArtist told me straight up that ink needs special treatment with lighting and so forth and that it won't work that well without those conditions.

At any rate, he was telling me that he'd had a couple of conversations with other women who ride motorcycles, and that they had confirmed exactly what I'd told him about its being a polarizing factor when it comes to men. He seemed surprised by that, and amused. 

I said, "What, you didn't believe me?"

"I suppose not," he admitted. "Seems ridiculous."

"Well, of course it seems ridiculous to you," I said drily. "You ride a Buell Cherry Bomb. Everyone seems ridiculous to you."

He laughed. Then he quizzed me about my dating life. I told him about paddling around in the strange Ocean of Unavailability that is OKCupid. But, that I'm learning some things. I wanted his thoughts on one particular question: should an artist always be with an artist?

He pondered that, the needle buzzing. Finally he said, "You know, that's a tough one. I myself have tended to go that way. I'll tell you why: when you're making a living doing something you really love to do, you're in a very small minority of people. And there can be a lot of jealousy and resentment toward you if the person you're with isn't in that place, and that turns into undercutting you and not supporting your work. On the other hand, when you ARE with an artist, there can be this weird competitiveness and a different kind of jealousy. But in general, I've tended to believe that artists should be with other artists."

"I seem to get approached a lot by academic types, Ph.Ds that sound like they used to be professors and are older than me," I remarked. "I mean, teaching is an art too. But they seem so disembodied and checked out in this strange way. All in their heads. I guess it's because my primary art form is dance. Something about all the intellectualism seems unreal. You know, I kind of think that even if it took a while to figure out how to have a relationship with someone creative, I'd be willing to put in that time. It does seem important, though I also believe creativity is wide."

"My parents are professors, and while they are not boring, most of their colleagues are completely boring," he said firmly. I laughed.

Anyway. After much suggesting on his part, I'm finally pondering the photo thing. Who knows. Maybe it'll be this thing I'll be glad I did when I'm 55 and 65 and 75. I think it's certainly worth looking into.

ByeBumble. Concerts And Dogs.

Well, I said goodbye to Bumble today. Said goodbye to Match earlier this week. Both just too full of squares. No artists. No creative types. I simply cannot see myself with some dude with a corporate job and a gelled haircut who gets on a boat on the weekends. It's like something from another planet. Just not for me. 

I left Tinder installed because I got contacted by yet another guy from weeks ago on there, and we were going to have a tea but it didn't happen due to schedule mismatch--but he seems like a cool guy, so once again, I had to go back and see what that original conversation was about, because it happened something like 6 weeks ago. Since Tinder doesn't work most of the time anyway, it hardly matters. 

So that's what that is. Part of me thinks it was a mistake to give this online thing 6 months, but I believe in giving something a sincere try, which I've never done before with this particular thing. In 6 months, I'll know everything I need to know about both the possibilities and the limitations of this particular medium. It's actually been a relief to get tired of it and stop putting energy into it. It's been almost a month, and I've learned a lot. And I've made a few friends thus far. 

I'm learning about concerts, dogs, books, and other things from the lives of the cool men I've met. It's little everyday stuff, small, comforting, and real. It's actually really nice. I don't feel attached to trying to make something happen. Time is what weeds things out--this is what I learned in 2015, plus, I'm in a 500% better place with all of it because I'm not trying to recover from major surgery or Tramadol aftereffects like I was for so much of last year. This year, I'm feeling like myself. It's pretty awesome. So the guys I meet, though they may be a small number (which is completely fine with me), are truly getting the best of me now. It took a few weeks and a couple of false starts to get to this place, but I'm here now, and feeling right about it.

Okay. I'm going to the studio. Time to dance and drum.

PracticePractice.

I went out there, just praying Lady Blue would start up. I haven't ever let her go this long without running her, it's just that between my work schedule and the rain, it happened. There was a little coughing and then, she started right up and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I let her run while I checked tires and stuff. The sky was starting to cloud up while I did so.

I stood there with the tire gauge in hand, listening to her purr. Finally I thought, What am I waiting for? OK it might rain, but you won't be more than a few streets away. Just do it.

So I went inside and challenged myself to gear up quickly and get my ass back out there and onto the bike. And I did. And I practiced. Today was not a great practice because my mind is tired and foggy from such a long day yesterday and I was having trouble concentrating. I also flooded her a couple of times trying to do a "start on an uphill" in the library parking lot, which has a slight incline and is therefore a good place to work on this. It's frustrating, because cognitively, I know that doing this is not that hard--I do it in my car every day without even thinking about it, hell, I was in the ridiculously steep Whole Foods parking garage a couple of weeks ago, in a tight line, and navigating that whole throttle/clutch thing without any effort. Cognitively, I know I know how to do this because I do it every day.

But that's how the brain is. Funny. You change one thing and it thinks it has never done this thing before. So, I'm on this incline--and we're talking it's so small an incline and so gradual that your 85 year old grandma could walk up it with no problem--and I just keep stalling Lady Blue because I have a death grip on the throttle and am afraid to let the clutch out enough. Feeling the bike start to roll backward activated this panic response that I was having to push hard against to overcome. I did manage to do it successfully two times, but the others, I stalled and flooded and had to get off and sit on the curb and wait til I could start the bike again. 

Learning is just such a funny thing. The mind and the body are not synchronized when you are a beginner. What you know you know is often not of assistance in such moments. And frustration doesn't help. I well remember how scary it was learning this in a stick shift car, and that it took a while. I'm sure I stalled out plenty of times then, too. It's all about practice, practice, practice, and being gentle with myself. 

However, once I realized it was gonna be a somewhat crappy day, I decided to look for and practice things I could feel proud of later, so I wouldn't get down on myself. Here's what they were:

-I did not drop the bike at all, came close once and corrected it. I realized I have this bad habit of turning the wheel slightly to the left both when starting and stopping. I worked on correcting this.
-I went one street further this time and didn't totally freak out when a car got behind me two times, something I've had a consistent problem with before now.
-I realized I was pulling in the brake harder than I needed to and worked to soften that tendency.
-I realized that I was probably using front and back brake just like I was taught and not even thinking about it. That's the first time.
-I made a bunch of clean stops.
-I did, briefly, get into second gear. It did help. It was also kind of scary to feel that additional power. But, it was the first time, and I did it.
-I successfully practiced even though I wasn't optimal internally. This is important, because no doubt, once one starts riding out in the world, there are going to be times when you might have to ride when you are not 100% in the best head space. While no one smart wants to do this, I bet it just happens sometimes. So, it's actually good I practiced finding out what this was like.

So those were the highlights. I came home and parked the bike differently and spent 15 minutes giving myself a "you did it" pep talk. The thing is, I have to practice this stuff and go through all the pain of it. There's no way around it. I live in a really hilly neighborhood, which is why it's important. It won't do to be scared of hills, so the uphill start thing is something I really have to get under my belt, but like everything else, I have to start small and learn over time.

I can also see that more frequent practice would help me a lot, even if it's just a little here and there. It's all the basic things. Starting and stopping. Turns. Being aware of my environment. Assessing risks. Not spacing out. Every ride builds these skills just a little bit. I can feel the difference from when I first started. More is just better. So, going to see how I can start to do that, even if it's just a turn or two around the block sometimes.

I was thinking about my clients who have horses and how much time they spend on their horses. It's a lot. Needs to be the same here, though a bike needs a lot less from me than a horse. It's all about building those skills. Lady Blue is my horse, I guess.

I can do it.