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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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The Beautiful And The Strange

I finally talked to housemate about the kitty, and my dreams, and the sow bugs.  I showed him the sheet.  I saw the pain on his face.  He said quietly, "What do you think it means?"

I said, "I know this sounds crazy.  But I think the kitty ate something poisonous.  I think he died from it on that Sunday night.  I feel he is very close to this house, within half a mile, underneath something.  His death was not easy.  I think his spirit came back here and visited me to let me know that he was struggling and near the end, and that he came to me and not you because it would have been too much for you, it would have devastated you.  I waited to tell you because I knew your heart was breaking."

He was silent for a long moment.  Then he said, unexpectedly, "I dreamed that same night that he had eaten rat poison and was underneath a house close by."

So we talked about it.  I was able to help and reassure him that I think the kitty has passed and is at peace although his passing was difficult.  He's sad but I think he has accepted it now.  I'm glad I waited to tell him.  I'm sad too because I know he loved that little animal.  We both looked as hard as we could.  We did all we could, and even if we found him, I don't think we could have saved him.  I know housemate wishes he could find him just for closure, at least have his collar or something. I personally think it might be better that he doesn't, at least not for a while.  I don't think it would benefit him to see his beloved pet in a state of decay right now.  Later would be better.

Three clients of mine told me I scared them within the last week.  Not scared them like in a bad or evil way.  Scared them with my insights.  One of them is a young man who I am 100% sure is also in the midst of either a shamanic or vajrayana awakening.  He's been diagnosed with depression all his life, but after meeting with him a few times, I basically stopped doing counseling with him and started teaching him principles of vajrayana Buddhism, and he is doing way better.  He leaned forward last week and said, "You're not a regular counselor.  You have something else going on.  Something really else.  What is it?" So I explained to him what is going on with me, and what I'm doing with him too, and he is cool with it, because it's working, though it's highly unusual.  But I do what works given that choice.

Another client is a medium.  A real one.  She sees spirits and identifies their clothing, time period, name, stuff like that.  Her findings have been verified by historical records from some of the buildings she's visited.  She doesn't advertise her gift or make money from it, and finds it burdensome.  Part of our work together is easing that burden.  There are many people who claim to be mediums, but she's the only real one I've ever met, and her struggle with her gift is part of that.  At the end of our last session, she leaned forward too and said, "And what do you have going on?"

You see, that is the deal.  My practice is unusual in the respect that many of my clients are healers, psychics, intuitives, shamans themselves.  They know, and they ask me questions, when they see something happening in me.  I am completely honest with them because this is what is right.  So the relationships are unusually intimate, unusually honest.  It is how it has to be, because I learn from them too, and help them with their gifts. 

I think it is all part of the beautiful and the strange.  I said to Michelle yesterday that if and when I meet my true one, find that love, he is going to be someone who believes in and deeply loves the beautiful and the strange, and would fight with all his heart to protect it.  Because he is one who knows the preciousness of it, and what it means to all of us.

Hare, Journey, Holding

I did some research this morning and corrected my previous posts.  The animal in my last dream is not a rabbit; it is a hare, and after looking at some stuff, it is actually a Cape hare, which is native to Africa.  It didn't take me long to figure this out looking at photos--the shape of the body and ears and the markings from the dream are exact, distinctive.

The vividness of these dreams has been astounding, particularly the way in which the details of the animals I see are so specific that I am able to identify them via photographs although I have never seen these animals before.  The gyrfalcon and the Cape hare are not animals I would have ever encountered.  It has not been usual, before this time in my life, for me to dream of animals or insects so much, nor to remember my dreams at all.  The only one I have not been able to identify is the green insect in the cluster I dreamed of previously.  There are a lot of green beetles in the world and I haven't seen the right one yet.  It almost looked like a cross between a blowfly and a scarab, that kind of color.  Both are insects of decomposition.

All of the other animals and insects that have appeared are Native American totems.  Falcon.  Walking stick.  Cicada.  Sow bug.  Hare.  I don't know anything about Native American shamanic practice but they are all in there.  A number of these animals speak of three things:  change and newness (intuition, hidden messages), meeting new others, and the need to be careful.  There are cautions present in several of these animals and dreams, including the one from yesterday morning.  It's probably one of the reasons I feel so jumpy and nervous.  I keep getting warnings to be careful and I don't know what they mean or what to do or not do.  My sense is that I am meeting with Buffalo not a minute too soon and that it would have been better to do so this week; strangely, he thought that's what we had scheduled, but I couldn't make it out there until Monday.  Even more strangely, and somewhat funnily, we are meeting at a pancake house to eat pancakes before we go out to wherever we're going.  Eating pancakes with the shaman.  So typical of working with an indigenous healer.  Eat a little pancake, drink a little rum, play a little drum, do some healin'.  Etc.

Joanna said that she thought the flowers might be from paramedic guy.  He's the only one out of all the people I met who knows where I live.  She thought it might be an apology for having treated me so badly.  It's possible, and it's weird that she said that, because when I got that phone call on Wednesday afternoon, that was the first thing I thought--that they were from him--but it seemed so out there and unlikely that I dismissed it.  She also said that even if he didn't want to say anything, it would have been better if he had at least included his name.  I'm OK with the flowers this morning.  I don't feel scared any more.  They are a sweet gift.  I accept them.  I am going to take some for the shrine at the office and rearrange the rest.  If it was him, I too wish he had included his name, because then I wouldn't have spent several hours yesterday feeling terrified that it was a message from my stalkerish ex.  But that is alright.  He didn't know about that.  I hope he accepts my apology too.

I think I am also going to call the female shaman Joanna suggested today.  I may need more than one helper in this.  This is pretty intense and I will admit it--I'm scared shitless.  I haven't had but one or two panic attacks in my entire life, and I had three of them this week.  I still worry that I'm going nuts. I feel extremely vulnerable and exposed and scared right now.  Joanna said that the dragon shawl was protection for me, to wrap it around me when I feel scared and hold on tight.  

I will.  I am.

Power Surge

Had a session with Michelle today.  Caught her up on what's going on with me.

Afterward, she said, "Elaine, when I put my hands on you, I feel this giant power surge.  This has been getting stronger and stronger through our last several sessions.  Today I feel a cycling--first that you are drawing from a reservoir of power, then it cycles and YOU are the reservoir of power. Back and forth, over and over again.  I haven't felt that before.  This is big, Elaine, just so big."

"Yes.  An engine is beginning to rotate," I said.  "I know this is what this is.  It's warming up.  It's something different.  It's about benefiting others."

"You aren't a light healer, and you aren't a shadow healer," she remarked.  "You're both.  You're working on both sides.  Balancing those sides seems like it's helpful right now.  Are you familiar with the Tara mantra?"

"White Tara?  I have the entire sadhana, and have been given the empowerment to do it.  I haven't done it but a few times.  I'm much more familiar with Chenrezig, which is another manifestation."

"I kept hearing that mantra over and over again as I was working on you.  Perhaps invite some of that here, for that balance," she said.  

She also inquired into my relational life.  I said, "Everything is taken down.  I don't think I had any business doing that, if you want to know the truth.  Men are very attracted to me.  And they get really scared.  I'm pretty deep in here.  It's hard right now for me to come all the way up to the level of a 'date.'  I think I'm a pleasant enough date, conversational, sweet, interesting.  But men figure out I am a very heavy hitter before too long.  I'm not sure why I was out there, trying that, at this time."

We talked about it a bit.  I told her about the flowers.  She asked if I had a bad feeling about them.  I was quiet for a moment.  Finally I said, "No.  I don't.  I feel that they came from some place of meaning that wasn't ill intended.  I can discover who sent them.  But it would be better for that person to come forward and show themselves to me.  It would benefit that person to reveal themselves.  This is why I won't do it.  This is the story of meeting men, too--they don't want to be seen, but I see everything, and that's the issue.  I have taken myself off of all that, for now."

She said, "It's good to get some practice sometimes."

"I suppose," I said. "But I know it's not the right time.  I can feel that.  I don't think I'm supposed to be alone, Michelle.  I get the strong sense that I'm supposed to be partnered.  But this is not the right time.  It's not here yet.  So I'm stopping for now."

She said, "Whatever is happening, it is very big, Elaine.  There is a lot of power here.  And you are one of the best people to hold that power, because you are humble and don't have that ego.  It's OK for you to hide for awhile.  Plus which, you're not like all the other girls, you know."

Hide like the hare, I suppose.

Dream

This was last night.  

I am standing in a field over a woman lying on the ground.  She wears a white dress.  Is she sick?  Dying?  In a trance state?  I can't tell.  I am wearing all black.  Long fringes.  The wind blows the fringes.

I kneel down and place both of my hands on her.  I see that she is me.  Her eyes are closed.  She is so vulnerable, exposed.  I place my hands on her to see if she is breathing and if there is any help that she needs.  She does seem like she is in some distress but it may not be a bad thing.  She may have been drugged, or is in trance, or journeying.  I am not sure.

The scene shifts.  I am standing in the same field but in the place of her/my body is a hare.  A soft ordinary grey-brown hare, body sprawled into the same position as the woman's.  I am pretty sure the hare is dead.  There is no blood or viscera but its underbelly has been cut open from sternum to pelvis.  But there is a strong feeling of peace.  The only sound is the wind in the grass.

Joanna was a bit late today.  I sat outside on the concrete steps in the heat.  I wrote a little three sentence email to paramedic guy apologizing for the way I handled expressing my feelings the other day.  I needed to do that.  While what I said was valid, the way I handled it was not what I wish I had done, and I'm sorry for that.  I also reviewed what I wrote my former friend and felt that this was well expressed and needed nothing more.  This is all I can do with these situations. It feels clean and enough.

I notice that this morning I wrote something from Alice in Wonderland:  Curiouser and curiouser.  In the book, she chases a white rabbit and falls down the hole into Wonderland.  I dream of a woman in a white dress and a dead hare before I write this.  I am the woman in the dress and the hare at the same time.  

I hope that these flowers are from a place of love and not the forecast of my funeral. Someone suggested that they may be from my ex.  An ice pick of fear stabbed my heart as they said these words.  I sat with them for a long time, feeling this fear and looking at these gentle and innocent blossoms.  I wondered to myself if there is a poison prick in this bouquet that sends me to the ground, like in my dream.  I hope there is not.  

I contacted Zane and spoke to him about it.  For some reason he was the person who came to mind to talk to about it.  He said there are ways I can find out who sent them.  I am not sure that it makes a difference.  These flowers are innocent and I make the choice, hold the hope, that even if the ex sent them, that they came from some place of apology, or caring, or remorse, or something good for the soul that softens.  I don't know if I would want to know if they were sent with malicious intent.  It wouldn't help anything.

Inside of everything is everything else.  Flowers appear and a woman in a white dress falls down in a field.  I stroke the soft yellow petals.  It is what it is, and that is what it is.

I Accept This Offering

I went to see Joanna this morning.  I told her about yesterday, and the flowers.  I cried and cried about those damn flowers.

She said, "What do you feel about these flowers? Can you put words to it?"

I was quiet for a while.  Finally I said, "I just wish I could tell the person that I accept their offering.  Sending me those took time and money and effort.  I just wish I could let the person know that I know this and that I accept whatever this means.

"Joanna, one of my clients bowed down to me the other day at the end of a session.  Forehead to the floor.  He was crying.  I was so shocked.  I wanted to get him up...and then something inside me said, no don't do that.  He is showing you his most vulnerable heart right now.  Accept his offering Elaine.  Accept it."

"Multiple layers, all going on for you right now," she said quietly.

"Yes.  This is happening," I said simply.  "And I am so vulnerable. This is hard.  But I have to accept these gifts.  Because they come from the heart."

She comforted me.  
On with my day now.

Curiouser And Curiouser

Isn't that what Alice said in Wonderland?



These just arrived.  There was no card.  I thought the driver maybe dropped it so I called the shop.  The lady said, "I can't give you any information about who sent these."

I didn't quite understand.  I said, "What do you mean?"

"They were sent anonymously," she said simply.  "I can't tell you who sent them."

"But then how am I supposed to thank the person?" I asked, puzzled.

"I guess you can't," she said, and laughed.  I guess she could tell I was utterly confused.  I'm not sure why she laughed.  Guess she knows something I don't know.

So I am sitting here with these flowers.  They are really pretty aren't they?  I had to take a picture of them in front of my window because the yellow in the lilies is the same as the yellow in the tie on my window.  

I feel really confused right now.  Who could have sent me these?  My clients don't know where I live. My friends would have written a card.  I'm boggled.

????

Okay.  They look really good on my tiny makeshift shrine at home.  I am putting them there.  I took out two of the little green ones to offer to my Archangel Raphael statue.  Green is his color, and he's the angel in charge of bringing you your true mate, your husband.  I actually started making offerings to him periodically when I came back from South Texas in May.  I put a little perfume on his head and ask that he bring me my true mate when it's time.  It seems right to take part of this anonymous offering and give it to Raphael as part of asking for that true love to appear, because however it is that these were sent to me, caring is obviously part of what made that happen, and that feels right.

Man.  I feel humbled.  I wish I could thank whoever it is that sent these.  I'm really really really touched.  I actually feel sort of like crying right now.

Little Things Of Beauty

I got very, very lucky this week.

I found two vintage piano shawls on Ebay.  I bought both of them for myself as a birthday present.  They were expensive, as such things tend to be, because it's very very hard to find these in good condition, and when you do find them they often get bid beyond what I can afford.  But it just so happened that two of these came up that were not put out as auctions and I dug into my bank account to seize them. Here is the embroidery on one of them.



Amazing, isn't it?  I have never seen one like this come up for sale and I periodically look for these.  About a month ago, I bought this beautiful Indonesian canopy bed from Amae and I drape a shawl over the canopy bar at the foot of the bed so that the first thing I see in the morning when I wake up is something beautiful.  I only have a couple of these but I rotate them out periodically.

I was thinking that I'm so glad that this birthday I am not in a relationship with someone who berates and criticizes me about spending money to have things like this.  I am not an extravagant person--I don't shop a lot or own a lot of stuff.  But when I do buy something I am willing to spend money on it it if it's beautiful and I know I will use or view it often.  These little things shape the quality of my life at home and in my office, making those humble places warm, inviting, beautiful and contemplative.  I hated being shamed about wanting these things by my ex.  Now I can wake up in the morning and see something beautiful first thing, lying in this beautiful bed that was chosen by a dear friend of mine for its aesthetic value, and this can be the first thing in my waking world without anyone making me feel bad about enjoying it.

Beauty matters.  It matters a lot.  It makes everything better.  I bet the flowers are from my 95 year old Feldy client who would do something like that and probably doesn't remember exactly when my birthday is.  I will find out in a few hours.

Goth Girl In Williamson County

Y'all. This has been a day.  It is not even over yet.  I am typing this on my dinner break.  But I had to write it all down to process it.

So I got I invited to do this one off gig today, which was to teach 26 middle and high school dance teachers a Feldenkrais class as part of a day long continuing ed thing for them.  Sounded intriguing and I love teaching teachers so I said yes.  This gig was out in Round Rock so not too far from my office.  I planned it all out and left in plenty of time.  Right?

Well.  I totally forgot how Maps always screws me up out there.  I got lost.  And then I started having, of all things, a flashback.  Yeah.  A flashback of that day at the high school at the end of grad school, the day that kid tried to kill herself by throwing herself off a balcony in front of the counseling office.

I had a panic attack.  I remembered all of it, but especially, this one girl who I found hiding in the nurse's office.  She was all by herself; I guess they forgot about her in all the panic that was going on.  I remember her face,  her light blue eyes and long brown hair.  I remember how she was huddled down on the floor in the nurse's office, how I went to her and coaxed her gently to get up into a chair and to talk to me.  And how she said to me, eyes full of tears,

"I saw her.  I saw her before she jumped.  I should have done something.  I should have done something!"

And I remembered, crystal clear, how I grabbed her arms and pulled her close to me.  I said, "Look in my eyes.  Look at me.  Look at me."  She finally looked, tears streaming down her face.  I said, "Listen to me.  When someone decides to kill themselves, it is never anyone else's fault.  Do you hear me? Do you understand me?"  And I held her eyes and her arms firmly until she nodded.  

I remembered all of that like yesterday.  Driving down Highway 45 looking for this high school.  Panicking.  I'm in a real Gothy outfit today, too, which I didn't think about this morning before I left and then I was suddenly like, oh crap, I guess this is what I am wearing to teach in.  Hell!  And part of my brain is freaking out and thinking about how I don't want to get pulled over looking this Gothic in Williamson County.  This may seem like an extraneous detail, but if you have ever been pulled over in Williamson County, you will know why this matters. Especially while having a full blown PTSD Flashback.  The hell.  Just, the hell!  All this happening and I wasn't even there yet.  

What I realized later on is that I haven't driven this stretch of highway since all of that happened, not until today.  The high school I interned for is actually very close to the one I went to today, so I was driving the same roads, seeing the same exits, at about the same time of day I used to be out there.  My body remembered, I guess.

I had to pull over and get myself together. I pulled over and got myself together.  I gave myself a hug and I sat in the parking lot of a Shell station and I cried a little bit.  Then I dried my face.  I got back on the road.  I found the school.  By the time the lady who invited me walked up to the front office, I had on my best professional smile.

The class went great.  I knocked it out of the park.  They loved me.  At the end I stood and I looked at all of them in the circle, taking in their smiles, their shiny faces.  I said quietly to them, "I want you all to know this.  To be a dancer is to be a warrior.  To be a dancer is to stand up and show the world your heart.  This is what you must give to your students, what you must let each of them see in you so it can awaken in them.  Each one of you is so important.  Know how special you are."  I saw tears in some of their eyes as they applauded.

And strangely, on the way back to work, I got a call from the delivery driver for a florist saying they tried to deliver flowers to my house.  I was puzzled.  I don't know who would be trying to send me flowers.  I wonder if it's a mistake.  I did get a plant from Jonathan for my office as an early birthday present, but I don't know of anyone who would have a reason to send flowers to where I live, and my birthday isn't until the end of next week.  Oh well.  They will try to get them to me tomorrow.  

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program.

A Little Amusement

Tonight went much better at rehearsal--more breaks.  But I found out I have lines.  Like, I have to actually open my mouth and say stuff.  Not much stuff, but still.  That, I have never done.  Yikes.  Anxiety.  At least I'm a therapist who is used to talking to others, if not, this would paralyze me.  

I had a nice talk with Abel about his paper I found online.  He's an interesting guy, for sure, and apparently wrote another paper he said he'd send to me if I wanted it.  He's very knowledgeable and deep for such a young man.  Really cool person.  I'm connecting a bit more with people in the cast and crew so I don't feel as jangled.  This is a really cool play with many moving and fascinating moments.  I got to see some of the acting part tonight and it was very touching.

I'm also in a pretty good mood.  Yesterday was so rough that the first thing I did when I got up was check to see how I felt about facing off two people yesterday who were chapping my bum.  You know what?  I'm alright with both of those connections ending.  Neither one of them was working for me and hadn't been for a while.  It would be different if these were people I was actually close to, but this was not the case, and in fact those situations stressed me out every time I thought about them.  Now I don't have that stress and it feels NICE, like I have the headspace to move on with life.  It's too bad those things had to end, but it certainly wouldn't have helped anything for me to keep allowing myself to be treated badly, would it now?

For whatever reason, I also found myself amused today at the fact that I tried online dating.  Why did I even do that?  Why did I think that I would ever meet anyone that way?  I mean, I met a couple of nice guys, but really, I'm the last person in the world who should be doing such a thing.  But, I stopped in time to be able to see how it got me through this bad hump of hiding in my house and not challenging myself to even try.  I know that there are times when I still miss the good parts of Psycho Ex and feel sad about what happened.  I know that I could have stayed in that place for a long long time, and it's good that Joanna pushed me to move on at least in some small way.  For that, it was alright.  I didn't find that there was really enough in it for me to continue doing it.  

I am not unhappy with my life.  I still have one person to meet, an interesting fellow who's doing that open relationship thing.  I figure that once again, maybe I will make a friend.  I have clients and friends who do poly and such, so I'm not biased against non monogamous folks--I doubt it is for me, though.  I'm such a private person in so many ways, and so monogamous.  I think I would find it extremely stressful to be in any situation involving multiple people, especially given my allergy to Crazybish Drama which always seems to become a component of these deals at some point.  But to meet, have a drink, talk with someone who seems interesting?  Sure.  Who knows maybe I'll have some kind of moment of new perspective about it all.  And it's not like it matters that much anyway because it's not like I have time right now to contemplate much other than rehearsals and how to get through the next two months.  

Grant texted me from Colorado wanting to know how rehearsals were going, and I answered honestly, "I'm experiencing some despair."  He immediately wrote back, "Oh I am so sorry sweetie!" and sent me a handful of consoling messages and hugs.  It made me feel better just a little bit.  See, that's what I'm talking about--why the hell would I mess around with some dude in Austin who plays games with text messages when some guy in Colorado can outdo him in terms of being supportive and sweet in less than 10 seconds flat?  Why on Earth would I even consider continuing to see someone who isn't supportive, interested, or kind?  I think I had just about enough of that dynamic in my last relationship, thanks.

Sometimes all a woman needs is just a little bit of support when she's trying to do something really hard.  

Grant said that if I  ever wanted, he'd come visit me in Texas, and I'm sure he would, he's that kind of guy.  But no way I'd ever invite a native mountain guy till the weather cooled down.  Who knows, someday I might.