Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Your love lingers {poem}

Your love is lingering.

My imagination alone dangerously remembers—“us.”
My heart wants yours back.
To touch you with my thoughts makes my skin ache with jealousy
and my hands restless—
God how they want to run themselves up your arms,
into the sleeves of your t-shirt
tracing the contours of your shoulders, the nape of your neck,
your skin a map memorized by my fingertips.
I can catch your scent with these memories,
inhaling as if my lips were at your earlobes
and I could leave my desire there with my exhale.
Where we would have sighed together,
I sigh alone—
with memories that tease with an unkind intensity.
The love that lingers for you
is riddled with desire,
but confined to gratitude—
thankful for having had you at all
to stir up fear
and coax it into excitement.
I’m grateful for the parts of me
I wouldn’t have seen without you,
like an elixir of truth into my ability to love,
to let in—
to let go.
I’ve let my hands go from yours,
but not my heart.
Its been undone—
revealing an immense capacity to feel,
and I will collect our memories
as lessons,
as now a witness to where I
gave everything
and nothing at all
and let the repressed truths
from the depths of my being
shine for having been kissed so sweetly by your acceptance
and your love will linger in my growing to love myself
and one day—another again.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Limited love {poem}

This love is limited:

I cannot touch you when I want to,
and oh how I want to.

The distance isn’t physical—

I’m right here.

You’re right there.

My hand could find the side of your face and take the shape of your jaw,
your chin—
gaze locked in silent, knowing exchange

we stay apart.

You are there.
I am here—

only just beginning to understand
that this intangible space
is an offering:
to know each other in
ways we cannot touch—
to exceed the limits of skin,
of that darling desire,
to illuminate
the integral details of our entireties,
without lustful agenda;
to let instead truth penetrate souls that know not what it is like to prickle at a finger tip,
but to flame up at the limitlessness of being, on their own, as Love.

Published here: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/12/a-limited-love-poem/

Monday, December 7, 2015

Now, and forever {poem}

I don’t need forever with you—
just now, tonight.

Right now I don’t need anything more
than the weight of your arms
across my waist
and your skin as warm as your breath,
than the dance of our fingers,
tangling with each other’s, mine comb through your hair,
tracing gingerly down your neck,
the sides of your stomach,
watching your skin goose bump;
yours so delicate for their rough skin,
effortless across the curve of my hips—like sand caught
in gentle salty breezes.
I don’t need anything more than
to feel my back arch at your touch,
those same arms pulling me closer as if to embed my body in yours—
as if I could leave at any moment.
I won’t.
I will weave my legs with yours
and kiss your chest, your jaw,
find your lips with mine
and lose myself there—
your kisses as heavy as your questions,
your words as laced with intimacy as your
gentle tongue.
I don’t need promises of forever,
but oh is it sweet to listen to
your naked honesty.
I only need your raw truths in these moments—
to ride the confessions,
the fears,
the immediacy of every emotion—
when everything is this potent
there is no room to wonder why,
only know that
we are meant
for a forever’s worth
of nows like this.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Write that shit down.

"we also write to heighten our own awareness of life."--Anais Nin

In the last few weeks i have had seven-ish poems sent back to me because they aren't quite right: which is quite fine.

I could rewrite them--everything can be improved (or disproved, for that matter)--put a more conscious effort into them than the late night spewing of my emotional self sans editing or giving a fuck about how they are received. You see, i write for me.


And i read for me too.


Not a word. Don't give a fuck.

Words are like Love: they mean something different to every individual and do not require justification or explanation--only willing, receptive ears to hear them, eyes to read them, for the uniquely intimate offering they are.

You see, your eyes are not the gateway to your soul as romantically detailed, they're more like that funny little peeping hole on apartment doors that fishbowls your perception and shares only a limited guessing game of truth--our words are that soul link. Our words are our spirits trying to connect to, embrace even, the world around us.

When i get at my pen and paper, or these keys here, that is a large part of what i am seeking to do: to connect to the world--yet i do not expect anyone to read…my connection to the world around me through writing is that i am writing, as the gorgeously poetic, voracious writer Anais Nin is quoted at the start of this post, to heighten my awareness of my own life. I write to understand. To understand my feelings, my reactions, human nature, and individual experience, and it is how i give myself up to that experience; writing, for me, is simply an expression of self.

i write to express when i feel alone, or so moved by togetherness; i write when my heart aches for wanting and for living. i write when I've been rejected and when i have been encouraged. i write what i know in this moment and what i want to know in the next. i write to deal with fear. i write to show up. i write with lower case 'i's and particular punctuation, with an aversion to alliteration and a misuse of the English language. I do not write to be right about anything, but rather to siphon through details and perspectives and come to land in my very human interpretations. Writing humanizes me, in the same way that reading someone else's writing does: feelings can be shared, relationships can be created on the symbiosis of experience, the oneness of everything. By translating my thoughts into readable words i am, in a way, validating my perspective….i write as if to believe myself.

And again, i read to do the same. When someone else's words resonate, stream through your eyes to your mind to get whispered aloud by your lips and your heart ends up unnerved, you believe in their truth. Not just the truth of the words themselves, but the authors offering of them. I fall madly in love with writers whose words read as if you are speaking to them, whose poignant choice of language represents, significantly, exactly how they are feeling/thinking/being. Not a word is wasted. Alexa Torontow writes like this: succinct, clear, immediate--in the moment yet heartfelt and contemplative.
i on the other hand write as if you know me, somewhat vague, riddled with words i happen to like such as potent or harmonized, wildly, and particularly emphatic monosyllabic words that land like an anchor in the soft sand in deep seas: heavy, final, carved in to your soft heart. My writing is based on craving as much as it is understanding--truthfully it is more seeking to understand than confidently knowing. Sometimes i will reread my own words and feel satiated, or even at the best of times blown away by where i was/am/what insight i had on my own curious thoughts and feels. Most of the time though i can step outside of myself and my words and see the process there: the process of digestion and healing. Of taking account and creating space. Of acknowledging that i only have come to understand that moment and should it come again the story would read oh so differently. Trust. One of those one syllable one- of- a- kind words that settles into your deepest parts. Trust. i learn to trust myself through writing: that what i have to say is worth something (even when rejected for publication, even when hyper-emotional, even if so subjective you would have to know the nakedness of me to understand the vagueness of my words). And if i can have anything at all to say write now (that was a pun, not a spelling mistake, so clever) it is that you ought to trust yourself to do the same. Fuck being a "writer"-- you are a human, with a voice; use it to sing, chant, protest, proclaim, argue, laugh unabashedly, ask questions, give answers, tell stories, tell the greatest truths, be intimate with your words, oh so intimate, for we write and speak to preserve ourselves: to be known and make known and give give give to the world as it is with us in it for all that it can be. You have a voice connected to your heart and your mind-heart and your soul depends on you using it. Be seen by being heard.

Write your shit down.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


our potency exists in our ability to react fearlessly to what time puts immediately before us in harmony with what exists already in naked, honest desire within us... and to be consumed by neither.

Im an auntie! Well, technically i have been since i was fourteen, but my baby sister, best friend, the human that never ceases to surprise my skeptical guarded heart made her own little human (with her set-the-bar-remarkable hubs) and i couldn't sob tears of awe any harder without rupturing my entire being. This babe is magnetic, pulling me in to what is simple and kind and unshaped by any other human; she is so fresh and so clean clean, her gentle most clearest of truths self. She is pure. She is Quinn. Quinn Marie.

And this weekend i met her for the first time.

So i will check that off the list.

Just like I'm going to check writing this post off the list.

So now i can attend to the next things to replace these accomplished list bits.

And so it goes….

Fuck. Is the "list" ever really done?

It is ironic that i wrote that bit of business in fancy italicized font at the top of this post along with the promise of a full post (this one here) over a month ago intending on impressing upon you how easy it is to get lost in what is right in front of you at the expense of what is inside of you. Writing out the thoughts i had around that--hell, writing itself--existed within me as information i needed to feel out and process and share, yet i allowed all that has been coming at me day after day to get in the way. What happened was that in wanting simply to talk about the balance between inward focus and external necessity, i lived it instead.

I have been living a list.

This job, that catering, this crush, move to this house, wash these socks*, buy a god damn bike helmet already, pickle carrots…seriously. Really?! Is pickling carrots more important than my practice? Meditation? Writing? Finally going to see my sisters babe? Well, once i have all my seasonal preserving done, then i can talk about the anxiety that has been clutching at my throat for longer than those damn carrot seeds have been planted.

Again, ironically, we pickled those carrots, my ma, sister, Quinn, and I this weekend. Two birds with one stone. Two stoned birds. Distractions….

It isn't all distractions, though, that present moment surface stuff that keeps us from attending to what exists on a deeper level. Some of it is very real. Meeting my niece cannot be compared to washing the socks that--*for those of you who know me far too well know--i don't even own, yet moving into a new home and working (albeit excessively) to pay off three months in France are very real "to dos" that kept me from meeting her.

One more irony: now that i have met her I realize that none of it was comparable at all. Nothing is of more value, necessity, integrity, than meeting that little vitamin. Nothing. Yet, in the way that things go, the Universe only offers you what you need in the moments that you need it, and does not take it away until you have learned all you can from it. If i was allowing myself to put things before meeting Quinn, then i wasn't ready to receive what she had to offer me. And when i was ready…oh whoah. Such wisdom in that little babe, embodying the reminder to be only the most unadulterated, honest version of self, without distraction, excuse, or fear.

Much the same, i was not ready to write this post until i had experienced the message that i sought to write: our potency exists in our ability to react fearlessly to what time puts immediately before us in harmony with what exists already in naked, honest desire within us... and to be consumed by neither.

There will always be things to do that seem--seem--of timely importance. There will always be an abundance of distractions, opportunities, gifts, moments of heightened levels of awareness that allow us to be more consciously involved with immediate interactions and synchronicities; things that make us feel connected to our present, momentous selves, or, alternatively, things that simply numb us from our constancies. Living presently can be both the opportunity to create oneself spontaneously, to flourish in newness, adaptability, raw emotional reactivity, to be curious--and it can also take us away from what we truly value, the direction we seek to journey, our intended hearts and our understanding minds. The trickiest part of living in balance with the ever evolving list and the pre decided truth of self is to know what is merely a distraction and simply cross it off without attendance in order to make space and time for what is more personally meaningful.

To live as your most potent self is to be constantly re-navigating from your internal source, trusting in your intrinsic genius and taking time away from practicalities for what is more a part of your impassioned intention. Presence, then, is not only your ability to take what is coming at you day after day but to act from a place of clear mind and heart. We choose what we receive. We choose what is next. What holds the most credence to you may look selfish or foolish to others--but nothing is of more value than something else until you make it that way.

And before anything you must value yourself.

I was anxious because i was attaching value to whatever came at me, making excuses of getting this done and then this done after that was done before any real work could be done. I was busying myself in ideas and jobs and time stealers as a means of excusing my inability to sit still with myself and acknowledge that i had (have) much greater work to do. The only result of this was feeling the numbing of neglect to my self. I had lost the balance between a beautiful surrender to spontaneity and an unwavering knowing and trust in what i needed and who i am to be. I am a hyper passionate being, lately though, i have felt tepid at best, timid in my ability to not take what is merely coming my way, but grab at it from the core of my trust in self--at what i know to be of personal value. I have diluted my own potency with busyness, and finally understand what peace can come from giving a little on the side of receiving so that your offering might be greater--to take less of what is handed at me so the i might give what is dynamically me.

As you look at your own list, look at what it means to attend to one thing over the next. Are you avoiding what is begging for your immediate attention, whether that is digging deeper to the heart of your youness or embracing the possibility of something cast your way? Are you so consumed by surface level checkmarks that your internal compass is spinning at a loss of direction? Sit still with yourself. Acknowledge that once you were as brand new as sweet Quinn, truly a gift who would have the world as it came, piece by piece, handed to you as you needed and your innate response would shape all those you connected with, all that continued to shape you into who you are now. Continue to make an offering, without excuses or distractions, but an honest wisdom and trust in what is immediately in need of your attention: whether that be an external source of experience or an opportunity to reconnect with your unique self. Living wholly, transparent and authentic is not something waiting at the end of a list, but an integral part of each landmark you check off by living.

And finally, be free.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Chapter 8

I moved. Again.

And again i am reminded of this absurd imbalance within me to at once be a gypsy free to explore and welcoming of every adventure disguised as change, and to dig my toes into Mother Earth and set roots from my soles and soul. I am simultaneously accepting if not excited for what is next, and tired of not having a place to call "home." So the story goes...

Every time i have moved is like a new chapter in my life, as significant as the beginning or ending of a relationship, a career change, a quarter life crises (or three). Every home, no matter how temporary, becomes the backdrop for frames of change in my life; places for something, myself, to unfold.

I'll miss the setting of the last four months of my life: two sets of corner windows pooling with sunlight; original wood floors barren but for smatterings of paint from nights laced with whiskey and dreams; chalk strewn steps leading up to the "Goddess Lair;" a six year olds bedroom and a bicycle graveyard. If i was to title the chapter that this space was, i would call it "Self Love and Sad Truths: Confessions of an Honest to Goddess Wanderlust." (Wordy bit of business for somewhere i did hardly any writing); a chapter about transitions and sisterhood in a space so safe as to simply exist and feel and be.

When i moved in here, my lostness was disguised as wanderlust, coming home from a most catalytic two weeks in mexico and repacking for France in half that time. I was fully embracing being transient, having moved three times in three months prior to travelling. The next three months would be spent in a country whose language i didn't speak with no job and no real intentions other than to, well, escape. I'd given away next to all of my belongings and while overseas was prepared to stay and start the next chapter there. Yet when i thought of the lair while in Marseille, i could feel the idea of it satiate whatever desire i had to ground. If i was going to come back, at least i had a "home" to come back to.

The first months of this chapter were spent in culture shock. I felt stranded, misunderstood, lonely, upswept from the contented existence i had in France. i wanted so much so for this time to be temporary; to get through what i had to get through and get on the next plane back to Europe. I still want to do that. But not in a way that is running back to myself, rather in a way that is connected more deeply to myself.

That is what this space, and this chapter provided: the opportunity to look without blinking lest i miss a significant truth detail of whom i am. There were patterns to watch for, systems of survival to re then un-create, confessions to make, little peas of discomfort and fear to find under layers of falsities stacked like mattresses in a fairy tale. Because i entered into this home with as much gratitude for the welcoming arms that shared the space as i did non-attachment to any amount of time there, i was in this vortex where i wasn't living with a direction or purpose other than to watch myself in my own existence. And what i saw was that i was dreaming up the next chapters instead of participating in this one. Which was exactly where i needed to be: not here, emotionally, at all...

i was still in Europe and in Europe again. i was consumed by memories raw with sensation, numb to anything in my present, and emotionally investing in a future that i didn't know anything more about than it not being here. This chapter was written almost subconsciously--as if not knowing what was next but wanting it so badly had me so disconnected from what i was actually living and could be writing. In this way the chapter wrote itself, and now, as i sit on the floor in my new (again temporary) "home" its as if i get to read it.

Turns out its quite a beautiful little tale. One of late nights with a tribe of females i would walk to the ends of everywhere for. Pantslessness. Experimentation and meditation. There was a lot of ramen and not enough dancing. Reunions that made me aware of the immense capacity of humans to love. Conversations that revealed the immense capacity of humans to feel, see, and speak their truth. The pricelessness of listening, and being listened to. Awareness. People whose presence erases time and whose words erase doubt. People who saw me when i was trying not to be seen. People who loved me when i was trying not to be loved but needing it the most. People who let me see them and love them. People who as they read this I'm sure they know are those people, and will continue to grace the next chapters of my life.

And in writing about this so called chapter after it closes rather than while living it, i acknowledge that i was always there, and in choosing not to be only made the space more valuable.  So much of our lives pass in this way: only realizing the significance in a situation, a conversation, a decision, an encounter, a failure, a success, parallels and full circles until we are out of the wild immediacy of it and are allowing it to be acceptingly absorbed into our consciousness. As if while in the heat we don't feel the burn, but allow it to cool and it stings so rawly you cannot ignore your own aliveness. No matter how much regret you feel, or how caught up in your dreams, no matter if you are waiting for something or regressing into a previous state, no matter the level of contentedness or freedom you embody, you are the creator of every moment, every chapter of your life. You are exactly where you need to be and like some beautiful element of foreshadowing, your thoughts, feels, actions, and choices, are at once a product of where you have been and where you are going. You can exist harmoniously then, between a state of curiosity and creation of your next chapter, and resolute trust in the grounded genius of your own sense of self, as i am learning to...

Because: "wherever i go there i am"

Thanks for the lesson Chey. I can't wait to live out the next chapter with you.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

need want have

Things I consider integral to life as I like to live it: fresh food, sharing, laughter, music, movement, creativity. Give me these outlets and I am as happy anywhere in Provence or elsewhere.

You may need more than that, or none of it all. Your list, likely, looks quite different, but we all seem to need certain things to feel in love with life, and ourselves in it. We all have ideals that create the perfect circumstances for our existence, and we create them wherever we are living to offer a sense of comfortable familiarity. Some of us need routine and stability, some need to feel productive, challenged, purposeful, others need silence while still others thrive in chaos. We have specific hours that we want to devote to sleep, to work, to play. We have scenarios in which we claim to function at our most fine tuned, and though we can adapt to adventure, excitement, new ness, and change at varying degrees of steadiness, for the most part we keep a short list of essentials that keeps our heads and hearts from spiraling too far outside of how we choose to live.

And it is a choice. What we take in from our surroundings, what we offer back to it, how we live in harmony with our environment and ourselves by how we adapt is a choice. On my very first day in Marseille, I--though seemingly unconsciously--began to create my ideal circumstances; but in time they, again, seemingly unconsciously, began to take new shapes, rearrange themselves, almost became diluted in their specific identity and instead became more sensational. That whole statement seems diluted, stay with me....

But pause with me for a minute too. Because I should note that in the same way that my ideal environment to be my greatest self in shimmied its way around Europe, so has this very piece of writing. I started this bit early on in Marseille, and revisited it after some travelling, some conversations, a couple of tipiffany's and eventually wrote in capslocks FINISH AT HOME. I wanted to test something that I was learning through the writing of this: it is more of an emotional climate in which we flourish, and the physical mediums, the more descript details of our list of essentials has a leniency to it. In other words, not only do we choose what we "need," we choose to see rather, what it is we get from such needs--we see the product of our physical space show up in our emotional well being.

So the list of things I "need" that began this post is notably non-descript. That is because it can be adapted to whatever place I am calling home for however long. Fresh food here looks a lot different than the organic markets on every corner within five minutes walking from my French home. Fresh food itself can sometimes mean to me that it is grown in soil close enough for me to touch, other times, it means an apple without a Washington sticker and coat of wax on it--both ideals create a harmonious reaction in me towards food and my relationship with it; both nourish my body and my moral vote to eat organically and healthily. That said, the same reaction can come from eating a bag of licorice allsorts from a touristy pirate candy shop because in that moment, its soul food. Similarly movement once meant that I needed to run every morning and now it means that I love to practice every day--and that some days practice means a five minute child's pose or a couple of handstands on the beach, or just pausing for a minute to notice and lengthen my breath. And then comes the realization that none of these needs are actually needs at all, but things we have responded well too and have an ingrained desire for that elicits, again, that positive emotional response that in turn allows us to vibrate at our highest frequency; be the raddest us we can be. But if these circumstances are so flexible, and if desires can change as we discover alternative ways of bettering ourselves or realize something doesn't serve us as well as the next thing, then comes the opportunity to really learn that everything you need you already have.

Because everything already exists within you.

Its a lesson, in this material world, where we can, truly have everything we want, and how we throw around the term "I need" as casually as we say "I love you," that we learn and relearn. We know that it does not take escaping from or to another city to get away or start over, earning more money, being able to stand on your head or swim in the sea, its not the eight hours of sleep or coffee in your cup in the morning. You may want these things, but you do not need them. If they make you happy, inspire you, get your ass out of bed, keep that fire burning in your heart then do them. But know that it is you stoking the flames.

Those emotional responses to whatever your ideal situation is are vibrational reminders of how you are in control if, if of anything at all, how you respond to the world around you--what you are willing to see and receive. When we give ourselves the opportunity to notice our reactions, we see that the positive are the same as the negative, that neither is truly related to something not fitting into our ideals, but ourselves not able to move beyond them. That person you hope to be when all the stars are in line and your favourite song is playing and you have time to paint in your dream house while wearing your lucky socks--that person already exists. Tucked right underneath all the attachment to perfect circumstance, place, and time.

Now, finishing off this piece from the floor of my paint splattered goddess lair, thinking of that floral rug in my home sweet Marseille, I'm more sure that our ideal circumstances are created more in full from the very centre of our being than they are the extremities of the world around us, We respond to places. We respond to people. To ideas. To excitement, fear, curiosity, comfort, love. We are malleable beings, and it is only when you are the moulder, listening and believing that you have all that you "need", that you grow in the way that you want within change. You continue to create yourself--or simply be yourself--in response to who you already are. The greatest response then, is self love. Love on. 


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Heart space

It is not the finality
of love
that swells inside
of you,
suffocating your heart---

it is
the intoxicating realization
of the capacity of your heart
to feel.


Its over, the grand French adventure. And my heart is caught up in my esophagus and sometimes I can barely breathe--either for not wanting it to have ended, to be back there with it lasting and lasting.... or realizing all that it has been and steeping in that.

To be honest with you, I have hardly been steeping. Its more like wallowing. Wallowing and missing and longing for, mourning even. Yet France hasn't died. Nor has the me that was there. So what am I mourning?

The only answer I have to that is space.

I did not go to do anything other than write while pantsless and smoking cigarettes. You know this. There were no grand intentions beyond eating, beyond experience, beyond adventure, beyond opportunity; I wouldn't have gone if it wasn't for D and R creating the space for me to join them. Long story short, I didn't go to do anything but go.

But it turned into a much longer story than that.

It turned into creating a space for exactly the experience, adventure, opportunities to grow and learn and simply be that I could not have done otherwise. Without a prerogative I was able to be the most present and most grounded I have ever felt in all of my evers. I learned, really learned the power of time, and how to play within its constraints, finding meaning in the playfulness and productivity in the least serious of intentions. I trusted myself to know everything and nothing at all. There, in Marseille, I was steeping: in my values, my questions, my learned answers, my desires, my I- don't- give- a- fuck-ed-ness and my I- care- too- god- damn- much-ed-ness, this rich brew of reactions and thoughtful responses, of learned behaviours being unlearned all on their own. Being in so much space, free from agendas, indebted relationships, nexts and laters, left only time for now; a spaciousness that allowed me to be in a constant moving meditation that now has me remarkably still in trying to, adversely, steep myself within it--absorb it all.

ooh la la. The story continues, and I continue to give myself space for it.

Your turn to be honest with you: when have you given yourself the space you need? Space to absorb your reactions, your questions, the answers you receive, your impulses, your deepest desires, your fears, what attracts you, deters you, and what leaves you apathetic. When was the last time you allowed your mind to clear in a way that creates enough space to truly see outside of your own perspective? In this space seeing, hearing, listening, and when the time is right or you feel so empassioned, speaking to all of the energies inevitably sharing in your space. When did you last feel fully present? Take your time; think about it....


It was the last time you loved a little deeper, a little more intimately, much more fearlessly.

It was a moment when you stopped trying so hard; when you chose not to suffer through or force something that was showing up so wrongly in your body and mind and shifted yourself energetically to soften into what was more true for you.

When you let something have you. Let yourself be swept up and cast into a dizzying vortex of maybes. When you let yourself and your agenda rest in hammock like surrender to possibility.

When you didn't know. When you had no fucking clue. And you loved it.

Whew. Honesty--right?

What I have gotten most out of my time in Marseille is how integral it is to be honest with what you are doing with your precious time here. Is what you are doing making you happy? Someone else? Something greater? Don't do something simply to suffer through, pay your dues, get to the next bit. We don't get to something great by suffering, we get there by loving the work we are doing and creating the space for ourselves to do it. Creating room for all that we experience to percolate, to steep so that we are not left mourning what could have been.

So I am not mourning, I actually am steeping. Allowing all of that permeable space to be saturated with the experiences I may not have intended to have but am more full for having them, and taking them with me into this next space of here and now. A learned behaviour of gifting myself whatever space is needed to remain clear and grounded, happily human.

Just as I am thinking that that trip was not long enough, I know just how god damn much it has been. So much more than just time. So much more than can be allotted to any amount of tangible space, for the space to intimately connect with who you are on a cellular level exists within the limitless capacity of your heart. We have all of the space we need.

Monday, May 4, 2015


When I first started teaching, Xaviar Rudd "Spirit Bird" was my jam. Now, hearing it for the first time in over a year is shocking my heart. It is incredible how the familiar chord sequence of a guitar, a melody that your soul knows by heart, a voice that your heart quivers at can take you back to a space that was so transformative, so shaped by the harmony of all of the song's components with your own life's--your thoughts, actions, intentions, joy and hurt, that you retransform every time after that you hear it again. Right now I am being transformed back into that vulnerable new teacher, thrusted from the life I knew as a cook into one standing in front of students expecting more from me than filling their bellies. I was there to fill their souls.

Or so I thought. The truth is, I couldn't do it from that forum anymore than I could from the kitchen. It wasn't that I could not satisfy my audience, it remains that I cannot satisfy myself.

I love food. I love to cook, to eat. I love to feed people.

I love yoga. I love the practice, it's spirituality. I love to share this with people.

But I get stuck in both. Lost in the vortex that is our desire to define ourselves by something, all the while knowing that while you can love something, it doesn't need be your life's work; it does not even need to be a definitive part of you.

{insert quote at random}
there is only one you in all time. This expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. -Martha Graham

We are all made up of so and so many talents--unique bits of business that come to define who we are, that set us apart as an individual, although similar to so many others, unique in the compilation of characteristics and interests, abilities and offerings. But there always seems to be that one detail, that something special that allows you to reach out, move even, so many others, at once connecting to them and your sense of self. That detail that is so satiating, so unnervingly true to the being you are being here that you catch more than a glimpse of purpose.

Purpose. Heavy word. It is what most of us are seeking, what many philosophize about. Easily generalized, we can insist we are here to love, to pass on wisdom, genetics, platforms to build upon and shape the future. We are meant to grow in integrity, to affect and effect others, to keep this planet populated with our species and our intellect. But all of that is so goddamned broad. I'm not going to get too specific here, but I am asking you to do so for yourself.

What are you here for? Not you human being you, but you you. You as you were created in all of your uniqueness. You in your individual way of understanding, experiencing, and making an offering to this life; your life. In what format, what expression do you feel like you are most authentic, most stripped down to your bare bones real, most generous of heart mind and soul, most willing to give and give up, most terrified but willing to do it anyways? From what medium do you sing at the top of your vibrating lungs? That's what you are here for.

To vibrate. At your highest frequency so that what you have to offer permeates the waves of what everyone else is offering up into this existence. We fuel each other, receiving humbly the offerings of others, and needing them to receive our humble offering; within this exchange is what keeps all of us energetically thriving, willing to continue to give and acknowledge the gifts of others. But again, I ask, what is your gift?

Whatever it is embrace it. Have humility, yes, of course; see that others may have the same gift but do not allow that to enforce a need to compete. Instead, embrace your radness not as being masterful or superior at something, but as an honest acceptance of your offering. As something that offers you a sense of purpose. Your voice. 

Rudd's voice is his voice, literally. Lyrics, instrumentation, the ability to honor the emotional attachment to music that people feel and use the resonation of that to connect to the rest of us is his purpose. Mine is not in the kitchen or the studio. It is here. Writing.

Find your voice. And use it. Fucking loudly.

and thank you for reading.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I'll miss me in Marseille

At six a.m. yesterday morning, I walked D to the train station--just as I did on my very first full day in Marseille. As I walked back into the house that morning I felt a wave of, I don't know what: nostalgia, reality, our friend Time....whatever it was didn't last long--I went back to bed.

The day continued on very much the same way as my first full day solo in Marseille. Produce market, breakfast, writing, yoga practice then out into the city until dinner. Lather, rinse, repeat; such has been my simple little life here in this anything but simple city. And I am going to miss it.

Since getting off the metro in what would become my neighborhood for the next three months, I experienced what the French call a "coup du Coeur"--an instant connection. A mad love. My heart stopped. This was going to be magical.

And so the love affair began.

I love everything about Marseille. I love it for what it is and what it isn't--for not being the quintessential Provencal image of houses with shutters the color of the lavender strewn through the fields. It is not green country side and vineyards, Marseille is dirty as fuck: garbage and dog shit everywhere, graffiti over what could be some really rad street art--no, still rad street art. Nearly every wall and store front is bedecked with vibrant paint. Some relate to what the store or restaurant is selling, others are sheer works of art--I am especially fond of the monochromatic female motif with the most grand of inky eyelashes. I love walking those wild alleys to any one of the organic markets where they know I don't speak French well and bare with me, give me samples of oranges and smile when my excitement gets the best of me and I do a spring pea jig. Yes. Jig. They probably think I am some sort of veggie obsessed nomad with no rhythm. I'm glad to not understand the low toned cat calls and bear the obvious stares as I trek the side streets towards the port, where my fish guy calls me "gaupo" and sings to me in whichever of his five different languages he's vibing with that day. He gave me his umbrella yesterday even though I was soggy already from the rain. I love the rain because it washes away the dog shit. And I love how the sun streams through our six foot windows into the space where I get to move my body everyday. And I especially love cooking those veg and fish for those dudes I live with. And then going to the bar with the service that you might call shitty if it weren't 1E50 glasses of rose. And then writing something infused with this coup du Coeur. And then seeing it all and doing it all again, every damn day. Infatuation.

I haven't reached the point in my adventure where the infatuation fades. Where the work needs to begin to keep the love going. Perhaps that is because I knew all along that my time here wasn't permanent. For it is as Pema Chodron says (yes I have her memorized, because yes I am infatuated with her)

"recognize the impermanence and let that intensify the preciousness."
My time in Marseille has certainly been precious, especially as the last days linger so closely. What I am realizing, though is it is not the impermanence of the time here that is winding me, it is my time that is.
Now don't get me wrong, I understand this Buddhist principle well enough, and certainly know about life and death, what I mean to emphasize is that I will miss the Marseille me as much as I will miss Marseille itself.
To quote someone new for a change, Azar Nafasi said

"you get a strange feeling when you leave a place, like you\ll not only miss the people you love, but you miss the person you are at this time and place because you'll never be this way again."

This, I think was the feeling I got walking through the door yesterday morning: the sensation of many things having occurred all at once that haven't fully permeated my understanding of self. At the same time as remembering the intentions I had in coming here--feeling like the person I was two and some months ago-- I realized how I had fulfilled them to become whom I have been in living here. Believe it or not, I came to Marseille to do more than eat and practice yoga, came for reasons other than wanderlust and an insatiable curiosity; though it is unlikely I would have said no to D when he asked me to join him in France even if I had no agenda, I would be lying if I didn't write that I was full of expectation. As casual as I was about this adventure, as easy as it was to settle in, I expected to find the quiet and the time to create the space I needed--and I quote myself here--to "check in and reset." Marseille is anything but quiet, as you can imagine, yet I managed to syphon through the diluted contents of my previously busy and distracted life to find the simplicity that I craved here. In uprooting myself I found the grounding that I wanted. In that early morning moment I saw who I was and who I came to be, as subtle as those changes were, realizing too that that person would change when I left in ten days. In that moment I understood even more clearly the preciousness of impermanence.

You see, impermanence doesn't simply exist in life vs death, in relationships caught up in and torn apart, the last piece of cake, soles worn out of shoes and souls worn out from trying so damn hard at keeping things the same. Instead, our very own impermanence exists in growth itself, in learning, in change. These are all things I just recently wrote about: finding some stillness in order to notice just how much we evolve intimately as a single human being. But imagine, now, if not only did you embrace impermanence, but truly you saw it as precious.

Imagine if you allowed yourself to love all of the shit and garbage.

All of your shit and garbage. Imagine if you saw the street art beneath the graffiti. If you offered yourself patience as your heart and head communicated in their separate languages. What if you saw all of this as beautiful and fell madly in love with you?

Impermanence truly is a beautiful thing. We get to fall in love again and again and then again. Instead of fearing change or loss, we get to embrace fully what we are lucky enough to have. We get to be constantly experiencing. We do not need to be caught up in time or in constructing a sense of worth in how we spend it, but instead simply see ourselves be in each moment. To love who you are now because the next you will not be the same. Yesterday I went back to bed as the sun came up, this morning I watched it drape it's light over a small piece of this wild city from my kitchen window and woke up a bit more, ready to miss myself here and embrace myself in what's next.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

this took some time...

I spent most of my time yesterday trying to write about how caught up in time I am right now, and when I looked at the clock the day was almost over. My coffee from breakfast was cold beside me. I had, ironically, completely lost track of time. Nothing was written; I had wasted my day.

But that was exactly the lesson, and I am more prepared now to write about what I wanted to write about then.

Lets start from the beginning. I am feeling completely saturated by the idea of time--or rather the lack of it; its intangibility--and have been wanting to write about how moved I am by the idea that time has less to do with hours, minutes, days and so much more to do with frequency, with the intensity of emotions, the finality of decisions, a willingness, fearlessness, trust, knowing. The illusiveness of time is an idea that has been seeping through my actions and thoughts even in planning to move to Marseille, and though I have done what I came to do (eat, drink, smoke, all pants free and all while writing more often), I hardly feel as though I have had enough time to do so, despite hardly believing that I have been here for as long as I have. In other words, I am feeling like I haven't used the time away as best as I could. Like I still have too many questions that, as time runs short, I am trying to prove I have the answers to. Like there could have been more. Like yesterdays lack of productivity was a lost precious French day.

You see, I've been waiting for these certain kinds of moments. You know the ones: those moments where you just stop. Like eating. You take a bite of the best goddamn lemon tart you have ever had and stop. Set your fork down on the plate and stare at the pastry like: whoah. Better yet, moments that you get to stare at yourself and your decisions and wisdom and be like whoah. There is no more intelligent way that I can say this. Set your pen down and pause, because it is sometimes in stillness that we grow exponentially; when we take the time to digest the sweetness we have tasted, reap the nourishment and energy from it, salivate again for life. It's moments like these where there seems to be silence, like time actually stops, because it really truly can. It can stop in all of the right moments. Not because of its own timing, because of yours. Because right here right now is right.

Sure I have had a couple of these moments here, some have involved tarts, others have involved wine, most all were not the moments I set out to have. Yesterday, or rather, this morning, was one of them. I thought that after sleeping off yesterday's emptiness that I would come to understand what I was trying to find in the power of the immediacy of such moments. Instead I realized that they aren't as immediate as I supposed. They are in fact gradual revelations; the compilation of all those lapses of time that seem like lost space. Those times you felt like you were bashing your head against the wall? They were for now. And now is for what is next. It is a continuum of presence.

Every "aha" moment is but a part of a much grander process; nothing we experience is lost or wasted, everything is gained. Even when we feel as though we are regressing, it is as Pema Chodron says:

"nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know;"

regression then, is simply that we haven't fully understood the lesson we thought we already learned--aren't ready to be where we want to. That's what familiarity is. When one situation seems to evoke the same emotional response in us as another, we feel like we have gotten nowhere with our reactions or choices. Really, though, acknowledging the familiarity and our responses is a part of being present in more moments than one; we were then, and we are now. Allowing any amount of back and forth or full circle occasions to occur is part of the process of living. Living consciously is the challenge then, being aware of how much and how little time we have and not devaluing our "mistakes" our losses, our regrets; not getting caught up in where the time went or how it could have been better spent. You can never know that. The more you free your spirit to take everything as it comes as a product of where you have been, the more you allow the universe to pull and push you, the more you become able to see at once the rapidity of new and old shaping now, and the spaciousness for experience and change.

Every little detail is significant; every bit of time is spent learning, opening, closing, lifting, releasing, meeting people, saying goodbye, exploring, experimenting, knowing intuitively. That's a lot! So as important as it is to welcome the intensity of moments where you make a sure or fearless decision, have a sudden understanding, a letting go, it is just as integral to recognize the vastness of your knowledge, wisdom, and experience, the compilation of all the seemingly insignificant things that these inherent moments get their force from. Allow yourself to lose track of time-- and live.

Immense love to my soul sister C--the woman who can put my thoughts into words with me barely saying a thing, and to my uncle for the words of another when I had none--your timing was perfect. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

my words

The words of others
have been far too distracting.
I cant right my own.


Overwhelmed. Its a word I would like to talk about. That, and satiate--but only because it is one of my favorite words. Satiate, voracious, ephemeral, stoic--because I just learned how to pronounce it--tangible, Coeur--"heart" in French, except the e and the u are written all squished about against eachother; I don't like the word squished--and precocious. I adore precocious! And adore; adore is a lovely little word. I digress....which is yet another word I like to use.

Overwhelmed. That last paragraph is a testimony to how scattered my mind is. So is the list of unedited bits of writing I have yet to post, and wont, because the thought of editing them is overwhelming. I am, just now, reminded of the particularly stressful and tired time in my life that one morning I turned on the coffee machine without putting the pot underneath and took a shower. I came back to a percolated mess--percolate; another favorite--and rather than get upset or even clean it up, I simply turned around and went right back to bed; rather than clean up my over-caffeinated messy bits of writing, I press save instead of publish and spend some time in a forward fold.

If you are reading this, then, it is because I am trying to deal with my overwhelmedness--not a word at all, but you get it. You see, this is where I process all that is going on in my head and Coeur, and try to make it into something tangible that people might empathize with. Something more than ephemeral, not at all stoic, that could satiate the most voracious of word appetites (hmmm, couldn't quite squish precocious in there...). As I explained to a friend earlier this morning, words are what I use to encapsulate--what a word!-- what I am thinking/feeling/learning/trying to understand about the world through my head and heart. Basically, writing is my way of sorting out what I believe to be true, and my voice to express it.

And that's where the overwhelmed bit occurs.

I just spent the last two weeks all up in my head. Everything that is up there is at once terrifying and magical, and everything that was making me ache was in fact joyful; everything that made me want so so badly to cry was so so beautiful. These dichotomies existed because as a dear friend's young daughter once said

"you can imagination anything."
and that is all that anything is: our interpretations--what we make something out to be. And while manipulating words to create stories out of thoughts can be delightful, when we forget that they are just stories, we get stuck in trying to sort through what is true and what is not. But all of it is both.

Time and circumstance change the truth behind things. We can only do our best to feel something in a moment and then let the world hear it. In the form of music or art or simply telling someone, including yourself how you feel without the use of a delete key; without being able to choose between save or publish.
The only way we can feel the truth of our stories is to be in the immediacy of our reactions to them. We cannot save our emotions for later. They show up in the most cunning of ways; the inexplicable dramatic outburst, the fatigue, the clumsiness, the dis-ease in the body. The inability to make a decision could perhaps simply be because you do not want to have to choose. The inability to explain what you are feeling could be because nothing you feel needs an explanation. The inability to make sense of your thoughts could simply be because they don't make any sense. That's allowed. Feeling overwhelmed is allowed.
Overwhelmed is not a word that I like. I don't even know what "whelmed" means to know if I am over or under it*. I do know that to use it means to admit that you cannot handle something; that you are not in control. That something, whether it is a thought or action or the permeating--mmm, love permeate--energy of someone near you is just too much. Our stories can be overwhelming when we are not allowing them to pertain to what is happening presently, but instead connect them to ideals, to a person we have been or whom we want to be. What is really happening is we are getting lost in all that is possible...which is actually quite a beautiful thing to be overwhelmed by.
So I am writing to tell you something that I have been thinking/learning/feeling/taking a bit of a guess at: feeling overwhelmed correlates with our perspective. We see a puddle of enough coffee for eight people and think of all the towels it will take to sop it up, the time, the waste, our lack of caffeine induced energy, how all we want is a damn moment to recalibrate with a cup and some cornflakes, we notice the spill as an indication of our lack of self care, our mindlessness--and it is fucking overwhelming. Is it though? Or is it an opportunity to change how we see the world in one moment that is as significant as it is insignificant--as over as it is under-whelming. Most things are not something that "happened to you" nor are they something you "need". Moments do not need to be dealt with, edited, made perfect for publication. They are simply reminders that you are alive within it: everything is an opportunity to simply feel.

So feel overwhelmed.http://iconosquare.com/viewer.php#/detail/958152880865946598_243715521 I do. And it feels good.


Thank you for being a part of this creative process; of getting to that good feeling.
Only love.

Also, these are some of the other words that have been distracting me from my own lately.
AW quote via MC
thanks J
*Well, I do now, because in writing that I realized that I should know it, so I looked it up. Whelmed means to come up with a force, like a gust of wind or an ocean wave smacking at a boat or a surge of joy; over whelmed, then, would surpass that. Though I should note that, interestingly, whelmed can be to be engulfed or submerged; so at once your forceful comeuppance and plunge you deep into your feelings so that you feel trapped. Ooh lala.