Monday, December 31, 2012

Where IS Here Now? Contemplation on a Year

[here is yet another Kinda-Finished piece that i feel like i must send out into the stratosphere before i put 2012 to rest.  i wrote this over a month ago.]

Ha ~ that is a LARGE title.  I'll see what writing I can accomplish in this window of time, with this melancholy music of someone else's choice in my ear, and an interview for a newspaper going on at the table to my left.  I sit, just having finished espresso, at North Lime Coffee and Donuts in Lexington, Kentucky.

"Everything's already alright, always alright, always alright.."  A favorite line from a newly-favorite artist [Nahko and Medicine for the People!] rolls through my head as I attempt this essay.  I can use the reminder today, as I'm feeling heavy with the reality of so much change, so much expectation, so much unexpected.  So much change.

This morning I looked out a second story window in Lexington, Kentucky, and viewed a neighboring rooftop crusted with sun-gleaming crystal frost.  A year ago at this time culminated almost two years of planning, scheming, moving ~ jobs, houses and situations, preparing for a Big Move to Baja California Sur, Mexico.  Last year at this time we were in North Carolina celebrating Thanksgiving with family, heavily anticipating that move, which began in the following weeks of December.

So what are we doing having just moved to Lexington a week ago??!  What happened with Baja, anyway??  It has become part of our Story ~ a story that could barely be uttered at first and has now found its wording and rhythm until it has woven itself into the fabric of our life.  our Story.  For those of you in my close circle, you have heard the bits and pieces hashed and rehashed till it's your story, too.  It has been distilled into a pallatable few sentences acceptable at casual cocktail parties, where ~ similar to hearing about an illness, the person hearing it is able to keep a politely straight face as they take in the news and respond appropriately.  What happened, was, that the person who loaned our group of Lumbini owners the money to own the property (who happened to be a spouse of one of the owners; complicated, no?) decided he was tired of waiting for us to repay him.  What happened was that he gave us an ultimatum of either repaying him a very large sum of money in the matter of a few short weeks, or he would put the place on the market ~ in two weeks.  When our family had just moved our whole life down there, onto the land.  What happened was that we essentially got kicked back up here to the US when we felt forced to make the money, or lose the dream that we had been cultivating for several years.  What happened was that, all at the same time, there occurred some deep discord among members ~ business partners and best friends, alike ~ about what happened on the property, while we lived our lives there, and others wanted to make or break our daily decisions from afar.  Details as seemingly minor as where a short-term tent was pitched, practices as fundamentally integral as raising and harvesting our own meat.  What happened was what has happened to countless other intentional communities over the years, almost textbook-classic (as I later read in Diana Leafe Christian's invaluable tomes Creating a Life Together, and Finding Community):  financial difficulties, and internal disagreements.  That's what happened.  What it felt like was.. like a stiff kick-in-the-stomach to a long-nurtured Life Dream.   What it felt like was the rug getting pulled out from under our lovingly cultivated life.  What it felt like was being hurled into a deep, dark vacuum-like stratosphere of unexpected un-knowing.
What it felt like (from what I can only imagine) was a mis-carriage of a Beloved.

Troy was the only one in the group who could even think about making up the sum of money required in such short order.  And he is the only one who can repay the next, equally large, sum of money expected in a year's time (from then) ~  in June.  So we agreed together to "buy the time" to keep Lumbini a possibility at least for another year.  We took a loan from a friend, and moved back up to the US for Troy to work the shifts necessary, for Anjali and I to play our supporting roles and keep our family together.

From a place of feeling like we were the leaders of our life, the choosers of our destiny, it felt like the ground has shifted to one of constantly reacting to this shocking life change.  From feeling like the dealer, we have moved chairs to dealing with the hand dealt.

What else happened?
Our moms, on the East Coast, each became ill and were hospitalized (and are recovering).
My Granny died, and then my Granddaddy (on the other side) died, both on the East Coast.
We agreed that the work situation that we tried out while in Baja ~ of Troy coming back up to the US for stints while Anjali and I stayed down there ~ didn't feel good to us.
We desired a lot more knowledge in Permaculture.
We were lonely and wanted Community.
We decided to move to Earthaven, a relatively long-running, exemplary, permaculturally-based intentional community (coincidentally the home of aforementioned internationally-recognized Diana Leafe Christian!).
We reunited at Burning Man with fabulous folks who already know us and love us, who live in Lexington.
We realized and agreed that we wanted tight community NOW.  That, right now, we were tired of trying to start things from scratch.  We wanted to feel known, accepted, and loved Now.  And that was available to us Now ~ in Lexington, Kentucky.
Troy finished up his contracted time working in Oregon.
We traveled down the West Coast being embraced and supported by the folks over there who also love us.
We moved to Lexington.  

What I want to celebrate today and right now is my reunion with my feral wild woman body and its source, that vast and deep Mama Earth ~ her sands, her dirt, her oceans, her inhabitants.

What I want to celebrate today is my re-acceptance of my own personal vision, and my leadership and responsibility in the Great Turning that is Now.  That with my own two hands, I can make a difference, and that it's worth it.
What I want to celebrate today is acceptance of the fact that I Have a Community.  I'm not searching for them.  I have leapt into a warm and solid embrace.               

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Recovered Ruminations on BRC 2012

Over the years I have really appreciated that I took even the time I did to attempt to share about my experiences at Burning Man. When I look back on all these years of writing in this blog ~ both steady and intermittent, totally frank, attempting optimism and just a bit of downright self-foolery, I cherish these glimpses into my heart and mind in that soft condition that Black Rock City makes possible.  I also just wanna get this up while I have this teensy little window to do so, so I'm gonna stop ruminating on the ruminating and post the darn thing!   

After writing it ~ inspired ~ the first time all the way through, my phone lost this essay.  I attempted to recreate it here on my then-ailing computer, in a home with no internet.  Life happened and it is now a moon and a half later.  I feel like a lot of what’s shared here in this essay is too important for my Self not to put out there.  But it is unfinished.  Even in my slow daily rhythm, my 21st century life keeps truckin’ and I keep encountering and incorporating new information, adventures, lessons and loves.  So it goes, and so it is.  But this is Where I Was At the week after Burning Man 2012, and I honor this expression:

This post is dedicated to this girl here.  
No, not my daughter(!), but me at almost her same exact age 
~ on my fourth birthday.  
Because this girl deserves it.  She's worth the mess and the work.  
And the love.  
Burning Man.  Every year I ask myself, do I really need to go again this year?  And every time I return to that dusty home in the desert, BRC proves it to me, yes; you need this.   Catharsis, Re-union, Home-coming ~ with the community that feels like My community, back to my Self.   Black Rock City is like a powerful mirror which reflects wisdom every time it’s peered into:  roughly the same city every time, generally the same activities every year, but depending on where you direct the mirror, the view is dramatically different.

If last year was the year of Family Zen Blissed-Out Tranquility, this year was of Tough Love and Mandatory Transformation.  It was not rainbows this year; I might say it was a little hard.  I cried most every day.  But it was a good kind of hard, like an itch that reeally wants scratching, even till it bleeds.

If last year had me and my family sitting up on a cloud like a group of Hindu deities, spouting forth butter and cream from our benevolently cupped hands, this year had me possessed by an angry Kali, ruthlessly bound to make Change. 

Whereas last year I was primly content with early-to-bed and early-to-rise, this year I was possibly as manic as I have ever been.  I burned hard.  I might even say I Raged ~ ha!  Well, at Burning Man that’s an awfully big statement; I’ll say I “raged” for a 36yo who is used to going to bed by 9pm, and who tries not to drink coffee after noon.  ;-D  I saw the sunrise from both ends, woke up early, stayed up late, and could barely settle myself down for even a short siesta.   
I was agitated and aggravated.  Not just in the first 24 hours where you arrive and wonder why the hell you came ~ and then you acclimate.  I was restless and annoyed.  And then I went dancing.  I danced till I couldn’t stand up any more, and then I went dancing again.  Barefeet pounding on bare ground, bare breasts bouncing feral in strangely mild night air.  I danced until my hips re-membered how to boom with the bass, and I danced until every joint re-membered to accent every beat.  I gyrated in a sea of undulating masses.  And then the sky opened up and rained moon-haunted, green laser-sparkling fat drops onto the gleeful crowd, onto my bare torso, and imprinted the dusty earth.   And when I couldn’t stand anymore, I grooved in my seat by the fire, still wanting more. 

I sought passion.  I felt passion.  I found passion.  I longed to be seen.  I dove headlong into the eyes of a beautiful Other for the first time since well before sweet Sealion and I pronounced our vows out there five years prior.   Heart to heart I saw and was seen.  Awakened electric in sensory Yes, my self-expression blossomed essential Connection, borne of clear conscience.   
Waxing moon greeted dusky sunrise.

I woke up Angry. 
Angry because:
I’ll be Damned if I only dance my heart’s worth two nights out of 365.
I’ll be Damned if I only open my heart to connection with other souls one week out of the year.
I’ll be Damned if the only creativity that wells forth from my hands is that in prep for my annual dusty pilgrimage.
And I’ll be Damned if I only feel sexy and attractive in that faraway desert home ~ I’m not talking 20-year-old sexy; I’m fine being done with that.  I’m talking feeling Good and Worthwhile in Your Own Skin.  Like a dog digging after a mole, a bear grabbing a salmon.  A wild woman howling at the moon. 
The kind of Like that attracts that kind of Like. 
Because, for me, this week is not a masquerade party where I try on another woman’s face who has a more Vibrant life than mine and then go back to Business as Usual.  FUCK Business as Usual.  This is for real and for keeps. 
It is true for a long time I wanted to feel In Control, keep things tidy and neat, because ya know, when my heart cracks open the blood drips down and… it’s messy.  Well I’m back in the game.  I’m in it for the mess: for the sweat, and the spit and the grease and the blood.  And the tears.  I’m here to live it big, and I’m ready to make mistakes.  Life is too fragile and short and beautiful for tidy packages.  Lemme have the mess.

So I guess I could say I engaged in a passionate romance with my own body this year in Black Rock City.  Or more specifically, with my Root.  The seat of my creativity, the locus of my movement, the center of my balance.  Font of my fertility, drive, and passion.  And I was gonna be Damned if I left her there in the desert till next year. 

My Love: after my wedding ceremony to myself. 

To begin the week, I went on my very first solo Journey of contemplation.  I encountered Fear.  Fear of my parents ill and aging, awe at my daughter growing bigger still, awareness of the passage of time on the face of my husband, and myself.  I looked around me and saw people struggling:  a woman grieving, folks desperately trying to connect.  Inhabitants clinging to a big whirling ball even as its populations decline.  I pondered Old (old) Ways Lost, and I mourned them deeply.  My sense was that of the fragility of things.  The fleetingness.  I returned to camp desiring to be closer to my loved ones. 

At the end of the week we nourished our selves with a morning’s ecstatic dance.  I lay on the floor as the facilitator guided us through a meditation:  I listened to my body.  It told me, I Am Alive (even as my right ovary, the source of my creativity, quivered in accord)!  I listened to the steady voice of my heart.  It said, Trust Me.  I listened for my Higher Source.  She told me, You Have Everything You Need. 
When we would’ve moved on, my daughter urged us to rest in the breezy shade.  A woman with a voice like honey sat cross-legged on the stage, caressing a sitar.  Her lesson that hour was to lead us in a devotional chant.  To whom?  Sarasvati, of course!  Goddess of Arts and Music.  It felt synchronistic, as all week I had worn a hennaed crest of fire on my throat ~ to call forth my voice, my expression, which I felt had got stuck.  I closed my eyes in dedication to this prayer.               

Sincere, vulnerable, open, tender...tired.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

the view from here

Hi!  As a product of being unplugged in Baja Sur, Mexico, for almost six months, I got out of the habit of writing here.  I relished that.  That might sound strange, but, this blog has been in existence for over seven years!  That's a long time to have that little narrator sitting in the back of my head, making hopefully-insightful, inner-focused commentary in my ear.  ;-D  Such is the life of a writer, I suppose.  But it was refreshing to be Me without my narrator for a while.  I find such a love-hate relationship with this-here internet existence ~ wanting to connect, to express myself, to be heard, but also feeling like a myopic techno-addict very quickly.  I know I've written about this so many times over the years.  Perhaps someday I will make peace with it.

For now we are in Oregon, where Sealion is working shifts, and La Chiquita and I play our supporting roles.  And with friends, who unavoidably play their supporting roles.  Community: that's what it's all about!  In our free time together, Sealion have been doing some vision board play to focus our intentions on what is to come.

Here, I will leave you with another tidbit of recent journal artwork, effectively turning the page on that last post that I wrote months ago in the thick of things.  Moving on.
 Oh!  and here's a Flickr album showcasing the journey over the past month-or-so.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Right Now

HmMm.  Glad to be here.  Glad to have this sounding-board still intact and available.

I had a whole other blog post written a few days ago.  And, well, you know; things change.  My head and heart are all a-swirl, still.  But different.  Reminding me of a book that Anjali has, written both in espanol and in English:  "lo mismo, pero diferente."  

But this watercolor exercise in Right Now is still applicable.

Ahh:  Right Now.

Right Now

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I wrote this a few weeks ago, and have been brewing it in expectation of posting it here.
Fireside lounging mama

Living in Baja Sur, Mexico, I have reached a level of unplugged-ness I never expected.
Truly, for weeks now, I have done the bare minimum of making my way to our local public wireless access (usually because I'm going by there anyway; rarely as a trip in itself), waiting the minutes it takes to download my emails (and a few select blogs and websites now and again), and then I'm away to other parts of my day. I don't even do this daily. At most, I reply to pressing emails. Oftentimes via concise (ha - as concise as I get, that is!) text message. For instance, yesterday I had a rare several hours to myself. In my old life I would've dashed immediately to the computer and easily spent those hours in front of the screen. Yesterday? I couldn't wait to turn on some mama music and mulch the kitchen garden with the bails of straw that we had finally procured. I didn't even think of opening the computer, not even to play music; I used my phone for that.
What else have I been doing with all this time that, for years, I spent plugged in?
~I've been studying the sunset each evening
~Peeing in the wee hours of the night with nothing but the light of the moon and my moonshadow as companions
~Therapeutically and often dunking myself in the invigorating water of our mama ocean
~I've been listening to bats squeak in the roof of our palapa kitchen
~Planting seeds and watering gardens
~Chomping nasturtium flowers that I pick from the walls of my shower
~Getting to know the species of birds at the shore
~Witnessing rows of garden greens disappear by the day, probably to a rabbit
~Being serenaded by duets of owls
~Watching as the tops of my bare feet get very tan
~And feeling with the soles of those bare feet as the earth gets warmer with the progression of the season
~Drinking a lot less coffee
~Embracing Siesta.

This post is dedicated to the pelican friend we encountered on the beach with an irreparably broken wing.

If you'd like to read more about what we've been up to here at Lumbini Gardens in Baja California Sur, Mexico, check out my recent newsletter at La Vida Lumbini.

Friday, February 17, 2012


After fretting about an audience (both perceived and real) that I was disappointing and "letting down" by not posting regularly about our Huge Life Change, I let myself take a month "blog sabbatical" as I settled in and figured out the internet situation here in our new rural Baja Mexican paradise. Our month anniversary of moving to Lumbini Gardens rolled around on the twelfth (I know! So exciting! Thanks for the congratulations! ;-) ), and by that point I was so blessedly un-connected with the internet, I had barely the tiniest desire to log back on. But reading from other gratefully inspiring bloggers, such as here and here, I am reminded that I do have a story to tell. There are people who want to hear it. It's a story worth telling, and worth reading. And for now, this is my medium.
So what have I been doing during this month since we officially For Real moved to rural Baja California Sur, Mexico, to a permacultural haven-in-the-making? Ha! That's so many stories! So many photos! So many feelings, senses, emotions, movements, victories, and even some loss.

For now I'll tell you something I've been letting myself indulge in: I've been basking in the satisfaction of a HUGE life goal ACCOMPLISHED! Even there, I start to modestly add phrases like, "but I know this is just the beginning," and, "but I know that we have so much work ahead of us, and we just don't even know how it'll turn out." With this, I noticed a pattern of myself for many years: never allowing myself that satisfaction, really, of taking a moment for accepting and enjoying a pat on the back ~ either from loved ones who appreciate me, or even from myself. I immediately set my sights on The Next Thing, and don't look back.
Which brings me to a false belief I had about myself: that of being a lackadaisical flittering non-goal-oriented person (read: slacker). Having so many successful peers and friends ~ whom I'm so proud of(!), and especially so many loved ones who went through some professional school which has such a linear, "this, then that," kind of track with very obvious goals and credentials and then special titles and letters they get to use before and after their name to prove they mastered and accomplished something Important, I have seen myself comparatively as a Late Blooming wanderer and seeker who might just never "make good." Well, if I am a Late Bloomer, I have finally found some rich soil and am ready to thrive (do you see those flowers budding all over me?). And, can I set a goal and reach it?! Since this idea planted its seed deeply in my heart, I have been a woman obsessed about reaching this goal. Driven, determined, with jaw set, not allowing for distractions. AND HERE I AM!
And, wow, does this fruit taste good. It's everything I imagined it to be, and it's just the beginning! Right before I sat down to type this, my love hugged me extra hard before he headed off with our daughter to the playground. He whispered in my ear, "I love you. And I love this. Even more than I thought I would. Life really is better this way."
So, yes, I've been doing a bit of basking. I sat down with my journal at the turn of the new year. The new year is ponderful for me, just as it is for everyone. But my birthday falls just days later ~ on the fourth of January, so I feel like it could be extra ponderful for me sometimes. I was eager to begin playing in my Goddess Guidebook and see just how many goals I could accomplish with her fabulous tools. And that's when it dawned on me, how bout letting yourself soak up some of the magic of this huge life goal accomplished? ...Just let yourself relish it for awhile? What would that feel like? I could barely let myself write down the page before I had already come up with some goal or another, if only a small, general one. Then the page told me, "Live into the satisfaction of Being a dream manifestress. I'm not only a Dreamer, I'm a Visionary Dream Manifestress." Then I illustrated that as best I could with the Sharpies available.
photo of that page, with the shadow of the palapa fronds blowing in the breeze at sunset.
And continued, "How Juicy is that?
What does a dream manifestress look like?
How does she love?
Just like I do. LIVE INTO THAT."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Announcing! La Vida Lumbini

Hello !

I appreciate all of you who have been checking in to see how we're doing here at Lumbini Gardens. I'm still figuring out how exactly to include the internet in my life to achieve the lifestyle I desire. For now, to quench your curiosity, let me send you to my New Blog(!) that will chronicle our journey in more of an informative way than the style I write here. I'm excited about it! :-)

I imagined more of a Grand Unveiling, but this is what it is for now.

Announcing! La Vida Lumbini!