Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Resolution

I resolve:

To snuggle my silly little dog to pieces.

To tell everyone I love that I LOVE him or her.

To make every moment that I have left a celebration.

To, most certainly, not hate myself in every way for every day.

To not care how many resolutions I make, but instead to care about KEEPING them.


As a rule, I have always made fun of and sort of disliked New Years- many of you know that I usually spend it with dogs.  Not even kidding.  My poor opinion of the holiday has a lot to do with it's arbitrary nature.  What is the Gregorian Calendar to dictate the newness of years to us??  For witches, the New Year begins at Samhain- so how does one, how do I, reconcile all of this??  What is one day, any day out of the year?

All days are important, aren't they?  And shouldn't they all be equally important?  See above, but shouldn't everyday be a celebration?

Every day should be a celebration.

Every day should bring new-found resolve and grace.  I am not even close to being the one who can talk, I know how hypocritical I am (see basically any other blog post for more on that).  But here I am, alone with the dogs on another New Years Eve; sitting in front of the first wood fire I built solely by myself (yes, I recognize the sadness of that factoid); thinking about all of the people I love and all of the days I have to love them, all of the ways I have to love them.

So I guess this eve of the new year is a little different for me- or maybe this new (Gregorian) year will be a little different for me.

Happy New Year, all.

I love you.  I love you all.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Songs- A Christmas Link-fest

There are songs that always get to me.  All the time.

And every year at Christmas, I am reminded of a number of them.  These are the songs that break my heart; the songs that make me grateful for who and what I have around me but desperately sad for the eventual loss of those same people and things.

Any, absolutely ANY version of this song makes me cry.  I don't care if it's Coldplay's haunting piano, Judy Garland's wobbling vocals, or Kelly Clarkson's holiday pop… the song makes me cry.  Forget about Cat Power's version for Apple… HYAMLC forcefully reminds me of every single person who has lost.  It reminds me of just how very lucky I truly am.

Ave Maria.

Let me explain.  It has been an almost unbelievably long time since I have bought into any major organized religion, including the Catholicism in which I was raised.  But Chris Cornell's rendition of this seasonal masterpiece brutalizes my soul in an equally erotic and religious way.  Whenever I hear that song, I am reminded of a quote from Jeff Buckley his, describing his version of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' as 'the Hallelujah of Orgasm.'

If that is sacrilege, so be it.

Speaking of which, it's not even remotely related to Christmas but it does get to me.  It's the sigh at the beginning.  Listen carefully.

Silent Night makes me simultaneously happy and sad.  Happy because it reminds me always of my childhood and good Holidays and wonderful, perfect Christmas'.  Sad because it also reminds me always of what I have lost by growing up.  Good bye, Santa.  Good bye, faith.  For now I have doubt- a gift for which I am profoundly grateful, but occasionally over which I am still somewhat jaded.

Few people have heard this classic from Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.  But during the two Christmases I spent in China- and every lukewarm, mild, rainy, dreary Christmas before or since- this song essentially set the tone.  Holidays are exactly what we make of them.

Hallelujah, Noel- be it Heaven or Hell- the Christmas we get we deserve.

xoxo, and Until Next Time.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Shortest Day, Saddest Day

I have written a lot, over the years, about my witchcraft.

Stags, Kings, other Beautiful Things.

Belief in nature, how the natural world believes in me.

So today is a particularly bittersweet day in the world of witches.  It is Yule; the Winter Solstice; the shortest day of sunlight this year, the longest time for the night.

It is the second day during which the Oak and Holly Kings do battle.  And on this solstice, the Oak King will win, thus ushering in the lighter half of the year.  It does not always make sense- that Oak is associated with winter months instead of Holly, a traditionally winter plant.  But consider this- the winter months signal the longer days- the growth of light and with it the growing seasons, seasons of plenty.

It is only natural that my beloved Holly King dies today, relinquishing his throne.  I have always gravitated toward Holly because of his connection to the fall, the quiet months of introspection and intuition.  But now he bows to the light so that there may be that growth of the light months.  His grace in death allows for legacy, tradition, and continuation.  The world can be because he dies.

So tonight we both mourn and celebrate.  Tonight we pay our respects to the dying King and welcome with respect the newly reborn King.

Tonight is the night for fires and planning.  Tonight is the night for mischief and witchery.

Tonight is the night for night.

Happy Yule.

Sunday, December 8, 2013


Believe it or not, today I took my first foray into Mexico.  I know, I know...  You are thinking that with all of this travel, all of this history of movement under my belt... and the fact that it's Mexico and not so far away in the grand scheme of things... How could this be her first time?!?  Especially considering the lengths I regularly go to in order to escape and go Go GO!

But it's true.  This gal can finally claim having been to Central America.

Granted, after hearing stories about drug-filled cadavers; gang shootings and rapes; jail, jail, jail,... it almost did not happen.  In fact a sense of doom had plum settled on me by the time we got in the car this morning.  Death! Destruction! White Slavery! Montezuma's Revenge! Who knows what fate awaits me, I thought, but it cannot be a good one!  My mantra on the way south went a little like this:

"Get out alive.  Get out.  Get out alive. Get out."  I hoped that all would go well and we would not wind up in jail.  Or otherwise mis-occupied.

Several Christmas gifts, a decent amount of stress and photos, and some tequila later, I am happy to report that Puerto Nuevo, Mexico, is amazing, silly, touristy, nonsensical- filled with people trying to make a living in a cheerfully capitalistic fashion.  It is bright and bold and spilling over with colors and music and life and livelihood.

I can also report that Marisco's restaurant in PN serves a damned fine ceviche. 

I can also report that if you, for whatever reason, find yourself in an 'authorized vehicles only' lane at the border crossing (back into the States), you should probably find a way out of it.  Otherwise you will, in fact, be detained.  And sent to secondary inspection.

So much love, Muchachos.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Part Two… It's a Family Affair.

And one helluva photo op….

The day, of course, begins with an examination of the back deck ceiling.  Which is dad and Uncle Tom's specialty.

It's also a brilliant way to get out of the kitchen and out of the way of the women in said kitchen while they bake turkey, stuffing, potatoes, pies, etc… etc… etc.

Holy Bananas, food.

Holy Bananas, avoidance of responsibility and masculine duty (until of course, the 24 pound turkey needs to be pulled out of the oven, then man-power is a necessary evil.).

Which brings me to another point- WTF- I'm totally capable of handling a bird of that girth… how come nobody asked me?!?!

 Meanwhile- Dad samples Pepe Nero (a rather fetching and absolutely delicious pepper brew from the Goose Island Brewery)- in yet another attempt to avoid the kitchen.  The Bob is a wise, wise man.

And so the day goes on… with such an epic degree of familial love and debauchery.  Mom decides she's a pirate (or reprobate as Uncle Tom put it)… Aunt Dee decides she's a movies star of old Hollywood proportions…

Several thousand pounds of food, drink, and merriment later, it was the end of the holiday-day.

Thank the powers-out-there because I was plum tuckered out by 6:30, curled up on the outside couch, snoozing in the happy mellowness of tryptophan.

And literally have no memory of the rest of the evening.

Happy Thanksgiving.

And then today rolled around- which means the post-Thanksgiving Day picnic.

Much like the Pre-Thanksgiving Day Pub Crawl, the picnic involves goodness, great conversation, too much food, and just enough of the white man's fire water.

There is something so special and so charming about family time.

And at the same time… so absurdly and so deliciously nonsensical.

Especially this family… And this time.

So Much Love to You All.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Part One- or- The Pre-Thanksgiving Family Pub Crawl


It really happened.  How it happened..? Who knows- but a new tradition of nonsense and debauchery has officially begun in for the Cleerdin/Seyfried Clans.

Let me begin at the beginning...

One never knows where one may find oneself in the days leading up to Thanksgiving- even when knows where one is, errrr, physically.

Hence the day before Thanksgiving I found myself wandering around Vero Beach, Florida, with my parents, aunt, and uncle…. and we were drinking.  Heavily.

Sitting ocean-side on the Atlantic coast, watching a dog bound in and out of the water, we began the evening at Waldo's- apparently the Last of the Great American Hangouts.  This, having been to Chilkoot Charlie's in Anchorage, Alaska, is a debatable claim.  Perhaps the last of the great Floridian hangouts.

As we sat and shot the … ahem… shit, raising a glass to my grandfather (whose memorial may or may not be part three of these Thanksgiving blogs), the Bob pondered the merits of Waldo Sexton and his inability to tell the same story twice (see below).

Everything changes all the time.  Details weave themselves in different patterns.

Next up was a spot called Mulligans for some truly terrible wine and, much to my diet's dismay, truly delicious sweet potato fries (if you are ever in the Vero area- check out the cinnamon-honey dip served with the fries.  Two words: Holy bananas.)

Needless to say a fire was going to happen at some point yesterday evening.  Because, perhaps in a cosmic nod to my desperate desire for chill weather on a fall holiday, it actually dropped to 40 or so degrees.  Sitting on the back porch, flame gently crackling in the fire pit (which is another blog for another time because pit implies something sunken in the ground and this contraption most definitely sits above-ground) we polished off more wine, beer, and conversation.

There is a certain merit to being an adult in your own family.  You gain rights- rights to talk, fight, and engage in other most wonderful activities which you lacked before the rise in aged stature.

Not that my 'adulthood' within the family implies any respect from the family at all.

No indeed: I'm still pretty much the black sheep.  But this sheep can officially say that she found Waldo.  And that good times abound when you let them.

Until Thanksgiving Part Two, Or, A Whole Lot More Family Time…

Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 22, 2013


I assume that it comes as a surprise to absolutely no one that I love words.  I love spoken and written language.  I love communication- both explicit and implicit.

I love WORDS.

And I love being a wordsmith.

I wrote a yoga class today which revolved around the idea of (and word) "presence."  In terms of the yogic practice presence means being totally into and with your practice, your moment.  In terms of the big world, the big yoga, presence is something intangible and tangible- real and surreal.  It is a physical, emotional, and temporal word.  It reaches beyond Websters and into the spirit of every person who is capable of experiencing it.  Presence.


What a beautiful idea- that one is so completely and utterly here, for both themselves and for others.  It is alarmingly perfect.  To be present is to be aware, engaged.  To be aware and engaged is to be utterly given unto the universe.  Your spirit graces the wider world; it communicates on a basic, base level with everything and everyone else.

I reiterate that when you are present, you are aware.  I refuse to use the term 'alive' because it is cliche and boring.  Awareness is so much more significant, anyway.  Awareness implies a sense of consciousness that is true, honest, and magnificently powerful- because when you are aware, when you are present, when you are here- you let go.  You can let go because you realize the profundity of your surroundings.  And those who accompany you in those surroundings.

Life is present.  Be present.

Until next time…

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What is, After it All, Love?

Last night I was exposed, for the first time first-hand, to "love" gone wrong; gone mean; gone putridly bad and sour.

Let me explain.  I feel heartbreak, heartache, and heartsickness.  I have experienced all of them intimately and not necessarily romantically.  I know the pain of love lost and love never again to be had.  I know how lonely lovelessness is and how wonderful the warmth of love is when it wraps around you like a blanket.  I have trounced on hearts and had my own heart trounced upon in return.  I get it.

But never have I known the pain, shame, and brutality of someone claiming to love you and then twisting that love into an excuse.  I was used as an excuse for someone to hurt himself.  My feelings were used as an excuse for someone to hurt me, to wound my spirit, soul, and trust.  Badly, and with vigor, confidence and ultimatums.

What kind of love is that?

How can love be defined with 'Either…Or'?

Until next time…

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hello, Hallowed 'Eve!

I adore Halloween.  I absolutely adore it.  Those of you who know me, know me well, and know my witchcraft, may find this odd.  Mostly because in the modern era Halloween is a bit of a joke and one run by candy companies nonetheless. But my enthusiasm for the holiday cannot be stopped. 

Nope, it certainly cannot.

I adore witchiness in all of it's kitschy glory.  I gobble it up and imprint in my soul and on my skin.

Because we witches must have a sense of humor about things.  And if we cannot have a sense of humor about a holiday that is oddly, sadly, and sensibly ours, than what can we have humor about??  We must, and I do, embrace the hats, brooms, warts, and capes.  I embrace my body which wears the hat; the air which floats the broom; the humor which necessarily embraces the wart; and the shoulders that bear the cape.

Traditionally this moment in the season marks the true beginning of the winter because it also marks the end of the harvest season.  Collecting is over, digging in is on.  The festivities which accompany the holiday celebrate not candy, not magic nor shenanigans but darkness- both in the form of the coming winter and shorter days and in the form of death- those who have died, those who have come before.

This day, for what it is worth, is a day of celebration of darkness- of evening, of oncoming, of passing.  It is a celebration of the good which accompanies the difficult or bad.  It is a celebration of livelihood even when times are thin.

It is the perfect night.  The witching night.  The night when I feel most at home in myself because there is no reason not to.  I believe that I can embody this transition from light to dark; autumn to winter; life to death.  I can embody and love all of these transitions.  They are natural, they are beautiful, they are Halloween.

My darlings, my friends and readers- Much love on this most auspicious of days.  And until next time…

An it harm ye none- so mote it be.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Psychology of Inevitability

As a nod to the impending Halloween Holiday, I'd like to discuss (and open for discussion) what makes good horror films really good (of course in my ever humble opinion).  And I'm talking about the GOOD ones.  This does not mean the gore ones; the ones that rely on special effects and blood and guts and a gusto of absurd fight scenes blah blah blah.  

What makes a good horror movie into something haunting and memorable is this psychology behind-the deep distress of- the inevitable. Consider the greatness that is Night of the Living Dead: these people are stuck in a house, in the middle of nowhere, with the deeply uncomfortable knowledge that something is coming for them.  

Consider also the original Haunting.  

I have never in my life been more piss scared by absolutely nothing.  There are no special effects.  No gruesome scenery.  There is the simple terror of being haunted by the UNSEEN.  Neither the characters nor the audience sees anything.  We all know that something is there, hunting and ranging through the massive Hill House, but we never truly see it- we can only acknowledge it's presence and it's effect. 

My current favorite is World War Z.  And I don't care what anyone else has to say about it (booyah).  The reason it is such a great horror flick is because it is not actually a horror flick.  It's a socio-political statement about the inevitability of descent into madness, mayhem, and badness if humanity continues along the exceptionally self-centered and ignorant path on which it has currently set itself.  Of course we are going to overdevelop ourselves into disease and disaster.  


And that is key with all of these brilliant films.  The fear that we know what's coming and cannot stop it no matter how hard we try or what we do.  Whatever 'it' is, it is a force beyond our comprehension and willpower to understand and avoid.

Questions? Comments? Concerns?

Do tell!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Blood Moon

What I love about the cycles of nature is that they make so much sense traditionally, socially and historically.

Tonight is the Blood Moon- the full moon normally associated with the month October.  For some reason (read because they don't do their homework and won't think outside the box) most people think this full moon is called Blood Moon because it is October's moon.  (October playing host to such a delightful holiday as Halloween- it makes 'pop' sense... I guess.)

But that is not exactly how it works.  At least not for us witchy-folk... Here is where the sensical traditional-ness comes in.  Blood Moon is called such because this is the time of year when (sorry to keep using the word) traditionally villages, towns, families, etc., began to slaughter their fattened animals for the winter meats; and to preserve meat you must first end the life of the creature.  And so blood flows.  And so this full moon becomes the Blood Moon.

It has so much to do with nature, with survival, with keeping life and light abounding during dark times.

It is a beautiful understanding.

To all, a Happy Blood Moon tonight.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Switch- or- Self Control vs. Life

There is a switch in my brain- one that is equally as important as it is devastating.  And there is literally no way of predicting when it will happen- when the switch in my brain will flip and I will suddenly (while listening to my newly rescued shelter dog yip and sigh in his dreamy sleep) and with such relief think-

Wait.  I deserve to be here. I deserve to be loved- and to love myself.  

Last night was that moment, that heartbeat.  The bottom of my weird brain fell out and reality hit hard.  Self control, I thought at one o'clock in the morning, is a great thing.  Until you use it to kill yourself tortuously and slowly by starving yourself merrily.

And that is when the screaming in my head began...


Not really.... nope, can't say that I do anymore.

And so the still torturously slow march to reclaim myself as a person, one with wit and vim and vigor, one with humor and love, begins.

Until next time...

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Before this evening... I was a motorcycle virgin.

And now...

Well now I am something entirely different.  Because this evening I had my first motorcycle ride.  And it was perfect.  It was exactly what I dared hope it would be- All fluidity and ease in motion.  All grace and presence.   And holy bananas- I was present beyond all experience of presence.  I watched the sun go down from a motorcycle.

I saw the world fly by in a rush of air and goodness and throttle.

But it was not flying at all.  It held still for each heartbeat- each breath I took infused with my surroundings.




Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dear Alaska,

There will, in fact, be things that I miss about you.

But YOU will not be one of them.

Because, in fact, I did not experience Alaska this season.  I experienced Anchorage.  And, naturally, there were and are things here that I genuinely enjoyed.  My cohort.  My roommates. The stories that I now have to tell about my crazy landlady, our psychotic and hermit-like neighbors, and the misadventures of one wildly moody housecat.

I enjoyed the mountains in the distance and the strange sense of community in this strange northern town.  Dogs everywhere, street people making it a point to yell at me.

The Bear Tooth Theatrepub and Chilkoot Charlie's Trivia night.

I cannot, however, say that I will miss the town as a whole.

Again, nor can I say that I will miss Alaska.  Alaska- the big wilderness, the big sense of wanderlust and glamour and loss- did not exist for me.  Not this season, anyway.  Plans foiled; mischief never quite properly managed; fashioning of nonsense and no-good constantly foiled...

I gave up on the BIG Alaska.  I cannot regret it or regret will eat me alive... but I will be saddened by the world outside that I never quite got my act together enough to engage.

Alas- I blame myself, Alaska, not you. It is my ache, my pain, my mistake.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

September... Oh September...

I am indeed obsessed with my birthday month.  It has to be said.  September is the start of the fall- my favorite season.  It is the delicious month when the summer is finally letting go and the sweetness of golden autumn light begins to creep into the days.  I am a Libra- so I am especially partial to the late part of the month- but I will take any bit of it.

Holy Bananas.  Official obsession (which may become a problem later down the line when I decide that motorcycles are in fact a great mode of transportation) and serious streaming video problem with Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman's travel 'Long Way' documentaries.  Brilliantly funny, brilliantly British, and brilliantly executed, these journeys and these men are going to cost me an arm and a leg in Internet overages!

Completely absurd ailments.  Yep.  Storytime.   Yesterday I woke to shards of glass ripping into my throat, an epic ear ache and general health shit-tast-ic-ness.  So I roll out to find a walk in clinic (in the middle of the always pouring Anchorage rain) which, naturally, takes far more time than it should.  But eventually, after much chagrin and cursing of the weather gods, I am ushered into the back room where they take temperature, blood pressure, etc.  After two different thermometers and two rounds of double checking- confirmed.  My body temp is only 94 degrees.  Consult your survival dictionaries- I have officially dropped low enough to be hypothermic.  Crikey.

Bear Tooth Theatrepub.  I just love it here... a second-chance movie theatre that serves food and drink and keeps the kids away from the rest of us in an 'alcohol free' balcony zone.  It's brilliant. In fact, I may treat my hypothermic and bronchitis-ridden self to World War Z this weekend.  Since, you know, sickos can't make it to Denali even though that was the original plan.  Nah.. I'm not Bitter at All.  (Hack, stupid Alaska).

I remembered how lovely his voice is... and his.  And now I can't stop listening to either.

Reconnecting.  I've done a lot of that lately for some reason.  I realized that I had forgotten how lovely it is to reconnect with someone loved.

Till Next Time...

F*ing Hypothermia?!?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Woods are Lovely,

Dark and Deep- 
But I have promises to keep, 
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep. 

Sometimes, the way people get songs stuck in their heads, I get poetry.  Lately 'Stopping By Woods on a Snow Evening' has been background noise in my mind.  And even then, just that final stanza.

I believe it is the grace of this section- the remembered mileage, the promises unfulfilled, the darkness and deepness of it all- that gets to me.  The inevitably of continuing on...

Especially now as I gear up for yet another move.  The suitcases will come out, soon, and I will stare at them for a while, putting off the inevitable.  Then they will become the woods- dark and deep- and empty- until I remind myself of the promises that I have made and I have to keep.

Only then will the packing happen.  It will and in the frantic flurry of folded clothing and measured shoves, I will think about all of this mileage.  All of the roads I have driven, flights I have flown, seas I have sailed.  And I will think about the thousand sleepless hours of travel- the ones on the train station floors or airport baggage claims, with neon clocks mocking me.  Or the nights shoving too many people into one hotel room.  Or the heartbeats counted on a plane, staring blindly at the flight map, wishing to hell that my legs were shorter.

What promises have I made to go through all of that?

Promises of a welcome home hug- and those I keep.

Much love, all.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Some Days You Bite the Bear...

And some days the bear bites the hell out of you.  And some days that bear starts gnawing at about 8:15 am Alaskan time (by the way, AK does indeed have it's own time zone).

The Bear in question is distance.  It has prowled around me all morning long as I attempt to nurse the wounds it inflicted earlier when it enthusiastically shredded my heart into tiny little heart-pieces.

Please don't get me wrong- I know that this Bear is just part of the price of the life I have very willfully and stubbornly chosen to lead.  And I usually willingly pay it.  Because I love the thrill of motion, moving, movement; I love the deep breath I have to take every time I board a plane or the zing of excitement when I cannot see out the rear view mirror because the Jeep is packed with my most precious belongings and I am setting out on yet another adventure.  I even love the frustration of having to deal with passport issues (currently I need to renew the hell out of mine), Customs, delayed planes, gas prices, packing-repacking-unpacking, 'goodbyes,' 'hellos,' 'goodbyes' again, the UNKNOWN element that will inevitably blow up in my face.  I love my Vagabond World and I can deal with that Bear.

That is, until days like today when the Bear reminds me that some connections should not be broken by distance because the break is simply too much to bear (sorry).  Distance hardly ever wins in my life and considerations, but sometimes it does.  Sometimes it forces my hand and makes me think about the settled, connected, KNOWN element.

Sometimes I don't want to be so far away.

Until next time,
Don't let the bear bring you down.

Friday, August 9, 2013

A Confessional in August

I am hanging out on a particularly rainy Alaskan morning, eating a piece of toast, drinking a cup of coffee and listening to this album.  Yes, I know that I am a wee bit late in falling in love with it- but you are all used to my pop-culture deficiencies by now.  Anywho, in listening, I realized that the time had come for an August version of obsessions confessions!

Mahjong- thank you Sami Bruce- has taken over my life.  Seriously.  It's a little ridiculous. I could spend hours looking at those little tiles.  I may go blind staring at my computer screen.  I need to get a real kit and play in the soft, natural light of the real world.

I have become utterly obsessed with counting down the days until I fly away. In case curiosity has gotten to you- September 22.  After that I know that I will have another countdown going- fly to Costa Rica? Get a dog? Get a real job? Who knows.

Also, speaking of cultural deficiencies, how could I possibly NOT have known about Buena Vista Social Club before now?  And why did it take Alaska for them to really hit home??

The Glades.  Has anyone seen this?  Because I am officially obsessed with it- especially on rainy mornings like today... :).

Okay. That's all for now.  It's time to be marginally productive.  AKA... Mahjong.

Much love to all.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

What Happens at the Christmas (Eve) in July Party....

... Stays at the Christmas (Eve) in July Party.

But what the cat does the following morning is worthy of a wee photo blog.  What you are witnessing is Wifey's cat, Gizmo on an exploratory adventure...

... For the turkey carcass that you can see sitting in the opened oven... Yum. 


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Obsessions- the July Edition

Here I am in Alaska- and all I can think of is getting somewhere else.  Getting another passport stamp- getting another notch in my travel belt.  I must go Go GO.  The one constant in my life- going.  And that website is feeding the need like no other sustenance.

My brother recently got a Boxer puppy and has since tried to convince me to go the same route- alas.  I have another plan.  Hopefully a rescue- hopefully a puppy- and hopefully a deliciously perfect companion.

Management of internet usage.  It is a long, complicated and fairly ridiculous story.

Every Thursday Night. Best ever way to end the work week (yes... Ranger work week.  I am Sunday to Thursday).

Holy Bananas- I am loving on the Buena Vista Social Club- which is going hand-in-hand with my other obsession of Languages.  I want to learn more, know more, speak more.  It has gotten somewhat ridiculous, but I am okay with that.  My ridiculousness has never quite been in control.

So that's that.

Learning, going, doing, seeing, dancing... well, I had not mentioned dancing.  But the urge is there.

Much love, friends.

Friday, July 12, 2013


I have two flatmates (or duplex-mates).  I have affectionately nick-named them Hooch! and Wifey (yes- the exclamation point is necessary when spelling Hooch!).

They are, categorically, the single-most redeeming.... everything... of my Alaskan experience so far.  Hooch! is wild and Southern and deliciously delicious while Wifey is SoCal and as gleefully evil as me.

I truly don't know how I lucked out on this one but these women- these absolutely perfect, brilliant, funny, interested and interesting, genuine women- they are keeping me in it from day to day.

Much love to all of you- but most love to my Wifey and Hooch!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Moving and Grooving- Alaska Style

So everyday at work, I give this 'talk' or 'orientation' about the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake 'that devastated not only Alaska (indeed economically, environmentally, and emotionally) but really a significant amount of the Western Seaboard.' [Thank you thank you, I do make these things up all by myself.  I sometimes like to talk pretty].  Every. Single. Day.

Anywho. I inevitably get the question- 'Are there a lot of Earthquakes still?' I inevitably answer- 'Yes, of course.  They literally happen all the time.  But most are so small you'll never even notice.'  I'm not lying.  They do happen all the time.  It plays out a little like sudden onset vertigo if you can even feel one... but for the most part you just don't notice.

Until last night.

I wake up at 3:30ish in the morning wondering why on earth it feels like I am suddenly on a boat. There I was, all tucked into bed and happily snoozing away and then I am inexplicably pitching and rolling.  Oh that's right.  Earthquakes.  Alaska.  Plate boundaries and movement. Gotcha, I'm on it.

Alas, there is not such an amazing end to this story.  The house jerked a bit.  The land shook a bit.  I turned onto my belly and went back to sleep.  I hit the 'post-earthquake snooze button' in my brain and returned to dream land.  I actually even kind of forgot about it a little.  Seriously.  I only remembered an hour into iPad Accessibility Training and texted my parents to say 'hey- by the by- had an earthquake last night.'  They then related the news to my dear brother. And from him (via text message) I received the following response of concern: 'is it just like i have imagined terror everywhere and people running around with towels on their heads.'  Grammatical errors notwithstanding, I got a hearty chuckle out of that one.

I literally went back to bed.

I think he was a little disappointed in my earth quaking story.  So for him I give you Moving and Grooving China Style. 

The first earthquake I experienced was indeed in the Chengdu, China, back in the day.  I probably did not blog about it.  I know I did not tell my parents about it for fear that they would fly overseas and bodily remove me from my (at the time current) situation.

Standing in front of open windows, on the sixth floor of a shoddily-built Chinese apartment complex, the building started moving.  This is, in essence, a HOLY SHIT I'M GOING TO DIE kind of moment.  It is one thing to be in an earthquake.  It is another thing to be in an earthquake in China (see afore-mentioned shoddily built apartment complex comment).  Their infrastructure is not exactly equipped... well for anything, really... but certainly not for major disasters.  And the fact that my building was literally swaying like a lovely bit of wheat in a windy field was less than comforting.  Less than comforting enough to have my life pass before my bespectacled eyes.  I called Pat afterward and yelled into the phone 'DID YOU FEEL THAT?!?!?!'

His response was, of course, 'Yeah.  That was nothing.'

So there you have it.  The good, the bad, the Alaskan, the Chinese, the responses of men in my life to my earthquake responses.  Hopefully the second was a better story for the masses.

The Earth, she shakes.

Until next time... you should probably google quakes in China.  It's only marginally depressing ;).

Friday, June 21, 2013

Hello Holly King

And a Happy Solstice to All.

I adore this holiday.  And I will get right to the point- on this day of longest days the Oak and Holly Kings will battle- as is their tradition and right.  And the Holly King, my King, will win.  He will usher in the shorter, sweeter, hibernative (yes I made that word up to suit my grammatical needs) days which eventually lead to the late summer and fall darkness.  He brings the seasons into the Winter, he brings me into Winter.

The Summer Solstice, Litha, marks the day during which the most hours of sunlight (in Alaska this year it does not seem to make a lick of difference what day it is- there are many MANY hours of sunlight) will shine.  We celebrate light, lightness, and warmth even while we begin to arrange for the disappearing lightness that follows.

It always seems to strike me- this constancy of celebration and preparation- on the Big Days.  I rediscover the dualism of grief and gratitude in every moment of every day during these holidays which recognize both.  Grief and Gratitude.

There are so many sides to so very many coins.

Merry Midsummer, Loves.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

From Here You Can Almost See the Sea

Yes, there is a reason I hijacked the David Gray song title for the title of this post- because today I could smell, smell, the sea.  I went for a run during my too-long lunch hour, and could smell it.  Upon scenting it, I immediately craved hearing this song.

As of that, this one, moment, I had not yet scented that wonderful Bering body of water.  Mostly Anchorage smells of dust.  And onions.  And reindeer hotdogs.

But today it smelled of the Sea.  The air was fresh and clear and someone planted Queens of the Night Tulips along my regular running path.  Perfection.  Unbelievable, unusual, rare, perfection.

Until next time-

From Here You Can Almost See the Sea...

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Little Things

That keep me going:

Our neighbors are using the fence between our yard as a planter. It's so beautiful and so simply charming and makes me smile every time I pass by.  Also, to add to the delight, she put in Celosia, my favorite flower (its the one that looks a little like a red Christmas Tree).  Which came as such a pleasantly cosmic little surprise as they had never even met me upon planting said fence-box.

The next Little Thing requires some naturally bizarre background.  To begin- everywhere I go, I find a place, a house/home/structure that I want to be mine.  There is a house in Claremont, New Hampshire that I would cut off my right arm to buy.  There is one in Sheboygan, a block away from my Aunt Nancy that has "Kate" practically written across the thresh-hold.  The purple house in Southport NC, yeah- that's mine, too.

Here in Anchorage I have become smitten with this run-down creature.  The white paint is peeling, the green is fading fast, but there is something so old, and so giving about this house. I cannot quite put my finger on it.  Well, yes I can.  If you take this house, move it to the coast of Maine and install yours truly on the inside, I would pretty much be set for life.  Add a dog, drop my jeep in the mix, a flannel blanket or two. It is a dream.

Then the Last Little Thing- well maybe it is not so little- I am constantly astounded (this you all know, I know) by the mountain ranges here.  The freaking mountains! The bullying, bold, breathtaking mountains that somehow sneak into every horizon.  They never quite seem real.  Yet there they are- persistent; ancient; always.

Until next time- I promise I am not making these colors up! I am not photoshopping anything.  It really looks like this!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Big R

I know.  I know.  One minute I am happily typing away about mountains and Swedish/British television and other nonsensical obsessions and the next I am rabidly tap-tap-taping away about spiraling into insanity.  What can I say?  This diseased brain of mine is a complicated maze which even I have immense difficulty navigating- and often.

I digress.  Sort of.

So, what happens when people move to Alaska, you ask?  Most of them see moose; sometimes they see bears.  All of them see mountains and clouds; fireweed and magpies.  They see beautiful things.  I see beautiful things here every day.  Every single day.  And I hold onto those beautiful things with a fervor not unlike obsession.  But... if you ask again...what happens when people move to Alaska? If they are this people, they relapse.  Relapse.  The Big R., the Bad R.  It's happening.  And my honesty, my uncompromising honesty, forces me to type these words as an apology.  As an admittance.  As an active bargain for help, patience, and kindness.

You see, my control over circumstances best not mentioned in a public blog has slipped.  And so my grip tightens elsewhere.  Specifically in one already troubling "elsewhere" of my existence.  This would be the afore-metioned Big Bad R.

So please.  Feel my love for you all even though I am troubled and tried.

Until next time.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Obsessions Confessions

The June Edition:

So, I know that I am something like a decade behind on this one, but I finally buckled down and watched the first series of Wallander.  Kenneth Branagh is perfect as the Swedish detective- his emotion and world-weariness plays out PERFECTLY onscreen.  I almost could not stop crying when he broke down in the final episode- crying himself in front of his 'daughter.'  So perfect.  It does not hurt that Tom Hiddleston is also in the series.  Yummy.

Totally and Utterly Obsessed with this
Unnamed Mountain Range.
She's All Mine.
These chirpy little devils are just charming my pants off of late. They are loud and mean but smart as whips.  And part of the Corvidae family of birds who, interestingly enough, have a brain to body ratio of 50/50.  That's pretty damned awesome.  

Hugs.  I love hugs.  I always want hugs- I truly believe they are the most satisfying form of human contact- when they are good ones.  I want, more than anything else on the planet right now, a hug from my mom.  I do believe that would heal the hell out of me.  

Idealist.org.  I don't need to describe it.  Just go and be overwhelmed by the number of people who are looking for goodness.  And willing to pay for it... with benefits!  

Imagining all the places I still have yet to go has become and obsession as well.  Not that I DON'T do this every single time I go somewhere.  I like to jump the travel gun... it's a weakness... and, I think, a birthright.  I want to go go go.  And right now I want to go go go to... ahem... Argentina, Chile, the Mediterranean Coast, Eastern Europe, Turkey, the Northern Countries.  ARGGGHHH.  Everywhere- let me go everywhere and experience everything.  The West Coast of the US- hell, more of the East Coast of the US.  

The following statement from my roommate, Wifey, detailing her various international connections and disconnections and redirections: "I am a mini-UN." 

And that's all folks.. for now I guess. 

Cheers till Next Time, Dearhearts. 

Friday, May 31, 2013

Don't Read if You Want to Feel Happy.

I was just getting ready to post the following on Facebook:

"All I want is a week without a fail.  Just one week.  Just One!"

Then I paused, took a breath, and thought- I can get a little more out of this.  My self abasement has recently picked up again- fast tracking me back into a self-loathing which fast tracks me into the following statement:

I disgust myself.  I Disgust Myself.  Even myself and especially myself.  Because I don't know how to be.  I do not know how to be... myself, something, anything... I watched and lurked around a potluck last night and could not find it in myself to act like a normal human-creature instead of the ill-willed diseased wraith that I am.  I seem to be unable to interact in a happily social fashion with people because I suppose I don't feel like a person.

Where is the cosmic/karmic reset button when I need it?  It does not seem to be in my soul or spirit.  Ant it's certainly not in the mirror.  Nor in the tears that I shed for myself an every other suffering scared little girl out there.

Anyway.  There are always the mountains.  I may never have a week without a fail- but I can still see the mountains.  And I can still take a breath.  I suppose- because supposition has become my good friend of late- I suppose I will survive for that.  Until next time.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Little about A Lot

I was asked today if I considered myself a writer.

I really don't know how to answer that question.  I consider myself a person who writes.  I write often, though not often particularly well; I write with candor and passion, but that candor and passion leads frequently to utterly incoherent passages; I write with love.

I love writing.

So there's that.  And here is this-

The same person who asked if I considered myself a writer also offered me the following opportunities throughout this most lovely of days:  I saw three bald eagles.  I found a mountain range who has become the newest of my dearest loves.  I turned my face to the Alaskan summer sun and basked it in.  I sat back to back with a man whose intellect and experience I am growing very much to respect.

The Range is either Sunrise Mountain or Hope Point.. or potentially that ridge which runs between the two.  Regardless- she is an old soul and hers connected with mine in an inexplicably profound way.  If all mountains have personalities, and they do, hers is the gentle friend.

And to all my other gentle friends-

Until next time.

Friday, May 17, 2013

And Then- There Was Snow

For whatever reason, the warmth of the world has abandoned me.  

Maybe I made it mad.

Regardless, I found myself delighting in Snow in North Carolina in... I think it must have been late February or early March.  Beautiful, special, quieting snow.  It was a treat from Mother Nature for me to see that carpet of white spread out over the front lawn, laying gently over the big holly trees in the front yard.

Then I moved to Alaska.  Which, granted, was my own choice and so this time, really, it's my own fault.

Because it is May 17th.  And it is snowing in Anchorage.  And the heat does not work in my room.  And I am woefully under-packed for this.

If you never read from me again, Dearests, it's because I have literally frozen to death.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Maiden, Mother, Crone.

Right now, I am sitting at a kitchen table in Anchorage considering the idea of Motherhood.

I am wrapped in the sweater my mother gave me.

It is the eve of Mother's Day.

I miss my Mom.

I love the world in which I live- and I love it because of my Mom.  She makes it the best of all worlds.  With her humor, her wit, her LOVE, her KINDNESS, her INTELLECT.  Her perfect PERFECT beauty- INSIDE AND OUT.  My mother makes this world one in which it is worth living.  She is the most alive, lovely, LOVING person I know.  She is something else entirely.  She is my touchstone, my totem, my hero.

I am nearly 30 years old and my mother still stands between me and the hoards of people who would have my head on a stick.

She is my best.... everything.

Happy Mother's Day, My Momma.

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Room With A View

This morning I did yoga with the blinds open, the early morning sun illuminating my practice and room.  As I began Surya Namaskara (the sun salutation), I looked out the window, staring at Pine trees.  And beyond the Pines, dwarfing everything around them, glacial, snow-capped mountains.  Enormous ones.  A chain of them.

This is my view for the next four months.  Pines and Mountains.  Oh... and rooftops, of course.

I just thought I should let you all know that I'm still alive.  Day two- no bears; no moose; but Pines and Mountains.

Much love from AK.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Spare Paper Bags

Once again, I find myself venturing into a crapshoot. 

Damned if you Alaska, Damned if you don't.  

On Wednesday I will fly to Anchorage for four months, moving a house and a home and a life all in the space of a suitcase.  Well... technically two suitcases and a carry-on.  I will pack, unpack, and eventually repack my belongings, attempting all the while to remind myself of the glamour, freedom, and delight in a suitcase life.  Ultimately I will be happy, but for now I am just utterly exhausted,  I do this to myself all the time- lay the groundwork for solidity and normalcy and throw it all into the wind the second the traveller comes calling.  Or the Federal Government.  

I begin this summer season with an overwhelming sense of trepidation- go figure.  Those paper bags I mentioned in the title?  They are to combat the constant and breath-taking panic attacks that currently strike me.  If you are unfamiliar with such an affliction, a lung-centric panic attack involves the feeling of having a wide sturdy metal vise squeezing tighter and tighter, dictating the flow of air into and out of the body.  Eventually the breath becomes so shallow, so labored... 

So the mantra becomes something along the lines of... Deep Breath, Breathe Deep- Use a Flippin' Paper Bag! If there is, indeed, a deep breath to be had, it is apparently not meant for me.  Not for the time being.  

That is not to say that I am in any way weak enough or timid enough to let the paper bags mentality (affliction) win.  Not even close!  If anything, I will push against the panic to the point that I will recklessly and conspicuously throw myself into this new (life) position with such gusto that I will, more than likely, crash and burn with equal gusto.   

This is, in essence, how I roll.  

The point is- for all of the breath-holding; for all of the uphill battling; for all of the plateauing, struggling, sinking, swimming, drowning; of the past two years... The point is that I will move to Anchorage in a day and half.  

And I will live there.  

So much love, So very much love...

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Beltane the Bravery

I find it quite funny that the conservative contingent in this nation would have me crucified as a new-agey neurotic when I proclaim my practice of witchcraft- and yet, here we are on May Day.  First day of May.  While I may be the one dancing around the May-Pole or burning the bonfires, gratefully breathing in the sweet scent of Lilacs and smoke, you are still marking your calendars.*

Traditionally celebrated as Beltane- or the beginning of Summer- May Day marks the midpoint between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice.  It is a day of blossoming, blooming, and blue blue lusty, heady feelings.  It begins the season of plenty- and is often considered a time for flash-bang romance or romantic moments.  

So live it up, Babies!  Get your Beltane hustle and bustle on and make the move.  Whatever move that is- make it.  Beltane should read as bravery.  Not just in the relationship department but in LIFE.  Take the chance and be defiantly proud of it; burn down the introspection of winter and breathe in the boldness of the warm months.

So, that is that.

Much love and boldness until the next time.

*Yes, I did intend to iterate a rather petulant, accusatory tone.  I love what I am, so I sometimes get childishly defensive of it-  this beautiful practice, so old and so wise and so rooted in the endless power of Nature.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Three Item Obsessions- for My Friend, P.

Dancing (poorly but with childish delight) around the kitchen, singing at the top of my lungs... makes me smile, hopefully it makes you smile, too.

It is finally springtime in North Carolina- this season belongs to this state.  Nothing is as breathtaking as the eruption of green and life that happens nearly overnight.  P., if you can get through the vomitous stench of Bradford Pears in bloom, your reward comes in the form of a state who's Spring is like life in the Garden of Eden.

And once the weather warms and the nights become mild... well.  I have always loved Patty Griffin- but this version of this song is perfect on those nights.  You will probably get it more than anyone else, P.

When you break down, I will drive out an find you.

Until next time.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Other-

Today I am missing a person whom I should not miss at all- a person I have not missed in a long, long time.

And it's not the person I am missing, not in particular.  It is the comfort of 'the other' that I miss.  The reassurance of a warm hand to hold; a skinny shoulder on which to rest my weary and troubled head.  I am missing discussion- and help.  I am missing the comfort of having another- the other- decision maker.  The person who bore part of a shared burden.

Because right now, the burden is all mine.

And i am missing that other who was my partner- childishly longing for his advice, his support, his presence.

But.  The other is not here, not presence.  The other is gone.  So it is me and my own brain, heart, and soul ploughing the way through this new adventure.

Until next time.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Ready, Set, Go... Or- Fearlessness that Borders on Stupidity.

We all make choices; we build lives out of decisions; we create worlds from the forks in the road.  We keep going until the next moment arises and then we continue into and away from that.

It is the way things work.

I just happen to make choices, build my life out of decisions and create my world from some oddly extreme forks in a most.... unusual manner.

To begin with, I try to not think about the decision I have made until the consequences of it are staring me in the face (landing in China and being able to understand exactly NOTHING; watching the sunrise over the beach in Australia; waking up to horses on my birthday in New Hampshire).  Then, and only then, do I deal with it.  For the most part once I have chosen a path (or flight for that matter) I hop on it and do what I have to do to travel it.

Which is why I am now looking at moving to Anchorage in exactly one month.  I don't think... not too much, anyway... Instead I accept the job; say yes to the Federal Government; and plow forward.  As most of you have probably figured out, I don't function the way most others do.  Which is how I find myself in situations like the aforementioned move to Anchorage.  I am without transportation, a place to live; and have very few contacts there.  Am I going to do it?  Yes.  Am I going to excel at it? Duh, of course.  Am I going to lose my cool at least, AT LEAST, 57 times between now and stepping onto the first in a series of flights which will take me to Alaska?  Most definitely.

I am not necessarily the wisest of people, not by a long shot or even a poor definition of wisdom, but I am by no means dumb or brick-wall-brained.  And I am certainly not fearful- hence that title.  I make the decisions that feel right- not the decisions that feel easy or good.  This move is me getting back to my roots- me getting back to the wandering, traveling, twisted and long long long roots that never seem to really grow anywhere but seem to plant me everywhere.

This is how I live- this is how I thrive.

Until next time... Anchorage Babies!

Friday, March 22, 2013

That Time of Year

Earth Hour is tomorrow evening, 8:30 to 9:30 PM your local time.

I write about this every year because I believe that every year we need reminding of the power of powerlessness.  

One hour of our time- without electric lights- can change so very much.  Consider this- what if we turned off our lights every day for just one hour longer?  How much energy would we save?  How much power would recharge?
This may seem like an utter aside- but go with it.  I try every night to read by candle light.  It does two things for me- keeps the electric buzz away and restores the simplicity for which I so long.  I doubt that I am changing the world or making any ostensible mark on the electric grid by this hour of candlelit ease.  I doubt that anyone even cares. 

But tomorrow- tomorrow we can all change the world and indeed make a terribly ostensible mark on the electric grid.  Tomorrow I hope that everyone cares. 

Much love, 


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ostara- the Equinox

I realize that I blog about the big Witch Days all the time- assumedly to the point of your, dear readers, annoyance.

So about the Spring Equinox- this is what I give you: "This season is Wild and Untamed."

Much love,
and until next time, my dear ones, Happy Ostara.

Friday, March 15, 2013

'Till Human Voices Wake Us-

And We Drown.

I have a book.  It is a TS Eliot compilation published sometime in the 1950s, that I picked up somewhere in my world travels at some second hand bookstore.

Over time, it has become my Bible.  That's right, folks, this Witch has a text of religious sorts.  She has a Bard, in a manner of speaking... or writing, as it were.

It goes everywhere with me; it lives in a constant state of motion because I live in a constant state of motion.   The only difference between his book and my passport is the stamps.  And... well... the photo of me.

I have written in every spare margin with Chinese pencils and Australian pens; I have memorized entire passages; I have accidentally torn bits off and rather intentionally taped those bits back in.  I have read poems aloud- to birds, to no one, to foreigners who did not understand any single word of it.  And I have lived and died by those words- those worn, weary, wrenching words.  I have not known another poet the way I know Eliot- nor has another poet known me in such a way.

For every moment I have, every emotion I feel- Eliot has a line.  He has a word, a stanza, an entire poem.  His literature helped me to define myself.  He gave a voice- a worn, weary, wrenching voice- to the unrelenting madness that unfolded in my head, that unfolds in my head.  I feel intimately connected to his work.  The first time I heard this voice was upon reading the Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, when I finally reached the final stanza:

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown. 

Nothing, to my adolescent mind (and you should not be even remotely surprised that I began dabbling in Eliot as an adolescent), ever read so perfectly.  I became obsessed with the power of the last line.  And that obsession has grown, lingeringly and deliciously, over time.

All of it all of it all of it!  I cannot express or communicate the depth of my fervor for this poet's poetry! Other people get songs stuck in their heads- I get poems.  Read Part III of East Coker (out of Four Quartets) and be utterly captivated by the following:

So I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing. 

And then tell me that poetry can't be stuck in your head.

To be honest- that final Prufrock line has been stuck in my head all day- prompting this particular blog.

For each and every one of you I wish an Eliot- a Bard, a Bible, a Voice.


Thursday, March 7, 2013


- The Guilty Pleasures Edition.

Deception.  Love it... hate it...- Don't care.  All I know is that I can't stop watching it!  Deliciously ridiculous and not even remotely scandalous, it's brilliantly silly and delightfully absurd.  There is sex, tons of drugs, and murder.  In Manhattan.  Amongst the wealthy.  Stellar and Guilty.

I want you to... LISTEN TO THIS SONG.  I hate myself, but it is what it is.  Poppy, precious, and oh so guilt-inducing, 'Stay' introduced me to Mikky Ekko- who does a bang up job at the whole 'musician' thing.

White Zinfandel.  Weirdly enough, even as a wine-o, I like it.  For this guilty pleasure, I have to thank my brother's in-laws.  His sis- and mom-in-law prefer this wine and, go figure, it does not suck.  Even for the sweeter side of wine.  I had a white zin from Rex Goliath the other day and it was simply delightful.

Mountain Hardwear Monkey Fur Fleece.  I bought one the other day and have since to take it off.  I like to pretend that I am wearing something akin to the softest blanket you will ever ever have in your entire life.

And finally, always, BOOKS.

Until next time, loves...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Nice to Meet You


My name is Kate.  

And I am a person.  

I have a personality.  I have intellect, wit, a suffering sense of humor, interests, disinterests.  I have a heart that can be broken and feelings that can be hurt.  I have a world inside of that heart and a maze in my head and I exist.  I exist

I am the sum of my experiences- the choking laughter and tears- every bit of good and every bit of bad- all the grace and all the curse- every mile logged on foot, on wheel, or in the air.

I am not just the sum of my caloric intake.  

I am not merely flesh and bones.  There is a being housed in those bones, spirit contained within the skin. 

I am not fodder, I am not grist for the mill.

I am not an object, I am not a subject, I am not a rumor up for discussion and whispering.  

And until next time, it is truly nice to meet all of you.  Again. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

But February Made Me Shiver...


Another blog.  But not an Obsession...- nor a rant about Holidays or any other special moments.

Instead I have decided to post something- an ill-fated article- that I wrote very nearly a year ago.  I am posting it for several reasons- not the least of which is because life is what is; and I am who I am.


Yoga Works

“Yoga works.  It just works.”

These words- which leaked delicately from my lead yoga teacher’s mouth the first day of Teacher Training- would change my life.  Or rather, change my perception of the value of my life.  They would come to define a 25 day intensive which- and I cannot say this in any clearer way- literally saved my life.  Yoga works.  It does.  It works on more levels than any of us are truly capable of comprehending.  But to understand how yoga works, you may need to know a little about what the yoga was working on.. 

A little over nine months ago, I suffered a loss so profound that my own little world collapsed around me.  I slipped, skidded, and starved my way through the next several days weeks and months, falling into a numbing, self-loathing and terrifyingly desperate depression.  I have never before suffered from depression so these feelings (or lack thereof) were new in a bad way, new in a way that allowed me to think suicidal thoughts without even batting an eye at them. 

How deep did my depression go?  I allowed myself to begin to die.

I am anorexic.   I am an anorexic.  And I say this without shame but with knowledge and experience.  I have struggled with and against this disease from the age of 15.  I am now 27 years old and at five feet, nine inches tall, I weigh a whopping 94 pounds.  This time last year, I was a deliciously athletic 125.  I did yoga, I ran, I played in the sun constantly.  I hiked, biked, swam.  I was golden.  Now I am pale.  And usually pretty cold. 

But fighting- a little worn for the wear but working my way back toward fighting form. 

Today, I am nowhere near the same person that I was a little over nine months ago.  But change is a funny thing.  I changed for the worse; I changed for the better.  And then, toward the end of January of 2012, I took a real chance on change and flew to New Zealand for an opportunity for true restoration (Okay, okay, I admit it, I think of it more as fleeing the country than just taking a healing holiday in a different hemisphere).  I desperately needed to get away from the space (head space, heart space, physical space) that I had simultaneously created and destroyed in the wake of depression and anxiety.  I needed to take drastic measures in order to survive.  And so, from the first of February until the twenty-fifth I lived ‘Ashram-style’ at a retreat on the Coromandel Peninsula where I learned the art of teaching yoga (and it most certainly is an art form).

Each day I woke at 5:30; engaged in morning postures and pranayama; meditated; participated in Karma Yoga (acts of cleaning, gardening, work which enhanced the general atmosphere of the retreat as well as the spiritual and emotional); more postures; had classes upon classes upon classes about everything from Chakras to the nature of teaching to ‘what exactly is the diaphragm?’; more meditation; a class here and there on pranayama; attended lectures and specialty seminars on Ayurveda and anatomy; participated in nightly kirtans and discussions.  My life, which I had neglected for so long in the wake of loss and grief heartache, began to re-assume and reassert itself in this atmosphere of learning, loving, working, and breathing. 

Yoga works. 

Everything I believed about yoga to begin with- everything I had learned in my own studies and in my individual and taught practices- was confirmed throughout this experience.  Trust me when I declare that daily affirmation of belief is a powerfully beautiful thing.  I experienced, learned, and took to heart, every single day, something new, something potent, and something spiritual.  Something healing. 
The universe opens to those who practice yoga- the universe and so much more.

You see, that is how Yoga Worked for me and Works for me.  During this intensive, the universe was just the beginning of what opened to me personally.  Yoga works because it opened myself to me.  It reopened my heart space and head space and my physical space so that I could see them again; meet them and converse with them.  I truly believe that I am alive now, still breathing and being, because of yoga.  I rediscovered the gift of living.  I like to think that I had some part in this rediscovery, but the yoga really had much more to do with it.  Learning how to drop into yourself is a great way to remember that you have a self.  That you have a self worthy of existing.

My grand realization during the yoga intensive was (and continues to be) that I have a right to be here.  And it is a right that anorexia cannot take away from me- that depression, anxiety, sleepless nights, and heartbreak cannot take away from me.  The universe is mine- it belongs to all of us and we belong to it.  We are one in the same- you me and the universe.  All we need to connect to each other and to the BIG other is a little pranic energy, a little belief in ourselves, and a whole lot of breath awareness.   

The power of yoga constantly astounds me.  I find joy, true, elated, sacred joy, in every posture, every pranayama, every mediation.  Every connection to every person, feeling, and world.  The choice to become an instructor of this ancient practice was a terribly easy one- it hardly even counted as Choice.  But in the end, the choice to become a yoga instructor was really the choice to become- to become alive, connected.