yoga dorc

life and times of a modern day yogini (named dorcas)

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Wintering, A Long Winter

CHAPTER 1: history out of context

It’s March 2021. We’ve had our first warm days. From this perch, I can reflect on what has now, officially passed. Despite the fact, that winter is not officially over. We must wait until the calendar calls it on March 21. The messiness of what happens under the covers of winter, when one cannot see the end, is the real truth. But when one can see the end and count down the days, the suffering diminishes greatly and it is functionally over.

I will share the messiness and the truth, but of course, it is from this liberated standpoint. In this future perch, relative to the moment, there is now order to the mess. Composure in the convoluted, non sensical, emotionality of the moment. One can examine history out of context. We do it all the time. The nostalgia of a memory evades and erodes the reality of the memory. All writing, even when done in the moment, is reflective.

But here it is:

I’ve been delivered from winter. Like one is delivered from evil in the Lord’s Prayer. Miraculously. By the grace of God. The evil of winter. It has plagued me my entire adult life. I’ve been running from it; terrified of its coming, buffering against its existence, cursing the cold and fleeing the very freedom it holds.  

Freedom, you say?

If you are like me, perhaps if you are human, you have something to flee. Perhaps it is winter. Perhaps it is sadness. Perhaps it is failure. Perhaps an addiction. Perhaps its is another human. Perhaps it is your very own perfect children. Or maybe just your dishes.

I say liberated because it implies a sudden lifting. Even if that lifting has been in the works for millenia. The moment of liberation is marked by some defined singular moment. The falling of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, one such macro moment on the world stage. The moment I realized my marriage was over. When the instinctual awareness rushed over me as I lay alone in bed in 2018, long before it was actually over, another one such micro moment.

Liberation has perhaps both and upward trajectory and a downward one. The liberating moment when I realized my marriage would be over was a downward one for me. Deeply saddening to both realize and accept that no matter what I did, or wanted, or believed, it was not enough to make it work. Liberating to feel into the truth of that pain and begin walking toward it. Instead of cowering from it, resisting it and pretending it was not happening.

The Berlin Wall falling, or perhaps the day my divorce is complete, or in this case, my delivery from winter, is what I imagine an upward liberation to feel like. Celebratory. The pain behind.

CHAPTER 2. Smoking

I smoke.

Not cigarettes. But books. I inhale them. Breathe them in. They give me a fix. Make me feel ok.

On my smoke breaks, in the suspended time between books, I feel uneasy. I feel my pain, restlessness, sadness, anger.

In one such moment this winter. Without a new pack, a new book, an air of sadness and a twinge of depression arrived.

It was here I realized books had become my cigarettes. My glass of wine. Ignoring this addictive tendency, I tried harder to pick up a new book, complete any one of the half dozen half-finished books, but nothing swept me up.

So I sat. 

The sadness felt cathartic. It felt like a delivery that I should unpackage and see from whom it came. 

My last cigarette, Wintering by Catherine May had been a delivery as well. A profoundly timed one. The words pierced my consciousness. The striking resemblance to my real life Shocking.  Yes, with a capital S. Like a it was a person, place or THING.

It packaged and labeled and organized so many of the stark periods of my life that had been otherwise disorganized, fragmented and meaningless, that it felt like I picked it up at the Container Store, or really, honestly, Amazon, to organize my files. One of those handy filing box THINGs, to organize my traumas.

I couldn’t move past this cigarette easily. It deserved to hang in the air.

Chapter 3: Wintering

Katherine May. A woman. A creative writer. Writing a memoir of sorts. And an instruction manual on a verb I’d never really heard of: wintering. I’d heard of something similar. Winter-izing. But that was what you did to Travel Trailers and Motor homes and old houses that had exposed plumbing. I’d never heard of ‘wintering.’

Turns out I’ve done lots of wintering without knowing it. We all have. It’s a natural process. For you, for me, for the trees, the polar bears, for communities and the world too.

And learning there is a label for it, and a time for it, and a way to do it better is like getting a diagnosis for an unwell feeling you’ve had for a long time. It’s liberating. To know the darkness you have been in has a mother fucking name. Why is that? That if I can call you a name, and put you in a folder, or a box, or search for you on google, I feel at least partly better.

It was in hearing this passage that my head started nodding up and down.

“Once we stop wishing it were summer, winter can be a glorious season when the world takes on a sparse beauty and even the pavement sparkles. It’s a time of reflection and recuperation. For slow replenishment, for putting your house in order. “

by Katherine May in Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

Chapter 4: I Hate Winter

As I circled the freezing park, iphone and ibook safely tethering me to sanity, forcing myself into the harsh wind of winter to get my daily dose of vitamin D, I paused.

Stop wishing it were summer? Really? Is that the secret? I’ve been living by this quote for as long as I can remember –

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. 

Albert Camus

I thought the secret to winter and bleak times in life was to weather them. Put your head down, distract yourself, trudge through and just look ahead at what is to come. To take breaks from winter and suffering and go warm places. Until this moment, I could not imagine liking winter. Embracing it. Seeing the beauty in it. Thinking of it as a ‘glorious season.’


But when I thought about Winter in the way Katherine May offered it up, as a time of reflection and recuperation, I had a real ‘duh’ moment.  Not just the cold season of winter, but the broader metaphor for the many kinds of ‘wintering’ one goes through in life.

For in reality, my greatest ‘wintering’ thus far was in fact in the blazing sun on a far away island in the middle of the south pacific.  A different kind of isolation and hibernation. A cutting off of resources I had not fattened up for.  

But that was just one of the winters, long ago. An unexpected one that we’ll get to later.

But this winter – this very real, very cold January winter, I circle the park. I can see now, that my rigid position against winter and the cold has occluded my vision, stunted potential awakenings and prolonged suffering.

But it’s a deep hate. An old long one. The kind of vision occluding hate. I hate my birthday even. Always have.  I have always wondered why I came out in January, like it was some kind of mistake. And yet, my mother never, ever made me feel like a mistake. She told her sleeping bag delivery story with pride and joy. She was unfazed by the 3′ of snow and harsh conditions that accompanied my arrival. But she is part earth goddess. Part tribal warrior. She would deliver a human in a raging inferno as much as an igloo. She is not my barrier to winter.

My father does hate winter. It pains him. It pains his bones. His joints. His free flying wild creative spirit that wants to build and grow and frolick in the heat. But he also lost his brother one cold winter long long ago. I just learned this. It explains a lot of the pain. The unspoken, by always felt pain. The winter of death.

But he is not my barrier to winter either. I have my own winter of death.

Chapter 5: Extra Butt Winter / January

I circled the park again. The black pavement feels comforting. The dead grass does not. But I feel like there is wisdom out here. Something to resolve.

I’ve been here before, I thought, as I put one foot in front of the other. The smell was nostalgic.

January, I thought. It’s the smell of January. Crisp, stingy in the nose, cold. The brown, squished, lifeless not-green grass. Disgusting.

But that wasn’t it. 

From sense of smell, to texture on my body, my mind furiously sought to match the memory. I could feel my thick wasted black bell bottom stretchy pants and platform velvet loafers that I wore in January 2001. I could feel the lethargy and struggle with which I willed myself to go outside and walk the neighborhood streets in Washington DC on my lunch break. They were the only pants that fit that month, that year. The thick waist didn’t cut into my fat belly. And the platforms gave me a little extra leg length that helped me feel a little less fat and pasty white. 

‘Put one foot in front of the other,’ I would tell myself. ‘Just keep walking, Dorcas.’

And although I wished I had those pants and that extra lift now, that wasn’t quite the memory either. Why was I thinking about a pair of pants?

Although it was exactly 20 years ago though.

And I do indeed have the extra butt again.

That was it. I was getting closer to the message.

There is an echo behind my every step. As my foot hits the black pavement. It’s hard to explain. You know when you see a person with a very, very large butt – the kind that has a shelf and moves nearly independently of the person’s actual step. The step happens, the person moves, then the butt has its own earthquake of a following move. 

That echo, that residual earthquake was what I felt. I have junk in my trunk, exactly like I did in 20 years ago. It feels like I’m walking with an extra butt. 

Its funny how memory works. As I circled that park and paid attention, my senses brought me to that old moment. And sure enough, it’s a echo of a unresolved pang. Too fat for my pants, to cold to be outside and the the most unresolvable part – the vacancy, the sadness and the feeling of being dropped.

Patterns repeat. Perhaps until you get them right. 

That extra butt winter of January 2001 was a real hard winter. Probably the hardest of my life to that point. I was what you would call, depressed. But I didn’t know it. It was not a diagnosis I would have even allowed myself to adorn even if I had been brave enough to air my suffering to anyone. I was, and still am, an internal processor. Only after the suffering, will I share.  Only after winter is over, can I make sense of it.

I can imagine the label (Depression) would have probably been useful. I could have gotten help. Gone to the google and looked it up. Gone to the CVS or the pill pushers and made it go away. But I knew it as heartache. It was just deeper and longer than I’d ever known before. My first brush with death. No one died of course, but part of my heart closed off. My first real notable hard wintering.

Chapter 6: The Cliche’ Abandonment

It was on the heels of my first ever felt sense of abandonment. He, the boyfriend of many many years, had left for the Peace Corps some 8 months prior. I really loved him. We had spent nearly every single day together for 4 years. Except for a few breakups that were really just an effort to make changes in the relationships but we didn’t have the communication skills. So we’d break up, then make up. Apparently, on one of those break-ups, he applied for the Peace Corps, a two+ year abroad volunteer program. 

By the time his application was accepted and he was matched to a country, we were living together. In fact, after 4 years of abstaining from sex, we had even consummated our relationship, which was a huge step on my part. I was planning to wait until marriage. (thats a whole other story). 

But he was clear and dead set on going. So he left. April 2000. He kissed me on the forehead and walked out the door, got in his dad’s car and drove to the airport. No plans to break up. No plans to get married. No plans to come back for a visit. No plans for me to go there. Nothing. Just goodbye. 

I made it through those first 8 months living on hope. Hoping for a phone call. Hoping for an email. Hoping he would change his mind and come home. Hoping for a shred of validation that I mattered. 

Every single morning, first thing, I would dial up my internet connection on my computer on my way to the bathroom. I’d pray for an email. Most days there was nothing. I would cry so hard in the shower, where noone could hear. 

I decided I’d have to go see him to relieve my own suffering. I moved into his parents basement, saved every single penny I could, friends pooled money to help me get the $800 ticket to the South Pacific. I thanked them. Embarrassed.

I packed a backpack and went there. I was small and afraid and had never seen the world. Love carried me far and gave me confidence I would have never had. 

The depression came after that trip to Tonga, this crazy island country in the South Pacific. I had even extended my stay, a full 6 weeks or something. Hoping he would see, or feel something he didn’t. The trip was amazing. Life changing in profound ways. But the departure was torture. The relationship was flat. He wasn’t coming back. 

But we also did not break up. I held on. Still hoping. 

November turned to December which turned to January. I was alone, in his parent’s basement, where I had moved to save money to go visit him. Where I still woke up every single morning and fired up my internet to see if there was anything. 

Sometimes there was. Fantastic stories. Sweet notes that when he saw the moon, he thought of me. Shit like that. 

But mostly there was disappointment. He forgot my birthday. And the deep, longing sentiments were never really reciprocated. 

January that year was hard.

It’s no wonder I was depressed. I was mourning the loss of my first love, but without an actual ending. I was oblivious to the disparity in the way we thought of our relationship. I was pining away. He was skinny dipping with girls and taking an occasional lover, I later discovered. He loved me, but he loved the largeness of life and the adventure that awaited, more. 

I pined and worked, finishing my internship, school and checked for emails. I must have ate a lot. Because my butt grew. 

By February that year, I hated myself. I hated waiting. I hated how powerless and insignificant I allowed myself to feel. I was sad. I was also confused and naive. 

I had some purpose in life, and it kept me going. I worked a kind of cool gig doing window displays and floor moves at Crate & Barrel on Mass Ave in Washington DC. It was an accidental, serendipitous internship that touched a creative brilliance in me that was dormant. It introduced me to lifetime friend, Jenna, who saw me in a way I had not allowed myself to be seen. I shared my story. She cried. It broke something in me. I could feel the sadness a tiny bit. 

But mostly I felt numb. This is why I started walking outside. I knew I needed nature. I needed god. I would talk to myself sometimes. There were no cell phones then. No numbing out on IG or Facebook. Email had to be checked at home. I was stuck with myself all day long. 

This went on – the extra butt walking around neighborhoods to get through the day, everyday email checking and feeling sorry for my-selfness. 

Chapter 7 – Spring Fling

Another relationship budded. An emotionally available man. He was paired off and there was no threat of partnership, so I felt safe. I was powerfully committed to my peace corps boyfriend. Depsite the 8,000 mile distance and the abandonment, I was 1000% committed.

I’d occasionally see emotionally-available-man in the stockroom. Smooth, smiley, charming. Older than me, but not too old. He seemed to have time. To listen, to chat. He saw me. Appreciated me. It felt nice. I don’t remember how it happened, but somehow we would talk on the phone. 

The depression got a little kick in the ass when I introduced shame to the scene. I put on my sparkly royal blue and white trim bikini and stood in front of the mirror in the basement of my boyfriends house. I had really let myself go. It was now March and I knew what was coming.  My favorite season: summer. But not so exciting when covering up extra butts.

I had been a personal trainer not long before this, so I FORCED myself into a little routine. It was grueling, the 20 minutes per day I forced myself to do. Arms – cardio – legs – cardio – abs/back/chest -cardio-day off was the week. I was still depressed. Nothing worked. 

Until it did. 

In April, the sunroof on my little white Jetta opened.

The depression lifted in May. I took at work trip to Maine to redesign a new store. I felt useful. Lucky. I hiked with my brother to the top of the mountain and there was God. I was small, it was big. There were other things in life besides that boyfriend for fucks sake. 

My arms got cut, my legs got strong. My spirit returned. I checked email less. I got promotion after promotion and got my own store to open. Emotionally-available-man and I worked together everyday now, opening this store. His girlfriend seemed to be invisible. And my boyfriend invisible. Had I wanted to, had there been desire on my part, I’m sure it could have been something more, but I was clear as fuck with my boundaries. I was not a cheater. We can talk as much as you want and have a hug or two, but that’s all you’ll get out of me. Nonetheless, it was a rich, nourishing relationship for me. One that sustained me through a very dark period. 

Chapter 8 – Summer of Love

Wouldn’t you know it, nearly a year later, as soon as I didn’t care, the boyfriend decided to come home for a visit. As the landing gear touched down on the tarmac at LAX, where we met to start a cross country road trip, I was listening to Green Day. Nervous, pumped, with a tiny bit of ‘fuck you’ edginess, I was a match for this mother fucker. Evidenced by my increased use of the word fuck.

I didn’t love him like I did before. I wasn’t helpless, or desperate. I was also not soft and vulnerable anymore. My heart had been broken and left for self repair. That self repair was incomplete and left little room for boyfriend to get back in to the nectar of my nape again. My virginity was his, but my heart was locked up now. The key in my own hands.

June, July and August were nothing short of magic. Me and my Jetta and my not-depressed, or pining away self had a great time. I had returned to myself. I had ‘wintered’ perhaps. Not with grace, or awareness to what was happening, but I had come through a hard time to see the light again.

But shit, he sure was charming. And I did in fact love him. On that trip September 11th happened, then my best friend’s sister was killed in a car accident shortly after we made our way back to Frederick. Life and death were at play. We also fought like we’d never fought before. We also danced like we never danced before.

Life went on after he went back to finish his Peace Corps term. Still no discussion of future plans. I missed him but had coping skills now. Emotionally-available-man moved on to another store too. I missed him alot and felt abandoned once again. But could see his charm made it’s way around the region. Perhaps finding other less boundaried matches. I discredited and intellectualized our connection and stuffed down the loss. 

Still naive. But already with a sour taste for charming, charismatic good looking men. 

But nonetheless, I kept chasing that boyfriend-boy. That winter wasn’t so bad. The light at the end of the PeaceCorps tunnel was much closer.

Six months later, I met him again in the Pacific. We backpacked around the world for almost a year, came home dirty and poor, got jobs, made money, bought a house, got married, made 3 babies, bought more houses, moved back to the Pacific with all the babies. And lived there for 7 years.

Poof. 20 years gone.

Chapter 9: The Echo / Deja vu

And now, its Jan 2021, twenty years later.

I’m circling the park because I must walk in nature. I need her again. And it’s all I can muster.

With a sniff of that cold air and about twenty paces on that black pavement, my mind had run the reel of 20 years of life, scanning for this moment of deja’vu.

My butt is big again.  My burdens are heavier.

I feel my own voice again. ‘Put one foot in front of the other. Just keep walking, Dorcas.’

Boyfriend-husband-someday-to-be-ex-husband is still in the South Pacific. It swept him away this time. Perhaps the warm waters, the big fish, or maybe even one of those women, with the latin, or pacific asses got a hold of him. I don’t know. 

What I do know is that I’m solo parenting our 3 babies. In a pandemic. There is no time for depression. The call to duty is all consuming. The love is unconditional and omnipresent. Perhaps smothering.

Our divorce is not settled so I dare not speak of the level of abandonment I should have seen coming. And the deep groove it has on the littles. But one day I will. Or maybe I won’t. Truth always rises. Words or no words. 

But lets just say it’s far more complex than an empty inbox and some teenage crying in the shower over a first breakup. She was a victim of naivety. I am a grownup with all the skills and resources to say yes or no.

And lucky for me, I have been supported. By a wonderful community of open hearted lovers. Families, friends, men, women and children. Even problems of the pandemic have been pale for our unit thanks to this hometown web we fell back into when we came home for a long summer visit in August 2019. Tattered from travel but sun kissed and hopeful for the promise of America.

Noone knew we’d never return to live in the South Pacific again. That that long summer visit would turn into our lives. That the husband-father would follow us to America just long enough to initiate the dismantling of our marriage and make sure he was free and clear to get back to the Pacific to live the expat life like a single man, no longer a husband. (not bitter at all)

Ces’t le vie.

I’m not in the market for another lover. I have no room in my bed, my house, my heart or my life. I also tired of being a wife in those years in a far away place. There was fantastic adventures and exotic drinks and wonderful soul shining friends. And the kids became bi-lingual. A real Instagram dream. But in the 90 percent of life, the mundane, the quiet moments at home, there was no partner. As such, it was a wonderful opportunity to deep dive into my spiritual practice. I found the nourishment I needed in grace, in nature, in mothering, in that still space within. And I could go on like that forever. But at some point it does seem strange to share a life with someone who is not paying the least bit attention to whats happening 90% of the time. And to get the attention of someone who’s attention has strayed is utterly exhausting. And deflating.

I still wear my wedding rings. I like to appear married. I like the perceived safety. I am married to my children. With the same fervor of commitment I had to boyfriend when he left for Peacecorps, I am still devoted. Not so much to the boyfriend-turned husband-turned X, but to the small humans we created. Besides, I picked those rings out. They were never his idea. (not bitter at all)

On this cold January morning, just a sniff of the air and waddle of my extra butt takes me deep to this back story. The trauma that runs below the surface.

Memory is like that. They come forth without warning. Without reason. Or do they?

But i’m not to the bottom of this story. The trigger is fresh. A more recent abandoment has stirred the echo of these older abandonments.

Chapter 10: Sharing Too Much

I’m sharing too much. I can feel that edge. It’s gotten me in trouble lately and I’m hesitant to express. Fear creeps in. Living much of my childhood as selectively mute or painfully shy or the daughter of a paranoid gun owning apocalypse believing Bible reader, I have tended to be what we called in our family, ‘private.’

Private also means isolated. And for me, it has come to mean not truthful.

I blame this on yoga. Yoga has asked me to be my whole self. Not a chameleon of a self that changes from one conversation to the next. It suddenly became strange to have the ‘work persona, the mother persona, the student persona, the friend persona, the social media persona, etc. In my mid 30’s, I longed to be one person.

This was a radical new way of looking at life for me. It meant sharing. It meant being exposed. It meant being vulnerable and living without fear. And not necessarily just with one person, but potentially with a broad swath of people.

Living in a foreign land gave me a chance to create new relationships. Very different than squeezing my new (not private) self into old relationships.

And sure enough, it was amazing. I’ll spare you the 10 chapters on the deep relationships that budded in a land far away, but they were rich. More intimate than anything I’d ever experienced in my life. With men and with women. I didn’t master it across the board by any means. It was not broad swaths of people, but it opened a door to a kind of openness and love that I want in all relationships.

But come to find out, the kind of love I seek in casual relationships is not easy to manage.

Chapter 11: What About Men?

Most of us would agree, its normal, perhaps socially and culturally acceptable, for women to have deep emotional, loving bonds with other women. To share intimate thoughts, needs, wants, urges, complaints, etc. And for all this to likely happen without any romantic entanglement or expectations.

And many would also agree that journaling and writing to be a great source of intimacy and connection. Both with one’s self and with others, known readers and anonymous. One can be nearly in love with an author, a story, a sequence of words that move the soul. Music or art are the same. In that yearning to be one self, my dependence on books and writing has increased exponentially in my third and fourth decades. Somedays if feels like an addiction. As aforementioned, my cigarettes.

Now that we’ve covered women and books. My two staples for connection. What about men? Where do they fit in? Aside from the obvious heterosexual partnering, can women and men be close without romance? In the same way that women can – vulnerable, open, sharing, caring? I think the obvious answer is yes, but i’ve come to find it is complicated and I keep finding myself ‘in trouble.’

Lets bear in mind, I grew up with a real hard patriarchal and religious line around this. And the echo of that operating system runs deep. Boys are for husbands. And being in charge. And they are also trouble and I should stay away from them unless I am ready for marriage or sex.

A dual message delivered to my operating system… but, and, also, be a powerful-independent-free-thinking-change-the-world-woman. So long as you are submissive to your husband and your father.

I always always found this strange.

T, was my first real boy friend infatuation in my teens. For me, there was no physical attraction. He was kind of funny looking. My loins were not stirred. I was not giddy and stupid. But I longed for him. For his mind, our conversation, the deep companionship. I wanted to understand him, see him, learn more and be together. But he was complicated. Or his family was. Or my family was. Or I was. Or perhaps it was just that noone had cars or cell phones in the 1990’s. So I just pined, wondered, occasionally picked up the phone but never called. He wrote me a letter one time. We went on a long weird walk and hung out after karate when we could. I still wonder how he is today.

I may never know if there was more for him, or if he felt similarly. But there was a dull ache for him that I always felt was unfair. For I think I knew that we both wanted more, but the more he wanted was not the more I wanted. Perhaps my first taste of unrequited (non romantic for me) love.

At some point, I became aware people thought I was pretty. I didn’t see what they saw, but I started to feel the stigma of it. It made me uncomfortable. And sometimes it made me feel powerful, which I was also uncomfortable with. I was not sure then, or now, how to reconcile this. I feel no ownership of my golden locks, my smile or my natural curves. They feel like a gift I’m wanting to tuck in a private space, only to pull out when I’m most comfortable.

And I got plenty of messages that boys just want one thing; sex. This didn’t seem entirely true, but then there was Craig and Steve and Stewart and scores of others that really brought that to life. Horney young men on the prowl. I’m not sure who is impressed or attracted to this, but not I.

There were many boys I really could talk to for days but I couldn’t imagine kissing them. No dice.

And there were boys I lusted after. Pure crush. H. He was delicious. Didn’t speak a word. In fact, I think English was his second language. But he was hot as. I lost my mind in his presence which was perfect because we couldn’t really talk anyway. I’ve never wanted anyone to kiss me more.

And there were plenty of suitors. Nice boys and men that were ok-good-looking and I could muster an attraction for. And smart enough to say the right things and engage in enough conversation to get past the first round of inspections. And I don’t mean first base or second base that we all know about. There was no base running with me. The purity remained until I found the ‘one.’

But for ages, there were mostly two camps. The few boys I lusted after (in my mind only) and the boys that I would never want to sleep with but totally had my heart.

I was not at all confused that ‘the one’ would have it all wrapped up neatly in one package. Like + lust + love. A mind, body, spirit experience. And sure enough, the first time there was a combo of intelligence and charisma and good looks, I was sucked right in. And wed to that relationship for 25+ years.

But I’m the other side of that relationship now. And can see something I could never see from inside. Not only could I never reach the heart or emotion of that relationship, but I mistook intellectual connection for intimacy. For all those years.

And since there was a void, I also had a pattern of going deep with emotionally-available-but-othwerwise-partnered-men. Either I’m partnered, or they are, so I feel totally safe to be myself without the sexual pressure.  As I stroll the park, I reflect. I’ve had many of ‘these types.’ The guy in the stock room, the body worker, the next bodyworker, the guy from church. Always an intellectual or emotional component sweeps me up. And yes, they are man. And I am woman. That is never really forgotten. But it is, too.

Talking about all these men really makes me sound like a whore. And maybe I am. I’ve only been with one man in body. But many more in spirit.

And it all makes sense. The flesh dies. The mind has limits. But the spirit is wild, free, untamed, curious, alive. And any relationship devoid of spirit will most certainly peter out. Man or woman.

So I can see, I’ve been ever seeking spirit. Maybe even holy spirit, which I have yet to get to. The God component of relationship. (A few more chapters before we get there… )

But this wild and free ‘spirit’ is divine in nature. It overlaps with, entagles and is confused with love. It is vulnerable, tender, chaotic, intimate and as aforementioned, not easy to manage.

It is so fragile that if one grasps too tightly, or begins to expect exact reciprocation, it crumbles.

Chapter 11: Break Ups

I’m still circling the park. Me and my extra butt. Still trying to put my finger on my feeling of deja-vu. The strange similarity of this depressed January to one 20 years ago.

I’m so curious, my mind is really seeking. I feel determined. There seem to be answers here in this park. In this circling. And I’m prepared this winter. Inspired by Katherine May to do this ‘wintering’ thing right. I’ve got a butt long jacket and warm boots.  I could go for days.  And I might have to as it turns out.  There are some serious fucking layers to uncover.  

Like a snowflake falling from the sky, another clue drops in.

It’s break up time. That aching feeling of being split, abandoned, torn away from, left.. hangs in the air.

Yes, thats it. That feels like the right label.

I’ve gone through a few break ups. At least five with the same man, for starters. But many more with other men and women. Since I’ve only ever been physically intimate with one person, most of these breakups have been a severing of an emotional or spiritual relationship.

And these kinds of losses are hard to mourn because on the outside they never really existed. There was nothing to show for it. And sometimes you can’t be sure if they were even reciprocated. There can be an unrequited sense.

I’ve been here before.  I know that much.

Of course, physically, I’ve been coming here to this very park my whole life.  It’s super familiar. My favorite weeping willow tree, now ice covered, drapes over the man made waterfall on the creek.

Emotionally, I’m here again too. Eerily.

I was recently cast out from a deeply supportive relationship with a care provider, my bodyworker. There was some sort of conflict for him. I was scheduled for my weekly appointment when I got a message that he could not see me today. An email soon followed that he could not see me anymore. It was cryptic but indicated he had crossed some invisible line.

It was shocking and abrupt. I hadn’t realized the depth of the relationship until it was instantly over. I hadn’t realized how I relied on those the weekly sessions to keep my sanity, to feel good in my body and to share. And between those weekly sessions, there was texting and a friendship. It was the kind of closeness I had become accustomed to in my ‘safe’ male relationships. He was, after all, happily married as far as I knew. I felt free to share. And to overshare. And overshare I did. Which it turns out, his wife did not like.

There was no relationship on the outside. But I guess there was on the inside. An emotional or spiritual bond that we both thought was fine until someone (his wife) peered in from the outside and said “Whoa!”

So I got dropped. And it hurts.

I circle again. But the park loop is feeling like a hamster wheel. My mind stuck is not quite clear enough to extract anything meaningful, or helpful.

“What is the lesson? What is it that I’m supposed to see, dear God.” I start praying.

It’s an unusual night time escape to the park this time. A rainy, sleet-y, dark, cold winter evening.

I feel on the cusp of something. Raw, a little destroyed and sullen, while at the same time energized and curious. Part of me wants to hole up in my bed with a heating pad and tune out the pain and the world. Part of me wants to climb Mt. Everest and see if i can get a better look at things.

Logically, I know, or I believe, we keep getting opportunities to learn a lesson, until we get it right. Until we see the hurdle, the block, the barrier to love, the mistake, the untruth; we can’t transcend it. We can’t grow.

It is that desire to break through that pushes me to wander toward downtown.

“Why these losses,” I ask myself. I ask God.

At first blush, I think its just an opportunity to clear some past trauma. To liberate some stuck emotion from my REAL breakup with my 25 year lover and husband.

As I wander, I remember the sobbing, midnight walk I took when he broke up with me the first time. To be ‘single,’ which meant to be with his coworker named C. The utter desperation, confusion and pain of loss.  I walked then, too. I was 18. It was summer. My bare feet hit the pavement and concrete sidewalks hard as I furiously cruised all over the neighborhoods of downtown Frederick playing Foo Fighters in my walkman and vacillating between hyperventilating crying and angry screaming.

“Why do I get dropped?” It seems like as soon as I reveal my true self and really get unguarded, they run away.

Poor me.

And before I know it, I’m standing outside the very apartment it all happened. Under the window of 33 East 2nd Street. I can feel it all like the night I stood there spying on him and C, 25 years ago. My heart ripped to shreds but my mind so riddled with misunderstanding, anger and insane jealousy.

And to think that I fought so hard for that relationship. Time after time, year after year, country to country.

I can see that I should have let go then. Saved myself a few decades of suffering. I can see that I was grasping onto something that was lost. A lost little boy. He was already gone. Way back then. Chasing something ‘other.’ Chasing something bigger. The more glamorous girlfriend. The Peacecorps. Adventure. Missing what was right under his nose.

“So what is the lesson?” I ask God.

“Careful Dorcas, calling the kettle black,” I hear back.

I suppose I’m doing the very same thing. Chasing something external. I’m ignorantly, consciously and subconsciously attempting to secure something deep and true and permanent (love) from something that dies (a person). And when that thing is gone, or not what I expect, I am shocked and crumble a little.

We’ve been sold this narrative for our whole lives. It’s part of our culture. Love is external. We can go and seek for it and when we find it we should hold onto it. A person, place (a home) or thing (possessions).

And for my first 25 year relationship, I was chasing the love that lit up the relationship in the beginning. But I was pretty guarded for the first 15 years. And his heart was a impenetrable fortress it turns out. I kept trying to knock down his fortress walls and he just sought elsewhere in the end. Not to mention that there was no room for God in our relationship. Maybe an intellectual God, at best.

Some years ago, in another one of these painful spiritual breakups, I thought I figured out that love is a function of vulnerability. That it’s all about how I show up. And that if I’m fully vulnerable and surrendered, love will meet me there. So I’ve been walking around all wide open. Thinking I can just be that way with everyone, men and women. And for the most part, it has a remarkable success rate. If I am open, I usually find amazing human to human connection with the other person, stranger or not.

But remember I said, back in Chapter 10, the kind of deep love I seek in casual relationships is not easy to manage.

Not everyone can just be wide open without crossing ‘unethical’ or ‘inappropriate’ boundaries. Because we are not trained to be vulnerable with just anyone. We generally reserve that for ‘special’ relationships. Usually the ones that are also guarded by institutions. Namely, marriage. Or ‘theraputic’ relationships where we pay someone to listen to our most intimate stories of fear and rejection and loss and trauma. I reject this notion that intimacy should be so guarded. I believe we need to be more raw and real with one another in general. If were were, there would be less jealousy and divorce and cheating. AND, don’t get me wrong, I also respect the intimacy of a couple’s bond or the ethical boundaries of a therapeutic relationship. Your boundaries are not my business, they are yours.

And that leaves me here. Strolling back home. The rain stopped. Pondering all my breakups. I can see that so far I’m missing the mark when it comes to finding sustainable love. I see my failings that come from being too closed, and being too open.

My adrenals fatigued, I go home to bed. Enough seeking for now.

Chapter 12: Eternal Love

For 8+ years, I’ve been sitting still every single day. And in that stillness, I’ve developed a deep relationship with Holy Spirit. That’s my noun of choice (right now) for what can be called God, spirit, universe, Jesus, Mother, divine guidance, energy, etc.

I mentioned, in chapter 4, my greatest ‘wintering’ thus far was in fact my time on that south pacific island in the middle of nowhere. I was not alone, but it was indeed a different kind of isolation and hibernation. And there I reconnected with God.

I wasn’t really looking for God. I was just trying to get through the day without dying. Dying of fatigue from mothering littles, dying of boredom that comes with mothering littles, dying of what I now know was a dying marriage, dying from being ripped away from my family and community, dying from feeling stretched thin every single day. On the outside, it was fine. Beautiful in fact.

For years I just found simple solace and a tiny afternoon (meditation/nidra) nap in the silence.

But slowly my connection became more potent. I wasn’t just doing nothing, I was connecting to a source that was beyond my understanding. A deeply nourishing source. A place and space where everything was known and understood, beautiful and ok.

I could spend another 10 chapters here sharing the simultaneous intellectual seeking that was happening. The infinite books and podcasts and conversations and workshops and relationships that supported me becoming aware of the infinite source of love that lives in the stillness in me.

But mostly it was the stillness. The meditation. The EXPERIENCE of God is not available in all the intellectual seeking. The mind is too small to comprehend. It must be paired with the attuning of the heart. All religious traditions support this, little did I realize.

Everytime I’d go in there (to the stillness), I was moving closer and closer to an experience of true love, eternal love.

Chapter 13: Answers

A few years into meditation, I started to experiment with surrendering to the will of God. I used to call that the universe. It felt more PC. Safer. I’d do these little experiments on days when I had time. I’d make absolutely no plans and then just sit and listen. I asked my silence the question:

“Where would you have me go, what would you have me do, what would you have me say, and to whom?” I’d picked that up from my workbook studies of The Course in Miracles and it really landed for me.

After I asked the question, I’d listen, or look. Sometimes, out of the silence, I’d get assignments. Oftentimes, there would be nothing but my day would unfold in the most exquisite way as I surrendered to the flow. Most of the time, it was relational work on those days. Interactions with humans. Sometimes surprising, sometimes expected, but always with the perfection that only comes from divine guidance.

That occasional practice grew to become a way of living over the next 5 years. The trust in my silence, my capacity to listen and the perfection of the wisdom that came forth was astonishing. Not only astonishing, but exciting. Being on the edge of my seat for the next right move is never boring. And the moments I would find myself in, the radical conversations, the surprise signs and gifts, the mountains that would be moved, have all been awe-some.

It’s taken me a long time to recognize this as a relationship with God. A daily, alive, relationship with God. A very intimate one at that. A reliable one.

At the very end of my marriage, there was a moment I stood stunned. A very ordinary moment as I paced around the house picking up after messy humans. Something rattled in me, like a earthquake rattles the earth. It demanded stillness to grasp. I became profoundly aware that it was looking like I was no longer going to have a man. A husband. A father. A person to begin and end the day with. A person to (theoretically) lean on, to chart my future with, to share life with. To take care of me if I fall. The thing I had had since I was 17, was about to be no more. And there was the logical response, the bitter one, that said I didn’t really have one anyway. But that wasn’t the answer. With my hands full of dirty clothes, I closed my eyes and went to my place of silence. I asked God who would be my man, who would be my partner? And before I even completed the silent question, I knew the answer. I was flooded with overwhelming joy, ease and lightness. A smile crept across my face. I almost felt silly I had not seen this sooner. God said, “I will. I will be your man.”

And so I walked, one foot in front of the other, into the unknown years of solo parenting, with my hand held. A more certain husband, father, protector, partner, than I have every experienced. An eternal lover. One that had been so close all along, but I was so busy looking outside, so busy trying to make the human ‘man’ reliable, I missed the real deal.

Chapter 14: A Prayer

So by now, as I circled the park, me and God had been pretty tight for a few years. And as I reflected on my most recent hu-man rejection on the earthly level, I noticed how whole and complete devoting to God felt in comparison. How certain and sure and warm and right it felt to be surrendered to God. To do the daily dance of laying myself at his feet to be a vessel for service.

I felt the weight of my desire. I could understand what drives people to become nuns and pastors and seekers. And it was not the first time this desire had been so alive in me.

In a trip to India a few years prior. We visited the ashram of my first yoga teacher’s mother. In a tragic story, she had abandoned her family to seek the silence. As I walked the grounds of the beautiful quiet gardens, one baby on my back, holding the hands of 2 more, I wept in sorrow for struggle that seems to be present when one is of the world, but called to be in communion with God. Part flesh, part spirit, the human experience can be confusing. The desire to flee the flesh and earthly duties and merge with the divine can be strong. And vice versus. Sometimes we get so earth bound and feel empty of spirit. But that is not my problem. I am called to spirit. I could feel the pull then, but also the reality of care taking small humans and being a wife. Mothering and wifing doesn’t yield space for long periods of contemplation and stillness, or it didn’t then.

But as I circled the park this time, without a husband and children that are a bit older, the thought crossed my mind that I could be a a nun. I’d have to be some sort of nun with kids, but I figured God is more open minded than most people give him credit for. I mused with myself – i’ve done the marriage thing and that feels complete, i’ve got my kids so i don’t need a man for that. I’m not all that sexual and could live without that level of intimacy. Yep, nun it is, I thought.

So I prayed.

“God, I’d like to deepen our relationship. I love loving you and being guided by you. I want more of you in my life. I want to surrender more. Please send me a teacher to help me go deeper. ”

And with that, my wintering was done. And Spring sprung.

Little did I know what God would have in store. Certainly not the kind of teacher I expected.

The next year would be the wildest ride yet.

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hello 2022

my love affair with writing has not ended. i have written more words in 2021 than all the years of my life combined. but censorship is high. judgment is rampant. division is real. sharing is a risk.

perhaps i will switch to fiction writing. metaphor for reality.

or perhaps i will be brave and bare my truth in a public platform.

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Smile at Fear

” When you are frightened by something, you have to relate with fear, explore why you are frightened, and develop some sense of conviction. You can actually look at fear. Then fear ceases to be the dominant situation that is going to defeat you. Fear can be conquered. You can be free from fear, if you realize that fear is not the ogre. You can step on fear, and therefore you can attain what is known as fearlessness. But that requires that, when you see fear, you smile.”

Chogyam Trungpa

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4 months in a minute.

Time has evaporated.

Middle august – middle december, just gone.

Solo parenting 3 kids at home full time in a pandemic is a bit like a game of wack-a-mole. Hit the rising problem then on to the next one.

Always alert. Never resting.

I hope I look back on this time and think, ‘wow, that was crazy.’

Because right now, I can barely think.

Let alone write.

Contemplation, I miss you.


Hips Don’t Lie


what happens when i try to get on my mat

There is a reason I haven’t been doing much yoga asana (postures) lately.

I could say its because I don’t have time because it’s a pandemic and I’m covered in kids all day everyday.  Which is true.

I could say its because I am filling any ‘spare’ non-kid time trying to save small business (and my salary) from being eaten by the pandemic shut down. Which is true.

I could say its because I’m working a double shift everyday and I’m tired.  Which is true.

But that’s not why I’m not doing yoga (asana).  I’ve been making time for my practice every single day, come hell or high water, for almost a decade.  There is always a way.

The truth is, it just hurts.  And it reminds me of what hurts.  And I am afraid to feel that part of me right now.

The rigors of the daily life of a mother, let alone a solo mother, are busy.  The life of an entrepreneur are also busy.  And I generally handle busy well.  I’m a busy body.  It’s a great escape.  A (bad) habit I’ve been raising my awareness to and curbing for decades.

Stillness, on the other hand, is a portal to whatever is real.  And what is real has both edges.  The edge of deep joy and bliss and its counterpart, suffering, grief, pain, loss, sadness. Love and fear.

For decades, yoga has been relative stillness for me. It has been my portal to what is real.

And I say relative stillness because when you are a busy body, a vigorous vinyasa practice is stillness.  As I’ve shed that busy-body part of me, and stopped running from feeling, my practice has slowed as well.  The stillness has become more still. The access to real takes less vinyasa’s, less miles, less digging, less sweating.

Now, when I drop into my body, its just real.

For the most part, me and my body have had a good run. Its been fit, strong, nimble and quick for 40 years.  Thanks to my parents, I’ve been in physical arts since I was 6.  Whatever I’ve thrown at this body, it could physically handle.  Karate tournaments, soccer, running, diving, navy seal training, rock climbing, rollerblading, diving, ice hockey, anything.  I was a decent athlete.  Not a star, but I was always in training and could always hang with anything physically and process the challenge.

But little did I know that throwing emotions and emotional triathlons at your body also requires training and processing.  But instead of processing emotions in a healthy way,  I just (unconsciously) decided to open a little self storage unit, a locker, where I stuff my emotions.  All of them –  joy, excitement, conflict, grief, sadness, anger, injustice.  The self storage center is called ‘my hips.’  Its a five star facility.  Really secure. Easy to fill up and kind of forget about until its overflowing.

Mine started overflowing in high school.  A snap and pop here, a pulled muscle there and the beginning of the instability and chronic pain.

But I lived by a some (misunderstood) Navy Seal (maybe Marines?) quote.

“Pain is weakness leaving the body.”

I was so invested in this philosophy, I made it one of my senior yearbook quotes.  My body did what my brain told it to do.  It was not a two way message system.  There was no listening to my body unless it told me to workout, eat more pasta or study longer so I could run faster, bench press more and get straight A’s. The more pain, the better.

But, there were subtle lessons.  Athletics was also responsible to some degree for introducing me to the holistic approach to vitality and success. Coaches and athletes know it isn’t just about the body – its a mind, body, spirit package.   And the (athletic) system pushes to keep the human at peak performance.

In preparation for a big game or a tournament, athletes prep for the call to warrior action.  Contemplation, mind clearing, pre-game stretching, getting with your team, do some ra-ra-re-ing, praying even.  Then you go into battle (against yourself or others).  The body contracts, sweats, fights, flees, does its thing.  Then after, you take time to re-hydrate, stretch, get a massage, have a little post game review, maybe even thank your team or god for the support.

Yesterday, my 7 year old daughter and I were in the middle of Costco. A huge warehouse of stuff, stuff and more stuff and people with carts. And now, masked people armed with carts.  I hadn’t noticed my heavy breathing or my stupidly, not calm pace until my daughter nearly pleaded with at me in an concerned tone:

“Mom, why is everyone is a hurry?!”

I paused and everything whooshed by.  Literally.  People pushed past in all directions, stuff went flying off shelves.  Things went a little blurry and I was left with a zoomed out view of this chaos.  It was weird.

And assaulting on my nervous system for sure!  When did grocery shopping become like a war zone?

It seems like the pace of everyday-life as a grown up is a bit like the once in a while big-game or tournament day of adolescence.  At least my nervous system thinks so.  I feel like this grown-up body needs a pre-game and post game routine for every day life.

I guess this is why I’ve been pulled to a daily yoga practice.  For 20+ years its been an all in one stop – pre and post game for me.  It shifted a little after having 3 kids.  I didn’t have quite as much time, and my physical body has been shared with 3 other humans for so long between birthing and breastfeeding, and bed sharing that I’ve been leaning more heavily on a 30 minute daily meditation practice to get me by.  I always thought I’d ‘get back to a daily asana practice when my life opened back up – you know, when your kids go to school. But no, thank you covid-19, life is not at all more spacious.

But my achy, extra padded, extra saggy, over 40, over tired body wants (to want) more asana.

And yet, I’m avoiding it.

It hurts more than ever.  I find a tired mom in there. A painful old joint or two.   A sad (almost-x) wife.  A distraught citizen. A worried employer.  But, if I’m honest, what I also find in there is a victim, a judger –  those insidious, pervasive, eroding, subtle forces of psychological nature that will take me down.

And, I’ve surrendered.  I’ve let it take me down for a while. About a year really.  I fallen into long yin or restorative yoga sessions (with a weekly vigorous one thrown in for good measure).  Or even more yin in nature,  I love to lay on a table and receive bodywork or acupuncture instead. Someone else, moving my body (or my energy) for me.  How much more passive (and delightful) can it get?!

Perhaps too much studying, learning and investigation about trauma and how it lives in the body has given me loads of permission to be still in this time.

“How many mental health problems, from drug addiction to self-injurious behavior, start as attempts to cope with the unbearable physical pain of our emotions? If Darwin was right, the solution requires finding ways to help people alter the inner sensory landscape of their bodies. Until recently, this bidirectional communication between body and mind was largely ignored by Western science, even as it had long been central to traditional healing practices in many other parts of the world, notably in India and China. Today it is transforming our understanding of trauma and recovery.”
― Bessel A. van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

Bidirectional communication you say? Yes, that’s what I’m working on when I’m flopped in pigeon pose on my yoga mat for an extremely long time, sitting on my couch meditating or laying on a massage table.  All of these practices help me ‘alter the inner sensory landscape.’   I’m not asleep.  I’m listening.  Looking. Witnessing.  Feeling.

Mostly this work is done alone, but I find it infinitely more potent (and scary) to do with another human being.  A skilled practitioner that can hold space in a movement (or stillness) practice to help untangle some of the faulty wiring in my bidirectional communication system.  And just to be seen during this exposure can be deeply healing.  Bessel van der Kolk talks about what ‘we hold inside in the absence of an empathetic witness.’  Apparently, the science shows that we, as humans, need to be SEEN (by an empathetic witness) to help move trauma through the body.

I find that piece phenomenal  –   that I need another human to process my own shit.  That being ‘in relationship’ is hardwired into our biological needs to thrive.

And I’m not talking about being seen, or ‘liked’ on social media, or even blogging.  Thats all calculated, protected, one way vulnerability.   And I don’t think any of those people in Costco were ’empathetic witnesses’ to ‘see’ that my daughter and I were being traumatized behind our masks as we got herded through the aisles.  And I don’t think I’m even brave enough to be that exposed with some of my closest friends.  That vulnerability piece that Brene Brown has brought to the world’s attention is always easy in theory, hard in practice.

Anyway, the yoga alone on my mat is a primer for the intimacy in relationship. The sharing, the exposure that comes in a tandem therapy session, a deep connect with a girlfriend or partner and for me, many a ‘trainings’ and ‘groups’ have brilliant capacity to create space for being witnessed.

Obviously, I’ve come to the soft side.  I hear you hips. I see you pain. I’m listening.

AND, there is space in my physche to still like a little hard core go-getter like author David Goggins. He sings the song of the good old fashioned notion that a dose of daily suffering makes us stronger.

“It’s a lot more than mind over matter. It takes relentless self discipline to schedule suffering into your day, every day.” David Goggins

We can embrace the suck. Yes. We. Can.  But it doesn’t ONLY have to come in the form of ultra-marathon running. It can come in the form of bubbling over tears in pigeon pose or the awkward exposure of a vulnerable sharing.

My grown up choice for yearbook quote might be something more inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt. Not the ‘do one thing that scares you everyday,’ quote that isn’t her, but this expanded version.

In 1960 Eleanor Roosevelt published “You Learn by Living” with a chapter titled “Fear—the Great Enemy” in which she discussed the problems she experienced due to her excessively fearful temperament: 8

Fear has always seemed to me to be the worst stumbling block which anyone has to face. It is the great crippler. Looking back, it strikes me that my childhood and my early youth were one long battle against fear.

As she matured Roosevelt consciously attempted to reduce her fears by successfully accomplishing tasks that caused her apprehension: 9 10

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.

You are able to say to yourself, “I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”

The danger lies in refusing to face the fear, in not daring to come to grips with it. If you fail anywhere along the line it will take away your confidence. You must make yourself succeed every time. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.

So there it is.  I must do the thing I think I cannot do.  Somedays I do not think I can still, so I go sit in my little meditation spot and face the stillness.  Right now, I do not think I can bear the idea of moving quickly around the yoga mat, drill sergeant style, but I will go.  This weekend, I will go to 4 yoga classes and make up for lost time.  I’ll start with Gentle, run thru a Slow Flow on Saturday, peak at Power Hour on Sunday morning and cap it off with Restorative in the afternoon.

But above all, I will listen to my hips. They do not lie.



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Now Is The Time…

now is the time

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country…

It was 1991.  Inside our 24′ Prowler Travel Trailer house I sat at the kitchen table that turned into my bed and typed that sentence over and over and over and over and over again.  Nearly a century before, in January 1889, Frank E. McGurrin, an expert on the early Remington typewriter, used it in demonstrating his touch typing abilities.  Now, it’s offered as common drill when learning to type.

The sentence was meaningless to me at the time.  Just a goal. Letters to type faster.  But today, it landed with a thud and inspired dormant (or just scared) citizenship and activism in me.

My 10 year old daughter is ever at the root of so many awakenings and she has a small role here too.  She abandoned her ‘own’ room in favor of moving into my room recently.  It’s regression by all normal standards, but we have had the smoothest bedtimes in years.  So I surrender.  We need each other.  Fuck the judgement.  We are living our best life and going where the love is.

As a result, we now have a spare small room.  Which I delighted in claiming.   I moved in


a little loveseat, a weighted blanket, soft pillows and voila.  It’s a serene quiet calm room bathed in natural light, fresh air and inspiration.  I’ve found myself there early every morning doing my meditation and devotions and if the kids are still sleeping, the inspiration to write is spilling out. There’s a tiny writing desk in the corner, in perfect view from my loveseat perch. After sitting one morning, I stared at that spot and it begged to be a little inspirational ‘writing’ vignette.  The interior designer in me got right up and grabbed the old Smith Corona Typewriter we discovered at the Goodwill six months ago that the kids have tired of.  I placed it in the vignette, loaded in a sheet of fresh white paper and instinctively pounded out ‘Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country‘ to test it out.

Whoa.  Seeing the faded typewritten letters on the white paper gave me pause.  My past, this unprecedented moment in time now and our collective future collided together.

Now   is   the    time    for    all    good    men    to    come    to    the    aid    of    their country. 

Could that be any more relevant?  Now in 2020.

I’ve been living out of America for the past 6 years.  Abroad in a far flung country.  And coming home has been a great pleasure.  I love it here.  So much comfort, ease, familiarity, freedom and opportunity for me. As a white middle class woman, I am safe and free.  Even without a husband.

But I’m also horrified by the degradation of civility in public affairs.  Horrified by the hypocrisy of our leadership. Horrified by the health care system. Horrified by the mental health and addiction crisis that seems to be unnoticeable to most. Horrified by the profound level of consumerism and generally shocked by the sheer quantity of products, services and information available, but the lack of transparency and unbiased truth and guidance.  Horrified that so much of modern life has no contact with the natural world at all.  Surprised by the weak public academic curriculum and resources.  I’ll stop there.

Maybe I’m being super judgmental.  Maybe I’m suddenly awake because my kids are old enough to be impacted by this.  Maybe I’m spoiled by living like an expat for 6 years. Or maybe, I should be horrified.

From a distance, it all seemed like a funny little phase America was going through, but inside here is a joke.  It’s a fucking mess.  A bunch of self absorbed narcissist wackos in pretty powerful positions playing some kind of game with the plastic zombie people. The general direction we seem to be headed all around is deeply saddening when I think about how I to raise my kids.  But the worst, is how I’ve just gotten sucked right back into all of it, and been complacent, in the year I’ve been home, or better yet, for the past 20 years.  Shame on me.

It all sounds especially harsh, as I see it on paper. The outer and inner critique.  I’m tempted to delete it.  Veil my opinion more gently and be nicer.  The need to please is strong.

I clearly vacillate between being grateful for what is and expecting more.  I think the ‘expecting something more is useful at times.  And I know I can’t be alone with the bubbling under the surface of disgust.  And the challenges are so big and so complex and run so many generations deep that the band-aid reactionary short term gain style of fixing things is making everything worse. 

I just want to scream.  Again, I usually veer toward peace and settle for just shaking my head and saying I don’t know.  But I feel disgusted with myself now!

I’ve heard myself say out-load in conversation, that “I just don’t know WHAT to do.”  But that’s not really all that true.  It’s just another escape.  A way to bury my head in another book, or article about what is happening. Any way to keep the inquiry going on longer so I can avoid what is necessary.

What is necessary is to be exposed.  Not that my voice needs to be in the mix so much as my skin needs to be in the game.  And that’s scary.

I was selectively mute as a child.  I’m not now, but there is a deep river of fear that runs in me. Some deep conditioning that keeps me quite.

For my whole life I’ve had this experience of being talked AT, not with or to. Mostly men, but women too.  So often, I’ve had the experience of being underestimated (and using it to my advantage often). I usually just politely nod and listen.

I was about 8 or 9.  My father sat me down one day to tell me about being a ‘follower’ and how that was dangerous.  From his perspective, I was a follower.  His voice droned on and on as I gazed past the window to the landscape beyond.  I had just come in from playing with my friend in the sandbox.  I was running THE sandbox restaurant for God’s sake. He had no idea how bossy I was.  Inside my head, I was thinking: you have no idea, do you?

Being a good listener was revered and I was quick to note that compliance wins in my household.  And that worked for the most part and even seemed to be rewarded, so I carried on.

“Girls and women…want to be liked. We want to be trusted. so we downplay our strengths to avoid threatening anyone and avoiding distain. We do not mention our accomplishments. We do not accept compliments. We temper, qualify and discount our opinions. We walk without swagger and yield incessantly. We step out of the way. We say, ‘I feel like’ instead of ‘I know.’ We ask if our ideas make sense instead of assuming they do. We apologize for everything.”  Untamed, by Glennon Doyle

I had a friend in middle school. She was popular, wore makeup and had sex way before I ever did.  She was in public high school.  I was homeschooled.  We met at the karate studio a couple times a week.  When I confided in her that I wanted to go to public school, she laughed at me.  Then her friend, who was also in public high school joined the assault.  They assured me I would have SUCH a hard time.  Socially and academically.   They made faces and were sarcastic and condescending.  I played along.  I allowed them to explain to me all the reasons why it was so hard.  Inside my head, I was thinking: you people have no idea.  A few years later, I was a straight-A, honor society student with no problem making friends.

As a female entrepreneur for over 20 years, the frequency with which I play clueless or dumb is utterly embarrassing.  The amount of mansplaining I’ve sat doe eyed for is nauseating.   The times I’ve bitten my tongue entirely or presented my thoughts as a timid question is innumerable.  How often do I take responsibility for something that I know damn well was not mine just to keep the peace?  Every single day.

I’m outed now.  And its embarrassing.

“Playing dumb, weak and silly is a disservice to yourself and to me and to the world. Every time you pretend to be less than you are, you steal permission from other women to exist fully. Don’t mistake modesty for humility. Modesty is a giggly lie. An act. A mask. A fake game. We have no time for it. ”  Untamed, Glennon Doyle

So, really this is just a pep talk to myself and anyone like myself.  Being mute at this point, selectively or not, is not an option.  Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country. 

“I was diagnosed with selective mutism. That basically means I only speak when I think it’s necessary. Now is one of those moments.” — Greta Thunberg, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, in her TEDx Talk Stockholm, November 2018[1

Not that we all have the gift to be an activist like Greta Thunberg and talking isn’t so much required as just doing the work.   I’ve been a staunch advocate for the inner work for years. I tell myself that counts.

“Modesty is a learned affectation. You don’t want modesty, you want humility.  Humility comes from the inside out. ” Maya Angelou

On health.  My nervous system and my immune system are my responsibility.  And so are my children’s.  If we can’t fight off basic germs, we are super screwed.  If we can’t regulate our nervous system under stress, we will be dis-eased before we know it.  So, there is that.  Much of my work is in feeding my mind, body and spirit (and my children’s) exceptional nourishment.  This is a long game.  We need stamina.  We need steadiness in the face of despair.  Stamina and steadiness come from within.

matthew 7-12On religion, spirituality and divinity.  Do to others what you would have them do for you. That sums it up for me.  Putting this into practice is always the work.

On race and racism.  I honestly don’t know and this is new inner work for me.  I like the work of Resmaa Menakem.  He is a Trauma therapist and author of ‘My Grandmother’s Hands‘ talks honestly and directly about the historical and current traumatic impacts of racism in the U.S., and the necessity for us all to recognize this trauma, metabolize it, work through it, and grow up out of it. Only in this way will we at last heal our bodies, our families, and the social body of our nation. So, I’ve read the book and am in a white-body-supremecy group to help unravel the bits that lie in me.  I also like the heady approach of Sam Harris – Podcast #207, Can We Pull Back from the Brink?  That one proposes quite a few uncomfortable suggestions that we are falling into a trap of hysteria and hype and by giving racism so much attention, we are validating its existence.

On Parenting. Beyond helping them build good physical, mental and emotional habits, I  think my job is to keep my kids awake and aware.   To have a good childhood filled with generous amounts of play and the luxuries we are privy too, but not shielded from their own suffering or the suffering of others.

So great job Dorcas.  You do a lot of inner work.  Lots of mindful contemplation.  But today,  I can see thats not enough. Or maybe it’s served it’s purpose AND its time to advocate.

Ibram X. Kendi—the number one New York Times–bestselling author of How to Be an AntiracistStamped from the Beginning, and Antiracist Baby—is a historian of change and speaks on the Goop Podcast about Building An Antiracist World about this.

“(It’s important for people to) recognize we need transformed people in order to transform the society.  Its critically important that we do do the personal work, but only so we can clearly see the problems, only so that we can clearly see the origins of those problems. only so we can see the policy and powerful forces that have caused those problems.”

I still can’t see the problem with perfect clarity.  But I do see part of it and that lies with me.  The inner work is never done, the activism and citizenship is like that too.  It’s never done.  Living in community with other humans has responsibility to oneself and one another.

I have been staring at this quote for many, many years.  It moves me every time I read it. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking and being ruled by fear.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

Thank you Ivy for needing to sleep in my room. It freed up space our home for a quiet space to create and birth and connect dots.  Thank you boredom in 1991 for forcing me to learn to type.  Thank you mother for being a closet writer the fastest typer ever.  Thank you typing for helping me free my muted soul.  And thank you life for being so good to me.

I have no idea what I will do with this awareness and willingness to participate more in outward work, citizenship and activism, but if it is meant to be, the work will arrive.  Did you hear that universe?  I am open.


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I will not steal your boredom.

dorcas' ipad dump october 2015 282

Dear Children of Mine,

This will not be a popular or well received proclamation. Not now anyway.

I am not afraid of your discomfort. I will not rush to relieve you of all of your suffering.  Some, yes.  But not all.

Don’t get me wrong, it is not that I cannot feel your pain, or boredom in this case, but I will not be easily swayed to make it go away.

I’m pretty convinced Being Bored can be Good for You, just like this senior psychology lecturer suggests.  And that Boredom is a Cauldron of Creativity as suggested by author Nancy Blakey.

I want you to create, imagine, come up with inventive, even messy ways to engage in life. I want you to manage your emotions when you are bored to tears, not by complaining you are bored, running to the snack drawer, pestering your sibling or zoning out on a screen. You’ll have to find something to do.  There is a closet full of junk to turn into crafts, toys for days, the great outdoors, loads of books and jeez, the best thing, that space inside your head that allows imagination!

But research also suggests boredom may not inspire creativity in ALL people.  There are indeed certain types of people that tend to respond better to periods of boredom than others and there is a common belief that some people tend to ‘get into trouble,’ if allowed to be bored.

I’ve seen this happen.  Plenty of sibling harassment rises from the depths of boredom.

“We are rightfully fearful of boredom and its negative consequences. Too much time and money, little purpose, and boredom are a lethal combination.”

Nancy Blakey, parent educator and author

So I will remain vigilant.  I will keep my eye on you, my children.  This too will not be well received in phases of your life, but i’m committed to talking to you, listening to you, spending time with you and paying attention to you so I can see how that boredom lands.

I know this is possible – to survive boredom.  I didn’t have TV growing up. No Nintendo, no cell phones for sure.  We played in the dirt and my mother took us to the library a lot.  And lucky for us, she is still championing creative play and live connection as our Nana.  She sent me this wonderful article, full of suggestions for what TO DO when you kids says, “Mom, i’m bored!”

I love the idea of a Boredom Buster Jar! Having your kids come up with ideas of things they can do when the boredom strikes.  Here’s a supportive list of age-by-age guide to screen-free activities to keep children under the age of ten busy, with minimal supervision from you.

But the struggle is real.  The outside forces many.  A long summer ahead plus a long pandemic as a lead in doesn’t make this easy on kids or parents.  The omnipresence of technology is ever tempting.  This could be the kind of proclamation that gets totally lost in the dog days of summer, or well before.  Perhaps that is partly why I’m writing it down.  To give myself reinforcement.

It’s birthday season in our house.  Everyone child wants technology.  They all pine for their own phones.  Lots of their friends have phones.  There is real pressure from everywhere for this endless (or limited) access to the internet.  It is veiled as a ‘need,’ for safety.  A need to connect with friends and family without any effort at all.  I am wary.

“We’re trying to swipe and scroll the boredom away, but in doing that, we’re actually making ourselves more prone to boredom, because every time we get our phone out we’re not allowing our mind to wander and to solve our own boredom problems,” Mann says, adding that people can become addicted to the constant dopamine hit of new and novel content that phones provide. “Our tolerance for boredom just changes completely, and we need more and more to stop being bored.” 

Dr. Sandi Mann, a senior psychology lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire in the U.K. Mann is the author of The Upside of Downtime: Why Boredom Is Good 

Not only am I wary,  but I’m not sure what NEED it actually solves besides making my life easier as a parent.  Which, don’t get me wrong, matters.  I love the freedom screens afford me.  I can almost forget I have kids.  I can work, take a bath in quiet, do yoga, think in peace.

And there are PLENTY of high quality screen time activities that are awesome.  Entertaining brilliant movies, educational apps, inspirational stories, good video games, etc.  And we have those.

And it might also be a good place to proclaim that this isn’t a critique on kids that watch a lot of screen time or parents that have good results with it.  It could just be my kids.

But the hell that follows a screen binge in my house makes me question if any amount of screens is worth it.  The transition from the stimulation of screens to the doldrums of real life are too painful for kids.  Their poor little brains are in withdraw. It not rational or reasonable and there are always tantrums.

Furthermore, our whole lives start to revolve around SCREEN TIME.   It becomes the currency with which we live our lives.  The barrage of question like this never end:

“When am I going to get screen time?’

“I didn’t get enough screen time.”

“How can I earn more screen time?”

“I should have more screen time because the internet was slow.”

and on and on and on.

They often try to make the argument that if I just let them watch as much as they wanted they would get tired of it.  NOPE.  I’ve never seen the bottom of it.  Not on 15 hour plane flights, not on long weekends with no limits, not ever.

What I get instead, is kids that hold their pee, sneak shitty snack food in front of the device or eat a super fast meal so they can get back to their screens, shirk all responsibilities and turn into zombies that can never fall asleep at the right time of night.  And whenever I take a responsible look over their shoulders they are watching some dumb video on youtube with kids opening toys.  NO WONDER THEY ARE MISERABLE AFTER BINGING ON THAT SHIT.

I admit, I’ve been known to watch perhaps the dumbest TV on earth – The Bachelorette and eat a bag of salt and vinegar chips.  We all need to indulge and space out.  And everyone would agree I should probably hang up my Sam Harris Podcast for more junk reality TV once in a while. It would balance me out.  But the truth is, I feel like shit when I watch crappy TV.  I stopped years ago and once in a while i’ll enjoy a good movie to flush out some emotions, and I love a documentary.

And I don’t need my kids to be just like me.  But I refuse to be ruled by screen time.

We had to stop cold turkey last week.  Things were getting out of control around the house.  With pandemic distance learning coupled with virtual dad and friend calls, our screen time had creeped into the morning, the afternoon and before bed.  Somehow no one was grateful, or well behaved or sane.  People were off the hook with crazy every time I said it was time to shut it down. And the house was a disaster with only 1 human out of 4 trying to keep it sane.

What happened was painful, then beautiful.  For about 2.5 days, the kids were zombie like, depressed and clawing at me for screen time all day.  And just like fog burning off in the late morning, their little creative brains woke up. They started PLAYING with each other.  Coming up with the strangest imaginary games and clever ideas. My big kid started doing magic tricks.  The girls built forts and turned tomato cages into formal dresses. They noticed how shitty the house was and started cleaning up.

But none of this happened until I completely took the screen time OFF the table with a hard boundary.

I want to find the happy medium, and I think we’ll get there.

But in the meantime, its summer and we are going outside.   We went camping for 3 nights.   They laughed hard, ran around endlessly, played with fire and black snakes, sat around under a big full moon and the second their heads hit the pillow, they were out.

So, kids, we might live in the modern world, in the city and surrounded by all things virtual.  But I will not steal your boredom or your childhood.  And if you are in (virtual) therapy complaining about this in 30 years, I am sorry.






IMG_1109Even just the word is hard for me to write.  If I’m honest, I feel shame in exploring the topic of anger.   It feels dirty.  NOT positive.  NOT productive. NOT nice.  NOT controlled.  NOT welcome.

And so, I’ve never mucked around in it.  It’s always been a short lived, very controlled (or suppressed) wave for me.  So uncomfortable, unacceptable and squelched.

That was the first 40 years.

But now, I get to learn about it.  And WE get to learn about it.  And anyone other Pollyanna (White) Peacemakers like myself are gonna get a tough lesson.

My daughter angrily poured a glass of water on me this week.  I was stunned by my own visceral reaction.   And as I searched for tools to help me with parenting, I asked google to to define a ‘wave of rage.’  I got this news by the same title.

As it turns out, rage is playing out on the streets of America. People are protesting out there.  And my little person is protesting in here.  Whats happening outside is happening inside.

When my daughter rages (a more acceptable term is tantrum), I marvel at her capacity to express.  As I child, I was terrified of expression.  I would have NEVER, EVER, EVER even thought about letting go like she does.  But she refuses to go quiet.

She is teaching me.  Not a popular parenting policy if you grew up in my household. There, the grown ups taught the kids and we followed a very clear top down chain of command.

But somewhere along the way I came across the work of Dr. Shefali Tsabary and it changed my parenting.

“When you parent, it’s crucial you realize you aren’t raising a “mini me,” but a spirit throbbing with its own signature. For this reason, it’s important to separate who you are from who each of your children is.”  ― Dr Shefali Tsabary

Perhaps this Super Soul talk she offered landed so hard in my soul because she specializes in the integration of Eastern philosophy and Western psychology.  I’ve been studying Tang So Do since 6 and yoga-ing since 20.   The old eastern practices are deep in my bones.  Or perhaps it landed because she is stunningly beautiful and her delivery magical. Or perhaps there is something I know in my bones too that the me in me was silenced long ago.  I’m curious who I am.  And I’m curious who the little souls that travel through me are meant to be.

But this parenting style presents a real problem: it’s real messy. Disorganized even.

Wikipedia defines Rage (also known as frenzy or fury) is intense, uncontrolled anger that is an increased stage of hostile response to a particularly egregious injury or injustice.[1]

Whoa.  Scary stuff.  That’s whats on the news.  People that are pissed that George Floyd died on May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes while he was handcuffed on the ground. (full video here). Its not just George Floyd, its the underlying “egregious injury or injustice,” that has gone on for far too long.

But we know anger is a secondary emotion. (link)

“Feeling fear and sadness is quite uncomfortable for most people; it makes you feel vulnerable and oftentimes not in control.  Because of this, people tend to avoid these feelings in any way they can.  One way to do this is by subconsciously shifting into anger mode.  In contrast to fear and sadness, anger can provide a surge of energy and make you feel more in charge, rather than feeling vulnerable or helpless.  Essentially, anger can be a means of creating a sense of control and power in the face of vulnerability and uncertainty.”

My daughter is angry.  But she’s actually sad under there.  She’s lost a lot this year and its been traumatic.  And we have been working so hard to learn to regulate emotions without suppressing them.  And I say ‘we’ because its a relationship.  We have to do this together.  If I can’t digest my own emotions, how can I ask her too. If I can’t FEEL things in real time and navigate vulnerability with grace, how can she learn that?  How can I possibly hold space for her to run the range of rage if I don’t do my own work?

Influenced heavily by my study of the effects of how trauma lodges in the body (Interview with Bessel van der Kolk) and a profound body of scientific work produced by the Trauma Research Foundation, and with skilled support of therapists, we are learning.  We are getting to the heart of the matter.

But some days, its literally bananas.  I was driving this week, and a banana came flying at me from the back seat.  Rage arrived.  And the destruction was real and messy and uncomfortable.  I’m pretty human in these moments.  When someone throws a banana at the back of your head while you are driving, what might your reaction be?  Exactly.

The rage raged for about 20 minutes. In the back seat. At her brother. At me. In the church parking lot we pulled off in.  Every bit of me wanted to abandon my daughter.  Leave her on the curb for a ‘lesson.’ I wanted to shout the most ridiculous ‘consequences’ I could think of.

But I know her Amygdala is ‘Hijacked,’ and we just have to ride this out. Preferably, without me losing my mind too.

Knowing the biology, I can shift to compassion.  I think of how BIG and SCARY the feelings of sadness, anger and rage are.  And how little she is.  I said to her, as I always do,  “I have no problem with your anger.  In fact, I can understand why you are angry and I think you have every right to be.  AND, that anger is causing destruction right now.  You’ve got to get that anger out, I get it. AND,  I’m not your punching bag.  In fact, I’m on your team and I’ll be right here with you while you have these big emotions.”   And then I just wait.  (sometimes I field off some swings, assaults or protect her siblings.)

“The trick to ending a tantrum, the scientists concluded, is to get the child over the anger peak as quickly as possible and the trick to that was … doing nothing. Even intervening to ask what was wrong appeared to prolong the process.” (The Guardian)

After a while, she put down her weapons (her arms and legs and bananas), grabbed a blanket that was sitting in the front seat and squeaked out a ‘leave me alone.’  There was a shift in her voice.  Within 5 more minutes, she moves beyond the anger and into the sadness.

I think of the sadness like the heart of the artichoke.  Its soft and tender.  It needs to be handled with care. If she will let me, I will touch and hold her delicately (and sometimes rub her with butter).  I always cry.  Its so painful in there with her.  The depths of sadness are profound.

Meanwhile,  I also have two other kids and we are sitting in the middle of a church parking lot with the car doors open and banana peels all over.  They don’t know what to think of this, or really couldn’t give a rats ass that their sister is angry or sad. My little one copes by wandering around the parking lot in her fluffy unicorn slippers, singing like a pop star.

My older one try’s to UNDERSTAND with his head, with logic. He tries to help and solve the problem through negotiation or shaming his sister.  Further, he is particularly angry (read sad) because his sister is (once again) derailing our plans and getting ALL the attention.  When I turn to and look him straight in the eyes and say “I see you too. I KNOW you are angry in there too but you would NEVER act like this because you are afraid people would see your anger. ”

His eyes well up with crocodile tears.

I continue. “And I see that you don’t understand how she can do this and get away with it.  I know it feels like an injustice to you that she gets attention for this.”

He smiles. He does this when I read his mind.  He cries more.

I continue. “And I want to remind you both that its okay to be angry and to get it out. I will be here for you.  Whether you want to hold it in our let it out.  Lets SUPPORT each other in that ok?.”

“Ok, lets just go Mom,” he says.   “Can we please go now.  Its been 5 minutes.  And can you guys just NOT TALK to each other please.”

And we drive off.  The wave of irritation, to rage to sadness, thru repair, back to stable took about an hour in all.

Who has time for all that?  Get it together, control your emotions, don’t cry, all things I am tempted to say.  Its so messy, so inconvenient, so uncontrolled and so unpredictable.

All I can hope is that its the right thing to do.  I hope EQ (emotional intelligence) continues to matter in the digital age.

…emotional intelligence predicts future success in relationships, health and quality of life. Psychologist Daniel Goleman

And I hope these micro moments of flying bananas and church parking lot rage sessions in our tiny little family yields compassion that spreads in our much needed world.   I hope it yields a broader understanding and the capacity to feel feelings and leave space for others to do the same.

When I watched the video of George Floyd getting the life squeezed out of him slowly, I felt profoundly sad.  And then angry.  I felt itchy inside my skin. I imagined what it would be like to stand there in person and watch it.  To be the bystanders that were screaming at the police officers to stop.

I’m not black.  I’m white and privileged.  I don’t know what its like to feel like this all the time. But there are people that do.  Young inspired women particularly, like Austin Channing Brown who are leading the way to inspire racial justice.

The stage has been set for protest. The world is reeling in the face of a pandemic. Isolation, lack of work, financial doom and lack of soothing human connection and contact are devastating for humans mental health.  COVID-19 has changed the face of American Activism.

My little white girl turns 10 this week.  I’m grateful for her anger.  It gives me hope.  She has more courage than I have ever had in my four decades combined.   In time, she will learn who to throw her bananas at and how to harness and direct her transformative firepower.

Some things need to burn. And some people were born to not let us turn our eyes from the suffering.


my yearly post

warrior 2 new cal

Its 2am.

Wide awake with words.

This blog is a bit like a long lost journal.  Every year or so, i rediscover it and crack the code. I’m notorious for forgetting my passwords.  But today, I figured it out and I’m back in.  I feel giddy. Writing makes me feel whole.

There is a compulsion to update.  The passage of time has yielded big shifts in this most recent pause in ‘blogging.’   I’ve never stopped writing, but things got messy.  Real messy.  The kind of messy that must be mucked around in before its revealed.

In March 2018 I wrote that blog about my love.  And my marriage.  Honest. Committed. And little did I know, hanging on by a thread. Or maybe even a faux thread.  My intuition knew what my mind would not accept.  It was over.

But marriages can be over and go on.  And on. And on.

And I would have been A-ok with that.  I’m a stayer.  I really believed in the ending of Love Warrior.

I begged, borrowed and got scholarship money for the $4500 to do a life changing 7 day program almost exactly a year after that post.  I knew why I was going.  But I hoped I was wrong. My whole body knew it (marriage) was over long before, but my mind and beliefs were so strongly clinging to an idea, dangerous hope and obligation.

Letting go of all that meant running head first into a wall of fear.  Path of Love was helpful for this.  Its like running with scissors into the Wall of Fear, but doing it with a whole hearted army of support and fellow scissor runners.

What happened in the container of Path of Love is secret.  In fact, its designed that way.  To really let oneself be exposed, we need deep security.  And it was there.  Lots of silence.  Coupled with lots of thrashing.  All infused with deep listening.  From the outside and the inside.  Some people describe it as years of therapy condensed into a week.  There is no hiding.

In hindsight, it was the birth, the passage way of a new being. I was reborn.

And having given birth three times and witnessed it too, birth is fucking hard work.  But, birth is also easy compared to whats to come.

I would need to learn how to live as this new me.  I came out of there exposed, raw and deeply re-connected to an inner truth that had been screaming so loud for so long.  But this connection is tender.  Its hard to maintain in our modern world.  The assault of invitations to silence your own divinity are omnipresent.

It so easy to push the easy button and choose doubt, indifference, distraction, complacency, addiction or being a victim.  And there are more options.  Its 2020, we have loads of ways to escape the uncomfortable.  Yoga and meditation are my easy button in many ways.  They take the edge off uncomfortable for me.  They hold my hand through it.  And writing.

The anniversary of that re-birth passed not long ago.  What happened between then and now is a bit blurry (and excruciatingly clear), but with nerve endings exposed and big babies on my back, the New Caledonia chapter ended unexpectedly and abruptly in August 2019.

There are many words to fill the space and the passage of time, but they are still messy, ungraceful, edgy.  They can be spoken, but not shared.  The permanency of recordation is too risky.

The marriage is over, but it also lives on.  As love does.

I was listening to Glennon Doyle speak recently. She’s a New York Times Bestselling author of a few books, including Love Warrior and a more recent exposure, Untamed.  She gets asked the question alot; “how do you know you are a writer?”  She answers it circuitously, by sharing a story about being an alcoholic but trying to deny it and later lands on her answer to the question.  “If you deeply long to write, then you are probably a writer.”

I’ve been thinking about words since 9th grade, when I discovered I could string words together to express my introverted inner terrain.  “Descriptive writing,’ as it was called was instantly nourishing.  And also terrifying.

And that is my kind of home.  Nourishing with a slight edge of scary.

And with that, I click publish.










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choose love again. (and again)

Its not a secret that my sweethart and I fight.  There is a lot of static in the day to day relationship.  This is what happens when you’ve got two number 1’s in the same house, as my friends joke.


when I go global, when I zoom out, when I’m in my higher mind as you might call it, I like what we create.

Today is our wedding anniversary.  And this won’t be popular to say, but it’s not really that special of a day to be honest.  We had been together 10 years and I got pushy and decided we needed to get married.  Really romantic.  Now, the coming together of people, the surprise ceremony, the magic of the story is indeed nice.  But the day was just the only Sunday when people could be there.

I remember more about the dress I wore, than the vows.  More about Claire’s (my maid of honor) shoes than what A wore.  More about how my dad was going to take the surprise than the fact that I was committing MY LIFE to this man.

So in many ways, I would like a redo.  One where I consider the magnitude of marriage.  One where I get some therapy or marriage counseling up front so I know who to go to when shit gets hard and we can’t hear each other.  A wedding where I’m focused on the sanctity of our vows and actually hear and mean what I say.

But nonetheless, here we are. Slugging it out somedays for better or worse. And from what I hear, I’m not alone.   Most couples that have been together for 20+ years have been thru a round of two of heavy hitting. There are valleys and there are peaks.  And they come and go, and come and go.  At least I believe this is true.

And if time is any indicator, the details get fuzzy, the day to day forgotten and the poignant memories are what makes the cut on the reel of our life story.

So, today, on this here anniversary, I’m proud.  I’m proud of us.  I appreciate you baby.  I appreciate us.  And most of all, I appreciate what we ultimately, have created together.  So much you contribute that I just can’t, or wouldn’t.  And same for me.

We come together nicely.  And love always wins.