30. We Circle Around Ourselves Until Landing in the Middle

Blog 30: Dec. 1997-April 1998—Greg is his name. I meet him at the YMCA in downtown Berkeley, not far from home. He’s a trainer, and I go to him, thinking he can bring strength back to this broken body of mine. Instead, he becomes another angel in my long healing journey.

Soon, Greg and I are visiting every healer known to mankind: osteopaths, energy healers, chiropractors, orthopedics, and yes, psychic surgeons. After seeing a psychic surgeon, I’m laid up in bed for days, barely able to lift myself up. Greg is amazed. Having worked as a nurse in the army, he tells me that I’m behaving just like post-surgery patients he’s seen. And yet, it’s just energy work. We are both surprised.

When Greg and I travel from one healer to another, we laugh a lot. We both have a twisted sense of humor, and our time with healers becomes a pleasant relief from my pain and serious attempt to heal. My body and hip issues don’t go away, but my heart begins to heal. I feel held, cared for, and there’s relief in having someone by my side to laugh with despite it all.What-If-at-TheDailyDoll.com_

I continue to write in my novel and journal, and I find myself reflecting on what it means to be in my center, to be whole no matter what happens.
I write, “If I stand in the center, in the self, and know from this place that I am a part of the whole, then I don’t need to step outside myself. I only need to go deeper inside myself to uncover the universe, because knowing myself is trusting my connection to the whole.”

I draw a circle. Inside the circle, I place a dot somewhere on the right side of the circle. I write, “If I stand here, I am nowhere. I am neither with myself nor the whole.” The center of the circle is where I need to stand, and honor my needs, every day, every minute. “Going inside can take many forms,” I add. “But the first step is stopping, not moving forward, and beginning to move from the center, from myself.”

 

 

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29. Woman is the Possibility of a World Unseen

WHEN DID A FEMININE WAY SHOW YOU THE WAY?

Blog 29: Dec. 1997-April 1998—The secondhand of the clock moves slowly here in the lowlands of Oakland, California. Everything is an effort: walking around the block, determined to walk again; going swimming at the YMCA; shopping; cooking.

When I go to the YMCA, I watch another woman who’s there every time, grabbing onto the low wall, painfully taking baby steps, just so she can make it to the pool. I feel compassion, and sudden gratitude for both her courage to keep going, and my capacity to have the little bit of movement I do in my legs.

When I’m done with my errands, I come back home and write my novel and articles, or I write in my journal or rest. As I reflect on where I’ve been, I realize how much I’ve survived almost 29 years of my life by pushing forward, always aiming to become someone important, driven by the outside world pushing, pulling me to be like a man, to ac8ad5b614f115dc88306f61fdd830057dcomplish, conquer, prove. Yet, here I am, having injured myself, and this pushing, this masculine way, hurting me.

I sit with who I am as a woman, inside a feminine energy that calls for another way. A woman is the possibility of a world unseen,” I write in my journal. “She is the invisible that manifests when all else has forgotten how to be. Woman is the power of all that is new in the world.

“The days of moon come and go in a woman’s body. They bring her rage and a kind of roundness that woman understands—a roundness that extends outward and inward at the same time,” I continue to write. “No one truly owns her. This roundness has no measurement, no length, no beginning, nor end. She learns, however, in the fragile skelet11366228434_971ff72196_mon of her body that once imprisoned her, that she must wait. Her fertility, in all its power, must wait for dusk before it can reveal itself.

“While there is this unbelievable surge in her belly, this
child, with features invisible to the world, will not be born to impulse again—to a preeminent death tomorrow. This child is her love, her understanding that grows flowers in her belly. She must first ride this current of self love before this river can meet the sea.”

WHEN DID A FEMININE WAY SHOW YOU THE WAY?

Check out my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, at  Novel Link!

28. I Am Not Alone

WHEN YOU ARE ALONE, WHERE DO YOU GO?

Blog 28: Dec. 1997-April 1998—There are times when no amount of wanting, willing, or determination will bring us to that place we wish to go. The past lives in every cell of our body—whether from this lifetime or another—until we are able to hear, feel, be with what is trying to speak its voice through us so that we may, one day, be free.

This was my reality when I moved from my idyllic home in the Oakland Hills of California to a house with multiple unhappy people in the lowlands of Berkeley. I didn’t want to move, but my hips were in too much pain to function in the hills, and I needed a place without stairs that I could afford.

In this space of debilitation I wrote poems, one of which I share here:

I am no more than this, I say,

than the wind that crosses through my room,

 than the tenderness of strangers,

than your voice that at times whispers when it is afraid.

I have been there,

I have frozen my gut,

closed my wounds to the world,

too big, too outside myself.

I have wandered and prayed for love,

have forgotten so many times that I am not alone,

only to stand here,

and to feel this

this nakedness of possibility,

this breeze of flexibility,

this knowing that even in this great weakness,

I am not alone.   

WHEN YOU ARE ALONE, WHERE DO YOU GO?

(Check out my novel, Child of Duende, at NOVEL WEBSITE)

 

27. May an Angel Carry this Pollen into the World

IN STANDING STILL, WHAT GIFT OF YOURS EMERGED?

Blog 27: Dec. 1997-April 1998—Living in the hills of Oakland, California, was too much heaven for my hips after months of painfully traveling up and down five flights of stairs to survive. Looking out through immense windows of my idyllic home perched above the Bay and, in the distance, the San Francisco Bridge, was breathtaking, but I couldn’t live in this paradise anymore.

Reluctantly I moved into a home with four to five other housemates in the Berkeley lowlands, by a BART (subway) station. The woman who owned the house lived there too, and despite the fact that her name was Faith, I soon discovered that she wasn’t anything like her name.

I had been weak, vulnerable, and had sought a place I could afford that would also be supportive of my disabled and painful condition. She initially pretended to be caring, but, as her true nature revealed itself, and my other housemates struggled with feeling alone in this cold, sterile home, I found myself spending more and more time in my bedroom. I meditated in front of a beautiful plant under my skylight. It was the closest experience I had to being out in nature—that, in addition to sitting in the hot tub outside in the weed-infested yard. There I sang poems to the trees, finding the courage and heart to believe in a magic I wasn’t living.

2ac3abe815ba6b1db5bb294691e01666      I missed New Mexico, being able walk and being still with the earth as I had been in the desert. I especially missed a time I had had there with my friend, Eric. We had wandered upon sandstone cliffs that looked out over the badlands in all directions, and there we sang into the land that echoed its beauty back to us inside a golden, pink sunset. About it, I wrote:

“I close my eyes and my tears wet my cheeks as I recall our moment sitting inside what seemed the infinite. There was an eternal stillness even in our echo, in hearing ourselves as part of the summer silence under the stars. Back then, I still walked with innocent hunger.

“Now I surrender, sad, toward my fate. I no longer believe in miracles, in unusual miracles that appear as bold statements I had always looked for. Instead, I expect no miracle except the miracle of surrendering to my circumstances. I have nothing left to do. Layers of proving myself have peeled off my body. My soul is resting. Now, I don’t care about the politics of living. I am a flower, rooted, waiting for the pollen within me to be picked up by an angel and brought into the world.”

IN STANDING STILL, WHAT GIFT OF YOURS EMERGED?

(Check out my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit at www.childofduende.com)

 

26. A Vision of New Life

WHAT BROKE YOU SO YOU COULD BE PIECED BACK TOGETHER AGAIN?

BLOG 26: November, 1997—It’s not a dream or my imagination. It’s a vision as far as I can tell. I see a woman in pure white, with a baby burning in her belly. I get scared. But this lady tells me not to fear, and invites me to take the baby into my arms despite the burning, dark place it is in. I reach out and hold the child, and when I do, something happens. The fire ascends, and somehow, I become the woman in white who has embraced her shadow—who is unafraid of the fire that renews—and who, like phoenix rising from the ashes, becomes anew.

It’s been over a year since I left the East Coast, eager, anxious, longing, and since then I have lived eight months in New Mexico, and currently five months in the hills of Northern California. And I, too, hold a burning sensation in my hips that won’t go away. I write my story that later becomes my novel, Child of Duende, because it’s with words that I can now express this fire, this dance, that lives inside me, eager to tell her story.

Maybe what is happening to me is an awakening, as in my vision…an awakening to duende, this spirit of the earth inside me that the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca once said, “burns the blood like powdered glass” and “rejects all the sweet geometry we understand.” As I battle my pain, and ache to find myself inside the chaos of all that I have known falling apart, maybe the beginning stages of my novel are telling the story of Lorca’s duende:

“Through the empty archway a wind of the spirit enters, blowing insistently over the heads of the dead, in search of new landscapes and unknown accents: a wind with the odour of a child’s saliva, crushed grass, and medusa’s veil, announcing the endless baptism of freshly created things.”

WHAT BROKE YOU SO YOU COULD BE PIECED BACK TOGETHER AGAIN?

21. My Spirit Dreams a New Dance

WHAT DREAMS HAVE YOU HAD BEYOND YOUR PHYSICAL LIMITATIONS?

Dancing in the Streets,  by Chris-Lamprianidis

BLOG 21: July, 1997—I can’t keep track of time as one day bleeds into another in my home in the hills of Oakland, California. My bed is still in the middle of the livingroom, but if it weren’t for my friend Geri coming over almost every night and massaging my legs and calves, I wouldn’t be able to sleep. My body is now perpetually gripping, my muscles so tight and inflamed, my blood trying to push through the constriction, and my nerves a live wire that won’t let my legs calm down long enough to sleep. The more tired I am, the harder it is to sleep, until Geri massages me, and helps relax my body.

At some point, my friend Eric from Albuquerque just shows up at my door, unannounced. I don’t think he’s aware of the depth of my condition—of how I pushed myself far beyond my limits after injuring myself in New Mexico—but it doesn’t matter. My housemate is out of town, there’s lots of room, and I’m more than thrilled to alleviate my loneliness.

In the mornings, Eric practices his opera scales out the window of my house. I smile as I hear his beautiful voice echo into the hills. When he stops, I beg for him to continue, and in the evening, he strolls up the road to the forest of eucalyptus trees to celebrate the life I cannot. He later tells me how he danced naked under the full moon there, and I marvel at his spirit. The last time I was with Eric, in New Mexico, when I could still walk, we had stood atop sandstone cliffs at Malpaís, him playing flute and echoing his tune into the bright orange sunset. That moment in New Mexico had been eternal, all having stopped to bear witness to the breathtaking beauty of life. And now, I’m glad to experience this again with his visit.

After Eric leaves, I continue to feel the magic. While I lie in bed, barely able to move without pain, I dream of my street filling with people dancing a celebration of life. I also dream that I have choreographed a dance. I am lying on the ground, immobile, yet the power of my vision and intent dance around me and provide a different kind of dance to share with others. Despite my physical limitations, my spirit and imagination experience what’s possible in this world.

WHAT DREAMS HAVE YOU HAD BEYOND YOUR PHYSICAL LIMITATIONS?

20.Perched up High,no Wings to Fly

WHEN DID YOU FIND PEACE IN THE MOST UNLIKELY PLACES?

BLOG 20: July, 1997—I am sitting in my bed in the livingroom of my home in California’s Oakland hills. I have nowhere to go now, no matter what I want to do. I am no longer working and I’ve applied for temporary disability. It’s a strange feeling to be in such a beautiful place with a gorgeous view of San Francisco, the bay, and mountains all around. I am a bird perched up high, on a bed of all things, and yet with no wings to fly. I’m only able to watch and to be still. I am strangely feeling a sense of peace with not moving. I have nothing to prove, nothing to become, nowhere to go. I am here, just me, with permission—possibly for the first time in my life—to be with me.

Prior to coming out west, and before living in New York City for a year, I had spent a summer at Omega, a holistic retreat center in New York State. I had lived in a tent and was first introduced to dance, shamanism, and earth-based cultures then. I used to stay up at night, reading Federico García Lorca’s poems in my tent under the rain, and I felt the preciousness of those moments where art and nature held me in their embrace. Back then, I tried meditating under the trees, but I kept hearing my father’s voice, telling me to be useful. It was a challenge being still, being with myself. This meant defying how I had been raised.

But here I am, and for the first time, I am not hearing my father’s voice, or maybe that of my ancestors, telling me to keep moving, to keep making something of myself, to be tough. I’m broken here in my bed, surrendered in my brokenness. There’s space for me to listen. There’s peace for me to be. During the day, my downstairs neighbor plays Roberta Flack on his record player, and rather than ask him to turn it down, I yell down for him to turn it up. Roberta Flack’s voice resonates “Killing me Softly with his Song” over the hills as my neighbor enjoys a moment of spontaneity. I make the most of life that happens around me, since it’s all I’ve got. And I stop for once in these hills of Oakland.

WHEN DID YOU FIND PEACE IN THE MOST UNLIKELY PLACES?