Friday, August 31, 2007


Everytime I tell someone I can't wait to celebrate rage and am paying huge amounts of money to do so, I get "the look," the one that says, "OK, fine, whatever."

See, that's the thing, things are not OK, they are not "fine" and just shrugging my shoulders is no longer acceptable. I don't want my life to be FINE and OK, I want it to be wild, impassioned, shining, full of dance and spirit, unhibited joy and a completely unapologetic commitment to the truth.

I completed an on-line questionnaire as part of my registration process. I was able to identify, on her website, my "Disquise for Rage," and was encouraged to read her book in preparation for the workshop. Check, check, check. I did my questionnaire within minutes of receiving it, never giving it another thought. I quickly identified my disquise, then began the book. I moved through the process like I do everything, swiftly, efficiently, promptly, without a whole lot of thought or analysis, "automatically," one might say. Head down, one foot in front of the other, don't look up until you get to the end. Don't fight it, don't question it, don't make a problem for anyone, just do it with a smile on your face and and move on.

While reading the book I had more time to sift through the thoughts, beliefs, misconceptions and myths I held about rage. Ruth says there are three ways to respond to rage, fight, flight or shrink. Under each way are two disguises of rage. I am a fun mix of the two flight types, Devotion and Distraction. That is to say when faced with rage I put all my efforts on others and keep myself too busy to think/care/deal with myself.

The fight types "get in the ring" with the rage. Their disguises of rage are Dominance and Defiance. Of course, most of us are attracted to our opposites, and tend to marry/partner them, which perpetuates our disguises, and keeps us from healing/transforming them.

The shrink types are Dependence and Depression. Those types just make me crazy, I've never understood how someone can respond by not doing anything, which I've come to learn is deciding by not deciding, and a skill that might serve me well, since half of all that I do needs to be done twice, because I'm so reactive and impulsive. Perhaps if I took what is "good" about depending on others and chilling out, I'd have a smoother path. We'll all find out! I'm about to become a new woman!

Ruth King called me on Wednesday. We had a pre-appointed 1 hour phone interview. Key-rist! This woman knows her stuff. Before Wednesday's call from Ruth King, I'd almost finished her book, Healing Rage. I'd settled into a deeper understanding of myself and other significant characters in my life and their rage responses/disguises. She asked me a bunch of questions she'd pulled from my questionnaire, then after feeling satisfied with her sense of me, she assigned me an Orisha spirit. Ruth uses Yoruba, an African religious system in her work, and Orishas are the spirits, much the same way the Catholics have saints, in fact, many of the Catholic saints line up perfectly with the Orisha spirits.

Ruth "gave" me Shango, whose name is spelled a variety of ways, which of course, is hard for me. I don't do well with loose things like that. I want to know how to spell his damn name RIGHT!

According to Cultural Expressions:

Sango is the God of Thunder

Sango is King.

Just as lightning flashes to show indistinguishable landscape, Sango has the ability to show one the truth just as quickly.

Sango only speaks once and represents trial by fire.

Sango is as big as his scream giving him an ability to move people and things with his words. Sango has the "gift of gab".

Sango is the God of Male Fertility.

Sango is the master of strategy and tactics.

The spirit of Sango rises to confront and meet great challenges.

Sango is the symbol of courage.

The Truth Can Hurt! Like Fire!


Saint Barbara

Yea, kinda like that. After deciding what I wanted to go TOWARDS, Ruth gives me this guy, who epitomizes it all, of course. There are no accidents. There are no coincidences, and there is no way anyone's going to throw cold water on my excitement for CELEBRATING RAGE! WOOHOO!

Thursday, August 30, 2007


10. You get all those extra hours in the day you've always wished for.

9. You have a chance to finally stare out the window and do nothing.

8. All those boxes of half eaten cereal in the cupboard? Gone!

7. Excellent way to decrease your productivity and pleasantness during the day!

6. From pacing the floors you've been able to identify which boards are the squeekiest, just in case anyone ever asks.

5. Extra time to enjoy all the night time sounds and smells your family makes!

4. Time to e-mail all your insomniac friends, and get an instant reply!

3. Hour after hour to obsess without interruption nor distraction!

2. Good opportunity to fantasize about all the nap opportunities lacking "tomorrow" which is now "today."

1. Doubles the effects of the aging process, in 1/2 the time!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


10. You "meet" people you'd never meet otherwise.

9. You realize how similar we all are.

8. You find out who you THOUGHT would read your blog and who actually DOES read your blog is the opposite.

7. You'll find out what all your neighbors are really thinking about you - this is both delightful and slightly disturbing.

6. You'll learn a lot about yourself.

5. You'll establish a writing practice.

4. It's fun to hear your friends preface every conversation with, "You better not blog about this!"

3. It's fun to shake things up.

2. It's fun to feel "heard."

1. It's fun to say, "I blog!"

Monday, August 27, 2007


She said the writing would push itself through my psyche just like a weed through the cracks in the sidewalk. One day you'd be walking upon square after perfect square of sidewalk, the next day you'd see a small burst of green that pushed and shoved its way through one of the hardest surfaces known to man. It's true. When I think all my writing ideas are dried up and gone and I am stuck on an arid field of thought, up pops an idea, or three, or five, seemingly out of nowhere. Tracy was right about that, and she was right about something else, too, all the self-distracting I was doing that I felt kept me from what I really needed to be doing, was part of the process. The process of writing is much more than what ends up on the page (or screen). There is a pre-writing stage that can be simultaneously brutal and fertile. There is all the processing that goes on in both the conscious and sub-conscious that gives way to what it is you are REALLY trying to say/write/express, to yourself, more than anyone.

When I woke up at my usual 2:00 AM this morning, I had three stories that urgently begged to be told. Seemingly disparate, my mind spent the rest of the time in bed weaving the three together, beautifully, fascinatingly, in ways my fully awake mind would not have been able to do with all its logic and reason.

I have learned more from the writing workshops Jennifer and I do, than anyone. We are all fellow journeyers, fellow students, fellow teachers on the path to greater understanding of self, story and life.

For any of you feeling the need to journey, please consider joining us in Sisters, Oregon October 5-7. Write me at: for more information. You do not need to "be" anything other than a woman with a story that needs/wants/begs to be processed. Who among us isn't that?

Friday, August 24, 2007


MY "X":

June 20th:

"Mom. I have no clothes for school. We need to go Back-to-School shopping."

June 21 - August 23:

"Mom, I know we've gone school shopping a bunch of times. But can we go today? I babysat five minutes ago and I want to go to the mall. Please Mom? Can you take me shopping?"

While shopping:

"Mom, do you like this?"

"Does this color look good on me?"

"Do you think this matches?"

"Do you think this will look too much like everyone else? I want to be an individual"

"Mom, I only have $30 and this is $35. Will you lend me $5.00 and I promise to babysit Rojo when we get home?"

"Mom, you'll buy all my essentials and I will buy the extras, right? Accessories are essential, Mom!"

"This IS a jacket, Mom! You'll buy this because it's really a jacket, right? I know it has short, capped sleeves, but it has a HOOD, so it's like a jacket!"

"Mom, when you're done getting your coffee can we keep shopping?"

"I don't really see anything I like at this mall. Can we go to a different mall?

"Mom, what are we doing tomorrow? Can we go shopping?"

We finally leave the mall, 4 hours later with three things.

MY "Y":

"Rojo, school starts in 12 days and you have NO clothes that fit you. We need to go school shopping."

"Mom! Who cares?"

"Mom! It doesn't matter!"

"Mom, can't you just go without me?"

When finally at the ONE store I can talk him into, Target, because they have candy, not just clothes:

"Rojo? Do you like these?"


"Do you want blue or black?"

"Mom, who cares? Can we go look at candy now?"

"Come here and let me see if they're long enough for you."

"Mom! They're FINE! Can we go look at candy now?"

"Let me see if your shoes are too small, come here, let's measure your foot."

"Mom! My shoes are FINE! Can we go look at candy now?"

"Rojo, your shoes are NOT fine, they are size 2 and your foot measures 4 1/2! Oh my God! Are your toes curled up in those shoes? You poor thing!"

"Mom! My toes are FINE! Can we go look at candy now?"

We're in and out of Target in 10 minutes and have completely re-outfitted him.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Prayer flags are down. Outdoor furniture is safely tucked into the garage until spring. The bird feeders are filled to overflowing, extra water spills from the bird bath.

I am packing up. I am going "home" today. Back to the perfect house. Back to my perfect family. Handsome husband, beautiful daughter and son. Back where I "belong." Back where everyone expects me to be, wants me to be, needs me to be.

Didn't sleep a wink last night. Scratch that, must have slept a few winks, because I dreamed. Deep, dark, disturbing dreams. Dreams of being pursued, chased, hurt. Each dream requiring huge efforts on my part to escape pain, abduction, and in one case, being physically burned and scarred for life.

Eyes blurry, stomach busy producing extra bile, head so full of confusion a sense of vertigo overtakes me.

This can't be auspicious.

I close my weary eyes. Breath understanding and recognition into the parts of my body that are troubled. "There is room for this, too." "Don't judge, just be," I tell myself.

I flip through my most recent Dalai Lama quote-a-day keepers to find strength for the drive home. H.H., he never disappoints:

"To generate true love, you need to know how it differs from attachment."

"A heart full of love and compassion is the main source of inner strength, willpower, happiness, and mental tranquility."

"Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them."

That should be enough to keep me going today, anyway. One day at a time, isn't that the saying?

Saturday, August 18, 2007


I loved school. Loved everything about school. Loved the clothes my teachers wore, their bright jumpers, turtlenecks with cute things imprinted on them. I loved their earrings, their necklaces, their coffee mugs, everything about them that said, "I'm a teacher." I can spot a teacher a mile away. My "teacher-dar" is as strong as my "gay-dar." Some teachers are a little better at throwing you off their track, they dress more fashionably, they might have the latest "it" handbag, but c'mon, they're not fooling me. Teachers, the ones that were BORN to be teachers, anyway, stick out like nurturing green thumbs.

Besides the way they typically dress, there is a warmth in their eyes, a deep patience, a knowing of the soul within each child, and a knowing of the child within each soul.

If you have someone in your life that is/was/will always be a great teacher, count yourself lucky. These people, men and women alike, that choose the teaching profession because they love children, make the world go round. A child well loved becomes an adult that is capable of great love. An adult capable of great love can do great things. Period.

At home I was anxious and worried. One shoe was off and the other was always about to fall. At school I felt warm, protected, nurtured, free to fly. Nowhere was I allowed to fly more than after lunch recess. I was lucky enough to have teachers from kindergarten through sixth grade that would sit in a chair or on a stool, after we all got back in from lunch recess. The teacher would read from a book that either she (I never had a male elementary teacher) picked, or the class voted on. While reading, we were allowed to color. I don't remember a scarcity of crayons, markers or paper. Abundance. An abundance of all the elements necessary to unlock the mind and allow deeper consciousness to be set loose.

It was at those times that I forgot all about who I was, and was completely transported by the book and the places in my imagination that were open to me.

What happened to coloring?

What happened to letting the mind wander off the page while the crayon moved in concentric circles just for the hell of it?

What happened to the little house of my youthful drawings? The one with two symmetrically placed windows to either side of the cute front door? The windows with four panes each and attractive curtains tied back with ribbon? The chimney on the right side, a swirl of grey smoke twirling upwards. The happy, smiling sunshine on the left side? A minimum of four cheerful sunrays coming straight out of the ball of sun? Two perfect clouds outlined in blue, one near the chimney, one near the sun? The tree or two beside the house? The little path leading to the front door? The green grass? The flowers growing randomly in the grass with their yellow centers and brightly colored petals? Daisies. Only daisies.

Where did that image, that illusion, that place of imagination go?

I wanted so desperately to live in that house. The house that was perfect on the outside had to be perfect on the inside, right? Only happy people could possibly live in a house that perfect.

Hmmm… yes. I chased the dream of that perfect house until I got it. I see that now. I live in that house. Perfect, symmetrical, a chimney, the trees, the green grass, the cute windows with four panes each. That is one perfect house, alright.

What happened to coloring?

What do I long to draw now?

Friday, August 17, 2007


I'm proud of myself. Damn proud, in fact. I have had it on my list of things to do, to get my car the FREE service for which it qualifies, that includes a lube/oil and maintenance check. Well, we all know that nothing's "free." I would have to give up my car for a chunk of a day, and while there are days on end I never use it, somehow, the thought of not having it there if I needed it set me up for a full-scale panic attack.

So, after four full months of some quality procrastination and rationalization, I made the call, scheduled the appointment, and at this very minute, People, my car is being worked on! This will sound silly. This will make no sense. This will resonate deeply, perhaps. I have HUGE "Phone Phobia." I HHHHAAAAAATTTTTEEEE talking on the phone! Once I get going it's not so bad, but the making of the phone call sets my teeth on edge. Thank the good Lord for the Internet which lets me do SO many things without having to dial a number, it's been life-saver. And, wouldn't you know it, when I finally got to the Honda dealership today, what was the first BANNER I read? "Now schedule your service appointments on-line!" Shit! Why hadn't I done that? I'd looked up the dealership on-line. I'd looked up directions TO the dealership on-line. For the love of God, why hadn't I even TRIED to schedule the appointment on-line? Next time, for SURE!

After reading the banner, I stood waiting in line to see which salesperson would help me check in. Would it be "Mike", the thin man with even thinner hair and a whiskey voice? Would it be "Wally" the one that looked horribly mis-cast in this drama? He looked like he should be a college professor, not a service coordinator. Would it be "Brandy?" with the waist-length black hair holding what looked suspiciously like a SPIRAL perm? Do they still MAKE spiral perms, and more importantly, WHY? Or, option number four, "Rod" who, like his buddy on his right, Brandy, had unfortunate hair. You know the kind, the "I'm pretending I'm a surfer, but really I'm a 50-ish man with a paunch. I think if I keep your eyes on the length, salt and pepper color and the fact that I pull back the sides and front of my hair into a ponytail, but let the rest fall mid-way down my back, you'll never suspect a thing!"

Well, Brandy it was. She was my gal. She checked me in, pointed out I'd parked my car nowhere NEAR the service entrance, and would need to move it. I handed her my keys, a stern look and a word of caution, "Brandy, Brandy, Brandy. I have NO sense of direction. I couldn't even find my car right now with a GPS! I arrived in the lot 15 minutes ago, it's taken me this long to find YOU. Would you please by a lamb and have someone bring it to wherever it needs to go? I believe it's parked somewhere in the vacinity of the Sales Department. I caught a glimpse of new cars with balloons tied to their side mirrors as I ambled over here. Don't quote me on that, though, Brandy, I'm not fully caffeinated!"

Let's just say Brandy did not find me, my humor, nor my problem in any way attention worthy. I think she could read my "I hate your hair" vibe.

After three times of asking me if I needed a ride home, and apparently not hearing "No, I'm waiting here," three times, I finally said, "Brandy. Since I'm WAITING HERE, is there a place I could, you know, WAIT?"

"Oh, I guess you need to know where to wait?" she said without actually looking at me.

"Yes, please," I managed to utter, through clenched teeth and a pasted on smile.

Brandy pointed towards the waiting room and gave me some poor directions. Ten minutes of wandering the cavernous bullshit known as ______________ Honda, I found it. .10 seconds later I was out the door. I'm sorry, what is it about me that makes you think I'm going to spend 1/2 a day in a 3'x5' room with two men, a BLARING TV and, adding insult to injury, BUNN coffee? I did the pivot and high tailed out of that place so fast it would have made your head spin.

Well equiped with a cell phone, purse, portable CD player, earphones and of course, my best friend in the world, "Mac," I started walking the streets. I may have NO sense of direction, on top of the anger management and phone phobia issues, but when it comes to finding good coffee, I do not need more than my well-trained nose.

Suffice to say I am sitting in a nearby Starbucks right this minute, good coffee, free Wi-Fi, Dar Williams drowning out all the other annoying humans in my midst. A little slice of heaven here.


Sorry, I'm back, I just got interrupted by two non-annoying humans. The opposite of annoying, actaully, DARLING. A retired couple just back from a hike up Pilot Butte, caffing up before going wherever they are going next, together. How I LOVE seeing happily married couples! They, like so many do, had grown to look like each other. They could have been twins, except he was clearly masculine and she was very feminine, so it's fraternal twins, I guess. Little hiking boots, tanned, athletic, well-cared for bodies. Learned they are photographers, travelers, parents. Learned all this in our 3 minute conversation. You can learn so much about people before they even open their mouths, and by the time they do, it either confirms or denies your previous "hit." They nicely confirmed my hit that they were two humans well-suited to be together for life.

So, I'm here now. Fully caffeinated. Fully Wi-Fied, and fully chuckling. For years I've had a running joke with a friend that we needed coffee fed to us through an IV, giving new meaning to "Drip Coffee." Well, guess we're not the only ones that thought of that. Have a look...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

This beautiful artwork is by artist, Chalita Brossett Robinson.
The subject matter of this exhibition is revealed in the title, "Walls and Windows and Wings." Ms. Robinson comments that "this work focuses on the theme of 'passage,' the struggle to learn, change, and grow through life."
She was initially motivated by Gall Sheehy's book, Passages; Clarissa Pinkola Estes' book, Women Who Run With the Wolves; the writings of Maya Angelou; and more recently, by her own personal experiences.


Clarissa Pinkola Estes on relationships:

“In rhythm and relationship there is a critical idea. You cannot have a mate, who attempts consciously or unconsciously to destroy your own personal rhythm. It’s not POSSIBLE with any group of creatures of animals. For one animal or another to cause the other animal to breed, to birth, out of their season, it’s just not possible. There is an order that is intrinsic, that is instinctual, and women have that order, perhaps more blatantly than men do in their menstrual cycles, in their creative cycles, in their emotional cycles. Women flow from warm, to hot, to cold, to cool. Most men do not understand these as cycles, it’s very confusing to them, they don’t understand that it’s repetitive and it happens over and over again. When a woman is allowed to be how she is, she will have a minimum of irritation, crabbiness, and he will be much happier, too. So, in the arena of relationship, if one is really going to live the archetype of the natural woman, one has to have, if one chooses a mate, one has to have a mate who has some skeletal understanding of that.”

“Relationships are a craft, not a science.”

“A relationship has to be rhythmic, it has to have lots and lots of space for being apart and being together and being sort of together and being in the same room but doing different things, it has to have lots and lots of room and lots of space, and the connection to one another comes through the soul, there’s a sameness of soul, no matter what goes on in the outer life.”

“In Jungian psychology we think that for a woman, her real mate, her true mate, is within, not without.”

“Fairy tales really need to be understood in terms of the inner masculine aspect of the female, otherwise they make no sense whatsoever. Somehow the emphasis on your relationship with other, with someone outside yourself, another human being, has to not take predominance over your relationship with yourself. Otherwise you’ll lose yourself, this will mean that the natural woman in you will be subjugated and go right back to being a captured woman, a wild woman who is now domesticated… she is a dead woman.”

“A relationship is a wonderful, wonderful thing, but NOT if it destroys, it is meant to create. The ancient idea of relationship is that two make more than one. There are two people, they become more than one and more than two, they become more than the sum of their parts and that’s what is supposed to happen.”

“Energy is generated by the relationship, rather than death.”

“One of the most destructive kinds of relationships a woman can have in one in which she is living with or married to a mate that trashes all of her ideas.”

“When a woman feels heartbroken after a conversation with her mate, it’s because she put forth a thrust of energy and it was met with nothing.”

“To be married, to have real relationship with somebody, means that they meet you in return. You put forth energy, they put forth compatible or commensurate energy.”

“Something bigger, better or different is created by the relationship that couldn’t be created separately.”

“If you choose a mate who is energetically similar to you, you’d be amazed at the things you can create.”

“Don’t be with ANYBODY who kills off your ideas either by apathy or they don’t understand them, or they refuse to understand them, or they think they’re dull, boring ideas, or they tell you they are impractical. Don’t BE with a person like that. LOVE them, if you must, but don’t BE with them. Don’t make them the centerpiece of your life.”

“Being in an abusive situation leaves you either full of rage and wanting to do harm to the person, or a cowering, domesticated, caged animal.”

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


My latest guru, and she's a W-O-M-A-N! God, how I've been looking for women gurus! Not only that, she is a specialist in post-traumatic stress!

I'm only on my first one of what I know will be ALL of her books. Women Who Run with the Wolves was first made into an audio that became an underground bestseller before finding a print publisher. Women are STARVED for stories of other women, real women, women that "get it." This book is a delicious feast to the starving masses. She says, so beautifully, so articulately, so poetically and inarguably, what I've been trying to say. Women are wild! We are tired of being caged! We are tired of the ties that bind! We are MORE than, in societies that have forever made us feel LESS than! We are intuitive, instinctual, brilliant beings of light! We cannot be content placed under a bushel! We must SHINE! Lots of women know this, have known this, and will know this, but not enough!

Clarissa would dig on Dave Ellis, founder of "Falling Awake." She begs women to answer the question, "What do you want?" Not what beckons you, but what do you WANT? She explains the difference between choosing what beckons you from a buffet table, and what you want that's not even ON the table. Not even in the building. Quite possibly not even in the same zip code, state, country or planet! What do you WANT??????

These are some of my favorite CPE quotes I've come across so far:

"How does one know if she has forgiven? You tend to feel sorrow over the circumstance instead of rage, you tend to feel sorry for the person rather than angry with him. You tend to have nothing left to say about it all."

"I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom."

"If you've lost focus, just sit down and be still. Take the idea and rock it to and fro. Keep some of it and throw some away, and it will renew itself. You need do no more."

"This kind of forgetting does not erase memory, it lays the emotion surrounding the memory to rest."

You know how they say, when the student is ready, the master appears? So true. So, so, true. Thank you, Master Estes. Thank you!

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Join us for a weekend you won't soon forget. We'll be in Sisters, Oregon October 5-7. Wherever you are on your writing journey, we'll meet you there and show you the next steps. You do not need to seek publication to be a "writer." If you are looking for a way to process, understand and transcend the "biggies" in your life, this is the class for you. Please contact me at: for more information.

Friday, August 10, 2007

When I first came to Sisters I was eager to leave all "to do" lists back in Portland and assume a completely blank page each morning. Well, nature abhors a vacuum and chronic doers abhor the blank page. Fast as you can say obsessive-compulsive I had planted new plants that needed daily watering. I bought a bird feeder and hummingbird feeder that required daily filling. I got a bird bath that needed hosing down and re-filling each morning. There will be no bird-do in MY bird bath, thank you very much.

And so it went. I filled the house with flowers that needed their water refreshed, their ends trimmed and then a system for yard debris to be created.

Each cupboard beckoned me to re-organize it. Trips were made to the thrift store to leave the past behind. Trips to Target were made to bring the present into the freshly cleaned cupboards. Tired towels were replaced with fresh and bright. Toys no longer age appropriate for my kids were replaced with blessed space on the floor and clutter free shelves.

The refrigerator was attacked both inside and out, on the top, too. All the faded, dated and now hated notices on the front were removed. All the junk on top was taken down and new homes were found for what was essential, the rest was thrown into the garage for the next thrift store trip. The long-expired mayonnaise, relish, ketchup and mustard were tossed but not replaced. I no longer need to buy all that stuff if it's just me here. This refrigerator needed only to meet my needs, and nobody else's. Now there are bottles of Pellegrino and 1/2 and 1/2 in my refrigerator, little else.

With the house writing-ready I was all set, no distractions. My list for the day now included things like:

1) Write scene where I knew I had two kids with special needs.
2) Write scene where I became hysterical and had to be sedated at age 11.
3) Write scene where uncle committed suicide.

Oops! What's that I see outisde? A noxioius weed? Better pop off this chair and go get it, roots and all! Wow! Are those dead flies lying in the base of that light fixture? Those must be disposed of IMMEDIATELY! How I longed for a daily To-Do list that would preclude me from doing what I was here to do! I had met, face-to-face with what I'd longed for, day after day with nothing to do but write. Goddammit, why wasn't I having fun? Why wasn't I lost in the world of my words and story? Why wasn't I cranking out 20 pages a day?

Because. Because going "there" is hard. Brutally, brutally hard. The stuff that is pulled from deep within the locks and gates of the psyche are no fun to splat across the page. The stories of how you got the way you are, are horrifically revealing and in many cases, somewhere along the slightly embarrassing to devestatingly humiliating continuum.

Maybe I should go read other people's blogs! Maybe I should stop writing and go read a book about writing! Maybe I should call a friend and talk about writing! Anything, I was willing, and desperate, to do anything but actually write.

Somehow, despite being my own worst enemy, I have the scaffolding done for my book. I have the frame. I even have some of the rooms of the "house" taking nice shape and being almost "move-in ready." Somehow, despite the lack of distractions and lack of impositions of others, my need to do this has overcome the need to not do it. Somehow. Maybe that's what I'll spend today doing, trying to figure that out. Or I could write. Damn.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


The house here in Sisters is in a development, which is governed by an association. And, like many associations, there are CCRs. I didn't even know what CCR stood for, I just knew they were the rules that made my hanging prayer flags a HUGE problem! No good can come of prayer flags, everyone knows THAT! They are right up there with noxious weeds and blue tarp, likely to spread and a complete eye sore!

Well, I am going to comply. Far be it from me to be a problem citizen, but before they come down moments before my return to Portland, I've gone ahead and gone bigger with them. At first I just had two small sets in the front yard. Now I've surrounded the eaves of the house. There is a set in the backyard, too, just cause. The deer seem to like them, as do the quail, blue jays and chipmunks. They walk under, fly above and scurry across the top of them. They make the animals and me happy, but we don't want happy, we want compliance!

While I went ahead with my prayerful rebellion, I got a laugh. There are little hooks all over the house for Christmas lights. The prayer flags snuggle under those hooks perfectly, like they were made to go there. Apparently Christmas lights don't cause quite the outrage something as evil as prayer does.

FOUR GATES says this about Tibtetan prayer flags:

The Tibetan word for prayer flag is "Lung ta", meaning, "Wind Horse". When wind blows (expressing the quality and nature of mind) the sacred prayer flag flaps in the breeze.

The prayers contained on the flag are carried out to all beings as a blessing. Seeing the flag also has a practical benefit of reminding people to be mindful of the Dharma as they go about their business. When I see a prayer flag either motionless or flying in the breeze, I am reminded of the call to pray for the welfare of all beings, to work to bring about virtue, goodness, healing and happiness in the world around me.

The traditional five colors represent the five Buddha families and five elements. Blue-space, White-water, Red-fire, Green-air & wind, Yellow-earth."

Blue? White? Red? Green? Yellow? Hmmm... aren't those remarkably similar to the colors of Christmas lights? Coincidence? According to RIDING THE BEAST, the colors in the Bible symbolize the following:

YELLOW (Amber): God's glory and the brightness of His presence.

BLUE: In general blue should be viewed as a heavenly color.

GREEN: Green is primarily associated with plant life. As a result we can view it as a symbol of natural growth and life.

RED: There is a diverse use of the color red throughout the Scriptures. Its primary associations are blood and war.

WHITE: White is a color of purity and righteousness. It is also used to describe things in nature. Sometimes it is used when describing the body, primarily when healthy and beautiful but also when sick.

I like to think Buddha and Christ had more in common than 5 colors. I like to think we, the neighbors in this development, have more in common than neutrally painted homes and a fire-defensible area that meets code. I like to think that we, the humans on this planet, can all use a bit of color to lighten our days here on Earth. That's just me, I guess.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Are you guys sick of Dar Williams yet? You're not? Good!! Me neither! No more lyrics, though, I'm just going to write about one line of one song. Dar, and I like to call her "Dar," sings, "The beauty of the rain is how it falls," from the song, "The Beauty of the Rain."

I've got my cheapie Target disk player running this song on "repeat," my ears cushioned by the soft pads on the earphones. The water fountain outside the window playing soothing background music. It's raining on my porch, it's raining in my ears. It's raining from my eyes. Soft, cleansing rain meets all my senses and I let it. I do not put up a fuss. I do not stop the flow. I watch the rain fall, and marvel at its great, great beauty and restorative qualities.

I've realized as I've been listening to those words, that that is exactly what I've been trying to do all these weeks alone in Sisters. I'm trying to fall with beauty. I've been tipsy for a long time, but not wanting to cause any undo mess and confusion for anyone else, I've held off on the full falling apart until I could do so with as little global impact as possible. You can take the raging alcoholic parent out of the daughter's life, but you can't take the daughter out of the shadows/deep conditioning. Isn't that how the old saying goes? I learned a long time ago where (far, far away) and when (never) it was appropriate to let yourself come undone.

I fell once as a child. That didn't work out so well. Fell apart again on the brink of adulthood, another disaster. Fell a third time as an adult, wife, mother. That last fall found me in an ER with a stretcher on my back, and a prescription for anti-anxiety meds in my purse.

I've been critcal of other women and the way they "fall." Don't care much for the extra-marital affair option. Don't care much for the plastic surgery. Don't care for those routes, but totally, totally understand them now. There comes a point when the old life doesn't fit anymore and you're not going to wear it! Remember that old bra commercial? Kinda like that, but a whole lot messier, usually. I, personally, have never liked things to be messy. Call me a neat freak, but I prefer to do my mess making in private. I'm like an animal when they know they are going to die. They crawl off alone somewhere and take care of that natural process on their own terms.

In hindsight, if I'm brutally honest with myself, though, I've known this fall was coming for a long time, and I've been gentling the ground ever since. I see that now, with the rain all around me, what I couldn't see in the confusion of the clear, blue sky of my beautiful life.


My mom moved out of this home here in Sisters five years ago, after living in it, alone, for 13 years. Over the last five years I've slowly, but surely, made the house more "mine" and less "hers." Only last week I took the last of her food from the cupboards, last dishes, last paintings off the wall and last coat from the closet. The plan was she would come back often and see her friends here, so when she moved to Portland, she only sort of moved. The Sisters house remained fully functioning.

While the house maintanied its full functioning abiltiy, I slowly lost mine. There was a deep unrest in me. I had everything a girl could want. I had a beautiful loving husband, beautiful loving children, a beautiful home, beautiful friends, loving extended family. If I couldn't be happy with this, what the hell was wrong with me? Life doesn't get any better than this, right?

While it's so cliche I hesitate to say it, it remains true, what I didn't have was a sense of "self." Who was I? I was "wife," "mother," "daughter," etc., but I didn't know who I was without those labels. If you'd asked me, "Who is Carrie and what does she want?" my answers would have all been in relation to my relations. If you took those labels off of me I was naked and speechless.

As I sit with this rain in my ears and eyes, I realize the biggest part of this re-claiming process is behind me, I can see the end. I can see myself going back "home." Home to Portland. Home to the beauty of my life there. Home to the beauty of myself.

A friend sent me this quote from Sue Monk Kidd's book, When the Heart Waits, "I stood at the window watching the cocoon, which hung in the winter air like an upside–down question mark. That was the moment... I understood. Really understood. Crisis, change, all the myriad upheavals that blister the spirit and leave us groping– they aren't voices simply of pain but also of creativity. And if we would only listen, we might hear such times beckoning us to a season of waiting, to the place of fertile emptiness."

Fertile emptiness. Yes. That is is exactly. I am so blessed for the time and place to feel this fertile emptiness. For only when you've felt the emptiness, can the re-filling process begin. This re-filling process will be slow and steady, though, not my usual way at all. What goes back in will hold little resemblance to what was taken out. All that was "true," never left and is in no danger now. What was "false," though? That went out and will stay out. At least that is my intention.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

2:00 AM is Total B.S!

This is at least the 4th time this week I've awakened, pried open my bleary eyes and looked to the digital clock to tell me it is 2:02 AM. It is at least the 4th time this week I am sitting at this damn computer and eating a bowl of Flax & Seed Trader Joe's cereal with 1%. This is at least the 4th time this week I am too lazy to put on sweatshirt, too cold to be comfortable.

I'm trying to look at the bright side, at least I did sleep a few hours before this... A few is better than none, right? More is always better, right? Why do we, as an American culture, subscribe to this thinking? Why do we use words like "subscribe?" Now I'm thinking of magazines! What is with magazines? Once you subscribe you immediately start getting the "Your subscription is about to run out," notices in the mail. What is up with that!? I don't like the scarcity tactic being used for marketing! I will not re-up my perfectly good magazine subscription just because you are threatening me! This is the very kind of thinking that wakes me in the first place, and keeps me from falling back asleep. It's a little thing I like to call "OCD."

Part of what has me in my OCD blender mind tonight, or is that this morning, is the fact that I put my foot in my mouth not once, not twice, not thrice, but four different times yesterday, with four different people, all virtual. It would have been the day to keep my fingers far from the keys, locked up and forbidden from doing any damage, but no. I just HAD to keep e-mailing like a lunatic until I'd managed to obsessively and compulsively respond to all in-coming with such speed, I lost all track of what I was even doing. I'd like to say that will never happen again, I've learned my lesson, slow down, breath, take my time and do things right the first time. I'd REALLY like to say that, but, well, uh, you know, just not gonna happen!

I have a new slogan, it's "The Rule of Three." I've tried to apply it to myself before, but apparently I need to be reminded of my own damn rule. Before I respond to something, I need to apply at least three minutes, hours or days before acting. That's fair, isn't it? Everything deserves at least three minutes of reflection, doesn't it? In some cases, 3 hours would be even better, some need 3 days. Some probably 3 weeks, months, years or even lifetimes, but who are we kidding? I can hardly put 3 minutes of space between me and a full reaction!

I'm going to shut this thing down, march myself back to bed and apply the Rule of Three to sleep. I will breathe deeply at least three times. I will not pop up from that bed for at least 3 more hours. I will not not buy any more of that cereal. I'm sure that's the problem.

Friday, August 03, 2007


Dar Williams says what I'm feeling better than I can...

"Go ahead, push you luck, find out how much love the world can hold,
Once upon a time I had control, and reigned my soul in tight.
Well the whole truth, it's like the story of a wave unfurled,
But I held the evil of the world, so I stopped the tide, froze it up from inside,
And it felt like a winter machine, that you go through and then,
You catch your breath and winter starts again, and everyone else is spring bound.

And when I chose to live, there was no joy, it's just a line I crossed,
It wasn't worth the pain my death would cost, so I was not lost or found.
And if I was to sleep, I knew my family had more truth to tell.
And so I traveled down a whispering well, to know myself through them.
Growing up, my mom had a room full of books, and hid away in there,
Her father raging down a spiral stair, till he found someone, most days his son,
And sometimes I think my father, too, was a refugee,
I know they tried to keep their pain from me, they could not see what it was for.
But now Im sleeping fine, sometimes the truth is like a second chance.
I am the daughter of a great romance, and they are the children of the war.

Well the sun rose with so many colors, it nearly broke my heart,
It worked me over like a work of art, and I was a part of all that.
So go ahead, push your luck, say what it is you gotta say to me,
We will push on into that mystery, and it'll push right back, and there are worse things than that,
Cause for every price, and every penance that I could think of,
It's better to have fallen in love, than never to have fallen at all,
Cause when you live in a world, well it gets into who you thought you'd be,
And now I laugh at how the world changed me, I think life chose me after all."

Thursday, August 02, 2007


There's an awful lot of blood around that water is thicker than. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. ~Jane Howard

Friends are God's apology for relations. ~Hugh Kingsmill

Let me start by saying I'm not intending to bash my blood relatives. Love them. Every last one of them. Period. This is intended to be a tribute to the "family" I've created through the years...

I'm going through a "thing," suffice to say. I e-mailed my trusted "family" with this "thing." One dear, dear friend wrote back, "We can withstand any storm as we share unconditional love. We are sisters of the soul. Family to each other."

How I long to hear those words from my other family, the "real" one.

Ironic thing is, I already "knew" that, but she wrote that anyway. The ones I long to hear that from? I don't "know" that, and I don't have it in writing, either. Makes a complicated story much easier to see when you look at it that way.

Sorry to be so cryptic - it's a family thing...

Dar Williams

Can you fix this? It's a broken heart.
It was fine, but it just fell apart.
It was mine, but now I give it to you,
Cause you can fix it, you know what to do.

Let your love cover me,
Like a pair of angel wings,
You are my family,
You are my family.

We stood outside in the summer rain,
Different people with a common pain.
A simple box in that hard red clay,
Where we left him to always remain.

Let your love cover me,
Like a pair of angel wings,
You are my family,
You are my family.

The child who played with the moon and stars,
Waves a snatch of hay in a common barn,
In the lonely house of Adams' fall
Lies a child, its just a child that's all, crying

Let your love cover me,
Like a pair of angel wings,
You are my family,
You are my family.