self love turkey baster

i love the girl i used to be

the one i am

who i am becoming

let me slather myself with love

like a soon-to-be-basted

thanksgiving turkey

with so much thanks

in my heart

for this life

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the way i treasure my body: a tribute

For our final assignment, tell the tale of your most-prized possession. If you’re up for a twist, go long — experiment with longform and push yourself to write more than usual.

Lately, I’ve been indulging in these daily prompts. As I reflected on this one, I immediately thought, “My most prized possession? I don’t think I have one!” Then, after a moment’s thinking outside of the box, I knew what my most prized possession is: my body.


my body

tending a garden using my body

tending a garden using my body

when i was a young girl i used my body to climb trees. i was like a little monkey then, scrambling and scuffling amid branches, up and down trunks. sometimes i’d stay in trees for hours pretending i was a mother monkey. one christmas i got a set of “babies” that fit in a snug fanny-pack carrying case. i was SO excited to receive those triplets because what i most wanted to do with them was scuttle up that tree & pretend we were all sitting up there. and then i was so content just to sit up there pretending with my children. thinking back on it now, that was the peak of my satisfaction then, climbing a tree as a mother monkey, babies in tow.

some things have changed since those days. though these things remain: i still love to climb trees, i still have no children of my own, and i still love to use my body in all manner of ways. when i think of my most prized possession, in fact, it is my body which comes to the fore. recently my partner and i moved to the appalachians where we have been experimenting living on an old homestead. we’ve planted potatoes (sweet & not), herbs for tea & medicine & kitchen, carrots, tomatoes, arugula & flowers. we’ve worked on the old shack we’ve been staying in- putting boards, rat wire & steel wool up to keep mice out. we’ve looked into running a pipe from the stream to our shack, which is off the grid, to have easier access at doing dishes, getting water for cooking, drinking & bathing. we’ve met the neighbors & put down some roots. we’ve traveled to the nearby mountain during a festival and sold some hats we got in Peru. all in all, we’ve been settling in and wondering if this could be a place that we eventually build a house & put further homesteading dreams on the ground.

last night, however, many of our dreams finally came crumbling to the ground – maybe they were even aflame and burning down! you see, my partner’s parent’s best friends recently lost one of their tribe to the hantavirus, a virus carried by deer mice (also known as field mice). this has made us cautious from the start about the horrible end-game possibilities of living with mice. and there are deer mice all over our shack; pooping in corners, on our food bins & counters and scurrying about as the dawn breaks or shortly after we retire for bed. it’s all too much! we’ve been putting so much effort into living in this place (and mouse-proofing it!) and really hoped it could be a place we could settle our dreams in, but health is more important.

our current shack sure is cute & we love it, but the problems with the mice have proved to be too much.

our current shack sure is cute & we love it, but the problems with the mice have proved to be too much.

in the end, my body is more important. because this is the vehicle that gets me through life. my breathing is my primary contact with this earth. respiration in and out of my lungs, taking in the earth, letting it feed me down to my cells, and exhaling back into the greater whole. where would i be without my body? i cannot allow molds, funguses, air-borne viruses or any other silent, lurking, invisible slow “killers” to find a home in my primary home, my body!

it feels sad to choose to leave this place. i am grieving today as i tie up loose threads around the property & carry things to again be wisely placed into our car. and while i am feeling this sadness & grief in my body, i am also breathing in my body, and feeling thankful for this opportunity, for the chance to experiment in this way on this beautiful appalachian homestead with its cool sweet mountain fresh spring water, drinkable straight from the source; for its wild delightful mountain air; for its trees & people. for it really is a lovely place. but, in the final count, i need my body, my sacred temple which allows me to interface so freely & jubilantly with the world outside of myself.

for you see, i would be a much different person if i didn’t have my body. being active has always been a part of my life. from taking 6 weeks to ride my bike up the west coast from LA to BC, Canada (you can read more about that awesome journey here: ourdailyride.wordpress.com); playing D1 college soccer; taking innumerable bike rides all over Indiana, Maine, Missouri, California, & Oregon; being a massage therapist for a time; being an outdoor guide & climbing mountains, rock climbing, hiking for days; trekking with my beloved recently in Peru… i use my body for so many things in my life. and i have been with it through sicknesses and challenges and anemia & weak adrenals. when this happens, i feed it what it needs; take proper medications, and i always eat so well.

i have gone through high school in my body, when it looked different than it does now. i have learned to cut the hair of my own body (and shaved my head twice!). i’ve made love with my body, and pushed myself to run faster with my body; two activities which leave me feeling relieved, but in drastically different ways. i have taken pictures of my nude body and posed my body for group shots, for fancy events, family photos, outings with friends & art projects. i’ve felt water in oceans, bathtubs, showers, rivers, cenotes, streams, ponds & puddles caress and careen my body. i’ve grown food via my body & eaten tons of it! i’ve put clothes on my body, gone without clothes & i’ve rubbed mud all over my body,

see! happily rubbing mud all over my awesome body

see! happily rubbing mud all over my awesome body

 

i’ve done so many things with/via my body! my body is my primary focal point as i live. through body-based therapies i’ve learned to listen to my body to find out where emotions are speaking from, and through doing this, i’ve gotten more in touch with my body & emotions. i’ve learned how to use my body to help free my mind. and i love using my body to pleasure myself and others of my choosing. this vehicle through which i travel this globe is my most important possession. i choose to possess and carry it with as much wisdom as i have in any given moment. and if i see that i’ve been making choices that are unwise for my body, i will change those things so that i can live in greater alignment with health and well-being. because my body is an awesome gift & i want to use it the best way i possibly can for many more years to come!!!

lost & found of the soul: finding true center

thanks to this daily post for the prompt!

 

lost & found

sometimes when things are lost, it allows us to more easily find something else. sometimes when i lose my fear and aversion to discomfort, i find my true strength. sometimes i lose my knack for “people-pleasing” and i am more able to find my true voice and move from my true center, unafraid of how others perceive me or my life. sometimes when i lose something, i am not lost at all, but rather am more found, by myself. sometimes when i lose friends or we drift away, it is not because i have done something, but because i am moving closer to my self, my real purpose and the relationship no longer fits into my life. sometimes in my commitment to truth, i must withstand loss. sometimes it can hurt to lose things, but what i find when they are gone is greater than the loss.

sometimes i must lose in order to find.

this teaches that loss, too, can be a gift.

a fresh wind moves in: letting go of the angst

Today as i walked the loop by my parent’s house it was palpably a different experience for me. We moved into this house from a fish-bowl neighborhood, where everyone is competing with each other & can literally see into each other’s homes to know what they’re competing on. One of my friends growing up – her dad was a basketball star on our state’s NBA team & i used to play in the lake, others were my wild soccer team members (lots of stories to share about that!), and others were children with lame mothers who didn’t enjoy it when i would invite their daughters to play in the ice with me- so what if our feet got caught as we tromped around the icy stream beds? we were on an adventure! but i digress..

We moved here and it was spacious & surrounded by farm fields and the occasional farm house (which pretty soon got torn down as little box neighborhoods, as i call them, were popping up in their place). Good bye corn & soybeans, Hello plastic siding & same-looking boxes with same landscaping for people to live in! Everyone gets their little mortgaged square of bland, colorless earth around here. At the time, i was a very active young one – playing sports in every season, hanging out with friends, making out with my boyfriends in the basement. It was a time i look back on as being so outwardly-focused. But sometimes in my room, especially at night, i would feel this hungering ache. I would write poetry to my boyfriends or write in my journal to God. I read Edna St Vincent Millay. I wondered what it would be like to live an artist’s life and i hungered. It was a hungering ache i didn’t understand & it made me feel very very alone & misunderstood. While on the outside, perhaps everyone would’ve said, well, that girl had such a great, well-liked high school situation – and, in so many ways they were right – but there was so much uncharted territory, so much of myself, left unaddressed and, well, neglected. The plastic siding & homogeneity only made it worse.

They tore down the farmhouse i could see from my bedroom window – and the one across the street too, where my sister & i would dare one another to sneak into the old, falling-apart, creaky barn & where i got the then-wild asparagus & transplanted it into the garden. The neighborhood seemed to magnify this ache that i had. The homogeneity was excruciatingly painful. I saw it as a place with no character. Without soul. Filled with slaves disguised as people who take out mortgages & listen to everything the local news says. A place where people live in fear & do not think for themselves.

My inner life was relatively untapped while in high school. My inner learnings were to unleash themselves/i was to open up a few years later as i faced certain struggles like death, injury, desire & ways of life different than the ones i’d known growing up. Since this homogenous neighborhood experience & many seekings of character, art, ingenuity, individuality & ram-shackledness later, i am pleasantly surprised today as i go on an evening walk and feel peace as i look around at the surroundings, the plastic siding, the boxes, the manicured lawns.

Suddenly, my judgment or perspective of the place was not holding me back from enjoying my little moment in nature, my walk on the concrete loop in the subdivision’s flood plane turned into nature trail (i’m sure you’ve seen one of these places – a little forest, prairie, wetland nook in an area unbuildable for homes within a subdivision). The prevalence of non-native, “invasive” species didn’t bother me. The cotton woods were beautiful, as were the red-breasted black birds and the shrubby legumes were so prevalent & taking back that landscape, fixing nitrogen into it, so well! The sky had just rained & big grey billowing clouds were still turning above me. I felt like a witch as i harmonized with my surroundings, taking step by step, recollecting & embodying the walking meditation i had taken part in the week before at the prison meditation. Perhaps it was seeing some of the horrible natural devastation in Peru just a few months prior that gave me this perspective. The clear-cutting of the amazingly diverse amazonian rainforests into vast deserted land. The pollution near rivers & in cities. Perhaps it was this perspective which more easily allowed me to “let-go” of my previous hold on hating & judging & disdaining this young adult habitat of mine. Perhaps there’s something in this week’s astrology (I think so), which eased this transition for me. Or perhaps, this wound has finally dislodged in a deeper way within me & i have found peace here from within my earlier surroundings which beckoned so much pain, angst & aching. So many questions. So many existential crises.

And today on the walk, they felt transcendentally resolved. I felt finished with them. I was there, in this same place i have been so many times before, in so many moods and i felt … peace. simply put … peace. And that release brought happiness and gratitude.

everyday magic of the herbs on the mound

today i cut lotsa stalks of oregano in my parent’s backyard. a few years ago when i was having a depressed time in my life, i had taken pieces of that oregano (& mint & thyme) over to another section of the backyard, one outside of the garden, called “the mound”. it’s called “the mound” cuz it’s a humped section with a few blank spaces on it, but filled with big lumbering pines. i also found an iron arch with two seats built into it on craigslist for about $20, if i remember correctly. i sanded that arch & spray painted it red. my mom was doing a master gardening course at the time & was learning how to start native plants & flowers from seed. she brought home some columbine & other flowers i can’t remember. today that’s where i harvested those herbs, enough for four large bundles worth, that i now am drying & will take with me, dehydrated, to sprinkle into soups & grains & vegetables. a little sprinkling of herbs is a great addition to a healthy diet. they add flavor & are a great source of nutrients // fresh or dried.

a few days ago, on father’s day, we also took a family picture on that mound which is wild with the yellow flowers of columbine, the sweet light purple shoots of thyme, the high vibrant stalks of oregano, yarrow my mom transplanted, mint, wood sorrel, wild strawberries. it’s a bright area in the backyard &, though i started it in a period of depression, it brings abundant fruits to many lives now (plus being a great place to take pictures!).

as i cut the herbs, i gave thanks for their simple beauty. many times i pass over common herbs, simply identifying them in my head & not seeing them for the wonderful, “everyday” blessings that they are. juliette de bairacli levy aka juliette of the herbs is a wonderful teacher in my life for living close with the earth, living simply & being in connection with the powerful “everyday” properties of herbs. sometimes life can get so “in my head” or “fast-paced” that i gloss over the simple gifts of herbs and artistic acts done even in times of depression, but this act of gathering & drying herbs today has reminded me of the ongoing nature of life, that even if our mood isn’t the best we can still create acts of beauty that can give & give to ourselves & others for years to come.

spirit connection: the place

me as human is an energy being, a creature with 2 legs & 2 arms. i can only do so much, really. me as a human only has so much capacity, yet through this capacity i can hold the space for something so much greater than myself. this is what i feel called to do.

i want to hold space for a space to flow through me. i want to hold the fort down of a place where the following can be found:

  • spaciousness: to feel spirit & breathe deep
  • ancient: reflecting deep cyclical forces from which we all originate; not for quick profit, not for quick anything
  • mater: deep presence of connection with mama earth
  • meeting place: where people can congregate & grow
  • home & hearth: feeling of warmth, coziness
  • wilderness: large pieces of wild land (undisturbed by humans)
  • purity: clean air & protection from pollution
  • art: expression, vision, creativity, innovation
  • secret nooks
  • streams: fresh, clean, flowing water
  • mystery room
  • abundance: food forests, alignment with earth’s ways, permaculture gardens

this place reflects spirit connection. i am just a human with 4 limbs, a brain, a pumping heart. yet i could hold the space for infinite forces to move through me. may this space have the chance to grow through me and others. give me the courage to be embodied and hold the space for this. amen.