Portals to Porches

In the last week, with less than 24 hours of transition time between, I’ve both attended a 5 Rhythms Dance retreat called Portals and led a Life in 10 Minutes writing retreat at the Porches.

Though I have identified most of my life as a writer, dance has always been for everyone else. Ideas focused in my mind. Music was about the lyrics. Interactions with people were what you had to say to them and what they said- or didn't say- to you. Words reigned supreme, the master of the mind. The body has always been something to be gotten around, dragged around, forced to obey- even though of course it never did. Like a hungry child my body has tried to get my attention in a million ways and I've had no idea how to listen.

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Holy Land

At the beginning of this week I taught Vision Quest, my first ever camp for adults. This afternoon I'm leaving for a three day dance retreat featuring a fire pit and a crystal bowl bath though frankly I only know what one of those things are. I have always been a seeker in search of the  extraordinary,  hunting for God in ecstasy and LSD, men and mountain tops. My problem has never been finding a spiritual high. That's easy. The problem has been the inevitable low, the depressing headfirst crash back into reality, the extreme gap between the thing I’ve set out to do and the return to the life I tried to leave behind. Many of my spiritual experiences have not been unlike getting drunk, making 10 new best friends, and figuring out the meaning of life only to pass out face down on the couch and waking up hungover, throwing up and covered in sharpie.

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How to Find Balance During the Decline of Western Civilization

Lately I haven't been able to stop thinking about the divide between the growth in my personal life and the decline of western civilization. How can I celebrate my world coming together when the whole world is falling apart? How can I not?

Yesterday after camp I was struck with a dilemma. Do Henry and I go to Studio Two Three’s Make it Rain(bow) art/ party/fundraiser or the ACLU community conversation about the Muslim Ban at the Islamic center of Richmond? In the end we did both. Art matters. Fundamental rights matter. And the thing is, they can both matter at the same time. In the perfect world, they do. 

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Every Weapon in My Arsenal

A few weeks ago I met an old friend for coffee. "It looks like things in your life are going really well," she said. "I'm so sorry to hear it. That must be really hard for you."

I thanked her. "It is," I said. Especially when the whole world is falling apart. Especially when people are dying and suffering and fighting for their dignity, their rights and their lives. My friend and I are both addicts in recovery from everything and feelings are hard. All of them. Even the good ones. Especially the good ones. Addicts love self-destruction. Addicts love self-sabotage.

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But what else can I do?

My mother has always been a rebel and an activist, with deep roots in the Jewish tradition of social justice, of never forget. At my mother's house there’s always room for one more at the table, there's always a meal to bring somewhere, a person or a cause to uplift. My mother brought me to my first march in Washington and she continues to show up at marches and rallies and protests again and again. She told me as she grows older she’s convinced her job is to be a body, to show up, to be counted.

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On the Boat Again

The other day I talked to an old friend who is moving out of his warehouse and onto a houseboat.

Yesterday afternoon my husband just so happened to bring home a pamphlet from the very same dock where my friend is planning to rent a slip.

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17 ways to know you’ve been married to the right man for 17 years

1.  He looks at you the same way whether you’re in a négligée, a sweat suit, or a cat suit.

2. When you gain 50 pounds the first year you’re married and the nurse practitioner says honey you can’t just eat everything you see and you go home red-faced and ashamed and it isn't until you feel what you can only describe as a pop in your side that you request an ultrasound and they find a tumor on your adrenal gland pumping out cortisol and  moon face and buffalo hump, Cushing’s Disease and your husband changes the bandages around your 13 inch stapled wound that wraps around your side and still calls you beautiful.

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At the Top of the Mountain

On Sunday we worked. We chopped and we whacked, dragged and raked, swept and gathered. We collected broken glass and rusted nails, busted windows and broken down doors. We hauled rocks and moved trees. We reclaimed land and a structure lost to a mountain buried in time. We sweat and grunted and strained.

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Abandonment Issues

This week I showed up to have a session about my abandonment issues with my therapist but she'd just received a call from her child’s school and had to cancel as soon as I got there. What do we do when our abandonment therapist abandons us? Really though, the truth is, I didn’t feel abandoned by her. And that's because she's not a man.

When I was little I felt like I always had to share my dad, that he was never mine alone. Even though I was an only child, special, adored, beloved, there were always new women in his life, women I was afraid would somehow replace me. My mother once said that when I grew up I'd have to tear my world apart before I could stitch it back together. She was right. 

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20 Pounds

Right now my under arm hurts from my first bra of three today. The first, that had been fitted for me by an actual professional was like a corset, or armor. My body actually changed shape when I took it off and could breathe again. The second I sweat through during this afternoon's hot yoga to the point where I could have wrung it dry. I'm on the third which is close to death's door but I'm eeking a little more life out of it as I can. My bras do impressive, monumental work each day, if you know what I mean. I don’t even want to tell you what letter of the alphabet I'm on, but rest assured it’s up there. A drunk person may not even be able to count that high.

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