Atha

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FIRST KISS

For a little beauty in your life……..

March

I was recently asked, “Are you okay, cause I am worried about you hon?” And to be totally honest it hadn’t occurred to me to ask myself this question. But now that I am sitting on my coach on a quiet Sunday evening I am beginning to discover that I haven’t been okay. I have not been okay.


My sister died seven years ago. And there isn’t a day goes by, not one, when I don’t think of her, of what she would think of me now, of what we would be like together had she lived. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss her.

My brother was diagnosed with malignant glioma four years ago and he was given at most, eleven years to live. Eleven years, given that he gets proper nutrition, lives a low-stress life, gets adequate rest, takes his medicine daily, and gets an MRI every six months.

But the truth is, he is 34 years old, with four children, he smokes a pack of cigarettes a day, he barely eats and when he does its mostly crap, he works three jobs, one of which is the night shift at a 711, he sleeps for 4 hours a day between jobs, daycare, and driving everyone from place to place and he refuses to get his scans or see his neurologist. Despite the fact that he weighs 120 lbs or that he has a large growth protruding from his temple. Everyone pretends like it is normal, like he isn’t dying. Even though he is.

I haven’t seen my father in five years. Not because he lives in some far away land but because who he has chosen to be in this world doesn’t make sense to me. And because I couldn’t accept being treated like I was not enough.


Eight months I ago I moved to Minneapolis, MN and have spent this time trying to forge a place for myself here, at my job, in my community.

And it has been hard, devastatingly hard. Everyday has been living and breathing with my skin turned inside out, raw all the time. And the person I was seems so very far from the person I am becoming.

I haven’t stopped to ask myself if I am okay because what if the answer is that I am not. What if the answer is that I feel exhausted, tired and alone. That some days I wake up and I don’t understand how all of this has become my story.

The truth is I have no idea where to go from here. I don’t ‘know if abandoning ship is right, or if staying right where I am is a better idea. All I know is that I can’t allow for all of this to be my story. There has to be sweetness, kindness, gentleness and community in there to. There has to be a dreams that come true, a love that is pursued. It can’t be all loss and aloneness.


So maybe the answer is, no I am not okay but that maybe tomorrow I will be. Maybe tomorrow I will wake and all will feel right in the world. And if it isn’t all I can do is strap on my boots and keep walking, keep finding ways to open my heart, to keep breathing.

Jan 8

Love

"sometimes you look up and there just seems to be so many more stars than ever before. more. they burn brighter and they shine longer and they never vanish into your periphery when you turn your head. it’s as if they come out for us and to remind us that their light took so long to come to us, that if we never had the patience to wait, we never would have seen them here, tonight, like this.
that as much as it hurts, sometimes it’s all you can do, wait, endure and keep shining knowing that eventually, your light will reach where it is supposed to reach and shine for who it is supposed to shine for.
it is never easy, but it is always worth it.”
-tyler knott gregson
Dec 3

December

It’s been thirty-three years, one month, and five days since I was born; It has been nineteen years, six months, and twenty-seven days since I picked up my first pencil and found a part of myself I hadn’t known; It has been ten years, seven months, and eight days since I was first introduced to Ashtanga yoga; It has been six years, eleven months, twenty-nine days, and eleven hours since my sister was killed; It’s been four years, eleven months, and one day since I taught my first ceramics class; It has been five months and twenty-three days since I met the love of my life; It’s been three months, two weeks and six days since I packed up my life and moved to Minneapolis, MN; It has been three months since I began to truly see myself and decided that loving myself, forgiving myself, and dedicating the rest of my life teaching others to do the same.

These moments have had a profound effect on my life, introduced me to tremendous sorrow and love. These moments have asked me stand up and arrive just as I am, to lean into tremendous discomfort, to grow.

In two days, it will be seven years since my sister passed away. I try now to not think of how she died, of what she was thinking as she died, or of how I don’t remember the person I was when she was alive. These are the things that keep the breathing held in, that cause the chest to tighten. Instead I have been working on cultivating a stronger relationship with her now. Getting to know her now. I can’t express how much I miss her, which seems so strange to miss someone so deeply when you can’t remember their face. So perhaps I miss the strength I felt in her presence, perhaps I miss the courage she often loaned to me, and the beauty she seemed to always exude. Perhaps it isn’t her face but her breathing, knowing that she was breathing alongside me, somewhere out in the world, perhaps this is what I miss the most.

But maybe in some way she still is. Breathing, out there in the world. And so for this I am grateful. In many ways I am grateful to have lost her. Because in this loss I have discovered how important love is in this life. It has made me hungry to ease the pain of others, to offer solace to others in their time of need, to be kinder, to be softer.

But some I know that she is here, she is still breathing, her heart so close to mine some days, when the wind is just right I know she is there. She encourages my heart to keep pressing forward, to keep seeking. She is always in the pursuit. She is there in my practice, when the desire to quit is heavy, She is there when I doubt my abilities and strength, and She is there when I don’t believe I deserve love. Always there…always there…always there.

I have wondered lately why I am where I am, how I got here, and why. I wonder how I ended up with these tools of the practice, with these tools to create, with a man who actually loves me despite all my faults. I often wonder how I got so lucky. But somehow I have to believe that I deserve these things. I have to believe that all of these wonders have been given to me so that I might give them to someone else.

I am grateful for all of these moments… I am grateful for the presence of and loss of my sister…I am grateful for this breathe

November

I sit here, a couple of hours before the first of November, at a table, with low, rosy light, with a dog in the next room, on a night with a sense of deep cold in the air, wondering how I got here. Not that being here is awful or totally unimaginable. There are just moments that I look around and I don’t recognize where I am, who these people are that I spend most of my day with, or who I have become. And in these minutes I come face to face with the person that I am right now and there are parts of myself that I dislike, parts that I honor, and parts that I haven’t come to terms with yet.

The thing about all this change, all this newness, all this growth, is that you always know where your skin ends. Rarely does a day go by that some experience doesn’t remind you that there really is no skin at all, its all just open, all of you is either dying or being born and there is no rest.

The years prior to this, this vulnerability what always present too, the only difference is that then I had buffers, I had friends, family, the same ride to work, the familiar coworkers, the routine, the day to day. Now I have no choice but to be present, all the time. And its painful, some days it is excrutiating. These are the kind of days that you would give just about anything to be sitting on a couch next to one of your siblings, your momma, or a dear friend. Just someone whose heart you know, whose hand you know will always be there. A person whose you have such trust in that being vulnerable isn’t painful but allows you to rest.

But I am not there, I am here. And somehow, come hell or high water I must go in search of joy, light, breathing, love, and practice. So on a late night at the end of October, from my heart to yours, calling from the depths of an apartment in Minneapolis, may this night hand out rest to your heart, may that tea, that book, that bed, that breath, may it all show you the way back. I look forward to seeing you there.

Skin

I have discovered that there are times in our life when we are presented with situations where we fully understand where our skin ends. Our familiarity to the situation is slim, we feel out of our element and our minds long for home. I have found myself in situations like this many times; during trips abroad, after my sister died, moving to a new place, etc. And all of these situations presented me with a mirror.

And now isn’t any different. If there is a difference, it is that not only do I know where my skin ends, but there are moments when I know that there is no skin at all. I have moved to a new place, with a new person, and have started a new job. And all of these things are requiring me to change, to learn, to accept, and to surrender. I do believe that a greater portion of the day is spent on the verge. Of what I don’t know. But I do know that there is no escape. There is nothing I can dive into to make all the doubt, worry, fear, and anxiety go away. I HAVE TO LOOK AT IT. And some days it makes my insides crawl.

But when I do come down from this. When I get quiet. When I lay out my mat and practice, somehow I find peace. The madness doesn’t stop, I just keep moving, I just keep breathing. And even though there are some days of practice that are hard, lack grace, and are just a bear to get through. I show up. I keep showing up.

I am uncertain of what is transpiring within me, but I am grateful enough to be a witness. I know that something is dying and something else is being reborn.

Sep 2

New Tools

The last two months of my life have been bright, magical and mysterious. And even at times terrifyingly powerful. On June 10th of this year I ventured from my home in Philadelphia to a small Artist Residency in Johnson, Vermont. Where I was met by artists, writers, and vagabonds from all over the world and we spent our first night together over wine, a fire, and a sky full of stars. This was the beginning of………

The days that followed were full of making, drawing, rivers, nakedness, sweetness, fields, flowers, and practice. I found myself there, the part of myself I thought I had lost or didn’t know I had. I grabbed a hold of my courage and my own ferocity and ran as quickly as I could through fields of green and purple. And amongst all the romanticism of a Vermont summer I met my partner, Ryan, I recognized him, I witnessed him. The two of us were drawn to each other, we crept towards each other and saw the others’ deep soft spots that were so in need of healing, of love, of kindness, of recognition, and we filled it. We spent four weeks together, feeling so grateful that the dream we had been having our whole lives was actually real, we just had to wait and that it was now upon us.

So we left that little haven in Vermont and spent the next two weeks driving across country, looking for home. Philadelphia, Richmond, Chicago, Madison, and Minneapolis. We looked and decided upon Minneapolis. And as I waited in line at the Minneapolis Airport we said our goodbyes, anxiously waiting for the next month to pass until we found our way back to each other. I went back to Philadelphia and Ryan to Iowa so that we could each pack up our tiny lives, say good bye to friends, close doors that needed to be closed, and move on.

Two and a half weeks ago, Ryan flew to Philadelphia, helped me pack all of my stuff into a Uhaul, attended a going away party with all of my dear friends, and together we drove home. We have been in our house for one-week and six days. I, in a new city, with all that I have known far away and there are moments that the fear has flown so deep into my chest that I can’t breathe. I suppose a big part of me thought that all of the fears, doubts and faults that I have wouldn’t follow me. But they did, and they are just as present now as they were in the last place that I left them.

So now I am presented with an issue. How do I move forward with a man, whose potential, our potential, is so much greater than anything I thought possible, without getting in the way. I feel as though that the tools that I have acquired thus far in my life that haven’t taught me how to handle such a love with the care it needs. My feelings of inadequacy, and self-doubt splinter our time together, damage my own reflection and bring such heaviness.

He, this incredible man who some how manages to love all of me, even the parts I can’t seem to love myself, he loves them. And I, when totally open and free, carry a love so strong in my heart that the deepest sorrow couldn’t sweep it away. This is who we are, two people who need each other in order to help save the world, at least do our part to help it. Two lovers, both broken in our own ways, but yearning and grateful.

So we are here, I am here. In this city of bike highways, blue moons, and farms on its outskirts. I feel terrified, excited but powerful. I feel powerful because I can see all the potential before me if I just keep my eyes and heart open, if I keep moving forward, if I keep love in my heart, doors will continue to open I think. So I guess here goes……………

May 5

Moving Forward and Coming Home

Hello Friends,

I have been selected by the Vermont Studio Center to participate in a one-month residency this summer. In order to be able to take part in this opportunity I need your help.

I have started a fundraising project through Kickstarter. Please take the time to give my page a look.


If you are able to offer support that will be amazing, if not that is amazing as well. If you are able to share the link below with your friends that too will be spectacular.

I have 30 days in order to reach my fundraising goal and I need to get this link in front of as many eyes as possible.

Thank you for rocking the house.


http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2114635001/moving-forward-and-coming-home

beenthinking:

When I went through this almost two years ago, it was surrounded by a  gray gulf of misunderstanding. No, a great fat silent reservoir of no understanding. And so I’d tread (almost drown, if you want to know) in  these cold dark waters and design a landscape on which my feet could  find purchase. Because it was too viciously disorienting, too lost, to  have nothing to hold onto at all. This was my fault, I decided, to orient myself in this wilderness. How did I never realize how fucking much was wrong with me? I panicked. Apologized. Gave myself away.Surging  and dropping below the waterline, taking in mouthfuls of wet grief, I  constructed mountains and beaches of shame because that’s all that made  any logical sense. I built entire horizons based on my own inadequacy,  not just for being so mistrusting and critical and controlling and  needing (anything at all) and crazy maybe (why not?), but also for being  foolish enough to believe. How can you be wrong coming and going, I  wonder from here? How was it my fault for being obviously unlovable and also my fault for believing you when you said you loved me more than anything? When you said, Let’s run away together. You were already gone, mostly. Cold and detached as a plane. Which I  misappropriated for pain, for the manifestation of damage I caused. And  I carried the distance and the apathy like stones in my skirt, like  karma to drown by and tried frantically to fix it all. To fix me. I  forgot food and set out to reduce my troublesome self by half. Would  that be enough? Lost enough that you’d text and tell me I was getting  too thin -  as if you hadn’t been the catalyst. As if you were actually concerned  and also were somehow  neutral and incidental to this development. Now, I say Fuck You. Then, I thought You  Care! (And goddamn, how I still needed to determine if you might ever care about  me, might ever think about me again…)All my words about those days are cryptic, confusing and maybe most  of you will stop reading. But not all of you. Not the ones who have been  mired in your own vast waters, watching the skies for signs. For any  star at all around which you might imagine a constellation. A hope. You left me untethered, ungrounded, unsure, unanswered. Undone.  Actually, you made me leave. And rather than blame you, I left you all  the comforts of our nest and took just myself. So that I might pick up  where you left off in the unraveling. I wish I’d been kinder to me.I wish you had too, but that notion seems superfluous from here.Somewhere  along the way, I realized you didn’t actually leave me because of me.  You left me for her. Which might have been worse.For a long time, it hurt to even read Holly’s name. For a while I  thought I would like her, under different circumstances (say, ones in  which you didn’t start wooing and loving her while we still shared the  same bed). But then, as I finally started walking out of that gulf and  finding my footing on overdue anger, it consumed her too. If you asked me late at night in a hard winter, I would tell you I  hated her for a long time. For replacing me. For being what you wanted more than you  wanted me. For being what I wasn’t - maybe what would have kept you, I  told myself. Casual and easy, athletic and slim as a reed and blond as a  child. I’d watch her and think, she must feel forgiving as hard fought  freedom to you. Carefree and jubilant after me and my deep sad heart  that feels everything too much. Me who can never not say what I am  feeling, can never be satisfied, can never stop wondering and wandering  and analyzing and pushing you and me and the whole great world to be  More. Why couldn’t I be so easy, I would wonder. WHY CAN’T I EVER JUST  BE EASY? I would scream out to the red blur of traffic at night or to my  therapist at 5 pm appointments for which I was always late and  unexcited.The other night, we got a beer, Holly and me. This woman who had  been such a torturous reflection of how I fell short. And it felt better  than ok, it felt like relief. Like finding land.The day you  delivered her verdict, I stopped hating her and started aching for her  instead. When one of my twin nieces is hurt, the other cries. Doubles  over and holds the same wrenched gut, the same malevolent tooth. That makes perfect sense to me and my wounds, burst open by empathy. I read  about this good woman heaving on the office rooftop, secreted away to find  five minutes to be broken under the heavy canopy of cloud cover, in this  city that didn’t slow down for either of our demises. And across town, I  feel it.Over Surlys on a busy sidewalk on a humid night, we trade notes. All  the things we never understood. Why didn’t you ever take any of the  outs we offered? If we weren’t good enough, why did you spindle us back  in? We unwrapped the facts we should have seen as secrets and not  assuaged as baseless suspicions back then. The women you courted, the lies you told, the computers you  locked down and the phone that vibrated with texts while we lay in dark  beds, trying to decide if we were up for the punishment that came for  asking. For not being cool enough to ignore it all.
The first day you took her out, you sent me third anniversary  flowers to work. I never knew that. You told her we broke up the night  before, the night you were busy writing me a love note. She never knew the truth. (I close my eyes and repeat this like the answer I’ve been waiting for.) We discover how  many of your lines are trademarked. Designed for maximum impact. There  is no chance. No authenticity. It’s enlightening  We laugh raucously in  disbelief, which I should be able to from this distance because I have  Come Through. But Holly, she’s tougher than I was already. I admire her  and tell her I wish I’d taken my own side like she is keeping hers. It’s freeing, you know? It takes a lot of energy to be so hurt by  someone. To feel so inferior and be so angered by the sole fact  that they must share an existence in your orbit. I am grateful to lay  down my tired torch.On the walk home minutes before midnight, I called C. Told him that I  was heavy with gratitude for his honest heart. For how he knows me, how he lets me know him. I  told him too that Holly is delightful. And, she really is, you guys. Lovely and funny and warm and generous and smart and good-hearted. Fun. Or,  she will be fun again when she wades out of her own cinereous seas.  Throughout these days, I think about her and send her mental tethers,  reinforcement. Don’t you lose this footing, this real shoreline.  Don’t you dare go under, believing his case that you have changed or  failed or been found lacking.It is freeing to begin to realize this was never about me, or her,  or the women whose disposal came before ours. I guess I suspected that -  even as I ignored all my fears and better hunches about you and your  character and focused instead on helping you unbuild me. But now I know. There was nothing I could have done to bring you  satisfaction or contentment. (And it feels like grace to be done trying.) But despite being imperfect and having my  own work to do, I was always Good Enough. I was always More than Good  Enough, goddammit. And as for Holly? I dare say she was too good for you all along.
The whole Ashbery bridge poem slide show here, because it is perfect for days like these…

beenthinking:

When I went through this almost two years ago, it was surrounded by a gray gulf of misunderstanding. No, a great fat silent reservoir of no understanding. And so I’d tread (almost drown, if you want to know) in these cold dark waters and design a landscape on which my feet could find purchase. Because it was too viciously disorienting, too lost, to have nothing to hold onto at all.

This was my fault, I decided, to orient myself in this wilderness. How did I never realize how fucking much was wrong with me? I panicked. Apologized. Gave myself away.

Surging and dropping below the waterline, taking in mouthfuls of wet grief, I constructed mountains and beaches of shame because that’s all that made any logical sense. I built entire horizons based on my own inadequacy, not just for being so mistrusting and critical and controlling and needing (anything at all) and crazy maybe (why not?), but also for being foolish enough to believe. How can you be wrong coming and going, I wonder from here? How was it my fault for being obviously unlovable and also my fault for believing you when you said you loved me more than anything? When you said, Let’s run away together.

You were already gone, mostly. Cold and detached as a plane. Which I misappropriated for pain, for the manifestation of damage I caused. And I carried the distance and the apathy like stones in my skirt, like karma to drown by and tried frantically to fix it all. To fix me. I forgot food and set out to reduce my troublesome self by half. Would that be enough? Lost enough that you’d text and tell me I was getting too thin - as if you hadn’t been the catalyst. As if you were actually concerned and also were somehow neutral and incidental to this development. Now, I say Fuck You. Then, I thought You Care! (And goddamn, how I still needed to determine if you might ever care about me, might ever think about me again…)

All my words about those days are cryptic, confusing and maybe most of you will stop reading. But not all of you. Not the ones who have been mired in your own vast waters, watching the skies for signs. For any star at all around which you might imagine a constellation. A hope.

You left me untethered, ungrounded, unsure, unanswered. Undone. Actually, you made me leave. And rather than blame you, I left you all the comforts of our nest and took just myself. So that I might pick up where you left off in the unraveling.

I wish I’d been kinder to me.

I wish you had too, but that notion seems superfluous from here.

Somewhere along the way, I realized you didn’t actually leave me because of me. You left me for her. Which might have been worse.

For a long time, it hurt to even read Holly’s name. For a while I thought I would like her, under different circumstances (say, ones in which you didn’t start wooing and loving her while we still shared the same bed). But then, as I finally started walking out of that gulf and finding my footing on overdue anger, it consumed her too.

If you asked me late at night in a hard winter, I would tell you I hated her for a long time. For replacing me. For being what you wanted more than you wanted me. For being what I wasn’t - maybe what would have kept you, I told myself. Casual and easy, athletic and slim as a reed and blond as a child.

I’d watch her and think, she must feel forgiving as hard fought freedom to you. Carefree and jubilant after me and my deep sad heart that feels everything too much. Me who can never not say what I am feeling, can never be satisfied, can never stop wondering and wandering and analyzing and pushing you and me and the whole great world to be More. Why couldn’t I be so easy, I would wonder. WHY CAN’T I EVER JUST BE EASY? I would scream out to the red blur of traffic at night or to my therapist at 5 pm appointments for which I was always late and unexcited.

The other night, we got a beer, Holly and me. This woman who had been such a torturous reflection of how I fell short. And it felt better than ok, it felt like relief. Like finding land.

The day you delivered her verdict, I stopped hating her and started aching for her instead. When one of my twin nieces is hurt, the other cries. Doubles over and holds the same wrenched gut, the same malevolent tooth. That makes perfect sense to me and my wounds, burst open by empathy. I read about this good woman heaving on the office rooftop, secreted away to find five minutes to be broken under the heavy canopy of cloud cover, in this city that didn’t slow down for either of our demises. And across town, I feel it.

Over Surlys on a busy sidewalk on a humid night, we trade notes. All the things we never understood. Why didn’t you ever take any of the outs we offered? If we weren’t good enough, why did you spindle us back in? We unwrapped the facts we should have seen as secrets and not assuaged as baseless suspicions back then. The women you courted, the lies you told, the computers you locked down and the phone that vibrated with texts while we lay in dark beds, trying to decide if we were up for the punishment that came for asking. For not being cool enough to ignore it all.

The first day you took her out, you sent me third anniversary flowers to work. I never knew that. You told her we broke up the night before, the night you were busy writing me a love note. She never knew the truth. (I close my eyes and repeat this like the answer I’ve been waiting for.) We discover how many of your lines are trademarked. Designed for maximum impact. There is no chance. No authenticity. It’s enlightening  We laugh raucously in disbelief, which I should be able to from this distance because I have Come Through. But Holly, she’s tougher than I was already. I admire her and tell her I wish I’d taken my own side like she is keeping hers.

It’s freeing, you know? It takes a lot of energy to be so hurt by someone. To feel so inferior and be so angered by the sole fact that they must share an existence in your orbit. I am grateful to lay down my tired torch.

On the walk home minutes before midnight, I called C. Told him that I was heavy with gratitude for his honest heart. For how he knows me, how he lets me know him. I told him too that Holly is delightful. And, she really is, you guys. Lovely and funny and warm and generous and smart and good-hearted. Fun. Or, she will be fun again when she wades out of her own cinereous seas. Throughout these days, I think about her and send her mental tethers, reinforcement. Don’t you lose this footing, this real shoreline. Don’t you dare go under, believing his case that you have changed or failed or been found lacking.

It is freeing to begin to realize this was never about me, or her, or the women whose disposal came before ours. I guess I suspected that - even as I ignored all my fears and better hunches about you and your character and focused instead on helping you unbuild me.

But now I know. There was nothing I could have done to bring you satisfaction or contentment. (And it feels like grace to be done trying.) But despite being imperfect and having my own work to do, I was always Good Enough. I was always More than Good Enough, goddammit.

And as for Holly? I dare say she was too good for you all along.

The whole Ashbery bridge poem slide show here, because it is perfect for days like these…

mugglesdontgetit:

STOP SCROLLING. This is about saving a girl’s life. Kahlia Wilson goes to my school and is in year 12. She got cancer in her pelvis when she was only 13 years old, and after beating it once it has come back in her chest. Regular medicine is not an option anymore and she needs to travel to Perth for radical cancer treatment. This treatment will cost her family $30,000, money they just don’t have. If you have a heart, PLEASE donate at www.curekahlia.com If you can’t donate, reblog this, or forward this to people on Facebook, and Twitter.To watch the full story, click here

mugglesdontgetit:

STOP SCROLLING.
This is about saving a girl’s life. Kahlia Wilson goes to my school and is in year 12. She got cancer in her pelvis when she was only 13 years old, and after beating it once it has come back in her chest. Regular medicine is not an option anymore and she needs to travel to Perth for radical cancer treatment. This treatment will cost her family $30,000, money they just don’t have.
If you have a heart, PLEASE donate at www.curekahlia.com
If you can’t donate, reblog this, or forward this to people on Facebook, and Twitter.
To watch the full story, click here

(Source: m-eowth)