Category Archives: in the swim


Now is the WINTER of our discontent…oh good winter, welcome with your blankets of stillness and white

art by Lisa Van Sand

Did you know this line means that we are in the winter timing of all things “ebb” that keep getting in our face? (at least to me it does)  As i come up on the end of this year, i am starting to do a year end sum up in my head of where i’ve been and where i’m going to.  Lots of moments and situations feel challenging in my life.  sometimes challenge can have a negative underpinning, but i’m gratefully putting on this conscious choice of knowing that the things that show up in my life to challenge me are just what i’ve been asking for. Only sometimes, i’m not so great at matching up the challenge to the actual prayer i’ve uttered on its behalf.

for example…
Prayer/intention/ internal plea when i’m feeling all heavenly and nonplussed…
“Please let me be conscious of my own issues, don’t let them become burdens for other people to deal with, please let me recognize them and shift within to allow a space for growth, maturing and love…”

sounds good doesn’t it, can’t you just picture a prayer like that?  even setting such a lovely intention feels all yummy and pure from the inside…and then what happens….

my take on the resulting ‘opportunity to gain this strength i’ve phrased oh so eloquently’…

i park my car in the wrong place because i’m in a hurry to do someone else what feels like a gargantuan favor and they’ve already way overstepped what feels like appropriate levels of taking advantage…and my car gets towed, my tire goes flat, i end up in the biggest fight i’ve had in a year because of it…

 Now when i was all at peace and ommmming the crap out of that loving intention, i never knew i was asking for such a shakedown to get over my little ways of not clearly stating my boundaries, not lovingly holding my own space and letting someone else take on the consequences for their own learning…, and hey, why would i ever consciously think to shoulder someone Else’s “prayer” of learning?  So i can lovingly give back what isn’t mine to handle, learn or take on…but to feel good about it, i am learning that i must do it with awake eyes, not angry shrugs.  When i can hand back a big packet of learning without getting my ego in the way…my heart opens with huge ease, my sense of tranquility and peace on earth become the mainstay rather than the occasional visitor and i am happy.

My shit may not be all worked out, but wow, it’s way better mucking my own stables than somebody Else’s.  (sorry hope i didn’t lose ya in the mixed metaphor journey, it’s just that more than anything these pages are for my ego to catch up with what my soul has been shouting for eons–sometimes you just gotta work this shit out on paper!) So at last, here i am with some eyes wide open, seeing how life is answering these kind of prayers left and right, how i can get really clear with my own prayers and intention and lessons become so much more welcome and gentle, and how with that awake learning, my discontent is all kindsa wintered out!!!

and my heart is open to the Spring!

A little night Music, Poetry Monday and Summer Solstice

My mind seems to be a little bit full of the draw of this shortest night of the year and resists the slumber that has typically long since cajoled a dreamscape from my eyes.  Rather tonight it seems i am called to share a bit of my own poetry found on father’s day while cleaning out all sorts of nooks and crannies from my own desk.  i came across these few verses scribbled hastily, in terrible handwriting and with no care for perfect meter or rhyme.  they were simply childhood moments, places romantically recalled from a girl’s thoughts holding some magical draw for moments lost to all but memory.
and so on this all too magical midsummer’s eve i cast my own magic into the cauldron, recalling the potent draw of childhood imagination and dream making, a treasure hunt of place and time out of time!!!
Tin Roof
Springtime’s ripeness doesn’t last long
One false step could do you wrong
a slippery shaky place to trod
for one who passes here unshod
Don’t get no jam between your toes
a respite here will stain your soles.

(as children we would climb on top of the horse shed, just to the base of the mulberry tree and spend delighted hours coaxing  ripened purple berries to fall into our fingers, staining palms and lips and toes with their succulent juices–i wore these stains as a badge of honor rejoicing in the arrival of summertime)

Diving Board
Our childrens’ game consisted oft
of flying high, propelled aloft
down pirate’s path to murky brine
which now is stiff with broken spine.

(on long hot summer days, we children would spend hours in the swimming pool coming up with elaborate games to pass the time.  rarely did we leave the pool without some imagined game of walking the plank down the diving board whose spring is all but lost and board very near broken)

Treasure Chest
If pirates had been ladies gay
it is certain that with ribbons they would have liked to play
and bows and dresses and shoes and dolls
to masquerade at madmen’s balls

(when summer storms threatened our fun, at least the sisters came indoors to continue our games, dress-ups were pulled from the best of piratey-looking treasure chests, where we spun yarns fit for children’s tales and grand conjuring indeed)

Introspection Loves Company

(author’s note re: dramatic liscence…these are the combined words, thoughts, heartbeats of my mystic tribe. i ask full pardon and blessing for combining them to the beat of my own heart)

Oh Ram…..

When alone and introspective

I marvel at the creature and spirit that breathes its way into my awareness…

The drums are getting louder and my heart beats in time…

When the wind touches me in new ways

I feel the smell of the summer air for the first time

It weaves in and out of being in the world,

Consciously entering into and emerging from Presence.

delving deep within, and trusting fully

Jumping “off the cliff” empty handed

I hear this call out of the fog of forgetfulness.

Take the jump not because it is comfortable, but because comfort follows the jump.

Look forward to the splash as we take the leap together

Into this expansive void I free fall with gusto

From a high-ground view where my intent wavered,

and where I stopped to swallow stillness.

as promised, here’s my voice again,

It flutters like a million Butterfly wings

Sounding out, a tone to follow….

Back to the well where we’ll drink once more.

I feel your words now

Vibrating, jingling my bones, dancing under my skin…

In anticipation and Love for my tribe…..

I feel you all so very close, with every breath…..

The body as a temple is practice in answer to prayer

The balancing elixir of our systems

Headed for something Biblical or divine,

out of my awareness I do manage to find the switch

And love every minute of this wild ride;

Learning to stay grounded, in rhythm with earth.

I end up an alchemist making elixirs of rock, vortexes of manifest ease.

If the earth were not cracked open we would never have known

Never known the jewels, the great Earth medicines

Life goes on, important events “just happen”.

No amount of preparation or lack thereof will change anything

Heartaches arrive on my doorstep

Accompanied with a freedom previously mistaken for loss.

A couple I welcome inside to get warm

They make themselves intimately known to the who I am today

I am “chomping at the bit”

like the wind horse pulling on the reigns of our awareness;

The soul rearing to go, galloping into its remembrance of undifferentiated Self.

Sometimes I am unsure of what I might find;

others I am at rest in the Divine Mother’s lap

Knowing that I knew nothing…

Hence the ground cracking open…blasting through my Pisces Sun,

The water of this swim burns at noonday and fills my gills

Come out to the desert one and all.

The Land waits

The Mystery is waiting

I am surrounded by a ring of fire.

Out of the circle of time and into the circle of love

only when I stopped to listen,

Was I able to hear?

Will we be chased through the desert by our captors?

Will the sea part, leading us to our freedom?

Shut the talking down,

Break through the gateway,

Guarding the mystery of heart

Balancing the daily company of death,

I am in awe of the power

I am very much at peace

It’s important for us to feel each other gathering….

Emptied, enchanted, expanded, ecstatic and…. united as One.

Just to Re-member our Wholeness

with open arms and heart

And in the “unknowing”, where all pictures turn

velvety darkness or pure potential,

the entire landscape transforms

At the still point, I wait with joyful anticipation of our reunion.


Messenger of messengers

Enough silence to truly hear.

I answer the call to return to our circle

and delve deeper into the water,

Divine Rebirth

Oh Ram…how curious your costume

petitelama, Deborah, Delora, Lisa, Don, David, Julie, Julia, Lola, Kim, Tracie, Mary, Wendy Sue, Ryan, Margaret, Dana, Anne lise, Sandy, Diana


Now playing: peter gabriel Salisbury Hill

via FoxyTunes

gills would be good here…

i’m at a little bit of a loss for words lately. i’m not sure if this means i’m not thinking, or if i’m just not paying attention to my own thoughts and feelings. or allowing for the fact that so much thinking actually masks the much deeper feeling that needs space to occur. there is just a tiny bit of that that is true. for 3 or 4 months in there all i did was think, think, think and it was a refreshing change to just turn off paying attention to those thoughts altogether.

however, i’m not exactly sure how to balance the whole turn off all thoughts thing, with being concious of my own self–not numbing to my own life. and it seems that there is some numbing lately. or at least i’m going to interpret last night’s dream as such. for those of you that don’t know me, and many of you don’t i am going to let you in on a little secret about me; i have a strange and abiding fear of water deaths. i wouldn’t call it a phobia or anything like that because i totally love swimming and the ocean and even the bathtub, but the whole drowning thing gets some weird airtime for me. to avoid this fear or the thought of it, i tend to stay away from stories or movies with similar themes. to this date, i still havent’ seen titanic, however i did see the original Posiedon Adventure with shelly winters when i was sort of a young kid–and i think this is where some of the water wierdness stems from.

so circling back to my point and the whole numbness thing, i had a dream last night that i was on the ship poseidon, or one very similar to it and i kept reliving over and over the actual overturn of the ship, and the water crashing in, and bodies falling to the ceiling of the ballroom, and at some point in that dream i became aware it was a dream and actually one of my worst nightmares. then i became aware i wasn’t exactly scared, i was really more or less just noticing the details of what was happening, how if i payed very careful attention i could will the details to change, like i didn’t crash to the ceiling, instead i grabbed one of the bolted down tables and from there swung myself out of the ballroom. the next time around i made it out onto the deck, funny how the deck was right side-up and i jumped onto some sort of watercraft nearby.

turns out we weren’t all that far from shore and i did some stone hopping onto land…hmmmm–so what’s that all about–this whole underwater death and drowning, reliving the moments, and finally becoming lucid enough to recognize my own power in the situation.
( some sort of wake-up call from the numbness?) a somewhat reflective position from the lessons life is bringing me right now. i get sort of freaked out and drowning, and i relive that a few thousand times, then i lift my head only to realize the shore is within swimming distance.

hallelujah for the shore!!!! you know what i mean??? sometimes it feels like if i’m not absolutely drowning, then my treading muscles are pushed to their absolute limit and i will go under at any moment. i do crave the moments when my feet touch the muddy underwater ground and my head is still above the surface.

My christmas season has had some nice “head-above-water” moments; spirit and connection have been the rule rather than the exception. i am awed by the goodness in people, i am touched by their vulnerability, i am blown away by their gifts, i am challenged to do, be and give more of these things of myself. i am so grateful that life shows up to beckon me exactly down that path–even when the water gets deep, that’s when becoming an underwater breathing superhero gains in relevance:)

so get your fins on gang, the water (while a little bit choppy at times) is exactly what the doctor ordered to get his patients out of the kiddy pool!

Now playing: Duncan Sheik – Barely Breathing (acoustic)
via FoxyTunes

dip your toe in, the water is fine

it would seem that my bandwidth for introspective query has been all-but swallowed of late by the realm of the unconscious. i did have a very interesting conversation the other night with a friend of mine who is going through a pretty hard time right now. he had a lot of pretty keen insight into his own direction and choices, and i found that i could layer my own choices right over the top of his and define my place in life as very similar to his.

here’s what i found fascinating by that conversation–he really was quite down and struggling to gain perspective about his own direction. i wouldn’t cast his position in a negative light, just extremely challenging. somewhere in the middle of the conversation he had asked me about what was going on for me, and as i described my life he commented that he would love to be in my position right now. i found this so enlightening because as i stated above i could class all the things that i’m in the middle of, in a very similar way to how he described his own life…

–i’m on a search for spiritual fulfillment, seeking meaning in my daily life that fortifies my daily choices.
–my daily job is a good one, but kicks my ass half the time. i question if i should really be doing this right now, or if there is another way to reach the goal i am yearning for. i love it most all of the time, and hate it just a tiny bit, the rest of the time.
–my personal life has its ups and downs, with relationships that show up to teach me exactly what i ask for, but sometimes not ever how i would have asked for it.

here’s what i love about all of this…if i stand back just the tiniest bit and gain the perspective of what i have been praying for, asking to show up in my life, working towards achieving…then i can see that my life is giving me exactly what i ask for, without exception. it’s just that i wouldn’t have ever thought of having it show up the way the universe has formulated for delivery. when i recognize this, i can only feel extremely blessed to have so many prayers be answered so explicitly.

i actually feel incredibly powerful in my own life and become daily more aware that i must be so purposeful and intentional in what i ask for from life because, without a doubt, life intends to deliver!

is it just me, is this stuff obvious to the rest of the world? maybe it has taken me this far in my life to learn what is really primer level learning, but i tell ya, it has changed the way i view everything. life is a gift, constantly flowing to answer the call i have put out. i’m so grateful to be a part of the river.

Now playing: Sinead O’Connor – Jump in the River
via FoxyTunes


sense memory extraordinaire

for me it is gloriously self-indulgent and provides hours of nostalgic enjoyment to let the mind ramble through favorite memories. i always wonder what unlocks the brain from one memory to the next, how exactly does the brain filing system work? these mysteries are neither answered nor explored in this excerpt. i just do a little of that self-indulgent crap and invite you to respond with the same…

sound of lawn sprinklers going on with
seeing the full moon come up over mount olympus
–this means summer is in full swing because i am laying out on granny’s lawn, it’s summer so our sprinkler use is turned to nighttime, and the moon just perfectly comes over the peaks to the east, the grass is still warm from the sun going down. then we scramble for cover

Sound of U2’s ‘with or without you’ with
sight of my old friend don merril playing air guitar and grinning like a chesire cat
–he was the first one to really introduce me to the band U2 and their music became quite the presence in my college years–joshua tree was the soundtrack to my entire semester in jerusalem

smell of pipe tobacco with
walking to gemco
–at an age when i still considered walking to the local grocery store an opportunity for some social interaction(picture hanging out in front of 7-11) rather than driving. i would have to pass our neighbor’s house who was a huge pipe smoker, and i loved the smell-sweet and rich. he also had his lawn mowed into a small putting green which seemed so funny to me, i mean we really lived in middle, middle america and can you just picture this dude out front smoking his pipe and putting on his own lawn? who does that??

Feeling the heat of the sun on my goosepimply skin as i warmed my body after swimming for hours with
Laughing uproarously with friends playing pool games for days on end throughout the whole summer…as a kid i never thought vegas was too hot in the summer, what is too hot when you can swim for 6 hours in a row?

feeling so tired and falling into bed begging my mom to
tickle my back so i could fall asleep…isn’t there something so precious about the slowly deepening breath of a child as they fall asleep? makes it worth laying by them for millions of nights in a row just to recall that safe and warm feeling as a child:) we would beg our mom to tickle our back in church–sitting through the long services, i’m sure she just hoped we would be quiet long enough to make it out without her killing us.

sound of music blasting out of seriously rated speakers and the
beat pulling your body right off its seat for all night dancing and singing fests. what songs, beats, bands did this for you? off the top of my head…stray cats, der kommisar, careless whisper/wham, housemartins, modest mouse, trio, violent femmes, psychedelic furs, janet jackson, madonna, new order-blue monday, squirrel nut zippers, cake, sinead o’connor, hippy chick, squeeze, jamiroquai, no doubt, dave matthews band, alicia keyes, yeah yeah yeahs, michael franti and spearhead/skin on the drum, prince, the strokes, the kinks, sondre lerche and, and , and….who’s ready to make their own list?(consider this paragraph the “currently listening bit”–now i’ve got to go and make a new playlist

Sit! stay….stay…..

so i have to be fair and admit that many of my purposes for writing this blog thing are selfish, well probably most of my purposes are selfish–in fact, i’m open to suggestions about any reasons you can think of that this really isn’t a wholly self-involved endeavor. that being said, however, i am coming to some really interesting realizations about myself as i write and read the things that appear in this blog. it seems i write differently for an audience, no matter how imagined or inflated in my mind that audience might be…i try to make more sense, come to some conclusions, be a little more reflective than i might be when only writing for myself. i get extremely stream of consciousness when it’s just little old me, can’t hold a train of thought to save my life, and certainly glad that so far it doesn’t seem to be a requirement i care about when doing my personal journaling.

but should i really want others to follow along with general interest, a modicum of appropriate flow does seem important. so why is this point important right now? because when i review myself i find that i’ve made some really good points that if i would just pay attention to would really go a long way in helping me not to give in to my ultimate demise. case in point–the whole hiberNation theme–clear back in december i actually put it down in black and white that this season didn’t feel like any other, and that my body and spirit both seem to really be calling for a respite. in black and white people, and yet here i am clear into january, new year’s intentions clearly set and moving full steam ahead. aha, but here’s the thing…(i love here’s the thing don’t you? there always seems to be some kind of thing) my only new year’s goal this year was to live a life fully listening to my internal vibration, if you will. to actually pay attention to when my sense of inner self is vibrantly responding to what i am doing or if it is completely disgusted with my current choices.

now i don’t mean this on the grand scale, well yes i do, but i mean it on the petite scale as well. to really start to listen to the little choices that lead to all the moments of my day….do i really like this music, does it open my spirit to connecting to those around me in the way i want to connect right now, how do i want to connect right now, do i want to bring that subject up with him or will it be o.k. to just handle it myself, do i want to go out tonight or is a hot bath just the ticket–these are all questions that play in the most brief of ways through my mind and sometimes i just ignore them, plow right on through with my original plan. writing this out like this makes the plan seem very simple and sort of juvenile, but you try it. go ahead, i dare you to be aware all day long about the tiny choices. the thing i like about doing this is the practice, if i practice just the tiny things, it puts me in the right frame of mind or into the zone to feel it when the really tiny tremors come up to help me pay attention to the important stuff–these are signals i miss all the time unless i am in the practicing zone.

back to the thing–if i am acting on this intention then here’s what i hear right now…this is not the time to move into any kind of full swing. what actually feels really right on a vibrational level is to allow the learning to flow to me, not to check things off lists–just allow the space for the really good stuff to rise to the top of the list and become the thing i am in the middle of doing. my words in december are ringing in my ears…”the soulself understands the nature of a time for… allowing the universe to catch up with intention”. how is it so easy to lose sight of that simple truth for me? does anybody else struggle with this one?

so i’m adding to the epiphany phrases that pop into my brain, the vibrational hints my spirit sends. last week it was let go and let guy,–the whole living in the now thing, but i want to amend that one… how does let go and let dog sound? in the same hibernation blog, i gave myself some inner coaching to Sit and Stay–the same instructions we give our faithful friends when we want them to slow down and take note of something we are trying to teach them, or not to get too excited, or to wait for a damn doggy treat. the dog’s life can provide amazing insight into our human lives if we watch them for a minute. so lama, sit…stay…stay… strange as it may sound or read in this case–the phrase goes a long way towards quieting the errant mind and allowing the much needed respite.

(hmmm, so this posting seems totally stream of consciousness, hope it made sense to anyone else but me; if not, thanks for allowing the rant)

Now playing: Elvis Costello – Alison
via FoxyTunes


Xander’s land of the Tinies

This story is a little long for this space, but is an answer to a request for a young boy named xander who doesn’t feel all that well too much of the time, is in and out of the hospital and who loves to hear stories about adventure.

Way across the sea, past the land where children’s dreams are the stuff of real life, in a the tiny forest of Woldenvale, lives a magical and wonderful people known as the “tinies”. The very tiniest member of this clan is named xander and he is the hero to all the land.

Not to very long ago there was an upset in the vale, so great—that
ander’s mother and father didn’t know what to do, his magical faery aunt didn’t know what to do, even the king of the land didn’t know what to do.

A dark and ominous cloud had floated over the vale, darkening the sky—almost so dark that daytime didn’t shine, and raining down sad and woeful thoughts over the whole land.

xander never even noticed the cloud. As the very tiniest of tinies, he didn’t often get to the top of the heap and wasn’t used to seeing the bright sunshine all that often. He carried a beautiful and shining crystal in his pocket that glowed so brightly, it was all he needed to light his way. He would wander the forest floor, discovering the amazing and brilliant secrets the forest held—secrets like where the faerie king kept his shiny magic stones, and how it was possible the woodland nymphs could sometime be seen in two places at once, and his best secret of all was why the great and dark cloud had covered the vale.

One of xander’s favorite places was all the way to the end of the forest where the mossy rocks led right down to the sea . .

One day while playing in the rocks, xander dropped his favorite shining crystal right off the edge into the sea. Now this did make xander just a little bit sad, and he sat peering deep into the water hoping for a glimpse of his powerful and shining crystal before it dropped out of sight.

Before it completely disappeared, xander’s eyes blinked several times in a row to see if he was dreaming. The glowing crystal began to rise back to the surface of the water, and as it rose it shone brighter and brighter riding right on the nose of the most wise-looking and smiling sea lion that had ever graced the shores of the vale.

Xander didn’t know if he should be afraid of the sea lion and he drew back from the water, but the sea lion began to sing, the music came up from so deep in his throat and was such a beautiful song, that xander began to sing right back.

This was the first time the sea lion had ever had anyone on land return his song and he began to cry. Xander reached out to wipe the tears away from his eyes, and as he did so they turned into tiny crystals themselves. Then the sea lion spoke in the most beautiful and warm voice you could ever imagine. Xander had been feeling a little unsure to this point, but when he heard this voice, he knew this was his long lost brother who had jumped into the sea years before when the voice of the mermaids had lulled him to the sea.

In the years since they had seen each other, xander’s brother, lucazia, had become the king of the sea lions ( in a story that must be told another time—because this is the story of xander’s triumph)

with their newfound brotherhood rediscovered, xander returned to the shore every day and spent time in the waves and the deep with his brother, never noticing that the dark cloud became darker and more threatening over woldenvale every day. Finally, one morning, xander’s mother told him she thought it would be best if he stayed home because the dark cloud was so frightening and so dark that he might not find his way home again. Xander gently began to cry and took his mother’s face in his hands and looked her right in the eyes. When they both had looked so long and so deep that all was silence in the room, xander told his mother that if she would let him go to the shore just one more day, he would bring the light back to the vale. There was no doubt in her heart that xander would do just that and so she let him go.

Xander quickly ran through the darkened woods, past the faerie circle of stones where a great council was meeting to discuss what to do about the darkness, right past the toadstool castle where all the forest creatures came daily to listen to music of the wood nymphs, down the mossy rocks and jumped right into the chilly and dark water. He dived so deep and so long that even xander began to wonder how deep he would go; but then he saw what he was seeking…it was his glorious and shining crystal, sitting right on top of a pile of sea lion tear crystals. The closer he got, the more brilliant the light became and xander finally stopped just to look at the beautiful rainbows of light that shined everywhere around this crystal tower.

Suddenly, lucazia appeared to xander and asked him how and why he had come so deep into the ocean world of the sea lions. With that xander began to sing, this was a song he didn’t know was inside of him; it formed as it left his lips and told the story of how the light of the world was dimming, and was calling for a gift from the sea to reignite it. Lucazia told xander that the gift was not possible and the ocean’s waters needed their crystals to empower the tides and waves to roll in and out in the moon’s light. xander took his brother’s face right into his own hands, they touched noses and breathed in each other’s breath until xander could feel the water of the ocean become the breath that he breathed.

Then xander knew that he must give a gift of much greater value to the ocean so he could bring back the light of the crystal to woldenvale. He knew he must choose to stay and live in the deep and peaceful waters of the ocean joining his song and his spirit to the power of the tides and the moon before the power of the crystal could be brought to the surface. Lucazia agreed this magical offering would be enough to bring the light of the crystal back to the surface and to burn the dark cloud out of the sky–allowing the light of the sun to join its sister moon in the powerful sky once again.

So this is what xander did, staying in the water kingdom with his brother–he sang his song stronger and stronger every day. He left the ocean just once more to bring the brilliant crystal to the toadstool castle. once there, its light and brilliance changed the song of the woodnymphs into a glorious choir whose song could not be contained. The dark cloud lifted and burned out of the sky above woldenvale.

Some evenings xander’s mother still wanders to the shore to hear the song of her two beautiful sons; the king of the sea lions and the hero of woldenvale. This brings joy to her heart and she sings her own song of peace walking back home in the light of the moon.

cc llama farmer 2007

photo credit for many of the nature photos goes to see site for these and many other amazing photos:)


is it the beatles or something i swallowed?

Just a little prose from my current blogtag challenge. thought i would post it here, until i am inspired with another topic…

Jansen Bright had always been interested in saving lives and the sea–including seafood, in that order. It didn’t surprise his mother when he joined the coast guard instead of going to college and was still the youngest man on his crew. For his youth and puppy like willingess to “go overboard” to do a job right, jan endured frequent verbal rib poking and practical jokes. Rather than going ballistic and ending up on some criminal science survey course list for “must study serial-killer psyches”, he would blow off steam crabbing in the early mornings to keep his head clear and bring in some extra money.

The bright family had always lived quite an austere existence and jan had not learned extravagant needs, the money he earned was tucked away quietly for a rainy day. The best opportunity crabbing did afford him was time to think and become quiet for a few moments each day. Not a luxury he found among his shipmatesin the guard , jan came to love the silent moments on the water, whalewatching and crabbing, as much as he loved the adrenaline rush of jumping into the drink to pull a waterlogged survivor to safety. Now reflecting on the silence around him, jan realized both the silence and the chaos in the water represented his fondest memories of love—remembering his deepest connections had come from time spent at the shore or sailing with his family. His spirit soared when he was allowed to express his inner nature while on the sea, in whichever outlet it took. In certain moments he realized when he expressed, what his girlfriends had always classed his– “chewy center” through these labors of love, he was at his most joyful.

As he looked around him at the floating sea kelp and distant reef–out of the corner of his eye, jan thought he glimpsed his father coming in his direction. Long since gone from this world, it didn’t seem possible and the image faded as quickly as it had arisen. A whisper rippled through the water reminding him of how much he worshiped his father. Never having been very close, jan had always fought to earn the approval of his dad and had chosen a path that mirrored that of this man he admired so keenly. The “ghost” of his father quickly changed into a memory—one of his very few from childhood that didn’t include the sea—watching his parents swirl about the living room to the notes of yellow submarine. Typically his father would be dressed in a crisp, clean uniform and his mother just returned from the beauty parlor with a new up-do with some sort of waltz in the background, but on that far-distant day they sensually and almost casually circled each other in grubby jeans and t-shirts after a hard weekend day of clean-up and chores; the looks passing between them obviously the secret language of love that jan sought to decipher his entire adult life.

For a moment jan wondered what part of what he was seeing was real; the dancing parents or the breaking waves? He had spent countless hours gazing out at the sea already in his lifetime; watching whales pass by with their young ushering them to safety through treacherous waters, considering the migratory patterns of the waterfowl that appeared during high season each year, and imagining himself as a part of that amazing journey. Now jan’s eyes blinked back tears—if that was possible underwater—as he realized his imaginary life had finally returned to encompass his real life. As the storm raged overhead and finally bested his youthful strength, jan let go and took the water into his lungs. With his final, saturated breaths, jan recognized his father as he beheld him approaching through the water. How fitting to see him again here, in this lyrical, underwater garden where the arm of the starfish is magically re-grown and the eight-arms of the octopus, like the powerful, weaving legs of the spider; reach out to offer another life-giving safety net. As jan sank into unconsciousness his thoughts turned to regrets of moments in his own brief life that had not yet been lived; it wasn’t until much later, sprawled out on the deck of the search and rescue boat and coughing up saltwater, that jan felt he had finally opened his spirit just enough to realize he had always had the approval of his father, and his underwater apparition had been the liminal, lifesaving moment of the recognition and embrace of that love.

this may be considered TMI, but i am impatient for perfection

o.k., for the past 24 hours i have been laid completely flat by the most fire-breathing dragon of a bladder infection known to man. i share this, not in an effort to gross anyone out, but the details become important to understand the frame of mind.

when you never went to sleep the night before because not only do you have to pee so badly you think there is no way you can hold it, and then when you try-every 3-excruciatingly, ant-like(both in pace of movement and pain of entire anthill’s worth of them climbing up inside your urethra) minutes, it feels like shards of glass are exiting from your body–coping skills, including a sense of what is real and what is not start to loose any grip whatsoever on your brain–

that is a time when vulnerability stretches to an all-time high…around about 4:30 in the morning i began thinking of people that i could actually wake-up at such an hour, or that might already be up, or that wouldn’t hate me because of their lost sleep. then i added insult to injury and began thinking about why i was all alone and i couldn’t just lean over to wake somebody up to-at the very least run me a hot bath.

now i’ve had a little distance from those thoughts and a modicum of sleep…ahh, perspective. what does this “chance” for reflection give me? first i thought of what the hell does a bladder infection represent emotionally? am i not seriously, like, the most-fucking willing to deal with my emotions person that i know? do i not wear my heart on my sleeve with the best of them? what the hell is my body trying to tell me that i don’t already delve into on a daily basis? and in the only tone that seems appropriate–that of chandler from friends–could i seriously be any more self-actualized and mature than i already am?

i guess the answer is no… no matter how aware, self-actualized, perfect, amazing and delightful a gal i think i am, it’s all bullshit. this whole mask i adopt that somehow assuages my inner demons, does not dispatch them when i sit on the toilet all night long in agony–the demons reappear. someone asked me today…”do i believe that fear and shame based motivation are temporary and why?” my first answer was a resounding yes, totally temporary and possible to expunge the pain of fear and shame as a belief system. then i went into an internal review and questioned my own smug self…if i thought these beliefs were temporary, and then when i experienced my own crisis i returned to fear myself…just how temporary were they?

i don’t have the answer, not even close, but i do have this…i never felt depressed or pitiful–and still don’t, even as i share such a sad and pitiable story. i did feel grateful that i could draw my own warm bath, and that i had 4 or 5 people that i felt o.k. about waking up by 6:00 a.m., that at least that many people mobilized the next morning to help me get better immediately. and with perspective, i feel a tiny bit grateful that i have this amazing body that sends me an immediate wake-up call, or bullshit detector when i get too immersed in my own bullshit. it happily tells me that i am somehow not buying into to what fears are feeling real to me at the moment and that there is a part of me that is asking to be heard and nurtured, not ignored and toughed out.

i am impatient for perfection, but in the meantime i certainly don’t want to be jesus christ, nor perfection personified on earth; and living this life sometimes punctuated with pain reminds me how mud-lusciously delicious the living can get.