Saturday, July 31, 2010

What is Love?

What is Love?

Love. What is love to me today? Am I in love with the idea of love? Do I relish in those early moments, of being on the brink—of lightness and dazzlement and suspending that moment with a locked gaze?

What is love to me today? What does it represent? I have a newfound independence and I have turned the page, have been gradually letting the pages fall back, have made my intentions clear to the universe, that I invite the type of union with a partner that is right for me where I am now and I know I have blessings—I feel it—a good sending off into this adventure should it be meant to be in this life. Today, I felt ready and I walked to the store that I sensed would have what I was looking for. I chose three to look at, all handmade of wood from Indonesia. The one I chose: Two lovers entwined, as one, side by side. Her breasts lay bare, her hand up and around to reach the back of her lover’s neck. Rather than face each other, they are side by side, they are individuals and they are one. I felt a certain feeling of the wind inside of me as I left the store, hair thrown back by the breeze, sun beaming brightly upon me, as I walked with a gait of happiness.

Currently, in Feng Shui terms, the relationship corner of my room has lone images of a dreamy woman, books, a corkboard of wisdom and images collected through the years. After first lighting incense in the stillness, I placed the loving couple here upon the shelf, as an additional intention to invite love. It represents for me a love that is free and conducive to love, exploration, freedom, depth, understanding, openness, learning—the list could go on, does go on. This feels good and strange. I’ve never stated my intention in quite this way—aloud yes—but I seal it here in my newfound lovers and my words. I kiss it to the wind and carry on.


Mostly recorded in my notebook yesterday.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Tomorrow is National Dance Day!

I have been watching, “So you think you can dance.” I love watching the dancers tell stories with their movements and I’ve grown to admire certain choreographers and the way they are able to make me feel. There were at least a handful of routines this season that made me cry at the emotion and beauty displayed by the performers.

As most of you know, my mother had me ice skating from a very young age, she also had me concurrently do ballet and gymnastics. I think, however, that I was meant to be a free form dancer. When no one was home, I would crank up the music and dance my heart out, running through the house, doing jumps and leaps—I still do this every now and then and am trying to do it more often. One of my favorite pieces to dance to is “Jingo” by Santana.

I didn’t know what I was doing. I just loved how I felt, how free my body was, how I felt something deep in my core. And a memory just now leaps out at me. I was a little girl, maybe 8. I was happy and outside in our front yard on the grass, practicing back flips. I would lean back and flip my body over. Cars would pass and yell out encouragement to me. As I’ve also written before, I sometimes wonder where this little performer went. Who was that little girl without any fears or cares, right out so everyone could see her? I still dance in my own private space, and having watched “So you think you can dance,” has added a new perspective. It’s such good fun and so much more. It’s like writing with your body—and I think this thought has Keiko in it because she studied dance and she knows about body poetry. But just right now, it all sort of comes together for me. I love these little spurts of inspiration and connection.

Tomorrow is National Dance Day, so dance your hearts out. Here’s a fun little video clip to get you going.,0,1224542.story

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Growth is a difficult process. The layers of a shell become polished along the way. Some layers, no longer needed, but so familiar they are clung too, tugged on. To step into the light of the ensuing layers or stay in the comfort of the incessant womb of safety. To realize with wide open eyes that the layers have been climbed, that the old is no longer needed to survive. To come into one’s own is a feeling indescribable, except to see a woman—this familiar woman that appears from time to time—a woman in white and the pink of shell, standing at the crown of the large conch shell, holding another conch shell to her lips and blowing the resonance into the world, into herself. She puts the shell down and realizes that she has arrived, that there is still work to do, but it is time to take the comforts of her flowing gown off, and step out naked, to go to the edge and jump into the ocean where she belongs and to know that she will not sink because she is of the elements, and they will pull her along, keep her afloat as she surrenders to the moment of layering, of being reborn and she knows that she will visit this space again and again, for she feels it in her bones and it fills her with...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mother Earth

This is a photo of the lake at a reservoir.

Mother Earth has brought a very different summer this year. Here we are in July, where it would usually bring many more warm mornings and nights. We’ve certainly had a few blaring hot days, but not enough. The change is enough and felt in different parts; I feel that things are changing. We seem to be reaching capacity, too much weight for Mother Earth to handle. She can handle it, yes, but is she trying to warn us, teach us, snap us into a better direction? Will the masses listen or continue on the path they are on? I feel the heaviness of something.

And the other day, when I bumped into the landlord who lives on the other side of the creek, I was astonished to learn that whoever was clearing out the house of the neighbors who had moved, took a glass counter top and threw it into the creek behind his home and crushed the glass into slivers probably with their feet. The landlord discovered this on one of his walks when he makes sure brush is trimmed down and such. The deer cross the creek, as well as other critters. But can you imagine the absolute disregard for nature and the people that live around it. It is unbelievable to me that someone would do such a thing. I pray that people that do these types of unmindful acts wake up and find it in their hearts to realize they are a part of it and they are destroying the earth and themselves.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Water ~ Isla Mujeres

Posted in Memory of my late beloved on my day of birth.

My heart thumps loudly in my chest as I ready to post this poem written a time ago as a capsule of our trip.

Even though, I feel fire inside, at my essence, I am pure water.


Isla Mujeres (Island of Women)

Our first trip
to the pristine ocean;
the turquoise pools
of the Caribbean sea.
Engulfed comfort
beneath the shell of
Isla Mujeres.

A twenty minute jaunt
transported from the twirl of Cancun.
We sail across clear waves,
absorbed by the reflection of
the sun, soothing invigoration--
in your eyes too.
Time slows, unblurs
to a quaint island.

Little stores, restaurants,
together along the main,
left and right
strung into colorful spring
We explore the island passageways,
past narrow streets.
The vendors
display hand-made goods:
woven blankets,
brightly painted paper mache masks,
sombreros, trinkets.
A cheerful array of colors
behind humble eyes.

Winding back to the main,
The fisherman unload
fresh caught fish from their boats,
invite a pause to our day.
Dinner by the sea. Seated
outside, under a grass like hut,
we wait at make-shift tables,
candles lit; aroma of sizzling fish
fills the air, salty and fresh.

A mariachi trio
sings and strums in
the background.
As I listen, I think of my ancestors;
I look across at you, our eyes meet,
you place your hand on mine, the breeze
sways my hair, sky begins to change its mood
Looking out across the dark ocean,
my mind glides
across shimmering waves;
I sing.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Translucence and contours of blood red, corn blue,
green sea foam; ylang-ylang wafting;
life organs within translucence.
Strength contained
within innocence.

Three beings on their own, yet
connected, each a floating
bubble of honey.

Stars, moon, universe—
a protective midnight seal,
joined to the orange fire sky.

And as she looks, gazes—there is still more…


Inspired from Aleister Crowley Thoth Tarot Deck ~ XX Trumps: The Aeon

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday ~ Song

Rebb took this photo on one of her walks. She is so happy she turned back around and took her camera out. She almost passed by. It was breezy, but luckily, the camera compensated for any shake.

I put together a compilation of random songs a couple of years ago, which I’ve recently enjoyed listening to daily, along with an assortment of other CDs. It has a mish-mash of songs that don’t go seem to go together, except in the unique moods and emotions they evoke, as each track plays.

At work I listen only to classical. It helps me stay focused and grounded. At home, I begin my mornings with classical and make my way around. With this compilation, it brings my energy up. It makes me want to get up and dance to high-energy, techno-house, soul, reggae, Santana, Pink—and in between it all, I’ve placed this well known beautiful piece—Time to Say Goodbye. It causes me to pause, to stop. I sway, move in a very different way than the songs before or the songs after. And here watching Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman, it fills me with so much.

It seems the perfect song for this Sunday, as the week comes to a close…

Friday, July 16, 2010

Crayons and Pastels

Yesterday I indulged my child within.

It began on Wednesday when I decided to take BART to work. I had my camera with me the two previous days, but today, I did not. I was looking out the window at the familiar surroundings as they passed by, and I saw two trees and something below them, a border of some sort—the image in total was a face looking back and smiling at me. I hadn’t remembered it this way on the countless rides I’ve taken. Even if I had my camera, I wouldn’t have had time to unpack it. I reached for my notebook to jot down the image that I saw. Goodness me, I had changed bags and forgot to put a pen or pencil in the new one. Instead I kept revisualizing the image as I rode along, so that when I arrived at work, I would quickly pencil it on a post-it note page and attach it to my little notebook.

The sketch here was my attempt at capturing what I saw and then it shaped itself into what you see here. I have used the new pastels and new crayons, but mostly it’s done in pastels.

I had also been thinking of Crayola crayons this week. They have a distinct scent—like candle wax that has been dipped in the rainbow—and the sound, the sound of crayons when their home is a plastic or cardboard box, that wonderful sound of fishing through the box, wax pebbles shifting against each other, in search of the right color.

All of this scoops me back to my childhood and an image that I had forgotten appears—my grandparents, and how I would ask them to color in my coloring book. When I looked at the finished product, I was taken aback with how they mixed the colors by putting complementary colors side by side and other colors that I wouldn’t think to put together. They seemed to color three-dimensionally and made the pages come alive.

Back at work and time for a break. I walk the blocks, opening myself to the hot day, glancing at the usual stores and boutiques, and then I see a new store—a toy store! I wait for the cars to pass and run across and enter. Immediately I see that they carry many classic items, such as magic trick kits, Silly Putty, robots made from tin—and of course regular toys, but I’m interested in the little novelty items. My attention is draw to a prism where you can hold it to the sun and see how light bends. I walk to where they have art type supplies. I don’t need supplies, but I can’t help myself. They have a small container of pastels in a plastic holder that snaps shut and a box of erasable crayons. I don’t care that they are erasable, but I like the look of them, they are tall and slender with no paper—exposed; and you can see from the picture on the box, they have a different texture on the paper. I have my Crayola crayons at home, but I still entertain buying this box.

I took my items up to the counter: Small container of 12 oil pastels (that I also don’t need); set of 15 erasable crayons—both by Faber-Castell, which on the package says they’ve been around since 1761—that’s a long time; refracting prism; silly putty; and a small object that you can twist into a ball and then into a circle that looks like a flower. For now, I put this twisty toy on the counter at work to indulge the child within the boss.

At the store counter, they had countless other odds and ends, loads of Japanese erasers, which caught my fancy, but I had to restrain myself. I actually used to love collecting erasers when I was a child. I remember the smell of them too, as I write this. Ahh…memories. Scents and memories.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Video: Stroke of Insight

In case you have not come across this video presentation I wanted to post it because it ties in with Vincent's blog, "The Visionary Eye." I learned about this video from my speech course. I don't want to say anything about it, so that you can see it fresh. It's almost 20 minutes, but well worth it.

p.s. Vincent, if you see this post, I love your recent blog that made me post the link to this video here. I wasn't sure if it would be ok for me to post it on your blog, and I'm still digesting your blog. Great discussion going on at "The Visionary Eye."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Kangaroo Paw & Crow

I've always loved taking photos. In fact, when I was pondering this yesterday, I remembered living across the street from a shopping center that had a photo developing shop. They knew me well and they had one-hour service. I would be in the store often, eager to view my photos, ripping the package open right away. I even remembered a little house type structure in the same shopping center--a one person booth--where you would drive up, drop off your roll of film for processing, take your ticket, and come back in a few days.

I was late in buying my first digital camera. I believe it was 2007. This morning as I look through many nature related photos to post, I decided I would have to come back to that group later because I found many to choose from. I kept remembering others I had taken that are in different folders. It becomes a challenge to organize the photos. I liked keeping them the way they would come back from a developer, by the date they were taken, rather than sorting them into similar categories. But I do occasionally make copies of a batch that I'd like to post and then create a new folder.

One day I'd like to take a photography course, but for now, I think I'll just keep snapping away and trying to practice good composition skills that I try to learn through looking at photography books for ideas and observing the work of my fellow photographers here.

It's wonderful to see something: A person, the sky, a creature--anything that begs to be recorded at that moment in time in the form of a photograph. Yes, sometimes words are the best medium. So many choices for expression and that's another thing I love--the possibilities, choices and especially combining the different mediums.

For today, I choose two from the same day: A crow in flight and a closeup of a kangaroo paw plant. Before this day, I had only seen kangaroo paw plants in the flower shop, never in its natural environment. The way the sun lit this flower up on this day mesmerized me.

And Crow, well, as you may know by know, Crow is a kindred spirit. I watched him with camera in hand and was happy that I was ready to catch him in action. If I had an SLR camera, the image would probably be sharper, but for now, this captures his movement and grace.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Blue Day

For some reason I feel blue this morning. I feel like a piece of charcoal that could crumble away and leave only remnants of ash. I’m hesitant to talk about my mood, but I have to acknowledge all of my moods, the positive and the negative.

Today: Seven and thirteen, two of my favorite numbers, and yet it’s a blue day. How can that be so? Is it the overcast sky that I’m greeted with this morning when it’s supposed to be summertime— and what I expect of summer mornings?

I usually go with the flow, but today, I feel myself pushing against it. I feel like a moody child this morning. I know it will pass, but in this present moment this is how I feel.

I feel a river inside of me, bubbling, wet—pain, sadness, slight emptiness. Life. That’s how it goes—from one exciting moment to another that foams out into a cascade of rain on this blue summer day.

Even the sparrows aren’t singing this morning.


I hear one. Thank you, dear sparrow…

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Incense Holder

I opened my little wicker basket that holds an incense holder and incense and other trinkets with different memories. Mostly the lid to this basket stays closed. But I have decided to open it. Keiko brought me back to it through her blog.

Yesterday I began reading an incense book. It's not long, but it has also gotten me to begin thinking more about how important scent has been in my life and how important it has been to other cultures. I am not finished with the book and am still waiting for a few more books to arrive that will further inspire and teach me.

Today, I was was in deep cleaning mode and started removing clutter that I have been collecting. I moved all the stacks of books that lined my bed and I was able to dance! There is not a lot of free space in my studio, so I am slowly trying to re- imagine my space.

I was inspired to pull my incense burner out and burn a stick of sandalwood in the spirit of new beginnings. It didn't burn strong and it was subtle. The incense is made in India as well as the metal candle plate that the burner is resting on.

This burner belonged to either my brother or my mother, but I don't know which one. Somehow I claimed it, and no one seemed to miss it. I flipped it over today and learned that it is actually made in Japan.

The little red face reminds me of a fox when I look closely at it. I'm not exactly sure what it is though.

I'm so happy that I still have this incense holder. It holds a special memory for me, not only because I used it a great deal long ago, but because I had forgotten that it has a connection to my family home, almost as though it was handed down to me. It looks worn and has a little chip on the lid. It must have fallen.

After today, I may put the incense holder back and try to find a new one, that way I won't have to worry about wear and tear on this one.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Five Years From Now

I remember dating a particular guy in my early twenties. I believe he was at least ten years older. He had plans. He was planted firmly. He had a good story about how he paved his path to being a self-employed person in his trade. I was just a play thing, and it was quite short lived. What did I know? We went on a hike one day, found a spot to sit and take in our surroundings, to talk. He asked me one of the questions that I dreaded: “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Gulp. Giggles from me. “I don’t know” I said.

I think I pretty much knew at that point, that this relationship was done—if one can even call it a relationship.

It’s about 17 years later—almost, and when this question was posed to me recently, I didn’t feel dread, exactly, but I still didn’t have an answer like most people do. My reply was that I would probably still be taking classes, fueling my passion for learning. I know that I can learn on my own, and I try to do a fare amount of that, but there is something about the structure of a classroom, whether online or face-to-face, that I need, that I desire.

For my next adventure, I will be taking two courses in the Fall. I had enrolled in these courses at the same time I enrolled in the Summer speech course. I was actually going to take a Latin American literature course, but the instructor changed, and I figured I could take that later. My final decision was: Career and Life Planning and Beginning Film and TV Script Writing. I always love taking any type of English or writing courses and it had never occurred to me to take a script writing course at the community college. I said, “What the hell.” It’s an area that I have not explored in detail and one where I feel the structure would be beneficial, and I feel that I sometimes view the world through a lens of sorts.

I emailed the instructor with a concern of whether this was a good fit for me. His reply put me at ease. He provided me with a syllabus and this is how he closed his email to me, “If you like to create characters and get them into trouble and see how they work their problems out you should enjoy the process… At its best it is poetry.” I felt my juices fire up. Also I realized that inspiration came from, some time ago, reading and viewing Red Room author, writer, scriptwriter, and filmmaker, Abdelwahab Hammoudi’s blog. Seeds are everywhere and one never knows when they will circle back or begin sprouting.

I told myself that I will go in with an “empty cup” and I will try not to have expectations, but enjoy the journey of both courses. I have done a fair amount of processing what I want to do with my life and how can I bring my passions together. Apparently, I’m still working on it. I recently started re-reading, “How to Find the Work you Love” by Laurence G. Boldt, just as an appetizer. I feel like where I’m at right now, my mind is more receptive and maybe even a little more prepared to surrender. I know that I love creativity and life and people. I also know that I still need to develop my self-confidence, so with that, the journey continues. I would feel empty without learning, processing, sharing, creating. I feel that I’m in a continuous state of flux and that I am always at the crossroads. I suppose that’s not such a bad place to be.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Reflecting on Reflecting

This is a photo I took on a different day, but I thought I would add it here.

I loved the part of speech class when the instructor had us take an hour, to go find a spot, and sit by ourselves and answer some “big questions:” Who am I, why am I here, etc. By nature I am reflective, but it’s been a while since I’ve sat with and written my responses to these specific questions that he provided to us. I also like that he had us think about and write about our values. He had us think of favorite characters in movies and/or books, and again to see what values we admired in these characters. It really provided a new way to help guide me on “why am I here.” It actually makes a lot of sense to me in a different way. I knew some of the characters I liked from the past, but now I have a better sense of how they represent what I value in a new way.

Two of the eleven questions:

Who am I? On this day, June 30, 2010, I am in a constant state of self-discovery. I am whole, but I am also a sum of my experiences, past, present, future. I find myself in nature and through my words, through sharing and connecting and remembering.

During the past year, what has my life stood for? During the past year, my life has stood for appreciating the fragility and wonder of life. Not a day goes by that I am not in awe of some aspect of nature and my connection to her. I sit now beneath this great tree, on this grass with leaves and twigs and earth; I look up to the sun as it shines light on the leaves and the wind brushes against my whole being. I feel calm, grounded, quieted, humbled. And then…a little bird flies circles around me and I follow him with my eyes and turn my head and follow, round and round and round and round... He makes me dizzy with love and happiness, and I laugh aloud to myself, to the little bird, and the tree.

The beauty is we can come back to these questions at different points in our lives.


One note. When the instructor asked a couple of students that arrived back early from reflecting what they thought about the exercise, one girl did not like it at all, and I don’t think she wrote responses to the questions. I felt bad for her because she almost looked terrified. She was clearly not in a space to open up to these questions. As I had noted before, many of the students were younger, anywhere between 19 to 25. For some, this was second nature and for others it was their first time doing something like this.

I took this photo at a park. This is a type of Manzanita.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Final Reflection on Last Speech

Selecting a Topic

It was challenging for me to come up with a final persuasive topic that I felt passionate about. By nature, I don’t know that I’m a persuader, at least not in a direct way. Mindfulness as a practice was at the forefront of my mind and that is what I submitted as my topic. As we spoke more as a class about the elements of persuasion, I started feeling like I needed to change my topic and the instructor said that was fine. I needed a topic that was tangible—accessible to my audience. Stress jumped into my mind, my mom, me, humans. Yes, stress would be my point of entry.

I decided that I would use Monroe’s Motivational Sequence as my organizational structure: I would have an attention step, present my need and evidence, provide a satisfaction step and incorporate the visualization step, and finally an action step. I would persuade my audience that prolonged chronic stress (distress) is detrimental to our health and our lives. I had 6 to 8 minutes to work with, which isn’t a whole lot of time, so I had to really pinpoint what I would say and how I would make it stick. I did use PowerPoint for this presentation (my first time actually using it). My presentation was simple. I included an introductory slide of two very stressed out people; the next slide was a facts slide; followed by a relaxation ~ stress management techniques slide. I followed this slide up with a 2.48 minute animated meditation YouTube video. It felt appropriate for my audience and the video was done very nicely, I thought. I invited the audience to try to just be, but to also be aware of their bodies and their breath. I heard some laughter because it’s the type of video that is light and serious and, I feel, really does a great job of portraying the process. At the end, I said that the great thing about our breath is that it is accessible to us anywhere, while doing anything, as a way to bring us back to center and to calm us down, and I pointed out how many of us had already done this during some of our speeches—and that all the better if we include this as a practice. My final message was really for them to care for themselves and to try to find relaxation techniques that work for them and to incorporate these into their daily lives.

What made my day the following day was when I struck up a conversation with a sort-of shy and reserved classmate. I asked her if she was ready for her presentation. She was nervous. I told her she would do fine. Breathe. She then said, she really appreciated the handout I provided at the end of my presentation on “belly breathing.” Again an accessible way to bring diaphragmatic breathing to the audience because of how it was presented from the book, Stress Free for Good: 10 Scientifically Proven Life Skills for Health and Happiness. She said her whole family experienced a lot of stress and she made copies for all of them and for friends. And then another classmate on the last day said she enjoyed my presentation and did some “belly breathing” before her presentation.


I spent a lot of time preparing to ease the nerves that I felt. I felt like quitting. I was practicing my stress management techniques. In order to get into the connection I had with the topic, I knew I had to make a reference to my mother, but not make it too long that I would go over the allotted time. When I read aloud at home, I started crying. Great, I thought, I might not be able to include this part. If I cut it, it would make the topic feel dry, without passion. I cut what I would say down to three sentences, which I penciled onto my note card, so it was a last minute decision that I could choose to present or not, depending on how I felt up there. I practiced aloud so many times, no tears. I could do it. It was going to work out.

Presentation Day

I put my name on the board to be the 5th presenter. We watched several great presentations. While the presenter before me received feedback, I went up to setup my laptop, plugging it into the audio/visual cable. I was all set to go, but then the instructor decided we would take a 15 minutes break.

Ready with my PowerPoint, note cards in hand, I began reading, as I looked out to the audience. When I reached my last sentence before I stated the sentences about my mother, I took a long pause. I was choking up. I began crying without tears. I took a few good deep breaths and continued with a strained voice. I almost thought I would have to sit down, but I pushed on. When I got my last sentence out, my next note card was on facts. I was able to regain my composure somewhat and I pushed my voice. The next note card was my own words, not about my mother, but the emotion came back because I was in those words. I brought my hand to my belly and breathed, so that I could get the last bit out, but again strained. Next slide: Techniques. Ah, relief. A steady voice, a comfortable voice and the image beside the bullet points—calm water and rocks. This led into my video, which was a wonderful pause. For my closing, the emotion flooded back and I couldn’t stretch my voice as loud as I would have liked, and I barely got those last words out. A huge sigh of relief. It was done. I had done the best that I could and had no idea that I would be up there allowing my emotions to take over—but allowing was not even an option. It was beyond my control. Ironically, I didn’t feel embarrassed, like I might have in the past. It felt alright. The instructor pointed out to all of us that it was because off all of them, creating such a safe environment, that I was comfortable enough to share this personal story.

This was one of the most challenging and amazing courses I have taken. I was inspired and touched by the instructor and every single person in that classroom. It was almost sad to see the class come to a close when we all shared so much with each other, but now I know that I am indeed coming out of my shell in bits and pieces, first with my words on the page, and now I’ve proven to myself that I can push myself to go beyond that. This was just a small step. I’m getting more comfortable sharing parts of me in conversation, which is good, since as I’ve written before, most of my life I’ve been a closed book. I’ve heard too many little comments from bosses and teachers, that now I need to listen—that I do have something to share. It’s not easy shedding old ‘scripts.’ It’s not easy developing self-esteem and acknowledging our own strengths, but this is the road I am on—the road of self-esteem and self-acknowledgment, no more negative self-talk. I hope to keep moving forward and keep being brave when it’s comfortable. I feel wonderful and alive.

Thank you again to all of you for your support, encouragement, and good vibes.