Saturday, February 28, 2009

When we first start studying in budo, things seem like magic. 
Later, the magic seems like science. Tested, memorized, titrated and experimented with. 

Naive in a deeper world, at first we can be taken advantage of, by those who would withhold the fine mechanics of simple ergophysics.

They will tell you that success in budo, has something to do with energy, instead of a fine mix of human psychology, ergonomics and physics. 

Arthur C Clarke stated in a set of two corollaries, that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. I will state the second corollary shortly.

One of my teachers, a hard-bitten fellow generally passed over for promotion, unless it served someone else, taught me a couple of important things. 

The first was, that he couldn't teach me everything about the arts. Neither could anyone else.  He told me that I had to learn to steal. 
I took to this like a fox takes to stealing chickens. 
I learned to feed myself. 
I don't expect to be spoon fed, I will fight and hunt for what I need, not just to get by, but to feed my family. I will wait and watch, for opportunity. 
I am an information scavenger, always hungry for more. 

The second was, to always tag the biggest dog in the pack, to learn from. He told me, walk up to the best person in the room and bow in. 
I've done that. To dizzying effect, at times. 

I learned to be fearless. I learned to walk into my fear, and look behind me (nothing will be there).  I try not to look behind myself too much. It gets boring. It's still my behind. 

Once the boundaries of learning and fear were lifted, I began to learn to learn. 
Once I learned to learn a little, I had to learn to teach. Technique? who the hell has time for technique? I'm trying to teach people to stand up and sit down!
Once we get that down, maybe we can get to some budo. 

Now, we come to the second corollary. 
Any sufficiently advanced magic, will be indistinguishable from science. 

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I am writing in direct response to Brian Burrough's recent article in the Washington Post. 

Honestly, I enjoyed the article, and nodded as I read it, but something inside me, began to fester and rankle. 

I started to get really, really mad. 
I couldn't stand it any more, after a decade of apologizing all over the Western Hemisphere as my husband and I served the US Army in Germany. 

I got into some specialized training in Munich, DE where I was the only American, and it became an ordeal I learned to preface with "Yes, I am an American, from Texas. And Mr. Bush is not. Buy me a drink, if you want the explanation". 

I lived with that for six excruciating years. 
I've had enough. 

This is a tick that's been in me since Bush took office as the Governor of Texas, and it's time I tore it out, torched it, and smashed its worthless carapace into the firepit. 

I'm at least a 4th-generation Texan. My great-grandfather on my mother's side, was a pharmacist and hobby carpenter (a fine German occupation) in Amarillo. That side of the family still curses in German to this day, though we don't know how they got here. Escapees from the World Wars didn't always have a choice about where they ended up. Let's face it, that's America. We are the best, and the worst, of the rest of the world. If you aren't Native American, you have nothing to say about that. If you are, I'm listening. 

My father's family came down from Indiana, three generations back, Clara Shaw married one John Dolan and was written out of the Shelby County, IN annals for marrying a dreadful Irishman. I know, I was there looking for any trace. I found quite a lot about Charles Major and his wife Alice Shaw Major, my great (3) aunt who sent postcards to twin boys in Jacksonville, Texas.. one of whom was my own father. He tells me, I must have inherited her wanderlust, despite our lack of blood relation. He does. You can ask him. 

One of the Dolans lost an infant to an Indian raid. You can find Pat Dolan at the Ranger Museum in Fort Worth. 

Now that I have established my credentials as a Texan, maybe ya'll'll listen to me for a minute. 

I was born, as in I physically came out of my momma, in Austin, TX, in the old St David's before 1970.  The rule is, in Texas, if you don't come out of your momma in Texas, you are an immigrant.
Immigrants who get this, conform and admit to it, can become honorary Texans. 
Those who do not, are liars. 

In old Texas code, the only thing lower than a liar is a rattlesnake. Poisonous, dangerous, and shot on sight. 

Too bad we forgot that, when GW showed up. Born in Connecticut. Moved to Midland age 3.

I'm not sure who got hornswoggled & hoodwinked, or who stood to make money out of the deal of making this delinquent, brainless, black-thumb nothing into something profitable. I am sure that dragging over broken glass,  behind horses recently fed laxatives, is probably too good for them. 

No one overcame more obstacles than the early Texans. Have you ever read about the Karankawa? These were the aborigines of the Texas coast. They lived in a coat of alligator fat, to turn the ravenous mosquitoes and sand flies (they bite through DEET like it was salsa fresca) they ate anything and anyone presenting themselves in an edible way. They carried clubs armed with barbed alligator teeth. I don't think anyone now living, understands how hard it was, to be a Texan, back before air conditioning.  If they do, I want desperately to hear their stories. 
My mom is visiting next week, and I hope to get some "footage". 

The Apache & Comanche roamed central Texas when the tallgrass prairie still stood.  Immigrants did bloody battle with these fierce, beautiful peoples, and proceeded to run beef cattle where the bison (buffalo) once roamed, eventually decimating all three populations. 

Then, the newcomers wondered, where all the nice grass and topsoil went to, as we paid our first debt as a nation in the form of the Depression. 
The Depression never left the poorer areas of Texas. My parents were fixers, hoarders and repairers and inventors of almost everything. I grew up between the late 60-s early 80-s, and I was always far more "handy" than most of my peers, depending on economic echelon.  I taught my ex-husband how to replace a master cylinder on a 66 Chevy pickup, and drive a stick shift. 

Now, here I am, daughter of the Depression, looking the consequences of GW Bush in the face. 

The principles of Texas were never the principles he espoused. He wasn't raised here, he didn't get it. The "cowboy mentality" he fronted was just idiocy. Real cowboys understand their neighborhood, have a deep foundation of integrity, take care of strays and mavericks, and will stay up all night with a sick calf. GW didn't have the balls, or the guts, to do any of that. Nor did he even have the heart or brains to figure out why, all that he was doing was wrong. 

No cowboy, just does what he's told. 

We think for ourselves, we are REAL mavericks. We find freedom, where others only find fences. This tendency can go both ways, but the tendency to break rules unseen, remains the same. Breaking rules people tell you to break, DOES NOT COUNT. You have to come up with it yourself. As I am doing here.

 Nobody told me to do this. Lots of people would tell me Not To. I would moon them. At least. 
At some point, you have to draw the line and find your own place of rebellion and resistance. I never did. I'm still rebelling, and resisting. It's not comfortable. It's not supposed to be. I like it here. I'm a Real Texan. I like resistance. I grew up with it. It's a natural state for me. 

GW hijacked it all, he made the "cowboy mentality" seem autocratic and narrow-minded. 
In fact, cowboys are highly socialist. They help each other out, and they are, frankly, all about the cows, their horses and each other. GW would have gotten shot, early on. 

Otherwise, no one survives. 
Nobody in this environment has anywhere they actually live.. so real estate isn't an issue. 
You wear what works, so fashion isn't really an issue, unless you are a highdolla bronc buster, and then you are suspect anyway. If you can't ride it, and you can't break it, you BBQ it. 

The bigger your belt buckle, the smaller the equipment under it. 
The bigger the cowboy hat, the fewer cattle look to it. 

These are the living facts of the Old Texan. We do a few things well: We ride, we shoot straight, and we tell the truth (original quote: Jeff Cooper). 

The rest of it don't matter. 

Mr Burroughs, I suggest you look a little further back than our beloved LBJ, next time you delve into the history of Texas. Sure, it's corrupt, but read your Bedicek, your O Henry and listen to Jim Hightower once in a while. That's the Real Texas. 

Let's forget that Bush pretended, BADLY, with his damned Nouveaux Ranch and his inept brush cutting, to prove that he ever had more to do with Texas than a bad bet, with bad reprisals, by his parents. Let's excise this rotten damn apple, this Connecticut Yankee infesting the Texas Court. 

Let's get back to being honest, basic, no-bullshit Texans. Let's go back to LBJ. His legislation was revolutionary and remarkable, but it wasn't what he, personally, wanted to do. 

It was what was good for his country. 
We may all want that pony for Christmas, but what the family may need, may be 40 acres and a mule, is what we actually work for. Then, when the fields are healthy again, we can get back to the pony. I grew up here. What we need, is, work, that brings us all forward. 

Until then, we need a lot of people with shovels, shears, rakes, wrenches, computer terminals and a whole helluva lotta gumption, and no limitations. Not in terms of stem cells, not on networking, not on any energy source efficient enough to get us out of petroleum slavery. 

Real Texans have the intellectual independence, to separate religious dogma from legislation. Furthermore, they would understand that population and health issues should come before any writs possibly no longer applicable after several thousand years. 

Our Founding Fathers separated Church and State, for a reason. 
That which is mandated by the Church, may or may not serve the State. Only the State, and its constituents, can make that decision, by voluntary declaration. 

That would be democracy, more or less. 
Listen to my old buddy Guy Forsyth, and Rise Up. 

Juanita, back to you, honey. 

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The cat hasn't mentioned being homesick. 

I'm sure she misses the heated bathroom floor, but she has no shortage of warm spots and willing laps. 

For us, it's more complex. We live in a small but quirky bedroom community for DC/Balto, and the town itself houses a bioscience center, which encourages a kind of cosmopolitan intellectual spin. At the same time, it's close enough to Appalachia to have an element of funk.
Houses date back to the 1800s, and sidewalks tend to be made of exceedingly wavy red brick. 

For me, once I left Texas, all bets were off. I was uprooted, and went through the pain of learning to shift my attachments and expectations. It was a sharp & painful learning curve, but now that I've got it, I'm fairly adaptable. 

I'm enjoying spending time with colleagues and making friends. I've never really been in this supportive an environment.

I'm wanting to put down roots, and see what sprouts. I'm not caring so much about where, just that I get to try it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

This post comes after the verse, so it's denoument any way I slice it. 

My fragmented psyche craves the order of budo training. I suppose people like me went into nunneries or such, to give space to their constant combination of intellectual/spiritual itch. 

Something about the complex simplicity of Japanese martial arts, gives me a place where my attention is completely full of what I am doing NOW. 

It probably coincides with my vocation of bodywork, where there isn't much room for daydreaming.  

It's not about me, or what I want. 
In fact, it needs an end of that cycle. 
If you truly train, you stop wanting individually.. you have to, it won't work otherwise. 

At some point, it happens that you realize that who you are, what you want and how you like to do things, are just in the way if you want to do this thing. 

Certainly who I am, where I've been, and the debts I incurred along the way in culture & physical injury, are the things I have to build on. 

In training, I am about the training. I am egotistical, I like to make jokes. Fortunately I am good enough at it to make all my teachers at least smile.

Once I have "bowed in" I am about the training. Only on rare occasions in the recent past, have I not been as present as I would like, in work or training. Fun is not excluded, we need to have fun to learn. 

I am mildly curious, when my bodywork teachers get the level of attention from me I give my budo teachers, and seem at least puzzled, or at most overwhelmed.  

If we don't have an ego, we have no reason to learn. 
If we can't get our ego out of the way, we will never learn anything new. 
We must navigate the ego.

I know I am in a good learning place, when who/what/why and my feelings about something are totally subsumed in the training process itself. 

There is no I, only the vacuum I have created, for what I want to know, to be, to do. 
Dressed-  soft blue cloth
clothes me
Quirks poking out of my dogi, rumpled & torn.

Bow in
Sensei ni rei
Shinsen ni rei..

Questions fade as 
the certainty of wood and steel prevails.

Who am I and
who are you-
Not so important.
What can we learn together-
We are training. 

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The earth starts to call me, when Spring starts to stir. 

We bought daylilies, berries and grapes today. 
Lavender waits in the kitchen windows. Rosemary languishes in a pot. 

Life is waiting, to spring into action. 

Meanwhile, I am learning to breathe deeper into life. 

Changes of this training are working their way into my bones, and I am flinging myself into transformation, as I do. 

There are times of chill, inconceivable terror and nausea.. and I waited it though, sweat running from me. Honestly, I don't know what it comes from. 

There are times when the dragon wants to lash out, and just trust me that I am sitting on her.. I never lash out as much as I want to. Perhaps that's the problem. 

Meanwhile all this navel-gazing gets pretty fucking boring. I need something to DO.

Spring is coming, the garden is calling me. The real world of earth, is so much more productive than the lint in my navel. Herbs for enjoyment, health and liveliness. Things to love & cultivate and grow, enjoy and participate in. 

Let us grow the grapes of optimism, energy and hope. 
Wrath has its place, but for wrath, the time is past. 

Spring is coming, the earth is fresh and hungry for life. I want to cultivate, to innovate, culture, nurture and adventure.  I want to collaborate, ferment and develop. I want to see things grow, I want to grow. 

"In creating, we are created"
(Marion Woodman)

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Two hands, 
four hands, 
six hands, good. 

My cg is sitting across the table from me, with the cat curled up contentedly on his arm. 
It makes his computer mousing difficult, but it makes the cat happy. 

He got some of the most intense work I've ever participated in, today.

He is very happy and calm, but then I just got him dinner at one of the better places in town (Isabella's)  for helping me schlep tables and junk back and forth to class. 

He had one of the better practicioners, a guy whose specialty is baseball players. 
Real sweet fellow, having more fun than he expected in class. It was he and I and another gentleman, doing some "air cranial" with us. 

My friend's reaction to working into the injuries and trauma in my lifemate's body was interesting.

Not just the regular injuries of childhood. 
Not just the regular insults of a lifetime. 
These are the injuries, of a soldier in combat, exacerbated by the system he signed up to serve. 

My colleague is shaking off the energy of the session, he is sweating, he is working like I've never seen this powerful, experienced Rolfer work. He's made a connection with this man I've spent the best years of my life with, and I'm a little lost at the effort he's enduring. 

I'm trying to hang with him, and supporting him, becomes more work than supporting my mate, who's just chillin' on the table. 

I was the one containing the energy of the session. 
I can do it. My emotional amplitude is immense. I have been told, that I am too intense for most situations. Perhaps my life prepared me. Intensity wasn't good news, but it was constant. 

This is the matrix I have been swimming in, this intense confluence of trauma and CNS arousal, which overwhelms most bodyworkers. 

He kept having to kick it off.. and I was just swimming in the confluence like a dumb happy carp. 

Ani DeFranco asks three simple things:
"Why me, why this now, why this way?

What kind of paradise, am I looking for?
I've got everything, that I wanted, still I want more.. "

The biggest thing is.. my cg is really walking around like he got Rolfed. 
He walked home from work. Took a tumble, rolled out of it in stride. 
Today, the soles of his feet hurt.. that was one of the weirdest things that happened to me, was that my feet changed a lot. I see it as a sign of change from the inside out. 
It doesn't look or smell like real pain, just change. 

And that's something hard to do, to such a resilient system. 

Pretty amazing. 
We got his Rolfer a baseball cap with the logo on it.. made the guy very happy. We were happy to see him happy.. and.. just happy. 

The hands of fate may not be my own. 
But then, they might be. 

Saturday, February 07, 2009

The last post is about the garden and the ground.
This one is about the future. 

I am being pushed into politics. I would rather teach, and I have said so. 
The basic dilemma is.. politics shapes what gets taught. 
The organization I am in, faces huge crises, with survival of everyone attached, at stake. 

Pluperfect means, what has happened in the future. 
Gegrundet means, that it's basic and grounded. 

I think SI folks have been whored out, that we have sold ourselves cheap. That we have sold our profession cheap. 

I don't have a problem with massage therapy. I was an MT for years, and I helped a lot of people no one else could have helped. 

But this wasn't because of what I was doing. 

It was because of who I was (I don't take no for an answer) and where I was (the Army, my husband had connections to get people's attention when they tried to ignore me) It was because I never quit, and I wouldn't go away. I never gave up. They didn't, in the end, have enough time NOT to deal with me. 
That's how I won the contract, the respect, the changes, the reputation. 
I was constant, I was consistent, I called in power and I called in favors, and I called in retribution. People lost big chunks of their underwear when they crossed me. 

I was stuck there, so they were stuck with me. 

It's not about being happy.  (but it is)

It's not about being easy. (but it is)

It's about clearing out every obstacle to happiness, and easiness. 

For everyone.

So, let's not worry so much about WHAT, and instead pay attention to HOW. 
Let's not pay so much attention to WHOM, instead paying attention to HOW.

Do you get my drift?

We have been a miserable failure in terms of objective evaluation. 
We need measurable standards, instead of evaluating everything on aesthetics and subjective NON-ANALYSIS.

What bugs you about that?
How can you measure it?

There's the beginning of your analysis. 

I used to train sometimes with a bluesman named Guy Forsyth. 

As my life slowly crumbled, down in Texas, I would go to his shows to just sit in my darkness and soak up the blues. I didn't realize how black the cloud was around me, until my own aikido teacher (who was part of this little experimental back yard dog training group) appeared in front of my out of the smog of Antone's, and asked if he could sit there. I was so glad to see a friendly face, and I was pretty close to this person.. despite all of our personal difficulties, we had a deep congruence. 
He sat there with me, another girl came over and I watched him flirt with her, and felt safe and, somehow, watched over. 

There, in the smoky dinge, I drank in the blues and understood my basic dilemma. 

I was not, where I belonged. 
I was not doing the work I am here to do. 
The purpose began to hammer at me back in 1995.. you must give up everything, to do what you want. 

I never had the slightest idea what that meant. 
I just started throwing things around. 

My original evolution, started when I put on Japanese pajamas and started trying to deal with the problem of conflict with another. 

Unbelievable, the myriad of problems which present themselves in this paradigm. 
Remember, the mantra never left me. "You must give up everything, to do what you want". 

So I started to look at what I wanted. 
And I did not understand. 

For four years, I did not understand. 
These years were dark and tangled, full of terrible optimism crushed, full of unrealized dreams, full of a house I helped build from concept to ground to nail, stone & glass, and walked away from. 

The possibilities of that house, still haunt me. 
The one I am in now, is much like it. It is also like our house from Germany, so it is appealing on multiple levels. The garden area is small, but I think I can wrangle extra from the garden-happy neighbor. I love the idea of a communal garden. 

I love the idea of going to earth, to find sustenance. It's just part of my nature. 
If the world were to end, I'd gather my things and go into the woods, to create a place of healing and sustenance. This is what I have seen people in this area do, and I am quietly waiting to find my place, once people know who I am, and what I do. 

I am still solving that riddle. 
I am still listening to the blues, to solve it. 

Thursday, February 05, 2009

There's a startling amount of growth involved in this training. 
It's not really about, or narrated by the training itself. 
It's about the things I was working all along, which have simply simmered to the top. 

It's a lot, for me, about that iron, light and fire I have kept so insecurely under the proverbial bushel basket. 

I'm working hard, on how I got told to keep it hid. 
My inner life has always been a realm apart from what I kept as "tate-mae" my outer gate/face. 

I've been contemplating the Buddhist tenet of making your "insides match your outsides" and it's increasingly clear, that mine do not. 

One of the most telling things I ever experienced, was my teacher telling me that I took tiny ladylike steps into kata, exploded into action and space, and returned to a kind of quiet primness. 

I remember my teenage years, feeling what I thought might be more than the usual internal violence, expressing it in award-winning artwork and poetry. I also pulled knives on ugly junior high/high school boys, and made some of them walk funny forever.  I carried a switchblade, and wore Fryes. They judged me as crazy, but I knew.. I just didn't care to play the games. 

Lack of respect/empathy is a disease.. the cure is more painful than what I dished out at the time, and I wonder, if I had cranked it up, if I could have made a difference. 

The outside is accommodating, silly, solicitous, almost submissive. 
The inside is uncompromising, steely, principled and bloody-minded. 

I run into a lot of extra work, slamming people who think they can railroad the blonde. One outer aspect is, that I have toned down the blonde and am headed more for auburn. Very few people think they can railroad a redhead. 

My mom and I are both Dixie Chicks fans, but we have different favorite songs. 
Hers has always been "Not Ready to Make Nice" and mine has always been "Long Way Round" but now I am listening to her song, listening for the notes I need to take. 

It's been 20 years now, I've been studying budo. 
It's healed so many of my disconnections. I learned that I love touch and connection. I learned that I can take this inner demon, and give it a job. Trained and aimed, our dragons thrive. 

I'm not without direction, in my rage and aggression. It has a home. Thus, I am so much more peaceful and at home in my own skin. I have integrated my dragons, and they serve me. 

From this point, comes the silence of a healthy life. 
Now, I just need to work on these extra points of healthy expression of my fierce nature in my personal, professional and political life. 

Otherwise, it will come out in fits of incoherent insanity, as I am forced to express the forces in me, as they escape in twisted fits of acts, writing and other things .

My dream is to find a coherent expression for all of this energy in a combination of art and narrative. This blog is but a tiny bleed for all the ideas and energy which flood me. 

Written under a waxing spring moon.. 

Monday, February 02, 2009

Watching friends get married for the first time, is such a sweet experience. 

There is an innocence and purity to those first vows. 

However, there was not a tremor in me, the first time I took them. 
I should have known then, it was wrong. The second time, and ever ceremony subsequent, I have been a bit of a jello-head.

There's a kind of crazy, to Real Love, that pulls you along like a river. 
One of our first experiences with these two was on the Potomac in an inner tube. You can tell a lot about a person's approach to life, by how they work in an inner tube. 

Many flop in, and just go with the current. Some can't ever get comfortable. 
Me, I turn over, on my belly in the tube, and start stroking to where I want to go. Some find it impossible simply to turn over to this "active" position. Many get along just fine, however they plop in the tube. 
A lot to learn on the river, in a rubber (vinyl?) tube. 

I went down the chute first, having basically grown up in an inner tube (mine were always truck tires though, none of this nice plastic stuff) I took the 3-foot drop and let folks know it was OK. 

The man I married used to go through first, until his hip and shoulder both required major surgery as a result of having done that in earnest in the wrong place, at the wrong time. I'm not wanting to be in the position of being a surrogate HIM, I'm pretty content being me, and having fun. 

He fell out, and I took the first station on a rock I could, in powerful current, to help him back in. I couldn't think of anything else. 

In a healthy relationship, people fall into roles, but they aren't defined by them. 
One person may not have a good sense of smell, but a very good sense of schedule. That person should take out the garbage or empty the litterbox. 

Unfortunately, too often, it's left to the person with the better sense of smell, or more time in the house, to do these things. Just do them. Find a way to work it all out with the least effort and offense to all. Small things matter. They make life easier. Does it make your mate crazy when you do X? Do something else. It's easy. It's worth it. It's the secret of longevity. Holding grudges does not help.

The challenge is, to find ways to care for one another that are effortless, unlimiting, and nurturing of future growth and achievement. 

Above all, care for one another. 
You never know how important it can be. 

I'm on my second round, and this seems to be the keystone.