Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Things get darker, and lighter.

Sometimes my flashbacks take me over entirely.
I spent last night in a cat and mouse with some kind of sentient interdimensional catfish, chasing through water, mountains, halls and sky. All four of my limbs were alternately cramping and going numb, as I tried to set them into and out of the covers. It was an incredibly uncomfortable, painful night.
It's a wonder I feel rested at all today, but I am curiously intrigued.

Many times, I am not sure where I am from, or where I am going.

This is a rare admission of the personal dislocation I live in.
Sometimes, if I seem a little disoriented, just keep in mind, that I am not entirely sure where I am from to begin with. Besides a part of Texas, that does not belong in Texas.

Sometimes there's a lot of ugly, sometimes a lot of beautiful.

When you decide to take the high ground, there's a lot of people think it belongs to them already.

People like me, little people with big ideas and big hearts, we end up cannon fodder, if we aren't smart about it. We end up diving into the meat grinder, with good intentions.

I so often feel like some kind of space alien, with knowledge from another planet, looking for a leader to talk to.

I have yet to find a rational group with something resembling national leverage.
There are so many divisions, so many delusions, so many different directions.

I feel the same way, in my personal life, but then I always have.
America's idea is that you sell out, to get by.
I have managed to get by without selling out, but I also work my ass off.

I have found the limit, and I have found the wall.
Perhaps I can forge it a little deeper, but this level of influence, is not enough for me.

I change things, life by life, but I would like a more organizational approach.

I am not satisfied, by any means, by any organization I currently belong to, though I am encouraged.

What the hell do I do with that..

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The cold and snow, and listening to KGSR online, sends me into Time Travel mode.
Cold nights in Austin, Texas, are few and far between, and the times we all spent shivering and talking by our cars, are few and far between, but memorable.

I remember showing up at 5:30 pm Aikido class for special study with Jim P, working through the beginner's class, working through the Advanced class, and then Brendan taking me on for a good 30-45 minutes after that.

I walked into that building full of butterflies, taming them in the ritual of dressing for class and warming up, and then facing them again and again, as my teachers tested, and re-tested me.

I will never forget the rampant butterflies in my stomach, as I got into the elevator of the Belmont gym. I also remember the ritual of dressing, and warming up, bringing me to my center.

I also remember quickly re-dressing and recovering, to my regular shirt or sweater, hakama, and cowboy boots, just to save time. I drove home so often, in that outfit.

I am feeling that sense of exhaustion, satisfaction, and SEEK mode in a cooling body, dressed in this wack cultural rift, dealing with everything I was learning, all the shifts I undertook, with those boots on my feet, the hakama round my waist, and some random thing around my  shoulders. I just walked out and drove home like that, figuring that no one would know the difference.

They never did.. but I miss that sensation of learning and transition..

I miss needing to wear cowboy boots with my hakama.

I miss really training with intensity and intent, on a regular basis.

I intend to do something about that.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The lower education level in America, particularly for Rolfers, is something which hits very close to home for me.. as a person who struggled for a college degree, and was never able to make it, for economic reasons.. finally my training in Europe, with the ERA and with Peter and Christoph's group, and the Supervision with you where I had fortunately already read all of your material, your research, and could follow it all auf Deutsch, I finally felt like I was on a course of study I could keep up with, and that mattered to me.
I was also finally able to afford it, thanks to a new life situation.

I will be pursuing the study of nerves via Barral, as this seems to be the next big breakthrough in manual therapies, and something I can do and study with little damage to my body.
Finally in 2007, I separated my left shoulder again, in aikido training (which I have since given up, with great mourning), and my body was in crisis for another year and a half, and I went into the Advanced training here on the East Coast of the US with Tessy Brungardt and Jane Harrington.. I made friends with Tessy early, but Jane and I had to negotiate (we are so much alike) but we all came out crazy about each other, and Cosper Scafidi audited the class, and we are now very good friends- there is a real resonance there, with this brilliant, slightly crazy individual. Cosper had us to his home, cooked for us, and made sure we felt "gemuetlich" which Cosper does in a very special way.
He also introduced me to a prolotherapy doctor, who has done some very effective work repairing my torn AC joint with organic "glue".

The move back to America was a real crisis.. you know we didn't really want to go back, but there was a very important election, and finally our votes were counted.

We both fell apart, and it was the Advanced Training that held me together.. we could not afford it, and sold many of our things to make it happen.  I worked very hard, and got an article in the local newspaper.

My body was in real trouble, and my soul was truly displaced and disoriented.
Now I am working on myself as the foundation of a kind of bridge- anything I can do, to bring the wisdom we have so forgotten here, in to our practices in the US, from the heart of Europe, I am interested in doing so. I am working with a dear friend (also an Upledger instructor) to create a space in the rural heartland of the MidAtlantic for studies and adventures in the improvement of the human condition.

I can't make it back to Dear Old Europe nearly as often as I'd like, so I like to leave the light on and the door open, for teachers and colleagues from my "Zweite Heimat".

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Most of the time, I just want to go Home, and quietly walk around..
Just to listen, soak the beauty and uniqueness in..
A letter from one of my original Aikido teachers, hand written.. telling me about his new kitten.

Listening to Seal, from that time when he was everywhere..

I was training with a group in Near East Austin, one guy who held a kind of study group in his back yard (this was the basis of my early training, talented guys with big back yards), the house always smelling of ginseng and herbal remedies.
I will never forget the smell of that place, and lapse into deep, sweet recollection with the smell of simmering ginseng and ginger.

It was a time of real exploration for me, as I searched for my martial identity.
I remember trying Escrima, so dyslexic that two of my martial arts buddies stood at my front and back, one holding and guiding my arms, the other providing the other side of the contact. Of course I was madly in love with both of them, in that immature, transferred state.
I knew what was going on, I was letting all of this pass through me, and just blissing out on the contact and the experience.

Eventually, and partially through the convulsions of my breakout from Austex, I found my real bliss in classical Japanese martial arts.

The simple truth, of putting the sword in my belt (learning how to tie it) sitting down (learning how to sit) taking it out (learning how to take it out) using it (an endless exercise) and putting it back (my greatest challenge, on so many levels) is one of the best study sets I can approach, to make myself a better person.

Encountering the sounds, scents, and sensations which set me on my way, fill me with tremendous nostalgia for that whole set of experiences, which can never be repeated, and will always be cherished.

I was such a Hometown Girl.. Austin is, and ever will be, my hometown, and any year passing, that I don't go home for the wildflowers in spring, is one that hurts me deeply.

Pulling up my pins and moving on was the single most painful thing I have ever done.
My compass will ever return, to Austin, Texas, though I can't survive in that environment.
Well.. I could.. if I decided I liked that oven heat, and absented myself late Dec-March, deadly cedar season.

But no.. I love Fall, here in the Mid-Atlantic.
I love cool springs, crocuses, cool June nights.

July and August, I can travel (not to Texas) and then there is actually some fall going on by September. They don't really have a handle on hot, here. This year, it got to 106, and that was miserable, with the local humidity, but it ain't no 110, ain't no 115.

I listen to Guy Forsyth's Hometown Boy, with the lines about the bloodsucking metal mosquitoes, the shotguns, the dead kids who wanted to do good, and it all hits me center square. Suzy was my best friend, and I never thought of kissing her, even though she would have liked it.

No, I will never leave my hometown.
Not in my heart.
My body just can't stand it.

But I am not at an end.
Just another, new, strange beginning.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

I'm really homesick for the European Rolfing community.

For one simple thing, we have an ongoing relationship with the manual osteopathic community, that is absolutely outstanding. 

I have had very in-depth training, from European osteopaths, who know my teachers, and know what I am capable of, in some very advanced subject matter. 

I stand in deep humility of what I have been given, and I also stand in the responsibility of it. 

I have been trained in manual thermal diagnosis, which means that my hands are sensitized to inflammation, and the signals of the body, and my ability to interact with the human body is basically changed by my extra sensitivity to it. 

Where would you put me, consumer of manual therapeutic modalities, if I can read and palpate galbladder dysfunction, and either perform a gentle manual techique to relieve the problem, or send you back to your GP for more radical treatment if that doesn't work

This is far beyond the purview of 'Massage Therapy" don't you think?

Having paid my dues, under protest, we all ask for sentient review.

Friday, October 29, 2010

It took one mountain apple for me, and perhaps my feeling is that a handful of wild apples and rose hips can play the temptation of the wild adventure of wisdom and experience for another. 

When wisdom is evil, so will I be.
Greece needed both Artemis and Athena.
I ain't gonna be, baby, a fool no' mo.

I ain't gonna be your fool no 'mo'.

So tired, so tired, bein your slave night & day.

Tryin' so hard, so hard baby, rockin these blues away.

Lawd have mercy.
Walking into our third year in Frederick, Maryland.

We are voting, we are participating, we are part of the neighborhood (including action against the criminabes and their landlord Tom Heilman, narcissist idiot prince of the Ceresville Mansion, who does nothing while his property dissolves into a wreckage of dog poop, Oxycontin sales, and tenants who spit out windows and off the porch,  and cigarettes, thrown out windows and off the porch, right next to us) which is mostly full of decent, hard-working people just looking for the next step up in life.

Why ever did we come back?
We had to. Neither one of us, given any stable bridge to a future in Europe, would have bothered to come back to the US.
However, our vote, as we were actually HERE and our votes had to be COUNTED, as opposed to on a US Army base and absentee vote, counted only "if needed" perhaps got our New Hope into office.

I still think of President Obama as the New Hope.
I thought of young black men dressed in suits and ties, headed to college, instead of the dead man's uniform of "dumbass pants" (if they can see your underwear, they think you want to "catch" in jail, BTW) and ugly hoodies.

I was hoping that his bidding to call the "brothas need to pull your pants up!" was going to echo more than it did.

My father was raised by the black help around his family's house in East Texas, and tells me that he didn't know he was white, until he was about 10 years old. I spent time in the kitchen with Jessie May, his mother's maid, and not with my own grandmother, because she wasn't fond of small children. I sat by the kitchen table on the floor, as she told me stories in an unintelligible local dialect, deeply affected by the snuff she kept in her lip, and possibly lax dental care. I will never forget it, and listen for it sometimes.

My father drove her home once- she never drove, one of her kids always picked her up. We saw the little white, neat house, and the round, healthy children running all around.
It was then that I understood that this woman was a kind of aristocrat in her own culture, because she worked for my grandmother. It was then, that I understood that I was part of a kind of "underclass aristocracy" that is the American blue collar upper class.

So when it comes to black culture, I am deeply at home in it, but somehow mute, unable to interact as effusively as is required. So I am still white and uptight.. until I start to dance.. then the reggae boys ask me out, and the white girls ask me what I am on.

I have this umbilical connection to black culture, and I make a direct point of greeting, personally and politely, everyone I encounter in Frederick.
The black folks who seem surprised, just break my heart. I understand, that there are generations of abuse present, but I mean to reach, at least a little, across them.

My ancestors were Irish, who were also discriminated against, had their only escape in this country.

Now, I feel so sorry for them, that this criminal, dangerous, filthy, antisocial place is what they signed up for.

I have lived in a place where I can walk, dead drunk, into a subway station and end up safely back at my own place, if I maintain those faculties for myself.
I have lived in places, where children can take public transportation safely, to school and back. There are no school buses in Europe or Japan, kids just take the bus or the train, like everyone else, because everyone takes care of them, and the public health system keeps the crazies maintained and restrained.

We will have as good and safe a society, as we are willing to pass laws to maintain.

So far, in the US, we are at Massive Fail.

This criminal, dangerous, filthy, antisocial place, at nearly three years of trying to adapt, is still criminal, dangerous, filthy and antisocial, with an extra special dose from Super Negligent Landlord Thomas Heilman.

No one would put up with him, back in Germany.
We aren't putting up with him, and the fact that it takes personal risk, persuading the neighbors, and special effort, is not heartening.

This guy is the jerk, he made the mistakes, and doesn't care enough about anything other than his own problems, and won't bother to  fix mistakes he has made in any other location.

This is my blog, and I can say what I want.
Review the First Amendment, before you talk to me about anything else.

I would like to be able to stay in Frederick, but it has been increasingly painful.
My practice, is the only orienting force.

The rest of it, including Chuck's employment, has just been a wall of annoyance and pain, the neighborhood is a pain (though we intend to pay that back directly to the causor, Tom Heilman) and there is a huge squirrel problem..

I really like this part of the country, from a naturalist perspective.

From the perspective of dealing with the mass of humanity... I can only hope for an epidemic.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

If I were to sit up, and take a drink, between all the interesting events around me, I would probably be drinking more than I really should.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Back home, it's still 80 degrees.

It will go down to 66, and everyone will be opening their windows, and piling on quilts with great gusto.

It's getting to be chili season in Texas, and I would miss that, but my man makes kickass chili, like an adopted Texas son should.
Tomorrow it will be up to 90F, and that may continue through winter, except for cool fronts.

Here, it might top out at 79, and that's a hot day, this time of year. After the storms blow through, we will be at 45 overnight, probably wanting to fire up the wood stove again.
Highs will be in the 60s, lows in the 40s, for the rest of the week. That's what I signed up for. I don't mind being cold so much (the logistics are kinda annoying) but I do mind too much of any one kind of weather.

Last year we had a lot of snow here, but I had seen more, in Germany (though Germany had the wherewithal to deal with it). We had a lot of heat, but I grew up under way, way worse than that.

Somehow, coming from all the extremes of my experience, this place tried me, and I found it amusing. Coming from the extremes of my experience, I find most of life amusing.

Back home, the cicadas and other buzzy beasties will still be fizzing and whizzing their way through the night, but the crickets will keep up their steady chirp through the slowly cooling nights.

When the temps finally do dip to 65F or so, the crickets will swell to a pulsing, orchestral velvet chirp. The summer wall of sound, so oppressive, if you didn't grow up falling asleep to it, transitions to a kind of violin concerto of cricket sound. Not the faint, rhythmic random "cricks" of the Northeast, but a real tidal wave of tiny cricket wings, rocking natives to sleep on tremendous swells of sound.

Once upon a time, I couldn't imagine my feet outside the Texas state line.
Truth was, from my first step outside, I couldn't stay in, any more.

Frank Bedicek used to say, that once a Texan slept under a blanket in August, it was over.
One freezing evening in Yellowstone, and more in the effortless high cool of Glacier National Park, and this Texas girl was a fugitive from the relentless, stinging, pollen poison cauldron of the Texas climate. It turns out that three scorpion stings (attained in bed or otherwise innocently occupied) and chronic bronchitis from cedar allergies leading to chronic asthma, on top of a catastrophic allergy to poison ivy, was enough to dislodge the hometown girl.

My love of my friendsandrelations there, brings me back, as often as my health will stand it.

We all strike out, seeking our way, given the opportunity.
I am still on that journey, seeking a place I can follow my practice, help others follow their practice, and create a place for clear vision and innovation in my own life, continues.

Our recent time in Japan, the deep clarity and focus with which some of the those people live their lives, affected me so deeply.

I go back to the song by Nickel Creek, which I have listened to since the beginning of my time of transition.

"Others have excuses, I have my reasons Why."

I am striving to live a rational, grounded, yet inspired life.
Somewhere between the ground and the sky, is the path to heaven.

In Texas, the sweetest sound, is the crickets between 60 and 50F. The other bugs and frogs have gone back to sleep, and the crickets have the stage.
Their rhythm is slow and melodic, with room for individual improvisation. We get it earlier here in Maryland, we keep it longer, and the crickets probably make sweaters or something, to keep going.

I have a hard time killing crickets.. like many influenced by Eastern thought, they are too lucky and too blessed.  I tend to "relocate" them instead. I like to pick them up, I find them rather cute and fat and "pettable" and love their habit of cleaning their antennae, in difficult situations.

Tiny motions, in a beautiful melodic universe, lull my Southern mind to center, to peace, to sleep.

Monday, October 04, 2010

This is a photo of me demonstrating the Seitei set of Shinto Muso Ryu Jodo with my dear friend Peter Boylan at the Kashima Shrine in Japan, courtesy the sweet folks at Capitol Area Budokai. 

Everything in the photo reflects who I am, and how far I have come, to have the honor of being there. 

Jet-lagged, recovering from a second, 2nd degree shoulder separation in an aikido class three years ago with the help of prolotherapy injections, I look worn but focused. 

I was quite comfortable in the shoulders and neck through the training, except for my feet and legs, which were unused to seiza on hardwood and tatami, and turned a light lavender after much ignoring of pain signals. 

I have spent my entire adult life in love with Japanese classical martial arts, and the opportunity to "go there and do that" is a gift from Peter Boylan and Deborah Klens-Bigman, who were our tour guides for the trip. 

It is also a gift from my sweetie, my soulmate, Chuck Gordon. 
He worked hard to prepare me, he made the connections, and I got to this place through him. 

What a great delight it was, to jump into the deepest of the deep end, breathless and with a sense that, while I had spent in my life in preparation, I was still not prepared. 
Yet, I was welcomed, beckoned even, into the great torrent of information the instructors provided. 

I have some handwritten journal entries I will enter as I have time. 
I have also realized, how precious time is, and how much of it we waste, padiddling around, when we should be focussed on our goals, and our time in contemplation of our lives and how we wish to live them. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Headed to Japan tomorrow.. a bundle of nerves and anticipation. I will try to send little updates here as possible!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

My very favorite season here.. windows open, birds chirping, crickets "crikking".. cool air drifting in, and feeling so delicious.
The days ahead may be humid yet, but I've got my taste of fall!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Our adventure to Japan has so many layers, for both of us.

For Chuck, it's this mysterious history he has inherited. I am really a kind of blind participant in that, excluded from the internal conversation, just a student. Yes, even me. Our relationship is like that, we have some weird walls that would piss other people off, that we just accept.

For me, it's truly unknown ground.
I don't buy that Japan is the be-all/end-all of budo training.
I do understand that it is the source. I also understand that modern Japanese culture is not so interested in all this archaic stuff... and we bonkers gaijin are.

I understand that it could be one of those truly world-shifting trips.. but I really don't know how that's going to happen.

On a deeply personal note, I will get to see my old friend David there. I saw him back in March, in Austin.. I engineered my trip to coincide with his, and we just picked up where I left off.

Listening to Susan Tedeschi's "Tired of my Tears" is pretty applicable here.

There are rooms and rooms of Old History in Austin, Texas.
Some of them belong to me.

I choose to remember where they are, and mostly live without them.
They do better without me, and I do better, without them.

I go back to Austin, and fall into the routes and ruts I lived in, all too easily.

It's hard to admit, and communicate, that I have let go of my roots.
It's also not really true. My map and compass of the world, will always show Austin, Texas, as home.

However, I can neither afford nor survive it.

Even where I am, is simply a holding place.

I am a person in transit, until I find my place.

Sometimes it astonishes me, just wandering around in the world.

The way people act, and don't act.

I keep such standards for myself, and those around me, and I am so often challenged by the integrity of those around me.

Those who surpass me, who inspire me to Pay Attention.
Those who have no attention to their place in society, those who don't care how their inaction allows problems in other people's lives, they also inspire me.

Not in a nice or friendly way.

The life of an Old Country Texan is full of all kinds of personal responsibility.
I spent every day in the company of a .357 Ruger.
I had to take responsibility for that.
I had 45 acres I was responsible for defending from dumpers, trespassers, and other morons.
I was always armed.

Now, in Maryland, I have a little more faith in the FPD, but I still need some firepower.. contemplating and negotiating.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

You know, I've been back in the US for over two years, and I am just exhausted with the changes. My changes began over three years ago with cg's medical odyssey. I do not include my own shoulder separation in this. I didn't let it slow me down much professionally.. just now am I addressing it. It really broke my heart that I couldn't do jujutsu any more, but I am a practical person. I can still do weapons, and I love those.
The prolotherapy is Slowing Me Down! but I can sleep on my left shoulder again.. and that is a beautiful thing..

The changes in the business, the changes in myself. The changes in my environment.
I haven't bothered to track them all, but I think it's time that I did.
My very work is about change, and I have to change so much, myself, to contain the work I do.

First of all, I have to adapt to the work I offer to others.
Second, I have to grow into the work.
Third, I have to work out where I am growing into the work, and where I can offer it.

Then we can get into Where I offer it, pay rent, advertise, work the system, deal with inquiries, adjust marketing message, and so on.

I have started over five times, at least, in the last 10 years, to keep up with what I am doing with my practice.

I am at a place where I am still growing into the work, still growing the work, and still getting to know my network, and it is all working for me!

It's like I finally struggled out of the womb, breathed, and am learning to crawl.

Now, I have to stay in place long enough to get to walk.

I haven't had that chance, professionally, before.
With our landing in Frederick, my practice has taken off, with some networking.
His job is predictably federally miserable, but the path he has invested in, with me as his 401K, prohibits him uprooting my practice as anything resembling sensible.

At least in my practical mind.

He worked hard for me to get what I have, the qualifications I earn my way with, here.
He should be eager to reap those benefits.
He has applied for jobs in Schweinefurt and Heidelburg. That would be great in about 5 years, but for the next short time, it means an unaccompanied tour, because I will not leave my practice.

My practice, which was the focus of thousands of hours, and almost my entire income while we were in Germany, meant to finance our life together and eventually his retirement, is something he would just trade out, to get away from where he is.
I get that it is very stressful for him, I would like to get him out of there, but this has happened in every job I have ever observed him in. He gets into a bad situation politically, and wants to bail geographically, rather than solving local problems. It's a model he grew up with.
It's easier to bail.

Because I have become exhausted by the change of venue option, my choice is to dig in and fight. Not because I think here is special, in fact, I think the city of Frederick is a lost cause of redneck morons and over-tolerant liberals. The Harleys need to shut up, and the dogs, and people need to put cigarettes in trash cans, and trash in trash cans.. not on the street for everyone to see, proclaiming "Frederick is full of Trash!" which would not arguably be untrue.

This is where I have landed, and I am too fucking annoyed, and tired, to go anywhere for a while.

I don't think I want to "retire" here, but I haven't decided where to take that step.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

so who in their right mind would reject research findings, proving what they do, effective?

My colleagues, that's who. Some of them anyway.

You know, as much as I support professional openmindedness, I just find this plain STOOPID.

I will inform myself, and I will make my own choice.

Every competent bodyworker is thinking this, if they are reading me.

We are dealing with generations of the Politically Vested, the Non-Present.

The research has blown it all open, we have only to Pay Attention.

The thing is, we have to change the total culture, to really succeed in bodywork in the E Coast.

I'm not so sure it's going to happen, to the level that people want to be successful.

I've been working at those "sub- successful" levels for years, but at some point, people need to pay off their student loan debts and other nasties.

I was never lucky enough, to even have to deal with that.
I am simply uneducated.
I am an autodidact. Through my own impetus, I taught myself about bodies, mine, yours, and our societies's.. now, it's your responsibility to teach everyone else.

I never had a chance.
I had help, I made what I had.
You can, too.
Work it out.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I'm lost on a hot night in Texas.
I'm emotionally unmoored, no longer attached to my surroundings, and I've gone out to find solace.

My martial arts friends are also my musician friends, and fans of same.
I'm following a standing invitation on a late weekday night, to come out and hear some music.

Maybe I can take the next day off, maybe I'll just take the sleep dep.. but I follow them all out, and I'm on a street corner in downtown Austin, sweating in the summer night, or huddled alone on a corner in a tiny bar, sipping my Shiner and grinning at the band.

I only recently gave away the boots I used to wear.. they fell apart from the walking and the dancing. I used to slip them on, under my hakama, walking back to my car from aikido class, after training late into exhaustion, training myself into tatters, driving home destroyed, and wondering why I always felt I was going the wrong way..

It's hard to explain, this social activity, I did all by myself.
Being alone in a crowd takes a certain kind of deeply isolated mindset, and that was me, at the time. I knew the band, I knew I was safe. I knew a couple of likely guests, one of them a quiet good friend, teacher and resource.
Things could have gone very, very badly, but they did not.. and I could sit at a table and quietly listen to my heart, and blues to match its tune.

I would walk back to my car in that absolute isolation, drive home in same, and go to sleep alone, next to someone else.

That's why it didn't work.. I am still alone.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I took my first mushroom foray today. No morels or anyone else presented themselves for picking, but the season has been long and cold, and I don't think the mycelium is fruiting just yet. I did find tons and tons of fiddleheads, much later than what I was finding on the C&O. Gambrill's elevation really does have an effect on the arrival of the seasons.

I drove Chuck to work, got into the post gym for my cardio, and got to the dentist's.
I've been spending entirely too much quality time with my dentist lately. Fortunately, he's a great guy, and a good dentist, it's just not my idea of a good time. Luckily, most of my teeth are good.

My reward was a day in the woods.. the silent whisper of the leaves, the birds singing 'each to each' and I am also certain, that they sing to me.

Gambrill is part of the ridge visible from our back windows and porch, and I love to get out there and see what's going on. I tend to pick a certain area to study the markers of the change of seasons. Others may become bored with the same path, while I become deeply enthralled with how different it can be, from month to month. Gambrill seems to be my reference/learning spot.
The wind was blustery and the day cold, unless I was walking uphill.

I got to see a cluster of ladyslipper orchids, and the tree azaleas in bloom, what a treat! I had never seen ladyslippers before. I got pictures, and will post them if they turn out.

Next time, I'm hoping for morels!!
I'm also just happy to get to walk around in the Sky Cathedral.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I have to come out with my experience in these weeks, since Frank left us.

I worked on an ovarian cancer surgery scar today, which would have been exactly the same work I would have done for Frank, the work I planned for him, post-recovery.

I told my client, I thanked her, for letting me do the work.
I am still grieving Frank, and I don't plan to stop, until I am done..
Getting to to the ovarian cancer scar work was a real step in the right direction.

I thanked my client, for letting me do the work, I wanted to do, for the friend I had lost. She thanked me, for being so there with her experience.
She got it, and she was so glad and grateful to be the recipient of my planning, of my compassion, of my pent-up healing intention.

Frank is not letting me go. I didn't figure he would.
I'm not ready to say goodbye, and Frank is not ready to say goodbye to me.
I'm OK with that. He had a lot of Good Work in mind for me, I am still working on understanding it.

The work I am here to do, is bigger than me.
Frank wants you to know, that he keeps reminding me.
I'm listening, is what I want you to know.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The last weekend with Quintin Chambers and the little jodo group here, served as a thoroughgoing wakeup call for my own practice. Crossing sticks with someone nearly twice my age and feeling that authenticity, that gleeful combative edge from QC, was a reality check most of us never have the opportunity to get slapped with. I understand why his students hold him so dear.. because now I do, too.

Admittedly, I've been whining and grumbling and feeling sorry for myself. We started SMR Jodo at my own insistence, because it's been so hard for cg & I to create space to train in. He needs to train, just to keep moving, and I just need to train. My twice separated shoulder and the bulging disk in my neck can't take any more ukemi, but by damn, I'll not put down weapons training. Chuck has been leaning more towards weapons for years, more since the hip replacement, which has really slowed him down.

I didn't really understand what Jodo was about, I just knew it was something good, and what we had done with Peter was incredibly interesting. I didn't understand what Aikido was about, or Kokoro Ryu, or Rolfing for that matter, when I started. I've been coasting on that gut feeling that guides most primates, most of the time.
Like the eight-ball in the corner in the corner pocket, I've just gotten lucky, so many times.

QC asked me why, after having done so many things, I ended up in SMR Jodo.
It flashed through my mind that this was completely backwards, that I should be interviewing HIM.. but..
The reason was the same.
I wanted something I could do for the rest of my life. I like the depth and the variety of the art. I am more naturally a sword person, but there's room for that, and room to grow with other weapons.

I was exposed to a depth of humility, compassion, endless inquiry, passion and talent for teaching, integrity, elegance and simple, savage joy in combat, that just blew me away. And I got to speak conversational German, learn more about that and other languages, exchange puns, and just enjoy sharing with good people.

The first day I spent the morning dealing with a possible ovarian cyst rupture, and accompanying rolling around on the floor at 6am, and doctor visit just to be sure I was all right to practice. It was a bad morning, at least I didn't throw up on the poor cat, who was trying to comfort me.. all I cared about, was that I didn't have to hostess the weekend from a hospital bed.
Chuck got me a hot pack and in to a PA, who pronounced me sound after extensive palpation, discussion, and urine sample. Chuck dropped me off at home, and I finished my (delayed) hostess work, then walked to the Bernard Brown Center where we had rented a wonderful, cheap space for training. I was so pale and sweaty from that little stroll, that Dan S tactfully negotiated a "rest day" for me, not realizing that I wasn't leaving the room.. He kept asking if it was still OK for everyone to stay with us.. Dan is still getting to know me.. heaven help him. Brendan, please provide tech support. 8-)
For me, I'll stand up and show up, if my limbs work, and my nervous system will get me there.

By then, I was starving, which I took as a Good Sign, and got lunch with the group, but I still didn't dress out or attempt to train for the rest of the day, mostly because I was just still too shaky to trust my weapons control. I took a lot of pictures, some of which are quite good due to incredible lighting in the space, and I look forward to sharing them.

We got through the day, got everyone fed, settled, and back to the house. By then I was back to functional.
The morning came, and I got everyone out the door, showed up and dressed out. The weekend progressed pretty normally from there. We learned three new kata, and Joe and QC pushed us out of Seitei into Omote (basically, you're not raw beginners any more).

I'm still the P!nk of budo, I'll do anything I think I can get away with, and laugh my ass off trying.

I found a real kindred soul in QC, and he kicked my @ss, just bowing in.
He settles down slowly on that reconstructed knee, and bows in just like anyone else.
From that start point, my Bad Morning was a coffee spill.

The thing that QC does, with that infectious combat glee, is infuse practice with a real spark of life and death, a real awareness that what we are doing is lethal. QC's training smile is a dragon's grin.. you never forget it, or those eyes rimmed with the blue of time, fixed on you, with humor and perception.. what have you got, where are you going, how will you get there.. always thinking of the riai. Even when nothing else is going on, moving and thinking, all the time. QC is hyperkinetic even at seven plus decades of life. We should all be so vital, so lucky, so motivated.

"That's what we do, we attack the weapon"..
He talked about controlling the line of attack, as I have been taught by Chuck. The angle is not quite as suicidal, most of the time. Many times, I've wondered, how much of that was CG, and how much of that was what he was taught. The options are many, and this beginner's mind can only begin to comprehend.

I understand why Frank Gordon broke down, in private conversation with me, after training in the seminar with Sugano, after his first battle with cancer. he was just so glad to reach those levels of practice, again. I share it because he would want me to, to make my point. I wish we could have a moment like that again, in fact, I had hoped for it. I will always be sorry that we won't (Frank Gordon died of a blood clot after followup cancer surgery).

QC has given me clearer understanding, of the kind of intensity one can attain, despite physical infirmities, in one's practice.

In fact, QC, and Frank, have given me an ever clearer directive in terms of my training.

Ichi Go, Ichi E.

One life, one meeting.

I may never see you again, but I will never forget what I have learned from you.
I will also not wait, to find the sweetness, the intensity of survival, in my training.

Friday, April 02, 2010

To break a lease:

Don't clean up after 2 large dogs pooping and peeing in 3 meters sq with no regard to anyone elses' property lines.
Yell and holler after 10pm on a regular basis
Abuse, denigrate and yell racial epithets at your neighbor at all hours.
Your neighbor looks about like you do..
No conversation below "HOLLER" at any time of day.
Unlicenced vehicles, constant police calls and general disruption at any time of day or night.

Recently, they've started giving the dogs commands in German, so we won't understand.

yeah. umm. talk about Not Paying Attention and Dumbass..

So here I am in what looks like the conservative's chair.

I don't care one bit about pot. People who smoke rarely get in fights, though they shouldn't drive. Most Americans shouldn't drive. No one is more careless, and no one has a higher death rate.

I've been unemployed, and during this time, I was not only working, but desperately looking for full time work, and materially participating in the construction of my own house (built the gable ends, mudded all interior walls, set and mortared slate, finished doors.. )

I was busier when I was "unemployed" than any time I spent holding down some chair for a government agency or company.
Now, I help people and deal with the administrivia, over 40 hrs per week.

Three hours or more of this, I write off to the Vultures. HSA forms, explanation calls, and more.
I can't imagine what it's like for a conforming organization, except that I used to work for one.
I was on both confirmation and collection calls... I hated the organization, and saw the owner dip into the cash box for party money, and said so.. I didn't do well there.

At the same time, I do conscientiously pay my taxes (preferably with education and other fees) I strenuously adhere to local regulations, and I report muthafuckas who don't.

I'm dealing in an awful world right now.
I got a week in Austin, and it was like visiting the idea Disney wants to sell you, where everything is beautiful, and everyone loves you.
It really was.. I actually had delusions of moving back, partially because it was so nice and cool.. but I saw those junipers waiting for me, and I felt the sun pressing me down.. and ..
I miss everyone so much, and it is all so beautiful to see all of you, to be with you and be enlightened, so enlightened and uplifted by your company.. that is the only thing which might draw me back.

Frederick is a thorny world for us right now.
My practice is a heaven on earth, of people who have been waiting for me to show up.

But I am walking in a land of ghosts and demons, a land of what is, and where I was.
In Germany, my neighbors never would have been hideously unsocialized drug addicted redneck ruffian trash.

Here, it just seems to be some kind of casual matter of course.
Back in Texas, I could have just shot them, and moved on.
Here, the state won't do anything, and won't let me do anything. The only choice, is to drag the landlord over the block, dollars sent to the legal profession.

I am praying to my Real Estate Guru Frank Gordon..

Frank, I heard your voice today.. you said to me.. "doggonit, I wasn't supposed to die".

Frank, I put it out to you before, but it was hard to say.
You may have others who listen better, but I am here, and you know my ears, my heart and my mind were always open.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The poor cat finally got sick enough to need to go to the vet.
Of course she had a bladder infection peak during the blizzard of 2010. I would have walked her over the bridge to the vet, if I had to.
I took her drugged body out of the cage, to fly her back to the US.. it was horrible because none of us wanted to go, and here we made this great sacrifice to go the wrong direction, as far as we were concerned.
This time, we were lucky enough to get to bring her back home.
She is napping on the couch cushions after docilely accepting her antibiotics, and enthusiastically nomming the treats I put down for her after that.

We get so attached to our family, it isn't a bit wrong, to take such pains over two legs and four.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

You know, you might be following in my footsteps, if you aren't paying attention..

First of all, don't ruin your body. Repair it, keep it, sustain it. You live there.

Second of all, know when to quit,
Know when to rest.

The answer is, as early and often as possible.
The fight will wait for you.

Trust me, it will..

I miss Brie that does not taste like piss!
What is wrong with marketers, that you think we will eat that shit? next time, I will come back and feed it to them .

I love Trader Joe's for their Mimolette, a cheese I discovered on a morning's walk in Alsace, and fell MADLY in love with.. I will buy the oldest, most diseased-looking Mimolette and have a crazy love affair with it and some damn good red wine.

The mulled wine I am sipping is Catalunya, mulled with German spices and plentiful slices of fresh peeled ginger and Deutsche Glueheweingewuerz..

So it's all wrong, but it's delicious.

John Mayer says that when you are dreaming with a broken heart, the giving up, is the hardest part.

I do not, and I never will, give up.
It is not in my nature.
I do not give up on anything, on any issue, ever.
I may change my mind, but I never surrender.

Anything I decide on, or decide to fight for, is well considered, and immutable.

Part of my great, terrible heart's loyalty, lies forever in Bavaria.
I love that land's great independent spirit, their loyalty, their indomitability, and their deep, crazy enjoyment of life in the extremes their environment offers.

A Texan of Irish and German descent, I am extracted from, and thrive on, extremes.
I am ruled by one thing.. a steady pull to the rational.

This is one of the things I love about my German roots: A real examination of reality.
The balance is my lyrical, intuitive leap Irish side, that I can make these intuitive bounds to understanding of things no one has seen, or has thought of grasping.

Then I am the norm of America, I am the median of our inspiration.

Measure intuition with reason.
Find the answers, and leap again.

What I miss, is a land where it all works together.
I miss the land of Robert Schleip, of Jean-Pierre Barral and my dear teacher Peter Schwind.

I'm living in a half-life land, where I'm pushing the boundaries of my own profession (and they need pushed in a big Zamboni kinda way) and I am having this conversation with a PT I have found who is basically going to save my ass... because he has trained with the osteopaths and he does nerve and visceral work, and no one in this area has elevated to that level I am so used to).

I had to raise my profession for myself.
I listened quietly.
I took it in, I received. I also received some extremely badass nerve and visceral work, full of Q&A.
And then I told him, that yes, I took the classes for the PTs and the osteopaths, but I took them in German.
As long as he wasn't teaching in German, I told him.. while holding his quite honest, very level and interested gaze.. as long as he wasn't teaching in German, I could follow him.

I am terribly ashamed, that he would ever mistake my profession for massage therapy, or assume that Rolfers couldn't keep up with PTs and osteopaths.

I kept up with them in German, and French-accented English. I learned about the Falx Cerebri and cranial nerves..
I encourage my colleagues to continue to improve their reputation, until I don't have to deal with this particular hurdle.

In other words, most other professions think Rolfers are cultists, narrow-minded morons, and not able to keep up with basic physical therapy principles, nerve paths or basic anatomy. This makes me so very sick..

I kept up with classes with professional osteopaths, physical therapists, and other professionals, in a language not my own.

If you could do the same, then you can talk about me.

Otherwise, sit down.

Ich hatte es gelearnt. und Du?
Ja, aber nein.

Keine Frage.
Und Mehr?
Hasst Du NICHST..

There are some terribly rude things I can say at this point, at which I will take a moment of grace.. and silence.. then I will speak my mind.

My ex-pat friends get me..
We miss things at varying levels, depending on our attachment to them.

I couldn't care less about that football thing this weekend.
It's so not a part of any relevant, measurable reality.
I have NO use for anything they are selling.

I miss our great warm German house with the huge thick walls and capacious basement.
Our house here is Exactly the Right Size for us, and my best investment last year was a beautiful, efficient soapstone wood stove. This stove is right now keeping us a cozy 70F with virtually no effort and only a couple substantial logs.

It's so hard to talk about this displacement.
It's so hard to say how dishonest, how careless, how uselessly aggressive and stupid Americans seem, after participating in European society.

The vultures stink and hang about our house, and we have to find a way to banish them.

I have pretty much Had It.. it's bad enough, to get transplanted into rude society, without society being all kinds of intentionally rude.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

I'm getting a good start on a walk in the shoes of my clients, yet again.

Something in my neck has gone awry.. I have dull pain at c4-5, mild bilateral parasthesia, and a constant low-grade dural headache. And my stomach is at its limit for NSAIDs..

The thing I really want to do is go back to Germany, to my dear teachers and ask for help. I should have gotten on those tables back in the fall when I had a chance.

The number of people here with the level of training I was used to back there, is vanishingly scarce. My dear friend & colleague CS saved me when I got back from Europe and landed hard, with a session that left me ice-cold and shaking.
I'm not sure what it is, there in my neck, but he walked right up to it and started the deconstruction. I love that about CS, he's stupid fearless like me, but we do it in such different ways. He gets in people's faces right away, and they know he's serious. I wait too long, and by the time they've pissed me off, I've gone thermonuclear.
I'm working on that balance.
I'm never NOT serious (quite silly, but never, ever lacking intent), but people take the diffident aspect more easily than the meter of sharp, folded steel I use for a backbone.

The wood stove's glass face is billowing purplish blue, which tells me the new cord of wood we ordered and stacked today is burning clean & hot. This wonderful invention of natural soapstone and cast iron, with a catalytic combustor to clean its emissions, has made our chilly, heat-pump-afflicted house a home. It has certainly made CG and the cat a LOT happier! well me too, in my weaker moments.

Mostly I think hot tea and more clothing can cure all chills, but I don't have 10 inches of titanium in my femur.

The wood stove, some Chardonnay spritzer after a nice chili dinner Chuck served, and a hot bath he is waiting for me in, are the features in my life tonight. Sure itnwas Zero Fahrenheit this morning, and will be 12F tonight, but the wood stove is stoked, the insulated curtains are closed, and the snow on the roof is holding fast.

I am the luckiest of the lucky..
My pains are my study and my learning, and I am open to the learning, and able to pay it all forward.

I just want you to know..
It didn't come easy.

None of this came easy.
I got a lucky break named Chuck Gordon.
He got me through school, and now he's reaping the benefits of a partner who feeds him, buys him beer, pays half the mortgage, makes him go to the gym, and pesters him about his budo.

I started out a the daughter of a poor black child (my dad didn't know he was white until he was about 8, due to being raised by black household help) who wanted to be a lawyer and ended up a postal worker for 30 years.
My mother was the daughter of a civil engineer, a polymath and would-be scholar whose abusive background robbed her of her potential.
She is a professional Spanish-English translator helping immigrants get their GEDs and become functional members of US society.

People like me don't get to go to Europe, we don't get to buy nice cars.
We don't get good health insurance without a good job. We tend to freeze in those jobs, from sheer fear.

I have a bigger, better opportunity.
Even when I am in trouble.