adventures of a fearless (mostly) globe trotting seeker...
wondering, wandering, barefoot, nomadess

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sticky Sweet Mother

from india diary:
november 13

i love you all and i wish i could see you more
all your faces become one
but i was swallowed by the ever unfolding road
i am loving it being back in my other home
the hot black night brings me back to the womb and i am ecstatic free lunatic here
dark jungle velvet starless night with thunder clapping the earth like a bootie smack
everyone has gone to bed and the neon bulb illuminates the hallway, all the americans have gone to bed some complaining of the wildness here, spicy food, pollution, traffic and general chaos that is everyday life here in india
i sit awake and alone so exquisitely aware
awake when the rest of the world is sleeping
i smoke my beedie cigarettes which are rolled in dried leaves not paper and which open my third eye and get me high
and i sit alone
a woman alone
as always
a woman has sat alone
'with my thoughts
but they do not bother me
they run like an unfolding stream a ribbon of time that eats itself
that is the nature of the mind
like clockwork, like time
and here time is eaten by space
but i remember
i remember all the way back to the beginning before the sword of time
and before there was that logic clicking away the minutes of my life
there was this feeling in my heart
like a gasp of air in a deep wet ocean that never ends
i crawl from the belly of this primordial soup to peer at a new event horizon
i long because i live and
i live because i long
and i am not afraid
not afraid of the terrible calling of my own heart in the naked wet jungle night
the air so thick like black velvet that threaterns to swallow me whole like the snake swallowing a frog i saw here yesterday
in the jungle night i see rats skirting the walls and spiders in the halls and skinny dogs weeping as they dig for morsels of food in the trash we left out
and i think of a lover home and cant make a call
and i think why am i trying to call somewhere around the world in the middle of the night?
and i know i just want a compartment to put this longing into
but no matter how many containers i have
they will not contain this sleepless wakeful longing
i say yes
thirsty thirsty always thirsty being quenching in the belly of the
sticky sweet mother here

Saturday, December 25, 2010

3 Christmas Snapshots

i get a call from the reservation, it is cold there. conversations with native americans are short on words, filled with lots of spaces. they got the money i sent for christmas and now they are going to buy a present for the mom, the matriarch. i can hear the rumble of the engine and can see the beat up truck driving through the desolate, flat winter prairie, the crunch of the tires on the frozen earth, the steam rising from the heat of the engine hitting the frigid grey air. i can see all these things even though i have only been there in summer. in the summertime, wild, yellow sunflowers grow on the side of the road as tall as me and they say that as high as the sunflowers are in summertime, that's how high the snow will be in winter. joy and pain. i go to the reservation because i pray to the spirits to help me heal my family.

my son walks out the door after our visit. i hand him money for a bus to get downtown and a twenty and say, "merry christmas, don't say i never did anything for you". he laughs, we hug and he walks out the door. i feel a pang in my stomach, an emptiness. maybe in the same place he grew inside me. in that emptiness, i feel an excitement. the wheel turns and things will never be the same. i see his dark skin and punker jacket walking away through the blinds of my window and he grows smaller and smaller until he disappears. he is a man now. i see his youth like a flame making it's way in the world.

she sits somewhere, is she alone? is she alone on christmas? i picture a woman with a face like mine, more softened by time, i picture her staring out a window. i picture light on her face, such a beautiful face of sharp white skin framed by black hair. she used to say when we would argue that she would be dead someday and i would regret not getting along with her. she made me fear the ravages of time on a woman's desirability and beauty. but these were her fears, not mine, and i learned to cut them out with a knife when i was in istanbul with my teacher. the fear of becoming an old woman, undesirable and unloved with no company left but too many pets. i used to deliver meals to homebound elderly for thanksgiving, maybe as penance for not seeing my own mother. i walked into many sad, cramped, dark apartments that smelled of decay and cat urine. i hope wherever she is, wherever she has taken herself to disappear to, i hope she is laughing and knows that i love her. we let the light in.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Prodigal son

has it really been six months since i have seen you?
and how many angry words have passed between us in this time?
so many misunderstandings
it must be difficult to let the dream die of who you wish your mother was
and to love me, this woman, instead
the prodigal mother has returned
right now in the silence, i drink in the sweetness of your slumber
how many times have i watched over you sleeping and marveled at the brown of your skin and hair?
of the impossible beauty of my own son, who is 18
flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone
i worship you
i worship the life that moves through you that was born to live on its on
and what an amazing thing that we can come together and i can fall asleep on your shoulder at dinner
you who used to fall asleep in my lap as a baby, as a boy
and now you are a grown man
it is not easy to become a man in this world
i am not a man, but the journey to become a woman, to become myself
to become human has been beguiling and exaughsting at times
and still continues as i search for patterns in the sky
and you here now, is part of me becoming woman, mother,
you help me know who i am, what i have come to experience
some people worship their ancestors
i worship my son
in these days of youth you are as bright as the sun
and determined to struggle as a gutter punk angel
god you make me laugh
showing up at my door with your hobo stick
a wooden pole with your clothes tied up in a blanket bundle on the end
there is nothing to hold onto as you shapeshift and grow
there was a time when you grew like a ripe seed inside me
and when you were born, i could always protect you
but as you grew, i could not protect you from the things we must each face on our own
like the inevitability of death and the desire to leave a mark on the world
and what a shame to go from being your god, the one who birthed and suckled you
to being slowly diminished to a hypocritical woman
because who has seen my shortcomings and suffered for them more than my own child?
there is nothing to hold onto

it feels so holy, as you sleep in your own silence to be here, to be aware of this moment. so pregnant with grace. i used to tell my classes, what is grace? grace is the when things change that you never thought could change. when things you thought were impossible begin to soften, shift and move

is such a small woman allowed so much glory in one life? can such a vulnerable arrangement of flesh and bones withstand the white surge of so much beauty? i keep asking for this container to be able to hold more.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Time to let go

Tuesday, January 21
Venice Beach, Ca

the raving cocksmith with angel wings

its all coming down like the rain, alot of face softening into tears and laughter and making love with a new man who is my raving cocksmith with angel wings who just made me french toast and is cleaning the apartment for my sons visit this afternoon. the raving cocksmith says i have 4 faces. the fierce one, which i show the most. the nurturer, who is seemingly at odds with the fierce one. the traveler, who often looks off melancholy into the distance like i was last night. and the one i hardly show, the little girl who screams so loudly inside me that you can't hear her at all.
i drank red wine and told some sad stories and then crawled off in my leg cast to sit in the bathroom and cry alone. i turned on the water in the sink so i could have privacy with the sound of my sobs. not because i am afraid to show my tears, but because at times, i am like a cat who wants to lick my wounds alone in a corner, some very old animal instinct for solitude. the gaping wound opened again and the cool rush of infinite space and meaninglessness rushed through me like a wind or a ghost train. and i think, oh god, am i here again? sitting on some dingy bath mat in someone else's bathroom? rocking myself to sooth the sharpness of the moment? i crawled into bed and let myself be held and some part of me wondered, "does this man love me?" is anything for certain in this world as the floor keeps dropping out beneath me to expose the fine network of stars and far off galaxies and groundlessness beneath my feet?
the clouds are letting go of the rain...
it is time for letting go
pruning back to the bones
what is essential?

it's not my time to go

back from india
travelled across continents and oceans and broke barriers of sound to
crash land a car back in la on my third day home
twisted metal oragami car wreck
what messages are hidden in the crushed metal?
broken ankle, cast, crutches

i lay in bed eating percocets and drinking red wine
it wasnt my time
a young hispanic kid at the clinic in the hood
where i go to get my cast because i don't have insurance
asks me how i got my cast and crutches that look the same as his
i say i broke my ankle in a car crash
he says he got shot
he says they tried to kill him but it wasnt his time
yea, i say, it wasnt my time either
the furniture in the waiting room are crumbling salvation army couches that belong in a grandmas living room
i sit in the hood with people of color who carry a large percentage of the hardship in america
in a dingy waiting room with scuffed and dirty linoleum floor, we are frozen in a moment of physical vulnerability under watery, pale flourescent light bulbs
the doctor rolls his eyes at an older mexican couple who can't speak english
who probably dragged themselves through heartbreaking odds to mop floors and pick produce and god forbid they raise their heads to be seen
a black woman gets dragged in by the cops hog tied
screaming "bitches, bitches!"
her blood curdling screams make me squirm in my seat
not easy to watch the parade of human suffering
her hair is undone and nappy, her pants keep sliding down to expose her ass crack as she writhes against the grip of the cops and handcuffs
the flesh of her belly hangs loosely with stretch marks but still she has the strength of superman
she bucks her body into a straight line in the air between where they hold her feet and shoulders, all the anger twisting inside her like a lightening bolt
looks like she made some bad choices, but also i am sure
her life hasnt been fair
whatever fair is
but certainly, it doesnt seem fair that most of the people living this hard are people of color
do we pray to the same gods?

it wasnt my time and
i am a goddam testament to the resilience of the human condition
dreams broken, bones broken
i lay in bed
writing, writing
so much letting go to do
i feel like i am in a great contraction
a cocoon of winter
the butterfly, while sleeping crouched in darkness never knows what it is becoming
i welcome unknowing becoming
and wait in white linens with grey skies in the window most near me
and listen to the gentle patter of the many small feet of the rain on the roof above me
i dont get out much right now
i wait to test the cut of new wings in spring
to test the velvet softness against the cold knife of the wind
like a newborn gasping in the cold oxygen
test the mend of the bone

bone deep, bone deep
laid flat on my back i write about my family
whose memories and predilictions move like the sea of marrow within me
they are bone deep within me
they are the architecture my blood, flesh and heart are hung on
my bones the unseen freeways tracing traffic patterns of my ancestors
the sorrow of the gypsies
my new lover asks about my family
i say i dont know where they are
we are people of the air, rootless
so much freedom and guilt
so much wine and song and passion and dance
we are the colors of red and black
when green turns to gold
you know winter is coming
pruned back to my bones, and further still
laying naked in the snow
the blinding whiteness of pills and pillows
i wait in the molting to see the glory of my next pair of wings

Friday, December 17, 2010

How long can i burn?

Thursday, December 9
Venice Beach, Ca


how much can i bear? how long can i burn?
it is as if i am testing the container of my flesh, heart and mind
twisted metal car wreck

i see: a car turn in front of me, too late to break, oh shit
i see: airbag, smoke rising from outside the car, i see liquid on the pavement,
where am i?
i see: the inside of the ambulance, i see beautiful man asking me am i ok?

cops ask me questions but i am confused, he turned in front of me i say.
i am dazed.
i collapse on the sidewalk, there is too much pain to stand, i weep
i was supposed to see my son tomorrow
i crossed oceans flying from india and now the car is gone to drive the last hour and a half to close the distance between us
oh the distance between us when you live in my heart

i see: doctor, x-ray machine, broken ankle
i see: ceiling, cracking white paint, blue percocet pills
i see: lemon yellow sky at sunset with the long, skinny fingerlings of palm braches silhouetted in black, i cam smell the salt of the sea a few blocks away, but i cannot walk that far
i see: small, brave flowers pushing through the grass

all things have a life unto themselves are are sacred unto their own
like my son
has a life unto himself and is sacred to his own
i suffer for my love, whether i am good or not, i suffer for my love
when is it enough? when have i paid enough?
grief, loss and sorrow you have been my very close friends
and yes, i will grant you joy is never far away

how much can i take? how long can i burn?
i don't fight my mind, i ride the thought like a snake.
with each breath i say, how much can i take? how long can i burn?
how much can i take? how long can i burn?
how much can i take? how long can i burn?

break: mend, break: mend
is this the break that will mend?


i recieved an email from kolkata this morning
the sex workers union says yes,
they want me to come teach the womens empowerment in march
in the red light district of sonagatchi i will redeem myself

i feel like an old soldier
scarred from battle
who knows what must be done,
who finds truth in the cut and taste of the battlefield, the bedroom
i love, i pray, i let go
i move where the road rises to meet me, what is asking to be done?

and i will have to develop patience for the longing in my own heart for my son
all i really ask is that he always knows i love him
please god, that is what i ask

when he was a little boy we used to play a game, we would ask each other,
"how much do you love me?"
"to the stars" he would say
"beyond the stars" i would say
"to infinity" he would say
"you win" i would say and make him laugh and try to run away as i tickled his torso and tight round child belly

how much can i bear? how long can i burn?
however much is alotted me, to infinity and beyond

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Are there people somewhere who don't burn like this?

Travel Journal
Kashi, India Nov 2011

how do we find the strength to wake up everyday and face adversity, to face the suffering in the world and in ourselves? i will go ask the crippled woman begging on the corner, ma, how do you find the courage and hope everyday? is the blind human will to survive so strong? who is looking through these eyes? the one who came to taste this life.

i wake up everyday weeping, this morning is no different. what is left of me after all these tears i dont know, i feel like i am melting. my bones are turned to dust. i am less ashamed to cry. the mothers love is demanding, but it is also unconditional. a monkey sticks his dark, nimble hand through the window grates and steals rohan's matches.

i lounge on the crumbling sofa in the lobby checking my emails in the lazy afternoon. i order another pot of hot honey-ginger-lemon tea to soothe my cold. the sharp, acidic smell of cow shit and urine wafts into the hotel lobby and cuts my nostrils. why not, it's 3:15pm, right on time. it's always the right time for cow shit in varanasi. the past and the present collide in the alleys of bovine and human commerce. so ridiculous as to be farcical. i play a tinny version of the o'jays, "people all over the world, join hands, start a love train". and i dance madly, goofily in the lobby of the ganga fuji home and make all the indian boys working there laugh. they are shy. i try to grab their hands and make them dance too. for what is there to do but laugh as it all burns down? in my drunken master, rose colored, heart-shaped sunglasses. isn't it all ridiculous? isn't it all sublime? isn't it all gorgeous in it's brokedown glory? i say yes. tomorrow i fly to goa, and the wheel turns again. the road, the road, the path is momentum, finding stillness in movement. the more the joy, the more the suffering. what is in the center of the tandava, the wild dance of shiva's destruction where he waves his thousands of arms and legs? nothing. nothing is there, only space, and even less than that.

who sees through my eyes? my soul has come to see through my eyes. the dervishes were the mad ones. mad for experience, for all experience is creation. we are the ones who have come to taste this life.


are there people some where who don't burn like this? after dinner, we went for a walk along the burning ghat, where they bring the corpses to be baptised in the holy ganges so they can be freed from karmas both known and unknown. then the bodies are placed on the pyre, the holy fire that has not been extinguished for five thousand years. the souless body burns like one more piece of kindling. "ram nam satya hai". only one thing we know is true, people die. the hazy smoke from the fire rises and shimmies, blurring the landscape into a dream. gray, frothy ashes are picked up and blown in the wind, ashes of another body touching lightly on my skin. where do i begin and where does the other end?

a woman was weeping inconsolably on the steps by the burning ghat. i never see anyone weeping here. i never see women here, just clumps of solemn men like crows. a ragged man sidles up to me and rohan, "want hash?". no thanks. "good hash" he tries again before slinking off. cows brush past me on the steps. lots of indians point to my golden face jewelry, my big nose hoop. they smile, "you married?" they ask. no, i say. "nice indian culture, you looking very pretty" they say. i tell rohan i want to go find my favorite chai wallah from the last trip. we wander down the crooked lanes until we find the vegetable market. our chai wallah has his ancient shop across from the open market where the sad looking vegetables are laying at the end of the day. the chai wallah remembers us. he makes the chai like it is his religion. each god is worshipped in his cups. the milk is boiled on hot coals and he squats before the fire and metal pot all day, crushing the man shaped ginger roots to a fibrous pulp. he measures the green cardamom pods, he looks reflectively as he adds each spice to flavor the tea. there is a picture of his father hanging from the wall across from where he labours in his little pit. we wait patiently for the best chai in varanasi on a hard wood bench under his father's portrait. he said this was his fathers shop before it was his. he was going away to school when his father got sick and he gave up everything to come back and carry on the family tradition. "three generations" he says holding up knobby, long fingers to us. his back is to the street, the wall is cut open with a square there, like a window without a pane, he sits in the ledge. there is a tall skinny doorway where we walk in. through these two rectangles, we can watch the parade of the street outside. six corpses are carried past in the half hour we sit there refilling our clay cups. his shop is on the lane that leads to the burning ghats. "ram nam satya hai" the men carrying the bodies and the men running behind in the procession yell. it is a great disgrace if no one pays for your body to burn. some bodies are just dropped in the river, the unknown, the disgraced. there are men who practice strange tantra who wait for those bodies to float down the river. they take them and use them in a ritual where they chant over the dead corpse and sit to meditate on it. the god shiva is a corpse and so this is a form of worshipping that god, of taking his energy. they say it gives a lot of power. rohan says that shiva is the only god who started as a man. he travelled from the south of india until he reached the icy himalyas, and practiced such severe austerities and deep meditations that he became a god. his naked body is covered in the ashes of the burned bodies, his hair is in dread locks wrapped high on his head, this is where he has put the river ganges to control it's wild flow. he smokes hash and eats medicine plants and meditates in austerity. he is a corpse himself, and represents the passionless observer. he is brought to life by his lover, shakti, who has incarnated in many forms of the goddess. through their lovemaking, the universe is created. shakti dances for the delight of the choiceless witness and he observes her dance of creating the world with love.

after chai, we walk back to the river, the ghats are empty now. the ancient crumbling buildings lit in the fog remind me somehow of paris. of a city risen from the deep waters of the subconscious mind. the impossible architecture floating on nothing more than mere mortals dreams of heaven and a bridge to the after life. the water is dark now, just a black mirror to reflect the half eaten face of the moon. the boats are docked and somehow so charming with all the bright colored paints fading and splintering. everything is crumbing and decaying most beautifully, with no signs of stopping anytime soon. somehow the hungry mouth of time passes it's tongue over varanasi and lets decay be something that lasts forever rather than that is the beginning of the end. the end has begun. the beginning has ended. there is one boat still in the water this late. dark figures move inside. they begin releasing the little bowls made of leaves with flowers and candles inside. they must have released over one hundred lights as we sat silently watching, each brave lamp bobbling in the water. the reflection on the inky water was quite beautiful and stirred something childlike in my heart. how fragile is each individual flame? how enduring is all this glory?


i straddle the razor's edge between the sacred and the profane. my guru says adharma is dharma for me. no law is the law. this is the path of the left hand, the feminine tabboo. breaking taboo to find personal truth and freedom from the conditioning of society. friend, what law is written in tongues of fire on the bridal chamber of your heart? if you dare to look the truth will make you blind, then it will make you see, then it will set you free. in the end as in the beginning, the prophet bowed before the burning bush saying, all is god, all is god. all god is one. i am not promising my students enlightenment or anything else. who can say how the buddha became enlightened? only the buddha knows. the great ones have come and transcended to mystical understandings that were always fresh from their conditioning. they were the rebels. christ turned over the merchants tables in the temple. everyone is buying and selling salvation because it's just so damn hard to be a human and feel your heart in the great, crushing beauty of love and loss. the agreement with birth is death. the great ones have come and wandered in the wilderness, they have wandered away from the religions. and we all blindly go to the temples and buildings to be told what the great ones said. the great ones taught freedom and seeking truth through personal, mystical experience. i hand my student a bottle of whiskey as we sweat dancing on the rooftop under the dark sky of a new moon. i say, "vipassana this!" as he takes a swig. life is the meditation, stay awake soul, stay awake. all is god, or none. the only corruption is the belief in corruption, the soul is the passenger, the soul is eternally pure.

the more the pleasure, the more the pain, the more this life as the river of experience flows through the woman's body from the womb of beginingless time emptying back into the ocean of forever. we are the well that is thirsty for its own water, we are the taste that is hungry for its own taste. our tears too must flow back to the ocean of forever. our tears too are thirsty for themselves.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Beyond the beyond

Sunday, Oct 24
Philadelphia, Pa

oh my lord, oh my soul
how long have i been thirsty in the desert of this world
thirsty for the taste of you?

oh my love
i have gone beyond
i have gone beyond the beyond
for you

i see the others praying in the temple
wearing white,
they cover their heads to pray
but have they known your secret kiss?

when i was a child you knew my most inner places
and showed me your most secret name
beyond the beyond
i have travelled
in my love for you

and now i stand outside the temple
eyes rimmed in black
lips rimmed in red
i look sideways at the pious worshippers
and go mad in the streets like a dog
hungry for you

Friday, October 22, 2010

The desert only knows longing

saturday, october 16
santa monica, ca

portal log
i ate the magic plant and fell down the rabbit hole. i said a prayer, mother of this medicine, make my heart pure. make my journey in the spirit world and the world life be in a good way. this is my prayer.

the room was dark and we all laid in the bed, a tangle of our limbs heavy with the honey of the majikal mushroom medicine. the skin like soft velvet delighting in touch for the sake of pleasure again. feeling the sensation like a drop of water on the thirsty skin of the desert. the desert only knows longing. it is how it attracts the rain. it's hot, immediate longing has forgotten all the pain of the past and cries out now in voice of timeless yearning to be caressed as if there was no tomorrow and no yesterday.

i drifted in and out of a space of darkness like deep waters of inky stillness, i was not afraid, it felt like returning home to beginningless time.
the oracle said through me: "play, but first you have to die...then all the light comes"
first you must die...
journey back to the womb, which is dark, to the underworld, which is dark
if you are afraid to die, how can you be reborn? isn't that what jesus taught? not to fear death because resurrection is coming?

all of this sensation, pleasure and love are always here, so much energy that it is terrifying.
we walk the earth lonely as if there was not enough, when in truth, there is so much it threatens to erase our known existence.

the first time i went to india, my teacher asked me why i had come. the ashram is in the southern jungles and very few white people come there. i told him my life story that brought me to his feet now. my sadness, pain and regret. my years of stumbling through dark and dangerous alleys looking for some personal truth of god. like the woman who fell to the ground and touched the hem of jesus' cloak, i had wandered years lost and longing for the touch of god's presence. i told him of drugs i had used to escape pain and feel ecstasy. after i poured my heart out, he asked, "when you did drugs, what did you see?"i marvelled at his question. i had felt ashamed of the drugs as a weakness.
i looked at him confused and said, "it doesn't matter what i saw on the drugs, because it doesn't last, right"
he shrugged and looked away. "none of it lasts", he said.

jesus said, "let she who seeks keep seeking until she finds. when she finds she will be amazed and astonished. then she will be terrified. then she will rule over all."
i didn't used to understand this mystikal saying, until later that day after my teacher asked me what the drugs had shown me.

i sat on a hilltop in india. in front of the jungle temple of the god shiva's lingam (male sex organ). and i was made so that i could not stand and had to crawl on my hands and knees on the steps to reach the top. all my strength was drained from my body and my mind had thoughts which moved very slow. i was told to sit down on the earth, which i did. then i was told to lay on my belly, which i did. i felt the earth soften to swallow me and i travelled to the center of the earth's belly. time disappeared, and i do not remember anything, just being suspended like in the fluid of a pregnant belly, like a floating unborn baby. after time had passed, i became aware again, and sat up. i felt thick, like an insect in the sap of a tree, suspended like a fossil in amber.

i sat up and looked at the jungle around me. the hills around were shaped like a woman's curves. mounds of breasts and hips were the body of the land. i looked around and a strange awareness filled me. i made all this. i made all the earth. and there was no time, no beginning and no end. i sat for awhile, i don't know how long. an old man with tanned wrinkles skin like stained tobacco came walking up the hill steps to the temple. he carried the ritual items to worship the statue of the lingam (male sex organ). flowers, milk, incense. i thought it was sad he was going to worship the statue, to call god's energy into the stone. he could just come sit with me. i am god. and then i thought he could not see that, so he felt separate and lonely and had to worship the statue. my mind thought, "how sad". but then my mind realized it was not sad, it was just a choice we all have in how we see things. and in the end, it was all the same.

after more time passed a part of my mind woke up. it said, psalm, you must remember to go back to america. but that felt so far away. the same part of my mind said, you are a wife and mother, you must go back. and suddenly i felt afraid that my love was spread everywhere and nowhere in particular. maybe i would stay on this mountain forever.
let she who seeks keep seeking until she finds. when she finds, she will me amazed and astonished. then she will be terrified.

my mind said i must go down from the mountain and back to america. i must go eat some food.

i ate and drank some spicy chai and felt i was psalm again. but my mind was filled with songs of praise and joy, a happy simplicity. i sat next to my teacher and sang the christian songs i learned as a girl in church.

my teacher said, "are you usually this still?"

i said, "no"

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Rage and transformation

sunday, october 10
topanga canyon, ca

in the core training i am teaching now, we started by posing the question, "what are the blockages to feeling our power?". this training has turned out to be all women, and it was very interesting that in the first week with all the strong breathwork, what came up was a lot of heat, anger and rage. emotions that are transformational and powerful but often repressed. psychologically, rage is said to be a feminine emotion.

we met one morning outside by the beach and saw a full moon that was still full in the pre-dawn sky, the moon with it's big and yellow face hanging like a giant gong in the pale morning gray-blue. we stopped to take in the moon in our eyes, to drink the lunar nectar and do lunar breathing to activate the right brain and lunar channel of the subtle spine.

we stood in a circle facing each other and held strong stances for long periods of time until the bodies trembled and bones shook and the damn broke with cathartic release.

one of the sisters said "this makes me feel angry"
with tears in her eyes
standing in the circle i am reflected those tears are mine too, that anger mine too
yes, we must open the emotions that have been repressed
they are just life in flow being expressed
would you ask a volcano not to exist?
the red hot lava is part of the cycle of life
at the time of explosion it destroys things
but the lava cools and the volcanic soil is more fertile than before
the elements ask to move through us and so often we try to ignore the invitation
we try to control the big life trying to move through us
and then these elements, ancestors, spirits and archetypes get impatient and knock harder
maybe they will have to knock your house down to get your attention
without destruction, how can there be renewal?
without death, how can there be rebirth?
we live forever in the wheel of creation
the play of the creatrix

thank you sisters for diving so deep so quickly
soul mining
heart shining

human feeling
we are yes
gods and humans
we are walking where angels fear to tread
feeling the cold dew on morning grass
beneath our stomp stomp elephant feet
earth will feel me
sky will hear me
as i stomp stomp
dance and roar
sisters show me more
of your sweet insides
in our container there is room for your light and shadow
i embrace you all
i embrace all of you and me
this is the mother loving

there are enough religions of what happens when we die
after this life
give me the religion of how to be here now
in this body of bliss and pain
in this heart of love and loss
give me the religion of not running away
to a heaven that may exist someday
heaven and hell are happening now
give me the religion of this body, this breath, this emotional dream playing me like a song
sometimes a love song and sometimes a blues song
i welcome all the songs
all songs are one
and someday when we die
we will be one again too
for now give me the religion of how to weave between
one and two
the mother and the father

The untrimmed garden of my heart

silently in the trembling corridors of my body i cry
do not forget me, i will not be forgotten
i will spread my wild thick dark tendrils
curling as my most enfolded electric hair
spread of ample thighs and ass slide inside your most secret places
until you cannot tell
your heart beating this fickle human blood from mine
like rich red blood of velvet wine
and white pearls of teeth clinking edges of crystal glasses
like a pauper at the banquet, my pockets are empty of social graces
i left the pack of wild wolves who raised me back at home
from the tender age of 17 i fell off the edge of my high school diploma
and made a more comfortable pillow sleeping with tattered alcoholic angels
on the runaway streets of amnesiac suburban towns

and of all the ways love is forbidden
and of all the secret things that grow wild
in the untrimmed garden of my heart
most of all
is this forbidden love from my family
and god you alone know how many days
have i cried for rain on my piece of inherited earth?
i have rent my clothing to lay down weeping
bringing rain from eyes not clouds to humbly feed the thirsty darkness
and i stand before the masses to proclaim like a feverish prophet,
friends, all that has been unfairly called darkness i call infinity,
the mystery
the misunderstood depths calling to be embraced from the void
the fig-mouthed fecund womb of forever disappearing into the night
and i offer what is left of this smoldering naked body to be smothered
in the insatiable mouth of mother earth
after destruction, all that is left is the eager seed of desire to create again

and in all the ways love is our most confusing and forbidden god
and of all the secret things that grow wild
in the untrimmed garden of my heart
i hold a place for you here family
father, mother
as i always have
whether stumbling blindly down sorrowful alleys
thirsty for the slake of drink
to quench the thirst of my spirit in the desert we call human relations
i hold a place for you like sad eyed pilgrims
carrying candle torches in midnight vigils for lost children
i carry an image of you burned in my breastplate
before i was old enough to understand
the road of battle and tatters of shambling, beautific, berry-stained love
down alleys with mouth full of powdered bones
and erotic breath of the magic seed,
caught on red tongue before spilled to dark pavement

i have cried out for you
for the recasting of the spells
the sorrow, the ache, the longing
the burning and tossing in sweat soaked sheets
alone and with lovers i have wrestled my angels
and questioned the gods of my people
and risked punishment, impurity and condemnation for truth
that flaming sword
the mend the seal that has been broken
to bring contentment and life and love everlasting into all our hearts

selah (amen)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

the attic and the basement

in my house there is room for light and shadow
as a little girl, i play in the attic and the basement
i imagine many things in the bare bones architect of my mind

inside myself the father and mother are making love
i ride the serpent and the dove
i crawl from the fecund root of my womb
to scratch with hungry fingers out of the
watery bloody sea sack that has born me
to emerge panting
fresh oxygen cutting my newfound lungs like knives
carving my heart open
to feel, to feel
i will not be numb
i will stay awake
through the pleasure and the pain
the love and the loss

i will not be ashamed of my form and flesh
that is spirit manifest
i sing, i hum, i howl
i wear all the masks
i tell the truth and i lie
and someday i will die
and the mother will desire me to be born to dance
in her creation in flesh again
and again i will say yes
fuck yes
to the invitation

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What do butterflies remember?

what do butterflies remember?
i read about the orange black and white monarchs
who follow the same migration patterns every year
they land on the same tree in the same town
the same exact tree
scientist have not been able to identify
what makes that particular tree attract the butterflies
they have tested the trees
but can't find any markings or signatures to make "that" tree special

how do the butterflies remember?
when it was their ancestors who made the migration the year before
to travel, to mate, to lay eggs and die
and these new butterflies, hatch from those eggs
grow into caterpillars chewing on leaves til they grow fat
they build their own cocoons
and devour themselves inside
to emerge from their tomb in triumphant flash of fire
orange wings
to test the mettle of those fragile wings like steel knife blades
that cut through the sky
carving their way back into the collective minds memories
of their ancestors migration patterns
a need as invisible as hunger
following a map sleeping inside their DNA spiral until the exact moment it is called for
to plunge into the stream of blue sky
and fly and feed and fuck to guarantee the continuation of their species
like a great mysterious clockwork

is this not proof of some invisible pattern?
some great mind moving invisibly behind us all?
weaving through us all
as we travel through our lives a mystery to ourselves?

what do our bones remember?
in the stories of our ancestors?
what invisible maps are tattooed in our marrow
deeper than the minds memory
is the memory of the bones (white like teeth)

i think of my own generations
my father, my son
my mother, myself
our needs as invisible as hunger
our flight patterns,
part of a great invisible clock unwinding the time for us all

Friday, September 10, 2010

Paper boat captain

friday, sseptember 10
mentor, ohio

i am dancing
bobbing on the waves
of my little paper boat
that a child god made
the child god who adjusts the machinations of moon cycles and star traffic
in the freeways of the skies
that extend far beyond my eyes
and this whole world that my eyes can see is just a veil covering the bellydancer (who is the child gods wife-mother) breasts and thighs
undulating under the surface pattern of cleverly manipulated veils
in her dance of temptation
can i be content to be the witness to her dance?
can i relax and be the passenger in the child god's toy paper boat?
even when it springs a leak?
i stand at the helm like a fierce captain studying the horizon that always sings a siren song to me of urge and further into the unknown
bobbing in a small fountain that looks like the whole world to me
as far as my naked eye can see is water and endless sea
but from farther away, it's just one small fountain in gods plaza
which i like to imagine is something like a lively open cobblestone
square in italy with everyone chatting all lively and
sipping hot capuccinos and cold lemoncellos
captain, my captain
you are the whole world to me

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fast food and drive-thru sex

i am on my way to a tv station to do an interview on tantra. it is for a mainstream morning show. i will be sandwiched between segments for cooking bbq ribs and the local weather forecast. they will want to know about sex, what tantra has to do with sex. it is funny to me that i am somehow turning into a sex guru. i didn't intend it professionally, though i have dabbled in it liberally and recreationally since the first time i got drunk in high school and let a boy grope my breasts at a party i threw at my house when my parents went to japan. so maybe i have a liberal arts degree in sex guru-ship?

how to explain tantra to this audience?

when people ask me what tantra is on the street, i often smile and get a mystical and mischevious look and tell them it is difficult to explain. it has to be your own experience. but today is not a day for zen mystery school riddles. today is a day to muster my skills to speak in a way that meets the viewers.

who are my viewers?

i look out the car window with the freeway, trees, cars and a body of water speeding by. freeways are like the arteries of our society. all the cars zipping along the veins of the road like red and white blood cells. traffic. the outer world always reflects the inner world. these roads are the same as the freeways in my body.

we turn off the freeway. i look at the city peopled with tall, gray buildings, their glass tinted windows winking in the cold morning sun. i think, god help us be free.

tantra is about weaving together opposites.
flesh and spirit. sex and god. why do these feel so opposite, so far from each other?
why does it feel like we are fighting ourselves, like we have split personalities?
the flesh is the spirit and the spirit is the flesh
isn't that what jesus meant when he said, "my body the bread, my blood the wine"?
didn't he mean that these bodies, our human bodies, are the holy communion?
tantra means weaving, weaving the opposites to mend back to wholeness.
and beyond healing, there is the glimmer of transcendence rippling on the membrane-thin skin of reality.
as another prophet, jim morrison said, "break on through to the other side"

we have put god so far away from ourselves.
tantra is about reclaiming the sacredness of our bodies, including sex. sex has gotten a bad rap. tantra says that sex does not keep us from god, it brings us closer to god. it can be a beautiful act of worship.

where do we put our worship? where do we put our capacity for worshippfulness? it is in our nature as humans to worship and adore. so what objects have we raised like monoliths and pyramids? we stare at the one-glass-eyed cyclops god of tv. we let the churches of science gather dust, the largely unquestioned and ignored priests of science babble to each other in ceremonies only the initiated attend. meanwhile, the unwashed masses gather for evening services at the bars, strip clubs and happy ending massage parlors. we live in a world of religious non-believers. we worship money, fear, power and pornos. fast food and drive-thru sex. worship is a verb. it is an act. it is as simple as a shift in our attitude.

you do not need to go to the temple to worship, to pray. the temple is your own body. the temple is the warm sun making playful giggles on your skin. god is not so far away. just a slight adjustment, a recalibration to magic, can turn every moment into worship at the church of the life that is. don't stand so far from me friend. let us go worship the lover together. with our eyes and with our breath. with the grape clusters of your breasts woman. with the strong root of your tree man.

Click here to watch the TV Interview

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


tuesday, september 7
austin, texas

there is a bordertown
of skin
where our bodies are pressed together
in sweaty summer rainstorm with lightning
telegraphing strobing messages on the walls
awake, i listen to the rain like little feet
running outside

there is a bordertown
of skin
my bare belly and breasts pressed
to your giant rock of a back
as i curl my knees around your knees
like two apostrophes

two quotation marks
left hanging mid sentence
suspended in the syrup of sleep and disbelief
you used to be so angry
i used to insist on being so alone
you moved to another city
now i visit you in your bed

you are my lover still
you still move me so
and my tenderness
(like a new green shoot
of some persistent wild grass
pushing through the cracks)
surprises me again
and i am delighted
by my enduring innocence

there is a bordertown
of two lives
wrapped in ribcages
wrapped in bodies
our two lives run together for a moment
like the edges blurring between nations where cultures clash, blend and mend
mercenaries of love bleeding and slipping into each other,
our slick wildness filling the unpaved, lawless streets
we stay up all night laughing and dancing barefoot and drinking tequila to the music like
red and green tijuana colors melting together

in this lawless bordertown
there are no treaties here
except the ones we make now

The meaning of my dream

i dreamed a strong dream a week ago
my son was being bitten by a black snake wrapped around his body
and then it bit me too
and i screamed, "i am going to die"
but my son was not afraid
and in the dream we both laid down and the snake bit us many times
while we were laughing

what is the meaning of this dream?
i remembered it when i woke up, and it disturbed me
i wrote it in my blog

two days later, i boarded a plane
and i began to feel uneasy
i began to feel a pain for my son
i remembered the dream, the snake, the biting
dear god, is my son alright?
i had not heard back from him for a few days
i began to worry

our last conversation he told me
"your son's not doing so good"
"my grandpa is dying"

i began to worry he might be in danger, my son
he might have gotten into some kind of the endless ways a teenager can get
into trouble
can get hurt
can hurt themselves
i shuddered
so little i can do
i am often far away
and at the brink of 18
he is often pushing me away

my mind raced with fears
someone had said to me that morning, "does it always have to be so intense?"
i wished it wasn't
i wished i felt calm and peaceful
but i was in hell on that plane ride

full of fear
needing to have confirmation my son was ok

and when the plane landed i called his number and the message said
"we're sorry, this number is not accepting calls at this time"
what could that mean?
was he blocking my calls?
i texted his father to say i was worried

i got off the plane and collected my backpack with the worn out jesus patch
i dropped to my ass on the cool, marble floor in the airport and slumped against the wall
surrounded by my ragtag bags
most of what own these days as i travel more and more
i began to weep
i did not care who saw me in the baggage claim
broke down

i heard the alarm my phone makes when i get a message
a text from my son's father:
"my father passed away, driving there now.
gabe was the one holding his hand when he took his last breath"

i felt the cooling rush of relief
not because the death of the grandfather
but because that feeling of death and physical danger i had been feeling around my son was true,
but he was safe.

these dreams, these dreams
these waking dreams of life

these webs of thoughts and dreams
when we love someone, we are haunted by them
we are inside of them
as they are inside of us

what happens when the patriarch of a family dies?
2 sons, 2 daughters, 1 wife, 1 grandson
the one who has stood for what it means to be a man

when death comes in the fall,
like a scythe
gathering the harvest
of the indian summer

he said, a man is tough
and he would choose to sleep on the floor
to prove he didn't need much
or maybe because he had nothing to prove

who will fill the shoes
of what it means to be a man?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wrestling with my angels

Shattered Sanity Satori- aka Wrestling with my Angels

At the moment of awakening, everything is shattered
there is a story of a zen monk, who in the moment of his awakening heard a birds call
and could no longer tell if he was the bird or himself
it is disorienting, who am i?

another restless night, broken open
i feel so shattered
the bitter taste of my tears is on my tongue
should my heart rejoice unless i am burning?
it is so hot in my bedroom that i am sweating, kicking off my covers
the holy men say that thirst brings us closer to god
yearning makes us pray and prayer breaks the veil to ecstasy
well, by god i am thirsty and begging for mercy
there is no one left to cry to but the heavens
hear my cry, oh lord
all this burning is making everything i know die inside me
everywhere i look is the death, destruction, emptiness
my father, my father, why hast thou foresaken me?
if all my dreams are burning and dying inside this frail body
my bones are turned to ashes
then bring me a new dream
renew this charred, blackened earth
let me sing a new song
i am tired of hearing my own voice

Am I crazy?
Can we boil it all down
to psychosis?
To storms in my brain?

I have a friend
who likes to explain my brain to me
he says it is a very interesting brain
firing off so many colors
well, fine then
you can explain my brain
but where does my brain come from?

Am I not made of star particles from the furthest galaxies?
And the photos from the hubble telescope
show rainbow colored clouds of stardust in the dark
container of limitless sky
when I close my eyes
I see these rainbow constellations
strobing and pulsing the light and color within itself
that is what is happening inside my brain
that is why I love tantra so much
it says, “nothing exists outside of you that does not exist inside of you”
science is only starting to be able to prove and comprehend
putting words to the mysteries

but tell me, what words do you have for the big, brown eyes
of a little brown boy
naked, playing at the water pump in a slum?
You would not dare drink that water
would you say his poverty breaks your heart and his naked joyful laughter
gives you hope?
there are no words for the mysteries of the contradiction of heartbreak and hope
in ordinary, everyday life

often, I wrestle with my angels, who morph into devils and back again
the deeper the darkness
the better the light show
and yet, this play is often painful
the ecstasy and the agony
the vast stretches of emptiness
razed by the fire of yearning
I have another friend who says
we walk in both worlds
it is disorienting

what does it mean to be shattered?
Perhaps a good shattering is what we need to see Reality
and yet, I fear the breaking

after the sundance
the medicine man who is always so strong
came stumbling out of his house
asking for another medicine man
they took him to the other side and brought him back
later that day, he was alright

what would you say if you could float through the stars
like you do when you sleep at night
wouldn't your mind be a little unhinged?
At the tremendousness of it all?

Sons, Snakes and Poision

last night
in my dream
my son was holding a snake
a black snake
which became his friend and wrapped around his body
and I thought it was beautiful, but then I was afraid
I tried to take the snake away, but the snake bit me
and I began to wail
“I am going to die”
but my son did not get upset like I wanted him to
and then I stopped running with my wound
and I thought, If I relax
maybe the poison won't kill me
and then I laid down on the ground with my son and the snake
and the snake bit us both many times
and we laughed because we knew
we loved the snake
and the poison was becoming something else in our bodies
and then a group of people walked by like tourists
and the snake stood on it's tail hissing at them and the snakes body puffed up like a cloud
but the people just laughed and took pictures
and I told them if they did not respect and fear the snake they had to leave

Monday, August 30, 2010

Photo Postcard India :: Seva Movie Shoot

Baguanala Slum, Uttar Pradesh
Holi Holiday March 2010

Dear Friends,
This last February I travelled to a rural slum village in the north of India to teach yoga as a women's empowerment service project for girls and women. This is a project for the non-profit 501(c)3 I started called Healing the Mother. It was an amazing and humbling experience. My friend Anka Malatynska is a film maker, and when she heard about the trip, she wanted to make a documentary about my journey. How my search for myself and personal healing has turned into a mission to share the yoga that saved my life with others. The light and shadow, the joys and challenges of connecting to help others, and having myself reflected back. I set out to change the world, and realized I was changing myself.

The photo in this postcard was taken on Holi, a holiday festival where you play the game of Holi, throwing colored powder at each other. When we would practice pranayam and asana, I would shout "Shakti!" at the women and they would shout it back to me, "Shakti!". This is the feminine energy of power, creation and life.

This November, we will be travelling back to the village to meet up with the women who participated in the yoga training in february, and bringing them by train to have a week long Yoga Teacher Training for Women's Empowerment at the Devipuram Ashram in the south. We will provide them with food, lodging and books so that they can study in an envirnment free from their village responsibilities. The goal is to teach them to be yoga teacher's in their own villages, for health and self-esteem.

Contact me if you feel called to join us in India this November.

We will be screening a short version of the movie at a fundraiser October 9th at the Bhakti Yoga shala in Santa Monica.

I wanted to share with you some of my personal journal entries from the February project.

in Service and Love


tuesday, feb 9
Varanasi, India

it is raining in the oldest living city tonight. a city so old, it has three names. falling rain always makes me feel like curling up in bed. and so i am. my 2 roomates are out at dinner, they will have to walk back through the narrow, twisting alleys in the rain. but maybe it will have washed all the cow poop away...

walking through these alleys, you see so many seemingly broken people. literally. their limbs broken, handicapped and begging. so many that you have to stop seeing them. no matter how much yoga you do, how much meditation, it causes pain to see suffering. it is difficult to look so much suffering in the eyes, to sustain the gaze.

today anka, the director of the documentary we are making about this trip, and i went to a village nearby varanasi to see about teaching yoga to some dalits. dalit is the untouchables of the class system. we were introduced to the director of the program by our friend appu, who is a brahmin, the highest of the caste system. he said that people are superstitious and say that if you touch an untouchable, your skin will burn.

these kids had very little, dirty clothes and snotty noses. but i did not feel sorry for them or depressed by spending time with them. it was as if we opened a can of joy. pure, unadulterated enthusiasm.

it was easy to look into their faces, to look at their eyes because we are sharing with each other. i am coming to teach yoga and they are open and excited to learn.

i think it comes down to is difficult to look at the people begging in the city because i feel overwhelmed, underequipped and guilty, and because i am ignoring them. and because we are separate from each other. it is easy to look at the dalit children in the village because i am participating with them. so when we sustain the gaze, it is hope and friendliness passing between us.

Monday, February 22
Baguanala Village, India

suicide in the village
a woman's body was found in the river today. it was the first day of the yoga women's empowerment class i am teaching in this village. this woman was supposed to be in our group. she committed suicide after her husband beat her last night. she ran from her home and jumped into the river. it made my heart heavy to hear the news. and yet it is what i am here for. or, to be clear, what the yoga is here for. to give these women a sense of goodness and connection to strength in themselves that can with stand the difficult storms. it is easy to forget some of the difficulties and life or death situations people are living through when we practice yoga in beautiful studios in America.

life can be cruel. spread a little kindness. forgive someone who hurt you in the past. the wheel of dharma and human drama moves on.

i am in a village near benaras shooting the documentary about teaching yoga to lower caste women and children. it is all exactly as i could hope, and so it is terrifying. why is it terrifying when your dreams are coming true? i guess that's why its easier to play small and keep nursing the old wounds. this is like stepping off the edge of a cliff, what is possible, nobody knows? the faces of the children are so strong, the black eyes rimmed in khajol (black eyeliner). i sustain the gaze. even when i am afraid. even when it is all so much bigger than me.

i sat at the communal water pump today in this rural ghetto. the women and children are still so beautiful. even with dirty clothes and snotty noses.what constitutes poverty? lack of money and food? how many of us live in poverty of the heart and soul, isolated from what we love most. connection to beauty, to goodness. to a basic feeling that life is good.

i am frightened by the immensity of it. everywhere, the big eyes watching. doesn't it feel as if someone is always watching us? some call this god.

the little girls follow me through the streets calling me "didi", a hindi term of respect and endearment that means big sister. i have family everywhere in the world.

i pray for strength, peace of mind and courage, to look into the soul of the human condition which stirs things up in myself.

and so it is. amen.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Knife Dance

Sunday, August 30
Metor, Ohio

Yesterday, I bought a knife. I have never bought my own knife before, never wanted one as a child. I was at a fair and there was a witchcraft booth. I was raised christian, so I never would have gone before. But I broke up with the church a long time ago. The husband and wife who owned the booth wore black t-shirts, were heavy and smoked a lot. I think in high school they were probably goth geeks. I was a nerd myself, just a different kind. I took the silver blade in my hands and something about the knife felt true. My mind automatically began reciting mantras and I felt the power from my body extend through the blade. Like turning up the sound on a stereo. I wanted to dance with it. I felt the weight of the knife, it felt real in my hands. The knife wanted me to dance with it.

I bought the knife and found a place behind the bandstand where the musicians were playing, filling the warm, summer night with drums like persistent heartbeats. I unsheathed the blade from it's leather holder, it looked like a small sword. I began to dance. It is a dance I learned in india called tandava. There is no right way to dance, only that I must keep moving, to feel the spontaneous movement of energy currents through my limbs and I am given the strength and agility to dance the stories, the patterns of life. it is the dance of birth and destruction, the dance of the universe. It is a form of trance and meditation. I found that I was more flexible and graceful than I expected, and that my body moved like a snake and a bird. I would crouch low to the ground and then twirl and jump towards the sky. I would lift my ribcage and peel my heart open to the heavens with my fingers, like peeling a piece of fruit.

Sometimes I lifted the knife and felt like a warrior, noble and proud. Other times the knife danced anger and retribution and sometimes I felt as if I was stirring the dark waters of a sea before time with the point of the blade. People gathered and watched, they were unimportant to me. There was a part of me that liked being watched, that like the feeling of being exalted. But I did not change my dance with the knife for the people watching. I became more and more true to myself and the blade, which felt so much a part of me that it was like one of my own bones extending out of my body.

after some time passed, i dropped to my knees panting, and felt exaughsted but exilerated. i pushed the blade into the earth, it felt right, like that was where the blade wanted to go. and i kept my finger wrapped around the handle, i could feel the power running through my hand, and it did not want to let go.

I have read that witches dance the dance of chaos. And I know that tantriks like I study with in india have ritual daggers or dorjes, as the tibetans call them. I used to think doing rituals was a waste of a time, an attachment to earthly outcome. I used to think I could surrender so completely that my ego would disappear. I looked down on rituals people performed to “get” things. Rituals for wealth, abundance, health, love. I scorned asking god for things, I felt it was better to just lay everything down at god's feet. But maybe some part of me had become broken from childhood years of my prayers not being answered the way I wanted. Maybe that part of me stopped believing in prayer and only believed in surrender to a will I can never really understand.

“And that's the way it is". The Lakota native american people I get doctored by say this as they patiently sit smoking cigarettes in their front yard and watch the road. The knife dance was a ritual. Maybe ritual is less about trying to make things happen and more about accepting the way they are. I don't ask to understand, I ask to be.

Friday, August 27, 2010

In the slaughterhouse of love...(I knew no shame)

"in the slaughterhouse of love, they only kill the best lovers"
-sufi saying

we are crazzzzzy mad way gone lovers drunk on the mothers sweet juice

i fasted for 5 days in the cabin i was born in a few years ago and had a waking dream vision of approaching my own mother with carnal desire, i thought i would be rejected, but she welcomed me. her yoni was dripping wet and milk was coming out like pearls from her nipples. i drank from her thighs and breasts and tongue kissed her. when i woke up i couldn't move for an hour the physical orgasmic bliss paralyzed me.

i knew no shame

in real life, we have not spoken in over 10 years
i am estranged from my mother like other people are estranged from
their lovers
no wonder i am a goddess worshipper
pouring all my motherlove devotion into the fierce, laughing goddesses
in rough hewn stone temples with neon om signs
halfway around the world

i stopped asking to understand, now i just kneel at her feet
offering these red hibiscus flowers and magical incantations
breaking myself open
we are gypsies
we have no roots
we are wild, winding, whirling dervishes
of orgasmic, atomic sky flowers burning bright and urgent s.o.s. messages
in the sky
reading tea leaves and palms
slaves to destiny
inshallah (god's will be done)

i drove up to the cabin like a bat outta hell
back home, my marriage was melting in the fires of my burning
and the impending explosion propelled me forward,
onward to eat the road
like a lusty demoness
i go to make tea for my shadow
to cry for a vision
as it all comes tumbling down

driving 120mph on the grapevine, rout 5
that long brown vein that cuts through the heart of california
like a dry, dusty river
not like the coasts pretty, moist, wet silhouette
graced by gray ocean and green redwoods and
dramatic cliffs dropping off the edge of the youthful promise
of the west
into infinity which stopped making promises eons ago
not like the deserts holiness austerity like cathedrals
of boulders arranged by an invisible hand from the sky inspiring awe
in the quaking stillness
no, this is the taint of california
somewhere between the sex and the asshole
towns like modesto, bakersfield, fresno
abandon hope all ye who enter here

i held the wheel with one hand and scribbled in my notebook with the other
one eye on the road and one eye on the page
at 120 miles per hour
the heat of the day and my sense of excitement and dread made
my sweat smell sour
by god if i am meant to die, take me now

i scribble:
i have gone where good women are not supposed to go
i have heard the tinkling of stolen keys in the locks of
midnight temples
meeting with men
who are not my husband
i have laid my body down on altars smeared with mustard-yellow tumeric powder
and deep red tilak
smeared around the mouth of my fire
my sacred altar
the mothers mouth
i have dropped my name as i entered the room
like dropping a garment of clothing
and disappeared into the curling tail of incense smoke
i pierced the veil

i have torn the curtain in the temple
the separation the priests made
between flesh and spirit
and the temples white marble floor is covered in my red, red blood

i knew no shame

on the 7th day
i emerge from my self-imposed fasting to join the christian missionaries potluck
who have taken over the commune i grew up on
i am high as a kite from fasting
"we are all one", is looped in my brain
i sit across from a man who asks what i do for a living
"i teach yoga"
"well that's ok for excersize, as long as you don't do that kundalini"
"kundalini is the holy spirit" i say.
surely we can cross the bridge of separation between us.
he looks horrified
"how do you know this?" he says
"because i have felt it in my body, it is the same as when we spoke in tongues in church"
how can i tell him this is how i have felt christ, as an ecstasy running through my veins
sexual and spiritual have always been one for me
this man begins following me, asking more questions
when he asks, i tell him i am part spanish gypsy, part jewish, part danish
"jewish?! you are one of god's chosen people."
"aren't we all?" i say
"yes, but jews are special"
great. he's got a jew fetish
jesus was a jew
mary magdalene, the prostitute was one too

i become annoyed with being shadowed and shake this man
then, suddenly, when i do not see him anywhere, i panick
what if he went to look in my cabin? there is no lock on the door
and inside i have tarot cards and a dildo
(for doing energy cultivation breathing excersizes)
oh i will be publicly drawn and quartered
i begin to hurry towards my cabin, down the hill, far from everywhere
no phone, no locks
no one to hear my screams

my heart is beating fast,
i stop in a field, i catch my breath
i see another vision
i am being burned in the middle of the field
they have called me a witch
they are shaming the womam who took her power, her sex back
they are afraid
what is a witch?
a woman who takes back her power
i am afraid

i am afraid to go to the cabin if he is there, and we are there alone
and why not rape the slut?
it is quiet there
it is peaceful there
there is no one to hear my screams there

i go back to the potluck and find a friend
and ask him to walk me home
we stop at the jew fetish guys cabin on the way,
i want to spy on my would-be spy
he is there, i relax
he talks of jesus
and about his son who commited suicide when he was 25
and left a grandchild behind for his parents to take care of
and he motions to his cabin where he says he has a wife who doesn't go out much
and i feel compassion instead of fear
aren't we all just finding ways to deal with our suffering?

the young man i made friends with walking me to my cabin
he moved to the missionary training camp because jesus
appeared to him on a mushroom trip at a rainbow gathering
descending from the sky in rainbow colored clouds
he says jesus told him to go back to church
but he looks lost and lonely, and the conviction drops from his voice
he is just trying to make the best of those early 20 years where nothing makes any sense
especially rejection from friends and girls
he tells me i remind him of one of the rainbow gathering girls
because i am open

the next morning there is a knock at my cabin at 6:30 in the morning
it's the jew fetish guy
i open the door and he stands frozen there, looking uncomfortable
i say hello
he says hello
"i can't remember why i came here" he says
this is not good i think
we are alone
no one to hear my screams
i invite him in and make him a cup of tea
i will transform my fear into love
"oh now i remember" he says,
"i wanted to invite you to the morning bible study"
i pictured them all there praying for my eternal soul when i failed to show up
"i prefer to pray alone" i said
he sipped his tea ans still looked uncomfortable.
then he said, "you have a mystique, i can't decide if it is spiritual or just sexual"
i bite my tongue and don't tell him that they are the same to me
he finishes he tea and leaves

in the back of an indian taxi
an impossibly old car with upholstry organically dissolving into it's greasy self
with spings that cut my ass cheeks
no a/c, i sweat profusly and hold my breath
i am going to meet my teacher for the first time
will he be the one?
i feel my heart ache and my ribs felt like they were being stabbed
"it is my heart i have come to heal" i think to myself

we are in the jungle, and there are only indians here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Double lives

does a double life give you more freedom and power? if all the world is a stage, and we are just actors playing the roles, then getting to wear the different masks can allow for more expression and experience. it can bring the realization, i am not limited to this or that. i am not the mask, i am the energy behind the mask. and the energy behind wants to play all the roles. if i am a wife who has an affair, than i also play the roles of a lover and a whore.

the first time i practiced tantra with my male teacher in secret, i went home to my husband and said nothing. we made love that night. i chanted the mantras i had learned while he hovered above me, while i held him in my mouth. afterwards he said it was as if something strange had happened, he could not explain it. he said it was one of the strongest sexual experiences he ever had. the next day we went to the movies together, i rode on the back of his motorcycle. i felt the crisp wind cutting into my face as we speed through traffic, i held tightly to his back. we cut through the traffic, weaving in and out of the lanes where the cars were stopped waiting for the red lights to change to green. shouldn't i be dead? i broke all the rules. but i was not dead. i felt more alive than i ever had. i felt immortal. it was difficult to reconcile this feeling of personal freedom with my morality, ethics and the rest of the world around me. my guru in india said tantra is the path of freedom and bondage. i would not keep a secret like this again, but i will not deny that it made some important change in me either.

i am reading a book about the psychotherapist, carl jung. he talks about a point in his childhood where he began to feel his personality split. when he began going to school, he realized that he behaved differently around the other children than he did when he was home with his family or by himself. to fit in, he acted like a different person. he said at this time, he took a ruler from his school box and carved a figure out of it. a man with a top hat. he fashioned a jacket for his "doll". he took this image and found a box to place it inside. he hide the box in the attic of his house. he made a secret image of himself that no one else could see. somehow this secret knowledge made him feel his essence was still intact, had not been compromised. It helped him to feel that he was still whole and had not lost himself to the herd mentality.

in the left-handed tantra practices, there is a purposeful engagement of taboo, used to break the practitioner from societal norms. this term of "left-hand" or vama marga, originated in india. in that culture, the left hand is used to wipe the ass, and is considered "unclean". the right hand is used for cooking and eating and greeting. to touch someone with the left-hand is a terrible insult, a taboo originated for practical reasons. most taboos have been created for practical reason that make sense for survival. but what if we want more than survival, more than fight or flight? more than reactions to fear of dying? after all, we will eventually die someday, no matter how careful we are. and if we realize that we return to the source of everything when we die, we would not be so afraid of death. we might begin to act fearlessly and take more risks. society respects risk-takers. the heroes of movies take risks to go beyond the everyday roles of their village, community and culture. that is why we are interested in their stories. because by breaking the mold, they have a new story to tell, they bring back new information to the tribe. if they fail, they will be scorned and their efforts will be regarded as vain and useless. if they succeed they will be the heroes, shamans and healers.

my first tantra teacher was married and i was married. we practiced in secret. his wife was not interested in learning tantra, and neither was my husband. these practices were only for the initiated. the desire to learn how to work with energy and power of sex had to come from your own soul. now that i am a tantra teacher, people ask me if i teach tantra for couples. i do not specifically teach tantra this way. i teach it as a form of self-inquiry, to reach an understanding of yourself. in self-inquiry, all goals are questioned, there are no sacred cows. nobody likes to speak about it plainly and openly, but people who begin seeking, through western therapy or mystical eastern practices often have their proverbial houses burn down. they get divorced, they lose their home, jobs, cars and pets. sometimes they lose their minds too.

when i began sexual practices outside my marriage, i knew it might cost me my marriage. i was afraid of this, of hurting him, of being a bad person, of being judged and i was afraid i would not be able to support myself without my husband. but the desire to understand my own nature, which was so clearly rooted in sex, outweighed all other external realities. compared to the burning of my soul, my marriage felt like an external reality. it was only one part of me and i was desperate to touch on the white-hot center of me. the nexxus of the tornado, from which everything else was spinning around. creating and being devoured by itself to create again. so i dove into the white hot center and saw that the whole world was spinning.

when i studied with my sufi teacher in istanbul, we would turn in circles to the music. the turning becomes spinning and i realized that everything in the whole universe was spinning along with me. they say the dizziness makes you drunk. this drunkeness makes you taste the wine of your heart and become intoxicated. they say your soul lives inside your heart and your mind is the servant who guards the door to the throne room. but for most of us the mind has become a tyrant and keeps the door of the heart locked, the soul becomes a prisoner inside.

why does the mind do this? because the mind is afraid. the soul is not afraid. the soul just wants to experience through the miracle of the body, of the senses. that's why the soul waits in beginningless time to be clothed in another body, to have the experience of tasting, tongue to tongue, the warmth of a french kiss again. the soul waited for the marvel of tasting an ice cream cone, for the delight of smelling roses and manure, for the sting of a punch or kick in a good fight. and especially, the soul waited to be clothed in a body for the dance of sex. what more divine joy is reserved for mortals than the holy prayer of union?

two bodies slick with sweat running along the shore of each others bodies, driven by a deep instinct like the silver bodies of grunyon fish gasping and running for the beach. the oxygen burns their lungs, because they are underwater sea-breathers. they are running unknowingly towards their own annihilation. an orgasm is an annihilation. in one fraction of a second, you forget your individual self and return to the womb of beginningless time. through the weaving of the flesh bodies, the soul tastes it's immortality again in a flash of light. the soul came to live. the soul knows it never dies.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sufi Ecstasy Pilgrim

From my travel diary in 2008:

nov 17

konya, turkey

we are in the city with rumi's tomb, on a pilgrimage for the anniversary of his death. we have come to a dergha, a room crowded with people. so crowded it seems impossible that any more could fit, and yet the room is alive and when a new person comes, somehow the bodies move, rearrange and settle again. it is stifling hot and the air is thick. the women are wearing head scarves and mostly they are in the back of the room, as if by some unspoken agreement the men and women have separated themselves in half, the front and the back. but i do not want to be in the back of the room, i do not want to be a good sheep. what does God care for a head scarf? doesn't God know every hair on my head? so i edge my way into the wall on the mens side, in the front where the musicians are. there is an open space there where the men are holding hands and dancing in a circle. sometimes, one of them gets in the center and starts whirling.

baba is sitting in the front of the room. he catches my eye and motions for me to come to the center. i climb over people to get there, and then one of the men grabs my hand and i am pulled back and forth in the dance, bowing up and and down in trance like rhythm. we say, no we breath, the name of God, "allah". over and over, it is hypnotic. the rhythm is pierced by yells and shouts that make the energy get higher. i shout the name of God, allah! it has the same feeling as saying jesus or mother. "la il ilaha il allah"...there is no God but God, in the sufi way it means all the names of God are one.

zikir is ecstaic breathing, breathing the name of god and turning and bowing to bring on ecstatic states. it is very familiar to me, it is like speaking in tongues in the born again church i grew up going to. zikir means rememberence. tonight, i cried out for all the sins that have been committed against me and all the sins i have committed against others. i cried for all the joy and pain i have experienced. i cried out to the God i have known and the one i have not yet begun to fathom. i cried out for the soul of the child i aborted and the mistakes i made with the son i gave birth to. i cried out the name of God with the animal sound of longing for the love of my mother and father that i never felt i got. and down came the rain, the energy filling my body until i thought i would burst, like a locomotive and my body the tunnel.

still i felt myself resisting this locomotive and the resistance felt like a knife in my back. the ecstasy was washing through me and the pain was also stabbing me at the same time and it seemed impossible they could both exist at once so intensely. i kept trying to relax, to let go of my self consciousness and drown in the fullness. and then the pain in my back went away and my body was filled with a tremendous shower of light that was like the most intense orgasm and it felt like God was fucking me in the middle of all these people and i felt like dropping and writhing in the pleasure of the orgasm on the floor. but i kept holding the hands around me and making the deep throaty sound of the zikir and then crying out the names of God.

i felt i could not go on, i was exaughsted, but it felt like when you are having sex and the body and the nerves are finished, but some deep need drives you on to another orgasm. the sema has its own life and strength in the group energy, so i tapped into the person next to me and matched my breathing and movement to his and then i was riding his strength as if we were making love, as if the whole sema was a pulsating nucleus of dancing particles. and i was carried in the circle, in the drunken rememberance. i am laughing, i am crying, my limbs are covered in sweat.

finally the murshid calls for us to stop and i bow to him and he says,

"you made a beautiful zikir. who are you? you are my daughter".

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dreams & initiations

in the first dream
i saw my smiling face as a little girl, looking at me now
hair was golden brown
and my woman face now, with jet black hair
morphed with my face then
and became one
and i was smiling at me
softer was i then, older am i now
there was a great deal of power in my eyes as they stared back at me
and i knew we were becoming one, i was looking at my future self

in the second dream
there was a man, naked
his arms were outstretched like his body was a cross
i got on my knees
and put his phallus in my mouth
and i wept
and used my fingers to dig into the flesh of his hips and ass
and pull him more deeply into me
devouring me, making me forget myself

i take a journey to my inner landscape to tell these stories
this morning i found one asking to be told
it feels like i am standing at the base of a mountain,
telling this story is an uphill climb

already i feel tired
at the top of the mountain there is a cave, the story is in the cave
a dreamweaver is waiting for me there
i pack a satchel for the climb, a simple meal of bread, cheese, eggs

i open my memory box and pull one out at random
like sifting through my grandmothers jewelry box
and as my house is burning down
i find a quiet room to playfully examine the contents
when the house is burning, the first instinct is to run out
what of staying inside?

i am the huntress
lurking behind the the forest and trees
following my sacred deer
who disappears and then reappears,
standing silent as the perfection of time in a bright sun filled meadow
we join forces, the huntress and the sacred deer
we go to the cave together
inside we find a creature, half minotaur and half alien,
the half that is the bull smells wretched of earth, blood, feces,
the half that is alien glitters with many-colored jewels

in a third dream (a dream i had in india)
i walk into a room, a bedroom
i know this because the room is empty except for a bed
i feel a sense of dread
i have had this dream many times before, i am tired of it
on the other side of the bed there is a man
i do not notice his face, only that he is a man with dark hair
i cannot stop my dream self from walking to the bed, to the man
i am watching my dreamer
me and the man are separated by the bed
i think, "not again"
i cannot move the feet of the dream me, not to the right or to the left
then i realize, i can go up!
i float up and leave my shoes behind at the side of the bed
and i float to the sky and look down on the old dream
i realize i can fly

jesus said:
"i speak my mysteries to those who are ready to hear my mysteries,
she who has found the body is superior to the world

when you make the two one,
and when you make the male and the female one and the same,
and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye,
and a hand in place of a hand,
then will you enter the kingdom."

i fashion a mouth for mouth and a tongue for a tongue
the taste of your seed
bitter, pungent, earth and fire
i swallow your legions whole

"leave your shoes outside. your shoes represent your life. when you come inside, you are only energy now".
he was married and i was married, we were meeting in secret to practice tantra together. a few minutes before, i had been sitting in my car in the driveway of my teachers house. now that i had rung the doorbell, it was too late to turn back. i had pulled the trigger. i smiled stupidly. we were somewhere in the suburbs, in neat rows of sand colored houses. they all looked the same, i had to check the address twice, even though i had been here once before. i was nervous anyways. he was very dark with blue black skin. The color of his lips much darker than mine. He had black hair on his knuckles and tufting out of the collar of his polo shirt. He was dressed like a computer programmer, in khakis. he had a little belly, but other than that his arms were long, thin and lanky. i had not been to india yet, but when i did go, i saw that he had the same kind of body type as most of the men from the south.

he sat on his couch and i sat below, cross legged on the tan carpet. his house was clean but almost empty of decoration, nice but generic. his wife and children were on a trip now. that is why we were meeting at this time, because we needed secrecy. i was a wife and a mother. these things i tried to leave outside with my shoes.