Archive for the ‘Burning Man’ Category

People Who Don’t Usually Lecture

November 1, 2017

Holy crow.

They picked me!

I am so blown away and honored.

And nervous, fuck, if I think about it too long I might get myself in trouble, but overall, wow, wow, wow, just amazed.

People Who Don’t Usually Lecture is a lecture series that is a kind of anti-TEd Talk where the focus is on people’s personal stories and journeys.  They were given my name by my mentor and friend who commissioned some sonnets from me after a chance (chance, my ass, that was grace, God, the universe if you will) encounter at Burning Man.

They have been doing the series in Tel Aviv for the last four years or so and have gone global this year.

There will be shows in New York, Buenos Aries and, yes, here in San Francisco.

I interviewed with them today before I went into work.

I wasn’t even sure what the hell I was going to talk about, and if I think on it real hard I know that I told a good bit of my personal story, my journey, how I got from here to there and back again, but I didn’t choose my word so much as just let them come out, I just asked to be a channel and let what needed to come out come out.

I’m not sure how I got to be so lucky to be a story-teller, but I did.

I do think it has something to do with remembering to say yes to things.

When my friend had first mentioned it I was intrigued, but really had no clue what was being talked about and I sort of forgot.

Then we had lunch this past Sunday in North Beach and I got a bit more of the back story.

It sounded fascinating.

So, yes I was nervous taking my scooter up into the hills over Dolores Park to meet with the people who run the show.

But, well, you know me, half the battle, three-quarters, 7/8’s haha, of the whole deal is just showing up.

Take the action.

Let go of the results.

The results are God’s anyway.

They really seemed to like my story and I saw one of them was moved to tears, more than once and it was amazing to watch their reactions and then to hear them say they could listen longer and wanted to know more and that they didn’t usually offer a spot the day of the interview to a lecturer.

But.

Well.

They did to me.

Oh my God.

I’m going to do a lecture!

It will be short, ten minutes, and I will be speaking with others in the community, I believe my friend will be one of the lecturers as well.

And when I had mentioned our poetry project and creativity and my experiences I actually got a soft, but firm, no, that’s not what we want, we want your story.

They talked to me about what they had heard and themes that came up in my telling my personal journey, I think I talked for about twenty minutes or so, straight before they started asking questions and collaborating with me about what they would like me to focus on in my story.

I will be covering the thematic of resilience and gratitude.

Two things I have in spades.

Oh.

Do I ever.

I have to write-up my narrative for them to go over by Monday morning.

I will go in and speak with them again and they will go over my story and give me pointers on what they want me to focus on.

I have to write-up the piece and get it to them by Monday a.m.

I will go in at noon next Monday and see them again.

I have the rest of the week to think about it and then to write it out.

They asked me to give them a ten minute piece.

It will be off book as well, so even though I will have a narrative to hand into them so that they can help me polish and pull out the tasty bits, I will be on my own up on that stage.

Just me, myself, and I telling a little story about how I got where I am today.

I am so honored and a bit in awe.

A bit in wonder.

I’m grateful, so grateful I get to do stuff like this.

It will just be ten minutes of my life, but I suspect it will be a lot more, it will be a gift to my community, without whom I wouldn’t be where I am today and certainly not fucking asked to give a lecture before hundreds of people.

The lecture series will be held at The Chapel on Valencia Street in the Mission, Tuesday, December 5th.

I’m not sure of the time yet, but in the evening.

I’ll have a dress rehearsal there on December 3rd and then do the deal on the 5th.

I’m really over the moon.

And though I, of course, it is my story after all, know what I’m going to write about, I don’t know exactly what I am going to write about.

Which is fine.

I’m ok with extemporaneous speaking I did it through high school as well as debate, as well as doing French forensics and poetry.

I’ve spoken in front of loads of people, I will be able to do this too.

It’s a little scary, it’s on stage and I know there will be a lot people there.

But.

Really.

I just need to show up and open my mouth, just show up and ask to carry the message, my journey, my story, my resiliency, and not the mess.

I’m good at the mess, I want to carry the message.

Which is often that, if I can make it through the terrors and traumas of my life, then so can you.

And.

Not only that, I can share how, I can share my experience, I can share my hope, and that I did it and how I’m happy now, have been happy now for some years, and I’m loved and my life is fulfilling, rewarding, and full of service.

Life is not a vale of tears and when it is, well, it is gold, a kind of coin I can spend helping another in their struggle by sharing how I got through.

Which is the greatest gift, after all, isn’t it?

Having experiences to share with others.

Love and gratitude tonight.

So very much.

I’ll keep you posted.

Night all.

Sweetest dreams.

 

 

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It’s Late

October 30, 2017

But not really.

It just feels like it is.

I had a half lazy day, half busy day, and a “I was half way out of it day,” at one point from going to bed so late last night.

2:30 a.m.

I cannot remember the last time I went to bed at that hour.

I had gone out dancing with a dear girlfriend.

We met up in the city at Brenda’s Meat and Three where I had wrapped up a delicious dinner with my person, cheese grits with shrimp, bacon and tomato.

My God.

It was so good, I could have licked the bowl.

The server laughed when I said that, and added, “I’ve seen it happen.”

I do not doubt it.

I once licked a plate at a meal out with friends, but I suspect I was a little tipsy when I did it.

The grits were just that good.

I will be having them again.

And I got a lot of compliments on my costume

I went as a sugar skull from Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

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It was my first time trying to do the makeup.

I think I did pretty good, all things considered.

The place that I stop at, Ulta Beauty over by the Nordstrom Rack and Trader Joes shopping area, was out of Halloween face paint.

I was like.

Seriously?

You guys are a freaking makeup store!

It’s three days before Halloween and you’re already sold out?

What the heck!

But.

I’m a clever girl.

First I asked what the lightest foundation that they had in the store was.

I’m brown-skinned enough that a very light foundation is going to look close to white on my skin.

Then I got a finishing powder that was tinted with green to pull any redness from my face and then another that was a translucent white powder.

Then I pillage the NYX cheap makeup.

Big white eyeliner, big black eyeliner, a pink one, a turquoise one, and a liquid eyeliner in lilac with glitter.

And I found a really cool blue lip gloss that was matte and had glitter in it.

I have no idea when I’m ever going to use this make up again.

But the end result, though not professional caliber, well, I thought, was pretty damn good.

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I actually got a lot of compliments last night, both at Brenda’s and at the dance.

My friend also had a great costume, she was a Hip Hop Zombie.

Which was apropos as we were going to the Time Travelers Ball in Oakland.

Great music, lots of old hip hop, lots of funk, so early electronic, old 80s and late 70s movies playing on the wall, great light system, a small fire in the courtyard, in a portable fire pit.

I ran into a few folks, from, yes, of all places, Burning Man.

I didn’t recognize the woman at all who came up and squealed at me, and how she recognized me with all that makeup on, I have no idea, but she did.

It was a good time.

And.

Heh.

Although I did not make the top three prizes in the costume contest, I did win an honorable mention and was given back my entrance fee and an open bar tab.

Which for me was hilarious to contemplate.

I had a La Croix.

It was tasty.

Heh.

And.

I had fun and I danced a lot, so much so that I was afraid I was going to break a sweat and my make up was going to slide off my face.

It stuck though.

It stuck really well, it took a lot of make up removing wipes and washing my face to get it off, in fact, I didn’t get all the white eyeliner off, man I tried, but I gave up the ghost at some point.

I was also up late as it was 9 hours a head in Paris and my best girl friend from school sent me a message on What’s App about having a Face Time session and I just said, fuck it, it is super hard for us to co-ordinate our time, so screw it, yes, I had a Face Time session this morning around 1:45 a.m.

It was so good to see her face and hear her voice.

Oh, how I miss her.

We got caught up and talked about all the things and made some tentative plans to see each other in the new year.

She may be coming back for a training and I’m pretty sure I’ll be in Europe in July and I’m going to make sure I go up to Paris and spend time with her.

I was in tears when I got off the call, it was super hard to hang up.

But man, it was late.

And I had lunch date that I wanted to be ready for.

I was going to sleep 8 hours, I was.

I set my alarm for 10:30 a.m., which is unheard of for me, but I figured, I can skip yoga, I got a workout dancing, and I want a full nights sleep.

of course.

I was up at 8:30 a.m.

Which is why it feels late right now when it’s not really.

I’m glad for it though, I did a ton of writing and I had a leisurely breakfast and a quick phone call with my best friend and plans to connect later.

Which was sweet.

So sweet.

And then off across town to Mario’s on Columbus and Union.

I hadn’t been there before, but it was classic, pure North Beach Italian Cafe and bar.

It was so good to see my friend and we chatted about all things art and kindness and words and poetry and talked about Burning Man, since that’s where we met three years ago, and projects, and life.

I am enthralled with that aspect of my life, that sometimes, out of nowhere, because I am moved to connect with someone, a new relationship happens.

It startles me every time.

It was like that with my best girl in Paris, we were sitting next to each other, an empty seat between us, at the first year retreat for our school.

And we turned to each other and we’ve never turned away.

The loveliness of it still astounds.

The people in my life who I love, who I consider my family, my loves, my friends, I am so, so lucky to know.

Beyond lucky.

Graced.

I am graced.

And tired.

Just saying.

I got a lot of other stuff done today too, grocery shopping, lots of cooking, lots of homework.

But really.

It was the connecting with my friends, with my people, with my loves, that made the most impact on my today.

An hour-long phone conversation sitting on a bench in the sunlight (the only sunlight that I got to see, man was it cold and foggy today) at Washington Square Park.

The confirmation of love.

The power of poetry.

The great gifts of kindness.

The art of being human.

It gets me every time.

Every time.

Long, Strange Day

October 13, 2017

But I am finally feeling better.

I just ate some dinner.

Roasted chicken with a baked Japanese sweet potato.

I needed some homey comfort food.

The air today had me down.

Granted.

I do not like to complain.

I know people who have lost their homes to the fires, lost everything.

I have friends who have evacuated and are waiting to see if they are going to be able to go back to a home or a charred piece of land.

So much has been destroyed.

It’s utter devastation.

I can’t comprehend it.

Therefor to complain about the air quality in the city seems weak and pansy ass, but, fuck, it’s been bad and I’ve had trouble today.

At first when the fires were just beginning, Sunday night, I thought, wow, there must be some folks having a big old bonfire on the beach, and it smelled good, and the weather that night was warm and I felt really soothed by it.

I have a favorite childhood memory of a bonfire at the beach from when I was four years old.

The next day was odd though, finding out about the fires, and then finding ash residue on my scooter and in my basket.

And each day, it’s been the same, although I think I’m used to the smell and the smell, well, it’s changed, it doesn’t smell like bonfire anymore.

It smells tainted and bad and oily and plastic and chemical.

It smells like bad drugs and sickness and I’ve began to feel off today, I suspect I’ve been a little off all week, but today it really hit home.

Last night when I was riding my scooter home I thought for a moment it was snowing and thought, wow, it’s cold, but not that cold.

Then I realized what I was seeing was ash falling from the sky.

Ash like snow.

Ash on my shoes, ash in my hair, ash on my jacket, ash stuck to my scooter.

Spooky.

Every day riding my scooter up and over Diamond Heights I have looked downtown to gauge how bad the air is.

And it’s bad.

Downtown swathed in smoke.

The haze so thick I can’t see the Bay Bridge, even the top of the new gigantic Sales Force tower is smudged out by the smoke.

Supposedly it’s supposed to get worse tomorrow and Saturday.

The kids I nanny for had their school cancel tomorrow and every day this week they’ve been forced to stay inside and not been allowed out for recess.

My little lady charge has had croup on top of it.

She’s been inside all week.

I can feel it in my chest.

And today I started to sneeze.

Not because I think I’m coming down with a cold, no, it’s just breathing the air.

I’ve not been outside much, but I’ve inhaled some yuck, riding on my scooter for sure, walking to the market this evening.

By the time I got home from grocery shopping and running a couple of errands I felt really out of it.

My clients cancelled tonight so I was free to go home after work and I planned on doing homework and getting the rest of my reading wrapped up, tomorrow I’m in school again.

Aside.

Tomorrow marks the half way point of the semester!

Half way!

I am very happy about that.

But I could barely concentrate on my work and reading felt challenging.

I’ve had a head ache all day.

I’m a pussy.

I admit it.

Can you believe I used to be a smoker!

Anyway.

I just reeled it back in and got right with myself and stopped having gigantic expectations about what I could do and just settled for what’s the best thing for me to do instead.

I roasted the chicken up.

I made some spiced brown rice for meals the rest of the week.

I did some laundry, it’s in the dryer now, fresh warm towels.

I drank lots of water.

I cut myself some slack.

I look over my syllabi and packed my school bags and I’ll probably roll up on class tomorrow and just be ok with what I have not done.

One class I’m completely caught up with, no need to worry about that one at all, it has the biggest brunt of reading and I’ve completed that.

I’ve nearly every thing else done for another class, just have to whip out a little paper tomorrow.

I was going to do it tonight.

But.

Um.

Nope.

I’ll get out of class tomorrow and have a few hours before I see my clients.

I was tempted to get ahold of them and say stay the fuck put, don’t come out, but I’ll go to my office and see them.

And before I see them I’ll do what ever reading I need to do and I’ll write-up the small paper I have to turn in Saturday.

I’m not beating myself up for not being 100% ready.

I had a hard week with the family, not that they were bad, they are super, super sweet, but when a four-year old and a seven-year old are cooped up all week-long it’s hard to keep things balanced.

Add the sick little monkey into the mix and it was a long week.

I’m grateful that I was able to keep myself pretty on keel with them, but I was feeling it today, the worrisome smoke, the quality of the air, seeing little kids in face masks, it reminded me of Burning Man in a rather sinister way.

Sigh.

I’m done complaining.

I am.

I just want my head ache to go away.

And my heart breaks for all the loss in the North Bay, it’s unfathomable.

Just going to be sweet to myself for the rest of the night, take it easy, drink some tea, get some rest.

Wishing for all those near and dear that this passes soon and we will all draw a collective deep breath of fresh, sweet air.

Good night.

Sweet dreams.

 

 

Huge Relief

September 10, 2017

To change my mind.

To see where I was taking on too much.

To apologize and make an amends to a friend.

To get honest with my person and with myself.

To see where my priorities lie.

To let go.

To surrender.

Such relief.

I have been grappling with something for a few weeks now and I suspect that recent events in my life, like letting go of the idea that I have to go to Burning Man every year for the rest of my life and that I always have to be working toward something, coalesced this afternoon as I rode my scooter into my internship.

I don’t want to do the Aids Life Cycle Ride.

Let me clarify.

If I wasn’t working 40 hours a week, interning 15 hours, and going to graduate school full-time I would be totally down with doing the ride.

But.

I realized.

I am working so hard already and to commit to another commitment seems fool hardy, prideful, and unrealistic.

I like to believe that I am superhuman.

“You don’t have to be Super Carmen,” my person told me, “Carmen is good enough.”

Fuck me.

I forget that all the time.

As if I am not constantly trying to self-improve, do better, live harder, go bigger, I am not enough.

And.

Good fucking grief.

I am enough.

I also realized that I had self-sabotaged myself by committing to do something that would make me re-arrange my already super full schedule and in effect make it so I would not have any days off.

NONE.

Yes, that’s right, I would be working full-time, seven days a week, for the next 10 months.

Fuck that.

I deserve to let myself have a little down time.

To love and be loved.

To not go crazy in my last year of my Masters program.

I mean.

I’m still working six days a week, I’m not slacking.

I rode my scooter to my internship and thought, it’s ok to change my mind, it’s ok to see where I bit off too much and it’s alright to acknowledge that maybe I knew this all along.

That maybe I didn’t buy the road bike when I had the chance because I really knew I didn’t want to do the ride.

I think I was setting myself up to give myself an out.

I had run into my friend who convinced me to ride again a week before I went to Burning Man and his talks about doing training rides made me feel nauseous.

How the hell was I going to fit it in?

I started to consciously let myself know that maybe, just maybe, it would be ok if I changed my mind.

I actually think going to Burning Man really helped me with that.

I realized there, at the event, on a very deep level, that I work really hard to work really hard on my vacations.

Maybe.

Just maybe.

Instead of busting my ass, granted for an amazing cause, and I don’t regret the $95 I dropped to register, it’s a gift that I wouldn’t ask back if I could have it back, to bust my ass on my vacation.

Maybe.

I might want to actually have a vacation.

Like.

Lay on a beach.

Or.

Sit in a fucking cafe and read a book, people watch, drink coffee at ridiculous hours and not worry about getting up at the crack of dawn to ride 100+ miles and then come back from a seven-day ride, for which I would be using my vacation time, to go right back to work.

I mean.

Maybe I want a real vacation.

And.

Then.

When I said it out loud, when I got on the phone with my person, I got to my internship a little early simply so I could have time to talk with my person, I felt the biggest most amazing relief.

I knew in that instant that it was the right decision for me.

“Honestly, doll, I’m relieved to hear you say this, I was wondering when you were going to come to this realization.”

OH my god.

I love that he doesn’t judge me, that he didn’t tell me to not do it, that he let me have my process, and then to have it reflected back to me with honesty, well, that was that.

I’m not doing the Aids ride.

And I am ok with it.

We talked a lot about things happening in my life and I shared about a great deal of joyful things and it was so good to catch up.

I also talked about doing a trip for my graduation.

What that might look like.

Barcelona.

Paris, maybe L’Ile de Re, where my friend has a family home, off the West Coast of France, especially since she was such an important part of my first two years in the program.

That it might be really nice to see her and celebrate the accomplishment.

She was also the person who has said time and again how much I would like Barcelona.

In fact.

My savings account, I have two, one is my prudent reserve, and the second, my travel savings, is called Barcelona.

Not “going to Burning Man” again next year.

Not “doing the Aids LifeCycle ride and spending over three thousand dollars on a bicycle, gear, and who knows how many countless hours on the training.”

NOPE.

It’s named, “Barcelona,” because when my friend mentioned how I should go I thought, that would make a great graduation trip.

So maybe instead of sabotaging my dream with stuffing in more than I can handle, it’s ok to admit I made a mistake.

I told my friend tonight face to face and sat down and talked to him.

He totally got it, and then he added, “I totally honey potted you into agreeing, you know I did, don’t feel bad that you can’t, it’s ok.”

It’s ok.

Sigh.

Fuck.

Thank you.

I apologized again and hugged him and that was that.

I need to apologize to the three people who donated and then I think I’m clear.

I’ll also contact my ride representative and rescind the ride number, the ride will fill up and someone else will get to ride in my stead.

And.

I also contacted my assistant director, who is in charge of scheduling my clients and said, I need to not take clients on Saturdays.  I can do a consult now and then, but no clients.

At least for this semester.

I feel a lot better.

Much clearer.

Much cleaner.

And so relieved to be just regular old Carmen.

Super Carmen gets to put her cape back in the closet for at least today.

Thank God.

It needs a dry cleaning anyhow.

Ha.

Reunion

September 6, 2017

And it was good.

She ran to me with the biggest smile on her face and threw herself into my arms.

Good thing I was ready for her or I would have been bowled over.

I picked her up and snuggled her in for a great big hug.

“I asked _______________ what the best part of school was,” the mom told me today, “and she replied, ‘getting picked up!'”

And so pick her up I did.

She was so happy to see me and I was so happy to see her.

I got to get her early from school and she and I had 45 minutes to kill before her brother got out of his class, so we went to get special treats from Bi-Rite.

Bagels and plums and boxes of milk with straws.

Bubbly water.

She likes it as much as I do so now I always get two bottles or she’ll drink all of mine and then burp at me and laugh.

God I love this child.

I love all the children I have gotten to work with, and I am always surprised to find that there is more love in me to hold and to give.

This family, though, they are special, and I am so blessed to get to work for them.

I got to talk to the mom about Burning Man and show off my photos.

I got to snuggle with my little lady and hold hands, I mean, there was no shortage of holding hands, she was literally on top of me from the first minute I picked her up from school.

I got to have marvelous conversations with the oldest boy and also I made him his favorite dinner.

Roast chicken.

“OOOOOOH,” he said, when he saw that I had a chicken in the pan on the counter, “roasty chicken!!”

I almost had to tell him not to touch it since it wasn’t cooked yet, it was pretty adorable.

And I got the sweetest text later in the day when I was at my internship after work, the dad sent me a message saying welcome back and thank you so much for the roast chicken and cauliflower, it was so good.

There were many “o’s” in the “so” part, it was pretty damn cute.

I made my salt and pepper roast chicken and then topped it with tarragon brown butter and I roasted off cauliflower with coconut oil, garlic, black pepper, and sea salt.

All sorts of yum.

The baby even seemed excited to see me.

It was a warm and sweet and kind welcome back.

I am super lucky to have this family and it feels like they think they are super lucky to have me.

It’s a mutual thing.

And it’s a short week at work, which is a nice thing to.

Helps to get me acclimated to being there again and helps to ease the transition into the next few weeks which will be busy weeks for the family.

I’m grateful for them, the job, the environment, the freedom to be myself.

I realize more and more how important it is to be my authentic self.

In work, in relationships, in my internship, at school.

I also realized that I don’t need Burning Man to do that any more.

That I have fully embraced my authenticity, that I live an out loud, passionate, committed, loving life.

I don’t have to run off to that thing in the desert to find expression for myself and who I am.

And thus.

I feel.

I may be saying goodbye to Burning Man.

I had a sweet burn, I had wonderful talks with many a lady out there and I feel like I deepened some relationships that I didn’t even know I was needing to deepen.

But the fact is I am not searching for anything or anyone and I don’t have to work so hard to work so hard to enjoy a vacation.

Maybe, just maybe, I want to go somewhere with a hot shower.

Maybe I want to lay on the beach.

Maybe I want to be pampered and not have to do a ton of work and organizing and fretting and figuring it out.

My God.

The amount of mental free space I currently have for not trying to figure out how to get to and from the event is mind-blowing.

I have so many other things that I would rather focus my time, attention, energy, and love on.

So.

Yes.

I believe this last burn was my swan song.

Ironic that I saw nothing burn.

I spent my time writing, getting blown up in dust storms, connecting with ladies I love, hanging out at camp and talking with people in my community.

It was perfect and I couldn’t ask for anything more.

I feel that I have been asking Burning Man to give me something for years.

And that expectation only hindered me and my growth.

Having finally seen that.

Well.

It doesn’t feel like I need to go so badly anymore.

Next year I’ve got the Aids Life Cycle ride.

And.

And!

AND!!

Graduation from my Masters in Psychology program.

The school has set a tentative commencement date.

Saturday, May 19th.

I can’t wait.

It’s going to be epic.

You should come.

Seriously!

Because you probably won’t see me at that thing in the desert next year.

Might as well catch me when I let my mortar board sail into the air with joy.

It’s going to be great.

It’s going to be amazing.

Because.

Well.

My life already is.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Luckiest damn girl.

 

Getting Into A Groove

September 5, 2017

It took a minute.

It was slow going at first.

I still felt a bit sluggish and slow.

I slept late.

I went to bed fairly early and slept super hard.

I went to yoga and that helped a great deal.

I was stiff and needed to shake the rest of the dust out of my body.

My nose was still tender and I was a bit congested, but by the time the class ended I had sweat up a storm and my breathing was clear and clean.

It felt great to get into the class and I was super happy to find out that my favorite yoga teacher had moved back, I knew he was going to be visiting from out-of-town some holiday weekends, so I just thought, oh my God, he’s on the schedule, you got to go.

And it turns out he’ll be a permanent fixture again, which I am super grateful for.

His classes are hard, but hard in a really good way.

I have had very emotionally clearing classes with him and today it was just clearing the rest of the Burning Man out of my system.

I got back into my routine, a tiny bit, got some grocery shopping done, small run to the market in my neighborhood, I returned a ton of internship e-mails and did some scheduling stuff with clients.

I did lots of writing.

I had a super sweet engaging phone call with my best friend.

I am so lucky to have the people in my life I do.

So damn lucky.

And then.

Yes.

I did.

I got into my homework for the next school weekend.

I outlined what I need to read.

I did some reading.

I went over my syllabi.

I also wrote out a homework assignment and turned it in.

Super grateful I took the time to open up my school stuff and check in with my syllabi as I discovered the assignment for my Cognitive Behavioral class was due tomorrow.

“Oh fuck!” I said out loud.

Followed by a “damn it!”

Then I just sucked it up and got into it.

I had the time and I let myself dive into it.

I had plans to meet my person up in the Castro and I needed to run a few quick little errands before meeting with him.

So I read and did homework until I had to leave and yes, I got the assignment written and turned in.

Grateful for that.

I also did some writing for my Jungian Dream class that was good to work on.

And I got a tentative date for the commencement ceremony.

May 19th.

I like having a goal to shoot for.

It helps me to see what I am moving toward.

Although I don’t want to live in the future, it’s nice to have a carrot.

Graduation.

Ooh.

Man.

It just sounds really good.

I still have the majority of the year to get through, but it goes fast.

I know from experience.

It does go fast.

The time it whips by.

It does help that I have a full schedule, that makes the time go by.

And that I have things that I look forward to, people I get to see, snippets of sweetness that keep me moving forward.

Before I headed out to Burning Man I sat down with my employer and mapped out the year, well, not quite, we mapped out until my last weekend of school.

The school calendar for my charges was given to her, so we just went through each month and some days I’ll be going in a little early to help out with the brood when there’s a parent/teacher conference, or a bit of vacation for the kids.

I’m going to get out a little early this Friday, for example, as the family is taking a long weekend.

And.

In November, oh yes, I’m getting a ten-day stretch while they are away for a long vacation around Thanksgiving.

They’re European and don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.

I’m super stoked.

I figure I’ll do lots of homework and maybe a kind of staycation.

No need to figure it out now, just something to keep on the back burner.

Things really do seem to be flowing well for me, keeping the personal life balanced with the recovery life and work life and school life.

Yes.

It is a lot.

But not having Burning Man prep on my mind and being done with that chapter seems to have freed up a great deal of mental space for me and now that I have readjusted to being back in San Francisco I feel ready for whatever comes next.

I suspect it will be marvelous.

My life is not boring, let me tell you.

It’s full of passion and dreams and love and it blows my mind how much I have been given and that I can be of service here in the community and my fellowship is simply grace.

The love that I get to experience fills me and I feel expanded and buoyant with it.

Awed.

Amazed.

Astonished

I am wonderstruck with love.

How did I get so lucky?

I don’t need to know the answer, only that I am and grateful and not taking anything in my life for granted.

Alive.

So very alive.

There is so much yet to experience and do and feel and go.

I was chatting with my person tonight over a big salad, salads are very appealing right now after a week in the dusty dust, about moving on from Burning Man, that maybe I don’t go next year.

That maybe there are other places to travel to.

I have been doing a list of places in my affirmations and I think anyone of them may be a better alternative.

They all have showers, that’s for sure.

And though I adore the event and everything that I have gotten from going, maybe it’s time for a new adventure.

11 burns is nothing to sneeze at.

Even with a nose full of dust.

Anyway.

Enough Burning Man.

It’s time to move on.

At least for right now.

I have much more important things to focus on.

It’s going to be a good week.

I can feel it in my bones.

Seriously.

Bring it on.

 

 

Hello Again

September 4, 2017

It’s been a minute, hasn’t it?

I have missed my little blog, I have.

I got back from Burning Man last night.

I am back a day early and I cannot be more grateful for it.

I needed to get back, I was missing my world.

I also wasn’t wanting to sit in any kind of exodus line, the last time I had tried to leave on Sunday morning I ended up being in line for almost four hours.

Four hours on playa.

Four hours to go three miles.

No fucking thank you.

And I had to be back by today to give myself enough time to recuperate and unpack and unwind.

And.

Um.

Shower.

Holy Mary, mother of God.

Fuck me.

That shower was something else.

A spiritual experience for sure.

I knew when I heard that the temperature was going to rise and peak out on Sunday that I wanted to come back Saturday.

I didn’t need to see the Man burn.

I have seen it burn ten times.

I wanted to get home without a shit ton of traffic.

I asked the woman who I had traveled with to the event if she would be amenable to leaving a day early and she was quite down for it.

And in given that there was a death last night at the burn I am extraordinarily grateful that one, I did not witness it.  And two, that I had left before the event turned morbid.

Death happens.

But I am relieved that I did not witness it.

I had a very different burn than I have in the past.

First, of course, because I was not working it.

I had to laugh, even when I tried to pick up a volunteer shift at Artica slinging ice, I got turned down, they had more volunteers than they needed.

Every time that I thought I might have worked, it was pushed down and away.

I spent a lot of time sitting in Center Camp Cafe writing.

I sent lots of cards and post cards off and I did a lot of journaling.

I hung out at my camp with the ladies of the Nest, a sweet group of women that I have known for years and witnessed their growth into extraordinary beings.

It was super sweet to have such a girl centric time.

I wasn’t on the prowl for the playa boyfriend.

I didn’t need to look for anything.

I have everything I want.

I went dancing twice.

Once in camp, an amazing dj came and played at our potluck dinner for the camp.

The music was the best I had experienced in years at the event.

I danced hard for two hours.

Happy in my body and light on my feet.

Although, the knees felt a little rough the next day.

I got to know a few folks in my San Francisco fellowship whom I have known for years but not really connected with.

I went on bike rides with the posse.

I got caught in dust storms unlike anything I have experienced before.

Prior years I was always working very close to my accommodations and they included access to trailers.

A dust storm would spring up and I would be hiding out in a trailer.

A huge dust storm came up and I was obliterated in it.fullsizeoutput_ed1

The “clean” spot on my face was where my dust mask was.

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I mean, you can’t even tell I have tattoos for god’s sake.

I had been caught off guard and though I saw the storm coming, it came up too fast for me to get the fuck out of Dodge.

I spent about an hour of it laying on a bench outside of the Temple.

Completely exposed.

I rested my head on the bench, curled up next to the fencing it was by and held on for what literally felt like dear life.

I kept my eyes closed.

I wasn’t wearing goggles.

My bad.

Stupid too, since I have a pair.

I was, thank god, wearing something, my big aviator sunglasses, but my eyes still got totally coated with dust.

It was an extraordinary experience.

Not exactly pleasant.

But I surrendered to it and rode it out saying prayers inside my head and breathing slow and steady.

There was a break in it and I thought go!

I got my bike, made it five feet and it whipped up again.

I was told later the wind was roaring along at 45 mph.

The dust battered me and I held still straddling my bike for about another hour.

There was a man standing next to me on a trike.

He might have been three feet away, probably less and he was invisible to me.

I could have reached out to him and touched his arm.

I didn’t.

But.

Knowing there was someone else there made it palatable.

The experience was mind-blowing.

No pun intended.

It also lead to an experience that I had never had before.

I got topless at Burning Man.

That has never, ever happened.

I stumbled into camp, with another of my campmates who had gotten blasted by the dust too and we let the women in camp strip us down and clean us up.

She got completely naked.

I couldn’t quite do it and in fact was walking away to wipe myself down solo when I realized what a monumental task it was going to be and I started crying.

I went back and said, “help me.”

And they did.

I dropped all my pretenses, and my clothes, well, I couldn’t step out of my under wear, there really is a limit for me, and just surrendered.

I got sprayed with a vinegar and water mixture and then a baby wipe down.

I got all the dust off my eyes and eyelashes.

I actually left my hair up in the puffs and antlers and let it be the way it was.

I was told it looked pretty spectacular and just let it be.

I had to have help getting dressed and it felt as though I was a priestess being made ready for a ceremony.

We all went out that night in a mutual friend’s, who is staff at the event, car.

I wore a long white dress and fresh makeup.

I had my hair up and added some goggles to the mix, I wasn’t without them the rest of the event.

We rode around the playa, the six of us, sitting regal in the back of the Jaguar convertible, the “Shaguar” which was painted hot pink with black spots on it.

I felt like some sort of playa princess.

And I was happy to be with the women around me.

All of whom I wouldn’t have met outside of recovery.

I am lucky and grateful to have them in my life.

I felt seen and loved.

Really loved and really included.

What more could I ask from Burning Man?

I’m so glad I’m home though.

I missed it more than I had expected.

And my heart is glad to be here.

Despite having a bad tummy today, which happens sometimes after coming back from the event, especially after being smacked so hard by the dust, I am happy to be home.

Happy.

Joyous.

Free.

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So very free.

And It’s Here

August 25, 2017

Holy shit.

Tomorrow.

Tomorrow is my first day of classes in my third, and last, year of my Masters in Counseling Psychology program.

Fuck.

How did it get to be time already.

It feels hyper surreal.

On one hand I feel like I was just in class last weekend.

On the other it feels like years and ages.

I also have a better sense of what I’m walking into with my schedule as I have spent some time tonight doing more reading for class and looking over my syllabi for the classes I have tomorrow.

I only have two.

Which is a change from previous years when I had three classes a day on Fridays.

Of course.

I have practicum, which is the difference.

And beginning in September, basically after I get back from Burning Man, I will be seeing clients on Fridays.

And.

Sigh.

Saturdays too.

I have a few clients scheduled for my first weekend back from playa.

Mostly to make up for the sessions I will have missed by being out-of-town.

I was pleased and flattered when two of my clients asked me to make up sessions with them, they didn’t want to go two weeks without seeing me.

That was nice to hear.

I am doing a good job.

Not the best, I am far from the best, but I’m doing a decent job and I know that I am making headway with my clients and that they are getting something out of the relationship, enough so that they want to continue seeing me and wanting to make up for the lost sessions.

I am grateful for the work.

It is work.

Don’t get me wrong, but it is also such rewarding work.

And I am also happy that I am continuing to learn and make connections and see things, that the work generates constant learning is amazing.

I am not in a cookie cutter job, I am getting to constantly and consistently learn.

No better thing that.

I shall spend my whole life learning and still feel that there is so much more to know and learn and so much growth yet to be had.

Perhaps on this plane.

Perhaps in another.

I don’t know what or where any of this is going.

I just know that I want, with sincerest passion and longing, to be true to this moment, the one I am in, that in this moment there is constant love, consistency and self-awareness.

I am the best person I know how to be.

In this moment.

It will change.

I will have my failings.

I will freak out.

I will get scared.

I did today when I inadvertently flipped open Facebook, which I am less and less on, I just don’t have the time or bandwidth for it, to see a response to a post I had put up about having found a ride to Burning Man and how I was happy for it.

The response was from the woman I am going with.

And it should have been a direct message to me.

But.

Nope.

Of course it wasn’t, it was a post displayed for the entire forum to see, hundreds of folks.

I didn’t respond because it wasn’t the right thing to do and I felt instant, I mean, instant resentment.

Don’t fucking change things up on me now!

I am inflexible when I am in fear.

I want what I want and I want it the way that I want it.

Got that?

Good.

So, basically, do it my way.

Damn it.

But no.

My ride has some ideas, some thoughts, some desires to do it her way.

And as such.

Wanted to know if I would be open to renting a mini van.

Oh.

Well.

Fuck my life.

I had a fucking reservation made on my own to rent a god damn vehicle, a reservation I cancelled after securing the ride with the woman whom I am going with.

If I wanted to pay for a fucking rental I would have gone up on my god damn own.

This is my thinking walking down the hill on Chenery, on the way to go get my charge some snacks at the Glen Canyon Market and then go to the park at the rec center.

I almost said it out loud.

And no four-year old needs to hear my profanity.

I was, when I am in resentment it usually stems from fear–I’m not getting what I want or I am afraid I’m going to lose something–full of angry profanity and resentment.

I took a deep breath.

I did not respond on Facebook.

I paused.

I breathed some more.

I swore in my head some more.

Then I just got into, this is what’s happening and this is what is going on and I can accept the situation or I can rant like a maniac.

Do I want to be happy?

Or.

Right.

Right!

Just kidding.

Sigh.

I wish.

No.

I want to be happy.

And if my elderly lady stateswoman wants to rent a mini van, well so be it.

I let a lot of time go and I said some prayers and I did some spot check inventory in my mind and I realized a bunch of stuff.

I have a job to attend to.

I am with my charge and I have to go get my other charge across town.

I am in a pretty park with a sparkling water in my hand, I am outside, the grass is green, the pollinating plants smell intoxicating, the clover especially, and I am alive to have all these feelings.

I have the opportunity to accept what is going on and I prayed for guidance to take the next action in front of me.

So when the text came in from my ride I was able to respond, not react, and take a phone call.

Oh.

I still got flustered on the phone.

I had an idea of what I was going to spend on getting to the damn event and now I was facing having to pay more and I felt a bit in a bind, a bit out of control, like, I don’t have any other way at this time to get myself out there and I have a three-day weekend of school and the rest of the work day to get through.

I can’t fathom trying figure out other means of transport.

I told her I was willing to consider it.

I asked what she wanted by way of compensation.

She gave me, what I considered a vague, cop-out response, but, ultimately, the freedom to decide what I felt comfortable contributing.

I had a number in my head.

I paused for a while after getting off the phone.

I know I can afford it.

I am willing to pay more.

I don’t want to think about it.

I have other things happening before it.

I want to show up alive and present and enjoy every beautiful moment of my weekend.

So.

Whatever vehicle shows up for me on Sunday.

Well.

That’s the one I’m going in.

And whatever the cost.

Well.

That’s what I will be paying.

I’m just surrendering to what’s happening and letting God have it.

God always does in the end anyway.

I get to have this experience.

And like so many others.

I am sure there will be spiritual growth.

And.

Love.

I am certain of that.

There will be love.

There always is.

All Systems Go

August 22, 2017

Fuck.

It was a busy, full, going on all four cylinders from the moment I got up, day, from early morning until.

Well.

Until.

Right about now.

I just got off an email back and forth with director of my internship, did a bunch of e-mails with some clients, booked some sessions, logged my hours for today in Track My Hours, and whew.

It’s like um, 10p.m.

I got up at 6:30 a.m.

That’s a full day.

I got some writing in today though, I hadn’t gotten as much morning page writing in the last week or so and it was really good to just let go on the page and scrawl away.

I also showered yesterday so I skipped it this morning, giving me a little more time to process all the junk in my head.

I don’t even know what I wrote, only that it felt good to write.

And.

I did a written gratitude list and sent another out to a friend via text.

I’m on a list he sends it to and I like getting it.

Not just because it reminds me to be grateful, it definitely does that, but to see what other people are grateful for.

I am grateful for everything.

My life is beyond my wildest dreams.

Sometimes it is strange and I wonder, how did I get here, but I know there are no mistakes in God’s world and I am being taken care of and having all the experiences I am supposed to be having.

Like being of service to the woman I am traveling with to Burning Man.

I am still having some trepidations about going with someone who is 74 years old, but I also am happy that I get to be of service to her.

It’s a nice to be of service to others, it gets me out of my head, and if you’ve never been to Burning Man it is super hard to imagine and of course, if you’re 74 there’s a different approach you’re going to make than if you are 24 or my age, 44.

How did I get to be 44?

Fuck.

Time flies.

I suppose I will look back in 30 years and wonder how it is that I got to be 74.

I’m going to be old.

I know it.

I also hope to be of service all the way to the end of my life.

I believe that’s the only way that I am going to be happy, by having a useful life, by helping others, it gives me happiness, it gets me out of my own head and I got to do a lot of it today.

I had a few phone check ins, one lady who I just recently met, and got to share some experience, strength and hope with her and although we are vastly different, we are the same person and it was good to hear how relieved she was to know that she’s not alone in her journey.

I got to talk with one of the other women I work with in recovery and I also got to see clients tonight.

And.

I worked with my supervisor.

I also got to go over my review with him, which was really enlightening and I got a better idea of how he thinks of me and what I am doing and that he also, although he didn’t exactly say it, likes me.

We had a great session and I learned a ton from him today.

I often feel as though I am taking a solo masters class in psychoanalytic theory when I am working with him.

I write a ton of notes and I can hear him in my head sometimes when I am with a client.

It’s exciting to work with him, he pushes me, he’s extraordinarily smart and intelligent, and I feel smart when I am working with him.

I like feeling smart.

I have always understood that I was intelligent, but the smart part of that eludes me, I have been mystified most of my life as to what people meant when they say, “you are so smart.”

I haven’t always felt that way.

Smart.

In fact.

I have often felt rather stupid, stupid in love, stupid in my life choices, idiotic some of the decisions I have made, or so I tell myself, but oh, the learning, the learning is so much.

I have such a wealth of experiences.

Mostly because I try to say yes to doing things.

Sometimes to my detriment, I’ll get too busy, I will get to wrapped up with my schedule and I won’t have the time to appreciate what is happening.

I try to find balance.

I don’t often succeed, but I try.

And I’m ok with failing.

Ah.

Who the fuck am I kidding.

I am never ok with failing, but I recognize that I am going to fail and that I will try again and again until it works its way out, whatever it is.

I guess what I am saying is that I live.

I am not sitting on the bleachers, I am in the game.

I am hustling.

Sometimes perhaps a little too much, but I know that it’s what it is right now.

And that all the things I did, mistakes, which were not mistakes, life experiences, travels, moving to Paris, moving back from Paris, trying things out, has led me here.

Right where I am supposed to be.

With the people in my life with whom I am supposed to be with.

Such gifts.

Such grace.

I didn’t expect it to look like this.

But.

I have to say.

It is a beautiful thing.

My life.

So beautiful.

My heart aches with it.

Grateful beyond words.

And now.

One more gratitude list before I retire.

Because.

Truly.

There is that much to be grateful for.

Every day.

Grateful.

Every damn day.

Packed!

August 21, 2017

I’m ready for Burning Man.

All I have to do is get through the week.

And what a week it’s going to be.

Oof.

I have supervision tomorrow morning in Hayes Valley.

Then work, nannying, up in Glen Park.

I might, depending on what is going on with my supervisor and some paperwork, have to spin by my school and drop off a practicum trainee review.

I have seen the review and tomorrow we will be discussing it.

I’m not super excited to tell you the truth.

It wasn’t as great a review as my other supervisor, but then again, this supervisor is tough and smart and I doubt he gives very high marks to anyone he supervises.

I did good.

Don’t get me wrong.

Although I didn’t like his additional comments about how my schedule, school full-time, working full time, the practicum hours at the internship, how I’m working six days a week and have to be careful to not get overloaded and to take time to recharge.

Sigh.

I did a lot of recharging today.

And.

I also did a lot of work.

Laundry, cooking–made a pot roast (god damn was that a great supper, I marinated it over night in olive oil, garlic, sea salt, black pepper, adobo, thyme; then roasted it super slow and low for almost three and a half hours, I also soaked it down with homemade chicken stock to keep it moist while it was cooking and surrounded it by baby potatoes, parsnips, carrots, and turnips.  I ate a nice juicy slice of it for dinner over some brown rice and put a pat of butter on it and some salt, because salt, and my fucking god, heaven), went to yoga, cleaned my house, and yeah.

Packed for Burning Man.

Four large bins, one medium bin, got my cooler ready to load up, but I won’t load it until the day I head out, which is next Sunday.

I’ll be keeping everything in the freezer until the very last moment.

My four man tent, a folding chair, and my parasol.

Ta da!

I’m pretty good at the packing for the desert trip, it’s just a matter of getting my bins sorted and having laundry done.

It used to be that my wardrobe was pretty small and basically I was wearing whatever I owned out on the playa.

A little time and a little bit of purchases here and there and I have slowly acquired a playa set of clothes, although a good bit of my wardrobe still does hop into a bin, it’s not my entire closet.

And there are some things that I absolutely won’t wear out there, which is relatively new in the last couple of years, I would just dump everything I had in my bins and empty my closet.

I do need to get a pair of sunglasses, some good aviators, I couldn’t find my sunglasses and then I realized, oh yeah, stupid, paid way too much for a set of Oliver Peeples prescription sunglasses and lost them at school last semester.

Ugh.

So.

Yeah, that’s about all I have to purchase for the trip, that and the things that will wait until I get out-of-town, like ice and water, that I’ll pick up in Reno at the 24 hour SafeWay.

My ride is coming to pick me up at 1 p.m. next Sunday.

The drive takes about 8-9 hours.

I figure we’ll land on playa around midnight–the stop in Reno and any other pit stops or gassing up that needs to be done.

My ticket and the vehicle pass are at Will Call.

I was gifted a low-income ticket from the organization, it’s still $198 and the vehicle pass is $80, but it’s cheaper than the regular ticket, and I got a ticket, there’s always so many people who can’t seem to get a ticket since the event started selling out years ago.

I remember very well the first time that happened, I was nannying for the head of Media Mecca and there was a great kind of awed hush that came over her when the announcement was made over the radio channel.

It was astounding to think they sold out.

Used to be you could just buy a ticket when you got there.

You could buy a ticket at Rainbow Grocery for fucks sake.

Now it’s a big deal, it’s a lotto, they’re more expensive, they are much harder to get.

But.

Well, I keep getting lucky, I keep getting to go.

I get to keep wearing big flowers in my hair and pretty dresses and my cowboy boots and crinolines.

I don’t show much skin out there per se, sure, my bra top will show, but I always wear a bra, I’m not a run around the desert naked kind of gal.

I like a tan, but not that much.

No.

I wear gingham dresses and crinolines, or fun tights and frilly panties and loose cotton tops.

At night I wear leggings and jean shorts, and layers, I have a cheetah print jacket with a pink silk lining that I only wear at Burning Man.

I have my goggles.

And I have my box of makeup.

Really.

What I like to do is wear lots of geegaws up in my hair and put on pretty makeup.

Throw in a crinoline and my cowboy boots and that’s it.

Oh, yeah, and a few bandanas, always, one around my wrist and sometimes one around my the top of my boot, it’s nice to have a spare for the dust that kicks up.

And like that.

My day is just about done.

I need to get the last of the laundry out of the dryer and wrap up a few loose ends here at the house.

Then my full week, supervision, work, clients, therapy, and let me not forget my first weekend of classes.

Whew.

It’s going to be busy.

But good.

I know my week will be very good and I will have my moments, my quiet, sweet moments in my little home by the sea to ponder how good I have it and how much I am loved.

Luckiest girl in the world.

And packed for Burning Man!

Fuck yeah.


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