Posts Tagged ‘journey’

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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A Good Cry

July 12, 2017

And then back to living.

I saw my therapist today.

Yes.

A psychotherapist has a therapist.

Especially since I am a therapist in training, although, let me tell you, I felt like a therapist today, seeing clients, filing paperwork, checking all the boxes, circling all the things that needed to be circled and doing the work.

I can get super caught up in how much longer this road is and how the hell am I ever, I mean, ever, going to get 3,000 hours, but I can’t, I just can’t focus on that.

One hour at a time.

Fortunately I have some practice living a day at a time and when I reflect on how those days add up and all my accomplishments have come in small increments, but come they have, then I don’t have to get too caught up in the numbers.

It’s just a numbers game and I’m doing it the best I can as fast as I can without killing myself in the process.

I mean.

I still have to process all my own stuff, plus carrying around my clients in my head.

I do that now.

I have them in my head and sometimes I will think about them and once in a while I have a momentary flash, a connection, a thought or feeling and a little aha moment, that feels pretty special.

But.

Yes.

I do have to process my own stuff too, I have to look at my own emotional life sift through the chafe and dander and see what is needing to seen and what is needing to be let go.

I knew.

For instance.

I needed to titrate my social media intake today.

I woke up a bit emotionally hung over.

I cried a lot yesterday.

On and off all day, with one really big cry in the evening when I was talking with my person on the phone and going over the shock of what had happened and how the death of my friend had not just hit me, but many others, the numbers of people who showed up to be present for each other and for the family of the deceased was extraordinary.

Not to mention all the people in so many other places he had affected, who’s lives he had touched–Portland, Seattle, Memphis, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Oakland.

Gah.

I can hear him saying “West Oakland” in my head and such joy at his goofiness suffuses me.

For he was joyful.

Oh sure, sad and fucked up and scared and young and insecure, who hasn’t been those things, but also bright and kind and funny and so there for you and warm and sweet and musically talented.

Oh the music the world has lost.

So.

Seeing all the pictures, all the photographs, all the expressions of heartbreak, my social media feed was just awash in tears and sadness.

I really had to not look after a while.

And I knew when I woke up having felt puffy eyed and sluggish and a bit off kilter that I wasn’t going to allow myself to wallow in the emotionalism of social media.

I needed coffee, some ibuprofen, and a good breakfast.

Sounds like a hangover, right?

Except instead of booze or blow it was emotion.

And as I expressed to my therapist today after plopping down on her couch and telling her I was going to cry and then immediately doing so, I also realized that some, a lot of the emotion I had in my body, on my heart, in my head, was not mine.

It was the communities.

And I’m grateful.

Really grateful.

I got to feel it and touch into it.

But.

I could not continue swimming in it any longer.

So I talked it out, processed it, linked it to other things, made traverses, expressed emotions, cried a lot in the beginning, but by the middle of my session I was going other places.

Oh.

It was all interconnected.

I am good at making connections.

And it was honest and insightful.

I am pretty good at those things too.

Not always.

I am a work in progress, people, don’t expect perfection, I am far, far, far from perfect.

But.

I am loving and kind and sweet, I would hazard.

I am compassionate and more importantly, I am empathetic.

Sometimes too much and I get overextended and I give too much, I have been trained well in that way of life, being my mom’s caretaker, taking care of my sister, my oldest niece, an ex-boyfriend of five years who might as well have been my mother for all the caretaking he required, but I have grown a lot.

Oh, so fucking much.

And I know when I need to caretake and when the other person needs to do the job their own damn self.

And there’s no irony that I am in the care taking profession.

A. I am a nanny, I care take all day long.

B. I am a psychotherapist.

But it’s not my job to care take as a therapist and that’s a really intriguing thing for me.

I am also not there to make my client feel better, to sugar coat, or to shoo away uncomfortable feelings.

Uncomfortable feelings need to happen.

There’s nothing wrong with them.

I like to look at them as signposts, directions, “hey this thing you do, it doesn’t work for you.”

For instance.

There’s nothing wrong with anxiety or depression.

They are signs that the way things are going, the tools being used for living, well they might not be working so well.

I mean.

Booze was one hell of an amazing solution for me.

Until.

It was not.

So was cocaine.

My God.

I remember the first time I did a line of good blow.

It was like I had all the answers.

ALL of them.

And I was fine with the way those answers were conveyed and I rather scoffed at a friends warning that perhaps I like that drug a little more than was perhaps healthy.

Um.

Yeah.

But when those solutions failed I had to find a better way, a different way and there was depression there and there was anxiety and all sorts of other juicy psychological terms and conditions.

And slowly.

One step at a time.

I got to change what I did.

What I ingested.

What I thought and felt.

For something else.

I was given a significant solution to my problem.

Of course.

I won’t tell that to a client, they have to find their own way, I think that I am a mirror, an attachment figure, a person who can and will have to withstand the disappointments and anger and discomfort of others so that they can learn how to use that information and devise their own solution.

Therapy is not for symptom relief.

Just like alcohol, ultimately, and every other drug I took, weren’t for symptom relief.

I had to find a different way.

And I did.

And today when I walked out of my therapist office I felt a lightness and a joy.

I am alive.

I am not guilty for being alive

I have so much joy and passion in my life, such happiness, I felt light and though there is still sadness for the loss of this beautiful person, I have also a deeper connection to how alive I want to be and how alive I am allowed to be.

To be alive, in this moment, sober, and free.

It is amazing.

Happy.

Joyous.

Moved beyond words for my experiences and this amazing place I have been lead to.

Grateful.

So very grateful.

Thank you for being a part of my journey.

May it bless you too.

This Is The End

May 9, 2017

Goodbye my friend.

Well.

Perhaps not quite yet.

But.

Oh my heart.

I am going to have to stop with my blog.

Or at least this iteration of it.

I met with my supervisor for my practicum, my off site supervisor, who is deeply analytic, and who is so spooky smart it amazes me.

I also realize in the writing of that, I too am smart.

I get so much from our interactions because I too, am intelligent and it is a pleasure to be met and held and supported in that academic nature, and also just in the humanness of curiosity and the journey of being human.

I just docked my hour on Track My Hours.

I have done 21 of 3,000.

Only 2,979 to go.

Heh.

As I get closer to taking clients I will begin to shut down my blog.

I have suspected that this might need to happen and after my discussion with my supervisor today I am pretty sure that this is going to happen.

My heart hurt when I shared with him how long I have been writing this and what pleasure I find in it, but I also know that to be in service to my clients I need to drop the blog.

I need to be more anonymous on the web.

I have recently changed all my Facebook stuff to be über private and today I turned my Instagram profile to private.

I am also going to clean out my Facebook friends.

I would go do that right now, except that I want to write and not get sucked into the social media hole.

My supervisor said he uses Facebook twice a year.

TWICE.

I love that.

I also like that my friends who are off Facebook seem to be happier and more centered in their lives and irony, spending more time with their friends.

I was, in fact, quite absent from Facebook this past weekend, so, so, so much to do.

I will miss writing the blog and the responses I have gotten from it.

But.

I won’t stop writing.

I will just find a different iteration of.

I will keep blogging, but the nature of the blogging is going to be different and written with the task in mind of writing or an audience that may very well include my clients.

I love how my supervisor explained it, the perspective was not that I was going to be found out about something, but that the client needs to have the space to fantasize about who I am as a therapist.

Parent, partner, sister, friend.

That in the space held for the client I need to be whatever person they create so that they can find a different relationship then the one that they are having problems with.

I sound rather esoteric, but I understood deeply what he meant and he shared with me a very poignant example of a client with me.

I have to hold so many things and the frame is the most important.

And I was told clients would Google me and try to friend me and follow me on social media, that I might be stalked, or followed, that clients would try to find out information about me.

Now.

I am a fair open book in my blog but I can tell you that I have surprising responses to the things that I have written, more so than I can enumerate here.

People presume to know who I am.

And, they don’t.

Oh, a few have some more insights than others, but I am so many things and not all that I write about here is current day, I weave in personal history and narratives, I have themes that I return to again and again.

Those stories are precious to me and important and experiences I wouldn’t change for anything, but they are often stories.

There is me and there is the blog and they are the same.

But.

They are not one and the same.

The blog is her own character.

And I am going to be a therapist.

I need to protect myself, I will need to titrate how much social media I ingest and start to examine how I express myself in the online world.

I’m not sure about a hard stop with my blog.

But I know it can’t continue too much further.

I also will be starting my internship in two weeks and I am not going to have much time.

It may be that I have to sacrifice the  blog to that as much as to anything else.

I shall see.

I shall hold it and nurture these little blogs, my little fluffy fledgling birds of prose and see that they have a place to be saved and that I find another way to express creatively and in a manner that resonates with myself and my need to be an artist.

A poet.

An author.

I thought about that.

Maybe I find my outlet by writing a book.

Maybe I start a completely new blog.

Maybe I tailor sharply this one.

Even the name is personal.

I am Auntie Bubba.

But that name has a history, a story, an origin and that is from my family and I don’t know that I want my future clients to know that my family nickname is Bubba.

Um.

Hahahaha.

NO.

I have taken a few small actions today to start the de-escalation of social media.

I know I have an old LinkedIn account that needs to be cleaned up.

I will winnow out the Facebook friends and start really thinking about how to navigate the blog and what I will do instead.

What would happen if I put a hard stop to it when I go to Paris?

It feels sad but also, interesting.

What space might be created for something else.

Something new and surprising.

A new chapter.

A new work.

A new journey.

A new experience.

All the things.

Look At You

March 11, 2017

Beautiful!

“I miss you and your flowers,” she finished and gave me a big hug, “make sure and spread your love around we need it.”

That was a very nice way to end the first day of my three-day weekend of classes.

A big love hug from one of my favorite professors.

It was really good to see her and also to just take a moment to reflect on how far I have come.

It was about two years ago this month that I found out I had been accepted into the Masters program where I am at.

So much has changed for me from making that decision and following it up with some actions.

Actions that often felt tiny, small, inconsequential but ended up leading me here, now, in my second semester of my second year of a three-year Masters of Psychology program.

Not too bad.

Not too bad at all.

And so much of the work has been showing up with faith in the process.

I’m still not 100% sure what I am going to do, but I have so much more clarity and I have direction and I have, now,  a couple of years of doing the work under my belt and I know that I can do the work, which is huge.

It’s also exhausting.

I am tired.

I mean.

Tired.

Sometimes the transition is a challenge, the one where I am getting up an hour and a half earlier than I do on the weekdays, the one in which I skip having a weekend off, the one in which I have to show up, suit up, and participate, instead of sleeping in.

I got an adorable text from a friend in regards to it being the weekend and Friday and I laughed.

Which is better than bursting into tears, my Friday is more like a hard-core 11 hour Monday after working a full week of work.

Followed by another eleven hour day and then a seven hour day and then it’s Monday again and I get to go back to work.

Fuck.

I’m tired thinking about it.

I always make it through.

Some of that time I am more caffeinated, but I had to cut it out after a certain point today otherwise my brain would be up half the night attempting to process all the stuff that I went through during the day in class.

And I went through a lot of stuff.

I’m actually doing work now.

Sigh.

Ugh.

Turns out I missed a podcast that I needed to listen to for my Trauma class.

So.

Yeah.

Homework on the weekend I thought I had it all done.

Oh well.

So it goes.

It’s an interesting podcast, there is that.

I just want to finish my tea and watch an episode of America’s Next Top Model.

Shh.

Don’t tell.

I mean I would like to wind down, but I also know that I am trying to balance it all out and be present and have done the work and yada, yada, yada.

I am glad though, to be in class, to see my cohort, see my friend, have an impromptu lunch at a sushi spot with a friend in the program.

Good to connect and reconnect.

I got to see people I care about and love.

To know that I have another community of people to connect with is a great deal to me that I was never expecting to get out of the program.

An extra unexpected gift.

The friendships, the hugs, the conversations, the people who have expressed their affection for me and for my journey.

It is a blessing.

I’m excited for all of us, for the path being travelled that we are on, oh, I know, our paths will fork and people will change and go on their different ways, but we have this time together, these three years and it is an incredible experience.

Nope.

I don’t always want to be vulnerable, I don’t want to process, but I do, I grow, I change, and as I turned down a few invitations to do things this evening, I know that I was doing the thing that was going to best take care of me in my person and show up for class as rested and as ready to participate and share my experiences.

The relevant ones.

Sometimes I don’t share, sometimes the gory details are shined up a bit, but really I am pretty clear about who I am and where I have been and, now, where I hope to move towards.

It’s been an opening of a new part of me.

I am appreciative and honored and sometimes.

Well.

Yes.

Tired.

But.

Here’s to working a little extra, doing a tiny bit more, taking one more little step towards that goal.

I don’t need to know where the end goal is.

Oh.

And look at that.

Podcast done.

Blog almost done.

Ready for a spot of tea and then.

Yes.

Some rest.

So I can get up and do it all over again tomorrow.

See you on the flip.

Where.

I will be.

Ready to teeter totter a few more baby, albeit tired, steps down the road.

 

It’s Official!

February 7, 2017

Hi Carmen,
It is my pleasure to officially offer you an internship at the Liberation Institute. It was wonderful meeting with you and I’ve no doubt that you’d be a great addition to our therapeutic community.
Next steps:
We need you to reply with one of the following answers:
– Yes, I officially accept! 

or

– No, I officially decline.

or

– I need more time to decide.

Please let me know if you’ll be joining us!
If you have questions or concerns, just let me know.
Thanks!
What do you think I said?
Ha.
Of course.
I said yes.
I said I “officially accept!”
And I did.
And it’s official.
I’m an intern.
Holy shit.
So nice to have this part of the journey out-of-the-way, I was much more anxious about it than I needed to be, so much more anxious, and for naught, it worked out perfect.
It was on God’s time.
Not mine.
In fact.
I hadn’t even had the Liberation Institute on my radar, I was going to go work for UCSF or one of the CIIS sites.
I had my plans.
God chuckled, and said, hey, what about over here?
I said, nah, I’ve got this.
Then I realized, as I do so often, that no, in fact, I do not have this and yes, actually, the Liberation Institute is indeed the place where I am supposed to be.
How may I fit myself to be of maximum service to my fellows?
And there it was.
After I responded yes and then text my two besties in the program and sharing the news, and yes, I did, I called my mom.
It’s nice to call your mom with the big news.
We had a good catch up chat and she asked when I was going to be graduating and I said May of 2018 and she’s going to come out and see me get my Masters degree.
I was so touched by that.
And grateful.
Then I got another message from my new supervisor, saying, “hooray!  Welcome aboard Carmen.”
How nice to have someone excited to work with me.
My supervisor outlined what I need to do next, basically get paperwork through my school and I’ll be able to attend to that this up coming weekend when I am in school for the second weekend of the semester.
I’ll pick up the paper work and then I’ll meet with my supervisor in March to do the next part.
And I will also do my interview of him for my Community Mental Health class at that time.
Yes, I will.
Two birds, one stone.
It feels really so nice to be here, to be taking these next steps.
I know there is still so much more work to do, but this just feels so good, so right, so affirming to have this happen, and I’ve been assured by many in my cohort that of course it was going to happen, but still.
When it does.
Oh.
That is a damn nice feeling.
Yes, yes it is.
And it was really swell, yeah, I said swell, to also relay the news to my employer who was happy for me and also relieved, even if she didn’t express that as much as the happy, that I won’t have to change-up my hours, that I will be with them, that we are on the same page, that I can do the internship and still be their nanny.
Yup.
The grad school nanny.
Not a role I ever thought I would be in.
Not a hat I thought I would wear.
But I’ll wear it.
Jaunty and slightly askew.
Rakish like.
Happy to be in said position.
I got such nice compliments from the mom today too, about how nice it was to come home and not have to make dinner and that they really liked my food so much and, well, that too makes me happy.
I do so enjoy cooking for others.
I made them two kinds of pasta tonight.
One a fusilli with fresh pesto.
And.
Spaghetti with meat sauce and herbed tomatoes.
Lots of fresh grated parmesan and a happy clan of people.
I was let go a few minutes early and hopped out the door and was able to catch my 6:30 pm regular get together and see some folks there.
I was invited to fellowship and I ended up going.
And then.
I ended up bailing.
I love my people.
But I can’t eat at Pasquale’s.
It’s all pizza and pasta and as I started to get a little panicky about eating and making something work when I had planned on eating at home and so I bounced.
I felt a little bad, but not too much.
Sometimes I need company.
And sometimes I just have to eat my own food.
I’ll make up for it this week.
I promise.
I have dinner plans to meet with my person tomorrow after work, so that will do as a start.
It was really nice to check in with him today and tick off the things that I had done, taking his suggestions around some stuff that came up for me yesterday, relating that I had put my big girl pants on and made an appointment at the dentist.
Yes.
An internship and an appointment to go to the dentist.
Adulting all over the place.
I also shared that I had gotten the news about the internship.
It was nice to share the news.
I mean, I had known, the interview went so well, but until one gets the official letter, well, it wasn’t official.
Now it is.
I really am so pleased.
Life continues to open up and bloom and it’s such a gift to be witnessing it.
I hadn’t expected to be on this path and I am blown away again and again at how right it is, how it feels to pursue, how competent I feel in moving forward and how humbled that yes, after all, I am supposed to help people.
That my main talent is to be a helper.
First and foremost.
To myself.
But then for so many others.
I am thrilled.
And.
Honored.
I am.
Grateful.
I am.
Graced.
I am.
All the things.

Inwardly Re-arranged

October 20, 2016

I got absolutely nothing done today.

Yet.

I had astounding, life changing things happen.

All over the span of a few minutes.

All in a day.

Clear the decks.

Make way for change and with my heart in my throat I leapt.

I don’t know where I’m going to land.

It will be in new territory.

It will look exactly like what it looks like now.

Except.

That everything is different.

Violets covered in sugar crystals.

Like the best sex I never had.

Like spangles of star dust and fireworks and quiet.

An inner knowing.

An inner depth of knowledge about myself, my disease, an awareness of old pain that has settled again and instead of pain, is now stronger for having walked through the unbearable lightness of love.

Sunlight on my face.

My hair up today, the breath of the ocean warm on my skin as I got ready for work.

The books I haven’t read enough of, the paper I still need to write, the things all put on pause so that I could navigate through uncharted waters.

I know better than to go to alone.

I tearfully surrendered this morning to finally after days of being quiet, telling.

I told.

I was terrified.

I already knew the answer and I had worked through the big emotions and had the big talk with God, I knew.

I know that where love is concerned there is no choice.

However.

I don’t have to see it through my eyes only.

I get to see it through the perspectives of others, who may have a different point of view, a different way of seeing.

And he did.

And he was kind.

And there was no shame in the telling.

And I cried.

And it hurt.

And then the relief.

And then the sorrow.

And then the tears again.

And then.

Well.

I knew.

And even though only a tiny bit of the story came out.

The bones of the narrative.

It was enough.

He understood and we talked about talking more and I just did that too.

And it was kind and there was no judgement, no shaming, no making me feel bad, a warm heart, a sort of support that I have, that I am so lucky to have, that I am so grateful to have that I can keep healing and getting better.

Not that I am fucked up.

Well.

Hahaha.

Maybe a little.

But.

There’s hope for me, always has been, I’m not in this alone.

I have no details for you.

I have only the inner workings of my heart and the assurance that I am loved for who I am without question or repercussion.

That I am seen and held and loved and taken care of.

Because I asked for help to work something through, to see where it went, to untangle the knot that I got tied up in.

Glorious knot.

So sweet was it to surrender to that binding.

A surrender that lead to further surrender, further release, further soft acknowledgement of who I am, where I have come from, and to whom I belong.

To myself.

To what works best for me.

To love.

I was saying the St. Francis prayer.

Yes.

I pray.

Hush, this wilding woman with tattoos and tales of Burning Man does spirituality too.

Surprise, surprise.

There is a line in the prayer that gets me every time.

To love, rather than to be loved.

That is what I can do.

To know that I have a God.

And you have a God.

That I can only take care of myself and sometimes, a lot of the times, I don’t know how to do that, so I do, I turn towards those with more time, with more experience, with wider perspective.

And I get what I need.

And my heart, so high in my throat all day today, finally starts to ease down back into my chest, my breath back into my body, my soul careening about, high on a taut string like a diamond kite in the sky, softly, gently, sails back down, no tussle in the tree tops, nor tangled and stuck in the high wire.

But.

Soft.

There.

A gentle, sweet landing in the tall grass.

The summer grass.

The grass in the park behind the apartment building on the North East side of Madison.

The grass not yet mowed and higher in the last push of summer, the blades warm, cradling the kite, the long string I wind back up and as I turn the handle of the spool the loose fabric of the kite slides over the top of the grass and back to me.

The call of the red-winged mocking-bird.

The high blue sky.

The sun patter down on my shoulders now more freckled as I turn from the girl to the woman.

My soul, myself, my heart.

My life.

All this purposeful trudging.

It matters.

I have changed.

I stood on the roof tonight.

I held a warm little girl in my arms.

She pointed at the sky.

“Star.”

“Yes,” I said, pointing across the soft midnight blue, the last light of sunset fading behind the hills of Twin Peaks, “and plane, and satellite.”

I remembered when I was little and how the lights in the sky moved me so much, the flashing planes and the story of flight.

I have had a sort of flight today.

A lifting of my spirit into that vastness and through it all a song in my heart.

I have no answers for you.

I just have love.

Like the foam left on the beach after the waves have crashed in and rushed out.

A soft melting memory of desire seeping back into the sand, a lace of bubbles upon the shore, a dream shimmering there.

A moment.

Then gone.

Ghosting kisses on your face.

Grace in the hallway.

Swallow song in the barn of my heart.

I would take away your pain.

But I have my own to carry from the shore, across the bridge.

And into the land of a brand new day.

One foot a time.

Into the light.

Into the sun.

Into the love.

Love.

The only place left for me to go.

There.

Just there.

Love.

One Down

March 12, 2016

Two to go.

But it’s not as hard this go around.

I don’t know why or how, but I’m getting through a lot better, a lot more relaxed.

It helps that I turned in both the papers that were due and I am completely caught up and on par with all my readings.

I finished up today on my dinner break the tiny few pages I had left before my last class of the day and am very happy to know that for the rest of the weekend all I really need to do is show up and let the classes fall into place.

I had my last run as therapist today also.

Meaning I can sit back on the experience of having done six full hour therapy sessions with a client and now it’s my turn to be the client for the next six sessions.

That and a break from the dyad completely tomorrow, leaves me feeling a lot more relaxed and well, mellow.

Tired.

Of course.

Fuck.

I am tired.

And slightly annoyed, the internet, again, has been really touch and go in my studio for the last week and tonight I haven’t been able to get onto the Wi-Fi at all.

Frustrating.

I do have some things that need addressing, but I paid my phone bill over the phone and if worst comes to worse and I don’t get online tonight, I’ll post up this blog before I head into class tomorrow.

The weather is still a bit nuts out there and I will not be taking my scooter in and I won’t be taking MUNI in either, I will continue to allow myself the luxury of a car.

I got to get a ride in with a friend of mine in the cohort this morning and that was a lovely gift, I got to see her and I avoided the carfare.

That being said, I splurged and did a straight Lyft home tonight instead of doing the shared ride.

I wanted to get home and I wanted to run up to Other Avenues and grab a few groceries for the rest of the class weekend.

Lunch and dinner are packed, my books and notebooks and readers are switched out in my book bag—my Marilyn canvas sack from the Jeu de Paume in Paris.

I have an outfit in mind and all I have to do is this blog and chill the fuck out for a minute or two and let my brain unwind.

And sleep.

I will sleep well tonight.

I never sleep well before the first day back into class, today I got up on probably five, maybe five and a half hours of sleep.

Which, once in a while is ok, but I wouldn’t want to be around me very much if that was a continuing trend.

My brain was busy and it just took a while to drift off last night despite getting into bed sooner than I thought and being a bit tired from the yoga class I took yesterday morning.

I still had busy brain.

Tonight.

Well.

The brain is tired.

Grateful too.

I’m half way through the second semester of my first year of grad school.

This is happening.

I’m getting through.

Rather amazing.

And yes, there’s loads of work to do, and there always will be.

I have chosen a profession in which I will have to constantly be broadening my education and I will need to keep myself up to date and learn, learn new modalities, learn more about cultures, learn more about myself, I will always be learning.

That on one hand can seem exhausting, but on the other is rather fantastic, there is no end to the learning.

Yes.

I will want to be proficient in one area and be a good therapist, but I can go for a PhD, I can go forward and learn new things, I can be competent in more than one area, I can well, be of service and I will continue to find new ways to be and do so.

This is a beautiful thing.

I will always be finding and experiencing and gaining knowledge.

There will always be the learning and the growing and this is life, not just my career path or my new way of exploring how to be of better service to my community, but for myself, I will always be having a conversation with the material and how I can use my experiences to better help another.

It’s fascinating and tiring and amazing all at the same time.

In the therapist break out, after the dyads had finished, the professor leads us, the students who were therapist, through the session and lets us ask questions and break down what came up and for the first time I got to see, really well, totally in action how counter transference works and I was blown away at the power of the tool.

It’s a concept that I have understood at a very heady, intellectual level, and now, after the session today, which was the last session of the six, I got it, I got it bright and loud and clear and it was extraordinary.

In one fell swoop all the theory landed in my lap and showed itself to me and I got it.

I was stunned.

And happy.

I really am going to be a good therapist.

Not to, you know, be egotistical about it, but an honest assessment of my abilities at this point clearly does show an aptitude for the work.

Grateful for all the experiences on the way to this journey.

All the work that I wondered about and the whys and whereof and why am I working so fucking hard and when is this going to pay off and all the doubts, all the time I wondered, really, what am I going to be when I grow up?

A healer.

A helper.

A person of empathy.

A student.

Of life, love, God.

Gods time, I was reminded today is so different from my time.

I want things fast and quick and efficient, I don’t always want to do the work.

But.

Oh.

When I do.

The rewards.

Extraordinary.

I am so grateful to be in graduate school.

Even when I feel overwhelmed and I don’t know how it’s going to get done.

I know.

It will.

It gets done every time I show up and let go of my ideas about what is happening.

“You’re such a different person!” My lunch companion said to me with a chuckle and a sparkle in his eyes, “Remember when we first met?”

I did.

I was a bit mortified how big my defensive structures were when I first started class and how protective I felt about myself and the learning and how I just couldn’t find it to engage with the second year students.

I found myself laughing with him and open and engaged.

I have a dinner date with another friend from the cohort on our break in the late afternoon tomorrow and an ask for a day at the beach with another.

I am living a full, exquisite, divine life.

Not my idea of what it would look like at this point, God’s time, God’s plan, and I am grateful that I did not.

The journey has been so worth it.

No matter what happens, at this point on my path, I am exactly where I am supposed to be and I know it to my core.

That makes my heart happy.

And I get to carry that happiness with me the rest of the weekend.

Just show up.

To the page.

To the mat.

To the classroom.

To my life.

Show up.

Astonishing things will happen.

I promise.

Do You Speak

December 15, 2015

Spanish.

Nope.

And I’m not interested in flirting with you.

I speak French.

Not the best French, not the greatest, but enough.

Enough to get me into trouble, I joke.

I suppose I should be brushing up on it, watching some more French movies and such.

I watched Blue Is The Warmest Color recently and may also download Amour, Love, to fly over the seas and into the heart of France.

I have been watching little snippets of Paris Je t’aime, Paris, I Love You, as well.  And unlike previous times I have watched it, I am watching it without subtitles.

Not that it seems to be helping, but I never know what is going to stick and what is not.

That is often the case with me in school as well.

I am not sure I got something, but I write the notes and I read the books or the article and I act as if.

And.

More often than not, the information comes up to the surface and I find that is has been integrated somewhere in the hard drive of my mind.

The mind is a marvelous thing.

It will tell me stories.

Not all of them true, ha, most of them not true at all.

It will entertain me.

With those stories that are not true.

But sometimes, my mind will surprise me and work in conjunction with my heart and I see a path, a resolution, a laying of love down the road, an acceptance, an awareness, an action, a course to take, a way to go, a belief that the summer skies will always wheel over my head and the warmth of love will not be blown out in the cold winter nights.

And even if it is, another flame will rekindle and there, despite the dark and the not knowing and the wayward beat of my heart, a drum pulsing with rhythm and the blood drives within, I will find that I have arrived on another shore and found, if not another way home.

The realization that I am always home.

In this body.

In this life.

In this love.

For myself, for the experience, for the constant and consistent journey on in this life.

The journey that will take me soon over the country and across the sea.

Another day closer.

A little more work to do.

I got up at to the sound of my alarm going off, which is unusual, I normally wake up a few minutes before, sometimes half hour or so, but today I slept all the way to my alarm.

A solid, sexy, gratifying eight hours of sleep.

It was lush and luxurious and I was startled to be awoken from a very deep sleep, it seems I could have gone on a bit longer, but the alarm was going and it was time to get up.

Time to do the deal and have my breakfast, to drink my coffee, to write my words and to do some homework.

For despite yesterday being the last day of classes for my first semester.

(LAST DAY OF CLASSES FOR THE SEMESTER!)

I still have work to do.

I have to do a transcription and another Psychoanalytic paper.

I started the transcription today.

I worked on it for about 45 minutes or so before calling a car and heading off to work.

I got there early enough that I was able to ship my mom and my sister’s Christmas packages before I had to be at work.

Which means.

I am done with the Christmas stuff that needs to happen.

I am also done with all bills that need to be paid for the month, so I do not have any other obligations to deal with financially before leaving for Paris.

I have other obligations though.

Fuck.

I got called up for jury duty.

I haven’t been called in before.

Thirteen years of living in San Francisco.

I suppose it was going to happen sooner or later.

I am being called in the week of January 11th, which aside from having a very significant date during that week, an anniversary of sorts on the 13th, is also my first week back in classes.

There is no way I can be available that week, but I don’t really have a reason that is going to stand up in court.

However, I can postpone it.

I can postpone it for six months.

Summer is a much better time for me to do it.

So that will be dealt with, but I don’t have to before I leave on the trip.

I have only a few things to do.

Work mostly.

Show up, be of service to my job, love the boys as hard as possible, cook the best food I can, love the dog, be helpful with the household and do what I can to help the family prepare for me being away a whole week for them.

The mom has got me doing food prep like nobody’s business.

I will be making a triple batch of broccoli soup, a batch of chili, some quinoa risotto, beef stew, and Christmas cookies before I leave on Friday.

Which is also my birthday.

I have dinner plans.

Although I am not sure where.

I am working and I am sure I will be kept busy on that last day until the last minute.

But that is ok.

I am able to go to Paris because I can take the time off and I have a job that pays me vacation pay and I love my boys.

I got so much love from them today, verbally effusive love.

“Carmen!  I love you to the moon and back!” The littlest guy told me today at dinner when I gave him a piece of bread with butter on it to dip in his broccoli soup.

“Carmen! I love you to the moon and back a hundred times!” The oldest boy said and spooned some chicken salad I had made him into his mouth.

“I love you times infinity!” The youngest countered.

“You guys, I love you so much, I can’t even quantify it,” I said and hugged them both.

“Infinity plus twenty hundred,” the oldest boy said with a stomp of his foot.

“Infinity plus infinity!” The youngest said.

We all giggled.

I have such a rich, wonderful life.

I am so lucky.

And no, I don’t speak Spanish and I don’t know where I’m going, and often times I’m not too certain how I got where I am now.

I suspect it’s something called Grace.

I definitely have been graced.

Dipped in it like a gilded flower of love.

Daisies in gold.

I am.

So.

Very.

Very.

Very.

Loved.

To the moon and back.

Infinity times infinity.

The Magnificent

December 9, 2015

Reality.

Is so much better than fantasy.

I was listening to someone who was fondling the idea of drinking a martini to celebrate an anniversary.

It made sense.

But it also creeped me the fuck out.

I am grateful I don’t go down that path.

However.

I hear a lot of folks talk about it this time of year, the holidays.

I didn’t really need an excuse to use or drink.

I was happy.

I was sad.

It was a holiday.

It was Monday.

I had a great day at work.

I got fired.

It didn’t fucking matter what time of year, it could be any holiday, Arbor Day was a fantastic day to do blow.

I have no idea when Arbor Day is, but I was ready to celebrate.

As I round the corner toward my birthday, Christmas, New Years, I see how that old story used to work with me.

It’s time to celebrate!

Hey, I know!

Let’s celebrate all my rent money going up my nose!

Yay!

It was a white Christmas, a very, very, white Christmas that last year.

And I’m not talking  about the kind of powder that makes skiers happy on the slopes.

Although I was carving out some lines in the snow.

I started out with a martini that night.

Top shelf.

High end shit at a fancy pants restaurant in the SOMA.

I ended the night at some bartenders house in the Tenderloin playing strip poker with my dealer and some “friends.”

Actually, that is not true.

I ended the night a day later hiding under the covers in my bed having stolen a bag of blow from a friend and shoving it all up my nose and then resigning via e-mail to my job.

Yeah.

Bring me a martini now, motherfuckers, because that shit looks so good.

Eek.

So very grateful to not be in that place.

I shared about that, in a rather vague sort of way, I only had a few minutes to speak, and how I was much more fond of reality, the magnificent reality, all around me.

Sometimes it’s hard.

And often times there’s feelings.

Fucking feelings.

Can’t I just feel good all the time?

Heh.

I know that’s not the answer, not by far, and I’m ok with that too.

I used to drink and use to not feel.

Or I would eat those feelings away.

Or fuck them away.

But the thing is.

They never went away.

They just got bigger and blacker and heavier and denser, compressed at the bottom of a very dark, very bleak, very black well.

Gah.

The nightmares I was having.

Ugh.

I remembered that today.

How horrible the nightmares I was having.

So, well, nightmarish does not even begin.

In fact, what I find wonderful, amazing really, is that I don’t have nightmares anymore.

The worst I had was an anxiety dream a few weeks back and I am fairly certain that was stress related around school.

I am feeling a lot better since that point.

And that dream was unicorns shitting rainbow butterflies in comparison to the nightmares I used to have.

I recall one that made me so afraid I was going to lose my mind.

It was close to the end and I actually am not willing to write it out here.

I prefer to focus on what’s in front of me right now.

Like.

The lovely conversation I just had with my darling Parisian friend.

I am so grateful to have her in my cohort at school and we talked things to do and places to go in Paris and school and life and got caught up and I feel connected to not only my graduate school program, but just to a new important person in my life.

I love connecting with people.

Being human is what it’s all about.

Having this amazing human experience.

It is amazing.

I actually shared that I had cash and prizes tonight.

They just rolled off my tongue.

Graduate school.

A new scooter.

A trip to Paris at Christmas.

Getting a raise at work.

Who is this person?

I have worked super duper hard to get here and it just feels like it’s really just now beginning.

Of course I wouldn’t have wanted to hear that when I was newly sober, who would, ten years of work before I get some pay off.

No thanks.

And of course.

That’s not true.

The payoff has been happening for years now.

It just hasn’t always looked like it on the outside.

But.

Oh.

How I have changed.

Hell.

How I have changed in this last year.

I got out of a relationship that was not working with the most honest and kind break up I have ever experienced.

When we saw each other for the first time two weeks ago, it was awkward, but we  hugged and it was fine.

No hard feelings.

Just gratitude for the experience.

I wasn’t going to Paris last year at Christmas.

I wasn’t in graduate school.

I wasn’t riding my scooter–it didn’t work and I was too gun shy to get on and try to make it work after barely healing up from the accident in June.

I wasn’t happy last year.

I was in a sad, lonely, terrible place, but I knew it would pass and that I would get through, I could fantasize about it being different.

Or I could do some heavy lifting and do some work.

I chose the work.

And I am amazed.

Just amazed at what this last year has wrought.

Oh.

There’s still been ups and downs, I suppose there always will be.

But I feel softer, sweeter, less stressed, on the path, sure in my journey, happy in my skin, and when I am sad or scared or upset or pressured or anxious, I let myself have the feelings.

Stuffing them down does no good.

Letting them wash over me like the crash of the giant waves at the beach.

Surrendering once agin.

To the ecstasy of being completely carried.

And.

Loved.

You Are The Embodiment Of The Poet

October 30, 2015

My heart burst reading that line.

I was in the upstairs bathroom at work wrangling monkeys, brushing teeth.

Brosse/brosse/brosse/

Les dents/

Brosse les tres souvents/

Tous les jours/

Tous les jours/

Tous les jours/

A les belle est dentes.

Brush/brush/brush

Your teeth/

Brush them every day/

Every day/

Every day/

Every day/

Ah.

The pretty teeth.

(sung to row, row, row your boat)

Yay!

“Spit,” I said, running the water.

I had to put down my phone, I could not finish reading the sweet e-mail I had received from my patron, my eyes kept tearing up reading it and I had to manage the two boys.

I’m just going to call him that, he’s my patron.

Anyone who sends me a check for $1,000 for some poems is my patron.

Anyway.

I had sent him an effusive e-mail thanking him for the check and how I was honored and seen and just over the moon.

That moon.

Did you see her tonight?

Sometimes in the waning I feel there is more power, more poesie, more haunting and longing.

The wandering back into the self, the darkening lunar landscape, the eery rise in the night sky and the glow as it rose over the trees in Golden Gate Park, the nipping wind chill on my neck and my arms, reminder to up the sweatshirt ante here soon.

The Indian summer is passing and the autumn cold is coming.

But that luscious moon.

Yes.

Over the moon.

He sent me back another sweet missive and the above quote amongst them.

To be the embodiment of the poet, that means so much.

The validation has been powerful.

It’s hard to acknowledge and yet, I know I absolutely have to, its false modesty to not acknowledge it and the sorrow for all the time I didn’t let myself create, the doubt, the fear, the negotiating my own way through the world, poetic voice or no poetic voice, being an artist, yet denying myself entrée into the club.

No.

Really.

I don’t belong here.

No.

That table couldn’t possibly be for me.

No.

I know you say I have a reservation to be here, but there’s been a mistake.

The maitre d leads me to the table and seats me despite my own fuss.

“When I heard you reciting them,” my person said to me in front of the Church St. Cafe as we sat and drank tea and caught up, “I thought to myself, oh these are lovely, who’s are they?”

He continued, looking at me with his sparkling blue eyes, that matched exactly the corn flower blue cashmere sweater wrapped over his shoulders, “I didn’t know you wrote them, it took me a minute to catch on!”

We talked about the story behind the poems and I told him how I got there to the creative process and how I did a nonce and what that was like and it was me running away at the mouth.

“Girl, I knew you could write, but I had no idea about this part of you,” he said and smiled, with his eyes and mouth and heart, and squeezed my hands.

“You are an artist and you are curious and you let yourself go there and you have experiences, this other artist saw that in you and you connected and you let yourself do that,” he smiled more.

My heart squeezed itself in my chest and tears rose in my eyes.

“I feel like I may have cheated myself a little though,” I told him.

“How so?” He asked, curious himself.

“Well, I cashed the check and immediately, like within minutes I had transferred the entire thing into my savings account, there was no celebration, there was just a straight transfer, I feel like I should be celebrating and doing something with it, although I am doing something with it, I’m going to get a Vespa, a new one, which is what I wanted to do all along before I got bamboozled last year with the knock off I bought.”

“Girl, you are celebrating, you are telling me the story of the poems,” he looked at me, “it’s good that you put that money right into your savings.”

He’s right.

I don’t have to go out and spend the money frivolously to prove some sort of point.

In fact.

I transferred the entire $1,000 and another $150 of my own into savings.

I really want to get a scooter.

And I really want a Vespa.

So.

Just a little closer to my new ride then I was the day before yesterday.

The acknowledgement, the accolades, the poems themselves, the being a poet, letting myself be seen, that is the celebration.

Plus.

All the love from my friends who have always seen this side of me and applauded it when I did not or was not able to.

Sitting here.

Doing my blog.

Being happy.

Knowing that I made another artist happy with my work.

That is celebration.

I revel in that.

I also revel in the almost weekend of it all and my staid Halloween plans.

Which include going to 7th and Irving to get right with God, meet my person at Tart to Tart, maybe get the nails done, then lunch with a friend, and afterward, borrowing said friends couch to sit and read all day long on and maybe, just maybe, let myself take a nap.

Yup.

Those are my mad, crazy Halloween plans.

That and sitting down tomorrow to write-up another sonnet.

I have an idea I want to submit to the Bastille and I need to get it out to them ASAP, the deadline is the 31st.

Plus.

I have decided that the compensation for the sonnet series being what it is I am not, cannot with any integrity, submit it for further publication or award.

I have been amply compensated.

That being said.

I am still submitting to the Nemerov Award.

I am going to send in a sonnet that was supposed to be part of the sequence, but I messed up the rhyme scheme and the principle was out-of-order, so I tossed it.

I tried to re-work it but, it just didn’t fit.

I let it go and wrote a fresh one that fit the schematic I had set up.

But I really liked the sonnet.

And.

This means, I have an extra sonnet with all the flavor of the sequence, that I did not submit to my collaborator and patron.

Thus.

I will rework it and tighten it up and send that off instead.

I love that I have ideas falling out of my head.

I still have lots of work to do for school.

Another paper to write for Human Development.

More reading to do.

Etc, etc, ad infinitum.

But I will find the balance with the poetry.

And move forward into the generous flow of language that is out there just waiting for me to cast my net upon it’s worded sea of stars and images.

I’ll push out my boat into that ether and gather wide the nets into my arms aching and full.

Heavy with the heavenly catch that lies awaiting me.

All the things.

All the love.

All the pretty.

Pretty.

Poetry.


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