Tuesday, July 30, 2013


time blurs by, and it's months since you've written, dusted behind the vases, or trimmed the unruly camellias in the back garden down. and every once in a while, it really hits you- how much time has scuttled by while you were worrying about all of the things you thought you may have been forgetting to remember- your son writes you a love note full of big boy words, your grandmother smiles and you see just how many years have accumulated in the translucent wrinkles of her face, or (and for me, today, this was an epiphany) you make salsa and then commence weeping because it's been over a decade since you made salsa and that seems alternately tragic and bizarre and just, somehow, unreasonable and nonsensical.
so, of course, I begin to wonder- what else have I stopped doing that I so loved? what have I sacrificed for marathon days of work and stress and laundry and trivialities? oh, writing. yeah, that. only about a year since I touched my blog, or my journal, or my book. not to mention all of those reviews and articles I was supposed to dust off ages ago. it's funny, I have about 48574739 journals. All written in- for about 20 pages. then, nada. I taper off to another few months of literary silence until I discover another smooth leather bound beauty that I cannot live without. this, I whisper in my head, this will be the one that I finish. a process that has repeated itself since I was 12. upon my death, someone will have to dispose of all of those journals. pray God I have completed a few by then, or the numbers will be unbearable to pack up.
of course I need to do more yoga, more exercise, more meditation. a week will go by and my shoulders feel like tightrope- why do we not do the things that feed our souls, that nurture us? is discipline so hard? I've watched the monks in Thailand, I've been to the monasteries. what do they learn to possess that so escapes me? I teach ADD students, half of the time I'm convinced it's all nonsense- not that brains aren't wired differently, but we all seem to suffer somehow from what the Buddhists call monkey brain- the skipping around in our heads, the endless jumping off the track of consciousness that keeps us from curing cancer or discovering new planets. the people out there doing that- they have learned the secret of single minded obsession, and I really envy that sometimes. I obsess over food, but not enough to be an amazing trained chef. I obsess over travel but I've never taken advantage of my experience to write profitably about it or to become a pro in any way. Is it too late to be truly dedicated to one thing, to do it all day and find bliss there? what can I do to be more committed to my passions?
on the other side of the scoreboard, I must give myself small props. after over a decade without one, I finally bought a cheap well loved piano for myself and my son. he loved it at his preschool and I'm hoping he turns into the prodigy that I always wanted to be. because nothing is as wonderful as creating something lovely. and music is his language, he adores it every moment of the day, he would leave it on constantly if he could. he steals my iPod and walks around dancing. so I figure I'll always work hard to indulge him that obsession. it's a good one. it's one to nourish and enable.
in the meantime, I'm a renaissance chica searching for my DaVinci moment, as we all are. it can't hurt to be catalyzed by beautiful experienced and broken open by brave new ventures, even if they are taking us back full circle into ourselves. I suppose that is what true brilliance and talent do, so any road that leads to that Rome is one worth following. I love connection, and I miss it when it isn't present, whatever form it takes. following that back to the root, tracing it down within, is a divine revelation and creates such bliss and peace. I tasted my tomatillo salsa today, remembered my grandmother's face, thought of all the things she tried to teach me, and realized that I was finally ready to embrace the parts of myself that I had put away for safekeeping. my roots are strong, and it's time to branch out and grow- fearlessly.

Friday, September 14, 2012


sometimes life drops pure serendipity in your lap-  an unexpected beach getaway is impending, and I couldn't be more excited or relieved. this has been one of those weeks that makes you feel like a wilted flower, a cocktail left out too long in the glaring sun- melted and sad. just a whole lot of bullets flying. but what a perfect antidote - for me the sea cures everything. there is a quote I love- "the sea filled her with longing, but for what, she did not know"- no idea who said it, but it captures a bit of the mystical allure the sea has always had for me. I feel more myself there, like I do in Nola, or around ancient oaks. more perfectly alive. it's a good place to take all of the residue of this stress and tension and just watch it float away. let the endless expanse of blue green take it. walk the sand for hours, commune with the sun, eat lots of seafood and have icy white wine on the balcony with a stack of books and coconut oil to slather all over myself. my blue heaven.
renewal is vital, and I've been thinking of ways to incorporate it into everyday life. too often the ruts get ridiculously deep and the learned and imagined stress (I hate that word, it's so nonsensical and pervasive) invades daily life in ways that are draining and exhausting. I don't think Liz Taylor's advice can be overstated- have a drink, put on lipstick, and pull yourself together! A trip to the candy store (makeup counter) is overdue- why put off simple pleasures that can counterbalance some of the obligations that wear us out? pleasure is a forgotten art, but it doesn't take re-reading geisha memoirs or taking s-factor dance classes to realize that it's essential. especially to be a feel good woman-it's just not something we can afford to push to the left anymore. I was jamming out to Beyonce's new (ish) cd the other morning and so many lyrics were about feeling good, dancing, partying, looking right, getting dressed up, rocking out. it's funny how we forget to nourish the mojo. the essential soulful essence that we give out but forget to stoke. so some shopping and dancing is in order, too- just remembering that life is a dream, a dance, and underneath all of the struggle and noise, we're really just here to enjoy it. the full moon tomorrow should help with that vibe- I can't imagine how gorgeous it will be suspended over the sea. as many times as it takes to be washed clean, you can submerge yourself as much as necessary in the moonlit waves and be reborn into the life you've always dreamed of. and why not? why shouldn't it all be exactly what you desire? why settle for any other version of the film? I want a Fellini- vintage, blurry fast shots, la dolce vita, skipping through fountains and sipping wine with dangerous beautiful lovers and in beautiful Italian clothes- on the days I'm not hanging out in the garden with yoga pants and old t shirts. there are so many flavors in my dreams, so many different things still to experience. that's what the coast reminds me of- endless waves of possibilities, infinite horizons, and the thrill of plunging into the untamed wild.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


summer here is winding down into the hurricanes of fall- we await a storm brewing in the gulf on the anniversary of Katrina- but at the moment the blue sky is breezy and birds are flying steadily west. seasons roll on and the discoveries and ephiphanies continue. I saw a quote this morning- the snake who will not shed his skin is condemned to die. how fitting as the earth turns toward the deeper pull of autumn- the glare of summer subsiding into the introspection of fall, and my journey within taking me ever deeper into the labryinth within myself. I've found the catacombs, after some missteps- the places where I buried some of my shattered desires, the graveyards of hope and the reservoirs of deferred dreams. the truth is you have to leave the theoretical, intellectual ivory tower behind and get dirty living. relationships are the best catalyst- there is no hiding from the old wounds and broken places other people trigger in you. love is the process of dying to yourself- love that old Cuban proverb- and there is no escaping what being in love does to your illusions and your safeguards. it hollows you out to fill you up, it highlights your darkest fears and it leaves you open and raw to every wind that blows past you. especially when it ends in an unexpected way ( not that any death is expected, but some processes are more apparent) and leaves you and your intuition dazzled and burned by the bright phosphorescent light of truth. 
then you have a decision- remain in ashes, mourn the flames, or rise like the phoenix into the beauty of what is being born into the world through you. I think many people spend ages awaiting some act outside of the impetus of their own soul, some courage from a force of nature to blow their way and gift them with rebirth. but rebirth only comes from within, and giving anyone else the responsibility or the power inherent within us is a detour at best . Being deeply in love is giving away a vista- a horizon that you hold to be true in your own heart and soul. but it isn't a transfer of what compels us, it isn't the responsibility being shifted onto another's soulful path. we lose our vision in believing that anyone else is accountable for our destiny. we can infuse our journey with another's essence but we must remain faithful to our soul's passions and evolution. forging our path from what speaks from most deeply within. and this magnetizes even more love and adventure into our experience- and keeps us away from fear and the paranoia that rules so many romantic interactions. 
my travels - literally and soulfully, this summer- were all around mountains and their beauty. inside I scaled a few summits and rediscovered vast territories. I went to many sacred and beautiful spots and swam in waterfalls, sat in fields of wildflowers, did yoga beside high altitude lakes- all healing, cathartic moments. Infinite grace flowed into parts of my heart that had been scorched by heartbreak and loss. I saw the same words come into my sight again and again- whatever you lose comes back in another form. receive it, allow it, let if flow, let it go. I came home to a lovely house, a sweet puppy, and a handsome little man whose melted chocolate eyes and copper glow make my breath catch. the hurricane has come and gone, and there are thousands off of my shore- but what is real is never threatened, and there is truly never anything to fear. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

beginning, end, repeat

spring always means my birthday and our biggest local festival (which, for this part of Louisiana, is saying a lot- we have a festival for every occasion). it also, this year, means rebirth in many arenas for me, and like the pop of fresh cherry tree buds-these changes are surprising, somewhat painful, and very beautiful. I think Neruda said there was always a little violence in the spring- and I want to do to you what spring does to the cherry trees was always one of my favorite lines of poetry, so the metaphor fits. awakening is not always comfortable but it can be lovely if we allow the changes to flow. a lot like pottery, scrapping an old pattern and beginning anew at the wheel. remaining fluid, molten, not taking anyone else's journey too personally and just aiming for compassionate thinking all of the time. then the rebuilding and the renovation begin. I got extremely lucky in one aspect of this- my new, gorgeous, unbelievable Craftsman bungalow fell into my lap without one single project attached to it. So I moved in easily and smoothly. There aren't many sensations as satisfying or serenity inducing as falling in love with a space that you own. It's surreal- I look around and wonder how in the world I got so lucky. There is a screened in porch that I've already laid my yoga mat down on, beautiful, simple design through and through, scraped hickory floors, lots of windows and peace on top of peace. I am cooking my first big meal in my kitchen tonight- I owe someone dinner- and the fresh herbs growing on the ledge and my amazing new stove are just beckoning to me as the work day slowly ambles by. Patience is another new virtue that I'm trying on for size! The house and my heart are brimming with fresh new memories from the past couple of weeks and the realization that all is well, everything can be made whole again, there is solace in friends, family, and sunshine, and that a garden pretty much cures anything. I guess I'm rowing away from the shore and taking another gamble on what the future holds. But the absolute cherry on top is knowing that I was fortunate to come to this crossroads- and that I wouldn't change a moment of what I've endured to be in this brave new world. It was real, it was life altering, and it was so very beautiful while it lasted. Love and delicacies- creating either of these in this madly spinning world is a talent never wasted. I'm just going to roll up my sleeves, pop open that last bottle of Evolution wine, and play the music in the kitchen as loudly as it will go, as I cook and plot and expand the master plan. Comme la vie est belle.

Monday, March 12, 2012

ebb, flow

another nola weekend that felt like heaven, even though carnival season is gearing up down there and the hotel I chose- highly appropriate for a valentine's getaway and all- was right smack dab in the center of the chaos. oh well! I finally, after years, had some moules frites that brought back lovely memories of my studies in Belguim and made my taste buds happy. the saffron aoli was to die for, and the cheese plate was pure bliss. count on nola to always top the previous foodie experience. this one was as close to divine as I've ever been, down to the warm cloudy brioche in a beautiful clay raku pot. (photo below of restaurant Patois). the libations never dissapoint either- had lovely, insanely unique cocktails and met the usual colorful characters. along with some really wonderful family time for both of us that warmed me to my core. I've decided to banish the  cynicism and doubt that have bloomed up like bad mold around some recent unfortunate learning experiences and allow my soul to blossom and expand like the mardi gras always encourages us to. a fresh breath of carnival atmosphere was just what I needed to remind myself that taking myself too seriously is no way to live and thrive. the delicious flavors and the prescence of my beautiful love didn't hurt either-so many blessings to be grateful for. but I am more able to look into some of the complex and difficult situations in my life and face their ineffability without that self-masking sardonic vibe.  I would much rather be in awe of life, celebrating life, looking for the silver lining and the flambeaux (mardi gras torch holders, a gorgeous and vibrant tradition).
Some things are easier ignored, and I understand the urge towards oblivion. I always have-and procrastination, doubt, fear that we channel as we go through this wild and ineffable life are sometimes very hard things to bear, indeed. But allowing yourself to remain frozen and circling endlessly in the negative aspect is never a fruitful or vibrant place to dwell. As Dickinson so simply said, dwell instead in possibility. Let the doors to your soul remain open and allow the new fresh currents of air in. Life was not meant to be analyzed play by play but to be lived, and every day we choose the palette upon which we paint our day. Today, even though there are many grays and dark colors, I choose a bright red, a happy hue, ochre and vivacious and alive-with possibility 

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I am open to the guidance of synchronicity, and do not let expectations hinder my path - Dalai Lama

January is a peculiar month. The first week spent in furious or ecstatic resolution then the inevitable frustration when the previous reality sets in. I vowed not to make resolutions (which I suppose was a form of resolution in itself) then decided I needed a list of possibilties that I would love to see come true in 2012. Indulge me, i wont share them all (they add up) but there are a few that I keep thinking about, and planning in my head...it's a lovely process and I encourage anyone to try it. More than anything, it gives you positive things to ruminate about as opposed to the usual laundry list of problems big and small. Why not daydream about delicious, titillating prospects? I am beginning to understand that the more I take care of my interior, my soul, my spirit, my feelings...the more I can believe in myself and the ways in which I can sucessfully navigate my world. It sounds simplistic to say that joy and bliss are inside-out phenomena but the truth of that is driven home regularly to me lately. No external can subsitute for housekeeping of one's psyche and for the eternal reaching into the recesses of the soulful, tender part of our existence. We do so at our own risk- and if you feel opaquely grey and somewhat lost (it happens, it happens) this is a good time to knock the dust off of those dreams and get moving. Inspiration is always readily available if you keep the searchlight on within. The world can be quite effective at degrading and eroding our defining passions, but tuning out those less than encouraging voices and focusing relentlessly on what you feel you want is vital. Really, what is this existence but the opportunity to find what makes you come alive, thrive, shine? That deserves true resolve. True grit!
much more travel--and not necessarily too far...as long as I'm rambling, exploring, adventuring
live music, plays, symphony,dance--love the cello, love musicals and acoustic music. never get enough.
optimum health--it's long overdue. hot yoga! walking for miles.
church in some form--I think I'll haunt the cathedral. I went the other day and it made me feel positively ethereal. I'd go to Temple and the ashram, too. Any and every path to spirituality.
meditate, meditate, meditate. why is this so difficult? the results are amazing. and it's simple as pie.
helping out--I need to remind myself and my kiddo how lucky we are. there are so many ways to donate time and effort to worthwhile, humane (and canine) causes.
family time- I really miss my dad, my grandparents, my cousins. need to make time for visits.
knitting and embroidering- my grandma taught me these hobbies and I haven't used them in ages. shame!
learning to cook new things in even healthier ways
a new language! Im thinking arabic
revamp the casa (it so needs it) lots of painting
a HUGE garden. huge. veggies, herbs, flowers. BIG.
yoga certification. in kundalini. I'm so ready to teach once I hit my stride.
writing in this blog all the time. until my fingers cramp. :)
I just re-read Ashley Judd's memoir and some Christopher Hitchens (RIP) and I'm struck by the similar tones in the epilogues. They have rituals for healing, for inspiration, for motivation. I am looking to create my own rituals with my son and my people. I don't want to sleepwalk through my life. I've achieved so many things and it has only made me more determined to continue to ascend and to enjoy every moment that flows my way. I want to build a gorgeous vista within.

Monday, January 9, 2012


happy new year to all--may you feel fresh in your path. I took some pretty drastic steps in 2011, it was definitely a banner year. lots of accomplishments wrapping up and decisive moves. yet, as Osho wrote, new peaks appear instantly, new heights begging for attainment, and I find myself resisting the inertia of basking in the afterglow of these milestones and walking swiftly on. I reminded myself, staring at the beautiful full moon last night, that is was vastly important to slow down and proverbially smell the roses (I sniffed my big rosemary instead-a much headier smell) because I always have the tendency to rush on at warp speed. It's almost a disease-processing things at such a fast pace that I lose the feeling, the accompanying sensations. And so much is always happening that it can be like that wack a mole game (do they still make that game?) where you are relentlessly pounding the moles as they surface, one after the other, bam bam bam. Sometimes, you have to put down the mallet and take a stroll.
And nowhere is this more apparent than in love. Or perhaps I should say relationships- the application of the emotion. We fly through the breathless beginning, propelled along by pheremones and expectations, setting higher stakes and taking bigger plunges (if things go well). Somewhere along the way we may begin to take it all for granted and lapse in our archealogical exploration of the other person. Indeed, the relationship becomes its own entity and you begin to focus more on that than your partner. You look to it for nourishment instead of your soul. You lose the thread of connection. I think it happens more often than not. It's beyond important to examine the soul of your interaction and check in with the other person on that level. I feel like my love and I came back from a precipice-after looking over the edge and contemplating another route! all of that being said nothing feels quite as lovely and thrilling as a love renewed, rekindled. I feel like the winner of a very special lottery. I thought I knew love before--but it's not falling in love that is the most amazing feeling, its staying in love, finding new inroads to the deeper places, getting to know someone ever more profoundly. It makes life very beautiful. And I don't think I could be any more grateful or any less afraid. Which is the absolute best way to begin a new year.
Be not the slave of your own past. Plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep and swim far, so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old. -Emerson