Monthly Archive for May, 2017

how does crying work?

last weekend i cried in front of people. i suspected it could happen – i was teaching a somatics course and was being vulnerable in front of the class.

it wasn’t just a few tears, it’s the kind of crying where you feel ugly and want to be smaller and picked up by someone who has the answers and will carry you back to some time before you knew adult suffering.

it doesn’t much matter what i started crying about, when it was time to be done, my tears were not done. they felt non-specific and available, like new thoughts, old memories and ongoing longings would float up in my mind and they also wanted tears.

the crying, the feelings made me pale and tired and prickly and pushy and honest without sweetness. thank octavia i love so many patient people, or i think i would truly have to go find the castaway/lost island and learn to open coconuts on rocks.

yesterday i was driving from one home to another and in a pause between two songs, more tears came, suddenly, strong enough that i pulled off at the next exit. my tears almost always come at the sharp point of a singular true thought – “this person is gone”, “i was thoughtless”, “someone scared my nibbling and i wasn’t there”, “why is my species suicidal?”, “i miss my grandparents”.

later i drove through a storm and finally, for the first time since crying in front of people, felt just right. lightning shot down bright fingers trying to scorch earth, thunder clapped and undulated overhead saying “wrong way, wrong way, turn around”, and the rain was so abundant.

i saw how you can’t rush the rain, can’t rush a storm.

i’ve been trying to rush through my amazing life, my own transitions, rushing to share everything i learn, rushing to be everywhere at once. leaving no time for big messy beautiful storms, for my rage, my overwhelm, my celebration.

tears are another way the body takes time. slows things down.

my body says: “slower.

slower.

know nothing, know nothing, just listen. no, listen. fill up your cup and then, maybe, pour into others.

slower.

it may even seem like you stop for a moment. slow like that.”

i spent time with my bestie-nibbling yesterday. she’s been in this world nine months now, and she is learning about crying, testing out her lungs and her discontent. we stepped onto her balcony and the rain had just cleared. her face was calming, a fat tear lingering on her cheek. she looked up in wonder and watched a flock of birds fly by us. i just watched her face, the full range of feeling there.

i want to live at this pace.

my face is wet, my breath is deeper, i’m catching up with myself. i want to really be here for my life.

i’m thinking of rewriting the tortoise and the hare as a shapeshifting story. with my body.

wave goes out, wave comes in

Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds went out into the world in late March. it felt like a wave moving through me, going out into the world, seeking shore and kin and possibility. in the subsequent almost two months, the wave has been flowing back in, so full of love.

wanted to share some of this with you. i’ve started gathering testimonials from folks on their thoughts as they read it here.

and then there’s the picture thing – people are taking the sweetest selfies with the book and posting them. i’ve been making collages of these pics and more flow in daily, and every day this makes me rest into this book as a work of many many people longing for and practicing being in right relationship with change and the planet and the future. here are the collages so far (and some event highlights):

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y’all are absolutely gorgeous. all love!

so many mothers

there are so many mothers, so many kinds of mothers. we act like they are all one way.

my mother is devout. she wanted the role, it shows in how she listens, shapes us, and how thrilled she is when we shape back.

i know other mothers who can barely breathe in the task. who compete with their children, batter their spirits and deny their own body in iteration.

i know mothers who hold everyone’s children. i know mothers who struggle to hold their own – humble mothers, and mothers who break the spark they’re handed, grind it down with flint in the name of protecting flames from fire.

i know mothers who are the gauntlet their children survive, surpass. the great judgment. i know mothers who prefer their children cowed and complacent, mothers who delegate the miraculous to other gods. mothers who love but do not like. mothers who never battle for the future, who accept the impasse as the end.

i know mothers like me, who hold the fading hands of ghosts, speaking sweet nonsense through the veil: ‘i didn’t deserve you, i didn’t know you were coming for me, my body couldn’t hold you, i dreamed you, i never expected you.’

today, every day, i am grateful for my mother, to whom we, her daughters (and all of our beloveds), are a world she never tires of exploring. grateful to the ferocious and dedicated mothers my sisters and woes have become.

and i am grateful to the mother i walk, who takes the worst of me and still feeds me the sun.

and i am grateful to the mother in me, in all of us – holding nothing perhaps, holding everyone sometimes. never tired of exploring.

admitting we don’t know

as things fall apart, do we have the capacity to sustain humility?

cause we really don’t know the way out of this.

we don’t know whether we’re in a slowly heating pot of water, the frying pan, the fire, the last gasp of a humanoid dinosaur age, the beginning of our liberation, the flashbacks of every apocalyptic movie ever filmed, the birth year of the four horses of the apocalypse, Octavia’s mind, the end of human civilization, a new kind of collective madness, a beautiful awakening, the early stages of the great turning.

certainty may give us comfort, but right now it’s a false solution, an illusion that we put energy into which will not get us where we need to be.

right now, asserting any certainty could actually make us less attentive, and thus less able to connect the emerging patterns of change into right action.

we have used the internet to weave us into the full spectrum of each other’s lives and deaths. now we can see death on facebook. some days it’s all we see, fast deaths of violence or slow deaths of current and future vulnerable populations – the former get us apoplectic, the latter are heavier with our complicity (though we still love to gasp and point all of our fingers at the monsters doing this to us, to us, the vast majority of the country, of the world).

to offer up life, love, pleasure, connection, joy, care and abundance thinking in the face of that dramatic and sensual death/crisis/ruin porn can feel like throwing flowers into a volcano’s hot mouth.

i am not certain we can turn the tide. i am not certain that focusing on vision, pleasure, even emergence, is the right move. it feels right for me, it makes me want to go on and feel excited about my and our existence – some days that is such a balm that it satisfies my deep fear and restlessness.

i would rather spend my miraculous life moving towards life, putting my attention on yes, investing in any and all experiments that make our species more compatible with this planet i love so much.

i offer this here, today, because i see some of y’all flagging in the onslaught of impossible news that has become our reality. not just these last few months, but over the last thirty years of increasing access to each other. we know the cost, now, of any ease we are privileged to access. we know more about who is responsible for our suffering. many of us know this has to change. some of us have visions of what that change can look like, feel like – how to change.

but we don’t know all of the how, not at scale.

humility can let our shoulders drop, can make us more adaptive and flexible, open us to the ideas of our comrades, make us rigorous in radical processes and more accepting of the truth that the outcome is not only a mystery, but so so so much bigger than our work. our work matters at scale, so let’s do our best – with each other, in our communities, with our loved ones and our tax dollars and our hours, do our best.

and also relax in our smallness, our insignificance.

we can only be a force together, we can only be together with trust, we can only trust if we are authentic with each other – and we can only be authentic if we can admit we don’t know our way out of this. let this be a verbal toast to more questions, more collaborative ideation, more doubt, more experimentation, more releasing that which isn’t working, more listening to unlikely voices of leadership, more caring and connecting with each other in ways that will prepare us for whatever is coming.

y’all are the best people to not know with. i’m so grateful for that.

the pleasure dome

my loves

i am so excited to announce that i will be writing a column on pleasure, justice, feminism, race and pop culture for Bitch Magazine – it is called The Pleasure Dome and it will be published every other wednesday.

i see this as a collaborative space to explore and learn about using pleasure towards collective power. let me know what you want to explore!

the first column is up here – enjoy!