Monthly Archive for July, 2012

I can’t not write! whispering to you :-)

my blog seems to be working for some people now and not others. hmmm. the sweet folks at radical designs are on it, so hopefully I will be fully un-bad soon.

for those of you who can read this, I just want to say how much I miss getting to blog. not being able to post has made me realize just how often the instinct to write in this particular way comes to me. I could have written 4 personal memoirs by now, but I love this form, sharing as it happens with you all.

if someone would pay me to do so, I would just write all day long every day. that’s where I am heading :-) someday.

i especially want to write because my heart is massive right now!

I’m learning so much from the transformative process of transitioning my relationship with my partner of five years to best friendship and comradeship. its going so beautifully that we are going to share tools and practices someday on how we are doing this. for now, its still a growth in progress.

people keep saying we don’t seem like we are broken up. I think that’s wonderful, I don’t even like the terminology of breaking up – we are still a whole thing, just radically transformed in how we practice loving each other. I am so grateful for her, for our time, for our future.

also, as I’ve documented here, i have fallen deeply in love with myself for the first time I can remember. it’s amazing to see what becomes easier and what becomes harder from this place.

it’s easier to do yoga, and Jo – to be in my body.
it’s easier to look in the mirror and really indulge in the power of this body of mine.
it’s easier to cry. really weep and wail and seep and shudder and well up and hiccup.
it’s easier to say no, and yes, and mean it.
it’s easier to articulate what I want, and what I need.
it’s easier to accept the miraculous awe-inspiring beauty and blessing of my life.
I mean really, my life is incredible.

it’s harder to be away from Detroit, because the more I love myself the more I can feel what home means. I get homesick!
it’s harder to be away from my nephew and niece and family, my great love teachers.
it’s harder to indulge in those things which have comforted me my whole adult life, filling the space where self-love was absent. I can still sugar binge, but now I know it is out of alignment with my real needs…

everything has me swimming deeper in myself.

and I’m sure there is some cosmic reason why mercury is malwaring my blog at this moment, but this post I’m writing all in a whisper, because I miss you, and I hope you hear me :-)

badness

(soundtrack, pink matter, frank ocean and andre 3000:
I’m good at being bad
bad at being good…

and

if model girls are made for modeling
thick girls are made for cuddling)

hi loves.

mercury is in retrograde and this time around it has resulted in my website being marked as an attack site. I am not attacking you, I promise! however, I’m going to chill on posting (after this, obviously) til it’s cleared up, so y’all don’t have the painful experience of having to feel rejected or attacked by me.

I’d never, I promise.

upcoming are the notes from the Octavia’s Brood session at the AMC, a smorgasbord of practices for self-restoration at home, and possibly a magical tale about how the IRS stopped me from slipping and buying some ice cream today!

the main thing to know is I am really feeling grateful, and happy, and taking care of myself, and cooking amazing meals, and biking a lot, and planning to see loved ones in the next few months.

if you are reading this, I honor your dedication, even if it’s computer security foolishness. I miss you too! soon we will be free :-)

hydrate, eat as much corn and watermelon as you can, and stretch. it’s summer!

sabbatical your life (workshop report back from AMC2012)

i have recently returned from a 6-month community-supported sabbatical. i am feeling healthier and happier now than i have ever felt in my adult life. i say that as someone who has burned out at least three times in my life, who has patterns of overworking, undersleeping, working in urgent hopeless conditions, and undervaluing my health. my goal with this journey was to get under the patterns that lead me to burn-out – to truly fall in love with myself enough to authentically love my community, to embody health and happiness as i work for those things in my community.

i landed back home right into the allied media conference, one of my chosen familial spaces. i knew i wanted to do some sort of report back, because so many people from the AMC had supported my journey in one way or another. i came up with a workshop which ended up being really emotional to offer, and i’ve gotten feedback that it was life-changing for many of those who came.

i thought i would share some notes from the workshop i came up with for the gathering here.

first, i told the story of my sabbatical. you readers have been on the journey with me, so you know how deep and transformative it was (if you haven’t caught up just scroll back to january and fall into my journey). it was important for me to tell the story, so that folks understand it wasn’t a 6-month easy vacation – it was six months of healing, processing trauma and grief and heartache, learning about health, and learning how to love myself.

then i explained the terms that i started using to think of the processes i went through on the journey:

self-love – when you feel whole, and have the capacity to be caring, and you feel invested in, and fully powerful about who you are and your life. (aka complete self-liberation) :) (i think of this as child/beginner’s mind after seeing how my nephew and niece experience themselves.)

self-restoration – every intentional step you take to achieve self-love from an “unwhole” place.

there is no perfect – self-love is a process.

i believe the process is a cycle that can move in multiple directions. the distinction i can see between moving in a healthy, whole direction and moving in an unhealthy direction is my intentions. when i make life choices and actions without intention, or when i feel like my intentions don’t matter, i am usually on a path towards burn-out. when my actions feel intentional, when it feels like what i truly want to do does matter, i develop the ability to dream, believe, open up, to go where i want to go, and ultimately fall in love with myself.

and i am so in love with myself :)

i also identified 5 key elements of my self-restoration process:

1. time. does your time feel scarce and overfull? or abundant? a sense of abundant creative generative exciting healthy time is a major sign of wholeness and health.

2. practices. your practices can shift, but you need to have awareness around what you currently practice in order to get through your life, and what would a healthy collection of practices look like. my practices include/d:
- transformative writing. taking the time to write letters i didn’t send but needed to say, and to really articulate things to myself around healing i needed. (some prompts came from howard shubiner’s workbook on unlearning your pain, some came from a transformative writing workshop in hawaii.)
- developing my own daily yoga practice.
- self-photography, self-portraiture and self-porn. mmmhmmmm. healing!
- body self-love including face masks, hair treatments, rubbing cocoa butter everywhere, and so forth.
- meditation.
- swimming and time in the ocean. crying in the ocean, giving things over to the ocean.
- breathing, all the time.
- smiling only when it was authentic – and increasing my authentic desire to smile.

3. intuition. the path towards healing is within. i knew i longed for a beach cabana all by myself. what keeps coming to your mind when you think about healing places? put yourself on a path to that place.

4. transition and boundaries. the container in which i could actually do my healing work had to be created and respected by me if i wanted anyone else to really hold it.
- giving myself time to transition into the sabbatical [as opposed to one day working and the next day trying to be in pure vacation mode], and time to transition out and intentionally come back into relationship with my family and community and work, was incredibly important.
- holding boundaries around communication and my time was not just key for this sabbatical, but is a skill set i now apply to every aspect of my life.

5. your people. the community that came together to support my sabbatical was a circle of people who were actively loving me. what was crucial was that i gave some of these people permission to be deeply honest with me, holding me accountable when i was slipping in commitments to myself and my health.

once i had spoken of these elements, i had everyone do a self-assessment that looked like this (and don’t lie because it’s just for you!):

a. on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is totally crispy [sad-face] and 10 is totally healthy [peace-smiley-face], how burnt-out are you?

b. on a scale of totally scarce to totally abundant, how much time do you have? (hint: if it always feels like you can’t find time for your own health activities or creativity, you are operating from scarcity.)

c. what are you practicing?
we are always practicing something – some of those practices may feel more healthy, some may feel less healthy – but we are always doing things to help ourselves survive. maybe your practice is eating ice cream, maybe it’s kundalini yoga – list it all out so you can start to be intentional about what you are practicing.

d. who are your people? who are the key people you can trust to absolutely love you and hold you accountable to loving yourself?

once everyone had done assessments, we had a few moments of heightened emotion as folks reflected on what they had learned.

then i had people spend about 15 minutes on these two writing prompts:

1. taking full responsibility, why are you in your current state of burn-out?
[i honor sung e bai for this one, she told me about a practice of taking responsibility for everything and this practice kicked my ass]

2. write a story about yourself, in third person, living a perfect life. what’s happening, how is your time spent?

as the final step, folks got into pairs or trios and read the second piece of writing to each other.

one of the biggest pieces of my healing journey was receiving total permission and support from my community. my best friend used facebook and paypal to organize a lot of people to give small donations towards my sabbatical fund. she presented these to me at my birthday dinner, and it changed my life.

i needed to hear that my community loved me enough to see me healed.

so in the small groups, i asked each person to share what they most needed to hear from others to have permission to give themselves that “perfect life”. then, everyone got the experience of hearing those words said to them, repeated to them, until they could really feel it. some groups took it to a somatic level, holding each others’ hands or hearts as they spoke each others’ permission words.

since the gathering i have received love notes, thank you notes, and stories from the participants – i know this was a powerful experience for them. i invite you to get a few friends together and do it yourself!

if you are interested in a deeper process, i am beginning to work one-on-one with people to support planning a sabbatical or a healing life.

love yourself!!

rooting

this morning i woke up and did an hour of yoga and jo practice.

yesterday, i did a face mask, and yoga, and jo.

the day before, i did yoga, and got a wonderful, magnificent and also fantastic massage.

both nights before that, after incredible inspiring days with thousands of loved ones at the AMC, i danced with every inch and sinew and essence that is me.

everyday i have been rubbing cocoa butter all over myself and drinking tons of water before i do anything else with my day.

i celebrate my body, because it is beautiful and sacred. and it feels good. i am just beginning to learn what it is to feel good in my body – it’s delicious!

i have said yes only to things i deeply want to do, from social plans to work. everything is related to networks, magic, emergence and decentralization, science fiction, being a doula – and through it all above beyond and around it – writing.

i love my time. i am rooting myself into the very life i want. i can feel myself twining down into the earth of this way of being myself.

if you see me smiling, know that it’s because i feel so good inside.

love notes abound (post AMC)

dear morgan (AMC2012 coordinator)
mo
thanks for showing up when and how you did, for being made of good solid earth that absorbs everything and yields trees and fruit and calm everywhere you are. I’ve never done what you did at the AMC, and yet i felt the tenderness of my energetic legacy being held in you every time I saw you smile in the face of someone else’s crisis, and lean in and open up.
you were radiant and mind blowing and made this the best AMC ever with your beginner’s mind and wisdom.
excited to be in this work with you and learn from your fantastic.
love amb

dear micha, dream, thenmozhi (keynotes)
thank you for the complexity of your offerings, which were united by how much each of you was taking the risk and speaking from your more vulnerable places.
dream, my mafia teacher and friend, I always want to see you on a stage full of young women reading your work, honoring the importance of the space you have carved out for us in a cultural transformation of the way we understand ourselves and our inter-feminine relationships and our responsibilities to each other. I got you.
thenmozhi, it was like meeting you anew to see you liberated from the traditional movement media maker role, to see how you are thinking of us in a galactic context, you are so generous with your love of humanity and your invitation for us to behave as a complex organism. ‘species self’ as you presented it – I felt unlonely, like there was finally a term for the interconnectedness I feel in my humanity that wasn’t about religious dogma. thanks for the extra hour of time space traveling conversation in my kitchen.
micha…I have been waiting for you and searching for you as I mutate and converge and embody and borderfuck my way through life. thank you for strategically using your beauty, body and brilliance to give all of us permission to un-border ourselves. thank you for weaving it into fashion, into radical intersectional safety through electronic clothing…even writing that makes me thrill. I would standing o for you anytime!
the combination of the three of you lit up my soul and expanded my consciousness.
thank you!
love
amb

dearest autumn
I know I confessed my love for you in the car, but I want to declare it again. what a blessing you are to me! I cannot believe my good fortune to be in this work with someone as brave and unyieldingly honest and adaptive and coordinated and beautiful as you. the fact that you are my sister, and I can attest to the constancy of your marvelous condition, is almost too much to believe. I trust you on everything, every topic, every politic, every decision. you call out to my best self whenever we speak and I grow every time I call back.
I love you!!
amb

dear Waajeed, anthology of booty collective, cupcake collective, and emily wells
thank you for the sounds you made this weekend, and your commitment to fully embrace the love of music so that people like myself can leave everything, every single thing, on the dance floor. I wore heels for y’all, praise danced, lost serious water, and chose standing by your tables in anticipation over laying in my bed. you all create the soundtrack that keeps pace with my life, at the height of my joy. thank you oh oh oh so much, and I will seek you out again and everywhere.
love
amb

I could go on like this for hours. that’s what the AMC2012 was like.

floating off to my day :-)