Sunday, March 31, 2013

easter

Easter has long been one of my favorite holidays.  Not because of the whole crucifixion element but due to the deeper significance of rebirth and resurrection... of new life and fresh beginnings... of hope and promise...of renewal.  
I can't imagine any better way to begin a day like this than to hike up a mountain first thing in the morning with one of my dearest sister-friends!  My beloved Yvette is in town visiting from Utah and that is exactly what we did.
 The sun rose and the moon set across a clear sky.
And we were both in early morning bliss, serenaded by the songs of spring birds and caressed by a fresh breeze whispering "spring".
And then the eating frenzy began!  Yve and I went to my favorite Denver breakfast spot, The French Press, and shared a gluten-free breakfast burrito and gluten-free pumpkin-buckwheat pancakes with eggs...OH MY!
And I joined my wonderful friends Tami and Brian at their beautiful home in Evergreen for a late lunch. We ate and ate and ate and talked and talked and talked.  Brian-the-chef made lamb shanks, roasted potatoes and asparagus.  The other couple provided a lovely dish of quinoa stuffed peppers and I contributed a green salad with sheep feta, candied walnuts and apples.  As a grand finale' we feasted on an extrordinary creme brule' served with raisins soaked fat in whiskey and simple syrup.
I feel like an utter glutton and fully sated in preparation for whatever newness lay on the horizon!
I hope your Easter was equally full of all things wonderful!

Friday, March 29, 2013

ouch

It has been one of "those" kind of weeks.  You know the kind...when you feel like there may be a vice of epic proportions tightening it's weight against your life.
When things break and food burns.
When you make a special dinner for yourself and give yourself food poisoning.
When your heart breaks again and again for no apparent reason and no amount of meditating or gratitude lists will ease the tension.  
When "lonely" takes up residence and refuses to leave.
On weeks like these there is only ONE thing I know to do: get my butt up a mountain and stay there for awhile.  Which is exactly what I did.
I bundled up and hiked a steep slope, serenaded by birdsong and wind.
I eased into the stillness.
About two-thirds of the way up I found a flatish spot free from cacti and mud and I lay down.
I closed my eyes and felt.
Soon the sadness and longing took a second seat to an overwhelming sense of belonging.
Heart open, my lungs inhaled the crisp late afternoon air.
I stretched out my arms and pulled the horizon around me like a blanket, tucking it close beneath my chin and fell asleep.
When I awoke, I was reminded that I don't have to get it right...any of it right. I can't.
I hiked the rest of the trail in silence.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

pesach

Happy Pesach to everyone!   We celebrated in grand form last night at the Katz family home.
Ron and Joanne chose a unique humanistic haggadah for the evening and it was truly beautiful. I have often struggled with the overt "God saved His people" tone of many sedars, but this one was broader and more encompassing.  Rather than feeling marginalized as a non-jew, I felt deeply welcome in the most loving way. For the first time, the sedar plate included an orange to symbolize the marginalized peoples of the world and those marginalized within Judaism, along with the more traditional symbolical reminders: an egg-new life, maror-bitterness of pain past and present, choroset-the sweetness of life, salt water- tears and shank bone-the offering. The orange was a wonderful inclusion.
Bodhi was in charge of saying the blessing of the wine...or fruit of the vine as the case may be (aka grape juice).
Joanne outdid herself with a gorgeous feast lovingly prepared over several days.  Here is the homemade maror (freshly grated horseradish and beet juice). When it is added to the matzoh and charoset it creates the Hillel sandwich!  My FAVORITE food during the sedar.
Instead of the typical chopped eggs to symbolize birth and the fragility of life, Joanne made decadent deviled eggs served on a bed of pea sprouts.
 Of course there was gifilte fish...
 and matzoh ball soup....
and a delicious salmon dish with baby artichokes, Meyer lemons, onions and fresh fennel.  Served with a potato and kale mash and freshly steamed asparagus.
For dessert Ron made decaf espresso and hot cocoa.  Served up with these delicacies.
Another beautiful evening with the Katz family and friends.  I am so grateful that Bodhi gets to experience the depth of his culture through the love of his family.  As the goya in the group I continue to learn alongside my son.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bodhi

Okay, what do you do with an insanely busy six-year old during spring break when long stretches of free time extend out before you and all you really want to do is lay on a beach somewhere warm?  Well the kid likes art so I devised a color mixing experiment with water color pencils.  He delightfully discovered that red and blue do indeed make purple and  "brown and brown make BROWN!" and other newsworthy insights.
Next, we colored his hair red with gel and he promptly put on a cardigan and began parading around the house with his wand weilding a continuous diatribe about something nonsensical.
Next, we loaded up on the bike for a ride to the grocery store and park.  We have a bike attachment and the goal is to ride in a semi-upright fashion but for Bodhi riding takes a second seat to the primary goal of maintaining a constant stream of TALK.  As I tried to correct the waivers, baubles and horizontal riding strategies of my biking companion, I kept calling behind me, "BALANCE".  To which Bodhi yelled ahead, "I AM TRYING TO BALANCE!".  The teacher mom kicked in and I said, "Oh Bodhi you are doing a great job.  Keep practicing."  To which he replied, "Grown ups are always saying GOOD JOB but I think they are lying.  I think they really mean YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOUR DOING but they want you to keep doing it!"  Which of course made me laugh so hard I had to get off the bike.
On our way home from buying the ingredients for choroset Bodhi spotted a sweet young woman standing self consciously on the street corner holding up a tattered cardboard sign which asked for help.  Her downturned eyes didn't register the six year old who had quickly hopped off his bike to hurry to her side, beaming a grin and bellowing, "HI!". He then dug into the cloth bag containing our recently purchased produce and held out a prime tangelo in his extended hand.  She warmly accepted and he seemed to feel a little better about the painful fact that other people don't have a home like we do.  Soon we were off again and as we neared the house I wondered if it was possible for someone's ears to actually bleed from a constant verbal onslaught.  
Once home we made choroset for Pesach and Bodhi packed his backpack for an eagerly anticipated evening with his Dad.  He just now left and the house feels like a mausoleum, utterly silent, and although I am exhausted and ready for silence, I find that without his constant buoyancy there is a quiet weight of loneliness which has become a regular companion lately.  There is no one like Bodhi.  No human could have more zest and eagerness for life than that boy.  And no human could TALK with as much gusto and enthusiasm as Bodhi Samuel Katz, the One and Only.

journaling

A friend of mine asked me recently to share my journaling process.  I don't know that I could really do that.  I have been journaling since I was a young girl.  I took a long hiatus from private discourse after the divorce debacle and made "journaling" public in the form of this blog.  A few years ago I was able to begin journaling again.  Here are a few of the pages that fill spiral bound art journals.  I work on a page or two in the evenings before I begin my meditation.  This is a time to download whatever remains unresolved from the day.  I have permission to screw up and make a mess.  There are no mistakes.  If something bothers me I don't tear it out, I just cover it with gesso and build on top of it or add to it or sit with my discomfort and listen.  This is how I approach art, as an ongoing conversation and there isn't a right way of saying anything.
 The work can be cathartic or illuminating or just relaxing.
Working on this scale is nice.  There isn't the pressure involved in "creating art" or filling a canvas.  The blank pages are merely a quiet invitation to express.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

the bird

My nickname has been "the bird" since I was a little girl.  A name I was given by my dad when I was roughly three years of age and trying to fly with determination and utter disregard for life and limb.  The name stuck.  I have been changing the idea of "flying" away and toying with the idea of "staying"and opening to the uncertainties of life.  Several years ago I did a series of self portraits embracing various expressions of the psyche.  Recently, I have found myself drawing again.  In fact I began this drawing, 11x14 graphite, two nights ago and although it is far from complete I am sharing it. While working on it I found myself becoming ridiculously giddy.  Then the thought hit me right between the eyes ..."THE BIRD".  My nickname.  And I have been laughing ever since.

sunday

Sunday morning began with a disgusting gluten-free burrito (DO NOT buy food-for-life brown rice tortillas.  They are disgusting.  And if you do buy them don't fill them with an egg white and kale scramble covered in green chili sauce.  Disgusting).  Bodhi was only able to gag down a few bites before nearly vomiting in the trashcan, no doubt more for effect than need.
The weather outside remains frightful and so Bodhi and I entertained ourselves with sit ups, push ups and yogic poses invented by Bodhi.  We also made our weekly trip to the library and then spent the requisite hour jumping like fools at a nearby trampoline park.  I am always shocked to see the number of parents who opt out of the hopping frivolity.  GROWN UPS!
Bodhi's new favorite past time is to ham it up with the camera in typical goof ball fashion and so we spent a few raucous minutes in the car making ridiculous attempts to look both cool and insane at the same time.  I don't know if we succeeded at the former but the latter was a piece of cake.
This week rather than check out my usual stack of books I went through my book shelf and pulled off six preciously bound treasures that I have not yet consumed.  A week of reading and a week off of work and school.  It will doubtlessly be a blast.

Friday, March 22, 2013

lover and beloved

The Lover and the Beloved
     are like a mirror for each other,
     one is the cause for the other's effect.
     Unless you become that mirror
     we can't call you a Lover.
                   - Rumi

love is

I woke this morning from a dream and fell into Shahram Shiva's book translation of Rumi's poetry, entitled HUSH, Don't Say Anything to God: Passionate Poems of Rumi and consumed it.  I read the entire book in a state of predawn ecstasy before the horizon began to blush at my ardor.  So many of us are afraid to love and to be loved.  It's no wonder given the image of sentimental love served up by our fast food culture, scented sweet and full of lies, promising salvation and delivering disappointment. A blasphemy.  Love is.  Omnipresent.  Omnipotent.  Omniscient.  Beyond words and thoughts.  Contained in every experience. Everything is an invitation to love...whether sublime or painful...an invitation to break our hearts a thousand times and a thousand times over until finally that breaking finishes its task...freeing love from all illusions of other.  Love is.
There is a candle in your heart,
     ready to be kindled,
There is a void in your soul,
     ready to be filled.
You feel the separation
     from the Beloved.
Invite Him to fill you up,
     embrace the fire.
Remind those who tell you otherwise that
     Love
     comes to you of its own accord,
     and the yearning for it
     cannot be learned in any school.
                        -  rumi

Thursday, March 21, 2013

self-esteem

Cognitive dissonance is the feeling of discomfort we experience when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting  ideas, beliefs or emotions.  Of course we experience this kind of dissonance, to a greater or lesser degree, all the time but this week I encountered a perfect moment when I was on the phone with my beloved sister-sister and she was giving me a sound talking to, asking me if I could hear her when she told me I was beautiful.  Of course I could HEAR her but I couldn't believe her. I have always felt confident that I was "beautiful inside" but outside...I always felt like a fraud.  No matter how many cat calls or compliments or phone numbers or second takes or well meaning loved ones I was always more aware of the 'flaws'.  Having grown up sandwiched between my beloved brother one:
and my beloved brother two:
I was convinced at an early age that I was nightmarishly, shave your ass and walk around backwards, homely.  Of course this impression was reinforced by other prominent males in my life during the formative years. Eventually it became an established truth.  As my friend questioned me, I pondered her opinion.  The opinion of someone who has NEVER bullshitted me.  I retracted my dysmorphic self image long enough to question its validity.  I started to laugh.  Maybe I don't know anything.  Not even what I look like.  This realization has left me somewhat baffled and greatly entertained.   Life is a funny playground isn't it and sometimes we discover that the rules we imagined written in stone were never really rules at all.

Monday, March 18, 2013

happiness

Happiness is your nature.
It is not wrong to desire it.
What is wrong is seeking it outside
when it is inside.
-Ramana Maharshi

sunday

 Green eggs anyone...okay I THOUGHT THIS WAS BRILLIANT.  The boys said it tasted great with their eyes closed.  I blended eggs, spinach, turkey bacon and cheese in the vitamix and scrambled it up for a St. Patty's day feast...with green tea and green smoothies.
 While Owen spent the day at a friends Bodhi and I frolicked with abandon at the park.
 Taking turns with the camera... I have to say Bodhi is rapidly becoming a stellar photographer.
 And I bought each of us hula hoops for St. Patty's Day.  I love hula hooping.  It's what I loved to do as a kid with my brother Dan and I thought "What the hell am I waiting for"...so we have started our own hooping club with two dedicated members!
For supper we enjoyed black bean chili with steamed kale and all the fixin's before settling in to watch Soul Surfer.  It is a great movie with a great message and Bodhi's new favorite.   
Another wonderful Sunday!