Category Archives: invitations

Moving and Shaking

I’ve spent the bulk of this week feeling abundantly irritable but quietly happy and oddly brave- a weird combo I’m learning to associate with change. Life is feeling alternately fragile and full, earthy and elusive. A week of mindbodyspirit-opening yoga in Mexico, new heart-flowerings, global movements, powerful dreaming, themes of birth and dying coming from everywhere.

Last night I dreamed of nursing babies – feeling life flowing through me so vividly, and still in the dream I felt like I didn’t have enough, that my limitations were disappointing and hurting my children. Today I watched footage of destruction I could not fully take in on the other side of the earth. Tomorrow I hold space for a service in celebration of my grandmother who passed away last week after a full and rich life. I am feeling the movings and shakings of my own tectonic plates.

I know I’m beginning to explore a new, vital, compelling, raw and shifting place in my life- one that does not yet feel ripe for naming. So instead of word-wrangling here, I am trying to drop in, tune in and feel through.

I decided to write tonight only because I picked up a neglected journal and started flipping through pages, and am always surprised when I find the wisdom I seek. From time to time I write love notes to myself. Some poems, some intentions, some reassurances quick and to the point. Here are a few from my flipping, if you’d like to try them on and wear them around too. I’d love to hear one of yours, if you’re in the mood to share.

 

less good ideas
more trust and surrender
guided by the power of intention
there is no wasted time
all is well

 

The price of aliveness is the will to live.

I choose again to live. To feel the breath of my humanness and bring my formed and formless gifts in this world. I create my reality and choose to see a world of beauty.

 

unfocus.
loss is grace.
the way you take the thread and tie it to your plot-
that is the weight you feel.
the tape replays and reviews-

fuck that.
I want to be inhabited by grace
touching fingertips with the revolution
rolling down the hill sideways
picking up speed on the way to unway
trusting gravity and grass.

there are 10 billion things on the other side of I don’t want to.
surf the wave.

 

There is nothing to know
There is no tomorrow
Your pen writes on the page
until the page turns
Glow
is not a verb
There is nothing to do
Drop into yourself
the way you long to be known.

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Filed under Big G., gifts, invitations, life, lisa goettel, offerings, poetry

the eyes before me

Thank you Linda for The Gift of Hafiz. I read him again today and found my own poem inside-

the eyes before me

look into the eyes of every lover and say

do not worry that your cutting word, your wounded-ness, your indifference or un-knowing will cause me pain.
rest easy-

your gifts are gifts

I drink from you like a cup that will bring me salvation
because you will

for no good reason
but that you are here.

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Filed under invitations, lisa goettel, poetry, writing

At Sea

I can’t leave my house today because the road is closed. It feels like an at-sea day.  (Non-cruise-loving travelers, allow me to explain.) On cruises, the trip revolves around the places of port – the journey’s milestones where everyone on the boat files off, spends 8 hours stimulating the local economy, then clambers back on board in time to sleep and wake up somewhere else.  I’ve been on two cruises – lesbian cruises (which is a blog post for another day) – and to me the best days were the at-sea days.  The days between ports, when the boat was our unavoidable container and there was nowhere to go. (Would you hate being stuck on a boat with 2,000 lesbians?)

Knowing my options are limited is a great relief to my system. It’s getting the prix fixe dinner vs. the insurmountable 32 page book-of-a-menu at that Chinese place. No angsty deciding. No contending with constant imaginings of all the things I could be doing if I wasn’t here. So I’ve been counting down the hours today, not with “when can I leave?” but with “how many more do I get?”

I wish I could say I was rapidly spiritually evolving with this poignant reminder that accepting limitation is so freeing.  In reality, my distractions today have only downsized to the 10 million things I can/ need to do in my house.  What next?  Work?  Yoga?  Organize the scary cabinet?  Write the next great American novel?  Nap?  Make cookies?   Someone in me is hoping there’s someone else in me who’s in charge of these matters.  It’s a little disappointing then when I get the typical response: “uh….let’s check Facebook while we decide.” Irretrievable hours of my life later, I’m back at the beginning and I’m contemplating how social media has successfully replaced TV as my unconscious time-waster of choice.  (At least it’s interactive and about people I (usually) know and care about.)

What’s true is today has been exactly like most days.  I spend the bulk of it sitting and staring at a lit-up rectangle.  The sun comes and goes, and I’m alternately 1) doing the holy work of housing and feeding myself, 2) avoiding doing the holy work of housing and feeding myself or 3) thinking about the limitless array of things I’d do if only I didn’t have to house and feed myself.

At least I didn’t lose those five minutes toying with the notion of driving down to get my mail and a mocha, which is the other favorite thing I do to keep me from having to sit still.  And I’m seeing a little more clearly how often I scan for that delicious distraction that will keep me from focusing on my heart’s desire  – and ultimately, from the full measure of success and fulfillment that I know is available to me.

It’s November, and I decided at the beginning of the month to again attempt the ridiculous and totally do-able endeavor of writing 50,000 words in 30 days for NaNoWriMo. It’s November 21st, and I’m at 5,348 words.  Another day of another year, and my prize is seeing how relentlessly I avoid doing what I want to do.

My house is littered with messages to remind and encourage me.  I get wonderful pep-talk emails twice a week.  I am haunted by self-help book titles, like Mary Goldenson’s It’s Time: No One is Coming to Save You.  I made a poster and stuck it on the wall by my bed that says in big letters: There Is No Time To Waste.

And.

I have apparently not seen what I do enough yet.  I have not felt unsatisfied enough yet to turn my seeing into change.  Getting to enough is key.  And remembering enough, even more so.  I don’t believe anymore that simple laziness is to blame for keeping our dreams out of reach.  It’s habits, usually super attractive, unconscious habits that strap us in the comfy chair, and desperation that pushes us out.  We only shift when we have to.

Of course, saving ourselves is ultimately up to us. But help is useful. Friends are good. I think we should start a friends-don’t-let-friends-get-complacent campaign.  I think we should make interventions a daily practice and the ultimate sign of friendship. Not interventions of shame but of the ultimate care – the care for our soul’s wellbeing. I think we should make explicit our real goals and ask our friends to help hold us accountable  – to check in on us, call us out and shine light on our excuses, even when we kick and scream (which we will.)

I don’t know how this would work.  Phone check-in’s? A website? Written contracts? Maybe I’m the only one who wants this.  Am I the only one?  Please tell me I’m not the only one.

As of four minutes ago, the road is officially open again, so you can come on over and brainstorm.  Maybe I’ll make cookies.

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Again.

Blogging affords so many opportunities. To connect, to receive feedback, to edit, to obsess.  It shines a light on the writer’s process, inside and all-visible. What a gift.

(You can imagine me saying this with genuine enthusiasm or dripping with sarcasm and be right either way.)

The feedback piece is particularly significant for me a the moment.  I’m challenged with perspective right now in my writing and my life – unbalanced in the big four corners of relationship: take in, share impact, offer out, receive impact.  My rectangle is askew, swollen with the taking in.  This is a comfy, risk-free place to be.   I have been reading books, listening to you talk, reading your blogs… choosing to sit quietly in response.  It’s nice sometimes, but gets unsatisfying quickly. My own bubbles begin rising to the surface and knock on the door, you don’t know that I’ve been listening to you or reading, and the world starts feeling bigger and more alone.  Relationships and communities and creative energies are organic, living things that wilt and break down when left untended.

I forget this, then I remember.  Today, I remember.  To all of you, my friends, please consider this an apology for my neglect in the sharing feedback loop, recently and probably for most of our relationship.   (And look for a spree of blog comments from me shortly.)

Last night I made an offering – writing and posting a poem here.  When I do this, the little stats graph that charts the number of visits to my blog magically leaps up and comments start coming in.  For sure, I am guilty of seeking validation for my little ego, but far more valuable is the hearing and understanding of how my words impact you. It grows me as a writer and as a person and I am ever-so grateful for your thoughtful honesty.

One such piece of meaty feedback goodness inspired a re-write of last night’s poem.  It is new to me, this ultra-visible experimentation.  Like inviting you over to try my new soup recipe. May I be so bold as to ask you how it graces your palate and lands in your belly?  Missing nutmeg? Too much pepper?

snapshots

sit
head loll down and to the side
let jaw go
chest balloon blow in, out

drive
worry about dishes that haven’t broken yet
turn left
soundtrack: pulse, night, honey

make up stories
see flowers in the dark
see them
psychic message in a bottle: delivered

replay dinner
obsess
stop for kitten
think about work
wonder if

drive
wonder if

drive
wonder if

the un-want is hot again.

wrapped tight, moving nothing
hands and elbows push out the skin suit
hard
from inside ribs    face     skull
more, with
each intolerance.

cooperation is a choice.

wrap it tighter.
I want to feel what I’m breaking

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Filed under invitations, lisa goettel, offerings, poetry, writing

All Roads Lead to Rome (and Here)

I’m enjoying, or not, depending on the moment, a stunning lack of focus lately.  I’m feeling oh so resistant to making any choice that could limit my options.  I want it all.  And I’m discovering the irony in this… that this mentality keeps me from fully picking, doing or enjoying anything, really.

I’m reminded as I write this of a pep-talk note we got from author Janet Fitch during NaNoWriMo.  I’m going to go right now to look it up…  Here’s part of a story she shared with us about a huge writer’s block she ran into around Chapter 8 in her book White Oleander

“I just couldn’t decide what to do next.  I’d try this, try that, but each time I’d get stuck. The character would put her toe in and pull it out again. No, not that. Should  I just bag it? Write a different book? Go to law school? Watch reruns of Hogan’s Heroes? I was absolutely blocked at the crossroads.

Luckily I was seeing an amazing therapist at the time. I explained I was afraid that if I chose route 6, then I would be eliminating all the other possible routes. What if route 15 was better? Or 3 1/2 ? So I hedged. I couldn’t commit. I was stuck. And she gave me the piece of advice which has saved my writing life over and over again, and I will give it to you, absolutely free of charge. She said, ‘I know it feels like you have all these options and when you make a decision, you lose a world of possibilities. But the reality is, until you make a decision, you have nothing at all.'”

(Sigh.)

That’s it exactly.  Forget writer’s block.  I’m having people’s block.  (For the record, the word I really wanted to use was LIVEr’s block, as in one who lives.)

I see how this plays out in my day-to-day… because it does, alot. I’m a toe-dipper.  Which becomes a thin-spreader – or a spreader thinner… which leads to a bad case of overwhelm.  Or I become a masterful avoider.  Lying in bed for hours, dreamily playing out loads of reckless fantasies for my life in my head, but really I’m just lying in bed.  I’m a dreamer, avoider, procrastinator… which, by the way, also leads to a bad case of overwhelm.

IT’S TIME, Lisa. Time to step up and step out. Take the non-habitual road.  Pick something, and DO. You know creativity thrives in limitation, so create a framework.  Follow one of those lists you love making so much.  GO. Be in the world.  (This is being said by my loudspeaker voice.  Do you have this voice? The one that comes in behind your left ear and gives you the firm and clear answer to any question?)

Janet Finch advises fellow blocked writers to pick something that will make trouble for their character.  She writes, “Find the thing (your character) loves most and take it away from him. Find the thing he fears  and shove him shoulder deep into it. Find the person who is absolutely worst for him and have him delivered into that character’s hands. Have him make a choice which is absolutely wrong.”

This excites me. Anyone else up for getting into a little trouble?

Oh, and a framework.  I do love frameworks.  I found this on the blog of a friend of a friend.  Wanna play? Copy the bold and fill it in.  Ten minutes or less.

*i am annoyed by slow drivers who won’t pull over on the highway.
*i want it all.
*i have six billion ideas.
*i miss cuddling.
*i fear I won’t be able to say no if I say yes.
*i hear the furnace clicking, the solar batteries charging and the wind.
*i search for some imagined “right way”.
*i wonder what will happen if I just say, “screw it.”
*i regret not having more skill and self-awareness in my past relationships.
*i love big.
*i forgive you, if you were that slow driver on the highway.
*i ache for no-holds-barred connection.
*i always make my bed.
*i try to eat well and do yoga every day.
*i seem unapproachable when I’m being shy.
*i know this.
*i feel like walking to the beach today.
*i dance around my house naked.
*i dream of being independently wealthy. But
*i give all my money away when I have it.
*i listen carefully to everything you’re not saying.
*i sing all the time.
*i laugh till I cry sometimes.  I love that.
*i can’t believe it’s noon already.
*i write because I have to.
*i cry at every single therapy session. It’s annoying.
*i sleep like a rock.
*i am really happy about that.
*i see the sun!
*i need to clean the house.
*i should forever banish the word should from my vocabulary.

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Writing the Other Side

chocolate-skin1I have been reading Rob Brezsny for an hour.  He is a madman.

He is famous for his syndicated astrology column now, but someday he’ll be more famous for his mastery in untethering imagination in pursuit of truth.  He’s one of the seekers, choosing the reckless (but not aimless) path of uninhibited expression to the spiritual holy grail.

He spends his days devotedly seeking the purest form of connection to our true, collective spirit.  The stuff of dreams and psychadelic worlds. The glorious wonders “behind the veil” of our boring little conditioning.  The delicious music of the subconscious that breathes love and manna and play into the world.  The everything that lives beyond our doomed daily chores of footsteps. The last great grand hope.

Brezsny was buoyed by discovering William Blake’s description of this place, in a passage from A Vision of the Last Judgment:

This world of Imagination is the world of Eternity; it is the divine bosom into which we shall go after the death of the Vegetated body. This World of Imagination is Infinite and Eternal, whereas the world of Generation, or Vegetation, is Finite and Temporal. There exists in that Eternal World the Permanent Realities of Every Thing which we see reflected in this Vegetable Glass of Nature. All Things are comprehended in their Eternal Forms in the divine body of the Saviour, the True Vine of Eternity, the Human Imagination.

I wonder sometimes if the subconscious/ imagination are just an attractive highway luring us further into our super-egos under the guise of naked truth. But because I am (proud to be) easily influenced, tonight I am lapping up the contagion of Rob Brezsny’s reckless truths with glee.  Just imagine if the whole world was infected – suddenly swinging wide the doors to our collective and limitless imagination realms –  fearlessly and playfully celebrating the grown children we are. If we saw the world differently, would gravity fail to operate and the sun forget to rise?

And so, your invitation.  Contribute an expression of your connecting with whatever feels true at this moment.  Any form.  Do not let your regular brain participate. What leaps cleanly from the tendons of your sense and invites us to a world where we remember our majestic capacity for ridiculousness?  Prove we are full to the brim of stuff way more interesting than the aerobics of those woefully limited left-brain synapses.  Enjoy five minutes of relief from the way words should go. No edits or judges or rehearsals… this is easy free spontaneous loveful playtime.

Here’s my five-minute-stream-write offering, for starters. And Rob’s site offers a great deal more plentiful juice…

******

“Will there ever be a day when we don’t die?” She asked him, her voice wavering in false fear.

“Absolutely not.” He obliged in the condescension her tone so obviously craved.

“I wonder then,” she mused peevishly in an instantaneous but nearly imperceptible shift to real bravery, “if we may have a go at it?”

“What!?” He cried in exasperation. “We are 10,000 moons away from life yet.  We must die exactly 8,934,256 deaths before we can live.”

She smiled coyly and slid the secret with her tongue across her freshly whitened teeth.

“Oh don’t you smile coyly at me with your tongue and whitened teeth, just because you have the womb secret wisdom. I demand you demonstrate your fearlessness immediately,” his left eye twinkled.

The death was quick and painless. She remembered milky skin and thoughtlessness.  She jumped in to the pool laughing, yelling “It’s been here all along!”

“I’ve been trying to tell you…” he glowered, but her laughing broke his words in two.

She looked at him and he didn’t have to apologize.

“Wanna float?” She smiled.

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Eye On the Big Ball

Time is doing funny things.  I look at the calendar, at my last post, and notice it’s been exactly one month since I wrote here.  How could so many days have happened since we had that conversation? And at the same time, how could I have been that girl only 30 days ago? I am learning time is in us, and not absolute.

I feel like I’m at my therapist’s office after a long time away and there are a huge backlog of topics for potential discussion.  Should I talk about the gleeful nesting I’ve been doing in my new house? Or how I have failed to finish my novel (yet)?  The marvelous New Years acid trip?  The old wounds of shame I’ve been licking? How I feel my capacity for joy expanding? The Lovers tarot card I pulled for 2009? Boys? Music? Money?

I guess I go through phases of interest in processing things through writing and talking and creating.  Lately I’ve been not so interested in the processing part, and more into the experiencing.  The “but what does it all mean?” has quieted and I’ve gone into “what’s this?” mode.  In this place my attention span is about four seconds. My communication skills take an abrupt nose dive and I hop through my thoughts and days, not accomplishing much of anything, trying everything, being flaky and unreliable, riding emotional rollercoasters, catching up on my sleep, staring out the window and daydreaming.

To all my friends and family,  I am sorry for largely boycotting the holidays as I go through this resurgence of toddler-dom. I have made promises and not kept them.  I’ve started writing notes to you and wrapping your presents and not finished.  I really did try to blog last weekend – I wrote the first paragraph of nine different posts before sighing and staring at the fire instead.  It’s like trying to fight the weather.

My friend Tuaca once said I’m like a dolphin.  I leap from the water then go down, deep, away.  It’s what Lisa’s do.  Please know that I have been receiving your holiday gifts and letters, reading your blogs and facebook updates, thinking of you, appreciating and loving you all wordlessly.

With an actual, normal work week here on the horizon I’m reluctantly coaxing the words and adultness back. I’m grateful for my Taurusness.  I harness this part of me who loves loves loves to set intentions, categorize things and make lists.  The big landmine to watch for here is the ambitiousness.  The part that wants to do EVERYTHING and do it PERFECTLY and thinks everything takes about 25% as long as it actually does. The ambitiousness itself is not a problem actually, it’s the judgement and standards and compulsion and fear of disappointing or of not being enough that ickifies everything. (Ickifies, by the way, is now my new favorite word I just made up.)

I’m keeping my eye on the big ball tonight as I make my little lists.  Life is too short for jobs and budgets and phone calls to be a source of misery. I am clear in my vision.  I have the Big List. I have all the tools I need to ride the ride.  (Hero, I’m smiling, remembering you saying “We are easily seduced, but our intentions are powerful.”)

I want to go slower this year.  I want the middle way – between these extremes of doing everything and doing nothing. I want to practice, to move toward mastery in relationship with everyone – real, sincere, in-time connecting – and to choose to spend my time with people who want that too.  I want to experience and express sincerely and simply and proudly without performing.  I want to go after what I want and banish old fears with absolution.  I want to open my body and mind and spirit as a channel to life and let it live and dance and sing me.  I want to treat myself and everyone with highest respect and recognition of our majesty.  I want to let go, let go, let go of everything in the way.  I want to know how much joy I can handle.

Do you want these things too?

I vote we do it together. There are big distractions and egos and wounds out there and we need each other. We are powerful, and even more deliciously, magnificently so when we’re together.  And if the Mayan calendar is right we only have three years.  We had better get cracking.

If you’re in, and this is an experiement, I’ll post occasional assignments here for us. I will do them too. I hope you’ll play.

Assignment #1: Share your magnificence.

Right now, post something in the comments section (click on the “comments” link below) that displays your wonderfulness for the whole world to see.  Something you are proud of.  Something that is of you and and beyond you.  There is no room for modesty or apology here. Or for not-good-enough.  Or for waiting to finish the thing that isn’t finished.  Share something you have now.  A poem, a picture, a YouTube link, a recounting of the impossible accomplishment, a link to your very most favorite blog post… anything that when you did it made you go “wow – look at how big I am.”  This is a magnificence show and tell.  A chance for all of us to be equally fantastic – to ooh and ahh at all our gifts and recognize our own selves in them.

Whatcha got?

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Filed under invitations, life, lisa goettel, writing