Tag Archives: spirit

Upside Down

This is not me. Yet.

This is not me. Yet.

I’ve never done this before, but I want to dedicate this post to my dear friend Tuaca, who I love, and she knows it.

I went to my first aerial dance class yesterday.  I swung around and climbed and went upside down on a big circus rope and hanging fabric like those super pretty people who fly around in Cirque de Soleil, doing super pretty and amazing things.  In my case the only pretty amazing thing is the fact that I can’t lift my arms today. Muscles I forgot I had are still vibrating, my neck aches and my feet and hands are pink with rope-burn.

Still, I swung and played and giggled with pigtails and utter school-girl glee. My mind is racing to visions of thrilling and graceful theatrics, hanging 50 feet in the air from a tree on an ocean cliff.  My nightly push-up and sit-up sessions have new purpose and I’m pouting to have to wait two weeks till the next class.

Honeymoon-phase enthusiasm is always finite, but right now I’m eleven-years-old again and remembering the lost art of infinite possibility.  I’m making room for passion to hang out in the same room with the budget and but-but-but’s and better ideas.

I think I feel all airy and sweeping and la-la right now because this infinite possibility point is feeling like the punctuation on one big, long, magical weekend.  The whole series of events that even got me swinging upside down was a perfect snowball of synchronicities.  I was talking with girlfriends on Thursday night about my love and aspirations for aerial acrobatics, bemoaning the lack of a class within 75 miles. Next morning I pick up a hitchiker on the way in to town. We get to chatting, she mentions a new aerial dance class coming to Monterey that she’s taking starting Monday. There are one or two spots left.  It meets the next three Mondays (skipping the one Monday I’ll be out of town.) We swap emails, and the rest is history.  When I’m a very, very famous star of Cirque de Soleil, you can say you read this post back when…

Over the weekend I was in a workshop at Esalen, offered to me free at the last-minute, about intuition and the power to create our worlds.  The instructor was a celebrity psychic who loathes being called a psychic and is fond of observing synchronicity as the inevitable validation of well-used intuition.  We gave each other readings, practiced mediumship and telepathy with little instruction beyond “go.”

In her groups she talks a lot, regaling us with long, unapologetic diatribes of her neuroses and successes.  She declares her adoration or disdain for us at regular intervals and upholds her Esalen reputation as a famous wine and sugar pusher.  But when it comes time for us to dive in and try our hand at reading the future or healing a stranger, she channels a drill sargeant. Not speaking is not an option. Should your stream of prophetic visions and healing energy slow to a trickle or (heaven forbid) hit a roadblock, it invites a quick and public suggestion to go try out the yoga workshop.

A few years ago, I inhabited a pretty-much permanent emotional fragility living at Esalen, busy gazing at all my deep, dark psychological woundings. This workshop and her seemingly incompassionate style would have shattered me into a thousand million little pieces then.  With a little thicker skin now, I found the gifts layered and deep (if bouyed by her pull-aside comment during a break about my incredible intuitive prowess.)

One of the most valuable take-aways for me was to hear that after 30 years of being a well-known and extremely successful intuitive and healer, she still feels like she’s making it up.  She never feels comfortable and in control of what she’s saying or doing in a reading – just comfortable in her trust of the process.  She reminds and reminds and reminds us that we just have to GO.  The train has to leave the station. You have to jump in the river in order to be carried.  “Define your target, follow your attention and report” is her only guidance, and it’s all we needed.

I love inhabiting the paradox that life is a river carrying us along to our destinies but we can tell the river where to go or crawl to shore when we choose.  I love feeling like I am tapping into the truth and connectedness of the universe when I’m just sharing whatever pops up in my consciousness.  I love believing that my being at the aerial dance class yesterday was a result of the perfect mix between happenstance and intention.

I’m suddenly thinking of my grandmother, who is probably rolling over in her grave right now as her 35-year-old, unmarried grandaughter has run off to California to swing from a trapeze and study telepathy.  I hope she knows that for me this life is just another expression of love, like for her it was making us eat third or fourth helpings of dinner.  I’m following a river that my faith and spirit and intuition tells me existed before and way beyond me, but I’m choosing and creating and directing it too.  I hope she sees how alike we are in this.  (And I know she does.)

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Filed under life, lisa goettel, writing

Tell me

Tell me what you want
and I’ll reveal you.

this is simple.

nowhere to be, go, hide.

At the moment you believe I’ve failed you,
you’ll feel the pin prick of realization again
and come back to me.

There is no one like you.
Nothing written like this.

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Filed under life, poetry

Writing down the bones*

I don’t know how I’d ever be a painter. As a writer, I edit every time I re-read, usually taking things out. I suspect this technique may not work out so well on a canvas. (Although I recently heard that when painting with oils, you can put saran wrap on the painting to try something out before you’re stuck with it.)

The idea of being stuck with my first draft is actually pretty terrifying. It’s the great thing about blogging. I can change things whenever I want. I just edited my last post this morning because it was the one post that was staying with me – knowing in my gut that I started writing it from the place of wanting to be a good writer instead of the place where I just write to find my voice.

It’s so easy, once something is sent out into the world for public consumption, to begin expanding my consciousness to include such considerations as “but how will this be interpreted?” and “is this witty enough”? To be tainted with the longing to be liked.

Writing for me gets worse the more it gets like chess. In chess, the better you are, the farther ahead you can see the moves. When I write, I do it for the discovery. It is a practice I use to find my voice. To cut through all the gobbledegook in my brain and distill the essence of the undercurrent that’s invariably brewing in my spirit. And it’s surprising. Words like gobbledegook pop out of me and I shake my head in the wonder of where it comes from. It’s how I know that my spirit is bigger than me and my over-active mind. It’s often as though the words write themselves and this is just an exercise in getting out of the way.

And I always know the source of origin of my words, when I choose to look. I know how my authentic voice feels in my chest, ringing a “yes” in my heart, that for me is often accompanied by a shaky, full breath, a wave of excited energy or a tingle of tears.

I rarely, if ever, find this when I’m speaking. The pace of talking is generally beyond my capacity to deeply attune to myself. So I come here to slow down, to drop kick formulas, expectations, and hopes of outcomes – to practice slowing down – to find words with care and intention.

And it’s interesting. Once I allow this, editing is no longer required. My editing tends to make things worse. How cool is it, that I have this opportunity to figure it out through doing? Because I often don’t know what space I’m inhabiting, until my own wisdom feeds back. And it can’t feed back if there’s nothing on the page.

I’ve spent most of my adult life avoiding creation just to avoid the mess. (Nobody is going to be interested in this – why bother? Come on Lis, just spit it out already. Why are you making this so difficult? No no no – that’s so boring. What’s an intriguing metaphor? Nope. That’s bad too.)

And for some reason now the mess is less daunting than it is a thrilling obstacle course. I’m living in Big Sur – full of artists and other creators – and the more artists I meet the more ripples of inspiration buoy me. The more I write the more hungry I am to receive someone else’s creation and then I’m ready to write again. What a relief it is to be in the mess, after years of watching.

I want to mention that is isn’t out of disregard that I try to let go of my imaginings about other people in favor of my own soul intelligence. It’s actually out of a deep love. I think of my own struggling as a microcosm of the whole world. If I can’t find my own way, meet my own voice of dissent or even hate with some resilience, figure out what’s rattling around in my bones… it seems pointless and arrogant to figure out what someone else wants and try to deliver. I don’t want to offer you something I don’t have to give. I don’t want to be the maid with the dirty house.

And if my friends are a guide (and they are) – I know that my own voice is the biggest contribution I can make to Us. My advice, however well meaning, or my tiptoeing through relationship in fear of disappointing or any myriad of other things serves only to distance. The desire to give or the fear – these are real and wonderful – but until I own and express them, there’s little room to connect.

And look at that! In finding my voice I got the most wonderful advice! Thank god I wrote it down.

*btw – I stole the post title from the title of a book, that I just now understand

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The call to greatness

I saw my friend Ani Difranco again last night, in concert this time in Santa Rosa. And I indoctrinated Yossi, who it was a treat to share with, especially since he really liked her. Truly, as I watched I wondered how anyone couldn’t – if not appreciate her music, style or perspective, at least honor her presence on the stage and in the world. What a shining star.

I’ve seen Ani in concert for 15 years, and while it’s been a few since I saw her last, I was prepared for the familiar schizophrenic ongoing internal dialog that invariably accompanies the ticket price.

Audience member Lisa A: “Oh it’s the Becky song! Remember Beck, how you always sang that line “you are by far the cutest?”

Lisa B: “Yes. I was feeling the Texas of my heart today in the car. That’s it exactly.”

Lisa C is busy adding harmonies and riding the guitar picks like electrical surges.

Lisa D: “She is so obviously doing what she was meant to do. Wake up! It’s time for Lisa to be Lisa.”

Lisa E: “She’s existed in the world for a year more than me and has released 21? albums. What the fuck am I doing? Where has my creativity gone? Lisa, you have so much potential and you’re wasting your life. You’re still not even sure who you are. What distinguishes me from everyone else in this anonymous crowd? I hate crowds. We’re all hypocrite cattle, cheering at every cry for rebellion and independence while we’re all sitting here in the dark fantasizing to the tune of “I want her to see and love and validate ME!” If I met her tonight, what would I say? What is my offering? I bet she doesn’t watch TV.”

Ok, I suspect that audience member E. is actually a few voices, but I’ve lumped them together here for the purposes of recognizing that none of what they have to say is helpful. The simple act of going to a concert for me is a complex brew of enjoying the familiar, identifying with the artist, appreciating the music, being inspired, and then tumbling down the hill in comparisons, judgments and self-consciousness.

Fully aware of and prepared for this last night, I suited up for the show with all the resources I could muster after what had been already a long and challenging day. And I managed largely to hold the cruelest forms of “voices E” at bay. I focused on voice D instead. The voice being nourished by inspiration – the voice who in seeing Ani shine felt my own call to greatness. And I knew that true calls to greatness are not laced with barbs and they don’t get report cards. They happen of their own accord, in their own time, each with their own unique manifestation.

I don’t know what happens in everyone else. But I’ve seen and heard enough to believe that the call for greatness is a common if not universal experience. Greatness not being confused with fame or glory, though greatness often inspires followings, but greatness of embodied spirit. It’s a recognition, a flowering, an excavation of the divinity that has been inherent in our beings all along.

I feel the tingling of this inside myself many times a day. And then I see the 184,256 things that are in the way and if I don’t just drown in hopelessness right then and there, I get tripped up by #4 or #58 or #184,255. It takes a special kind of inspiration, or maybe more commonly a desperation, to plow all the way through, which is why I don’t see it much when I look around. But I’m attracted to people who I see making a go of it, and my spirit lifts immeasurably to be present for someone who just hit another six barriers but did it anyway. We see this a lot in people with life-threatening illnesses. People who are adequately nursed with an urgency to go beyond their habitual, self-imposed limitations. I’ve looked deeply at the invitation in more than one dark night of the soul – the stark choice – climb the impossible mountain or deny my life force and die inside.

And last night I recognized all those voices of stopping as being a barrier that keeps me from my greatness. And for some reason, whether inspired by Ani or just following my own evolution, I felt the urgency more profoundly than I ever have. And the urgency dramatically loosens the grip of fear and dread. The voices that normally stab me and sit me down transformed into little stings to brush off.

There is NO TIME TO WASTE. As Ani said in one of her songs last night “We’ve got ourselves a serious situation down here.” There is no time for self-pity and misery and stopping. Today I’ve been visited by at least 238 of the things I do and think that stop me and I haven’t had breakfast yet. But at this moment each one feels like a calling. Beckoning me to climb it, drop it, cut through it here and now because there’s a life I have to live.

It’s tempting to throw it all up in the air together and say I’m done and I’m starting over. I’ve attempted this before and it ends badly. My knowing is that each one of these things is something I have to look at in the face and say no to. One by one. I just have to trust it will all happen perfectly and drop me off in the middle of my greatness on the other side.

On to breakfast.

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Filed under life, writing