Monday, September 29, 2014

We keep getting married

Kevin and I have considered ourselves married for years, but we never made it legal. We also wore family heirloom rings until we both lost them in quick succession. Our relationship, like all relationships, is us. It's unique. We feel secure in it so we engage in the traditions that serve and shed others.

We had some time this past Saturday afternoon so we decided to venture to Manayunk, eat, and wander by the river. It had been awhile since either of us hung out down there. We forgot that the town is sporty! Holy cyclists and quinoa in my salad. Tres healthy for Philly.

After downing our avocado and sprouted mung beans we headed towards a Tibetan shop we spotted on the drive into town. Kevin has a lot of time while landscaping to listen to podcasts. Some days he just listens to silence, or his tools, or the neighbors. Others, he listens to a motley assortment of his latest obsessions. Recently, he's taken in a lot of dharma talks by Tibetan Buddhists. He was quite excited entering the store.

For those of you who know the shop, you know it mainly sells clothes, jewelry, and flags. I recommend you support it! Kevin had been hoping for some books. He was shy, and ready to slip out silently, but I asked the shop-keeper if he had any books in stock that we hadn't seen. He answered slowly and sincerely that he did not. Kevin opened up, explaining his practice of using work time to take in guidance that steadies him. The shop-keeper nodded solemnly.

"This is good. You need to practice. Reading only is limited. You have to practice what you learn. For you, you should practice the feet mantra. Before you wake, before you walk, you recite five times the feet mantra so your steps are respectful and intentional. It also prevents harm to insects. If an insect is accidentally killed in your work, this will offer them a quicker, easier death. You can google it."

The last bit was hilarious, but also our reality. Half of Kevin's dharma talks are from podcasts or associated with various apps. Our access to teaching has shifted dramatically.

The shop-keeper continued offering advice and insight from his own long-standing practice. I liked him. He spoke slowly. He made eye contact. He was considered.

I picked up a $2 pendant to hang from the rear view mirror. I wanted to compensate him for his time and teaching. Kevin began examining the rings.

The shop-keeper asked us if we were married and we nodded yes. "That is the most important practice. With one another, you must practice respect and compassion. You must always be most compassionate and respectful with one another. This will create happiness."

Kevin began testing the rings. "I'll replace the wedding band I lost. I've been wanting to."

I suddenly regretted the rear view mirror pendant.

I couldn't find a ring that fit. Kevin's was ill-fitting, but we both agreed the moment made it special. If he loses it again, no matter. We'll likely stumble upon another unexpected teacher hawking jewelry.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Humility is hard because it means having a backbone.

Humility is hard because it means it's not all about me (and sometimes the vastness makes me feel so small & I want it to be about but not so just be among the vast).

Humility is a blessing because it's not about me.

Humility is permission because I am/ we are human.

Humility is orienting because web.

Humility is within the network of all others.

Humility is within.

Confessions of a stuttering white woman

Recent moments when I became scrambled:

1) Read a poem about race. For context: I am a white woman. This poem attempted to situate me within race. This poem was about political being personal, therefore, about my family. Slaveholders. Racists. Humans. Like me. Read to an audience of many people of color. I was scared. Realized the worst that could happen is that people thought I was a racist, bad lady. The worst that can happen to people of color speaking about race is much, much different (see Ferguson).

2) In an online forum a white lady wrote, "GURRRLLL" with the neck swivel & another white woman called her on it. A discussion on white privilege & language ensued. In the end, folks began donating to the PayPal accounts of the women of color who had spent so much time and energy educating. It was a payment, an energy exchange, an acknowledgment, a drink at the end of a long day.

3) I walked into a party where women were speaking Spanish. I introduced myself, discovering one woman was from El Salvador. Shared I'd been there and was robbed. In the course of conversation, shared that I'd lead two yoga retreats in Guatemala prior to the El Salvador visit. A look of, "You did what...?" As the opportunity presented, I offered that these retreats are in part an attempt to orient participants more firmly in the globe. Shift perspective, engage with parts of the world where the narrative is perhaps one dimensional. I was explaining with shuffling feet.

I want to draw conclusions here. I'd like to paint myself in a flattering light. Instead, I'm going to leave these right here.

Monday, September 22, 2014

"Access" in Chrysalis Journal

I wrote a poem about my ability to travel, practically unencumbered, in a world with so many heavily policed borders and people. The piece, titled "Access," was included in the Transformative Language Arts' Chrysalis Journal. I'd love your feedback--

Friday, September 19, 2014

Some resources for white folks working to be anti-racist allies

The following is a resource list culled from a private online group. Please feel free to add more resources in the comments.






WHITE ANTI-RACISM: LIVING THE LEGACY (and other resources from the Teaching Tolerance website):

AUTHORS OF INTEREST - please consider ordering these titles from Teaching for Change to support them financially
Mindy Thompson Fullilove - amazing social psychiatrist known for Root Shock, a book about displacement, and recent author of the charming, wise book Urban Alchemy
bibliography at

bell hooks - poet and cultural philosopher ... does she even need an intro?
bibliography at Teaching for Change:

June Manning Thomas - urban planner and author of an authoritative book on planning and racism in Detroit (her bibliography search at Teaching for Change brought up some amusing, random results thrown in):

Toi Derricotte - amazing poet and prose writer; her book The Black Notebooks is a mind-blower:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Enter the Woo

Sitting still in a quiet house.

Still in a quiet house with-- blessedly-- no internet.

Quiet house with a cat. Press face against fur. Consent-based kitty snuggles.

Regular body work.

Creatively figuring out how to afford regular body work. Includes: finding a local massage school with heavily discounted student massages.

Body work that includes energy work.

Body work that includes energy work with an practitioner who makes you feel safe.

Energy work that radically moves energy.

(Believing you have energy and that it can be radically moved.)

A body worker who you are convinced is clairvoyant.

You become certain that they know.

They want to process with you and you ask them if they know.

They smile, defer, deflect, but based on their response a) they know, b) because you're not so unique, c) unfortunately, it's all so common.

Thinking about food, sleep, movement, inspiration, aging.

Fear around all of it.

Decisions around all of it.

What privilege to be able to make decisions around all of it.

What fear to have to make decisions around all of it.

What mind f*ckery.

Sitting in a quiet house.

Monday, September 15, 2014

In print

I'm included in my first print anthology!

Awhile back, Jeannie Page, editor of The Yoga Diaries Blog, invited me to contribute a story. I did. Several months later, I received a follow-up that Page had gotten a publishing contract and wanted to include my piece in the upcoming print anthology. I just received my copy & invite you to order yours! (Unless you live around San Francisco, where I think some local bookstores are stocking.)

The Yoga Diaries

I've recently spied some copies on Powell's-- I definitely urge you to support them if you can instead of Amazon!

Friday, September 12, 2014

In the suite

I received an acceptance from The Feminist Wire a few months ago. Just now, I went to update my writer's bio for another upcoming anthology and checked to see what was forthcoming and what was live. Behold! The piece on the Feminist Wire is live!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Showing Skin

The #GrowFierce Showcase, highlighting writers from Caits Meissner's Digging Deep, Facing Self course, offered another round of voices last Monday night at Bluestockings Bookstore. I was on the line-up. Kevin & I have both been burning the candle at both ends, so we decided to make a day of it. 

Fairly early in the morning we headed to NYC to catch a Jivamukti yoga class with Ruth Lauer-Manenti. She's on the faculty leading my Jivamukti training in India this February. It was such a treat to meet her and practice with her! Plus, I got to introduce her to Kevin, which feels nice. Even if he won't be with me in India, at least one person will have met him!

One of Kevin's cousins lives in NYC and yet another was visiting on said day. We met this cousin, Maria, for Momofuku noodles and much wandering around the Lower East Side. There was even a nap in there. Brilliant.

As the afternoon progressed, so did my nerves on publicly performing my work. I don't read my poetry often. In fact, I don't write to read out loud. I was also toying with reading some pieces I was nervous about-- they deal with race, my family's background, and orienting within the racial landscape. They're uncomfortable, as this history is uncomfortable. However, I really believe that white people need to think and write about race, and to contextualize ourselves. Practice what you preach, right?

Lots of deep breaths and pretending like I was OK. The showcase featured a range of talented women. It was fun having Kevin and cousins there. I'm not used to performing nor having my entourage-- support is nice!

I'm consistently pushing myself to do things that make me slightly, or actively, uncomfortable. The wonderful part of this practice is that less and less feels daunting. Reading my work totally made me feel exposed and sweaty and vulnerable. But, so does wearing a bikini. 

To showing literal & metaphoric skin--