Archive | November, 2012

The Art of Losing

28 Nov

One Art (1976)
by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t disaster.

-Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

My poetry professor, Gibbons Ruark, read this poem to our class with such a passion that I was moved at the age of 22, though I hardly knew the loss Elizabeth Bishop was writing about at that young age. Through out the years, I have heard lines from the poem in Gibbons’ voice as life unfolded as it did for me and I came to know losing farther, losing faster. And I have yet to write it! like disaster.

So here I am. Writing…you can tell me about the disaster part…

It took me years to gather furniture and possessions that expressed what I found beautiful in the world – through many battles of want, need, cost…You have no idea how insane it was. I lived for years in the pattern of mania that had come to seem normal: as soon as anything became easy in my previous life, it was shaken to the ground! Tear DOWN that easy and make it a challenge seemed to be the motto of my marriage!

When our house was to be sold, in a rash, unplanned move from Charlotte to Charleston,  his latest idea was that we would have an estate sale and get rid of EVERYTHING.  I left the house in more than a huff. I walked around the block once, twice, three times until I calmed down enough to head home.
Soon after, I agreed to let it all go.   It is just stuff some part of me knew, which I said to anyone who asked, as if I were enlightened enough for that phrasing…but the “stuff” leaving me at that point still hurt. For many years, I would miss an elegant bowl, a japanese teapot, a beautiful wine glass – the missing limb syndrome of the “stuff.”  Ah, 5 years later I still can see the paintings, the china, the couches, the platform bed;  there are still psychic ties.  I prayed over the items that the ones who obtained the “stuff”  would love them as much as me.  I’m sure that desire came to be!

That longing, searching, connecting to things no longer there reminds me of my grandmother in her last few years.  She lost her eyesight, and though her furniture had been distributed to family members, in the room where she lived in an assisted-living home, she would feel around her drawers over and over, just knowing things that she had stored in her furniture in her 94 year life were there.  In many ways we are all like her, waking up in the dark night, searching for things of long ago in foreign furniture…

Later, after losing the money, losing the marriage, losing the security of living on dry land, I’m only left with stories. When most everything was gone, I learned to see:   what was left , was what I was/ what I am.

“We are identifying with what is passing so fear comes.
We are trying to make steady and permanent
what is by nature impermanent.”  – Mooji  (my youtube guru ;))


27 Nov

Eden is in a play. Good. But also, this means lots of rehearsals and late night pick ups. My days do start at 5:15, but even without that early start, I’m not a good late night girl – never have been.

So yesterday, after waiting for her text to come get her, after trying to keep myself awake enough to drive downtown to pick her up, after bundling up for the drop in temperature, I was vaguely feeling put out: tired, oblivious, chilled.

Crossing the bridge from James Island to downtown, listening to Terry Gross on Fresh Air interviewing someone about food and cooking, I passed a woman walking the 2 mile bridge alone in the cold and in the dark.

Where is this lady going? Is she safe by all the rushing cars? How must that breeze feel across the marsh and water as she trudges along?

Some days I think I struggle but…

I am in my warm car; my car works; I have enough money for the week, the month, the next foreseeable future. I have a beautiful actress waiting on me, depending on me. We have food; we have the freedom to enjoy whatever we can imagine…

Yeah, yeah, yeah… I just gave you the feel-good, junk food, Hallmark card of gratitude.

What I really want to say is that in that moment, when I see the lady crossing the bridge, in the dark, in the cold, alone, I become her. I do. I walk in those feet. Identity is so slippery, I feel like I have to be careful at the stoplights for I slip into every person behind the wheel of every car that goes by.

When Chloe was one, through strange circumstances, I found myself strolling through the red light district of Amsterdam with a baby strapped on my back. I was glancing about and suddenly locked eyes with a woman dancing in a window: Me dressed in such a costume of motherhood and her a woman almost naked trying hard to lure men inside in the afternoon, glaring sun. Such outward contrast, yet she and I both knew in that moment that we were one and the same. I was in the window, and she was walking along with a baby.

Through merging in this way came a “knowing” of how transportable, transient and transcendent we truly are! Don’t let the costumes fool you!




My friend sent me this clip, which came into her mind from this post.  Now I get to be Marlee Matlin too!  🙂

Scene from Bleep


20 Nov



Where we reside, the lessons come through opposites. I have a friend (DK) who has shown me that where paradox resides, you can be sure the divine is shining through. The divine is urging us on toward growth!

In writing a bit in this blog, I find myself face to face once again with the opposites within me. Even if no one reads this, and the format is just a way of reflecting me back to me, I question the impulse! Why share these thoughts? Is it ego? Why put these ponderings out in any sort of public way?

Now for the flip: connecting cannot take place without some sort of impulse. The past few years, the universe has richly rewarded me for stepping out of comfortable spots when the impulse to share strikes – my only contacts with awakening friends have come about by some movement, some acting on the impulse to share. My yin hunkers down and isolates to know herself, my yang seeks the company of like minded friends. My sun: My moon.

When our brains are forced to wrap around seemingly opposite ideas, and hold them all as true, we are thrown into cognitive dissonance.  We, human animals, do not like cognitive dissonance.  Cog Dis (so familiar to me now that the concept has this nickname) feels uncomfortable. In our discomfort, we have a choice to make. We can crack the outer shell of what we “think” we know and GROW. Or we can hide and revert back into old easy patterns – pretending we never heard the information that made our head hurt.  Then often we shoot the uncomfortable thought full of  hatred, fear and spew. Think Matrix movie moment…

There is lots of Cog Dis to be had, these days. On some level, we all know…the latest news stories…the lie repeated so often it becomes fact; so many broken systems surround us everyday. Peak Oil was one of the first such paradoxes that cracked my shell at one point – many shells ago. Our world on the verge of collapse in so many areas, one needn’t travel far to find the angst-ridden discord of opposites pulling.

Today I ask myself, what is asking to be looked at right now, full on? In what area am I choosing the steak?


Mary Oliver – Wild Geese

20 Nov

Feeling the soft animal body today, loving what I love – Mary Oliver for one.

For the Moment, Put it All Down

19 Nov



I have a YouTube Guru. Five minutes of listening to Mooji and I remember; I can let it all go.  Nothing is lost when I put my identity down; everything I am is still there, but now nothing is blocking the flow of all that is available to me (to all of us) in the moment. If an improv scene has a prayer of weaving into a magical unfoldment, the players have set their identities down and opened to the moment. Who I am, or my thoughts of who I am, can be set down as easily as a suitcase.  When we are on the train of life, we don’t have to carry the suitcase of identity on our heads. Set it down; it’s on the train too!


This teaching starts with a RELATIONSHIP question, but morphs into the clearest and most joyful teaching I’ve encountered for “Putting it All Down.”

Yes, and…!

19 Nov

Improvisors use the phrase, “Yes, and…” to answer and begin a scene.  But really, everything can be about “Yes, anding” if we allow that.   Doesn’t life get interesting when we answer whatever may come with a “Yes, and…”?  This simple phrase is actually quite familiar through other words.  Lots of phrase contain the idea of saying “Yes” to life: “Go with the flow”, “Effortless action,” “I don’t mind,” “Show up, and see what happens…”

Saying YES to life, without resistance, no matter how messy, no matter how seemingly painful or humiliating, seems the only choice to me, anymore!

I am 46.  I took my first “Improv” class almost two years ago, and soon after, I found myself stripped and naked of all I had known for a long while.  Soon after that first class finished, I left my marriage of 19 years. I gathered my teenage girls, my possessions, and started out on a new life – a venture into the unknown.  Improv didn’t make me change me life directly, but it sure as hell helped me get the confidence to sit still, to listen, to see, to shake off the sleepy dust of roles and expectations. When I was present enough to show up, I realized my husband had already left, though he was not able to convey this except by not showing up, literally. Waking up and seeing takes courage sometimes, but now I know that showing up is the only option for me.

But this is just a story, any story really. Anyone in a body has one. And the same way improv, on a stage as a form of comedy or acting, lets us tell stories, experience identities, act out utter insanity; being in a body does all this as well.  Life is one constant scene.   We may forget this, attaching to the bodies we have, to the stories we think we are.  When we plug into believing we are our roles,  life has very high stakes for these “PERSONS.” Just as easily, I can shift my life, as the improvisor does from scene to scene, with a “yes, and…” and a listening ear – making life become play…life as improv!

There are so many avenues to explore; this is just one…I’m going to show up here and see what happens.

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