Long time, no blog. Let’s fix that. 🙂
I feel like there’s a whole lot of nothing and everything that has happened since the last time I posted on this page. Here’s my attempt at an efficient summation:
– I had to give up running for a while, both because I have to be careful with my joints, and because winter came and I ended up being too much of a fair-weather person to go outside. This made me realize how important jogging is to my brain, even if I was slow-going and battling my hypermobile issues, because The Brain got to be a dark place. I’m sure Seasonal Affective Disorder and low vitamin D didn’t help.
Eventually, upon reading someone on Facebook muse aloud that they had been experiencing strong disassociative issues, and someone else thought that was a hallmark of critically low vitamin D, I tried upping my intake and that made a difference.
-I am almost through my herbal apprenticeship. It was mainly quite good, especially initially, for one-on-one work in dealing with stomach and hormonal issues. For that, I am grateful. I was disappointed in the private discussion group, as it was totally dead in there, and I hoped to have conversations as lively as they were on the original beginner plant medicine group. The difference, though, is that there are hundreds of people, at least 10-20 who are talkative in the beginner group, and less than 15 in the apprenticeship group, most of whom hardly post. I know that many of them have been involved in other classes, trainings, and intensives at the same time, so they probably didn’t have time to post anything, and I think I am likely the only one with a job at which I’m chained to a desk with computer for 8 hours a day, so there’s that. Oh, AND! I feel like I found a wonderful formula of herbs to help with anxiety, stress, depression, and to encourage restorative sleep! I will write a separate post about that.
-I have been doing a lot of work on myself, psychologically/philosophically/spiritually, particularly through shadow work approaches. Some of it has been helpful, and I’m thankful for the introduction to the various techniques I’ve learned. And some of it simply doesn’t resonate with me. A while back, I pared everything way back into blissful simplicity, and, yet so many things creep back in. I’m realizing that I need to recommit to that kind of simplicity and set effective boundaries for those things that don’t serve me or seem to create unnecessary work.
-I have been genuinely drawn to a lot of associations with death. Some find this scary or morbid, but I have been looking at it in a myriad of ways. Interest in the work of being a death doula, learning about the devotion to Santa Muerte (a beautiful contrast to Tonantzin – think Great Mother of All), and finding the concept of starting an informal recording series in local cemeteries alluring. I know that my reading audience might read that and think I’ve lost it, completely, but let me tell you what I’ve gotten from all this. Death doula-ing really shows care, attention, and appreciation in change, transition, suffering, and letting go. Studying the devotion to Santa Muerte shows me a level of acceptance and nonduality (because it’s often said that Death is not picky and accepts all…that is why she has been popular with the poor, the imprisoned, and some parts of Mexicana/o/x LGBTQIA. And because there’s a sense of acceptance of our whole selves…the light, the shadow, the living, the dying, the changing. I feel I should say that traditional devotees would not classify me as being one of them, but one who appreciates the concept and has learned much from her).
-Let me give the playing-in-cemeteries thing its own bullet point. (If you are curious to listen to this, here’s that link. Here’s what I wrote elsewhere about it:
…For some reason, I’ve been feeling really drawn to playing in cemeteries. I’ve been waiting until it’s warmer outside. Sunday was definitely the day, as it got about 50 degrees Fahrenheit here.
I went into this one cemetery I felt I needed to begin with. My plan was to record this in the little chapel there. So I wandered around the place with hundreds of closely-dug plots, eventually getting to Chapel Hill. The initial way I found to go up had rickety stairs for two-thirds of the way up, and the rest of the ascent was a muddy hill. I made it to the top only to find the chapel was locked. Of course, it was then that I found a paved path that wound its way down the backside of that hill.
I couldn’t find any indoor places to play. So I found this little crypt (pictured) and stood next to it to play through my little improvised tune once, recording it. I took it home, added a little reverb, as well as a minimalist second track to accompany it, and here it is.
I’ve had a lot of thoughts about this experience. Because of all the running around and still needing to play outside, I was less than enthused, and there were a lot of pockets of strange swampy energy in this cemetery. (I mean, it was initially a place for war soldiers to take their final rest.) So I thought, maybe I should be looking more for, like, cave structures. (And then I thought about how I’d likely piss off the things living in the caves and thought again.)
But today, as I was putting this together for Soundcloud, I felt like I got it: it’s not just about cemeteries, or caves, or whatever. It’s about going to the spaces I’m drawn to and playing there to encourage some kind of peace, healing, and harmony of the land, of unsettled spirits, of ancestors, and of the living. And I feel like the groundedness of my work with plants has been leading me to do this kind of thing.
So thank you, plants. We shall see where this takes us.
(I realize, again, this might seem a bit “woo” for some of you. Even if you think I’m nuts for running around and recording short, mediocre improvs outdoors, know that this is the first time in a long while in which I feel connected to and appreciative of music in my life, rather than feeling like it’s some elephant sitting on my chest trying to kill me. It is leading me back to a place of music and emotion, a safe place of learning to embrace imperfection and offering it out there for anyone who might care.)
-Addressing the ludicrous in life: of course, I could be referring to our current political catastrophe, and, yes, I do think that is a total shart show (yep, shart! There’s too much noisy hot air flying around with all that shit), I’m also thinking about, I don’t know, so much in life. Take this thought, for instance: why do you do/say/post what you do?
If I’m being honest, here, for a long time, much of what I posted on social media was to
-show how funny I am
-show how smart I am
-demonstrate how edgy or progressive I am
-to show my readers how worthy I am of their attention
-to beg for some kind of affirming response from my readers
When I took all that away, I realized that I was, essentially, a construct of my imagination. So if I’m not that, what am I? How much of that do I need to put out there?
The answer is I am what I am, and I don’t have to put a damn thing out if I don’t want to. Or I can put out a ton of stuff, if I’d like. Or something in between.
So all of this has brought me to realize the need to avoid unnecessary drama, maybe less social media time (I’ve been better than I was in past years, but always room for improvement!), and being my authentic self. In this vein, I’m going to keep playing with the Harmony recording series, continue my herbal studies (mostly on my own, though, after attempting test-runs of working with clients, I think I would feel better if I rounded out my knowledge with some clinical herbal info), and see where that takes me.
It feels like now is the time for a massive spring cleaning, both in cleaning out my physical living space, as well as tidying up all other aspects of my life. Sometimes it’s a little daunting, but I’m feeling good about it.