Tuesday, January 24, 2006

This is for Tricia Leanna Reilly Hall

Today is the 9th anniversary of my mother's death.

I panicked late last week. January is filled with all sorts of dates - I am friends with a few Aquarians, plus the new year, plus some people have died in this month, though most significant by far is my mother. I thought I had missed the anniversary, which normally wouldn't bother me too much - I think about my mother every day. I don't have to set aside a day for her. Yet, this year, it feels significant. I finally did the math and realized my day off was her day. Today.

I got bronchitis late last week and have spent the last few days at a retreat (mentally), then, recovering in retreat (physically) from the world. I was sick a lot of my childhood - my mother's chain smoking with me-as-mini-woman-in-womb, plus in our house constantly with windows closed really did a number on my lungs. I haven't had bronchitis, though, in five years. The last time I caught it, grief caught up with me after graduation, scrambling through the south of France, hoping to find myself with some lackadasical young man in tow. Recently I have really realized how I speed through everything - especially relationships. I had a dream this week that everyone I have ever loved gets into a car with me, and I am driving, and I am always speeding even at the start. Most of my lovers have jumped out while I was still moving, still desperate to make it work. My mother died my freshman year in college. I get the sense - a blameless, spacious sense - that she was ready to get out of my speeding car at that point. Her job was done, as it pertained to me.

One major topic covered on the retreat I attended this last weekend was learning to stay, then, bringing abiding (a sense of staying) out into the world. My old therapist used to talk about being both the watcher and the watched, about being both the audience and the stage. This analogy appealed to my narcissism, but like most things she taught me, I now see that that appeal was - dangerous, not quite accurate, and loosely off-base. We were instructed this weekend to not see ourselves as two parts - as the watcher and the watched, for instance, rather, as one. One presence. One abiding body and mind. Because I was very miserable this weekend, it was easy to look for causes - one woman began to speak to me of chakras, of the lung and heart chakra, and another scoffed (Buddhists are, by habit, good skeptics) - the second instructed me to be wary of how anything can be used against us, and she was right, for in the past I have been apt to take instructions, guidance, healing properties and turn them into jagged knives against myself. A friend had warned me earlier on last week against moralizing my ailment - and this came back to me full force. I am sure there is a connection - grief and lungs are tied together in all sorts of eastern healing traditions - but there need not be blame in that.

To be awake is not to be self-conscious. They seem so close - conscious, self-conscious, seeing as how so much of our perception of any given situation is composed of us-ness, me-ness. However we can perceive behind, beyond, in between this. Not exclude the self - no watcher/watched, rather, involve in good proportion. Infections take time. Healing takes time. Grief takes time. Gratitude takes time.

Today, for the first time publicly, I thank my mother for all that she gave me.

Last night I wrote her a letter - today I planned to deliver it to her grave, but my lungs are clearing and I no longer feel it necessary. I send this out to her over the intertwining nets, the ironies of the internet - Tricia Leanna Reilly Hall, you made me from parts of you, and I may not have liked them all, but I am grateful now.

I've got nothing to lose. And I'd give it to you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Looking at that distant tree

Am I back from my extended self-imposed hibernation? Maybe.

I have been nearly two months here, in this company now. Some days are very clear, know exactly where I am going. Some days are muddled. I surfing the web wildly.

I have carried forward some of my projects - I have been working on my script and some incimplete stories. Been blogging my poems. Bought myself a Flickr Pro account for my birthday! Feel good about it.


There is a calm, uncompromising thread passing through my memories of these days I am spending in Mumbai. I am not pushing myself too much, I am not worried about money. I am easy. But that has meant I have "slipped" out of most social engagements, I am not in touch with anyone!

Like that quote read on my brother's laptop, "Don't relax. Your tension hold you together."


Have not been able to keep up with my BA assignments... I need a online degree. The net is something I don't really lose track of. As it is I have enough free time at this job. But enough motivation... maybe not.

Haven't yet found a house in Mumbai. Why? I am being very indecisive, very choosy. Don't want anything to go wrong. Just saw another few flats near my office... Mumbai is expensive. I don't think I can afford to live as comfortably here... in contrast to Ahmedabad.

I will post about the stories I am running with sometime. How does a story - described and detailed come across? Telling a story is part of it.

I find making "contacts" at Flickr much more easy than say Ryze or Blogspot... I see pictures, if I like them I already feel related. Am working on some photo ideas as well.

I was looking at my Vermont pictures yesterday, my sister said she likes your face... would like to be friends. Was generally feeling nostalgic. Why? I enjoyed the moments of "responsibility-free" living I had... most of my life otherwise is with filled with family and ambition... I would like to live like a tourist, but I have furniture. What will I do with it?

Ok, so I am very curious about Miksang. Very. Am keen to do a workshop. When are you doing it?

Friday, January 06, 2006


"First we admit our mistakes
Then we open our eyes"

It's been a very interesting beginning week to a year which is bound to be, well, very interesting. There are the things I ask the universe for, specifically, clearly, and then there are the results I receive. A modicum example would be personal ads, which I have been loosely playing with lately, to the result of winking at or hotlisting (on Onion listings) people who don't respond the same to me, and folk who wink or hotlist me about whom I have absolutely no interest. It reminds me a lot of when I edited a poetry journal: folks would read our journal and love it, absolutely love it, then send their work, and it would be absolutely nothing like our journal at all, not even fitting enough to consider. I am sure I have submitted to many a journal who has thought the same thing: sure she likes our stuff, but what makes her think she fits it in the slightest?

How it is that we love what we cannot have, that we are pulled to that which is, at different levels, repulsed from us? I was shocked in the end of the week to see that the most predictable results - playing "hard to get" - brought in responsive results. In romance, at least.

So in the face of a couple of failed budding romances, I pulled back this week and refocused on work and friends. The results are, of course, gorgeous. Friendships are this rich, deep place of equanimity, where there need not be doubt about trading time and energies, where support can be found in Scrabble or time sewing together, listening to Ani DiFranco and talking of everything but sex. Tonight, holed up against a Friday night, my housemate and I received call after call from all over the world; people who hadn't called us in months checked in, lined up on our voicemail, and all we could figure is that our collective energy called them in to us. Berlin, London, Portland, San Francisco; we sang with them all, with each other, and the universe sang back. I had told my housemate I wanted to do something tonight I had never done; I had had fantasies of going out dancing in a racy outfit, something to break the monotony of a week of stressful computer work at the store. But it turned out what I hadn't done in so long, so long, was lay back and be loved like that.

Reading both bell hooks' Communion: a Female Search for Love and Joan Didion's latest memoir, the Year of Magical Thinking, I have had love on the brain. And loss. I am finishing my application to school, recounting how my life so far has shaped my ability to love what I do now: teach. My nephew is coming to visit this weekend. I feel rich to the point of bursting. There were many discouraging moments in the week, many times when I begged for the something-to-look-forward-to feeling that being in love, or thinking I am, can give me. And yet, this was it. A quiet Friday night. Phone calls. Music. Sewing. Beer and laughter. I can't say I'm not sad. But I reckon I am closer to opening my eyes by now, than making mistakes. Just now, for now, that cycle has come from reconciling to reckoning, and I am grateful for that.

Thank you.