Monday, January 26, 2015


My Mother, Northern Ireland, 1960's
Last night, I dreamed my mother lived longer than she did. That she was alive, now, and revealing to me two surprising things: she A) is really into Sade now(this from a woman who listened almost exclusively to classical music) and B) now wears make-up and gets her hair blown out once a week (no make-up, only done-up hair was a big bun she wore her hip-length, uncut hair in daily). I asked her, "Where have you been hiding your Sade tapes all these years? In your Chopin cassette cases?" and she smirked and nodded.

Saturday January 24th was the 18th anniversary of her death. Having spent a few days recently with her longest-term friend - her bestie from Kindergarten - having done TRE and spent time working through old triggers related to my interactions with her - having mourned who she may have been becoming when she died, and who she may have become had she lived - the anniversary passed subtlely, sort of subconsciously.

I slogged through prostrations, felt worn and sad but also alive. Little conscious thought or process, plenty of body awareness of loss. It's powerful, this grief, ever-changing and sometimes more subtle, sometimes more strong. When people ask me - is it always the same? How does it change? My answers vary depending on audience - have they faced a major loss? Are they asking out of ignorance, curiosity or because they want to know if their own struggle is normal? Are they a spectator or a cohort member? And my answers change based on how I feel.

18 years ago I became an orphan. Something about this feels powerful to me: I have now been without parents for an "adult" amount of time. Recently an image came to me of "giving birth to my mother" - it didn't "make sense" until now. Now something is shifting, seismic level. The TRE is releasing trauma deep in my hips, letting co-dependence slip less frequently out of my lips. My neck loosens, softens. There's some kind of shift happening.

I am an adult at being an orphan. This is a new life, all over again. Next year, a year from now, she will have been gone half my life: half my life with a mother, half without. I cannot say exactly what it is, but it feels something like this: this year, 2015, is some kind of window. It feels like wanting to finish my memoir, Bermuda Triangles. It feels like I can see all her old friends this year and feel some opening as well as closure at the same time. It feels like stories I've told are changing forever, for good, for better. I am independent now, not as chained to my grief. Individuating from my orphan self, while also integrating.

Something is finishing, and something is beginning. Something is slipping away and I am finding something else in its place. The slippery life of grief, the slippery stories of memory. I feel strong, sad and clear. For now.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Day Off Syndrome

Welcome to my life.

Well, my mind's version of my life, anyway, which is what often runs the narrative.

I have a day off coming up tomorrow, the first in over a week. I taught a four-day writing retreat last weekend, then traveled for a day (not a day off, especially when flying across the country!), then participated in a four-day teacher training. So tomorrow, Monday, whooo boy. Do I ever want to sink into you with nothing to do.

Only there are emails. Lots of them. Behind on clients' images and words, in need of catching up. Not the whole day - I don't do *that* anymore, at least (some of my workaholic-ness is put to rest). But I'll need to do some. And those online classes that need to get up and running. And, and and...

Monday, January 05, 2015

The Underbelly of Obsessive Thinking

Here's something I have known about myself for decades, and it trips me up every time.

When I do something to someone that hurts their feelings, I get concerned. This is natural, of course. I worry I could have done it better, found a way to make it less hurtful (yes, I am, after all, a Midwestern woman), or avoided hurting them altogether.

Then it gets complicated. Turns into obsessing. Quickly.
From this point on, my thinking contorts into a manifold, manifested obsession. It's a bit hard to track, seeing as how it is so complex and a bit dark and full of shame/blame, but it looks something like this, with all these thoughts turning and churning over each other in no particular order: