words are foreplay for the soul

Archive for the ‘Experiment’ Category

November 14th, 2011 by Akua


“Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?” – William Blake

Tiger has come to me. He first made his presence known in a ritual that emerged after weeks of Bagua Chung, a circular practice that feels to me like part dance and part stalking meditation. Tiger kept appearing. Often I rode on his back in the last minutes of the Bagua walk, and he stayed and spoke to me during my meditation afterwards. Eventually I received the message to welcome Tiger more formally into my heart and being in nonordinary reality. I was to give up the power animal who had protected me since ever I began walking in dreamtime with wide-awake eyes, and to embrace Tiger, now calling to me daily, insistently, powerfully.

There was indeed a ritual, and Rabbit retreated to make space for Tiger, now Magical Tiger because, well, there is Magic. Read the rest of this entry »

January 18th, 2010 by me

Just like an ordinary day

I have lost my pendulum, or it’s conveniently misplaced, so instead I decided to use a pendent I wear sometimes (when I can remember to put on jewelry). It’s a ceramic disk that hangs from a black cord. The disk is green and blue in a Celtic design and I can almost remember where I got it. Ireland? Maybe. Anyway, I asked it if it would stand in for my pendulum, which I rarely use anyway but prefer to use over my Tarot cards, which I never really got into despite having the beautiful Robin Wood deck.

The pendant said yes.

My questions tumbled out in a heap, and the pendent hung quivering, black cord taut. I calmed down and breathed and asked my questions slowly, one at a time.

I’ve been so tired. Tired and not caring and not sleeping. Not doing. Keeping the blinds closed, especially on sunny days where the slap stings — wasted sunlight? how dare I? — and I close my eyes and sink into the next hour and the next. Some days I eat, and some I don’t. Google calendar tells me when and where I must go, when it is absolutely necessary that I do.

I’m starting to avoid things, like Tai Chi. And people.

Someone who didn’t know me would point diagnostic fingers at me and hurl prescription meds in my direction, but I know myself. This isn’t that.

Last week I freaked out a little about the future and dependency and the next day 100,000 people just perished, just like that. The smoke of 100,000 hearts wisped up into the air while the dust of buildings and crushed bodies and  hopes of today, or tomorrow, or even the sun were blotted out in an eyeblink. And people texted money and wrote and got on airplanes and did something to keep from feeling the WTF and the OMG. And that day I knew that my day-before freakout was a premonition, a getting-ready, and I thought fine, well, you’re done now, you can get back to normal.


I told my pendent-pendulum to get me the hell out of here. I’m done, finis, finito, kaput. Please.

Not that a pendulum that isn’t even a pendulum has any power like that.

Today I went to the beach. Sorry, not a sandy warm, sunny beach. My beach, one of them, is a tumble of lush volcanic flow, suspended in time where it once met the edge of the water. Rock, meet water. Water, meet rock. Hi. The sun was waning but still evident. I squinted at the sea birds rafting on the water’s surface, and closed my eyes and held my face to the light. Breathing. All the while, cells in my body are multiplying, changing, readying themselves for The Next Thing.

The next thing.

October 17th, 2009 by me

Lessons in non-attachment

I am told I sometimes take things too seriously. This may be true and I am learning to let go of my issues — one clenched death-grip finger at a time.

1. Control of space. My landlords are cheap. I should have known this when I moved in, I should have smelled it on their clothes or something, but since I was dealing with “real people” instead of a faceless corporation, my expectations grew exponentially. I would be treated with care, I thought. Like a person. Loved. Because I would love my place and it would be my home. My place, my home, is an extension of me. I have:

  • Broken down in a tearful puddle when the kitchen sink backed up. Clearly a personal attack!
  • Freaked out when I found out that none of the three (3) smoke detectors in my home contained actual batteries, and were therefore non-functional.
  • Had vengeful thoughts when the toilet leaked all over the floor for the 8th time, even after Cheap Landlord Guy replaced the wax ring (impressed by my toilet knowledge? I also know what a ball cock is).
  • Vowed (silently, passive-aggressively) to take revenge when the washing machine failed to spin the water out of my laundry, forcing me to lift a heavy, dripping, sodden load of bed sheets into the dryer to spend the next 12 hours drying while I slept that night wrapped in a blanket. Landlord refuses to repair it.

This last was surprisingly important. Who knew how valuable clean laundry could be? I found a guy who refurbishes old washers and got him to deliver one this afternoon. I watched him heave the landlord’s broken one  out into the rain.

Satisfying, that.

2. Fixing people and situations. I sing in a community choir. Not everyone there is on the same level with choral niceties like reading music or counting or even singing the right notes. Whatever. In the past, the constant mistakes of others would have driven me crazy and I would have felt compelled to point them out to the group, thinking I was helping support the efforts of the tireless choir director whose tender ears were surely in agony over the plethora of errors.

Fortunately, there is someone already doing this job. She’s highly annoying; we all sigh whenever she opens her mouth; I find her seriousness amusing. She gets the job done and it means I don’t have to.

I love her.

3. Looking stupid in public. One of the best things I’ve done recently is signing up for improv class. I love that we are actively encouraged to take risks and fuck up and then laugh at one another about it. I’m four years old again and everything is funny.

Last week we played a game called “Emotional Nursery Rhyme,” where we were given an emotion to evince while saying a simple nursery rhyme over and over. The emotion I was assigned?  “Sultry.” I am told my rendition of it brought “Little Boy Blue, Come Blow Your Horn” to a new level.

August 16th, 2009 by me


There’s a box I live in sometimes.

My box is just my size. Like a casket. I lie inside it, feeling its smooth wooden sides, feeling safe. Inside my box it’s just me.

I was nine when I found the box. Every night I’d lie awake inside it, breathing carefully through the air holes someone had put in it, feeling the rocking motion of the waves. Every night I’d lie inside the box set adrift on the ocean, always landing on an island where there was an evil wizard who did unspeakable things to me.

The box lasted at least through fifth grade. That was the year my stomach hurt for three months straight and I left the contents of the brown paper bag containing the vanilla pudding snack cup, the baloney sandwich, and the baggie with a handful of Laura Scudder’s wavy potato chips (why never the flat ones?) uneaten in my desk every day while the too-small purple rib-knit top that I wore every Friday got bigger over my already thin frame.

Disappear. Float off to sea, never to return.

I found the box again just the other day. The inside looks worn, in a good way. Someone varnished it once and the varnish has yellowed a little like the deck of a well-loved sailboat. The box still fits me, even without air holes. The sides feel comfortingly close, like a hug. I lie inside the box and feel at home.

When I was nine and then ten, I never knew where the box came from every night. One minute I’d be lying on my bed and the next I’d hear the sounds of the sides of the box being nailed shut around me and the air holes drilled in, the drill coming close to me but like a stage magician’s sword never drawing blood. The box would be set afloat on the ocean and that was my cue to bring in the element of budding ten-year old sexuality that always happened when I was in it.

Fifth grade was the year that Amanda Viera got breasts and the boys all left the room while we girls were shown a special movie. All I knew was that my stomach hurt every day and that breasts were years away, but nightly I’d be nailed into a box that took me to the evil wizard’s island.

The shadow of the box remained with me for years and I always dredged up words like “dysfunction” and “abuse” when I thought about it or almost felt its comforting worn sides, but now I see my box for what it is.

Protection. A safe haven. A room of my own.

I slept in my box last night, whispering a silent plea to the sleeping, loving man next to me that he not touch me, not put his solid arm through my box and shatter its safety. I felt the hard wooden surface underneath my body, softer than any bed could be, and breathed. I feel its sides still — warm, yielding, mine.

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.

June 20th, 2009 by me

The Great Raw Experiment: Day 1

Art imitates life. Or is it the other way around? It’s so hard to tell these days.

Over at Causecast, one of the things I’m writing this about week is raw food. And either because I’m so highly suggestible or because it seems like a good idea (or both), I’ve decided to go raw. For awhile.

What does this mean?

Well, for me, since I’m not going to join Mel Gibson with the Tiger Diet (go on, click on that), and I think that re-creating familiar cooked foods with some weird substitution (a raw counterpart) is both useless and a waste of my energy at this point, I’m basically eating raw vegetables and fruits and that’s about it.

Day 1: a handful of radishes with pink Himalayan sea salt, about 1/4 pound sugar snap peas, and a handful of ripe strawberries. All food is local and organic.

Today I biked to the farmers market and bought more sugar snap peas and radishes and some lettuce. I have more strawberries and also apples and a few grape tomatoes and part of a red pepper, as well as some garlic scapes (immature green garlic) and rainbow chard, but I’m not sure how delicious those last would be raw. Maybe in a salad…

Yes, there will be weight loss involved here, no doubt about that. I’m not a particularly large person to begin with and most people would rank me on the thinner side of the human spectrum, so we’ll see what happens.  Initially this was going to be for 2 weeks but I may go 30 days. Bonus! A side effect of eating raw seems to be increased strength and stamina (lots of athletes are raw foodists), so this coincides nicely with my return to yoga and also to running.

Side effects so far:

  • a light feeling throughout my body, similar to that when fasting
  • hungry from time to time, but feeling satisfied so far with what I’m eating
  • the smell of cooking food, like when walking or biking past a restaurant (especially foods with a lot of fat in them), seems unusually distasteful

I’m not sure I could keep this up indefinitely; I LOVE to cook, and I love the satisfying feeling of eating healthy foods that are seasonal and well-prepared, which in the past has meant something cooked.  I’ve been eating a primarily-macrobiotic diet (a loose, non-anal version that has room for chocolate and the occasional potato chip) for years, and I really LIKE rice and veggies.  I would also miss soup.  So we’ll see.  I’m certainly having a new appreciation for the sugar snap pea, and I am especially grateful to be trying this in summer when there’s a good variety of local, seasonal produce, rather than in the dead of winter.

Later on through this experiment I’ll be posting links to resources and more information.