words are foreplay for the soul

Archive for the ‘Time Machine’ Category

January 22nd, 2012 by Akua


24 years ago a ghost roamed the rooms of a newly-purchased newly-built house, walking, walking, as there was something lost and the walking would help with the remembering. A ghost pacing miles of grey carpeting that stretched in every direction. A ghost that sat silently under white walls that loomed overhead. A ghost that looked out with blank eyes upon a bare yard, pre-landscaping. The ghost had dreams and longings but they thinned impossibly gossamer, invisible in the hot desert sun.

Six months later the ghost escaped into the bright sun. The bare walls could no longer contain the ghost and she no longer swallowed handfuls of pills hoping to not wake up. Was it an escape, really? Or was it out of the frying pan and into the fire? Twenty-four years of fire. Read the rest of this entry »

January 12th, 2012 by Akua


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same, Read the rest of this entry »

January 31st, 2011 by Akua


I’m on a bridge. It spans the Here and the There. The Where I have been and the Where I am going. The There, in my mind, soul and heart, has a look and feel that is palpable. Yet I am also open to manifestations of the entire laundry list of supplications-to-the-Universe that apparently I have been compiling — for years and maybe since even before that — that I can’t yet get a feel for. And that’s okay. The bridge is here and I am on it. Crossing over, slowly sometimes, perhaps even too slowly at times for my Impatient Self Who Feels the Future, but crossing. One breath, one heartbeat, one long lingering kiss at a time. Crossing into the What Comes Next.

They say that it is not the destination that is important in our experience but the journey in getting there. If that is the case, and I have no reason yet to believe it is not, then I am going to have a magical crossing indeed.

There was a time when I forced such things. Charged at them like a rhinoceros, squeezing them into being with my Vulcan Mind Meld Superpowers of Creation. Scaring the living daylights out of them, maybe. In my exuberance, my wild abandon, uncreating the very thing I thought I wanted. Ah, irony. This time, the crossing is slower, sweeter. More to savor. More opportunity to check in, reflect, and enjoy. More to expand into. Just … more.

January 4th, 2011 by Akua

PS Happy new year

Once upon a time I rang in the new year in a bubble under the Space Needle, fireworks shooting overhead and onto my lips, warmed inside — despite the cold — by the promise of All That Could Be. It was absolutely lovely and absolutely perfect for the start of what I believe will be a wonderful year on so many levels. I am still in that magical place and hope to remain there a good long time. The end.

December 19th, 2010 by Akua


I have been telling stories lately, the stories that add, thread by thread, to the complex weaving that comprises the fabric of my thus-far life experiences and that shape who I am. Layer by layer these stories build upon each other, some painful, some humorous, some poignant. If I could find one concise word that sums up the me-ness of who I am I would use that to say, “This is me. Here I am. Love me,” but we humans communicate in stories.

We all carry stories.

While telling mine, I often become lost in the emotions contained within them. I fall down deep dark holes leading far underneath the surface of the telling and begin gasping for air, my lungs filling with choking earth and the dust of old wounds. That’s when I stray from compassion. In the telling, the wounds reopen and I am left with gaping, bleeding holes. I fill the holes with unshed tears but they just become larger. Deeper. Darker. The wounds become about the pain inflicted. I forget why I fell down the hole. I forget why I bleed. I only remember the pain of the wounds. The telling becomes about the old stories, and the telling makes the wounds more real. I forget that there are two sides. Others involved. Stories that aren’t mine to tell. I forget to tell my stories with compassion.

Afterward I retell the stories within me, replaying for my own ears the tapes of the telling, and remember. No longer lost in the deep holes of emotion, I see what I have done. I see my errors. And I feel shame. I am ashamed that I fail to remain mindful and aware. I am ashamed of who I seem to become in the retelling. I am ashamed of my mistakes. I am ashamed that I can’t seem to let go of some of the wounds I carry. I am ashamed of my imperfection. Ashamed, perhaps, of my humanity.

My friend Rebecca is a storyteller. Tonight she told a story for my community, and she began by talking about kapwa, Self in Other. She said that when you see the dark, twisted things in others, it’s because you have those things within you as well. I shudder sometimes to think of this when I become lost in my telling. It’s too easy to paint myself as the light and others as the dark when I am mired in my emotional cave. Only when I resurface again do I see my error and feel the shame cover me, the shame of my pointed finger, righteous brow, and victim’s cloak. I see the beautiful, light-filled compassionate people around me and feel pain in my inadequacy and my inability to remain mindful and balanced when telling my stories. I resolve to become more like those I admire. I resolve to always see the beauty in others. I resolve to walk always in light.

Rebecca said more, though. She said that when you see good things in others, it’s because you have those qualities in yourself. I heard that and knew the truth of it already because it’s what I teach others every day, but I wept. When feeling shame for my imbalance and lack of compassion, my eyes are covered and I can’t see the light within. I see only what looks like my dark shriveled heart. I see my wounds. I feel them begin to bleed again. I feel the pain of remembering.

It is easier to have compassion for others than for oneself.

In September I walked through a doorway of my creation. I wanted to see what would happen to my Now if I changed my Then. The door opened to a new world, one just as bright and beautiful as I knew it would be, but sometimes I forget to leave behind the parts of the old world that follow me when I crack the door open again through telling stories of the Then. I haven’t yet found the key to telling the stories from my new place of Now.

Perhaps, then, there can be a new doorway, one that stands in the light of compassion but contains all that the darkness holds. Tomorrow night’s Solstice Full Moon Eclipse feels like a time of many doorways, and I will be stepping through some of my creation to my What Comes Next.

June 16th, 2010 by me

Past Blast

I’m holding a ring in my hand. Actually I’m not really holding it, since to type and hold simultaneously would be awkward, difficult, and likely result in larger than the usual number of typos. But I was holding it a minute ago. It’s large, gold and has a royal blue stone in the center. The ring isn’t mine, yet it’s been in my possession for more than 30 years.

The ring belongs, in my opinion, to someone else. It was given to me once as a symbol. That symbol connected to things. Promises. But life got blacker and I fell down a rabbit hole and drank a potion making me small. The ring grew too large to fit my finger. It wasn’t mine. That life wasn’t mine. I didn’t know what my life was then — not at 17 — but I knew what it couldn’t be. So I ran.

The first thing they tell you in Life School is that running doesn’t help. I missed that day.

It occurred to me, three weeks ago when through a series of events the ring’s owner became a real person who, inexplicably, lives not far from me — what are the odds?? of all the places on this planet! — that the running finally caught up with me. Here were things I haven’t wanted to see in 30 years (yet surfaced continually anyway), and now they were in my back yard.

Today we had lunch.

I tried hard not to have expectations. Expectations can ruin things. I know that much. Expectations either good or bad. Or in between. I tried, actually, not to think about it at all. When I caught myself thinking about it anyway I returned my thoughts to the present. What am I feeling now? Weird and awkward. Like I am 15 again.

This is sounding like there is romance here. I’m not seeing that, no. But there are memories. And a sense of continuation of something that was begun. Not down the path begun once, but a different path. I have met with people from my distant past before and there has been a feeling of warmth, of connection, of familiarity-yet-not.

Lunch was pretty good. Better than expected. It started this morning with a phone call that startled me with recognition of a voice that spoke to me from hours spent in a green-walled kitchen, lying on a black faux-leather sofa, yellow touch-tone phone glued to my ear.

I’m still filled with feelings. A lonely scared child in a woman’s body. Snips of pictures, words, one after another like waves crashing on rocks. What might have been but wasn’t. What was instead.

The message is that there is something to take from this. Something to take and a lot to let go of. I felt the rumblings three weeks ago when I lay awake one night in panic, feeling the volcano trembling underneath. I feel them still, closer and less frightening. I can lay open the doors, gates and walls bolted down so long ago. It’s just a dragon, after all. Nothing to be frightened of.

I channeled once that this relationship, my first, lay the groundwork for all that came after. I saw that, felt bound by it. Now I see it doesn’t have to be that way. Patterns are reversible; plaid turns into paisley. Undo what was done. Create something in its place. This opening, then, is a gift.

December 30th, 2009 by me

2009 in the rear-view mirror

A year ago I had just moved from a country that didn’t want me to a bare echoey white place hidden under a stifling canopy of tall dark trees. I adore trees, and loved lying in bed looking at green branches, but the bare echoey place had an inner emptiness that rang loudly in my ears.

Plus it had weird carpet.

In the spring I discovered forested trails and alternate universes. I sat, motionless, sometimes for hours, staring out through a skylight and eventually emerging into a giddy, childlike state, a person who thought lakes were oceans and wondered whether she should be driving real cars.

A year ago I had a job, a sort of a job, a full time gig for part time pay, plus a promise of a someday full time pay for the time I was putting in, so I wrote and I wrote and I edited and I wrote my little heart out. In February that world exploded and it limped along through May, and then I was done. No job, no pay.

I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane and found my way through a maze of fears. Later, a motorcycle fell on me.

In June I moved to a smaller place near the water and near the trails and across the street from a banyan tree and in a community. The Magic Bus drives up from time to time and takes people places. I look out my tiny window and see a slice of ocean. The place isn’t hidden, is sometimes a fishbowl with the world looking in, but it fits me better. I have an easel and paints, and I write. The sun shone on this place and now the rain falls gently on my sari-clad zen room and my bicycles smile through their gears.

In July my intentions caught up with the world.

In August I brought my heart-pieces closer and together we walked my world, now theirs. We ate 18 pounds of blueberries. We laughed. We parted with new paths woven between us.

I discovered a box.

Summer tumbled into autumn and soon the bright crunchy leaves became dank and moldering and slick underfoot. Outward turned inward. Not being a joiner — ever — I joined and joyed. I sang. I found a home, at least for now.

Now, inward, I sing. I joy. I raise silent lips in inner song, singing my heart into wholeness. I breathe and become one with my heartbeat, and with yours. I walk and feel aliveness in the dirt under my soles, in each sparkling raindrop on my face, in each leaf and sound and sigh. I touch hearts and they touch mine.

What do I wish for 2010? More. More of what comes next.

November 2nd, 2009 by me

Hello Kitty is 35

This is as full of awesome as it gets.

Who knew that an 80’s icon would survive this long? Now Hello Kitty is ironic. Depth of flavor.

Let’s examine some other 80’s icons, and find out whether they slipped quietly into ex-iconic obscurity, or became ironic-iconic. Shall we?

Boy George. Jumped the shark. Sorry, Boy. Now you’re old and creepy.

Breakfast Club. Timeless. Does it help that director John Hughes has died? Do we feel older now? Will you recognize me? Call my name or walk on by?

The A-Team. Oh, come on. You can hum the theme song, can’t you? It doesn’t get more retro-cool than that, especially considering I avoided this show like the plague when it was running. Some things just become a part of you by osmosis.

Madonna. Does something smell like shark in here? Shark with a lot of excellent plastic surgery? And a faux English accent?

Optimus Prime. Wow. Did you see that? You just sat up straighter. A little taller. That’s the effect of Optimus Prime. Even now. I am Optimus Prime, and I send this message so that our past will always be remembered. For in those memories we live on. (Nah, I never watched this either.)

David Lee Roth. Ol’ Diamond Dave was jumping over sharks before there were sharks. Instant kitsch! He’ll be cool again in about 10 years, when we’re sure he’d break a leg or pull a groin muscle. Right now he’s in that in between stage, where you can’t help but just … look … away.

Spuds McKenzie. I can’t even comment. The memories are just too painful.

October 8th, 2009 by me

All the pretty little horses

At 6, given a shiny penny to throw into the tinkling fountain at the mall we visited once a year in order to buy school clothes, I knew exactly what to wish for. I closed my eyes tight, imagined the elegant, stately horse I knew would be mine one day, and threw the penny into the water, feeling that odd mix of anticipation for something wonderful happening someday and regret for having thrown something valuable away.

At 7 in the car, we’d pass horses sometimes. Living in what was once a cowtown and now was an emerging bedroom community of physicists and engineers and their kids, we were surrounded by empty golden fields dotted with scrubby tiny-leafed live oak trees, fields that were lined with tumbling barbed wire fences and sometimes contained horses instead of cows. And if there was a white horse, that meant a wish. I saw no irony in wishing FOR a horse when wishing ON a horse — after all, wasn’t that natural? Didn’t everyone want a horse?

At 8, I started seeing my power. I was awarded the opportunity to spend two weeks with horses that summer, in an all-day camp. Horses in the morning, crafts in the afternoon. Disappointment was huge when I was assigned the camp’s only mule — not a horse — to learn to care for and ride. Sure, I was the youngest there but I couldn’t help but feel my horse had been taken from me. Sitting astride my mule’s short back, his sharp spine a deterrent to bouncier gaits like galloping, I looked upward at the girls dashing about on spirited mounts. Someday.

At 9, another magical thing happened. Once a week I’d leave right after school and be driven far in the wrong direction to a former chicken ranch that was now where a woman taught horse riding lessons. We’d ride around the ring learning to change gaits, make turns, and understood that if we kept this up long enough, we could learn to jump. After a few months I was taken to a western shop where I had to choose plain and simple (cheap) amid all the sparkly rhinestone western shirts, pants, and hats — I was getting duded up to be in a show. Showing Western Pleasure and Equitation, I received no colored ribbons, as I had imagined doing, and never understood what other riders did better than me. It was a blur of horse and rider and loudspeaker’d voice and people’s faces watching us go around and around.

At 10, the ultimate. Pepper was an ornery pony, at least that’s what the unpleasant beefy man, the friend of my mom’s alcoholic Austrian friend said. Everyone had an opinion. But I loved Pepper and wanted to ride him, even though he was just a pony. Pepper gave way to Copper after a few weeks. Copper was large, plodding, solid, but he had some get up and go. The first time I rode him off by myself, I fell. I took him to the large grassy field behind the nearby Church of the Latter Day Saints. Copper spied a small fence and ran toward it, convinced he wanted to jump over it. I couldn’t turn him away from the fence. He jumped, and immediately came back to see why I had fallen off. He looked contrite and I forgave him. We had Copper for 7 years.

At 11, Copper got a friend. Dusty was small and neat, an Appaloosa with no discernible spots, with a bushy stand-up mane like a zebra’s. Dusty had a mind of her own. I took to riding her, deciding to ride saddleless and bridleless. Saddles hurt my knees and bridles were yucky to put on the horse (it was the sticking a finger in the horse’s mouth to get him to open up for the bit), and I imagined Dusty’s pleasure at being ridden by me,  a small light person who didn’t knee her in the belly in order to tighten a cinch. Dusty lived with Copper in a rented field that grew only dust, and ate alfalfa that we kept stacked in the old barn, a remnant of our town’s cattleman past. On weekends I’d ride my bike the two miles to get there, smelling barn smells of hay and dust and old wood, digging my hands deep into the molasses-scented oat and grain mixture the horse loved as a treat and picking out the flattened corn kernels to crunch as I sat on the fence, talking to the horses.

Horses gave way to play rehearsals and boys and a part-time job at the donut shop. I felt sad when Dusty was sold. Something had ended. Copper remained for a few more years, even though no one rode him. He finally got a new home with the aunt and uncle of a friend. He was close to 20 then, pretty old for a horse. I never went to visit him. That part of my life was over.

Serena, younger daughter and maker of small everyday magic like turning red stoplights green, crafted her own horse magic as we left Pennsylvania four years ago and drove four days west into the sunset of Colorado. In Colorado, she told us, she’d have a horse. His name was King. She knew what he looked like — he was white — and only needed to find him. She spotted him one day, his white color magically now coppery, but that was definitely King, standing tall among 15 or 20 horses left on their own in a large wild field with its own stream and plenty of scrubby trees and grass. All year we watched King and his band while the seasons turned and autumn turned to icy winter and then spring again. Serena’s belief in her magical powers never waned — one day she would own King, and we all saw in our minds the someday place we called our Horse House that had horses grazing in the back yard — but leaving him to drive east again just a year later meant we were leaving behind her dream. Well, and my dream, since my own horse dreams were reawakened that year, kindled by Serena’s certainty and passion.

Today, horses don’t populate my dreams. Like when I was 16 and looking ahead, that part of my life seems over now. It’s been a complicated maze, getting from there to here, but here I am.

July 31st, 2009 by me


I have a new thing for pink.

No idea where this comes from. For years, pink was right up there as Most Hated Color in the Universe. Possibly because I was surrounded by it: my walls were an insipid shade of pastel pink, my ruffled bedspread was sort of a washed-out salmon color, and even my rug was pink. There’s a photo of me as a wee thing, lying on that pink rug, nose in a book, wearing something plaid. Oh yes, 1970 was a great year for interior design.

Pink clothes were out. I allowed my body to be clad in drab plaidish kneelength dresses with Peter Pan collars, my long blonde hair with bangs to the forehead partly tied back with what appeared to be a thick length of colored yarn tied in a rabbit-eared bow at the back of my head, but at pink I drew the line.

Pink was for girls.

I thought I was destined to be a boy.

At age 11, I started wearing my older brother’s outgrown clothes. I could mainly get away with this only at home, so on rainy November weekends I snuggled into his old brown corduroy coat. I wanted to wear his old striped tee shirts as well but was afraid to ask for them, so I contented myself with choosing mannish corduroy pants from the Sears catalog.

I still couldn’t be a boy.

I asked to mow the lawn. I loved the snick-snick-snick of the old-fashioned reel mower’s blades, but they were afraid I’d cut off a foot so mostly the answer was no.

I wanted to empty the trash in the house, taking a brown paper bag around once a week to the various wastebaskets dotting the house and then putting the whole thing into the metal can outside the garage in the side yard, but no.

My job was to set the table. Every day. Was that right? Was seven table-settings worth one trash-roundup? I hardly thought so. In addition to setting the table, I also cleared it afterward. Seven times a week, one for every nuclear-family dinner. 14 trips back and forth from the kitchen with plates and forks and knives and spoons while the men in the family sat back with their feet up, lit cigars and took swigs out of brandy bottles.

I also vacuumed (sometimes) and cleaned the bathroom (sometimes) and dusted (frequently). I liked the old metal Electrolux canister vacuum. I liked the smell of Pledge on the old dusting rag, and shaking the rag out afterward on the front porch. I liked moving the knickknacks, one at a time, carefully wiping invisible dust from under and around them, and replacing them again. I liked the smell of Ajax sprinkled into the bathroom sink and the swish of the toilet brush.

But I didn’t like being a girl. I didn’t like being excluded from being taken to the rifle range to shoot a .22 at paper targets. I didn’t like being left out of week-long backpacking expeditions to Mt. Whitney — I never even got to taste the freeze-dried food they took in packets to save weight. I didn’t like the assumption that I was smaller and weaker and somehow not as interesting, because I was a girl.

Pink was a girl color.

In my 20’s I discovered fuchsia. Fuchsia is not pink. Fuchsia is stronger than pink. Better than pink. I had a fuchsia dress. A fuchsia bag. Fuchsia shoes. I embraced fuchsia as the not-quite pink, as the more-than-pink, and as the essence of being more than just a girl.

And then fuchsia became passe and I moved into black and brown and stayed there. For a long time I stayed there. Black and brown are safe. Black and brown have nothing to say. Black and brown hide hurts. Black and brown have no requirements.

This year I moved on from black and brown. Oh sure, they will always be my friends, but I’m making new friends now.


It started with a Pepto-Bismol pink sweater. I tempered it by covering it with another sweater in brown, but still the pink was there. Matthew liked it, and said so. I liked it. I liked the person I saw in the mirror who wore it. I liked how it felt.

When I moved last month, I bought furniture in robin’s-egg blue and butter yellow. The other, obvious color that the room needs is pink, so I have begun creating the art for the walls using shades of magenta and turquoise and orange, to bring balance to the walls. Balance to my life.

And this week, a pastel pink tank top found its way to me. It looks good on me, this girl’s color. It feels good. It feels right. Pink.