Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wait for Love

It is a well-documented fact that I Heart Winter.  My inner polar bear, blood-thirsting animal that she is, loves the silence, the arctic space that yawns open when the world turns white.  And, when a drought camps on my state and pins its blonde reeds to their blushing browns, I stare at the geese cackling over head, and beg their webbed feet to bring sheets of ice to the next pond they land upon. 

Winter promises quiet: forest floors heavy with rest.  Cold air pinches my skin, stars glitter in the exposed sky, and buttery, potato-centered meals take center stage.  But how can you explain love?  You can only live inside its body, feel what it is like to live there.

And, sometimes, you can turn to the person next to you and say, Did you feel that?

I re-read Michael Cunningham's story White Angel recently, and loved the lines, Our mother brings out our father...a formerly handsome man. His face has been worn down by too much patience... 

I loved these lines because they speak of too much virtue, of bowing outward for others so much that the radiant self is lost. 

In my life, I have had to learn how to say No, how to speak up for myself, how to be a little unkind.  Some of these lessons were born of battle scars - a boyfriend cheating on me, pariahic friendships, too much time lost serving other people's needs - and some were born out of leaning in to my heart, learning her language, and building the space around her to keep our connection strong. 

Our own space is where we all belong.  

Put another way:

Correcting oneself is correcting the whole world. The sun is simply bright. It does not correct anyone. Because it shines, the whole world is full of light. Transforming yourself is a means of giving light to the whole world.
Bhagavan Ramana Maharishi

And so! May you light a candle for your dreams this week, and burn it all year long.

With love & snow-covered tree limbs,



Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ode to Sexuality

Leonard Commits Redeeming Adulteries with All the Women in Town
by Louise Erdrich

When I take off my glasses, these eyes are dark magnets
that draw the world into my reach.
First the needles, as I walk the quiet streets,
work their way from the cushions of dust.
The nails in the rafters twist laboriously out
and the oven doors drop
an inch open.
The sleep smell of yesterday's baking
rises in the mouth.
A good thing.

The street lamps wink off just at dawn,
still they bend their stiff necks like geese drinking.
My vision is drinking in the star-littered lawn.
When the porch ivy weaves to me -
Now is the time.
Women put down their coffee cups, all over town.
Men drift down the sidewalks, thinking,
What did she want?
But it is too late for husbands.
Their wives do not question

what it is that dissolves
all reserve.  Why they suddenly think of cracked Leonard.
They uncross themselves, forsaking
all protection. They long to be opened and known
because the secret is perishable, kept, and desire
in love with its private ruin.
I open my hands and they come to me, now.
In our palms dark instructions that cannot be erased,
only followed, only known along the way.

And it is right, oh women of the town, it is right.
Your mouths, like the seals of important documents
break for me, destroying the ring's raised signature,
the cracked edges melting to mine.

Um.  Hi.  Before we go any further, can I just put this little disclaimer on my reckless post?  I am a supremely happily married woman, and think adultery is a one-way ticket to misery, an idiotic choice to poop where you eat.  I chose Louise Erdrich's poem (and all her work, again and again) for its portrait of desire, and exploration of taboo.  These are very sexy things. 

And I believe in sexiness.  So there.

In the long tradition I have of saying what I was going to do, and then not doing it, I was going to title this post, Ode to Tantra, because I've lately been reflecting on the utter bliss that the union of masculine and feminine brings in the world.  And before we get all off course with that little topic, I mean this energetically - although of course physically it's all pretty great too.  (Horn blow.)

I'm not sure, as a culture, we've traditionally been taught to bring these two energies - which reside in all of us - together.  But I think that's changing.  A lot.  My best friends, men and woman, all accomplish this feat.  My husband is the better cook.  I am the stubborn bull in the family.  My brothers taught me, early, how kind and generous a man can be.  My favorite leaders kneel before their mothers.  The divine Liberty statue is unrolling her great coat.  Waves across the country. 

What else?  I overheard a friend say that Annie Proulx once said in an interview that she writes about men so much because she likes men.  That's right, I thought.  She also said something obnoxious and perhaps true, that she writes about rural communities and men in rural communities do the interesting work: outside the house. 

And I was thinking, yes.  I like men, too, Annie.  I get it.  But you know what I like most?  Men who respect women.  Men who get that there is a feminine part to them.  Female leaders who roar, and let themselves be seen.  My towering coworker who can and does kick the crap out of the men she works with, from whom I'd like a lesson in makeup. 

I think what I'm trying to say is, Life Is Hot.  And I'm glad I'm here.