help from Mary

Do you need a little help today?  Here it is – more help from Mary Oliver.  Do you need reminding that there is just this moment, and so taste it and swallow it whole?  Listen to this.  It is a gift from Brain Pickings, and the ever generous and brilliant Maria Popova.


I know, you never intended to be in this world.
But you’re in it all the same.

so why not get started immediately.

I mean, belonging to it.
There is so much to admire, to weep over.

And to write music or poems about.

Bless the feet that take you to and fro.
Bless the eyes and the listening ears.
Bless the tongue, the marvel of taste.
Bless touching.

You could live a hundred years, it’s happened.
Or not.
I am speaking from the fortunate platform
of many years,
none of which, I think, I ever wasted.
Do you need a prod?
Do you need a little darkness to get you going?
Let me be urgent as a knife, then,
and remind you of Keats,
so single of purpose and thinking, for a while,
he had a lifetime.

Mary Oliver



are you holding your own heart?


I am reading a superb new book on trauma called The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, by David J. Morris.  I heard about the book on the Diane Rehm show.  I have been intensively studying trauma and the treatment modality of Somatic Experiencing for the past two years.  That study is one of the ways that I am trying to hold my own heart.

One of the things that Morris writes about is how trauma disrupts our sense of time and place.  Our nervous system is in the past while our bodies are here.  The irresolution of that state is what perpetrates the trauma state.  He says that with trauma, we learn that there are things that break us.  Define us.  I do not want to be defined by my traumas, my losses.  And yet, to a fairly great extent, that is what happened to me two years ago.  I lost my daughter.  I had not seen her for two years, up until two weeks ago.

Seeing her – and one precious and priceless moment in particular, where I saw her drop out of everything and place her hand softly on a horse’s face – is lifting some of the dark heaviness that has been with me for so long.  More than that.  I know that I can hold my love for her like the Buddha holds this heart.  In doing that, I am holding my own heart.

the beast you are


This is Georgia O”Keefe’s cow.  Can you see/feel the tongue, the big eye of her cow and your own at the same time? Try it.

What interests me is awakening to the animal in myself and in others.  Being an animal among animals.  What I mean by that is a sensing, feeling awareness that is about presence, resonance and attunement — feeling into each other in a cellular, neuroceptive way, rather than at the level of personality and reactivity.

It also means actively cultivating my herdness, not being too special, and finding our how others in my herd smell and move.  Not thinking about it too much, but feeling it a lot.  I am talking about opening.

That takes practice and also a kind of unstylish courage.  Right now I am looking out at our friend Carlos who is doing some repairs on our heating system.  Carlos is a big man with a wonderful dense, stocky physicality.  If he were in my herd (and he is) I would feel good grazing near him, keeping him in my peripheral vision because he is so nicely connected to the earth – a warm, safe presence.  More of that, please.

How to do it?  Be quiet.  Stop talking. Stop thinking about and start feeling into.  Begin with breathing.  Don’t just look at, but let it – the tree, the bird, the dog, the man the woman – step into you. Join, even for a moment.

Tell me what happens.



it is coming

it is coming

We just returned from an expedition south with our Italian family – here for a visit.   We made a 16 hour stop off in Washington D.C., where the magnolias are extravagant.  We are still looking at old crusts of snow here, and the chill lingers, but it is coming, I can feel it.

I have not been writing blogs of late because other parts of my working life have been pressing, including a major new interdisciplinary dance work and the final push with my book, The Common Body, which has been accepted for publication in Spring 2016.

More about all of that later.  In the meantime, it is coming, and we are all, I believe, ready.