Don’t Make Waves: Disappointment and Discomfort

I probably haven’t told you that I’m taking clown classes. Well, they’re not really classes, it’s more like a practice space where we get to know our inner clowns better. All of us have clowns within and I’ve seen how mine has so much to teach me! In one of our sessions we played with natural objects like dried flowers, bark and plants. We worked in pairs: one person pretended to be the object and as their clown partner interacted (sometimes in rude and curious ways) with the leaves or flowers, we imagined that our bodies were being manipulated in the same way. My natural object was a little succulent in an oversized coffee cup. It’s a fragile little guy and as I moved and touched it, many of its little leaf-nubs fell to the floor. Even wearing the hat and red nose of my curmudgeon clown, I soon found it impossible to be present in the exercise; I was obsessed with picking up the fallen pieces of the plant. It was unimaginable for me to leave that mess on the floor; even though, obviously, I could have cleaned it up later.

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Entangled Time

Oh Sweet Jesus! Let’s talk about TIME! I spend a relatively large chunk of my waking hours wishing that kronos would speed the hell up so that these past four years might fade more rapidly into the background of my life. All the while, I beg for time to please, please SLOW DOWN because… well… apparently, there’s a biological time bomb ticking away in my ovaries. And underpinning all of it – especially throughout these past few months – I am tormented by a constant sense that there is never, NEVER EVER ENOUGH TIME. I’m harangued by a nagging voice reminding me constantly just how “behind” I am. My inner critic looks over my writing from the past year and shakes her head disapprovingly. Just four measly blogs? And this one itself has been in process for five months?

“Tsk. Tsk,” says time. (Or at least that’s what my mind tells me that time said.)

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Charla Relámpago: VISIBLES

Read this post in English.

Tengo varias reflexiones por compartir en este “nuevo” año pero necesito pulir un poco más mis palabras. Mientras… comparto unas palabras que publiqué en Facebook recientemente y el vídeo de una charla relámpago que presenté en Octubre de 2020 como parte del encuentro virtual: VISIBLES.

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The Tupperware® Tub

Bathtubs are a rarity in Oaxaca. I can count on one hand the number of tubs I’ve seen here in the past decade. Yet some years ago I decided I wanted to be able to immerse myself in water (at least partially) and partake in this healing and relaxing ritual from time to time. I went to the fancy, evil grocery store and bought one of those large, opaque Tupperware tubs. I remember pulling it into the aisle and sitting down inside of it to make sure that I would fit.

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A Birth, Still

Deep breath. It would seem that I have survived this unscheduled month of “vacation.” I did not, in fact, fall into a deep, dark hole in the absence of all my self-important busyness. I am well. I think some new possibilities have opened in the spaces within; I’m more able to notice and accept some aspects of myself and some things in this (rather fucked-up) world. There’s more space around everything somehow.

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Would I Give Anything?

I remember the very moment I read Dr. Kay’s message. It was one of those rare nights when my husband went to bed before me. Though I would say that there was nothing “normal” about that time after Rafa’s birth. After the ceremony and the departure of my family. After that cleansing time at the ocean. Everything was rare. I was walking up the stairs, headed toward bed and reading messages on my phone. I was almost to the second floor when I came to Dr. Kay’s message. Carlos Alvarez (a.k.a. Dr. Kay) is our dear friend who was living across the ocean in South Africa when all of this took place. Over five weeks had passed since Rafa’s death and the texts, voice messages and emails were no longer as overwhelming as they had been at first. Roughly translated, the message read:

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End of the World as We Know It

I used to love that old R.E.M. tune “It’s the End of the World as We Know It.” You know the one:

It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine

Some weeks ago, I started singing those lines in my head. Apart from the chorus, the rest of the song is a rapid rattling off of what seems – at times – to be nonsense and at other moments, profound political commentary. That’s what life has felt like these past three months: crazy, intense things happening too quickly to even fathom ‘keeping up’ with them. Flying around the world from one continent to the next with fleeting days at home between trips.

There have been many things to write about and I have composed the first lines of more than one post in my mind. But, the beginning of the year seems to be the time that “In the Name of Rafa” hibernates. And that’s okay (at least that’s what I keep trying to make myself believe).

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Coming to the Edge of Hope… Month after Month

Hope has always been a ubiquitous and elusive character on the inner stage of my life. I admit that mostly, I’ve been quite skeptical of her. Over these past fifteen years, I’ve adopted a vaguely Buddhist view that hope is a form attachment to a certain preferred future; fear’s undeniable and constant companion. It is said that we fear that which we believe will cause us pain, and hope for that which we believe will bring us pleasure. Yet my recent life experience shows it’s not quite that straightforward. This skepticism has been punctuated by momentary glimpses of other ways of relating to or defining hope: the way it has kept so many peoples alive through devastating circumstances of inter-generational trauma and systemic oppression; the occasional definition of hope which unhooks it from the attachment to a particular outcome;* during the time in the months after Rafael died and I had to figure out new ways forward; when we conceived Ramona and I felt hope dart in, briefly.

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Absence as Presence

When I was young(er) and I lost something, the instant I realized said thing was no longer in my possession I immediately spiraled into an obsessive panic. I felt the urge to FIND the thing and to find it NOW. If, after wildly riffling through all my belongings and scouring my immediate surroundings I did not find the thing, I widened the range of my search. I probed every possible nook and cranny and even occasionally interrogated innocent bystanders to see if they had seen or taken the thing. If still I had no luck and saw that I would be forced to accept the fact that my precious thing was indefinitely gone, I would move into Phase II of the Lost Things Mania: REPLACE THE THING. I would look for the quickest and cheapest way – quick being more important than cheap – to get a new pen or pair of sunglasses or piece of jewelry. You see, what I really wished was to erase from memory the very idea that that thing had ever gotten lost in the first place.

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