Anyone else feeling utterly exhausted these days? It feels like the state of our world and the deep and troubling complexities of life (in nearly every sphere of my existence) are wearing me down, moment by moment. I’ve found myself recently describing my state of being as “flat,” blah,” “without a spark.” In Spanish, one might say sin ganas.
¿Alguien más se siente totalmente agotado estos días? Parece que el estado de nuestro mundo y las profundas y preocupantes complejidades de la vida (en casi todas las esferas de mi existencia) me están desgastando, momento a momento. Últimamente me he encontrado describiendo mi estado de ánimo como “plano”, soso”, “sin chispa”… tal vez diría totalmente “sin ganas”.
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.
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.
I’m just back from South America, where I co-hosted my first grief workshop for parents whose children have died. Because I promoted the workshop amongst all of my networks in the region, especially to mothers who I knew had had miscarriages or stillbirths, many people asked me how it went. Honestly, it was magical. Not so much the workshop itself, but the process of planning this experience and particularly the days leading up to it that I spent with my doula, Julieta.Continue reading Holy Unleashing of Love