A Dream Enters –1968     Excerpt from Chapter I – Turquoise Interlude

Slithering through the smooth walls of the ancient, ceremonial lava caves, I emerged from the dark to dazzling light sparkling beyond the dirt-sand leading to the waters of Pyramid Lake. A tipi now stood on the shore, where none had been when we swallowed our Owsley acid and entered the caves. Near a vibrantly decorated blue VW van, a woman wearing a flowery summer dress stood next to a lean man whose red beard and hair gave him a sage-like look. “Would you like to see the inside?” he asked seeing my wide eyes and longing smile.

Still high on LSD, my senses pulsating and open, I stepped through the oval door into Bob Lane’s tipi and fell in love with the most magical living space I had ever seen. The light of the day filtered past the canvas walls, which slanted inward as they rose, supported by skinned poles tied with a smooth rope. The smoke hole, where the poles joined at the top, let in air and more light, and also released smoke from the central firepit. Long knotty poles attached to the upper flaps, controlled the airflow. The scene, cozy and exquisite, imprinted itself in my memory.

The tipi’s canvas floor was covered with a red and blue oriental rug placed next to a soft furry buffalo skin, laid around the firepit. To my bare feet on the velvety carpet, the earth beneath me felt close. Strong, electrifying golden energy flowed up through my soles and filled my body, expanding light through my head. Patchouli oil and incense wafted heavily in the air, caressing my senses.

It seemed familiar, ethereal and right.

A dream had entered my being. …

©2020

I Took My Teardrops – Excerpt from Part II When the Moon Dances – A Memoir of Becoming the Oldest Generation

…She still did not say one word. I sat with her, anointed her with oils, and stroked her hand. Yesterday, when I recited a poem to her, I kept wanting to sing but did not know what. Today I just sang. I sang my shamanic power song that I had journeyed for and received last year. “Heyalo, heyalo, heysu, heysu, heysu, hiya, hiya, hiya la, hiya hiya hi.” I sing it when I feel I need power. Then I sang some more, calling on the spirits to help. Did Mom respond? Or was that just wishful thinking? I let myself cry, and on impulse I took my teardrops and wiped them on her hand. I started crying more and put my head near her chest. It was then that she lifted her hand and hugged me and started stroking my hair. She is here. She seemed to be trying to push herself up, so I said, “If you want me to move you, raise your hand,” and she did. I told her about the nursing home and that she might go there or go home, depending. But either way, I told her, I would get to spend more time with her. She looked like she was trying to talk. She put her fingers to her mouth as if to move it. Instead of leaving, she has started to come back. Dare I hope?

©2020

A Hint of Dance – Excerpt from Part II When the Moon Dances – A Memoir of Becoming the Oldest Generation

… I spent most of the afternoon with Mom. The “classical” music concert downstairs was not what I expected. They played a kind of rock music on tape until a movement therapy instructor came. She put on light, almost classical, taped music and led the residents in movement. As the music flowed into her, Mom’s fingers began to tap to the rhythm, all she could do, all she could pull from her damaged body.

Then Mom started to lean forward, unsupported –a great and big improvement. I whispered in her ear, “Dance with your arms.” With her eyes still closed, her atrophied body subtly swayed with a hint of dance escaping its prison. …

©2020

Reflections at 75

Who am I now at 75, my long white hair with still hints of brown, my body still dancing, my fingers typing. My heart finds compassion connecting to the ones who seek help in my psychotherapy office, and in the yurt where we gather for the shamanic journey circles I lead, and to the students I dance with, teaching them Flamenco and what I learned on that path. Wisdom grows.

I am blessed to still have a passion and work to do before I die, before I pass from this mortal life and this body I still love. The passion becomes an urgency as I know mortality in new ways, the gift of elder-hood, the pain of losing a father. 

My tangible legacy will be the books I write –may they guide those who seek, and entertain the curious. 

 

©2020

Die or Get Off the Pot – Excerpt from Part II   When the Moon Dances – A Memoir of Becoming the Oldest Generation

December 22, 1996

…I remember when my Grandma Annie was in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s, almost comatose and not eating, it seemed logical that she felt ready to die.  She should have been able to just stop eating if she wanted to, but they wouldn’t let her. Voluntarily not eating is a withdrawal to death that seems non-violent and makes sense to me.

Now I wonder about Mom. Maybe it is just her time and we are forcing her to stay alive by feeding her. But, what if she can recover? When do we respect her choice and when do we decide that her choice is incompetent and should not be honored? What about the Eskimo elders who traditionally went out into the snow to die? I believe in the right to choose a conscious death. I wouldn’t want to be kept alive against my will. The question remains: when do we “let” Mom choose to eat or not to eat? I don’t know if there are answers.

Today has been difficult –is this my new normal? I feel so discouraged. I thought, “I’m bored. Now what?” Going to the hospital twice a day for what feels like nothing is getting to me. This afternoon I stayed with Mom a long time, hoping for at least one word or at least a sign. It’s kind of like “die or get off the pot.” I’m angry that I am bored. I’m angry about a lot of things now. I know this is a stage of grief – the anger stage. I accept it intellectually. I feel it now, strongly, when I write, alone with my thoughts. When I am with Mom I get caught in hope or in wishful thinking. Now the anger wraps me like a heavy blanket. I need to write it down, although I should go to bed so I can wake up to more of the same routine. How tiring –both the anger and the hospital visits.

©2019