I’m taking a break from ‘Confessions’ with this vignette from bellydancer life.
I was at some party or other in Austin, TX. This was twenty years ago, and the hostess, one of my occasional students — she was perhaps in her early 50’s, attractive but riddled with concern for her appearance, probably a therapist, I don’t quite remember, and definitely living in a lush if not terribly tasteful fashion — introduced me to a couple, also in their 50’s. I was at the time a very young-looking and hip 40-year-old. She told me their names, then said, “This is my bellydance teacher, Dunya,” as if holding out a surprise prize bird. Read more
I ruminate loosely on illness and art because I burst with creativity after months of stillness, immobility, compression. For me there is no difference between art and mysticism; they are the faces of one another.
Last night, at dinner, my cousin told me I am profound. A great compliment. I didn’t feel bashful, however. No, I relaxed. I think this is true and it helped to hear it. This is who I am. Relax and be profound. Read more
Here is an excerpt from notes during my April trip to Ravenrock — a turning point away from the past two years of overwhelming crisis and toward a new period. One thing that changed in a quiet yet dramatic fashion was my deepening feelings toward Ric.
As the wind on the porch is too cold for sitting out, I tuck into the Croft’s window seat for tea. I remember two years ago. I was alone in the Rim Cabin. My alone-ness overwhelmed me. Now I am weaker, less capable, and intimate with helplessness which should make the rigors of Ravenrock fearful, but I burble with joy. I acknowledge the dangers. I acknowledge my frailty. Then I gaze out at the dancing Bowers and heart happiness subsumes me. Almost — I say this hesitantly — being anywhere but on an adventure is a waste of my remaining life.
I use the word ‘confession’ not for its connotation of sin but rather of disclosure–self-disclosure. I write to know what I think and feel, to hear myself, sometimes to reveal myself to myself. This week I have been remembering a lot. Part of taking stock in this time of enormous reconsideration before stepping forward.
I painted yesterday—a little oil rendition of a selfie I took this past winter in the upstairs hall. The selfie is rather elegant while the painting is curious and ‘not like’. I lengthened the hair, made my skin shadows bruise-purple, one wall a geranium red and the other textured gray like papercrete. Gone are the hallway’s 30’s large-flowered wallpaper and polite off-white wood framing. I made my eyes too blue. Everything can be mutated so easily.
It was freeing, this reinvention of space and self. Read more
Many of us write journals, diaries, confessions. These are each different in tone and in self-relationship, yet each is personal–we speak to ourself. I write daily in my journal, so it could be a diary (the word ‘diary’ being a daily record of events and experiences, coming from the Latin ‘dies’ for ‘day’) but I am including the notion of confession not for its connotation of sin but rather of disclosure. I write to know what I think and feel, to hear myself, sometimes to reveal myself to myself. Here are excerpts. Read more
Returning from April at Ravenrock
A month at Ravenrock focused on Barn construction has meant standing in the swirl of plaster dust, in piles of construction detritus, mousetraps, clutter, looking out the newly installed glass doors. My body expanding, growing into the ground. The Barn is no longer a farm building; it is a temple. A presence enveloping me. A grandeur, and a large timeless purpose. Path. Read more
The Yellow House
I woke with a strong sense of Dad in the Yellow House descending the creaking stair in his white button-down shirt and khaki shorts, holding the sturdy rails. I miss him, gone now for a year and three months. I miss the world that orbited him like moons and rings. Polished mahogany, candlesticks, boats, dressing for dinner, music and conversation, winding a ticking clock. Bits of his being-ness linger in those details. I follow that trail, groping my way into our love—that quiet, secret garden.
Worlds orbit the people we love. It is the magnetism drawing the table, the light of the afternoon, the movement, words, sounds, and smells into a whole. A museum never has this feeling. It is never enlivened, no matter how beautifully arranged. Read more
A childhood friend calls complaining about losing her once-upon-a-time ability to go full-out for twelve hours a day. I had so much energy! Not now. I think we all have to limit how much comparative looking back we do. We can get into a peevish resentment about aging, as if it is a personal affront, rather than moving into the next chapter. I mean, is age really such a surprise? Our house of memories needs culling. It’s a discipline. A little remembrance is fine. A few important, rich memories. I am tolerant of obsessing and redundancy—our rehearsing of the self, making sure we are still who we think we are—but if we rehearse this too much we miss who we are becoming. Read more
We often explore who we are in solitude. Physical solitude, on a woodsy walk or in a quiet room, is one avenue. Side-by-side solitude is another. I derive extraordinary comfort and pleasure from a chunk of time spent connecting fully to my truest self, uninterrupted, with my eyes closed, Read more
My round, fibrous-fatty-blood-coated* heel bone meets the gritty bottom first, then my step rolls fluidly along the footsole, smooth as frosting under the soft press of a spatula. The sole expands as I move through the step, but very little because I am in water up to my chest and weigh almost nothing to my legs. Read more