I wrote a poem but forgot to share . . .

If you write a poem and forget to share it, what is the point? Right? I mean it may as well, perhaps, not exist, unless you let it fly & land in the hearts, souls or on the shoulders of others who are patiently waiting to hear what you have to say.

on the edge

I feel at times, that I’m waiting, expectantly to hear what you have to say, or share, a story, a song, a dance, a poem, a photograph. I’m so eager to know what lives in the depths of your soul that I often get a little too eager; which then leads to frustration, perhaps exasperation. I know it is there, swirling around in the depths of your soul just wanting to be seen, heard, acknowledged & loved; do you know it’s there?  Perhaps you do know this. Perhaps my pushing to see it is just really annoying. I can understand this because there are people I don’t feel safe enough to share everything with. It’s not just as simple as sharing or not sharing is it?

I mean it’s also possible you may not be ready to show that story, thought, or idea. That’s really and truly okay and perfect; but still frustrating for me, nonetheless. We all have our own comfort zones based on our demeanor, cultural upbringing, our past experiences, etc. You may be more comfortable with small talk about art or family. I abhor small talk, most of the time. Unless it is necessary & in the context of quickly connecting with someone in an elevator or waiting for your food to be prepared at a counter service restaurant. There are many times when I don’t really feel the need to dive deeply.

But, for those of you who know me beyond sharing an elevator ride beware because sometimes when we talk I try to lure the story out by sharing my deepest wobbly bits. Those embarrassing, potentially devastating bits and pieces that if they are not received with interest &/or empathy can sting or feel like a stomach punch. So I sometimes, tend to over-share or dive deeply too quickly for you; but it is my way of luring the stories, poems, thoughts, ideas, dreams, visions, desires out of you. It’s not that I need your stories as much as I love to be in that deeper space where the energy is visceral, alive & inspiring. It’s similar to the feeling I get when I walk & talk with the trees. Some sort of vibration is ignited within me, creating a much more expansive energy to dance in, with you of course.

I also know that there is great freedom that can come in living transparently. When there is really nothing to hide from or stay small for the dance becomes invigorating, refreshing & cleansing. Dr. Brene’ Brown talks about this in her work. She says that when we share our shameful stories & vulnerabilities with a safe person, that it diminishes the power the shame holds on us. Exposing it to the light destroys it’s ability to live on. Without shame, fear, hiding from the truth we can dance freely. Freedom feels so good.

I’m really all about freedom, that’s what the book I wrote is about, The Art & Soul of Dancing Barefoot; & that is really what I stand for.

So this is me holding my hand out, asking you to join me in a space of deeper sharing, creating, loving, existing, & dancing.

I’ll post the poem on the next post!

(suspense, intrigue)

BIG, luscious, Love

Katariina

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this morning’s walk . . .

Feeling a bit thin & fragile, like a tiny piece of transparent Belleek china, I decided to take a walk on the Boulevard amongst the trees listening to Kirtan (Ong Namo by Snatam Kaur). Something about that music seeps into my bones & transports me to another dimension where I am floating whole & no longer thin.

We had such an amazing Thanksgiving weekend with our family, filled with love, lots of laughter & creativity, with beautiful people streaming in & out of the house every hour of the day. As much as I love this energy, it started to become overwhelming on the fourth day (hence the four-day family visit rule). Too much chatter just to chatter, to many coordinating logistics, planning, herding cats, Finnegan pulling at my dress calling, “mommy, momma, mommy, momma” all day long left me stretched thin.

Then on Saturday a beautiful article was published about my journey with the VA in the Houston Chronicle (click here!). It was a wonderful, soul-filled article that I hope other women veterans will read & seek the help they need. But . . . nevertheless it left me feeling a bit exposed & vulnerable (not necessarily bad things).

On Sunday, my mom, Raine & I went to try on wedding dresses. Raine, being my Honorable Maiden wanted me to at least just get an idea of what I would like or not like. She felt it was time to start trying on dresses & I conceded. It was relatively easy because I was with loved ones & it was great to learn a lot about what sort of dress looks best on me & will work best for the sort of wedding we are having.

Our appointment was at BHLDN, Anthropology’s wedding store, that offers gorgeous unique dresses that I drool over at my frequent visits. However trying them on was a very different experience. Imagine bathing suit shopping, only this time there is an audience, a box to stand on, too many mirrors, your own stylist AND the bathing suits are a size too small so most don’t fit or zip up, but still you are expected to come out, stand on the box in front of all the mirrors & the audience & model them. That was my Sunday afternoon. All my emotions, rejections, & doubts I have about my body & its current size came up just under the surface of my skin pushing and stretching it thin.

All of these things left me feeling fragile, tired, & mostly just done. I cried myself to sleep while Larry held me that night & in the morning I decided to be alone & walk. Something about those magical  trees lining the Boulevard, the soul-full music turned up to its highest setting & the movement of my body washed most the thinness away. The skylines against the vast blue sky begged me to photograph them so I could share with you.

 I’m in the process of growing myself still. Perhaps with intention & follow through next time the thin-ness starts creeping in I can remember the trees on the boulevard & go visit them.

a grocery cart or two

my friends, melancholy & flo

This has been an odd week lacking in activity and creativity because my old friend Melancholy came to visit. She is a bit like Aunt Flo who visits monthly the only difference is that Aunt Flo is usually on schedule so I’m stocked up & prepared, where as Melancholy usually slips in the back door while I’m sleeping & sets herself up to stay for a bit. She is like family that arrives unannounced & doesn’t honor our house’s three-day for family visit rule.

When she arrives in the middle of darkness with no warning signs, I wake up in the morning & BAM, I feel blaaaaah. There is no point in even getting out of bed. What’s the point in doing anything, ever? Why go for a walk, eat or even shower? I can’t remember what I had planned that day. The only thing that sounds interesting is laying on the couch, slipping in & out of a coma while staring at the wall & devouring creamy, cheesy pasta. That is what my week has been like.

Melancholia by Albrecht Dürer

“According to Hippocrates, melancholia was caused by an excess of black bile, hence the name, which means ‘black bile’, from Ancient Greek μέλας (melas), “dark, black”, a person whose constitution tended to have a preponderance of black bile had a melancholic disposition.” Hmmmm? This is interesting & does make sense, it often feels like a darkness running through my veins or sitting in my pancreas.

I think in Aruyvedic practice, when Melancholy shows up on your doorstep it would be the equivalent of too much Kapha (water). Too much of anything is an inbalance. Whether it is black bile or water that is keeping me in a blah, sub-level, weepy state, hardly matters, they both suggest an inbalance & a need for stirring or shifting, moving & shaking, creating & co-creating. Which is hard to do when Melancholy is over there on the couch shoving Kraft Mac n cheese in her mouth with one hand & flipping channels with the other hand.

I know it is depressing talking about depression but I guess today I feel that perhaps its a better idea to just call it out rather than hole up & hide.

Portrait of Dr. Gachet by Van Gogh

These melancholic feelings are something I have lived with most of my life but just in the past few years have I truly admitted it. I guess without a proper diagnosis it never seemed really that serious, because it is my baseline. It’s a bit like a fish not realizing she is in water, depression is just something I have always lived with. When Melancholy pays a visit my blah goes from baseline to sub-level but my natural disposition is melancholic.

Most people I have worked with in the past wouldn’t know this about me (well I pretend they don’t know, who knows if they do) because I spent my time at work with a smile on my face, pretending everything was groovy. My friend Sara says she puts on her smiling mask at work to protect everyone from what she is truly feeling because there is no way they would be able to handle the depths of the depression. I might add that I never thought they would be interested in dealing with such heavy feelings, especially at work. There could be some negative repercussions at work anyways. I know the Marine Corps was not interested in my emotional self. In the Marine Corps I wasn’t an individual but a piece of the whole, it was my job to be healthy or at least do my best at pretending in order for me to be accepted and useful. I always thought it was my job to be light, happy, upbeat, productive, & professional (this one was very important).

Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth

I have reached that point where I can’t pretend anymore. I don’t want to. I’m realizing that melancholy is my disposition, not the kind that consumes my energy & makes me want to surrender to the magnetic pull of the couch & stop brushing my teeth for days but that watchful, slower, more contemplative, deeply feeling sort of disposition.

Washed Up

I really don’t have any profound insights about depression or melancholy, I just wanted to bring it out into the light & share my vulnerability with you all (as learned from Dr. Brene’ Brown) to be more authentic & release some of the shame swirling around this way of being.