Friday, December 21, 2012

The end of the world.

Today is perhaps the most auspicious solstice in our lifetime, so auspicious the Mayans considered it the end of the world as we know it.

I observe the transition in Tampa, Florida with my mother and my aunt. We celebrate my cousin Steve's life tomorrow in a memorial service.

Last night I cozied up to the end sleeping in my cousin's old room. We had to move his surprisingly heavy ashes in their sea foam green biodegradable gift-box container to the dresser to make room on the day bed. Tomorrow his motorcycle buddies will spread his ashes on a commemorative ride.

I went to sleep thinking about his life and death, his ashes, and my grandmother Pauline who also died in this house.

I went to sleep thinking about the energy of the living and the dead; of the past and the present. Earlier in the evening I tried to see what relief I could give my mother's aching hips and shared Reiki with her as she lay on the floor, her legs up on the couch.  I put my hands over my cousin's ashes too. There is something still there, I tell you.

This morning we sorted through my mother's papers, trying to decide if she needs both a Living Will and Power of Attorney in Ohio and Kentucky. Her diagnosis matched what we expected: Stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer. They estimate she has 6-9 months to live with a caveat that if she does a round of chemo or two it MIGHT or MIGHT NOT buy her an additional 6 months. She has yet to make the call on that crap shoot.

My aunt made us breakfast and we sat in silence watching the TV bells toll for the victims of the Connecticut mass shooting. We mourned for my cousin too.

But not my mother.

Not yet.

We are too busy filling out the time we have left.

Today we will put together a photo board of Steve's life. And in our search through all the old family photos, I discovered that not only was my mother and my cousin a dancer, but my aunt was an early modern dancer and we found contact sheets with a photo of her dancing in a Life Magazine advertisement.  And as I started combing through my cousin's drawers (boy do I love to go through other people's stuff!) to find a zip drive to get the scanned photo of her dancing to my computer, I found more photos: photos of family, young and beautiful, kicking off their lives without a hint of the wonderful and less-than-wonderful things to come.

So I am off to a Palm Harbor Kundalini and meditation class before I do my Staples' shopping for poster board, guest book, etc. for tomorrow's service.

I will say a prayer for the living and the dead. I will say a prayer for what has passed and what is to come.  I will say a prayer for the dance and the dancer.

My cousin Steve. A dancer and a dreamer.

Aunt Betsy. middle strip, second from bottom, girl #2 (face hidden by dancer #1,  forever her nemesis.)

Sunday, December 16, 2012


I had the luxury of spending eight weeks in the company of some lovely young women from Withrow High School, as part of a Families Forward United Way grant to help with after school and other programs for students who could use some help beyond what the traditional school day has to offer. This True Body Project club was open to all girls.

They came because the wanted to be there to learn and to share and to connect. I can't wait to return next spring, where we will co-conceive a service project. I'm sure we will be inspired by our time at the Freedom Center seeing the UnFreedom exhibit and the Half the Sky traveling exhibition.

We also spent time at the UnMuseum at the Contemporary Arts Center plus a quick spin through Warhol and Green Acres.

I know you all know this. But if you ever hear someone comment about a young person in the manner of "They just don't want to learn." Or, "They just don't care," I can assure you that that is 100% wrong. I have never met an incurious youth. I have met MANY with such severe stress and trauma they can barely see straight, but once safety is reasonably restored and they are reasonably seen and heard .... wow. Under those conditions,  creativity, kindness, genius and light abound.

We are currently booking after school programs, workshops and trainings in 2013. Keep an eye on or "like" us on Facebook or email me at for more information.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What are you waiting for?

Oh my goodness. There are so many SIGNS.

The auspiciousness of 12/12/12. The Mayan calendar ends on 12/21/12. Not to mention all the shifts happening every where you look, both the planetary and the personal.

In consciousness circles, this is considered the time to either get on board or surrender to whatever that thing is that is keeping you stuck in a less than optimal place.

We live in a tremendous community where there are countless ways and places to change your life. The Yoga Bar, Pendleton Pilates, Studio S, Rhythm & Motion, Pilates for Runners, Shakti Factory, Future Life Now in Northside ... you cannot go wrong if you commit to moving mindfully and joyfully this year.

I would love to be on your team to help you move toward your best self. I work privately with many, many clients of all ages and stages of life. I work to help restore movement post-injury, to help writers find their voice, and to help those who want to change but lack the mind/body, sensory conviction to do so.

Part movement, part meditation, part energy work, part conversation, part journaling, these private sessions are tailored for what you need, when you need it. One hour session is $60 and three sessions are $150. They take place in my small home studio or I can also come to you. I am booking appointments now through January 7th.

NOTE: Friday December 28th is donation private day. For those of you who want to do this but are on a limited budget but want to do this work, email me.

I am also doing the third annual True Body, New Year workshop with Rachel Roberts at The Yoga Bar on Saturday January 5th. Come be restored and renewed with us.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

On processing the impossible.

I could see my mom's face when the doctor opened the door. She looked up at him and I knew what she knew.

This was a week ago Thursday at 4 pm. In the same blue notebook I use to write down the beautiful things the girls say in my True Body classes and take notes about how the inhale actives the autonomic nervous system and the exhale actives the parasympathetic nervous system, I made a list:

- Mass in the lower right lung.
- Left rib (10th?) metastasis
- T8 lesion
- Lesions right lung, ground glass
- Lymph glands enlarged.
- Probably lung cancer. Maybe two (??)
- Small cell v. non-small cell. We don't know.

Since then, we have tried to get our heads around this. My mother, Sheila, is remarkably serene about the very likely Stage 4 cancer situation at hand. Some time this week a pulmonary specialist and/or an oncologist will make it official by giving the list a name. My brother came in, many many lovely people have called, come over, written, sent love. A hundred new lists have been made. 


My mom and I were trying to jump rope double. She laughed so hard she spit on my head. She thought it was hilarious and it made me nervous.


I told my dad and my brother and my aunts and a bunch of other people. I can't even remember who now. I walked into the bathroom and my knees buckled in grief. I thought I might get sick. Then I stood up and looked in the mirror. I thought, "Wow, my hair is so long it actually touches my back." 


My mom volunteered in my grade school library, putting the plastic covers on the new books while I returned books to the shelves. I loved the precision of the Dewey decimal system. I loved how you knew exactly where to find a book just from the numbers. I liked watching my mother make neat creases with the book covers.


I gave my mom Reiki after her needle biopsy. She fell sound asleep and reported she felt better when she got up. "Must be the medication," she said. "Duh! Reiki!" I proclaimed, holding up my hands. We laughed.


She listens to me talk about anything, any time, even during the times that listening required the patience of a saint. I would rattle the ice cubes in my whiskey glass and slur some new obsession or passion. My mother would kindly inquire the next day about whatever the heck I had been talking about the night before. I would act like she was annoying for even asking.


We sat in the cafe at Joseph Beth Booksellers. My brother cried and my mother rubbed his arm.


I was rehearsing to be the "Littlest Angel" in the elementary school play. I had a fever so they called my mom. I remember her walking down the aisle to get me, past the chorus, toward the stage. In my fever dream, she glided like an angel. 


I do not know how to not have my mother. I covered the material in a novel to prep myself emotionally and I could hardly bear it in fiction.

I understand that the species would not survive if we couldn't make it through the loss. But my personal Dewey decimal system, how I know how to find myself, depends on the whereabouts of my parents, my brother and my son. It depends on where you are. All of you. When I lost Kristin, I reorganized my personal navigation system around her family, friends, husband and son.

So if you see me looking lost or making a list or just trying to breathe, you will know why. 

And maybe you can just touch my hand or look into my eyes so I know I am still here, so I can find my way. That's what I am going to do for my mother, as long as I can.