Friday, December 21, 2012

Today there was a big white wolf
and a camraderie of cold noses.

He stood tall, fiercely white,
infinitely curious and utterly alert,
in a field of ice rendered blue by the moonlight.
At one point, he pressed his nose to mine
and then sniffed my left cheek
as though testing the substance of me.
Then, once he was sure of me, we ran together.

He led me through fields of icy blue
across mountains and boulders and
the reckless landscape.
we rolled around on the blue earth
and he rested on my chest with his
nose against my chin.
(And for a moment there was a memory
of a softer, fluffier dog who liked
to lie on my chest and wake me
by pressing his nose to my chin.)

Through this harsh realm we ran, finally reaching
where many others had gathered.
Maybe we were a kind of tribe, an ancient family
that ran with wolves in blue ice and
sometimes met for a while to
sit around orange flames, sing songs
about sunsets and tell stories about
long forgotten things.

For a while we were all together, and then,
one by one, they all disappeared,
until all that was left was him and me,
alone, together, in our patch of
the collective unconscious.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pills, labels, diagnoses... seem to be, to some extent, an effective way of managing something big, difficult, complicated and nuanced. But they also take something that is big, beautiful, complicated, difficult, colourful and full of infinite possibility, stories, art, love and also healing -- something that is full of the self -- and reduce that to monochrome, only comprehensible because the thousands of shades of the thousands of colours are completely missing. Is it possible to be anything other than a "survivor" of mental health care? Why is it so horrendous to accept that sometimes things are so unfriendly and unsafe that the mind reacts with primordial protectiveness to save the self? Why then must we not trust the processes of the body and the mind, and find ways to work with them rather than ways to control them?

To understand, to dig, to excavate and to really connect with that space from which these needs arise is only difficult because there is a lot to be unlearned before one gets there... and yet, being there is easy, natural. NVC talks about needs as a spiritual energy almost, an energy that is linked with the universal human experience. How is any mental health venture that really takes you away from needs somehow preferable? Why is suppressing things so important? I think this is my fundamental disagreement  with pills and diagnoses. It is significantly more disturbing to me than the individual who chooses to ignore their problems because it's easy or socially more acceptable to do so, because diagnosing, you take away the colours, the experiences. In "treatment", as opposed to "healing", you diminish the person to turn them into some odd caricature of themselves. You rob people of their choices, and that is, to me, excessively antithetical to the whole point of existing and living and being.

I notice in me that when I meet someone new and feel safe, there is a very large part of me that wants to be incredibly friendly and giving of everything that I have and every fragment that I am. I am not very sure where this comes from, this need to share so incredibly, so totally and with infinite trust, and I have too often seen this impulse conclude in something painful, in an over-doing of hings that leads to hurt, to obligation and to a convoluted version of what I hoped for. I think sometimes when I love, I love like this - in this crazy, all-consuming hope that by giving everything I will be transformed into something beautiful, lovable and wonderful - both in my eyes and in the eyes of the other. And of course, it is particularly painful when in a more intimate setting this dissolves into a hideous caricature of itself. But I do not think that trust, sharing and community is necessarily a bad thing. Maybe it is a longing for that kind of trust, that kind of transformation, that kind of shared reality and experience. Maybe it is just that in being transformed I am alive in that most fundamental way - aware, hopeful, excited.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

We sat so close to one another that
I could feel your breath on my neck,
your stubble against my ear.
In that moment, I felt safe.
But later, when you sat
with your hand on my heart, and talked about
the next small fraction of the millenium
all that I could see was blackness.
I may really not have heard what you said at all.
And all I feel in this space of non-remembering is
naked, terrified and exposed.
Dreams and hopes have a kind of rawness, and dreaming
can be so singularly unforgiving.
And love --
Well, love is only the golden glue
that holds together the thousand fragmented prayers
and other broken things.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

this is not my story.

it's not just that
i am bruised and beaten.

my story does involve
wounds, bruises, losses and terror.

but in my story there is a large
st. bernard to lie under
when life gets tough
and everything hurts.

my story involves art and colour,
great love and good sex,
daniel craig's bottom and
harry freaking potter.

it involves a jeep to drive
my huge dog and me
through craggy mountain passes.
and standing under a thousand
buddhist prayer flags
at the edge of a cliff
where there is nothing but me,
the silence and my dog.

my story is about
crazy rides in the middle of the night
and songs about existential angst.
and random runaways and lasagna.
and a month of cooking and sharing food.
and yummy chocolate almond desserts
with no thoughts of
carbohydrates, waistlines or cancer.

my story is about connecting
through my being
and living with those
empty spaces within me,
which because i live with them
will be empty no more.

my story is about
being happy and without guilt or shame
for wanting and needing.

this isn't it.

there is a story i'm writing,
about vulnerability without destruction
and love without shame -
- and this isn't it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


inside me is a very very tiny person
running around in very very tiny circles
going "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" like
a baby panda.

inside me is a tiny scared thing
that wants to lie for a very long time
under a large, soft and cuddly
st. bernard.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

there is something in my mind,
like a memory stirring from deep sleep.
something about back alleyways
and things not meant to be seen.
it's a memory made of black and white
and the occasional red
is like the riding hood so far untouched,
to be tarnished, torn apart
and left undone.
it's a memory at my fingertips,
something warm and cold all at once.
and every now and again i can feel it,
like the ghost of a hand at my waist,
or on my shoulders,
or rising up my spine...
a kind of knowing that exists only
in those deep spaces
that are not meant to be seen.
they are just known,
like the instinct that guides
the north to the south,
the dark hunter to the bright red.