Lift Off

I’ve been dancing on the skinny branches

It’s been a long time coming

No longer hiding ‘neath the foliage

Or burying myself in the gnarled knots of life

I am ready to fly, put these wings to use

I love the skinny branches, they’ve showed me myself

But the sky is beckoning with winking clouds

And the wind is calling my name

And trees never hold on to anything

So why on earth should I?

Inspired by The Daily Post Word Prompt: branch


There is a life force within

It has seen me through

Black-pitched soul’s dark nights

Days so thick with despair

I could barely breathe or move

Sometimes it was so very close

If not for that push inside

To continue on this journey

The pull to end it could have won

But something in me wants to live

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: continue


I lay on my side

Face away from the door

Stay still, slow my breath

Pray he thinks I’m asleep

Then a breeze shocks my back

The sheet lifts, the bed shifts

Hot breath at my neck

No luck tonight, fear chokes my heart

I go into a trance, nothingness

The familiar comfort of the void

Leave my body, don’t need it

My soul and I, we float into the wallpaper

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: trance

On Marriage as a Collaborative Art*

Sometimes I really want to be single again.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the man I married.

The Universe brought a man into my life who is almost perfectly designed for me in so many ways. He makes me think: really think. I love talking to him. He challenges me intellectually and emotionally. We both share certain childhood wounds that allow us to have a kind of understanding of the other that is quite exquisite and profound. We “get” each other in a way not many could or would. There is a shared language of our hearts. And there is that physical chemistry as well, that makes for deep passion and sweetness.

But I never planned to marry. To be frank, I always thought I was too f’ed up and so had written it off in my early adulthood.

Then I met the man who was to become my husband. For the first time, I had thoughts that maybe marriage was for me, after all. But I wasn’t sure, and I wasn’t in any hurry.

And then, circumstances in my life created some shifts in priority (aka: My own personal Armageddon. My mother and brother died and my whole world exploded.)

And when the smoke cleared, and I was finding my way again through the rubble that was the New World of my life, I found that something in me had shifted.

So when the man-who-would-be-husband made the proposal, I said yes, unequivocally.

But let’s just say that my expectations of what marriage would be were practically non-existent.

I was more than pleasantly surprised. I took to marriage quite well. It astounded me (and still does at times.) It is a mysterious and wondrous thing: creating a home together, a partnership. The closeness. The sharing. The laughter. The tenderness. The challenges. The compromises. The deepening sweetness.

I am also deeply grateful that I have a partner for this part of my life. I have many friends who long for a boyfriend, a husband, a wife. I promise you that I rarely take for granted the incredible gift of this person, this marriage we co-create.

Being an actress, I tend to relate all things back to acting. So for me, marriage is a bit like being in a production of a play you love and care deeply about. You gladly revolve everything around it. You embrace that you are in a collaborative art.

Sacrifices are made willingly for the greater good of the whole. You are willing to live through the hard parts of the process because you know it is all a part of the creation you are making together. You trust in the process. You are diving into the unknown. You expect to feel lost at times because it is in the getting lost that you find something new, together.

You bring your best, he brings his best, and, together, you create something greater than the two of you.

But unlike a production that has a time of completion, a day when you all agree to move on to the next project, marriage is a continuing production. It is an open-ended run.

Those peaks and valleys that are a natural part of it…the moments of feeling lost in the unknown…well, to be honest, there are days when I want to say, “Screw it” and just literally up and leave it all.

Part of the problem is that the Universe was really having a field day when our stars were designed to cross paths. One of the most important qualities that I need and want to have in my life, freedom, just happens to directly rub up against one of the most important qualities that he wants and needs to have in his life. Makes for some critical moments of decision for one or the other of us. And some heated conflicts (aka awful fights.)

I grew up in a household where the father was autocrat. Our world revolved around his needs, opinions and moods. He was a big ‘n tall Texas man with a booming voice. He was intelligent in many ways, but as was true of many of his generation, less so in terms of emotional intelligence.

There was a show on TV in the 70’s, “Wait Till Your Father Gets Home,” a cartoon. The opening theme was a song by the same name, and the visual was of a family anxiously awaiting the father’s return home.

That kind of sums up my experience of our house. But on the TV show, Father was a softie.

Not so in my house. I was always waiting to see whether or not my Dad was mad. He had a mean temper, and a cruel tongue. And he used his physical presence to instill fear in those weaker than he. I guess that means he was pretty much a bully.

Which has always made me wonder what in the hell had happened to him to make him capable of that kind of behavior towards his family: the people he most loved in his life. I will never know. All those who could fill in those blanks are gone now.

I don’t believe it was his essence to be that mean. He learned it somewhere. As is true of many perfectionistic personalities, he was hardest on himself. I’m not making excuses for him. He could be a bastard, and it was not a healthy atmosphere to grow up in, being afraid all the time, walking on eggshells. But I know there is more to the story than just my experience of him.

Having grown up in such an oppressive atmosphere, it is a very high priority for me that for the rest of my life on this planet I not live like that: that I not live on pins and needles, carefully holding my breath around my loved ones, afraid to make a mistake for fear of being shamed and made to feel like I am less than nothing.

Which leads me to value freedom of every kind. Freedom of expression. Freedom to do what I want to when I want to. And that is wonderful, and I honor that about myself. I do.

But. I am in a partnership. And that requires restraint and compromise and taking in another person’s needs and wants and values alongside my own. Sometimes, yes, putting theirs ahead of mine. (No, not in the old-fashioned template of the wife putting her husband’s needs first. But in the way that mature love requires.)

It means being a grown-up. Making The Couple an entity that has a value that is greater than the individual parts that comprise it. Being a kind of parent to The Couple.

Some days, this is easy, cause, well, it’s beautiful. (Remember this song? Well before Mariah’s high notes, there was Minnie…)

Other days, if I am especially tired or spiritually drained, or triggered, to consider compromise can feel like I am on the brink of losing everything that really matters to me. Those old wounds have a deep pull. They cry for me to fight for My Life. Run for the hills. Defend my Precious Freedom. (On no, he didn’t!)

I take a deep breath. Give myself a Time Out. (No, I don’t stand myself in the corner. But I do leave the room, sometimes even the apartment, to go get some air, some space, some present-day perspective.) Remove myself from the situation before I go all Beyoncé on his ass and say things I will later regret. (I am from H-town, after all.)

I go off and soothe that part of my heart: that little girl’s longings for a relaxed home and freedom of spirit and unconditional love. I am the only one who can give that to her now.

I parent my self first, attend to the wound. Then I can bring the Whole Mess that I Am back to the production that is Our Marriage. I am ready and able again to consider his needs, the marriage, Our Couple.

Being a flawed human, I am not always successful at this. When I am unsuccessful (aka I act out,) I take responsibility when need be and work to change my behavior, aka Make Amends. That is parenting too. And when he is ready to forgive me, then there we are.

Ready to make art again. Together.



* Full disclosure: I really needed The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt of “partner” today. Things have been very stressed in my relationship lately. Between our impending new home purchase (and all that brings up and entails) and my “summer of deep change,” we are having growing pains.

So though I wrote this post lsat year, I really needed to re-read it and be reminded of it today.

And though I didn’t think I would ever re-post a post, here I am. My own heart needed to.



Unchained Melody

There will be a day

When my choked throat opens, when my tongue can relax

And my breath flows free

There will be a day

When the cacophony of other people’s voices inside my head

Become quiet, stilled for good

There will be a day

When all the many tunes of the me’s within

Harmonize as one, swelling chorus

There will be a day

When my I speak, full-throated, my songs of truth

Authentic arias, free at last to soar

Oh yes, there will be a day


Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: harmonize


No Place Like Home

Sometimes when I am out in the world, I feel a compulsion to go home immediately.

I literally feel drawn, as if by a magnet, back to the safety of home.

I have lived with this sensation for many years now, since 2001. I blogged about it last year when I wrote about depression.

I am still unraveling what is contained in this dynamic within.

On the one hand, I love life, being alive. I crave connection. I love people. I love humanity.

I am an actress. Human behavior endlessly fascinates me. What makes people take actions. What drives us all to stay alive on this spinning blue ball. That we choose every day to love and aspire to things.

And yet. There are times when I am filled with a mix of emotions and sensations that compel me to get home as soon as I can. Fear, anxiety, panic.

I never thought if it before, but is this a version of a panic attack? I have no idea, no way to guage that. I hear people talk about panic attacks. I know  people who suffer from them.

How do you label an internal experience like what I experience? I guess if there are enough people experiencing  similar symptoms, someone names it and it becomes a way to discuss, diagnose.

I have brought it to conventional therapy. Past life regression work. Rebirthing. Shamanic healing work.

I’ve learned cognitive behaviors to manage it. All have been helpful in one way or another.

But I still don’t have a concrete understanding of why it happens to me. Is it genetically encoded in my DNA? Did my people learn to survive by keeping close to home?

In a past life, was I some tribal member who died traumatically when being away from the others and my soul just cannot let it go?

I know for some years, I withdrew from being in the flow of life because I did not know how to cope. I had to learn how to be in the world again. I had to mature emotionally, with help. That has been an amazing process.

But that period of time is many years past. I have never felt more healed, more whole, more integrated than I do now. I am in awe of the healing I have done, of where I am today. I have a truly gifted life, filled with love, connection, abundance, and creativity.

And yet. The magnet pull comes upon me still.

I believe my body has more to show me. There are answers coming from within, but on my body’s own time. Not my ego’s.

And so I bear patient, loving witness as it happens, listening for clues even as I experience the pull when it hits me. I have finally stopped adding to the pain of it all by beating myself up for its mere existence. Or trying to bully myself into being able to “just bypass it already.”

When I have that pull to go home, I choose to see it with the eyes of a loving parent. I take my own hand and ask myself if it can wait until I finish my day. I promise to give that part of me full attention when safe at home, later.

And I follow thru on that promise. That is crucial. I need that part to begin to trust me, to trust that I can handle whatever may go down out in the world.

I feel that trust growing inside. It is a deeply important feeling.

And I welcome this.

I am building a new home within. And when completed, I will be there, wherever I go, wherever I am in the world.

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: magnet

Apocalypse Wow

When I was around age 20, my life exploded. My entire world literally blew out from its center.

Looking back, I suppose it was destined to detonate at some point or another.

I oscillate between feeling sadness that it did not happen sooner and gratitude that it did not take longer to happen.

Spiritually-evolved and wise people would say that it happened “right on time. ”

I say “Bite me.”

(OK, I got that out of my system. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself. Maybe we all do. We all have our crosses to bear in this life, right?)

No, seriously, I guess it did have to happen sooner or later.

At that point, I had been away from home for several years…the deep truths that had been bubbling molten hot at my core had had time to gain strength unencumbered by parental presence.

I was also living a breakneck speed: I was a full-time acting student, working a part time job and stage managing productions for the acting company associated with my acting school. I was busy 24/7 and running on fumes.

And then, one day in a bookstore, I was drawn like a magnet to a particular book. (This is the book that was to teach me that I do not chose books but rather they choose me.) It was Alice Miller’The Drama of the Gifted Child.

I bought it and read it as quickly as I could, and shortly thereafter, the volcano of my psyche erupted.

This book seemed to be explaining things about my experience growing up that I had long since hid from myself. It was as if in reading each chapter, carefully placed barriers were loosed around the nucleus of my being.

In the days following reading it, I felt like the ground I was walking on was constantly shifting and moving underneath my feet. It was unsettling.

Pressure within me began to build, until one day, one Sunday shift in the restaurant where I worked, my internal world just exploded.

Shards of self flew from my core, and in an instant, a horrific revelation from within flew up through my body from my gut into my consciousness in a searing flash and the fairy tale fantasy that I had been living inside my own mind of a perfect family and a perfect childhood turned to ashes.

And, just like that, I was forever changed.

From that day to this one, it has been a whirlwind, rollercoaster ride filled with astonishing kindness, loss, addiction, danger, self-abuse, despair, hope, comedy, tragedy, loneliness, desperation, shock, torment, friendship, mentorship, recovery, love, joy, bliss, confusion, celebration, emptiness, wholeness, perversion, goodness, synchronicity, luck, terror, horror, wonder, adventure, growth, overwhelming gratitude and grace, forgiveness, miraculousness, passion, sexuality, understanding, caring, shifting, healing, working, giving, taking, receiving, being lost and being found, again and again and again.

(I suppose that is simply a life being lived.)

I would not change one moment because if I did I would not be right where I am today.

Don’t get me wrong. Right where I am today is not puppy dogs and moonbeams.

In some ways, I feel like I am only now rising, like a phoenix, out of the ashes of that apocalyptic day.

And as uncomfortable, often terrifying and unsettling as that feels, to be in totally unfamiliar territory in my own surroundings once again, I know that I am indeed in the process of rising, like a phoenix, out of those ashes, and that knowing, in and of itself, is pretty amazing.

I don’t know where I will land, or even if I will. But I know that this is my journey, meant just for me, and I am rising to the occasion.


Prompted by The Daily Post Word Prompt: detonate



I slipped my moorings today

Just like that

All this time they were mine to release

I thought the knots were untieable

I thought only he knew Marlinspike ways

These straining years

This drydock life

Now left behind on the shores of past pain

I have my own anchor now

I’ll set it down where I please

I slipped my moorings today

Just like that

Inspired by The Daily Post Daily Word Prompt: unmoored


I love to jump off cliffs.

This runs antithetical to just about every way I was conditioned growing up.

I come from very fearful people, stoic Protestants who practice “keeping things in the family,” “never let them see how you really feel,” and “stick close to home.” Cautious, careful, deliberate action-takers. Spontaneity? Not so much.

I never questioned it growing up. It was normal to me. Things like traffic and weather dictated activities. Never let them see you cry. Don’t show weakness. Therapy might as well have been witchcraft.

It is imbedded in my code, this desire to avoid potential problems. This fear of something bad happening if you are not careful at all times.

And yet.

I am no adrenaline junkie or extreme sports athlete. While I do enjoy a good rollercoaster ride now and then, I have not been ticking off a list of things I must do such as skydiving and bungie jumping, though if the occasion arose I might do those things.


Years ago, at a quarry in Vermont, I discovered that inside me is a kind of a dare devil all the same. That there are times I want to take risks, when I must, in fact, take the leap.

I love to stand at a precipice and then jump off into a deep body of water. I just love that sensation in my body as I step off into the air, my heart in my throat as an unheralded scream of joy-fear comes out of my mouth. Those moments of being totally free and falling through the air are just so life-filled, so in the moment. I experience the rush of my own full life force. There’s a feeling of being at one with something outside of me and yet within myself all at once. And then, the landing into the water. Being encompassed, becoming one with it in those moments in the muted depths before surfacing. Astounded at having been saved once again.

Maybe those moments are my church, my sanctuary.

For those seconds I am not thinking, not watching, not taking care.

I just am, and I am far from alone, and it feels great.

I know that experience now, and I seek it out in other ways. In my work as an actor. I feel that same way when I fully invest in my character and truly lay deeply personal life and death needs on the line and take that same kind of leap into the scene. My partner and I leap into the air of the play and sometimes find astonishing moments of true experience together. Surprises, places unexpected. When it is over, the same astonishment and gratitude for having landed safely. This is also my church, my sanctuary. It, too, is holy.

My early conditioning and the family encoding have not gone away, maybe never will. I can still catch myself getting very anxious when it is raining hard and I am in the car with my husband, feeling as if we should go straight back home. I carry unwarranted dread around at times like a Pashmina shawl. It can feel comforting and necessary.

But that’s OK.

Today, I consciously choose times to allow my spontaneity to take the front seat, put caution and fear in the back and assure them that “I got this.” I look for more places to find my free-fall worship, and I’m so grateful that I do what I do for a living.

Acting as I know it is not for the feint of heart, and I am honored to embody the lives of people who are fighting to live better lives, love more fully, taking risks to get what they need.

For them, and for me, I am happy to take that step off into the air and see where it takes me.

#freefall #risk-taking #acting

Inspired by The Daily Post Word prompt: precipice