The last time I felt excited about a job interview was in 2003 when, after living as a volunteer in a tent at The Ojai Foundation for some months, I initiated an entry point onto the staff there. Questions in the interview included, but were not limited to, “How do you deal with your anger?” and “How do you get your need for alone time met?” I felt excited about the practice of hiring people based on who they were intrinsically (not necessarily by pedigree or credential) and on how well they seemed to know themselves.
The Ojai Foundation was a place, in 2003, where I felt at home and recognized. I felt stimulated intellectually by the minds there and also spiritually by the mysteries that lived alongside those minds. Nature was the container for it all. Lush, green, and everywhere. I suppose it was a school, of sorts. A boundless one.
I spent a great deal of time in stone circles on that land. I learned from many teachers about what the circle could be, could mean, could teach, could hold. I learned the way of council, speaking and listening from the heart. I learned what it meant to live that way -- the way of the heart, the way of nothing wasted. I also learned what it looked like to teach it, yet not live it fully. Everything has a shadow, after all. I still keep watch for that one in particular.
Here, in our small, communal courtyard in the desert, I continue to live the way of council. I continue to spend a great deal of time in stone circles, even on snowy mornings like this.
If everything in the land body has a purpose, like the wolf or the juniper, then what is ours — our human purpose — collectively, as a species? Leopold dichotomizes between the land body and the human body, yet he also speaks of ecology and the relationships of all things in the context of a system.
For instance, of what use is it that humans go into nature to excavate our own psyches? We do it. We are unique in our ability to do it. How does that contribute to the ecological whole?
Leopold also says that, “Man kills what he loves,”
and that, “An ecologist lives alone in a world of wounds.”
My body has been broken, also my heart. It is helpful to know that this is the way of it. This is how the apricot tree blooms: by breaking open the seed. This is how she remembers her own inherent self-worth; this is how she remembers to take the risk of blooming again. This doesn’t mean that life becomes easier; it means that life is lived with greater courage.
Story originally published in snapdragon: a journal of art and healing, spring 2020, issue 6.1: vibrant | vision. https://www.snapdragonjournal.com/
Each of us who is not seen in this world, who is not invited to be present in our full eccentricity, in ownership of our truest gifts, is abandoned.
In an economically driven world, we are orphans, forever in need of love and nurturing, holding and listening.
The intention of the writing has been to explore shame, femaleness, reproduction, sex, the body. A specific goal within the intention has been to explore, to excavate, to say out loud the choice to make the female self, the female body a priority, to decide when and under what circumstances to allow another life to inhabit it. Patriarchal ideology has decided for the female body that it is a “host” for life and not, in itself, a life. And, further, that it, the female body, can be a source for pleasure, but that its pleasure is derivative.
I look out at the man across the street taking care of his yard.
I look out from behind the paneled window pane.
a world is created between us.
There are feelings out there,
on the other side of the glass:
a whole city,
about who we are
and who we are supposed to be.
There are feelings out there,
where the agave is blooming.
you lay on a mat exercising your pelvis.
I stand in my blue bathrobe, hair wet.
It is so quiet, only:
The movement of your belly up and down as you breathe,
the tea kettle,
the shuffle of paper.
I stand in my bathrobe writing a poem
about the feelings out there
and the world in here,
that has stopped,
full of bath water and fresh eggs.
I use creative non-fiction, autobiographical fiction, and poetry to communicate, connect, and understand.