Saturday, August 29, 2009


I find myself strangely content with my life, and harboring no resentment or anger towards even the assholes of the world. No resentment or anger towards even myself.

This is new.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Guilt, and Nostalgia

Today I started exercising! For the first time in a while... I got out the wooden box and did some step-ups and 5 lb dumbbell exercises. Of course I listened to old hard rock CDs while I did my workouts, and realized how much I miss just being able to hit the workouts as hard as possible, look at my body in the mirror while I'm exercising, and not be disgusted at all the flab. I don't mind not being "sexy" at the moment... sure I miss being "sexy"... but right now what I miss is having actual muscle, agility, strength, endurance, energy... qualities I sorely missed while being pregnant and now I'm anxious to get them back! Again, right now all I want to do is get back into martial arts... to have the feeling that I'm preparing and strengthening my body for something that is essentially intense and worthwhile. I've never been able to motivate myself to exercise simply to "look good" or "feel good..." I need to TRAIN my body, not just burn calories... and maybe I will make my goal to be in shape enough to start martial arts again in a year or two, when my baby is old enough to be left with friends for a couple hours on a regular basis. I miss my "workout high" and I miss the social interaction, the intensity of the training, and the acquisition of badass skills.

I pretty much started my day by going out to milk the goats and feed animals, but when I got back inside I had a healthy (ha ha) helping of ice cream and chocolate chips, and sat around surfing the web and reading for a while... then T (my baby boy) fell asleep and I cuddled with him for a while, but couldn't drift off. This guilt kept nagging at me. I'm being lazy. I definitely didn't feel guilty for spending time with my boy... I felt guilty for sitting around on my ass.

Most people think of guilt as a bad thing. We are told we "shouldn't feel guilty" about this or that. And, usually, I don't. I find guilt to be a waste of my time, and usually don't bother with it. In fact, I believed it to be completely useless, (after all, if you are true to yourself and make choices you believe in, there's no use feeling guilty about it) until this morning, when I realized that guilt can actually be an effective motivator when it's healthy to do something that I have no wish to do. (Like exercise.) Is it possible that every human emotion or instinct or feeling has a purpose and can be beneficial? Or are there some feelings that are completely devoid of benefit altogether? I like the idea that every human emotion/instinct/feeling has a purpose, and it's the utilization of that purpose that makes the "feeling" beneficial or an obstacle... in other words, it's our choices, not our makeup, that determines what kind of benefit we get out of life. Still, there are some "feelings" that I can't see as having any real benefit, such as aversion to people different than oneself. It's a common human tendency to avoid "different" people and co-mingle (or think highly of) only people who are similar to oneself. However I can't think of a present-day situation when that tendency would be beneficial. (I.E. the upsides outweigh the downsides.)

This poses an interesting philosophical question that I will have to ponder in more detail before I formulate an opinion.

The Hobbit Songs

Wouldn't it be cool if someone set songs from The Hobbit to actual music? (besides the animated Hobbit movie ones... although I admit that their version of the "misty mountains" song is pretty awesome...) And then put out a CD and sold it on the internet? And wouldn't it be cool if someone, say, me, bought said CD of Hobbit music and played it for my son as a lullaby??? :/ Why does no one think of these things?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Have You Ever...

Have you ever....

Wanted to fly, glide, maneuver, and dive through the sky?

Felt like wrapping yourself up a tree like a vine?

Dreamt that you could breathe underwater?

Felt like stretching yourself out and wrapping yourself around the whole world?

Needed to run faster than the speed of light just for the feel of it?

Itched to lift a dozen cars and throw them into buildings?

Longed to leap from tree to tree across the top of a forest?

Wanted to die just so that you can transcend the limitations of your body?

I often feel displaced inside my own body. I seem so much slower, more awkward, and weaker than I should be. I feel as if I weren't really meant to be chained to the ground like I am, or confined to this small of a space. Being human seems too restrictive to me. I want to be as unrestrained as my imagination.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Storm Is Coming

The clouds are dark and heavy, the sun dimmed. Visually, it looks like it's about to rain. But the windows are open in the house and even if I were blind, I would be able to tell you that a storm is coming.

The wind tells me. The air tells me. I want to use the phrase, "it smells like a storm" because there is something in the air that my nose picks up on. The wind changes, right before a storm, and, for some reason, humans can pick up on this.

But how to describe it? If there were a person standing next to me who had never seen nor felt a storm before, I would not know how to tell that person that there's a storm coming soon. I would say, "There! As that breeze wafts in from the window! Do you smell that?" And the person would say, "No, I smell nothing," because, of course, the difference isn't really a smell in the everyday sense of the word. So I would say, "As the wind comes in, can you feel how it's different from wind on a sunny day?" And the person would say, "No, it feels the same to me. What's the difference?" And I would not be able to say anything, because I don't really know what the difference is, only that there is a difference. I could say that it "just feels fresher," but "freshness" isn't very tangible either. It's not something that can be measured, only felt subjectively. And so this "smell before the storm" is something I can sense, it's something I know from experience.
But words elude me.

Living out here in the country has made me deeply aware of the weather. Farmers, after all, depend on the weather a lot more than most people. It seems to me that every cloud has a message, and the wind can often reveal things that go unnoticed by most people. I've even been more aware of how the weather can affect my mood. However all of this knowledge can't really be described. It's knowledge that can only be observed by living close to nature and by observing, or "listening" to the world around me. I'm the sort of person who often misses little details in my surroundings. I can pass my car keys sitting on the table 4 or 5 times without noticing they're there, but I am often keenly aware of subtle, intangible, changes in the environment. I don't think these changes are consciously noted, but simply picked up by my brain as somehow important.

And noting these subtle changes are a form of intuitive awareness without thought. It's a good exercise for meditation- silencing your inner monologue and just simply taking note of what IS. I don't know how many people "listen" to clouds or the wind or detect changes in the environment based on how the plants smell on a certain day, but honestly I think it's a valuable exercise. It also helps me appreciate the subtlety of nature, and some days it can feel as though I'm discovering or re-discovering a secret language, a language not of words but of smells and skin.

(BTW, I would love to know what this "smell before the storm" is, scientifically. I've heard it's ozone, plant spores, or bacteria. Let me know if you have any input.)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Finding the Tao While Giving Birth

I've had quite a few powerful experiences in my life, and I fully expected that childbirth would be one of them. Of course I was right- childbirth is a powerful experience- but I wasn't quite expecting it to be such a powerfully spiritual experience.

From the moment I had the first early labor contractions, I felt a kind of peace and compassionate acceptance settle over me. This is in direct contrast to the previous few days where I felt beaten down, hopeless that my baby would never come, and extremely irritated at anyone and everyone who got in my way. The change was dramatic. Often, days before the baby actually came, I would lie half-awake in bed as I was having contractions, reassuring the baby (telepathically, of course) that it was safe and ok for him to come out, that I was making my body ready and open for him, and that he had loving family out here ready to meet him. Early labor was vaguely calm and serene even though it was also very uncomfortable. I let my emotions wash over me and through me like a river, calm and centered and preparing myself for the ordeal that was to come. I felt myself draw into myself, pushing away all external feedback, going into what someone once acurately described as "laborland". I was more in tune with my body than I have ever been during meditation, feeling the ebb and flow of contractions, riding the waves of fire, for hours and hours... and, although my body was already working very hard, my mind was still. The contractions put me into a kind of trance, and I just went with it, letting the hours pass by unnoticed by me. But Tao does not necessarily mean serenity.

All serenity, calmness, and acceptance went out the window with the onset of active labor. My mind was still not in control, but there was no way I could remain serene. The world around me faded until there was nothing but blinding, agonizing pain. I didn't and couldn't fight my body or fight what was happening, and this sense of helplessness came over me. Nothing I did would relieve the pain, nothing would even dim the pain, all I could do was ride the pain, let it come and then pass and then come again. I let go of my need to remain calm. I let go of all need, all desire, all expectation. I was an animal at that point... naked and rocking back and forth, lashing out, breathing in pants, and screaming when I couldn't do anything else. Breathing became very important. Inhaling, exhaling. There was nothing else in the world except my breath and my pain. For 4 hours I labored like this, and then, completely exhausted, demanded pain medication. But Tao does not necessarily mean letting go.

And then finally it came time to push... and all my energy, all my effort went to opening myself up so my little boy could come out. There was no time for thought, no time for extraneous movement. I couldn't think, I couldn't prepare myself, I couldn't analyze what was going on, all I could do was simply become open. With every breath and every push I opened up. I would push with all the energy I had, pushing my energy down and out, becoming open. And then I would rest, letting my body become limp and still as i waited for the next contraction. I became the void out of which the universe is born. For that one hour, my body became silly putty, bending and stretching. I was no longer the mindless traveller, I was the gateway. I was the same as every other mother in this world. Every other human mother, animal mother, and the Earth Mother herself. I was being born just as my child was being born. Just as he had to travel through me to get to the outside world, I had to travel through myself. It was painful, a very painful sort of opening, because I was dying as well as being born. My body was breaking, but I didn't need my body. I didn't need at all. And then, suddenly, I was born, just as he was born.

It was very trippy.

Throughout the whole labor, I was completely out of control. My body knew what it was doing, and did it, no matter what I thought or felt or wanted. All my emotions- impatience, eagerness, dread, anticipation, excitement, all came and left like waves that never really penetrated me. I felt myself die and become nothing, I became empty space, because that was what I needed to do. There was nothing extra- no thoughts or musings, no extra movement to get in the way. I simply did. I simply was. And then, I simply was not.

And a baby was born. And so was a mother.

(Crossposted to the Rambling Taoist)