how to carve our space for yourself


We can widen the soles and soften the knees, our first gateways of earth energy into the thighs and pelvic floor- our home of fertility and rootedness and identity. If the ground beneath you is coarse you extend the tail to soften the femurs into their true home, deep in the hip socket, and allow the Psoas to release. The Psoas is the only muscle in our body which connects the bottom to the top and the front to the back. For this reason, and I suppose for many others, it has been called the Spirit Muscle. Thus the whole lower half of the body softens, opening to a funneling of energy from the elegant arch of the heels all the way behind the sacrum, unwinding like kite tails that stream and cross each other as they reach the nexus of energy that is base of spine. Then fingers of fascia ask for space, allow the top of the body to release, the diaphragm has more room to breathe you, it's only desire to spread and wing. The shoulder girdle stops trying to breathe for you and instead descends. The heart yawns awake. The floating ribs gasp delight and you widen even from the nipple line. You breathe out all the way to the pinkies.

on femurs and the 4 train

on femurs and the 4 train

Spent a month in the city of subways and rush. Framed in a time that's built on transit. We live in a room that fights for elbows. All the Heads stay down to count the steps taken in a day.

Oh but what beauty in the constant of flux....

To the chaos there is a response of tremendous calm, a subtle kindness. Framed in a time that is infinite- beyond the realm of our first layers of recognition, foresight, prodding. And when you live in a room that begs for space, you have to find it on your own; your elbows must protrude and the shoulder blades wing, I'll give you one guess what happens, then, dear one, to the ribcage, and the lungs it frames and protects. Expansion. And when the head sinks down the chin floats toward the chest in reverence. A grounding in descent. And it's loud everywhere outside of ourselves so we lean in closer to find the quiet, to listen to what the heart has to say.

And a corner becomes your world, and the streets sing to you, and your boots mold to you. You become inconsequential and yet everything all at once. When you finally make your way home at the end of each day a new meaning to ceremony is born. You bend as if in prayer to wash the city off your face, you let the coat drape across the back of a chair. The warmth of you wafts away, out the window you've propped open with cedar block, your scent curls around the streetlamp. You welcome this chill because the kettle is steaming, tea is already on its way.

When you lift your cup, you may breathe in the aroma. Here fragrant plants are worshipped. Somehow you know that you are drinking a cloud; you are drinking the rain. The tea contains the whole universe.

This is how, dear one, you have come to understand the Tao.

You learn to exist in the undercurrents of what it means to lengthen energetically, to settle the heads of the thigh bones deep into their home of the hip socket. There is a deep peace when a joint can realize it's full depth and how that feels to rest comfortably in our own architecture. The skeletal structural shift: how to adapt to the city. How you start to look like the building you are living in, the chair that holds your coat, the sink you lean over- with cupped palms, an offering. There are skeletal subtleties to softness. The inherent etching of ease, right there in the indentations of the collar, the curved lip of the iliac crest.

in mancora

in mancora

In Mancora I am soft about the shoulders, lilted in my speech. Here I tell them all about anchoring the tailbone in a language that is not my own, in words that I use to construct a semblance of what fully occupying the body means to me.  Instructing a bound twist in Spanish becomes a yoga of it's own, and I'm finding potency in my fingerpads- to use the spread of collarbones or the grounding of ankles in a correspondence that floats far above didactic. I've become laconic. I'm the intimate stranger sprinting spans of beach between each cue. Together we move away from the clench behind the jawline through an unspoken release of hips. In just one day, I've generated more cooling in the space below the navel than I've felt in the deep lakes of the past three lifetimes I skip stones across.

There's an eloquence unspoken of my sentiment towards the red sarong; it's become the scarf to keep ropy hair, brushed only by wind's fingers, in tow. The makeshift dress I wrap around the crease of hips and float across a sunken terrace. Should I ever decide to shower again, it will be my towel (but this is unlikely). Tying coins to the corners an
d slinging it across a sand speckled shoulder it becomes my knapsack. It's the yoga strap I weave across the the crook of elbows to spread open the back ridges and rounded pleats of heart. At night when I fling open the window to welcome in the waves, the sarong becomes my bedspread. In a world where everything is so new in it's presence and persistence, it has become my home.

Someone here told me he couldn't remember where he had left his shoes, and how happy that made him. We haven't felt anything but sand and waxed wood beneath our feet for days.

And what of coconuts? I consider any other form of prayer, save for the yearning and fulfillment of this most precious fruit, sacrilege. My most meditative experiences in the past week have been on the present moment awareness felt by savoring the curled flesh of a coconut, raised to my lips on a cold silver spoon that reminds me of tasting someone else. Alone, I laugh out loud because I don't believe I've ever felt such gratitude towards nourishment before; never knew something to be so whole in it's offering.

 I've said it several times, and think it even more, I count coconuts and blessings to be of one and the same. My time here has been the most blessed I can remember, both from this lifetime and the ones that came before it.

sometime in september

sometime in september

The mala I've been waiting for are skulls wrapped around my wrist, and I watch them circle bone and wonder why Cusco sometimes seems to chew me up like no place ever has.

I sit most of the day on the cold stairs outside my bedroom wrapped in the wisdom blanket, learning new words from an ancient tongue. Here strange meteors are embedded with geometric patterns of molten rock, begging you to think outside the confines of this earth. At night I sprint home from Plaza de Armas, through the only city I've ever truly lived in. Under the balcony of the devil I dry my ankles, where the staggering cold has lapped up against my calves.

Time and again, though with wide spaces in between, I sink hips into frog squat: malasana, and pull hands into heart center, plug the thumbs into the chest and feel the ruddy, rounded red woman I sometimes can be, the soft give of the pelvic floor and the roots and the raw and the real.

There is still so much I care to release, to make way for the things and the people I crave to learn about, for the things I will one day tell only them, and no one else.

On Sundays I think about dinner for the first time all week and cook for the travelers who have become part of my home. Each of them an offering on my Sadhana. We play Rising Appalachia and shuck Choclo, like cartoon corn, and pick through wilted offerings of basil. Sweet potatoes rounded in the palm to hold you here, cabbage curling upward, and small, bright hot peppers that long to be dropped from the tree outside the kitchen. With pestle and mortar I crack peppercorn that beg boldly, bay leaves that chant crisply, and tender shoots of garlic. We are rounded and well women and here we sway with spices.

the feminine force

for my friends

We are women of impossible dimensions
We shadow the crag rock and follow Coal Creek curves
Despite our depth we approach you casual as side-slung leather
We call hearts to soften and we chisel flint tips
we taste like turmeric because golden ancient stories stir our bones

We are the careful turn of phrases
and the soft smooth underarm
But be warned some cut forelocks of red hair on new moon and
others chant to ward you off when curled up in determined sleep
thumb to forefinger, we can mostly dance alone

We are sharp eyes and hips
the cleavage of a culture
and despite distance, death and danger we are bonded

You may think this curve of cheek
or the steady slap of tongue,
a supple slip, is invitation
to take- you can try but you must know-
there is boldness behind our breast.