February 29, 2004

Check and see


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Check and see if there is any part of you that is relieved that you do not have to communicate about something; you do not have to face something; you do not have to process something. No doubt it is a part of you that does not want to show iitself in the light. Stalk that part of yourself for all it's worth. Mine it, analyze it, revere it, contain it.

Posted by Dakota at 09:26 PM

ladies group update


Shakin' and swayin' off our demons, we are-- My ladies group is cookin'.

Our leader is writing, directing and producing some major, sacred music extravaganza, not to be missed. She is also working on her website and collaborating on a project about Hiroshima.

One of us, who is already clearing past life stuff, (her "demons") is busy influencing advertising, coaching the creators.

One of us was inspired to write three sonnets and a poem, by a physican with two year old twins, who was just passing through.

One of us, inspired by her new woman lover, and her evolving husband and children from whom she is lovingly separating, sang for us two beautiful and profound songs which she composed. There are more.

One of us commented to the songwriter that she is falling in love with herself.

One of us continues to present a multimedia piece entitled "Soul Survivor", about the effects of sexual abuse on the body, as she teaches and writes too many proposals (still plugging along on that yin).

And then there's me.

See what girls can do when they free their energies?

Posted by Dakota at 06:21 AM

February 28, 2004

Demons, you blockbrain


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"What you fear the most has already happened." from "A Shining Affliction" by Annie G. Rogers.

So yesterday "it" came out of the closet in my ladies group . One of us, conceptualized (out loud) the blocked energy in her body as a demon. Great gals that we all are, we pitched right in to exorcise--- rather, to change the vibration of the blocked energy sufficiently, using sound, and touch, so that old, dense energy patterns, lodged in the body, partially blocking self, causing pain and attracting like energies, were shaken loose --releasing dense, dark energy into the light, where it was freed to express in full consciousness. My goodness, that can be satisfying.

Do you want to hear something psychotic? I said how relieved I was, not to have something like THAT, from a past life, in MY body. Our leader, and probably everyone else looked at me kindly, (like I don't have EXACTLY that problem, in spades), and said "Well some people are here on earth to be containers, and that's an important role too. " "Yes! yes!" I thought with relief.

Well guess what, it later dawned on me that I don't want to be a just a container anymore, so I'm doing this work in order to become a creator, even if it's just creating a little, remote, country blog. The idea is to express spirit anyway it comes to you. Mrs. Fields, for instance, did it with cookies.

Back to my powerful emotional response to "the demon". Did I mention that I had a powerful emotional response? I was spooked. The conceptualization of blocked energy as "a demon" freaked me out. . Why, pray tell? Precisely because I too have "a demon" inside. I make judgements about the primitiveness and evilness of "the demon", when, in fact, "demon" is only a developmental conception. The term reveals at what age, or in what Age, the trauma occurred. Mine happened at an early age --- ghosts, goblins and demons are often the product of a small child's mind. Historically, demons were very big too. Consciousness was not as evolved as it is today, and humans needed a way to manage and explain the dense, dark energy patterns that they experienced. Projection is always helpful in the management of one's own demons too. Ask George W.

I am repulsed by the notion of "an entity" entering my body. My higher self says "What you fear the most, has already happened, dear. What exactly do you think is wrong with you? " Someday I will write about my experience with the intrusion.

So what happens when demon energy enters your body? In order to propel itself sufficiently, demon energy is often accompanied by sadistic, sexual force -- a wish to murder knowledge, insight and soul. The "evil forces" (read bad parent or authority figure, read container of coiled , potentially creative energy gone awry, destroying) get something going that causes the child excruciating pain. The childs fights and fights, but finally succumbs to the will of the sadistic force -- exhausted. And at that moment, the child thinks he has actively chosen the evil, the badness, the demon. Knowing that he is "bad", like his perpetrator, he curtails and inhibits potential creative energy, believing it to be "evil". The "containing", child holds the abuse in his body, in order to avoid doing what was done to him--- being like the bad guys, identification with the aggressor. That dense energy is not available to him for creative purposes. Mostly it spends time inside the container, the body, the person, making messes. Transformation happens when the demon is brought to consciousness, to the light, freeing the energy that it takes to "contain" it, and making it available for creativity and expression.

The good thing about neglected children is that they don't have introjects, demons inhabiting their bodies, coiled creative energy. They do have emptiness and fear of abandonment. I think I have both. There's the part of me that denies. It wasn't so bad. "Oh yea" says the part of me that wants me to know how bad it was, "Feel this pain." "Oh," says the denying part, "That's not so bad. " Yeh

It's very hard for me to go back to the child part of me that was invaded, with love and compassion, and accept that I thought I was the demon-- mistaking projected dense energy for my own, as I encapsulated in my body. I need to recognize that I will not destroy like a demon, I will transform the dense energy, uncoil it and use it creatively. Salvation of sorts.

It's time to release the patterns held by my densest energy. I do not need to worry about doing the dirty deeds that caused the energy to nest inside me in the first place. That did not belong to me. I just introjected it, from a perpetrator (who probably introjected it from another perpetrator.) The choice is either to pass the demon energy along or to transform it. I have a preference.

Posted by Dakota at 06:48 AM

February 27, 2004

Chair, with masonry and a hot tip


Here's the hot tip part. This is such a find. Hypertexted poetry . Why did I never think of that? Love that complexity. Go to this site and click around a little, it's really fun. Then try it yourself, if you have the spare time.

Posted by Dakota at 09:19 PM

Everybody's doing it

Varieties of Mayan masonry found on the palapas around Tulum. The palapas with walls, that is.





Posted by Dakota at 08:19 PM

never edit


This is a photograph of the way the toilet paper was arranged by the staff at Maya Tulum every day.

I am kicking myself because I had a photograph in my archives of white wash cloths, folded in the towels at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, in precisely the same way. The same fold. White on white. I erased it, because I thought I'd never use it.

There must have been Mayans on staff at the Queen Elizabeth, who carried their tradition north.

Maybe I'll learn to how to dig in my recycle bin, and find the white towels.

Posted by Dakota at 05:32 PM

February 26, 2004

That's more like it

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Took me an hour to find the entry where I last published side by side . Now I'm not sure I like the look. Oh well.

While searching through the blog, my internal family was very chatty. (Pardon me for practicing--- use it or lose it.) I must admit that I did not breathe in my whole self before beginnning my perusal, since I was impatient. Impatient is probably a part.

There was a part of me that felt amazed that I have been doing this rather consistently since November, given my crushed little attention span. I do have a peculiar variety of pictures, and there is a shy little part that feels proud of that. That part is shy because it was quickly and efficiently annihilated whenever it showed up in my formative years. Shy is a vast improvement.

There is a critic, protecting the shy part of me from annihilation. The critic used to rule tyrannically, and would immobilize me whenever I stuck my nose out the door. It has eased up a bit recently. The critic noticed that I had published some photos twice, or even three times, (must have really liked those), and that some colors are pale versions of the originals, or at least the way I like to remember the originals --- I know not why. The critic noticed that alot of them are not so great.

I am proud to announce that there is an emerging part of me that doesn't really care. So what. Expression is expression. Do what you can do with the equipment you have. Everyone is unique. Just put it out there and see where your piece of whatever fits into the big picture. You never know. Like the "believe believe" message.

Then there is the completely distracted/disinterested part of me that could not read a single paragraph on this blog, and only wanted to look at the pictures. Probably that is the part with the crushed attention span. Pretty pathetic when you cannot even read your own writing. That part protects me from the critic. You can't criticize what you have not read, right?

Oh, oh I think I called up the critic again. It says that I'm doing this all wrong, giving misinformation to others about Internal Family Systems, and wants to say please go read the book.

My judging part says that this has been a public display of rampant neurosis. It is very glad the blog is anonymous.

Oh self, self where art thou? I'd better go breathe you in.

Posted by Dakota at 10:02 PM

Mexico, really


Though I love this picture, I think it looks too much like India, or Turkey so I'm including a shot of the whole building for contextural flavor reference.


Posted by Dakota at 08:13 PM

Pelican diving


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So here's a shot that I spent about half my spare time trying to snag. It just shouldn't have been that complicated, but the delay on my digital camera meant that I had to anticipate that damn pelican's impluse thirty seconds beforehand and start pushing my buttons. I am told that catching a pteradactyl moment would have been a snap with a regular camera, but I have rarely used a regular camera of any kind, so I wouldn't know.

Posted by Dakota at 06:28 AM

February 25, 2004

Thatch rat headquarters


This is a shot of the thatched ceiling inside my room. Notice the peak of the mosquito netting in the lower right hand corner.

All the buildings in the complex had beautifully crafted thatched roofs. Some were enormous, at least seventy five feet in diameter in the dining hall and the meditation rooms. The larger roofs were supported by branched intrastructures -- see below. It's amazing to think that the art of thatching is still so alive. Imagine the thatchers weaving something like this eighty feet up in the air.


Posted by Dakota at 06:39 AM

Thatch and all that


This is a picture of my bed in Mexico. The mattress was firm. The first night at around 3 AM my roommate and I got the giggles so badly we awakened our neighbor. (As you can see, the thatch is not exactly air tight, and our voices carried. Unfortunately, his unhappiness only fueled the hilarity.)

What made us laugh so hard was that she said that she was sleeping on all fours, in child's pose , trying to get comfortable. The bed reminded her of guest accomodations at an ashram in India, which featured a raised concrete slab upon which to nestle. Later we borrowed some yoga mats from the meditation center, plumped them up with multiple serapes and dosed ourselves with flexerol, thus managing a decent night's sleep.

As you can see the bed also included a mosquito net. Like a bridal veil, managing it took some practice. The net is gauzy and sticks to you when touched, therefore it was very easy to get it wound around your neck if you slept restlessly. Getting up in the middle of the night was also a challenge, since the mosquito net was hard to part and tended to come along.

On our last night, we heard a skittering of feet on the thatch--- not little feet either. I was convinced that a thatch rat was running around inside our yert. We turned the lights on until the generator went off, then I "slept" with my flashlight aimed at the thatch. In the morning we were told that it was just a munching geiko. I guess that was meant to be reassuring --- Rat, lizard it's all the same to me. Had it lost it's footing, it would have landed on the netting, and gotten its little toenails entangled, right on top of me. Yuckers. This is one of the reasons that I rarely go places where I cannot plug in my hairdryer.

Posted by Dakota at 06:04 AM

February 23, 2004

Blankets and hammocks


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I'm just slapping a few of these marketplace shots up for the Mexican flavors.

Posted by Dakota at 10:37 PM

Connected strings


Here's a little wowo, rainbow connection experience (That's just a sentence to tie the photo and the text together, forgive me. I think one of my pelican pictures would have been more appropriate.)

There were two women, best friends, attending this seminar together. One of them was named Dakota too. They had a third friend, Sally, with whom they had been saving money to come to this training. Sally died last December and left them her portion of their savings, thus enabling them to make this trip. They honored her memory in many ways during the week, and we all knew the story.

So here's the wowo part. Dick Schwartz, our esteemed leader, began every morning with a meditation. On this particular morning I was sitting next to the other Dakota. We were asked to visualize the beginning of a path, and instructed to ask our "parts' to wait there, while our self went on a walk. It was fine if our parts couldn't leave the self, some of them needed alot of reassurance; somebody left their parts with a cell phone -- whatever. My parts were quite happy to separate because they seem to know that there are big benefits for them if I can do it.

So my "self" walked down the path. Directions were to see the path through the eyes of the self, embodied - not to see it walking down the path from the outside. I started in the Yellow Mountains in China for some reason, but the scene soon changed to the dunes near the ocean (with which I am somewhat more familiar). We were then given the option to leave the ground if we chose. no pressure. I had my first flight -- most pleasant. The final suggestion was to see if there were any messages that came to self in any form. I got one! I was so excited. My message was the word "Believe" It was repeated several times. Then we wrapped up, landed, walked back, picked up our parts and returned to the room.

We were asked to share our experiences afterwards. I said that I had received the message "Believe". The other Dakota, sitting next to me, was stunned. "Believe" had been Sally's mantra. She even had a license plate that said "Believe".

I told the other Dakota that Sally had transmitted to the wrong Dakota. The other Dakota said, "No, she had a sense of humor, and if the message had come to me, I would have thought I was just making it up." I thought I was just making it up too.

Posted by Dakota at 10:32 PM



At the marketplace in Tulum.

Posted by Dakota at 10:26 PM

February 22, 2004

A Healing


These are some of my IFS Training buddies baring their breasts on the beach in Mexico. One of the women in this photograph has had a double mastectomy and reconstruction. She was worried that her breasts didn't look "normal". We don't think anyone can tell the difference.

I documented the comparison, attired in the bathing suit that I bought at muslimfashion.com , since I am not evolved enough to appear on the beach barebreasted, let alone the internet. I have everyone's permission to publish this, but I'm not sure they thought I was serious.

muslim dress code

Posted by Dakota at 07:45 PM



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Hola means "hi there" in Spanish, and it's what you say in the Yucatan when you pass a Mayan on the trail. I'm back simply spilling over with information, misinformation and commentary.

Here's the overview. It rained from Saturday, when I arrived, until Wednesday. That never happens on the Mexican Riviera. Rather than bitching about it, (thank you, Esther Hicks, channeling Abraham ), I prefer to think that the weather allowed our group to coalese, huddled together inside, instead of disbursing onto the endless beach with the endless waves. I never laughed so much, but I am not tan, and I have neither photographed nor personally sucked energy from any Mayan temples - we will have to rely on the vast resources of the net for that. I did get a taste for working with "my parts" which will no doubt be reflected here from time to time.

I went to Mexico to be trained in something called Internal Family Systems . Let me see if I can do a little in vivo using the IFS Model that I almost learned. Maybe you can do it yourself, if you order the spiral bound book on the website. Maybe it would be better to find someone that knows how to do it, and pay them to teach you. That was not an ad, since I have hardly left "the trailhead", (an oft used metaphor for finding a "part of yourself" that cries for deeper exploration).

We all have "parts", not to worry, and they are multiplicitious, and infinite, like a fractal . Here's a great Richard Schwartz line. (He's the modest and kindly creater of this stuff) "To which vegetable is psychotherapy often compared ? An onion, (if you didn't know) because of all of its layers. IFS is more analogous to a head of garlic, many individual cloves, each with layers." So here goes.

Many of my parts are very happy to be home, especially my "manager" parts. Manager parts are there to control the world, so that the frightened, hurt little parts of self, known fondly as "exiles", never have to experience being frightened, hurt and little again.

For example, there are many parts of me who think that my hair is my true self. (Didn't I promise to get in touch with my demon hair parts before I went?) My managers try very hard to keep them happy (when an exile isn't happy, ain't nobody happy) and the hairdryer is one of the managers' main tools in this endeavor.

I asked those manager parts of myself to "step aside". I did not use my hairdryer once on this trip. It was fine. I let the saltwater have it's way. It was fine. My "firefighters", those parts of self that come in to protect the exiles from feeling all the awful feelings, after the world has done it's dirty deed, were quite calm too. They might have acted out in the moment, like firefighers will, by overdosing on hair products, or cutting off my head --- you know, something that is usually not helpful in the long run, but they didn't. Now all I have to do is bring "self" (read life force energy, spirit, higher self) to those exiled parts of me that think my hair is all of who I am. I shall try to do just that in the near future.

Frankly, my managers cannot wait to feel the heft of the hairdryer in the palm of their hand, and to hear the familiar whir --all the sensations of getting a great coif -- temporarily pumping up those little demon hair exiles. The real cure will not come until the little ones truly know that their hair is not them, and they are not their hair alone. I thought this week of abstinence would do it, but it will clearly take some time. Never rush an exile.

a compatriot

a compatriot

Posted by Dakota at 07:39 AM

February 13, 2004

Off to Mexico

Back in a week with juicy tidbits.

Posted by Dakota at 06:16 PM

February 12, 2004

Facial expression


I just love it when a New Yorker reporter gets hold of a subject that I have never been able to understand and spoon feeds it to me with chocolate syrup on top. And so it was that they did a wonderful piece on facial expression and affect. I saved it (are you surprised?) but I don't think I can put my hands on it right now (are you surprised?)

Nonetheless, I will proceed merrily ahead with a vague, inaccurate description of the work of Ekman and Izard (I hope these are the guys), as reported by the New Yorker and remembered by Dakota (whose fact-checking staff is on sabbatical).

So, as Izard and Eckman studied facial expression, they began to notice that there are many tiny muscles in the face that supply nuance to a look. For example, the genuine smile involves the corners of the eyes as well as the lips. An exclusively lip smile seems inauthentic to the observer.

Bill Clinton happened to be running for President at the time, and they noticed that the particular muscles he was using in his face indicated that he was a mischievious boy, getting away with something. Good Democrats that they were, they notified Clinton's campaign of their findings. Alas, Clinton was unable to change his expressions.

Eckman and Izard next interviewed people who were very good at reading facial expression. They chose law enforcement officials who were faced with a person pointing a gun at them, and were able to read the assailant's facial expression accurately enough to stay alive. They have developed a training tape for those of us who would like to improve our skills in this area.

Most interestingly, they themselves did a lot of work in front of the mirror flexing their own facial muscles, so that they could accurately produce specific expressions. We are talking over a hundred muscles here, and an expression will always include several muscles working together. They became the first facial athletes.

When they got to depression, they spent a week or so perfecting the puss. As they checked with each other, they realized that they were both getting depressed. This lead them to wonder if facial muscles could actually influence mood. Guess what, when they then did blood tests for cortisol while they were pouting, (just throwing cortisol around, tests for some secretion or other seen in depression), sure enough, it was elevated. To reach a hasty conclusion, because I am off to Mexico, I am not packed, and will not be blogging next week and I wouldn't want to leave anyone hanging, facial expression does influence mood.

That brings a whole new meaning to the instruction, "Smile". So smile, and you may be able to change your body chemistry for the better. (: You must be sure, when you're doing it, to throw in the eye muscles as well as the lips, in order to get a full effect.

facial expression

robot with facial expression


Posted by Dakota at 06:17 AM

February 11, 2004



if you're sick of the flower stuff

Just did my biweekly check in at Belle du Jour winner of the Guardian's best written blog. Though her subject matter is probably the main attraction, her literary style and psychological insights are superb. Dear sweet thing has the same Valentines hypertexted. Synchronicity?

OLE! I am off to Mexico for a week. I won't be writing this blog, (maybe just one more entry), but I will be taking notes and pictures. In a week both of you will be aching to hear about the ancient Incan healing ceremony for my toenail fungus, my facial expressions as I contemplated life without a hairdryer, my psychotic hair demon, and more. Much more.

Since the conference is about Internal Family Systems , my psychotic hair demon will be met by my higher self, understood with compassion, and integrated, so that its energy can be used for creative purposes. Perhaps it is my unintegrated psychotic hair demon who holds my attention span. Stay tuned.

Posted by Dakota at 09:18 PM

February 10, 2004



A psychologist named Sylvan Tompkins studied the facial expression of babies in order to see if he could identify a set of "innate emotions" He found a few, and after he found them in the US, he traveled around the world studying baby expressions, to see if they were universal. They were. He called it Affect Theory and wrote alot of books.

Here's the list:

Enjoyment/Joy --- that's it for the pleasant ones. Then there is --
Surprise/Startle followed by the less desirable (in my book, but who's to say) Fear/Terror,
Disgust, and finally
The disgust "face" includes a thrust of the tongue forward, Dis-smell a wrinkling of the nose.

General disclaimer - this goes for the whole blog - I am a sloppy student, and have peripheral understanding of most things because I have a rigid learning style, and very little concentration. All I'm giving you here is my limited understanding of a concept, in hopes that you will know that there is such a thing in the universe. If you're interested, I hope I have provided some resources for further exploration. No doubt there are dead theorists turning over in their graves, as well as horrified living ones, who would react negatively to my gross simplificatons. Thus disclaimed, I will continue.

The purpose of shame, according to Thompkins, is to put the brakes on an escalating emotion. For example, a child shows interest/ excitment about something a parent would prefer that she did not. The parent stops the action, with a word or gesture, i.e. no or stop. Shame is experienced momentarily, limiting the rising level of excitment. Then the good parent redirects the child to something that will allow him to experience interest/excitment again. The unattuned parent with a heavy hand may feel it necessary to do more than limit and redirect attention.like spanking This is not good, and results in (forgive my Bradshavian) toxic shame. Plain old shame isn't bad -- it's just the brakes.

Another example of shame as an inhibitor to interest/excitment is the familiar experience of rushing up to a person believed to be a friend, then realizing that person is a stranger. Our interest/excitment antennae waving and panting with anticipation are stopped short by shame.

I began this riff, because I said I was ashamed of my President (see Imminent). What I should have said is "Does this President have no shame?" Maybe if he had a little he would stop. He's on the anger/rage channel though, not interest/excitment, which is part of the problem. Not to mother bash (we're all sick of that,..... almost) but what exactly was Barbara Bush doing?

Photo note: Just in case you were wondering, it's a flower with a facial expression.

the secret price of shame

Posted by Dakota at 06:32 AM

February 08, 2004



Has anyone ever said that they are ashamed of our President? The Group that runs him, let him loose on Meet the Press, (they must be really desperate) and his media training failed him badly. Media training is answering any question asked with one of five (probably the list has to be pared down for the President) prepared answers. If you listen for that, you will see how it works. "Mr. President, how are your daughters handling their drinking, now that they're twenty one? Are you concerned that they will have an addiction problem like yours?" "Thank you for asking, Helen. Since we are at war, I must put familiy concerns aside and focus on -----------------fill in the blank.

This is from his Meet the Press encounter. When questioned about the adminstration's reasons for going to war against Iraq because it was an imminent threat, W, without his group for once, responded. "I believe that when we see a threat, we deal with those threats before they become imminent. It's too late if they become imminent. It's too late in this new kind of war." That's embarassing. Think about how Yale must feel. The Group that runs him has to tell him not to improvise.

George W. projects his own internal aggression onto others. What he sees as imminent is distorted, and the group that runs him takes advantage of that. Too bad he has so much power and can get us all killed with his projections. Paul O'Neill of the "blind man in a room full of deaf people" fame says that he never knew a president to be so intellectually incurious and disinterested in the materials presented to him. I guess the man has alot going on in his own head.
I'd love to see his Rorschach.

Addendum: Excerpt from Robert Kuttner's editorial February 11, 2004

"Under firm but respectful questioning, Bush wilted. He couldn't explain his constantly shifting rationale for war with Iraq or why he was permitted to quit National Guard service eight months before his hitch ended or why his deficit goes ever deeper in the red or the dismal job creation record on his watch.

The result was not just that Bush came off looking evasive and defensive; worse, he looked feeble. You can't very well wrap yourself in national security threats -- Bush kept calling himself a "war president" -- and then look like a weakling. If the United States is indeed facing permanent terrorist threats, then Americans want a plausible leader.

The Bush spin machine has tried to depict the interview as a triumph. But in yesterday's New York Times, Bush loyalist David Brooks devoted an entire column to what Bush should have said (if only he were as clever as Brooks). You don't write a column like that when your guy did well."

Feeble. A very good description.

Posted by Dakota at 07:38 PM

Mexican musings


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Next week, at this time, I will be in Mexico. I'm going to a seminar on internal family systems . It takes place at a yoga retreat/resort called Maya Tulumnear, of course the Mayan ruin of Tulum There's a quote later from that website, just in case you don't click.

Maya Tulum seems to offer all forty of the kinds of bodywork in which I participate. I'll be right at home. Oh, and I can try it the Mayan way. Lots of Papaya in the rub; tenderizes.

So, I'm going to a place that is steeped with sacredness. Not that I have ever done that before (with the exception of my little cottage, which is in a town founded by Spiritualists , an Indian sacred place, and has a Hasidic /Orthodox Jewish community and a Mormon "campground". Let's just say that I had no idea when buying the place thirty years ago. I needed a few incentives. Frankly, it was the price that did it.)

I actually have been to Tulum before, at least twenty years ago. It took two tries. On my first try, I was on a cruise ship, chosen because of it's destination, Tulum, and an elderly man fell, hit his head on deck (I saw it happen) and was taken to the ship's doctor, who had already treated one of our party incompetently. Many pints of lost blood later, other doctors aboard were paged, and it was decided to do an airlift. The ship had to turn back in order to rendevous with a helicopter, and missed Destination Tulum. However, the helicopter airlift off the deck was spectacular. I finally did make it to Tulum a year or two later.

Here's the only thing that I remember about Mayan culture from my preparatory studies at the time; one of the Mayan kings was cross-eyed. It was thought fashionable to be cross-eyed , so young men wore headbands with a single bead suspended on their forehead upon which they focused their crossed eyes. My mother always told me not to cross my eyes, lest it become permanent (that was a general instruction about any "face" I would make - be careful so it doesn't freeze in that position) I wonder if aall that practiced cross-eyedness worked on a permanent basis for the Mayans. A quote from the website:

"Religion was very important, as demonstrated by the numerous altars, temples and shrines in Tulum. Remains of mural paintings and other works show military and religious subjects, especially the Descending God, propitiatory ceremonies for rain and good harvests, and the worship of other deities associated with the fertility of the Earth. Tulum appears to have been a center of the worship of the Descending God, a deity who was venerated in other cities both on the coast and in the interior of the Yucatan peninsula. Some experts associate this god with the planet Venus, the setting sun, rain or lightning, but his true identity is not clear, since other scholars maintain that he symbolizes the go of bee-keeping the Bee-God, called Ah Mucen Cab in Mayan."

So bees again. "Bee Season" about calling the kundalini by chanting the Hebrew Alphabet and Abraham Abilafia , "The Secret Life of Bees" about the Black Madonna Both books read this year.

more Tulum images and more Thought it was funny.

Photo note: Does this look like a sacred place or not? It's not Mexico.

Posted by Dakota at 06:48 AM

February 07, 2004

Dr. Foot Allknowing


Yesterday I braved sleet, snow and dark of night to drive cross town at rush hour for my long-awaited appointment with Dr. Foot Alknowing. The guy in the waiting room with me had come several hundred miles to see Dr. A. I took that as a good sign.

Dr A. is a biomechanics geek. He just loves the stuff. His enthusiasm for his subject even engaged someone like me, with the attention span of a gnat, (especially when physics and calculus are involved). He had all kinds of mechanical measures, protractors, gauges, more like drafting devices, with which he busily measured me as we chatted.

I am about to write about my feet, you can feel free to skip this part. What makes me think anyone would be interested... oh please - oh well.

Dr. A. started out with a few compliments. People with fascial pain are usually very strong. You can tell by touching them (said, as he tapped my calf).Their muscles are very firm. That kind of muscle tension can get to be a problem with age. Deep muscle massage, like rolfing ,doesn't reallly help. He thought that cranial-sacral therapy was much more effective. I told him about Tui Na . I do both. Dr A. also thought I was generally well aligned, he was talking about my calf-heel-hip stuff, not my connection to life force energy. I think they're related.

Here's the diagnosis. I have a plantar flexed forefoot . It is often seen in ballerinas. (Ask me if I liked that), especially those who went on pointe before age 11. That was not me, since my remedial ballet stopped before on pointe started. We all know that I would have fallen off, had I tried. Plantar flexed forefoot is sometimes caused by a virus in childhood. It is a deformity. Well, no wonder it hurts.

Actually mine hurts because I have bone spurs on the top of my feet. The big tendon that is strung from knee to toes down the front of the leg, is stretched over the spurs. If it is pressed into the spurs, by closed shoes for example, and plucked by the spur, it gets irritated, swells and causes pain. Several solutions were suggested. Wear sandals. Alot. In the winter, paste a piece of Dr. Scholl's felt on the tongue of a closed shoe, with a hole in it to accomodate the spur area atop the foot. Do exercises that flex the back of the calf muscle. They have a new one for people with cerebral palsy that is very effective. He taught it to me. He also noticed that I have a leg length descrepency, not bad, but it affects my stride and I hit the ground hard with my shorter leg. Quarter inch heel lifts were recommended to prevent possible future hip pain.

I think it was worth it. Dr. A does not think my recent foot pain relief has anything to do with my appendectomy .

No denoument: orange fact dump alert. I take that back. Leaving, I bumped into a client of my shaman's, barefooted in another examining room. It's a big city.

Posted by Dakota at 06:37 AM

pain update


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I sometimes think that the amount of body pain I experience, equals the amount of resistance to embodied spirit I have. That's why I get to do an organ recital.

I have a pain in the neck. ( I thank my body for being so clear. I just have to decide what is causing it, and move away from the cause. I'm not very good at that.)

My feet are considerably improved. (I had terrible fascial pain on top of my arch and where all the toes bend to go on tiptoe). Of course, just as they improved, I finally have an appointment with Dr. Foot Allknowing (been waiting 4 months) In fact the removal of my appendix last week coincided with the improvement. Also you may remember, I did get my Masai sneakers and have been wearing them , except today-- I'm wearing a skirt and they are clunk city.

Unlike the Chinese way, begin with 30 percent and move up to 70 -- I throw 126 percent of mud at the wall hoping some will stick. ( this seems like a mixed metaphor, but I can't figure out how to fix it.) Some of the mud generally does adhere, but I'm never sure which mudball made the real difference, and they all get mixed up on the wall. Then I have situations, like taking tumeric every morning as a supplement, that I don't quite understand. I am hesitant to stop. Wish that muscle testing stuff worked for me. I took a course in thought field therapy that used muscle testing, and I could not get the right answer out of any muscle in my body. My scrambled energy mixed me up with the people on whom I was practicing too. I can't trust my muscles yet (dah!) If I could , I could hold stuff in my hand and if I felt something, I would know whether it was right for me. Maybe this is just grandiose thinking. Perhaps I need to set an intention in this area. I could muscle test everything I ingest to see if it was right for me.

Report card:
Shoulder-neck area: C-
Feet: B
Appendix: A - completely gone
Generalized fascial pain: B

Posted by Dakota at 06:22 AM

February 06, 2004

A little spin


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Just took a little spin around a new neighborhood. Photoblogs There sure are lots of them.
I think I have a comboblog.

Some strong feelings came up for me as I browsed. I realize that many of the feelings are uncomfortable, the kind that I would rather not have. Below, I have noted the said feelings, and worked to identify what I want, rather than what I don't want in the style of Abraham-Hicks .

Envy. Envy implies lack on my part. Viewing a great photo and thinking "I could never have plucked something like that". I can work to transform envy into admiration, which implies abundance;"There is an unending supply of beautiful images out there for all of us", having fun with the idea of playing together in possibility.

Competition,"This one's better than mine, this one's worse than mine". I am astounded that I feel this way. As an only child, and a girl of the '50's, competition was something that didn't happen in my world. All that has changed. I even entered a photo contest earlier this year and won third prize. I went to the award ceremony too. It was fun. (I wonder if I can find the shots, and let you see what won second prize. I thought it was ordinary. Better, what can I learn from examining the second prize photo? )

Then I sometimes get possessive. "Hey wait a second, that's MY idea!" I can, instead, cultivate delight at synchronicity. I know that the concept of "my idea" is an illusion. Ideas, like photos, are out there floating around waiting to be harvested.

One upmanship. Distainful criticism. "Boy, that's photoshopped to death." "I wish he would stop lying down on his back in the middle of the street to take those 'skyscraper at a steep angle' shots." "Whatever possessed this person to memorialize this moment....and then to publish it on the web for posterity!" Of course, that's all projection, and exactly what I am worried others will say about me. Rather, I can cultivate genuine curiosity about the creativity of others, understanding that "the product" is not the point. The process of creating, learning to stay connected to source energy, will produce wonders, without slogging effort, because desire and excitment are so motivating and feel so good.

Regrets - "I'll never get there,(geographically)", for the aerial shots of women washing their vivid textiles in the Niger, the schloss reflected in the mirror lake with shimmering poplars. Move to anticipation. I wonder what I will pluck next week in Mexico, or just around the house for that matter.

Amazement at the diversity photos, the range of subjects and the differences in quality. That feeling seems fine the way it is.

Shame - "Oh my goodness, 400 shots of this pink rose are sooo boring, and that's exactly what I do." I can instead appreciate how hard I looked at one thing, the flow of energy that happened inside me as I concentrated on the subject, the subtleties of difference in each frame, and be grateful that I can take so many pictures at no cost, taking tiny risk after tiny risk.

Disbelief - "How can something be so beautiful?" Cote Est and Cote Sud are full of these.

I will undoubtedly think of more, once this is posted. Someone told me that it is dishonorable among bloggers to change an entry after it has been published. Maybe that's just a rumor. Anyway, I'm dishonorable if that's the case.

Photo note: This is almost the first photo on my blog. I decided to show it again because it's my favorite; it makes me laugh and it pleases me that I saw something so extraordinary in the ordinary.

Emese Gaal
Is Photoblogging Good for Photography?

Sensitive Light
Jean Schweitzer

Posted by Dakota at 02:04 PM

February 05, 2004

rose hips


Having a case of blogclog this evening. Perhaps if I meditate, something of substance will cross my mind. In the meantime, enjoy the rose hips, also known as beach plums.

Look what I found when I looked up rose hips - talk about attracting the wrong crowd.more . and more and lots of recipes for jelly.

Posted by Dakota at 08:25 PM

February 04, 2004

The digested read


There is a feature in the Manchester Guardian called "The Digested Read." which is / really funny. (I happened upon it thanks to Moorish Girl) There are six contemporary novels reviewed in this manner - short, plot glued, deadpan and concrete -- including the new Ann Tyler and the new John LaCarre. I'm sure the author has already started on a collection of classics.

Wide-eyed Alice, the prepubescent blonde wearing blue, drops into hole, where she collides with nattily attired rabbit in a hurry. I am sorry to say that I do not remember the plot of Alice in Wonderland, nor any other classic for that matter, well enough to give you an adequate example. Struwwelpeter I could do in a heartbeat, which is probably why I can't remember anything much after that.

Photo note: This is a piece of sculpture entitled "The Reader's Digest Condensed Reading Chair" It is made entirely from Reader's Digest Condensed books, and stands about two feet high. A fine utilization of books that belong in the trash. Of course, I just happened to have it sitting around.

Posted by Dakota at 05:55 AM

February 03, 2004

Not a bad day if you meditate


Yesterday started with an avalanche. Three or four bottles of wine slipped from their gerryrigged rack in my butler's pantry and shattered all over the floor, which is tile, and upon which nothing bounces - drop a tomato and you have salsa. It's very cute though, the floor. Since there was an inch of red and white alcohol to mop, the clean up was time consuming and rife with shards. Now my butler's pantry smells like a barroom.

Two people did not show up for scheduled meetings (so I couldn't make other plans - ask me if I used my time constructively? I read a peace piece from a leader of Findhorn David Spangler- a gold star for me) He says that peace is a personal practice. Do everything in your day with the intention of creating peace. The opportunity arose immediately because .....

Then I had an auto accident, which was entirely my fault. I made a left turn in front of an oncoming car. (Isn't it a good thing this blog is anonymous and the insurance company will be left to decide who is to blame) The dad was driving his daughter's new car. She was cryng at the scene, not because she was hurt, but because of the injury to her her virgin vehicle.

I am worried because I really didn't see them comng, and I looked. I checked to see if their headlights were on and they were. He was lovely in an avuncular way, perhaps that was because I was prostrating myself on the pavement, begging forgiveness. I know I'm not supposed to do that for insurance reasons, but I can never help myself, especially when it was so clearly my fault.

I will have to go and look at my car in the daylight, but I don't think there is any damage. The daughter's car was new, and this was it's first foul, always an occasion for tears. My car currently looks like the car of someone to whom you would give wide berth. Plastic bumpers aren't good for us girls who drive by ear --- although if you heat the dents with a hairdryer, they often pop out. I just haven't hairdried my dents in awhile.

Photo note: The flower in the photo above is yucca The photo below is self explanatory.


Posted by Dakota at 06:51 AM

February 02, 2004

the cheat sheet


Did everyone get their Starbucks ordering manual with the Sunday paper? As far as I'm concerned, it's fourteen years too late. In it, they even address the issue "If you're nervous about ordering, don't be ---There's no "right way to order at Starbucks. Just tell us what you want and we'll get it to you. "

"But if we call your drink back in a way that's different from what you told us, we're not correcting you. [that's a relief] We're just translating your order into 'barista-speak'- a standard way our baristas call out orders. [Does everyone know what a barista is?] This language gives the baristas the info they need in the order they need it, so they can make the drink as quickly and efficiently as possible"

You mean like when the waitress in the diner calls "Two over easy with a side of piggies"? It's somehow not the same experience.

There is a form on the back page of the booklet to fill in , detach and carry with you at all times. ."My drink is ... .....I'd like to have a.........
cup -leave blank if you're getting it to go ______________
decaf, #of shots and size____________________________
syrup, if any______________________________________,
milk and other modifiers [modifiers!] - don't specify a milk if you want whole milk_____________________________________________
the drink itself_____________________________________."

Please feel free to print this out for persoonal use.

Just in case you didn't grasp the concept clearly, a simple example is provided "Iced, decaf, triple grande, cinnamon, non-fat, no-whip, mocha" I shall have to try it.

If you have filled in your card properly, you can ostensibly avoid embarassment at the register (in front of all the addicted yuppies), that is, if you can pronounce "ristretto" properly. I notice that they have failed to translate the syrup flavors into "barista-speak"-- vanille, chocolotta, framboise, perhaps they are subtly encouraging us to use syrup, or it's a massive oversight.

The booklet is seventeen pages long, so I simply can't quote the whole thing. But it made me feel so much more comfortable anticipating my next Starbucks experience.

I am reminded of an answer my son gave years ago to the question on the Starbucks employment application "What does coffee mean to you?" He said "It's deep and black, like the ravages of my soul." He's never made it to barista, perhaps it's his Italian accent. Too bad, I hear the health insurance is great.

Posted by Dakota at 06:14 AM

February 01, 2004

Just in Case You Thought I Was Finished


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They have arrived --- in a shiny, turquoise box marked "Bliss" (no kidding) My Masai sneakers. I have been waiting for them for several months. I guess a few of us jumped on the band wagon, when we saw all they promised. As a result they were backordered.

Here's a synchronicity thread to follow. In September 2003, I went to a workshop given by Ruthy Alon , the Feldenkrais practitioner who created a course called "Bones for Life". In addition to teaching little old ladies, she gives the course for NASA, since astronauts experience bone loss due to weightlessness. I don't deserve continuing education credits, because I only remember two things from the workshop -- that I use....rarely, but they're good.

One is a posture designed to drop the shoulders into a natural, relaxed positon -- for those of us whose shoulders are stapled to our ears all the time. With one hand, place a finger on the vertebrae that is buried most deeply in your neck. Place the index-finger knuckle of the other hand between your front teeth, bite down lightly, and then, holding the bite, pull the knuckle outward, very gently. I can always feel a release when I do that.

The second, is an image that I found useful. Ruthy, a sensuous septuagenarian, talked about the low incidence of womens' bone fractures in some third world countries, in spite of poor nutrition, and the documented presence of osteoporosis. She implied that when posture is properly aligned and energy is flowing smoothly through the body, we are protected. Carrying heavy loads on the head, as women do in many third world countries, requires good postural alignment and balance. She supplied the image of of a Masai woman, a large bundle atop her head, striding with hips swaying and feet rolling. I can get a kinesthetic sense of that. I can't usually get a kinesthetic sense of anything.

Loose Association: "Tuesday's child is full of grace". I was a Tuesday's child, where was mine? Missing. We even had a Tuesday's Child Royal Dalton figurine, pirouetting, to whom I could compare myself.

I have flawed kinesthetic sense because my mother critically scrutinized my every movement, and commented regularly about my clumsiness, dismayed that I "did things like a boy" (meaning, badly). I was an embarassment to her. I was taken to ballet and gym classes for remedial purposes, to improve my rhythm and my coordination. Needless to say, having a public arena in which to display my poor, shamed body and my gross ineptitude was not an antidote for my disappointing lack of grace..

Incidences of public body shame:

Ballet classes. As a child, I could never figure out where my body was supposed to be and how it was supposed to get there. Ballet was a challenge. Frequently the group was instructed to turn right, and I turned left. When I learned to write, I clutched my pencil so hard (are you surprised?) that I developed a callous on my right middle finger. It was my beacon. I could feel surreptiously for that callous, and know right from left. Finally. That ability saved me from standing out in the chorus line.

I was always picked last for sports. I couldn't high jump. I couldn't throw or hit a ball, I had no sense of my body in space. This is a big problem. When someone is trying to teach me a movement, and they say drop your elbow and pivot on your left foot, keeping your eye on the ball, I am scrambled eggs. I could no more do that than tame a cobra. This seriously inhibited my ability to learn anything kinesthetic, like the tango or field hockey or knitting.

In college I took a dance course (required, or I would never enrolled-- don't ask why a dance course was required, either. Suffice it to say that rigorous academics were not part of my college experience.) The course was taught by a man, who, given that I was not gifted in his area of expertise, was not overly fond of me. (My best friend at the time, who was also in the class, had studied with Martha Graham for three years in NYC. ) The dance teacher taught by humiliation. He would critique us individually as we swept and leapt across the floor in groups of three or four. I was scared of him. My confidence in my ability to move my body gracefully did not improve. After that , I successfullly avoided any activity that required knowing where my body parts were in space. UNTIL....

One of my very good friends purchased the IMPACT/Model Mugging program in town. She gently pushed me to take the course for about four years. I knew that self defense would be a good thing to master; it would strengthen my boundaries; it might result in some psychological strengthenng as well. I did not anticipate the extreme emotional reaction I had. The course took place in twenty five hours, over a two week period. There were twelve of us in the group. I say that there was me, (the suburban chubette, going on elderly, matron) and the Colgate Women's Varsity LaCrosse Team. That's not entirely true, but the rest of the class were bicycle messengers and college soccer players, and 19; you get the picture. The course is supposed train you, in an adrenalized state, so that when you feel frightened in a situation and your amygala takes over, rather than freeze, you set a strong limit, and, if that doesn't work, you flee or fight effectively. Most women feel scared of the martial arts guys playing the muggers, muttering terrifying threats, ready to ravish and maim. Let's put it this way. The mugger was not my problem. I was dropped into my worst nightmare. Forget about rape, my problem was being in a group of people, trying to learn how to move my body effectively and, once again, not having a clue how to do it. A tsunami of shame washed over me. I was a train wreck for the first twelve hours of training. I completely relived the experiences that I had had over and over as a child. I couldn't follow instructions, I couldn't fake it. I was completely hysterical when I got home. You will be happy to know that I did "graduate" in front of an audience, and dealt knock out blows to the mugger. I was not adrenalized for one minute of the course. I was wound tight and hypervigilant. I also developed some empathy for the child inside me who "lacks coordination"

So when I saw the ad for Masai sneakers , (in the Bliss catalog) I thought I had better try them out, in spite of their exorbitant price. They do jazz up my step, give me a little hip flick, and loose my vertabrae. I'm worried that they might throw out my back, so I'm wearing them around the house before I decide to keep them. (I can probably sell them on the black market, if I don't )

Walking on my Masai is like walking on those Steve Madden platform shoes, with the addition of a rubber cupcake under each arch . It's unusual. I hope I don't fall off. I cannot imagine doing anything more complex than strolling, right now. I'll keep you posted. It's quite an investment, so I will have to make a committment to regular wear if I decide to keep them. I'm not just doing this to improve my cellulite either, but if that's a side effect, so be it.

a happened across blog

Posted by Dakota at 06:34 AM