Friday, May 30, 2008

Orange and Purple

This weeks inspiration was based off the colors 'orange' and 'purple.' After painting this little moonscape scene I rifled through my collage materials and this caveman just jumped out at me. Perfect fit, with the desert sands and the antelope skull.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


A few weekends ago I visited my two good friends in Vancouver, WA. It was a restful Sunday full of yoga class and walking through the sunny park and eating some good Indian grub.

Late in the evening we broke out the paints and fulfilled an inspiration that Carlita had been holding inside her for awhile. It was based off a moonlit night she had seen, with dark trees, and a purple sky with a large moon. It was so much fun to sit on the floor, combining our paints together to make the sky, adding golden details to the tips of the trees, and to end up with a painting that looks much like it was inspired by the phrase 'and wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings.' I was truly amazed at how it came together, seemlessly, as we each contributed a little piece of ourselves to the project. Collaboration is not always my strong suit, since I have ideas of how I want it done, but opening up my hands and heart to the process, letting go of the idea of perfection or having something turn out 'exactly' as I would like, was beautiful. This is definitely a project I would want to try again with such good friends.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Learning to Love

Something about riding the airplane home yesterday from New York sparked me to scribble this down on the back of a magazine subscription card:

Things I love (or like) about myself and why

1) the freckles that begin emerging from hibernation right around this time each year. during a swim meet as a kid i overheard a woman telling her daughter that freckles were 'kisses from angels,' and what kid doesn't want to be kissed by an angel? every time i see my summertime freckles i think of those angel kissess...

2) until the age of 2 or 3 I had fine wispy baby hair that curled in little tendrils. as an adult my hair air dries like i've rolled around in bed all night, so with enough straightening products (or my standard messy bun) I am able to tame my locks into some sort of managable do. However, I try to leave my temple wisps alone. They tend to curl in their own unique way and this makes me feel like a kid again.

3) the white stretch mark grooves above my hip bones. for years i did not know what stretch marks were, though they have lived with me for a long time. when i'm stressed i tend to feel the grooves in my skin and it's strangely calming. i often see ads about stretch marks, and truly am shocked when purple ones appear on my inner thighs, but the white ones i carry proudly, taking me back to a time when i loved myself and was oblivious to the fashion world's disgust with all things lumpy and bumpy.

4) how my eyes are blue or green demending on my outfit or surroundings, and how when i look at them in pictures they seem to be the color of the sea. perfect for a mermaid-lover.

5) during basketball & volleyball practices i used to lift up my shirt, concentrating intently, while sticking my finger in my bellybutton. while i rarely wear jewelry, i always wear my navel ring. just showing my bellybutton some love.

6) my webbed toes. i used to tell people i was 50% mermaid (from the waist up, of course), but with webbed toes I think I could bump that up to at least 51%...

7) my 3 front teeth on my lower jaw. nobody can tell, but i run my tongue along the permananent retainer and think how strange it was to have two teeth fused together with only one coming in to replace it. strange, and fitting.

8) after a strenuous yoga workout i often notice how prominent my veins are in my arm, moving into my chest. the blue against my pale skin intrigues me, and makes me feel powerful.

9) running my fingers through my hair i often stop on the spot of a 3rd grade head injury. we were squirreling around in line, on our way to lunch, when i slipped and fell on a i-beam. stitches and get-well-cards later, i still have the inch long scar. only i know, and my hairdressers, who often ask to tell the story. i sometimes contemplate what it would be like to be bald and see that scar in the mirror.

10) the missing 1/2 inch on my left side. i think this is god's way of simultaneously granting my request to be 6' (ever since i was a kid, i always said i wanted to be 6'), and honoring the part of me that wants to be closer to the average size woman. i think it teaches me the art of balance

Ten simple things that I love about myself. And I was amazed at how good it made me feel to write them, to own them, and to give them the love that they deserve.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

2-3 seconds

Recently I learned that the average dream lasts 2-3 seconds, but I know from experience they feel like reality and it made me think...if we could really live in the long would life feel? Now this could be a good thing I think, or really bad (if I'm stuck at work experiencing every moment), but even so, last night I was lying in bed quietly, meditating and my mind drifted from thought to thought, and it felt amazing, and then I looked at the clock and it had only been 3 minutes. It's amazing how refreshing even a few minutes of peace and quiet can be.

Since reading The Golden Compass I have been obsessed with the idea that worlds split upon making a decision and that there could be millions of universes existing simultaneously. What I've been mulling over is the me that would be now if I hadn't experienced the move to Yakima. In my idealistic mind I think back to the 'good ol' days' where I didn't know what fashion was, and had friends who accepted me for who I was, in contrast to the move across the mountains where suddenly I realized that what shoes I wore matter (and even then, I didn't buy the RIGHT pair of Docs), or the feeling that I had to change in order to fit in. A few days ago I thought that the answer was that Yakima ruined me, that I would be a fully integrated adult if I had not moved, but I have come to a much more acceptable happy medium now. Because I think the move served a purpose, to break me out of my shell, but also I wonder now who I would be if I would have stayed. I was sheltered and afraid, and in Yakima I got to be confrtoned with culture shock.

But I can't forget that twelve year old self, that loved life and wasn't afraid to be herself. I didn't need tons of friends if it meant sacrificing who I was. I wasn't afraid to be sensitive, which is something I'm trying to re-learn. And it's sort of a neat process for me, because as an adult I can choose the things I want to keep about myself, choose the things I don't, and take ownership in who I become rather than simply laying back and abdicating my own authority to others.

Thought I'm re-learning this sensitivity, I've noticed, too, that my Fool/Clown archetype is hitting back even stronger. In fact, I've already begun a reputation at school as the 'funny' one. Of course I am funny (at least to myself), but is this the image I want to portray in the counseling program? I want to be taken seriously, and yet, I do enjoy laughter...

I'm off to school now since the apartment next door is leaking paint smell into my apartment and I'm feeling sorta high...


Monday, May 19, 2008


The word ahimsa translated from Sanskrit means 'non-injury' or more my favorite, 'non-harm.' This word keeps sneaking up into my life lately, through an article in a yoga magazine about eating mindfully, to a yoga class I attended in Vancouver with my fellow yogini Carlita, where the teacher opened the class with a discussion on truthfulness, and mentioned ahimsa.

The concept of being true, through actions and words is important to me. Though I am often very non-harming in relation to others, the teacher's words struck a chord in me when she asked about our self-talk, how we react to our inability to hold lunges like our bendable neighbor, or when we fall flat on our face in an arm balance. Truth and ahimsa pointed inside, toward my inner Jenna, because I treat the world much better than I treat myself.

Which reminds me of the conversation I had with Kyle recently about my compartamentalized way of viewing the world and my heirarchical way of structuring human worth. In an attempt to live up to my father's words 'you have no rights, jesus gave up all his rights so that's how we should be' or something to that effect. In my head I heard, though, that I'm not worth anything, and therefore in order to 'humble' myself I have attempted this false sense of humility, which means, for me, self-deprecation and always putting others ahead of myself. The idea that I could be worth something is novel to me, and so I'm learning to treat myself gently. Ahimsa will remind me of this. Non-harm toward myself.

To help us remember this she asked us a few questions, which is a twist on a quote I used to know:
Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary? And, does it improve upon silence?

I think if I begin asking myself those questions about my own self-talk, I will be a happier, healthier and more peaceful person.

Om shanti shanti shanti...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


What am I afraid to face?

The last few mornings I have gotten out of bed at 'the crack of noon' as my grandma calls it, but this luxury of late-waking isn't making me feel refreshed and perky. I roll over in bed and stare at my bedmate, loneliness, and bury my head in the pillow once again. 'Five more minutes' I tell myself, and lately it's been 'just one more dream.'

My dreams have been filled with Lake Forest Park. Most recently it was the LFP elementary 10 year reunion, at the same pool we had our 6th grade party. Reunion turned funeral with the car accident death, caused by a peanut allergy, of comedian Adam Ray. Dream grief and making out with my pool boss, who happened to be Kyle, but named Keith. Too many men melded into one. I'm curious as to why my childhood keeps coming up in dreamland, except that perhaps it leads to some sort of context for the childhood phrases that keep haunting me.

Yesterday, while driving home from a fruitless attempt to dive into a new pile of books (and thus procrastinate on my Tests & Measurements class), I almost burst into tears. Almost. I had turned the radio off, finding the dj to be loud and obnoxious and honestly too much stimulus often makes me feel like my skin has been ripped off, but a minute or two (or 12 seconds more likely) and the silence of hearing myself breathing and the rain coming down hard on my windshield, I almost burst into tears. But the shoulders turned inward and I tightened my grip on the steering wheel and I proceeded home, because I could compartamentalize my emotions and I thought that would be the 'perfect' time to cry, to let it all out, but of course when I got home, I....

...turned on the tv. Of course. Noise to drown out the feelings. And it's embarassing to admit to myself how lonely I am here in Seattle. Of course I see my best friend almost every day, but it's not enough. I blame a lot of it on work, and my schedule, but there are things that I could do. My hermit archetype is tired and has been moping around lately, trying to get me to do something. The time on the mountain is over and I need to come out of my shell.

I am praying and hoping and wishing for a new job. I really want something with day hours, something involving people and schools and I'm hoping to become a part-time or substitute para-educator. Sigh. Will this solve all my problems? Doubtful. But maybe it'll get this hermit out of the house...

But deep down I need to really examine the fear of loneliness, and perhaps, the difference between loneliness and being alone. I often talk with my smokers about how cigarettes have become their friend over the years, though, admittedly a destructive abusive friends (cause who lets their friend give them COPD? hmm, I guess I have had some toxic relationships in the past...), but how, in order to quit, they have to start becoming their own best friend. Cigarettes also help pass time through boredom, since many of the people I talk to are shut-ins for some reason or another. I am learning how much my life parallels the lives of the people I am helping. Even as I write this MTV is blaring in the background, and I'm always a click away from my email. Sometimes I check my email over and over again and I've begun asking myself, 'what am I waiting for?"

I'm not coming to any conclusion about this, and I'm exhausted, but I want to explore this loneliness idea. I want to learn to be my own best friend and not have to numb the emotions through noisy stimulation.

That's all.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Walking on Eggshells

During work, as I sit in my recliner taking State Quit Line calls, I find myself doodling to pass the time. Inspired by a comment from my sister, how glad she is to not have to 'walk on eggshells,' around me anymore, I began doodling the idea of what it would be like for a bird to walk on eggshells. This image was really fun for me to imagine. However, the evolution of art is interesting to me, because as I started collaging the piece, it began to take on a new shape in my mind. Inspired by the quote at the top of the piece, "we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children," I thought about global warming and how delicate this life truly is.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Yin and Yang

One of the reasons I'm going into counseling is my love for listening, and yet one thing that I'm learning is that as a counseling type, I'm good at listening, but not so good at being listened to. How often have I been on the end of a phone conversation making listening noises like, "mhmm," and "yeah," and arrive at the end of the conversation with the person saying "man, this has been such a good conversation, we should talk more often!" The power of listening takes over, and only until after I hang up the phone do I realize that it hadn't been an equal exchange of words. I get the bare minimum out in the first 60 seconds and spend the rest of the time with the 'mhmms' and occassionally a good probing or thought-provoking question.

This one-sidedness has translated over into other areas of my life, and one that I'm exploring is also my tendency to give and unequally receive. How did this unbalance happen? And, if I don't ever figure out the root, can I still move forward into a more balanced listening/being listened to, giving/recieving life?

I think it starts with peeling away some of the layers of fear that have built up around my heart. I've noticed lately how rounded in my shoulders have become lately, as if they were trying to create even more of an encompassing feeling of protection around my heart. And I was struck by a memory, of myself as a little girl, being told (this time by my father) to "stop being so sensitive." In an attempt to obey (though I'm sure, once again, this was probably a situationally specific comment that I globalized), I have grown a defensive wall of bricks and rubble and now even my own body is using itself as a shield.

Awareness is the first small step toward balance.
And here is how it looks for me, as my shoulder roll in, protecting my heart:

Saturday, May 3, 2008


For me, sadness is both a yellow square and the color blue.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Impossible Mountains of Hope

During breaks at work I peruse the Yoga Journal online archives. Yesterday I came across an article entitled Me Talk Pretty (, and was struck by the question: "Did your parents ever say something that has stuck with you throughout your life?"

"Did your parents ever say something that has stuck with you throughout your life?" The answer to this question didn't even have to come to me, it's been here all along. It is one of my constant companions, gray like a figure of death, it often sits quietly in the corner of my room, unmoving. Shadow-like and affecting everything I do. Enmeshed in its web are pessimism and depression, the thought that this is always how it is, or always how it's been. Hopelessness, though in a maliciously subtle way.

As a rational adult I can look back and see that the power these words have had over me are not logical, rational, and certainly not healthy. In fact, more than likely they were completely situationally specific, but they hit my already untrusting, uncertain young mind that struggled unconscioulsy, quietly, with the truth of abandonment. And the words were: "Don't get your hopes up."

"Don't get your hopes up." Was it about my excitement over an impending ice-cream cone excursion, or my endless chatter about the rides at Disneyland, that prompted her to ever so lightly tap the glass and shatter my hopes? It wasn't malicious says the loyalty inside me, and yet, those words made me grow up in an instant. Those words conveyed the fact that I already knew that this world was not to be trusted, that hopes were not to be trusted, because the truth is, it will all crumble and crash and screech to a halt. If I had any fledgling optimism or idealism about the world, the authority of that command struck me to my core and have shaped my view since then. Because I don't get my hopes up. I have tentatively dipped my toe into the waters of long-lasting commitment through marriage but don't have my hopes up (too high) that there will be fidelity, harmony, or "you complete me" moments. Perhaps I can get my hopes up that there will be functionality, moments of sunshine and hand-holding, and silent breakfasts over oatmeal and the Funnies. I don't have my hopes up that this election will bring any sort of resolution to the wars, or freedom or that my social justice class can make a dent in racism or heterosexism. I don't get my hopes up that my friends will be there when I need them, or that my degree will provide any lasting happiness. Most frightengly, I don't get my hopes up that if there is a God, that He is really Benevolant and Good and the epitome of Love. My life is like life in Oz, with shams just around the corner. I just hope that I will see clearly the reality before me, so that my heart will stay protected.

And so tonight, with the inability to express my words to my lover, I painted how I felt. It's entitled "Mountains of Impossible Hope" or maybe "Impossible Mountaisn of Hope," because Hope is there, but it's dark and scary and almost completely inacessible. And yet, something softly calls to me, like wind through the trees.