Berlin and Inner Space

I'm laying here in my sweet little AirBnB in Berlin.

There is a bird chirping outside in occasional collaboration with a cawing crow, otherwise it is dead silent even though I'm in the city center.

A couple hours ago, the overcast humidity was broken by a sudden rushing downpour. I put on my blue flowery raincoat, and walked around the corner to a little Italian joint that had €4 pizzas for happy hour.

I chatted with the owner, Dante, for a few minutes about how much he loved America when he visited years ago. I don't speak Italian or German, so we made do with his broken English and the thickest accent you've ever heard. It's amazing how humans can communicate with so few words - we understood each other perfectly. He was in California and Arizona for three months when he was younger, and said he would have stayed in a heartbeat.

He was all smiles, hand gestures, and a few Italian words thrown in for good measure.

After finishing my super cheap and super delish meal, I walked around the corner to the River Spree. The lushness of the trees lining its banks made my heart gush a little, I'll admit.

Now I'm back in my room, bone tired from three nonstop and exhilarating days in Normandy, plus one travel day from Normandy -> Paris -> Berlin.

I'm working on a new collage and stitching my brains out, contemplating the necessity of inner space. I'm releasing my 'Inner Space' mixed media art online class in August. And boy do I ever need to take my own workshop!

So, I kinda am.

I'm deepening into my own need for a slow-down and get back to basics creative lifestyle: taking time back. Getting off the computer. Setting my phone waaaaaaay off to the side, and reaching for something creative, something tangible, something that will feed my soul.

I don't know if y'all would agree with me, but I'm feeling the need to unplug more ... and do the REAL kind of plugging in.

Since I'm going to be leading so many into this soul-deep land of a REAL-deal lifestyle, I am leading myself in first.

And I gotta tell ya ... it feels pretty good in here.

Ghost Ranch and Georgia

This is my home away from home at Ghost Ranch, where I am hosting our 2017 art retreat.

This sweet little cottage is where Georgia O'Keefe used to stay the first few summers she spent here, before she bought a home on the property.

It's pretty awe-inspiring to stop for a few moments here and there, and consider Georgia's presence and her experience all those years ago.

She didn't have the internet to occupy her brain cells, for starters. I'm doubtful that there was a television in the wilds of New Mexico in 1934.

There weren't many people on the ranch then, and Georgia was a bit of a loner anyway.

So I'm imagining her world as one of crystal sharp clarity, where the colors of red that emanate from the rocky cliffs weren't dulled by how many likes she got on Facebook that day.

Or the sound of ravens circling and cawing wasn't drowned out by a Netflix binge.

I'm guessing she spent many an hour sitting inside and outside this adobe home, ruminating on life with all its complications and complexities, 1930s style.

Georgia's world had its own wounds and struggles which have been recorded for posterity.

And yet, I can't help but feel a slight (and undoubtedly romanticized) envy of her stripped down life, sitting in wonder of the natural beauty of Ghost Ranch that so inspired her art and her luminous career.

Henry the 8th and Glastonbury . March . 2017

Morning sun at Glastonbury Abbey ruins.

Having been here more times than I can count, it feels like home.

And it kinda is, because I happen to know my ancestors at least ten generations back lived in this historically rich little village, which is also the location of the abundant lore of King Arthur and Avalonian mythology.

I'm feeling all the feels as I rest against the cathedral wall, destroyed nearly 500 years ago by the henchmen of King Henry the Eighth .... who is quite possibly my 10th great grandfather thru his affair with the sister of Anne Boleyn.

So crazy right?

One 10th great grandfather born and raised here, a humble weaver who died in an almshouse (still in existence) across the street from where I sit.

Another 10th great grandfather, drunk with personal and political ambition, destroying this abbey and murdering the Abbott (as well as a ton of other unspeakable eviscerations of the great dissolution of the Catholic Church in England).

I am quite certain one grandfather would have borne witness to the devastation of this great Abbey, one of the most powerful churches of its time, at the sole command of the other.

And here I sit, 500 years later, just doing my thing. Little old me, in the shadows of my own unique kaleidoscope of lineage. Mind blowing, really.

Seattle . January . 2017

I'm on the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, where I'm teaching 'Inner Space' this weekend.

The first time I came to Seattle I was 18 and meeting my father for the first time. I was halfway checked-out.

The half of me that was checked-in was watching my every move to make sure I performed perfectly. I mean, I had 18 years to make up for. Immaculate presentation would be the only way to make him love me, right?

Today, I feel I'm gathering up the ghost bits of the girl who was here before, 24 years ago. The ghosty bits that drifted off when she left herself and made cavernous spaces for others to occupy her completely.

How she carried weight of repressed memories, emotions and other people's baggage in her 200 lb body. How she knew she wanted more for herself than this, but didn't know how to identify those elusive things.

There is a photo of her -of me- 18 years old with my mall bangs and hi top reeboks. It was taken by the water, the skyline of Seattle high above. I felt so worldly wise, having not seen much of the US. My dad is standing next to me. I am double the size of him in width because my sadness and number one survival mechanism, the 'good girl' routine, made me grow sideways.

That was then.

Today I walked in Seattle a woman who has fought the good fight. I've fought for liberation of my voice, my scars, and to release the weight of baggage I carried on my body: the baggage of the grown ups who raised me, and the one who didn't.

I have freed myself of patterns of toxicity in relationships and my self-abusive pathologies and ways of moving through the world (because we take the treatment handed out like hot nails in childhood and embed them in our own skin to just ya know, keep the pattern alive because we subconsciously believe that's the only way to survive).

I've fought to release self-hatred, and a hyper-vigilant state of panic that affected absolutely everything in my world and left a devastating trail of hurts and consequences behind me. So yeah. I'm a fighter. And it's pretty clear that if there was ever a time to dig in and resurrect the good fight, it's now.

For all of us this time, not just me.