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.

My Great Grandmother and Los Angeles

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Here I am at the threshold of a house that was painfully familiar to my great-grandmother.

This white strip on the floor was the very place she crossed over as she dropped her 4 year old daughter off, handing her over to be adopted by relatives.

She would stand at this threshold again, once a year, when she was allowed to come and collect her daughter for the day in a once-a-year visitation.

When my great-grandmother would walk away, leaving her child behind for another 364 days, the adopted mother of the child would shout at her as she walked away: Whore!

And the child would take it in.

All of the people who lived in this house, or crossed its threshold, are no longer alive.

I visited it today, and by a stroke of genealogical karma was allowed inside where the home is undergoing construction.

The wood panels at the top of the image are the original flooring, as well as the porch I am standing on.

The house is the same shape as it was in old photos I've seen, and the doors are original, too.

I wish these architectural witnesses could talk to me and tell me their side of the story.

I hold a longing deep in my cells to understand all sides of this story that has shaped my own life in profound ways.

What was it like for the 4 year old girl, who would grow up watching her mother walk away?

Did anything ache in the guts of my great-grandmother, as she walked away from her daughter while hearing herself called a whore, knowing her daughter was watching and listening?

What was in the heart of the woman who shouted after her?

It has been 94 years since Elsie dropped off her daughter and relinquished her rights as a mother.

The house still stands proud and silent, holding my lineage deep in its bones, while the skyscrapers of downtown Los Angeles thrust upward all around it.