Tonight I watched Queen of the Sun (throughout which I shook non-stop and my eyes were constantly brimmed with tears of hope, fear, dismay and reverence), and finished reading Finding Beauty in a Broken World (which now has a heart or star or some symbol of my resonance marked on every page). Now I am bursting with adrenaline and inspiration, sadness, anger, and love. I am in love with this world. I am in love with this whole broken world.

Bewilder[ness] Broken

I can't scream.
Someone will call the cops.

I can hardly breathe.
I can't cry.
I can't write
not the words I need to.
It doesn't exist in words.

What is this world that I live in?
How is this possible?

I am in despair.
I am in rage.
I am enraged.

I am angry.
My heart is broken.


by the selfishness

I have been pouring out words like the river pours
Why was I silent when I needed to speak?
Was that my promise

Speak from your heart. Don't listen to them.
How long will it take you to learn that lesson?

How do I maintain the respect to have my voice be heard
and the integrity to speak my truth
when my truth is generally contrary to what is accepted and respected?

[is that true? it feels true]

The most frustrating part is the cowardice and submission
which I am guilty of.

What can I say? What can I do?

I can feel my power
I can feel strength inside me.
I know there is something.
My promise isn't broken,
and if it is
I will piece it back together.
I will try.

 "What is happening to us?

There are long skeins of time when I feel so confused and lost in this broken world of our own making. I don't know who we have become or what to believe or who to trust."

 -TTW, Finding Beauty in a Broken World


"We have to keep loving with an open heart, even though it hurts."
Even though we don't know what will happen.


"'Bewilderness'--the place where the mind wanders
without certainties."

TTW, Finding Beauty...

the girl who cried [gunshot]

Every time I cry gunshots
or doorbells
ring out
across the sky.

When the horses disappeared I didn't realize
how much it would hurt.
Now I know.

Not this.

I walk out to the area
of proposed land
action. It is quiet
and calm at the deep blue twilight and fogged over snowy mountains loom above

the trees
don't seem to know there is danger looming
around the corner
just a harmless sign.

I wandered around
the land, the little out-buildings
of the old ranch.

I suppose they were once intrusions too, but now
they are embedded, blended and broken
down with the decay that blesses life.

I wander deeper onto the land to get a view
of the house and wonder
if they will knock it down
to make room for the new ones
--what a waste.

The side-stairs on the porch are still bright with the tree's life.
New, not weathered.
What a waste
of death.

My eye sees life
in a figure on the porch--
a large tabby sits on the top
stair staring somber
out across the field
alert not peaceful
like the day.
She feels the coming change and is starting to say

I watch her for a while until she looks up
noticing me.
She stares into my eyes from across the distance

I turn to walk away and glimpse a quaint structure far below at the riverside. I walk down
to the lower field to look and can't see
anything but it reminds me. "Shoreline
and I wonder how far they will go.

The horseshoe pits stand lonely together already
knowing of change.

I start walking up
the hill but am drawn down
to my knees.
My hands clutch the ground and I try
to cry. My whole body is filled
with tears but I can't release them.

I touch the ground with apologetic
fingers and stand and walk
past a stand of trees and turn
to them saying
"I will try."

The broken silence invites the chirping of birds in reply
and I cry at the thought of the nest
in the tree
being felled
in the spring.

I imagine tying myself
to it and I make a promise
to it: "I will try."

I walk away
and all I can think is No.
No No
No No
of this.
"I don't want

I slip back into
the woods and down the windy path, to where it meets the slope above the wild
green north
west middle
fork river.

More tears.

How many times has this place healed me with its surprising
[If I turned around from the wooded river-ed land I could see into
the yards and houses of
but I don't.

Facing the sloping forest I am transported and healed by the sappy
tree that I like to hug when I need a big one.
I run to it and fall into its arms
and sob.

"What do I do?"
"What do I do?"

The tree holds me and lets me cry
[GUNSHOT!] and I
lay down.

I curl up pressing
my face against the mossy base,
and watch the river


"Do animals make a human cry
when their loved one staggers
fowled dragged down
the blue veined river
Does the female wail
miming the wolf of suffering
do lilies trumpet the pup
plucked for skin and skein

Do animals cry like humans
as I having lost you
yowled flagged
curled in a ball

This is how
we beat the icy field
shoeless and empty handed
hardly human at all

Negotiating a wilderness
we have yet to know
this is where time stops
and we have none to go."
-Patti Smith, "Wilderness"

The ice was already cracked
but we still skated across it like ducks.

I walked on water
and watched it breathe beneath the layer
I trusted

and breathed softly

The dry air sucked the moisture from my cheeks and left them sticky
with salt.

It was a lake--
fresh water
(until I got there).

We watched the mallards and canada geese through your binoculars
even when they were two feet away.

We wondered at them and everything.

I wondered why you weren't more angry.
          You told me the ice was already cracked.

And then you said this felt like Refuge
and I slipped

into its arms.



"The eastern shore of Great Salt Lake is frozen, and for as far as I can see it translates into isolation[...]

Because of the high water level and drop in salinity, Great Salt Lake can freeze and does[...]

I want to see it for myself, wild exposure, in January, when this desert is most severe. The lake is like steel. I wrap my alpaca shawl tight around my face until only my eyes are exposed. I must keep walking to stay warm. Even the land is frozen. There is no give beneath my feet.

I want to see the lake as Woman, as myself, in her refusal to be tamed. The state of Utah may try to dike her, divert her waters, build roads across her shores, but ultimately, it won't matter. She will survive us. I recognize her as a wilderness, raw and self-defined. Great Salt Lake strips me of contrivances and conditioning, saying, "I am not what you see. Question me. Stand by your own impressions.

We are taught not to trust our own experiences. Great Salt Lake teaches me experience is all we have."

-Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge-



"One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires ...causes proper matters to catch fire...Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it.

If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

Do not lose heart. We were made for these times."

~Clarissa Pinkola Estes

new year quote

"Welcome 2013... please be kind. Lend your healing power to those with hurting hearts, failing spirits and ailing bodies. Help us to embrace change while committing to empowering ritual and honored traditions. Allow us to understand the importance of making mistakes and push us to reach beyond our comfort zones. Teach us to recognize and nurture our individual gifts and how to best cultivate and celebrate the talents of those around us. Provide us with tools to create in better and more meaningful ways and eliminate our need and desire to destroy. Remind us to turn off the television, our cell phone, notepad, computer and game-boy and tune into the wonder of authentic dialogue, real conversation and heartfelt laughter. Give us permission to grieve fully, and cry and care too much. Remind us to express our feelings and shower the people we love with crazy acts and acknowledgements. Teach us that sentiment is a good thing. Allow us to see with the eyes of a child and soak in the joy and mystery of the first snow fall, the beauty of the stars, the playful call of mud puddle and intrigue of a potato bug. Tell us to make ourselves a priority and help us find the time to slow down so we can feed our spirit, nourish our soul and exercise our bodies. Help us savor the moment...relish the now...even when it is hard and challenging. Give us the strength to take a big, juicy and messy bite out of the year that stands before us. Welcome. So glad that you are here." -Jodi Kirk (a friend of a friend on facebook)


"I am standing on the sea shore. A ship sails and spreads her
white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean.
She is an object of beauty and I stand watching her till at
last she fades on the horizon, and someone at my side says:
‘She is gone.’ Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all;
she is just as large in the masts, hull a spars as she was
when I saw her, and just as able to bear her load of living
freight to its destination.
The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not her;
and just at the moment when someone at my side says;
‘She’s gone’ there are others who are watching her coming
and other voices take up a gland shout,
‘There she comes’, and that is dying."


Do not try to save the whole world, or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create a clearing in the dense forest of your life,
and wait there patiently,
Until the song that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know how to give yourself to the world,
so worthy of rescue.

Martha Postelwaite

some quotes

“If the success or failure of this planet and of human beings depended on how I am and what I do, how would I be? What would I do?” —Buckminster Fuller
"Nothing is more difficult than to practice goodness within a system whose rules, goals, and information streams are geared to individualism, competitiveness, and cynicism. But it can be done. We can be patient with ourselves and others as we all confront a changing world. We can empathize with resistance to change; there is some clinging to the ways of unsustainability within each of us. We can include everyone in the challenge; everyone will be needed. We can listen to the cynicism around us and pity those who indulge in it, but refuse to indulge in it ourselves. The world can never pass safely through the adventure of bringing itself to sustainability if people do not view themselves and others with compassion. That compassion is there, within all of us, just waiting to be used, the greatest resource of all, and one with no limits." — Donella Meadows

for me, by Elissa Goss :)

"She has that quiet
That almost sullenness but that you know is really just
Childhood innocence
Carried over into heartfelt wonder

Her mouth is usually half way parted
She squints as she pushes her glasses back up onto her nose
She wonders at destruction
Cries for suffering
Cause it hurts so much sometimes

But she eventually crawls out
Stretches her body against the rock
Warming it with her touch

She climbs not so much to be vertical
But to find truth amidst suspension
Between sky and ground

She tests her strength
But Will she trust it?

A quiet moment happens before her choice

Her hands are busy with Change."

how beautiful is that? 

All I want for Xmas

is a Non-Violent Communication Workshop for me and the family.


I leave the tracks and will follow the highway home instead. From Moab we go to Salt Lake City via the freeway. The first half of the drive is breathtaking as we skate along in the rising morning and see the silhouetted monuments of rock carve their precariously balanced shapes into the sea of the sky. We drive though plains of rock and brush where antelope and coyote scavenge, which slowly gives way to vegetation and hilly meadows. The oak paints autumn up and down the hills. That beauty and wholeness exist.

We take a sharp turn and begin weaving out of the valley. Up ahead, between the peace and stillness of the water-color slopes, is something enormous and fast-moving. I knew the road was a string leading to something big. I felt that as I watched it fall beneath the hood of the car.

I look up to see the god-white blades of turbines cutting through the land's blending serenity. Cutting a hole in the wholeness. Kaki notes that they have such an otherworldly quality. And we enter...

I become curious about this world. It disgusts me instantly, but I want to know where we are. What is this town powered by mountain coal and wind, that seems quaint at first until you realize that it is made of only housing developments? Kaki doesn't know. It seems important to know the name of the town right on the new side of the mountain, but soon I understand--this is not a town. The nameless place is also lifeless. It feels uncohesive and incomplete with no churches or schools or little shops, and no people to be seen. Only identical houses that eventually give way to large commercial buildings.

The lifelessness begins to flood, and there is no resurfacing. No air bubble even. Now, I sit here at the greyhound station trying to breathe deep and meditate, but I am drowning in memories and miles of development, of watching billboards spilling their toxic sludge into the diseased sea of suburbia.
When we broke through those hills, we broke though a dam and torpedoed ourselves out into the vast dead ocean of industrial everything; stark, vast civilization where linearity rules and meandering is poverty, slowness condemning.

"The faster, the better," proclaims the billboard for Lakeview Hospital around an LED number screen informing the highway that there is an 11 minute wait for the ER (as if that is useful in an emergency). The highway sign flashes "6 Minutes" to downtown Salt Lake, the entire way lined with bigbox, botox, and parking lots.

What is a desert?
There is more vitality in the sprawl of sand than suburb. This place is fracturing, deadening, dehumanizing, empty. The people are different--angry, confused, drowning. Drowning in themselves because all the signs inundate them with a message for "YOU" and try to convince YOU that YOU can have everything, be everything, and need everything, and that they are talking to YOU (whoever that is). 

Really, YOU are an industrial worker ant--a slave to the steel and concrete. Serving no queen, except that you are the queen and you serve yourself and grow fat in your chambers alone. That's what the billboards want.

As I sit on a wirey seat at the station writing, a woman on that phone yells and curses at someone on the other end. A man gestates to his invisible friend in the air, and has an argument with the emptiness. A couple fights, take a break outside for a cigarette, and comes back in fighting again. They stand together silent in a doorway. They stand together at every stop til Boise, angry and confused, wondering why it is so painful.
I remember that as we approached the station having left the freeway and the heart of downtown, we began to pass homeless people on the street by the dozen; factory-farmed and corralled into the carton labelled Salvation Army, and shipped to the "run-down" part of the city. Chloe says it first, but she quickly take it back--"Not 'run-down' but..." "Older" Kaki says. "Yea."

Visualize abundance. Embody positive vision. How you see the world outside is how you are inside. Right? But does that change the outside?

I put my feet on the floor next to the wire seats. The yelling and gesticulating angrily and argument continue. My mind is swimming in the depths.

I close my eyes. I try to sink into a personal quiet. I slowly begin to imagine roots growing from the bottom of my feet, down and through the concrete floor, cracking it open, finding the earth, drawing down into the earth, down through the layers of sediment and stone and water and lava, down into the core, connecting me to the center.

Everything falls away except my roots, and the earth-made things, and the wish that I can hold this center and help heal the scars. That I can dive deep into the ocean, see it honestly, understand it, and not drown. That I can emerge and know the wholeness that is possible, the wholeness that exists. That I can hold it in myself.

I open my eyes. Everything's the same as before.

I feel better, but the woman and the man and the couple don't. What do I allow myself to feel? What do I allow myself to think? I feel deep confusion about the rift between the wholeness of my imaginings, and the wounded reality of the world. All around me is the consequence of exploitation, mass production, industrial manufacture of material, animals, people, everything. We are treated as though we are soulless. We treat the world as though it is soulless. It doesn't have to be that way.

I am getting better at seeing each person as a soul; imagining their heartbeat; imagining them broken down in tears; imagining what they love and why they live. It is helpful, but painful to look at sometimes. The man sweeping the greyhound floors day after day, the people at the ticket counter stressing over missing slips, the woman bossing her son around, telling him "No!" at every curious step to examine something new. His compliance. I want to put my hands on the shoulders of this child and tell him how much he is loved, his mom is just in pain too. I almost do as he walks passed me at one of the stops. The impulse nearly reaches my muscle-mind before he walks out of my reach. What would he think, anyway?

I remember we passed a prison on the highway. I knew we were passing a prison before I even saw it. It was all around me and I sensed it--the pain, the waste, the flat, empty colorlessness of the yard. When my eyes moved from one side of the barbed-wired, razor-wired fence to the other I saw really no difference. The people in the prison yard and the people in the parking lots all seemed equally incarcerated to me.


How do we free ourselves? How do we breathe?
The air bubble exists. You have to find it at the center and hold it at your center, and breathe into it and make it bigger. It is in compassion. It is in wonder. It is in turning pain into poetry. It is in seeing things wholly and honestly. It is in community. It is in forgiveness. It is in empathy. It is in you. It is in me.

The Rocks

It is ancient alchemy that created you--the fire we burns to remind ourselves.

My hand glides along your contours. We pretend that solid things are only that. But even the soft wind that kisses your cheek has a say in what the rocks say; even the trickle of water falling gently in your toes gets to decide the shape of the world. Call it erosion or the art of sculpture, these elements have something to say. And the fire churns out new earth from the earth that has always been, and the wind draws the heat away from the deep center of Earth's desire, into the center of our own. We pretend our hearts have coalesced into unchangeable shapes, but the fire always burns, and churns out new territory, and the breeze and the steam always have something to say about it.

In the moon light, dance, and let the shapes beneath you guide your movement. Place you clay hand firmly on the stone and find where it fits. The world offers itself to your imagination, to your body, to your truth. Trip and grip and wedge yourself into it, because the earth has messages that we can read, and we can write.

Fiery Furnace, Moab


In the blazing peace of the desert night I sprawl across the bed diagonally sprawled across the loft floor, and read about this landscape, it's unexpected vitality and fragility, through the words of Terry Tempest Williams. Soft voices hum the song of simplicity--crickets chirping their infinite prayer, and the lovers downstairs pouring warm cups of tenderness from their lips. The aroma drifts up to kiss my nose. 

I had spent the morning carefully documenting their lives. Collecting the images that are day-to-day to them, and dream to me. The smells hanging in the kitchen don't show up in the photographs, but settle on my clothes and in my hair, and I breathe them in until they sit at the pit of my being where they will permeate into my deepest longing. The colors stain me like the walls. Years-old swaths of plaster paint tests and small patterns that were once a solid vision, have settled into their incompletion, completing the dream for me. There is more story left to tell.

This is how I know I enter right in the middle of their lives. I stay out of the way, for once not wanting to change anything--actually wanting not to change anything. Even as I tiptoe closer to description, I risk crushing the cryptobiotic crust that holds their roots to this ground.

In the Fiery Furnace you don't step off the slick-rock; that kind of sand takes decades to build and I am afraid of eroding the already-slim margin of life that somehow manages to take root here and grow. The brush flowers grow up through the tiniest cracks of solid rock and bloom in the shadows.

10/2, TBC

Moab, Me


While she starts the water and measures the pasta,
he sets the table and peels the garlic.
She cuts up brocolli, strips snow peas, readies fish-
he presses the garlic, fixes her a kir and him a gin
she saute's the vegetables while he grates cheese,
readies the candles and puts flowers on the table.
She puts pasta in the boiling water and fixes salad.
which he takes to the table with the cheese.
She mixes a salad dressing, he opens the wine
and takes it to the table where everything is ready,
except for the pasta. so he lights the candles
and puts salad from a big walnut bowl into small ones.

Now she or he brings the pasta, greens and fish
mixed in, and they sit to talk, drink wine and eat.
Though October, they sit on a small screened porch
in the back of the house, where they have lived
for twelve years of their twenty together,
the last six, the children gone, alone.
Once, during dinner, if they stop talking
and listen to the music, they may, without drama,
hold hands a moment, almost like a handshake
by now, most friendly, confirming the contract,
and more. She is a pretty woman of 51, who has
kept herself trim and fit. He is 56 and hasn't.

Later, they will clear the dishes and clean up,
and she will bring tea and fresh fruit to bed,
where they will watch a little television or not,
with herbal tea and the fruit. After that, if
they make love or not, they will talk a long time,
her work or his, the budget, the middle east,
this child or that, how good dinner was, how
easy it is, the times like this, when it's simple.

~Easy, by Roland Flint.

In Defense of Rage

I got an email from Madelyn this morning. She said: " I was thinking of you this evening, and I wanted to pass you an article I wrote for a zine this semester with you very much in mind." 

In Defense of Rage
by Madelyn Peterson

 "I keep having the same conversation. Boiled down, it looks like a handful of questions:

“How do we sustain ourselves?”

“How do we survive with our souls intact?”
“How do we continue to work, to fight, and to love?”

I still struggle to answer these questions, but most often, my response is: we continue to feel, we take care of ourselves and each other, we do not go-it-alone. We allow our rage. We hold rage and love in the same hand, and at times, they are one and the same.

Rage is the fire in our bellies. We are truly filled with rage when something is so wrong it grates against our skin and twists our stomachs like dishrags. We feel it in our bones, that something must change, no matter the means or the cost. Yet, too often, we temper this feeling to please those around us. Or we run from it, afraid of the power of our emotional response.

We are taught to deny our anger, to hold our tongues and sit still, to speak on the plane of cool reason. We are told, “getting angry doesn’t solve anything”. We learn to suppress rage—any powerful emotion, for that matter—because it will invalidate our story—no, not our story, our “argument.” Political discourse in our society honors the non-emotional voice of “reason” (a patriarchal construct in and of itself) and calls those who speak with emotion, story, and experience “too emotional,” “militant,” “manipulative,” “biased,” “uneducated,” or simply “invalid.” The question of rage is one of entitlement: how much emotional space can I take up? How much am I entitled to feel and to express in the public sphere? And rage is a question of liberation. bell hooks, a black feminist activist/author, speaks about the silencing of black rage:

“[Black folks suffered] myriad abuses and humiliations . . . daily when we crossed the tracks and did what we had to do with and for whites to make a living. To express rage in that context was suicidal. Every black person knew it . . . many of us were taught that the repression of our rage was necessary to stay alive in the days before racial integration.”

—bell hooks, from killing rage: ending racism

Rage is a question of race and gender, of oppression. Those with the most social and political power, namely “bourgeois whites,” as bell hooks writes, have a vested interest in trivializing and devaluing rage, lest rage against the status quo “assume[s] the form of strategic resistance.”

When we censor our rage, we are catering to a discourse that depends on our compliance. It’s time we stopped asking for permission to speak and begin demanding that our voices be listened to. Rage is a powerful force—for organizing, healing, resisting—once we learn how to use it. If bottled up, rage can eat us from the inside-out. If we don’t direct rage back at the source of oppression, we turn it inwards or against each other. Instead, we ought to recognize rage as an honest response to exploitation and a constructive force that is vital to political resistance. We need rage—just as we need joy and love—to fuel us through a long march, to remember what truly matters, and to connect with one another in a common struggle. We need it to make us bold and brave. And we need a community in which to process our anger and care for each others’ wounds.

When we embrace rage, we refuse to be victims or to see others as victims. We choose resistance and dignity over victimization. For those who fight your own oppression, recognize rage as kin to love and hunger for justice, as a powerful force for change. For those who would be allies, listen to anger. When gender- and/or class-privileged white Americans are only willing to listen voices of victimization, they reaffirm the status-quo. Listen to voices that challenge your ideas about class, ableism, gender, sexuality, race, etc.

We are tired of sexual violence and patriarchy, of racism and white supremacy, of a state that will deny basic human rights if you don’t carry the right papers, of a society that polices our bodies and tells us our our love and our flesh—queer, gender non-conforming, differently-abled, fat, etc.—is undeserving. We are unwilling to live in denial and passivity. We will build communities and organize with rage, joy, creativity, hope, solidarity, strength, and love to transform the worlds we live in. Our rage will move mountains."

Good timing for me, with all my questions bantering me repeatedly and increasingly as I step each day closer to my quest. One has been a fear of stepping into my rage. I feel so unstable in it and have been hurting people I love with it. But this article reminds me how important it is to feel.

I've been saying to myself "I want to act more from a place of love." And now I remember I've always known that love and anger are the same thing--come from the same place--even though we call them opposites. And well, whatever they are, I want to hold both, in tension if I must. Because I need to express my emotions, but I also need to remember why I am feeling them. I love intensely, I react intensely. And I think there is a third part of that too... something about what I choose to do with it, but I am still working on that.

And on the note of holding disparate things in tension, and not having the answers for why or what to do, I came across this quote today:
"Spirituality is discovered in that space between paradox’s extremes, for there we confront our helplessness and powerlessness, our woundedness. In seeking to understand our limitations, we seek not only an easing of our pain but an understanding of what it means to hurt and what it means to be healed." (from The Spirituality of Imperfection by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham)

My Calender

August 17th: Adult Wilderness Quest Potluck (Bothell, Washington) bring food

August 21st-26th: Olympia Village Building Convergence (Oly, WA)

September 8th-16th: Adult Wilderness Quest (Surprise, Washington) need gear

September 26th-30: Women's Congress for Future Generations (Moab, Utah)

October 5th-7th: NW Permaculture Convergence (Olympic Peninsula) need camping arrangements

October 17th: Inkwell Article Reading (Evergreen!)

October 18th-22nd: Radical Mycology Convergence (Olympic Peninsula) need camping arrangements

*October 19th-20th: Inkfest (Evergreen)

October 20th: Harvest Fest (Evergreen)

November 6th: Election Day (0_0)

January 9th: Jury Duty 

January 12th: Adult Wilderness Quest Reunion!! (Randy's, Seattle)


Weird timing

"The baby beluga who inspired ‘Baby Beluga’ has died at the age of 46" 8/15/12

284 & questions

Every day
more species die.

284 Beluga Whales left
I know I
its always the charismatic
mega fauna
that capture our attention.
Whales, tigers, wolves, bears, elephants, monkeys and

But this time its a song and a memory. 
Sitting on the floor of my 3rd grade classroom
singing a song about the light blue
beluga babies.

Sitting on my bunk bed in my comfortable
yellow-lit room
with dark blue carpets
dreaming of the ocean.

If they are all dead in my lifetime
what will it all mean to me?

It will mean that I didn't do enough.

is less days
than have passed this year,
and more than enough time for
to disappear,
dissolve under our will
or lack thereof.


What world do I live in?
I despair
every day
I praise
the sky and the breeze that brings me
life and breath and
from across the sea.

I pick up discarded fast
food wrappers on the road on my way downtown
every day
and sit in a cafe
and create more waste.

What person am I?
What world is this?

It seems certain
I am no ring-bearer on a great quest across Middle Earth
for then I would have more direction
as to where to go,
and what to do
and have
a known task to undertake
to end the dark forces and
save the world.

Or maybe not.

How can I be?
How can I be pushing on the world
with the greatest leverage
if I don't know where that is?

How can I be holding so many conflicting
repelling things
in common
at once?

I need to be both strong and surrendering
solid and yeilding
understanding and challenging
rooted and pervasive
here and there
optimistic and realistic.
all-encompassing and focused
directed and open
forgiving and un-excusing.

I must hold it all
and not be weighed down.

and its so difficult.


some days
I wish I could live to be
or more.

"and it moves us all..."

I walked down to dance co-op today with menstrual cramps and a bad mood, (though, on a side note, I have been quite pleased with the alignment of my cycle with that of the moon's, so being on my period has felt a lot more special than it normally does).

Anyway, I wasn't feeling inspired to dance tonight--all day I was thinking I wouldn't want to go--but as usually I felt called to give it a shot anyway. After waiting outside writing for a bit, I went into the ballroom and sat for a while stretching at the back til a song pulled me into movement. But I was still having to force it for sure. Finally, the music got a little darker, matching my personal tone for the evening, and on one crazy sound, like a helicopter, I turned my anger into violently spinning arms and head and hips increasing in intensity until it stopped suddenly.

Then the most unexpected song was played: The Circle of Life (The Lion King version). Everyone in the room smiled wide, including me. It was magic how quickly that shifted my mood, and how immediately I felt open to dance in a way that I never had. Open and free. I couldn't stop smiling and just bursting with life and gratitude for life. The song changed the whole landscape of the wave for me and I explored the sounds through my body in new ways for a good time even after it ended. I still got really dark (and violent?) much later during the heavy middle--I head-banged next to a screaming Theodore for about 15 minutes. But my attitude had totally shifted to openness in the dance, and just letting myself go because of The Circle of Life. It was so easy to let go after that. I hardly had any thoughts (except "ow, my ovaries hurt").

Yea, I had cramps the whole time until stillness at the end, when they totally released for a couple moments while I did some stretches lying on the floor. It was an incredible temporary relief, but I still was hurting on my way home. Now I feel fine though. This is the first time in as long as I can remember that I passed cramps without taking advil or something, which is great. :)

Besides dancing, I enjoyed the sun and the moon today.
And Michelle's surgery went fine, and hopefully the lab results will yield good news.

There is sooooo much more to write about but I am exhausted. And feeling good. 

love is in the air

that's right, folks (folk? self?)

two of my close girl friends have become entirely smitten in the past week. both made quite the connection with a guy, each upon their first meeting (/online encounter). both the man-folk live abroad (in other cities nearby, that is) but apparently are perfectly peculiar, and match the quirks of each gal in uncanny ways.

why is this notable?

no clue, except that both happened almost at the exact same time, and both ladies have been updating me constantly (to my delight) about the progression of their interactions, and at times I almost lose track of what is happening with who. but its neat to experience, even as an "onlooker." I now know that the giddiness that comes from this beginning part of a relationship can also be felt vicariously, especially when the situations are reminiscent of your own experiences.

sorry (or not so much) about my writing style tonight. Lord of the Rings and Michelle (and probably the people from the Netherlands who are living in our house right now) are rubbing off on me. and also, i am tired, and have a lot on my mind, and a lot to write about, and not the braincells to censor myself too thoroughly. not that there's much to censor, minus a strange/awkward turn of phrase.

but anyway, yes. love is in the air.

Quest letter

I was re-reading my vision quest introduction letter today as I attempted to write my intention essay and decided I wanted to post it here so all (2) of my faithful readers could see some of what I've thinking about recently. 


Dear Fellow Questers,

Hello. My name is Alex Eisenberg and I am a 22 year old female. My preferred pronouns are “she” and “her.” I am excited to meet you all, and am so looking forward to reading your stories and intentions.  Here’s a bit of mine.
As a recent graduate from the Evergreen State College, I am entering a new stage of my life. With me I carry much grief for the state of the world, anger at humanity and self, fear for the future, etc. I hope to channel these responses into positive work and effective change though do not yet know how.
During my years at Evergreen I did not declare a major, nor did I get trained for a career. My experience was far more expansive than focusing, which means I am eagerly seeking direction at this time. In college I was continuously exposed to the reality of environmental and human injustice that is allowed and enacted daily across the globe. I learned to approach these problems by observing connections and looking for hidden variables. This systems-thinking has recently helped me realize that my consciousness and mental and emotional health are all linked to that of the earth. I now see that I have previously neglected those pieces on a personal level, and that I must nurture and cultivate them in myself in order to be most effective in my efforts for a better world. The quest will be a container for me to begin mending and growing those aspects of myself.
This past year has been one of the most difficult and transformative of my life. It has called me to delve deeper into personal soul work and the healing of wounds inflicted by living in a damaged society that lacks the focus of spirituality or community. I feel as though I am in a perpetually liminal state, between who I was raised to be (by my parents and dominant culture), and who I want and need to become (for the world and for myself). I believe this is in part because I have never had a true rite of passage—this quest will be my first—and have been inexplicably thrust in a new direction this year (toward spirit and community), but with no instructions for how to fully access it. I seek the intention that comes with community and spirituality, and this quest is a perfect opportunity to begin shaping it.  
While I would already claim to have spiritual beliefs, they are private and abstract. From my Christian upbringing and various experiences in the church, I have become deeply resistant to organized religion and group spiritual practice of any form, as they are very easy to manipulate. I do not have dedicated spiritual practices or a spiritual community, and I have not experienced any that I am truly comfortable with.  Until recently, this did not bother me. However, new realizations about the world (particularly as I begin to comprehend the long-term consequences of nuclear power in the aftermath of Fukashima) have forced me to reconcile my despair with something more sustaining and connective, and less rooted in the scientific or logic-based responses I have tried to depend on. This quest will be in part, a way to delve into a focused exploration of my spiritual beliefs, perhaps to find clarity and comfort within my own spirituality, while exploring ways to engage spiritually with others, with you. Though I still feel resistance to it, I am compelled toward it by the needs of this time and myself.
Here are some other thoughts about my intention for the quest: I seek to face the guilt I feel as a privileged middle-class, white, straight, cis-person in a vastly unequal world that is being ravaged by my species. I seek to cultivate personal strength and be self-supporting, while simultaneously remembering that I am part of a whole and cannot survive alone. I seek to learn to embrace and create community on all scales, and find ways to be an effective member within them. I seek time alone to grieve fully and openly, without other obligations, without anything but my sorrow, my heart, and the earth. I seek to explore whatever emerges when I open myself up to the world in this way.
Fellow Questers, thank you for taking all of this into your hearts, and for stepping into this journey along side me.

See you all soon,

today was cool.

danced to a fiddler's celtic tune in a parking lot
had my first attempt at split pea soup (success!)
made gfdf muffins (uber success)
hung out with my wonderful housemate and three crazy dogs
attempted to write my quest essay
enjoyed the sun
among other things
(like getting into an intense internet debate
doing laundry)

nothing too important, but it feels like a lot of good things. :)


Beautiful dreams are coming true.

impudent offender(s)

Been feeling somewhat angry at the world. Or, a lot. But yesterday helped--catching up with some awesome ladies. And my quest prep has been grounding and immensely powerful too. And, duh, backpacking with Carolyn=incredible. Lots to think about. Lots to write about, but most of that is going to be private for now.

But I do wish to express my anger and frustration at this moment, just to get it out of my system. Consider yourself warned.

So... basically... here's the thing: I am fucking sick of (mostly) old (mostly) white (mostly) males running the world! FUCKING SICK OF IT.ARG

So, as you can probably tell, the green building code symposium went well.
I mean, I guess I am getting used to being the youngest person at those things, and being surrounded by grey-haired people in, fat people in grey suits with phat grey hair (...not judging, just noticing) [Am I gonna lose potential jobs over this?]. And I am getting used to hearing them talk about merely reducing our utter destructiveness in a business-polite fashion in their business-casual vernacular/clothing blabitty blah blah bull. Needless to say I bit my tongue a bunch but couldn't stifle a few loud exhale sounds that probably made some bushy, grey caterpillar-eyebrows cock their butts in the air (or their heads, but its really hard to tell anyway). But hear-you-me, I would have spoken my mind if I wasn't volunteering or representing the Guild by association.

Like, "um, excuse me... you don't want to put a better code into law because then people who are always pushing the boundaries would somehow suddenly find it acceptable or beneficial to shoot for the lowest standard? and even if they did, the lowest standard would call for much more efficiency across the board which would be better in the long term anyway because we wouldn't have wasted all the resources making more shitty buildings. i mean, its not like we've been waiting for years for everyone to jump on the already super green-washed (with '100% natural' soap) bandwagon of 'sustainability.' and you are saying we shouldn't create laws that mandate 'green' building because then it won't be cool anymore? might that perspective be because the success of your company/paycheck depends on your 'green-building' offerings being on the cutting edge, which wouldn't be the case if better building practices became the mandated standard?"

Once again, it was a dog-fight between the private and public sector...
So why not both? Why not market-based incentives AND regulatory solutions? WHY WHY WHY? I think I understand. It's all about money. But it sounds like this:
"Because I am a man, and don't understand the meaning of compromise" "NO! I am a man and I have all the answers, but they are better than yours" "I am man! HEAR ME ROAR! in my suit. and tie. and... beer belly..." "oh! and I am a woman and I have an opinion too! but it's still based off this bullshit reality of market economies and what is or isn't feasible in our ridiculous government system. but i know how this part of the world works because i have been working in this unfortunate field since the dawn of the dinosaurs. RAR!"

Okay, okay. I'm not being very fair at all. They genuinely care (probably). They donated their time to spend at this thing, and have dedicated their lives to trying to contribute to a more beautiful (?) world, and they are doing it in the ways they know how.

But it doesn't help if you get in the way of people who are doing the things that make the difference. And if you live in a bubble of relative security, ignorant or ignoring-ant of the actual real-life physical/emotional/metaphysical/hubalal impacts of the things you are talking about.

I know. I know. It's too complex (aka time intensive, aka expensive) to consider everything. We are all just doing our best. Hopefully for the common good, but it's hard to tell sometimes, especially when one of the presenters was like "yup, i was in the regular old building design business and i moved to green building when it became profitable."

in the meantime, all these old people in my life are telling me "that's just how people are, we need to take advantage of it by creating incentives and propaganda etc." so shoot. i guess i better just call that acceptable. (*retch*) but its effective! i know it. (*retch*) 

would you believe me if I said I DONT I DONT KNOW WHO TO BELIEVE? or what to do? or... who I am...

and on that note:

"What if I should discover that the poorest of the beggars and the most impudent of offenders are all within me; and that I stand in need of the alms of my own kindness, that I, myself, am the enemy who must be loved -- what then?” -CG Jung




stop fracking
stop nuclear
stop the pipeline
stop mining
stop removing mountaintops
stop drilling
stop tar sands

stop bombing
stop shooting
stop threatening
stop lying

stop arguing
stop politicizing
stop polarizing

stop planning
stop building
stop manufacturing
stop consuming
stop selling

stop paving
stop driving
stop flying

stop sprawling
stop spreading
stop moving

stop drinking
stop smoking
stop shooting-up

stop posting
stop texting
stop talking
stop listening
stop reading
stop writing
stop eating
stop thinking
stop hoping
stop breathing

just fucking stop for a second.
go outside
and look around
and feel what is happening in the world
to the world
to your home
to your heart.
take it all in.

now breathe.
now take a step.

now start thinking
and hoping
and start changing things.

and don't forget how to stop.

(i don't know what's next, but maybe if we were all honest with ourselves whatever is next will be better.)


Cameron and I watched all the Lord of the Rings movies since graduation. Watching them, I have decided I want to try to live my life as a great and noble quest. To live with more conviction about my duty and passion, and to embody dedication to what I care for. To keep questioning myself and others, and to continue asking, but to speak with strength and beauty, even in uncertainty. Cameron always encourages me to say things, even if I am unsure about their truth. There is probably no avoiding this in any case, but it is a difficult task to take on consciously. I am getting better.

Now that I am able to slow down, I can start to integrate. There is much to be integrated, but I am able to be more conscious of and committed to the processes necessary. I do not have to force so much anymore--things just emerge: poetry, activity, other things that have no name. Synchronicity and a sense of rightness surround me like humid air, and hold me.

There is still doubt. Fear, regret, loneliness, disappointment, frustration. And I would be a fool to think that panic will not overtake me again. But it is nice to know that I can find pockets like this where there is peace.

Last night, at the sunset, Carolyn and I discussed her situation and it brought up something that I had been thinking about in relation to my own life. How much we (as a society) value obtaining independence, particularly financially. In many situations, this is more than a value but a need. In any case, we consider those who are not financially independent as some sort of failure. But in this moment, I am not financially independent, and do not yet have plans or a need to be, especially in this time of emotional and spiritual shifting. I am a highly privileged person with the the unique opportunity for a season of stillness.

For a time I had been thinking "Oh, how selfish am I? I am emotionally turbulent and need this time to heal. I am bringing no good to the world. I am just sucking up resources and life." But now I can see that in my personal healing, I am healing parts of the world. And even in the absence of immediate demand upon me, I have much to offer. Yes, I have so much to give right now and how wonderful it is that I only need to focus on that--on shifting the energy of the world, inwardly and outwardly. I have time. I can use that time to benefit the world. The failure would be if I remained only a consumer--able but unwilling to give back.

There is no ignoring it: this is a privilege that most people cannot enjoy. I do not take that lightly. I feel the gentle weight of my responsibility in this time. There is much in it, but it does not feel heavy because it does not feel urgent, though much of it is. The fact that I have the time to spend on it brings me peace and encouragement.

dear mountain... love, river

This season... once again some combination of middle fork, flashing lights, and goodbyes; thunder or rain or both. leaning against the refrigerator or the back-hatch crying. some combination. some spiraling synchronicity. i just followed the 8's but who knows?

Day 1: I miss you.
But mostly I am just sorry. I wish I and the world would quit squandering the precious things; quit casting our gaze carelessly over all the riches we are free to enjoy, all the moments that are already perfect; quit destroying what is, for want of something more or better.

It's a fine line. There is much work to be done. Or maybe to be undone. Like the undammed Elwha with its salmon finally coming home. All we had to do was remove our doing. All we had to do was allow.

Tonight Carolyn and I sat with the sunset.  The western sky this summer keeps taking my breath away. The enormous orange sun and blinded me, as I looked toward you. You must have been looking at the splash of clouds too because I felt you close.

Well according to spell check, undammed isn't a word. But it will be. It will take undoing, and simply being, and allowing, and maybe even fighting but
I have seen concrete hearts crack, and love spill out years of suppressed tears, falling ceaselessly down as we stand at the bottom speaking fiercely to the mountain, out loud, I love you.

If I had religion, if I had one prayer, that would be it. Over and over tumbling down my heart and through my veins touching everything.

I face the mountains to say it once but like water it isn't just one, it is all, and it opens cracked concrete wide and fills the empty spaces, flowing.

games, follow-up

"What happens if we choose entertainment over humanity? In Collins's world, we'll be obsessed with grooming, we'll talk funny, and all our sentences will end with the same rise as questions. When Katniss is sent to stylists to be made more telegenic before she competes, she stands naked in front of them, strangely unembarrassed. “They're so unlike people that I'm no more self-conscious than if a trio of oddly colored birds were pecking around my feet,” she thinks. In order not to hate these creatures who are sending her to her death, she imagines them as pets. It isn't just the contestants who risk the loss of their humanity. It is all who watch."
--Publishers Weekly, Megan Whalen Turner
found this review on the hunger games. the last two sentences just remind me of going to see the movie in theatres, as outlined in a previous post. "it isn't just the characters who risk the loss of humanity. it is all who watch."

As Lawrence Ferlinghetti says

I am signaling you through the flames.

The North Pole is not where it used to be.

Manifest Destiny is no longer manifest.

Civilization self-destructs. Nemesis is knocking at the door.

What are poets for, in such an age?
What is the use of poetry?
The state of the world calls out for poetry to save it.
If you would be a poet, create works capable of answering the challenge of apocalyptic times, even if this meaning sounds apocalyptic.

You are Whitman, you are Poe, you are Mark Twain, you are Emily Dickinson and Edna St. Vincent Millay; you are Neruda and Mayakovsky and Pasolini, you are an American or a non-American, you can conquer the conquerors with words.

You can never see or hear or feel too much. If you can stand it.

Be a wolf in the sheepfold of silence.
Poems are burning bows, poems are arrows of desire, poetry gives words to the heart.

I am signaling you through the flames.
Wake up! The world is on Fire.

Have a nice day.
–Excerpted from Poetry as an Insurgent Art

i need to read this book:

“Young lovers see a vision of the world redeemed by love. That is the truest thing they ever see, for without it life is death.”
Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow: A Novel

The moon

is keeping me company as I do my homework tonight. Yes, I have homework tonight. Woah.

Oh, another surprising thing: Bret said something today that made me feel... good (at least in the sense that it was something I can agree with, and something I can engage with without being totally devestated). It was a very Wendell Berry-esque thing to say and I don't remember it totally but it was about how in our culture we don't value the power of limits and quality; we are numbed to true enjoyment because we are addicted to the availability and cheapness of "junk food," "junk entertainment," "junk sex," and how we should all try to be more aware of this.

It reminded me of this WB quote: "If one is to have the power and delight of one's sexuality, then the generality of instinct must be resolved in a responsible relationship to a particular person." 
And... wow. Loaded, but I will save more of that discussion for my upcoming essay (which is slowly becoming a novel, which means it may self-destruct.


O saints, if I am even eligible  for this prayer,
though less than worthy of this dear desire,
and if your prayers have influence in Heaven,
let my place there be lower than your own.
I know how you longed, here where you lived 
as exiles, for the presence of the essential
Being and Maker and Knower of all things.
But because of my unruliness, or some erring
virtue in me never rightly schooled,
some error clear and dear, my life
has not taught me your desire for flight:
dismattered, pure, and free.  I long
instead for the Heaven of creatures, of seasons,
of day and night.  Heaven enough for me 
would be this world as I know it, but redeemed 
of our abuse of it and one another.  It would be
the Heaven of knowing again.   There is no marrying
 in Heaven, and I submit; even so, I would like
 to know my wife again, both of us young again,
and I remembering always how I loved her
when she was old.  I would like to know
my children again, all my family, all my dear ones,
to see, to hear, to hold, more carefully
than before, to study them lingeringly as one
studies old verses, committing them to heart
forever.  I would like again to know my friends,
my old companions, men and women, horses
and dogs, in all the ages of our lives, here
in this place that I have watched over all my life
in all its moods and seasons, never enough.
I will be leaving how many beauties overlooked?
A painful Heaven this would be, for I would know
by it how far I have fallen short.  I have not
paid enough attention, I have not been grateful
enough.  And yet this pain would be the measure
of my love.  In eternity's once and now, pain would
place me surely in the Heaven of my earthly love.

~ Wendell Berry
from Leavings

hope and love vs.

My last week of college (through which I have sought desperately for hope) and my teacher prefaces a thought with:
"i just wanted to quickly point out the reason why none of our efforts will come to anything..."

luckily the point wasn't even news, or shocking after an entire quarter of hope-shattering, but I still found it amusing in a morbid way. I don't know how some people continue to live in this world, myself included. At least I fall apart and sob for a few hours every day and consider the possibility that I might not want to live in the world. No, I'm not suicidal (at least, not any more than I have been since age 13), I just think about it a lot. No worries. I am bound... caught in the personal responsibility vortex, where nothing we do matters but we can't not do anything. Well... I suppose I don't believe that anyway. Of course it matters. It matters to the people (and non-people) around us, right now. It's like the starfish story: "it matters to that one."
It just feels like everything's a coin toss, or worse. How does good outweigh evil if evil has more power and resources, and being good depletes your resources? Not that I want to think in terms of good/evil since it's not so cut and dry, but... monsanto compared to a food co-op I guess is my point. Also... what constitutes resources? Love is a resource right, and one that is inexhaustible and self-perpetuating (i think, i hope), and it's at least no less real than the money we so-often base our lives on. Oh, I thought of a helpful equation:
love doubles, or at least grows, when spread.
radiation halves and dissipates.
It's an emotional idea shoved into a semi-logical math problem and yea, it's dumb, but if you were in my brain right now, that really wouldn't matter. I'm just trying to find some hope.

Hope. You know? That thing that gets you up in the morning when you're depressed. The idea that propels you forward when all else seems lost. The thumb that you stick out when you are ejected into outer space and have like .33 milliseconds to get picked up before you implode. You know: Hope.
I see the problems with it:
You get your hopes up. They aren't realized. You're disappointed/devastated, or feel wasted.
Or maybe you rely too much on hope alone and don't do anything to make something happen, or not happen, or change.
I get it.
But it's still valuable. It's worth like a hundred buckets in some situations (though I suppose in some situations a bucket equates to hope.......... beside the point). Hope helps, sometimes. If something is hopeless, why continue with it? That's how I know Bret has hope, even though he says those things, even though they are grounded in logic. He has kids. He is still fighting.

Derrick Jensen, in his article Beyond Hope, give the definition: "hope is a longing for a future condition over which you have no agency; it means you are essentially powerless [...] Many people say they hope the dominant culture stops destroying the world. By saying that, they’ve assumed that the destruction will continue, at least in the short term, and they’ve stepped away from their own ability to participate in stopping it." but... it doesn't always work that way. sometimes it is the hope, the possibility, that is only reason you can muster the ability to keep trying in the face of great odds. At least for me, in many instances, it is hope that propels or initiates action. If life is meaningless and there is no hope and nothing can do about nuclear radiation killing us all, then fuck, I might as well just stop lamenting what can't be changed and forget about trying to change it and just enjoy my life like nothing is wrong. Or off myself... Not that I could do those things, but isn't that Camus' existentialism in a nutshell? And don't people subscribe to that? Hope that there is meaning, hope that meaning can continue, hope that life can continue allows us to try to do what is in our power to make that happen. To try. To try hard. To fight like hell.

Though, now I'm all confused because I was thinking about all the reasons I've found myself hoping for collapse... but is that something I would want to try to make happen? Probably not... even though I think its the quickest way to halt the extractive, destructive machine of human society that's out of control. And I also realize collapse wouldn't solve the issue of nuclear. Damnit. It's like K-19. (Don't put shit like that on a submarine. Or a planet.) Hmm, that makes me think: Maybe this issue is something that's been after me my whole life, giving me clues and cues to pick up on, until the right moment when it could attack and I would understand. I was fascinated by that movie even though it disturbed me so deeply. And now that disturbance is resounding times a hundred million squared. I have to do something about it. And in order to do that, I have to be able to hold onto some hope that something effective can be done. I don't know if I have that yet, which explains my equation (and the sobbing). But now we're back to me falling into Jensen's trap...just trying to find a way to feel like even if nothing changes, it's still okay. Which it isn't. But what if there is nothing we can do? Is love the backup parachute? Not just. It also helps in other ways.
...blah, rambling.

geez. i'm tired.  oh.. that's cause its really late.
so much for homework... though I guess this is.

I'll take a compliment first though:
"Dear Alex Courage Eisenberg..Ms. WiseBeyondHerGeneration (and maybe many of ours)..thank you for giving back!" --
gosh. there it is. love just spiraling out and out and out...

love embodied

"you have strong medicine inside you"

staying home

Terry Tempest Williams has said, "Perhaps the most radical act we can commit is to stay home." When asked what she meant by that, this was her answer:

" I really believe that to stay home, to learn the names of things, to realize who we live among... The notion that we can extend our sense of community, our idea of community, to include all life forms — plants, animals, rocks, rivers and human beings — then I believe a politics of place emerges where we are deeply accountable to our communities, to our neighborhoods, to our home. Otherwise, who is there to chart the changes? If we are not home, if we are not rooted deeply in place, making that commitment to dig in and stay put ... if we don't know the names of things, if don't know pronghornantelope, if we don't know blacktail jackrabbit, if we don't know sage, pinyon, juniper, then I think we are living a life without specificity, and then our lives become abstractions. Then we enter a place of true desolation."

"Love in the Country"

by William Stafford

We live like this: no one but
some of the owls awake, and of them
only near ones really awake.

In the rain yesterday, puddles
on the walk to the barn sounded their
quick little drinks.

The edge of the haymow, all
soaked in moonlight,
dreams out there like silver music.

Are there farms like this where
no one likes to live?
And the sky going everywhere?

While the earth breaks the soft horizon
eastward, we study how to deserve
what has already been given us.