Morticia of the West
Happy Halloweiner!! Here I am reading last week's column! "A" is for asbestos, "B" is for black widow," "C" is for cancer! Good times!!
And, in case you're interested, here's the black widow spider our friend Steve found in his workshop! He's showing it to us and his son, Otto, through the protection of their dining room window. It's like a regular wildlife center up in here!
Woohoo for woowoo!!
I love tarot and candles and crystals and Reiki / Cauldrons and broomsticks you might call me flaky / But can you recall my most favorite woowoo shit of all…
Why these things presented themselves to the tune of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is beyond me. I’m so sorry. I’m worse than the seasonal aisle at Target, getting holiday shit in your head before Halloween has even graced our hearths.
Jenn the woowoo lover / Had a very shiny Tingsha bell / And if you ever saw it / You would even say it tings-so-well….
Ok, this is getting kind of stupid. Thanks for indulging me. I’ve been on a rhyming spree lately. And once you pop you can’t stop. Mrggghhhh.
Point is, I love woowoo stuff. Synchronicity is my favorite feeling, aqua aura is my favorite color (besides orange), The Starseed Tarot is my current favorite tarot deck, Archangel Michael is my homeboy (and I love his flaming sword and indigo ways). Since we’re entering a new moon weekend as well as All Hallow’s Eve, I figured I’d share with you a couple current favorite woowoo things.
My latest favorite is a super treat from Hay House author and psychic medium, Karen Noé. I had the life-changing pleasure of an in-person healing session with Karen this past August, and it was amazing (my mom came through, I cried, it was exactly what I needed). It doesn't get much more woowoo than angels and psychic mediums! And that is why I absolutely adore Karen's talk below. It brought me to tears in the most spiritually clear way. Karen talks about telling your loved ones NOW that you love them (the number one regret she hears from the other side is not telling people now how much you love them). She also has some incredible not-to-be-missed tips on forgiveness.
Unrelated except by color scheme and woowoo-ness, it's harder to take a photo of yourself wearing a unicorn horn lying on a bed of tarot cards than you might think. Although that does sound difficult without even doing it. Either way, my cat's butt ended up stealing the show. How do those women do it with the raDONK pointy witchy nails I wish I could have? They seem to have a claw-hold on taking the best Instagram photos ever of themselves and tarot and crystals. There must be some magic in that acrylic.
Besides taking online Reiki, shamanic healing, tarot, and psychic development classes, checking the Kaypacha report, seeing what the Mystic Mammas are up to, and reading Gabrielle Bernstein's The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith (which is a true statement and an exact sentiment I came to at a Dr. Brian Weiss past-life regression workshop), I'm not up to much else woowoo right now. ;-) How about you? Are you a woowoo you-you? Tell me about your favorite crystals. It's a nice break from the election.
Oh, I voted early! Woohoo to that too!
Reykjavik! The trolls: nicer than you'd expect. The weather: not so nice, but to be expected.
I write this to you from Iceland. Yeah, I am surprised, too! If you would have asked me some years ago where I would be today I might not say Iceland. Who can expect this sort of thing? Groupon had a good deal, we purchased it, and the rest is wet, grey, Viking history.
Currently I should be asleep, but after a day of several jet lag naps, two meals containing the most luxurious hollandaise, and more than one (two, three) glass(es) of wine, I'm finding writing to you a lovely tether from this strange (yet familiar) land.
So yes, it is pretty fantastic to be able to travel the world. It's great. But what else is great is just being. I am going to savor every moment (and taste of the smoked fishes) here, but I'm also going to love luxuriating in regular life later. That said, I don't want to get too ahead of myself. I think that's when the trolls get ya.
Update: I write this to you from the plane on the way back to Boston, fighting a cold. Maybe it was all that brennivín (a non-sweet Icelandic schnapps that tastes like fennel and caraway) for which I seem to have acquired a taste.
I can't believe how thrilled I am to see the sun above the clouds from the plane window!
Here are some Reykjavik highlights:
At the Saga Museum. I especially liked hearing about Freydís Eiríksdóttir, who scared a bunch of enemies away holding a sword to her bared breast. Bad ass.
At the Sun Voyager sculpture, by Jón Gunnar Árnason, in Reykjavík:
What are you up to? How's the weather? I actually care about that sort of thing.
Embodiment of the skunk
Thinking about stinking! Here I am reading this week's Full Frontal column for the Newport Mercury. About being legendary, like the skunk. Could you imagine smelling so bad post-mortem, that your enemies wouldn't even want to kill you? That's some power.
Jagged lil pill
Here I am reading this week's Full Frontal column from the Newport Mercury. So many feelings this month! Thanks, tamoxifen! And thanks, feelings, and state of the world. But here I'm just covering tamoxifen.
Where nobody knows your name
Feel that ache? Yeah, me too. Last night we went to a wedding of strangers (Brenton and Jenny, which we thought was funny, because we are Brent and Jenn). We were invited by the band, which was great, and it was fun. I love watching people dance. Though I drank too much cheap Chardonnay and have a hangover for the first time in a long time. Ugh.
As I watched the bride and groom and their friends dance, it occurred to me that I don’t really feel like I belong anywhere. And while that’s OK, and I have a full life, and I do belong with Brent and The Doo, it does get tiresome sometimes to watch people belonging and feeling like I don’t. When I went to the bar to get some of that oaky-ass cheap Chard I was waiting behind this gentleman who was getting a drink. This girl and her date side stepped me and cut in line. The bartender didn’t notice and served her first. It made me feel even more invisible. I justified it that I wasn’t a “real guest” and as a real guest she should get her drink first. But I was already feeling nebulous and out to space, so having someone jump in front of me solidified my already growing sense of being unmoored, like that part in Back to the Future at the Enchantment Under The Sea Dance when Marty starts to disappear in that photo.
And to continue the 80s movie references it also reminds me of Amanda Jones in Some Kind of Wonderful, when she says “I’d rather be right,” meaning she wouldn’t just hop into a relationship with anyone to avoid being alone. I don’t want to just be a part of some group to be a part of a group and satisfy my tribalism. I know plenty of groups. Good groups, too. And there are all sorts of gangs and churches and shit you can join. I’d rather be right.
I just finished reading Glennon Doyle Melton’s Love Warrior by and could not put it down. She writes about meditating for the first time and feeling like she was part of the sky. She experienced the beautiful oneness that we have with the universe. And she understood why we humans have that ache — because we want to get back there. We want the oneness. But humans are fragmented and alone, and it triggers our ache. It’s why we are sold so much shit. “They” bank on our eternal ache, and try to get us to buy stuff thinking it will fill the void. It never does. But by the time we figure it out it’s too late and we’ve already bought the thing.
This hilarious video of infomercial snafus set to the Smiths’ “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” is such a perfect illustration of how “them” selling us shit works so well.
So today I signed up for some deliciously woowoo courses on Udemy. Reiki I, II and Master Certification, a course on Tarot, and a Shamanic Initiation for Spiritual Awakening. Out-to-sea sense of non-belonging be damned! I throw light at you!
Fucked is better than stuck
As I write my morning pages and express my gratitude for trying things, and creating the new neural pathways of saying yes to stuff, it occurs to me how great that is. That the overarching idea here is that we are moving forward. Being lubed in the chute of life is great — as disgusting as it sounds.
For so long we were stuck. All I wanted to do was meet my husband after he finished work at the bar, drink however many glasses of wine I wanted to drink, get a burrito or a cheeseburger, eat it too late, and go to bed. Rinse, repeat. We did this a lot. Too much. And worse than just the physical aspects of this (I probably weigh fifteen pounds less now, just from lifestyle changes), were the effects on my life. Stuck is as stuck does, I guess Forrest Gump might say. (I still don’t quite understand what “Stupid is as stupid does” means. Oh well.)
It’s odd that it started with going to Seattle. I don’t even like going to weddings of people I know, so I’m not sure what possessed us to go to a wedding to which we were invited by mere acquaintances. It was the catalyst to get us dislodged from our routine, however, and planted a seed for a magic beanstalk that continues to grow to this day. A beanstalk that has taken us all the way to Boise. It’s taken me through writing an entire book (with ideas for more books). It’s taken me to getting quiet and listening to myself. It’s led away from too much wine and too many cheeseburgers.
Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love and most recently Big Magic) cites the curiosity-driven life as a creatively lucrative one: “I think curiosity is our friend that teaches us how to become ourselves,” Gilbert says on NPR’s On Being with Krista Tippett. “And it's a very gentle friend, and a very forgiving friend, and a very constant one. Passion is not so constant, not so gentle, not so forgiving, and sometimes not so available. And so when we live in a world that has come to fetishize passion above all, there's a great deal of pressure around that.”
So I sit in our house we bought across the country, as the flooring guy confers with his supervisor on the phone because he’s just found some tiles potentially containing asbestos in our basement. So even though in this moment I feel like, “oh shit, what the fuck are we going to do now?” I also feel like I’d rather feel somewhat fucked than totally stuck. Like, I’d rather be here, having decided to try something different with our lives, than back on the couch watching some bullshit TV, or sitting with a glass of wine in my hand, getting progressively number.
Usually you don’t have to choose between asbestos and lazy drunkenness. And neither is great. The post-script is the asbestos is minimal. We’ll have it abated, and the black mold (there’s that, too) remediated. I continue to follow curiosity. I look at this move as a positive one, even though I’ve had up and down feelings. I think that’s a natural part of increasing one’s neuroplasticity, as my new Boise massage therapist suggests (she says she moved every two years or so to keep it fresh).
“Neuroplasticity: The brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.” (MedicineNet.com)
And speaking of neuroplasticity and fucked being better than stuck, here’s this article called “You’re Not Stuck With The Brain You Were Born With.” I was also recently looking at author / coach / plugged-in practical-magic woman Martha Beck’s materials for this integrity cleanse she’s holding and she talks about first reading books as a kid that said your brain is already formed by the time you’ve hit puberty. She thought she was fucked. But then new studies were done, and it turns out that first book was wrong. That changed her whole shit around.
Anyway — there is still so much more I want to do and explore. And even though we’ve been watching Narcos every night (and every day allowing "puta" to trip a little too readily off our lips), my life is way different than it was 10 years ago. And I’m pretty happy about that. Tiny changes can lead to big changes.
So I will keep following my curiosity, checking in at the synchronistic signposts that show me creating new neural pathways are the way, following the sound as I make music and the aural curiosity therein, writing writing writing to teach me new stuff, too, and synthesize what I’m learning. Oh, and moving my body. Important piece for peace. Lubed life-chute, here I come.
Well, hot damn, I didn't expect to be moved and prodded and all kinds of stuff by a kid's movie on my father's birthday. But Kubo did just that in spades and reminded me of magic. Beautiful film. The ending with the grandfather made me leak out my FACE. Maybe the below is a little confessional, but whatever. I needed to share.
Steve Gunn's music has been our obsession for the last, oh, six months? Maybe more. We literally drove into the sunset on our way from Boston to Boise this summer listening to him. We watch his videos, his live performances on KEXP and the like. We saw him play in Boston the night before we left for Boise, too.
Here is the music video for "Ancient Jules":
Drive into the sunset listening to this:
And don't miss his Tiny Desk Concert:
And the video that started it all (for Brent and me, anyway), Steve Gunn on Guitar Power with Matt Sweeney:
Just figured I needed a musical palate cleanser after my last couple of damp, intense blog posts. Boom. Ya welcome, holmes!!! XOXOXO
When I was diagnosed the doctor handed me basically the You Have Cancer: Now What? booklet. It stated that the hardest part would be between treatment and diagnosis. But I've found that afterwards is hard, too. Turning back to carefree, getting my life back, processing feelings, dealing with symptoms that feel like PTSD. All harder than expected based on what I was told. It reminds me of when I graduated from college and no one told me that I and my other twenty-something-year-old-thinking-feeling friends would have major existential crises. Oopsies!
I just came across a piece by Michael D. Becker, on Curetoday.com, which says this: "There is waiting to be told you have the disease, waiting to start treatment, and now waiting to determine whether or not the cancer has returned. Clearly, one of the hardest parts about having cancer is the waiting. But based on my personal experience and in reading various cancer patient blogs, anxiety about cancer returning is the most difficult and debilitating form of waiting. One published study even suggests that post-cancer anxiety is likely to be a problem in long-term cancer survivors."
Thank you, Michael. Yes yes yes yes. He goes on to say "Doctors and nurses were excellent about making me aware of the possible side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy and what to expect during treatment. What needs to be discussed more openly and proactively is the potential psychological impact following cancer treatment."
I could not agree more.
It's me, Jennifer Bernice (rhymes with "Furnace": it was my Granny's name) Sutkowski
• More details about my writing here.