Monday, February 27, 2006

Preparing the Guest Room
Over a year ago, for reasons I did not fathom at the time, I dismantled and removed the double bed in my guest room and took the art off the walls. The room has sat, echoing and nearly empty, all this time. Somewhere along the way, I painted it a warm yellowish-orange that changes with the afternoon light, and pleases me. It took me awhile, though, to be able to tolerate the lack of order, function, and settledness in this compartment of my home, and life. Why did I do it? Take away the open invitation to guests to stay with me? I get that I have been examining the whole idea of intimacy and who to bring in close. So, it is odd, that for the same unfathomable reasons, I have bought a new sofa-bed and cute floor lamp, hung new art, and added music to the room, where I now go to read and meditate. Who will appear next as the Visitor?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Compassion for a Killer
I rented the DVD "Monster" where Charlize Theron plays a female serial killer. Her performance affected me for days afterward; I can't imagine what depths it plumbed in her. To have the lack of ego to empathically flow into the heart of a person so wounded and desperate that the line between murder and self-preservation melts away—Wow! I wonder if Charlize knows how a courageous performance like this one can stir such profound issues in ordinary women like me. She became that serial killer, and I became that serial killer. At some level we are all that serial killer, and we are all the wounded, abused women, and we are all the abusers. But for the grace of God that frees us from self-sacrifice and suffering, and the gauzelike veil that makes our individual lives seem separate, any one of us might have walked that path. It is less and less easy for me to judge anyone else because I keep flipping into the space behind their eyes.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Guadalupe Virgin Lands
The houses on either side of me have been empty for months. And in the past few days new families have moved into both. On one side, an older Hispanic man who runs a landscaping business, and who promptly cut down all the trees, took out the hedge, and paved the front yard so he could park his many trucks there. On the other side, a younger Hispanic family with three small boys who make those high-pitched, ear-busting screams as they play on the swingset. I have no preconceived ideas about Latinos, no biases. It's just interesting that I am being put in contact with SOUTH, the direction of the physical, of life force and emotion, without leaving home. Hmmm. Yes, I think I do need more of this, and less mental focus. . . I am waiting to see what gifts of consciousness these families bring with them, what role they will play in my growth. Why has my movie changed? From my bedroom window, I see that Jose has only thin lace curtains on his bedroom window, and inside on the wall is a huge poster of the Guadalupe Virgin. I have a Guadalupe light switch, candle, and mouse pad.

Monday, February 6, 2006

The weather has cleared and I am going to meet one of the locals, with whom I have coffee most mornings, in the city to see the exhibit of old photos from the 1906 earthquake, now showing at SFMoMA. I take the ferry across San Francisco Bay, water glistening, cormorants flying in a low black line next to the boat, and dock at the Embarcadero. Today I do not turn on my computer, look at email, or check my phone machine! Free! Breathing real salt water-tinged air. Exposure to the elements!! How did this get to be a rare occasion in my life? Walking the short distance to the museum, it's hard to believe this city was once razed. The photos are amazing! Here are the first panoramic shots, taken by a wide-angle lens hoisted by balloon over Nob Hill. Where frame houses were, there is NOTHING, just ash with bits of foundation showing. Men are sitting in chairs, wearing bowlers, in the midst of huge piles of rubble and loose bricks. Grinning. Makeshift tents house new restaurants, people document the devastation with their new Kodak Brownie cameras—all the rage then. Women are picnicking with umbrellas. I see that as I am renewing my own mind today, the city grew back amidst a spirit of cheerfulness and industrious collaboration. Ahhh.