Thursday, September 30, 2004

My Alter Ego Wants

a memory. Driving
away from a realized fantasy
of my head tipped back
in a kiss too tall for tip toes
and five shots making the stage
a wide open woman

tonight. I return to my more
monotonous celebrations
and give in to this

awkward
joy
of
shit,
teeth,
drool,
evolving

into coherent babble.
A bliss conundrum

arms stretched wide

palms skykissed - left memory
present, right
a vacant dark blessed void.

Tintinnabulation of titillation.
Each bell ringing

joy gone
joy here
joy comes

again.

Thoughts of a former stage diva accepting her new role.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Quiet Revolution: A Portrait

Perfection lays in the understanding that there is always room for change, growth and improvement.

In our playgroup, I have been blessed to meet some truly exceptional parents. In so many ways, they have guided and shaped this journey upon which I have recently recommitted myself. So, today I want to celebrate one couple’s unique and exceptional contribution to the next generation.

Mother
There is nothing harder than being away from your child all day, five days a week for eight long and seemingly endless hours. It takes exceptional fortitude to accept that during these eight hours connections are made, developmental leaps abound, steps are taken, words are shaped and uttered. There is nothing more nerve wracking than trying to “fit into” a rhythm and routine designed by someone else. These things supposedly come naturally to men.

Father
There is nothing harder than being at home with your child all day, every day, every hour upon endless hour. It takes exceptional sensitivity to become an almost living video recorder which communicates, documents and shares these eight hours in which magic occurs every minute. There is nothing more tedious than submitting to consistency and honoring the rhythm and routine every child requires. These things supposedly come naturally to women.

Together
In the evenings when she comes home from work or on the weekends when our families come together, I have watched her being fully present in each and every moment she has with her children. She is not recovering from work, spacing out, getting down time or hashing over the day or week. During these same times, I do not watch him running for solace to the football broadcast or the local bar, I watch him like some great Tai Chi master swishing the family energy through the house, the park, the restaurant. He steps back, accepts, lets go, steps in and is available - fully present.

And together - as if their family is a Swiss bank account - they deposit all the extra energy for some fantastic, luxurious future. Oh, yes, they are and will be tremendously wealthy indeed.

They are everything that is awe-some about things which our society says are unnatural. Like the parthenogenic frogs in Texas or an albino deer, they inspire wonder and an acceptance of how quirky delicious the Creator can be. Because she can give her family a roof over her their head and food on their table and clothes on their backs and a trip to the coffee shop or Indian buffet on a Sunday. Because he can nurture the children, be at home (with no num num consolation prize for boo-boos or sad times) and keep the day sweet, full of wonder and delight. Because with peacefulness and joy, they both can cast gender roles into the tornado of our society and culture and laugh in the face of how Man has tried to define nature. Because they are everything natural. They personify how even though things may appear the same, they are intrinsically unique and rare - snowflakes or leaves if you will.

Their lives are a complex challenge about which only their daughter’s tender fierceness will be able to testify. Only they will be able to truly communicate the way in which each of us can define, create and embody that which is our humanity - for they will have practical experience rather than theory. And all of children are the better for it, especially my son who gets to live inside of this visionary world where every human takes care.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The Family Bed & Justifying Lunacy

The “Sex Talk,” Honesty, Einstein, Whiskey and Philosophy

My firstborn and I began having “The Talk” early. We began with simple biology. A woman makes an egg, the man makes sperm, those two get together and a baby is made. Pure and simple. Straightforward and easy. Wipe the brow, get a glass of wine and sit smugly for three years.

It took that long for my daughter to ruminate on the mechanics of HOW. “How does a man’s sperm meet a woman’s egg and become a baby?” She asks this at a dinner party. She asks this as if to challenge and say, “Okay...Miss Cool Cool Honest Smartie Pants, prove how liberated and suave you are.” And in that 6 or 7 year old sweetness, I had to prove it.

So, I began with in vitro insemination. I followed up with artificial insemination. Then I capped the whole explanation with a giggle-shrug bold-faced statement of...”Well, “ I roll my eyes as if she couldn’t possibly believe this, “ you know honey, some people prefer to do it the old fashioned way, the man puts his penis in a woman’s vagina and releases the sperm which swim up into the womb and meet the egg there and it is fertilized and a baby is made.”

And she falls on the floor laughing hysterically. And then says, “You didn’t do it that way, did you?” And because at that point in my life I was a lesbian, I could answer quite honestly that, “No, in fact I did not.” It seemed to be a great relief. And that was that.

Take a shower. Have a double shot of whiskey. Wipe the brow. And wait nervously until next time.

The next time took a long time. Maybe six years. This was a blessing, here was the opportunity to discuss theory. I made theory and philosophy my very best friend.

I have this opinion, that we are all connected. I hold this peculiar notion that energy is transferred between the people we name friend, lover, comrade or foe and solidified into an aetheric body. And with an oversimplified, pseudo-Einstein-like philosophy - which blanketly accepts that energy can neither be created nor destroyed - I believe that we carry pieces of each other’s souls from now until the termination of our existence on this here agreed upon time-space place.. Thus, in the give and take of forging relationships...in this sharing of auras or energy... which comes from good dinners, great conversations, whiskey drinking, and sharing a bar of chocolate ...a new entity is created. This is the body of the energy we have invested in each other.

This body has a life of its own. It lives on its own esoteric plane of existence somewhere next door to our shared reality and twelve neighborhoods to the south of Creator’s Place. This body can be injured, maimed, mutilated, or even murdered. So, when we begin to contemplate casual sex, we have to ask ourselves, “Am I willing to invest this universally mega amount of huge energy in this person?” AND “Am I willing to carry this kind stranger-friend from this life to the next and on into eternity?” The most common answer is: “No!!!!! That’s sheer lunacy!!! I can barely take care of myself!!!” And in consideration of the that aetheric body of hyphenated names - do I really want to create something that I will eventually destroy?

No, no sane body wants to murder, maim or mutilate any other body - real or aetheric. And therein lay the answer to why my infant, husband and I are all in the bed together every night, letting the baby boy kick us in the face, belly or suckling perma-latched all of our sleeping hours. We want to create a sane and healthy aetheric body.

We want this entity which is the manifestation of our souls combined to grow strong and healthy. We want to re-create the same bond I made with the firstborn. This time around we want it to be even stronger. (The first marriage came 2 years after the firstborn’s birth and the union resulted in booting the firstborn out of the family bed.) We want the aetheric body of this relationship to be nourished.

My firstborn seems to have heard my “weird ramblings.” She has an innate tendency towards long term relationships. And she is uncomfortably honest about her choices regarding partners. (For all of her teen years, there have been a grand total of 2 serious contenders + the 1 who was symptom of distress from which she quickly extricated herself.) Given the adolescent ability to fall in an out of love-bed every three days - I feel we’ve got a solid track record here. And when and if she is in a relationship which involves intimacy - she does not sleep in the same bed with the person at night. Why?

Because as I told her once, "When we sleep we let down our guard. This is the time when we are most vulnerable. Our auras swirl and shift and merge most easily then because we are unable to erect the barriers we place between ourselves and others in our waking state.

And I don't think she believes this lunacy. But, she’s not taking any chances.

If nothing else, it is a great argument for the family bed.

For in our most vulnerable weakness, our greatest strength is nourished and fed. Our resting time is the moment when families are armored to withstand the onslaught of our chaotic crazy culture. The aetheric body nourished by our dreaming sleeping souls are cast of steel... maybe something stronger.

We’ve been honest about our beliefs. We practice them. Science says it is so...sort of. What have we got to lose? Except sleep and the flagrant whimsies of whiskey.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Mick Jagger & Wisdom

The Struggle To Practice Attachment Parenting
As Method Of Questing After Spiritual Enlightenment


As with any group of new parents, our discussion eventually turns toward needs and wants. One of my playgroup friends feels strongly about a method of interacting called non violent communication. This form of communication encourages people to analyze their needs and make requests from people who can meet those needs in a manner which is more likely to generate a positive response.

It intrigued me. For a moment, I wanted to learn more. However, more kept leaving me with an uneasy feeling. I kept hearing Mick Jagger’s voice over and over. So much of what I perceive to be my needs can actually be classified - on deeper analysis - as wants.

I want more time to write.
(I have a need to create, to celebrate life, to be effective, to understand and be understood.)

I want to sleep all night uninterrupted.
(I have a need for physical well-being.)

I want to have more time with my husband.
(I have a need for connection, intimacy, acceptance, love and support. )

I want to dash over to New York to see a cool poetry show, or be on a tv program or attend a conference.
(I have a need to experience clarity, inspiration, authenticity and belonging.)

Even though these are all legitimate needs. This is not what I am doing right now.

Yes, I am writing. (This blog. Draft one of my ballet is done!) I am getting more sleep than some parents I know. (My physical well-being, while not optimal is pretty durn good.) I do have time with my husband. (Much less than before baby.) And by meeting with my friends in playgroup, I do receive clarity, inspiration, authenticity and belonging. In essence, I was spending a lot of time looking at what I lacked than what I had in hand.

It is human nature to want more. As a culture and society we are always chasing after immediacy. And we want everything “Biggie-sized.” We want it new and improved. Stronger. Faster. Better than ever. We want it all and right now thank you very much.

We expect the vehicle of our emotional, spiritual and physical lives to be a souped up, tricked out, spanky fresh new Hummer. And we become disappointed when our life resembles a well-maintained, energy efficient five year old Mazda.

Becoming aware that my life is like a Mazda - when so many other people's lives resemble a 20 year old Pinto or a burnt up, rusted out Chevrolet on block - is an invitation to the wisdom of choosing sanity. It challenges me to hold on to my faith and belief that everything I am doing right now at this exact moment in time is the right thing. It invites me to surrender to an awareness that I am blessed.

This surrender is an act of resistance to an unhealthy society whose corporate interests lie in my own sense of dissatisfaction. And if I am successful in resisting; if I surrender to sanity and acceptance, then I have won. I am the victor.

A playgroup friend of mine recently delivered a sermon at a Unitarian Universalist Church about Sudan and the thousands of people who had fasted in solidarity. He said, “To my mind, nothing is more sacred than those urgings that cause us to recognize and to act on behalf of others: For the well-being of our present relationships, in respect for the struggles of the past, and in hope for a future that is rooted in sanity, imagination, and compassion. We must hold on to each other. We must leap.” (1) And to make anything sacred involves a sacrifice. To make anything holy involves faith. Right now, I am making sacred and holy my relationship with my family. In many ways, some parts of my life are fasting. And other parts of my life are feasting.

I am letting go of the idea that my life has to be the largest one on the road. In return, I receive more than I could have imagined if I had planned it, asked for it, requested it or forced it into being. This is my journey towards accepting the vision I have for myself and my family. My way is not the right way. In fact, my way is probably the wrong way for people. There is no one way. Each individual journey towards wholeness is unique and precious.

But, suddenly, my life is a winged horse. There is no road. I would never have thought to ask for the sky.

“You can’t always get what you want. But, if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need.” - Mick Jagger

1. Excerpt from "Fasting For Dafur: Sermon For Smithon Unitarian Universalist Church" by Lawrence Gorden Wray, Lay Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church, Pittsburgh Northside

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Becoming The Balloon Leaving A Child’s Hand

Isolation and hours
standing on end like arm hairs
respond to a host of passing
ghosts. These nonverbal wriggling

creatures of endless need,
stimulate the tenderest
reaction to humbling down;
celebrating the basest corporeal concerns;
submitting to generosity;
accepting infinite opportunities
to become the balloon
leaving a child’s hand.

O rise and rise toward love,
change diapers, wear vomit
press a deafening wail to your shoulder
and smile with a tear in one eye
about never sleeping

enough. And when it is
too much, because the days
no longer have names
because night never is
that dark womb of regeneration,

look around. Babies come everyday
at any moment. I am not alone
these hours do not have to tingle and prick.
So many of us are floating
towards wisdom. There is a price.

In gathering with other parents,
I find my way towards being present
in the gift I have received.
This ephemeral blessing of discerning
and meeting endless need fades
and recedes with time. The child
tightly holds your string. Tugs,
tugs and pushes you away
laughing. Eventually, all we are left with
are dear moments, memories,
satisfaction and new freedom’s euphoria.
A ceiling to kiss. A myriad of bobbing
colors dancing. Children holding outstretched hands.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Serenity & The Lessons Old Houses Teach

Meditations on Acceptance, Selling a A House, Chasing a Toddler and Moving To England while meeting the Deadline For A Contract and Nurturing The Firstborn’s Transition To College

1.
I see Serenity. How ancient and voluptuous she is. The grapes peel themselves for her. Levitate into her perfect mouth. Shiver with joy as her teeth mash, tongue presses, throat constricts around them. This is how she touches everything.

Isn’t she terrifying and seductive?

2.
Old houses - like old women - have secrets, mysteries and frailties. This is their charm and challenge - helping them stay vibrant, strong and healthy long enough to understand a small fraction of their patience, forgiveness and wisdom.

3.
I shall sit in Serenity’s lap today. Children, after all, imitate their parents.

4.
Dancing around my dorm room, I used to sing along with Kate Bush’s song “Lionheart.”
There is power in words. Now, look what I’ve done. Oh, good.

5.
Dear Sisyphus,

You have been a very bad role model.
I shall not even glance in the direction of the boulder today.
I will dance away from the hill.
What you are doing no longer looks poetic.

Sincerely,
Christina

Oh, look! There’s what I was seeking!


6.
Yes, she has called again today during nap time knowing full well it is nap time and her brother prefers to have company when he naps. This precludes phone calls, email checking or otherwise engaging in anything but nursing.

I am glad she calls home whenever she calls home. Even daily at naptime.

I certainly never wanted to call home.

* * *
The origin of the word sacrifice is “to make sacred.” Surrender is not always defeat. Be aware of to what you give voice. Peace is terrifying and comfortable. Have faith in vision. Embrace circumstance. Be thankful. Be thankful. Be thankful. Happiness is not everything you want, but an understanding of how to shape and define your own desires.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Writing, Water, The Great Sow & Salvation

We are such creatures of water. Flowing one moment, stagnant the next. Rushing madly and standing still. I am supposed to be writing a Neo-African Dance Ballet for a small company. Instead - I am mourning this moment of stillness. This place which is waiting to be filled. Today, I keep trying to remind myself that being in each and every moment is a state of grace. This is a good thing.

But, I keep returning to the ballet - which last week rolled over my entire essence like ten thousand razor blades. It filled me with resentment. It made me question what I am doing sitting on the floor stacking a bunch of plastic rhombus. “I should be writing the (next great ) fabulous piece of literature,” I would exclaim loudly to myself. Every nap time, I soured my milk. I kept saying to myself - “I should be able to get shit done at nap time. Nap time should be MY time.”

Today during the napping, I invited again The Great Sow. She was the only sanity when one month after the birth of my son, I lived in a fixer upper filled with boxes and was grateful that I could finally make milk because we had moved. I felt powerful and graceful. Eternal and magnificent. The Great Sow lays on her side - happy, fat and lazy with her piglets suckling, kicking, suckling, dreaming. She does not want to clean her sty. She does not want to roam the fields. She just lays there (like me at nap time) a great, powerful heaving body bringing life and sustenance to her young. In her massive indolence is the power of the future.

How often I find myself acting like the river before a waterfall. Churning, thrashing crazily towards one dramatic event. Thinking - “Oh, oh! I am jumping and leaping. When will all of this stop? I just wish it was all over by now.”

All of the drastic and radical events are happening now. I am the river dashing over the cliff. This is parenthood. This is writing. The creek bed becoming the river becoming the waterfall becoming the quiet pond seeping into the underground water tables. And rising.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Picture

Really Me
Really Me,
originally uploaded by christinaspringer.
how often has my soul been stolen?
countless
I have snatched and held
others
glossy flat time
taken
these aribtrary moments
colored, black and white live
in boxes

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Spilt Milk and The Moon

The Random Question

a river of hunger.
a baby's open trusting mouth.
empty.

Twenty minutes vanish
bottles, tubes
and milk dripping.
Smaller than tear drops
I count two thousand before
I reach 4 ounces.
Now, we are both starving,
the baby and I.

Illogical sympathy for cows.
Breast pump pulling,
humming, sucking.
Vow to become vegan.
But, the stomach sings,

"beef! beef!
and tiny little lambs!
wring the chicken's neck!
feed me bowls of clams!"