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Road trip

Wiggle your fingers. Begin to move your toes. Feel your body come back into awareness. This is the end and the beginning. Shavasana.

Corpse

You could say Story Charmer has been in shavasana the last six months. Shavasana, the Sanskrit word for “corpse pose,” comes at the end of a yoga practice, the last pose in a sweating, stretching, praying, (sometimes pleading) workout.

Like it sounds, the body stretches out onto the floor like a corpse, limbs heavy, muscles slack. Breath slows. Heart rate calms. And, while I haven’t spent six months lying on my back in the dark, I have spent six months tucked into the quiet cocoon of a basement office, quaintly set in a back yard cottage, 1000 miles from the city and community I called home the last 4 years.

Sweating it out

In the months before its shavasana, my life became its own stretching, sweating, deepening yogic practice when I reached into love, packed up my single-gal ways, and moved to San Francisco with my boyfriend. A few months later, spent, and stirred by my creative urge, I gave up the work on which I’d built my business. And a few months after that, wondered

what’s my identity anymore?
what will I say without the crux of my business?
am I running far far away from everything I’ve built? And if so,
to what leaping-into-the-dark end?

Answerless, I telescoped back from social media and work communities, drifting farther away the dimmer my purpose became. Who am I? What is Story Charmer built on? What am I sharing? Are we friends because we’re buying from each other? Or are we buying from each other because we’re friends? Wait, we’re friends, right?

Further down in the heart, I cooked dinners for my boyfriend, wondered at cohabitation after so long solo, carried on intense breakthrough sessions with my therapist, and recoiled … in peace. After holding life, bracing against challenge, supporting the warrior pose of business-woman, and longer, of Pema, for such a duration, stillness was deafening.

Heartbeat in stillness

Despite its name, corpse pose is very much alive. The body’s rest is awash in the heat, sweat and prayer that came before. In this most vital pose, the body is resetting, integrating—its muscles, organs, its spirit—healing itself in the empty space before the action of every day resumes, and fills it. It’s the end of practice, and the beginning of what’s next.

Six months after it began, I can see that my practice had been intense, and that the silence was shavasana. Some stillness owns you till you take what it offers.

Curating the empty space

Story Charmer will be seeing some big changes in the coming months. The blog, she’ll slim down to stories on the journey, machinations in the mind. No explicit coaching here. Just exploring, relating, filtering life through story to find its perspective, its invitation to transform. The space cleared will make way for a new site and my gorgeous and gritty new story coaching offer in the new year.

For much of my copy writing career, I thrilled to my favorite part of the process, the client interview. Our conversations and what gets created from them are one hour of epic. And then, I’d slink off to my dark corner to write, solo, for another 20 to 30 hours. With my new offer, I’m over the moon to have found the sweet spot of client interaction, creation, and serving a (most fabulous) concrete need. I’ll tell you all about it in the weeks leading up to the launch. Till then, I hope you’ll enjoy the whopper stories that will inhabit Story Charmer till year’s end from South America.

Yep! Restored by shavasana, I’m on the “road” out in the world again. This time beginning in Buenos Aires and points along the Atlantic Southern Hemisphere. And it involves a ship, and the Amazon jungle, and bodies, stretching into life.

More to come… :-)

 

Photo credit: I found this lovely shavasana image at http://yoga.patients-care.com

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What do you give?

November 16, 2010

Since I’ve come home from my long summer, there’s been a whole lot of getting used to my newer, expanded, more grown up self, back in my not-new surroundings. One of those areas is work. Do I still fit in to the same places? What do I give, these days? Right this minute, as I type that very sentence, I get a text from my uber-pal and favorite witness in my life’s travels. She sent a picture. Here, I’ll share it:

In keeping with serendipity, and knees-deep in updating my portfolio, I give you this story, of the day Mary J Blige, Heart, Metric, and Sarah McLachlan played a live soundtrack to this question as it unspooled in me: WHAT DO YOU GIVE?

Moved by music

We step out onto 7th Street, near the entrance of the club Prince made famous in “Purple Rain” and where punk made its mark in Minneapolis. Painted black and covered with big silver stars, we slog past it across the street to the Target Center and even this early in the morning, I can feel pop culture history crackle in the intersection.

On the menu: Tired. Chaos too. Things are not where they’re supposed to be and stage set-up is already cramped for time. Tension high, moods ugly. There’s no coffee yet. It’s too early for this rush.

But then something happens.

Read the rest: “What do you give? Diary of a day on the road with Lilith,” posted originally on ALTER ECO TRAVELS.

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COMING HOME

October 6, 2010

I’m trying something new: Coming Home.

It’s mathematical. On average, I move cities every year-and-a-half. At the 18-month mark in Portland, I tripped off to the Lilith tour with every intention of coming home. Headed out to cross two nations of cities, people, wide open arms and a summer of adventure…it was like telling an alcoholic sex addicted lover, “Hey, Sugar, there’s a party of boozy high class hookers next door. You go enjoy yourself. I’m calling it a night.”

I went next door with the hookers.

For three months. I leapt into the swirl of a concert tour and traveled around the nation with artists, entrepreneurs, big-hearts and crazies. I stayed up all hours, drank whiskey and wine. Ate sandwiches and drank beer. Let down my guard and let flow the girl that never got out when I was younger, serious, toeing the line of everything right, trying to find myself in diligence.

At the end of the tour, I couldn’t call it the end. I stayed in New York a while. And then a while turned into a month longer than I’d meant to stay. Pretty soon, it’s three months since I’ve left Portland, and New York City, a place I’ve called home before, is stroking my hair, whispering in my ear, cradling me in its morning after, asking me sweetly if I really want to leave.

The answer is transient

Today I walked around the place that I left last June and New York is far away. Yellow blossoms are in a pool under the park trees. People are smiling because they’re just nice here. I rolled over in bed this morning and opened my eyes to gray skies and I smiled too. I’m home. I’m in the moody broody weather of the Northwest. I’m back.

Because I’ve moved so much, I have a history of returning home to a lot of places. The end comes. I prepare to leave and wonder if I should stay longer. I have a similar history with lovers, each time silently asking both the city and the lover some variation of: Are you my mother? Are you the home of my heart? Is it you?

The answer is transient. And so I travel, not aware in the middle of the joy of new places, new faces, new me in new context, that I may just fear stagnation, that my evolutionary brain hasn’t yet got the memo that I’m not a shark in the ocean, I don’t have gills, I don’t have to keep moving to survive. I have lungs, that breathe, and take in the place where I am, adding it to the cells that make me, making my place a part of me.

Breaking down home

My last week away, I went to my original home and shipped my Grandma out of hers. After 33 years in her apartment, we packed her up and sent her 99 year old self to my Dad’s. All the memories on her shelves, and the shelves themselves, got dissembled and crammed into the back of a moving truck. I cried as her friends gathered to say goodbye.

Then I went to the beach. To the primordial soup. I laid in the sand fully clothed and felt the sun push through them. I watched the waves.

Am I home? Where is home? Who is home? I am a patchwork of places.

Things I’ve heard myself say since I’ve been back:

Where do I keep the silverware again?
Where does this road go?
There are three new buildings in my view.
My schedule is open.
Namaste.

Familiar and old and new again

My first morning back, my best friend, Regina, met me for coffee in a new place near her house. We were catching up deep and rich when a song came on overhead that I sang to her at our first parting. We were 23 then. She was going away to grad school. It was her farewell party. “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome,” Bob Dylan, covered by Shawn Colvin, sung by me. The only people at the party not crying were she and I, because I asked her before I started to keep it dry so I could make it through the song.

Ten years later, at her wedding, I sang “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody),” in which lyrics feature prominently the sentiment: home). Also Shawn Colvin, covering a Talking Heads tune.

I’m sensing a theme.  Home is where the people who love you live. For me that’s a lot of places. But right now it’s where Regina lives. It’s where my community is, here in Portland, full of creatives and crazies, greenies and nerds, heartbreak and hope and a whole lot of cute boys. And wilderness. And progressive coolness. And my awesome apartment. And the airport, which reaches anywhere. And I-5, which reaches deep into the belly of my home town in Southern California.

I’m trying something new. I’m returning home.


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6 weeks. 40 cities. And music. Lots of music. Check it out. Road trip revealed.

Road trip revealed: Rock, roll ‘n’ Sarah from AlterEco SF on Vimeo.

I’m going on the Lilith tour. Be part of the action with me!

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER: @AlterEcoSF

BE MY FRIEND ON FACEBOOK: Facebook.com/AlterEcoSF

I’ll be posting videos and pix and playing in conversations every day of the tour, on both twitter and FB.

AND, I have some righteous good video interviews up my sleeve already, with delicious lovelies you twitter-ites tweet about like crazy.

If YOU’RE coming to Lilith and have something to tell the world, come find me in the EcoVillage. Or just post it on FB or Twitter and let the love ride.

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