Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"Holy, the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of the soul!"

Thanks for reading. all the best to you dear ones in 2015. I like to end the year with a reading of my favorite poem. I'm sending out to you all, with love and respect. peace on earth. xholly

Footnote to Howl

Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!
The world is holy! The soul is holy! The skin is holy! The nose is holy! The tongue and cock and hand and asshole holy!
Everything is holy! everybody’s holy! everywhere is holy! everyday is in eternity! Everyman’s an angel!
The bum’s as holy as the seraphim! the madman is holy as you my soul are holy!
The typewriter is holy the poem is holy the voice is holy the hearers are holy the ecstasy is holy!
Holy Peter holy Allen holy Solomon holy Lucien holy Kerouac holy Huncke holy Burroughs holy Cassady holy the unknown buggered and suffering beggars holy the hideous human angels!
Holy my mother in the insane asylum! Holy the cocks of the grandfathers of Kansas!
Holy the groaning saxophone! Holy the bop apocalypse! Holy the jazzbands marijuana hipsters peace peyote pipes & drums!
Holy the solitudes of skyscrapers and pavements! Holy the cafeterias filled with the millions! Holy the mysterious rivers of tears under the streets!
Holy the lone juggernaut! Holy the vast lamb of the middleclass! Holy the crazy shepherds of rebellion! Who digs Los Angeles IS Los Angeles!
Holy New York Holy San Francisco Holy Peoria & Seattle Holy Paris Holy Tangiers Holy Moscow Holy Istanbul!
Holy time in eternity holy eternity in time holy the clocks in space holy the fourth dimension holy the fifth International holy the Angel in Moloch!
Holy the sea holy the desert holy the railroad holy the locomotive holy the visions holy the hallucinations holy the miracles holy the eyeball holy the abyss!
Holy forgiveness! mercy! charity! faith! Holy! Ours! bodies! suffering! magnanimity!
Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of the soul!
                                                                                                            Berkeley 1955

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

my biggest fears

I am flexing my writing muscle, mother of 2 be damned. I am getting back in the habit of blogging regularly, even if it just a sentence or two some days.

My biggest fears when becoming a mom were so silly and superficial. Of course the fear is always there of what if something goes terribly wrong or what if something terrible happens. What I did to have the courage to take the plunge was make up smaller goofy fears to take my mind off of the true terror.

I was on board and trusting of the process of becoming a parent, caution to the wind, but my big fear was of having a baby that I did not think was cute. It really was. My first child I knew would be a girl. I just knew it. And she was. But I worried if she would be someone I did not relate to visually. Maybe if she had looked different than my idea of a cute baby, then maybe I would still have seen her as gorgeous. Probably. But in any case the baby that came to me was the spitting image of what I thought was cute prior to her being born. Phew!

Things got really real when we were getting ready for the second baby, which was the dream, to have two children. Becoming a parent, introducing a new human being into your life forever, is indeed one of the greatest gambles. Our daughter, while strong and certainly not an “easy” kid, was so amazing and now we were going to roll the dice again. Anything could happen and it could really mess up our great situation….

I had heard the stories about people with the perfect little angel girl and then the second child was a Neanderthal terror that wrecked the easy living. Since our strong girl had always been a wild one, that was not my fear. What I was really scared of was having a boy, period.

I was so afraid of boys. I wanted two girls, plain and simple. I had no idea what to do with a boy, how to dress him, how to act with him. Everyone said, “You just have to love him, Holly”, but that did not help. Silly, I know, but it was even scarier if the boy looked unlike my dream baby. What if he had a big head and no hair and wasn’t cute and became a jock! (No offense to the bigheaded baldy jock babies out there, I’m sure you are amazing!)

Deep down I suspected baby number two would indeed be male, because although I cultivate ease in my life, my experience has often been that I am asked to walk through fire again and again around the big life milestones. And I was correct; my second child is indeed a boy, my son. And oh how grand it is to have a son. Who knew?  And since I walked through fire on the sex (although once I held him, it was not hard or fiery at all), I was granted ease on the unimportant issue of looks. He was more beautiful than I could have imagined.

In this long life of mine, my worst fears have manifested many times and have always been a blessing. Fear is a strange illusion. A real distracter. So I write to remind myself to feel the fear and do it anyway. Do not allow fear to get in the way. Do those dreams that you’ve been dragging your feet on. Get on up and start. Every journey begins with the first step and once you take action the universe rises to the occasion and helps you in a myriad of ways. Leap and the net will appear. Be brave my sisters and brothers as we face the dawn of the new year.  Life is awaiting us, full of miracles and joy.

Monday, December 29, 2014

how do I let go of hate?

Today I keep thinking of a Muhammad Ali quote. In 1975 he was speaking at Harvard and he was asked for poem and he said “Me, We”. What brilliance and beauty, depth and simplicity.

Some schools of thought believe that we are all one and since we are all connected, everything you do, you do to yourself and to everyone else. Even mainstream Catholicism goes there. Jesus said, “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.”

I strive to have a heart big enough to handle the spiritual challenges I face. It seems that when you are on a spiritual path, whether you want to be or not, you are presented with ample opportunities to practice simple philosophies in the most difficult situations. Everything is easy on a mountaintop but how do you have compassion for an individual who has caused you personal agony, and is unchanging continuing to act in a way that has hurt you and your family.

I have no idea how to overcome such obstacles except to try and try again, to seek to be compassionate and choose peace again and again, despite the ego that wants to be RIGHT! (That wants EVERYONE to KNOW just how TERRIBLE this individual is! That wants to punish the individual, that wants the individual to CHANGE).

My job is to take care of my family with strong boundaries, which I do, but then to just be honest about what I feel while remaining neutral in my language, staying out of blame drama and engagement and loving myself, while trying to have true compassion for the above described individual. That is what letting go of a resentment looks like, that is what some version of forgiveness looks like. That is the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but I try to do it. I fail daily but I try again, for me and for my family , but also because if I do not do it, I will meet that individual or some version of them again and again down the  road. Man do I have my work cut out for me. So hard, but I accept the challenge. I appreciate any good vibes of support sent my way.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Gang Girl

Back in the day, I was hanging out on the Lower East side with the most creative, coolest, beautifulest people on earth. In 2000, I was at Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, sharing my one bedroom with a cool woman from Germany to pay the tuition, and I was cast as a principle character in the indie film, Margarita Happy Hour, by Ilya Chaiken.  Things were going great.

Then I heard that a bunch of my pal were cast in Katrina Del Mar’s film Gang Girls 2000. I really wanted to be a part of what I knew would be a masterpiece, so I called Katrina and told her so. And Katrina said I could be in the film! I think she said I could be a Glitter girl, I can’t remember. Anyway, I just needed to show up at Coney Island for the fight scene finale. I was thrilled but as fate would have it I got a call that I had to shoot one more scene for Margarita Happy Hour the very same day!! Ah, luxury problems. I missed my big chance and felt so sad, but I had a commitment and that was that.

Well, fast-forward 14 years. Christmas came early this year when I got my copy of Katrina Del Mar’s Girl Gang trilogy in the mail on Christmas eve. The cool thing is that this brilliant piece of work exists and I own a copy. And I can still brag to my husband and you about how I was supposed to be in it. God bless all you women directors! Ps. Ava DuVernay, the director of Selma, is my new hero.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

schoolyard racism and sexual assault

In 6th or 7th grade I went out with my girl friends after school. It was the end of the school year. The days were long. The sun had that early summer quality. I had on a blue stripped knit t-shirt and jeans. I felt alive and grand, in the moment, in my body, with my friends.

We were walking along Broadway near the diner by 207th street, heading to one of the girls’ apartments when we ran into some boys from our class. Boys were of interest and everything was feeling fun, alive and perfect. Then things got weird.

One boy made a racial joke directed at me. “Why does a Puerto Rican carry shit in their wallet?” “For ID.”  I was the only Puerto Rican in the group. I felt the hostility and was not sure what to do. There was some whispers and one of the girls, more of an acquaintance than a friend, said, “Stand around Holly, They are going to do something to Holly.” The air was charged and I was scared of being the target. The girls stood on either side of me and we tried to walk away. The boys lunged towards us from behind. I think there were 4 of them. Some parts are so clear in my mind and some are foggy, as it can be with traumatic memories.

Two of the boys went through with the whispered plan and touched my butt. They did not pinch or grab or caress it but poked it, like a child stealing icing off of a cake in a room full of adults and trying not to get caught, fleetingly. The other two chickened out.

I left my body. The violation of those mere seconds was more than I could handle. Some of my friends tried to be supportive but they did not know what to say or do. One girl may have been jealous that I got all the attention. We were young adolescents, clueless about the world.

We got to someone’s apartment courtyard and sat around for a bit. I lied and said I did not feel good and I wanted to go home. I actually did not feel good, but I still was making up a story. I was in unbearable pain. I walked home alone and scared. I so desperately wanted to tell someone. I intuitively knew that I needed compassion, but I had no idea how to get it. I went home and entered the room where my parents were watching tv. I tried to open my mouth and speak but I could not. I knew that they would not know how to comfort me. I knew from experience that they might freak out and make a scene but no one was going to hold my hand and tell me that I did nothing wrong and love me through it and handle it. They were not bad people but they just did not have it in them, they did not have the capacity, the tools, the experience. They lived in the same internal/external ghetto that the boys who did this to me lived in. They were doing the best they could but their best did not serve me so I kept my pain inside. I harbored the unnecessary shame and fear alone and secretly hoped that the people who had slung the arrows would heal the wound. It did not happen. It seldom does.

The next day in school one of the boys whispered to me during class that he was sorry. I eyed him with distain and lifted my chin the way I had watched cool teenagers acknowledge each other.

Today I have so much compassion for that little girl. Dear child, I am so sorry for your experience, one that you did not deserve. Today I try to heal my many wounds with compassion for myself, and for the wound maker. It is not an easy task, but necessary.

If you have had pain, don’t let it take you down, let it enlighten you, give you compassion, expand your heart, help you to be kind and help others. Be an example, light the way. I am so happy to see the world changing around sexual assaults. I am so happy that people are bravely speaking out and that people are listening. Keep bettering yourself, keep loving yourself, keep up the good work. When we evolve we change the whole world, we help everyone, we bring everyone up a notch with us. I write this to remind myself...