Sitting down to write has felt impossible. Everything is an itch or an issue. I can’t get comfortable and then, I don’t have anything to say, There is a disquiet, a restlessness and a boredom behind this. I feel too lazy to tease the words out. The words, that will inevitability spill out of me garbled and flawed. They will require rearranging. Sentences will be replaced and the new ones will require open heart surgery. I have been so fast, that it is painful to consider going this slow.

The kind of writer I am is a blind writer. I don’t know how to plan. I feel the interior of the narrative with eyes closed. I spend weeks looking for the doorway, the window, the toilet, only to find I’ve opened the cupboard and stepped inside, I’ve peed out of the window and flushed the flowers.

Weeks pass while I pretend I am in the kitchen, while all along I have been in the living room. Nothing happens. My lack of discipline dictates that I find the space by accident.

I approach other parts of life this way too. My head spins in the mazes I create. Avoidance, until I am so pricked by situation that I must look up at myself. Then it feels life a relief to see what is really going on. I am actually in the backyard, pulling weeds, seeing.

I Know Where The Reflective Surfaces Are

April 11, 2011 inspired by Oblique Strategies

In Seattle the clouds make it more quiet. The freeway makes it loud. Sometimes I find I am walking in a valley and I can’t hear anything, like I have ear muffs on. I want someone to pop a cist on my neck.

This is disgusting, but it will make me feel better.

Often I feel obtuse, then I suddenly shrink down into the opposing angle, laying down arms, character, grip and glee.

Transitions are fine, as long as I am the boss.

Appreciative of awkward glances in this other coast city so far North. You cannot pierce a cloud here. Darker clouds float over the white thick faced ones. A man excitedly discusses golf on his cell phone to my left.

I letchu go

I can’t ever decide on punctuation. Not sure if I am happy or sad or sarcastic or genuine. It’s because I used to look in the mirror too much. I was always writing the script of my face. Now I have to choose. To choose to let the dots and lines fall where they fall. Where do they fall? This is as big as

Who am I?

I know where the reflective surfaces are.

(I want to laugh more, but I need other people. Laughing has its own punctuation.)

I think if I had a choice, I would choose not to choose. This means that I really do like myself and I like others. “Doing it a different way” is not realistic. But I always have an idea about it. I wished I had an interesting thought just now.

Moments from 1996

I departed from Newark Airport in August 1996. My parents drove me. Jenn, who later became an anarchist, met me there to give me first class upgrades. So on my way to Phoenix I luxuriated in a large grey seat and later felt embarrassed about the “First Class” ticket on my bag. In Phoenix, we stayed in a house. I met Harmony there and we became friends. Harmony spoke about the patterns in the landscape when viewed from a plane. She was talking about the big picture

I explored Cuernavaca with all my senses. I walked. I took photographs. I bought postcards and I sent them to NY. I wrote letters. I included deliciously monotonous details in each letter. I watched life. I lived life.

I took a taxi alone through Mexico City to a hospital for a urinary tract infection. I spent the night in the hospital. I received 2 Iv’s of Ciproxin in my veins. The next day, I traveled to Oaxaca with my visiting mother. I spoke Spanish when my mother and I rented a hotel room in the Centro of Oaxaca City. I sat across from her at a restaurant on the Zocalo. I drank a papaya smoothie. I smiled for a photo. I held the straw as I drank. I did not buy chapulines, the hardened carcasses of grasshoppers.

I boarded a bus alone to the coast. I paid 24 pesos. I shared my oranges with the women on the bus. I marveled at the winding road. I drank in the green of the high territory between city and coast. I sat and sat for hours. I arrived in the evening to Puerto Escondido. I saw the Mexican Pacific for the first time. I stayed in a cabana on the beach with a woman I met on the bus. I fell asleep for the first time to the sound of the ocean. I paid for the cabana.

I adorned myself with necklaces. I pushed silver hoop earrings into my ear holes. I slid bracelets up my arms. I tied pieces of my long hair into tiny buns. I fastened each bun with a clip. I listened to myself doing these things.

The Present Heart

I grew up into my young woman self believing that love meant getting your way. Today I am excited about how wrong that was. I thought that love was an agreement. I thought the heart was breakable or able to be held by another.

I do not really know about the heart, but I am learning. I have been a servant to it. I have been a servant to the thing I perceive as a heart. When I was younger my love was conditioned and full of fear. It robbed me of my dignity on so many occasions with its cruel demands. This love was an idea, romantic love, violently stitched into the hearts of little girls, so that as adolescents or teens when life reaches in, its tears at the stitches

A crisp apple is delicious

I felt unsafe as an adolescent, even though I was more comfortable than most and loved as much as any. I mediated all my pleasure and pain. I felt, in my heart like there was a danger so I learned to carry a knife that never actually provided any protection. I tasted nothing for the first time.

Love to me meant possession and possessing. “To have and to hold”.

Love meant that someone would feel my pain for me.

The heart doesn’t need any food. I don’t need to do anything. The heart can make food from anything when it is healthy.


The heart I know now began to emerge during an Insight Meditation Retreat last summer and following many months of a somewhat daily meditation practice. At times, I felt it flutter. At times it was a tree trunk both grounding and painfully present. I was quiet. I began to notice shifts; I felt things open. The heart opened into quiet and then it was like a sense, connected to the sixth sense, the mind.


I am a loud person. I am a curvy person with big hair, dangly earrings and an abundance of colorful clothing. I clean my plate with my fingers and I enjoy speaking to a room of 50 people. So when I tell you about this quiet, please understand that to me, quiet had just meant not talking or sleeping. While on this short retreat, I traversed various levels of it.

After a few days in silence, being with the breath, practicing Loving Kindness meditation for others two times a day, walking alone in the woods and remaining present for some tidal waves of exhaustion and sadness, I became quiet. This quiet was small and fragile.

My mental chatter was at an all time low and I felt this thing, my heart, sort of tilt and show its face. It was not painful. It was not exuberant. It held doubt and fear and contentment like children.

I experienced it several times in the meditation hall at IMS.

Returning from this retreat was a bit intense. We stopped at a drug store, which felt like leaving your house while peeking on acid. I could sense violence in things. When I got back to NYC, I went to see a good friend, with whom I have a difficult relationship. I sensed subtle violence from him, which I realized was always there, being passively condoned by me. The neurotic energy of our relationship was clear to me. My heart sensed it and had no room for it. This happened two other times during my summer travels with good friends.

Recently I have been able to perceive small openings and closings of the heart.  Reactions to fear or joy. The good thing about sensing this is that I have some space to decide how to react.

Fortify the armor or float a bit in the spasm?

A few weeks ago I participated in the Metta/Tonglen retreat at The IDP. These are meditation practices where we open our hearts, send love to ourselves and others and also breath in the suffering of others.  I experienced a space for lots of feelings and thoughts to arise without a lot of judgment. Basically, compassion for myself. I have felt unsafe in my skin and unworthy of love. This perceived lack of safety, the feeling that there is not enough love makes me crazy, makes me hold on for dear life, squeezing so tightly that things begin to burst.

Klesha is a Sanskrit word for the mental states that make us act out. According to Wikipedia kleshas are “mental states which temporarily cloud the mind and manifest in unskillful actions.” On the retreat, Ethan, the teacher suggested that our kleshas are worthy of great respect. It is difficult to have respect for the things that make us act crazy. Our desire. Our fear. Our cruelty. Our obsessions. Our stubbornness. Our violence. All the forms of armor we use to fortify our hearts. Generally we cherish them, by building them into the great art of our living or deny them through repression, stoicism. What does the middle ground look like?

I try to accept imperfection, vulnerably, without a mask. This state of presence allows for a new perspective on love. It’s peeking out at me. I can sense it.

Emotions: emotional intelligence.

I have so much to write about the subject of emotions. In fact, it is all I have been thinking about for the last 34 years. Since birth. My parents always say “We don’t know how you got so emotional.” This makes me laugh now, but it used to make me feel really bad. We associate emotional people with instability, flakiness and drama. I HAVE BEEN GUILTY OF ALL OF THESE at times, but I am usually really steady, fairly reliable and I try to keep my drama well wrapped.

What gifts are associated with the emotionally intelligent? How do you become emotionally intelligent? With what does it need to mix to become really applicable intelligence?

What is the difference between an emotion and a feeling?

This weekend while on retreat at the IDP Ethan said that jealousy was a mixture of desire and aggression. What an undesirable color in that palette. I envy those who don’t experience this.

But, I have been lucky lately to experience joy, equanimity and love for the people in my community and the faces on the subway. All this to say, that my heart’s capacity is growing and more on this later. I promise.

Emotions #1


The worst of all emotions is jealousy.I don’t experience jealousy in my mind. I know it begins there, but it moves immediately to my heart and stomach. There is cooks until it is resolved or I am distracted. This feeling, which has afflicted me in this way since adolescence, begs me to act. No emotional reaction is rational. Even less, the reaction to an emotion – jealousy- that forms precisely BECAUSE something is happening externally and we want a piece of it.

La caja de Meredith

WeLcoMe SprInG!

Here is something I am working on……

The sun is setting and birds are singing. The sun is setting and the kids are yelling and pouncing around outside. Their territory exists between two houses, a hard stretch of grass between the their homes is the ground for their action. They are forever fascinated with the neighbor’s dog; they call it over and over and over again. The neighbor thinks the kids must be bored, or poorly looked after since they spend all day on this mound of grass, endlessly enchanted by just a dog. Her brother-in-law reminds her that such is the lives of children.

Here is a link to Kielbasy, where I just completed a residency…..

Here is a photo of the vegetable box the garden volunteers built at PS 123! The families are calling it “la caja de Meredith”, which of course, is not true, but I am appropriating their words for the title of this post, because I am trying to share the contents of the box!

Be well. Don’t take no for an answer and practice lots of Yoga!!!