Speaking of the Moon and Music

The last performer I saw in concert in the decade previous to this one was Joan Baez.  She was stunning as usual, looking fit and healthy as a sexagenarian who’s devoted over four decades to passionate activism through the sharing of songs and empathic insights.

Konzert Joan Baez in Dresden am 04. Juli 2008 ...

Konzert Joan Baez in Dresden am 04. Juli 2008 | Joan Beaz concert in Dresden / Germany, July 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Her voice still strong and clear as ever.  I have always loved her covers of Dylan best.  And at times I’ve thought she had nailed it . . even better than Bob could do.  Here are Percy’s Song and Love is Just a Four Letter Word.

I can’t remember if she actually sang Percy’s Song, (damn that’s a beauty) since the concert  was a few years ago, but I do remember that she did my all time favorite Joan Baez song, the one she’s remembered for composing on the topic of Bob.  😉

Anyway after she finished her first encore, the crowd went as crazy as middle-aged people can go for more and as everyone was clapping and howling, I heard someone shout from a few rows ahead of me: Take it to the Full Moon, Joanie.

And there it was, the one I had been waiting for all night:

OK I’m going to be quiet now. . .and just let you listen to the beauty of this.

And next  speaking of tongues, here is one more song with the moon in it.

Rock on!  I am done here.  xo


The Moon is Always Human: DBT, Dreams and Demons

--Vincent Van Gogh, "The Sower"

–Vincent Van Gogh, “The Sower”

Today is May 29, 2013,  two and a half years into a life-changing course of treatment called  “Dialectical Behavioral Therapy,” a program  designed by Dr. Marsha Linehan, herself a survivor of the mental healthcare system, a system still operating under the insidious influence of a puritanical and damning western society.

And for folks who fit into the category of having been born with such an intense kind of wiring, it’s oftentimes a lonely road. “If you are overtly emotional and suicidal, then you must not be praying hard enough or trying hard enough to change” they tell us as if that kind of judgement would make a body feel any less alienated and strange.

The Way Out, or Suicidal Ideation: George Grie...

The Way Out, or Suicidal Ideation: George Grie, 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For me, it’s been a chorus for years inside the walls of my brain.  Over and over to the point where that tired old tune becomes the default of all thinking, the root that strangles and rambles through every nerve and neuron. The soundtrack of my life until the day I was moved to the top of a waiting list to receive this new therapy, one born of Dr. Linehan’s own struggle and study of traditional academics and Eastern spirituality.  I know I owe my life to this treatment.  I also owe it to the doctors and team of specialists it has taken to help me move towards wellness.

It is for them I am writing this, but also for the countless numbers of other borderlines, who must not only deal with symptoms of their illness, but also each the stigma of being categorized as someone whose personality is disordered, someone  incapable of having a stable relationship, gainful employment and the list goes on and on ad nauseam, dismissed and discarded mostly by a world that would rather categorize us as manipulative as lead us to relief from the awfulness of states created by brain chemistry.

Your cries for help go unanswered.  Your desperate and imperfect attempts at connection falling into a grand canyon to echo as reminders of your utter unlovableness.  You are told to pull yourself up by your broken bootstraps and buck up.  To grow a thicker skin and endure it like the rest of us.

Don’t call if you in the hospital. Don’t tell us if you are buying the supplies to do yourself in. We cannot bear the burden of your suffering.

We have had our fill of this illness. And we are just letting go of you and letting God.

But that was then. Now, with the right kind of help, there lies hope and healing.  Help that includes validation and radical acceptance, non-judgement, inclusion, caring, compassion and kindness.

Imagine it.  The universal message of every single spiritual path in existence, the core beliefs sans the politics and hatred, beliefs that unite and empower us as individuals but also as members of the human community.

So now instead of letting my illness rule my life, I am letting the love do the work. I am letting myself share that love.  And surprisingly, the suicide attempts and the romanticism of those attempts are over.  The stashing of pills and sharp objects, the dream of death and the sweet relief I always believed it would bring.  In a life of mostly nightmares, I am beginning to dream something different.  I am learning to save my life by embracing the moment and being present for whatever is born of that moment.

Last night I dreamed I was looking at this enormous glowing harvest moon taking up half the sky and upon closer observation, I could see that it wasn’t really the moon, just a projection of a map of the solar system, one that I had fed to the imagined  overhead projector in my upstairs bedroom, the bedroom I had at eight, three years into the realization that I was so different I wanted to die.  The bedroom where the nightmares began.  The ones where I watched as the demons crawled up the blinds in flames, their pitchforks and sickles aimed in my general direction, the fake angels hovering about my bed and shaking their forked fingers at me in my sleep.

But last night, I made a new memory of what dreams can do.

The moon in the sky had my first name on it, but only because I had inked that name on the map of the universe.   Without the conscious recognition it takes to find the words to describe such an experience, I had already landed, taken my first small steps towards infinity and planted my tattered flag .

High voltage from a Van de Graaff generator pr...

High voltage from a Van de Graaff generator produces a field that is made visible with an overhead projector (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Because What They Say is True–It’s Easier to Put on Slippers, etc. : Wise Words from Stuart Smalley

I will take Al Franken’s comedy over his politics any day of the week.

But please don’t misunderstand my point here.

Because I would vote for him all over again had I actually been able to vote for him in the first place.

I mean here is a creative genius with a pencil at the ready and plus he can find the state of Missouri on a hand-drawn map:

http://parentingsquad.com/al-franken-is-a-geography-god  (not exactly sure about that source, but this photo was too good to pass up.  I will totally pay the twenty five cent fine. . . if there is one in the end so no worries to the scholars in the crowd)

His quotes as politician are priceless too.

“If you put the two Bushs together in their over seven years of their two presidencies, not  one new job has been created. Numbers do not lie. If you extrapolated from that, if the Bushs  had run this country from its very beginning to the current time, not one American would have  ever worked. We’d be hunter-gatherers.”  – in response to the 2004 SOTU address

And with this one, he’s really dead-on:

“[G. W. Bush’s] pro-air pollution Clear Skies Initiative is designed to clear the skies of birds.”  – The Truth (with jokes)

By no means am I saying I disagree with someone who can turn a phrase like that and have it make sense, especially in an age when a lot of guys are saying things that make no sense. . .as a matter of fact, it’s the unfunniest stuff that just makes your stomach churn. . . instead of . . .well, uhm. ..shaking like a bowl full of jellybeans or something.

Instead I am simply saying I was already on board as a supporter, years ago, while Franken was still wearing a blow-dried wig and a sweater.
And, in my own humble opinion, I think he may have garnered more love and attention for things like gay marriage and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill in putting a warm and shaven face on these issues, and becoming this weirdly familiar kindred spirit, one that made us feel a little less alone with our own neuroses and isolation.

I mean, what’s not to love?

“But today, I’ve decided to take a risk, and wear a new sweater. It was sent to me by a recovering sex addict, Melissa D., who knitted it herself; she said it gave her something to do with her hands.”

This was a guy we could all laugh with, regardless of religious or political affiliation, secure in the knowledge that our fragile hearts would still go on beating as long as we heeded his nutritional advice:

[Stuart serves a patron in a restaurant]
Stuart Smalley:   Have you had enough time to look at the menu?
Patron:   We’ve had enough time to memorize the menu.
Stuart Smalley:   I’m sorry, I’m having a personal crisis. Can I take your order?
Patron:   For my wife, the Penne Arrabiata; and I will try the oso buoco.
Stuart Smalley:   You know, the oso buko is extremely fatty. You might want to try…
Patron:   I’ll TRY the oso buko. And also the mixed baby field greens.
Stuart Smalley:   Lo-cal vinaigrette?
Patron:   Creamy Caesar.
Stuart Smalley:   On the side?
Patron:   ON THE SALAD.
Stuart Smalley:   Thank you.
Patron:   And I’d like another double-scotch.
Stuart Smalley:  [smiling] No.

And in these days of the worst politically divided climate since dinosaurs ruled the White House, who could argue with universal wisdom such as this:
“Because what they say is true – it’s easier to put on slippers than to carpet the whole world.”

(Film Quotes and photo are from “Stuart Saves his Family,”  Paramount Pictures, 1995; directed by Harold Ramis; screenplay by Al Franken.)

On the Mend: New Work, New Prints. . .Lucy, You Got Some Splainin To Do!

After having spent a couple of weeks once more in this recurring episode of what I like to call my bride of frankenstein gig. . . undressed, sedated, i-ved. . .

. . .electrodes fastened to my temples,

I now find myself back to almost normal. . .

Continue reading

“When will our consciences grow so tender. . .”

“Young and old, black and white, we are all Troy Davis.”    October 9, 1968 – September 21, 2011

Guilty until proven innocent. People have said that this would not be an exectuion; it would be a lynching. And in waking up this morning and seeing the Supreme Court and the State of Georgia went through with it, I don’t know which emotion is strongest, sadness or outrage. All I know is, this no way for the law to behave in the land of the free and the home of the brave. This is a day for the American people to grieve and think of ways to ensure it never happens again.

(All photos reproduced as “fair use” for educational and informative purposes.)

Please Sign the Letter to Save Troy Davis as Clemency is Denied. Time is Running Out.

“When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than to avenge it.”  –Eleanor Roosevelt

From Anna Zamora:

Dear Tess,

I write today with devastating
news.  Even though thousands of activists, like yourself, signed a petition to
save Troy Davis from execution, the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles
denied clemency today for Troy Davis, and his execution is scheduled for this
Wednesday, September 21.  This terrible decision to deny clemency for Mr. Davis
is a poignant reminder of why we must end the death penalty in the United States
and the rest of the world. 

Please take a moment to send a letter to the Georgia
parole board and District Attorney Larry Chisolm
and ask them to reconsider their decision.

Time is running out. We only have 24 hours left to stop the execution and we
must act now. Please urge them to reconsider.

Thank you for all of your efforts in this campaign.

In solidarity,


Ana Zamora

Program Director