Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Toothy Decision

I've been having some problems with my teeth lately.  This could have something to do with the fact that the last time a dentist saw the inside of my mouth, Bush Sr. was in the White House.  Or it could have something to do with the legal system of Santa Monica, whose insane delaying tactics (going on a three year custody battle here people, and of that, two years have been bureaucratic delays) have caused a fair amount of tooth-grinding in moi.  Or there's an eensy weensy quite negligible chance that my diet (sugary tea, homemade brownies, and hazelnut chocolates) might have something to do with it. But really it's none of these things.  It's because I'm indecisive.

No, really, it is.  Decidedly.  I read this in You Can Heal Your Life, courtesy of the amazing and multitalented Laura Alvarez.  Teeth, according to author Louise Hay, symbolize our ability to make decisions.  When we are struggling with choices in our lives, our indecisiveness can manifest as tooth trouble.  Well hmm.  I'm pretty sure that the Wikipedia article on "Indecisiveness" has my photograph as the illustration.  And if not, it's just cause you just can't trust those damn internet sites. 

As fate would have it, the visit to Laura that introduced me to this fascinating book came hot on the heels of a session with my MFT.  She, too, had given me a book to read, titled Addiction to Perfection: The Still Unravished Bride.  It's a Jungian analysis of the Medusa complex, and I have been unable to put it down.  The Medusa complex is a series of symptoms that manifest when our ego and our spirit/unconscious are out of tune with each other.  Although I've yet to finish the book, from what I understand it is easy to "freeze" (or be turned to stone, hence the name) when faced with the dark entirety of our shadow selves.  Often this complex afflicts women who try to hard to attain ideal states---spiritual or physical---and ignore or cut off their feeling body to do so, regarding it as weakness.  Eventually the feeling body revolts, and at the point when the strength of this revolt matches the will of the ego to maintain the "ideal", total paralysis ensues.  There can be no forward motion because the forces oppose each other perfectly.  

Well gosh, that sounds familiar too.  Remember that whole long marriage to the spiritual teacher and the six hours of meditation a day?  Yeah, me too.  TOTAL PARALYSIS.  Indecision.  Tooth problems.

But the universal unconscious has my back!  Flitting about the internet the evening before these momentous events, I had happened upon two articles.  One discussed oil pulling, the Ayurvedic practice of swishing pure oil about in the mouth for several minutes and then spitting it out.  Apparently the oil draws impurities and bacteria from the teeth.  The other held forth on the healing properties of amber, specifically its use as a "teething" necklace.  These ancient resins, according to the article, have both sedative and antibacterial properties as well as being mildly analgesic.  

So this morning I woke and did several minutes of oil pulling with coconut oil.  Instant pain relief.  Amazing.  I followed the oil pulling with an inspiring and revitalizing yoga class in Santa Monica with Gigi Yogini, whose facebook post, in that beautiful Jungian synchronous way, had initially led me to the oil pulling article.  During the class Gigi asked us several times to set an intention.  Again and again, I affirmed my intention to be decisive.  (Although I have to admit there were a lot of other options that would have made REALLY good intentions, so it was REALLY hard to be decisive about decisiveness.) Again and again, we joined breath to body to intention, linking body and mind as allies, pulling spirit and ego together.  And afterward, the brilliant Briana (more synchronicity) and I headed next door to the bead store, where I decisively purchased some rather expensive but undeniably beautiful amber. Two strands. (I got one for my son too. Ahem, SEDATIVE qualities)

When I decide what I want, when I state it and believe it and follow through, it is truly amazing how quickly it comes to pass.  And my teeth?  I've decided they'll make it until the universal health care kicks in.  Which I've decided will be soon.  

Saturday, May 12, 2012

So...another year, give or take.  The figs are getting ripe, the grapevines are crawling toward the top of the pergola, the boys are getting bigger and the 12x12 is still 12x12.  This morning I turned the compost and shoveled forkfuls of it around the tomato and broccoli plants. I bribed my offspring with quarters to gather lemon balm and mint leaves for tea.  I plucked nettles for my morning eggs and then stood with my chin in my hand and looked, really looked, at this space that has been my home for so long.  Had I known I would be here for two years, wouldn't I have put in fruit trees?  A pond?  Built an outdoor room?  Sewn curtains? Covered the cinderblock walls with murals?

If I had known I would be here for so long, wouldn't I have made a greater effort to build community?  To volunteer, start a nonprofit, involve my children in the workings of this ecosystem?  To create a band, a babysitting co-op, a couple of beehives? To learn to sail or surf? To run for city council? What on earth have I been DOING?

I've been twiddling my metaphorical thumbs, waiting for the life I expected, somehow feeling OWED, subconsciously assuming it will find me.  HA!  Wanting so many things that I am afraid to select one, finding that I am, in effect, choosing to have nothing.

I have been feeling a ferocious need to roar into focus, gather up the beads and string them, LIVE.  If here is where it is, so be it.  Leave the wasted time where it lies and move forward.

Did you know that nettles heal their own sting?  It's true: squeeze the juice of a nettle over a nettle rash and it will disappear.  The problem is the solution.  So if my problem is a lack of focus, wanting too much, then I shall give myself EVERYTHING.  I shall strike out in every direction that gives me pleasure: painting, surfing, hiking, sewing, gardening, traveling, making love outdoors, having dinner parties, doing yoga, writing, creating necessary changes, learning.  I am going to have it all.  I am going to make a sincere effort to have it all.  Because fearing that I will somehow fail in having it all has held me captive long enough.

And I owe this world my full, glorious, LIVED life.

My last post, written nearly a year ago, featured this song.  I wrote it in a depressed daze, feeling I'd left myself behind, praying that I would stop wanting so much.  I remember thinking that if I could just forget how much I'd wanted, dull down my frantic desires, I would be at peace.

I know better now.  Our appetites are beautiful.  Our gargantuan, articulated, immense WANTING is the fuel that drives us to create, to innovate, to heal.  When we stop dulling our desires with pastimes and rubbish and self-recrimination and invented drama, maybe we will start feeding ourselves---and by extension, our world---with the deeply nourishing things we truly want.