getting denver-ized. | May 23, 2011

“Defense is paper thin, let me slip away. Vindicated. My hope dangles on a string like redemption.”

when i lay down at night thoughts always surface and dance like poetry and i write them in a text and save them in a draft to read again when i wake. that is one of them.

Two days ago a person was shot in the middle of the day a couple houses down from my house.  Jordan and I were just leaving when the “caution” tape was being strung around the front yard. The next day it was as if nothing happened in that lawn. Jordan and I went to play with the scooter at the park and we passed the house. The family was near the front fence stringing up pink balloons and celebrating. It was a babies 1st birthday. rebirth.

I spoke to them and said, “How lovely.” With a smile. The group looked at me blankly but smiled and an older man tried to usher Jordan and I inside. He wanted Jordan to have cake. He had no reason to welcome me. There was so many barriers between us inter personally, but he put his hand on my lower back and welcomed me, gently.

I thought, “This feels like community.”

I am becoming Denver-ized some what. I’ve been getting these new wave Buddhist self help tapes on breaking habitual patterns. Buddhist literature should be labeled, “How to detox a new yorker from being a mouthy dick.” I sit and listen to the thoughts about not itching proverbial scratches. The woman talks about what is called our shenpa:

“We could call shenpa “that sticky feeling.” It’s an everyday experience. Even a spot on your new sweater can take you there. At the subtlest level, we feel a tightening, a tensing, a sense of closing down. Then we feel a sense of withdrawing, not wanting to be where we are. That’s the hooked quality. That tight feeling has the power to hook us into self denigration, blame, anger, jealousy, and other emotions which lead to words and actions that end up poisoning us.

Shenpa thrives on the underlying insecurity of living in a world that is always changing. We experience this insecurity as a background of slight unease or restlessness. We all want some kind of relief from that unease, so we turn to what we enjoy–food, alcohol, drugs, sex, work or shopping. In moderation what we enjoy might be very delightful. We can appreciate its taste and its presence in our life. But when we empower it with the idea that it will bring us comfort, that it will remove our unease, we get hooked.

What we really need to do is address things just as they are. Learning to recognize shenpa teaches us the meaning of not being attached to this world. Not being attached has nothing to do with this world. It has to do with shenpa – being hooked by what we associate with comfort. All we’re trying to do is not to feel our uneasiness. But when we do this we never get to the root of practice. The root is experiencing the itch as well as the urge to scratch, and then not acting it out.”

Pema Chodron

There is not much support for this rewriting of our habitual sub-conscious.

It is radical that I am here at this point of my life. In Denver.

It’s been a long strange trip.

I was in this healing circle the other night. 5 of us meditated in a circle. I laid out on a blanket and let go. The facilitator walked around and aligned us. She aligned our chakras. During the healing I was deep in meditation and far away. I did not notice she was aligning me. I resurfaced as my body jumped. I was falling. Then I relaxed and gave way to the process again and then again resurfaced with a jolt. I have a pretty high tolerance for embarrassment so I was like, “Whatev’s”. She moved on to the next and then brought us all back together. When I sat up she kept making eye contact with me. I felt awkward and wasn’t sure why I was attracting any attention. As I was collecting my things the facilitator approached me. She said, “When trauma leaves the body during meditation we often physically react. What just happened is ok, alright? You’re going to be ok.”

I was like, “Yea, sure thanks.”

::clumsy smile::

I’m going to be ok. I’ll learn to not itch the scratch and I’ll enrich people’s lives.

I wonder about my panic attacks and think about everything that is leaving my body during them. It makes sense that I scare people. It wasn’t pretty when the trauma entered my body either. I think I am worth the process of reteaching. I think I am worth friendship.

Where do we learn to trust again? Where is there a place where fear isn’t legitimate and wise?

I have been noticing clouds of sparrows all around me the past couple weeks. Birds have always been significant to me. One of my itches I have to stop scratching is my flight defense. I just want to be a bird like anyone else. I looked sparrows up to see what they may be telling me. I found these.

“The Sparrow represents the concern of God for the least among all people, who are, nevertheless, under the protection of God the Father; for even the sparrow came to earth only through the will of God.”


“Sparrows derive power from their numbers.  Always in a clan, they move in clusters, eat in clusters, and are always content as such.  This can be quite intimidating to some would-be predators.  Safety in numbers is a lesson the sparrow has to share with us.

The sparrow is vigilant in her goals.  She is always bustling for her food, foraging for her nests, and gathering for her young.  Fastidious and productive, the sparrow is a reminder that idle hands (and idle minds) should be avoided in order to live a full, healthy life.

She is a master of flight, and camouflage, and as such the sparrow teaches us to use our creativity to get around in life – think outside the box, and be creative in solving our problems.

As an air animal totem, the sparrow speaks of higher thoughts and ideals.  She beckons us to keep our burdens as light as we can in order to avoid a heavy heart.”

I hear you sparrow…


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  1. How I yearn to be a sparrow…

    The society we tend to “exist” in is so toxic and harmful to us. I think community is the only way we can truly nourish one another in this poisonous fabrication of reality. I’m glad you were able to release some of your trauma.

    Comment by not needed — May 24, 2011 @ 11:07 pm

  2. I didn’t read any of your blogs until last week. Now I find myself in the Canadian Rockies climbing trees on the top of the highest hills to get enough reception to download each page. You are a creative and critical thinker. Your thoughts are original and honest… This is how change happens.

    Comment by shaun — June 12, 2011 @ 4:44 pm

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    Mother Lover. <3

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