Archive | Music

Sunday Prayers

Hello, fellow spiritual travelers, my broken-but-working-on-it peeps. Life has been changing and things are delightfully good, and I’m so glad to be who I am, the age I am, and where I am (holy shit, yes!). And I am going to sink deep into this feeling, because it doesn’t come around often.

Where my heart is at these past few days…

 

“Tantra says sex is very deep because it is life. But you can be interested in Tantra for the wrong reasons. Do not be interested in Tantra for the wrong reasons, and then you will not feel that Tantra is dangerous. Then Tantra is life-transforming…

It has been asked, ‘what is the central subject matter of Tantra?’ The answer is you! You are the central subject matter of Tantra: what you are right now and what is hidden in you that can grow, what you are and what you can be. Right now you are a sex unit and unless this unit is understood deeply you cannot become a spirit, you cannot become a spiritual unit. Sexuality and spirituality are the two ends of one energy.”

Osho

| I’m not sure that I’d agree with all of this, because I believe our sexuality and spirituality nourish each other- that’s been my experience. But, yes, you are the central subject matter of Tantra. |

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“This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek.”

Terry Tempest Williams

| This is how to have faith, and also to be alive. I think being alive is its own act of faith. |

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Life on Earth

Wild Horses

A Youth Written in Fire

| Snow Patrol’s new album is really different. And I like it. Gary Lightbody – former priest and current poet – hits some very deep places in his own psyche. It’s quite beautiful to listen to. |

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Images from my ‘beautiful’ board are inspiring me and keeping me grounded lately. Summer’s passion is finding it’s way into old frescoes and fields of poppies. When the humidity rests atop my skin, I pull my hair up from my neck, sweat with a smile in the shade, and dream of Paris in the Fall.

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Big love from this gorgeous, hot day and my happy heart,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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Making Old Dreams Today

This past Saturday, my husband and I attended our senior prom. Not a joke! For the last four years we’ve been going to something called the “Grown Ass Prom” in our town. It’s a night for adults to dress up, have a good time, drink (!), and do what they actually wanted to do back when they were 18.

One of the reasons I love going is because there is an element of ‘pretend’ about it all: adults are re-creating a past event to make the memories they wish they had made years ago. For instance: going as your true trans self, taking your gay or lesbian partner and getting those terrible prom photos together, taking your partner who you didn’t know in high school. And dressing how you want and just having a really great time doing whatever you want because you’re a fucking adult now who knows what they like. Not to mention the guarantee that you’re going to get laid afterwards. It’s glorious.

So, this was our fourth year attending. Our ‘senior’ year. And it was definitely the most fun we’ve had because we knew what we were doing and we knew how to make the best of it.

Our first year was about creating the memory of having prom together because we couldn’t have done that when we were 18. At that time, we lived in completely different parts of Washington state. My beloved is also three years older than I am, so it was highly unlikely he would have looked at me twice in high school. (He says he would have, but I disagree.) We tried to fit the ‘prom’ mold from days of yore.

 

This is the best of the photos, so I’m going with it. 

 

My own Lloyd Dobler.

 

We wore matching outfits. I wore something that looked like a ‘prom’ dress from the 1990s. It was my first few months into treatment for hypothyroidism so I didn’t feel great and it sort of shows. But we had a great time dancing (one of our favorite things to do together) and it felt like we had gone to prom together. We made a new memory we wished we had from our past.

Our second year was even better. I was feeling very normal, thyroid-wise, and knew exactly how I wanted to look and feel. I bought a leather dress, black pumps, and got my hair done in a mohawk (fauxhawk). I looked and felt exactly the way I wanted to. My husband looked fucking fabulous as his ‘Adam Ant’ self. We both felt like our own best version of ourselves.

 

I also wore a pair of black Chuck Taylor’s, cuz who dances in heels?

 

I had a vision of love / and it was all that you’ve given me…

 

This second year wasn’t about completing some old/new memory as much as it was about being who we were to the Nth degree and just having a good time. We danced our assess off; the husband took home a dancing award.

Last year was our third year (junior year!) and we had a group of friends to go with. This year we were energized by going with our friends for their first time with Grown Ass Prom. My thyroid was on the fritz again last year and so I also wasn’t feeling 100% myself, but I had a good time picking out some leather-look leggings and pouring myself into them. The husband went ‘balls to the wall’ with his outfit- threw on one of everything and owned it. He is a fashion badass and a risk-taker and I love him for it. He also won Prom King for his dancing skills.

 

Red-lipped and ready to dance.

 

Wearing all black does not make you look taller.

 

I think the thing I learned last year was that Grown Ass Prom was better than Halloween for me (which is heresy in New England). It’s better than Halloween because I can choose a new part of myself to explore that doesn’t have to be appropriate for taking children trick-or-treating or keeping me warm. I can play with being vampy or sexy or dominating or punk or whatever. It’s one night where I can be what I dream and see how it fits into my everyday self. And I took that knowledge into this year’s prom.

This year I have basically felt like shit, body wise. My thyroid is overproducing antibodies which blocks one of my medications and so it doesn’t work as well as it should. In the last 4 years I’ve lost half of my hair and gained 10 lbs. I still have a decent amount of hair and I still look cute in clothes, but I don’t feel comfortable in my body in the way that I did the second year of prom. And yet. I feel more sexy, alive, joyful, free, and satisfied than I have in years. Prom this year was about expressing those feelings, even if my body didn’t feel like I wanted it to.

 

Dreaming and doing.

 

Luckily, the shirt comes off.

 

Senior year: the photographer remembered us.

 

It turned out exactly like that. I loved my outfit- gradually lost the white shirt as the evening wore on because corsets are fucking warm when you dance (didn’t know that before!). I loved my hair and makeup and felt like a million bucks with my prom crew (now nine of us!). It was a wonderful night. [Except, swear to g-o-d, the DJ has sucked every year and this was no exception. Four years of terrible DJ-ing. How is that possible? I don’t know, but it’s true.]

While, technically, this was our ‘senior’ year of prom, we will definitely go again. We might try another venue- I think there is one in Massachusetts and one in a different location in Rhode Island, but we will definitely go to one. It’s too much fun to let it pass us by.

I think the thing I most want to say is that it’s important to keep growing and changing and having places to try out who you are. Because I’m not who I was at 20 or 30 or even 40. There is a throughline of consistency, but I am different, and better, than before. Prom gives me a place to play out different roles and experiences with myself, my husband, and my friends, and I think we all need safe places to do that. As well, making memories and meaning of our life is foundational to feeling we have lived well. We need to feel that we have done things we enjoy, feel proud of, lived in alignment with what we most value in order to be proud of our life. Prom is one of the things that helps me make meaning of my life and feel that I have lived joyfully and well.

 

 

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Modern Hymnal: We Belong

I haven’t thought about the modern hymnal for a long time, but this song came on the radio tonight, and I knew I wanted to add it. There probably should be a whole section in my modern hymnal for songs about rain; I’ll have to write that post sometime.

Tonight we had a lovely thunderstorm at my house. The sky was almost a charcoal gray, waiting for the rain to finally gather itself into fat drops and begin the short deluge, like angry water balloons splashing all over you. There was lightning and thunder and when it was all done the eery yellow light that seeps from the ground and gradually opens up to the sky as the clouds part. It was the kind of perfect rain that makes the heart of this Seattle girl feel at home in this strange land.

And Pat Benetar’s wonderful song was playing while all this happened. Always a favorite and glad to add it to the modern hymnal.

What’s in your sacred, personal hymnal, friends? What songs always delight you? Or fill your heart? Or remind you of something important, beautiful, or lost? I wish we could sit down together and talk about it.

 

Photo by Joy Stamp on Unsplash

 

We Belong

Many times I tried to tell you
Many times I cried alone
Always I’m surprised how well you cut my feelings to the bone
Don’t want to leave you really
I’ve invested too much time to give you up that easy
To the doubts that complicate your mind

We belong to the light, we belong to the thunder
We belong to the sound of the words we’ve both fallen under
Whatever we deny or embrace for worse or for better
We belong, we belong, we belong together

Maybe it’s a sign of weakness when I don’t know what to say
Maybe I just wouldn’t know what to do with my strength anyway
Have we become a habit? Do we distort the facts?
Now there’s no looking forward
Now there’s no turning back
When you say

We belong to the light, we belong to the thunder
We belong to the sound of the words we’ve both fallen under
Whatever we deny or embrace for worse or for better
We belong, we belong, we belong together

Close your eyes and try to sleep now
Close your eyes and try to dream
Clear your mind and do your best to try and wash the palette clean
We can’t begin to know it, how much we really care
I hear your voice inside me, I see your face everywhere
Still you say

We belong to the light, we belong to the thunder
We belong to the sound of the words we’ve both fallen under
Whatever we deny or embrace for worse or for better
We belong, we belong, we belong together

We belong to the light, we belong to the thunder
We belong to the sound of the words we’ve both fallen under
Whatever we deny or embrace for worse or for better
We belong, we belong, we belong together

We belong to the light, we belong to the thunder…

| Songwriters: Daniel Anthony Navarro / David Eric Lowen |

Find the video here.

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G’night from a happy girl, sitting in the rain.

Big love,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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Waiting for Persephone to Come

It’s the first of May and it feels like Spring is finally here. Persephone, goddess of fertility, has finally, fully made her way back from the Underworld and she’s showing off her beauty. The signs started weeks ago, but she’s clearly here now, and will share her bright beauty for weeks go come.

It’s clear that Spring is the season of sex. Walking around my neighborhood last week you could see the first blooms that were paving the way for the full orgasm of blossom. So many trees and plants and flowers were right at the edge of opening, right at the point where you fall over the edge into beauty and bliss.

Just like any woman, there’s not much you can do to push Persephone towards her orgasm. You can only stay with the process, being patient, making it easier with rain + sunshine + attentiveness. Touching gently, digging deep, giving her what she asks for. Listening and staying with her, moment to moment. She might be stormy. She might be dark. She might show a different face each day, each moment. And while it may seem to take forever, eventually…eventually, she comes. And it’s quite glorious- with color + joy + relief + so much energy you’re utterly amazed. Just like any woman.

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The first of May is known as ‘Beltane’ in the earth-based traditions. Time to celebrate the Earth. Time to join in her fertility. Beltane is also when rituals were performed where the God and the Goddess (or, representatives thereof) were joined together to celebrate abundance, connection, and vitality. It was a time to honor sexuality as sacred, because you could see the power and wonder of sex nearly everywhere around you. It is the time of passionate fire- whether you gather around one or create it in bed with a lover.

Who are you thinking of with passion these past few days? What passion do you wish to ignite or give in to? What do you want to honor and celebrate that is full of vitality for you? Take a moment in your busy day and check in with yourself. Find whatever in your body or heart that wants to burst, to come, to rise out of the dirt and bloom. And let it do so.

 

Ready to burst.

 

It’s easy to think of Persephone as the maiden archetype. So ready to fall in love with Life and the world. So enamored and infatuated. Laughing, silly, and fresh. Like Mariah Carey on her Daydream album. I definitely identify with this energy, especially in Spring.

But I also love the re-telling of her story that we see today- as a woman who knew exactly what she was doing when she went to Hades. She was ready for the dark. Ready for the depth. Ready to reveal a different side of herself with the right lover. More like Joan Jett. Ready to rock and roll as an equal, as a queen. She returns with wisdom and dirt under her nails, ready to grow new things. Still Spring, but also strong.

I always feel pretty damn good when Beltane rolls around. My mood brightens and there’s just more energy to feed from and connect with. I’m a little bit of both versions of Persephone. And lucky is the lover who waits and tends to my needs. I will drag him down to the depths of playful darkness and push him back up again as we bloom together. [Ask my lover, he’ll tell you it’s true.]

 

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Playlist for Beltane

Always Be My Baby | Mariah Carey

Twenty two years ago this was a pop hit on the radio. And I remember because it’s when my lover and I were falling for each other. Falling all the way in.

 

Fantasy | Mariah Carey

“When you walk by every night/
Talkin’ sweet and lookin’ fine/
I get kinda hectic inside…

…but it’s just a sweet, sweet fantasy baby”

 

Rock and Roll | Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

Because she’s the queen and won’t let you forget it.

 

Water Your Garden | Luscious Jackson

‘Can you be brave enough to risk it all’ as you emerge from the dark and the snow?

 

My Garden | Kat Dahlia

‘My roots been cravin’ lately, to soak in your diamonds.’

 

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I’m off to play, sacred ones.
Big love,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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Someone Dances

Dance, dance wherever you may be, for I am the Lord of the dance, said He.
– ancient song

Someone dances all completely still
Someone dances all childlike and playful
Someone dances all electric flash
Someone dances all touching the ground
Someone dances all self-conscious
Someone dances on without any reason
Someone dances so peaceful and easy
Someone dances with hair all crazy
Someone dances in a lonely moment
Someone dances in God consciousness
Someone dances with very much caring
Someone dances so inspired and joyous
Someone dances on faith alone
Someone dances all nameless and wandering
Someone dances in flowing beauty
Someone dances all forgotten and naked
Someone dances all lost for words
Someone dances all completely dance

-John Fox

 

Photo by Ardian Lumi on Unsplash

 

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