I Will Not Be Praying At The Temple This Summer

Music is pretty much everything to me.

My joy.
My dance.
My muse.
My guide.

I love every bit of her.
Every facet of her.
Pretty much every type of her.

(There is no music I will not listen to for at least 15 minutes. My tattoo guy likes that loud noise/scream stuff and I remain…curious. I won’t play it in my car, but even listening a little is a way to be penetrated more deeply by Music. And that is a joy for me).

A few years ago I started going to concerts again.

It had been a few years (read: more than a decade) – the house, kids, etc had taken up time for such things. (See also: sleep deprivation.)

But I started going again because I wanted to feel the joy, the elation, the beat, the dance.
The sexy pulse of the crowd, focused on one thing.

sexy guitar


Concerts are akin to a high mass for me.

The priests offer their sermon, their blessing, their symbols, and absolution.
I dance and sing and pray in reply.
We are all singing the same hymn sometimes.
It is a sacred orgy of mantra and bass and freedom.

Do not talk to me about the concert while it is happening.
That is like talking over the sermon.
We don’t do that.
We open ourselves to the message and get swept away into the heart of joy.

[You can talk to me afterwards, on the way home. When we are both half-yelling because our ear drums are so thoroughly, wonderfully violated.]

Also, please show your respect by having a good time.
[New Englanders…they sit at concerts. I do not understand this!]

In any case, because I love Music so much, I try to go to the temple a couple of times a year.
Different venues, different talent, but always a good time.
My soul gets washed and dried and satisfied.

So, it pains me greatly to tell you that I will not be going this summer.
Imagine Dragons plays locally tonight, and I will not be there.
The amazing Dave Grohl (we can call him a ‘god,’ right?) and Foo Fighters will also be playing around here. And I will not be there.
Even my beloved U2 will be in Boston. And I will not be there. (Although, if you’d like to go- let me know. I will drive. <– That was an open invitation for you to buy me a ticket and spend the evening having a great time with moi.)

I will try to atone myself in the Fall.
Bless me, Music, for I wish to sin with you as much as I can.

(Edited To Add: Ask and it shall be given: a friend is going with me to see U2 at their last date in Boston. /happydance)




Feeding the Quiet :: Making Love With Life

[Often I want to start a post with how I got to where I am- the background. This usually involves referring to my Sex Surge and how it came about. And often that involves mentioning the man I was attracted to.

I don’t want to embarrass or shame the guy anymore (which I did, carelessly, several times). So, until I figure out how to write some things without mentioning him, the content around here might change a bit. I’ll figure it out- don’t worry. There’s too much change and beauty not to share!]

This past week I spent several days at a yoga retreat center in western Massachusetts. It is one of my favorite places on Earth.

I go there for rest and renewal.
I go alone.
I don’t do anything but what I feel like.
This time it was sleeping, reading, and journalling.

The retreat center does everything- cook, clean, provide bedding and shower stuff; I only have to show up. And only show up as much as I want to. I can be completely anonymous and alone if I wish.

This time, that aloneness felt wonderful. It was a respite from all the noise and hubbub of my usual life.



Hazy morning view from the top bunk.


I didn’t realize it until the last day, but I spent my time there feeding the quiet places in myself.

The places that need no words.
Just quiet.
Watching the wind dance the storm clouds.
The breeze across my bare skin.
Laying on the grass beneath the willow tree.
The lake.
The everyblueandgreenalive of the Berkshire hills.
The taste of real lemonade.
Silent breakfasts.
Strong tea.
Hearing the birds and busy chipmunks as I awaken.
The sound of thunder (but no lightning).



My secret room in the willow branches.


Those wordless places are the bone white of my sensuality.

Mostly I am brash and loud and colorful in my sensuality. Vibrant and liquid. But there are places that are quiet. Simple. Plain. Also deep, aware, and patient. Waiting with the tides of my days and my life.

These deep, quiet places within myself need love, attention, and expression, too.

I retreat every year as an act of love for myself.
I love myself by making space to listen, to reconnect, and to heal.

This retreat at Kripalu was one of the quietest, most sensual times of my life. It nourished me in places I did not know were hungry. It was the most beautiful lovemaking Life and I have done in a while.


I don’t know what kind of tree this is (they call it ‘The Unicorn Tree’ – no points for guessing why), but I have only seen one other- in Bellingham, WA. I love this tree; it has so many wonderful little rooms for hiding and writing and daydreaming.



End result: happy Joanna.




Summer Mix Tape

Oh, they will always be mix tapes to me.

So, I didn’t post a Spring Mix because my Spring mix was a mess. As was I.
The music reflected me perfectly.

And maybe I’m scared to share that.
Which is silly, but there you go.

Anyway…I may link to it later, so check back!

Here’s what’s brining me into my Summer blossoming:

Elastic Heart | Sia

I wish I had thick skin and an elastic heart. Sia does.
And I love the unintelligible way she sometimes sings.


Invincible | Kelly Clarkson

‘Now I am invincible. No, I ain’t a scared little girl no more.’
[I still am, but this is for the days when I feel huge and gorgeous and utterly full of myself- or need to.]


I Wanna Dance With Somebody | Whitney Houston

Because about 3 songs on the radio are sampling this fun, catchy throwback.
It sounds ridiculously old in melody, but the fact that Whitney is actually singing (no AutoTune, no crazy vocals or techno backgrounds) makes it awesome.


Trust You | Rob Thomas

“And when I say, ‘I know, I really gotta go…’ but then, I trust you.”

I love the power flip of a man trusting a woman and getting into trouble.
Oh, some people trusted me too soon. But, I was worth it.
I can be fun. And the best kind of evil. 


Hey Mama | David Guetta (ft. Nicki Minaj & Afrojack)

“I like the dirty rhythm you play.”


close up of a wild rose in full bloom


Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You) | Enrique Iglesias (ft. Ludacris)

“If I never lied then, baby, you’d be the truth…”

This song just makes every part of my body rock.
Come over here. Let’s dance.


OctaHate | Ryn Weaver

So many metaphors in this song, about desire blowing you wide open.

Shot through the cracks of the earthquake/
My body’s movin’ into retrograde/
I’m feelin’ lose, feelin’ untamed/
And you’re the dynamite in my chains.


Hold Back the River | James Bay

‘Hold back the river let me look in your eyes…’

Connection is so worth the effort.


I’ll Stand by You | Pretenders

If I had a song for my clients, this would be the one.

When the night falls on you/
You don’t know what to do/
Nothing you confess/
Could make me love you less…

…When you’re standing at the crossroads/
You don’t know what path to choose/
Let me come along/
‘Cause even if you’re wrong

I’ll stand by you.


Renegades | X Ambassadors

Because “All hail the underdogs/
All hail the new kids/
All hail the outlaws/
Spielbergs and Kubricks

It’s our time to make a move/
It’s our time to make amends/
It’s our time to break the rules/
Let’s begin…

Yes, let’s begin.


You can find this mix over on www.8Tracks.com.
Enjoy, sweet ones!




The Three Modern Truths

There are the 8 Limbs of Yoga (the path to enlightenment), the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha (which contain the Eightfold Path), and the Ten Commandments (there are a variety here).

[Why the even numbers? Chinese philosophy is my best guess.]

The more I read and reflect, the more I think there are some modern truths worth recognizing.

These truths are messy. But so is our modern life.

They also underly most of the other ‘truths’ shown above. Without recognizing these modern truths, it is hard to enact the wisdom of the other paths.

Perhaps these truths are self-evident (which ‘truth’ should be, I suppose). But I think they need saying. They are worth articulating so that we can apply them in our daily life.

And so, I give you:  The Three Modern Truths.


Modern Truth One: Everyone Is Fucked Up.

There is almost no way to grow up in modern, Western society and not get fucked in the head somehow. You’re going to have low self-esteem, fear issues, lack of love and care, perfectionism, addiction, abuse, etc. No one gets out completely psychologically intact.

This does not mean we are all bad. I believe we are all inherently good; we are all trying to be happy. Yes, even the most fucked up among us are doing things to make themselves happy. We are all reaching for our own goodness, even in majorly fucked up ways.

This means we are all equal because we are all fucked up in some way.


Practical Application in Daily Life: Compassion

We can be kind to each other because we are all living in our own fuckeditude and we know how hard it is. Compassion can start here.

When we think, ‘dear lord, that is/they are fucked up!’ we can remember that we, too, are effed in some way. If I remember that I am not perfect, it is easier for me to have compassion for your imperfections. And compassion can get us such a long way on the road of life.

And isn’t it grand that The Something made it so we’re all screwed up in different ways? At least then we can help each other heal.

[Where, might you ask, can people have a healthy psyche into adulthood? Probably nowhere. But I think Eastern philosophies (Buddhist, Taoist) with their focus on people’s inherent goodness – Buddha nature – have a better chance of psychological health through the lifespan. And, actually, I would include Pagan philosophies here, too.]


three mussels laying on a table lined up towards the horizon

Modern Truth Two: We Are All Trying Our Best

Really. We are all trying our best, at any given moment.

Sometimes our best looks like total shit.
Even to us.
Two minutes after we’ve done the thing.

[My wisdom about my choices rushes in so quickly after I’ve done something stupid.]

Maybe the psychopaths and the sociopaths aren’t doing their best.
Except, they are- they’re trying to be happy, too. In a very socially unacceptable way.
But still.

Look at your life everyday- you’re mostly doing your best, right?
Maybe not for that one gal in Marketing who bugs the crap out of you…but mostly.

Well, we all are. And it would be helpful to remember that.


Practical Application in Daily Life: Patience

When we realize that we’re all trying our best, and that some people’s best is just…not that great, we can be open to more patience.

There have certainly been times when I have not been so great (even though I thought I was), and many, many people were patient with me. I bet you can think of times like this in your life, too. 

There have also been plenty of times when I was not patient, and should have been. (I am fucked up, too.) I knew people were just trying to do their best, and I should have been patient.


Modern Truth Three: Life is Complex

I know…this could easily be filed under ‘no shit!’

But we forget.

Or, at least, I forget.

I try very hard to make things easy for myself. Often this leads me into black-and-white thinking (that there are only two options or ways or paths). I forget that there are complexities and nuances in all areas and options in life.

I know that I stayed in a conservative religious path because it made life easier. The rules worked and my life was fairly simple. (Until that didn’t work anymore.)

But life is really complex. There are so many choices, so many questions, so many options. Sixteen brands of peanut butter at the grocery store and that is my least complex problem.

Modern life has a lot of details. And it can drive us crazy to deal with them all.


Practical Application in Daily Life: Acceptance

Accepting that life is complex is a big step in learning to deal with it. Accepting anything is a big step in learning to deal with it.

When we fight against anything- complexity, fear, sadness, anger, even joy and support- we are not dealing with what is. When we take a breath and say, ‘yeah, this is happening,’ or ‘this is how I’m feeling,’ we stop the fight.

And when we stop the fight, we create space for acceptance, awareness, and choice. Our acceptance of what is will move us forward, even in the face of complexity.


There is so much more I want to say about these things- especially about boundaries with compassion and patience. (We must have enough compassion for ourselves to see when something is too complex, fractured, or unhealthy for us- and walk away.)

If we can remember these three truths, I like to think the world will be a more compassionate, patient, accepting, and healed place. We are here to heal and to help others heal. As Ram Dass wrote: we are all just walking each other home. I think remembering these truths helps us walk each other home a little better.




When You Need a Bit of Magic.

Back when I was a Bible-believing Protestant (Phylum: Presbyterian), I felt a certain kind of magic about my life. It felt as though I was guided from goodness to goodness, and supported in the difficult times. This magic was sometimes unseen and heard only in my heart. Other times, there were obvious helpers.

It felt really, really good to live in the magic.

Once, on a mission trip in Northern Mexico, our church group recounted all the ‘miracles’ members had seen or experienced in the day. Suddenly, the pleasant surprise of finding one’s watch became a miracle. As did good food, adequate toilets, and shampoo. Small things were miraculous. It felt warm and soft and joyful to see life like that; magical.

Not surprisingly, when I left the church, the magic ceased.

I suppose it was partially because I didn’t believe in magic anymore. ‘Magic’ had only happened in church before. There was both causation and correlation for this belief. So, when ‘church’ was gone, so was ‘magic.’

I threw the baby out with the bathwater; there is magic in just about everything.


Today I have more trouble finding the magic on a regular basis than believing it exists. I know it exists. Keeping a firm grip on it, when you’re a ‘solitary practitioner’ (of sorts) is tougher. Finding and making magic is easier when you have a group supporting you. (And perhaps it is easier to find and make when you are 18.)

I’ve been a little out of touch with my magic these past months. I’m starting to miss it. (Because magic is beautiful!)

I need a bit of magic. (!)
It’s time to find it again.
To cultivate it.
To find the path into the realm of magic.

If you need to get back to your magic – or maybe find it for the first time – here are the breadcrumbs I use.

green background with two dandelion seeds floating in mid-air, as if by magic

Ways to Find and Make Magic

1. Poetry.

It does not have to rhyme, although I love a good Shel Silverstein poem. It also does not need strange line breaks. Rainer Maria Rilke and Anais Nin are poets in paragraphs. Other favorites: e.e. cummings; Pablo Neruda; William Stafford.

Two books I always turn to for magic: The Soul is Here for It’s Own Joy, edited by Robert Bly and Love Poems From God, translated by Daniel Ladinsky.

I think a good Eminem or Will Smith song also qualifies.


2. Lunch outside. Alone.

Everyone needs to get outside more. Especially if you work in a glass box all day. Being outside is easy enough during your lunch break. Be bold! Go!

What’s even better is to be brave and go alone. Sit quietly. Take in the sights, the small beauties (there are always some). Chew more. Recount happy memories. Do not look at your phone. Breathe.

Magic is often small and wild, being outdoors makes it easier to find.


3. Air Guitar!

There is a song you like. It makes you play the air guitar. Or the air drums. Or dance in your car (this is a sacred practice, by the way).

Play. That. Song.

You know the moment when you start to smirk or smile, because you feel awesome? Because you are the song and it is you? But then you sort of tamper it down because: adult? Don’t do that. That smile, that feeling of glee: that’s magic. Live right there for a moment.

[A girl can for days on just a few minutes of that feeling inside the smile.]


4. Be soft.

Sometimes life is so intense, so full, so loud. Magic is often found in the opposite of what we are doing or being. There are times when loud music will lead us to the wild, and other times when softness will bring us to the magic, like a breeze through the leaves.

Magic is not just the forceful, quick shake of the wand, it is also the swirling of the hands and wrists, leading the eye away from the normal.  Try a slow walk, a slow dance, three minutes of breathing fully.


5. Touch your own skin.

Touch is so magical. Even from ourselves. Perhaps especially from ourselves. When is the last time you gently rubbed lotion into your own hands or legs? How about your own hand touching your forearms (long, pressured strokes are nice), or your neck, or your lips?

Lay your fingers gently on yourself. Feel them.


6. Slow down.

Magic may be wild, but she also likes things to go slowly. Probably because we are so fast all the time. Slow is sort of like soft, but there are differences. Slow is pink rose petals, beach walking, stone throwing, reading on a blanket, naps in the sun. Even just walking to your car at the end of the day with a slower pace may show you some little magical moment.


7. With your friends.

I missed my women’s group this week. I needed to be away for another responsibility, but – wowza – I missed my group. They are magic and healing and patience and joy for my heart. They show me my magic, in good times and bad. And that is some magic right there, people.

Find the ones who love you through everything. Who call you on your shit. Who ugly cry with you. Those are magic people. And they will bring out the magic in you.


8. Laugh.

It’s always magical. The bigger and deeper, the better. Extra points if it hurts like an ab workout.


9. Children and small animals.

Kids know the way to magic, unless trauma or adult-ing has forced them out of it. Ask them to show you the most magical thing they know. And believe them. 


10. Believe and seek.

The best way of all to magic is to believe in it. If you believe, even a little, magic will reward you.

Let me ask you: what was your smallest miracle today? 

Did you find your watch?
Did your car start?
Do your legs work?
Does someone love you?

That is magic, right in your own life.
Run with it.