Archetypes, Asana, Body Image, character study, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Health Issues, Laramie, Mental Health, Micro Non-Fiction, Mindfulness, mountains, Non-Fiction, Running, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Trailrunning, Trains, Universiality, Wyoming

greenbelt lunch

Driving, showering, running. Epiphany times.  I think sometimes the blog I have created paints a picture that is not necessarily accurate.  I don’t feel my life is tragic.  I don’t regret anything I have done.  Do I question myself and pray to gawd e’r day to send me a friend? Well, heck yes.  But there is so much to admire in this world.  Things to take in, then let go, and prepare for death and the next transient experience.  These are the things I believe.  These are the things I feel.  Things are the things I want to be with.

I’ve started running five miles at lunch, sometimes it’s timed, but mostly it’s to take in these windy Wyoming high plains I have called home for 13 years.   I run from my house to cross the train bridge downtown to get to the green belt. On the west end there is a little garden area that is watered by the same woman every day.  She wears a floppy hat and khaki pants and we are like two hands of a clock passing each other at different tempos.  She a pendulum, I a metronome beating to the glorious rhythm of life.  Her hose sprays from patches of grass to hollyhocks as she takes care of this tiny pseudo-garden juxtaposed by trains and a tall cigar shaped Union Pacific landmark that would be too much trouble to take down.  She has surrounded three sunflowers with a small enclosure and each living thing has become its own landscape its own piece of art.  We never talk but I appreciate her so much for what she does and how she takes care of a corner of the world that I have come to love.

As I continue my run along the dark gray paved green belt I’ve started to see another wonderful woman whose beauty strikes me.  She has a curious gait and bends her elbows at ninety degrees swinging back and forth like the tin man yet so fluid she floats.  Animated yet subtle.  A wonderful paradox, a metaphor for running, for life.  She is so beautiful and smiles at me every day and I wave and smile back under my salt and sweat soaked ball cap.  I think as I reflect and remember she is some kind of temporary angel whose human beauty matches the beauty of the land.  Her smile becomes like golden leaves in fall and her eyes reveal the blue that is lost in the green gray of the Laramie River.  I want to see myself as I see this woman and how she takes care of that corner of myself that I will come to love.

The locusts are everywhere in August and September and they flutter and hop and greet me while I wonder how much frost it will take for them to become dormant and spawn again.  I occasionally mistake them for butterflies and who is to say they can’t be butterflies with short spurts of flight zipping across the path yellow, cream, gold, black, brown.  I mistook a frog for a locust friend the other day as he sat with his nature-green-paisley back to me and I wondered why this locust wasn’t zipping and then he hopped like a tiny surprise, an expected yet anticipated phone call.  Just a bit up the path there is a grove of trees like an inviting painted alley welcoming whistling, trotting, and other hidden street activities.

And then there are those things not as conventionally beautiful—the freezer company across the field, the row of billboards to the east, the college apartments around the bend.  The river goes down and down in the dry August days and in parts it has become filled with bacteria and algae and I look over a bridge and spit into the water thinking how I would never bathe there.  Its color a light stony green like the eyes of a ex-lover when he was stoned.  But it is the home of other living things that need that space to live.  I stop under the bridge too and see the “lover” graffiti that I see all over town—it’s not elaborate and I create a picture of an annoying seventeen year old in my head who things lovers are worth using graffiti tags.  While all isn’t pleasant it’s all there to observe, to witness, and then to let go.  And when I smell the whiff of a cigarette from a loud truck I remember it is often those things that are the hardest to love that we need to come love.

“Our minds influence the key activity of the brain, which then influences everything; perception, cognition, thoughts and feelings, personal relationships; they’re all a projection of you.”

-Deepak Chopra

Archetypes, Body Image, character study, Death, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Fear, Micro Non-Fiction, Mindfulness, Non-Fiction, poverty, privilage, PTSD, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Sex, Suicide, Universiality, Wyoming, Yoga

the most selfish person i know (a biography)

Every day is filled with tiny baby setbacks and tiny baby victories and I’ve been putting off blogging about it because I realize how much I exist in my own head.  My head is not in the bell curve, it’s not appealing to many folks, it would be cancelled after one season.  I am so very selfish and spend so much time alone.  My world is all I have.  My thoughts are my friends, my thoughts are my enemies. As I work to share my world I create experiences to validate that which I already believe—I don’t understand intimate relationships.  I don’t understand friendship.  And I certainly don’t understand the intimate/friendship combo of a long term relationship.

I set the stage for my lonely, tragic, existential play at a young age, ready to be analyzed over and over like an awful Shakespearean play that I have to pretend to like because it seems to be what I ought do.  What ought I do?  It was Valentine’s Day and I was sixteen.  We skipped school and filled a brown, sticky, stained bong with snow and took rips of the dirtiest ditch weed a kid could get their hands on.  We skipped from house to house where parents would have us or where parents were gone and we could drink stolen brandy or Bud Light and listen to Tom Petty.  We would often drive around the dirt roads that connected coal mine to oil rig to ranch to old schoolhouse.  As we passed the same plastic bong around I thought—this is it.  This is all I need.

We arrived home and my parents had tried to show me love.  They sent me flowers only to find I had skipped school and had come home smelling of booze and weed.  My parents had never sent me flowers, all of us had trouble understanding these human relationships.  My face felt hot and I bit the pieces of skin around my fingernails that smelled like Marlboro Reds.  Harsh words, questions, and raised voices.  I swung my hair over the tie dye shirt I was wearing and told my parents:  I wanted to spend the day with someone I love.  That one is drugs.

Drugs won’t purposely miss your call.  Drugs don’t give you an STD.  Drugs don’t say that you text too much.  Drugs don’t call you insecure.  Drugs don’t avoid eye contact with you but stare at your overdeveloped thighs and hips.  Drugs don’t tell you that you remind them too much of an ex and would-you-just-quit that.  Drugs don’t stalk you for seven years.  Drugs don’t punch you so hard during sex you lose your hearing for three days.  Drugs won’t fuck you only past 10 pm because you are the other woman.  Drugs won’t take money you left on the counter.  Drugs won’t ask you to suck their dick for blow.  And yet, drugs take you all these places emotionally.  Maybe I ought treat them like an ex.

My uncle once told me that my brilliant grandfather experienced setbacks in his career because of the fire.  The crazy.  That which runs in our family which I have seen firsthand and experienced even more deeply firsthand.  I knew I was round the bend when I seventeen and I shot up a half gram of meth that had been cooked up hours before.  I lost my vision.  I lost my hearing.  I barely made it up the stairs.  When I had finished lying on the bed staring at souls circling above me, I walked to the bathroom and looked in the mirror.  I had switched, something had turned.  There goes the screw.  Like Alice, I had gone to the other side.  Manic.  Depressed.  Crazy.  Gifted. Touched by fire. Out there.  Ridiculous.  Ludicrous, preposterous, risible, farcical.

Will I ruin my career?  Will my soul mate be crystal meth?  I don’t believe in either of these things, because maybe I’m crazy enough to understand that while my attributes aren’t valued by all, or many, or a lover, I am not unworthy.  There is no manual of human contact and we create just miniature projections of ourselves.  Some cells want to be with others.  Some organs stand alone.  But no part of the human body is wrong, and no part of me is wrong.  I am selfish.  I am crazy.  I am the most beautiful person you will ever meet.  I say the ugliest things you will ever hear.  Will you still love me?  Because I sure do.

“I do a lot of crummy things, and I do a lot of beautiful things, and I’m neither good nor evil, I just am. There is good, and there is evil, and here I am.”

-Ram Dass 

Archetypes, Body Image, character study, Death, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Fear, Health Issues, Laramie, Mental Health, Micro Non-Fiction, Mindfulness, mountains, Non-Fiction, privilage, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Sex, Southern Gothic, Suicide, Wyoming

the art of life

Sometimes I distrust the morning if for nothing other than the light. Harsh blue light creeping from the east casting a shadow behind. Feeling cornered in a smoky room I found through swinging western doors after a journey I wasn’t sure I should travel. Hyper vigilant and jumpy staring through silvered almond eyes that become smaller and less sure, less open in the early dawn. Light drifting upon gravel roads, sparkling from the periphery atop tall grass and yarrow arching, flicking plant hair of dew and little black bugs.

I see a man walking in the afternoons wearing a long sleeve, button up plaid shirt. Faded and worn from the James Cash Penney department store in some small town in Wyoming, maybe Kemmerer, or so I imagine. A gentlemen walking now in the warm afternoon but lost in hot time when clothes were wrapped in brown paper and string. A man displaced finding himself not at a tent revival he thought he’d finally found but on the scoliosis spine of Laramie sidewalks. Maybe its own tent revival, rural, a button up shirt is Sunday’s best, Laramie’s finest. He is looking fine as frog hair. Hymns falling off mouths now pearl buttons, flannel thread a new verse to the same old song, prayers like solid brown slacks. Slight hunch in his back and a bible in his left hand. Head down, hair long past his chin and a long gait staring forward and down, down.

Evening the time of theatre-in-the-round. Tonight the playwright, the designer, the director, the sky. Wearing a gown of deep purple, glowing orange, soft pink swaying in brown-shoe-roads with stockings made of green. Symphony directed by the wind–cottonwoods and aspens flutter, creak and sway, deep bass sounds of thunder and soprano of neighborhood children screaming create the score for the epic of the unwinding evening. Breeze gentle, smells gentle, touch gentle, as the play turns toward the bedroom where spoken lines becomes sighs and the music fades with the gentle breath of sleep.  What dreams may come, said another playwright, and what dreams may be.  Dreams of morning, noon, night, now.

“The art of life is to live in the present moment, and to make that moment as perfect as we can by the realization that we are the instruments and expression of God Himself.”

Emmet Fox

Archetypes, Asana, character study, Death, depression, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Health Issues, Mindfulness, privilage, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Sex, Universiality

the unspoken anne shirley

I’ve been struggling to know what to write lately—even how to approach blogging stylistically, which I’ve always thought was a strong point along with attention to detail and honesty (what do I know—not much!). I regularly delete posts on my Facebook wall along with blog posts I’ve deemed too scandalous. There’s a few haunting me right now, including one in which I mention my dick. No, I don’t have a dick. Yes, I want to work proactively to diminish binaries that separate us including mostly arbitrary ideas of dicks and vaginas. I have daily self-talks in which I shame myself for my past, shame myself for my thoughts, and wish I understood more of these social conventions, these unspoken rules. I’m perpetually offending. Wikipedia (crowd-sourced, dynamic, in the gray) defines unspoken rules as:

“…behavioral constraints imposed in organizations or societies that are not voiced or written down. They usually exist in unspoken and unwritten format because they form a part of the logical argument or course of action implied by tacit assumptions.”

So, what the heck is a tacit assumption? What are we assuming?

“A tacit assumption or implicit assumption is an assumption that includes the underlying agreements or statements made in the development of a logical argument, course of action, decision, or judgment that are not explicitly voiced nor necessarily understood by the decision maker or judge. Often, these assumptions are made based on personal life experiences, and are not consciously apparent in the decision making environment. These assumptions can be the source of apparent paradoxes, misunderstandings and resistance to change in human organizational behavior.”

This is the paradox of my life. Somewhere, along the way, in my own personal history I missed the boat about 7 billion times. I didn’t realize I was not supposed to invite people into a business or endeavor that is not mine. And unfortunately, people can choose to be very hurt by the things you don’t know. I lost a job and my passion over it. (friggin yoga, another blog post). I didn’t realize that I cannot talk candidly, expressively, or truthfully around most professionals. It’s not wanted, needed, and it really doesn’t matter.

I spent my graduate program in near remediation because I was perpetually docked in the professionalism area. Folks wrote about me on a survey after a conference saying I was bothersome, got up too much to pee, talked too much. I really throw some people off.  Yet, the exact (non)skill that hurt me during social interactions helps me inter-personally in counseling sessions.  Thank gawd these unspoken rules go out the window in therapy where saying that which hasn’t been said is suddenly healing.  My clinical work pulled me through my graduate program (watch as I invoke ego to feel better about paradoxically falling short).

Where was I during the development of these unwritten logical arguments, courses of actions, decisions, and judgments? I was doing drugs, drinking. I probably might have been having sex. Most likely, I was reading a book to try to connect to folks on my own terms. Books where unwritten rules are more explicit and develop through words, words I know. In a book, often the thoughts of the character are exposed, and I suddenly understand why Gilbert Blythe (Anne of Green Gables) keeps bullying Anne Shirley even though he likes her. Her red braids swing and her bangs puff out as she smacks him back which she wasn’t supposed to do not according to any rule but because she was a lady.  Gawd forbid.  And gawd bless, she did it anyway. She imagined her life and she created it exactly how she wanted to be. A few people upset along the way, but this Anne, she’s an archetype. One that I will continue to live.

“It has always seemed to me. ever since early childhood, amid all the commonplaces of life, i was very near to a kingdom of ideal beauty. Between it and me hung only a thin veil. I could never draw it quite aside, but sometimes a wind fluttered it and I caught a glimpse of the enchanting realms beyond-only a glimpse-but those glimpses have always made life worthwhile.”

-Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables)

Asana, Body Image, character study, Death, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Fear, Health Issues, Laramie, Mental Health, Mindfulness, mountains, poverty, privilage, PTSD, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Sex, Suicide, Universiality

the uncut hair of graves

I keep the phone squished between my shoulder and ear driving to Corona Village to pick up fajitas I had ordered before my dear friend called.  She is dead now.  She hung herself.  I wish I could say I don’t picture her body there hanging, owl tattoo on her right shoulder.  Hair blonde, maybe more brown, jutty cut she had surely given herself to frame her beautiful thinned out almond crystal eyes.  We talk about so many things on the phone.  She hears my voice for who I really am. She sees me for me.

We talk about how she will move to South Carolina soon and I watch the brightly colored tiles that decorate the walls of the restaurant nd wish she were back in Wyoming.  Phone sill squished, I drive home to eat my meal.  To talk to my friend.  To heal my soul.  I dip a chip into guacamole and taste the tiny individual pieces of salt visible on the triangles and she tells me when she admired me for talking about performing oral sex in our English capstone class.  Tells me I used the phrase “sucking dick” and that had liberated her.  I remember that self that wouldn’t wear a belt or a bra and talk frankly of sex in class because I wanted so bad to accept my body and to accept sex and to be a part of something that carries so much power.

My mind flashes back to a care package she had left at my house and I watch as a drop of runny salsa hits the floor and puddles out while I remember what was in the box.  Corsets, bras, whips, and other kinky shit she felt safe enough to give me.  I look at the spot of salsa and smile about how she thought I was something more than I think I am.  In her eyes, to her short choppy hair, I was a sex vixen.  I crouch down and wipe up the blood like salsa with a napkin and shove it back in the takeout bag.

Pushing carrots, celery, and mushrooms around in the foam container soaked in grease and dark red sauce made of chilies and cumin she tells me about how she had to cancel her Facebook account for slugging too much wine in the evenings and writing provocative shit.  That wasn’t her or mine assessments but her graduate program that had broken her down like I had been broken down in my own program.  I drop a tiny spoonful of sour cream onto beans and put them into my mouth while tears start to fall down.  She gets me.  She sees my spark and I see hers and we want to drink wine and perform oral sex on whomever or wherever we feel like.

I’ve wrapped my tortillas in foil and slopped the food from foam into plastic containers.  Organize. Compartmentalize. Anything to give myself the illusion of control.  We get ready to end the phone call and I tell her to keep pushing forward, to give her writing to the world, and I tell her I’ve saved all of her writing.  Even her e-mails.  Nothing can happen more beautiful than death for the awareness of life it gives to all who suffer its consequences.

Hey jenn,
Im getting that piece to you sunday night hell or high water.  I found this article about throwing around words to look learned n after our talky talky bout the mfa boys club n tim like people i thought u might like it too:
http://rhetoric.byu.edu/figures/groupings/Vices.htm
Im usin my phone so pardon all the grammar bad ju ju
Jodi

J. P. Corley

Asana, Body Image, character study, depression, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Health Issues, Laramie, Mental Health, Mindfulness, mountains, privilage, Running, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Trailrunning, ultramarthon, Universiality, Wyoming

limitlessness

I’ve been at a lot of races lately and some sounds and sights are familiar. Cold mountain air in the morning, frantic energy at the starting line. Heavy breathing and panting, feet grazing and flopping on dirt roads, quiet muffled sounds of headphones, and the crazy eyes. Those crazy eyes. Watching as the normal gaze of distraction turns shiny and human desire bubbles up from the belly of determination–color unnamed yet so familiar. Ruddy cheeks frame the eyes,  the blush of anticipation that transcends anything sexual. Eye color doesn’t matter because it’s not the color that’s doing the talking.  The hue becomes the energy of someone who has tapped into what it means to be elite. This person will be fast. This person is creating their experience.

What inspires me is being around limitless passion.  Passion that transcends suffering, pain, or any imagined barrier (because they are usually imagined, this life is limitless if we create it so). Raw, messy, passion that pulled Viktor Frankl through a concentration camp—creating meaning in an inherently meaningless world. His spiritual strength fed the fire that fueled his will to continue on, to survive, because life took on some kind of meaning. It became bigger than him.

Struggling and suffering are not always bad. It is through struggle that growth occurs—when the river is forced to find a different path because the force of the suffering, the winter melt-off, is too great. The path might be slow at first but the river carves land, edges of rocks, rumbling loud in spring, gathering strength in winter.  It becomes its own artery of life and aspiration. Find something bigger than self and struggle becomes universal.  A mountain to climb. One hundred miles to run. A prayer to an open sky. A race to win. A story to write. A fable to tell.

Take the first step by going out of your comfort zone. See yourself as part of an infinite story.  You are not the first or last to arrive on this path. And the key is to do what you have to do to get what you want and realize your own strength. 

What is it that you want?

What is it that you will do?

How will you become limitless?

 

“If you can’t run, then walk. And if you can’t walk, then crawl. Do what you have to do. Just keep moving forward and never, ever give up.”
― Dean Karnazes, Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner

Anorexia, Asana, Body Image, Bulimia, character study, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Fear, Health Issues, Higher Education, Mental Health, Mindfulness, mountains, privilage, PTSD, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Universiality, Wyoming, Yoga

pathologically indiscreet

Never underestimate the value of a candid person. So much of our time is spent trying to figure out these unwritten rules like how firmly should I shake her hand or how many sentences of small talk before I delve into an emotional topic?

I was never very good at regular rules, much less unwritten rules, and brutal honesty can catch others off guard or it can open up a space of vulnerability. If I spent time trying to understand social conventions it might take a while. While I understand the power of acting couth, I appreciate the candidness of the raw, the unfiltered.

The types of people I appreciate most are ones who dance whether anyone is watching or not, who sing whether they know the words, who make love without worrying about fat or fur, who eat with appreciation. Secrets can last for years, secrets can change the paradigm.

Imagine if we started being ourselves, if we stopped holding back or letting out too much of what is inauthentic. Imagine if we let go of social conventions just for a day, how many would become comfortable, and how many would receive a gift? Take time today to receive those in your life exactly how they are and exactly who they need to be.

I’ve always been a pretty candid person. I’m not a very secretive person; I’m not a very discreet person. One of my best friends once described me as pathologically indiscreet.

Andrew Sullivan

Anorexia, Asana, Body Image, Bulimia, character study, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Health Issues, Laramie, Mental Health, Mindfulness, privilage, PTSD, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Universiality, Wyoming, Yoga

what i can and cannot do

Untitled

Truth is, I get intimated and down on myself every day. There is a good chance I will never do a respectable yogi push up or hold pigeon on my right side again. These are because of injuries trying to press bone onto bone for bending that my body was just not meant to do. Knee and elbow out of commission for a while. Even sitting cross legged is painful. That’s the thing about yoga—it’s not until years later that you realize asana is preparation for death—the ultimate life experience. No one dies in a handstand. But sometimes when we die we are lucky enough to know that our worth didn’t come from a handstand or peacock pose, and that holding the hand of the person next to us is the most challenging, rewarding, and soul satisfying pose of all. The king pose called #gratitude.

#yoga #selflove #love #loveyourself #mindfulness #beyourself #asana #Ustrasana #Gomukhasana #PinchaMayurasana #death #EkaPadaRajakapotasana #bodylove #practicenotperfect #iamenough #MeatlessMonday #pilates #contrology #infinitebalancelaramie

Asana, Body Image, character study, Christmas, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Health Issues, Higher Education, Mental Health, Mindfulness, mountains, privilage, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Trailrunning, Universiality, Wyoming, Yoga

big gulp breath

I’ve started to do things I like because I like myself more and more each day. I run–not lose a billion million calories but because I love feeling the sun on my skin midday. I don’t worry about walking either and stop to gulp breath like diet soda which I also drink because I like the way it feels and tastes.

I love my job. I don’t try too hard because I don’t have to. Part of the love is that I can just be myself. I do yoga with weights because I favor strength over flexibility and I like the way my arms are starting to take shape again.

I go out every now and again and hang out with the people I choose. Ones who I can be my complete and utter self around—no matter how that self may feel. I still get defensive and worry about others approval but I like that I’m working on that too.

I listen to all kinds of music because I can. I don’t care if there are cuss words in a class. I listen to what moves me. The word fuck sometimes moves. I don’t go to live shows as much as I used to. I’m okay with that, too.

I love teaching yoga because its more about being with people than alignment. Its more about being humble together than showing off a handstand. Its more about loving yourself than loving the illusion in the mirror. Its more about seeing your true self, rather than what the world has tried to create.

The moment you over think how someone sees you, is the moment you stopped being true to yourself.

character study, Christmas, depression, Dharma, eccentric, Existentialism, Expansion, Fear, Laramie, Mental Health, Mindfulness, poverty, privilage, PTSD, Self Growth, Self Love, Self Reflection, Universiality, Wyoming

pretty piece of flesh

I was really crappy to someone today.  Like, really crappy.  I could feel the crappy starting in my belly from my place of security and then my eyes narrowed and I felt a reaction to the smell of plastic and office supplies.  Supplies pushed by nose-hair tendrils into my lungs catching on the cilia inside phlegm,  inching out after having collected the pollution of the air, the pollution of my mind.  We all just push around negative energy like chunks of dirt we can’t pick up with a broom—I’m mad I have no printer and now I’m mad at the dude who has no copies who was probably already mad before.  The negative energy spins and spins collecting sparks like piles of coal dust in a corner waiting to be spread out away from its own volatile energy and pushed around so it doesn’t catch fire again.  Is it the smoldering that is fine?  Does the explosion get to us? Or do we just fear the fire?  Because it’s bound to happen, energy piles up, energy is released.  Touch your skin now and feel the heat of your own body–its own furnace, its own sun with planet arms revolving and watching its path bumped out of line by small daily interactions.  Daily interactions that bother my sun-core.  I am not mean to people I don’t know over copies and yet here I am.  Mean.  Just plain mean. I find myself saying…well I am the customer.  I am self.  You are other.  I am subject, you are object.  We are distinct now as I have found you cannot help me.  And now you might just not want to.   Later I lay and stare at the popcorn and bundled parts of my ceiling letting it reflect my flawed character–my idiosyncrasies.  And I hear the thumping narrative of excuses we have for being crappy.  Oh well she’s just mean to people over the phone.  Another pile of dirt hidden.  Oh well he’s just grumpy in the morning.  More dust collecting for fire.  Part of being uncomfortable is cleaning out the corners to find the fires before they happen.  But please, don’t let that stop you from burning here and there.  Rise from your own ashes and appreciate your own flesh.  Because we are all flawed chunks of flesh.