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My greatest teacher on shame wasn’t some great researcher or professor, or even some spiritual guru or book. No, I stumbled upon my mentor in the most unusual of places—a brothel in Johannesburg.
Who more qualified to preach on the matter than a sex worker, an ancient profession intimately familiar with rubbing up against societal shame?
I was conducting my thesis research, spending a lot of time in brothels and sex workers’ homes getting to know them, and trying… >> learn more.
I remember my very first dance. I was in the 6th grade and had just moved to what was my third school within a few months time. Pennsylvania had yet to woo me with her charms and I felt out of place among the five girls at my new school. I was also a pretty big nerd, and was grateful for the conformity of a school uniform. But this was the big dance, the chance for each person… >> learn more.
In my home, I have a ratty throw pillow that I’ve filled to the brim with old stuffing, pieced together from various things my dogs have destroyed. The pillow isn’t sealed. It’s ornate face looks out into the room, hiding its backside, where stuffing peeps out through a busted zipper. Every evening, when I come home from work, my dogs have removed this pillow from its perch and crafted a new concoction out of the stuffing. Most days I find… >> learn more.
There is dukkha. I’m chasing my dog around the house trying to get him not to eat his barf—which is remerging from his stomach every five minutes. A piercing shriek from the fire alarm breaks my train of thought. “Dang! I was so busy on puke patrol that I forgot the rice!” As I rush back into the kitchen through a fog of smoke, Hank retches again and starts eating it. I look down at him and realize… >> learn more.
In the past couple of years I’ve abandoned the pursuit of lusting after a normal life and embraced the birthing process of my inner wild woman. I made acquaintance with the woman I want to become, and in a way always was, and delivered her into being. Having served as a labor and delivery doula for many moons, I found myself pondering the essence of doula support and how it applied to my own birth—the birth of myself.
… >> learn more.