Tuesday, November 19, 2019


It is very tempting to be pulled into the Trump phenomenon, but I believe it is about much more than an individual named Donald J. Trump. He is merely the ball we are kicking around for reasons that go much deeper than this individual. However, he seems to have just the right qualities needed for unconscious, emotional projections. We Americans have given him far more substance than he has as an individual and this is true whether one is a Trump lover or hater.

People can invent any alternate reality that will protect their self-esteem.  The weaker the sense of self-worth, the more likely they will fight against anything that threatens to expose something they don’t want to own about themselves or to someone who fails to live up to their admiration.  
The national news is now at least three fourths of time and content about the president and his spinning drama. Of course, the drama is ours and it is so newsworthy that no one can avoid being pulled into the magnetic force of the spin.

The worst part of the Trump phenomenon that I can see, is that there is now a war between the parties and the fate of the country is no longer the reason for their actions. It has become a football game with fans that take one side or the other. A football team has loyalty based on emotional identification with the team for personal, family tradition, or locational loyalty. It is an ego enhancing or disheartening situation not an ideological issue.

Its well known psychologically, that abused children often fiercely defend their abuser, and may seek to incorporate his/her values and behavior. “Identification with the abuser”, it is called. Even if an abused child hates its abuser, he/she may unconsciously copy the abuser’s behavior. Donald Trump had an abusive father whom he has emulated in many ways as he has emulated the behavior of other questionable authority figures. Now, this diseased response is being transferred to his fellow Republican’s. Even more significantly, this behavior has affected the entire country and both parties. It’s an old strategy of rage expression that I will describe as, “lets you and him fight,” and this implies that there is another party enjoying the skirmish from a safe location. 

I find myself being glad that I’m not a Republican during this time in our country, but this emotional reaction is one of the attitudes that accompany this very pattern, and I’m not proud of it. In fact, I acknowledge that this isn’t about party loyalty. I’m not even a dedicated democrat, but because I’m horrified by the Trump phenomena, it’s tempting to choose sides with an intensity beyond my normal feelings.

 I like the mental picture of “two cats in a bag.” Anyone who knows cats immediately recognizes that if one put two cats in a bag together, they would scream and claw each other to death. It is of course, the third party who created the situation who is to blame. I now recognize that democrats and republicans (intentionally uncapitalized) haven’t seriously entertained the thought that an external force may have designed this situation.

Is it the desire of American enemies or competitors to keep us fighting each other?  Could that have been the intent of Russian interference in our election. Now it is fanning out in all directions. It is better than a bomb if you are an enemy. A bomb would direct hostile energy at the bomber, whereas this kind of war is much more effective.  It causes a country to destroy itself from the inside out. I’m reminded that Russian operatives call unconscious agents, “useful idiots.” Is that America at this time? 

The situation is also bringing out the worst in many presidential appointees. Some of these people were normal politicians before the Trump event. They are now unable to unhook themselves from the Trump phenomena. Please recognize that I’m not demonizing Trump himself. He has completely volunteered to be used in this way because his inner structure is entirely dependent on the response of others. It is those others who are caring out the agenda of someone else.

 Maybe it’s the devil giving us a stiff trial to see what we are made of. I remember that powerful Sufi saying, “the devil is God’s most humble servant.” Someone is serving the devil in this situation. Perhaps it is the Donald, perhaps it is Putin, and perhaps more significantly it is we the public and our representatives. I suspect it is all those named who have been pulled into this drama. If we really want to save ourselves, we will seriously ask what sits hidden behind this situation. According to my Taos Pueblo husband, a witch gets his/her power by psychically immobilizing the chosen victim. Blaming and shaming will not break the spell, not participating in the deception will.

Sunday, November 17, 2019


One day many houses ago, while settling into the house I had just finished moving into, I looked  at the items that moved from place to place with me over the years. There were a few very old things and some new acquisitions, but the over all impression was more like rooms added to the previous residence. At that moment I realized that everyone infuses their home, or should with personal characteristics as unique as their face. One's house reflects the inner self as well as the external persona. Even if one owns more than one residence, say a cabin in the mountains or a beach house, it will also seem to be just more rooms in the image of home.

I have many cherished items that are in storage. However, there are levels of storage. I brought the items I thought I would need every day into this little house on Lamento del Coyote in Taos. Now that we don't go to Arizona anymore it is our everyday of the year house. It is well designed but too small for two thirds of our life. I have  cherished plates, glasses and silverware tucked away in the back of cupboards. Many other items are almost out of reach, but I only use them several times a year. The garage holds garden items, tools and some cupboards that need to be installed but I can’t do it by myself, so they wait. I have a nice drawing table that is completely covered by art supplies and tools because there is nowhere else to put them. In addition, there are paintings waiting for their permanent home that fit nowhere else because our walls are already occupied.  Sometimes we switch these around with others on our walls.
Spider Woman Weaving her Web in the Cosmos

We have the furniture and household equipment we had in Cottonwood as well as furniture from PQ’s house on the reservation that was transferred to a storage shed quickly and randomly when we rented out that house. Our hopes were always that we would someday furnish another home in Arizona. Now they wait out of sight and usually out of mind. The thought of sorting and culling all these things is beyond imagining at this time. Our plate is full enough, and yet it would be a terrible legacy to leave for our survivors. But there is more! The old Pueblo house is also patiently holding many items including family photos and books that used to be in the house of my parents. When my mother passed away, my cousin and I had two days to pack her belongings and remove them from her apartment. As you might imagine, we didn’t have time to organize them. They wait in storage, and their content becomes more mysterious with time.
This sounds very tedious, doesn’t it? However, when entering it in my private journal, I recognized that this describes the physical symbols of a life pattern. In psychological analysis, dreams about a house usually represent the self and make a symbolic comment on the state of the self. These stored items represent a blockage of flow and decision in my life.  I also live in a psychological house too small for my desired lifestyle or to accommodate my goals. There are stored boxes in my psyche as well.

Two-thirds of my creative life has always existed in a hoped-for future. I’m now old enough that my time to use all things has narrowed significantly. While many people my age are retired from a profession, I find myself still hoping to have one. Yes, its now absurd, but its amazing how quickly I arrived at this impasse.

Outwardly, life is good. I have my office space back and PQ and I now have our house to ourselves, after several family crises even though the garage holds remnants of the previous situation and PQ consequently must paint on the dinner table. I’m learning that life never goes back to where one leaves off. The movement of time is like a kaleidoscope, the pattern changes with each turn. 

The symbols of those soul pieces that we lose along the way must be honored but I’m learning that they must also be buried with respect or repurposed. I’ve heard famous people say they are grateful for their life’s work and would do it all again if they had a chance to relive it. That sounds inspiring, but the opposite also exists, and I’ve always had my doubts about the truth of a life lived without regrets.  I would never willingly repeat my life but now honor it as a chapter in a much larger story. 

Although there have been many times that I wished I had never been born, I’ve derived meaning and satisfaction from the challenge of UN-weaving the spider’s web that I fell into at birth. I understand the importance of Grandmother Spider. She is the frenemy that sets the challenges that stretch us to the limits of our potential before she sucks the juice out of our ego. On the good days I’m satisfied with myself for converting some major challenges into awareness.  Ultimately, I wish to achieve prowess in walking the fence between this life and the next. I believe that wouldn’t be possible without some help from the higher self and its elevated contacts.

PQ has been watching hunting videos on Netflix. I hate to see the death of beautiful animals, but I soon recognized that these hunters were not hunting for food, nor were they sadists. There was a spiritual component. While it bothers me to see hunters using high power rifles and mechanical bows in addition to various luring devices to bring the animal into shooting range, I was amazed that some of these hunters tracked the same animal for years until it achieved its greatest potential of beauty and power. When a hunter takes down his dream animal he is often overcome with emotion, shaking with such awe and excitement that he can barely speak. Sometimes he trembles while tears of ecstasy run down his and sometimes her cheeks. It is obviously a profound ritual experience. He or she desires to incorporate the power of that animal. When the hunter eats its meat, it is a transfer of primal power and when he hangs the animal’s head in his man-cave which is his temple, it becomes an icon. He can attune with the nature spirit that infuses it. Since most moderns are alienated from their earth roots and often their soul, the animal embodies their common source of power and beauty, even though it is temporary and must be repeated. 

It seems unrelated but a few weeks ago, I began watching dance videos on Netflix. Before long I was addicted. I discovered that I had missed two generations of dancers and had a lot of catching up to do. By the end of the second week I had a new group of favorite dancers. I also began doing some of the old exercises.  At the same time, I was mystified by this sudden renewal of an old interest especially as I was too old to get serious about renewing my ballet ambitions. Nevertheless, there was something very important about this rediscovery.  I couldn’t shake it, even though it seems like several lifetimes between the dancing days and now and hadn’t given dance much thought for decades. Of course, I love to dance in powwows and am fascinated by the traditional dances of all indigenous peoples and their music as well. I was especially proud to be the dance buddy of PQ’s mother Frances. It was our special shared soul candy. There is something powerful in the blending of rhythm, sound and movement, add color and it is complete. 

However, I then lapsed into sadness and lost interest in everyday activities. I went through the gestures but wasn’t present. I grieved for all the things that have timed out and I would never do again and the ambitions that once drove me but had been just beyond reach and were now out of reach forever. There was a list. I would never travel abroad, I would never have the resources to work with a Jungian analyst let alone become one as I had always wanted to do, I would never have a studio with plenty of space and a high enough ceiling for large paintings or several projects at the same time. The list continued with other wishes that came to a dead end. That’s when I realized that even though I came to value the qualities of age, my options are now limited by time as well as income. The stream of life narrows and it's power will be in focus not breadth. Although this was nothing new, the full impact took my breath away like a sucker punch in the stomach. I've struggled to maintain my sense of purpose through mountains, deserts, dead ends and wrong turns and now I wasn’t going to get where I longed to go after a lifetime of struggle. I have nothing to show for it either. I haven’t made the planet better, saved anyone’s life, except several animals and my mother once. I felt invisible and inaudible. Maybe I’m a ghost. In fact, this all began a week ago with a startling image flashing before my inner vision of a shriveled woman with little flesh on her bones. Just flaccid pale skin and deep eye sockets. No wonder I was sad. How can I compensate for neglecting her. She is the result of my mother's teaching: "cook a generous meal but don't eat until everyone else is satisfied, and then do the dishes." There was nothing left by the time the dishes were done.
I relate to the hunter’s desire to possess the beauty and power of the wild beast and see the comparison with my own desire to possess beauty, rhythm and the power to inspire. I too have been hunting for a long time. In significant ways physical birth is just the first step in a lifetime’s becoming. I often felt that my birth was never authentic and have spent my life trying to arrive in this 3D world. But perhaps I'm just learning that birth is an ongoing process. I will never forget a cartoon in an old New Yorker magazine in which an exhausted chick newly broken free from its eggshell says, “whew! I’m glad that’s over, and we the observer can see that encasing it is another shell, and another and another, each larger than the last. Birth is never over! I believe in reincarnation but even if I didn’t a life is made of many phases that are amount to mini lifetimes.  

Perhaps I need to mourn lost hopes and bury them instead of saving their remains, but I haven’t quite arrived at that place yet.  I will never be a professional dancer or a Jungian analyst and I may never see the Royal Ballet perform again, travel to Europe or Tajikistan (I have an unexplained attraction to the stans) but I think I am about to embark into a new as yet unknown phase. I feel the faint breeze of a new door opening. It’s just a crack now but my curiosity is stirred. Perhaps it will lead to a new room in a house that was bigger than I realized.

Sunday, August 4, 2019


I’ve been writing my story. Its an interesting process and I would recommend this to anyone who wants a surprise and a new look at their life. When you read it back to yourself you get the view of your life ordinarily seen only by your therapist. An autobiography sounds vain for someone who isn’t famous, but publishing isn’t required to reap benefits from telling your story, it isn’t even necessary to share it.  Of course, most of us remember the momentous events from different times in our lives, but it isn’t the same as taking a wide angle shot that includes everything in one picture. Those random bits of memory don’t reveal a whole life. It’s a bit like that old story about the blind guys describing the elephant. Each accurately described the part they were feeling but were way off on the true elephant.

This isn’t about an objective view of events, but that is what makes it interesting. You are both the participant and observer. It is much like dream interpretation, and your life is the dream. I’m lucky to have memories as far back as two years. Thus, my memory of those earliest days is tainted with the world view of a two-year-old. There are a few of those very early memories that may be less than factual but if I look at them the way I would a dream, I immediately recognize the meaning and even that multi-dimensional quality that dreams and myths have.  As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words” and children experience life in 3D moving pictures. By the time adulthood covers our essence with socially canned experiences, it is very difficult to uncover the potential power of an experience.

“Then he said, I tell you solemnly, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  And so, the one who makes himself as little as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” So said Master Jesus, (Mathew 18:3-4, Jerusalem Bible). Religion is a central character in my story. It is a teacher and deceiver, trickster and motivator. I had to go through stages of trying to believe, partial belief, fear, atheism, despair, exploration of comparative religions and several bouts of intense loathing of all religions. The process of returning to the unfiltered perception of experience changed my view of myself and the little moment of time I have as a human against the timeless state beyond my perception.  Children haven’t sorted out the layers of experience that adults agree to believe in. 

The next most revealing time of life is elder-hood. Now that I am an elder, I am aware that the theme of the story begins in  the first act. The second act is the struggle to be in the world and accomplish whatever began in the first act. The third act is about recognizing the structure and meaning of the story.  What is the theme of this appearance on planet earth for this tiny bit of time/space? Where did I succeed, where did I fail? If you call down your wiser higher self, you may be surprised to discover that what you thought was failure or success may be in the wrong order. 

As a young child you came in without prejudices and expectations, and now as an elder the prejudices and expectations acquired in the second act may seem fruitless, insufficient or a proud accomplishment but still only a good beginning. Unless you achieve the status of ascended master, the story will resume. Like the seasons of the year, and the life forms of nature you may begin with power and promise, you may have a bad start but overcome adversity, or you may have a brilliant beginning and fall to a serious defeat. You may not believe that we continue to repeat the process in another body on this dimension. However, even if you are not comfortable with this view of existence, I think you can see how there are acts to our lives like the acts in a play.

My friend Marsha Pincus brought this three-act way of perceiving life into high relief for me about a year ago. She herself began a new act, went through the challenges of shedding an old identity and is experiencing the birth of a new creative vision and has become an advocate for the profound social importance of elders who courageously embrace their third act. This is a revolutionary prospect especially for women whom our culture diminishes when the outer form reveals age.  

I was privileged to be subject of this first interview by Marsha Pincus in a series she intends to create about women who are finding their stride in the Third Act of life.  I believe she is onto something important and overlooked in on our surface based society. I'm not used to being interviewed or filmed so find some of my comments lacking in finesse but I'm very privileged to have this beautiful, intelligent and creative friend who immediately recognized the importance of revealing the hidden jewels of a lifetime and presenting them with honor. The Third Act is of great importance to men as well, and our culture has failed to recognize and honor inner self knowledge, as a sublime achievement beyond the achievements of the so called socially productive years where we serve the outer world. The inner world is the deep well from which we drink the transforming elixir of true creativity and progress.

When I came to Taos, it was like circling back to some of the same experiences I had as a small child. However, it was higher in the spiral of life, a more refined dimension of the same issues. Now I see the move to Taos and New Mexico, land of my heart, as another progression up the spiral essence of life. However, this is a ladder that moves in two directions; up and down. Every step up changes the influence of the past as well as the present as it births the future while transcending the limited perception of  our earlier life’s choices.