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Adventures
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  • A Tale of White Privilege

    Gather round little ones, snuggle by my side, and tuck yourself into a cozy blanket while I tell you a tale of white privilege. Lend me your ears to hear this glorious legend of how I, a white woman, was able to prevail despite a harrowing encounter. The suspense of my journey will leave you grasping at your own breast, hoping that me, your hero, triumphs despite my hardships. As the protagonist of this epic story I invite you to perhaps take a sip of tea, to calm your nerves, for what you are about to read is sure to shake you to your core.      

    It all began on a Sunday afternoon. I was strolling through the woods with my dog. Excuse me. My RESCUE dog because I’m better than you. How do it? My moral righteousness knows no bounds. I’ll take my Noble Prize later though, for right now, I have a saga to convey. One of my dear friends had come over to promenade my RESCUED dog with me, and we were partaking in some herbal remedy. (We smoked some weed). I had yet to eat lunch, and subsequently got very high. You’d think considering how often I partake in pot, and for how long I’ve been puffing pot for, I’d have a better understanding of how to best dose myself. Yet my shamanic attempts have always been such where I take a little too much of everything. Yes, I’ll have that last tequila shot at 4 am! Whoops, who knew projectile vomit could traverse such a distance? Even though I can see the trees breathing, why not eat a few more mushrooms? My heart’s beating so fast I think I’m having an anxiety attack – but let’s do more anxiety! (coke). I do drugs to the point where I feel like I’m almost dying just to remind myself that I do in fact want to live.      

    I digress. 

    My friend, RESUCE dog, and I eventually made it out of the woods, and onto the country road. As we were walking – discussing how time is an illusion because in theoretical physics there is no difference between the past and future because they are treated exactly the same and how the present doesn’t even exist because everything that happens in the “present moment” is actually in the past because it takes time for your brain to process the data and information in front of it – we ran into another woman with her dog. (Probably just a regular dog, and not a RESCUED dog like mine). Even though this woman wasn’t a national hero like yours truly, she still seemed deserving of a polite “hello.” Yet upon our greeting, I realized that she was in fact, quite distraught. 

    Woman with NON-rescued dog: “There are some dogs down the road that are running free without anyone monitoring them, and they are very aggressive.”

    Toni the glorious honorable citizen: “OH DEAR! Loose dogs! I actually know those dogs. One of them bit me once! I was just walking by, and it came up and chomped on my hand!”  

    Woman with NON-rescued dog: I’m actually afraid of dogs, so I’m turning around.

    I’m not sure if you know this, but my dog is actually a RESCUE dog, so she has some emotional baggage. As of right now, she does not get along with other dogs well, nor can I let her off the leash to figure it out doggie style. I am too conservative for that. Also, because I was pretty high, dealing with unsupervised antagonistic dogs was not on the top of my list of preferred priorities. 

    Toni the glorious honorable citizen: “Maybe we should turn around too? I’m not sure I’m prepared to handle dog drama.” 

    My friend: “Fuck that. We’re going for a walk! I’m going to go tell those dogs to go home.” 

    My friend went ahead and yelled at the dogs to go home – which they actually seemed to do! Emboldened, we started walking again. We passed the place where the hostile dogs lived, and I thought we were going to escape their wrath. Yet we were not so lucky. They must have sensed our presence. The two dogs came barreling down their driveway and started chasing us. Had I not had my RESCUE dog, I could have stood my ground, but I was attached to their object of prey. So, I started running. Did I make clear that I was pretty stoned as well? I rationally knew running from animals chasing you is probably not the best solution. I was only making us more appealing by becoming a moving target. But I was just not emotionally equipped to face Cujo 1 and Cujo 2.

    As we ran from the dogs I realized “Holy shit, I have not run my fastest in a while, and this is intense on my lungs!” Eventually my friend had the brilliant idea of turning around and yelling at the dogs to go home. Her standing still and matching their hostility allowed for me and my RESCUE dog to gain greater distance. We rounded the corner out of their sight, and the dogs lost interest. 

    This dramatic event had us all a bit dazed, so we of course stopped to smoke more weed. 

    Toni the glorious honorable citizen: “That was fucked up. I don’t want to live in fear of these dogs! I do this walk all the time!” 

    My Friend: “I know. They were going to eat your dog.” 

    Toni the glorious honorable citizen: “My RESCUE dog.” 

    My Friend: “Right.”

    Toni the glorious honorable citizen: “I kind of want to call the police. Something should be done!” 

    Now, was I really going to call the police? Of course I wasn’t. That would be crazy. But threatening to was how indignant I felt about the whole affair. We kept walking and smoking more weed. What? I needed to ease my system! Then, as if positioned by the Goddess herself, I saw a cop car pulled over! He was tucked into a driveway trying to trap speeding drivers, but to me, it was like a sign from mother Gaia. 

    Toni the glorious honorable citizen: “LOOK! The cops!” 

    My Friend: “Toni, no…”

    There was no stopping me. Was I thinking about how America is a police state full of corruption and abuse of power? No. Was I pondering the prison industrial complex and its impact on society? No. Was I musing on the justice system and how its flawed morality is indicative of a broken system that targets the poor and minorities? NO. Was I convinced that my class and race privilege would protect me from all this? I SURE WAS! The spirt had gifted me with an opportunity to live my truth, and I went right up to the cop.

    NOW KEEP IN MIND I HAD JUST BEEN SMOKING WEED. NOT ONLY DID I HAVE WEED ON MY BREATH, BUT ALSO A SMOKING HOT BOWL IN MY POCKET! I must have smelled like a Grateful Dead show gave birth to a Phish tour. But I went right up to cop’s window, despite my friend’s objection. 

    Toni the glorious honorable citizen: “Excuse me officer? I was just walking my RESCUE dog, and my friend and I got chased by two loose dogs. I don’t want to get anyone in trouble, but is there anything you can do to communicate that this was a problem? I am an upstanding honorable member of this community and all.”

    The Police Officer: “Sure Ma’am. Can I just get ALL your information including your address and phone number?” 

    Toni the glorious honorable citizen:  “You sure can!” 

    All the while my friend is losing her shit. For from her perspective I was literally blowing weed into this cop’s face, but from mine, I was letting the law know my rights had been infringed upon!  I know. I’m so brave.

    Here is Luna… the RESCUE dog I so selflessly adopted.

  • The Perfect Metaphor For Life


    How do you feel about the day of your birth? Do you enjoy being celebrated? Do you relish in being the hot dog for a day and nestle betwixt the buns of your personhood? Or does the concept of aging cause anxiety? Do you fear your imminent death and want to shove your head into the sands of time in order to avoid thinking about the unforgiving truth that soon you will be consumed by soil as worms slowly engulf your rotting flesh?

    My particular birthday falls in a strange vortex of time – December 29th– this piercing eye amidst a cyclone of holidays, vacations, celebration, and darkness. There is a collective expectation for fun during this season, anticipation hangs in the air, and a mutual yearning coats those winter weeks. This particular year – as the day commemorating the glorious moment where I blasted out of my mom’s sacred internal oven approached – I began to feel an intense pressure. I was stalked by an unrelenting need to do something out of the ordinary. Something spiritual, something mind blowing, something that would shake up my consciousness and dip me into the quantum soup of our so-called reality which is actually just a hologram projected onto a screen of mutual mass illusion.

    My first plan was to drink ayahuasca. I wasn’t particularly in the mood to do so, but there was an opportunity to. I have done ayahuasca before because of course I have I’m a white hippy, and a friend invited me to a ceremony that happened to be taking place on that exact day that I was spewed from my mother’s womb. Yet I had my reservations because I didn’t feel the personal needto look into the black eyes of my demons and crawl into the ceaseless vacuum of inner darkness that layers my soul, but I would have. Sadly, however, that event was cancelled, and I was left with no plans. Then another friend invited me to a Kambo ritual, which in case you’re not familiar, is the psychedelic frog medicine where a shaman burns the amphibian’s venom into your skin and you spend the next half hour or so vomiting and shitting out toxins – which sounded like a real party. But sadly for me, I had just gotten mercury fillings removed from my mouth and had spent the day taking benzos at the dentist the day before the Kambo was going to take place. I guess sedating yourself on medical grade heroine isn’t the best recipe for spiritual enlightenment produced through anal leakage, and I couldn’t participate in that event either. 

    I was starting to panic. I didn’t know what to do to satiate my yearning and had no idea how to spend the day venerating the instant where I disgorged from my mother’s birth canyon. I knew I had a feeling of wanting to connect to something larger than myself but was unclear how to accomplish that. I couldn’t ignore this feeling of restlessness. I yearned to dive into myself, to uncover a new layer. Tormented by this need I smoked a little weed and went for a night walk around the lake by myself with my dog, Luna, hoping I would figure out what to do with myself. The moon was full, it was the winter solstice, and the season had just turned to Capricorn. It was as cold as a witch’s tit, and the wind was unyielding. I walked around thinking about nothing important (myself) and contemplated this and that (me and more me). 

    Eventually I made my way to the graveyard and tromped through the snow to find the familiar place where my best friend Bitty’s grave is. I kneeled down and pressed my forehead against the bird bath which marks her gravestone, allowing the essence of her energy to enter my 3rdeye. I decided to listen to some music and put on my “Bitty playlist” of songs that all reminded me of her. The vibrations reverberated from my headphones and I entered into a trance as our favorite song from childhood, “Like a Prayer,” played. I started singing to Bitty so she could hear it too. The next song was “Tennesse” by Arrested Development, which in case you haven’t heard that one in a while, is worth the listen. I was moved to get up and dance. The song “Scatman” was next – a stupid club song that Bitty and I danced to at the disco in Hungary when we were 15. I closed my eyes and could see perfectly clearly the way she danced in my mind’s eye. How she’d turn her arms into a snake like a Michael Jackson video we loved. How she smiled at me, a drunken sloppy smile as we threw our bodies around to the beat. I could see it effortlessly – a memory come to life. Then the timeless romantic tune “Gimme that Nutt” by Easy-E was blasted through. I still remembered every lyric (Bitty and I memorized the whole song) and again felt compared to share out loud these tender words as I danced.   

    “That dick you know what so roll over girl while I stick it in ya
    But I’ll turn it wild while I’m ridin’ that ass scream and shout
    My name is the same
    Just another pussy that I had tah tame soooooooo…”

    My ego subsided and I lost myself in my own ceremony – a personalized ritual and ecstatic observance of the holy. In that moment I was unwatched by anyone, even myself. The memory of Bitty blended into what it was actually like to be around Bitty – like we were hanging out again. I danced for hours with her that night. Pounding the ground of her grave with the stomping of my feet. I had assumed the cure to my existential angst was some substance-induced experience to catapult me into the space time continuum, but what I really needed was to spend time my best friend again. To allow the connection to feel alive. Letting myself love Bitty is how I unite with the divine. She is my spiritual practice because she is my god source. She’s part of the mystery of death, the unknown of the eternal. Spending time with Bitty’s spirit is like a cleansing of my cells. It shakes me to my core and wakes me up to life. I deeply I miss my best friend, and that’s not something I always let myself feel because it’s so much to carry. I can’t always find the state of mind where it’s possible to truly open up and connect to her. That’s why I seek the guidance of psychedelics to push me over the edge. Yet that night alone with my dog under the full moon, I allowed all the feelings to flow through me again. These emotions I so often contain and repress because to really feel them is almost unbearable – how much love can hurt when you can no longer make new memories with someone. Yet there I was, on December 22nd2018 dancing with the gravestone of my best friend Bitty, making new memories with her spirit.   

    After that night I no longer cared about my birthday. I no longer felt that internal push. I was calm, almost serene. The holidays floated by in a daze and on the day of my birth, the day I was putting so much pressure on, I barely did anything. I made a video about my new bangs and played one continuous game of “Chutes and Ladders” with my kid for 2 hours. It was the most epic game of “Chutes of Ladders” ever played. Neither of us could win. We’d get so close to the final square, but then down a slide we’d go. We’d go from the top of the board to the bottom of the board again and again and again in an incessant feedback loop. After about the 70thtime I realized that “Chutes and Ladders” is the perfect metaphor for life and is preparing kids for their inevitable future. You go up, you go down, you go up, you go down, you go up, you go down. That board game is the most brilliant physical manifestation of existence ever created. Our inability to get to where we wanted to go was pushing us to the limits of sanity. We started screaming at the board. I began to sweat with frustration as my eyes blurred from fatigue. I was unable to comprehend how many times we’d fall down those damn chutes. I may not have had the drug inspired birthday I was seeking, but that game of “Chutes and Ladders” was truly shamanic.

    PS I won. 


    February 28, 2019 • Adventures, Emotions, Family Drama, Musings, Old School Stories, Playing • Views: 206

  • Mushroom’s Mental Meanderings

    A schedule is a helpful asset to adult survival. It allows structure to existence so as to better enslave my spirit to the constrictions of the matrix. Yet every so often I can feel oppressed by the mundane predictability of life. Go figure! I know I’m not alone in this feeling of psychic enslavement. We all have our methods of mental escape. Right at this very moment there is a guy on the Internet buying a pair of panties from a lady who has worn them for 6 days without showering. For whatever reason smelling these sullied undies will bring this man joy he can’t otherwise access. I must be kind of a square when it comes to rearranging my headspace because even the thought of strange man’s underwear penetrating my nasal cavity makes me dry heave. As such, I instead turn to other sources of inspiration to mix up my mind…

    Mushrooms!

    Mushrooms have become very “in vogue” recently thanks to Microsoft engineers partaking in micro-dosing morning rituals. Many of the human androids belonging to Silicon Valley wake up, have a bit of coffee, and then ingest tiny licks of psychedelics with their Wheaties. The true breakfast of champions!

    Psychotropic drugs are ever so slowly becoming normalized in mainstream culture as a means of healing and self-betterment. “Micro-dosing” is a developing phenomenon and method for partaking in this mind-magnifying ritual of psychedelic ingestion, and I am a big advocate of this happening! I’m pretty sure if the Republican party woke up every morning to a Grateful Dead smoothie instead of their usual breakfast of goat’s blood and virgin flesh, the world would be a much different place! Yet personally I’m not sure I can keep up with the micro-dosing schedule. I barely remember to brush me teeth in the mornings (read as never) so adding slightly tripping to the docket seems like an unreasonable expectation of myself. As such, I prefer my mushrooms the old-fashioned way. Eating a bunch on top of a mountain and hoping I eventually find my way down in the dark.

    Considering not everyone can get their hands on some cow shit foraged mushrooms or a fresh sheet of acid, I figured I would share my top 3 most recent mental meanderings while on mushrooms with you. Who knows, maybe reading this will save you the trip?

    1) Nature is excessively beautiful. It’s painful how gorgeous a sunset can be. Even when inside the moment of experiencing natural glory, there is always a part of me that can’t appreciate it fully. That can’t suppress this underlying sense of nostalgic mourning for what I’m observing. I look at how amazing it all is and simultaneously feel the loss that the moment is fleeting. This tragic knowledge makes me miss the moment even when it’s right in front of me. Everything ends and will be lost in a memory I can only vaguely access. That tragedy makes me never want to leave the beauty of nature and instead focus purely on how gorgeous it all is. Yet with nature, the beauty is endless. As day turns to night, which turn to day again, there is nothing but beauty to witness if your eyes are open enough to see it. How perfect a blade of grass is, or a butterfly wing. How remarkable it is the way ants move, or when clouds morph. Human beings had to develop an indifference to this beauty. It was crucial to not always see it in order to prioritize other things like eating, mating, and staying alert for the dangers of predators. It was an evolutionary necessity to build up an indifference in order to function, yet this muscle has been over-developed. It’s become grossly exaggerated, pulsing, throbbing, and taking up too much space with its excessive force. Now in order to relax that muscle we often turn to drugs to bring us back to that state of being. Drugs are how we access the ability to acknowledge fully just how magical it all is. We crave reprieve from this feeling of indifference yet it’s this same feeling of indifference that also paved the path for “progress.”

    2) In a capitalist society class is so deeply ingrained in your psyche that it will forever stain your understanding of self regardless of what’s in your bank account. If you were born rich, you will always see yourself as a rich person. Even if you lose all your money, you will just feel like a rich person who happens to not have money. Yet if you’re born poor, that mindset will stalk you as well. Even if you make a billion dollars, you will still feel like a poor person who just happens to have money.

    3) After I made it down from the mountain (SURPRISE) I of course sat under the stars. Looking up at the sky, I could see the energetic connections between the stars – this hazy blaze of luminescence that tied the stars together in a cosmic web of connection. It looked like the synapses that attach neurons in our brains. This made me realize that not only are the stars communicating with each other, but the structure vastly resembles the neural network of the human mind. So… check it. What if planet earth is just one neuron inside the head of giant conscious being, and every star in our universe (or multiverse) are actually neurons inside this giant conscious skull? And what if that giant being is part of a community of other giant beings and whatever planet they are on is just one neuron inside the scull of ANOTHER giant conscious being? Which means subsequently that every neuron in each of our brains are actually the stars of a smaller universes and in one of our neurons is a little planet like earth?

    RIGHT????

    Aren’t feathers and clouds UNBELIEVABLE!! Isn’t it crazy not to spend your days staring at them and never doing anything else ever again?

  • Attracting the Law of Attraction

    What do you guys feel about the “law of attraction?” Do you feel you attracted to it? Have you been able to attract the law of attraction? Does that word sound silly to you now? Attraction. Attraction. Attraction. AHHHHH LIFE HAS NO MEANING!

    In simple terms, the “law of attraction” means the ability to attract into our lives what we focus on. If you direct your attention towards negative thoughts, then, that’s what you will attract. But if you focus on positive things, then suddenly you will be transported to a land of clouds made of cotton candy where fairies fart plum flavored pixie dust into your mouth and all your life’s dreams will be accomplished as hard-bodied lovers massage your inner thighs and kiss you tenderly with their eyes open to better gaze upon your magnificence. I don’t know about you guys, but I guess I must be a negative thinker because my life seems to be more of a series of mouth farts made by a burly guy that has heart burn and a penchant for sloppy-joes.

    I have a law of attraction story (I think), but you guys have to help me better understand it.

    The other day I went for a hike in the backwoods of my house with my friend, and we did what any two responsible mothers having a break from parenting would do – smoked a joint and started obsessing about how moss is spiritual. We were having a grand time pontificating about the splendor of nature and its endless capacity to incorporate the needs of all living organisms when the unthinkable happened – we ran into another human being!

    These woods are technically private property, but, also are they? Can anyone really own the land, man? But what I do know for sure, is that this lady took one look at me dressed in my uniform of sweatpants, a buffalo plaid hunting shirt, a jacket 4 sizes too big, and my hair resembling a nest for baby possums, and questioned if I was an undeserving vagabond who didn’t belong in these private woods, relishing the forest floor, deliberating if mushrooms are actually God’s freckles. I live in a pretty snobby area where people are VERY concerned about the goings on of others and always trying to make sure if you truly BELONG. It’s the New England way to belittle anyone who you think might be poorer than you.

    Lady in the Woods: Did you come from the highway down the road?
    Toni: I did not. We came from the estate over yonder! Betwixt the lord’s land and the serf’s manor. And you my lady? From where did you emerge?
    Lady in the Woods: Oh. My parents live up the road.
    Toni: Cool.

    Awkward silence.

    Toni: I’ve never seen another person in these woods before.
    Lady in the Woods: Neither have I.

    More awkward silence.

    Lady in the Woods: So, what do you do about ticks?
    Toni: Oh, ummm, nothing really.
    Lady in the Woods: Well, I had Lyme disease so I’m extra concerned.
    Toni: That makes sense.
    My Friend: I make a yarrow tincture.
    Lady in the Woods: I never heard that. I’ll try it.

    As my friend and I walked off, I was kind of irritated. For one – I didn’t like this lady’s attitude. Even if we had come from the road does that mean we should be denied the opportunity to stroll amongst the trees?! It’s not like my friend and I had chainsaws and were hacking plants recklessly. We weren’t smashing beer bottles, or hunting wildlife. We were chilling! This lady’s energy felt so elitist, exemplifying the very selfish attitude of the wealthy that only THEY are eligible to experience pristine natural beauty while us peasants should instead congregate at “public beaches” and “public parks” to roll around in the trash of their corporate greed. Barf.

    My second problem was that this lady made me think about ticks!

    Toni: Who does that lady think she is? Being so damn proprietary! PRETTY SURE THIS IS MY FAMILY’S LAND!!! MINE MINE MINE!! Also… I wasn’t thinking about ticks at ALL before she said that, and now I can’t stop thinking about them!
    My Friend: That’s a little nutty. You didn’t think about ticks once? This whole time?
    Toni: NO! Didn’t even occur to me.
    My Friend: Well, maybe you should think about them?
    Toni: How is that going to make my life any better? I was having such a good time in my head not thinking about fucking ticks… and now that I’m thinking about ticks, I’m having a less good time!
    My Friend: Still, it’s a little hubris not to think of ticks.
    Toni: Aren’t ticks the physical manifestation of capitalism? These creatures that suck blood until they are so full they just fall off their victim and are forced to then lay on the floor, unable to walk away because their bodies become too bloated and their legs too short to touch the ground?
    My Friend: This lady Susun Weed who has a podcast I listen to says that she just asks the part of her body and consciousness that feels things on her skin to communicate with her. She connects with that internal knowledge that has the awareness to let her know if there is a tick walking around.
    Toni: Huh. That’s pretty smart.
    My Friend: Right?

    So, I did just that. I asked my body to let me know if there were any ticks on me.

    I got home and suddenly my body told me: take off your socks and pants. Wouldn’t you know it… THERE WERE TWO TICKS ON MY LEGS! I got them off, and then asked my body again to let me know if there were any more. About ten minutes later I picked one off my head, and then ANOTHER off my neck!

    Now here is my question!!

    Did this lady save me by mentioning the ticks? After all, if she hadn’t said anything I wouldn’t have thought to take off my pants and socks to look for ticks at all. It’s because of that conversation that I became concerned about ticks and tried to connect to my body to give me insight on whether or not they were on me. Also, the fact that she initially offended my sense of morality made the conversation that much more heightened. So, in reality, her being a judgmental profiler made me listen even more.

    Or

    Did this lady CAUSE the ticks? If she hadn’t said anything I never would have thought of the ticks at all! Did her mentioning the ticks made me think of them and there for ATTRACT THEM TO ME!? Had I never thought of the ticks, would I never have attracted them, and there for never HAD to look for them.

    WHICH ONE IS IT??

    (PS my friend had NO ticks on her…)

    (PPS my friend was also using the yarrow tincture)

    Here are the two first ticks…

    May 24, 2018 • Adventures, Emotions, Musings, Responsibilities • Views: 917

  • No Seriously My Child, You have NO CHOICE but to be Strong

    When I was a kid snow days were a gift from the heavens – an unexpected present from the Goddess herself, gloriously saving me from yet another mundane day of pretending to understand fractions. I’d wake up and see the world draped with that distinct frosty substance, and my heart would fill with relief as I wriggled back into the womb of my bed ready to spend my day playing “Super Mario Brothers.” Yet now that I’m a parent, a snow day instead fills me with that feeling of, “Awww fuck.”

    When you’re an obsessive workaholic that finds your sense of personal value exclusively through what you produce each day and your self-esteem is predicated on what you’re able to accomplish to the point where you fall into a deep state of anxiety if you’re not able to achieve all you expected from your waking hours – a day off can actually be kind of stressful.

    As such, I had to make a plan with The Munch about our day so we could both get what we wanted – my needing to fulfill my self-imposed compulsive demands of productivity, and her wanting to quite reasonably play with me outside. Now of course The Munch’s request for me to join her frolicking in the open tundra was appealing, yet only after I was able to feel some output out of my day. Our compromise was that she would entertain herself for 2 ½ hours, and then we’d play.

    Part of me wanted to just let The Munch do what she wanted to do (in order to extend my work time) and let her watch some bullshit show on her screen. But fuck that! No memories are made when watching some slutty monsters go to high school (this is a REAL show called “Monster High” – and I’m not slut shaming them, because I believe monsters should be as sexually adventurous as they please, just commenting on the unnecessary attire and body types they are drawn with). I didn’t want to let my kid’s imagination rot by letting her passively fill the hours with media, as tempting as that can be because are imaginations really that important?

    Since The Munch is an only child, expecting her to play by herself for a few hours is reasonable. The Munch set a timer for exactly 3 hours (the extra half hour was her gift to me) and off we went to our perspective rooms – her to play make-believe, and me to write make-believe, but in a very serious way.

    When my time was up, it was time for us to go outside. The Munch and I decided that sledding was a good plan, yet there aren’t really any good hills near my house. The closest one is about a 2 mile walk away. Of course I could have drove through the blizzard to get us there, but like most moms, I needed my car to get covered in snow so I could dig it out on film the next day pretending to be a sexy snow bunny for a video idea I had about New England girls being just as hot as California girls. Every kid has to deal with that right??

    Since we couldn’t drive, we decided that we’d hike through the snowy terrain to the sledding hill. The Munch and I packed some snacks and water, tied the sled to a string so she could pull it behind her, and off we went out into the nor’easter.

    We first had to hike up a hill about a ¼ mile long that’s as steep as a mountain. We were still optimistic at this point, despite the snow propelling with alarming speed into our faces causing an inability to see. Once we almost traversed to the top of the crest, The Munch accidently let go of the string pulling the sled, and had to run full speed and dive to catch it, otherwise the sled would have slid the entire way back down the hill. I have to say I was pretty impressed by The Munch’s instincts, because she plunged headfirst and slid about 8 feet to grab the string just in time.

    Watching my daughter throw her body down a hill and glide on her stomach like a seal version of Neo from the Matrix to retrieve this sled got me thinking. I know it’s common rhetoric to talk about the need of raising your daughter to be a strong woman. You hear that a lot right? Yet I started to think about the harsh reality that I may have to raise my daughter to be strong in a different way than what I’ve been assuming. Not just strong in the sense that she’s strong enough to say “no” to a man whose advances she doesn’t consent to, or strong enough to become a leader in whatever occupation she chooses. There is the emotional strength I’m familiar with of being a woman within the patriarchy and trying to find my place of significance despite the insidious sexism that still permeates most of modern culture. Yet with my quest of challenging social paradigms I’m still physically comfortable and live in a western world that provides me with the illusion of personal safety. Despite my being sexually harassed and Weinsteined every so often, I do take for granted my access to the basic luxuries of life – like having electricity and easy access to food.

    Yet suddenly it dawned on me that I may have to empower my daughter in an entirely other way as well. The Munch may have to be strong in ways I never had to be considering the future I’m handing her. There is a pretty good chance that my daughter has to be strong enough to survive THE MOTHER FUCKING APOCALYPSE!!!!!!!!

    Was I being alarmist? Maybe? Was I perhaps a little stoned/paranoid, thus envisioning the potential future we are racing towards that’s laden with biblical style horrors led by the insanity of our current administration? Possibly? Yet it’s also naïve to assume that The Munch is going to experience the same lifestyle I am currently enjoying considering there is major probability of MASSIVE GLOBAL CATASTROHPE.

    I started to get so despondent realizing the very REAL potential that shit could seriously hit the fan, and how my daughter’s main concerns in life won’t be comparable to mine – like how many “likes” her videos get – but rather her troubles will be whether or not she’ll endure the pending ice age caused by all the cataclysmic erratic weather patterns. Or if she’ll be able to live through the violence that will ensue as resources diminish and water is the most valuable commodity.

    As we continued to hike through this mammoth tempest towards our sledding hill, my mind was filled with prophecies of this tragic future and how my child might one day be desperately searching for animal carcasses to feast on the raw carrion, as fire would be a luxury only the 1% could enjoy. I started to realize that maybe I haven’t been doing my daughter any justice by keeping her warm, and cozy, and fed, and instead I needed to teach her to survive in the wild!

    The Munch: Mama, I’m hungry. Let’s take a break.
    Toni: We have to keep going! You have to be strong!
    The Munch: But I’m tired! It’s harder for me to walk than you! The snow is deeper for me! It’s only up to your knees, but it’s up higher on me! It’s past my thighs!
    Toni: Munch, what if there’s a war? Like world war 3? And we have to hike out of here to survive? How would we hide from the enemy if you had to rest because your legs were tired?
    The Munch: Easy. I’d just do this.

    The Munch proceeds to curl up in a ball to “hide.”

    Toni: Dude, I can still see you even though you can’t see me!
    The Munch: I’d just bury deeper in the snow and camouflage.

    The Munch snuggles in, and brushes some snow on her back to “camouflage.”

    Toni: I can still see you! We have to keep going!
    The Munch: My legs hurt, and my feet are cold. I should have worn wool socks.
    Toni: Dude, you have to push through the pain! Your body is capable of so much if you’re determined. You have to persevere, and train yourself to face suffering – not run from it. And who knows, you may not even have access to wool socks in the future? You have to get used to freezing toes. We have to keep going… Now what are you doing?
    The Munch: I’m drawing a picture of summer in the snow. See, here’s the sun – and the sun’s smiling because it’s warm out – and here are some flowers, and that’s me swimming.
    Toni: Munch, there is no time for drawing pictures in the snow! If we were running from the enemy we’d have to be efficient. Do you know if you can eat this kind of bark? What about this moss? Have you ever tried moss? Wait… now what are you drawing?
    Munch: It’s us sledding. See, that’s you, that’s me, that’s the sled, and that’s the sun smiling.
    Toni: No more drawing smiling suns! You have to get up and walk!
    The Munch: But I’m hungry.
    Toni: Fine, if you make it up this next hill, then you can stop and eat.
    The Munch: That hill is like a mile long!
    Toni: It’s the only way! You have to be strong!!!! We can play “I spy” while we hike.
    The Munch: We can’t play “I spy,” because everything is white and brown?
    Toni: MUNCH, YOU HAVE TO JUST KEEP GOING! YOU HAVE TO BE STRONG!

    We finally made it up the next hill, having negotiated through the snow for over a mile. I then let The Munch stop to eat, but there was no shelter for us, so we just had to sit in the snow as the wind blew more snow in our faces while even more snow fell from the sky. I took off my backpack that was… you guessed it… covered in snow, and then took off my gloves to fish out her snacks that were also… covered in snow because the snow had snowed inside my bag somehow? Those two minutes with my gloves off were excruciatingly cold, and I wasn’t sure how The Munch was going to eat her cut up apples and cheese with her gloves on? Yet The Munch took off her mittens and proceeded to enjoy her snack for the next ten minutes – not a care in the world, not complaining about her blue fingers, not saying much really. She just hummed to herself as snow collected on her eyelashes while she ate her food.

    We then slid down the hill we had just climbed and eventually hiked home. Once we were finally inside after 3 hours of outdoor training, as we peeled off our sopping wet gear The Munch turned to me, ice crusted in her hair, and said:

    Munch: That was really fun Mama! I like playing I the snow with you!

    It was then I realized that maybe The Munch will make it after all – especially because I then made her stand outside barefoot for a bit to toughen up her feet.

  • Mushrooms On A Mountain

    It’s been a long time since I’ve done mushrooms. Partly because no one has been offering them to me, and partly because I’m a goddamn grown up… if you forget the fact that I’m currently growing out my armpit hairs with the sole goal to dye them blue. I could claim my motivation is a video I want to shoot, but I also think it’s crucial to my personal development that look like I’ve permanently got Gonzo in a headlock.

    It was my friend’s 40th birthday and she had a vision to hike the mountain on mushrooms. Now who am I to deny anyone of their dreams? That would be like someone telling me, “You know Toni, I don’t really have to taste my own feet for your sketch comedy skit do I?” Yeah, you goddamn right you do!

    That isn’t to say I wasn’t nervous. I was!! I didn’t know what mushies even felt like anymore. Plus I’ve been watching NOTHING but Twin Peaks for the past month so my brain is ligit scarred. I can’t see a log anymore and not think it’s talking to me about owls.

    But I was in great company, and that made me feel safe. Plus there was also plenty of weed, weed tincture, edible weed, and weed lube in case it became that kind of party.

    At the base of the mountain we each ate one, and then starting hiking.

    Now in the past if I were to eat mushies I’d probably mow down about ten of them and see what happened. But those were the days where I had fewer responsibilities, and could do stuff like that. It’s not like today where I have the very important task of making a realistic looking Donald Trump Sex doll hanging over my head.

    Yet I think if adulthood has taught me anything, its moderation. When I was young I would do drugs until I felt that feeling of, “whoops, I’ve done too much.” But now I know to pace myself, take it slow, and see how it plays out before taking any more. AREN’T YOU SO PROUD OF ME MOM?

    I have to say, this was an epic experience. When we got to the top of the mountain to our surprise no one else was there! It was such a gift to be the only humans at the top. You know how random people have a way of tainting a quasi-spiritual drug induced experience. Mostly because they can’t understand why you’re telling jokes to a pinecone.

    The wind was unbelievable at the summit. I was overwhelmed by the power of this invisible force; a breeze that I couldn’t touch, or hold, but that still cradled me with its intensity. The element of wind seems so ethereal because you can only see its consequences on the world, but not the wind itself. We stood at the highest peak with our arms outstretched, and leaned into it so much that we were at a 60-degree angle from the ground. It was so loud it was as if we were in a giant subwoofer, the base of the mountain penetrating our ears.

    I stood there for almost a half an hour, until my ears may or may not have started to bleed. I can’t be sure because that also could have been a Fairy’s menstrual flow she accidently left behind when whispering to me. Sometimes Fairy’s tampon leak too you know! We then watched the sunset as a cloud enveloped us. We were straight up inside of a goddamn cloud Carebears style!

    At that moment I felt sooo much love and appreciation for my friends. This overwhelming gratitude for their existence took over my mood. Yet at the same time, I also felt this intense sense of melancholy. The pain that comes with love, and the inevitable suffering that goes hand in hand with loving hurled this shadow I couldn’t escape. As much as my heart opened to the exaltation of love, it still couldn’t hide from the tragedy. So I did what any normal person would do. I hugged a rock until the darkness came.

    We then hiked down in haze. At one point we sat on the forest floor and turned off our headlamps to experience the blackness of the woods. It was so dark you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face, but you could see the giant’s hand over the moon of course. Because we had had our headlamps on, we hadn’t seen the fireflies that had been following us. Yet once we shut off our manmade halogens, we could see the hundreds of glowing bugs serenading us under the eerie canopy of the trees.

    The whole experience was like a vacation from myself. It was a holiday from the thought patterns of my mind. Rather than thinking about the usual things – the details of life and anxieties about the past/future – I instead meditated on the nature of reality. How reality is like an infinite layered cake, with infinite possibilities all stacked on top of each other. We shape our reality based on the decisions we make at any one moment. Our decisions shape the realties of others, and we are all tied together in this netting of the decisions we decide to act on. If you’re sitting in a field, one potential decision is to smell a flower, another is to dig everything up and build a Wal-Mart. We are the architects of reality because of the decisions we make, so we should really take more time to think before we act.

    Of course I can’t rely on magic mushrooms to bring magic into my life, but that doesn’t mean that making space for magic isn’t crucial. Maybe I don’t always have the luxury to carve out the time and space to allow my consciousness to wander into the wacky world of psychotropic substances, but that doesn’t mean the substance of my thoughts have to be so mundane. I don’t need drugs to open my mind, but I do need to make sure I don’t get shut in by the needless worries my mind creates. Mushies are just are a gentle reminder that reality is more complex then it seems when I’m purely focused on the minutia of everyday life. If I spent my days doing mushrooms on mountains I would look at my phone way less, but I also could just look at my phone less. The point of mind-expanding materials is not to do more materials, but instead use them as a guide to remember to make sure I expand my mind in the material world.

    June 22, 2017 • Adventures, Emotions, Musings • Views: 1207

  • I Need a Vacation From Myself

    When most people go on vacation, they find themselves relaxing at the beach, drinking Mai Tais, taking in some light reading, and sleeping in. When I try to vacation I tend to have my ego ripped out of my psyche so I can fully examine all my demons and search deep into the dark depths of my soul to uncover all it is about me that is vile. To each his own.

    It’s not like I had that intention when I got on the plane to California. My initial vision was that I take a work meeting, and then visit my lovely friend in LA to go on adventures. It was the perfect idea to get me out of my head because so far, no matter where I go, I keep bumping into me. I figured hanging out with a childhood friend who also happens to be one of the best people on planet earth would be the ideal getaway. Not to say that didn’t happen – but it wasn’t exactly the light-hearted jaunt I had intended.

    The first 24 hours were pure bliss. Everything you dreamed a vacation would be. But then, on a hike, my knee started to hurt. Not because of any reason mind you, it just hurt. I knew what this meant. It meant it was time for my soul to communicate to my ego through the language of my body. OBVI!

    My knee hurting was holding us back from all the fun things we could be doing. I knew the pain was a message I had to decode, because my body breaking down is when I am forced to do my deepest self-reflection. Otherwise I’m always on the move, trying this, doing that, being here, going there. But when my body slows me down, I am forced to think about all the things I avoid thinking about.

    In a way, the ego journey was obvious. I was in LA. LA represents much more to me than just a city that will soon be underwater, or blown up by North Korea. LA is the mecca of ambition and success in my creative field. A lot of people ask me why I don’t move to LA, especially because it’s kind of hard to network / break into the business when you live amongst the trees in rural New Hampshire. Sure I often go outside and pitch my witty feminist script ideas to the squirrels, but they are so damn critical about narrative structure.

    I’m an obsessive and ambitious person, but I don’t really thrive when I’m in places like New York and LA because I get too distracted. My FOMO takes over, and I end up flitting about to this place and that like a hummingbird with ADHD – always looking for the next place to be, or the next person to talk to. But when I’m isolated in nature, with nothing to pull me away from my work, I’m infinitely more productive. As an artist my life choices make sense because they facilitate creativity and productivity, but it’s not like I have any big success to brag about either.

    A lot of these questions were coming up for me, but they are nothing new, and were not the mystery behind my knee pain. Then my friend made a comment… “You want to come here to LA to make big strides” and it really struck me. Not only because I have freakishly long legs, but also because the wanting to make strides was so clearly manifesting in my knee.

    That night I went to bed, and I couldn’t sleep. I started thinking of how unconsciously judgmental I can be of my friends who are more focused on relationships than me. How there is this way I’ve felt superior because where they’re busy thinking and talking about guys, I am busy thinking and talking about my career. Constantly. I had to realize that I am no different than my friends looking for love. The yearning I have for my career is the same. I’m just as pathetic as a teenage girl the morning of prom, waiting to see if someone will call. I’m just as boring talking endlessly about this project or that, as any girl talking about this boy or that. I mean both conversations involve dicks, mine just happens to center around how to turn the vas deferens into a character for a video.

    I woke up that morning and my knee pain was gone! I did it! I was free to finally enjoy myself right?

    NOPE!

    Then the next day my back went into spasm. Of course.

    What the dick universe? Now what?

    I could barely stand without shooting pain, so I had to think, and I had to think fast. Why? Why was my back in this tightened state of constant spasm? I realized that the seed of the spasm had been planted in a yoga class my friend had taken me to earlier in the week. I don’t usually go to yoga classes because I’m a teacher, so I practice yoga on my own. There doesn’t seem to be much of a reason to go to class because no one challenges me in the same way I know how to challenge myself. So this yoga class felt easy to me – which of course I KNOW IS NOT THE POINT OF YOGA, but I had a lot of energy to burn that day. Rather than just enjoying the experience I was having, I kept making everything harder for myself. Doing 7 of a pose instead of just the few she was suggesting. I had to realize that are many times where I’m trying to make the moment more than what it is.

    That was exactly it. That was my problem. Always wanting things to be more than what they are. The struggle of enjoying what is in front of me. Now this is something I know intellectually – that I should honor the process not focus on the goal – but having a philosophical understanding is not the same as a visceral one.

    The challenge is that existing in the present is a lofty goal, because if you think about it, there is no present moment – only the past and the future. What we think is the present moment is actually the past because it takes time for our brain to process the data and information to make sense of the reality in front of us. The now is already over. This moment just happened. It’s like the line of the horizon – it actually doesn’t exist. It’s just our perception. In theoretical physics, there is no difference between the past and the future because they’re treated exactly the same. Yet we are told to live in the present to avoid the suffering of obsessing about the past and future. Suffering is not caused by the external realities around us, but rather the internal thoughts inside of us. Our minds are the cause of our suffering. Wanting to be somewhere else other than where you are is the root of suffering. Not being able to appreciate what is happening because you have a craving for something different. A person who does not crave cannot suffer, yet achieving that state of Nirvana takes a discipline so many of us lack. So we run from pain towards pleasure… always wanting less pain and more pleasure. As long as we exist in that paradigm, we will never be satisfied because we will always be in this state of craving more or less of something. That is the irony of the human condition, one obsessed with the illusion of linear time. Time is a circle. Time is infinite. The past could be the future. Time is barely relevant in this multi-verse of multi dimensions of infinite time and infinite space because the universe is not only expanding away from us it’s also accelerating. That’s all I had to learn. DUH!

    Here I am when I was 19 and on vacation in Greece… god I was so much simpler then! Just sticking my tits out enjoying life like a normal person.

    May 3, 2017 • Adventures, Ambitions, Emotions, Musings • Views: 1557

  • It’s Going to Hurt!

    We adult humans spend a good portion of our lives avoiding pain. When we get too cold, we most likely go inside to stop the discomfort of freezing fingers. When we’re too hot, we again go inside – but this time into chilly air-conditioned rooms. We take painkillers to dull the uncomfortable sensations in our bodies, and medicate our brains to ease the uncomfortable thoughts in our minds. We often don’t attempt physical risks in fear of injury, and will avoid relationships altogether that we think have the potential of breaking our hearts. And when we participate in golden showers, we do so in the comfort of a Ritz, not in a grimy a Holiday Inn.

    We run from pain because we fear it.

    Because of this pervasive trepidation of suffering, we socialize our children to avoid pain also. If you go to a playground, you will hear a chorus of parents shouting “careful,” over and over in a round – like an extra annoying version of “row row row your boat.” Parents are constantly trying to protect their children and keeping them from falling – forgetting that a face-plant is actually a pretty important part of learning. Sometimes falling off the monkey bars and getting the wind knocked out of you is a good thing. That way next time you’ll know to fall on top of another kid, to soften the impact.

    I guarantee you that the most crucial and life-changing moments of your existence were not your happiest – but rather overcoming something challenging. We don’t learn from ease, we learn from pain. When we breakthrough pain, we realize our own strength and resilience. That is how we grow and evolve. No one remembers the days that were super chill, nothing difficult happened, and someone served you bonbons on a golden plate. We instead remember the times a grown man pissed on a prostitute, or got pissed on by a prostitute.

    I think one of the greatest disservices that we can do to ourselves, or our kids, is thinking that life shouldn’t be painful – because guess what? IT’S GOING TO BE! The expectation that we can evade pain is not only unrealistic; it’s setting you up for a lifetime of disappointment. I don’t know about you, but I would rather know I can get through painful experiences than pretending life will shower nothing but prosperity upon me… because only then will I realize that I’m actually wet with urine.

    You guys… I just can’t stop with these references. It’s too special. Trump’s life is comedy gold…en shower.

    Back to the point. The other day The Munch got a splinter. Now there are two kinds of splinters in the world. A splinter that goes into your skin at a diagonal angle – which means it is easy to get out – and a splinter that goes into your skin at a 90 degree angle – which means your fucked.

    The Munch got a 90-degree splinter into the heel of her foot. I was out of town, and her dad called me to explain the situation. I told him to soak her foot in warm water to soften the skin… but I forgot to mention SOAPY warm water. So basically he put her foot in purely warm water, and immediately the wood expanded – making the splinter even harder to extract. He tried to get it out, but at that point it was too embedded.

    The next day I came back, and the splinter was still there despite many attempts, and holistic remedies. We tried olive oil, eggshell, banana peel, Epsom salts, whale sperm. Nothing worked. I could run my finger over the skin, and it wasn’t even poking out anymore. Anytime we tried to grab the end of the splinter with tweezers, the wood just splintered off. The Munch couldn’t walk, so there was no choice but to get it out, yet the question was how? I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried to take a splinter out of a 6-year olds foot, but it’s kind of like wrestling a rabid wolverine.

    Munch: Ow mom OW!!!!! Don’t touch it! IT HURTS!!!
    Me: Well I have to at least look at it…
    Munch: OW OW OW OW OW OW OW!! STOP NO OWWWWWWW!!
    Me: I can’t get it out if you keep moving around and kicking your foot!
    Munch: YOU’RE NOT BEING GENTLE!
    Me: I am trying to be… but if you don’t let me get it out, we will have to take you to the doctor to do it. You can’t walk, and it can get infected.
    Munch: NO WAY NO WAY NO WAY NO WAY!!! I AM NOT GOING TO THE DOCTOR!!!!!!
    Me: Then you’re going to have to let me do it.
    Munch: OW OW OW OW OW OW!!!
    Me: Dude you have to stop kicking!!!
    Munch: I CAN’T STOP KICKING BECAUSE YOU KEEP POKING AND HURTING ME!
    Me: Well, do you want to go the doctor then?
    Munch: NO NO NO NO NO I WON’T GO!

    You can see this was not going well. Then I realized something. Part of why The Munch was resisting so much was because she thought I was going to be gentle, and not hurt her. Yet the problem was that there is no way to dig a splinter out of a foot and not have it hurt! The only way to get this demon wood out was to pick, prod, squeeze, and shear the skin.

    Me: Listen. This is going to hurt. There is no way I can do this and it won’t be painful. But if you don’t want to go to the doctor, you have to let me hurt you.
    Munch: Fine, but you have to be gentle.
    Me: I’m will do my best to be gentle, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to hurt. It is. I am going to hurt you. You have to wrap your head around that. But that’s the only way I can get it out. Life is full of pain okay Munch? There is no running from it. But you’re the bravest girl I know. You had someone cut your eyeball out of your face… twice. You’ve lived through surgery; you can live through this okay?
    Munch: Okay. Just don’t take me back to the hospital. I hate that place.
    Me: Deal.

    For the next hour of our lives, with her dad holding a flashlight to The Munch’s foot, I dug into her skin. Sure The Munch would have to take breaks, but there was no more resisting, no more kicking, no more shouting. She just let me carve my way into her foot and then squeeze the shit out of it to try and loosen the splinter. Then, I finally saw my moment. I got the tweezers, and pulled it out. We all started screaming and jumping up and down in celebration. I swear on everything holy pulling that splinter out was as emotionally satisfying as watching the birth of my child. In fact, it was more gratifying.

    Obviously the Munch had a shift of consciousness. Once she not only expected the pain, but also accepted it, her tolerance quadrupled. She was able to sit there peacefully and deal with the discomfort because she had surrendered to that reality. Once you allow the pain, you realize, that it’s not that bad. You will survive, and the satisfaction of getting through it is profound. I think we all can remind ourselves that pain is not the worst thing that can happen to us. Stagnation is. Allowing ourselves to be stifled by the fear of suffering. So go out there, make mistakes, get hurt, have someone destroy your heart. You’re going to be okay! I promise. Live life embracing pain. I know I for one am going to remember this the next time I get pee in my eye from a presidential golden shower, because that shit does sting.

    The tools and splinter

    splinter-blog

  • Making Memories Isn’t Always Easy

    The thing that sucks about growing up is that we get too attached to our mundane patterns of existence. You wake up, go to work, come home, cook food, watch TV, and go to bed. Maybe every once in a while you go out to dinner, get laid, or attend a party where you awkwardly chat until you’re tipsy enough to flirt with someone you’re not supposed to. But even when fun presents itself we often shy away because, “we have to get up early the next day.” So we say “no” to taking ecstasy on the beach with a bunch of strangers with lotus flowers weaved into their blond dreads – even though maybe 10 years ago you would have been the one dry humping the waves.

    Now that I’m in my 30’s, I have different priorities than I did in my 20’s – my work, making my work meaningful, and being successful at work. Oh yeah and my child/family/personal growth/health… snore I just feel asleep. There are more meaningful parts of my life that pull me away from frivolous fun because I know that I have to work hard in order to get the work done. Oh and also spend time with people I love.

    Even though I may not be as reckless as I was in my past, I still feel this undying urge to break out of my own shell. I don’t want to lose myself in a schedule, or in a regime of my own making. When my weeks blend together like an amorphous routine, time becomes indistinguishable. I find myself wondering, “Did that happen that last week, or 7 months ago?”

    The days of doing cocaine on a rooftop may be behind me (probably because more than my soul blew away that evening), but that doesn’t mean I want to live everyday like I did the last. The way I make memories is not by doing the same thing day in and day out, but instead by doing something out of the ordinary.

    When I do something unusual it makes me think of conformity, and reminds me how desperately I want to push against the status quo. I used to do that with bong hits and watching conspiracy theories, but that resulted in eating a lot of cereal. I want to be responsible, but I don’t want to be conventional. I want to be doing things that other people aren’t because being on the fringes of culture is where I like to be – it’s just that now I have to be more creative about finding those moments.

    ESPECIALLY BECAUSE I LIVE IN THE WOODS and am hard pressed to be seduced into making bad decisions by hanging out with the wrong trees.

    In my quest towards making memories I do things that challenge me, scare me, or make me uncomfortable. The more I struggle through something, the more it imprints in my psyche. So if something is hard, you bet your sweet ass I am going to try and do it.

    So last full moon I decided I wanted to bathe under its luminescence and swim across the lake. Now, this is not my first time doing this. Swimming across the lake is something I have done for most of my adult life. The lake has a 3.5-mile circumference, so you do the math of how far that is because I cheated in high school geometry. The probably with this adventure was not the act itself, but the fact that it was the coldest day of the summer at 55 degrees.

    I asked my friend to join me, and she was down… yet as the day went on, we had our doubts. All afternoon it rained, and my friend and I went back and forth on whether or not it was worth it. The rain stopped so we met up, but still deliberated. We sat in our sweatshirts and looked out at the dark water – smoking weed and losing our courage. We took off our clothes and dipped in our toes, both shivering uncontrollably.

    My Friend: Should we do this?
    Toni: I don’t know. I am getting eaten alive my mosquitos though.
    My Friend: What should we do?
    Toni: We don’t have to do it?
    My Friend: But maybe we should?
    Toni: Let’s do it.
    My Friend: But it’s so fucking cold.
    Toni: I know. We don’t have to if we don’t want to.
    My Friend: But we’re here.
    Toni: So let’s go.
    My Friend: But I’m freezing.
    Toni: We have to decide this is crazy.
    My Friend: So what should we do?

    Come to think of it, maybe being stoned was not helping our decision making process.

    My Friend: If you go – I will follow you. But I’m not going to be the one who makes this happen.

    I counted to 3, and dove under. I swam as fast as I could until my body no longer felt numb, and then looked up. Around the corner I could see the moon rising, and it was SO FUCKING WORTH IT!

    It seemed insane that we were the only people making this life choice that night. Yes it was cold. Yes it is cozier inside. But nothing could rival the beauty we experienced, and it was only highlighted by the effort it took to be there. It’s like we were in on a secret that no one else knew. If you push past the discomfort, there is a glory to behold that is a much greater gift.

    For the next hour, my friend and I swam towards the open arms of the full moon. We talked, laughed, thought, and dreamed. From the second we submerged ourselves we were so grateful that we had. Everything that we went through, the struggle, the cold, the indecision, made it all the more memorable.

    I realized something about myself in the middle of that lake. I almost need things to be hard and arduous to fully lose myself in the process. My friend is the type of person who could just go for a night swim. She could swim around, enjoy her self, and then get out. But not me. I’m the type of person that’s either swimming across a fucking lake or not at all.

    When I do something with a specific goal, like getting to the other side of the lake, I can let go of thinking about all the discomfort of getting there. I don’t allow myself to dwell on how my body is cold, or that my neck is tired from holding my head up. Anytime my mind wanders to complaining, I just say, “Well there’s nothing you can do until you get to the other side – so think of something else.” Having a goal keeps me in the moment. It frees me up from thinking about all the things that make it challenging, and anchors my mind in the present. It’s when I’m in that kind of headspace that there is the potential for spiritual awakening. When I am not thinking, but being. That is when I am most myself. When I am most creative. When my heart is most open to listening to my soul’s cries.

    lake swim weather

    August 4, 2016 • Adventures, Musings • Views: 1528