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  • Bitches and Beauty

    Recently Alicia Keys went to the VMA’s without any make up on. My reaction to this was as complex as – “that’s cool.” I posted an article on my FB wall and kept living my life. Yet now the “news” is talking about her “bare faced” look spurring a revolution! Ummm… really? A REVOLUTION?? Does that mean that I am now considered a guerilla warrior because I am too lazy to put on fucking foundation?

    I’m not wearing make up in the above picture, but does that make me brave??! UMMM not really because have you seen my abs?? I think it’s depressing that the world is shitting golden eggs because a painfully pretty woman dared get her picture taken looking painfully pretty without lipstick. SHOCKING!!!

    Pop News” is asking me if I will I join her #nomakeup movement. MOVEMENT?? It’s seriously such big deal that a chick goes outside without mascara that we are actually comparing it to a social movement?! Sure Keys is a celebrity and thus judged for her looks, but the way the media is reacting, you’d think that she was as bold as to tattoo “Politics Can Eat My Pussy” across her forehead.

    At this very moment I am sitting at my computer wearing tie-dyed “Hammer” pants… much like Joey Buttafuoco circa 1992. I haven’t washed my hair in a week, and when I did, I used body soap because why bother with a variety of substances that make bubbles? I have never in my life received the compliment “you smell amazing,” and I’m pretty sure the dirt under my fingernails has it’s own eco system.

    I could put a lot more effort into this package… Bitches are supposed to be beautiful, and when we are not, we are expected to feel bad about ourselves. Oh no, my skin isn’t as smooth as a baby’s scrotum, and I haven’t scorched my cootch with a blowtorch to remove all unwanted hair follicles. DO YOU STILL LIKE ME? Have you seen my abs??!

    Beauty, sex, and physical appeal are all part of the trademark of femininity. It is a constant conversation in society… more than Syria, Yemen, the Federal Reserve, and the ruling lizard Elite. The only thing we talk about more than women’s being beautiful are women NOT being beautiful. How dare you be unfuckable you whore!

    The problem with “beauty standards” is the consequential brand recognition of what is considered attractive. You see something enough times and it becomes engrained in your psyche. See this?? This is what you should buy into!! If you go to a grocery store to get detergent, most people will buy “Tide” because they’ve seen it before. It’s familiar, so it must be good right? Who cares that it’s a bottle of toxic chemicals? Same thing goes with beauty. These photo-shopped, over made up images are slammed down our gullets, and we deep throat that message without even gagging… unless you are retching to puke up dinner to be skinny enough by tomorrow. PS don’t forget to shoot some Botox into your lips and ass because those are the only parts of you allowed to be fat.

    Even industries that claim to be about acceptance and soul seeking are just as superficial. If I see one more skinny white chick in a yoga video wearing her underwear while doing a split – I will literally turn my labia inside out, use it as a cape, and fly to another planet like a goddamn super hero. Hey Yogis… you could be doing a lot better with your “being the change you want to see in the world.”

    I am so bored of this being such a huge issue in the collective consciousness of the female identity, yet at the same time, I WANT TO BE BEAUTIFUL SO YOU WILL CARE ABOUT ME!

    Sometimes I try. I slap some make up on my face and run my fingers through my tangled mane, but then give up because I am pulling my hair. It’s too knotty! I will throw on a sexy outfit, stick my tits out, and strut around like a peacock with a feather up its ass. I am not saying it doesn’t feel good when people look at me like I am hot… yet at the same time, what the fuck? Why do I care?

    I care because I am conditioned to care. I care because it does matter what I look like, even though it doesn’t, because actually it does. For thousands of years, beauty has been part of female survival, and in many ways we are still making it so.

    For most of recorded history, women were commodities and property. In that paradigm, attractiveness added to the value of what we could be purchased for. Being beautiful was a strategy of success. There was hardly any chance for us to have power beyond what our husbands could provide. So in order for a woman to have any influence, she had to be part of the right family – all Game of Thrones style.

    There then comes this massive social shift where women start earning value with their minds. We start to intellectually compare with men, so now their competition for achievement has doubled. Smart women eat into the economic and political pool that was once dominated by men, and that is a threat to their livelihood within a capitalist model.

    But… if we make women use their psychic energy worrying about what they look like, and feeling insecure about their thigh canyons – that will chip into their life force… therefor making them distracted! I am pretty sure Stephen Hawking wasn’t freaking out about which wheelchair made him look chubby. Obsessing about beauty has become a prison of our own making.

    All humans are at their core artists. Everyone has creative energy – it just varies on how we choose to express it. Yet women are encouraged to put a vast majority of their creativity into their looks. This isn’t to say that sexy chicks aren’t bringing positivity into the world. It is nice to look at beautiful women. But at the same time, there are a variety of other outlets for you to pour that exertion into – like say, baking cookies.

    When I was a kid my mom told me I was beautiful every day of my life. You’d think that would make me vain, but it had the opposite effect. If made me feel like that was a meaningless statement. It made me stop caring. Yeah yeah yeah mom, sure I’m beautiful but did you know I could do a back flip? Could we talk about that shit?

    Because I have a daughter, I am extra concerned with her future relationship to beauty. I don’t want her to be defined by it, afraid of it, or confined by it. She is a pretty girl and there is no reason to pretend otherwise, but that doesn’t mean she needs to over think it’s meaning. The Munch should honor her natural beauty and see it as a gift, but it’s not more precious then her winning personality and genius mind… a brain that makes up songs like “a penis is an instrument that nobody wants to play.” WHICH IS A REAL GODDAMN SONG SHE WROTE!!!!

    This chick don’t give any fucks

    munch goggles bike

    August 31, 2016 • Current Events, Musings, Vagina Stuff, Women's Business • Views: 5785

  • Shamanic Journeys

    I wouldn’t be an organic eating, yoga practicing, Birkenstock and sock wearing new age hippy if I hadn’t partaken in a Shamanic Journey. Even though the ideal circumstance for such an occasion would have been the South American rainforest, my voyages took place in the exotic locales of Connecticut, Long Island, and Brooklyn. So yeah, there is a post-modern contextual conflict happening with my ceremonial experiences – yet they were still profound and healing.

    Here are the stories of the Shamanic expeditions I took into my mind, heart, and spirit.

    The First Shamanic Journey

    It was 2008, and I was in a really bad place. I was dealing with my brain tumor, the transitioning of a 12-year relationship, and the failing of my business. Needless to say I was depressed, lost, and hating myself. I was invited to drink ayahuasca with a Colombian shaman who was holding a ceremony in a yoga studio… in Connecticut… so obviously I went.

    I had my period during this time, so when I got there, I was told I had to adorn myself with a moon menses belt. This consisted of my taking pinches of tobacco to place into small squares of red fabric, and then making 108 miniature pouches. I then had to tie each tiny tobacco-filled sack to a red string, and wear it around my waist like a badge of menstrual honor. This was not only time-consuming but also super fucking embarrassing. Usually one hides their lunar flow by plugging up the poon, or sitting on a cotton cushion to soak up blood – yet in this instance I had to put my leaking lotus on full display for all to know about.

    When the ceremony was ready to begin, we all took our places on our yoga mats. There were buckets next to us in case we had to purge – a.k.a. barf. We were asked to come up one by one to drink the sacred vine. After it was my turn, I had one of those moments of “holy shit – no turning back now,” and wondering what the hell was going to happen.

    Even though it was suggested we sit up in a meditative pose, pretty sure I was lying down in a fetal position the entire time. It was a very solitary experience. We weren’t supposed to talk or communicate with anyone, and instead explore the inside of our own consciousness – what a creepy place! I felt like the ayahuasca had a distinct feminine energy. Part of what was happening inside my brain was like a downloading of information about how the systems of nature work. Suddenly I would be like, “oh, that’s why birds migrate.” It was beautiful, peaceful, and poetic.

    Then there was this mining of my mind that was really uncomfortable. It was as if I were staring into the void of my shadow self. Everything that sucked about me was on full display to examine. At the time I didn’t know how to unpack everything, and I remember wanting to peel myself out of my own membranes.

    The shaman was chanting as his protégés played instruments to guide our excursion. At one point, we were asked to come to the center of the room, one at a time, to stand stoically while the shaman and his apprentices did their therapeutic work. It was suggested to take off your shirt to receive the offerings fully, but I am way too much of a New Englander for that. I remember thinking to myself that maybe “taking off your shirt” was just a suggestion for the shaman to see some tits. Then I felt bad for considering that, but I also laughed because that would be hilarious.

    The whole event lasted through the night, and then around 5 a.m. we all went to sleep. The next day I felt very agitated and inaccessible. The group was all connecting over a common bond, but I couldn’t relate to anyone. I was feeling judgey and annoyed. One of the assistants came to talk to me, and told me that healing can’t just be an occasional activity, but that I had to make ceremony and ritual be a part of my everyday life. She reminded me that in order to make time for my recovery, I had to truly commit to the process. Even though I wanted to punch this girl, I knew she was right.

    A few days later, I had one of the most insightful realizations about myself. Having a competitive nature was the root of my dis-ease. Every time I compared myself to another person, I was participating in a disservice to us both. From that point forward, when I found myself thinking I was better than someone, or that someone was better than am, I would stop, and send that person love. I then trained my brain to no longer participate in that kind of destructive dialogue, and instead focus on my own evolution rather than the distraction of others.

    The Second Shamanic Journey:

    One of my dearest friends was spending her summer in Long Island doing multiple ceremonies with a shaman from Peru. She invited me to participate in one. I was on the fence.

    At this point, I had been sober for four years and was committed to my meditation practice. Meditation had provided me with a critical towards healing and I wasn’t drawn toward the influence of outside substances. I decided to go anyway to support my friend.

    When I got there, I felt a mixed vibe from the shaman. The energy of the whole event felt very male-dominated and imbalanced to me. I decided I wouldn’t partake in the medicine, but would sit and “hold the space.” Let me tell you something, the only thing weirder than doing Ayahuasca in Long Island with a bunch of strangers, is NOT doing Ayahuasca while everyone else does. I was WAY too aware of what was going on.

    After everyone consumed the black, molasses like substance, there was an hour of calm before the storm hit. It was like a cacophony of puking – people vomiting in a round of… “row, row, row your boat” style. There was also a lot of writhing and moaning going on. I was trying to be chill and meditate, which was hard while I looked around at everyone thrashing and occasionally screaming.

    My friend was  right next to me and obviously very uncomfortable. She was quiet and enduring, but also kept wiggling and shifting positions. Even though talking was frowned upon, I whispered to her anyway.

    Toni: Are you okay?
    My Friend: Not really.

    We both sat with this knowledge for a minute.

    My friend: Come downstairs with me.

    We stepped over expunging people, and walked down the candle-lit stairs. There was an open room with doors leading to bathrooms, and a massive rug on the floor. My friend went over to sit on the bench, and looked at me with a disturbed expression.

    My Friend: I am not okay.
    Toni: What is going on?
    My Friend: I think he gave me too much. I feel like I can’t be inside my own body right now.
    Toni: Oh no! Are you in pain?
    My Friend: It’s just… being confined-by-my-own-skin torture. I don’t know? Do you think maybe it is because last night I drank too much alcohol, had sex, and then we ate all that pizza in the car??

    *Note to reader: I had picked up my friend in NYC that morning, who was very hung over from drinking and having hot sex with a guy all night. I then bought us a pizza, which we split during the drive up. It is suggested that for a week before drinking ayahuasca you DON’T DRINK ALCHOL, HAVE SEX, OR EAT DAIRY!!!

    Toni: You think?
    My Friend: Fuck… I shouldn’t have done that.
    Toni: Do you want me to do some reiki on you?
    My friend: Please…
    Toni: Okay, I’ll pee and meet you back upstairs.

    My friend went upstairs, and I went to the bathroom. When I came out, there was a girl crumpled on the floor ,weeping.

    Toni: Ummm are you okay?

    The girl looked at me with wild eyes full of fear. I remembered her because she was a beautiful Russian model, and I had been staring at her all night.

    Russian Model: What’s happening to me? I am so afraid. I am not okay. I need help.
    Toni: Uhhhh, do you want me to do some reiki on you?

    I sat across from this stunning woman, and put my hands on her lap to do reiki. She was terrified, and weeping so violently, that I felt I had to calm her mind by saying something.

    Toni: There’s nothing to be afraid of. All that is happening is that you are in your own mind. You don’t have to fear yourself. It’s just you in there – and you are getting to know you. You are totally safe inside you.

    Russian Model: I am cheating on my husband, and I think I have to go upstairs and tell him.

    Now thank mother Gaia this exquisite creature was talking to me – a person with incredibly flexible morals. Call me crazy, but I really don’t think tripping balls on Ayahuasca is the right time to admit your indiscretions.

    Toni: Of course you are cheating on your husband. You are a magnificent goddess from another dimension. Every man that looks at you, would want to enter your sweet canyon of mystery. The deterioration of your relationship is not your burden alone to bear. You are both  responsible for whatever is going on, and the mere fact that you care means that you are a good person! You are not an asshole who doesn’t give a shit, but a righteous soul who is deeply concerned about your actions. But now is not the time to be plagued with guilt. First forgive yourself in this moment, and then tell him tomorrow.

    The Russian Model collapsed in my arms with relief. I held her, and stroked her hair – both for her benefit and mine. I mean, she was insanely hot. As I cradled her, I felt the daemons leave her. She was no longer heavy with panic, but her whole body became very light and buoyant.

    Russian Model: Thank you so much. You are my angel.
    Toni: No, you are.

    We hugged while she thanked me profusely. My friend then came back downstairs to see me embracing this divine being and was like “WHAT THE FUCK! WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!” I mean… I know I momentarily ditched my friend for a Russian model, but she was a Russian model in need, so… come on.

    When I went back upstairs with my friend she was pissed! But she was also suffering, so that was her main priority. I put my hands on her to do some reiki, but her energy was resisting it.

    Toni: Ummm, I feel like you’re fighting it.

    My friend finally forgave me, and started to relax – but she was still struggling. At one point, one of the shaman’s assistants came over to give my friend a tobacco bath to help calm her nerves. Now, I believe in the grounding and healing properties of the tobacco plant – but I am not so sure my friend was that keen on someone blowing second hand smoke in her face repeatedly. Then, I got an idea of what could help her.

    Toni: Do you want me to tickle your back?
    My Friend: Sure.

    I tickled my friend’s back just like I would my kid when she was sick. It really does make you feel better because that type of light touch on the skin actually releases endorphins. So I tickled her back/arm/head/calf until the daemons left her, and she settled back into herself.

    I realized that what was missing from this particular ceremony was the mother energy. All I was doing for these women was listening, telling them everything was going to be okay, and tenderly stroking their tenseness away. They needed to be momentarily nurtured to let go of whatever was plaguing them.

    For me, the mother role is one I am always taking on in relationships. There are times where I have resented this – always having to be responsible and take care of others. Yet this night, I discovered that this was a great gift to give people. Instead of focusing on my own bitterness that people don’t play this part in my life, I was filled with joy that I could be this for others in their times of need. I realized that this wasn’t something I needed or craved, so there is no reason to be aggrieved that I don’t have it. I can mother myself just like I mother others, and there is true beauty to that.

    I was pretty blown away that just by me being around the sacred plant, there was still so much knowledge to learn!!! I didn’t have to actually take the ayahuasca to benefit from it!

    The Third Shamanic Journey

    After 6 years of sobriety I was ready to shake things up a bit. Another friend invited me to work with someone who she felt a deep connection to. This friend has a very delicate nervous system, and is not the kind of person who does any mind-altering substances. If my super sensitive friend was into this shaman’s work, I felt like I could handle it because even she described it as mellow.

    I was expecting a similar set-up as the other two. Where we all would take the medicine, and then go back to our seats and have a solitary trip. Yet this shaman’s approach was very different. He was all about community, connecting, and being with each other.

    He also didn’t work exclusively with ayahusaca, but plant medicines from around the world. I ended up taking something called Kava, which is from western Africa, and felt a lot like pure MDMA.

    When I was living in NYC and was always surrounded by people, I could see why the universe would provoke me to go through things alone. Yet now that I live a very remote country lifestyle, I can see why the cosmos would suggest I have a more of a collective experience.

    I spent the entire night attached to 3 people. We connected, and then I was immediately co-dependent with them. I wanted them close to me at all times, because I felt like our heartstrings had entwined. One of them looked so much like my friend Bitty who had died, and it was such a sweet melancholy to look at her face. It reminded me of all the times I haven’t had with Bitty, and how much I missed the memories we never got to make together.

    Rather than having a shaman going around to heal us, we were all there for each other in this unique way. We talked about our childhoods, our present pains, our fears, and existential questions. We all knew how to be there for each other, and listened to our intuition on how to best support one another. It was like the healer in our own selves was awoken, and all we had to do was trust it.

    The night was so sweet, kind, and full of understanding. I never wanted it to end. Even the thought of the outside world felt unfathomable. I was so in the moment that I couldn’t’ help but wish the moment would last forever.

    shaman-ceremonies

    February 26, 2015 • 1st time for everything, Adventures, Health, Musings • Views: 1232

  • Have You Ever Tried That…. ON WEED?

    I officially began my quest for sobriety in 2006. I was dealing with some health issues at the time, and my neurosurgeon suggested that maybe smoking pot every day, drinking 5 times a week, and dabbling in cocaine perhaps wasn’t the best idea when trying to heal a brain tumor. What a square, am I right?!

    It took about 3 years to get to a point where I fully abstained from everything, and completely committed to a pure life of prioritizing my health. In truth, I am infinitely grateful for this forced period of self-reflection and sobriety. My restrained adult life has had many positive effects. I am more focused and productive. I make better decisions. I know myself in a profound way. I actually face problems rather than avoiding them through substances, and I am way skinnier. I guess getting high and eating cereal with ice cream instead of milk at 12am isn’t the best diet after all. Go figure.

    In my personal experience, one of the best parts about sobriety is that you are less lonely when you are alone because you are more content in your own skin. The worst part, however, is that you are more lonely around other people when everyone else is partaking in some mind-altering material. Yet even though I couldn’t enjoy all the same activities of my past, say staring at a microwave for 3 hours debating pulling a Sylvia Plath because I was coming down off drugs, I had many new ways that I enjoyed spending my time.

    I never want to go back to the way I was – and in truth, that isn’t even possible. I am not the same person I was in my 20’s. I am stronger, wiser, and did I mention skinnier? I am not looking for the same escape that I was in my past. Even though my life is not perfect, I feel more in control because I have slowed down. When I lived in NYC, I was always on hyper drive… moving forward regardless of logic, not taking the time to question my choices, and always looking for the bigger better deal. Now that I live in the woods with a young child, life is inherently calmer and scheduled – so as a result I am more intentional.

    But you guys………… it has been sooooooooooooooooo long. So crazy long. Like holy crap it has been a long time of not doing anything.

    So I smoked pot. A few times. Not a lot mind you!!!! Just one hit. A micro dose if you will. And let me tell you. It is amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Now remember, it has been YEARS since I have done this, and a lot has changed. For one: eye-phones!! Those things are outrageous!! The last time I smoked, I didn’t’ have the Internet in my hand all the time. Do you get how nutty that is? I felt like the “unfrozen cave man lawyer” – your world frightens and confuses me!!! Being stoned around an iPhone made me realize just how ridiculous it is to climb into a virtual world, and totally disconnect from the actual world around me. I couldn’t even look at that thing without shuddering.

    You know what else has changed? I created a HUMAN BEING!!! Now technically I have known that for 4 1/2 years – but the first time I got stoned, I went up to The Munch’s room and just watched her sleep for an hour. I was like “Who are you?? Where did you come from? And how are you so awesome!!?” It blew my away that I have not only kept Munch alive for this long, but I was actually doing an okay job too! It was like this holy fuck moment were I realized that I am in fact an adult who can take care of another person! WHO KNEW?

    I also did some high yoga – which was maybe the best time of my life. Now I practice yoga a lot, and to be honest, it has become almost unconscious for me. There are these habitual poses that I have done hundreds, if not thousands of times. But doing yoga on weed was like “OMG… down ward dog is the SHIT!!! This feels sooooooooooooo good!! I can’t believe I don’t sleep like this!!!”

    You know what else I did? I ATE!! Do you realize how delicious food is? Have you ever actually tasted rice pudding? I mean really let that sweet vanilla cinnamon goodness penetrate your tongue. FOOD IS SOOOOO GOOD YOU GUYS!! Corn chips?? Those things are unbelievable!! Have you ever had fresh popcorn? I could cry at the thought.

    Can I tell you more thing that I did? I sat! I just sat, gazed at nothing, and thought. I didn’t want to look at my phone, or my computer. I didn’t feel the pressure to be industrious, or work. I just wanted to be, and enjoy my own mind. Do you know how long it has been since I actually just let myself chill? In my youth, I would smoke and do things like paint, create collages, make jewelry, knit… undertakings that had no purpose beyond the enjoyment of crafting. Now almost everything I do is related to my career, business, work or ambition. The mental freedom to just sit without an agenda was so freeing.

    I have to say, my dabbling in weed has been crazy fun – but that is because it is a dabble. The impact is mind-blowing because it is so out of the ordinary. I have to keep it that way. The magic of marijuana is special, and I don’t want to corrupt it ever again. I like that one small toke will catapult me into the time space continuum.

    (There I am at 20… awwwwww so sweet)

    weed-blog-(i2)

    February 11, 2015 • 1st time for everything, Health, Mommyhood, Musings, Old School Stories, Parenting • Views: 1670

  • A Distraction From Life

    You know what blows? When you are really excited for something to happen, and it doesn’t go down the way you had planned. It is like experiencing emotional blue balls. You just want to release your joy all over the back of existence, but then some metaphoric knock pounds down the door to cock-block your bliss.

    Disappointment is probably the most dissatisfying emotion. At least if you are angry or sad there is some spice too it. You can punch walls, or weep until your eyes look like Bill Clinton’s. Yet when you are disappointed all you do is turn yourself inside out like dyslexic calzone – oozing cheesy self-pity all over the place, but too despondent to spread the sauce of your agony. There is a pathetic flavor to disappointment. You are inherently admitting anticipation that was squelched like a weed in a soybean farm sprayed with pesticides. There is nothing cool about being let down, because it shows you cared in the first place.

    Over the weekend I was going to host a dance retreat so some friends and I could spend our days dancing our asses off. Not in a twerking kind of way where we bounced our asses until they created so much friction they combusted, but in a sweet way. I like having women’s weekends where we eat copious amounts of kale, drink an absurd amount of tea, and talk incessantly about how we don’t need men – because if we discuss them constantly that means we totally aren’t thinking about them am I right?

    The first night I led a yoga class where we explored our 2nd Chakra. You know how bitches are all about opening up their hips and shit. That evening, while washing homemade hummus off the dishes, I told my friend I was going to bail on the morning Kundalini yoga adventure.

    My friend Sarah: NO! You have to go. That is part of the whole plan.
    Toni: I don’t know… it is just so early. I will just meet you guys back here when yo are done.
    My friend Sarah: Dude… it is one morning. We are all giving and we are all sharing our talents. Don’t be a wimp.

    So I womanned up and went to the class. The thing about Kundalini yoga, is that it is all about moving energy and going into the crevices of the body to address core issues. It is more intense than other kinds of Yoga, which is why it is both amazing and terrifying. Not everyday you are psychically prepared to look your inner demons in the face and have a conversation about your damaged childhood.

    I am pretty sure that on this Saturday morning, I just wasn’t in the mental state to get to the bottom of my self-loathing and inner rage. We did all these positons and exercises that felt equally freeing and constricting. As soon as we left the class and I got into my car, I knew my back was totally screwed up. I was like “FUCK! Who am I kidding? I am white! I am not supposed to face my emotions, but repress them deep inside my body until I eventually die of a heart attack. That is the American way!”

    We got back to my house and I tried to do the ballet class – but I could hardly move. I forced myself to continue through the crippling pain for 30-minutes because that is what New England people do, but then I had to lay down and admit defeat. I had fucked my shit up hard core. I could feel it in my back and my hips – if I was a rapper this could have been a pretty sweet Hip Hop song.

    I tried to stretch to release the spasms, but it wasn’t working. I fell down the staircase of frustration because I knew that my dance retreat was ruined. There was no way I was going to have spontaneous recovery and pirouette my way out of this. All my excitement about the weekend was transformed into feeling very very very sorry for myself.

    One of my friends is OF COURSE a hippy healer girl, so she came over to do some voodoo on me.

    Hippy Healer Friend: I am getting a message that part of your pain has to do with your daughter. Not sure exactly what, but that is the information I am receiving. Maybe some issues of violence?

    Ummmm…. WHAT THE DICK!? The last thing I wanted was some peaceful yoga hippy girl to think I was beating my child or something!!?

    Toni: Ummmm violence?
    Hippy Healer Friend: Well it doesn’t have to be literal violence. It could be emotional. Or spiritual. Anyway… don’t get attached to any of this. Just something to think about.
    Toni: Uhhhh yeah okay…

    Not sure if you have ever tried to peacefully receive a healing while at the same time stressing out about what your healer thought of you. But let me tell you… it is NOT as relaxing as it sounds.

    I tried to think about why those were the messages this serene chick was getting about me. It just seemed so extreme?! I mean, I guess I had admitted to her the night before how I let The Munch eat ice cream for breakfast. I some how rationalized this because she also had green beans. The Hippy Healer girl also witnessed The Munch watching Snow White. Maybe in her pristine child-raising world where her daughter thinks raisins are candy and screen time refers to some mediation practice, exposing my child to Disney and vanilla flavored sugar was a type of violence?? Maybe Munch also casually mentioned how we eat meat too! BUT IT IS ORGANIC FLESH FROM A LOCAL FARM OKAY!!???

    I wasn’t exactly sure that my pain had to do with The Munch, and was more convinced it was my philosophic quandary regarding the futility of existence. This relentless knowing that no matter what life path I choose, it will be fraught with bullshit and the same patterns of consciousness that oppress me today. How regardless of my efforts, I will continually make the same mistakes while I swirl in a spiral of mediocrity. Come to think of it, I would much rather contemplate my relationship to The Munch than that shit!

    So I thought about my child, and how so often she can feel like a distraction from life. Yet in truth, she is not distracting me from my life. The Munch is my life. Maybe The Munch thinks I am not showing her that enough?? Perhaps she feels that our time spent together, I am too distracted from all my blaming her for being the distraction.

    I felt sad. Even though I can’t live my life where every second of everyday is devoted to my child, I still want her to feel valued. I decided we had to have a discussion about this so I could get to the bottom of my back pain … ummm I mean, be a good mother to my kid and figure out how she was feeling.

    Toni: Munch, you know how Mamma’s back hurts?
    The Munch: Yeah….
    Toni: Well, my friend says it is not physical. She says my spine feels aligned. She thinks it is an energetic block from something emotional.
    The Munch: What is emotional?
    Toni: Like my feelings? She thinks my back hurts because of my feelings. She told me it has something to do with our relationship. What do you think about that?
    The Munch: I don’t know. Maybe your back hurts because you dance too much. Maybe you should stop dancing because it is so boring for me.
    Toni: Ummm well I love dancing so that is not going to happen. But what do you think about our relationship. Do you think I am a good Mamma to you?
    The Munch: Well sometimes. You always say “no” to me when I want more chocolate.
    Toni: Okay “more” chocolate… fine. But I have to do that. Seriously. Are there things you want me to do different? Is there ways I could be a better Mamma to you?
    The Munch: I don’t know. Maybe we just have to take care of each other more.
    Toni: Okay. That sounds like a plan.

    The next day, because I was hurt, I couldn’t do anything but relax. As a result, The Munch and I ended up spending 7-hours playing together with ZERO interruptions. We didn’t even leave the room we were in. I didn’t touch my phone. We just hung out – and rationed out a banana with peanut butter to survive. It was like we were in a vortex. Usually some thing breaks up your day, like going on an errand, or having some sort of obligation to do. Yet we were in this black hole of togetherness that nothing could penetrate.

    Things got kind of weird at times, we laughed, we fought, and she pretended to be a baby as I swaddled her in a yoga blanket. But it was amazing to just be present with her. I am not sure we have been like that since she was first born and I was high on all the new mom hormones. So even though it sucked my back hurt and I couldn’t dance for my retreat, it created the space for this memorable moment with the most important person in my life.

    distraction-blog

  • Can You Define Spirituality?

    What is spirituality?  No seriously.  What is it?  People often say they are not religious but they are spiritual.  Yet that feels really vague to me with such a broad spectrum of possibilities.  Even my own understanding seems convoluted to myself. Am I still considered spiritual if I worship the dark lord Ungoolu and believe my child is an immaculate conception from the venom of his black seed? But don’t worry it didn’t hurt.  It was only a little prick.

    When I was growing up I went to Catholic Church every Sunday until I was 15 years old.  My father’s mother was very religious, and it was important to her that my brother and I attended mass, so my dad made sure he honored her wishes.  But neither of my parents every told me what to believe.  They just brought me along and exposed me to it.

    My dad was also a professor of ancient Greece, so I was very familiar with their Gods and the stories of Zeus, Hera, Aphrodite and the rest.  So herein laid my conflict as a 6-year old trying to wrap my head around God and religion.  I couldn’t understand why the religion of the Ancient Greeks was now so commonly considered “myth” where the modern religions were said to be “truth.”  What made one a fable and the other one fact?  Why were the gods of the past relegated to fairytale?

    I didn’t like the idea that one religion was right another was wrong.

    My other issue was around the concept of eternity.  My grandmother would tell me that when I died I would go either to heaven or hell forever.  I don’t know about you, but that concept freaked me the fuck out.  Eternity.  Forever.  Still gives me the heebie-jeebies.  I didn’t want to be in either place forever.  Even being in heaven for eternity was a terrifying concept.  So I asked my dad if he ever felt this way.

    Child Toni: “Dad did the concept of forever scare you when you were a kid?”

    My dad: “Of course.  It still scares me.”

    Child Toni: “I don’t want to be dead forever.  I really don’t want it happening for that long.  Why can’t it just be over? What does the after life have to be so long?”

    My dad: “Well, the idea of eternity in the western mind is very linear.  Like a line that just extends forever in one direction.  But the Greeks thought of eternity as cyclical.  So they had this concept called Telos, which means coming full circle.  That always makes me feel better.  To think of time as a circle not a line.”

    Child Toni: “Okay.  Can I have fruity pebbles for breakfast?”

    My dad: “Maybe another time.”

    Even though I had these fundamental questions that made me feel unsettled, I would go to church every Sunday, and I would think.  I would contemplate the concepts of life and death.  I wondered about mortality constantly, but never felt like I was getting any closer to comprehending it.  And then when I actually lost someone I truly loved and cared about I finally understood.

    When I was 20 my best friend died, and it broke me.  She was an angel of a person, and the tragedy crushed my soul.  But I realized that if I still let myself love her, that we would still be connected.  There was an energetic tie that kept us together even if she was no longer living on the planet.   I allowed myself to love her just as much as I ever did and even though I missed her more than anything, I still felt close to her.  I had to let go of the expectation I would ever see her again in a way that my human mind understood, but I would forever hold on to how much she meant to me.

    And then spirituality started to make sense… even if in a very esoteric way.  Thinking in terms of love, energy, vibration, and connection.  It was around the time that my friend died that I started getting interested in Yoga. And through my physical practice came the introduction to the philosophical and spiritual elements.  Although I have never actively studied eastern religion, over the years I have had many experiences with meditation and chanting.  And it is through those practices that have helped me find a small semblance of inner peace.

    It is when I am meditating or chanting that I can turn off that voice in my head that keeps chirping.  The connection to “Godliness” or “spirituality” I think can only truly be felt when the chatter of the ego is quieted.  It’s hard to have a spiritual moment while your ego is saying in your mind’s ear “I think yellow suede boots would make my butt look tighter.”

    So I meditate and chant to help quiet my inner mind.  But I realize that I don’t really even know what I am saying half the time.  I bring The Munch to Kirtan where we chant in Sanskrit, and I could be singing how “I want a pigeon to peck my armpits” for all I know.  But I go because I believe there is healing in mediation and chanting.  That it connects you to the vibration of the universe.  Through those channels you can find moments of genuine noiselessness in your mind in heart.  It is in that silence where the truth is hidden.

    The Munch loves going to Kirtan and all the other new-agey things I drag her to.  She sings along, plays with her babies, and emulates the weird dancing of hippies swaying their bodies around while failing their limbs.  But hopefully through these experiences she will contemplate the greater mysteries of existence and one day find her own beliefs.

    (Notice that Munch is wearing her lady bug bathing suit…)

    spirituality-blog-(i)

    May 22, 2013 • 2 years old, Adventures, Education, Mommy Mind, Musings • Views: 6155

  • Women Be Communicating and Shit

    It is a common cliché that women are always wanting to talk about their emotions, but I feel like that is really unfair because that assumption makes me feel condescended towards and that makes me feel angry which makes me feel vulnerable because I am feeling like my feelings are not taken seriously, so then I feel like the whole stereotype is not only exaggerated but I also feel like it is not making me feel good.

    So… this weekend I went to a Kundalini woman’s circle to explore the idea of communication and talk about our feelings about it!

    The yoga teacher starting off by describing how 80% of communication is nonverbal – your body language, tone of voice, and even the way you present yourself all vastly contribute to the way you are perceived.  She went on to explain why it is really important to dress in a way that represents your true essence and soul – with grace and beauty to reflect your true self.  I thought about this point deeply, and then looked down at my shirt that read “don’t be a douche.”  Yup.  Looks like I am on the right path.

    She then starting talking about the importance of diplomacy, how that is a natural skill of women, but we have to be careful not to fall into the propensity of manipulation.  This really made me think.  What exactly is the difference between manipulation and diplomacy?

    On a micro level, they are both using tactics to persuade another to do what you want.  Is it the intention behind the coaxing that makes one more benign than another?  There are so many little ways women are taught to be manipulative, but it is a mostly innocent.  Flirting with a cop to get out of a speeding ticket, or coyly asking for help for someone to carry your suitcases.  Women use their sexuality as a means of manipulation but sometimes that is because it feels like a convenient weapon to use against those who have power over you.

    But on the macro level, comparing diplomacy and manipulation has much greater ramifications.  It isn’t like world leaders are harmlessly batting their eyes in the hopes for peace in Kashmir.  Most political discourse is manipulative rather than diplomatic, yet that has become a societal standard.  It’s hard to commit to the authenticity of diplomacy when the tactic of manipulation is not only effective, but also a cultural norm.  I think men and women often rely on their powers of manipulation because it is the easiest way to get what you want.

    Although women often fall back on the strategy of using sex appeal to manipulate men, in truth, it is only a superficial tactic.  You aren’t really being respected in those moments, but distracting them momentarily by the butt on your back or front.  In order to truly get long-term admiration you have to conduct yourself through the nobility of your soul.

    We then went on to do this meditation where we had to look at the tip of our nose and say a mantra 10,000 bagillion times.  And you know what came up for me? That I hated that stupid mantra, and I hated communicating, and hated a whole bunch of other shit too.  The entire time I was supposed to be one with all things sacred and holy while unlocking the secrets of communicating through my highest-self all I could think was “I fucking hate this shit.”

    So I think I am well on my way, what about you!! Check out my shirt! Don’t be a douche!!!!

    women-be-communicating-blog-(i)

  • I Am So Good At Multitasking And Am Supre Focsued Rght Nwo

    People like to think they are really good at multitasking, and by people I mean me.  In fact, this sentence just took me 15 minutes to write because I am having two text conversations as I am trying to type.  See how good at multitasking I am!?  At this rate I will have this blog piece done in 3 hours.  Talk about efficiency. Ha… just checked my phone and texted again.  This is awesome.

    So according to this study in the Atlantic, people who multitask the most, and think they are proficient at it, are actually the worst multitaskers.  They says it because… oh I don’t know – something about overconfidence and impulsiveness but I can’t really remember because I was dribbling a soccer ball, bouncing an orange with my nose, giving myself bangs, listening to a podcast, changing my underwear, and eating a edemame while reading it.

    I have always been a multitasker.  Maybe that is because I try to do it all and really do nothing?  Or perhaps I am in a constant state of distraction and this type of thinking is a manifestation of that?  But you know what? One day there I was hanging out, and noticed that something was coming out of my vagina – and it happened to be a human being!  Since that time, I feel like its impossible not to be an excessive multitasker.  If I am around my child there is no way I can stay in a state of focus and not have her interrupt me every 2 minutes to talk about how the owl is scared of lady bugs or asking me to make her a fucking smoothie.

    Being a parent has taken me to a whole new level of multitasking.  I am pretty much a pro at cooking her dinner while cleaning up lunch while putting her sparkly shoes on her hands while trying to stealthfully wipe jelly out of her ear. I have adapted to having conversations with friends in stilted segments of 45 seconds.  Although this is a great exercise in memory – I have to say I usually wish I had a stenographer so I wouldn’t have to ask, “wait, so what were just talking about” so many goddamn times.

    But the ultimate test of my level of concentration and ability to deal with the distraction that is The Munch, is when we do yoga together.  Often times she wants to “help me”, which usually consists of her getting in my way and hanging off my legs.  If I am in a headstand she often thinks this is the best time to hug, or get in my face and tell me about how her baby doll doesn’t like popcorn and thinks spiders should dance, but only in the summer.

    This morning a few of us practiced yoga together, and my friend Sarah brought her son Desmond too.  We were all trying really hard to pay attention and be one with the universe and all that crap, but….

    Toni: “Okay lets come into a warrior one pose.”

    Munch: “ Mamma, can you find my phone for me?”

    Toni: “Munch, Mamma is trying to focus… we can find it later.  Now come into warrior 3 post.”

    Desmond: “Mom I am thirsty?”

    Sarah: “Okay well I will get you some water when I am done?”

    Munch: “Mamma, can you get my phone?”

    Sarah: “Desmond go help Adelia find her phone.”

    Desmond: “I can’t right now. I am on the bike.”

    Toni: “Now extend your arms into superman arms.”

    Desmond: “Did somebody say super man?”

    Munch: “Mamma, I have to go potty?”

    Toni: “Now come into balancing on your left leg.”

    Desmond: “Mom, you want this apple?”

    Sarah: “Ummmm yeah that’s really great thanks.”

    Desmond: “Mom, Adelia can’t have my gun.”

    Sarah: “Okay Des that’s fine.”

    Munch: “Mamma, can you find my phone for me?”

    Desmond: “Wait who said superman arms?”

    Toni: “Come to balance on the right leg.”

    Desmond: “Hey Adelia I found your phone.”

    At the end of our session we were in shavasana -where you lay down like a corpse and are supposed to be in a deep meditation… and of course these two just kept on chatting.

    Desmond: “Adelia, come here.”

    Munch: (stomps around running the other direction)

    Desmond: “No, Adelia come here.”

    Munch: (stomps over to Des)

    Desmond: “Do you want to play hide and seek?”

    Munch: “Yeah.”

    Desmond: “Okay, you count I am going to hide.”

    Munch: (stomps over to me).  “Mamma.  We are going to play hide and seek! Watch me while you are sleeping okay? Okay Mamma?  Mamma can you hear me? Wake up.”

    Toni: “Yeah that’s great.”

    Desmond: “Okay count Adelia.”

    Munch: “1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,16,17,18,19,20”

    Son of a bitch Munch you never remember 15!! What the fuck! (Yeah, so that’s what I was thinking while multitasking meditating).

    multitasking-blog-(i)

  • Black Magic

    When you love someone their pain becomes yours.  Yet there is only so much you can do to help another person.  You can listen, give advice, and do your best to be a comforting support system, but you can’t make them change their lives.  It is pretty much impossible to force someone into living how you think they should and becoming their puppeteer.  Unless you don’t mind shoving your hand up their ass.

    In that way love can seem really out of control.  You can love someone so much, but your love alone can’t heal them.  Or can it?  Maybe that is the role of prayer?

    I have been practicing yoga for almost 16 years now, and over the past 2 have gotten into a style called Kundalini.  Originally, this yoga was only practiced from guru to student.  So in order to learn Kundalini, you had to devote your life to a guru.  But in the 70’s a practitioner came to the states and decided that Kudnalini should be taught to all people who were interested, and that we all have a guru inside of us.

    So Kundalini is some intense shit.  Recently, I was given a mantra/prayer to say for 40 days to cleanse the ties of negative Karma for those I love.  I have to chant it 11 times, and it ends up taking 31 minutes.  Now this mantra is not only long as fuck, but also as complicated as pussy.  It goes so fast, has so many syllables, and is in a totally foreign language.  Keeping up with it so insanely hard that it is impossible for my mind to stray for even one moment.  The second I think, “hey, what I am I going to wear tonight?” I missed like 2 lines.

    But I have to say, the mental challenge is really freeing.  If I am going to recite it even semi correctly, I have to be completely focused.  That level of concentration is like taking a vacation from my mind.  My thoughts can’t wander because I have to be so single-minded.

    And I got to say, this prayer is powerful and all and I am glad to be doing it… but it is fucking me up!!  I can’t sleep at night.  And when I do, my dreams make me feel like a psycho. They are so demented and I wake up feeling emotionally exhausted.  Most of the night I am in this state of being half awake, half spaced out, obsessing about mundane thoughts.  Like the idea “a doughnut is made of flour” will enter my mind, and I will literally think about that for 2 hours.  Over and over again…

    And then last night I even got sleep paralysis!  I woke up, but couldn’t move my body.  I couldn’t scream.  I was just stuck – awake but trapped in a body I couldn’t control.  It was the most terrifying thing ever!  Supposedly these are normal reactions and it will get better, but holy crap fuck shit balls.  Is this some black magic or what?

    I wonder if the guru inside me is one of those pervy ones that exploits its devotees?

    (Check out Munch ready to take off on her broom stick!)

    black-magic-blog-(i)

    April 19, 2013 • 2 years old, Mommy Mind, Musings, Relationships • Views: 1117

  • Overcomplicating Important Issues

    I think a lot of people try to sound smart.  There is a fear of being simple.  I have it myself sometimes.  There are moments when I use prose that perhaps may be rooted in embellishment as a means of aggrandized interaction, and potentially I extrapolate my usage of syntax in order to provide the illusion of an excessive capacity and propensity towards immense unyielding intelligence.

    In academia and intellectual circles it is not only commended, but also expected for work to reflect an advanced level of education.  I get that people of graduate level degrees want to experience information that reflects all the time, money and effort they have committed to their brains.  The expectation to communicate this way undoubtedly shapes the conformity towards it, but there is a time and place for that type of mental exertion.  It is fine and dandy to want to look clever in front of your clever friends, but when writing and talking about politics, world issues, the economy, the more people can truly understand what you are saying, the better.

    The capacity to take a complex idea, and translate it into something that is easy to digest is a skill, and takes a lot of fiber.  Bob Marley, Plato, Yogic philosophy, all make the effort for their message be universal.  I understand that news sources feel pressure to cater to a specific audience, but at the same time how are more people going to be reached if the writing is too intimidating.

    When informing people about world events it is not a time to flex your rhetoric.  There is a difference between grandiloquence and discourse.  Considering the average reading level of an American’s is at an 8th grade level, technically all pertinent information should cater to that.  I know Fox news tries to seduce its demographic with flashy graphics and sensationalism, but that doesn’t mean people are getting a more in depth understanding of what’s happening.  Part of why there is so much misinformation is because the most important news is often clouded by incapacity to explain it clearly.

    I recently watched this show called VICE on HBO, which is done in a hipster-gonzo journalism style.  I was immediately impressed with the show and their effort to create media that aims to clearly inform a younger audience about the issues.  But I started reading articles where people were shitting on the show for being too simplistic – just a bunch of bros that aren’t delving into the intricacy of the subjects.  I found myself outraged that people were so arrogantly critical of an attempt to use narrative and story to highlight problems everyone should be aware of.  The snarky comments saying it is only news if you are totally uninformed were absurd in the context of wanting young people to be a part of the dialogue.

    Even though I love Chomsky and want to dry hump his mind, how can we get his words into a forum that everyone can comprehend?  That needs to be the real agenda.  Only when people are inspired and impassioned to learn, will they challenge their minds to read and listen to more complex material.  So why not do everything we can to get people in the door and get the process started?

    (You know… just crawl in a bag and keep things simple)

    overcomplicating-issues-blog-(i)

    April 17, 2013 • 2 years old, Current Events, Musings, Political Banter • Views: 1102