Tag Archives: Sophie

Reminding myself, reflecting on change, & that word “forever”.

everything changes.


Winter gives way to Spring


Spring gives way to Summer


Summer eases into Fall


and so on.

every thing changes.


simple, right?

obvious, right?



but but but

there is still in me this *thing*

like an assumption

of forever


which is a curious word

in and of itself.




(RIP Artemis)

this day has come

and it will go

each breath comes in, then goes

the people i love, this body i’m inhabiting, even the beliefs i hold about those i do not love…

everything changes.


i watch how i live my life – and i see how i try to hold on to things

at times, so often, so graspy.

at times, now and again, with grace.


and just like that

things change.


don’t get me wrong – i appreciate things that are built to last

older buildings being my favorite examples of such things…

or the telephone which sat on the table and was heavy and had the long curly cord attached to it…

people who are courageous, who vow to walk their lives together till death comes for one… signing up for that depth of future-grief.


i guess it’s simply unsettling, still,

this sort of being-ness

like walking a fine line

which always feels like some being-in-between

and the dance of acceptance & effort is a delicate one


i watch the longing – and then i try to practice settling in, or settling down – somewhere in the heart region.

the image that comes is leaning back, into a sort of low & very comfortable chair.

then my eyes, which are often quite alert & tense, relax.


20 years ago this month, (a baffling thing to write) i moved to New York City to begin my formal studies of Shiatsu.

and for a while, i practiced… mostly part-time, and a stretch of years full-time after getting my NY state license to practice massage.

now i only practice every now and again

and find that i mostly enjoy offering it in a casual way – as needed.

“spot work” – and it has taken a long time to drop the judgement of not doing bodywork in that full-on professional way any longer.


when i was 23 i thought i’d be practicing bodywork forever.

and at 34 at the farm i thought i’d be there forever.


so as i look around now at my life

in this present day – there is the feeling of “forever”, and there is the awareness that this too will change.

Blessings on the day.



habit patterns, talking with a friend, & attempting a zone of peace.


it feels like an odd, funny thing to blog

and i need to remind myself that it’s a process of unfolding

shared out into the world.

imperfect & changing.


a reaction blew through, to today’s post.

o yes.

more rice.

so. much. rice.

there’s this habit

ancient habit of feeling like i need to control things

and after re-reading the blog post i found myself going into reaction along the lines of

omigosh i sound so arrogant


so uncomfortable.

thing is

the habits come again and again

relentless record player

t.v. never turns off

so many channels…

and it took talking with a dear friend to settle, to remember, that i don’t have to have it all figured out

it doesn’t have to be all tidy and just so


for the record

(not that there’s a record)

the stories in my mind can go on & on for minutes before i even notice they are “running”…

and although i have an opportunity to drop the story-lines, it often takes great effort.

i was running this story (t.v. channel – tragedy edition) about the person i have feelings for…  and how this other person & he would be such a great couple… and these are the reasons… and i can be happy for them… & & &… on & on…



talking this through with my friend, i could see that i was again trying to control the feelings…

this old habit pattern that if i know something in advance, then maybe then it won’t hurt so much.

proud of this, i am not.

but there it is.

seeing this very ancient pattern, i started to feel bad… shame…

my friend reminded me that berating myself for being caught up in the old-habit patterns isn’t going to be of any benefit…

she’s right.

and then, the feelings came

the uncomfortable feelings i try and try to keep at bay

(without even realizing it most of the time)



i read this wonderful blog earlier today – a beautiful, bold, inspired invitation to cultivate peace…

i imagined myself as Switzerland, as Costa Rica… laying down my weapons, any and all torture devices… becoming a zone of peace…

i can see this is going to be an imperfect practice

something to renew my commitment to day after day

perhaps even moment to moment at times

given the momentum of habit…

i have this picture up at home of two porcupines together…  and looking at it i hear the words:  easy, easy, gentle, gentle…


may i remember the beauty & gift of Mystery, of the unknown, and unknowable… to the unfolding of things.


wishing myself and everyone some ease & some gentle, with all the steps taken to cultivate the proverbial peace gardens from within.

that’s quite enough words for today.


Silent meditation retreat, a redemptive story about Hate, & waffling.

i’m going on a silent meditation retreat in a couple of days.

five days in the absence of phones, reading, speaking, & gently avoiding eye contact.


for over two months i’ve been waffling between going and not going.

in the span of a day i would wake up and be sure

i’m NOT going

and these are the reasons why i’m NOT going.

(a person who i have feelings of attraction for is going to be there…  a person who i can’t stand because she tried to break up a friend’s new marriage is going to be there…  i’ll earn money if i stay and go to work insteeaad… people don’t seem to wash their hands after going to the baaathroom…  i really enjoy sleeping in my comfy bed at hooome…  trekking uphill in the snow to use the outhouse is gonna be cooooold…)

then by mid-day i’d completely change my mind and be sure


and these are the reasons why i’m GOING.

(it’s of benefit to work with my feelings, it’s good practice to just feel…  taking time off seems like a gift right now…  money isn’t everything…  helping out in the kitchen on retreat would feel good to give back to the commuuunity…  being silent is nourishing on a deep leeevel…  reconnecting with folks i haven’t seen for a year could be really greaaaat…)

i threw the I-ching (numerous times), processed with people (numerous times), wrote a “pro & con” list (at least twice)…

you get the idea.


(Lady Queen Rabbit shielding herself from my waffling with a collard leaf…)


less than two days before the retreat

i still catch my mind waffling.

but i’m going.

see, i saw this video the other day

(if you watch it you HAVE to watch it through the end of his reading… for the redemption…)

and this video is what cemented (okay, wet-cemented, slow-drying-wet-cement) my emailing the person leading the retreat that YES i’m GOING to be there yes

because my heart is similar to C. Anthony Martignetti’s heart

o the aggression.


i’m ashamed by this aggression that lives in me/is me.

and how fast it comes up

how FIRST it often arrives

aggression before the softening

(sure, i’m glad that there even IS a softening)

sadly, i’m not one of those “laid back” people

when people say “you’re easy to be around” i’m both astonished and honored

because oftentimes, especially when i’m out in the world, i’m walking around with a pretty tight heart

or maybe perhaps,

a soft heart, very much tucked away behind a lot of hardness.


sure, things soften it, open a few of the (bolted) gates and doors letting in fresh air…

…seeing an elder shopping at a store…

…witnessing couples holding hands…

…someone helping somebody else out…

…being with animals…


but i don’t go around life with an open heart, mostly.

i have to remember to soften, to be open.

and i judge myself for this.

that the aggression is more like breathing than softness is…

in that aggression is the unconscious habit.

don’t have to think about it, it just arises.

to be soft, out in the world, i have to actively practice it.


so when i saw that video, i was reminded of my heart – like looking in a mirror, hearing his story, and remembering

that while being on retreat is no proverbial walk in the park

(even though there is a lot of walking) 

there is a sort of heart-tenderizing which occurs…



if you don’t happen to see any “good morning” photos for a 5-day stretch, you’ll know why.

wishing you all a Happy New Year





Izzy & Sophie settle in for the morning.

in the mornings

it takes Izzy a while to settle down for a nap

she’ll follow humans around the house and talk-story


(from a sunnier day in September)

or request a Shiatsu session on “her” rug



but perhaps with this day – rainy, grey, Novemberish sort of day

today she settled down early



it’s a minor miracle, being before 9:30am…

that’s at least and hour and a half before her earliest settling…

Sophie, on the other hand, puts herself down early for a morning nap without fail.

often before 10am,

and rarely past then…


Sophie being Small


Sophie – further introductions

Sophie has a number of nicknames.

one of them is Ghost Face Killer.


she’s quite a pretty thing.

dainty & sweet.

when she sleeps, she gets really really small.


this is Sophie being Small.

(SHHHH.  she’s being Small!)

and this is Sophie giving me a Look because i’m dancing with headphones on in the kitchen


(clearly, i’ve disturbed her existence…)

WOW can she hunt.


stellar patience & focus…

mice come into the house at this time of the year

she and Izzy do an outstanding job catching them & leaving parts to show their people.

Sophie can be a sweet little princes, then can turn on a dime all fierce.

(Ghost Face Killer…)

and for all her prim & proper-ness


Sophie can be downright ridiculous.

this is from tonight –


putting herself into a sunhat on the floor…

Wood stove season with the Sophie & Izzy.

the wood stove season has begun!

now all i want to do is watch comedy on Netflix & mend clothes

(seriously, every pair of jeans has been patched at least once…)

this will be my third Winter living here with the woodstove

i love it.


the cats love it too.

that’s Izzy, totally zonked.

lucky me i get to be with them passed out in the evenings.


this is Sophie, and i have disturbed her existence…

i get to stack wood & keep the fire going & make sure there’s a stockpile of newspaper & kindling.

i love every part of heating with a wood stove.

(i feel like that doofus cartoon character who is all crazy about going to the city to meet girls.  except in my case i’m all crazy about the wood stove.)

for three years before living here, i lived in a very sweet, and very cold studio apartment in a barn.

had a beautiful view, was nearby very nice people, but HOLY CRAP it was cold.

there was propane fuel, so not only was it cold, it was expensive to “heat”.

now the wood stove is going…

it’s lovely.

“hell in a box” is its nickname.

i live in a basement apartment in a house with my housemates/landlords.

i share the kitchen.

i like living in the basement.

for the first time in my life (well, since being a teenager…) that i can sleep past 6am.

(it’s a minor miracle when i sleep til 8.)

i used to wake up at 5 and not be able to get back to sleep.

now it’s no problem.

it happens every day – when Izzy, one of the cats, wakes me up between 4:30 & 5am to make sure they have kibble for the day…

(i consider this a part of my cat nanny responsibilities.  and anyways it’s a good time to stoke the fire…)

and i’m able to go back to sleep.

fortunately, work begins at 10am, so, there’s time to sleep a bit more, and plenty of time to get ready in the morning.


i used to rush rush rush

now i don’t like to rush

when i rush i always forget something

so i try to take my time


notice what i’m doing.

i may not make the big bucks, but i do enjoy my mornings.

as i write this

i can feel a sort of guilty slime descending in my mind…

like it’s not okay to have a life like this.

i think there’s something in me that thinks it’s not okay to take time.

fortunately, i have friends who have seen me bust my ass working really hard, and they remind me that it’s okay to live like this.

i shake my head at myself

“jeez Marn, you are 42 years old and you still need the validation from your friends about your life?!?!?”


i do.

i’m still working on stuff.

still releasing old old habit patterns of thoughts and behaviors and beliefs.

baffling how deep the grooves run.

and how effort-full (and worth it) to actively practice doing something differently…