I have some really cool series coming up for the late summer / early fall:

August:
– Improv Level 1 Class – Tuesdays starting August 6
– Improv Level 2 Class – Mondays starting August 5
– Improv Level 3 Class – Thursdays starting August 22

Each of these courses are six-week series, and are focused on improv and authentic connection and expression. Now enrolling! 🙂

End of September:
– Creative Writing Workshop (8 weeks)

A small class (6 participants) will workshop a piece of writing* that you have completed before your week to be workshopped. We will workshop one piece per class, and in the first two classes, you will learn and review the basic elements of story-telling and creative writing (so you can best workshop others’ writing as well as complete your own story).

This will be an in-depth workshop including creative writing exercises and high-quality notes and suggestions (from myself, as well as the other students in the class.)

*Fiction focused; some Creative Nonfiction allowed – but no academic essays, poetry, journalism, etc. This class is focused on story-telling.

I will create an event soon, and sign up will begin in August.

**Let me know if you are interested in these offerings ASAP!**

**YAY!**

We live in a culture that tells us to do more – almost all the time. If we’re not getting the results we want – in work, in family, in friendship, with our health and fitness – our culture tells us that it’s because we’re not doing or trying hard enough.

It’s no accident that our culture is based around a 24-hour cycle rather than a month-long cycle, as (news flash!) our culture is a patriarchal one. As in, a system or government where men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it. (Just take a look at this.)

See, people born with penises and people born with vaginas (not talking about gender identification here) have different hormonal cycles. Just like females, males have a hormonal cycle – but it is fast. 24 hours fast.

Females, on the other hand, run on a roughly 28-day hormonal cycle. Where men are the sun, women are the moon. And for centuries, we have been living in a society that honors and pedestalizes the male’s 24-hour cycle.

All of us – no matter our natural hormonal cycle – are expected to live within this narrow 24-hour box. Never mind that we might be feeling exhausted, unproductive, or the need to rest and just be – there is simply not time for that in our current system if we want to achieve some level of success.

Of course, we can all see just how well this current system is working out – not so well for a huge percentage of the population. I know this is for a large number of reasons, but I’m starting to see that one big one is the lack of taking into account that big old other half of the population – females. Yes, it’s that we are currently in a system run by men (white men), who are continuing to elect, hire, and give social standing and rights to other white men – but we also seem to be missing that the whole damn thing needs to be turned on its head from the most fundamental level.

We can’t continue working within a 24-hour cycle when half the population would be better-served working within a 28-day cycle.

In her book, “Do Less,” Kate Northrup talks about this very issue and lays out the four stages of a female cycle:

– New Moon / Menstrual Cycle: this is the time of the month when a woman bleeds. This is a time for introspection, rest.

– Waxing Moon / Follicular Phase: Just after her period – likely the time of the month she will feel creative, productive; a good time to start projects.

– Full Moon / Ovulation: Around the time of ovulation (a few days before and after), we are at peak fertility. We are likely feeling the most “outward” – outgoing, productive, telling the world about the projects we’re working on, etc.

– Waning Moon / Luteal Phase: This is the week before your period. Likely, we’ll be feeling more inward again. A good time to wrap up projects and slow down.

In case you’re thinking this is a little “woo woo” for you – women’s cycles being based on something as mystical as the MOON! – just know that is completely scientifically true. Matter of fact, when women are not exposed to artificial light, our monthly cycles sync up pretty precisely to the moon’s cycles – and to other women’s cycles. Pretty cool, huh?

Now, I’m not saying that people born with vaginas should not be in positions of power because hormones, blah, blah, blah. Quite the opposite. I believe we should know more about our cycles and really honor and use them to our benefit. When we feel like resting – we should rest. When we are in that follicular phase and we feel productive, we should follow that. When we’re ovulating and at our most powerful, we should take over the world and dismantle the current patriarchal system and leave it in a smoking pile of ashes. Or something like that. 🙂

Again, I know there is a LOT wrong with our current system, and this failure to honor, appreciate, and work *with* rather than against our natural, female cycles is just one of them. But it is a big one.

After reading this book, I’ve started to find more power and achievement – by doing less. I’m keeping track of where I am in the month and beneath the moon, and planning my work accordingly. I feel more connected to the cosmos in a very real way. And I feel more like the strange and mysterious animal that I’ve always been, buried beneath artificial lights and consumerism and pavement.

If you felt some resonance reading this, I highly recommend reading the book Do Less by Kate Northrup. Its primary audience is women with kids, but it is just as useful for women without kids, folks who are not currently having their monthly cycles, who haven’t started to yet, and pretty much anyone who can see the moon and watch her wax and wane.

For whatever reason, I have had the life I’ve had and you, the one you’ve had. From my first breath on this earth to my first day of kindergarten; the first time I shaved my legs to my first kiss; my first heartache to my first time moving away from home – 

– every single moment has perfectly and unequivocally led to this one. Every past self and past decision, has made me… me.

I really feel this sometimes. When I’m listening to an old song that reminds me of a moment twenty years ago, and how that one led to the next, to the next, to the next…

When I look back at old journals.

At old calendars.

It’s easy to chart how each moment has connected; I can point to each and make a constellation of my life.

Sometimes I feel it as an encompassing, something bigger-than-me, oh-THIS-is-why-this-happened.

That’s how it was yesterday.

I went to my good friend’s house, a friend who is struggling with addiction. A few of us showed up to support and circle him on his experience. I felt, perhaps, unduly equipped to understand him; armed with years of my own struggles with addiction and eating disorders; steeped in a family history of alcoholism and drug abuse.

I know the feeling of being powerless over something; I know how it feels to be hopeless.

There’s not a whole lot I can do – but I get it. So, I just got it, and was there for a while.

Then on my drive home – a woman stumbled out into the middle of the street, flip flops dragging behind her. She fell over in the road.

I immediately pulled my car over and ran out to help her. She was, perhaps, 35 to 40. Blond, well-put-together, wearing diamonds on her fingers. We sat down for a while in the shade, not talking. I got her some water.

“I’m fine.” She must have said this about thirty times. Her words were barely coherent; she couldn’t stand – she also couldn’t really sit.

So I held her up. I talked to her as best I could while she drifted in and out. When a man came out to try and help and became aggressive when she wasn’t making sense – I told him, that’s not helpful. Don’t be aggressive with her.

Finally, her phone rang and I picked it up. Shortly thereafter, her wife and her mother-in-law arrived to take her home.

“Absolutely not,” she said when they asked her to get in the car. They began arguing. The mother-in-law raising her voice – “You’re the alcoholic here! Get in the car!” Again, I said, that’s not helpful.

The woman wanted to leave, so I walked with her a ways – supporting her – guiding her – keeping her away from the road.

“I’m not fine,” she told me.

I know.

We continued to talk – I heard a bit about her life. Her anger. Her pain. I just listened, mostly. I guided her more strongly when I needed to – “Do NOT get in the street again.” “Come this way.” “Stay right here.”

In an hour, we developed something like a friendship.

“Stop trying to be my friend.”

I don’t want to be your friend.

“Fuck you.”

Fuck you, too.

“Hey, I really like you. You know that?”

I like you, too.

Finally, the cops arrived – several bystanders down the road had been worried and called them.

For a variety of reasons, the woman ended up getting in the police car instead of her wife’s. While this was happening, I spoke to her wife. How was she doing? What’s been going on? I understand.

While the woman she loves was put into handcuffs, I stayed with this woman. How was she doing?

While the police car finally drove away, we hugged. She and her mother thanked me for staying for so long – for helping. For understanding.

“I’m glad it happened to be me driving by,” I said. And I went home.

I’m not sure how this woman is doing now – no doubt she sobered up and they let her out of jail. No doubt she’s feeling shame. No doubt, the pain for her and her family is far from over.

But the experience has stayed with me, and likely will for a long time. It has reminded me that each moment shapes the next, and each is perfect, because it is.

If I hadn’t seen this sort of behavior before, there’s no way I would have known how to handle it. If I hadn’t once felt so out of control personally, I wouldn’t have been able to empathize. If things hadn’t fallen apart in Austin, I couldn’t have given her family the resources I know of. And if I hadn’t spent so much time learning communication tools, I may not have been able to be there as solidly.

And just like life goes – where each moment leads to the next – yesterday has led to this: I feel reminded of the unique perspective I have on addiction – growing up with it in my family, and in me.

At that time, it certainly did not feel like a gift. And in many ways, it still doesn’t. But I can see that it is what I make it, and I feel inspired to make it into something good.

So coming soon – another book in my “Is” series. This one focused on addiction. This is certainly not something that many people, let alone books, talk to kids and teenagers about.

It feels like a gift to be able to do so.

More updates soon.

And, keep a look out for those moments that connect like stars. The more you look for them, the more you’ll find them.