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The Lioness

The thump of her heart was loud in her ears as she continued to run. The lioness in her raged through every muscle fiber in her legs sending the signal back to her brain with the instinctual message; 
Run.
The only other sound was her fevered breathing, the volume seemed amplified as if routed through a microphone and replayed for her through a loudspeaker back into her own ears. She tried to squint at what was ahead as if she concentrated on another sense, it might drown out the thumping of her heart and the sound of her breathing, but it only seemed to make it worse.


Run.


Her head whips backward over her shoulder with worry, checking the shadows behind her for the things moving in the unseen shadows – perhaps they would reveal themselves. Sometimes, a faint glimmer would seem to ripple and catch her eye and make her believe something might be there… forcing a stumble. Her feet suddenly slip on something causing her to look forward again at the path in front of her.


Run.


Again, she’s distracted by some fast jagged light. It almost blinds her as it casts rays of yellow and gold over her face. She brings an arm over her eyes as if to hold the light up off her, the weight of it heavy against her. It shimmers and twinkles, feeling perhaps hopeful as it stops for a moment to decide that it might float away or melt into the ground past her and leave her alone undisturbed.


Run.


Her chest lifts, the light pulling at her arms and feet as they fly across the ground. For a moment she doesn’t hear the sound of her heart in her chest and the thump in her ears. She moves her arm to the side and the light caresses her face. For a moment. 


Stop.


Almost as quick as hope shone on her, the gift of promise and warmth upon her face, it is darkened once more. Her feet are met with what feels like rubble, causing her to lose her balance and footing. Her heels slip out from under her, the light now is daggers in her eyes sharp and harsh. Her breath is stolen from her chest as her back hits the ground, her whole body slamming into the cold stone earth. Her heart rattles around her chest feeling as if it will shatter. 


Stop. 


The pain reeks on her body like a stink, the smell permeates her nostrils like a gas emitting its gross tendrils through her skin, down her neck and over her arms and legs. The feeling of the sweat from her exerting run pooling between her breasts. She inhales despite the pain. Her arms fall backward and push up, even though she dare not open her eyes. For she might see the blood on her hands. She might see the dirt on her body. She might see the mess of her life.


Get up.
Run.

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Next week, She Reads…

Next week I will start a new stream during the week during the day called “She Reads” where I read a public domain book to the stream.

I’ve selected a few books and put them on a shelf on good reads and need your help to choose the first book!

What’s your favorite on the list? Here’s the selection on Good Reads – be sure to click through to see the whole list and tune into the stream tonight to vote!

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Masakatsu Agatsu

My second tattoo. It is the one I agonized over the longest, spent the most time researching because I wanted to get it right. The one I look at every day – not on my body but on my wall, and one I’ve maybe forgotten I have on my body, and maybe why I forgot I got placed ON my body.

I commissioned a Japanese calligrapher to do a custom artistic (less traditional) version for me that I could then also have transferred to tattoo paper and then inked on my body. I found an artist that I liked and set up the appointment. I was 28, maybe 29 at the time? I remember the night, the smell of the tattoo shop, and that I passed out. I remember being proud of myself and I remember loving it so much that I looked at the tattoo every night for almost a year after that. Perhaps I should get back into that practice. Loving to look at it.

We’ll break down the phrase. Together, it simply means, A true is a victory over one’s self

Masakatsu is a victory of a true origination; that is, the law of universal creative evolution which transcends the boundaries of prejudice and discrimination and abandons the consciousness of the ego. Meaning you’ve been able to forgo the idea which is to win in a physical sense, it’s not an earthly victory, but a spiritual one. You don’t best in a battle of the body. Arm wrestling, boxing, etc.

Agatsu means to have victory over one’s self.  An understanding of Masakatsu as a preface and foundation is necessary for explaining Agatsu. The bandit in the mountain is easy to defeat, but the bandit within your own heart is difficult to conquer, it is said.  For the person who looks at their true self within themselves, their most fearful opponent is no one other than themselves.

Stay with me, I know that was a lot of overly ethereal and pretentious sounding froofroo garbage… BUT as a practice, the phrase comes from the idea of defeating your own inner demons you have to get a little froofroo.

When I stop to think how long I’ve been fighting the demons I’m currently fighting, it’s been a while. Which makes me a little proud that I’ve continued to fight, but a little pissed that I still feel as fucked up as I do. However, as I think about growth, I realize that it’s not so much about not feeling fucked up as it is about just continuing to fight.

I’m never going to not feel fucked up. There’s no amount of therapy that’s going to reverse the things that have happened to me in life. There’s no Mister Clean Eraser for life’s really awful experiences. All we have is our determination to not let it consume us.

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When what you need hurts others

Along the journey of life, there is bound to be a time in your life which your path will diverge from one that you may have been sharing with someone. Perhaps that path had been well worn, traveled and as you look back over your shoulder you see many happy memories. However, glancing ahead, your paths begin to part and the footsteps now find their own beat instead of landing to the same time.

It’s sad, and can sometimes feel like you are breaking, feel like you are growing (because you are) can feel guilt and can feel a sense of loss. Sometimes you don’t notice and it’s a slow process. Sometimes you notice it all at one and all your thoughts obsess that path would keep going in that direction together seem to be the only thing you can think about.

What do you do friends? What do you do when you see your path going in a direction that might hurt someone else? Do you let them go? Do you try to bring them along? Carry them? Follow on their path because you can’t bear to be without them? Perhaps your identity is so melded with theirs you can’t imagine yourself without them.

Maybe you see that they NEED to be on their own path, that your path is not healthy for them anymore? How do you help them to see they need to stay on their own path? How can you possibly know what someone else needs?

We can’t. We can only know what we need – we can tell people what need, but what we say and what they hear will inevitably be different.

Honestly, we don’t know what we need at times either. What grows in the space where we let there be space and listen when we ask ourselves what we need can be pretty terrifying. We’re so busy filling our lives with wants, we’re unwilling to wait.
Unwilling to make a mess.
Unwilling to do the work.
Unwilling to open the wound.
Unwilling to look to see why it hurts.
Unwilling to lay in the mud.
Unwilling to listen.

I feel like I’ve forgotten to listen to myself.