Salix's Shiny Things

A magpie blog.

Would you have loved me back then? January 6, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — LP @ 10:55 am
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From time to time, I play this mental game where I try to imagine if my boyfriend or girlfriend could have fallen in love at an earlier stage in our lives.  Like high school or college.  This is probably a pretty normal mental game to play when you’re in a relationship, but for my past two, the conclusions I came to were not positive.  For my last relationship before my current one, the conclusion was that she would have been “too cool” to hang out with me in high school or college.  Sure, I could be dark and moody and depressive, but I was also full of passion for discovery and exploration and travel.  I was a nerd, and fully conscious of that fact, and took great joy and pleasure in it, which I still do to this day.  She was… not.  Smart, but cool.  So while we probably would have moved in similar academic circles, she probably would have found me to be too silly.

Of course, I never mentioned this to her. To do so would have opened me to her dismissiveness or ridicule.

Last night, I had the tables switched up on me.  C mentioned that he had been thinking about when he was a young man, super active and strong and “buffed out”, as he put it.  But at that time, he also had some major self confidence issues, and he had wondered if he could have attracted me back then.  Then, he said, it dawned on him:  at that point, I would have only been about 10 years old!  AAAAACH!  And we had a good laugh at our age difference.

So he’d been thinking if he’d had been a good enough partner for me way back when.  Would I have been attracted to him?  My heart melted.  I had seen pictures of him in his 20’s and 30’s, and he was very handsome, and very strong.  Would he have been attracted to me, if I had been in my 20’s or 30’s as well, of course, not my actual age at that time? Apparently yes! How amazing is that?

But that he thought to tell me that he was thinking about it?  That’s what is truly wonderful about him, and his emotional bravery – that willingness to be vulnerable, that ability to live in hope – is what I love best in him, and what inspires me to become the best person I can be – for him, for me, for us.


The transcendence of the ordinary. October 14, 2014

Filed under: Buddhism — LP @ 9:49 am
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A quote from an article I read this morning:

“In our ordinary struggles with life and our interminable retreat into the compulsiveness of ordinary being, if we can look honestly, we may experience our religious sense as fully as in many high-flown writings. Looking deeply at our foolishness, we discover truth.”

Since I’ve started dating, I find myself being struck constantly with the transcendence of ordinary things.  Like the sound of him brushing his teeth while I lay on his bed.  It wasn’t as if I hadn’t experienced that set of circumstances before, but for whatever reason, this time, the simple ordinariness of it seemed utterly transcendent.  I was fully aware of the sounds, the buzz of the electric brush, wavering in tone as it was worked over the various contours, the spaces and corners of his teeth and cheeks.  Fully aware of the weight of my body on the bed, and the softness of the covers.  But beyond these local matters, I was also fully aware of the presence of this moment in time, and how this one moment was a part of all moments, like a droplet of water is part of the whole sea.

And I find myself very glad to be here, living in the world.


Happy things. September 29, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — LP @ 9:43 pm
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Man, poetry is awesome.  It’s been so long since I’d had anyone to share poetry with, I hadn’t even realized how much I missed it until recently.

Pablo Neruda holds a very special position in my heart and memory.  His poems were stitched into the fabric of my days when I was just out of college.  So young, so romantic!

One of my favorite lines in any poem ever is this:

“I want
to do to you what spring does with cherry trees.”
Quiero hacer contigo
lo que la primavera hace con los cerezos.”

I mean, wow.  Just wow.

Here’s the full poem:

from Veinte Poemas de Amor (1924) – XIV Every Day You Play…

Juegas todos los días con la luz del universo.
Sutil visitadora, llegas en la flor y en el agua.
Eres más que esta blanca cabecita que aprieto
como un racimo entre mis manos cada día.

A nadie te pareces desde que yo te amo.
Déjame tenderte entre guirnaldas amarillas.
Quién escribe tu nombre con letras de humo entre las estrellas del sur?
Ah déjame recordarte como eras entonces, cuando aún no existías.

De pronto el viento aúlla y golpea mi ventana cerrada.
El cielo es una red cuajada de peces sombríos.
Aquí vienen a dar todos los vientos, todos.
Se desviste la lluvia.

Pasan huyendo los pájaros.
El viento. El viento.
Yo solo puedo luchar contra la fuerza de los hombres.
El temporal arremolina hojas oscuras
y suelta todas las barcas que anoche amarraron al cielo.

Tú estás aquí. Ah tú no huyes.
Tú me responderás hasta el último grito.
Ovíllate a mi lado como si tuvieras miedo.
Sin embargo alguna vez corrió una sombra extraña por tus ojos.

Ahora, ahora también, pequeña, me traes madreselvas,
y tienes hasta los senos perfumados.
Mientras el viento triste galopa matando mariposas
yo te amo, y mi alegría muerde tu boca de ciruela.

Cuánto te habrá dolido acostumbrarte a mí,
a mi alma sola y salvaje, a mi nombre que todos ahuyentan.
Hemos visto arder tantas veces el lucero besándonos los ojos
y sobre nuestras cabezas destorcerse los crepúsculos en abanicos girantes.

Mis palabras llovieron sobre ti acariciándote.
Amé desde hace tiempo tu cuerpo de nácar soleado.
Hasta te creo dueña del universo.
Te traeré de las montañas flores alegres, copihues,
avellanas oscuras, y cestas silvestres de besos.

Quiero hacer contigo
lo que la primavera hace con los cerezos.

Every day you play with the light of the universe.
Subtle visitor, you arrive in the flower and the water,
You are more than this white head that I hold tightly
as a bunch of flowers, every day, between my hands.

You are like nobody since I love you.
Let me spread you out among yellow garlands.
Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of the south?
Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed.

Suddenly the wind howls and bangs at my shut window.
The sky is a net crammed with shadowy fish.
Here all the winds let go sooner or later, all of them.
The rain takes off her clothes.

The birds go by, fleeing.
The wind.  The wind.
I alone can contend against the power of men.
The storm whirls dark leaves
and turns loose all the boats that were moored last night to the sky.

You are here.  Oh, you do not run away.
You will answer me to the last cry.
Curl round me as though you were frightened.
Even so, a strange shadow once ran through your eyes.

Now, now too, little one, you bring me honeysuckle,
and even your breasts smell of it.
While the sad wind goes slaughtering butterflies
I love you, and my happiness bites the plum of your mouth.

How you must have suffered getting accustomed to me,
my savage, solitary soul, my name that sends them all running.
So many times we have seen the morning star burn, kissing our eyes,
and over our heads the grey light unwinds in turning fans.

My words rained over you, stroking you.
A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body.
Until I even believe that you own the universe.
I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells, dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.
I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.

Melts me every time.


Gratitude for the universe: cultivating a generous heart. September 17, 2014

It’s very silly for a person like myself to claim a spirit guide, but I do, and he is Jackie Chan.  Don’t get me wrong, though:  I know that Jackie Chan is a human being, with flaws and weaknesses, but he’s a human being with incredible talent and a generous heart.  His work inspired me to start exercising, start being out in the world more, and be a more present, fun mother.  Ever since that dream I had where I woke up as Jackie Chan, I’ve been cultivating happiness and a more generous heart.  That dream changed my life for the better, helping me find my inner “Jackie Chan” and let him out to play.

I am so grateful for that dream, and so grateful that I found it within myself to be amongst the living again, with all the crazy fears and joys and vulnerabilities that living entails.

If it hadn’t been for Jackie Chan’s “spiritual guidance”, as it were, I wouldn’t have found myself where I am today, in a new relationship that has brought me a great deal of happiness already, and I hope will continue to for a long, long time.

It was because I was looking for a Chinese fan at Goodwill so that my son and I could try to recreate the fan fight scene in The Young Master (1980).  There I ran into an old family friend I hadn’t seen since my husband and I divorced.  Turns out he’d been trying to catch me since I’d moved back to town because he wanted to ask me out.  I hadn’t seen him in years and out of the blue, we run into each other at Goodwill.  Because I was all gung-ho about getting a fan to practice Jackie Chan style kung-fu moves with.

It floored me that he wanted to date me.  I had no idea.  I had come to accept myself as being unattractive, and I was used to being invisible.  Although I had been cultivating kindness and acceptance towards myself for weeks through meditation, going to church, and exercising and training for martial arts, I had given up on my romantic side.  My heart was capable of only getting me into trouble, and I dared not trust it or let myself think that anyone who could be interested in me would be someone who could really do right by me and my son.  I was only attractive to losers and crazy people, and history had proven that to be true.  So what in the world could this guy, who I’d known for so many years, and who had been a friend to me and mine, what would someone like that want with someone like me?

I said yes anyway.  I regretted it at first, mostly because I was scared and didn’t trust myself to make good choices, but then he was so kind and respectful of me, that I began to think, ok, well, why not?  He’s really good looking and has an amazing job, he’s really smart, so why not just see where this goes?

It’s been a couple of amazing weeks filled with happiness and kindness and generosity.  When I’m with him, I feel present.  I feel more like myself than I’ve felt in a very long time.  And the more time we spend together, the more about him I like and respect.  And I like and respect myself more and more.  Better still, I’m less afraid of being vulnerable, and am more able to cultivate my own heart’s generosity and kindness, towards myself and the world.  I’m able to find ease in this, and allow myself to be guided by my friend’s optimism and ease in being.

This could not have happened without my spirit guide.  I would not have been ready for this.  I would not have been in that store, at that time.

So thank you, Universe, for getting me here.  Thank you, spirit guide Jackie Chan, for helping me become ready to live life again.

Jackie Chan, Young Master (1980)

Jackie Chan, Young Master (1980)


New and old – beginning and returning. September 10, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — LP @ 10:02 am
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The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind.  So many things have happened, good things. 

I have been keeping up with my exercise routine.  I am now up to 60 crunches on the exercise ball, plus around 20 squirms and 20 flutter kicks.  For upper body, I’m doing about 15 push-ups on knees, and 5 full push-ups, plus around 10-15 reps each of bicep curls, tricep lifts, and lateral deltoid lifts with the exercise band (which is a lower resistance one, but not sure what its actual resistance is because I got it at the thrift store).  For legs, I’ve been walking about 1 – 2 miles a day at a brisk pace, practicing my blocking set in horse’s stance, and plie-releve sets (about 20 in first position).  I stretch carefully and thoroughly and practice leg swings and kicking – front and side kicks, mainly. But my left hip has been giving me trouble, joint-wise, so I’m working on building up the muscles around the hip and keeping limber with lots of deep hip stretches. 

I’ve lost a bit of weight, as evidenced by my waistbands getting looser, but I’m also seeing and feeling the muscle definition in my arms, especially my biceps and wrists.  They’re starting to look and feel like my arms again.  My own strong, capable, agile arms. 

So I’m slowly returning to my body after a long, long time away.  I’m loving my body again, good and proper.  I’m enjoying my body in ways that amaze and astound me.

And I’m cultivating my “beginner’s mind” as best I can.  Every moment is a new moment, every moment is a perfect moment of life. 

Practicing meditation, especially metta meditation, has been a critical component of this process.  It shores up my mind-body connection, and it gives my mind the space to allow emotions to come and accept them for what they are.  And I can see so much more clearly now how emotional states and body states are connected.  The experience of emotion is not just in the brain, of course, but now I’m so much more aware of how my heart and guts and muscles dance in tune with my emotions.  Meditation allows me to fine-tune that awareness so that I can cultivate the seeds of well-being.  

And what a beautiful garden I can cultivate with those seeds!





The mirror August 10, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — LP @ 9:35 am
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Mirrors are strange things.  Sure, on the physical level, they merely allow light to bounce off the silvery backing and into your eyes.  But what you see in the mirror is filtered through your faculties of perception.  Your eyes may let the light in, but you “see” with your mind.  And so what you see when you look in the mirror is not necessarily a “real” or “objective” view of yourself.  What you think, you see.

For someone with depression or anxiety issues or body issues, mirrors can be horrible things.  I’ve learned to ignore them, as spending time looking in them meant looking at someone who, at some level, I deeply disliked and was deeply disappointed in.  I criticized every scar, bump, blackhead, scraggly hair, wrinkle.  I saw them as bright, neon signs showing the world how sad and pathetic I was.

Last night, though, I looked and saw a fierce, strong woman with long hair striped in silver.  I saw a Jade Fox, long hair streaming, eyes confident and defiant.  I saw a Jackie Chan smile, warm with a mischievous glimmer.

Jade Fox, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Jade Fox, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon


Jackie Chan, of course


For the first time in a long time, I was happy with what I saw in the mirror.


pic credits:
Jade Fox
Jackie Chan


















Good morning! Stretchings! July 10, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — LP @ 4:38 pm
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bucket of kittens having stretchings

bucket of kittens having stretchings

pic credit:

New rule:  after 2 posts about depression, I must post something super cute.  Like this bucket of kittens.  Enjoy!