September 20, 2014

Networking

For those of you who don't know, I'm on Facebook. @Aimée La Vallee
With 1.6 million views to my unused Google+ account I figured some of you must be looking for me. So now ya know. ��

July 8, 2014

A Very Personal Truth & Profound Life Change

I'm going to talk about shame.  Oooooh, some of you are squirming already.  I know it.  You feel it.  A twisting in your core that wants to look away, that feels a little irritated, angry, icky, just at the word.  Shame.           Shame. Shame. Shame. Shame.

Shame.  Those parts of us, the memories, the moments, the stories that we want to forget, hide, turn away from, and keep secret.  The ones that make us sure that we are not quite as good as we ought to be… as others are.  We are a culture so full up of shame that we thrive on bringing others down.  Down to what? Down to our level so that we can know that we are not the only ones who are wrong, bad, guilty, shameful.  We want to point our fingers whenever we can, at another's shameful moment, and say that this is you. You are shameful, because secretly we know that we are too, but we're afraid that we are amongst the few.  The few who are shameful, but no one knows.  We are afraid that people will find us out, our imperfection.  Our failure.  Our icky story that makes us not acceptable.  That piece that we feel, if people knew this, they would know who I really am, and then I would be treated as I deserve. Then people would point their fingers at me and say, "look, look at that lesser person.  Shame. Shame. Shame on you."  Only, we know too that we don't deserve that.  We know, deep down, that we are not alone.  We know deep down that everyone has something, but we don't want to be the ones made example of.  We don't want to be the ones who embarrass ourselves publicly. 

I saw this on Facebook a few days ago, and it resonated as dangerous to me.  My whole being reacted, "I cannot, I will not, agree with that."  Danger. Danger. Danger.  This is unconsciousness, and shaming, blaming, finger pointing, and reducing, masquerading as consciousness and freedom.  Danger.  The words, my friends, the words we choose, the words we agree with, they can be close, and yet so wrong.  And when they are wrong, when we believe in them because they are close to what we feel, and so we think that they are truth, they hold us down instead of freeing us.  Impeccability, my loves.  It is everything.  The exact words that we use to convey a truth, the exact words that we use to understand and to believe in, they matter.  Close is not good enough. Sometimes close is as dangerous and destructive as you can find.  Better to be completely wrong and continue to search.  Close is dangerous when it lacks impeccability.  

The thing about this statement that is hurtful is this:  We do not need to allow, acknowledge, or accept judgment upon us because we are all human.  We all struggle with shame.  We all have parts of us that huuuuuuuurt, and we are terrified that others will judge and punish us for.  We all have parts that we wish we could hide, and never even remember.  Your freedom is not in knowing that others are shameful and hiding too.  Your freedom is in telling your truth.  Your freedom is in wearing your shameful truths as openly as the truths that you want people to see.  Your freedom is in going through the world knowing that people love you, respect you, even though they know what you did.  The thing that makes me so angry about this statement is that there are thousands, and thousands, and thousands of us bleeding hearts out there who do exactly that.  Who will tell anyone who will listen, THIS IS MY SHAME, DO YOU HATE ME NOW???  There are thousands of us out there who find that each time we say to someone LOOK WHAT I DID, WHAT I AM!, that they love us more, so we do it again and again and again.  We dig deeper, looking for the thing that will surely prove unlovable.  Looking for that thing that will land us, finally, ostracized and alone, as we knew we would be so that we can finally accept our fate.  There are so many of us who refuse to hide any part of ourselves because we are trying to find peace, even if it comes in utter aloneness.  We just want peace, and we know that there is no peace in hiding.  There is peace in being, even if you must be alone.  There are so many of us, who are finding that the more loudly we tell our ugliest, most painful, most shameful stores, the more surrounded we are by others who love us more because of our ugly.  They love us more because now we are the same kind of human as they are: SO IMPERFECT. They love us more because we stand in front of them and make the statement with our nakedness, with our vulnerability, that we are human still, beautiful still, worthy still, because of the worst things we know, are, experience.  There are so many of us who willingly tell anyone that will listen, what is most wrong with us.

I hate this quote because it IS SO WRONG.  Because I know that I want to wear a T-shirt that tells people the worst things about me.  Because every time someone tells me HOW FUCKING AMAZING I AM, I tell them immediately HOW MESSED UP I AM. 
I hate this quote because I know it's WRONG, and I know that it FAILS, FAILS, FAILS to free us. 

There is nothing, nothing, NOTHING that I have done, experienced, thought, that I have not told someone about.  My biggest failure in that is that it's not yet enough for me to tell it once.  I keep reminding people.  THIS IS MY SHAME.  Don't forget it.  Don't look up to me.  Don't think that I am stronger than I am.  PLEASE KNOW THAT I AM THE SAME AS YOU. 
BROKEN AS YOU. 
SCARRED AS YOU.  
SCARED. AS. YOU.  
Please see the wrong things about me and please, please, please god, love me anyway, because I CANNOT FEEL LOVED WHEN I KNOW THAT YOU LOVE ONLY THE NICE PARTS OF ME THAT I SHOW YOU.  

LOVE EXISTS, AND IS FELT ONLY WHEN EACH AND EVERY BIT OF YOU IS LOVED THE SAME.  True Love.  That elusive thing which most yearn for, live for, but is so mythical that as a culture we have begun to not even believe in it anymore.  True Love.  It comes when we put our secrets on the surface and show them first.  It comes when we say THIS IS WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME, ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO GO FURTHER????  True Love comes when those with the strength, say YES, and they accept our worst, worst, worst parts, our deepest most shameful things, and LOVE US ALREADY BEFORE THEY GET TO OUR BEST PARTS.  True Love comes when we are in the presence of another who believes that 'our best parts' are just icing, that the CAKE is our painful, shameful, human experience.  That you are only whole when you have both the cake beneath the surface AND the decorative, sugary sweet icing on top.  Yeah, some people want to eat only the icing, but most people will become ill from too much of that.  The bulk of that cake is in the delicate inside that gives shape to that thing we call a cake.  The bulk of each person is that delicate thing inside which gives shape to who we are.  We experience love when we experience others who love what we fear is unlovable, because only then do they love us - all that we are - the true us. 

I hate this quote because it validates a practice which guards us from EVER finding TRUE love.

Here's another truth, one that hurts, and makes me feel all kinds of embarrassment and need to explain, and hurtful shame when I think people will jump to conclusions and never know the real, beautiful truth:

I left my husband one month ago today.  
I left my husband, even though I loved him.
I left my husband, even though we loved each other, and I am still so happy that I want to sing and dance every single day, and DO.  

Even though I love my husband, my children and I have laid in a pile and cried while talking about how very, very happy we are in our new life, and I can't be ashamed of it, and now you know. 

There is SO much that I haven't written here.  It overwhelms the mind when I think of all the things I didn't record for myself here, because I couldn't see the point, because I was so unhappy beneath the surface for so many years, even amidst the happy moments, because the thing that I wanted most in the whole world, in my whole life, the thing I wanted to be when I grew up: a person in a family full of love, and happiness, was missing.  And now it's not.  

It's a revelation when you finally see, in person, that thing which you believed in for so long, but could never seem to witness.  

February 4, 2014

-: Understanding :-

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Hey everyone,

So, I’ve been quiet a long time.  To be honest I think I was waiting to see if I could just drift quietly away from this space.  I wasn’t sure if it mattered to me, and I honestly didn’t think it mattered to anyone else.  Y’all are a quiet bunch, but I get that.  I’m quiet too.  I forget that you’re out there, though.  I really do.  And I’m sorry to everyone whose emails went unanswered this year.  I thought that my answer would come to me.  I thought I would figure out what to say and get back to you a little late, but that I would get there.  So, that didn’t work. 

I’m really sorry to the ones who pushed past language barriers to reach out and I dropped the ball.  I’m really sorry to those who poured out their hearts, apologizing all the way because they didn’t 'know me' - which made me laugh every time, because, of course you do, in a way, ‘know me’, because I do the same thing here.  For years.  Some of the people I have met in person, because of this space, know me better than my own family.  My very best friendship is a result of this space - a friendship that I have relied heavily on this year.  As I write this I realize that I am sorry that I’ve neglected this space.  I’m sorry that I forgot you were out there.  I’m sorry that  I so misunderstood the value of this space for me that I thought it had none.  I’m sorry for what that said to me about me.  I’m sorry about what that said to me about my art, my value, my needs.   

The thing is that I have wanted to fill this space again.  I have gone through periods where it is all that I thought about.  It became painful.  The more I thought about it the more I couldn’t touch it, the more paralyzed I felt.  I was deeply fearful that it had no value at all. No meaning. No purpose.  I was deeply fearful that the thing which brought me joy, and was immensely important to me, was pointless and without value.   So I waited to figure out if there was a reason to do it before I would allow myself to do it.  Everything I wanted to write was scrutinized.  What is the great purpose of this??? I would ask myself, and of course it never measured up to a ‘great purpose’ (what IS that?) - looking flat and lifeless instead.  So when people started asking, I started saying, “I don’t know.  I just don’t have anything to say.”  Then I started telling myself that.  “I just don’t have anything to say.”  Which is nuts of course.  My family went through a huge, scary transition this year, and back again.  Many aspects of our life could have changed, but we went through the process of combing. through. it. all. and making conscious choices about what kind of life to lead – again.  I’ve been brutalized by my health for years and haven’t spoken of it once.  Babies have become little girls.  Little boys have become tweens.  Marriages have threatened to implode under the weight, only to solidify more than ever.  Friends have been made, lessons learned, exciting things have happened.  What does it say to me when none of this has meaning?  It says that I, as a person, have no purpose.  No value.  No point.  Yes, many nights of sobbing to this effect were had.   I’m probably not done with that.  I almost wrote that I was, but then the statement made me recoil inside, so yeah, not done with that, yet.  I’d like to promise that I’ll show up more often.  That I’ll keep writing, but I can’t.  I don’t know.  I have files filled with things I’ve written.  Notebooks strewn, and lost, about the house with things that absolutely had to be committed to paper amongst the scribbled kid drawings.  I’d like to share them.  I would.  It would feel so much better than this, but there is still a part of me that is writhing in uncertainty and tells me to find something useful to spend my time on. 

My domain is set to expire this month, and I was going to let it.  I had decided that the uncertainty was actually certainty.  I got a letter just now asking for a ‘the end’ post, and I came here to write one.  Halfway through I panicked and asked Jeff if CFF expired already.  It didn’t.  It’s not going to yet.  I don’t know if I’ll use it, but I still want to.  I’m really sorry to everyone who went without a reply.  Your messages meant a lot to me.  Often they came at a time when I really needed them, and I should have told you that instead of waiting to figure out how to answer you. 

I’m still here.  I’m okay.  Life is actually really sweet.  Somewhere along the way, after Simone was born, I stopped taking care of myself.  I let slip every thing I ever did to live pain and sickness free, and bit by bit those things consumed my attention, while I battled my worth, and thus, my right to be cared for.     Messed up stuff y’all.     Messed up stuff I didn’t realize I was doing because I wasn’t allowing myself my number one outlet for conscious examination – writing.  It’s amazing what kind of garbage you can make yourself believe, but for some reason I can’t lie on paper, so yeah… double edged sword there. No outlet, no truth. Deny writing and I have no idea what’s really going on.  Avoid my friends and I don’t have to hear it out loud either.  Do both together and confirm your own pointlessness.      Messed up stuff y’all.       If anyone ever needed to get their ass to the page, it was me.  Is me.  When I don’t read and write I have no idea who I am.  When I don’t read and write I can’t even breathe deeply. I stop moving.  I think I fall a little bit asleep.  Or maybe a lot.  A lot asleep.   I have enough sense to hold my life in proper limbo – looks great from the outside! – but I take myself out of it.  Maybe I don’t need you guys.  Maybe it doesn’t matter at all, but  -   I think I do, and it does.  To me anyway.  It matters to me, and I think that maybe I’m getting that that is enough.    I’ve been really, really lost you guys.  Unable to comprehend what happened to me.  Thinking that the person I remembered… seemingly so recently… must have been exaggerated in my mind.  But I think I used to shine, and I think now, that it was not so complicated to let that happen.  So here’s hoping that maybe I can shake the stink off, heal the neglect all up, and breathe again.  Maybe I’ll find that the shining happens on it’s own then. 

I’ve had a few truly hermetic years in my life.  This is definitely one of them.  They’ve always been about integration and transmutation.  Right now I’m deeply drawn to a space that I was in when I was  15-17.  A deep certainty of self, and deep respect and connection to my art, a deep, deep self love and fearlessness of experienced emotion.

Did you know that Pearl Jam has their own XM station?  All Pearl Jam, all the time, my friends.  LOL  This is beautiful to me.  I love it.

Right now I’m really loving this song again.  It's hooked something and is pulling hard. What can I say?  I was a teenager in the early 90s.  Pearl Jam will always live amongst Zeppelin, Floyd, and The Who for me.  Townshend and Waters agree, so that's good enough for me ;)  It's a breakup song, of course, but it feels like a message to a former self that I feel abandoned by, whilst knowing full well that I was the one who bailed. 


 
Do you understand?  Have you been to this place?  Did you find the exit?

June 13, 2013

Oh Sweet Water!

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In the world of the desert, rain is reality changing.  When you live in the desert long enough your nose becomes like a scent hound for the notes of water.  When it rains the air is filled with the scent of water and earth and the dusty, sagey pastels of hte desert are transformed into vibrand gold, red, chocolate brown and the all surrounding evergreen. Teh sagebrush shows it's silver and I swear that you can feel the Earth's appreciation.

In the destruction of a three year drought, this kind of fat, heavy, day-long rain makes me giddy.  It may as well be Christmas for all the bubbly joy coursing through my blood today.  The fire is lit. The spice of incense is in the air. Warm lamps contrast the gray-blue sky of clouds.  Somehow weather is more glorious in the  mountains. 

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Quinn 2011

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June 11, 2013

Homemade All Purpose Cleaner



Our home has been chemical free for nearly a decade.  There was a time when I was addicted to bleach and anti-bacterial cleaners for the kitchen and bathroom.  My soap dispensers were filled with anti-everything soaps, and I kept hand cleaner in my purse and on my counters.  A little bit of reading about what that kind of behavior does to our environment and our bodies was enough to change my ways and never ever look back.

Our home is now filled with completely natural, essential oil scented soaps, the bleach is long gone, and I've been making our household cleaners for nearly eight years.  I run out sometimes, and get lazy, yes, but there's nothing like a soapy sponge to clean up the dirty surfaces when you're not up to mixing, or like me, constantly run out of one of your ingredients. 

Essential oils are amazing for all manner of things, from healing the body to cleaning the sink.  Just be sure you're using them for the right application! 

My favorite household cleaner is to simply scrub the sinks and tubs with plain old (aluminum free) baking soda.  It works just as well as the caustic chemicals and harsh powders, but it doesn't poison our water or bodies.  A wet rag, a heavy dash of soda on the surface, and rub.  That's it.  Even with our extremely hard well water I have no need to use anything else to keep things sparkling.  It even works to soak your shower head when it starts to slow down and spray funny.  If you like everything to smell pretty, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the baking soda.  I really like sweet orange and lavender for this.

Everyone else's favorite is my All Purpose Cleaner.  My midwife, who operates a Lavender farm, once gave me some of her cleaners, so I switched for a while, but got requests from the family to go back to my cleaner.  To make it you'll need:

A spray bottle
A funnel to make things easier
1 cup of white vinegar
1/2 - 1 Tablespoon of aluminum free baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of dish or castille soap
20 drops Sweet Orange Essential Oil (cuts grease and disinfects)
10 drop Vetiver, Lavender, Bitter Orange, Eucalyptus or Tea Tree oil (each of these has a different action, choose your favorite)

**I order all of my essential oils from Mountain Rose Herbs at the same time that I order all my herbs, spices, salts, cooking oils, and body oils**

The right order of mixing is important here to avoid an explosive mess.  In you spray bottle add about a cup of hot water, and pour in the baking soda.  Swirl it around to dissolve before adding a tiny bit of dish liquid.  Now, very slowly, so as not to cause an overflow, begin adding in the vinegar.  When the vinegar mixes with the baking soda it is going to fizz.  Remember those science experiment  valcanoes of your youth?  Let's avoid that.  Add the vinegar in as slowly as necessary, swirling gently to mix it in before adding more.  Once all of the vinegar is in you can add in your essential oils, and fill the bottle up the rest of the way with warm water.

You will see that the oils will rise to the top of the bottle.  You will need to swirl it around before you use it.  If you used castille soap instead of dish liquid you may have some solid white particles in your mix.  This is fine and won't affect your counters.

I use this for everything from washing the doors and light switches to the counters and kitchen tiles.  It works well in your mop bucket too.  Just don't try it on mirrors or window.  It'll work on your kitchen table too, but I'd stick with an oil based cleaner for wood if you like it to stay shiny and clear.


June 6, 2013

Reconnecting With Our hOMe

Just after we arrived home today a storm rolled in and brought a thick layer of hail and that amazing post-storm light.  We went out to take pictures, and stayed out to work on our yard, gardens and porch.

Here are a few of images that I got:

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