Monday, January 9, 2012

Ga-Filk 2012

Fourteen years ago I met Cameron at the first Georgia filk convention known as GaFilk. We gather the first weekend following the holidays for a relax-a-con to enjoy good company and good music. Filk, a misnomer in a program some fifty years ago, has become its own genre focusing on, but not limited to, parody, science fiction and fantasy.

Fiber Geek and Cat
We always open with champagne and signing. Party favors wait on every chair. Some even dress up!

This was the first time I could take off work both the Friday before and the Sunday after the filking weekend in order to not rush home, which created the opportunity to participate in the dead dog party. This year a number of professional bands hung around, allowing the synergy to become absolutely remarkable.
Elise Matthesen
Elise Mattheson was a delight. She not only is an amazing author, blogger, and poet, she also creates amazing jewelry. She gifted me with an original creation on the spot. I reciprocated with a pendant I had brought along and am interested in seeing what sort of creative inspiration it inspires.

Dragons are not unknown, either, as old friends come together...

New friends are made.
Auctioneer and performer,
Bill Sutton 

As a way to raise money for interfilk, which is how we bring performers from all over the world to filk, we have an auction which gets...interesting.

Filk Wench
Pictured is one of the "wenches" who was wearing a flashing mohawk and matching flashing gloves...which got real interesting which she "hypnotized" herself into bidding against herself! LOL

Anythings goes during the auction, including bribery, back rubs and impossible promises! It's all in good fun!

Cat Faber, formerly of Echo's Children

Brenda Sutton of Three Wyrde Sisters
Pug and Shaya from Switzerland
Cat's elephants in attendance.
When I realized that Cat's elephants and joined us for the ecumenical filk Sunday morning, I of course and to bring mine as well. My elephants travel almost everywhere with us.
Elephants Gabe and Bronte.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Well, that was fun!

Phone rings. I'm making food for our trip this weekend as the budget means eating in our room at the hotel. So against my better judgement, I answer, expecting Cameron to have called me back.

Debt Collector: "May I speak to [uber feminine name]?"

I'm sorry, she's not home right now.

Debt Collector: "Well, may I speak to her husband."

Loud snort from me, follow with, "You are talking to a gay couple. You should read the notes. You don't get paid this way!" Click.

That was he pays more attention next time. I used to be a debt collector. He didn't read the comment line giving the partner, a woman, permission to speak to the person on the other end of the phone wanting money. Snort. Another  target down. My work here is done.


"[E]mptiness can never be eliminated, although the experience of it can be transformed." 

Going to Pieces without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness by Mary Epstein, M.D.

One of the core beliefs of Buddhism is the the belief that, to understand one's true nature, one must become empty. But from the Western perspective emptiness takes on a very different meaning. We equate emptiness, rather than space for renewal, refilling, or being, as a space that is damaged, distressed, pathological. We perceive emptiness as not real, not fulfilled, not enough. Inadequate.

Put that thought on the back burner.

So what happens if we stop trying to fill our emptiness. Rather than seeking, every moment of every day, we stop the television, the distraction, the drive for fulfillment? What if, for a moment, a breath, this instant, we stop pathologizing emptiness?

Put that thought on the other back burner.

I'm a therapist. Well, an intern, but I do therapy. By nature, substance abuse counseling brings a lot of Borderline Personality Disorders to my office. My clients have made a career of avoiding emptiness. Many have taken pills so that can be "high" or in a place of not feeling, of avoiding emptiness, of ignoring it. Of numbing it out. They fear it.

Epstein responds this way: "Emptiness appears first as the dark side of our attempts to create a separate and self-sufficient self. Any therapy that tries to explain it away, or cure it with a corrective emotional experience, is destined to produce frustration and disappointment. Only when we stop fighting with our personal emptiness can we begin to appreciate the transformation that is possible" (16).


Let's put a personal pot on.

"When we grasp the emptiness of our false selves, we are touching a little bit of truth. If we can relax into that truth, we can discover ourselves in a new way" (20).

My life is about to change. Radically. Don't exactly know when, but I do know how. When change comes, it will change everything. Where I work, where I live, how I spend my days. I'll still be a therapist, but I'll be in a different environment. I'll also be preparing the home Cameron and I dream of, 3,000 miles away, while he most likely works on his internship here. While we will spend every moment we can together, there will be a great deal of opportunity for alone time as well.

Let combine and stir the pot.

I've not had a lot of alone time in the last ten years or so. My time has been filled with school, work, financial stress. Now I want to look ahead, to that alone time, and approach it with reverence, awareness, and respect. I want to step into that emptiness and let it become my next place of healing.

One last quote from today's reading, because I identify with it: "As the Buddhist traditions always insist, if we look outside of ourselves for relief from our own predicament, we are sure to come up short. Only by learning how to touch the ground of our own emptiness can we feel whole again" (27).