job satisfaction

an oxymoron for the moment. it pays the bills. it affords me. it exhausts me. god, i dread it.

an acquaintance of a friend said it best: “this place keeps me afloat, but i want to fly”  (amen to that, fledgling bird).

everyday, they say, i’m saving lives, making a difference. it is the most trusted profession. everyday i feel like we’re really dropping the ball, failing to pursue human wholeness. nobody ever promised that, but i feel like it should go without saying.

(just saying.)

a coworker said it best: “i feel like i’m just applying band-aids all day, but not really changing anything in the long-term” (the problem with the system, generally speaking).

“what is your calling?” i read somewhere. i thought. i professed to an audience of one, i want to help people change their lives for the better, to see them overcome the things that ail them. i like the small victories, we all have our demons.

a friend said it best: “i see you doing something natural and gentle” (i started chest compressions on a woman, the team arrived and fluids spilled out of her orifices as we pumped pressure, we pumped air, we pumped drugs in. she was very sick. she should have had a peaceful death but instead it was violently dealt).

i work for a machine. its particular set of values clashes with my own, it’s a bit of a storm. i’m working on a way out or a different way through. because i like parts of it, and i like the opportunities i have. i want more of the (human) parts i like, and less cog in a wheel.

do you hear that, universe?

i washed the body of a man who died a peaceful death. i met him only hours before. i gently freed him from his IV, his catheter, his heart monitor. i cleansed him and i put a tag on his toe and i rolled him into a bag and i zipped it up. all the while i thought about his life. he was a Cherokee man, and i wondered about the rituals and beliefs of his culture surrounding death. it was my honor to send him off in a caring and gentle way.

an herbalist who is also a scientist said it best: “[you can work within the system, but you don’t have to adapt its world view]” (true, but you still gotta answer for yourself). you still got an answer for yourself. what is the question?

when does the (r)evolution begin?


He is beautiful when he is my lover
Not when he is coming through the door after work, setting down his case on the carpet, saying “hello!” cheerily
He is beautiful when his mind is soft and warped with pleasure and his features are set with intent
Not when he is checking his email on his phone while throwing food into his mouth like a stoker
He is beautiful when he is a lightning rod and I am all storm and electricity wrapped around him
Not when he is picking out the music at the grocery store doing a silly dance while I am picking out the right zucchini
He is beautiful when he entwines my limbs with his and his fingers move like water
Not when he is concentrating on something else and pulling his arm up at an angle to lip his arm hairs
He is beautiful when his hand gently forces my neck back, and soft gurgles leave my mouth to ripple out into eternity
Not when he asks me if I went to the same salon again that I told him I would never go back to
But when his skin is glowing and warm and the hair on his body is a strawberry in the sun from the window and his face is peaceful with slumber I adore him like a god


the world is speaking, calling my name, a call to battle, to action, to change, to play, to learn, to jump in, to SEE; a portal to another place, a magic place (will I go?)

when I hear the same song or word multiple times in a string of days, when I meet people who are messengers, unknowing agents of the call. she is eager to learn about a different form of healing, “this is alison. she gets it.” he asks would i be willing to do some counseling on the side? “she needs a strong pagan woman to talk to” (ha! i can be all things.) when three birds dance in the stormy sky, when the textbook says personal conflict and a threat to well-being can arise when the system in which i work does not share my deep personal values.

I say keep talking. I am listening. pull me out, draw me out, show me the way.


a walk in the woods today

I’m so glad I went into the woods today, never mind about other things I need to do, I need to do this thing first

Never mind about what drove me there, this thing about a steps competition for a work incentive, which, ugh…I find it all terribly defeats the enjoyment of the wanderings, but if it drove me to the forest all is well

So many new ferns growing out of trunks of dying trees, covered in moss, so many little trails all connecting to one another…I followed a little compulsion, a little impulsion (?) to see where they would lead, then backtracked to make sure the map = the territory (it did) I wanted to memorize the trails for later

I finally learned what native plant Salal looks like in its habitat. I learned to identify between Western Red Cedar, Douglas Fir, and Western Hemlock. I snipped a little piece of cedar leaf and rubbed it on my wrist, then placed it in my bra to warm it up so I could smell it later, the divine and sacred smell of breast-cedar

I wandered through the forest for approximately 3 hours and 5.3 miles, I walked 12,865 steps and apparently climbed 24 flights of stairs…ha! who really cares? Those are not the things that make me feel good

It is a shared trail with horses and I got to see some folks out for a walk on this lovely spring day, which I am so happy I spent outside. I feel blessed to have this park so close to home for days like this.

My mood was elevated for the rest of the day and I felt all of these affectionate feelings for hubby Shaun because he was so willing to get a vasectomy instead of making me go on birth control pills, years ago. The mind wanders its own trails too, when you let it go. I laughed at everything and felt a renewed hope about my work which allows me to have days off during the week when no one is out there.



the stars remind me

The stars are pure bliss to me,

and the lapping of a many-cloven tongue against a rocky shore

a call of “hush” and “silent!”

The stars a field of flowers from a bird’s-eye view,

the world turned upside-down.

The way i disassociate feels right at home here, in this expansion, regardless of time,

and i hear a lone bird sounding a frantic alarm,

overcome by the waves.

A memory comes to mind;

Kristin and me, sleeping on the boat in summer on Higgins lake,

in awe of the stars and wistful for adventures,

flagging down at night the boats of much older boys,

eager to follow the beacon of our flashlights from the dock.

We knew better than to go, and blushed like babes at their approach

(because of their eagerness.)

What if they offered an alternate ending?

What if they had taken our hands and had led us on a wondrous adventure,

not expecting our bodies, not pressing in on the flowers of our youth?

(Surely we’d have succumbed all treasures freely then.)

The stars and the sea demand quietly,

but if i am not there to hear they will go on, sounding their snooze-alarm.

If i am awake enough to hear it then i will

(you need to be a little bit awake to hear them,)

those distant voices,

confounding past and future,

inviting pure bliss.