the veil

February 2, 2014

2014 certainly started off with a bang. Or several. Or rather, it has begun as a bumpy road; nothing overly traumatic, but it hasn’t been easy. The Year of the Horse has begun no easier, either.

Tonight Eileen did a tarot reading for me that illuminated many things… I saw many pieces of the puzzle, even if i didn’t see the puzzle in its entirety.

We did a pentacle spread, to ask about abusive relationships. The four elements, plus my personal state and at the top a spirit card. We both shuffled the cards, as the reading was in part for both of us; Eileen is very much a part of this situation. All cards were read as “right side up”.

maj18My personal state card, in the center, was The Moon. I have often had this card turn up in readings… Tonight it seemed spot on. A transitioning between two realms, through the veil of perception. My sign, Libra, is also a balance between existence in the spirit realm and the physical realm. In this card, I have just come from the High Priestess (a card that frequently comes up for Eileen and possibly represents her in some way), who has offered me guidance. On one side of the veil I felt perhaps confident in what I knew, but on the other side, i question everything i thought i knew. Nothing makes sense as it once did. Dogs and wolves fight and howl at the moon. A crayfish (very much resemblant of a Scorpion…) crawls from the water below, perhaps drawn out by the light of the moon, but what does it mean? The Goddess looks down from the face of the moon (also possibly symbolic of the High Priestess, who is associated with the Goddess, and thus Eileen), wise and a source of inspiration. But the land is dark and full of chaotic entities, which could be magical and enticing…or unknown and terrifying. Everything feels confusing, frightening, uncertain. Who to trust? Where to go? i could fight with the elements of the land in resistance; i could join them in madness. Or i could get into a boat on the river, and let the current take me, drawn by the Moon… i think this means i need to let go, just as my forecast said. To let the current carry me, to trust that i will be pulled in a direction that will help me (and others?). It’s not easy, letting go and relenting control. In fact it is scary… But maybe that’s the only way out of this dark place.

cups05The second card and first element card was Earth, representing stability, prosperity, security. My card was the five of cups: the “spilt milk card”. I stare down at my feet, wallowing in regret over what has been lost, perhaps in shock, feeling devastation, disappointment (perhaps in someone), sorrow. My stability feels shaken, i have no security, i feel. Yet behind two cups remain upright… I need to acknowledge that not all has been lost; nay, much has been learned. I need to lift my head and look ahead. But did I not need my cups kicked over as they were? I think I did… I thought Pon was a project, that I could change him, “better” him– my own ego blinding me to whether that was even a good thing to do, nevermind whether it was even possible for me to change him… I did learn so much from him, even though he hurt me. He taught me that my body is not bad, that sex can feel good, connective, that it is okay to want it, need it. I have a new respect, I think, for my body, in this regard. This card also reinforces the idea of letting go, especially in order to move forward…

wands09The next card in the spread was Air, my sign, representing communication, intelligence, ideas, imagination, dreams, wishes. My card was the nine of wands. i’m in a protective stance; i am guarded and wary. i am expecting the worst– being paranoid even! (Surprise, surprise.) Maybe i’m letting this paranoia get in the way of my relationships with others; maybe i’m treating them with a mistrust they don’t deserve (…Q). i lash out at others for things i suspect they will do, which they haven’t even done yet, which goes strongly against my concept of fairness. i’m feeling wounded, and remembering the blows of the past… But when you’re knocked down, you have to get up again. This is true in life, and maybe in relationships too. Keep going! The way is forward! Again, i think this card wants me to look ahead, not back; to keep trying, to pick myself and dust myself off, not to give up (on humanity, on myself, on Q?), to move forward.

swords08Next came Fire, the Destroyer, but also energy, passion and love. This card was the eight of swords, a card suggested to be connected with abusive relationships. This card reinforces the aspect of fear and uncertainty in The Moon. This card is the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t card”.  i am bound and blindfolded, surrounded by swords which will cut should i move. i feel trapped, confused, overwhelmed; i don’t know which way i should go. Yet i need only remove my blindfold to see that there is a way out: in a way, the blindfold and the binds have been my own… i was blinded by my own ego. Indeed, these circumstances are in part my own doing, and i shouldn’t allow myself to feel merely a victim. By acknowledging this i can remove the blindfold. It’s painful; the truth was maybe something i did not previously want to see. my ego needs to be crushed in order for me to see past it. But now there is hope for a way out… A way forward.

maj09Then came Water, (Q’s sign), emotions, the subconscious, purification, the soul… This was The Hermit, another card that frequently turns up for me. Actually, i’m growing quite fond of The Hermit… Well, i am walking with my lantern out in front of me and my staff in my hand as a guide. i am reflecting on all that i have come through. In some (many?) ways it feels like i have arrived back at square one… i can no longer make assumptions about what i know. i thought i knew Pon, after all, and those blinds were torn down to the naked light of day: what can i say i really knew? Yet it is not hopeless, for i have gained some insight about myself and others through these experiences… i no longer walk with my staff on my shoulder and lantern behind. i now illumine the dark, or at least try to, no longer taking anything and everything at face value. i can acknowledge some progress, though i should do so humbly… i take stock of all i have learned, and keep moving forward with that knowledge in mind. This card could also be representative of Q in a way: the association with nighttime and twilight, the colours of grey and silver. He has given me help; i have learned much from him about myself, relationships, other people, in a short time… Perhaps knowing him and learning from him is helping me take stock, just as Eileen (the High Priestess/the Moon?) has offered me guidance in a time of uncertainty…

cups11The last card, Spirit, was the Page of Cups. Rather disappointing, i had to admit. Why is he looking at that fish in the cup in that way?! This card is about emotion, intuition, intimacy, and lovingness… Eileen says there are other fish in the sea. Time for Pon to go out of the cup… Not that i have love him in a long time, but it is time for me to Empty My Cup, and move on. i should trust my intuition, and allow things in… Allow people (Q?) in? i should be open to guidance, both from within and from others. i should listen to my dreams, and my intuition. Trust my gut… Maybe it is okay to again be led by my heart, which comes naturally to me but which i have been strongly resisting lately. i think this says a lot about the future, and my fears and hopes about Q… Eileen is right, though; “owe nothing”. i owe him nothing, and he owes me nothing. i shouldn’t judge him, i shouldn’t expect changes– rather, i should allow myself to be the catalyst for changes only if that’s what he needs… And the same is true for me, too. Don’t stay with him, i need to remind myself, if we are not moving forward…

Eileen spoke truly… There is surely more clarity in our house now. The clouds have begun to lift… I feel optimistic. I need to talk to a certain someone…



Letting Go

January 1, 2014

It seems strange to me that I most often remember this blog when the year is changing. Not that I always write in it at those times… So it goes.

As you know, I am not one for making new years resolutions. Nevertheless, I feel there are some promises I must attempt to make and keep for myself. They are simple, but will be very difficult to fulfill…:

First: Be open. If i am to learn anything about myself, or anything at all, i must be Open. i think this Expanding has begun already, but i hope it will take me to new heights this year and every year from here forward. Admittedly, i’m scared, but “fear is a friend whose misunderstood”, which leads me to…

Second: Be brave. Don’t be afraid of others. Don’t be afraid of yourself. Don’t be afraid of the New. Of the Old. Of the Known and the Unknown. Or of Fear. Perhaps i don’t known what fear is, but i intend to try to understand, this and else. Which leads me to…

Third: Let go. If i am to be open, i must let go…of much. i must let go of my anxieties and fears, my desires and hopes, in order to understand them. i must let go of my expectations. i need to be flexible, which is always a challenge for me… i need to learn to bend. if i can let go, i think it will help me gain perspective on what i really Need and Want, that it will help me understand my Self better…and maybe others, to some degree, as well.

Finally: To Know is to Love. i don’t know if this is true, but regardless of how well i come to know myself, i intend to love my Self better. i am an infinite spirit in a finite person; if i do not love my Self, how can i love anyone else? How can i love the Universe? Therefore: Love Thyself.


Every day i must remind myself of these simple koans, meditate on them, and do my best to live up to them. i will start right now by saying,

i love you.

Cloud Atlas

December 31, 2012

Things are often late in coming to Cambodia, especially movies. So by the time I picked up Cloud Atlas at the Night Market, I’d already heard a fair amount of reviews– though I always stopped them short of plot-spoiling even a tiny bit. I can’t stand plot spoilers.

Cloud Atlas

First Impressions

This was a movie about slavery. And simultaneously, freedom.

Through various times past and future, through the interconnected lives of many characters, the story plays upon the theme of standing up for what is right…even when we think we lack the courage.


Buildings; landmarks;

the tower where the composer awaits his lover

the satellite at the top of the mountain


Journeys; climbs

Overcoming great odds

Dark vs Light

Succumbing to fear

Resisting fear, even when we lack bravery


the marginalized

race; gender; sexual orientation; age; socioeconomic status;

the Other


fighting back against insurmountable odds

a drop in the ocean… “Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?”

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

November 14, 2012



Originally posted on :

I’ve always been a pretty good student. Well, that may actually be a slight understatement. I am. such. a. nerd. I mean, I have a PhD in molecular biology for God’s sake. I learned pretty early on that schoolwork was something I just got. Trigonometry? No worries. Advanced American History? Check. In high school, I was in Science Olympiad AND History Bowl. In college, I only stopped calculus when they somehow worked in a 4th dimension (that insanity does NOT make sense). But for everyone, there’s something. There’s some achilles heel. For me, it wasn’t organic chemistry or P-chem (yes it was. P-chem is not okay); it was spelling.

Now, please keep in mind that I WRITE FOR A LIVING (I’m a medical writer), but spelling man, it’s rough. Alphabetical order made me cry in 3rd grade–no, really, I cried AND my teacher sent a note home to tell my…

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March 10, 2012

Seasons come and seasons go.

The sweeping piles of dusty blue clouds backdrop the open airport fields. Scoldingly, lovingly, they remind me of my temporal nature, and I call back to them,My loves, my time here is drawing to an end, but for fear I cannot lift my head to look beyond. Wither will you carry me?

Playing coy, they hurry on without reply.

To the assumptive eye, Kampuchea has merely two seasons, or rodow; it’s a fact, however, that there are countless seasons here, their edges patching into one another in a way that those assumptive eyes will never see. My Younger Self belies me, even as I tell quote Descartes to her, Question Everything. She wants to believe that it’s her own original thought, and yells back at me: Don’t believe it just because the pundits, the professors, the presidents said it! Rumify your understanding of the Universe!  Then she calls me an ignorant bastard and retires to her room to pout.

Rumify, indeed. Ways of Knowing have become blocked, clogged, for me. Phaedrus’ lateral thinking can move me out for a time, but the ultimate progress is when I recognize, even in a brief nanosecond, that i am a Way, and so are all the entities which fill the mattered Universe.

The Fountain

March 19, 2009

“Circles. He leads us in circles.” Circles (the bubble, the ring, etc.), as well as triangles (the pyramids, the constellation, etc.). Rings like tree rings, which determine length of life: “You pulled me through time.” Repeating patterns (the elevator, the stars behind the altar). Stars, candles, trees, lamps, snow. Snow: falling stardust.

The season of Winter.

The colour gold: in stars/nebulae (Shibulba), in eyes, in altars, in candles/lamps, in other forms of light. The colours black and white: the contrast between Izzy and Tommy.

Captain– he is called so in both the past and the present. Past, present, and future.

The Tree of Life, coincidentally, has sap that looks a lot like semen. Life-giving fluid.

Also, writing: the pen and ink, the book. Izzy as the Queen is often writing. Izzy is often shown with a notebook.

Mentions of roads (“The Road to Awe.”), quests (as to New Spain), the journey to Shibulba (“We’re getting closer”, “We almost made it) symbolic of the journey to enlightenment/realization. His clothes begin as very black, gradually becoming lighter, until at the very end when they are very white.

Shadows versus light: “Every shadow no matter how deep is threatened by morning light.”

“I almost made it.” “You know how it ends.” Inevitability of death. “I am going to die.” Acceptance.

Kneeling before the tree, as before the altar. Symmetry (as in the lotus position, the bathtub, the temple).

He accepts that he is going to die; he finishes the book, and realizes that death is the end, and also the beginning. A circle, again.

The year 2008 came and went, without a word from me here…

I spent many words elsewhere; not to worry.

Many things happened, too. The first black president was elected to the office in my home country. R.E.M, Coldplay, and Radiohead all released fantastic albums. Planets were imaged around stars other than our own. Ice was discovered on Mars.  And China hosted the Summer Olympics in Beijing with much extravagance.

Things changed a lot for me, too.

I graduated from college.

I worked at camp again after two years of being gone, this time as their Program coordinator, a job I’d never done before.

I started volunteering for a community organizing non-profit.

I became a barista.

I completed Sexual Assault Counseling/Advocacy training for the Listening Ear.

I lost a friend.

I gained some friends.

I stayed with Kashif.

What will two-thousand-and-nine hold? Only time will tell, but I have my hopes.

I hope I get accepted into the Peace Corps.

I hope I accomplish some measurable good on behalf of the non-profits for which I volunteer.

I hope I read dozens and dozens of books.

I hope I make new friends.

I hope I keep old ones.

I hope I stay with Kashif.

And as Aristotle says, “Hope is a waking dream…”


December 2, 2007



Her real name is Hsiao-wei, which means “sunset rose”.

She started ballroom dancing when she was in college. I don’t know much about her adventures in regards to this, but I know that she really likes to dance. Doesn’t she look happy in this picture? I have always thought she was very beautiful. Tonight, Kashif said I looked very pretty. Lately I have been thinking about how self-conscious I often feel. Not always, but a lot. In fact, it’s ironic, because I feel most self-conscious when I am alone and know that I will be with other people soon– when I am on my way to class, for instance. But once I am in class, I am audacious and outspoken, and I am not thinking about how I look. What could this mean? Well, in any case, while some people make me feel in adequate, there are other people who make me feel beautiful. Whether or not I deserve their compliments, they make me grateful and, as Kashif says, they make me ‘glow’. Kashif, of course, is one of these people. Mattfood has been one of these people. Stephanie is another of these people. Jacob was one of these people. My cousin Bryce is definitely one of these people (he’s so cute!).

My dreamland is calling. I suppose I should go to it… But I will see you again soon.

Endless Skies

October 12, 2007



July 10, 2007

Kashif recently bought a book of the poetry of Rumi. He showed it to me; the illustrations were beautiful. Rumi’s thoughts make my heart swell, from something familiar that almost feels like anticipation, but I can’t be sure what.

But just yesterday Kashif lost his backpack at work. Now we don’t know where it is, and Rumi is lost, too, because the book was in the backpack. Inshallah, it will resurface with all of its contents…

I’ve been looking forward to our family camping trip for some time. At the same time, though, I am afraid that my brother and I will not get along. I have been wanting Kashif to come up and see how beautiful and peaceful it is there, but I don’t want it to be affected by any tension my family might produce. At the same time, Kashif is a tangible reminder to me of God– my physical conscience. Inshallah, he will agree to come, and we will all have a good time… But a lot of this is going to depend on my attitude, so I had better start preparing now!


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