We were crouched in the small space, hunched over in order to avoid hitting the wall of the tent, our bodies so close we touched.

I waited apprehensively, not knowing if I could sustain the heat from the rocks or the psychological pressure of being in total darkness in this confined space. To calm my fears, I thought, what is there to fear in actuality? At this time in my life I accept the idea of life’s continuity. Now I have a chance to give up destructive thoughts and to gain a new outlook. If I passed out I’d regain consciousness. People are here to support me.  If I still need to be on this plane I will be. I thought about what had brought me to this place this day for this experience, and why I was here.

“What’s an Indian sweat lodge?” I asked Tamara.  “Come and find out; it’ll be good for you,” she said with a broad smile and a twinkle in her eyes.

One weekend in September, a sweat lodge was sponsored by the Lakota Indian Tribe in Wolfe City, Texas near Greenville, Texas. Tamara, a counselor, holistic health practitioner, and a Lakota Indian was one of the leaders of this weekend.  Not knowing what to expect, I anticipated an exciting time catching the enthusiasm in her voice. I was offered a ride by a friend of hers and a devotee of sweats.

We left early in the morning to Wolfe City. My new friend and I talked about the various healing modalities we had explored. I enjoyed the camaraderie.

We arrived early and were instructed to change into our bathing suits. Excited and apprehensive, I and others entered into an igloo shaped tent and sat in a circle with thirteen others clad in bathing suits.  Rocks which had been heated for four days and prayed over were brought in on a rake and gently dropped into a rock pile at the center of the circle.  Tamara described the four directions each representing different qualities.  West for insight, South for Wisdom and the two other directions.  Water was then thrown on the rocks and the heat began to rise and emanate the aroma of the sage being burned.  It became intensely hot.  The sweat started pouring from my body  The steam and the vapor were rising as the door to the tent was shut.  Eyes closed, I could sense the darkness around me  Unencumbered by heavy clothing, feeling the heat and the bodies of others, I felt as if I were in the womb.  I sat hunched over and totally still  Suddenly tears welled out of my eyes and emotions began to flow.  I do not know why.  I only knew that I felt both fearful and comforted actually like I was in the womb.

As my tears flowed, my body felt these strange sensations as if it were taking on the substance of the mud I sat in. I felt molten and pliable, an oozing loosening sensation as though layers were being peeled off me.  It was exciting to feel this cleansing sensation, different from anything I had experienced . In a sauna, one sweats, in a sweat lodge ceremony, one peels off physical and emotional layers.  I felt as if I were letting go of dead weight and being cleansed  Tamara said, “Pray to the Grandmother and Grandfather and ask what you each need. We each alternatively had a turn to pray out loud.  After each prayer, the person who spoke said, “Ho.”  The quality of this light , expulsive sound felt appropriate after the prayer.  My turn came. “Father take away my blocks to feeling whole and one with the universe. Ho”. I felt better after I spoke  We continued until each had a turn  Then we sang an Indian led by another guide in the group.

For the second round, Tamara began, “Now pray for your personal families, the universal family, and the extended family of the people on the land with us.” As we went around this time, my feelings came more honestly.  A man asked, “Grandfather, let my inhibitions be removed. Allow me clear vision, clear wisdom.”

I thought about how much the same we really are and how separate we all appear in this business of daily living.  Finally, a man’s voice cried out with heartfelt emotion to the Grandfather for release and surrender and he began to sob; cries suddenly filled the tent as his release seemed to bring permission for all of us to cry out.

I felt a surrender, a oneness with the group. How wonderful an experience it was to be able to release in unison this way. I was filled with joy that a group of strangers could come together and share so much, such heartfelt releasing and purgings.  I felt connected to the source of life and one with the transcendent and the mystery.

Slowly the crying subsided and we sang and chanted.  After several songs Tamara directed us, “As you leave the tent, walk in a counter-clockwise circle around the fire.”

As I walked out  the bright sunlight hit my eyes and I felt physically drained. I lie on my blanket near the tent, yet wanting to be back inside, feeling the comfort of the experience.  My energy began to return and I felt fresh and light  I looked around and saw Tamara by the tables laden with food.  I walked over to her and she hugged me.  Her hug was so comforting as I felt the warmth from her body. I felt joy and thanked her for the experience and kissed her cheek.  I said, “Tamara I feel so good.”  she said, “That’s what it’s all about, with a  beaming smile.

Then my friend and I walked over to an incline strewn with blankets feeling the beauty of life; the smells of the fire and the sage burning were exquisite to my senses.  The hazy  midst created by the fire framed the background of the woods.  I was absorbed with the greenery and the laziness of the people milling about:  a child playing, a dog barking, people lying comfortably on their blankets, holding one another, gently stroking each other, husbands, wifes, friends, all gave me such an exquisite feeling.

Random thoughts flowed.  “I am relaxed. I am whole. I am free. I am one with the universe. We are one.  I am good.  God is good.  God is me. I am…I am..I am…l

The moon was out. I looked at her, our great teacher who comes nightly, brightly, easily. People walking, slowly eating, comfortable, comforting.  I felt so much peace. I began to breathe deeply, fully, allowing myself to know a free filled expression of the life force which in the usual bustle and daily living I cannot even begin to sense.

The weekend ended with a final ceremony, smoking and passing the peace pipe.  Warsa, the main Indian leader spoke and gave gifts to those who helped set camp, build fires and been with them throughout the weekend  we stood in a circle and smoked the peace pipe, the stem and the base representing a man and a woman, apart and then coming together.  I took a deep breath and inhaled the exquisite aroma of the tobacco. I felt lifted from the fumes, filled with the aroma and the sense of being part of the whole.  The peace pipe was passed around the circle.  When the fumes died down we exchanged hugs and acknowledged one another in our godliness.  The message came from the heart. Love was the message, sharing and exchange was the message. I acknowledge you in all your divinity.  You acknowledge me in mine.  We are one and we are beautiful.

I left Wolfe City, Texas with a different sense of who I am, much lifted, much lighter, much more in appreciation of life and all its richness  wonder and splendor.

The joyous states are our birthright.








SURGERY A poem about a dear friend who was a therapist. She had surgery which affected her larynx.

The voice became voiceless
at the turn of the surgeon’s knife.
The house was filled with quietness
The canker sore of the woman’s throat
left the family filled with strife.
Fun no more; they doted upon her.

She gave too much; now must be fed.
Confined to her house
to learn to receive instead.
On the eve of winter,
the woman now dimished.

To be or not without her speech
live her life; listen to Bach.
His ear upon the heavans.
A trial life, spiritual number seven.
She gave too much, now must be fed.


Twinkling shimmering dots cover the skies
connecting Orion’s belt,
head, shirt, legs.
I see new brightness,
ecstatic pleasure overcomes me.

My head falls back in awe.
Trembling, tears stream forth, eyes glisten.
The night sky alive.
No city pollution
The canyon’s crystal clear
pure, resonating twilight.

A mass of God’s paintbrush
swirl the sky.
Let me remember,
these visions.

As I reflect my life,
back into smog, fog infested city.
Let me not forget God’s Grace.

Snow covered fields.
Mountain tops, passing roads.
Snow, there, here, everywhere.
Crunchy boots, indented
on chalky pavement.

New Year’s Day, New York City, 2015

New York City, New Years Eve, 2014-2015

I spent the  last night of December, 2014  thrilled as I watched the televised, New Year’s Eve from  New York City  my birth place,  bring in 2015.  I never saw so much electric energy as this New Year’s  from New York. Milllions of people sprawled the Times Square area in the freezing temperatures,waiting from early that morning; the time was close as the anticipation grew.

Taylor Swift one of the perfomers,  sung and danced across the stage  A song belted out of her, her dedication to New York as she swung and swayed her body across the stage , the energy built; she tore off her jacket in the cold , and invited the audience to sing along. Millions of people in the crowds belowed out the song with her. Two marriage were made as the stunned and shocked women said yes, and kissed their fiancess. Frank Sinantra played in the background with his traditional,” New York, New York.”

The camera switched to Dallas, Tx. where I live and to the Vickory street Theater. Dale Hanson was talking to the moderator. One man was planning to propose to the woman he loved. A nervous hour passed while he waited for his time. Asked what his New Year’s resolution was, he replied to marry the woman of my dreams. He got on one knee holding the ring. The shocked woman kept saying, “Are you for real?” and then said yes; the couple kissed so hard they were thrown off balance leaning to the side, the moderator put her arm around them for support. The Dallas Cheerleaders performed with strength and synchronicity, their scultured- like bodies, with snug fitting outfits. I got up from my seated t.v. position  to jump around with excitement and joy, my bootie shaking. Fireworks lit up the sky,shooting rocket like waves of brilliant colors to the heavans as the Dallas audience, amounting to one million looked up with gaping mouths. Dallas had her hay day. The camera switched back to New York, then panned to Booklyn. Sir Elton John,sung to a packed audience with orchestra accompanying him. Memories of his being dubbed knight by Queen Elizabeth singing at Princess Grace’s funeral flooded me.

Back to Times Square: The brilliant colors of the ball lit up, yet the traditional dropping of the ball no longer shown; that tradition died several years ago .The confetti filled  the area with white dots , dropped from high buildings into the crowds .Couples kissed, sang and screamed “Happy New Year.” The joy from this night was infectious. Into the night 2:00 a.m., people from 52 states and overseas still at times Square had been outside in the cold since early morning finally, slowly, streamed out of the area as temperatures got lower and the rain fell.

BENZO BRAIN- A poem about my finding myself as I get off benzodiazapines

Benzo brain,
benzo brain.
It’s not the same brain
I had before.
It’s clearer thinking,
expressive, richer, filled
with love, feelings, compassion,
crying, laughing, raging,
moaning, groaning, funny.

The days of hell are there -still
Yet, the other days are bliss!

I never had a sane brain
since I came from a family
who were insane.
55 years doctors prescribed me drugs.
I never knew why or when.
Who was I, where was I?

Now I have an identity,
I’m a crazy/sane
evolving brain
who loves to rhyme
and in due time
I’ll be better and
better. I hope!

Today I can express
so much of my life
which I kept hidden.
Gradually learning to say
the things I want
in a brand new way.
Quite a feat
at my age,
yet a lot better
than to hide away.newyork14


Rocks me gently as the wheels turn across
I in my sleeper, feeling wave-like rolling of
the undulating wheels under me.
The gentle swaying of my cozy sleeper,
dream-like,safe, comforted by America’s
heartbeat , as she takes me into her inner

As I gaze out the window , the dark night
embraces me with Van Gogh’s stary,
night sky of white and crimson stars
twinkling their nightime smile.

The azure sky softly embraces me
as the trains low whistle
keeps me companion.
The rocking to and fro.

The comforting lull as piercing stars
keeps me companion
rocking to and fro
taking me across the land of America.
Our country Tis of thee,
oh great land of Liberty.
Peace, peace, Om Shanti!
I drift , I dream. I wonder at the awe
of our country’s majesty.
Bring me more of my homeland!

ORIGINAL , My response to learning the formal style by Ronda Dee @Oct 30, 2014

They ask me to be original
within a box of rules.
With anapest and Budapest
Iambs and troches are best.
I almost suffocate
on a villanelle.

I haven’t learned to play
the troche and the anapest
The names of all I do.
I write free verse
at times quite terse,
other times it flies away
pen to paper saves my day.

I may retire from hard knock
school of writers
Take my muse
and dip her in a pool
of ink and dry her.