Breathe in peace.

I am going into the new year 20 lbs. lighter – but I still don’t feel right in my body, which means there is more to weight to lose, and sadly is a really scary sign that I was more unhealthy than I thought.

Last year was really tough.  The irony is this year, this month even, opens with even more stress in different ways, but I am being more serious about protecting my alone time and giving myself the things I need to  breathe easy again.  I am a tad lonely, but I know this time in the wilderness is necessary for healing.  My reward for vigilance is feeling myself slowly coming back to my core, which is more relaxed and laid back. The ball of stress I was for so many months is slowly shedding its skin and I will be ready to reenter society soon, but I am choosing to stay low, work on my art, write prayers for work, create rituals involving the elements, work on UU stuff, and just get to know myself again for a bit longer.  There are tale tell signs things are chilling out,  having to purchase a new binder because my weight loss is not just in my head, for instance, is a thing.  I am not really doing anything on purpose.  I don’t have a gym membership.  I will never count calories.  I am just listening to what my body needs.  Often, that means I am not hungry.  So, I eat a little food because its still important to take in nutrients for fuel, but I don’t have entire meals anymore, just small snacks throughout the day.  Eventually, I plan on getting back to regular exercise, but I am sure I am losing muscle in this so its best to see where my body’s cut off point is, and build a routine when I know more about what I’ll need to focus on, then.

I don’t know why it is that the human tendency when things are not well is to let self-mutilation reign.  We take so much out on our bodies.  It is so ironic that the things we should and could be doing to help ourselves in our time of trauma and difficulty we almost instinctively push to the back burner and instead and allow ourselves to be destroyed by our own demons.  Even this too, I suppose, has its rightful place in the cycle of things.  After all, the Phoenix emerges anew, with brighter colors, and strength in its wings to rise far above after emerging from the ashes of its own death…



Be the person

Be the person your younger self needed.  Taking in the current scene at my place and looking around  – what would younger me see?

What would I tell younger me about this part of life right now?  It’s the middle of the night.  Boxes are in the corner – getting ready to move into a house, renting, but still a serious adult move nevertheless.  Bedrooms for guests.  A den for study.  A yard and a garden to take care of.  A wife.  Eventually.  A career.  And two paths for “next” which needed to be decided upon in the next few years.  There is no floating.  This part of life is raw and rock steady.

You are up late working on items needed to be completed for ordination.  This weekend you are at MTSO again to start planning curriculum for the UU House of Studies.  You had a great chaplaincy day.  You have an amazing crew around you with some deep life giving friendships. Your family is healthy and you know you are loved.  Your faith becomes your foundation and no longer is your biggest frustration – most of your waking hours will be in some kind of service your planet and fellow mamals and all life around you –  and your fellow congregants recharge your energy every Sunday.  You are making it to the park often and your photography is getting really good (but you need to get to the gym because you are getting a little soft).  And even though you don’t know what to do with the Navy swag in the corner and the business cards piled on top of them this week – you know you are a blessing not a burden.  You know that those of the same pedigree are gifts to this planet for the margins hold the center.  You know your kind knows things because of not despite of our uniqueness.  Being genderqueer means being comfortable with a third way which is kept out of mainstream and only known to a small minority.  As such, in some ways, its like living as a lost boy and what others say and think matter not because if they had visited your secret island they would know better.  They would have eyes that saw beyond the surface.  They would see the ways they are bound and connected to all of humanity and life around them. They would have hearts that felt that connection to something other than their own arteries and veins.  But they aren’t on your path so they don’t see what you see.  So you have no chocie but to keep moving on your path as there is too much to do yet to be bogged down and bothered by intereference of ignorance or immaturity.  You have a responsibility to a high calling and you don’t have time to waste or lose entertaining such nonsense.  And yes kid, you made it to seminary.  And you did eventually become clergy.  And you are queer af.  You are queer clergy with no apologies for anyone because your bedroom is not up for debate.  You will shut that shit down in a heartbeat and in a way that spreads joy and compassion, not more hate.  You do eventually settle down and retrain that chaotic energy  you have always had to do some really, really, really incredible things.  You have to work so very hard to get to this point.  You spend hours becoming a better person so that your ministry grows healthy and strong. You cancel your GQ subscrition because your version of masculinity cannot be fabricated or bought. You wind up Unitarian Universalist and that religious tradition changes your life in ways you couldn’t even dream of –

Because – you are often the last person a dying person will see.  It is literally your job to help a person die easy and in their chosen faith or way.  And this summer you helped a lot of younger people like you, but in the future, learn that binders and packers and boy clothes are perfectly suitable options for those assigned female at birth.  You held the hand of youth that are in some ways smarter than you will ever be, but don’t have the capacity or wisdom of deep love yet – you gave that to them because in you they saw the future.  In them you did too.  You will continue to profoundly and deeply affect all humans in front of you and likewise you will be prodoundly and deeply affected by those same humans – becuase that love of humanity you have always had will sit inside of you.  It will grow.  It will grow so big it will feel like it is bursting out of your chest and you will have no choice but to release some pressure by radical acts of love in different ways in your future days.  And you will soon learn that this is the very point of your entire existence.

Yeah.  I am the self now that my youger self needed.  May it be so in all the remaining days and nghts to come.

Real Boy.

I am watching “Real Boy” on PBS while writing a historical narrative on how the second source update came to be in the Unitarian Universalist religious tradition.  The music from both Joe Stevens (Coyote Grace) and Bennett is helping the arduous process of explaining the chain of events that lead to this point in history.  Well, at least my small part in the process anyway.  I have received enough emails and messages of inquiries of how this all began and urging of our elders to tell the whole story, that I am doing that now.  Every publication, although fun to read, is missing the key ingredient that helped me and now us get to this point.


Interpretation and review in community is very important to me because this is how I live – revelation is not sealed.  Transient focus is I have approached this entire thing and the original reason, the crux of this all, was so that those younger than myself would come into Unitarian Universalism not knowing about the binaries, that they were glaring for so long – they will only know that they are prophetic people.  The history will be available but only if they want to know. They will not know the feeling of erasure that happens when your gender is left out but others are named.  It will just always have been. Yes, there will continue to be discrimination and misunderstanding of transgender and gender non-conforming bodies.  There will always be that.  But, by changing our wording, we maybe change our minds, and become more aware of our actions.  And we make the world just a little better one deed at a time.

Now that the stress of the second source is mostly complete and things are locked in until next General Assembly, work is settling down, and I’ve made almost a full recovery from surgery – it is time to get back to the business of taking care of myself.

I am excited about running again and losing some weight, sure, but feeling that feeling of full release that only hours of solitude can provide.  I plan on really focusing on getting better with my guitar, too, for myself and the betterment of my ministry. And I also just want to read.  And paint.  And draw.  And go to rallies.  And work against injustices.  I am so looking forward to becoming a real person again that has time to make the world a better place by making myself a better a person,


What was the highlight of all the things I was personally involved with at General Assembly this year?  The board after party I got an invite to?  The UUMA/MFN panel I got to speak at with key MFC folks in the room?  Sitting with all moderators (one of whom complemented my brown boots) and some board members navigating amendments in my mini-assembly and then meeting with them after telling them confidently and boldly I am going to go for 4/5 vote?  Hearing their support and words of affirmation this is probably the fastest amendment to come forward and its been 22 years since the last update – so this entire thing is “historic” and “kind of unbelievable”?  Being with my most beloved colleagues and mentor at the procedure mic, playing ball and going deep into the belly of UU polity to pull this off?  Having previous moderators come forward in support, feeling their grounded and passionate energy rallying around us at same mic?  Seeing no one at the con mic for minutes at the time?  Looking out at each crucial vote and seeing a sea of yellow of “yes” votes?  Looking across the hall as the TRUUsT official statement we had been working on all week with many of my TRUUsT siblings visible being read out loud to thousands of people?


The very best part of the entire week was looking into the eyes of genderqueer and gender non conforming youth as they thanked me with tears welling up in their eyes, feeling like they could in fact grow up to and be OK and do “cool shit” like me, likewise tearing up and feeling them collapse in my arms knowing that for a few minutes, on one special day, they are safe, deeply loved, and beautiful prophetic people.


staying the course

My favorite podcast (which gets 1,000,000 hits a month but who is counting, ha) is going to use my wording and feedback for their next Fanmail Friday show.  🙂  They wanted me to actually come on the show because my voice is “perfect for the air”, (its actually really quite good for the somber rooms of hospice chaplaincy which require peace and stillness),  but the timing is shitty because essentially I am out of the state and city off and on for the next three months traveling for work and UU related engagements…alas…just my written word will hit the airwaves but as an aside, its a really important point about social justice.  While recovering for surgery I was like what can I do to help the world more with the finite about of time I have leftover in the day?  Covering two districts and preparing for ordination means little to no time left for the other important physical work of making the world a better place.  I have tried a number of things without a lot of progress but I have stayed the course and kept working on this issue of abundant need to help and not enough time thing.  I also know I am not alone in this search so I kept going for the good of my collegues also in this position, currently. And then I heard the host of said podcast say somehting awful about a traditionally marginalized community…and I thought…I can just write this dude.  If he does something about the email and receives feedback, cool.  If not, well, so what, no harm no foul.  So I wrote in his own language so when wading through the emails it might catch his eye, and it did, and he read it.  He reached out to me.  We talked about it.  And he is going to address the faux pas this Friday.  I will be in UU History class with my mentor when the show airs – but going back to my dorm will be abnormally exciting.

This is going to be my new method for now.  I am going to follow the numbers instead of meeting on city blocks with 20 other people, making signs, yelling until I am hoarse – and hoping something with change (don’t get me wrong, scrappy and straight up raw activism has its place)…I’ve been there and done that and I really believe in that work.  But it is not mine.  It works for me for only so long.  Anyway, so I had this lightbulb moment…if mainstream social media and media in general dictate the culture(s) of America – I should go there.  And go there often.

This podcast has a sibling podcast with 2.6 million subscribers and the host is passing off my email to them because they have a few gaps in education and understanding as well.  I am going to keep doing this.  If I can affect 1,000,000 people with one email, from a host who is sensistive to my cause, I can systematically do this with even more popular shows, right?  I could get good at this and learn how to do this better and essentially keep going and see what happens.

I used to do my own education and my own public speaking and that really wore me out and I don’t think I could ever host anything again, but talking to the voices that America loves, behind the scenes and occasionally not so much, that is more my thing.

And its likely that people will disagree or have varying opinions and I welcome that because this is precisely I can land an actual spot in a show.  A show with more than 200 people listening.  And more than likely, 200 of the wrong people that are already working on x,y,z movement not the ones that are totally oblivious or without care.  It’s kind of like how anti-racist worshops always feature whites who are in big and small ways are fighting oppression daily…not the whites who are actually doing the most damage…those are the ones that really need to be present and they are always absent because they are unaware of a problem.  Anyway, its worth a shot.


The surgery went well.  I am just trying to lay low and recover, now.  I’m enjoying the surplus of family and friends that have brought me food, sent cards, texts, calls, and prayers.  It has been so good to catch up with my favorite humans.  I don’t know what the scar looks likes as the bandages will stay on and fall off in their own time.  At the hospital – I had a visit from a chaplain and I intrinsically understand the importance of my career, now.  I am still unable to articulate what he did – but setting the tone and mood and relaxing me are in the mix of feats accomplished with only a 30 second prayer and 5 minute chat prior to surgery.  I spend much longer than that with the people I see – but the depth was appreciated inside of the brevity nevertheless.  I have a followup visit on Thursday to see about those edges and to determine if precancerous tissue is hanging around in other parts of my chest.  Hurry up and wait, week nine, in full effect.

While spending the week reading, writing, and watching movies – I thought for sure my old favorites would provide some great laughs and comfort.  Ironman – the movie.  Superhero stories about overcoming physical difficulties and being better after the injury?  Perfect idea, right?  I had to turn it off within ten minutes.  Because, what worked for me five years ago made me ill this week.  I call this genre, “petty masculinity”.  We all know the archetype.  Appearance or pursuit of money, before taking care of oneself or community.  Thinking of oneself as a god.  Boisterous yelling to prove bravado.  Confidence that has gone wild and unchecked for too long that has been transformed into arrogance.  Enjoyment of hurting humans and animals because “man up”. Pretending success was “self-made” and “making it to the top” was accomplished on ones own merit with 0 help from family, friends, or a boss that gave a damn. The lone wolf archetype, which has been long debunked.  This was not going to work for me, anymore.

I wound up reading up on Noah Levine and his work in Buddhism.  This was masculinity I could get into.  I saw my family of origin reflected in his stories and my thoughts reflected in his theology.  He is cool and relaxed – but not forced and not for show or any particular reason.  He just…is.  I found myself wishing that petty masculinity never existed.  Those of us who lean male – what if this was not an option?  Like, what if it never was taught to us?  What if masculinity with deep roots and pride and confidence not built off power and dominance was the only way?  I could write a dissertation + on this – and someday I might.  For now, sleep and rest as the pain meds take over.