Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Just when I think I’m spent
Given up my last penny
Can’t take one more breath
Fingernails broken scraped
down the sides of the tub
Not getting fished out of the drain
Along it comes
This damnable thing called hope.

@2012 Jennie Olson Six

Monday, November 26, 2012

My big head

So get a text from a friend that says "nice picture in the paper today."  And I'm thinking that it's for Persuasion, that opens this weekend.  Nope.  Second page in the Union Tribune, my big head is on the page.  WOW!  And the next page, a nice big article about Persuasion.  So to my friends who are wondering where I am and what I'm doing, the paper is publishing my whereabouts.  Does this make me a Kardashian?  If so, I want better clothes.  And someone to do my hair. 

But seriously, I have a lot to be grateful for right now.  And I am so grateful.  We have a public reading tonight of my play at New Village Arts.  This is the dream.  When someone says they're going to workshop your play, it's pretty amazing.  So if I'm not posting a lot, know I'm rewriting.  Or driving to get to my call ontime.  And I'm thankful for all of it. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Kevin Six's Famous Last Words

*No, do not get yourself a piece of cheese, the man eats first.
*You me sex now!
*It'll only take a minute.
*No, it won't hurt me, I'm a trained trapeze artist.

Finding peace in chaos

I feel inadequate in trying to describe the past few days.  Watching the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy through the lens of the media solidifies a few things for me:
1.  Being present means being present with what is.  Not what it should be, what I should think about it, how I should feel about it.  Just what is.
2.  Staying with this thought from a recent workshop: "You wouldn't walk up to someone who is standing in their pajamas with their three kids in their pajamas, watching their family home burn to the ground and say 'it's all good.  there's a reason for everything.'  That's abusive." It's called hug your neighbor, don't put a band-aid on a chest wound.
3.  Can I be a part of the solution?

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness" Chinese Proverb

Monday, October 15, 2012

Practicing the Present

Present:   being, existing, or occuring at this time now.
In this crazy, 24/7, non-stop media, facebook, twittering frenzy world it is hard sometimes not to be distracted.  Incredibly hard sometimes.  Add something difficult in life and become even more scattered or frenzied.  There have been times in my life where I have been completely fractured and really only paying attention to the distractions.  And there have been times when I've been completely self-obsessed to the point of not being able to hear the other person who is in the room.   There have also been times where my pain was louder than anything else. It's those times that being present with what is actually brings more peace than trying to out-think, solutionize or rationalize.
Coming from those experiences, I have learned to watch out for different things and practice being present for each and every moment.  When I am in conversation with someone and my brain is rattling off things that I want to say or comments or being whitty or sarcastic, if I can stop and pause for a moment before I say something, I am more aware of my ego trying to speak.  Instead of obsessively thinking about a problem, I find some gratitude for what I currently have in my life.  When I am unhappy or angry with a situation, I step back and look at it and ask myself "Am I frustrated because I am afraid and responding from a place that doesn't have anything to do with today?"  Taking that pause, stepping back, doesn't make me ineffective, it creates space for me to pay attention to what is going on right at that moment.  And it gives me space to respond differently and look differently at my current set of circumstances.  If I take a moment to pause, I become more aware of what is and not what things should be.   In yogic philosophy this is the practice of Santosha or contentment.  And sometimes, what is is not such a bad place to be.  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Awake (Wednesday morning poetry)


Perchance to not dream.
What if what appears is
An illusion created?
Fear molded complicity
Fables taught as facts
Perceptions as reality
All lies.

Waking up to dream:
As, what is appearance,
Creation of false reality,
Sparks the light inside
Emerging to awaken the flame
Of our collective consciousness
And set our souls on fire.

@2012 Jennie Olson Six

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


 So, very painfully, I crept into a new chiropractor's office last week. No physical yoga practice for 10 days.  And when I start again, it won't look like anything that I've been practicing.  No, this is called slow progress back.  And it was time to take the practice of yoga from one of the eight-limbs and reflect on the other 7 and how I’m practicing or not practicing.  For those not familiar, there's a great article from Yoga Journal about it:
1.  Yamas - this is how we practice off the mat with others.  There are five of them:
Ahimsa: nonviolence =  I pushed and ignored my body, and my body-workers recommendations and didn't do some much needed self-care.
Satya: truthfulness = Was I lying to myself about how things were affecting me?
Asteya: nonstealing = Am I'm stealing someone's time by not following good advice, procrastinating, time wasting, etc.
Brahmacharya:  the idea of walking like God.   Am I doing that in my actions with others or am I feeding my ego or having thoughts that do not serve?
Aparigraha: non-hoarding, not grasping.  This has literally manifested in the right side of my back. My right hand literally grips.  What am I gripping and holding onto so tightly?  What do I need to let go of?
2.  Niyamas - self-discipline and spiritual observances.  There are five of these.
Saucha: cleanliness = What am I putting into my body?  Am I putting in sugary foods to make me feel good?
Samtosa: contentment.  Am I present with today?  Can I cultivate gratitude for what I have right now?
Tapas: heat; spiritual austerities.  Ahh, what is also known as the friction of conflict.  Sitting right in the middle of this right now.
Svadhyaya: Self-study, reading of the sutras, mantras.  Suddenly I have way more time for this.  But self-study is not limited to reading of these books, it’s the application of this.  Taking time to reflect, taking an inventory of my life and thoughts at this moment.
Isvara pranidhana: Surrendering to God.  Some people reading this will know a whole bunch about this.  Surrendering to what is.    To sit before a teacher and learn.  The understanding that you are a small part in a greater universe.
3.  Asana. (physical posture practice)  This one is out.
4.  Pranayama - breathwork.  Thought I'd actually try and practice that 45 minutes a day BKS Iyengar suggests but he also said if there is a back issue don't do it.
5. Pratyahara - withdrawl of the senses.  First stages of a meditation practice.  Why yes, I have time for a daily practice now.  Simply closing the eyes.
6.  Dharana – focused attention. Another phase of meditation practice, focusing on an object, diety or mantra.  Keeping the focus regardless of noise outside or a noisy fly. 
7.  Dhyana – meditation.  The prior two get us in the arena.  This is staying in the arena.  Staying with the stillness.  
8.  Samadhi –  Deep down, we all want peace.  This is the realization and experience of that peace.   While vigorous asana practice has brought me to this place, as my teacher says, don’t grasp onto that as the goal everytime.  Because you may not get there.  So it becomes the practice.    So I bring myself to the mat or cushion, with the idea that I may not get here.  This is the discipline.  

So out of this, stems a new appreciation for my practice.  It is also making me a better teacher as I can't physically demonstrate so I get to explain things really well.  And I get the opportunity to walk around more and physically adjust people rather than get caught up in demonstrating. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Paper Stars

Paper Stars

We were making paper stars:
 Some were almost perfect. 
Others reflected the unsteadiness
 of 8 year old wobbly hands with child-safe scissors. 
And with each imperfection the delight of the task slowly faded. 
We would not have perfection.
We would have almost good enough,
A chip away at a much bigger idea.
The idea of not good enough. 

In these years of living there
That idea became a mantra of
Disappointment turned inward
Of it’s ok and shouldn’t have expected so much
Turning dark on the inside
And waiting for something better to happen
That never did
In the light of imperfection
Everyone seems happier than you.

But no one needs to point out
8 year old imperfections
Only delights and beauty and wonder
Of how these things come to be
The perfection of being imperfect
in the creation of anything
for the delight and enjoyment of creation.
For where would we be if we did not look up and wonder
And then create reflections of what we have seen.

@2012 Jennie Olson Six

Monday, July 16, 2012


The word Opehqueh in Nahualt tongue means "they began."  This is the name that some incredible ladies  (Marisol Best and Crystal Mercado) chose for their project that I am SO excited to be a part of.   The short version is that we are an ensemble group creating a piece about the effects of technology.  This started in March of this year with a group from San Diego Junior Theatre.  They had about 13 pages of a script from that process.  What our part looks like is a lot of improv, writing, discussing and eventually, a reading.  It has been SO fun being a part of this process.  Saturdays rehearsal was spent sitting on bean bag chairs, improving a scene between our main characters, and eventually writing what inspired us from that rehearsal.  I think the freeing part of this, for me as a writer, is that I don't have to come up with or create a finished product all by myself.   Really, it's put ideas down, let others run with it.  It's been very exciting to be a part of the process in a group setting, where we talk about what works, what doesn't, does it fit, does it make sense, and having more heads than one is a great place to be.   Stay tuned: we have a deadline of a performance date for a staged reading of this piece on August 11th! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The condensed version

Last time we talked, it was before I went to Alaska.  If you want the idea of how it went check out the Fringe Board, yeah, they read my play.  I read some other wonderful plays for some talented playwrights.  I also got really sick.  Like food poisoning teeth chattering sick.  But life-changing, yes.  I came back with a different set of eyes and a different outlook on my career. 

Taking more time to write.  Less time to do the social media thing.  Which is why I'm opting for internet free weekends.  It's still a little rough but I'm finding myself spending more time with friends and less time chasing down their updates and cute sayings.  I've cooked dinner twice for friends and actually written a rough outline for a screen-play, revised a couple of shorts and found more opportunities for work that pays and lets me do what  I love.  Yeah, bonus. 

A year ago, today, I said this quote along with some other stuff, in front of a bunch of people, to a person, and I meant every word I said:

“Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words "make" and "stay" become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.”
Tom Robbins, Still Life With Woodpecker 

First year is paper.  Paper Covers Rock.   Enough said. 

Friday, June 1, 2012



In my mom’s friend’s backyard
Tall weeds
Unfinished construction
Dirty rusted nail in wood
Now in my foot

Tetanus shot
Cockroach infested kitchen

We bond with each other
Over bloody feet
Circumstances into which we’re born
Methods we used to cope
Until that turned to addictions
Without the benefit of recovery
Taking new lives down the same paths
Of unclean
Impoverished realities
Recreating circumstances
As if there were nothing else available
When we know the truth

There are other times
When we have walked
Clean grass under feet
Smell of crisp wet summer
Without shame

 @jennieolsonsix 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What Seeds You Water

This weekend was a whirlwind of activity and celebration; weddings, graduation parties, fun and not-so-fun endings.  But one of the slower moments came from watching Wayne Dyer on Super Soul Sunday, in case you don’t know, Oprah’s alternative to Sunday morning sermons and televangelists.   A snapshot would be this:  you can’t afford to think anything but what you want in your life, you have to replace your thoughts.   This isn’t wishful thinking.  This is replacing your thought patterns.  For yogi’s it’s mantra work.  And it’s something that I’m actively practicing and working on in my life.  But sometimes you have to dig down and figure out the root of where the bad thought or seed is coming from.   And that work is messy but necessary. 

Today, I had conversation with a friend about how horrible everything was for them and how they had no choice in what they were doing and why.  After I hung up and started to drive home the thought came up “it depends on what seeds you water.”  Even when things are not so rosy, it’s one thing to feel bad and feel discouraged, it’s another to let that turn into the frame of the picture of your life and that this bad thing will be all that I experience.   If I actively affirm all of the bad things that go on in my life, I’m going to feel like crap.  But turning that into an active affirmation of positivity is slow process sometimes.    And I have to believe in what I’m saying.  So digging down into the roots of the weeds of my garden and looking at them, replacing them with some new seeds and watering, these things take time.  And patience. 

Use Everything by Rick Belden

I’ve been running from parts of myself for years
even as I believed I was embracing them
I’m still running
but I’m getting tired
I can’t run as fast and as far as I used to
and even when I do
I can’t seem to find the places where I used to go.

I guess it must be time for something else.

sometimes the only way to rise is to sink
sometimes the only way to move is to be still.

can I sit naked and wait
can I stand my ground in the rain while the lightning
strikes all around me
can I change my way of thinking
without thinking
can I remember to be kind to myself.

bad luck is the language of the unconscious
the body is the gateway to the knowledge of the soul
every experience has healing potential
every person I meet is my mirror.

life’s true work
is the work of the soul
the challenge is to love myself
to be with myself
in my body
in every moment
no matter what’s going on.

it’s all soul work
use everything.

Monday, April 30, 2012

#POETRY Last Day 30/30

So this was just as challenging as it was last year.  So I leave you with the last two.  Enjoy.

If I Can

If I can steal away
for a few precious moments
hold fast and take breath
into this full-throttle paced life
step back from the storm
watch it pass
there might be some space left
to create something new
out of the rubble
into something greater than I ever dreamed.

The Wooden Door

Two hearts stand guard atop
Weather worn wood
Outlived the lifetimes that carved it
Hinges rusted paint faded
Once someone's dream house
returning to the woods now
Moss topped roof growing sprouts of birch trees
Weight weary
Abandoned or forgotten
The lives that once lived there
Still the door
Stands watch.
Waiting for someone new to enter
That never does. 
Wrecking balls and junkyards
unless the woods reclaims it
as one of it's own. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012



I just got started:
Community college class-load
Part-time employed
Starving student vegetable rice dinners
Cheap tennis-shoes
Growing out dyed hair
Retro-fied hippy wardrobe
Minimum payment on maxed out credit cards
Running slippery rain hills
Boyfriend at the 4-year university
Push start Volkswagon Super-beetle.
I went on to waste my time in various ways,
70's disco themed parties,
Hippy to office appropriate to yoga culture
Moving states,
Changing boyfriends and bedroom furniture
and jobs and careers,
Having choices.

You no longer have choices:
Ended in dirty lands
Filthy wounds
Too soon is a fucking understatement and a crime to say.
As I saw your name and age
Amongst the list
Of 33, 31, and places like Idaho
Hunting, Simi Valley
Families never getting their prayers answered
Hopes smashed
Dreams of college education
What happens to that money that should have gone
To community college class-loads
Vegetable rice dinners
And cheap tennis-shoes to run in
Slippery rain hills?

Your names now on a list
That is far too long
And too often forgotten
When we can’t be pulled away long enough
From being entertained
To recognize the sacrifice
The loss of dreams
The elimination of choice
So we can still think we have one. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

#POETRY "To the Maidens"

To the Maidens;
You less than skinny,
stockings runned, pock-marked, less than perfect beauties
You who can not compete with airbrushed lies
But live full out in your speckled skin wonder
Worsened by the unknown chemicals in food
Supposed to feed but poisoning us.
Those earned feathery eyes
Sparkling behind oceans of tears,
Shed in moments of pain or joy
They do not compare
To the soft weather of your hands
Worked to keep mouths full
Of sunshine and hope
Tired, oh yes,
 but in those moments of wondering,
 Whether to ball into rage or comfort, you make choices
To laugh,
To breath,
in spite of polluted air and better beauty products
made only to consume what has already been consumed
hips made to sway
lips made to smile
cracked open you are and you run anyway
on feet bounding through blistered dreams
cause this, girls, is what it is to dance
and this, is what it means to live
in a world that doesn’t believe you’re worth saving
Hair, wild, burning through forests of
Doctors making surgical options
To make a better you,
And politicians making god-like decisions
That they were never hired to do,
And believers so lost in their own pollution
They forgot the holy words left by their savior’s blood.
But these are stitched into your fingernails
Hollowed into your marrow
Gray mattered gospel it can’t be broken
They try to erase you and yet the angels sing praises in your name,
The vibration of their voices shake them all awake
Crumbling institutions that can not save,
Because we knew that already.
Holding onto pieces doesn’t put them back together
It just makes us stronger.
These tree-trunk legs were made to work
And dance and hold ourselves up when no one else did.
This, you fire-dancer, keeper of the down-trodden, lover of the beast, speaker of the truth, shoulder-crier, breathless rebounder, giver of all you have got and then some more,
you are what makes this world bearable. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

#POETRY catchup 22, 23, 24


Let us just call it
what it really truly is
hot red angry skin. 


Childhood sweet delights
Sticky mess when stuck in hair
good until the stick.


My husband wants one
A chance to live in the wild
But I am the wild. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

#POETRY or lack thereof

Can't live without you

Tasty delicious
once black now creamy goodness
my morning coffee.

An Love Letter to Chocolate

So many ways you have come to me:
hot chocolate with marshmallows
milky goodness or dark mystery
bitter bars used for cooking
melted goodness for dipping
sometimes dipped and then hardened over bananas or pretzels

heated by flamed marshmallows between layers of graham crackers
poured over ice cream
sometimes in your appearance you are hot fudge
liquid sipping kinds

round confections
surrounding liquid caramel
infused with things like
nuts, vanilla, coconut, raspberry, mint, cocoa nibs, chilis, lavender sea-salt goodness,
oh chocolate, you had me at hello.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

#Poetry so far behind I don't know where today will land

We've been here before
and yet we repeat the same words
hoping they'll mean something else
but their truth holds stronger
than those items on the old crazy glue commercials.

And all those needs for normal
all those holes trying to fill
with cigarette smoke and clairol hair dye
short skirts and big hair
only further pollutes the environment,
kills the fish and the river and even the trees.

It's never going to be enough for them,
there's no one coming
there is only hard work, painful stories and wasted days
drink the coffee and put down the hair gel
put down the cape and pick up the reigns
you're gonna ride right out of here
but you have to find the horse first.

You will bandaid the broken
Wipe away tears along with the makeup
And hold onto tokens of achievement
they will get you where you need to go.

Legally responsible
Rented Room
Working Upward
One Day at a Time.

seemed like a wonderful idea
but this is really not a wise
or wonderful decision
but boy you will learn
and you never have to return if you don't want to
but 19 and 31
young and healthy
and practicing junkie
do not mix
but this is a lesson
that some of us have to learn the hard way.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

#POETRY 15 of 30

Birthday party
Bouncing Baby Boy
French onion dip deliciousness
Birthday candles never lit
Freezing in Southern California

Wandering mallards
Bocce balls
Women talking
Brilliant Ideas
Words of Wisdom

No one lit themselves on fire
No one shot their eye out
No one got food poisoning
No, it was a good day.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

#POETRY co-written by Tiffany Tang

I'd post a link to her blog but I can't find it!
We wrote this on text messages back and forth.
We may add more later.


Death sits on the couch,
doesn't like the drapes,
hates the furniture,
and wonders when his time will come.

Death sits on the couch,
contemplating suicide and thinking,
"Well, that's just redundant."

Death sits on the couch,
realizes that so many wait for him,
but never get beyond that thought,
and then it's their turn.

Death sits on the couch
He watches me as I move in and out of her room
We eye each other
As I pass into the hallway
Is he here to comfort me?
He can't
He's too bony
Not a good hugger, Death.

Friday, April 13, 2012

a blog post a little #POETRY

My thoughts for the day:  I still stick my foot in my mouth, I just have learned not to chew on it.  This pretty much applies every day.  And it's a little atrocious sometimes.  But I've also learned to keep my mouth shut and THAT actually helps.  A LOT.    Now here's the Poetry, I'm behind 2 days so it's 2 days worth:

Update on the Psychosis

I didn’t feel like
Writing shitty poetry
so here’s to crappy….

51 degrees
Light rain
Bus stop
No umbrella
Useless shoes
Ruined hair
Sopping wet
Bad cell reception
Missed call
Cancelled date
Wasted bus fare
Thunder claps
Lightening flash
Seek cover
Puddle rivers
Storm drain tsunamis
Lost shoe
Frigid toes
Coffee comfort
Card declined
No shoes
No service
Bus early
Kind eyes
Deep breaths
Kind offers
Wiped tears
Warm cup of tea
Grateful hands
Phone Frenzy
Sympathetic ears
Rescuer coming
Many thanks
Cold wait
Warm car
Comfort heat
Safety net
Homeward bound

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

#POETRY Day 11 of 30

To the Self-Proclaimed Wine Steals Whore:
You may make out with them in the parking lot,
Share wine and tales in the same room as some of your former consorts,
But unless they see you for the diamond you are
Tell them to pay their own damned cork fee!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

#POETRY 9 and 10

Tuesday Morning Blues
Going for that big long drive
Might be the wrong town....


I guess you thought that
Occupying my kitchen
Wouldn't make me mad...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

#POETRY Happy Easter


Candy-filled, hollow chocolate bunny, peeps, rabbit-poop jelly beans.
Easter outfit. 
New shoes.  Dress. Usually floral.  Sometimes white.
Easter Hats.  New outfits.  Long sermons.  Boredom. 
Maybe sun.
Maybe rain.
Easter Egg Hunt.  Pretty hard boiled yuck.  Plastic-filled goodness.
Japanese Cherry-Blossoms.  Daffodils.  Pansies.  Easter-Lily.
Ham.  Potatoes.  Salad.  Easter candy dessert.
Childhood. Family. Rituals.
Liberation.  Freedom. Relief.
Forgiveness.  Release.  Absolve.
Into Something Else.

Phone Calls

I am not sure about you.
Nor sure why you are really calling.
But it is good to hear your voice.
But I hesitate. 
Blood relations are complicated.
And non-blood history makes it ever so twisted. 
But still, it is good to hear your voice.
Phone calls make it convienient for those who
Do not wish to traverse miles to see one another
And for those who can’t really bring themselves
Face to Face with their failings. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

#POETRY 6 of 30


In a strange mix of common numbers and fondness for all things verbose we intertwined.
You started showing me the shards early on.
A blanket of ocean sized love could not put out the fireworks that light up and burned the ground of a rational human being when the flint accidentally got ignited. 
These are the scars that don’t heal right.
This is the place where creativity and positive thinking collide with the reality of brain trauma and broken love that turns nuclear and lays waste to three hundred and fifty thousand miles of hope.

I, unfortunately, am not known as a quitter.
I, actually, know how to surrender. 
To put up a white flag and hope that someone else is watching.  Even when that someone else can’t be defined as an actual person or existence because, lord knows, no one can agree on anything including defeat. 
Surrender is not releasing the idea of hope
but rather leaving the idea of your definition of hope behind for someone to replace it with something better. 

This is not an easy task for the controlmonger.
Don’t let that idea sink in for a moment.
This is called claw marks scraping the sides of anything I let go of,
This is called taking a forty-thousand pound chest breath,
This is pulling eye-lids back and understanding that they may never grow back.

But for you, you broken-winged demon, determined to get back to hell, fire-breathing, raging ogre showing your best ugly,
All of which are also contained inside of me,
I see rain coming.
Sprinkling at first, then moving to showers.
Covering wetness to put out fires of unrequited pleas for mercy
soothing flares of sadness
putting to bed all of your unholiness that never were your truth.
I can’t promise you that you’ll forget hell,
But I can promise that you don’t have to live there.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

POETRY 4&5/30

Emergency #1

They say don't try this
at home but some can't resist
the need for stitches!

Emergency #2

Noodles falling down
over clean floors please don't feed
ant infestation.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

#POETRY 2/30 "Grace"

I looked up Wikipedia for the definition of grace.
Looking up things in Wikipedia is usually a mistake.
But I needed some reassurance so I went to the online dictionary
And it came out a little something like this:
Elegance or beauty of form, action, manner or motion; a pleasing or attractive quality, favor or goodwill, a manifestation of favor by one’s superior, mercy.

See, it gets messy here in humanity.
There are those that think they have the corner on the market of grace.
And because they do,  they get to judge who gets it and who doesn’t and why they should or shouldn’t. 
We humans are like that. 
We like to judge.
We like to put things into categories.
We put labels on them, sort them, and then condemn those for not sticking to their little labels, and tell others that they’re going to be punished.   
It’s Barbi and GI Joe on a much grander scale.
When Barbi did something wrong, she got put into the toy box and pulled out later after she was significantly punished….
Except our judgment is a little twisted.
Our human survivalist notions of self-preservation clouds our vision so that only if things are in my category, my label, my sorting decides who gets punished. 
We have the idea that we are in the job of handing out justice rather than correcting our own mistakes.  
We offer judgment rather than observation. 
We offer righteousness without self-reflection. 
“Barbi you are guilty of driving Ken’s sport coup under the influence of Coco Puffs through the neighbor’s back yard and now there is mud on the carpet, you are sentenced to your box.”
You can’t just traipse through life driving someone else’s sport coup and getting mud on the carpet. 
So, what about grace? 
We decide whether or not we are capable of handing out grace.
 It’s because we have a hard time defining what grace is to begin with and how it applies to us.  I have a hard time defining what it is, what it means.  How can I explain something that I don’t apply in my life?  How can I offer something that I have no idea what it is?

But somewhere there has to be grace.  Someone has to figure that one out.   I can only define grace because I’ve seen it once or twice.

A stream of relief that comes when you least expect it.
A merciful moment in the middle of chaos. 
A mother telling her story of her first born that lived for only for moments, choosing to hold her baby until the last breath was taken and heartbeat stopped.
A parent offering of forgiveness to the teen-aged child who made the mistake of shooting his schoolmates, including her own son.
A woman pleading for mercy in the sentencing of the boy whose careless deed permanently disfigured her.
A violent drug-addicted offender choosing recovery on a daily basis.
Holding the hand of a dying parent whose deeds left scars no human is able to heal.

These are what I call grace,
and while I don’t know that I am capable of any of these things
I know, they exist for me to have something to look at
And define
And capture and hold in my heart
For they show me
What it really means to be human. 


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Dark at the Top of the Stairs

Oh, sounds so mysterious and threatening doesn't it?  But sadly it's a tale of irresponsibility and harassment.  And pure stupidity.  It goes something like this.  The Saturday before Thanksgiving, my husband and I were awakened by loud crashing noises upstairs.  Like luggage being drug up the stairs.  Having had weeks of construction going on upstairs previously, we assumed that someone was moving in.  And moving in at 11:30 pm on a Saturday night.  My husband went out there and asked the two women what they thought they were doing and if they didn't stop, he was calling the police.  Logic set in at that point and they stopped.  But that was the last time logic set in.
One of the first things we found out about the new upstairs neighbors were that they had dogs.  They had two.  Starting barking at 4 am or earlier.   Every morning.   And they would open up the sliding door upstairs and let the barking dog out to relieve themselves on the patio upstairs.   After about a week of this, including me going out at 6:30 am and confronting the woman who left the barking dog inside while she took the other one out for a walk, we did a little research.  I contacted the woman who owned the property to find out that she had sold it.  (On a side note, we've lived here for 10 years, had a great relationship with her, bought her muffins that she was selling to raise money for cancer, etc, which is why I had her contact information.)  We located the company that bought the place and I went and paid them a visit.  I got the man's contact information and the receptionist assured me that he would contact me and he did.  I had also contacted our Home Owners Association because it is a nuisance to let your dogs relieve themselves on the patio.  It's not just a nuisance, it's disgusting.
One bright and early 3:30 am Saturday morning in December the dogs started to bark.  At 4 am, I called this man's cell phone and left a message.   At 7:30am I received a call from the man's wife.  It turns out, her sisters are who lives upstairs.  She insisted that she would take care of this and that she would be checking for urine smell and such.   Because if you're leaving a dog to bark all day and night, they probably are relieving themselves somewhere if they can't go outside right?  Later that day she left a message stating that she was getting an anti-bark device and that she didn't notice any sign of  dog mess.   I chalked this up to denial and stupidity on her part, if they wanted to let all the work they did on cleaning up the condo get ruined by their sisters so be it.
The behavior of letting the dogs out on the patio continued.  As did rain.  Until the rain stopped for a couple of weeks.  And the smell began.  The flies began to circulate on the patio.  We had the Association come by and they could smell from the sidewalk what had been going on upstairs.  And then there was the poop waterfall.  Yeah.  Good times.  So the Association sent the maintenance people out.  First guy obviously came and saw and decided that he wasn't going to jump right in and clean up.  That happened after we called about poop waterfall.  Then the boss came.  He took pictures.  His employees began the horrible job of cleaning out the gutter which was full of feces that the upstairs neighbor had been sweeping into the gutter.  But while he was taking pictures one of them came and stood on the balcony.  He informed her that she can't let her dogs do that, her reply was "we don't have a dog."
Really.  Seriously.  I don't put question marks beside those words because it takes a special kind of person to blatantly lie to someone who knows that they are lying.   Later that month, at the Board meeting for the Association I showed up.  Because they fined the upstairs neighbor.  And she and her sister, the owner of the condo, showed up for the hearing.  They tried to engage me in some sort of conversation and I did not respond.   You can swim in that river of denial but I'm not going to let you piss in my ear and tell me it's raining.  So the Association asked what the status of the dogs barking was.  I stated that apparently some anti-barking device was being used and it was working.  And I informed them that the smell had been cleaned up and during the cleanup the Maintenance company had taken pictures.  The sister-owner piped up and stated she wanted to see those pictures.  They then proceeded to share their side of the story which was that the sister-dog owner took those dogs for walks 3 times a day.  The Association informed them that there were multiple parties witness to what had been taking place and that they didn't believe them.  They left.
So the dogs started barking again.  My husband called the sister-owner.  Had a long conversation with the sister-owner.  She was swimming in that river.  Told my husband that she would have to take side with her sisters and that we had just gotten off to a bad start with them.  That her sisters were living there because their mother had died and that they had lived with the mother and her mother's dogs.  It was her mother's dogs upstairs and that one of them was "gonna die really soon."  Like that's some sort of relief for us who can't sleep now.  Or that it's a logical reason for their barking.  No, leaving a dog inside for 8-12 hours without relief is a reason for barking.  But it gets better.  She then said that her sisters thought that it was our cat, jumping up to the second floor balcony and relieving himself in the gutter.  If you believe that a 20lb cat can jump up into a gutter and not bring that gutter crashing to the ground, or that he suddenly decided to start doing this after 5 years of living here, and couldn't even jump up onto our balcony anymore, I have some ocean front property on Mars to sell you.  Cheap.  Maybe we could move your sisters there? Oh, and by this point, our cat had been dead for over 2 months.  He died December 10th.  Maybe he was coming back from the dead to do this defecation in the gutter?  Instead of poop waterfall we now have ghost poop.
So nothing for a couple months.  Then this week.  Hearing the dogs barking at 7:30 am on Monday.  My husband left angry messages but not his phone number.  Then Wednesday at 11:30 pm.  He calls and it goes straight to voice mail as they've turned off their cell phones.   Barking.  Until 2:30 am.  Then one of them came home.  Last night  I called.  Several places and people.  We were up until 2:30 am again.  We waited but no one came home.  But the dogs got quiet.  A little relief.  
I usually write poetry and post here.  Or about life in other aspects.  Or short stories.  I'd like to return to that please.  Perhaps when I actually get some sleep.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Bench
They had tried to spruce up this part of the park, planting trees to replace the one that had been burned but it continued to be a sad space.   A space that no one really visited except those with spray paint and bad intentions.  Winter had covered the area with a blanket of snow on occasion but it was as if the very ground was infused with a longing for something. 

In other parts of the park, people walked their dogs through trails, children skipped rocks on the pond and rangers emptied trash bins unless the racoons had already done it.  They would hide out sometimes, lurking in the shadows, waiting for sundown until they could come out and scavenge.  They were there that night, watching as the tree went up in flames, scurrying into the woods to avoid the screeching sirens and flurry of men in uniforms.  But none could save the tree and what they found.  

Not far from the site, covered in soot, rambling she stood.  First reports were that she was strung-out and deranged, like she always appeared but it was far from the truth.  It had been that park, that tree, many years passed but she never forgot while everyone else seemed to.  Haunted and stuck, like a ghost who didn't know they'd passed into the afterlife, her memory clung to that horrible afternoon while her life whirled by.   One of the officers remembered but couldn't offer her anything that time and space might have created but never did.  It was too late for his institutions to offer help when it had failed so miserably the first time.  Instead, the death of the tree forever changed the landscape of the place and now she wouldn't have to remember.  There was no longer a tree there, and that empty space could hold something different. 

After the place was cleared, they decided to put a bench up and plant some new trees, to infuse some new life into the area and a new purpose.  But the ground refused to accept that.  The first few trees died and they were forever replanting.  But when these last trees were planted, and lived, it was as if the ground wanted something else.  A place for everyone to remember what had happened here, not to remain in sadness but as a testament to what happens when we try to forget and move on when we've left someone else behind. 

Monday, February 20, 2012


Tonight is a lunar eclipse, I think, I'm not sure.
Dates are hard to come by and keep
when you're out of your world or even in it.
They say you can sometimes see the man in the moon
but all I can ever see is the rabbit.
A rabbit with his head tilted towards the top
ears back, gazing up just like we do
when all our tears melted the ice
and drowned us in the rivers of our sorrows
we have no choice but to look up.
There are no free flights on this voyage.
Your frequent flyer miles will not give you a free ticket,
and while some of us may upgrade to first class
you will pay to check your bag and for your package of peanuts.

Tonight we speed through space in a traveling machine
that a human invented but most humans don't understand
including me.
I don't understand flight.
Planes, I don't get it.
Cars I sort of understand.
Boats float.
And sometimes there are trains run by engines of steam
I sort of get it.
I'm not that kind of smart.
But what I do know is that we all travel on this thing together
no matter what method we choose,
wrecking on the highway,
full barrel four legs flight on a horse bound for no where,
two wheeled hot steel between our thighs.
Slow down open road
come slowly wind
arcs are necessary in this kind of hurricane
that goes too fast for scantily clad rabbits
hurrying to find shelter, comfort, warmth,
a place to lay down and die when the road is too much and the flight too long.
They missed me during beverage service.
I had to wait in line, got some drops from an empty can
but won't wait for some perspective on why I drive,
drive, drive, drive, drive and drive some more away
from stained shirts, broken wheels and heart beats that stopped too soon.
Found behind prison walls, institutions and closed doors
of rooms contained in hallways of places that should be called hom
and what we're all looking for
A little peace
A little quiet
A little safety
But we don't always find flying on the freeway of broken dream bottles,
shards of ungranted wishes by grey-bearded wizards who never visits
but his words dripped by acid tongues,
too twisted to spell reason
too forked to speak truth out of either side of their mouths,
perpetuating tales that didn't exist for anyone claiming to be related to love.
Love, the unrelenting and most powerful,
love, the most sought and least understood
the thing we all wait for but don't realize
that when we look up
like rabbits
ears back
faces bright towards the moon
and we see the deep breathe of the rabbit,
shining back from the moon that,
like the light reflected,
so do we
like the moon reflects our light back to us
we can catch this and reflect it back to each other
we are what we've been waiting for
ears back
face up
lighting up the night sky
almost bright enough to outshine the sun.
@2012 Jennie Olson Six

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Winter's Night - a short story

The solar security light was triggered as he crossed the yard.  He paused for a moment and then regained his sense of purpose as he approached the cabin.  Out here things like cellular service, electricity and phones didn’t exist.  Out here, a certain level of respect was garnered for those who chose to live out here.  But this was someone who did not live out here.  This was someone surviving.  And if you survived out here, you were at a whole other level, that few lived to tell about.

She slept soundly, like she hadn’t slept for weeks or months.  The cabin was as they had left it in early summer.   They had come out for a weekend, a chance to get away before it all began.   The start of school, new jobs, new town, new life gave them a chance to begin again and renew what had been lost.  The cabin, an investment property, something that perhaps they could retire in part-time, a place they planned to visit on the weekends, something that they could afford.  It was all that was left in six short months.

His steel blue eyes peered into the window of the cabin.  A plush cabin built for endurance and for the weekend warrior.  It disgusted him, these people who invaded the land and built these structures, no respect for nature or the life around them.  These people who came and didn’t respect, he hated them all.  He would teach them a lesson.

Her breath was shallow, like she was barely breathing.  But it was only a deep sleep, something she hadn’t experienced for a long time.  She came for the peace and tranquility of the snowy mountains.  She thought as she had drove up that perhaps this would be the place that she could feel again something other than anguish.   She had filled up the car on her way up when it had started to snow again.  There was nothing more peaceful than falling snow but it did not give her the peace she was looking for.  Instead, conflict over what she was doing and why she was there.  It was too soon, or it wasn’t too soon, it was irresponsible or reckless, people would wonder, people would worry, but she had gone and wasn’t coming back. 

The living room hearth had embers of a fire, a big braided rug and long couch.  The walls were decorated with old snow shoes and old tin pots, as though someone were trying to decorate it to look older than it actually was.  The exposure to the elements made him older than he actually was.  At 38, his sandy blonde hair had started the graying process when he was stationed in Iraq.  By the time he returned, it was hard to distinguish which was blonde and which was white.  He had no interest in talking to anyone about what he had experienced.  He had no one to return home to except the mountains.  He felt at one with the wild.  The cold of the winters were harsh but he survived.  He had survived much worse than a little cold.  By this time, his hunger was taking over and he hoped that the cabin had supplies that would get him through the next few months.  As he crossed around the corner of the cabin he saw the small glow of a nightlight.  This small foolish notion only incensed him more.  If these people were so scared of the dark they had no business being there, and he was going to give them an actual reason to be scared.

She stopped at the little store at the base of the mountain.  The few provisions she had, she knew she needed a little more in case of more snow, in case her stay lasted longer than a day or a week.  But she didn’t really want to make any future plans.  Her future had already been decided in a freak accident, taking them all, one by one, slowing, over weeks at the hospital.  He was the last to go, hanging on until one day, after sleeping for weeks next to his side; he stopped breathing for the last time.  But really, she had stopped breathing long before that.  

He peered into the window of the bedroom to see the light source, a Minnie Mouse nightlight illuminating the bedroom.  It was a child’s bedroom, with a small twin bed frame, complete with Minnie Mouse bedding, a large trunk overflowing with toys and a small, child vanity with mirror.  He sneered at the luxury of it.  Most children he had seen had nothing but rocks and barely a roof over their head and lived in a place where everything had been destroyed.  He thought of the effort it took to get something like this to this cabin and how much effort it took those he left behind to just get some water and shelter.   He then noticed the figure in the bed.  Upon closer inspection, he saw it was a grown woman.   The darkness began to cloud his thoughts. 

The snow clouds continued to release their bounty as she approached the cabin.    She pulled the car up to the garage and got out to open the door, nearly jumping out of her skin to discover the family of raccoons living there.   They scurried off and she parked the car, quickly unloading and getting into the cabin.  It was much colder in the winter.  Luckily they had supplied the cabin with lots of firewood, anticipating much more use, many more weekends, the fun and joy that adventures in the wilderness would bring.   But today, this was a refuge, a memory and nothing more than a place that she would decide whether or not this was a life worth living for.   The grief counselors had suggested she get away, maybe spend some time with friends or family.  The prescription for prozac had gone unfilled.  Grief was the word used, but almost felt like a stupid word, as it couldn’t contain the emotions she was feeling.  She wasn’t even sure that it was emotion, as it resembled nothing she could compare it to.  It came in waves, in came in sharp pains, and it just kept coming.  

When she unpacked the food she had brought, she almost laughed, marshmallows, chocolate, cupcakes, bacon, eggs and a bag of salad, a box of wine.  She made a fire and thought she should eat.  She hadn’t eaten much for months, nothing fit anymore and she had little interest in clothing or anything else.  She didn’t force herself to do much, except eat once a day.  Coffee, a bagel was most of the faire she could keep down and keep going with.   She found an expired package of graham crackers in the cupboard and decided to make a smore.  She burnt the marshmallow but ate it anyway, watching the snow fall.  There wouldn’t be anyone around to stop her if she decided to do what she wanted to do anyway.  It was then that the fatigue hit her.  The fatigue of six months of making an impression at the new job and driving the kids to soccer and ballet, of making late night dinners and early morning meetings, of making an impression by attending all the meetings and events and fundraisers.  And when the accident happened, the sleepless nights at the hospital before gripping hands and turning off of machines, of hoping and praying and giving up hope and resurging hope and losing it all anyway.  She wanted to sleep.  And never wake up.

He saw her dark hair frame a small face.  Small curls and a bare shoulder stirred him in ways that he hadn’t allowed or experienced in a long time and was looking forward to it.  Alone, she was alone and there was nothing to stop him.  And he wasn’t planning on stopping.  But her face, something familiar about it, he held it in his gaze searching for what was detracting him from his intentions.

There was a big house ahead, she walked along the path in her dream and approached the window of the house, looking in she saw a man staring back at her, eyes wide and frightening, a peak of sandy hair under a wooly hat.  She froze, unable to move, fearing for her life and yet unable to run, her legs would not move her eyes unable to break their hold of his gaze.

He had seen that face before, too many times.  It was that pained, pinched face, with wrinkles around the eyes that were earned before the body had aged enough to earn them.  It was that face that so desperately wanted relief that looked to him as if he could do something, rescue, respite, relieve and he never, ever could.    He knew that face.  He knew that sleep, of someone who had barely slept and so desperately needed sleep.  He saw it in the face of his buddies, long ago gone, in the faces of people who he couldn’t help.  He saw the sliver of relief that sleep was giving her.  It was enough to make him disappear into the woods and never return. 

She opened her eyes.  The light of the nightlight illuminated the room.  She looked out the window seeing only darkness, the peace of the night.  She knew snow was falling but couldn’t see it.   She thought for a moment of all of the creatures that lived in the woods around her and wondered if she was safe and then squashed those thoughts. She closed her eyes and pulled the blankets tight before she fell back asleep.    

@ Jennie Olson Six 2012

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Yoga Teacher Nightmare Dream

This one was actually funny too.  Funny after I woke up.  So I'm in a room filled with my teacher's students and my teacher turns over the class to me.  I then revert back to a sequence I was taught somewhere else, and when I look around, half the room left and the rest were apathetic to say the least about continuing the class.  When I looked to my teacher, he just shrugged.  So we all called it a day and left, like we had better things to do. 
I am at this in between phase.  This phase where, I'm releasing things from past ideas and accepting new ones.   And questioning what I've learned so far.  What I am is more discerning.  And listening more to intuition rather than blind adherence.  
The ancients learned from their gurus.  The teacher-student model is how yogis were passed information and learned under direct supervision.   We don't always do that now.  In fact, it took me almost 9 years of practice before I found my guru, primarily because I hate the term guru.  Actually sneered at it.  Thought it was ridiculous and could even lead into a situation where one could be taken advantage of.    It wasn't until I took a class with my teacher, and he saw things about me, observed, and took me into a posture that I hadn't experienced before, but my body was ready for that I realized what that dynamic really is all about.  The careful observation that as a student, I can't see from the inside out.  And the wisdom and knowledge of that teacher to be able to discern whether or not I was ready to do that and how to approach that posture. 
I began to appreciate his knowledge from that point on.  It's been over the last two years of more intensive study with him that I have figured out that you can't get this kind of knowledge in a few years.   Daily practice and observation is great but without a person that has been down the road for now just a few years, but decades is priceless.   But beyond asana practice, which is only 1/8th of the practice of yoga, having the person who knows the philosophy and history and can share this information in a way that makes it a discovery, something new and fresh but also accessible.  When my teacher talks about these things, there's a light that goes on and it's exciting to him.  He wants to hear what his students think about it and facilitates great discussions about these things like the yamas and niyamas.  So it's not just words on a paper or a commandment handed down. 
So back to this dream.  If I had to interpret it would be what am I hanging onto about this first experience in learning to teach and what can I let go of about it?  What am I resisting about integrating this new way of teaching or even in my own practice?  And the apathy part:  asana practice, without intention, without philosophy is just aerobics.  And some people want that.  But eventually, it stops working for some people.  Especially when you have an injury and can't do the practice that you're used to doing.  Hmmm......

Monday, January 23, 2012

Venturing from the couch

So the new year brought many things.   I had the wonderful opportunity to be on the stage again for a too short venture but it gave me the wonderful gift of inspiration and gratitude.  Gratitude that it reignited that desire.  I found myself in a process that looked like this:  4 days on, 3 days off, 7 days straight of rehearsal into performance.  I found myself going to the theatre every day thinking "I really just want to do this, all the time." 
But the other thing the new year brought was this cold/flu/whatever it is make it go away thing.  Literally Jan 1st, I was outside at a party making a vision board and when it got cold, my throat got sore.  Had to go straight into tech and opening, got better but still had this nasty cough, that didn't really go away after we closed, migrated into an ear infection and is now a sinus thing with a cough.  It's January 23rd, and it's time for you to go.  I have armed myself with a neti pot and plenty of tea.    But what this thing brought was how to care for myself better.  How to slow down and do what's necessary and not everything else on the list.  Including a yoga practice.  Down dog with an ear infection, oh not so much.  But meditation, breathing, with or without the nose,  that's what's available.  And funny, most of the philosophy has nothing to do with a physical asana practice anyway.    So today, I actually did a light practice before teaching, and returned to the couch. 
Speaking of the couch, my friends in the Pacific Northwest are still shoveling their way out of their snowstorm.  My mom took pictures and sent them to me.  I love snow.   Everything about it.  If I had my wish, I'd spend about a week just hanging out and watching the snow fall.  And then I'd venture quickly back to San Diego and the warmth (or current lack thereof).   An interesting way this year has started, I guess it's time to slow down and enjoy the ride.