14 November 2016

sending love

to all of us who are hurting: I send love.
to all of us who are feeling that we or our families or loved ones are at risk: I send love.
to all of us who fear for the safety of others: I send love.
to all of us who have fear: I send love.
to all of us who feel despair: I send love.
to all of us who feel alone: I send love.
to all of us who feel hopeless: I send love.

may love win.
may love win.
may love win over hate and bigotry. may my family be safe. may we all be well.

05 September 2016


anxiety sometimes feels like hunger
sometimes it feels like the stomach flu beginning, a head swimmy dislocation, impending doom
sometimes it feels like drowning or being caught aflame

I am surfing it as best I can. Back on medication to lessen the moment to moment intensity. Doing highly unpleasant therapy in hopes of digging the roots out, but feeling I am battling kudzu, roots cross linking faster than I can dig.

I go from vaguely optimistic to truly tormented to exhausted and depleted and back again.
anxiety leaves grief in its wake.

sadness just is the underlayer, and I am trying to remain open to the messages that all of these things are bringing, but I am just missing my joyous self, my lightheartedness... I am missing me.

I am much better back on the medication, and sweater season will help me camouflage the extra weight that comes with increased stability.

But here is what i know:  even in this shitty space, I am still me enough to see beauty. To stop and notice beautiful ordinary things. To paint raw edged paintings that speak of transformation. I am still present and loving.  And it noticing these moments, I am pulling myself forward, hand over hand hopeful still
still hopeful.

01 August 2016

a friend's new blog

My friend LJ is midstride parenting an infant, and she started a blog that is so fabulously raw and honest, here.  go,  read it.  seriously.    https://malleableforms.wordpress.com/

06 July 2016

blame it on the moon

New moon and suddenly I feel like I have something I can blame, an external Thing that has nothing to do with me.
A moon, phasing....
These past weeks have been so tender-- so filled with tears. I am sure this is a cleansing of some kind, and I am keeping with my intention to bring curiosity to it, but the tears.
holy wow
then, like a sore tooth, I poke at it-- how about this? how about facebook? how about this video? how about this song? and yes, tears. and yes, tears.
and so why am I poking it?

there is this thing happening, this thing, this thing of anxiety and also of releasing. I am practicing both. Practicing how to live with this anxiety until I resolve it, and practicing how to live with releasing. How to allow the tears. Knowing they are temporary. Sometimes, nanoseconds. But this is a grief thing happening too. As if I am letting off little tiny bits, here, I say to the universe, please, take this.... and this.... and this.... a million little exhalations of stored up sadness.

And i am laughing some too. Sometimes flat out, sometimes wry.
short moments but moments and with each I realize how unfamiliar laughter has become. oh Kate of the booming shake the rafters laugh.
that will come, I know it.
it will.

06 June 2016

broadening, deepening

I wanted to post an update on the panic attack tango.
There's been this tectonic shifting happening in my emotional landscape... slow and deep. Things are moving in ways I did not think possible.

I am currently medication free after having really bad reactions to the last few I tried, and finally, just realized that now was not a time I could afford to feel that bad while trying to feel better.  I've dived deeper into therapy-- different modalities than before-- and, rather suddenly,  the sadness spigot was turned on. And the anger spigot. Nothing Big and Dramatic except there is a now a presence where there was an absence.  Tears come a lot now, often, but not for long. Sadness comes a lot now, but not for long.  Anger comes now, but not for long. Each comes and goes, comes and goes, and with each has come such an incredible richness.

Panic attacks are still triggerable- so I am not CURED (angels singing)-- but I am developing a different relationship to it/them.

I know it will not kill me (because it hasn't) and I know it will not stay forever (because it has always passed)-- so now, when it happens, it is horrible.  But then, it is horrible and then, eventually, it is gone again. And I am still here.

I am not feeling cocky, trust me.  This is about reveling in the differences, the changes, the widening, and deepening, the shifting, and the trust.  The trust that I will live, and it will go.  If this lasts? great.  If not? I am so grateful for the break. So grateful.

18 May 2016

Online Journaling Workshop!

Soul Reclamation Online Journaling Workshop

Coming up on June 3,4, 5 (or download to do when you wish)– I’m excited to be offering a guided journaling workshop!
This is about reclaiming parts of ourselves, long misplaced, buried, forgotten.
This is about inviting ourselves to feel more whole.
This is about mindfulness and presence, awareness, and forgiveness and shame-release.
This is about letting go, even a little, of our fierce grip on some of what keeps us from being able to move forward into who we are becoming.

** 5 guided journaling exercises posted on a private page on my heartwork website over the course of 3 days.
** Each exercise could take as little as 10-minutes
** “ Journaling“ could mean writing or not, art or not, but something “external”, not inside your head, usually works best.
** Participate in real time or download for later.
** A totally optional private, temporary, Facebook group (prompts will be posted there too)
** Sliding scale. 0-$20 via paypal .

This is intimate work, and to make it work as well as we can, we will not be sharing the content of our journals. We can talk about process, feelings, context, but the privacy or our writing or other forms of expression is to allow more complete freedom and unselfconsciousness of both exploration and expression.

This may be for you if you are feeling ready to let go of some old shit, while staying safe, present and mindful.
But this is not for you if you feel at any time it’s not for you. Yes, it is that simple. Trust you. Trust you. Trust you.

+++&+++>      This event has passed and it was awesome.  Interested in learning about upcoming workshops? Sign up for my mailing list on www.kate-johnson.com

04 May 2016

good cry

confession:  today I had a good cry.
confession#2: I am actually not sure if I have ever had one before.

I've cried in a billion different ways, but I never would have categorized any of them as good.
except, maybe, the hope-fueled flying penguin debacle.

I always fight it.
Today I just let it happen.
And you know what? It felt kind of good to not fight it.

but this time was different. Like I was ready to let something go. Or at least let it rise up and be seen (by me, in the privacy of my own aloneness)

So, this to say, hmmm.
Shifts shifting shiftily...subtle but not.

02 May 2016

ok then

Ok then.  What the hell was that? Apparently it was my usual panic attack hell + a new layer of total hell in the form of a bad medicine reaction.

On the advice of a dear friend and honorary medical professional by experience (thank you A) who recognized a bad reaction when she saw it, I gave myself permission and stopped the new med and felt like myself again by saturday night. Feeling like myself was pure heaven.

Today I saw the psychopharmacologist, and she graciously agreed that the new med was Not For Me.  Whoot.  I do not need more crazy.

So- a new tact-- specifically a trial of inderal, which I took long ago for social anxiety and liked it. So who knows? I have no idea if it will keep me from triggering into crazy land. I can only hope it will and wait for reality to test it (no time soon please).  The fear of the fear is really debilitating. And I wish I could say otherwise, but I would be totally lying.  I have never, and I do mean never, felt so debilitated. Not by colitis. Not by acute grief even. Because in the midst of the colitis. In the midst of the grief, I knew I was still kate.  When taken up with panic, I lose connection with myself. And that, my friends, is some extra scary stuff for me and probably most people.

I am worried, of course, that it will not work. And that I will get triggered and and and and... and then be on that bad ride. But at least it is a bad ride. Not a bad ride covered in an extra coating of crazy. And I know that is better than my 24 hours of sheer hell from friday to saturday night.

I want to thank all of you-- both here and facebook friends-- for being so incredibly understanding, kind, supportive.... and while I do feel vulnerable talking about this, I think it is really important.

Here I am-- dealing with this nearly invisible thing that pulls me down. And while there is nearly nothing as lonely, I know, I KNOW I am not alone.
How many others have their version of this?  Maybe not panic attacks. Maybe more generalized anxiety (oh my heart goes out to you), or depression (oh loves), or mania, or secret eating, or shopping in hopes to get the Thing that will change everything for the better. Make the aching stop. Make the loneliness go away. Make the feeling of otherness vanish. The Thing that arrives on wings of self esteem and gold dust. Or maybe it is secret shame. Regret. Even longing. Whatever pulls us away from our centers and into the big scary land of insufficiency and out of controlness.

We all have secret wounds. Secret battles. And as we move through the world, when we are strong, I invite all of us to send out compassion to the unseen. The unknown and unknowable in all of us.

29 April 2016


So tonight I am surfing a resurgence of anxiety.
I'm just off an old med, and coming up the curve on a new one, and apparently, the universe decided to have some fun with testing my new chemical balance and created a close-range trigger.

This is panic attack stuff, with a frosting layer of anxiety about the anxiety. It is a crazy thing, being abducted by aliens crazy.  My brain and body feel hijacked, and I become both a sufferer and an observer.  I know that I will be fine, but it does not matter what I know. I feel horrid. Tender, raw, reactive, vulnerable, at-risk in existential ways.

I like feeling together and competent. I like feeling happy and good. I like focusing on the positive. I like looking ahead with happy anticipation. Anxiety is like a kick in the gut. I know I have written about this before, but it is my right now, and I wondered if I wrote about it as it is happening if I could pretend to gain some control over it. Or at least ride it out doing something I love (writing) in a place I love to write (I can't whistle), to people whom I love (Hi Shelagh!).  So here we are.

My brain feels buzzy as the chemicals ache to run their usual course, but my new medication keeps the chemicals from flinging themselves totally out of control.  My new medication kind of traps anxiety, at least initially, in a cage in my solar plexus. It actually rattles there. But with smaller triggers, it rattles and then abates, leaving me watchful but not overtaken. This trigger, today, was the perfect one for me-- direct triggering-- and instead of staying a rattly feeling, I felt the whoosh of chemicals down my arms, through my torso, and up behind my face, my scalp, and the immediate dislocation and desire to fall asleep Right Now, which is probably adaptive.

Some old ancestor of mine probably learned taht right in the middle of the crazy, they would run in circles and make noise and be loud and attract lions. But if they just went to sleep, their brain would reboot and they would not wake the real or proverbial lions.  I think now, when I am super stressed, this desire to take myself out of the game through immediate sleep must have roots that kept my line alive up until now. 

So the first rush of panic comes and then a wave of sadness comes too. Sadness that the panic is "back".  It is as if when it is gone for a while, I dream it possibly gone forever. And when it comes back, I wonder -- why????? how much? how often? how long will it stay activated?  and Anxiety is abusive. And I am scared of it. And that is the second layer.  My response to it is one of fear.

I like to feel like I am in control of.....? everything I guess.
And feeling / knowing / facing that I am not is scary. I wonder if I am competent and capable enough to be able to handle what comes.
I wonder if I can do what needs to be done or if I will freeze, or disassociate from my injured self so far that I will not be functional.

All this to say, I am in a momentarily but deeply sucky place right now.
I am trying to bring my curiosity but really I have impatience and fatigue and a sincere desire to never feel like this ever ever ever again.

thank you for listening.

01 April 2016

I'm an April Fool.

4 years ago my tender soul was totally punked by this BBC April Fool video.
I'm reposting it to remind me of the very best parts of myself.
The parts that believed this could be true in spite of all I know.
Go little penguins go!

30 March 2016

cookies and otherness

I wish I had a clever name for this, this blue funk that happens just after a mild rush toward selfness. I get this feeling of AH, things are Coming Together, and that is often followed by a time of increased tenderness, increased feelings of loneliness, of otherness, of oddness... of being outside myself a little...

as if, in the act of centering, i slingshot myself out again into the wild dark.

so, a night of crappy sleep, and crazy dreams, and a wintery sunny morning where i let myself get too cold as if discomfort was what I deserve.

what the heck?

So yes. here i am. bundled up after a very hot shower...
contemplating cookies.

29 March 2016

two dots and stitch fix

so today I got my first stitch fix box. 
I am not sure if I will do it again or not.

in case you've never heard of it, it's a curated set of 5 pieces of clothes chosen for you to try and (they hope) buy. you can do it once or on subscription. you put in sizes, answer questions, maybe offer a pinterest board for them to see to calibrate your style... and you cough up $20 for styling that can be applied to your purchase.

So for me, this was a $20 exercise in trying on a new way of exploring options outside of my usual usualness....  trying new kinds of clothes on my new kind of body. and I was hopeful that I would learn some things about what feels good right now.

I sent 4 things back but I netted one pair of black pants.  nothing earth shaking there-- no fashion break throughs, no new ideas, no wild deviations...
but wow.... the surprising delight of right fit.


right fit.

and also I learned how cool it is to say nope nope nope nope to all that did not fit. I spent zero energy trying to imagine how to make anything work, what alterations would be needed. just a fabulous unclingy nope and back into the box things went.

yesterday, coincidentally, i tried on my businessy clothes.  all of them.  and have about 7 things left. I realized that this is my body right now. this is my life right now. things need to fit.
The rest went into a donation bag to be someone else's right fit.

Two dots

the two dots thing is similar in that I have never been a game player. I actually *hate* games. I do not like to play, do not like winning or losing. I just do not like them.
I started with flow a few years ago and realized there was satisfaction in problem solving. in competing against myself. in trying and learning and trying and learning
two dots: I fail and fail and fail and fail and fail and fail
and I am not a lesser human being.
I am not a failure.
I am simply not winning the frikken game.
Sometimes I do. then, in the way of life, the next level is harder and I begin again and at first and for a long while I fail and fail and fail...

and even though I fail and fail and fail and fail and fail,  I am still not a lesser being.

How cool is that?

24 March 2016

Ah ha!

Hello loves,
So thanks almost entirely to a note from beloved Shelagh, I *finally* figured it out.
It's so obvious now, of course.

The past few years I've been working out in the world (imagine jazz hands) workshopping, and also doing a bunch of inner work that includes acknowledging that this time in my life, as in so many lives, is a time of reinvention, reassessment, and realization-- here we are, halfway through (in the best scenarios), and feeling (more than) a little bit lost.

So, that is what this is all about; me talking about alllllllllll that.
Welcoming all of you who feel the same way or want to know what it feels like to be seeking at a time in life when so many of us expected, on some level, to be found. To be stable. To be settled. To feel grown up and capable.

Being an older mom to a younger kid makes me grandparent aged in the group I brush shoulders with... the grandparents picking up Della's friends are my age, not the parents, and there is a rather acute loneliness in that too.

So this? This is a small bloggy reinvention, after a deep reassessment -- that the things I need to talk about here are the things I need to talk about.

Connection. Sanity. Loneliness. Delight.
There will be always talk of Della and parenting and life after infertility and the ache of all of that.
There will always be talk of my past, including all of the all of it. Love, loss, fuckedupness.
There will always be profanity, not for shock, but for the sincere expression of whateveritis I am trying to express.
There will always be room for all of me, and therefore, room for all of you.

For those here looking for infertility stories, there are plenty! Check the archives and also the My Story tab. We beat the odds because we are beyond lucky. And I know it.

And to all of you, LOVE.  Love and love and love and love and love.
Let's do this thing.

10 February 2016

transfer day anniversary

6 years ago today, it was transfer day.
It was cold and snowy and we were in Waltham at the Boston IVF clinic.
I had acupuncture before and after.

2 embryos.
A nurse I detested.
A doc I had never met.
A very large and cold room.

They told us one of the embryos had "high implantation potential", HIP. And I thought, yeah, right.

But here we are.
She's at preschool.
And I am writing about her.

09 February 2016

the most beautiful

I want to say that life is beautiful. Life is a beautiful unfolding. I want to say we know so much more than we give ourselves credit for. I want to say we just don’t believe ourselves when the pattern does not match something we’ve seen before. Or the thing we thought we wanted. Or the thing we were told we should want. Not knowing is scary scary scary. But not knowing is also a  knowing.
from my book in progress, lost and finding.

writing is hard hard these days. the spigot feels off rather than open. I wonder why it floods sometimes and sometimes just drips or does not drip at all and just laughs dryly.

Anyway, trying to show up and allow it when time allows and feel blessed when it comes and try not to feel disappointed when it doesn't.

Hey there people. I am two days away from turning 49.  49.  what the holy wow.

Mid life, no joke, and probably past it. And suddenly realizing that my not knowing has mostly been about not believing it is possible to be passionate about so much... as if the plurality itself made it not count.  crazy.  for me, life is about this plurality. this love of science and art, of space and earth. inner and outer exploration. beauty. love.

27 January 2016

doing the do

I am baking medicinal and procrastinating brownies.
Here to say: brownies help.
But they do not take the place of Doing the good Do.
Not necessarily work or play, but the thing that is good.

For me, maybe, 5 minutes of ab exercises (ha ha ha)
a cup of tea (YES)
and maybe a moment of writing (YES PLEASE)

see what I did there? off to write.
and then
celebrate with a brownie.
and tea.

23 January 2016

Start small. Continue.

Showing up here, just showing up, feels kind of radical. Like I am both returning home and striking out on a new adventure.

A new book is trying to push its way through me, and I am really excited, but also resisting the opportunities to write.

I do almost anything else.

I've been thinking a lot about procrastination of this kind, the kind that is under the guise of keeping us safe when really, it is keeping us from becoming more fully whole, more wholly full. More holyful. More.
while I watch this with compassion, this procrastination, I am also witnessing with the curiosity of what Can I do?

So, I took out a piece of paper and wrote a list.
Then I opened a word document and wrote the beginning of a beginning of an intro.

And I no longer have to face a blank anything. I need only continue.

11 January 2016


So there's this thing that happens in winter. I go inward, fast and deep. And I have to remind myself, over and over and over, to come up for air, reconnect with what is, be here now.
Today, the wind is blowing hard and the noises keep bringing me back to here and now in a way that is not synchronized with my natural rhythm and I am feeling jangly even while I am trying to embrace it. These past months I have become more and more sensitive to sensory input, feel flooded easily by a lot by noise and motion, which is pure insanity in a tiny house filled with a fabulous and interactive 5 year old and a puppy and a cat the puppy wants to bite.
So I am surfing the edges these days, trying to find the balance between enough and too much. Trying to learn to ask for what I need without apology.  Why is this so hard?
Why do I say Sorry so much? What if I just say, this is what is for me.
The Sorry expects it to be a bother for other folks. But what if it isn't? What if I am teaching them to be bothered by punctuating moments with Sorry?

Work is calling and I need to get back to it. But I wanted to stop in and connect, surfacing for a moment on my own, following my own rhythm. Pausing to look at the way the late sunlight lies across the snow.

06 January 2016

battle scars

So I don't know if I posted about this or not, but last winter when my belly suddenly was sticking out (I guess my summer-of-pilates expired rather abruptly), Della was telling people we were expecting a baby. Two (much younger than I am) friends were expecting at the time, so it was natural for her to be trying that on, but for me it was thorny painful horribleness as folks came up to me faces softened with the happy news, and I had to say No no no, this is just me. just me and my belly.

Now Della puts her hands on my belly and says, I wish your eggs weren't so old.

Me too, love.
me too.