American Indian Poet, Actor, Activist John Trudell Passes On at 69

John Trudell, Santee Sioux, passed away this morning. He was 69. I have been a long time fan of John Trudell’s written and spoken word, as well as an admirer of the work he has done as an activist. I had the pleasure of meeting John a few times while living in Los Angeles and seeing him perform with his band, Bad Dog. I was deeply saddened to learn a few days ago that John had cancer and his time was limited here on our planet, the planet he advocated for in so many ways.

I am a better person for knowing John Trudell. He was a great man, a peaceful warrior, a stellar human being. His words will be with us forever…

“My ride showed up.””Celebrate Love. Celebrate Life.” John Trudell February 15, 1946 – December 8, 2015

Posted by John Trudell on Tuesday, December 8, 2015


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Prayers for John’s family and all his relations… Mitakuye Owasin.

Letting Go or Holding On: Part Two

Letting Go and Holding On is a four-part short memoir essay, which is part of a larger creative non-fiction project that I am working on…

Part Two:

So there I was, unpacking all of these fancy dresses and wondering why was I still hanging on to them. Chances are at this point in my life, living in a small coastal town on the north shore of Massachusetts, I was never going to have the need to wear one again. And then there was my daughter Juliet, I could always use her as an excuse to hang on to those dresses. Yes, I thought, “She might wear them someday. She likes vintage clothing.”

The thought of paring down my closet comingles with the thought of paring down my body. I hang on stubbornly, wishing I were forty—forty-five years old again; even fifty would do, still rocking those tight little black dresses and spike heels at the blues bar on Saturday nights. Who was that woman, I ask myself now. “She feels like she was some styling soul sister,” I respond to myself, “She was not my self. No she was just a facet of me back in the day.” In truth, I had begun to separate from that self, a few years before I left Los Angeles, but part of me still hangs on to her clothes now, secretly hoping I can slip into a little black dress and head down to the local blues bar for a Saturday night of good times and good tunes. I have a hard time letting go of things. My memories of these times gone by both haunt and amuse me.

A trip down memory lane, a night out in the blues club, grooving to straight-up, white hot road musicians who regularly toured with the likes of Bonnie Raitt and others. Yes, that was I, in my other life sometime in the 1990’s on the left coast. I rocked my little black dresses and spike heels with my platinum blonde buzz cut. I fit in in there that eclectic city of angels. I was even consider more normal than eclectic there in L.A., unlike here at home where I am a bit avant-garde in my attitude and tastes.

“Look at me now I think,” my hair is long and au natural, in multi-colored streaks of gray, blonde and brown. In fact, my hair is so long that it falls a few inches below my shoulders, the longest it has ever been in my life. He liked my hair long. Somehow, I felt as though I let my hair grow with the instinctual knowledge that he would consume himself in it one day. Yes, it was that sort of connection that we had. I knew the hair would pull him in. And it did. A year and half had gone by from the last time we had seen each other and all he could say was “your hair… please don’t cut your hair.” “I won’t,” I told him.

Stay tuned for Part Three

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Reflections: The Bailout Plan

A few weeks ago, I posted a short essay on My Grand Mid-life Crisis Adventure, which ultimately brought me and my daughter, home to live in Massachusetts, although the destination at the time, seven years ago, had been Eastport, Maine. It was the fall of 2008, the economy had tanked and I had been planning our move to Maine weeks before Wall Street had collapsed.

It felt as though there was no choice but to follow through with our move, as my personal economic situation had worsened as did the situation of so many other families living on the edge of poverty.  We took to the road with a sense of humor and deep-down inside a sense of great trepidation. This was our bailout plan, to embark on a cross-country journey and move, that would forever be affectionately known as My Grand Mid-life Crisis Adventure.

The story continues…

The Bailout Plan

There were stacks of packing boxes lined up in a 6’ x 12’ space marked off with red tape in the center of the living floor. I put another heavy 12” cubed box of books on one of the stacks and wondered if I should not try to get rid of more of my books. I swiftly tossed that thought out of the open window of my second floor apartment into the 90-degree heat and mused I would not miss that heat. It was the fall of 2008 and we were preparing for our move from Los Angeles to the Down east area of the northern coast of Maine.

The economy had been slowly sinking for the past few years, and as predicted by many who had seen the economic disaster coming, including myself, the bottom was now falling out. The timing was perfect to move from Los Angeles, where the cost of living was quite high, to coastal Maine where the cost of living was considerably lower. At least that was my frame of thought as I prepared for the 3500-mile trek across country with my 19-year-old daughter, Juliet. Continue reading

Reflections: Maine or Bust… Looking Back on My Grand Mid-life Crisis Adventure

023Seven years ago October 19, I embarked on a cross-country, life changing move from Los Angeles to Eastport, Maine with my daughter, her cat, and all our belongings jam-packed into a 6′ x 12′ U-Haul Trailer. The journey cross-country was as jam-packed as the trailer, with my friend Mario behind the wheel, we set out to make it cross-country in breakneck speed, traveling from Los Angeles to Rock’s Village, Massachusetts in 4 1/2 days. Mario had volunteered to get us safely from point A to just north of Boston, from there I would be on my own driving to Maine. As luck would have it, once arrived in Massachusetts, another dear friend, who recently passed away, stepped up and attached my U-Haul trailer to his 8-cylinder SUV to haul it up to Eastport for me. A bit of what prompted me to make the move and what happened once we located follows…

In the summer of 2008, I realized that it was time to leave Los Angeles. Continue reading

Daily Affirmations: Life is a River

Life is a river which flows through me, washes me clean of judgment, cleansing me with the waters of compassion.” The metaphor of life being a river that flows through me has always been a metaphor that I can identify with. I grew up on the Merrimack River in Massachusetts, and despite living nearly 20 years in Los Angeles, there has always been a river flowing near to where I have lived. A river is a powerful force in my heart and mind. Especially a river close to the shore, as the Merrimack River is, here where I live in coastal Massachusetts. Not only is there a natural downstream current here, but there is also a daily tidal flow, in which the river flows upstream as the tide comes in twice daily.
merrimack river sunset at point shore
I have often had the opportunity to live the by the grace of the river’s flow, experiencing the renewal of the seasons and the release of judgement with the tides. In a moment, when we least expect it, we sometimes find that the river leads that which is precious back to us, as in the course of human foibles life continues to flow as does the river.

“I honor my own integrity and the integrity of others. I am guided by love. I allow myself to feel the love that is guiding others. Like the earth, I enjoy seasons of renewal. I forgive shortcomings and failures, arrogance and shortsightedness. I allow such human foibles to be dissolved in the graceful flow of life ongoing. Life is a river which flows through me, washes me clean of judgment, cleansing me with the waters of compassion. I allow life to be both tender and clear. I choose the longer view of wisdom over the more short-lived satisfaction of being “right”.” – Julia Cameron: Heart Steps

Namaste… Pamela

Photo: Sunset on the Merrimack River at Point Shore in Amesbury, MA ~ c. Pamela J. Leavey

Comparison Essay: A Life in Two Cities

A Life in Two Cities

In the summer of 2008, I finally decided that I had had enough of living in Los Angeles.  The time had come for me to return to my native New England. However, instead of longing for the banks of the Merrimack River and the sandy beaches of my childhood in Massachusetts, I longed for the lure of the rocky, rugged coast of Maine. When the opportunity arose to move to that rugged Maine coast in Eastport, I was ready to make that leap with my nineteen-year-old daughter.

The irony did not escape me that we would be moving from one coastal corner of America to another. From the southwest to the northeast, or should I say, Down East, as Eastport, Maine is the easternmost city in Maine’s Down East region and the United States. This move from one city to another was not a mere cross-country relocation from one expansive city to another. Oh no, every aspect of Eastport was polar opposite from Los Angeles and I could not have chosen a more perfect place to detox our spirits after living in L.A. for nearly twenty years.   Continue reading