A few weekends ago, I sat with tears brimming my eyes as my husband toasted our friends. He was again inspiring me, reminding me of the beauty of what lies within.
“You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.”
My husband worked this past year in a place filled with pain so strong that the people inside regularly turned on each other – not once was he built up by his peers, but oh the times they openly criticized and tore him down. But my remarkable husband, instead of identifying with the hurt and anger he was tempted by every day, he chose to be defined by the love of our big-hearted, beautiful friends. To soak up the goodness of our friends who do a victory dance for him when he gets good news, who send texts to cheer him up, who encourage him through prayers and the power of positive thinking.
As we clinked our glasses to end the toast, it occurred to me that our friends can only inspire Darren to be defined by love and relationships because of how they have chosen to define themselves. None of them are defined by possessions, recognition, social status, special skills or even really by the work they do. They try to live from a deeper sense of who they are.
What lies in our friends also lies within my husband, myself, and all of us if we trust it. It is the true belief that we are not what we have, but we are our connection to others and to this world. We are our oneness with all that is.
how low or high i go
Handfuls of amazing friends and a loss of words to show my gratitude. So I’m gonna let my kindred do it for me. This is for you.
I love you.
and i’d move to cleveland all over again
Some of you know this and for those who don’t, I’m guessing it won’t be a shock. My last semester of college, I took my courses by correspondence and moved to Cleveland, Ohio to work as an intern for the Kucinich for President campaign.
Yes, Dennis Kucinich. The man John Stewart called a “garden gnome” during Indecision 2004, and the same Dennis Kucinich who pulled out a pocket constitution during a nationally televised debate.
But he is also the first presidential candidate to say healthcare is a civil right. And he is the same man whose face got red and voice animated like a southern pastor when he cautioned, “We have weapons of mass destruction we have to address here at home. Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. Homelessness is a weapon of mass destruction. Unemployment is a weapon of mass destruction.” The same Dennis Kucinich who believes America stands strongest against terrorism when we do not give up an inch of our civil liberties.
I guess I’ve sort of moved on from my totally idealistic political days. More weathered – no less progressive or hopeful, but less naïve. I get it now that “change” comes incrementally, with a million set backs along the way, and that anyone with the ability to get to massive positions of power likely doesn’t have the courage to make the kind of change I seek.
But there is still Dennis Kucinich. I hadn’t heard much from him lately – hadn’t been looking to be honest. But I caught him on the Diane Rehm Show today, and his words nearly knocked the wind out of me. I didn’t know much about the topic (US drone strikes), but I knew the conviction with which he spoke. No other politician is this poetic these days –
Unless we stop these drone attacks, get the justifications for the ones that have been committed, we are on a new threshold, entering a brave, new world where we are mindlessly walking to the graveyard of history pretending that we can’t bring upon ourselves a calamity by this unjustified and unparalleled use of power.
Seriously Dennis, “walking to the graveyard of history”? You still got it man. And I’m still proud to have worked for him. Proud to say I still believe in his convictions, still believe he’s the leader we need, though not the leader we deserve.
believe in the life you lead by not regretting how you got here.
My totally lovely yoga instructor, Chuck, asks us to bring to mind three things we’re thankful for at the end of every class. I’m embarrassed to say that I basically repeat this every time – I’m thankful for an awesome husband, a dog who is beyond cute and loves me more than anything and…ummm…this job that lets me go to yoga during lunch. Amen.
Nothing wrong with being thankful for these three things, but I am always very aware in those moments that it is lunchtime. On a weekday. And I’m just not that successful at finding the gratefulness inside in the middle of my Mondays and Thursdays.
But now, we’re embarking on a three-day weekend, and I’m about to have a fun stay-cation with my husband and our friends. And yesterday I shared a bottle of wine with a woman who inspires my heart, soul and creativity. And the gratefulness is overflowing. So here it is, my uncensored, straight from my heart to my fingers to this page list of things I’m grateful for this week –
- The peas and arugula that are growing in my garden
- Alanis’ new song and her YouTube video of inspiration
- A mulberry tree growing in my yard
- The principal at Pike High School
- Otis Redding
- The Broad Ripple Farmers Market
- Yoga in the middle of the day
- A husband who loves to cook for me
- My new green and white French Paisley bed spread
- Ally McBeal on Netflix
- People outpouring love on Facebook for a friend who really needs it
- Inspired and thoughtful faith
- …Lola! (of course!)
Happy vacationing, traveling, loving, eating and drinking lovelies.
My sensitivity is not a weakness. My openness is not a liability. My hope will never disappoint me.
I will continue to choose love, to choose vulnerability, to choose connection and diving in. With my whole body, heart and soul, I believe in this truth -
“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
I will stay soft; the world will not make me hard. Pain will not make me hate or hurt in return.
Despite all the odds, I will continue to find beauty in this world.
god, I want to love something this much…sometimes I want to eat my dog because she’s so cute…is that the same thing?
My guilt over having left my blog alone for so many days is starting to really drag me down. I blog because I like to write, but unfortunately, I haven’t developed the discipline yet to write when I’m uninspired. But then, my inner voice says, “how can you be uninspired?” And that’s true too – I think about my precious pooch Lola and all her antics I snap pictures of, and about my niece, Aubrey, who I was lucky enough to recently take out on a park and library adventure. Not to mention that I went to an amazing concert a couple weeks ago and was moved to tears several times by the music and haunting lyrics, as well as having my breath taken away by how raw and beautiful one of my favorite female artists is. So what gives?
I honestly don’t have an answer. And I don’t know if I need to yet. My writing is still developing. I mean, sure, I was an English writing minor in college and I know I’m capable of sitting down and churning something out. But with my precious and limited time, I don’t want to just burn through writing. I want to savor the process, hate it and rework it, produce something I’m proud of. And most importantly, I want to create a space here on my blog that I cherish, where I want to be and spend time, a space that chronicles and inspires my uncharted journey at the same time.
So, I’m writing today to be honest about my guilt. And hopefully to rid myself of some of it. Today, I am choosing to be inspired by the people who can be so certain of themselves at a given time, certain of who they are and not living by the “shoulds” of life that try to work their way in. Sometimes I’m successful at that. Others, like now, my creativity is threatened by this sense of guilt over how much I should have written lately. I have to do something to break the negativity. I have to stop being ashamed of my lack of writing the last couple weeks.
One of my fave artists, Esperanza Spalding, said,
“I’m not gonna sit around and waste my precious divine energy trying to explain and be ashamed of things you think are wrong with me.”
Well, that’s what I just said to myself. And I’ll say it as much as I need to. The moments when my creative energy will be bubbling again are on their way, I can feel it. There’s no room in my heart for self-inflicted guilt and inadequacy. The words and stories and inspiration will come, and there is no reason to feel incomplete or anything like a failure because they haven’t been present lately. I think that’s just the way life rolls.
finally falling for the boy with the bread
I might be a walking cliché right now, but I just finished reading the Hunger Games series, and I am a ball of emotions. Sad that the story is over and that I’ve lost this interesting group of well-developed “friends.” Surprised that even though I had, at times, immense criticism of the story-line and writing, I still believe it’s one of the best stories I’ve ever read, if not straight up one of the most eerily timely stories being told today. And, maybe most strongly, I am feeling settled.
I was so afraid I wouldn’t like the ending, that Katniss would somehow morph into this superhero leader and the whole country would come together under a banner of love, peace and unity. Because, neither of those things would be real. Katniss was never a leader – she was almost entirely driven by guilt, fear and indebtedness. She was brave, but everything was thrust upon her. She didn’t easily or hardly ever even voluntarily choose her greatness. And I just really couldn’t see it ending with her taking the reins and making strong, powerful and healthy decisions. And she didn’t – she had an impulsive and purely emotional reaction to a moment, and her fate was decided for her. I truly appreciate the intellectual honesty of the end of Katniss’ story in that way.
And seriously, thank god Suzanne Collins didn’t finish the book with a kumbaya moment in Panem. After nearly a century of oppression and mistrust of the government and pitting entire populations against each other, you can’t just have a rebellion and make things whole again. I so appreciated Plutarch saying “Now we’re in that sweet period where everyone agrees that our recent horrors should never be repeated. But collective thinking is usually short-lived. We’re fickle stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self-destruction.” Ummm, not what any romantic wants to believe after the Hunger Games and pods and Peacekeepers and hijacking. But the thing is, it’s the truth, isn’t it? We can’t seem, as a species, to tire of war. We create enemies as if it’s necessary and we always buy into the story that’s fed to us. So yeah, chances are Plutarch will get to film more battles. And again, I appreciate the honesty.
Finally, and this may be the most controversial reaction for the non-adolescent set who aren’t dreamy-eyed and emotionally fickle – but I truly think, the only good in the end for Katniss, was Peeta. And I don’t mean that because he was always trying to save her life, or had puppy-dog eyes, or because he held her in the night on the train when she had nightmares. And I don’t really mean it because they had shared experiences. Katniss’ experiences and losses threatened over and over again to take control of her life. To fully consume her, either into death, or into a deep depression where she would become unreachable. And I think, as humans, our natural tendency is to feed that fear and anger and hurt. It is easier to be in relationship with hurting and damaged people when you’re hurting and damaged than it is to seek out the light. But Peeta was Katniss’ light. He brought her hope, and he allowed her to relax and find a form of happiness. I had tears streaming down my face as I read the last paragraph:
That what I need to survive is not Gale’s fire, kindled with rage and hatred. I have plenty of fire myself. What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again. And only Peeta can give me that.
To me, this was Katniss finding her true inner strength. Making a fully healthy decision for her future, and acting from a place of light inside of herself. Allowing herself to come out of her darkness that trapped her and made her feel as if she had caused the death of everyone she loved. To go on, and live, and even believe in goodness, maybe even inside of herself. I admire that courage, because I know it’s not easy. She probably would never have found it without Peeta, and that they could live their futures together bringing hope, light and eventually more life into the world was the most beautiful part of the story.
when serendipity visits
Sometimes, I hear a song that seems to so perfectly belong to a moment, I start to wonder what serendipitous forces are working around me. Serendipity isn’t a stranger to my life, and I try to always be aware of her and welcome her when she arrives. Her presence for me often means renewed faith and hope in my world. And today, she graced me again.
To those who know me, it is not a secret that my husband is going through a rough time right now. I see him, every day, carry this enormous weight on his back. I fantasize about marching in somewhere and just setting everything right for him. Where I’d march or who I’d demand rightness from is a total mystery, but it doesn’t stop the fantasy. He is so strong, and has been blessed with amazing perseverance, and I am amazed at him every day. But intimately, I know his struggles, and my heart breaks. Lately, I’ve been losing faith in the Universe working its wonder in our future. I’ve been fighting my own negativity hard, but it’s been winning. Not a good time for a person who believes in the power of energy and thought to guide and change our directions.
So today, I was just sitting at my desk, listening to Pandora, minding my own business when she showed up. I felt almost as if a wind was blowing through me, whispering for me to listen. And I heard this –
When your whole world is shaken from all the risks we have taken…
…When you have awoken from all the dreams broken…
…The paths we’re walking on, they crumble behind us…
…Dance with me, come and dance with me …
The wind around me was telling me, in the moment I needed it the most – when I didn’t know I needed it and wasn’t looking for it – that my future, my husband’s future, it has already been chosen. By us. And we’re doing it together. And just like we promised each other in our vows that difficult times will come as surely as the night, we also promised that it didn’t matter. I didn’t marry Darren because of our plans. I married Darren because he himself gives me hope. He is kind, full of compassion, committed and genuine. He reminds me every day of who I want to be. And we may be shaken, and our dreams might not turn out, but I’ve got him and he will always dance with me. That alone gives me strength and brightens my heart. I hope it can for him as well.
I know I can’t change his circumstances with a song. But this song belongs to our moment, right now. I won’t ignore this gift that reminds me, and hopefully my love as well, that we are dancing through life together. And that this dancing is all we need. In the end, it tells me “When you again start hoping with your arms wide open / Come on, dance with me into the colors of the dusk / And all will be right, dancing like water with the light.” I am promising today to open my heart and my arms, and help create places of hope in our lives and not despair. To move forward with faith, and to bring my husband along with me.