Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays~My Wish for Us All

If I could give anything to the people I love this holiday season, I'd give openness to change for the better. I'd give courage to embrace the immense power within. I'd give trust to take care of each others hearts and our own. I'd give hope that trusting won't be for the worst. I'd give joy as we travel our journeys, no matter where they take us.

But sometimes all you can really give is understanding. Compassion extended from your heart to theirs. Empathy and the patience to be with whatever, however. Deep knowing that we're all in it together, each struggling in our own unique way to make peace and be love. These things take time and gentleness, and they don't come from nothing. But they're not impossible.

Each day we have a choice, no matter our circumstances: to see or to shield, to judge or to gaze softly, to accept or to resist, to act or to shut down.

Some days we bounce between choices like a ping-pong ball--unsure which side of the table we'll fall from, until by the slightest stroke of chance and skill, one side wins.

The winning team isn't always love--even for the most skilled players. But it's not all about winning, is it?

Because we're all really on the same team, aren't we? The team that wants, more than anything, to be seen, heard, respected and cared for. The team that doesn't want to divide and conquer, but wants to unite and uplift. That's us--the humans. We're mostly common people, wanting common decent things. We can be in it together, if we choose to be. 

Wishing you these things this year, because they're possible, because you're worth them, and because even when they don't come true--we have each other to fall back on. We have each other to unite again and try again, for the ideals we were meant to embody. For a kinder kind of love. Let's do this thing.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Believe in Your Power

What if...

you believed that whatever power you have right now is enough to make a real difference in the world?
you don't need to know how to begin in order to begin?
your fear is smaller than your divine purpose on earth?
you stopped holding on to stories that keep you small?
you're being held by something greater than you?--what if we all are?
you believed that perfection is overrated and you are enough?
you knew that there are no mistakes that will kill you?
you opened your heart to tenderness and forgiveness?
you decided that nothing matters more than choosing love over and over again?
you knew how much you have to give?

would you begin giving?

if you're here tonight feeling the profound need to step into your power--the power that knows, wholeheartedly, how much you have to give--know that you are not alone, sweet friend.

it's easy to forget and there are 1,000 things we could blame for our forgetting: the job we don't have, the pay we're not earning, the help we're not seeing, the system that's not supporting us, the sleep we're not getting. i see it. you're talking to an anti-oppression, anti-capitalist socialist over here. these things are true and there is plenty lacking. but amidst all that's lacking and all the ways we're made to believe that we are broken, hopeless victims to life, what if we believed that our race is stronger than that? that our spirits are fiercer and our souls wiser than believing the lie that we are powerless? what if we revolted, together, with tiny acts of courage in the name of hope, in the name of kindness, in the name of the kind of humanity we want to belong to?--a powerful, generous and loving one.

i'm asking myself these questions tonight and finding daring answers. are you with me? will you answer this first question, too?  

what if you believed that whatever power you have right now is enough to make a real difference in the world? what kind of difference would you make?

i really hope you share your answers with me. i've got something brewing that i'll share with you, too as soon as i can. i would love it if you let me know that i'm not in this process alone! remember, when you dare to take your power seriously, you can do powerful things. i'm so looking forward to revealing our power together!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Eternal Sunshine & a story from the beginning of our love

The other night, Brian and I watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for the first time since the beginning of our relationship. Back then I had little belief in true lasting love. Really. I was a hopeless romantic full of doubt. I wanted to be in love so badly, but I was terrified of coming close to it. Coming close to love had a way of triggering all my worst fears... If I start to love someone they surely won't love me back, If I want to be loved I can't be authentic, If I let my true self show it won't be enough, I am incapable of loving without judging and my judgments will ruin you, me and our love so let's just quit while we're ahead, I will break the heart of anyone who falls in love with me.

I can wholeheartedly say (and have said to many people) that Brian picked up all my shattered pieces and taught me how to love. And he did it by accepting me. He sat with all my neroutic fears and bundles of terror. He saw through them to the heart of who I was--a brave and hopeful girl who wanted to be in love but wasn't quite sure how.

I will never forget those nights, my first semester of college, sitting up late at night on his twin bed in his tiny apartment room, street lights flooding in through the blinds, tears flooding down my face and Brian simply listening. Those nights saved me. They gave me the chance to expose all my broken parts and have them held in tenderness. It was the biggest relief.

Us back then

But still, I tried to break up with him over and over again -- for no rational reason except that I was terrified, and that changing habits takes time. When that happened, he'd look me in the eye and ask, "How long do you want to hold on to your fear? You could refuse to commit for the rest of your life in the name of fear. But one day, you'll be ready to choose. And that day, you'll realize it's not all about who, but what. Love or fear. Do you love me?"

I did. I loved him so much and I knew it in my bones. It wasn't about him. It was about my inability to say "okay" to my terror. It was about my resistance to the way things were.

But Brian sat with me. And sitting with something, as is, will do incredible things. Open you to tenderness. Open you to the truth. Open you to acting with love over fear.

We watched Eternal Sunshine the other night, it hit me in huge ways. This is a clip from the very end of the movie. To catch you up to speed, in case you haven't seen it, Clementine and Joel fall in love, but after a year or so, Clementine decides erratically after a fight that she wants Joel erased from her memory completely. Joel finds out and decides the only way to cope is to do the same. The movie mostly consists of their beautiful memories as they're being erased by special neuro-docs. After both of their memories of one another have been erased, they re-meet and fall back in love. Only, a woman working for the memory doctor sends all past patients, Joel & Clementine included, tapes that were recorded pre-memory erasing, explaining why they wanted to erase that person from their memory. Leading up to this clip, Joel's listening to the tapes of what he said about Clementine, and she hears them. They're nasty and broken-hearted sounding. The way you would talk about someone who's hurt you so badly that you want them erased from you memory. But he's hearing them for the first time--his memory of her and their relationship totally blank. Reel the clip.

Eternal Sunshine

This scene in particular brought me back to those late nights on Brian's twin bed. My terror surfacing, his acceptance saving me. My fear jumping off bridges, his patience catching me. The act of saying "okay" is no small thing. I might need to remind myself over and over again of how beautiful and inspirational sitting with the messy parts of being human actually is. How it was that very thing, offered up by someone else, that gave me the most powerful relationship I've ever known. And how it is that very thing that can take me to wherever I dream of going.

Acceptance. Saying "okay". Knowing it really is.

A new habit worth forming.

So--in the name of practicing, I'll offer up some truth of how I am right now, as is. And I'll offer it with a quiet prayer for acceptance... May I hold myself with tenderness for all the ways my being manifests, past, future and present. Amen.

nervous about money
nervous about always putting myself out there
over it
ready to take a bath and go to bed

Dear souls, how are you feeling right now? Feel free to show your true self in the comments below. Sometimes it takes being seen and accepted by another to begin seeing and accepting ourselves. We can practice being seen together. I'll honor you as you are.

big love,

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

love letter to a changing heart

dearest heart,

i honor the dance you're doing between fear and faith. it's so hard to change patterns, isn't it? but you're doing a really great job. i know how easy it is for me to run you around without your consent, without checking in to see how you're doing. i want to be extra gentle with you during this transitional time. i want to extend my deepest form of love. i'm ready to ask, how can i be more loving? i have a feeling the deepest love i can offer includes persistence, patience and acceptance -- an odd combo, but an important one.

so here it goes:

i promise to persistently believe that you are worthy of gentle attention and slow breaths of awareness. i promise to insist that you are meant for calm strength and deep power. i promise to point you toward love-based action rather than fear-based avoidance over and over again.

i promise to be patient with the process of faith. i promise to give you all the time you may need. i promise to extend kindness and forgiveness as you inevitably fall into old patterns of fear and anxiety. those patterns are part of the process of faith. there's no linear end. there's a dance. i promise to let you dance as you will -- some nights sexy, some nights stepping on your own feet, some nights completely letting go with joy and freedom.

i promise to accept you for exactly where you are. to love all your sides and hidden parts. your shame, your pride, your ego, your humility. i promise to withhold judgment -- because judgment hurts us both. i promise to honor you as you are.

are you feeling any better? if not, that's okay. just know that you are in an incredible space of opening to the way things are. try, if you can, to believe that seeing is the very thing that points us in the direction of honest love--the direction of spiritual power. you're seeing. it's big. like, revolutionary big. you're there. trust me. just keep going.

all the love in the universe,

ps--if you're wondering where to go or how to move, dear heart, i'd say take one bold step in direct defiance of fear. fear's getting tired of hearing herself talk, anyway. it's true!

pps--i am so excited for you.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

love letter to an aching heart

Dearest Heart,

I want you to know that I am with you today. Right here, right now. Can you feel me breathing with you? Honoring the space you need and deserve? I am here with love and acceptance for wherever you are. I honor whatever state you embody because I recognize that they are all part of the miracle of life. Your saddness is the miracle that opens to lightness. Your tension is the miracle that opens to freedom. Your neglect is the miracle that opens to attention.

I see you for what you are. I'm with you all the way. All of you. And I love you til the end.


Wishing each of your hearts the tender attention they might need. May you know the simple act of choosing love, may you feel the profound affect of paying attention, and may you trust that it changes everything for the better. Truly.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Friends, The Feisty Ones

I've been tutoring high schoolers in the District for the past few months, and I'm having a frickin' blast. 3:30pm rolls around and I've got a clan of students, all smiles and jokes, gathering at my table, pulling out their homework, slipping in sly remarks like, "Where your pigtails at, Miss Rachael?" Or "Did you miss me, Miss Rachael? I know it must be hard those other 22 hours of the day you not with me, Miss Rachael."  I smile and tell them, "It's true. You're the highlight of my day." And I'm not lying when I say it.

Where I work, students can receive after school tutoring in a number of places: their teacher's classroom, study hall, or detention.

I prefer detention.

Why? Because that's where the feisty students are. And I love feisty. 

1. full of animation, energy, or courage; spirited; spunky; plucky.
2. ill-tempered; pugnacious.
3. troublesome; difficult.
To me, feisty reads powerful. For better or for worse. Here... let me paint it out...

Feisty + Confusion = A number of Tragic Situations (Bullying, Fear, Disrespect, Attention-Craving)


Feisty + Self-Development = A Chain of Hallelujahs! (Integrity, Vision, Passion, Confidence)

I think we can all agree that when you're working with feisty, self-development is especially essential. Likely even more than academic development because of the need for deeper focus and heart-felt intention to inform priorities and passions--to point that feisty power in the direction of love and more love.

I must admit, I love my feisty friends because I can relate to them (call me Miss Feisty Rachael). Every day I feel like I am on a self-developmental path right along side my students, and I do my best to let them know it, to show them the ways we're not so different after all.

I come clean to them about my fears every day. And every time I let them in on one of mine--"I'm terrified about riding my bike across country."--they let me in on one of theirs--"I'm afraid I'll always suck at reading."

We move on quickly passed our fears. We get into the assignment at hand. We take our time with it, reading each word slowly, sounding things out little by little, piecing sentences together until they finally make sense.

They ask me, "Where's your bike today?" I tell them, "I wasn't feeling brave enough." They tell me, "That's okay. Tomorrow's another day." I tell them, "For us both. Thank god!"

Together, as if we were long-time friends, we check in on each other's hearts, each other's progress, with laughs and jokes a-plenty. With vulnerability, and all. It's sweet, to say the least. And I'm beyond grateful for the lightness and connection that follows coming clean together.


I'm thinking about my young friends today, curious about what questions might continue to offer a path toward lightness, integrity, and confidence. I've got a handful jotted down, but I'd like to know from you, what questions you wish someone had asked you in high school? The comments are open for your hindsight & wisdom. And I'm thankful in advance.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Nothing More Dangerous

"Falling in love and creating safety are like the opposite. There's nothing more dangerous than falling in love." - Susan Piver

Taking a vow to love anything for any period of time, let alone for as long as we shall live, is well, terrifying. Begin even opening up to the idea of loving something new for just a short period of time, and you'll know just what I mean. Want to play the guitar (because it's awesome and you secretly think you could become a full-time indie rock star if you just stuck it out)? Great! Let the onslaught of not-good-enough-to-keep-going begin.

Loving anything with long-term intentions--your partner, your work, your surroundings, the moment--calls us to change; to deepen, to widen, to expand. And change is never safe. It calls us to question; ways to improve, what went wrong, what the heart is truly capable of. And questioning is never safe.

Loving, against our liking, calls us to trust our unmeasurable discomfort and our unavoidable impermanence as part of the path to freedom. But just to be clear, we don't travel to freedom. We open to freedom. It's always a choice, it's always facing us, and it's never without danger.

Here's the thing: I want love and I want freedom, and if that means immortality and discomfort, I want those things too. I want the tears and the laughter and the quiet simple hope. I want trust in knowing that living at life's limits is the fullest way to experience life, even if it's anything but easy to do.

Choosing to love, despite it's danger, is a like choosing freedom instead of fear.

Yes! I want that. Who doesn't? But like most things, it's easier said than done. So when Brian and I created our wedding vows one short month ago, we took the challenge into consideration. Part of what we said to each other was this:

The reason I wanted to do this is because I have full faith in you and full faith in this... our ongoing commitment to loving each other until the end, no matter what form that love has to take in order to survive.

This last part, I think, is the deal breaker. (Check back with me in two decades to confirm.) It's the difference between love that lasts and love that fades. A willingness to let go of the old, broken ways and move on to something new. Innovation. Courage. Change. 

The way we love will morph. But We. Will. Love. No matter what it takes. No matter how it has to look. Until we both shall pass.

Why? Because we're unsatisfied with anything else--any pretending or shadowing or seeming to be something we're not. We're striving, with earnestness, for satisfaction, mystery, excitement. And they don't just come from pink fuzzy handcuffs or cabin get-aways (though these things can definitely help). They come from striving for the truth. Even the inconvenient truth. Even the truth you wish wasn't true. I'm not claiming that we're great at this, and we don't always do it. I can promise you that. We certainly have and will continue to experience dissatisfaction, disillusionment, confusion and fear that we've lost the real thing. The good news is...

Fessing up about our fear of loss is the real thing. 

It's compassionate. It's fierce. It's tender. It's truth-seeking. It's the way love lasts.

We've been fessing up a lot lately. It's terrifying. It's groundbreaking. It's saving us every time.

We've also been surrendering to this truth: Dulling your alertness in order to make peace now, is a pathway to war later. And we've been opting for alertness. Not just with our romance, but our work, our dreams, our money values. We want to love them all. In a way that honors us both as individuals, forcing neither of us to de-self. In a way that cradles our union and strengthens our trust. In a way that helps the world, too. We're waking up little by little, and with every flicker of light, I'm inspired to go even further.

Committing to love is dangerous work. So dangerous, that more times than us humans care to admit (myself, especially), we implode. We diminish our partnerships, screaming, blaming, sighing, resenting. We break down our bodies, getting sick, sore, sleepless. But what we can easily overlook is that our implosion is a blessing--a signal that our fire is beginning to fade--and we have the choice to see it or ignore it. To pay attention or numb. To practice fear or practice love.

It's not easy. It takes work. And it's likely that every time we begin the work of listening with more compassion, we'll be challenged to a new level. That's the way it goes. Listening moves us farther.

The process gets easier when we begin to accept discomfort; when we begin to expect the need to morph, to deepen, to expand our openness.  

Love gives everything, but asks the same of us.

This might sound like unfortunate news. The good news is, I might be wrong. Maybe love asks nothing of us but to open our hearts and wait. (But if you've ever tried this, you'll know, it's something.) Still. Maybe love is always there, hoping for you to try it on, walk around in it some until you begin wearing it like your favorite pair of jeans. And the great news (and terrifying new--because nothing great is without a little terror) is that the sky's the limit when you're wearing something that fits. Standing in your authenticity and power creates wildly dangerous and life-altering choices. Line-walking excitement. Adventure. Heart-shattering awareness. Really sexy dancing. Sobbing release. Play!

That's what I want. And I want you to have it, too. Because I think it's a keyhole to happiness. Not a turn-key. Not an easy entrance. An opening. An opportunity. Danger, included. Heart-thumping, and all. Choosing freedom over fear. Practicing alertness and innovation. Fessing up about all the ways love is lost on you. Granting access to the aching excitement of truth.

I hope somehow, sometime soon, this door opens wider for us both. And somehow, sometime soon, you will open more doors in my heart that I don't yet know exist. I'm here listening for any clues you have to offer, listening for when and how to move. The truth is, you've already moved me this far. As much as I love where I am, I love the motion most.

Today, I'd be honored if you told me anything true. Anything at all, really. The comments are yours for the taking. And I'll respond to every one of them.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Trusting Nothing

what if the mess on your floor doesn't need tidying, and the time on your hands doesn't need filling?
what if there is no next step, nothing to add to the list, nowhere to be, and no one to feel obligated to?
what if you aren't foolish when you have nothing to report on?
what if the truth is--most of us don't?
what if you don't need to know where you're going or just how?
what if the empty space is an important placeholder, as your heart begins to shift into knowing?
what if all that's powerful & good comes from quietly trusting the wide open unknown?
what if you believed that something could be born out of nothing?

these are the questions i've been asking myself lately, dear friends, as i float through my life, completely ignoring the heaps of clothing everywhere, the un-answered phone, the un-showered body, the un-ridden brand new bicycle that's staring me down with shine, the un-written thank you notes. i haven't been able to do much post-wedding. my body feels tired and my mind wiped. but here's the groundbreaking twist that i keep coming up with--the thing that's keeping my soul sane:

nothing, as excruciating and terrifying as it may sometimes feel, is actually something.

nothing is vital space, stillness, openness, emptiness, answerless, and formless mojo.

nothing is defiant and powerful, giving us the rare opportunity to choose compassion over misery, patience over haste, gratitude over self-pity, and awareness over ego.  

i've been trying these things the past week, as i lounged on the couch a whole heck-of-a-lot:

not rushing to fill the nothing
loving the untraveled corners of my heart that i've been venturing into--mystery and all
gathering trust in the glimpses and pebbles that emerge, without needing to instantly turn them into definite somethings
forgiving myself when i revert to somethings i know i don't care for, just so i don't have to sit with the unknown of nothing

in a world where we're routed toward endless striving for better, thinner, smarter, nicer, wiser, richer, faster, sexier, cooler somethings bottled up and packaged nicely--it feels awkward & outcast to simply sit with nothing. hunches but no certainties. ideas but no follow-throughs. thoughts but no words. sights but no names.

but that's where i am these days. in a place of nothings. it's a tender place--like just being born, a little bit. powerful & wise & happy without knowing much at all. i just have to wait & believe that all this nothing isn't lost on me. that something bold is rearranging in my heart--something i might still never be able to name--even as it all unfolds. if i can just stand by with love until it's ready, knowing that this heart can trust a whole heck-of-a-lot more than i think it can.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

conversations with abraham

i have a tendency for falling in love with people everywhere i go. it's a condition i simply cannot shake. yesterday at the big bear cafe, abraham was no exception.

we were sitting catty-cornered at the common table that was long with deep grooves from many years of use, many mugs and plates clanking down on it.

i was drawing and he was typing. peering over his laptop with a slight grin on his face and love in his eyes, he asked me, what are you making?
--sorry, what did you say? with his soft voice and east african accent, it was hard to make out his words.
what are you making, love? it's beautiful.
--oh, thank you. a flier.
ahh... what is it for?
--an arts festival.
oh, you're an artist, yes? i nodded... what kind of art do yo do?
--writing and painting, mostly.
his brow perched up. i'm a writer, too. what do you write about?
--umm... being human, i suppose. you know... fear, trust, love. my nerves must have shown through the confidence i projected. but something in me knew that neither nerves nor confidence were important here. what about you?
he paused. yes yes... ego is the sneakiest of human struggles, he said finally, stroking his beautiful white beard in a quiet and thoughtful way. you never really rid yourself of it. you just learn how to control it. and fear is at the center of everything. i write about these things, too.

i put my pen down, took off my reading glasses, and smiled. hello, love, i thought, let us begin.

our conversation stretched on for hours with velocity and ease. at times when abraham went into longer stories i let my mind quiet and watched the widening and narrowing of his glossy eyes--the space between his barrier-breaking smile and curious furrowed brow.

i've learned through practice to let go of individualizing myself and others... to become part of the universe.

do you still have fear? i asked.

yes, but my fear does not haunt me. from the center of his chest out toward his sides, he motioned with his hands, shaking out the space, patting down the air. this was his letting go, his shaking free. i love to dance, he told me. too much, sometimes.

i knew this was true beyond words, without ever seeing it happen. dancing is freedom, and abraham seemed to know both.

there are two paths you can choose: the average path or the spiritual path. choosing the spiritual path does not land you at the ending like *that*. it takes you on a journey. he leaned back smiling, tilting his head to almost touch his shoulder, as if he saw me straighter that way. i never know where it's taking me. but i'm glad to be on it.

i understand that intellectually, i told him, followed by an exhale of honesty, but i'm still very afraid in my heart. 

ah, you are young. you have many experiences waiting for you and much exploration to do. the universe will teach you many things. many lessons about impermanence and loss. my acceptance of impermanence has liberated me from fear for the most part. but like they say, if you're not an idealistic marxist in your twenties then something's wrong with you. this idealism makes it hard to accept loss. you have many experiences waiting for you. you will live to explore many ideas and truths. but right now, this is enough.

yes, abraham, i thought, right now--this is more than enough.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

being love

i wanted to write a poem about this history of love in my life
and i wanted the ending to be happy
you know... as if i'm at the end

which made me realize that the poem i needed to write
was much different than the poem i wanted to write

i need to write a poem about endings
which means i need to write a poem about beginnings
which means i need to write a poem about moments

but i don't know how to write a moment
because i barely know how to live one

because i'm wrapped up in the idea of i
and i'm stuck on the story of me
and i'm lost in the ego of alone

have you felt this way?

by which i mean, do you feel?
by which i mean, does your heart beat faster at the conduction of your thoughts
and do your thoughts lead you down paths to places
other than the present?

this poem is not a happy ending
because poems are not endings
they're not even beginnings
at worst, they're a saying
at best, they're a being

and i'm just trying to be true
trying to expose myself to you
trying to shed back the layers of story
and bring forth the moment in it's glory
but moments don't always feel glorious when we're caught up in feeling

do you remember how it felt to be broken?
do you remember how it felt to be born?
do you remember how it felt to be free?

are you longing for a feeling?

do you breathe?
do you bask in the sun?
do you sit with the wind?

i want to believe that my story has only happy endings
but what if i let my story fall away?

what if the wind and i are one?
what if my skin touches the sun just as much
as the sun touches my skin?
what if breathing is something that happens to me,
not something that i do?
what if i stopped trying to be true?

would a moment grace the page?
would words leave these lips?
would people hold each other?
would we forget?
by which i mean...would we awaken?
by which i mean...would we love?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mondo Beyondo 2010

live in a juicy orange vw van
camp @ the bottom of the grand canyon
let go of emotional story holding
live in italy again
open my own cafe with amazing italian cappuccino
work for myself in creative business
paint every day (even something tiny)
believe in our bike trip -- believe & trust my body and the universe
less fear
less anxiety
deep Presence
embrace my spiritual guru
make a mixed media mural
swim daily
stay in tree house hotels all over the world
make my own tree house to live in
build a home out of recycled goods
spend every day in the sun
wear dresses most days -- wear construction boots the rest -- or wear them both together all the time
get an SLR camera & love the experience of shooting with it
make art once a day
find a fast & easy way to share it
dare to make more mistakes
do something that scares me daily
learn Lakota
hitch a ride in every US state
get arrested for something worth it
be the change
embrace small steps in the direction of my truth
make forts out of sheets and read shel silverstein with a flashlight inside
hug a tree daily
shave my head
get a tattoo
attend a silence retreat
write music on guitar
learn how to play a jolie holland song
exercise daily
love the moment
wake up to my ego so i can sink beneath it
accept ego in others without falling into it
believe this: i am enough. we are enough. we are whole. we are connected.
weekly yoga
lay in a field of flowers and listen to the crickets
grow japanese eggplant
make a creative living financially stable without buying into competition, greed or exploitations
learn to fly
go back to santorini & ride a donkey up the mountain at sunset
give away most of my possessions ... except my dresses :)
get a dress in every color from the thrift store
sleep under the stars monthly
take more risks
write every day
become a traveling art show
bring an instrument with us on our bike trip
make my own clothes
make a quilt out of old clothes that used to fit, then give the quilt to someone i love
listen to the tingle in my heart
give, give, give, give, give
breathe, breathe, breathe
surrender, surrender

(this year's list is really different from last year's... i love that. soon i'll write about what came into being from last year's list. it's amazing to see how much surfaced! :) until then.... what wild daring unfettered dreams is your heart hoping to release? make your own list. share it if you'd like. love it deeply. dreams are sacred. you are sacred.)

ps-click on the image to the right to learn more about mondo beyondo! :)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

To see one's predicament clearly...

On the first day of Sociology 105: Social Problems, the professor asked the class to write a list of social problems in our notebooks, then circle the most pressing one. When he asked for students to share their opinions, common answers arose like homelessness, unemployment, drugs, hunger. Everything was as he had planned until my hand rose and out of my mouth came something that turned heads:

"Uhmm.. sure. Yeah... mental health issues... that's good," the professor said, misunderstanding my remark.

I can't remember if I responded or not in the moment, but internally my mind raced. No, no. Mental health is something pinned on the individual. Alienation is a collective human experience -- one of the most painful and pressing of our existence. It's having countless ways to connect but feeling devoid of connection. It's existing cut off from our true selves, and therefore cut off from one another. It's believing that we're in this life alone and that our survival is completely up to us. As if we're not all going toward the same eventual end. As if we're not all hoping for the same things before we get there. As if we're not all present in this very single moment, capable of showing up for our own and each others big truths. Capable of making a better world to exist in.

The class moved on and alienation didn't come up for the rest of the semester. Years passed and I'd completely forgotten about what happened on the first day of Socy105 until I read this line in Eckhart Tolle's book, A New Earth:

Alienation means you don't feel at ease in any situation, any place, or with any person, not even with yourself. You are always trying to get "home" but never feel at home.

A heart-sinking feeling came to me as my eyes graced this line. My mind raced back to that day when I sat on that squeaky wooden chair and was quietly washed over by a feeling of alienation just as I tried to bring the very thing to light.

To this day I still believe that an inability to be present with one another is at the root of our social ills. There are cures and there are answers--things we each hold in our hearts when we slow down enough to listen for them--when we believe in our potential for progress and trust in Tolle's closing remark:

To see one's predicament clearly is a first step toward going beyond it.

recent mixed media creation

Monday, August 9, 2010

You're Invited!

I am SO SO SO excited to bring this event out to the world! I've been brewing up the idea of a Small is Beautiful Arts Festival for a few weeks now, and on August 21st it will be the first of a monthly series that I'll carry out until Brian and I leave for our cross-country bicycle adventure in April.

What is Small is Beautiful exactly?? A space for artists of all varieties who are just beginning (or who simply want to be part of an incredible community) to come out to the world embracing their artist. To start where they are... Small. (But really much bigger than they could even imagine). Raw. Honest. Beautiful.

So. What does that mean for the attendee, the evening, the festival?!

~Painting, Photography & Mixed Media Exhibits!
~Music & Poetry Performances all night!
~Zine, Card, Craft, Jewelry & Art Vendors!
~Wine, wine, wine!!! (Cash bar)
~Too much goodness to hardly handle.


An explosion of creativity, love & incredibly supportive vibes.

There's still space for vendors, performers, and exhibitors. Contact me ASAP if you're interested! ( or 410-206-9052). More experienced artists welcome, too!

I cannot WAIT to see how this emerges. It's going to be beautiful, magical, and simply irresistible (in a tingly tummy kinda way... you know the way... the uber connected humans kinda way... the true blue joy kinda way... )

Come! Bring a friend! Bring CASH! (You know, to buy art & booze). Bring love! (We can always use more of it). 

And click Attending on Facebook if you plan on coming :)

xoxo... hope to see you there!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How to be Alone

(Or part of what I'm practicing as I break from internet over-consumption...)

Happy Tuesday! I'm feeling great, by the way. This stepping-into-the-scary-unknown-thing isn't all too bad when I'm actually doing it.

Go on ~ you can do it, too! Close the lap top, turn off the cell phone, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and let your mind ask this question:

What do I really want to be doing right now?

Then ~ take another deep breath, a small moment of realizing that no one will live that experience for you, and give yourself a big dose of self-love... just do it.

You can ~ promise...


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dreams - Mary Oliver

When the rain is over
I go to the woods.
The path is a swamp, the trees still dripping.
And the creeks!
Only last week they poured smoothly,
Curled like threads about the mossy stones
And sang with the voices of birds.

Now they are swollen and driven with muds and
They gallop and steam
As though, crazed by this week of rain,
They sense ahead--and desire it--
A new life in a new land
Where vines tumble thick as ship-ropes,
The ferns grow tall as trees!

They remind me of something, some other travelers--
Two great-uncles who went west years ago
And got lost in Colorado
Looking for the good life.
I have a picture of them; each is smiling,
Glad to be young and strong.
But you never know, traveling, around what bend
The dreams will curve to an end,
And what will happen then.

It was a long time ago.
Still, watching the tame creeks boil away,
My heart in sympathy pounds like a quick hoof.
I think with pride of my uncles who went west
Full of hope and vision;
I think they became healthy as animals, and rich
as their dreams
Before they turned some corner and became
Two graves under the leaves.

Monday, July 5, 2010

One Year Later

When I graduated from college back in May '09, I felt hazy about what I would do next. Except when I looked at things from the angle of what I wouldn't do. My internal dialogue sounded something like this: I won't sell my soul and spirit to the 9 to 5 convention. I won't drive myself into the ground with commitment and responsibility to something I'm not passionate about. I won't get the job that sounds good but feels miserable... I won't, I won't, I won't!

Thinking about it now, it reminds me of a scene from the movie Milk when someone confronts Harvey Milk about running such a negative campaign. Milk is told (I'm paraphrasing), "You don't win campaigns by pointing out everything that's bad or by saying what you won't stand for--You win campaigns by creating an inspired vision--something people can hold onto--something people can have hope in and stand behind and fight for--not against."

So I have a secret to share: I've been tossing around ideas. Big ideas. Big, inspired, juicy, exciting ideas. And I've been having these moments of truth where I find myself asking: Why not jump in and get messy with what I love? What do I have to lose? How bad could it really get? Maybe my resistance (and the tug-of-war I have with it) has created just the right combination of space and obligation. Maybe I could really pull it off--a life of authentic pursuit, not just a life of authentic resistance.

Unfortunately, I think we all might be able to guess what my gremlins have to say about my big, juicy dreams...

If you begin working for your own inspired vision you will fail, hate it, suck at it, or die from it. Plain and simple. This is not a laughing matter. Why are you chuckling? YOU SUCK! YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED TO CHUCKLE! (And I meant it... You will die).

Talk about a discouraging internal psyche! Whew! (And I apologize for the scary caps!) But it's the truth--we all have them. The monsters. The goblins. The internal pests that are trying to protect us from failure and scraped knees. The scary caps!

Still. There is another voice that's been nudging me lately. She is much kinder, and sounds something like this...

Apply for the grant. You have all the support you need. You are talented enough with so many beautiful ideas. Your work will make a difference AND you'll feel amazing doing it. Even if (when!) it doesn't go perfectly--you'll learn from it. It will be an important process. You can do it. You can do it. Do it, sweetie. You won't regret it!

So I thought I'd let you know where I am tonight. Somewhere in between fear and trust, with a heart that knows there is nothing authentic without both, and a soul that's hopeful for balance between the two. This is no easy place to be. It feels much like standing at a ledge and readying myself to jump. How will it feel? Terrifying like crashing? Or liberating like flying? Maybe a bit of both is necessary.

I'm mustering the courage to say it's almost time to find out.

What about you? Do you feel yourself teetering between fear and trust? Has your heart reconciled and learned to take leaps? I'd love to hear your story in email, snail mail or comments below. Truly.

And here's one for the big joyful wishes...

May you greet them each with deep trust and knowing, that all the right ones come true.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

why we build the wall

this entire album is extremely powerful. the first of it's kind folk-opera called "hadestown". check it out!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

dear humanity

dear humanity,

can we overcome
paralysis in the face of cruelty?
consumption in the face of degradation?
extreme loneliness in the face of facebook?

it is us and only us.
we are the ones who must begin
reconnecting with the mother of us all,
gazing further than we ever imagined space for,
breathing in the great infinity of the wild,
the impending expiration of our lives.

touch the sacred
and see if your soul
wants to turn back.
wants to try to digitize a mountain,
upload a desert,
tag god
for all your friends to see.

humanity, can we remember
how it felt to come crying from our mothers bodies?
twig-sized fingers
reaching up toward a blanketing sky?
caring hands bathing bodies
like rocks in a stream--
deep and calm
motion by motion.

is rebirth in the vocabulary
of a people
whose mother
eludes us?

is renaissance
an image
we can google
and have painted for us?

through the funny feeling
that something just ain't right
where is the box
for our limited-word
for our last shot at
for our data to add to the pool
where everyone's floating
but there's no room to swim?
i'm tryina see it
for what it is--
that 7 minute dance
from the metro to my house

when every person passing by
feels like another bullet
in my little white-girl chest
another missed connection
another lack of affection
another desperate longing
another dis-belonging
to my very own home
to my very own hope

when every person passing by
is another untouchable story
in the glorious, gory reality of life
another nine to five
another struggle to survive
another family fight
another holdin on tight
to their very own home
to their very own hope

i'm tryina see it
for what it is
when i give out warm
and get cold in return

shattered shards
of fairytale mirrors
and abandoned hearts
without the trust--
the energy restart

i'm tryina see it
for what it is--
that 7 minute dance
from the metro to my house

broken truth
to reflect
broken truth

Thursday, May 6, 2010

the way things change

i've never been good at adjusting to big changes. but i've always been good at creating them. at giving the finger to my current situation that's driving me insane, and opening my arms to possibility. somehow my heart knows that terror is an illusion, and necessity for change is an all-trumping truth. because whenever i begin to feel like Everything Must Change, it's almost always born out of a willingness to own my authenticity. to claim my needs. to be honest about what I've been not-so-honest about.

but damn, does this terror feel real!

it's terrifying, but beautiful. and even on days when i can't wrap my head around the beauty, it's unavoidable. so i'm trying my best to say yes to this quick flip of a switch when my life changes from dark to light. even when i feel like the rope in a tug-of-war between stability and possibility. even when i'm doubtful that my eyes can adjust after spending so long in the dark. i'm throwing in all my chips, hoping that my heart truly holds all the knowing it needs, that possibility really has the courage to win.

what about you? i truly want to know: where does your heart go when it knows it's time for change? how does your soul piece transition together?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

a view from the shadows

if you find yourself doubting
your ability to nurture
the very heart that needs it most--
your own--
know that you are not alone
and that we all sit in the shadows
of our perceived inadequacy at times.
even as the spring awakens,
even as the sun lingers longer,
even as the birds sing out.

please remember that your view from the shadows
is merely a view from the shadows,
not an accurate reflection
of the beauty of the moment,
the day,
the month,
the year,
your life.

and maybe as you're sitting,
back perched up against the oak bark trunk
that casts its covering around you,
you can lean into that absence of light
and quietly whisper, "i feel you--
i see you,
i breathe you in,
and trust that you matter in my life--
as a reminder of how deeply
my heart longs for light,
as a reminder of how fully
my heart knows how to hold it."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

seasons of us

You nights of anguish. Why didn't I kneel more deeply to accept you,
Inconsolable sisters, and, surrendering, lose myself
in your loosened hair. How we squander our hours of pain.
How we gaze beyond them into the bitter duration
To see if they have an end. Though they are really
Seasons of us, our winter...