29 August 2011

18 Days in New York

18 Days in New York
has meant

hot piping thin pizza
bagels with cream cheese
sweat soaked exhaustion
dreaming in map terms and streets and stops

I have fallen in love with city parks

blunt straight talk
friendly passerby
cute hipster bakeries and pies

longed for home
longed for a home here

20 July 2011

I breathe

I let go
I laugh, I chat
I breathe
I let go
I stop trying so hard
I am in the moment
The moment is me
I am me
It's that simple
and that hard

13 July 2011

Summer is Passing and New Things are Here

Hullo.  It's been so long since we last talked!

May, June, July proved to be challenging months of discernment that left me needing a private space to contemplate and be.  Somehow, blogging was too loud, and I needed things to be as quiet and veiled as possible.

Big changes are coming up.  I'm moving to New York City.  I'm leaving my job.  I'm becoming a graduate student.  And I'm beginning to look forward to the fruit of seeds planted long ago.

I ask for your thoughts and well wishes in this time.  In many ways, I have not been ready for this move and for these changes in my life but it seems that the way has kept opening in this way and the universe is saying take a risk, move beyond your fears, say yes even if this isn't exactly the process you had hoped for.

I'm taking courage as much as I can.  I even heard a good friend tell me, Fake it till you make it.  I'll be taking that to heart too.  Faking the person that I want to be until I become that person.  Confident.  Hopeful.  Grateful.  Optimistic.  Adventurous.  Fearless.

I love you all who've been with me on this wee blog journey and hope to keep you posted in the weeks ahead.

Thank you.

02 May 2011

Summer is here!

Snippets, pieces, thoughts, and fragments.  It's Monday! 

Happy Birthday to my talented and compassionate brother Sam who was born on May 1.  Sam continues to inspire me and has become a good friend in the last several years.  I'm so glad to be part of his life.  May you grow in peace, wisdom, vision, and see the fruit of your labors this year.

Yesterday, J. and I went down to Laguna Beach to lounge in the sun and boy, was the sun fierce and hot.  Hello SUMMER!!!  It was an absolute treat to sit and take naps and wade in the ice cold Pacific waters and let the sand sift through my fingers.  J. actually got sunburned.

When it's really hot and you are thirsty, this can really hit the spot.  I like the one with pulp.

Do something new with your hair.  Twist up the top layers and pin it poofy to the side.  It will be fun.  It works well on Day 3 or 4.

Saturday, I helped celebrate my dear friend Lydia's bridal shower.  We had an afternoon tea under a gorgeous tree tied with pink and purple tissue paper flowers on its branches and bright yellow tablecloths with an eclectic mix of vintage tea cups and plates.  We had tea sandwiches, made couture bridal gowns from toilet paper, won prizes and talked babies.  It was quite glorious in all its feminine coziness.

I just read a short fiction piece by Stephen King in the Atlantic, May 2011 issue called "Herman Wouk is Still Alive."  It was quite a wonderful morning read!  King takes a fictional news article reporting a car accident with 9 dead and writes the back story of the people involved. I'm inspired to try taking a news article and doing the same for practice writing a story.

J. got a volume of the complete works of Kenneth Rexroth this weekend and started reading poetry out loud at our home, while I'm falling asleep, when we are at the beach, at the end of a serious conversation.  At first I'd say, "What, right now?  I'm not in the mood for poetry."  And he'd give me this look like, C'MON.  And I would begrudgingly say, Fine, go ahead and read some (even though I'm totally not in the mood).  And you know what I realized?  To enjoy poetry, to be receptive to hearing it means Letting Go.  It means frankly, just letting go of the need to be in control and to be open to hearing something even if it doesn't make sense, even if you feel like you don't have the energy to listen closely, even if it means wandering in your thoughts and thinking about Prince William and Princess Kate and horse-drawn carriages.  Listening to poetry is teaching me ironically,  to stop being so hyperattentive or feeling like I need t be hyperattentive, to just let the words wash over me, trusting in the subconscious, and to relax.  It's going to be ok.  The world is not going to fall apart if I don't get things.  And this morning, when I did my morning pages on the train, writing from my stream of subconscious, I noticed in a most curious and delightful way the ways in which my words fell down on to the page like poetry with cadence and rhythm and line breaks and swerved and plummetted and lifted into different directions and paths and surprised me with their wisdom and beauty.  Stunning.

May you experience poetry in your words and visions today.  It all makes sense in the intangible way.

25 April 2011

a personal retreat: It's not about what you do, it's how you live

This past weekend, I decided to listen to my heart and go on a personal retreat in Montecito (Santa Barbara).  It was the perfect gift to myself, a way to embrace my darkness and experience my rebirth with Easter.  If you've never been to the Immaculate Heart Center for Spiritual Renewal, go.  It's quite a find.

As soon as I walked into my room with the antique furniture, hardwood floors, and mustard colored curtains, I felt at home.  The walls were covered in original artwork by Corita Kent, the screenprinting artist who inspired me to make my own posters.

I opted to stay in the main house which is a turn of the century estate manor with beautiful architectural details.  Meals were provided, the kitchen was up for use, and Theresa, the chef, made the most incredible wholesome organic meals according to your dietary restrictions.  It was like Chez Panisse meets retreat center with a whole lot of hand made love.  At one point in my stay, I popped a Hershey's special dark chocolate nugget into my mouth and ran to the trash can to spit it out because it tasted so fake.  The food at the center had ruined my palette in a most wondrous way.  One of the highlights was the homemade granola in the mornings--it was so nutty and chewy and mindblowing--I didn't know granola could taste that good.  At dinners, I couldn't help laughing when I would take my first bite of dessert because it was so amazing.  Larry, one of the other retreatants, would break into a laugh too, and we would just look at each other in disbelief.  When I called J. to tell him about my time, he said, "Stay another day if you can.  It sounds like heaven."

I sat at my desk for many hours, journaling, reading, writing and praying.  I took hikes in the San Ysidro trails.  I met with a spiritual director, walked the labrynth, sat by the fountain, and had communal dinners with other retreatants.

Montecito was lush and green and in the mornings, the marine layer would sprinkle mist on you as you walked up the hills.  As I walked up the dirt hiking paths and heaved into the trees and rocks, I became transformed.   I was so anxious and worried about making the right decision and feeling utterly befuddled and heartbroken and discouraged by my inability to see what to do and as I hiked, the books I had brought with me, the words my spiritual director had spoken to me, my own prayers--they converged and hit me.  I realized I had been so focused on what to do with my life that I had completely forgotten how to live.  A mantra emerged--It's not what you do, it's how you live.  As I started to think about how I wanted to live, with joy, with authenticity, with creativity, and with lightheartedness and humour, a path cleared before me.  I asked myself, "Where am I being invited to be authentic?  Where am I being invited to be creative?  Where am I being invited to take courage?" And in an instant, I knew.   It was an experience of grace.

 J. asked me when I came back, "So, you made a decision, huh?" And I said, "It's not so much that I made a decision.  It's more like I just came into being."  I suppose some of the best decisions in life happen that way.  You live into them.  You find simply, that that is where you are.  In gratitude for wisdom and love gained, may you find what you are looking for this week.  xo, h.