Thursday, February 19, 2015

Blog: What This Moment Holds

There are some experiences in life that are difficult to put words to. At times, the words I can find to describe them can only go so far before falling flat. As I describe the freedom I have found and continue to find, no words quite do it. As soon as the words hit the page these days, I find something in me has already grown for having written it. Something of my soul just moved and sees it differently. The hope I hold for my life and the people in it broaden with each moment. This freedom is beautiful. The flexibility to move freely as myself each day is a gift, yet it is not without a cost.

The trouble with freedom in my past is it often came without acknowledging the full breadth of what was true for me. Parts of my experience would always be left abandoned. To experience freedom would be to NOT experience grief. That worked very temporarily. Like caffeine, alcohol, drugs or an inspiring church service. In the end, I was left with a growing chain reminiscent of Jacob Marley. There is no freedom without faith. I'm not talking religious faith. (I can't talk religion without expletives involved.) I'm angry about what so often passes for faith there. I'm not talking about faith in a miraculous healing either... I'm talking about a faith that looks at all of life and bears what cannot be held all at once. I mean a freedom that holds immense loss and intense laughter in the same moment and doesn't leave. The temptation is to hold life like a eulogy where I am careful not to tell the whole story about someone; in my life that someone is me. That's not freedom and it's a way of holding life in a way that requires no faith at all. It's a way of becoming small, succumbing to our own imprisonment. Willfully dying.

To love my life is to hold all of this moment, all at once.

I think part of why I have tended not to do so has to do with this commonly used, yet loosely defined thing I hear called "presence" or "being in the moment." My life is complicated. It's full of a substance I typically lump together and reference as "bullshit." Currently that lump includes a place to live. Next week on Wednesday I'm effectively homeless as far as personal space is concerned. I don't know where I'll be sleeping or staying outside the office. I'd like to know, but nothing feels quite "it." I know better these days than to grab the first thing that comes. Even kind, generous offers from dear friends are met with "thank you" and "I'll let you know when I know." I'm patient. I presumably will not die. I can sleep in my car. I have hundreds if not thousands of friends. I have a great hammock too. Not having a home that's mine isn't what I'd choose, but I trust that there are reasons that I'm in this spot. This is freedom. I hold in one hand my desire for the apartment I need to leave - it's my favorite place I've ever lived yet I know my time there is done) - and in the other I hold hope for what is to come of this unknown.

It took time to feel grounded in the decision to leave. Once the idea of leaving for financial reasons became a reality, I still waited until I could feel that leaving was true to who I need to be in this moment in my life. I don't ignore my brain, but I don't live in it either. I wait for a grounded kind of peace with my decisions. I accept whatever will come. And it will come when it needs to. Some things are difficult, even uncomfortable. For instance, I have no space of my own where I can bring my children when I have them during the week. Even the fact that I can't afford to pay someone to pick them up from school put me in a position where I needed help. The thing is, before I even had a chance to ask, another parent offered to pick them up. And it was still difficult to accept the generosity. I didn't accept without tears... I love people, but I'm not good at needing them. Several dear friends have offered me a place to stay. I realize that I have always loved having people stay over at my place, but it never occurred to me that I might be cherished the same way. That maybe my presence on a friend's floor might be more than an accommodation, but actually something they desire sometimes. In a culture that so easily isolates, I'm in a position to feel my need for others. I'm learning to hold this reality and the vast disparity between what I wish I had and what I actually have. The thing I realize more and more is that my "wishes" for myself are disappearing. I feel the loss of something good while in the midst of the next something good. There is incredible freedom in realizing that I can trust the next moment will be good; that I have no need to hold onto the good of the last moment. I do miss it and carry gratitude for it in my heart, but more and more the past and future are eclipsed by the adventure and freedom of discovering what it means to be me here, in this moment.

There are times in my life where I am meant to desire a home of my own and instead accept the one offered to me. I am meant to be filled, perhaps in each moment, with both longing and gratitude in extremes. In that moment last May when I watched one of my best childhood friends get lowered into the ground, I held it all, maybe for the first time, and have not yet escaped that moment. I love him dearly and I always will AND I feel his loss and I always will. The freedom to hold such grief and gratitude all at once as my heart aches with pain has opened me up to loving people in ways I have never known. It has opened my heart to love and a way of living that has always been in me, true to me. It is so good to simply be me. I am free to trust that I am right where I need to be. Why would I take what I want in this life when what is given to me each moment is more beautiful (in its own, true way) than even my own wild imagination could dream? What does this moment hold for you? Will you hold it? Will you let it open you up and expand until you're fully engaged in its beauty and tragedy that you don't need to control what comes next? I don't know what comes next, but I know it's going to come. Even when what comes fills my soul with incredible loss or something unbelievably good, even then I am free to be in it, to feel it, to engage it. My faith may not be big enough, but it will be. When that moment comes, I will hold it...even if it knocks me on my ass a few times.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Article: Leonard Cohen by Paul Zollo

A good friend of mine sent me this article about Leonard Cohen. I relate to this in many ways and found it quite inspirational.

Article: Fathers and Daughters of Divorce by Terry Gaspard

This is one of the best articles I've read on the role of fathers in the lives of daughters through and after a divorce.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Poem: Echoes

These walls:
Cold, accusing,
Its structure
more familiar to me
than my own face. 
In them
echoes of someone
I have not known. 
The loneliness here:
And hate - a friend
now embodied.
Those words I cursed,
into myself;
ingested, indigestible.
Then one concerted movement
and: empty.
And this wall
reflects heat from the sun,
bits of forgiveness,
and something bold,
The other side,
Yet I suspect
echoes of this voice there
to carry
the wind.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Song: by John Denver - Country Roads

I love the dobro and banjo in this version of Country Roads.

Poem: Remains

Your face
etched on my memory
brings a mix of elation
and excruciating grief.
It's clear to me
this forgiving heart
will always return
to loving you.
Though your hate
seems unrestrained,
and your love, gone,
- if it ever was at all -
I bear hope
that good will find you.
Amidst this goodbye,
the echoes of what
will always be true
It hasn't failed.
And I suspect
it never will.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Song: by Eva Cassidy covering Kathy's Song

I really enjoy this arrangement of this song.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Song: by Gillian Welch with David Rawlings - Time (the Revelator)

Such a great song and done incredibly well. I love the way the vocals and guitars interweave so well.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Song: By Caitlin Stonehouse - Made of You

This reminds me of a couple songs from the Juno soundtrack...that I loved. It's so simple. As I sort out how I want to put an album together, it's good to remember how much I love songs simple like this:

Made of You

Song: by Alice Rodriguez - Goodbye Forever

Alice Rodriguez - Goodbye Forever

Poem: Thin

Fully exhausted
from grief's
next exiting.
I fight for hope
in what comes next
when what is here
is so much to bear.
In breath.
Out breath.
In breath.
To love and be loved,
to hold and be held -
seems much to ask
when the air has grown
so thin.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Poem: by Princess K - On the Merry-Go-Round With My Toddler Son

Ahh, the poetry of friends...inspires me to keep going. Love this:

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Poem: Budgets

Opening a heart
does cost a bit:
and potentially
Time never returns.
Energy takes time
to renew.
Love takes energy
and time
to be given space
to feel.
It seems
I'm no good
at quantifying
my grocery budget
let alone
other costs.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Song: by Amy Cook - Hotel Lights

I'm loving this song:

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Article: by Kelly McGonigal on Intentions

"The momentary lack of compassion isn't who you just happens to be the process of learning how to align with that true nature, which means we occasionally lose our way."

From How to Create a Sankalpa

Monday, December 22, 2014

Poem: Return

Some days go on forever;
the beach and its glassy water,
horseshoes and beer,
laughter and the people I love -
These days never end.
They echo,
bouncing around my heart;
gone a moment, suddenly returning.
Sometimes the fading sound
hits a new memory
somebody who knew them; knew those days
or deja vu
and reamplifies
followed by tears
of a deepening gratitude
as the answers
to the questions I live
continue to return.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Article: by Pema Chodron on Meditation

"'s about opening the heart and mind to the difficulties and joys of life - just as it is."

Five Reasons to Meditate

This is the non-pdf version of the article.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Poem: On Stealing

If a woman
steals my heart,
she'll find it
totally beat
and unlocked.

It might shake,
at first.

The worried seams,
though repeatedly
have pulled apart;
the contents

"What's that noise?",
she'll ask herself.
She may wonder
a while
about the music
before realizing.

She might say,
yet quite
heavy. (At times?)"
Or: "Confounded!"

Looking closer
she may be
by missing parts.
She might check
the box,
read the instructions
or call.

The scratches
she hadn't noticed
at first
and so much
by carelessness
of the previous