September 30, 2015

Words To Live By

The flower doesn't dream of the bee. It blossoms and the bee comes. | Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

If you have never changed your mind about some fundamental tenet of your belief, if you have never questioned the basics, and if you have no wish to do so, then you are likely ignorant. | Vera Nazarian

You can't keep the birds of sadness from flying over your head, but you can keep them from nesting in your hair. | Sharon Creech, Walk Two Moons

Of course I'll hurt you. Of course you'll hurt me. Of course we will hurt each other. But this is the very condition of existence. To become spring means accepting the risk of winter. To become presence means accepting the risk of absence. | The Little Prince

Tell me Atlas, what is heavier? The world? Or its peoples' hearts? | Darshana S, Atlas Still Stands, But Does Anyone Else?

Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love. | Claude Monet

So the universe is not quite as you thought it was. You'd better rearrange your beliefs then. Because you certainly can't rearrange the universe. | Isaac Asimov

And thus the heart will break, yet brokenly live on. | Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

September 29, 2015


You are a good person. And I'm in awe of this immediately. It makes me nervous. How kind you are, and how honest. How pure-of-heart, as they say. There's no white horse, no dazzling suit of armor, just your soft voice and quiet footsteps. Your kind eyes and slow, deliberate smile. I spent those first few months just watching you, wondering what to make of you. Suspended in a thick, buoyant tangle of my own bewilderment.

September 28, 2015

Of Ambivalence

I've had to do a few things of late that have been really quite difficult. Mostly because I've been deeply ambivalent about doing them. For the majority of my life I thought ambivalence was about not caring, when actually it's about caring in different directions, wanting 2 things that seem to oppose one another. I both desperately want this and desperately don't. I can hold those opposing truths in both hands at the same time. The Libra in me tries to weigh them, but that's not really the point.

I'm fine. And I'm not.

This is okay. And also, it's not.

I both want this and really, really don't.

I recently had to make a decision about something and was torn by my warring desires. I spoke to my girlfriends and got their advice, but realized, at the end of the day, the decision was mine alone. And that decision didn't really have anything to do with my wants or needs, so much as what I believe. What I believe in. Which is to say, my value system. Which is to say, who I am.

Value systems are incredible because they cut through the noise very, very quickly. And a path erupts before us. But very often that path is the most difficult, mostly because it has to do with vulnerability and telling the truth. So I swipe on an extra coat of lipstick for courage and practice remaining soft, feeling the things, all of the things, that are so very hard, but give life nearly all of its meaning.

September 22, 2015

For When You Forget

Plastic surgery doesn't age well, ever. Put your phone down. Detox your body. Daydream about the good things. Always keep a good book in your bag, it's both a secret and an escape plan, two good things to have. Make the bed. Hold the door open for strangers. Smile. Look other people in the eye. So, you're scared? Good, fear indicates worth. And guess what? Everyone's afraid. Which means fear doesn't absolve you from the attempt, or the conversation, or the adventure. You can always try again, good people are pretty marvelous about the whole forgiveness thing. And, oh yeah, put your phone down! Eat greens. And toasted pine nuts. Ask yourself if it'll add value to your life, will it be good for you? Prioritize your health, and happiness too, because life's short. Humility, humility, humility. And kindness. Words are important, so don't give them away too carelessly. Honesty above all else. And the music of Billy Joel. Roses. A clean purse. Write. Chip, chip, chip away at a body of work. Not everyone's good. The core of a very many people is a rotted root. And that's just...well, unfortunately, that's just the way it is. Offer them kindness and then walk away. You can't save people, you can only live your life the best you know how, with a strong set of values and a clear set of boundaries. Values are strong trees that bend in high winds, trust their ability to adapt. We get better when we risk, and grow, and move forward. A lot of things are contagious, fear and anxiety and ideas, even. Keep your door open because that's who you are. Take the 20 minute walk because that's who you are. Small revolutions are born of small, everyday actions. The current can change. And occasionally a plant will thrive where you least expect it to, it's green leaves sprouting new buds, growing wide and tall in defiance of your expectations.

September 21, 2015

Curated Life

Years ago I went to a prom night. It wasn't fun. It should have been fun, but it's really not. When images of that party appeared on Facebook days later it looked like a blast. In fact it looked spunky and joyful and really, really lovely. And that's when I understood, really and truly, that almost nothing on the social media is as it appears. That, in fact, the appearance of a life is often at the expense of life itself. 

I know this. I've seen this. From both sides. And still occasionally I'll see photos and feel the knee-jerk reaction of I-wish. I wish that was mine. I wish that was my life. More and more I've seen think-pieces about how we need to examine that impulse in ourselves. There's finger-pointing, but we pointing the finger at ourselves. And I get that, I do. I'm the first person who will take on blame, even if it's clear the blame isn't mine to take (this is not a good quality). But this self-reflection assumes, to a certain extent, that everyone's willing to take the time to do that. And it lets the medium, which is to say the internet, off the hook. But the thing is, while you can put a verified checkmark next to a person's twitter handle, there isn't any real policing of validity beyond that. Search algorithms are based on popularity, not truthfulness, and certainly not value.

We see a curated picture and we want the handbag, the heels, the husband, the wedding, the life. And okay, yes, we have to approach the image with critical awareness, but that takes a pretty high level of intelligence. It's like asking consumers not to gain weight in a society where food is specifically designed to get us to eat more than we need, or even want. Not-gaining-weight nowadays is far harder than maintaining weight and yet we blame the consumer. I think there has to be change on both sides, how we produce and how we consume. 

And I fear sometimes, that the bloggers who respond to the criticism that their life's too curated, aren't actually the bloggers presenting the most highly curated lives. Because there's a difference between boundaries, meaning what one's willing to discuss and what one keeps private, and a stylized representation of what's presented. I guess what I want to say is this: it's okay to feel like shit sometimes when you're looking at other peoples' lives online. In fact, a lot of people are banking on it, they all make a lot more money that way.

September 8, 2015

By Grace I'll Carry On

I read a book entitled Your Perfect Right. It's all about assertiveness and it's one of the very best things I've ever read. I suggest that all people everywhere read it..we'd all be much kinder and better if we did, hopefully. 

Here's the long and short of it: there's passive, there's assertive, and there's aggressive..and oh yeah, passive aggressive, which is umbrella-ed under the aggressive category. Assertiveness has to do with speaking honestly, in the moment, in a way that allows all parties to be heard. 

One of the things that really stuck with me is that in situations where you already know that no good will come from speaking up, to do so, is aggressive. This one bothered me. Because it felt somehow unfair. Because I wanted to be heard, darn it. But the thing is, in both professional and personal settings, sometimes whatever you might say, even if it's the most thought-out, reasonable thing in the world, may change nothing. And if that's the case, it's not worth saying in the first place. Some things are like drought season, all you can do is live through them and wait for the season to change. And if the season doesn't change, then it may be best to walk away or leave, with as much kindness as you can muster. Because as Drew Barrymore once said: endless love and constant boundaries. Which occasionally means the boundary becomes: walk away. With grace, walk away. 

I read something recently about letting grace be bigger than our mouths. That's what I'm grappling with right now. Grace. To assert my worth, to set some boundaries, and to do it with as much grace as I possibly can, which very often means not saying everything I want to. Or, in other words, shutting up. 

Because here's the thing about life: there are end-dates. People move out and friends grow apart and the season does pass. And sometimes a person gets on a plane and goes somewhere else entirely and life begins again and we do our best, even if it's a stumbling, stuttering attempt, we do our best.

September 1, 2015

Why the Sky is Blue

"Do you know why the sky is blue?"
"Because the sky reflects the color of the sea,"
He laughed and said, "When the sunlight enters atmosphere, it works like prism, the lights are scattered in colors. But the blue light is scattered more than the others, and that's why see a blue sky."

He's been busy lately, with work and struggle to get promoted. And I also have been busy hunting for jobs, it's like a never ending activity since I started last month. I've been shooting so many arrows but none of them have landed on the moon yet, not even stars. It's quite a tough time for both of us, but we manage to create our own happiness by phone calls at night, talking about stuff, forgetting the problems and just embracing the moment. That's why we need each other. I love it when he tells me stuff. Science, animals, politics, religion, everything. Then I find myself browsing through the news and articles on NatGeo page. Call me a nerd, because it's what I really am. I love books so much but there's a time when I feel like reading non-fictions like the articles on NatGeo. You should read them too. It's incredible and amazing to learn something new, and important too. It's another way to remind myself that my problems are so insignificant compared to God's gifts. Knowledge is power, knowledge is sexy they said. Well, even though I can just ask Google, most times I prefer to ask my fiance because he's my living Wiki and it becomes my habit to bring the "geek" out of him. I wish someday he would tell our son or daughter why the sky is blue. :)


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