Thursday, August 30, 2012

tiny figs and blue moon promises

in late spring the nice man at the garden store gave me a sad little fig tree for free.  he made me promise to take care of it and do my best to save it.  i took it home and put it in a big pot with great soil at the side of the house that gets good southern sun.  it's a good spot:  the place where all the herbs grow, there are butterflies and an old bike.

it didn't die as i think he expected.  but it didn't do much else.  it grew a few new leaves that remind me of a preschooler's clumsy drawing of a hand.  you know the one, where the hands are giant compared to the little stick body and look as it they are wearing mittens?  i really didn't know what to do to "save" it, other than give it some water and say hello every morning.  often i felt like i should be doing more, that a real gardener would have some fancy ph-soil additive or grafting thingamajig to give it its best shot in life. 

this morning i was doing a bit of extra tending to the pots at the side of the house.  i knelt down to pick some leaf litter from the soil of the fig tree's pot.  out of the corner of my eye, i saw several tiny green balls hidden underneath the mitten leaves.  figs!  two were turning purplish brown and let go of the tree when i touched them.

i ate them for lunch with goat cheese.  they were delicious.

tomorrow is a blue moon.  i read somewhere that it is a good time to make a promise to yourself.  i haven't yet decided what my promise will be but whatever it is i plan to just do my best and not worry about any fancy planning or techniques.  i will give my promise the best possible environment, lots of light and remember to check in with it every day.  i won't get discouraged when things are looking funky and progress seems doubtful.  i will trust that it will bear fruit. 

it's going to be delicious.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

i say yes

for the six weeks since i left my job i've been in a sort of haze.  a haze of relief and freedom for sure, but also a fuzzy existence that i can only describe as recovery.  i've slept hard for hours at night and during the day.  i've gone days without speaking to a human other than ken.  i've literally shuddered when i let my mind drift to what i would be doing at work if i had stayed.  it's bizarre to experience these types of things when you are happy and not depressed.  the last few days marked a turning point.  i've had more pure energy, needed less naps and felt happy to engage with others.  i feel ready to veer from the language of leaving (quit, detox, trauma, worry, impulsive, mistake, spoiled, etc.) to the language of moving forward. 

in that vein, i'm saying yes.  yes yes yes.  affirmative.  okey-dokey.  wide open.

i say yes to
  • magical thinking
  • pho
  • mountain trails
  • rock hopping
  • rock leaping
  • going barefoot
  • working for a few days in a candy-colored store full of things that make me want to be healthy and vibrant
  • teaching
  • taking risks
  • writing it all down
  • laughter and happiness without the fear of what will bring it all to a crashing halt
  • creating the life i want
  • firewalking (next week!)
  • changing my mind
  • love
what would you like to say yes to today?

Monday, August 20, 2012

this way

doubt has a way of quietly creeping in.  it's been one of those weeks.  i'm having to softly remind myself to continue to trust my intuition and keep moving in the direction i've chosen.  even when the destination is not quite clear.

what is clear is that i want to lead a life of authenticity, spaciousness, wildness and peace. 

this way, brave girl, your aim is true.

our lovely yoga studio asked yogi students to create art inspired by asanas.  this is my piece inspired by dandayamana-dhanurasana, standing bow pose.  kicking and stretching, that's me.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

dear sugar

i am loving your book.

here's why:
  • radical empathy.  thank you for defining empathy on every single page and for showing that empathy is not the same as sympathy.  sugar knows it's really about being there, bearing witness, being humbled by the degree to which we can fuck things up, hearing and speaking truths. 
  • your writing is unparalleled.  your stories have the remarkable ability to become shared experiences even when the exact details were not experienced in the same manner or context.
  • i expected to raise my eyebrow at some of your advice.  i was wrong.  your keen observation of the flawed and miraculous human spirit and bold willingness to speak the truth with love are amazing.  i've worked with seasoned professionals with advanced mental health/social work degrees who get it way wrong.  you get it right real.  dead on real.
  • i've just left my career of two decades partly because the truth (and speaking it) had become softly exiled and replaced with well-intentioned-but-not-entirely-honest-positive-thinking-strengths-based-agenda-driven practice that is not truly helping very many people.  i was constantly amazed by the use of this oversimplified approach and the ability of some of my colleagues to euphemistically twist words and make the biggest pile of complex and dangerous crap all good in the course of two or three sentences.  i feel oddly validated by your relentless celebration of the transformative power of reality and truth.  the truth is not punishment.  it is a gift.
  • your approach to understanding and acceptance feels very genuine.  thank you for understanding that true emotional support is necessary and important, but that it's not the end of the helping story.  i think it's brave the way you offer up the whole possible story with alternative endings. 
  • you remind me of a friend i am lucky to know.  she always tells the truth and calls me on my shit in a safe, accepting and forward-moving way.  i know that not everyone has a friend like this and (sadly) not everyone wants a friend like this.  for those who don't have this in their lives and want it, sugar fills the role in the best possible way words printed on paper can.
  • three hundred and fifty three pages dedicated to raw honesty, love and genuine optimism.
with deepest respect,

waving not drowning

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

blue heron i saw you

sunday we were driving down woodsy route fifty-six on our way home from our hike.  we were chatting about the week ahead, what we were going to make for dinner and whether or not we wanted to watch the closing ceremony of the olympics later that night.  we both had post-hike high/malaise. 

something caught my eye as we traveled over a bridge.  i only saw it for a fraction of a second and immediately doubted its reality:  a glorious blue heron perched on a rock in the middle of a stream.

i shook it off as hallucination because 1) we don't have blue herons in virginia and 2) i really didn't drink enough water so i must be dehydrated.  some seconds went by before i asked ken to turn around.  i didn't want to tell him why because i felt embarrassed that i'd imagined a giant bird.  we turned around and then took some time to find a spot to pull over on the side of the road.  i quickly walked to the bridge and there he was.  perched, exactly as i saw him before, one long skinny stick leg bent in quintessential heron pose.

i acknowledged him before i lifted my camera.  in that second, he (or she) let out the most dramatic sca-reech and flew away.  you can see the ripples his/her giant wings made in the water in this photo.  the photo i took one second before this one showed the heron as he/she was launching his/her massive and beautiful body into flight.  it looked awkward and contorted.  i prefer this photo because the graceful and strong ghost of the bird remains for me.

after taking pixie's class at serendipity last fall and experiencing serendipitous animal visits since, i trust that when animals appear it means something.  a quick internet search tells me that the blue heron is about self-reliance, responsibility, independence, fearlessness, balance, taking advantage of opportunities.  blue heron "teaches us how to become comfortable in uncertain situations where we need to watch for an opportunity to arise and quickly grasp it. it calls us to take courage and follow our true path, which will be discovered through exploring our inner selves, and finding what draws us to action."

(and i was mistaken, blue herons do live in virginia.  who knew?)

Monday, August 13, 2012

where i belong

this place, where seekers of adventure and discovery and space come together.

where the forest floor is carpeted with ferns.

where balance is achieved without effort.

and effort is rewarded with this:

where a daring dog becomes legend ("in all my hiking days, i've never seen a corgi on the trails."  said one sweet hiker.)

where we are back to basics.

this place, where there are wild blackberries, cool breezes, butterfly ballet, golden yarrow, nice folks, blue mountains, blue skies, a blue heron (!) and the footprints of thousands made one at a time.

this is where i belong.

Friday, August 10, 2012

art and life

chakra:  a work in progress.

on the table.

and in life.

every now and then pretty often i have the feeling like i don't belong.  i've come to trust this feeling over the years as a clue to pay attention to the only place we can ever truly belong, within our own souls.  my own spirit always welcomes me with delight.  i am always invited.  always wanted.  always missed when i go away.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


just this.

also:  no mud, no lotus.

Monday, August 6, 2012

some thoughts on wild

i enjoy reading.  but it seems that i am truly moved by a book only every other year or so.  i don't know if this says something about me or the state of literature.  regardless, since i am an avid reader, this causes me some sadness.  i would like to be moved more often, to be consumed and inspired by another's story.  when i am in the grip of a story that is changing my life, i am at once elated by its presence and mourning its inevitable departure. 

a few days ago i read the last few pages of wild, by cheryl strayed.  it's about a young woman who hikes the pacific crest trail by herself.  i had been reading it for weeks.  i can always tell when i have one of those life changing books in my hands because i move slowly through it, paging back and rereading passages.  i don't want the end to come.  i think about the story throughout my day and wonder what certain characters would do with the details of my life.  i begin to incorporate elements from the story into my life.  books have inspired me to learn and do many many things, from making mexican cocoa to choosing a career.

wild inspired me to go to the woods, to return to walking trails.  in my twenties, i discovered that i loved hiking, but as a single mother i never seemed to find the time to really commit to it.  we've lived thirty minutes from the blue ridge mountains and appalachian trail for eleven years now and just recently started to explore the many amazing mountains, forests and waterfalls that we are blessed to know.

but it's not just about the breathtaking scenery and fresh air.  it's about the solitude that happens on the trail, even when you are hiking with others.  it's about you, small and vulnerable in the woods but powerful beyond measure in spirit.  it's about trusting that something (bigger, better, different, unexpected) is just around the bend.

my words do not do her story justice, so i will use hers:

"it was all unknown to me then, as i sat on that white bench on the day i finished my hike.  everything except the fact that i didn't have to know.  that it was enough to trust that what i'd done was true.  to understand its meaning without yet being able to say precisely what it was, like all those lines from the dream of a common language that had run through my nights and days.  to believe that i didn't need to reach with my bare hands anymore.  to know that seeing the fish beneath the surface of the water was enough.  that it was everything.  it was my life--like all lives, mysterious and impeccable and sacred.  so very close, so very present, so very belonging to me.

how wild it was, to let it be."

Sunday, August 5, 2012

sunday grace

sometimes when you go searching for a meadow and allow yourself to get lost, you may just run across the most glorious meadow of all, an endless carpet of wildflowers wearing the fade of late summer. 

"we travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.”
-anaïs nin

Friday, August 3, 2012

happy weekend friends

it's been a month since i left my job and i'm in no hurry to return to busyness.  sometimes i feel like i need to be doing more, earning money, taking more responsibility.  the pressure to be productive gets to me.  people keep asking me what's next?  any interviews?  (i'm not actively job searching.)  what do you want to do?  we get really nervous about someone doing nothing.

this is what i want to do:  i want to be happy.  i want to figure out what it is i came here to do.  i want to clear out the stress, the pressure, the ridiculousness of the past (work) decade. 

if that's not productive, i don't know what is. 

this is my agenda:
  • homemade chai
  • finding a meadow
  • reading love story (i've never read it or seen the movie)
  • watching gymnastics and feeling like eleven-year-old me falling in love with nadia
  • planning a camp trip
  • wondering if i can make my own tent
  • letting go and trusting
  • a mad collection of delightful imagery
  • laughing hysterically
  • shakespeare
  • birthday cake

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

i have it bad

wanderlust for the great outdoors.  a love of the wild open.

from my into the wild pinterest board.