Tuesday, March 24, 2015

stop and smell the roses


so much music lately: the Biggie track on the last post, then today's thoughts on creating the song you dance to for life, finally tonight's soundtrack as provided by OutKast.

Remember OutKast? Im glad I did. Because tonight I needed the reminder that "roses smell like poo." I needed the reminder that my shit stinks. Just like everyone else's. *

Truth is, we all have our shit. We all have our bad habits, and our good ones that we insist people acknowledge and love and admire us for--the good habits that often are the true source of the problem. At times our so called good habits get the best of us. They become a source of justifying our actions, avoiding our truth, pretending we are ok when we are straight up not ok. They transform into our love languages, our cover ups, our control mechanisms. Sound dark and heavy? It was, until I played this song:

ms Jackson

"im sorry". Big words. Biggest words. Bigger than "I love you." Because they say "I love you" at the same time. They say that you care more about the person you are apologizing to more then you do about your so called good habits. It doesn't need to mean you are wrong, that you are awful, and especially does not need to be an easy escape: "im sorry", (can we just have sex now?) ...y'know what I mean...all it means is...you're sorry.

Tonight I am sorry that my habit of avoiding confrontation got in the way of clearing the air between a good friend and I. When I could have had the love for this person, I chose to walk away and uttanasana--forward fold--in the other room. I did it to clear my head....only to come back and say nothing. Saying nothing got me to making pasta on my own and feeling like I had a thousand things to say. Most of which were questions for myself: how did my avoidance of confrontation contribute to the confrontation? How does my sponge like absorption of other peoples energy permeate my being so that I am no longer clear on how I, personally, truly feel? How does my desire for people to be in their own truth no matter how shitty it is stop me from taking a whiff of myself? Tonight, I smelled pretty bad.

How often do we let our comfortable ways of being get in the way of our being present? Avoiding confrontation has served me (admittedly only to some extent) as I was growing up, and while working in the false stress of the hierarchy of a kitchen; now avoiding confrontation only serves me to avoid being real.

Being real, being honest, showing our bad habits along with our good and recognizing both as integral parts of every human being that we love (and even those we don't**) takes courage. As much courage as it takes to apologize. But if we are to exist in any medium that allows us to be free, compassionate, genuine beings, than we need to be willing to be a light when others are not ok, and acknowledge openly when we are not being one.

So tonight was a bit dark and heavy. Only because I let it be. And then I let it not be, because as much as what I could have would have should have said might have changed the encounter, only we can change our ways of being, seeing, and feeling: our moods so to speak. An apology, no matter how late, will help with that. So will some good music.

Because I know you want to hear it

and the one that made me dance


*paula Abdul?! And yes, this vid gets cheesy with the last little commentary, but "one last look at the past"?--that's some good shit;)

**only love, c'mon.

***I don't know if this vid will work, but you can find it here

Monday, March 16, 2015

Soul finding: the essay

In about four different ways i have written about the last couple of days in a series of very non-descript ways. This will be the fifth.

In other words, vague generalizations, bits of wisdom without the bits of detailed experience from which they came from, perhaps a few metaphors, and overall an estranged roundabout tale are to follow. Read at your discretion.

First note a couple of details that most of you already know:

1: i am currently living in Marseille, thousands of miles away from home and life as i have known it, gratefully taking some time to figure out just what it is i know about life and what it is i want to know once i have lived it.

2: i am a terribly (sometimes i like to think wonderfully) impulsive being. Hence Marseille.

So Marseille. Perhaps you know. Perhaps we had the chance to talk before i left. Likely you asked why i was coming here, and likely i shrugged, smiled, and replied, to eat/drink/smoke/write and generally live without pants for awhile. Likely now, having seen the photos, you know i just eat and do yoga. Well, i also think too much.

And one of the things i have been thinking about is how much we can never know about ourselves no matter how much thinking we do. There are some things we only discover when we stop searching our souls, and watch oursoulves (note: that was a typing error that i think is quite perfect...) respond to circumstance.

There has been much searching of my soul since this whole adventure began, and long before that. This past weekend, though, was less about searching and more about finding; i have been forced to see things i didnt want to see. Perhaps feel is the better word: felt things i didnt want to feel. Le sigh. It is humbling how the universe grants you the circumstances or the people that take you right to that place of uncomfortable acknowledgement of self, or give you the answer that works for every one of your questions and then you try to pretend like you didnt ask--but you cant.

As this happened, i watched myself receive these answers, and tried not--as a wise friend once guided me--to confuse being critical with being observant. Criticism comes from the ego; observation comes from a place of love. I pass on her words to you now, that even if you are left confused about who you are being, it is only a part of the process of unfolding into a deeper sense of self. Sometimes we know what is within each layer, but choose to keep ourselves folded up tight; other times we had no idea what was waiting to be unravelled. This weekend as my impulsive side took over, and i was taken away from the search and right into reality, i chose to see what was there for me. And feel what was there for me. I learned the difference between justification and acceptance--that excusing behaviour is not the same as seeing its purpose--a lesson, admittedly, i will likely find myself relearning. I sat still with the discomfort. And i moved my body through it. And let sleep dissolve some ideas. And let some understandings keep me awake. And i wrote the shit out of all i came to know.

And if you dont know, now you know--as a wise rapper once said.

Well, actually. You still dont really know--but i warned you of that. I wrote more openly to myself, because in the end, the only one who needs to see and know every intimate truth, to be in accepting observation and willing growth, is oursoulves. (i love that!)

Soul finding: the poem

"Hows the soul searching going?"
He asked.
He asked without me telling him
that is what I was doing.

He knew.
Who puts their life on p a u s e
to do anything but go searching?

Only, when he asked,
I realized I was not searching at all--
I was finding.

I am finding.

Without even looking
I am finding
exactly what I was looking for.
Answers to questions that are all the same.

Who am I?
Who am I and where do I stand:
creating boundaries and l e a p i n g past them?

What am I willing
to see when I look back
and how far can I look a h e a d

Without losing me here; now?

I am not lost.
I am finding. Bits of truth
in the way that you might learn a lesson
the hard way;

by seeing what is hard to look at
and feeling e v e r y t h i n g.
And instead of trying to change

what I find,
I am learning to love
every part of my soul.

Love every part of your soul.

Be willing to let go
of the search.
Allow yourself to observe without criticism.
Feel without judgement.

What is there to judge?
You are a changing,
growing human

Who lives to learn
and learns to love
e v e r y bit of your soul

by letting it show you

that you are not lost.
You are not wrong.
Your greatest self is waiting there
to be understood

and expressed.
Waiting to set roots in truth
and grow freely.

What is f r e e d o m?
It is what is there for you
when you love everything you find.

Love, your soul.

Monday, February 23, 2015

i wrote one

I want to write poems.

I want to write poems,
but not just a series of lines
that weave in syllabic time with each other;
With all do respect to iambic pentameter,
5-7-5 haikus,
and the intelligence behind rhyme,
I want to write with less concern,
and a freer voice.

I want to write poems
that do not give a shit about what the last stanza
the last line
even the last thought
counted for.
I mean literally counted.
1-2-3-4, punctuated pauses
and "sounds like" details can fuck off.

I want to write poems
that count for something
more than rhythm.
That count for thoughts.
Emotions. Tender and raw because they are universal.
Everyone feels something.

I want to write poems
that know that to feel,
to feel (anything at all),
is beautiful--
B.K.S Iyengar.
I want you to feel the freedom to feel.
And then,

I want to write poems
that ask you to feel even more.
That move you to move.
That blast your heart open like a blown
dandelion: seeds scattered everywhere so that what you feel
might touch an infinite number of spaces.

I want to write poems
that do not require a dandelion wish to be made
but a possibility to become a reality.
Poems so that you are not alone.
Poems of humanness.

I want to write poems
that make humans realize they need poetry,
to write or to read;
they need relativity.
They need words to make them run so hard in the direction of nothingness
and trust--TRUST for fuck sakes
that there is never nothing.

I want to write poems
that show how much something there is.
How our emotions are beautiful as they are,
no amount of kerosene can ignite them any further.
That allow us to see, as Ginsberg wanted us to see,
that the only weight we carry is love.

I want to write poems
about love.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

pt deux

Truth: i am not mind blown by this move to France. Perhaps because the seed was planted sometime last summer, and for those of you who know me, when i plant a seed it grows (37 tomato plants later....). In other words, when i get set on an idea, its more likely then anything to happen, and is sometimes bigger than i can handle (so much canning that year....). This time, however, is not one of those too big times. Its the perfect size really. You see, living here is just like living anywhere else: life still basically revolves around food and yoga, i just dont know how to talk to anyone about them. But i trust that i will learn French while i am here, just as i will learn more about me, about my mind, about my heart.

Because although my mind is relatively calm about this transition, my heart has been BLOWN WIDE APART!!!!

Seriously, without the capitals and exclamation points, i dont know that i could communicate, even in my native language, just how much love i am feeling. For D and R to open their Marseille home to me with open arms and full glasses, im.....whoah. boom.

Even before i got here, though, it--my heart that is--was feeling a bit overwhelmed. As Mexico clearly deserves its own write up, i will again only detail simply that what happened there, from two incredible women making it possible for me to come and chef it, to the two weeks of feeling the most present and in agreeance with myself that i have ever felt, totally connected to the food i was cooking in the jungle as it was for our little family there, was pure magic. Then there were the six days at home where while my mind was simultaneously in four places: meditating on Mexi, organizing what needed to be done before the next adventure, thinking all the way ahead to when i would be back again, and trying to remain as present as i had been in the last two weeks for all the goodness in that transition space, and while my body was like: i want chocolate and a nap, my heart was like HOLY F**K there is so much love in my life.

I relaxed a little bit....and understood the limitlessness of my human heart.


That was for you JEL.

There is something for everybody. Because as i live these days out here, there are constantly little reflections, thoughts, moments, foods, sounds, movements, that are connected to each person back home and elsewhere that pushed my hearts capacity. Thank you for that. Thank you for being here. I love you back infinitely.

Truth deux: while yes, in its simplicity, life is still all food and yoga. But food here, in its simplicity, is grand. Belgian endive was the first thing to surprise me: humble bitter salad greens. Impec (which is impeccable in French, loosely--see, learning!). And simply being able to walk a couple blocks for any number of boulangeries and patisseries and fresh produce, butchers, fish right off the boat; i love not having to shop for the week, but instead for the meal. I have already found my favorite grocer, he has terrible teeth but the most amazing smile, and you can buy one egg at a time, laid that morning. D showed me an organic shop, and in between the two a cheese shop that makes me limitless heart skip a beat or six. It is no trouble to eat well here. And we have.

And yoga. Well, i get to move in a room strewn with light from six foot tall windows. And D and i made a video together that basically depicts what yoga here, life here in general, will be like. And i wish there was a way to stretch your shin bones, because ive got splints from walking to get all those groceries and explore this city that after just three short days, has become home.

Home is where the (limitless) heart is.

Only love

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Black and white and French

Yesterday i learned that, in French, the days of the week are named for the planets and Lundi (Monday) the moon. And it blew my mind.

I should be mind blown that i am learning such French things because i am living in Marseille. But i am not. I am actually quite not in shock, quite comfortable, harmonious with this two and a half month little French life i get to live. Such ease has a lot to do with what else i have been learning lately: to be present to the "immediacy of the experience."

This lesson is courtesy of Pema Chodron and her book When Things Fall Apart--it's not something i was reading because i was in a crises, but rather something to read in order to learn to embrace crisis. Other wisdom bits include asking how willing we are to loosen our grip and how honest we want to be with ourselves; with curiosity, what might seem like a problem becomes a source of wisdom; that we ought to relax and touch the limitless space of the human heart (my God, dont you just love that?! LIMITLESSNESS of the HEART!); Pema says that "we use our emotions. We use them. In their essence they are simply part of the goodness of being alive [but] instead of letting them be, we throw kerosene on our emotions so that they might feel more real;"(her language in this next bit, as in the latter, is what touches my nerves) when you fall in love, you should recognize the impermanence of it, and let that intensify the preciousness;  by looking into our own hearts we find the completely unclouded and awakened experience of how things really are--experience being our ultimate teacher because our personal experience is the only true experience we have and we must totally commit to this experience so that we might totally commit to an unconditional relationship with reality. So wise.

I want all of these words, particularly the first bits (i love the intensity of the word immediacy with experience), and the last: commit to an unconditional relationship with reality, tattooed on my body. And i am only half kidding. Actually i am not kidding at all, i am just trying to decide what i want scripted on my left arm so that i do not forget what i have learned. It is one thing to learn such things though, another to put them into practice.

The thing with practicing presence, though, is that it cannot really be taught. I feel we are all at one time or another, in fluctuations throughout our days, present and totally gone; it is a human struggle to be immediate, to be not planning, or thinking of anything other than what we are currently a part of. And really, there is nothing wrong with that. You see, what i have found is that our daydreams and reflections are as much an integral part of our present being, equally shaping our reactions and opinions and permeate our sense of self so that we may be less black and white. Less "now here" vs "no where." We cannot be told which one to be, or even which one we are, but we can notice, when we are here or entirely somewhere else just how grand our connection feels.

That, to me, is the greatest way to learn about presence: to truly allow oneself to feel connected. To notice flow, ease, the un-blown-ness of the mind.  For me personally, it is when i don't feel the need to rush, when i don't create an agenda, instead allow the day to take me somewhere in and amoungst or completely free of routine. I love routine. I love finding a rhythm to move to, a clean line to my day. But i also love when that line zig zags or the rhythm changes to a heavier, jazzier beat, and i can stay with it--presently.

For example, today was my first day alone in Marseille. After a short but the absolute sweetest reunion with my soul brother D (who, p.s. recently accused me of being too present moment....), it is just my English speaking self to hang out with. And down the rain comes. Literally. It poured until about 2:30 this afternoon. This was no trouble for my sleepy, jet lagged self, as it provided a good excuse to stay inside, pants free, with wine, and words to write. When it did let up, i left to get more wine (for just 3 euros i should note...and a chocolate bar that cost three times as much), and managed to find, seamlessly, all of the places that D and i hit yesterday. This is a grand feat for someone who is notoriously lost, and one of the signs to me that i am exactly where i need to be.

This ability to navigate in somewhere unfamiliar has only happened to me twice before: in Sanfrancisco some odd years ago, and more recently (as in two weeks ago-ish) in Yelapa Mexico. There is so much, so so much i could write about Mexico (and have already written so so much on SF), but if i could say one thing that i took home from there was living the lessons of being in the immediacy of the experience, and loving, unconditionally, my reality. I found that balance between planning or expectation (ive also wrote alot about expectation) to motivate my days, and simply allowing what was offered to happen. I found a balance between the black of control and the white of simply going with the flow by being present for each experience, seeing how i was behaving/feeling/sharing in such moments and letting myself learn about, well, myself. In that way i began to see that it wasnt black or white at all, just as it is not yin or yan. It is yin and yan, the same sides of a mountain, with the sun casting light on one but not the other, but the same rock form all the same. It was all just me. And that was mind blowing.

You want to blow your own mind? Spend some time with you. Notice your habits. Notice your routines and whether you like them or not. Notice what rocks you and what lulls you. Drink wine in the middle of the day. Or dont. Wear pants. Or dont. Meditate. Talk out loud in whatever language you wish or wish to know. Create something, even if it is just a piece of yourself you want to know more intimately. Pema says to point to your own heart, see your fears, and discover what is true. The source of wisdom happens directly in the moment, when we stop to experience each moment as new and stand with pride and recognize its sacredness; i say that in doing so you become more comfortable with the present, less on either end of a dramatic spectrum and more in harmony with you.

So i hope you didnt expect to learn about my time here in Marseille through this post. I mean really, not alot mind blowing has happened: i have grocery shopped, yoga'd, drank, and danced, alone and with some beloved company. Just another Samedi--Saturnday. Just another stream of thoughts, some pictures to follow, and stay tuned for more moments, including what i choose for that tattoo...

only love

Thursday, September 18, 2014

saying goodbye; letting go; still loving

im moving again. that's nine times in the last six years. each time there is less to move. this time noticeably a lot less cookbooks. eight banana boxes less. the last time I moved was under a number of realizations (like I had too many cookbooks that I never use and that I was ready to make space for someone to share my space....[side note: thank you to all of those who have helped me move--often more than once--and never commented about the absurd number of books I have, and especially to the one someone who finally did]) and expectations (that that somebody would share my space). Now I am going to be sharing space with a very different somebody,

Somebody A, the somebody for whom a certain banana bread was made, whom adventures and music were shared with, whom stirred laughter and tears, and whom a number of current home shelves were left free for is no longer my somebody. He is my friend though. And he can use my new shelves if he needs to....

Somebody B is my good friend with whom I will be sharing different adventures and music and baked goods with. Somebody who is about to be overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I still have despite having moved so many times. Mostly food. And booze. And still quite a number of books.

This move is quite significant, firstly because I have not lived with anyone since the random moving in with three football players I had never met on the opposite end of this country (a whole other moving story full of somebodys). More significant though, because of that grand bit of expectation attached to the last move.

Moving into this little home of mine now was full of expectation: firstly that moving up a crazy steep hill out of downtown would inspire me to get back on my bicycle (im one of those "hardcore" cyclists who loves a good incline even more than the downslope--and so does my butt...)--which didn't happen--but primarily, to have M (somebody A, in case you haven't caught on yet) feel welcome in my home, to maybe call it his own. Which definitely didn't happen.

Oh expectation. how you set me up to be let down...by myself. If we do not expect anything, then we can not be let down. This does not mean not to have hope, not to put effort into manifestations. even hope falls flat if you do not put in the work. Hope for something can be like setting a goal or seeing the outcome, but you have to be willing to make the steps towards that. For long- term -live- in- sharing- shelves- love, you need to be free of expectation but full of hope and then willing to do the work to make that hope truth.

its a lesson I continue to learn as I pack up all of my stuff and one box of M's and think about whats next. What is next? I have a lot on my plate this fall/winter, including a number of adventures almost as grand as love (who am I kidding? theres nothing so grand!). And a number of challenges not nearly as challenging as love. Including letting go of love.

but then again, as I pack I learn another lesson. That just because you let go doesnt mean you love any less. Actually, I didn't learn that from packing, I learned it from pinterest, but I am thinking about it as I pack. I am thinking also of all the good times we had, the food shared and songs sung. The talks, the laughter, the kisses, the questions, the long nights and early mornings, the good on its own and the good within what didn't feel so good then. Im thinking about how leaving this space is a significant move, a letting go of expectations, a closing of a move that was such an opening statement to my heart, and in leaving an awareness of how much my heart has yet to open. I will miss the memories the floor boards hold here (and the gas burners and my garden, and sliding doors and built in shelving... but that's besides the point...), but look forward too to being free of them. I look forward to letting go.

And being able to still love him. And still loving me.