Divine Right Action

I wake up before I am ready, but I can’t go back to sleep. I lie there for a long time. Thinking, plotting, writing, wondering. When I finally get up, I light incense, pour water, swallow a pill of probiotics, and spoon granola into yogurt. Aromatherapy, hydration, nutrition. If I had more time, I would brew myself some tea from my vast cupboards of dried herbs. Herbal medicine.

I move to my favorite spot on the couch and I write the email that’s been stewing in my head, but then I can’t send it. My internet is feeling spotty, again. Perhaps it’s for the best.

I’m sitting in this fold of time, looking out at the next six months of my life. Suddenly I have so many things to look forward to. Known and unknown. I check my email on my phone, it’s a compulsion. Another rejection has arrived. An essay I submitted to a website I never read. To be honest, I don’t read many websites these days. My heart is in book-length endeavors. My heart races anyways.

But I’m still here. In this quiet embrace of my living room. Sitting with the comforting whirr of the furnace. The gentle whoosh of passing cars. The city of San Francisco as she stretches awake. She looks different than I thought she would. But what doesn’t look different than we thought it would?

At a Waldorf preschool tour the other day, the teacher said something that stood out to me: we want our kids to struggle.

The struggle, after all, is what inspires the oyster to make a pearl, the salmon to grow their delicious orange flesh. Struggle does not mean there’s something wrong with us. Struggle does not come because we deserved it. Struggle came to open us and stir up our contents. We are hot bubbling cauldrons of savory primordial stew. There is growth in struggle. Expansion. We are the diamonds creating our shine.

When I told a thoughtful friend that I was suspended in struggle, she used my symptoms to pick this affirmation out of a Louise Hay book for me: Divine right action is always taking place in my life. Only good comes from each experience. Right timing. It is safe to grow.

The mere act of living means we encounter walls. Some might seem small at first glance, but when we stack them up, they loom. We have to kick off our shoes and climb to the top and jump down on the other side without breaking both feet. Sometimes, we break anyways. With time and care, we heal. Afterwards we may appear the same as before, but inside, we are different at the cracks. Grittier.

Good and bad experiences are too intertwined to untangle. So we look for the angle where we can see divine right action peeling away the layers to reveal something precious.

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A Collection of Me Today

  I am unfocused ambition, devotion unraveled. I am the slit in the belly of the sky, the light that comes through it. I am crystal glinted. I am one idiosyncrasy of an all-encompassing hand. I am the hand reaching for something I need help reaching. I am expression distilled, expansion delivered.
The collection of me today contains infection, healing. I am the slow drip of sweet, the calm of quiet. I am inflammation, the sprouting green surrounding. I am rock solid and diaphanous in my delicacy. I am the fragility of my temperature. I am bacteria stunted. I am the growth of good. I am everything I need, right here.

I am Mother, capitalized. I am fierce and fool, sacrificial of self. I am the work brewing in every corner. It crouches in my space. I am shrunken inside of it. It holds me under. Youth usurped by strands of silver. I am the stolen and I am the reward. I am love unlisted.

On the peninsula today, sun broke winter. I am noticing the slab of cold ground, thawing. I am inside of eyes that are not my own. I am cells born from another. I am smoke and flame, incense and ember, the warmth of unclouded starlight. I am inspiration inspired.

Words originally posted on my Instagram feed, inspired by Liberated Lines: Amplify.

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What This Love Means

It means that the littlest unexpected moments break my heart. The sight of my kindergarten girl’s untouched lunch on a day she was sick at school. My toddler’s chubby little lady feet in her shiny shoes.

It means that I wake myself in the middle of the night to place my hand on her belly and feel her breathe. When she has a fever, I sleep beside her all night. The nature of life becomes apparent in its aching truth: every thing is temporary. Even when it feels like it’s going to last forever. Danger obscures benign situations. Former woes fade into nonbeing. Joy glimmers in a different context.

I think I finally understand how loved I am, for how else could I love a helpless being with such completeness? I have a new reason to love being me; they are part of me. I am a miracle worker. I do not have room to be anyone else. I am too full. I am fully me.

Being a mother outlines the shadow of my dreams, though being a mother does not fill them in. My children are at once muses and menaces to my work. They divide and conquer my mental state yet they are central to its coherence. Their well-being trumps everything.

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6 Years Of Life

  Six years since I had my first unplanned love baby. Six years of holding, knowing, kissing, desperately loving this creature who left parts of herself behind when she left my body, and took parts of me with her out into the world.

She is just six years old, but already I can see she will take everything I have given her and will give her, and she will use it to go places I can never touch.

She loves the monkey bars and riding her bike. Her favorite toys are Legos and American girl dolls (both real and knock-off). She takes dance and Spanish. She recently fell in love with bowling. She runs like the wind. She is uber sensitive, and willful and headstrong. She likes to make things, especially wearable things. She adores the giving and receiving of gifts. She’s all about hair. She styles her curls and accessorizes them like a pro. A sweet mother working in her classroom told me that she reads with the most gusto and drive. She makes art every day at our kitchen table. Yesterday it was a picture of a cupcake and a glass of water. She leaves me little love notes around the house. Drawings of hearts, flowers, my name, the two of us, and most recently these words: I like mom. 

I like you, too, baby.

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Creating for Myself

   
Something that keeps coming up for me as a mother and an artist: I must be exceptionally discerning as to how I spend my time. I have huge giant consuming passions and responsibilities that compete for my attention. Every minute of every day.

If I misspend too many moments, I run out of time for the people, the work, and the tasks that keep my soul afloat in this dynamic tide of life.

Time is an illusion; we have enough time. It is priorities we often lack. For example, I log on to Facebook more often than I call people, which is unfortunate, a clear case of misplaced priorities. But priorities are not always so easy to place.

I love this blog with its real-time catharsis, yet it falls to the bottom of my priorities. Often I don’t write here because I don’t know what I can say that will bring value to other peoples’ lives. I think I was taught to think like this by a blogging guru. But I was taking advice from the wrong camp: the business man rather than the artist woman.

A wise and well-known writer, Elizabeth Gilbert, recently told me (through her book “Big Magic”) that I don’t need to create for other people. She said, “you are not required to save the world with your creativity… I mean, it is very kind of you to want to help people, but please don’t make it your sole creative motive, because we will feel the weight of your heavy intention, and it will put a strain upon our souls.”

She suggests we make art to save ourselves, or relieve ourselves of a psychic burden, or even for self-entertainment. Which lines up perfectly with my belief that we cannot save other people, we can only save ourselves.

I knew immediately that she was speaking to me, and telling me that it’s okay to create for myself. To write this blog for me, and let it be what it’s wanted to be all along: art rather than advice.

By fully identifying and accepting this motivation, and recognizing that it is an act of self-love and not selfishness, I am more excited about blogging; even when it’s uncomfortable, even when I can’t see the purpose in it, even when I’m not sure if anybody is reading to the end, because sharing is still caring, and I care deeply about this world and everyone in it.

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Upward Potential

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.
– Neil Gaiman

New Year's 2014 Eve Flaming Lips Concert

Isn’t it beautiful that we resolve to change in the new year? That we can and do consciously choose to be different in ways we determine to be better?

This is our culture. We believe in ourselves. We believe in reaching beyond where we are. This is why we emigrate towards opportunity and set goals and go back to school.

I love this about us. Our propensity for growth. The upward potential of human nature. The expansion of the universe. We sense it, we move into it, we become it.

Dear readers, may 2016 be your best year yet. May all of us catch that rising tide.

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Gifts Unseen

“To make alive what is quiet. And asleep. In your existence. To do that work. To find you. In you. That is art to me.” – Nayyirah Waheed

  On the Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year, we celebrate a return to light, and with it, life.

Tis the season of gathering, gifting, and renewing. The archetypal birth. The festival of lights. The countdowns. The fireworks.

Winter, like a new human, offers a clean slate. May we honor our sweet perfect selves, re-born into 2016, with gifts unseen.

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The noticing of our swirling thoughts.

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The alchemizing of good thoughts into art, ideas, or energy.

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The evaluation of negative thoughts using a different perspective, found or borrowed. [There is always another perspective.]

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The risk of doing something different. New corners to turn, new places to explore, new foods to eat, new people to know, new concepts to assimilate.

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The luxury of self-love, and the willingness to show it. 

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The agreement to pursue things we can’t stop thinking about.

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The audacity to believe in things we cannot yet see.

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