I’m writing this sitting in my best friend’s living room. In the Before Times, I’d make the trip from Eugene to Portland once a month. When I went left PDX in February 2020, I did not know it would be 15 months before I’d return.
Gwen and I walk into a bar. Wait behind the taped-off area for the bartender to be free. He greets us. By that point, my mask has started to feel like I’m sucking air through a sauna and I’ve grown nervous about being out in the world again. We order drinks and then I very smartly ask: Do you have menus? Bartender, on his way to grab said menus: No, we’re one of those restaurants…
Awe and wonder. The way that hearing birds chirping first thing in the morning feels like a thread connecting me to every ancestor I’ve never known but whose DNA is in my body. They knew birds, I’m certain of it.
And leaves. And rain and sunshine. Some of them knew love and what it was like to give life and to keep that life going long enough to grow into their own being with the next generation of us.
When I want to know the quiet of time before too much technology and too many people, nature lets me tap into that deep history.
In the book God in All Worlds, Lucinda Vardey writes “I believe we begin our search for meaning with doubt, pain, and a lot of questions” (3). In Buddhism, many of the teachings are about how to move beyond suffering. The people I grew up with turn to the Christian God when they are in pain, scared, confused. For myself, the least authentic approach to Spirit is the path of pain and suffering. Prayer becomes…
Sheryl was, like any family member I grew up with, complicated. She was the first person to help me out of a traumatic situation when I was a teenager, even though her approach was itself problematic. Decades later, she was my father’s hospice nurse and then stayed on to live with my stepmother after he passed. Both of which were incredible gifts and for which I will always be grateful.
William Stafford wrote over 20,000 poems. My favorite quote about Stafford’s prolificness (prolificity?) comes from our local paper, The Oregonian:
“Writing every day resulted in about 20,000 completed or attempted poems; only about 6,000 have been published.”
ONLY 6,000… I imagine the author of that article has a dry sense of humor. It’s the “20,000 completed or attempted poems” that intrigues me, however. Stafford woke up early every day and wrote. His advice to others about what to do when they can’t write?
“Lower your standards and keep writing.”
Rational Brain says let’s take the day off and go to the park; Reactive Brain says TREAT and offers no resistance. Rational Brain says let’s spend today working on this manuscript that scares the hell out of me; Reactive Brain sounds the alarms, slams on the brakes, and starts refreshing Pinterest as if your life depends on knowing how to clean your toilet with baking soda and vinegar.
I had always wanted a deeper voice so when my voice first started to change, I was giddy. It started early in the process of my medical transition and was soon cracking at odd moments and completely unpredictable and unreliable. I laughed, or at the very least smiled if I had to restrain myself, every single time my voice shifted mid-sentence. I sounded like a teenager going through puberty. Half of that sentence is accurate. I was, indeed, going through puberty but it was my second go-round and I was thirty years beyond being a teenager.
It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Klein Of course, this is not THE thing that defines us and makes us unique. But it is ONE of the experiences of what it means to be human. We each fail uniquely (ala The Anna Karenina Principle). Perhaps it isn’t how we fail but how we respond to the failure that…
While it is already obvious from the title of this series and from the intro to this post, let me state clearly that the event I ran for Ness Labs did not go according to plans. It started off with the odds against it.
I woke up to my alarm at 6 am that Saturday morning. This is not a typical Saturday occurrence…