Tag Archives: Questions

Back in the Saddle: August Week 4

8.23.2010 – Dust* (Mount Hermon, CA)

8.24.2010 – Last Bridge* (Mount Hermon, CA)

8.25.2010 – Last Day of the Blue Jay* (Mount Hermon, CA)

8.26.2010 – West Cliff Freedom* (Santa Cruz, CA)

8.27.2010 – Life’s Little Labyrinths* (Santa Cruz, CA)

Labyrinth*

Slate stones
sunken into grass
Pilgrims feet traverse
winding life and prayer                           toward Truth
Practicing presence

Breathe
Lord, have mercy.
Breathe
Christ have mercy.

Beginnings and ends
form and chaos
pattern and confusion
youth and age
meet
in twists and turns.
The enfolds of the Divine

~ESA

8.28.2010 – The Life I Never/Will Have* (San Francisco, CA)

8.29.2010 – The Last 2 Years in Cut-Out * (Emeryville, CA)

8.30.2010 – Lakeshore Blur* (Oakland, CA)

8.31.2010 – Colors * (Back in the OC)

Love/Hate

I have a deeply passionate love/hate relationship with my birthday.  I always hope for the best but end up in tears at some point during the day.  Each of the last seven years of my life have started off with something ranging from hurtful disappointing to tragic: the death of my beloved hero, my grandfather; my family forgetting my birthday; my closest friends forgetting my birthday; my then (now ex) boyfriend forgetting my birthday and then blaming me for this; and more of the same year after year after year.

This series of unfortunate events cuts me deeply, laying wide open my deepest fears and longings for anyone willing to take a peep.  Something about the day highlights a sense of isolation and disconnectedness I rarely allow myself to acknowledge or feel.  A year is spent seeking to care for others by being intentionally present for them, only to be (seemingly) forgotten.  Que the woe-is-me-self-pity, which produces a great amount of self-induced frustration and pep-talks.  And the cycle begins again.

Last year I tried to rectify my birthday deficiency by getting people together to spend time at a friend’s beach house in Santa Cruz.  I wanted quality time with good friends.  What I got was waking up to alone while good friends went for a long walk and who upon their return the home promptly left to make it to their next scheduled event on time, no birthday wishes (let alone a card or gift) from a then boyfriend whom I had just helped pack, move (two states) and unpack his life, crying in an airport terminal bathroom stall, and an awful dinner at a faux English pub upon my arrival in southern California.

This year I am set to celebrate my birthday with my family before I leave SoCal for a job that will require me to be out of the area for my birthday.  Already tears have spilled, as my mom seeks to make the day special.  Something in me will not allow it, as though this will only create a false sense of hope that will dissolve in couple of weeks.  So I put up the perfected “I don’t care” defensive wall to tamp down any fledgling hope.  After last year’s attempt most of me wants to pretend the entire day does not exist and simply skip it; to skip the day and the pain.  I may just get my wish this year.  If I am honest, this prospect terrifies me.  I am a place I have not been for a long time.  I know that where I am and where I will be on my birthday is where I am supposed to be.  The terror comes from the fear that another crap birthday (in this instance the negation of it) and the resultant self-pity, could derail me and this summer.

Strangely I do not feel this way about birthdays generally.  I’ll bake the cake, plan the party, and show up with bells on for others’ birthdays and birthday celebration.  To avoid the potential of hurt, I tell myself not to have any expectations, but inevitably I do.  I expect that the people I care about will care enough to remember.  I do not need gifts or cards, only a simple word or two.

Someday I will no longer be captive to this love/hate.  Someday the tears will not extinguish the candles.  Someday I will once again experience joy on a day that has ripped me apart for so long.  Someday.

Happy almost birthday to me.

Soldier on.  Soldier on.  Keep your heart close to the ground.
~The Temper Trap, “Soldier On”

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Post Script.

I love it(!) when things turn out the exact opposite (in a good way) from my low/negative expectations.  My family went out to dinner in Laguna Beach to celebrate my birthday before I leave,  and I had the best dinner I have ever eaten in Orange County.  The tears shed earlier in the day by both my mom and I were well worth the good conversation, delicious dinner, and quality time spent together as a family.

Being proved wrong is (ofttimes) a blessing.

5.30.2010 – Beets. Glare. Lights. (Laguna Beach, CA)*

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Blogtrack:

– The Temper Trap, “Soldier On”;
– Horse Feather, “Belly of June”

What is in Front of Me Right Now

I find that most people have an opinion (or a few) about what I should be doing right now and why where I am (and by extension, who I am) is not enough.  I know the advice given is the product of their concern and care for me; I know they mean well.  But rarely do they halt their talk and attempts to fix my “problem(s)” to hear, to know me.

I am learning what it means to focus on what is front of me.  Not the indefinite in front of me but the immediate, the right now.  I am no longer turning my ear to the cacophony of words surrounding me, which in the past drowned out my voice.  I am focused on what is front of me right now.

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5.20.2010 – A Visual Reminder: Focus Here (Orange, CA)*

5.21.2010 – Waste Not: Apples to Sauce*

5.22.2010 – Loved*

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Blogtrack:
– Toro Y Moi, “Leave Everywhere”;
– Future Islands, “Swept Inside”;
– Foals, “Spanish Sahara”;
– The Local Natives, “Airplanes”;
– Hammock, “You Lost the Starlight in Your Eyes”; and
– Dustin O’Halloran, “Opus 23”

It’s Time to Go.

The more I pursue clarity of purpose, passions, giftings
the deeper the uncertainty, wounding, and suffering
the more stunning the healing and beauty.

It’s time to go.

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Title, dates, etc. are listed below the mosaic from left to right and top to bottom.

5.14.2010 – Yellow (Irvine, CA)*
5.15.2010 – Frameless*
5.16.2010 – South-West of Center (Long Beach, CA)*
5.17.2010 – Hanging in There*
5.18.2010 – Grey Skies are Going to Clear Up (Irvine, CA)*

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Blogtrack:

– HEALTH, “USA Boys”;
– J. Tillman, “When I Light Your Darkened Door”;
– Explosions in the Sky, “What do You Go Home to?”; and
– Ra Ra Riot, “Each Year (Absofacto Remix)”

The Vines that Bind

Several times over the last month I have experienced not belonging.  While walking to my car after a party I was reminded, yet again, that I do not belong here.

I may be here but I do not abide here.

I may live here but I am not at home here.

5.1.2010 – (1) (Long Beach, CA)*

5. 1. 2010 – (2) (Long Beach, CA)*


5.2.2010 – Shavings*

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Blogtrack:

Princeton, “Calypso Gold”;
Active Child, “When Your Love is Safe”

Abandonment

I am poignantly struck by the reality of and need for abandonment.  Not abandonment in the selfish sense of giving up on responsibilities, people and relationships, throwing your hands in the air and simply walking away.  I am talking about the abandonment of an inflated notion of control and self-importance, that somehow one can will everything to work out according to the master plan.  The more I pause and look at the people, society and world around me, the more I see how this mentality has finagled its way into the individual and collective psyche.

The more I let go, the more I experience the deep, rich beauty and freedom that comes only with surrender.

The following two prayers of abandonment reflect the uncertainty of life and the sense of acceptance and freedom to truly live in the midst of not knowing:

Prayer of Abandonment

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.  I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end.  Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.  But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you and I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.  And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road although I may know nothing about it.  Therefore, will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not fear, for you are ever with me and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

~Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude.

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Prayer of Abandonment

Father, I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all Your creatures –
I wish no more than this, O Lord.Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands,
without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,

For you are my Father.

~Charles de Foucauld

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And for another form of abandonment, this is a sweet video for the bitter-sweetness of a broken heart.  Thanks to Brian Ferry for the link.

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4.29.2010 – Dear Ralphs, one of the reasons I purchase organic produce is because the agricultural practices cause less trauma to the environment.  Adding a bright yellow sticker, really detracts from that whole environmental thing.  (Irvine, CA)*

4. 30.2010 – Pipes*

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Blogtrack

The xx, “Shelter (Them Jeans edit)”

Mellow Beats and Forgiveness

There is a substantial amount of work being to done around the house.  Which is to say it is a toss up between whether jackhammers or chainsaws will play the first notes of the day’s soundtrack.  The upside is that I have gotten some interesting photos of the demolition process.  The downside is that mishaps like accidentally cutting the phone line (–> no DSL) happen.  Generally waiting a few days until the phone company can come out to fix it would generally make me happy as my soul needs periodic breaks from the computer and information overload via the web.  But I am in job app mode and with a temperamental laptop (proven by Saturday’s hour-long attempt to sign on at a local coffee shop’s wifi).  Needless to say, more than a couple “what the what!?!” flew out my mouth.  Technology can be so great until it stops functioning.

What follows is a random collection of thoughts jotted down over the last several days when I was sans internet access:

Friday, April 16, 2010

Dear Snowden:

The more I listen to you, the more I like you.  Thank you.

I thought I’d found a cure for my problem where I bleed from my sleeve and it pours on everyone that I meet.  I made clear where I was coming from.  And you touched me again so I assumed that you could swim.  “You don’t you want to know me.  No you don’t want to know me, cuz you don’t really know me,” she said.

Here is to vulnerability and being known.

4.16.2010 – Some Days This is the Best View in the World (Orange, CA)*

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Blogtrack:

The Mary Onettes, “Pleasure Song”;
Snowden, Slow Soft Syrup EP

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

To the moments when all that needs to be said is, “‘Babe, I love you. And, “Babe, I love you too.’”  May they come again someday.

4.17.2010 – Unraveling*

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Blogtrack:

Headphones, “Slow Car Crash”;
M.Ward, “Eyes on the Prize”

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

This morning I read in-coming freshman scholarship essays for my undergraduate alma mater.  There is something so delightful in the escalating anticipation associated with that time of life; when life as one has always known it is on the edge of giving way to a mysterious newness.

On the way to and from the scholarship event I listened to a podcast that addressed a topic I have been ruminating on for a bit and randomly read about yesterday – I love it when life aligns like that!  I have been thinking about forgiveness and what it means to forgive well.  Forgiving well is not “moving on” – a phrase I have used with some frequency in this blog –, rather it is the learned and practiced act of relinquishing a sense of deserved justice by reaching beyond the “sorry” to place of asking for and extending release to others and oneself for damage(s) done.  In my life forgives done well tends to mean that I eventually reach a place where I desire reconciliation or where I can whole-heartedly wish the person well.

Humans have a deeply entrenched sense of justice – sadly, it too often extends only as far as one’s self and loved ones.  And it is easy to throw one’s fist at the sky and demand justice, or, at the very least, an explanation.  Note to readers, this does not mean that I do not believe in justice, it is just that there are some things that justice cannot heal.  An inability or unwillingness to forgive has the potential to do more damage than the initial perpetrated harm.  There can be no healing without forgiveness.

I am just beginning to chip away at this, aka these are initial thoughts.  This course of thought began when I asked myself if the reason I am unable to move on from the harm caused by certain events and people in my life is because I have not forgiven them.  How can I really move forward if I still hold (however loosely) a sense of rightness, of deservedness in feeling hurt?  How can I wish someone well with words when my heart still aches a little each time a name or situation is mentioned?  Simply answered,  I cannot.  And attempts to do so only perpetuate my posture of deservedness and unforgiveness.

Here is to acknowledging and voicing hurts, both received and doled out.  Here is to asking for and extending forgiveness.  Here is to relinquishing.  Here is to new life.

4.19.2010 – Shuttered Brick Reflections (Tustin, CA)

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Blogtrack:

Port O’Brien, “Is This Really What Its Come To?”;
Mars Hill Bible Church, “Troubling Love (3/20/2010)”

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Monday, April 19, 2010

On my drive home from work a supped-up Ford F-150 bro truck flew past me going 70mph in a 50mph zone.   A mile or two later I stopped at a traffic signal and to my left was the bro truck, inside of which sat the driver, a coifed OC guy complete with aviators listening to Taylor Swift.  I started laughing, I could not help myself.  

4.19.10 – 185 Generator*

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Blogtrack:

Big Science, The Coast of Nowhere EP

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

4.20.2010 – Look in the Nooks (Peters Canyon, CA)*

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Blogtrack:

Bon Iver, “Come Talk to Me (Peter Gabriel cover)“;
Lovedrug, “Pink Champagne”;
The Envy Corps, “Wires & Wool”;
Local Natives, “World News”