Look, Bird tweets:
More! Pictures! (Seriously.)


Entries in change (8)


Fluid Dynamics

I came home from the airport to discover a for-sale sign in the neighbors' yard.  They moved in when their first-born and Ezra were both infants and since then we've spent countless summer afternoons on the sidewalk in front of our houses watching them crawl, then toddle, then bike back and forth.  They have a million good reasons to move and I understand them all.  But I still feel short of breath thinking of them going.

This week Ezra and I will walk into the school where he will start Kindergarten for our first family meet-and-greet.  Will and I agonized over whether to move him from the school he's attended since he was 8 months old but determined that he is ready for the challenge of a new environment.  I get weak in the knees when I think of school supplies and new sneakers and the rhythm of the school year.

Whispers in the halls at the office, growing in volume over weeks to a deafening white noise that underlies everything else, about mergers and acqusitions.  We were a smallish business when I started here but no more.  If we have fattened into the kind of tasty morsel that looks irresistible to a deep-pocketed corporate investor, that's a win I suppose, but not without attendant anxiety. 

Suddenly it seems currents of change swirl around me, and I wonder if I can park myself in an eddy and wait it out.  It's strange, because for some time I've felt the tension of a powerful surge growing up behind the dam of my life's predictability.  Feeling it would break and unleash some kind of furious shift in the world as I know it.  Now I suffocate in the unknowing. 

I am deeply unsettled.  I hone to a razor's edge my hardest questions about whether I've made the right choices and hold them to the light.  It's strange that even these predictable things - neighbors move, children grow, businesses do business - trigger shifts that feel seismic.  My wish: to befriend the unknowing, to call in synchronicity, to breathe.


Signs and Surrender

Ezra has adopted a charming little 3-year-old-ism lately, when he doesn't get what he wants.  It goes something like, I never EVER get (fill in the blank) even if that is patently and demonstrably false.  Even if he just got exactly what he wanted five minutes ago or if exactly what he wants is promised to him five minutes from now.  But it's not RIGHT NOW, and therefore feels like Never Ever. 

I have been in quite a huff this week, feeling petulant and impatient for the life I want to finally start.  My internal iPod has been running the I never EVER get script on repeat and I have been moping around in a fashion totally unbecoming of an adult who already has more blessings that she deserves.

Then my friend Kelly called and said an intuitive told her to "Trust The Process," which made me sit up a little straighter because it is the precise mantra that arose at last fall's photography camp.  Kelly said she is excited to introduce me to a director she is working with and full of ideas and hope about artful collaborations.

Then I got an out-of-the-blue e-mail from an editor I love saying "when are you going to move to LA so you can work with me?  I have so many ideas I can't sleep at night."

Another friend pinged me to say that we have to catch up and she has ideas to share about work to do together.

Then a colleague cornered me and told me that it's time for me to be the change I want to see and make my work.

All this came in a handful of days this week when I was hell-bent on wallowing in stuckness, but even I was starting to brattily concede that the Universe might be trying to tell me something.


I opened Facebook and there was a message from my old friend Jackie, who is moving to San Francisco in a few weeks, asking me if I have a cruiser bike.

Let me preface this by saying that only a few days before, as a girl on a cruiser passed in front of my car, I said out loud to my mom I really want to get a cruiser bike like that, and I want it to have a basket and I want to be able to ride it to the studio that will house my new work life.

So I responded to Jackie that I don't have a cruiser but I'm dying to get one and if she has one she needs to offload before she moves I'm very interested. 

She wrote back that this is a bike her former husband (and my friend) Dylan gave her before he died and she's been wondering for a year what to do with it.  Yesterday morning she woke up with the answer that she needs to give it to me because I loved Dylan and he loved me and it might give me some joy to have something of his.

All of this is to say that I was resisting all that positive feedback that I have been getting from people all week, but then the cruiser bike landed in my lap.  So now I have to concede that, yes, Universe, I know you are listening.  Thanks for the sign.  I surrender.  I will trust your process.

a literal sign, from Camp Shutter Sisters last Fall


Calculus of Risk

My standard dream, when I'm wishing myself out of my current moment, is always to Run Away With The Circus.  It's a metaphor, since I can only actually juggle three balls at once (and nothing sharp or flaming) and I can't really see myself wearing spandex in front of large crowds.  But the urge to claim a more colorful, less obliged life does still surface.  More risk, more breath, more adventure: there's a part of me that hasn't really outgrown the intoxicating draw of those ideas even while I've grown into marriage, parenthood, mortgage(s).

Strange to consider reconciling that with the part of me that craves approval and credibility but we are complicated creatures, are we not?

So my friend Nell shared this with me last night, a note to which I can't give proper attribution since I don't know its origins.  But I like it:

Risks are an important part of life.  When you try to avoid risk then life becomes stagnant.  Most people avoid risk out of a sense of fear.  They want to protect their security and comfort.  The status quo, no matter how unstimulating, is preferable to most people than the risk of failure.  Avoiding risk is a sign of lack of trust in the benevolence of the universe.

Failure is actually an important aspect of growth. When you fall short, it is a good time to evaluate and commit to making the changes to grow. Those who purposefully place themselves in uncomfortable situations of risk make the most rapid growth. Living in the unknown is the most exciting and stimulating way to experience life. Be eager to take risks and push beyond your comfort zone. This is where you will discover the true joy of life.

I have a siren in my ear, urging me forward into the unknown.  A former version of myself would have burned down the barn so I could see the moon, and there's still something in me that holds a match and whispers do it do it do it.  But today I'm wondering if I could achieve the same effect by putting on a warm hat, lighting a lantern, stepping outside into the night and looking up.


An Open Letter to the Moment

Dear Moment,

Here is the bitch of a thing I'm noticing about you.  I go around diligently trying to live in you, and you calcify around me - or at least my imagination.  I get into the habit of thinking that my circumstance is the Truth.

If I'm in discomfort, in pain, in love, in bliss, whatever, I could be forgiven for misinterpreting that as reality, right?  If you're potty training a toddler it would be easy to mistake the utter lack of evidence that the process will ever end as proof that it will not.  And then one day it does.  Or so they tell me.

The thing of it is, even when I'm consciously, actively courting change, when I'm putting on perfume and lip gloss and trying to get it to notice me, I still get caught in the trap of thinking that nothing is moving at all. Everything is as it is, and as it shall be.

Everything is as it is, and as it shall be.

Everything is as it is, and as it shall be.

Even I know that those words, strung together on a page in that order, don't begin to make any sort of logical sense.  But Moment, you slipped a pair of blinders over my eyes and eased the bit into my mouth and then I was trotting along in a rhythm and I forgot there was anything else out there.  You are the enemy of Perspective.  You are the trees and I can't even tell I'm standing in the middle of a fucking forest and now I'm getting so agitated that I'm mixing metaphors, dammit.

And then a lightning bolt comes across a phone line and illuminates the truth - that everything can change in an instant.  That infinite possibilities are gestating just below the surface all the time.  And suddenly that which I have been wondering about, or dreading, or avoiding, or praying for, or that which I never saw coming even for an instant, is here.  Suddenly what was not real is real.  What seemed true is no longer true.

Moment, I can't decide if I'm noticing this for the first time (and should therefore beat myself up for taking 38 years to catch on) or if I just have to remember to warn myself about you every now and then.  Either way, you should know that I'm on to you.  You're not the Truth.  You're just the moment.  There are a million more where you came from, and your time is almost up.



P.S.  You know I hate conflict, so I hope we can still be friends.


Bright Spots

I have a confession to make: I stopped consuming news. 

I say this as a former journalism student, a person who had a short-lived journalism career, and someone who has fervently believed for my entire adult life that it is actually my (and all of our) responsibility to know what's going on in our community.  That's the way this whole democracy thing is supposed to work, after all.

But something happened, somewhere between the debt ceiling crisis, the 47th Republican Presidential debate, and the tear-gassing of Occupy Wall Street and I just couldn't take it anymore.  I got this very clear sense that all my efforts to inform myself were making me angry, despairing, and - perhaps worst - dumber.

So I stopped.  Cold turkey, basically.

I am not so willfully ignorant as to be unaware that millions of people are still out of work, the presidential contest is already mind-numbingly cynical a year ahead of the election, and sports gods exploit children while entitled kids riot in the streets in an inconceivable protest.  The amount of bad news out there is chilling.

But here's the thing:  there's a bright spot, and I'm pretty sure it's growing.

I feel like I'm talking to a lot of people lately who are daring to dream out loud, living from their hearts.  A lot of people lately are telling me stories of transformation in their lives, saying that their dreams are coming true.  The more I step onto this new practice of mine, the more I know I am not alone. 

A friend told me this weekend that she's found a way to do potentially groundbreaking scientific research on mothers and newborns outside of the rigid confines of the academic establishment.  That seemed impossible a couple years ago but she's doing it now.  Another friend yesterday told me she's on the verge of scaling up a program she created to take art supplies and art therapy to underprivileged kids around the world.  A series of inspired synchronicities combine with hard work to look like a small miracle.

I hear these things and think Sorry NPR.  I don't need you anymore.  I want to smother the politics and the business-as-usual with a wet blanket.  I want to give all my oxygen to the small sparks of inspired work I see around me.

I'm back to my favorite MLK quote:

Darkness can not drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate can not drive out hate; only love can do that.

It gives me a little glimmer of hope, this vision of a small but growing critical mass, lighting the way.