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Entries in community (4)



You came in on the wind. 

Crested the mountain ridge, danced over meadow grasses, and through the open door.

Kissed me on the nape of the neck and whispered, don't be afraid.

You have beautiful friends, already.  They are adorned with feathers and beads and scarves and love shines in their eyes.  I think you've been talking to them too.

You have a beautiful home, situated perfectly to watch the sun transit the sky from wherever you lay.  It's quiet up there and there's a long view and you can breathe.

Your parents glow like the blessed, and wait intently for you to show them the way.

Already you call us into deeper levels of connection and commitment, the warp and weft of tribe.  Already you are a weaver.

When you are ready, we are ready.

Safe passage, sweet girl.



I got rear-ended on the way to pick Ezra up from school one afternoon last week. The other driver and I pulled into the nearest parking lot to inspect the damage. She didn't speak much English and my limited Spanish is rusty at best, and particularly useless under the circumstances.  I did understand, with complete clarity, what she was saying when she looked at me nervously and asked if I was going to call the police. The damage was minor and I had no desire to get the police involved so we agreed to let our insurance companies sort it out.

The accident happened near my house, a momentary collision of two worlds. We orbit the same neighborhood, but different universes. We are hermetically sealed inside our cars, our ethnicities, our classes, but a split second of dropped guard punctured the thin membrane that separates our experiences.


I received word last week that the daughter of a former colleague died. She was 23, grown into young adulthood in the years since I spent time with her. The speakers at her memorial told stories of her spunk, courage and independence in the face of Muscular Dystrophy. Speaker after speaker told stories of knowing her since early childhood, or of decades-long friendships with her parents.

The service was at turns somber, funny, and reverent, inspiring in many ways. I was most moved by the evidence of the strong and supportive community in attendance, the sort of web that is always there but becomes most visible in times of either crisis or celebration.  It struck me as tanglible proof of a life well-lived.


I spent the weekend in the mountains with the makings of my own web. Friends I've worked with for years. Friends Will went to undergrad with, through whom we met. Orbits that intersect, over and over, and loop back in on themselves as new people get introduced to the fold. Our children are now friends.

This was an annual celebration of community one of our own throws each winter.  Food, drink, snow, merriment, an overflowing house.  The gift of time to crash into each other all over again.

Perhaps it is not a web that connects us, so much as a vascular system.  Tiny capillaries that weave through the membranes between my inside and my outside, carrying in nutrients and oxygen.  Carrying out the waste that builds up when I spend too much time in my car, or in my head.  Bringing me, crashing, into the world.


The Tao of Bird

I thought I was done writing about all this woo-woo spiritual stuff because I've always believed that spiritual exercises should be very personal and also because, with all this talk of religious experiences and praying, I am scaring a lot of people who are important to me.

But, you know, why stop digging now?  I mean, no one's ever been misunderstood on the Internet, right?

Some of you have pointed out that what I seem to be undergoing is more of a spiritual journey than a religious one.  To the extent that I have not joined a church or adopted a new holy book, you are right.  So I know this language is not precisely correct but it does have the effect of really causing those who know me well to sit up and notice that something profound is happening.

After all, if I just said oh, I set a new intention and this time I'm really, really going to make it happen, most of the people in my life would think, Ho hum.  Guess Corinna finally went back to that yoga class she's been skipping for the past two years.

The language, especially to some of the more ardent rationalists in my life, is deliberately provocative.


I found myself defending this new prayer practice against charges that to pray is to give up my power to an (imaginary) outside force, the argument being that the force of my will or my magnetism is what actually brings the transformation I seek.  In the midst of that discussion I decided this is not a useful distinction for me.

What feels vital is the combination of community + intention + gratitude.

When I distill it down to that, it occurs to me that (certain skeptical) people (like myself) could look at the exercise of religion in these terms too: that people go to, let's say, church.  Or synagogue.  Or mosque.  They have a supportive community there.  They earnestly pray, saying what they want, and saying thank you for what they have.  My current theory is that this is the powerful part. 

Maybe good things come to them, and they, being identified with a religion are inclined to attribute those results to their god.  Fine. 

And maybe I do the practice and good things come to me and I attribute it to the support of my community, or the magnetic attraction of my intention, or the poetic dance of the Universe.  Fine.

The point I came to is, maybe it doesn't matter at all.  Maybe the practice is the important part, the thing that has the power to bring us all to the same table, to connect us, to change our lives.

For now, I'm going with that.


Calculus (of Birthdays)

342.365 200mm f5.6 1/200 ISO 1001st birthday: party for Mama

2nd birthday: party for kid (extra drinks for Mama, as she's dealing with, or about to deal with, Terrible Twos)

5th birthday: "Can I have a puppy?"

10th birthday:  Double digits!

13th birthday: "Don't talk to me."

16th birthday:  "Give me the keys."

18th birthday:  "Later!"

21st birthday:  "My shoes... do I need them?"

30th birthday: "Does this mean I'm supposed to act like an adult now?"

I could guess about the next big milestones, not having passed them yet myself.  Instead I'll say that as my community's children grow (like it's their job!), they astound me with their perfect self-ness.  Each holds his or her own world of discreet existence, all contained in the most adorable little bodies.  Each is a surprise unfolding before us. 

Is that the most obvious statement anyone's ever bothered to take up bandwidth with?  Oh well.  Sometimes the obvious stuff hits me the hardest, like oh yeah!  Those little kids that keep showing up?  They're real people!  Even when they're two!

Happy birthday, Jamie.