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Entries in love (8)

Monday
Feb102014

The Lucky Ones

Today I am acutely aware of this one thing: life is not fair.

Tomorrow I board a flight to Minnesota as proof for a family member that love still exists, even as she says goodbye to her husband of 14 years.  A viewing.  A church service.  He didn't deserve this.  She doesn't deserve this.  We are too young for this.

It was benign, until it was not.  Which, come to think of it, is the basic nature of time as it does its number on each of us.

I watch Ezra sprout up by the day.  The chubby toddler cherub has receded almost completely, stretched into angular boy before my eyes.  He has been so self-contained for so long that it is a welcome surprise to discover that he suddenly seeks comfort against my body. He slithers right into my arms and I don't know what triggers this, but it is all innocent and intimate and I revel in this benign moment when we are the lucky ones.

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Tara Romasanta inspired this image.  My photographer friends and I decided to shake up the blog circle this month, so Tara took this picture, and we all set out to discover what it sparked in each of us.  To me, her image is about touch, and the sweet power of innocent intimacy so I wanted to try to capture what that looks like in my life right now.  If you follow the link to Tara's blog and onward, you're sure to be surprised and delighted about what my compatriots did with the prompt.

Tuesday
Jan082013

The Word: A Story

I pull the wool cap down over my ears and knot the scarf.  Swallow the lump in my throat, jam my hands deep into my pockets and step out into the searing blue sun of a late winter afternoon.  It is time, finally, to be honest with each other, something I don't always believe in, the truth being so slippery and easily obscured by obstacles in our own hearts and minds.  It is hard to see things as they really are and to name them correctly in the moment.  It is hard to hear each other well.

I let this wash over me, stinging my skin like ice crystals: You didn't do it right.

Draw back the arrow and release: Why did you change?

Frozen ground crunches under our feet and there is one truth I believe as it swims up in front of my teary eyes: you are you and I am me, and there is no talking either of us out of that.  I can see my breath.  I see our story stretched out on a gossamer thread, behind us and before us.  Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end.  This is only the middle, I see. 

So we do this:  accept, and keep creating our story.

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This is the word that keeps coming up for me, as I contemplate what to set as intention and guide for 2013:

story

This is a year to own my own story, and to receive others' stories in nuance, acceptance and fullness.  It is a time to study the elements of story and to improve my facility with them.  I aspire to strengthen my storytelling both in my professional life and here, in my personal work.  I will return to my reading life, my bedside table stacked high with books waiting to be loved.  I will write and shoot in an effort to illuminate the threads that hold us together. 

I am afraid to make any claims about honesty but I believe there's truth in the story, and I hope that will guide me through the coming year.

Tuesday
Oct162012

The Trouble with Honesty

I used to think all we had to do was be honest with each other, those of us doing this life together.  I didn't know then that it's damn near impossible.  We tango through our shared spaces, trying not to step on each others' toes.  Losing track of who's leading.  Clumsily getting off beat.

Sometimes when we say please pass the salt we mean I need you to hold me.

And sometimes I'll do the dishes comes when we are really trying to say all I want to do is cry.

Or can I have a some jelly beans? becomes go away, mom!

Sure, you can work late substitutes for when are you going to pay attention to meeeeeee?

We fall from our safe spaces.  We may hold in our fear and our pain and our primal screams, landing soundlessly.  We may not notice the bruises our friends and family parade through the living room, so busy are we with being nice.

These swallowed sighs, these polite interludes are not the same as dishonesty.  They're gifts of a sort, or they can be.  We absolve each other of the responsibility of holding space for our every neurosis or insecurity.  We say I can handle this one myself.

But lately I'm wondering if the challenge has more to do with mystery than honesty.  There's a way in which every single person I'm close to becomes more inscrutable the deeper we go.  I puzzle that we are all but unknowable to each other.  How could we be otherwise, when (I'm noticing) that we seem to be unknowable to ourselves as well? 

We move through life as we think we are supposed to be.  Or more to the point, we move through life as we think we really are, but below the surface subterranean rivers of emotion and pattern and pathology carve unseen canyons into our soul's terrain.  We navigate by instinct, without maps.  Occasionally we fall into deep holes we didn't even know were there.  It's hard to tango where the ground shifts beneath our feet.

In the face of uncharted land, honesty seems beside the point.  If we don't even know ourselves how can we blame our dearest ones for failing to understand us?  Instead of honesty, what if we put our emphasis on acceptance, good faith, and trust?

Wednesday
Sep262012

Blessingway

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.

Thursday
Sep132012

A Truce

At some point, you just get tired of being your own worst enemy and you lay down your arms.

I wonder why so much of my territory is preoccupied with guilt or shame.  Envy.  Fear.  Internal insurgents lob highly sophisticated rockets of self-criticism, as though let-me-think-of-all-my-shortcomings-before-you-do creates a kind of missile defense against the outside world.  It shields me every night while I lay down with the enemy.

It's time to surrender.

Not the white-flag, but the olive branch.  A treaty of delirious possibility.  The conditions of the agreement are non-technical and involve things like vegetables, sleep, blank paper, yellow running shoes, tenderness.  In order to embrace an imperfect union I will stop building settlements in unfriendly outposts.  I will start again, with friendship, acceptance, and love.

Let no one think that the birth of man is to be felt without terror.  The transformations that await us cost everything in the way of courage and sacrifice.  Let no one be deluded that knowledge of the path can substitute for putting one foot in front of the other. Centering is a severe and thrilling discipline, often acutely unpleasant. In my own efforts, I become weak, discouraged, exhausted, angry, frustrated, unhappy, and confused.  But someone within me is resolute, and I try again.  Within us lives a merciful being who helps us to our feet however many times we fail.

- M.C. Richards