change is the most fascinating of all phenomena

did a late summer cleaning.

always start with the surface. sweeping all the dust out from under my bed reminds me how dirty the air is living so close to the BQE. although, all 7 apartments where i’ve lived in NYC have gotten really dirty really quickly. the air here is dirty.

i came across an “autobiography” that i wrote in my Life Stories class senior year at Elon. my immediate reaction was, not much has changed. how could that be? so much has changed. my voice has definitely changed drastically for starters. my friends have changed, my circle has changed. in some ways nothing has changed at all. how can that be?

the most gradual change rests in the deepest depths. the karmic lessons. maybe that’s why the only lasting change must come from within. in some ways i feel like i’m still inside of the cocoon. no matter how deep i go, there’s always another layer to peel. i feel love, joy, and gratitude for the friends who have been/are present on the journey.

from a writing prompt, what i want:

what i want…i want to be happy.

i want a job i love.

i want enthusiasm and energy.

i want to never lose my mind.

i want a perfect boy.

i want to give,

to contribute,

somehow make a difference.

i want my dreams to never end.

i want to be tan

and i want to be healthy.

i want to conquer.

i want to read more books.

i want my parents to be happy.

i want to think about others.

i want to live in Spain.

i want to travel.

i want to go to South America.

i want the earth to be clean.

the craziness to end,

the suburbs to explode.

i want to make art,

and i want to make money.

i want to learn how to blow glass.

i want to use public transportation.

i want the days to be warm and sunny.

i want to see frogs fall from the sky.

i want to eat good food.

i want to not lose touch with my friends.

reality.

maybe someday kids,

a dog,

and a cat.

i want to play.

i want to feel,

want to be,

want to want.

i want to be successful,

good things for other people.

i want to see the leaves change in the fall.

i want to swim in the Mediterranean.

i want a Picasso original.

i want to meet someone i love.

i want to run through a field

of wildflowers

and tumble down

a grassy knoll.

i want others to have good thoughts of me.

i want to look at the stars

through a telescope.

may 2001.

love

caught a thread of two friends exchanging philosophy on love and faith over the weekend. one an athiest, the other a feeling poet. it got me thinking about these two intangible parts of my life, love and faith.

i never really think about faith, although i do have it somewhere tucked inside. faith in what, i’m not exactly sure. sometimes i have faith in humanity, other times it seems lost. i have faith in my self. i have faith in my friends  and family. i have faith things will work out the way they’re supposed to. i think faith is more important than a belief. beliefs change. when they become fixed, they become rigid, thus creating rigidity in the person who holds them. beliefs create attachment.

if by definition faith is a complete trust or if it is a firm belief in something for which there is no proof, then the only thing for which i can have faith is the order of the universe and my self. although hasn’t order in the universe been proven by human observation for thousands of years? we see spirals and seasons, the sun rises and sets everyday. that’s order. but do i need faith for that? the sun will rise even if i don’t.

there’s another definition of faith as in one’s sincerity of intentions, keeping one’s promises. i think i could be described as faithful by that definition. loyalty is another definition that suits me.

i think of it more as trust. trusting the process. trust doesn’t have to be firm. it shifts and bends. maybe strong could replace firm. if faith were defined as a strong flexible belief, i could jump on board.

it seems if love is infinite with varying degrees constantly changing like everything else, why wouldn’t faith be the same way? it can grow and diminish. loving unconditionally is not the same as loving blindly. the word trust seems more open. maybe unconditional trust is faith?

i was in search of a quote last night when i came across this one by eric fromm, german philosopher.

“To have faith requires courage, the ability to take a risk, the readiness even to accept pain and disappointment. Whoever insists on safety and security as primary conditions of life cannot have faith; whoever shuts himself off in a system of defense, where distance and possession are his means of security, makes himself a prisoner. To be loved, and to love, need courage, the courage to judge certain values as of ultimate concern – and to take the jump and to stake everything on these values.”

I’ve learned that courage is movement in the presence of fear. i’ve been called courageous even when i didn’t feel courageous. i do think faith and love take courage. trust takes courage. vulnerability is required. at times uncomfortable or uncertain. it tests and challenges. or is it that it is tested and challenged? maybe both.

just because someone says “i love you” doesn’t mean i feel loved, whether that person is speaking the truth or not. i can have more faith and confidence in the way someone feels about me by the way they interact with me.

a boyfriend once gave me the example of a mechanic and his wife. for valentine’s day, the mechanic took the wife’s car and tuned it up, changed the oil, vacuumed it out. he showed his love for his wife by maintaining her car. she wanted flowers and chocolate. to her it may have seemed that he was showing love for the car instead of her. but to him, he showed his love for her by using his skills to fix something she uses. not what i would want either, but that was how he expressed love. and maybe that would be nice too, but not for valentine’s day! valentine’s day is a stupid holiday, i wouldn’t want chocolate. flowers are nice, but flowers are nice any time. the point is: needs for giving and receiving love vary from person to person. how do you find someone who matches?

i do think it’s important to let people know how you feel, but if your words and actions don’t match, what meaning does it have?

love really is an act of faith or trust. we can love all day long, but people don’t always love us back. or maybe they love us back, but their capacity for love doesn’t match ours. or maybe one loves unconditionally and the other isn’t there yet. tomorrow i could wake up to find the person i love doesn’t love me anymore. or that he loves me, but the timing is off. or maybe i love him, but we’re not in the same place emotionally. or maybe we have different goals. the most wonderful thing about there being only one of us here is that there is enough love to go around, it just takes different forms.

i once asked my teacher how he and his wife stayed married so long.  30 years or so. (many people in their circle have married and divorced several times.) his response was endearing. “because i love her.” possibly one of the sweetest things i’ve heard. ever. about love and relationships. i have no idea what kind of challenges they’ve faced, and i suppose i don’t want to. not now. maybe someday.

right now i’ll just focus on loving myself.

word.

i came across these words written on a picture frame from a writing class i took late last year:

love. love. love.

kindness.

compassion.

understanding.

<3.

empathy.

joy.

laughter.

giggles.

my cheeks hurt.

embrace.

trust.

integrity.

collaboration.

hugs.

connection.

vibration.

<3.

community.

mindful meditation.

silent.

listen.

body.

mind.

spirit.

chakras.

veins.

meridians.

auras.

breathe.

peace.

ki.

<3.

language.

images.

courage.

mystery.

unknown.

invisible.

gracious.

grateful.

gratitude.

cohesive.

wonder.

blessing.

presence.

inspire.

dream.

family.

friends.

animals.

rocks.

trees.

unconditional.

full circle

last week when we were at the wtc memorial, my father mentioned that someone from the church where we belonged in new jersey was a survivor.  he couldn’t remember his name.  he said my mother would know.  since we left new jersey when i was 5, i didn’t think much about it.  i was certain i didn’t know him.  over the past week i’ve spent some time watching videos on youtube with survivors telling their stories.  i’d pretty much avoided most of it over the last 10 years, but since visiting the memorial it seemed to be calling me.

i’ve found the stories of survival and healing to be inspiring and rich.  it also helps me to understand human emotions and behavior.  it reminds me that all people deserve compassion all the time.  you never know what someone has experienced.  the videos i watched presented stories of compassion and love, resilience, will, struggle, triumph, loss, anguish, pain, confusion, horror, fear, bravery, anger, relief…this one moment in time had it all.

last night i came across this one, told by brian clark.  i clicked on it because he was speaking in mesquite, texas, a suburb not far from where i grew up.  i thought, mesquite?  really?  anyway, he rescued stanley praimnath and they became fast friends, brothers.  he tells a profoundly beautiful story of his experience and what he learned from it.  i started sharing part of his story with my mom today and she said, “brian clark?  he went to the reformed church in wyckoff.  he was in our young couples group…”  i found it amusing that it all came full circle.

i am here now.

it doesn’t matter what’s happened in the past.

i am here now…

to see beauty.  to be a friend.  to learn.  to live life big and full.  to dream.  to smile.

to trust.

to trust the process.

to trust myself.

to give love and to receive love.

to forgive.

to laugh, sometimes so hard my cheeks hurt.

to embrace happiness and sadness.

to accept.

to experience joy.

to dance.

to watch the clouds and the sunset.

to watch butterflies flutter and listen to birds sing.

to smell flowers.

to have a clear conscience.  to do my best.  to move forward with clear intention.

to have hope.

to inspire and be inspired.

to breathe deep.

it used to be

it used to be

when i thought of you

i smiled,

BIG.

 

words i used to describe you:

fun,

brilliant,

patient,

thoughtful,

insightful,

kind,

witty,

comfortable.

 

just the right fit,

[you were]

like a favorite pair of jeans.

 

now everything has changed.

 

when i think of you,

no smile at all.

 

words i use to describe you:

closed,

cold,

idealistic and narcissistic to a fault.

 

 

afraid of being vulnerable–

afraid of life, three parts dead.

[you are]

a pair of jeans

with holes in all the wrong places,

not worth patching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

guapa

years ago while i was going to school i worked at a tex-mex restaurant.  i remember when my friend michael told me i should work there, he said it was like family.   you could come and go, they’d always take you back.  many people i worked with there did become family, some have been lost since then.  all of them are close to my heart.  i only worked there one year, quit for a few months, came back in time to attend the christmas party, and quit again a few months later.

i think it may have been my first day, one of the managers started calling me guapa.  then they all called me guapa and it just stuck.

7 years later, everyone has moved on.   when i run into them when visiting, they still call me guapa.   they introduce me to other people as guapa.  it used to be kind of embarrassing, but now i don’t mind.