Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On Forward Motion

For me, the year 2011 has served as a year of extreme self development. I have fought my natural instincts of settling into the lull of everyday life and have sought out self motivation and industriousness. Serious effort has been applied to leaving my airhead ways behind me, a bit of a struggle, but hey, everyone has to start somewhere. And as this year comes to a close I find myself pushing through discomforts I would formerly shy away from.

For example, I recently pursued a field I never would have dreamed (actually I probably would have placed it in the nightmare category); sales. To have to talk to people, and more than that, sell things to them, is an extremely frightening venture for me. I had to be ok with rejection, to separate myself from people's reactions, knowing that it wasn't personal. I had to put myself out there on a daily basis and roll with whatever came my way. While it was scary, I feel I have come out of it a stronger and more intelligent person with incite into professionalism that I would not have gained without the experience.

In reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I have discovered that I fall into the category the author describes of people who are uncomfortable with technology. This represents a more massive classification of fear of systems in general. As I stated in my previous blog, I have been reading extensively in preparation for an eventual move to a dwelling with plentiful acreage for an organic farm, and this reading has forced me to confront that discomfort. Having to research crop rotation, green manure planting patterns, and spacial outlay of the land has ignited a deep seated discord within me. While normally I would wretch at the presentation of such mathematically involved planning, I have directed myself toward it, knowing that without this knowledge, the demise of my farm will be swift. Instead of turning a blind eye to the intricate foresight necessary, I am taking notes, reading and rereading passages to make sense of the logic that is so foreign to me.

While these are only a couple examples based in my own recent experience, it leads me to conclude that self development and forward motion of any kind require a removal of one's comfort zone. Because the comfort zone, while cozy, can act as a blinding force, not allowing wisdom to penetrate it's walls. I have found that I am more open and perceptive when those blinders have been removed, making personal growth inevitable.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Some Thoughts...

Having just finished The Hunger Games, I have returned to the thought provoking title I had started earlier this year, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance written in 1974 by Robert M. Pirsig. Pirsig's writing has resonated strongly with me, and oddly enough has even coalesced with some of the themes from The Hunger Games that I have been ruminating on the last few days.

For most of my life, I have felt a sense of guilt at not being motivated enough. Being that my mother is a dynamo, with a seemingly everlasting flow of creativity, industriousness, and integrity, I have always felt a few steps short of productive. It is something I have had to confront several times in the last couple years both from the standpoint of self motivation and the question of whether productivity is the goal in the first place. But something has been illuminated for me by Pirsig's writing, the reason for my perpetual feeling of no direction, one I no doubt share with many people of my generation, is the lack of immediate need. This may seem to contradict some of my previous writings, but this statement isn't coming from a place that demands struggle, rather begs for a purpose that demands focus and meditation, absent of the frills I have consider necessities for most of my life.

Throughout my time in Mexico, I have oscillated several times between focused, enthusiastic direction and complacent frustration. While I believe I have found a vocation that suits me, traveling saleswoman, at the end of the day, I still feel disappointed at the fact that the trade I have made, goods for currency, didn't begin with me. To clarify, I find myself wishing I had been the creator of the objects sold rather than the middle man. Since I was a child, my craving for authenticity has been large, almost to a fault. Though I am not a gifted artist like almost every other member of my family, an urge to create things from their very beginning stages has been lingering in my mind for a good many years.

Here I venture a possible solution, not only for economic and environmental toil, but personal fulfillment. Nowhere near a novel idea; self reliance. In the book, Pirsig applies this idea to motorcycle maintenance, imploring that owners of motorcycles learn to maintain their own vehicle thereby discovering the inner peace the work supplies. As far as this applies to my life, I yearn for work that means something; plain and simple. The protagonist of The Hunger Games wonders toward the end of the book what she would do with her time if everything she needed was supplied for her, having become accustomed to filling her days with hunting and gathering to support her mother and sister. Though sparsity in food and energy were no stranger to her, she stated, in so many words, that she preferred to provide than be provided for by some inconspicuous source. This tactile, beginning to end purpose is what I yearn for. Simplicity and self reliance. The solution to feelings of boredom and inaction.

Both books, though thoroughly unrelated, have also got me thinking on the topic of excess. How, just because something is available to us in abundance doesn't mean we should overuse it. Reading about someone starving or dehydrating to death, puts my diet into perspective. Having enough that I can afford the need to cut back is an extreme privilege, and not one to be taken lightly. Another point adding to my want for self reliance. Seeing each seed grow, maintaining compost, catching the rainwater, I feel these experiences will enrich my understanding and appreciation for the aspects of my life I sometimes take for granted simultaneously giving me tangible tasks to complete on a daily basis to provide for my family.

So this is something I have been wanting for some time now, talking and thinking but not doing, which brings me back around to Zen. While writing of how to locate a problem in a cycle, Pirsig discusses the scientific method, he writes:

For this you keep a lab notebook. Everything gets written down, formally, so that you know at all times where you are, where you've been, where you're going, and where you want to get.

Upon reading this passage a lightbulb went on in my head and I thought "Why can't we apply this to our lives as well?" As Pirsig has described in detail the destructive cycle inherent in the dichotomy between the romantic and the rational way of thought, I feel this, the scientific method applied to what some may see as a more romantic viewpoint (spirituality), is a perfect way to combine the two in harmony. Personally, I see my blog as the notepad, chronicling where I am, where I've been, and where I want to get, using writing as a manifesting facility.

And so I continue to narrate my dreams of a sustainable future, an avenue in which I can lead by example as my mom has so wonderfully done for me...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Hello, Goodbye

Sometimes, especially lately, I wish I could freeze time. I find myself desperately trying to capture feelings, moments, and pictures, all the while knowing that they aren't mine any more than they are anyone else's. That the perfect rows of corn, the trees resembling overgrown kale, the rolling clouds coming toward me gently like a blanket of mashed potatoes, are boundless and not to be reigned in. The love I have for family and friends is magnified by my living situation, the short amount of visiting time I am allotted each year makes each moment bittersweet with a sense of impending sadness, even when the laughter abounds. And when I am far away, that laughter echos in my memory, prompting solitary giggles and melancholy longing.

So I looked to the right, out my window at the progressively pinking sky, watching the slightly sloped hills of the Midwest flaunt their summer green, a color I never knew I would miss until it's ubiquity was replaced by the beige of desert stone. I replayed the weekend in my head. Cailin's freckles and gestures, shadows of her mother's traits not only in her physicality but in her open heart and endless optimism. Rodney's penetrating eyes sending me back to my childhood when I used to ride on his shoulders. Beth's smile, just as I remembered it, genuine and comforting. Anna's statement about feeling lost which instantly made feel less alone, and her infectious laugh, a perfect reflection of the purity of her spirit. The kismet of Beth's journey leading her to the symbol of a butterfly's transformation and the fact that Chloe's and my tattoo have a parallel meaning. The wide expanse of grass, the lake, Sharon's house for dinner. Cailin, experiencing a situation all too familiar to me, and being able to let her know with great certainty that it will get easier with every passing day. Rodney's quiet happiness and all consuming embrace.

And though I wish I could steal these moments, hide them away in box, to be opened when I need reassurance, I know that living them, being there in the moment to catch every smile and sigh alike, is all I can do. For the leaves will turn and fall, foreshadowing the snowflakes that follow the same gravity. Winter will bring Chloe back to me and though I'm not sure when I will return, I am happy just to be here right now surrounding myself with love and sunshine and endless laughter.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Perhaps, then, you should forget everything I have said to you and remember only this: The real beauty in life is that beauty can sometimes occur.
- Dancer Colum McCann

We took the long way home last week. After a flurry of errands, exhausted with sweat dripping from the various crevices it stemmed from, we retired to silence in the presence of Beres Hammond. My reaction to the raspy tone I had become accustomed to over the years took me by surprise as I felt a red flush adorn my cheeks and a knot of anger swell in my gut. The joyful music that had once reminded me of the vibrancy of his face as well as the presence of the Caribbean sea, and the tranquility or volatility that each possesses at any given time, was now tarnished by the space he left behind for the umpteenth time. I began to cry silently as Mom bobbed her head, no doubt thinking of how they fell in love. The little bit of his island that he carried with him wherever he went, made reggae convey as vivid a portrait of him as a photograph.

Having just started dancing again after a 2 year hiatus, I have rediscovered a passion that was long buried under layers of politics, competition, and ego. My reunion with the art has serendipitously coincided with my starting the book Dancer by Colum McCann, a novelist's account of the life of Rudolf Nureyev, a story that, like many of famous dancers, is one of the torturous and seldom achieved desire for perfection.

As I stood across from her, slim bodied, flawless complexion, professional manner, bilingual, I felt myself stifling a frown that not only crept onto my face, but into my body as well. I began to fidget as I watched her effortlessly speak to people as I struggled to understand. My mother's voice rang in my head, singing her praises and I was beginning to see why. She owned all of the attributes I didn't, the ones mom so fervently begged I gain: confidence, togetherness, organization, assertiveness. I thought on her all night, after learning that she was, among other things, a ballerina, actress, bass guitarist, newlywed, and I found myself falling into old patterns of needing her to be flawed to boost my own confidence, the only difference being that I was now conscious of my devilish efforts, which made it feel even worse.

The common thread uniting these experiences is an ever present need for forgiveness, something my being has been lacking a long while. To forgive others and myself for our flaws, and allow for the misgivings as well as greatness, is something to be achieved. To recognize that perfection doesn't exist and even beauty and happiness is fleeting, for if it weren't, it's significance would be lessened greatly. More than anything, to acknowledge that forgiveness is a necessary first step to forward movement of any kind. The next is allowing forgiveness to chisel away at the chip on my shoulder, an accumulative cinder block of dance teachers' comments, harsh words from Davis and Keikai, and years of a monologue of self doubt, and for now, that's what I'm working at.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sense of Humor

The one important thing I've learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative the second is disastrous.
-Margot Fonteyn

I first read this passage my junior year of high school. In my first few days at the arts high school my lack of friends and extreme social awkwardness forced me into the library for much of my idle time. I spent my free period grazing through the different sections of literature until I found a book exclusively holding information, photos, and quotations from Margot Fonteyn. In all my solitary glory, I savored each page, the only noise obstructing complete silence being the hum of the fan and the turning of pages. I loved that book, and made a pattern of retrieving it from it's shelf each morning to view Ms. Fonteyn and her confident grace emanating from every photo taken, every word recorded. Though many aspects of the book stuck with me, the quote above in particular has lodged in my brain, and the concept of conducting life with a sense of humor keeps coming to the surface of my existence in one way or another.

Everyday I am reminded that we never make it. Living gracefully is a conscious effort that takes place every second of every day, and it is hard, an it takes time. But one thing that makes it ever easier is being able to laugh at yourself therein forgiving yourself for perceived shortcomings. In acknowledging that everyone has their pitfalls as well as greatness, it is easier to see the humor in things, the light side of life. Most of the negative emotions we feel are directly related to how seriously we consider our circumstances, but doesn't it feel better to laugh then to sit in anger, jealousy, or hatred? Must we judge ourselves and others so harshly?

You may look at this and say easier said than done, and in some ways I would agree with you.
Letting go of pride is not easy, but once you've done it, and you feel the weight lifted, you realize that nothing was standing between you and your happiness but you. You and your seriousness. You and your judgements. So next time you are given the choice between laughter and anger, I urge you, chose laughter. Feel the spirit of the words of Margot Fonteyn, and the ripples of joy spreading outward.

Wayne Dyer in ‘The Power of Intention’ explains Life Rule no. 6. It is this: don’t take yourself so seriously. In case you’re wondering what the other 5 rules might be - there aren’t any.
When I can accept that I am feeling frustrated and do not try to get rid of the frustration, something really strange happens. The frustration eases. Try for yourself. Bring your awareness to whatever it is you’re feeling. Don’t judge the feeling, don’t judge yourself for having the feeling; try if you can to fully accept that in this moment and time, that is the feeling. I can guarantee you that the feeling will subside. Acceptance of what ‘is’ changes what ‘is’.
So heading into 2011 remember this: the quality of your Future, depends on the quality of your Now. Because if you are in the habit of saying NO to whatever is now, be in no doubt, when the future arrives chances are you’ll say NO to that also. Why? Because your mind will be busy fixing its attention to some next Future, convincing you that what is happening Now is an obstacle blocking your happiness in that Future.

To help keep things in perspective, refer back to Rule No. 6.

-Fiona Hoban

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Finding Stillness

We have recently rented an apartment in San Miguel, partly for ease in embarking on a new business venture that requires we be here, and partly to shake things up and gain inspiration from a new location. While it has been exciting and enchanting, it has also posed challenges. For one, 4 days out of the week the family is separated which brings up jealousy issues and a feeling of lack of belonging, but has also, in a strange way, brought us closer. Like the old saying says "absence makes the heart grow fonder." While Mom gets her much needed alone time and I get to pursue dancing, something that has been a huge missing in my life since I moved to Mexico two years ago, there is also a feeling of unease here, if not in all my family members, in me.

When I am in Pozos, I am perfectly content sitting, listening to the birds, watching the sun rise and set, but in San Miguel, it is as if the city begs for activity, beckoning me to take part or miss out. I feel hyper and on edge thinking of what I could be buying, eating, seeing, instead of simply enjoying the moment, something that comes so naturally when I am removed from the hustle and bustle. It occurred to me last night as I was laying in bed that in order to find the peace that I so desire regardless of my location, I must delve inside myself and find it.

It is difficult to resist the urge to run at the rate of the city, but for me, it is necessary. My soul needs down time for contemplation and my mind requires stillness to rejuvenate. It will be an ongoing battle, sort of the devil and angel on opposite shoulders, to find stillness in a whirlwind of movement, to create silence in a room full of noise, but it will also be a much needed exercise in gaining temperance and balance in a new home, and I gladly accept the challenge.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lost and Found

Why do you stay in prison
when the door is so wide open?

Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.
Live in silence.

Flow down and down in always
widening rings of being.


Reading Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, a true love story about a city woman who was swept off her feet by a cowboy, has made me yearn for a love story of my own. The want to feel wanted has all but consumed me and as I flirt and dabble in romantic affairs, I am struck with an old pang of insecurities I thought I had long laid to rest. My inner voice fossilizing the rock in my gut made of thoughts of inadequacies. The rock grows until it has consumed me, clouding my judgement and blocking my heart's light. I begin to feel bitter and melancholy and forget to acknowledge how blessed my life is.

I began reading The Essential Rumi the other day in the midst of a sulky fit about a failed social endeavor, and though it was written in the 13th century it felt as if he was speaking directly to me at that moment.

But listen to me: for one moment,
quit being sad. Hear blessings
dropping their blossoms
around you. God.

Tallulah. My family. My home. My opportunities. The sunrise. The birds. My pitfalls. My anger. My past. Myself. I am grateful for all of it. Though it may have taken me a long overdue crying fit to realize it, the life I live is simply superb, and I wouldn't trade it for any thing, any man. As I spent the first 21 years of my life trying to fit a circle into a square hole, this is my time to rest, to stop and smell the roses, to revel in the absolute beauty of my life at any given second.

I have found that efforts to find love are futile, but sit in gratitude for every inhale and exhale alike, and love will find you in the most unlikely places. So while I daydream about an indefinite someone with arms to hold me tight, I will use my own arms to work, and play, and snuggle my babe. I will throw them up in the air in joy for the uncertainty of what lay ahead, and an eagerness for each coming day. If there is one thing I have learned from walking in Mexico it is in order to remain balanced on the uneven surface of the cobblestones, the body must be absent of rigidity, and to allow for equanimity in life, rigidity must be dissolved from the mind and spirit.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

No More Monkeys

In the middle of a dead sleep last night, I was abruptly awoken by a clunk immediately followed by hysterical crying. I didn't even have to look over my shoulder to know that one of my worst fears had been realized; Tallulah had fallen off the bed. I ran around the bed to where she had fallen, and saw her laying on her back and screaming on a pile of clothes. I picked her up to rock her, tears welling in my eyes and contemplated the miracle in the fact that I decided to leave that mound of clothes beside her, something I NEVER do. After she calmed down and I combed her head and body for abnormalities, I took her to Mom's room for a more thorough inspection, all the while thinking that this was a wake up call. Not only did it direct my attention to the need for a guard rail, but for an adjustment in my priorities as well.

Lately I have been dabbling in social settings I have been far removed from for 2 years, placing importance on appearance and impressions more than I have been listening to my inner voice. My daydreams of sustainable housing in an organic haven have been temporarily replaced with thoughts of social interactions and others' perceptions of me, not an arena I am happy playing in. I have felt a dichotomy between my timeless soul desire and my day to day manifestations. Overanalyzing and trying to avoid past pitfalls have all but consumed my minds landscape, my eventual off the grid home pushing back at the frivolous thoughts, creating an uncomfortable dissonance with in me.

I am grateful that I was trying on clothes last night in anticipation for a social gathering, as I don't know what would have happened had they not broken Tally's fall. And in a strange way I am even appreciative of her fall, as terrifying as it was, because it made me see that my time is better spent improving my self in ways that matter, living in grace and being with my daughter, than pushing outward concerned with superficialities.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Prayer for Japan

I dreamed a dream, you and I facing each other in a tiny yellow boat. On green water, under blue sky, me and my son, and a tiny yellow boat. And we laugh, and the boat rocks, and the ripples spread from the boat, to pond, to sea, to sky, and nothing can stop them, and nothing ever will.
excerpt from Joan of Arcadia

As mom and I lay in bed last night, letting both the literal and figurative darkness set in around us, we talked about what had been consuming ours and most of the world's thoughts for the last week; Japan. When you are across the ocean from a catastrophic crisis where thousands of people are deceased, missing, or in danger of nuclear poisoning, you can't help but feel detached and helpless. Mom, an extremely sensitive soul, had been phasing in and out of a teary eyed panic all day, stating that she felt guilty for smiling, so I thought I would share a piece of insight I read a year ago that has stuck with me. The best thing you can do to improve the energy of the world, to instantly make a difference, is to be as kind, loving, and respectful to everything you come into contact with, and the effect will ripple outward. 

I was informed yesterday that in contrast to the looting and rioting that ensues in the face of disaster in most parts of the world, the Japanese have been nothing but nurturing and generous with each other. If we can all apply this concept of one people, one world, we are doing the greatest service to the grief stricken global state. Pray for Japan. Send out the most sincerely healing vibe possible. Keep the effected people in your mind and heart, and practice simple love in every interaction. 

When you become light and you radiate, there is no darkness. A candle has one future, to spread the light. How does the candle spread the light? By burning itself, the candle spreads light and consequently knows the future. If you burn yourself, you will radiate and will spread light. The job of the human being is to radiate through the finite self the infinite light.

-Yogi B

Friday, March 18, 2011

Warrior Presence

When I asked Mr. Phiri about the three decades it took him to get his land and his vision to where it is today he answered, "It's a slow process, but that's life. Slowly implement these projects, and as you begin to rhyme with nature, soon other lives will start to rhyme with yours."
-Passage from Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond Volume I by Brad Lancaster

In the book 12 by 12, a deeply inspiring account of William Powers' spiritual journey in an off the grid home, he talks about a concept her refers to as 'warrior presence'. The topic comes up when he discovers the acrid smell that had been wafting through the serene and largely undisturbed woods he was inhabiting was that of a commercial chicken factory. He writes:
In twenty years of meditation and spiritual search I've noticed that the people who really "get it" in the sense of beautifully blending inner peace with loving action have something in common. It doesn't seem to matter whether they are Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Catholic, or born-again pagan. They have what might be called "warrior presence." In other words, they face larger problems just as they face their personal problems - as Einstein and Jung suggest we do - on a different level of concsiousness than the one at which the problems were created. Instead of allowing the negative forces of a flattening world to flatten them, those with warrior presence maintain beauty and control in their interior space, through being fully present in the moment.
When I was reading the book a month ago, the concept resonated strongly with me, and I have recently come to know the importance and difficulty of applying it.

For the last week I have been brooding in the way that I do when something is bothering me and I can't put my finger on what it is. As it turns out, I was subconsciously obsessing over a conversation I didn't even realize I had let into my field of thought. While I had expressed one view in the midst of being passively insulted, I was feeling another entirely. I pretended not to let the offhand comments of another bother me when really their negativity had taken residence in the back of my mind, throwing a blanket over the steady and bright light my soul usually provides. Along with the muddled state I was experiencing due to the residing feelings of inadequacy, my reading on rainwater catchment has opened my eyes to the constant resource wasting that is intrinsic to the way the system operates, and ignited a feeling of complete helplessness to change it in my current location. Add to this the news that a dear family friend committed suicide a few weeks ago, filling us all with deep sorrow for the loss of such a wonderful human being. 

After a week of emitting 'jerky' vibes, Mom was fed up, and, in the manner that we usually do, we had it out. After 45 minutes of arguing we got the bottom of the problem and swiftly lifted the blanket, allowing my light to shine once again. The light, incidentally, illuminated the passage regarding warrior presence in my memory and inspired me to see all of the effort we are putting forth to change our lifestyle. For one, we have isolated our use of our dryer to towels only (because they get crunchy in the sun) and all other laundry items are now hung on a line on the patio. We compost as much waste as our composter can handle. I have replaced my lamps with candles and banished my computer to be used only in one room of the house, allowing for more meditative practices and less charging time (once every three days to be exact).

With my state of mind adjusted, I attended a meeting with a man who is organizing the creation of an eco-friendly, new age school in San Miguel. He is in need of insight and muscle to help him with his vision of an organic growing, water catching, dual language establishment. As I was restlessly wishing I had land to plant on and practice my new found knowledge on rainwater harvesting, he was providing me an opportunity to do this while at the same time supporting an organization I believe in. 

William Powers writes about his ongoing difficulty with the flattening world, and warrior presence is his alternative to submitting to despondence. And as Mr. Phiri implies above, and the law of attraction states, like attracts like, rhyme with nature and in turn, rhyme with others. Channeling the warrior inside and defending the right to shine and make the world as great as it can be, whether it be on a grand or domestic scale, is my newest practice in finding the greatest consonance I can in an increasingly complicated world. 

Friday, March 11, 2011


One of the common threads of all of the spiritual reading I have done is the stated fact that electronic devises such as televisions, computers, and cell phones suck energy, not just electric, but human. These objects are loud and demand attention, calling you to check out and alluring you with their endless possibilities for entertainment, even when they are powered off. It is for these reasons that I have banished my laptop to the dining room, and only the dining room, to be used consciously and only for short spurts of the day.

I recently read that Ghandi changed one aspect of his life at a time until it was completely congruent with his beliefs. The first step I took a couple of weeks ago in order to lessen our electric bill, carbon footprint, and agitation, was to eliminate my use of artificial light. Instead of turning on my lamps for hours every night, I light candles. Wonderful things have happened as a result, one of them being the calm subtle, bouncing flames elicit in Tallulah. She now goes to sleep when the sun goes down, and without hardly any effort on my part. 

After some time of enjoying the soft light of candles, it became apparent that the computer had to go as well, for as I was nursing Tallulah to sleep and watching the sun pass beneath the ground, I was anxious, thinking of all the things I could be doing on my computer, instead of focusing on the present moment and savoring my time with my daughter. Also, due to the nature of the laptop, I was carting it around with me everywhere, prompting me to constantly be checking something online, and in general producing an edgy state that is not necessary or comfortable.

I am constantly in awe of how Bronte and Tyler idolize their electronic devises, so it seemed fitting that I abandon my own to line up with my beliefs. After only 2 days I feel as though a burden had been lifted. I don't wake in the middle of the night to check my email, rather lay in the stillness and ruminate on my desires. I am more open to receiving the presence of others and the moment at hand, no longer solely focused on the internet connection or facebook comments. In letting go of having nonstop access to my computer I have also let go of the guilt that goes along with checking out in front of it.

I have found that a great many people don't live the life that makes them happy because they think it is out of reach, I agree with Ghandi, that all one must do is change one thing at a time, until they find their existence is in accord with what truly fulfills them. In only the short amount of time that I have been engaging in this very idea, my life has changed profoundly, and I am excited for each new day of nuanced discoveries I had missed being inundated in technology.

Friday, March 4, 2011


I sold Tallulah's mommy's little sweetie onesie today, and I admit I was sad to see it go, and that very feeling was pertinent to something I have been thinking on a lot lately; possessions, more specifically, people's attachments to them. As I grew up in the city, spending many a Sunday at the Mall of America, I understand the allure of consumerism, but it is my personal belief that the urge to buy shiny new things should be contained. Much like any addictive substance, shopping can produce a temporary high that brings only superficial and short term pleasure.

The other day Bronte came into my room and asked sweetly if she could wear one of my shirts. I responded indignantly telling her 'no' and that the shirt was "special." She left in a huff and I felt horrid for denying her, for what is more special than my relationship with my sister? I immediately reconsidered and told her that she could of course wear the shirt. We continued on in peace that day, having nipped the discord allegiance to objects can cause in the bud.

In addition to aforementioned experiences, I have paid witness to many conversations about special things recently and it has caused my perception of my own experience to deepen. Though I am guilty of lusting after designer duds from time to time, I believe that objects should pass through our lives, being used when needed and passed along when they have fulfilled their purpose. Emphasis should be placed on the infinite rather than the finite aspects or our experience. The items of real importance are our friends and family, of which some things may be kept and treasured to remind us, but the rest discarded when the time is right. 

So as I watched this young woman beam with joy as she showed the grandpa-to-be her new purchase, I smiled knowing that I am passing the joy of that adorable onesie on to someone else rather than hoarding it for myself. And as Tallulah crawled for the first time today, I was reminded of how little importance material things hold especially in comparison to the miracles present in the human spirit.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


It occurred to me that times when I slowed down-in the 12 by 12 and at other points in my life-were ironically the times when I got the most work done. Creativity flows smoothly out of nonaction, from the deep wells of idleness...When you moodle, your subconscious works out the aesthetics and structure without the overactive rational mind's interference.
William Powers Twelve by Twelve

As I was born a city kid, brought up in shopping malls, cars and community centers, I wasn't trained to take time for the idle mind. Every second of the day was filled with school or work or some effort to distract myself. Now in a place where I work according to my own schedule and from home, I have ample time for day dreaming and meditating even with a 9 month old daughter. One day each week in particular has allotted me 2 uninterrupted hours for such, and I look forward to it greatly. In the car on the way to San Miguel, after the morning commotion, as the hum of my CR-V sings Tallulah to sleep and Bronte sits sullenly in the backseat listening to the latest pop tunes, I am free to drift. Even in the confines of the car, I think far and wide, many times inspired by the endless landscape of mountains, horses, and blue sky. It is often in this space, Joe Purdy's voice lulling through the stereo, that I have revelations. As I stated in a previous blog, I was deemed at an early age the air head of the family. Daydreaming has always come easily and been precious to me, and though it can be irritating to others, I believe there is a value in it, that the ubiquity of diversions from silence in our present day has hindered. Though not all of us have the ability or inclination to live in the midst of ever inciteful wilderness, I posit that nothing can revitalize the mind like allowing it to roam without boundaries, even if the body remains on the metaphoric hamster wheel. So the next time you are stuck in traffic, or in line at the bank, instead of focusing on your wasted time, remember that there is no such thing. These times of seemingly endless waiting can be filled with the birth of ideas or the manifesting of an ideal life. Take time to observe all around you; the person rolling 2 miles an hour next to you singing their heart out, the kind interactions of strangers, people laughing. Allow yourself to be inspired by the previously mundane. In being consumed by the present moment and letting your creative mind flow, the everyday drudge of a car ride on the freeway could turn into the awakening that changes your life.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tao of Tyler

My 10 year old brother, as irritating as he is charming, says and writes some of the most entertaining and unexpected things. Here is a brief display of some of his most infamous quotes and poetry for your reading pleasure.

Take care to imagine these quotes being said with an adorable lisp and confident curiosity:

1) While out walking with Chloe, Tyler inquired of her "Which Simpsons character do you think I am?"
"Bart," Chloe replied with what she thought was the most obvious answer.
Outraged, Tyler declared "Bart?! I'm not Bart. I'm Lisa. I'm nice and smart and beautiful...Bronte's Bart."

2) One day we were all gathered in the kitchen making scones and, per Bronte's request, listening to Justin Beiber's One Time. When Justin sang out "your fight is my fight" Tyler questioned as he scrubbed a plate "Why would you get a girl involved in a fight?"

3)Keikai and I were out on the patio and heard Tyler's usual barrage of battle noises from the upstairs bedroom. After about 5 minutes of non-stop shooting Keikai yelled up "I think whoever you're shooting is dead, Tyler." Tyler opened his balcony door, looked down and said matter of factly "It's more than one person..."

4)After Mom had given up on tutoring Tyler, she deferred schooling duty to Bronte for the day. Bronte found success in the form of bribery and told Tyler if he completed his school in a timely fashion she would buy him Pringles from across the street. I walked in the room to get something and observed this dialogue:
"Tyler, that's one strike, two more and no chips."
High pitched whistle emitted from Tyler.
"That's another strike."
"What kind of school is this?!"

Though for the most part getting Tyler to complete his school work is like pulling teeth, poetry is the one aspect he enjoys. Here re a few of his fabulous written works.


The stupid fly

has a bugging life,

And likes to see

His buddy die.


Fireworks are like lightning,

A big bomb,

Like a disco ball,

Sounding like a crack !


Fluffy fur,

Black nose,


Pointy tail,


I'm happy and stupid,

I'm a dog.


Listen! Do you hear . . .

The flies,

The workers,

The birds,

The pounding,

The chinking,

The whistling,

The radio,

And the door slamming!


The far away sounds of working,

The far away sounds of dogs barking,

The far away sound of a BANG!


T he pool is taking 7 months,

M y family found a puppy,

A bird fell next door earlier today,

T o play soccer you have to go to the Plaza,

I hate tomatoes,

S occer is my favorite sport,

S ome people are evil,

E very day I smack Baby Phat.


A snowflake,

A paper cut out,

Different . . .

But still the same,

One goes away

And one remains.

I hope these make you as happy as they make me.

Check out the video page to see his most impressive Michael Jackson impersonation.