Seattle, WA
Poet, blogger, lawyer, educator, sista, sister, aunt, daughter, mentor, friend, dog owner, lover of music and all things gluten free... Writing about all of this and more.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ever run 26.2 miles in one morning?

Me neither. But my brother did! Yesterday he finished his second marathon. He's always been an athlete, but until last year, he was never really a runner (although his years playing college basketball were definitely good training).



Bill has shown time and time again that when he focuses on something, he is FOCUSED, MAN! You can't steer him off course once he's decided he's going to do something. The fruits of this, in addition to his marathon accomplishments, include his own business, a degree from Cal Berkeley (boooo Bears! Give 'em the axe!), and a beautiful family of little scholar/athletes. Bill is never satisfied with his past accomplishments, but it's a healthy dissatisfaction. It's ambition-fuel that pushes him to do more.

I'm excited to see what he does next. Congratulations, Bill! Love you bro!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dreams

I'm on a writing-roll and have been reflecting lately on my childhood. Something that recently returned to my memory is the fact that as I child there was a period during which I felt over-run with bad dreams. I don’t remember exactly what happened in my recurring nightmares, and I don’t remember how long they lasted, but I feel as though they haunted me for much of my early childhood. It seems I was plagued by the same three nightmares from age 5 to age 10. The falling dream. The Big Bad Wolf chasing me through the alley. And the dream where my mother is not my mother--she’s some woman who looks exactly like my mother and who everyone else believes is her.

What I do remember, though, is how I coped with the bad dreams: placing shoes at the foot of the bed to scare monsters and ghosts away, something I had read about or heard about somewhere; confronting the ugly wolf in the middle of one of the worst chase scenes; telling myself, “I’m dreaming, I’m dreaming, I’m dreaming…” until I woke up.

I wish I could put shoes at the foot of my bed to scare away the fear, the grief, the anxiety about things over which I have no control. I wish I were brave enough to confront the ugly wolves of my wakened reality--indecisiveness, self-doubt, circumstances at work, etc. And if all else failed, I wish I could, in the midst of the storm, just convince myself that I am only dreaming.

But what are the coping skills of reality that do work?

One thing I’ve been working on is strengthening my faith in God in a real and substantive way. After all, faith is passing through storms, confronting ugly demons, and seeing your circumstances for what they are but also, importantly, for what they can become. Faith is believing that God’s plan is for you to survive these “I wish this were just a bad dream” moments and to look back at them with a clearer understanding of His plan for you. It's the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.

I'm interested to hear from others. What are your bad dreams? How do you confront the Big Bad Wolf?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A blog I really like and a post you must read. That is all.

Check out this sister's blog, entitled I Dreamed A World. It's awesome! Seriously.

If you don't have time to browse everything, you have to read this post, Put A Ring on It. I have one word: insight. The post asks you to reflect on what commitment really means to you. I hope you'll at commit to reading the post! Check it out:

While marriage is often put in a league of its own when it comes to commitment conversations, in reality, every commitment we make or avoid defines the course of our lives in the same manner that marriage defines our direction. We make decisions everyday to flirt with, date, or marry the circumstances of our lives….our jobs, our families, our spirituality, our passions, our purposes and even ourselves. (Keep reading)

Happy reading! 'Nuff said.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

when in doubt, don't.

"when in doubt, don't." i read that the other day in an article about the importance of hitting pause when you don't know which direction to take. when you're doubtful about which way to go, don't go. just be patient, be still, and wait for a clear answer before you take off running in any old random direction.

i like it. often times i feel like i'm the turtle in the race. i feel like, why am i not just pushing forward like so-and-so? why can't i just move like such-and-such? well, this advice of "when in doubt, don't" nudges me and reminds me that maybe i'm supposed to be still for a minute so that i can make the right move instead of moving for movement's sake. there's nothing wrong with pausing if you're doing it to make your next move your best move.

but the danger in that advice lies in the fact that some of us are perpetual doubters. self-doubters. others-doubters. debby-downer-doubters. now that particular brand of doubt is dangerous. for instance the other day i was given some positive feedback about myself that surprised me given its source and timing. it also caused me to realize that in underestimating my own potential for leadership and growth, i had been exercising self doubt and may have blocked off some nice opportunities for myself. despite being proud of my accomplishments i admit that i often strain to see what others see in me. i hate to admit it because i know its silly not to see yourself as capable of doing anything you put your mind to. but i still have to say, i do it more often than i should.

to not take a risk or put yourself out there due to self-doubt means missing out on a wealth of opportunities--for personal development as you learn more about what you can do, if put to the test, and even for personal development as a result of productive failures.

while in some areas of life the advice, "when in doubt, don't" can ring true, when the doubt you're experiencing threatens to impede your own personal growth or advancement just be sure not to get stuck on pause.

Monday, November 15, 2010

You are here

Mom,

Today marks the 8th anniversary of your departure from this world. I was a girl-woman when you left--had just turned 21, was trying to figure out life after college, was in love with a silly (silly) boy, was in the midst of trying to assert my adulthood but clinging to you as your little girl because I knew what was about to happen. I knew what was happening and I didn't understand what I was supposed to do next. I didn't understand what it meant to live without you here with me.

I remember so many things about that evening. I'll keep them between you and me. But the main thing I remember is just the numb, silent, stilness of my mind afterwards. What is this? What now? what does this mean?

In the years since your passing, I've thought about moments like when you told me I'd be okay if you were no longer living, and I got angry, but you just had this knowing look on your face that both scared and reassured me. I remember one time, long before you were sick, when you took me to your own dad's gravesite. I remember just being in awe of the idea that you can still feel so connected to someone after they are long gone from this world. In these past 8 years, I've come to understand. While I still wonder "What next?" all the time and have moments where your absence is a sharp, deep pang that just has to run its course, I now know one thing that comforts me: you are still here. It's just different.

You were there in that room, with your brothers and sisters, when I was sworn in last week. I could feel you. You snuck up on me! And I know that you know my own plans, and that I shouldn't feel any pressure to follow a path that you or any one else prescribed for me, but that I just need to cut my own path and not look back. I will. I am.

I just want to say thank you for your continued presence. This is a day--a season, really--when tears will flow unexpectedly. Maybe it will happen as I order my coffee or as I'm brushing my teeth or maybe, even, while I'm working with the kids in my program. But it will happen and it's okay. Because it is merely a reminder that your love is still so real and so relevant.

I will be crying because I wish I could hug you. See what you look like as you grow gracefully towards 60. Hear your laugh. Even scorn your advice. I will cry because I wish I could do this but I will also cry because, beautifully, I still feel you and I know you're here and I'm so thankful for that.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

in this world

this weekend i started reading this great book by j. california cooper, an author whose work always, inevitably, moves me and strikes me in its simplicity and accuracy as it depicts the human condition. she just gets it, puts it down on paper, and it touches you.

this new book i'm reading is called "some people, some other place." the narrator is a being that is not yet born. i guess she's a soul preparing to be born, telling the story of to whom she'll be born and the world into which she'll be born. the narrator begins by telling us about the world she (i assume it's a she, but actually i don't know) currently knows: the world as she sees it before entering the compromised state of being human, a world to which we each belong even though we might have forgotten about it.

she describes the process of transitioning from her current state of full awareness of what the world is all about, into her muted awareness of this reality once she becomes a human being and has to learn how to survive as such. she explains that as babies we are unable to talk for so long because we need this time to unlearn what we already know and focus on the task at hand: survival in our human form.

this struck me as really interesting, especially since it seems like so many of us spend time praying and meditating with the hope of learning ultimate truths about life... maybe truths we know somewhere deep inside but have suppressed as a result of our humanity?

what would this narrator say to another soul about the world? or what would she say to a human being seeking to understand the world better? Maybe this:

The world is made up of people. Billions of different souls with different experiences, different perspectives, different personalities, different sources of suffering and joy. This is beautiful.

There are people who need nature to live—need to be in the dirt, in the fresh air, in the sun, digging things up and planting things in and climbing up or scaling down or swimming through. There are people who need cement, mortar, and technology to live—need to be in a clean, whitewashed environment, need metal and brass and need to revel in humanity’s genius, to take advantage of these conveniences, to master them and manipulate them and own them. There are people who need other people to live—who must be in the middle of the crowd, making it laugh or cry or captivating it with their stories, who must be held by a stranger or a loved one, who must see other people and understand them, who want others to understand them. There are people who need to explore the contours of their inner mind in order to live—who need to reflect, to meditate, to sit in peace and solitude and quiet, who need to write but don’t need to share what they’ve written, who need to pray but also just want to listen. There are people who other people want to be and there are people who everyone pities. There are people who are beautiful and people who are ugly, either physically or internally, or both. There are people who are just beginning to figure it out and there are people who think they’ve got it figured out and there are people who know they know nothing. There are wise people and there are wise-asses. There are smart people and there are smart-asses. There are ignorant people and there are people who are humble blank slates, sponges waiting to be filled.

All of the world is made up of people and this is all God’s image. To think about the world outside of oneself is to contemplate God, who He is, what He is. It is difficult to do, but important because it helps us understand. Maybe all the world is a composite of God’s heart. And maybe contemplating what it is that makes the world what it is and humanity what we are is a good start to understanding God a bit better.

If we want to see ourselves we have to see outside ourselves, be open to differences, shared experiences experienced differently. Can humanity do that?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

it's sunday night and i have to be up in six hours and i can't sleep. my mind is brimming from a full weekend. saw for colored girls... started my vision board... and spent sunday afternoon with family and friends and just feeling so full of love.

from the movie, the poetry inside of me is just percolating, bubbling phrases and sputtering images that are begging to be, begging me not to neglect them, myself. there were moments when the transition from poetry to the screenplay was awkward, but i have to say i really enjoyed the experience of that film. there were scenes that definitely moved me. there were scenes that didn't, and that's fine. but the point is the film did something. it made me feel something. and it reminded me that that's what i love about poetry and about writing in general. it's a gift to share. even though i'm no ntozake shange, i believe i have a story to tell. i know i do. and i'm telling it bit by bit. watching the movie put a fresh log in my fire and it feels nice.

also my birthday was a few days ago and that has me thinking about the future. next year is the big 3-0. i'm excited. i'm nervous. i feel a sense of urgency around making my goals HAPPEN. not that 30 is the cut off point, at all, by any means. i just want to know that i'm living each day fully. i had a little gathering of girlfriends and brunch and making our vision boards. it opened a door for me and now it's like something inside me keeps whispering, what's next? it was inspiring to share the time with girlfriends and hang out, chat, laugh, listen to music, and take a minute to ask ourselves what our visions are for our lives. it was exciting see what we all have in store for our lives. it was validating and eye opening to see what themes we all had in common--both the questions we had and the points of clarity we shared.

from the time with family i'm realizing that i'm at the beginning of a new era for myself. in a lot of ways, my twenties have been dominated by loss. i've defined myself by it. it has shaped me, no doubt, but lately i've begun to see more fully just how amidst tremendous loss i've been flooded with so much love, an outpouring of it that at times is, frankly, overwhelming. but in a good way, in a way that says, girl, you better take all this love and just be glad!

i'm gonna be so tired in the morning. but i'm going to just live in this moment and feel the gratitude. it's good.