Wednesday, October 30, 2013

being with the people we love

I'm beginning to realize that someday my grandma will die.
and someday later my parents will be gone.

What will it be like to suddenly not be able to see the people that brought me into my life?

I used to think that one day I wouldn't need their guidance and support.
that eventually I would be enough on my own.
but I still call Teddi with major (and minor) life questions
my dad still is ALWAYS right
my mom still teaches me how to turn my struggle into a poem
my grandma still is my most important role model as a strong, wise, independent woman living a long and fulfilled life with NO MAN, running her own business----staying true to her work ethic even as her health fails, as she approaches age 94!!!
I hope I will live as free, wise, (and long!!!)
as her.

I've faced the death of close people in my life--
one of my favorite students, Will
my other grandparents.
but I don't think I can handle any more.
I can't imagine my life without being able to call my grandma to talk about gardening + plants.
I can't imagine not getting ridiculous cards from my mom on valentine's day reminding me that my meat is always rancid because I keep shopping at the same supermarket (dating musicians?) haha
and when I feel hopeless and lost--who will I call if I can't talk to my stepmom and Dad who remind me that
I can make it through this life. that I am loved.
because sometimes I forget
these very important things.
Being in Germany, on the other side of the Atlantic from all my loved ones has made me realize that I'm SO LUCKY to have amazing, supportive parents.
and I'm lucky to live close to them.
My life is passing by SO FAST
and their' even faster.
I know there's no way to prepare myself for their loss--but for now I can make sure to spend lots of time with them---
listening and being present
asking them questions
learing more about their lives.

A good friend when grieving the shocking death of his sister said:
"please make time to be with the people you love"
and then and there
I called my sister.
my sister who lives one neighborhood over in brooklyn, 
who I would see once every two months or maybe not even.

now we make sure to go on a walk together every week.

I will make the time.

because what's more important in this life
than being with the people we love?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Longing for Longing

I wrote another song about unrequited love

but I realized
that actually
it's the song that I want
not the person

to be an artist
is to long.

to long to reveal
to long to be known
to long to connect

and it's through the act of longing, 
and expressing that longing
that I connect with my deepest self.

as Rumi says:
"The grief you cry out from
draws you toward union.
Your pure sadness
that wants help
is the secret cup.
Listen to the moan of a dog for its master
that whining is the connection.
there are love-dogs
no-one knows the names of.
Give your life
to be one of them."

This song might be about
waiting for someone to love me

but it is actually not for them.
it is for me.

and I'm waiting
only because
I never want to arrive
at a place without longing.

being in touch with the deep pain of missing something
is how I become whole.

It is when I break
that I remember
how to open
to healing, connection, and deep self-love.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

what she was taught and then taught me

There was a period of intense mourning and grief in her life.

While bearing the pain of such an enormous loss
a priest
from the hospital stood near
and with a steady certainty said:
"You WILL get through this."
"You WILL."
"it might seem like there is no end to your grief
but there will be a time where you'll look back and know
that everything that happened
was part of everything else.
every moment,
sad or joyful...
helped to create YOU."

What an amazing sculpture.
What a masterful piece of art.

Our histories... our bodies... our lives.

She told me that she wished there was always a person close by
reminding her that she will get through this.
this too shall pass.
"how nice it would be to have someone from the outside
looking in."

I told her
that her story is now that presence in my life.

and when grief that is much bigger than my little life
starts to swallow me in its breadth...
I will remember her story...

how she did get through it
and will continue to get through this life.

sharing her stories
and her insight. 

best friends

artwork by Kinga Rofusz

Monday, October 21, 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

nourishing traditions

I wish that the world felt like Tara Rynder's heart.
and that
everyday-all-day life was the experience of her performance piece: You & Me.
You & Me is a 3 hr. experience where dancers merge with landscape, musicians play sounds from nature, artists give one on one installations to each guest, and then we all eat a nourishing meal together.
For my one on one installation, I was in the kitchen making the dinner for everyone, and guests would come in individually for 5-10mins and help me cook.
As we chopped and stirred, I asked them to tell me about their favorite food memory, or how they learned to cook.
It was such a simple and basic way of getting to know someone.
Preparing a meal together to nourish our bodies...
talking of memories that nourish our hearts.
Sandra from Iceland told me how she misses having dinner together every sunday with her family because times have become too busy.
Elliot from England told me about learning how to cook from his mom (when he was 8!!) and how they didn't have a lot of money but they would find really creative ways to make fancy meals out of few ingredients.
Kristen from Iceland spoke of sugar-coated potatoes and roasted lamb for Christmas.
Serene from Singapore told me that her happiest times in her life have been when she was eating together with friends.
Some of the people who attended our performance were living in the hostel with us. After hearing about their food memories I felt like I had so much more understanding about who they were.
I watched Elliot cook scrambled eggs for himself the next day and saw how much joy he took in the simple act of preparing food to eat. He carried so much confidence as he was telling me about his special method of scrambling eggs in a pot (instead of a pan) with HEAPS of butter so they get extra light and and fluffy.
The 7 people that I sat and cooked with filled me with more memories of rich kitchen life,
of generous cooking and joyful eating...
that I now carry around with me.
In Finland, as I prepare a meal for myself alone, I have all these other moments to layer upon the present.
Everyone's different hands help me to chop my carrots.
Everyone's different recipes go into my own.
As I stir my soup, I stir all the moments of knowing and being known,
of looking into anyother's eye and hearing their stories.
I stir and stir
and then
slowly eat.
for the people
that nourish my life.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

passing through

I had a dream that my stuff was all spread out at different people's houses.
my drumset (??) was in North Carolina (??) in my aunt's basement, I had 2 huge suitcases that I left in my math teacher (??)'s office, and my childhood dolls were at my other aunt's house in NJ where I had hidden some valuable letters inside their plastic feet (??!!).
I had also discovered in my garage, a tiny portable piano-like chamber that I could carry around with me and crawl inside to make lots of fun noises.

My bunkmates informed me that I had been talking in my sleep.

I woke up realizing that I've been trying to be in too many places.
A piece of me has not left brooklyn, trying to hold on to my identity and all the people and things there that make me ME.
Who am I without all my everydays that constantly reflect me?
without my roommates
without my piano
without my garden
without my family
without my friends
without my students
without my stuff?
If my being is traveling and in transition, am I anyone right now?

Facebook makes it really easy to exist EVERYWHERE.
Do I actively need to spread my consciousness around different parts of my past in order to feel my whole self?
It's like I'm afraid of not being ME, of not existing, so I keep grasping onto fragments of my life in order to feel whole.
If I let the fragments go
I can see more than each piece?
the pieces matter
but maybe I don't need to run around and collect them
in order to trust that they're there.

In the hostel where we are staying in Reykjavic, I have met so many people from all around the world traveling on their own.

A 21 yr. old woman from Canada is starting a 6 month journey around Europe by herself.
Paula from New Zealand is traveling around Europe and then moving to Toronto for a year with NO plan whatsover...
(except finding a place to work and live).
She knows no one there!!!
I told her that I think I'd be too afraid to move somewhere new if I didn't know anyone.
She said, "I'm too afraid to do this too."
she IS.
This hostel is some strange purgatory...
some bizzare transitional space
where people are simply passing through.

and we meet
for moments
and tell people of our journey
but ultimately we are all on our separate paths.

I feel blessed to meet these courageous people and to have a glimpse of their life before they travel on.
I sometimes forget
that in brooklyn even though I get to see the same people everyday (my roommates), and have a large community of friends that I see consistently,
home life
is also...
always in transition.

This hostel is a heightened experience of the realities of life.
We are always changing, in flux,
traveling in place or in feeling.
and the time that we are able to come together
is rare

and then we disperse  back to our own beautiful and unique paths
walking slowly
finding our life reveal itself to us.

When I come "home" to brooklyn, can I see my beloved friends as travelers on their own?
and each time we have the honor to connect
can I ask
who are you now?
what have you seen?
how lucky we are to witness eachother on our journeys.
I told the woman from Canada
"your 6 month solo trip inspires me to have less fear of my own unpredictable life."

and by now she has left for her next adventure

and I too

am here


passing through...

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