on dreams and making magic

have you read this, by paulo coehlo?

a friend recommended it to me two weeks ago, as we ate lunch:
"you've got to read it! [name of person i've now forgotten.] put it in my hand, and told me i had to read it."

if you are in the midst of pursuing your life's dream, and have met both luck and failure, or have been thinking for some time about taking the leap but are afraid, the alchemist is a good place to start: it's about the journey, the fears along the way, the valleys and mountaintops--working through them all.

i received the alchemist in the mail a few days ago, and began reading right away. yesterday morning as i read it on the bus, and as my stop approached, a young woman spotted the book and said to me:

"i saw that title in [name of book i've now gotten.]. the author recommended it."
"yeah, you gotta get this book," i told her.
"i will, i will." i hope she does.

later on that morning, after reading a few more pages, i put the book on my desk. dan, an office mate, pointed to it. "i've read that book. it's good all the way through."

i completed the alchemist late last night, and this afternoon, dan and i shared some thoughts about what we felt most resonated, in light of our own journeys. he inspired the following idea, which i am now putting to you:

the first person to email me with a mailing address will receive my copy of the alchemist. and the rules: you must read the entire book within a week of receiving it, and must then pass it on to another person who must follow these same rules.

(a note of synchronicity: as i researched paulo coehlo, in order to link to his website, i came upon this interview he gave at caffe trieste in san francisco. i am sitting inside this very cafe as i type all of this.)

may we have the courage to listen to the urging of our soul; may we trust that we have everything we need to answer its call.


dancin' in the streets!

throughout the united states, and around the world! (courtesy of dailykos.)

my dear friend who lives in the bahamas told me late last night that there were various obama celebration parties throughout nassau. and he said, the second he learned that obama had won, he thought of me and imagined i was somewhere crying and feeling overwhelmed...with joy--i was, and i am!

may barack obama's leadership facilitate a transformation that is healing and empowering.


on the verge

i just voted for the next president of the united states, and so proud am i, that i photocopied the filled-in ballot, for the sake of my own remembering especially as i watch--from somewhere--him take the oath of office a few months from now.

though a government/political science major in college, after the presidential elections of 2004, i was so disappointed, so saddened (again) by the outcome that i thought i might never again participate in that farce of a system--blasphemous, perhaps. but with time, it all changes. and in this year of change, transformation really, my hope is renewed that justice will be served this time around.


"that one"

the other one lost his bid for the presidency during last night's debate. this perhaps was most evident in that visibly frustrated moment, in which (seeking to criticize barack obama's voting record on energy issues), he referred to obama--finger pointed, clenched teeth and all--as "that one," much the way one might say, lip curled up, "yeah, that one. that idiot over there."

if these matters are decided by the feeling one gets just from watching and listening to the candidates (and most political scientists will note they often are), then john mccain is the bus ride home after a nasty day at work, while barack obama is the hug from a love, at the door. like the man who knows his wife is about to leave him, mccain spews at the mouth, itching with angst, grabbing at whatever is near. all the while, the wife packs her bags, cool and knowing, "a change is gonna come." indeed.


the funniest obama bumper sticker ever

it read: "if you'd rather die than see a black president, now would be a good time." where can i get one?

oh dear

anyone who's taken a city bus (in the states) is familiar with this sign posted above the seats directly behind the bus driver: "these seats must be vacated for seniors and disabled persons when needed." if disability is sometimes hard to gauge by simply looking at someone, seniority is much harder--what might appear to me, a fabulous older woman, might be senior citizen to someone else. worse yet? offering one of these seats to a pregnant woman (as a matter of courtesy), only to be told, "i'm not pregnant, sweetie." what to do!


for the work

today, i received money for something i love to do, am good at doing, and would do just because: i conducted a mission/intention coaching workshop for a talented group of women artists. art brings me money, and a lot of joy.


angels and dragonflies

as i continue settling here, i sometimes converse--quite excitedly, too--with strangers about the magical way in which things continue to show up for me, since arriving less than two weeks ago (housing that is more than i dreamed; paid work that is in a warm, vibrant environment). each time, the response is about the same: "you're meant to be here" or "it's meant to be."

i am learning that: when something fits us--when it is in agreement with who we are meant to be--there is little or no struggle. it is as if the dream gods, in their infinite knowing, bring the people, things, and experiences most necessary for the fulfillment of our dreams. each day, i marvel at how much easier it is to trust that what is meant for me is, and what is not meant for me isn't.

there is tremendous grace in the world.


without end

"this is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. first to let go of life. finally, to take a step without feet."

coming home

"we are dragged along by fate to that which we refuse to walk
upright."--carl jung


shifts and stepping stones

i stepped off the plane at about 9 p.m., into the embrace of two dear friends. three suitcases in tow--and the feeling i am meant to be here--i walked into san francisco, and the most exciting unknown of my life. like butterflies, there is a sweetness in my stomach.



in less than a week, i move from too-tiny-town, florida. the move has been a long time in thought, and intention. finally: action. i came here three years ago, from new orleans, hoping to sort out how to incorporate writing into my legal work. now, it is the writing that comes first; all else must accommodate it. and so, it is for writing that i am moving. i have become stagnant in this tiny space that has too little room for imagining--the hope of what might come next. i am ready to be settled into my work, a space that feels like home, a community of creative souls pushing into their dreams.

so, after attending this several weeks ago, i know it is time to go. i've sold nearly all of my things--a light landing is the best kind. i now accept that i have been letting go, letting go, letting go, of the things, which no longer fit who i've become.

where to? stay tuned...


more good news

this could not come at a more needed time--good news has been like this for me lately: yesterday, i found out that my short story, "talk on elekuro street," a piece i first wrote in 2006, and changed a bit since, has been accepted for publication in stand magazine, a notable literary journal based in the uk. the story was under consideration for nearly six months, and so i had put it to rest, and focused on other works. this acceptance is a bit surreal and another reminder that timing is divine.


somewhere half way

on the eve of the new year, i wrote this. six months later, i understand those words more now than i did then; this is the mark of experience. 'boldly into the unknown'? not always. steadfast? indeed.

the magic, the magic

i've just watched barack obama's acknowledgement of himself as the democratic nominee for the 2008 presidential race. i also watched 16 months ago, here on my living room floor, when he declared his intention to enter the primary race. then he was and tonight he remains both a nuanced and invigorating blend of grace, genuineness, and astuteness rarely seen in a public figure, much less a politician.

16 months ago, watching and listening to obama was pure magic, shameless swooning and all. tonight, it is still magical--admittedly the more subdued form that results from experiencing a contentious race that has mirrored the most beautiful and ugliest of our natures. i'd certainly become fatigued of the process over the last few weeks. tonight though, i am re-energized and re-inspired by what is possible for we who witness this.

i'm grateful to be a tiny part of the grassroots movement that's led to this historical moment. i am reminded that 'hope' and 'change' are whatever we decide: superficial, feel-good slogans, or an opportunity to do the work necessary to become the best of what we might be. ultimately it is less about who barack obama is, and more about who we are becoming.

here is to living the dream, and more fearless 'hope-mongering.'


good news abounds

i've been absent for quite a while: writing, and bringing myself more in line with the things i'm now wanting. sometimes we find that what we thought we wanted is perhaps not what we need. in line with this, i'm trusting more and more that i am being given the experiences necessary for my growth, however jarring at times.

last october, i began a short story that lingered over the months, with periods of inactivity and frustration. by march, though, i'd received in some divine away, the very thing i needed to give the story what it required. just over a week after submitting it, i found out on monday that this story, "slighted," will appear in a forthcoming issue of the notable new letters. i'm thrilled!


the anti

this morning, waiting in line at the coffee shop, i spotted on the 'take one' counter, a bumper sticker which read (in defiance of the old western adage): "if anything can go well, it will."



a few summers ago, on a road trip with stephen bright, human being extraordinaire and president of the southern center for human rights, i became quite taken with his ability to treat each question i asked (questions i imagined he'd likely been asked hundreds of times) as if it was the first time he'd been asked. he responded with such thoughtfulness and enthusiasm--quite a feat, given the emotionally taxing nature of anti-death penalty litigation.

since that time, i've often thought that i, too, want to have as my life's work, that thing i am that passionate about each time i speak of it. perhaps this is a symptom of youthful optimism, a disposition certain to fade with time and disappointment. still, i'm fine holding on to it for as long as i can; it gives me hope. and really, i don't yet imagine the alternative.



last night, at the invitation of a dear friend, i went to a live screening of the pbs independent lens documentary, "motherland afghanistan," a harrowing look at the chaotic state of women's health care in the nation, since the 2001 american invasion. the parts that would otherwise move me to tears, did not. i felt unnaturally stoic. this morning, i wonder whether i have become somewhat desensitized to human suffering, or am just holding my breath.


freestyle smoothie

i'm a sucker for quick and easy food creations. i experimented with the following ingredients until i got the smoothie that fills my taste for rich, peanut-buttery things:

some plain yogurt
some (soy) milk
some smooth peanut butter
a ripe banana (cold or frozen)
dash of vanilla extract

liquefy ingredients in blender. enjoy!

so it is said

a green butterfly is rare--at least i was told, when i shared with a friend that lately and repeatedly, i've spotted one. in my backyard; at the swimming pool; outside my favorite coffee shop. it is all just as well, i imagine. if i had to choose a natural symbol of my current state, it would likely be that moment from pupa to butterfly: no longer the old, not fully the new. without doubt, i am being pushed out of my comfort zone. this, i think, is good.


the way here

a week or so away from home, i returned yesterday to find my (assumed) dead plants in the earliest stages of renewal: the elephant ear whose 5ft. stature had crumbled to a stump and the four o'clock whose flowers had dropped one by one until nothing remained but the plastic bucket of earth, had sprouted several new stalks and leaves.

i thought first of the natural life cycle; then, of the premature abandonment of matters that are simply in gestation. i remembered that perhaps in those moments we're most doubtful, the circumstance is merely turning over into itself, preparing for something new; that maybe if we just let go for a bit--understand that some things are outside of our immediate control, and demand our patience--we might be surprised by life's impending generosity.



this morning, while driving, i noticed a homemade sign taped to the rear windshield of a truck in the adjacent lane; it read: "don't believe everything you think." i thought then of the ways in which self-defeating thoughts can become self-fulfilling prophecies. i remain fascinated by the unexpected bits of wisdom found on the road.



i've come upon this quote several times, in the last few weeks:

"first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."--mohandas ghandi.


playing small

on the themes of the 2008 presidential election in the united states:

i'm bemused, but mostly dismayed by the viewpoint that inspiration is somehow for the weak-minded--those naively disconnected from reality, practical considerations. the very word hope is slung around accusatorily, raised eyebrows and upward-turned lips and all. it is insinuated that somehow, uplifting words and meaningful action are mutually exclusive; that the former cannot translate into the latter. that social policies and laws are enacted in a vacuum, void of the intentions and dreams that underlie them. we only need examine world history to know this certainly is not the case. i believe in the interconnectedness of things: as we believe privately, we act publicly; sooner or later, we become unable to separate these spheres. and perhaps it is those of us who mistaken cynicism for realism, who need the reality check.

to be fair, there are some of us who never quite make it beyond the words; our goals remain nebulous dreams, bitterly recalled as what might have been. this failure, though, cannot be blamed on hope. how could it be? at almost all times, we have a choice: to take real risks in the direction of our dreams, or remain playing small.


gold dust

"life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness."--eckhart tolle

and a dear friend often says, 'we are presented with obstacles that teach us who we need to become to overcome them.'


on the other side

"ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is a freedom."--marilyn ferguson


it's difficult to discuss having wonderful friends without sounding impossibly corny, over-the-top. i'd call them 'the best' and that would be trite; and the truth. i'd say i am fortunate to know them--incredibly so--and this too would be the truth. my friends are wise, and kind, and brave. their generosity inspires and sustains me. their honesty makes me less afraid of the truth. they make room for me to be most of who i am; and they are patient as i still unfold. that they are here, as imperfect as i am, is for me, the mark of unconditional love.


in great form

this is one reason i am unwilling to believe we cannot be better than we are at this moment; and this is yet another. i am grateful for the idealism of those courageous enough to see a corroded world with pristine eyes.

"any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. it takes a touch of genius--and a lot of courage --to move in the opposite direction."--albert einstein


in question

"on some positions, cowardice asks the question, 'is it safe?' expediency asks the question, 'is it politic?' and vanity comes along and asks the question, 'is it popular?' but conscience asks the question 'is it right?' and there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right."--martin luther king, jr.

the word

if we should ever look about us and wonder, how did i get here?, more likely than not, there are distinct markers winding back in time. more than any other memories, i hold on most tightly to the words of friends, family, and teachers (past and present) who believed the possibilities, even when i was nowhere near achieving them. the naysayers, too, have their place. and yet, their words have not lingered as intensely; if i am to recall them, they come only as blurry waves of knots from misshaped mouths.

some of us believe that unless the word is harsh, biting, or daring, it cannot be true, cannot be real. why is this? of course there is a place for criticism, when undertaken constructively and with the intention of improving matters as they are. the challenge, however, is to pause--if only for a moment--to reconsider the underlying purpose of what we speak, because whatever the word, every now and then, it shapes the lives of those who listen.


tuning in

the year has begun well. more than ever, i am discovering that sooner or later, the things we hope, come in one form or another. thankfully, i have become much more engaged: with writing and other work, which requires the sort of attention that leaves less room for blogging regularly. i hope you will read the archives, and continue with me as i share--however sporadically--those thoughts and observations that shape the landscape of my journey.



'wherever you go, there you are.' (source unknown)

lately, i've come upon this quote, in various forms. it is sometimes written in the first person: 'wherever i go, there i am.' it is unclear who first wrote these words; it has been attributed to a screen writer, a political writer, the bible, and is even the title of this book. i am drawn to it, though i am not yet sure why. i imagine few things frighten humans more than the thought that it is too late to do what we want, or be who we might. this quote reminds me that timing has a kind of divinity; that no matter where we find ourselves, we are where we are to be, now.


the essence of form

i have noticed that while most of us focus primarily on the form of what we want (e.g. i want to lose weight; i want to earn more money), it is really the essence we are after (i.e. i want to feel good about myself; i want to live more comfortably). experience continues to teach me that once we become clearer on the root of an intention, the form is more easily achieved.