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Thursday, March 17, 2005

Courtesy of the party hostess extraordinnaire Leslee, a link to a New York times article by David Brooks about my destination, and about a world that stunts excess in the most bizarre ways.

The waiter thrust a ladle into the inferno and lifted up long, dripping streams of blue fire, hoisting the burning liquid into hypnotizing, showy cascades. He poured out a circle of flame onto the tablecloth in front of us. It was a lavish pyre of molten, inebriating java and then, when he swung around to where I was sitting, I turned and asked the climactic question:

"Is it decaf?"
Now go read the rest.

Hopefully, I can live with a philosophy of nearly full abandon.
(At least with the exception of caffeine...)

Enjoy the next 10 days, I should be offline most or all of it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

I've spilled tea on the living room rug. This warrants a "today is ruined" response this morning, admittedly I thought it might stain but now it has cleaned up easily and I can see how I jumped so quickly to that all-or-nothing sort of pattern that occasionally plagues my thinking. Plagues it most often when I am stressed, PMS or without enough sleep.

I got emails from three men "in my life" yesterday, none of which had the specific sorts of words I wanted to hear. That my ex-husband spent a good bit of time sharing a positive experience with my daughter is a real gift, and should have left me feeling valued and grateful for our ongoing open communication. That someone at work wanted to have breakfast with me should have left me feeling valued and hopeful for a new friendship. That I got an honest and guarded but positive response to a difficult request I made of the person I'm wrapped up in lately should have left me feeling valued and glad he's being direct.

Yup, I was disappointed anyhow.

K posted recently about faith, or more precisely, the difference between belief and faith. It gets me into trouble regularly. Wishing that things would be different means I have a belief that it should be a certain way. Having faith means I trust that all will be as it should be. I enjoy life a lot less when I believe in (meaning imagine or assume) certain outcomes. Of course, I can't forecast with any accuracy. Worse, when it doesn't match forecast, I sometimes discount it. I look for the clues, the specific messages from the universe, the right words, the things that tell me "life is good" and if they aren't there, well then life is not going well. I know better, really I do, but still fall back on the all-or-nothing version some days.

In circle Sunday we burned those things which we desired to leave behind as the winter darkness emerges into spring growth. There is a dimmer switch I am putting on joy when I try and force it to fit a certain form. The switch is controlled by fears I choose to embrace or deny. The switch needs to move from belief - which dims, to faith - which illuminates.

I suppose the first step is to have faith I can accomplish this.

Things best left unmentioned in polite company:

-The amazing shade of purple the beets turned your bowel movements for the last two days.

-How your cat woke you up making little mewing sounds while she washed her private parts.

-How long it's been since you've had sex. Especially to a total stranger you've randomly IM'ed. While in two sentences or less trying to convince her she should meet you in a hotel room.

-Your taxes due.

<--------Add your favorites here.

P.S. I'm headed out on holiday Friday. I haven't started packing but I've read a review of every restaurant in New Orleans. This is probably safe to share in polite company, albeit embarressing.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Tom asked in the comments about my stairway picture "Jumping to that first landing, do you end up in the situation where you have to turn back?"

Oh my god yes. Sometimes it involves apologizing profusely to others who thought it was wise to jump with me too. But more often, it seems to involve taking risks with my feelings where others assume I'm invulnerable, confident, capable of handling whatever f__k up I get myself into.

We are watching Star Wars at home right now, the original three movies (episodes 4-6) and if I was going to pick the character I'm most like, it's probably Han Solo. Sure let's take on the meteor shower, even though we haven't figured out what we'll do once we get in there. Bluff your way through to a cool landing on the meteor, and deliver everyone into the mouth of a monster. Cocky impulsiveness. Then the moment of doubt, and everyone looks at him like "ok, so how are you going to get us out of here?" so, what the hell, he improvises something else.

You want me to admit I leap too soon. But corner me and I'll tell you a hundred reasons to justify why jumping to the first landing was rational. Truth is, I went with the feeling and came up with good arguments later. Truth is, I hate having people figure out I made a bad choice. Truth is, I secretly wish someone knew I was terrified, or confused, or drunk. Truth is, I won't admit it. Will quickly make the second jump, before you have time to corner me. Truth is, I get lonely doing this. Truth is, both my best, and my worst decisions have been made without adequate information.

Truth is, I'm too impatient to send out a probe.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Here is my well guarded hysteria
Residing under the third rib on the left
Suddenly so domineering,
Months go by and nary a peep
Today a roar of voices shouting every conceivable doubt

I retreat down the road I followed to get here
Passing every hope and moment of sweetness
A warm slice of boysenberry pie
At a diner closed since we ate there
My hand in yours, walking in the dark to the car,
I am suddenly sure it was all a sham.

How could you have believed, the voices ask,
How could you trust love again?
I don't trust this, no, I respond.
Then you must be punished they taunt, because
For a moment there you forgot
This cache of insecurities nestled under your tortured heart
Waiting to be unleashed.
And you thought someone cared again, they sneer
Give up your hopes before he sees
The rotted foundation they were built upon.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

I am contemplating a photo on my desk that I asked a friend to take while we walked around downtown Puerto Vallarta about two years ago. I've had this photo on my desk since he developed it and put it in a frame for me as a gift. All this time, what I have liked about the picture was the color and lighting. The photo is taken looking up a stairwell that leads from a heavy carved wood outside door into what is likely a boarding house. The stairs are faced in decorated tiles the color of green lentils, and the walls are a bright lime green.

What I am noticing right now for the first time is how the stairs wrap around to the right leading into the unknown, ending out of sight of the camera lens. I am thinking how often I step into a situation and can only clearly see the way to the first landing. From there, it is obvious the stairs continue, but whether they are chipped and broken, whether it is dark or light at the top, whether I will like the place they lead is completely obscured. The picture didn't capture the source of the bird song at the top of the stairs, nor the cooler temperature inside the stairwell vs the sidewalk outside, the things that would have drawn me in to climb up.

It seems very easy now to have forgotten those things.

Monday, February 28, 2005

I leaf through the book, but struggle because Neruda is a man, writing love poems to his woman. Can I change some word to make it work? Sitting beside him with the book opened, I apologize, explaining the disconnect... preparing to read... hoping he'll bridge the gap. Instead he takes the book gently from my hands, reads back the words to me. He cannot know how this undoes me. Then scans the pages, finds another, and reads again. There is no tomorrow and no yesterday, only his voice, my heartbeat, and the mystery of us.

And now you're mine. Rest with your dream in my dream.
Love and pain and work should all sleep, now.
The night turns on its invisible wheels,
and you are pure beside me as sleeping amber.

No one else, Love, will sleep in my dreams. You will go,
we will go together, over the waters of time.
No one else will travel through the shadows with me,
only you, evergreen, ever sun, ever moon.

Your hands have already opened their delicate fists
and let their soft drifting signs drop away;
your eyes closed like two gray wings, and I move after,

following the folding water you carry, that carries
me away. The night, the world, the wind spin out their destiny.
Without you, I am your dream, only that, and that is all.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

I beg him to explain how he can take what his mind knows, and use it to govern what his heart should do. It seems like the two are connected for him - a steering column guiding the wheels. But maybe I should have asked why my heart never makes conscious choices of its own.

I lose myself when my heart opens to you. You take my place inside myself. Maybe I’d rather be your experience than mine. Even for a moment. I'd accuse you of kidnapping me, but I voluntarily turn myself over.

“It isn’t a question of how much you think you have to lose” he says. “It’s whether your heart believes it can heal from a loss.”

My head clearly sees the loss and the coming wreck of emotion to follow. My heart refuses to worry about the loss. Refuses to use rationality or acknowledge practical limitations. My heart lacks the discipline of the mind.

I am caught in a tractor beam and even as I flail around looking for shields to put up, I have to admit my heart prefers something, anything, to nothing. Indeed this is a choice, but not the obvious one.

So I draw arbritrary boundaries and say "not this, not that." We both know it is my job to protect myself. Possibly I am incapable of anything but making you blameless. I don't know that I can protect my heart from what it seems to do unbidden.

Is love ever a choice?

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