Wednesday, November 13, 2013

To learn to sit with these thoughts...

SCAN0015

I was writing in my paper journal today (yes, I still have one of those archaic things!) and reflecting on the journey that got me where I am today. I thought about the decisions I had no part in making that shaped me as a person and the things I do and don't talk about. How I learned to stop kicking and screaming because they happened to me, and to sit with them. We cannot put back.

There are great big things happening in this world, things I cannot comprehend and I often feel very small, like a little speck floating around this giant universe, under the blanket of stars, marveling at the beauty of the world, of the kindness and creativity of humanity, and cowering at the terror of what might be and will be and won't be.

But I find comfort in this place, too, in the goodness of the earth and it's patterns, in what grace I have been allotted. When the weariness of the day catches up with me I sit at my dinner table in my perfect dining room (I must admit it is my favorite room of the house) and drink a cup of tea. Sometimes I'll write or read, sometimes I'll listen to music, or memorize a poem or a bit of a play if it's needed, and I put my brain to good use, writing about education as a whole, dreaming up how to fix things. And somewhere in that process, between writing and reading and dinner, the sadness of the world and ache of the day and hunger and futility lift out and away from me, like a mumuration of starlings winging their way out and over into the great beyond, and the peace settles.

It is possible, though, to be peaceful and to know joy and to grieve at the same time. I have no words for what is going on in the Philippines right now, but because I loved it and it will forever be a part of me and who I am I sit with some of the sadness. When I try to articulate it the words don't make sense. The sadness is so difficult for me to fathom so I put it in my heart in the place where my starlings sit and when the time comes after work for me to sit at my dinner table and write or read or work hard on things I let it go with the rest of the sadness, and I think of that collection of sorrows lifting away and out the dining room window, up, up, up, fluttering into the sky illuminated pink by the lights of this city, glowing against the foothills and flying further and further out over the mountains until they are lost in the deep blue of snow and sky on the peaks. 




Sunday, November 10, 2013

Go Placidly Amidst the Noise and Haste of the Universe...

cozyballerina-1

cozyballerina-97

cozyballerina-5

I want to tell you about a book I read when I was fourteen or fifteen. I can't remember the name of the book at it was so short I think I read it in the course of an afternoon. It was classic young adult fiction, the sort of thing written for moody teenage girls (which, of course, I was) to devour and feel like someone understood them. 

Anyways, the book was about a girl who was in high school and wanted to be a dancer. She must have been in a pre-professional company or something. Every day she would go home and struggle with whatever she struggled with and tell her parents she wanted to be a dancer. 

And every time she said that her dad would gently remind her, "You are a dancer."

And that was the whole lesson of this book. You are a dancer. 

But maybe you're not a dancer. Maybe you write stories in your spare time. You, my friend, are a writer. Or maybe you ride your bike up a mountain or only down the bike path by your house. You are a cyclist. Maybe you make dinner every night, and even though the only patrons at your restaurant are you and your family or even just you. You are a chef. 

The point I'm trying to make here, the thing I first read in this book and learned through living and trying, is that you are what you are doing in life. Even if you're not being paid to do it, if there are no material gains or social rewards where you put your time is who you are. 

One of the things that is generally implied in life as you are growing up is "do good work and the rewards will follow." I believe that contrary to that idea the work is the reward in most cases. There is pleasure in having and finishing, of course, but the stretch of hard work, and the space and time you give to being something, if that makes sense, is where the real joy is discovered.

cozyballerina-16

cozyballerina-62

cozyballerina-53

cozyballerina-92

cozyballerina-88

cozyballerina-99

cozyballerina-110

***

I cannot honestly remember the brands of any of my dance clothing. I do know my pointe shoes are Bloch. 

All of these stunning photographs were taken by Jessica Triggs at Heartflip Photography. Love and gratitude to her, always. 

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Whirlwind

IMG_3907

The word whirlwind, or maybe even the word frenetic, can sum up my fall experience, and all of the online silence. 

I've spent time in Chicago, attended a wedding in South Bend, Indiana, and have driven to various places in Colorado. I've acted in my first play (Gwendolyn Fairfax from The Importance of Being Earnest), learned how to speak in a British accent for that role, filmed a tiny thing for the New York Time's Maximum Shakespeare thing, and have been riding horses just about once a week, all while maintaining a more than full time job and just living day to day.

There has, understandably, been lots of coffee involved.   

Here are some pictures from the whirlwind that has been my life. You can, of course, always see what's going on at instagram over here!

IMG_3980

IMG_4010

IMG_4021

IMG_4043

IMG_4067

AddThis