Thursday, December 27, 2012

Today's Small Steps

i’ve been thinking a lot lately about time, about phrases like “my time” and “wasted time” and “making time.”  truth is we can’t make time.  truth is we only have right now.  truth is i rarely feel that i’m making the most of the time i am given.

i recently started to break down my daily routine and chart how much time i was spending on what.  i wanted to know why day after day after day i was never getting as much work done as i thought i should be, and needed to be.  turns out what i was calling “a whole day to work” in my head was really just the few hours between taking care of other things.  

i have a house and i like to keep it clean.  i have chickens and i like them to be tended to.  i have gardens that need care.  i have a kitchen that i like to use.  and i’m finding that i put way too much pressure on myself to get a million career moves done in a day.  every day i’m disappointed in myself, which then puts more pressure on the next day.  no good.

i waver back and forth about being in a huge hurry to achieve my life goals right now, and being relaxed enough to let myself have any amount of down time that isn’t productivity driven, or guilt infused.  down time is not wasted time.  in fact no time needs to be wasted time, as long as we are centered and present.  i completely zenned out during rush hour the other day and was completely at peace with my life.  how about that for productivity??

am i afraid to get caught up for fear that i will really, truly have nothing left to do and feel devoid of my life’s purpose?  it seems impossible that i will ever have anything less than too much on my plate, though i need to be taking even baby steps in the right direction or it just plain weighs on my soul.  

today is what i made of it, nothing more and nothing less.  just as tomorrow will be what i make of it.  you can’t just take a running leap and get to your dreams (if you can you’re not dreaming big enough! ;)  you have to build the path one step at a time.  

here’s to today’s small steps, even if it’s just one.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Chickens and a Hard Drive

i’ve definitely thought about it before, i bet most of us have....if your house was going to burn down and you could only grab the essentials, what would you take?  

my house didn’t burn down last night, but it was a very real possibility that it might.  and at 3:00am, with police yelling at us to evacuate and Will instructing me to grab only the essentials, all i remember saying in my stumbling daze was “what does that even mean??...”  my chickens were in the backyard and i couldn't much think of anything else.  i had soaked the area around their coop, for lack of anything more helpful to do, and left the water running to make use of the leak in the connecting joint.  then we had to go. 

i got my laptop, forgot my external hard drive, and stumbled upstairs in pursuit of “irreplaceables” with will’s calm but assertive guidance.  i should know where my birth certificate is, but at the moment i don’t.  passport?  social security card?  purse and phone seemed like good ideas.  it was cold outside; i packed a scarf.  and i was unbelievably thirsty so i filled my water bottle.  the rest?.....?

the threat of losing “everything” came down to a hard drive and my chickens.  Will and i were together and safe, and because of that knew that whatever else happened we would get through it and be ok.

60 firefighters kept our neighborhood from burning down.  the wind was tremendous and they managed to keep even the houses on either side from being completely destroyed.  three of the people made it out of the house; the fourth did not.  

we got to come back home.  and never have i ever been so grateful to walk through my front door.  sleep wasn’t about to happen so we made tea and folded clean clothes.  i washed some dishes.  we curled up on the sofa and watched arrested development, as it seemed the only logical thing we could think of to do.  around 5:30am we finally crawled back in bed, and attempted sleep that wouldn’t come. 

we don’t need all this stuff.  it’s people that matter, and we’ve been humbly inspired to start spending more time with our friends and loved ones.  we’ve been reminded how quickly things can be taken away.  

we’ve also been reminded that we’re not special, that tragedies are happening all the time, all over the world, and that no matter what happens to us we are still incredibly fortunate to be who we are and to live where we live.  as scary as it can be i appreciate real glimpses of what people go through, so that i may feel real empathy, beyond just the textbook version of “i can’t even imagine....”  we don’t want to imagine (and can’t!), because if we could we might explode from comprehending the suffering of the world, the bad things that happen to good people as well as the bad things that happen to "bad" people.      

be kind to strangers.  be mindful of what you don’t know.  be grateful for blessings that surround you every day.

and if you have chickens, for god sakes go and hug them.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Crooked Crow

standing at the foot of the precipice
both our faces worn
our hearts were rough at the edges
just the passing of a storm

i am no more simple 
than the stars that shine for me
i am just a girl this time
but that’s my poetry

life was born in this valley
with sunlight looking back
over shoulders bare in a big, big sky
the poets taught her that

i am no more simple
than the stars that shine for me
i am just a girl this time
but that’s my poetry

i am only the silence
i am only the space between the words
i am only a story that you’ve heard

‘cause we’re all some kind of creature
with grass under our feet
when life first came it was stars and rain
what chance the two should meet

i am no more simple 
than the stars that shine for me
and i am just a girl this time
but that’s my poetry

i am just a girl in time
but that’s still poetry


i spent a long weekend this month in the west texas desert with a whole gaggle of talented songwriters and amazing people.  no phone, no internet, no room to go hide in when i got shy.  it was fantastic.  we cut up old romance novels and sci fi books, we translated poems from languages we didn’t know, we ate delicious food, cheered each other on and talked about what it means to us to be a songwriter.  

we really have to let ourselves go to find ourselves, and our true art.  one thing about art is that we always think we get the idea, rather than the idea getting us.  it just shows up, doesn’t it?  we need to take credit for taking note and persisting until we bring the idea to light, but we also need to be humble enough to know that it came through us from the big, bold, beautiful and mysterious magical energy we’ve come to know as life.  

i was asked to be on a panel about lifestyles and songwriting and what ways we have best learned to mix the two, and really what it came down to for me was that i know my muse.  i know the place where my best songs tend to come from, and that’s both a blessing and a curse.  it’s a blessing in that i know how to keep it alive and tap into it when i need to without letting it take away from or damage the life i’m so madly in love with, but a curse in that anything not coming from that place somehow doesn’t feel genuine or “true.”  it’s very hard for me to write anything that isn’t a direct translation of emotion into song.  

the song above came from a poem translated in terrible fashion from italian into a tale of a snake and the god of disease and all sorts of weird religious stuff.  i was instructed to take my silly poem and go make a song from it.  naturally, the first thing i did was slash out all of the parts that didn’t mean anything to me (i.e. snakes and gods of sickness and weird religious stuff) and suddenly a sweet song, that actually means a great deal to me, wrote itself in precisely the amount of time it took to get the words down on paper.  

i can’t believe i’d never done any of this crazy cut-up shit before.  get out of the way, there’s a whole lot more that’s trying to come through ;)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Make A Wish

Make a wish.  it used to be the most magical thing in the world.  do you remember?  it was the best thing ever.  i mean really, what was better than making a wish that all of your wishes would come true?  Or just making a wish that your heart believed in more than anything else that had ever come before?

for as long as i can remember, when it was 11:11 or finding a dandelion or blowing out birthday candles, i have wished the same thing.  i’m sure there was a time when i wished for a toy (or another toy...), and then for my skin troubles to go away, and then for a certain boy to fall madly in love with me.....the list goes on, but that magic of making a wish and believing in that magic (in one form or another) to make it come true seems not to have followed.  i’m trying to get that back.

i started pretty early on to wish for what seemed like the only logical thing left after those other distractions were laid aside.  i wished to not let fear hold me back from doing the things i wanted to do.  it was that simple.  i’m not one to let myself regret, but if i did it would be just as they say: regretting the things i didn’t do.  i catch glimpses of what i’m truly capable of, firework flashes of what it would feel like.  i’ve lived a long, long time, but still feel like i’m just getting started.  fear will never “go away,” but it is no longer welcome to hold me in my tracks.

our lives are in our hands.  i know it’s hard to believe in magic.  i know it’s hard to believe in a lot of things, but if we stop making wishes then it’s all over.  you don’t need an excuse, though 11:11, dandelions and shooting stars are all rather good ones.

let the universe show you that you’re a part of everything.  let her show you that she’s listening.  let her show you that she can help.

make a wish!

make a wish!

make a wish!