Quote of the Day

Friday, May 29, 2009

poem friday!

Last friday I posted a poem, and since I've been kind of into poetry lately, I thought maybe I'd make it a weekly thing.  At least until I tire of it, haha.  I won't muddle the wonderful simplicity of this one up with a bunch of commentary, except to say that it pretty much exactly expresses my feelings on how any and all sort of human relationship should be.

Gestalt Prayer

I do my thing and you do your thing
I am not in this world to
live up to your expectations,
and you are not in this world to
live up to mine.
You are you
and I am I
and if by chance we find each other,
it's beautiful.

~Fritz Perls

Thursday, May 28, 2009

this morning on muni

"Time is short"

says an old man to me at the N train stop, and it makes me pause, thinking about the weeks and months behind me, the days that seem to flow through my fingers like running water, soon only fragments of moments left to memory.

Time is short, and so we hurry to get done all that we can, rushing through the day, through the years. I can't help but wonder if we ever really stop to look around, before it's too late.

I watch my new friend get off at VanNess station. At 86, he says, time is especially short for him. But still he takes the time to talk to a stranger, to offer a smile. And so I offer one back, silently wishing him well as I ponder his words.

Friday, May 22, 2009

becoming the wind

Some months ago while browsing in the sale section at Anthropolgie I came across a book of poems, and flipping idly through it landed on this gem by Rilke. It seemed to me quite timely as it was just around New Years and I'd been contemplating the change my life had seen in the past year, and wondering what changes I would see in the one ahead. It's remained in my head ever since, as a beautiful reminder to not become a victim of nostalgia, to not shy away from change but to embrace it.  To embrace the bittersweet moment of transition, knowing that it may bring joy and possibility never before dreamed of, and celebrate the ephemeral nature of life which we so often curse, but which is the very thing that makes it so precious.

Sonnets to Orpheus, Part Two, XII

Want the change. Be inspired by the flame

where everything shines as it disappears.

The artist, when sketching, loves nothing so much

as the curve of the body as it turns away.

What locks itself in sameness has congealed.

Is it safer to be gray and numb?

What turns hard becomes rigid

and is easily shattered.

Pour yourself out like a fountain.

Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking

finishes often at the start, and, with ending, begins.

Every happiness is the child of a separation

it did not think it could survive. And Daphne, becoming

a laurel,

dares you to become the wind.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~

(translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)

Saturday, May 16, 2009


"So, my little Amélie, you don't have bones of glass. You can take life's knocks. If you let this chance pass, eventually, your heart will become as dry and brittle as my skeleton."

I’ve come to the conclusion that if people would just say what they mean, and mean what they say, the world would be a better and far less confusing place. So why is it so hard? What are we so afraid of? Or is it just me who’s scared? How can it be that mere words, once sprung from our mouths, can seem so much like bullets handed over to be used at will for our own destruction?

I realize that for most of my life, I’ve been a pretty closed book. I don’t know exactly to what extent I was born that way and to what extent I was molded as such by some of life’s small cruelties, but there it is. As I was driving the other day, a disturbing thought suddenly hit me: I think that I've become really fucking good at hiding. So good in fact, that instead of providing the intended protection, it's proved a detriment to me. Holding me back from possibilities, from "could be's"...

And so again I find the universe nudging me with a gentle reminder, this time in the incarnation of a film:
which the other evening I discovered was playing in Dolores Park that night and spontaneously decided to go watch. Ok, life, I get it: I'm like Amelie. I need to escape the dream world I too often inhabit and learn how to take actual risks. I need to rip off my Zorro mask and face the world unafraid. I must stop sending my garden gnome off on glorious adventures and take them myself instead. I know, I talk a big game about wanting to take chances and not have regrets about holding back, but how can I do that if time and time again I'm too afraid to really put myself on the line? Truth be told, I'm not even sure I fully know how to do it.

But I'm trying, I really am. Well, I think that in a way this blog itself is evidence of that, of me trying to be more open to the world in general. To unlock the gate and step out into the open, knowing that at any second the bullets may be flying around me, but that they can't hurt me. Well... hurt possibly, but not kill. These bones are not made of glass, nor is my heart.

Monday, May 11, 2009

good peoples

I have an enormous amount of respect for people who can grow into productive, emotionally mature and responsible adults, and yet still maintain a certain sense of childlike wonder at the world and a spark of mischief in their hearts. People who have something to say but don't always need to say it in order to feel important. People who create their own happiness, who look for good and beauty instead of searching for flaws, and who see the world as it is, but strive to make it what they want it to be.

I've been blessed with a good amount of these individuals in my life, and I've come to the realization that this is the kind of person I wish to surround myself with always.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

decisions, decisions

It's driven me before
And it seems to have a vague, haunting mass appeal, but lately I'm beginning to find that I Should be the one behind the wheel

Isn't it strange how sometimes things in life can seem to converge, how you can find yourself preoccupied with a certain topic and then all of a sudden someone will mention the exact same idea, or you'll read an article on it, or hear something that reminds you of it? Almost as if the world somehow knows just what is going on in our head and pushes these little nuggets in our direction, little pieces of a puzzle for us to put together and make something out of.

In the past few weeks I've been thing a lot about, and dealing with, the idea of change. Of making decisions, and how decisions can change your life, both a little and a lot. Then last week I randomly heard the song "Drive" by Incubus. I hadn't heard it in a long time, and as I listened to the lyrics I couldn't help but notice how much they resonated with my current mindset and some of the issues I'd been reflecting on.

And then just a few days ago, I noticed a book on the dining table in my apartment, entitled "Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite". I began flipping through it as I sat down to eat my dinner, and found myself smiling and nodding along to what I saw, a bit amazed at how perfectly the words paralleled everything I had been thinking about choices and the paths they can lead us down, about taking risks and the occasional need to be reckless, or what society might view as reckless anyway. Turning a page I saw the headline "IT'S BETTER TO REGRET THE THINGS YOU HAVE DONE THAN THE THINGS YOU HAVEN'T" staring at me from the top of the page. A little spooky, because I could hear myself, just a few months ago, saying almost those words exactly.

And here, in the random acts of hearing a song, of reading a random book that happened to appear in my path of sight, I found these sentiments reiterated: my desire to take the wheel of my life. To stop floating passively down the stream and instead to grab an oar and row.

The fact is this: I realize that my whole life I've been horrible at making decisions. I could try to blame my parents (for always being too involved, for deciding too much for me), but then I think that after a person reaches a certain age that starts becoming a really tired excuse. I think the crux of it is that when it comes down to something even remotely important, I have always become paralyzed with indecision, terrified of making the wrong choice. And so somewhere along the line I made it a habit to avoid having to make these decisions as much as possible, or to at least delay them. I developed a horrible tendency to for a large part just let things happen to me, to take the path of least resistance and thus perhaps least responsibility for my life.

Which is why, when on the day of my 26th birthday I received two phone calls offering two separate opportunities and demanding two separate (and rather immediate) decisions, I felt the old sense of panic rearing it's ugly head. Because as much as I hate the ambiguity of being caught in limbo, it becomes far too comfortable a place when forced with the alternative: to make a stand, to take a chance, try something new. Comfort is indeed a seductive animal. Seductive and dangerous. Because far too often it can lull us into a false sense of what is right and good, and keep us from growing and really living life. And far too often I have let it.

So I will say that I'm proud of myself for the conclusions I came to, for the decisions I've made, despite the fear and the all-too-familiar see-sawing in my mind, the moments racked with self-doubt and second-guessing. I think that in the end it came down to this question I had to ask myself: when blessed with the opportunity to make a change, to grasp onto a possibility the universe has seen fit to drop in my lap and see where it takes me, for better or for worse... how could I say no? How could I throw these opportunities back in life's face and continue on with the same old status-quo-merry-go-round going nowhere?

I've come to realize that once you decide something, once you take the initiative to make that choice and stick to it, there's absolutely no point in looking back and worrying about whether or not you did the right thing. And so I was able to come to peace with my choices, to be ok with letting go and seeing where the road takes me. And in the aftermath of all this, I realized that maybe there really is no such thing as a wrong decision. And by that I'm not including reckless and dangerous choices such as drunk driving or unprotected sex or getting your significant other's name tattooed on your ass. I'm talking about any mulled-over, well-thought out decision made with a clear mind and in good conscience.

Because, after all, to make a decision is to take control of the path your life takes. It is to make a change, or perhaps, to consciously refuse change. And often what seems like the harder choice is the one essential for growth. But to merely avoid decision is to sit passively by while life happens to you, around you. It may seem safer to exist this way, to have circumstance to blame instead of yourself if things don't turn out how you'd like. But I know that's not the way I want to live, at least not anymore.

Certainly in my life there have been choices that I have subsequently deemed as ill-advised, and maybe they were. But in the long run, things have always worked out. The fact is that I'm happy with my life, and with who I am. And every single decision I've made has helped lead me to exactly this point. So then how can I say that I regret any of them? How can we say with certainty that any one decision is the wrong one, when we can never really know the path the alternative would have led us down? Maybe it's necessary to make mistakes in order to learn and to evolve, and maybe a "bad" decision can ultimately lead us to something we never would have thought possible, something we never would have seen had we gone a different way.

The fact is that making decisions is frightening, and to make the conscious decision to change is especially daunting, because we can never really be sure where it may take us. Because going into the unknown, so much can go wrong. But I can say one thing, and that is this: that having made my decisions and taken my stand, even if everything turns to shit, even if all my intentions and plans crumble around my feet, I feel that I can still be happy in the fact that I have been able to find the small amount of courage to make a choice, to take a chance, and for once be moving, not standing still looking out the window as the world spins past. Because from here on out the only regrets I want to have are the decisions I didn't make and the roads I didn't take because I was too afraid of where they might lead. As far as everything else... bring it on, life... bring it on.