Before There Was a To-Do List

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77. I’m watching the birds on the blooming cherry tree just outside of my window. The one I didn’t know bloomed, because I’m always in DC at this time of year. The yellow finch, the stellar jay, and the little ones that hang impossibly upside down, like gymnasts, monkeys, tucking their whole heads into the fragrant flowers. The humming birds with the fastest heartbeat. Some days I awake and just want to play in the garden, watch the birds on the blooming cherry tree outside of my windows, and create. Create for the sake of a full day, a full heart, a full set of tools, a full life.

Words

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76. Powerful words. Shared for you from the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. This was shared with me from a wise woman in my life, and I can’t add another word:

“As you move through these changing times… be easy on yourself and be easy on one another. You are at the beginning of something new. You are learning a new way of being. You will find that you are working less in the yang modes that you are used to.

You will stop working so hard at getting from point A to point B the way you have in the past, but instead, will spend more time experiencing yourself in the whole, and your place in it.

Instead of traveling to a goal out there, you will voyage deeper into yourself. Your mother’s grandmother knew how to do this. Your ancestors from long ago knew how to do this. They knew the power of this principle… and because you carry their DNA in your body, this wisdom and this way of being is within you.

Call on it. Call it up. Invite your ancestors in. As the yang based habits and the decaying institutions on our planet begin to crumble, look up. A breeze is stirring. Feel the sun on your wings.”

Today I

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75. Today I saw my neighbor, who last weekend had been taken to the hospital in a 2am emergency ambulance pick-up. He was covered with a mask and gloves, but out and about. Today I went for a run and crossed the street fifteen times. I breathed in the cherry blossoms, the hyacinth and something mysteriously fragrant that I used to assume was from a company cleaning million dollar houses up and down the row. But now I think it’s just a flower that I have never seen in the spring, as I am always in DC. Today I took a webinar from the Small Business Administration that I probably should have reached out to two, five and ten years ago. Today I applied for two grants dedicated to supporting artists who have lost 100% of our income for the foreseeable future. I took a Peloton cardio class, and then a dance class because it really breaks up the day to breathe, sweat and laugh at my lack of rhythm. Today I made bagels with what I have, because I can’t find bread flour anywhere. Today we did the dishes for the millionth time. Today, I printed a document for my neighbor because he doesn’t have a printer. I passed along the grant opportunities onto my other neighbors. Today I worked on a project to support my people. Today was a good day.

Authenticity

4874. I’m listening to a pre-fab Spotify playlist right now. Something that is not the news and not too distracting, because I’m feeling inspired and distraction derails my inspiration. So I randomly picked “low key covers” to play in the background. I was looking for the ignorable din of the coffeeshop I worked in just weeks ago. Holy. I found myself called out of my rhythm time after time (yup that was covered and is in my head….Cindy Lauper, we love you). Called out of my rhythm to skip a song that feels empty and radiates effort. Hear me though. I am not anti-cover. We, as a world society, have created so much, and using that and building upon that is the very foundation of art. But. It is palatable to hear (or see, or read) what an artist thinks that they should produce. We all have something unique to say. But can we express what is uniquely ours? That is the challenge to our own spirit.

P.S. This is an image of Jean and Laura in their engagement session. Jean rented a very rare plane for our shoot, which we used inside and out, recreating times gone by. A cover of another day, another era. But with heart, I hope.

 

In the spring

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73. In the spring of 2020, the citizens of the world came back.

Women had hair again. Of all colors. We ate breakfast. We made bread again, so much so that the stores ran out of flour. In the spring of 2020, we learned our neighbors names. We remembered that we love to paint. We fixed that light that’s been broken forever. We discovered that the jam in our refrigerator was bad. We walked. We waved to each other from a distance. In the spring of 2020 we got on the phone and wrote a letter and we genuinely cared to hear the response. In the spring of 2020 the Venice canals were able to breathe, and we thought that was amazing enough to let our friends know. In the spring of 2020 we began to think. About what we need and how we impact.

In the Spring of 2020, the ocean continued to crash onto the shore, uncaring that no one heard her, but keeping the metronome for us all.

 

Today I Am Grateful For

IMG_550273.  Today I’m grateful for the 31 family members of mine on an email chain, sending photos of their daily lives under this “new normal” quarantine. For my small home filled with sunshine and plants. For my partner, who made me and his Dad chicken soup, then hired his sometimes-gardener, whom he met in a Home Depot parking lot a few years ago, to pick weeds and make more than minimum wage, when there is no other income to be had. Today I am grateful for my courageous fellow business owners – who are navigating this uncertainty and financial mayhem with grace, creativity, flexibility, and most of all camaraderie. Today I’m grateful for the internet and those who use it to it’s best, to give us bagel recipes, guitar lessons, classes meant for in-person, shops meant for entering and perusing, schools meant for a building with hallways, and for connectivity. Today I’m grateful for the health care workers, the bus drivers, the cleaners of airplanes, the mail carriers. I’m grateful for the sunshine which came early to Seattle, because the Earth, despite what we continually do to her, must have used her intuition to know that we couldn’t handle another two months of rain and this too. Today I am grateful for our political leadership, although this is hard and complicated and full of things I am not grateful for, but instead resentful of. Today I am grateful that I can feel the people around me in this world, despite being so far apart , by 6 feet or 6,000 miles, experiencing with me the simultaneous fear and silver lining in all of this. Oh. And hmmm. Today I am so, so grateful to the hummingbird whom I’ve never seen, who just fluttered and hovered at the red rose bush now beginning to bloom just outside my window, at the very moment that I was about to finish this. We may be socially distanced, but today I feel closer to many than I have in a long time.

 

 

When We Didn’t Know it Was Coming.

IMG_255672. This is Lake Mead, in Nevada. I had picked up my friend in California, and we were venturing back to DC the long way around, through as many mountains as we could climb. Having just left the megatropolis of Los Angeles, we were happy to just be on the road, still reeling from the big city pulse, expecting nothing but highway and sprawl for the next hundred miles. But just around the bend, the sky opened up with the most unexpected beauty. I slammed on the brakes, flew into the trunk for my camera, and captured this incredible scene … knowing full well I had only a few minutes until it was just another sky, just another lake, just another rocky beach. But for those few minutes at golden hour, the sky and water lived in a golden rhythm with my very spirit. I’m sitting here this morning, hunkered down in my house for an indeterminate amount of days, work and opportunity cancelled like dominos, feeling stress and uncertainty over what it means to be a self-employed creative in the days of a pandemic that is bringing our worlds to a grinding halt. I’m sitting here thinking of the makers, creators, cooks, servers, bus drivers, homeless. The teachers, the nurses, the cashiers and the builders. How we are all in this in the very same, vulnerable way, manifested differently. We didn’t know it was coming. But it was just around the corner. And at some point we will be beyond this, back to the hum of work and the known. So for now, as I hear my neighbors outside offering to go to the store for the other, as I listen to birds chirp where there used to be the sound of cars. As I sit in the quiet unknown of our near futures, I’m going to look for the golden hour in this time. What can we create, how can we find sky and water and a reflection of spirit to feed us, right now? What will we do with this, when we didn’t know it was coming?