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Please show me

Please Show Me

An Authentic Life, Change By September 11, 2022 No Comments

I just got off the phone with a friend who is going through an Enormous Life Event. It’s one of those rites of passage most of us will experience—the passing of a parent—with all its attendant emotions, requirements, and mind-splattering world alterations. In short, it’s an effing lot.

“I don’t know what I’m doing with my life,” she added shortly before we ended the call. I was standing in the park at this point, bare feet stubbornly planted on the dry grass despite those little flying things that persist in dining on my ankles.

“I know what you mean,” I said after a short silence neither of us tried to fill.

Her confession seemed simultaneously related and unrelated to the Enormous Life Event. And though I told her that I understood and felt precisely this same way at times, I also said I didn’t think this could be chalked up to her mother’s passing or a simple midlife crisis, that most convenient of ELEs. There was something else afoot.

I don’t know what I’m doing with my life.

I wonder how many times I’ve said this to myself as I’ve navigated our radically shifting world these past few years? Maybe it’s always been shifty, our world, but even that notion isn’t particularly relevant. What seems relevant now is that we’re noticing the shifts in real time. It doesn’t matter if it’s always been that way because it now feels this way: like awareness on steroids, in stereo. And I just can’t imagine a single person I pass on the street isn’t wondering… What on earth is going on?

These used to be existential questions, the kinds college philosophy students and doppio swilling coffee shop beatniks discussed in their intro classes. Now these questions are spilling out everywhere.

Maybe I’m generalizing here. Maybe your life and the world and any tidy idea of the future you might have had is still very comprehensible to you. Maybe it’s filled with streamlined purpose, meaning, and profound understanding. Or at the very least a jolly good time on your lake house jet ski.

This isn’t meant to be snarky. I’ve wished for the kind of existence that is a jolly good time on a lake house jet ski almost as many times as I’ve thought I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. So if that’s you out there cruising then I say truly, Brava!

But I’m not that girl, and I’m not quite the doppio crowd anymore either. What I am is someone searching in an almost addictive way because dammit how does one settle on the life of purpose and service and growth that is all neatly spreadsheeted, calendared, and worked out?

It has taken me some struggle years and the advent of recent Enormous World Events to rip the covers back on a couple of these delusions.

Delusion #1: I must work it out and add it to the spreadsheet.

Delusion #2: I will be able to figure out what to do with my life.

This is not depression or some Morissey-fueled angst talking. It’s actually relief. I really won’t be able to figure it out. God knows I’ve tried eight-hundred-million-and-three times from Sunday and I’m no closer. It’s not even stimulating anymore to pretend I can make proper life plans, execute them, and then repeat as needed. So how about no more pretending.

After ending the call with my friend I turned to walk home up the hill and got one of those little nudges that sometimes comes when I’ve allowed some bone-marrow-deep self honesty. Ask for a different way the nudge suggested.

Ok, here goes.

Please show me, Life. I’m ready for something else beyond the thinking and efforting and worry. I’m sure there must be something else.

And maybe I don’t know what I’m doing with my life can be kind of exhilarating if you jump in on this one with me. Maybe you’ve got some ideas on all of that, and I can take a load off for a while.

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Knowing

Knowing

Change, Self-discovery, Writing By August 7, 2021 Tags: No Comments

Summer in Portland—those longed for, beatific days promising dry weather for play—is as much a darling as dominatrix.

There’s the constant pressure to get outside, and then there’s the still, hot air when you do. We run for shade and we bathe our delicate Pacific Northwest skins in sunscreen from hairline to pinkie toes. Ahhh, we sweat at each other, glorious. And won’t it be an even more glorious fall?

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kites

Brother

Change By January 17, 2021 No Comments

I noticed him as soon as we parked. Short and bent, his lank mane of greying hair and months-old beard spilled over a loose black rain jacket that appeared to be fashioned out of a can liner. I remember noting that he carried nothing.

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holding

A Habit of Holding

Change, Power, Self-discovery By August 28, 2020 No Comments

I finished a nine day cleanse yesterday, and to celebrate I walked myself around the park (naturally). This was the only movement I had any real energy for, and even then I could only manage one loop.

The temperature was perfect on my arms. I let myself feel it. The sun was as soft as warm cotton, the grass smelling of seed. The soccer kids were all practicing their artful crosses, balls sliding into goals. Perfect.

Most of the cleanse felt nothing like this.

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inside job

An Inside Job

Change By August 17, 2020 No Comments

The other day I drove home from work with the radio on as usual, avoiding potholes and generally disappearing into the glaze of sun off my windshield. The sky pulsed blue and dogs lifted their legs at trees. A summer evening like many others.

I made it home as usual and parked. My partner, Kate, appeared from behind the front hedge with her bike. I got out of the car to greet her.

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Play me

Play Me

Change, Play, Power By August 5, 2020 No Comments

If you’ve been watching the news, you know that Portland has had a hard time of it over the past months. Our downtown, once an eclectic hub, is now a dystopian pantomime. There appears to be conflict everywhere. A lot of us are homeless and others unemployed, writing our futures not in pencil but in sidewalk chalk that fades fast with the rain.

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Soft

Soft

Change By July 9, 2020 No Comments

On nice evenings the park two blocks away fills up with people enjoying the outdoors. They circle with their dogs, sit on benches, and spread out their picnics. It’s essentially a Norman Rockwell scene with every turn of the path. Or as close to Rockwell as gritty Portland, Oregon, will ever get.

There are daredevils at the skate park and high schoolers playing a pick-up game of sand volleyball. I sit on the hill above them to watch these youngsters fly up concrete walls and fling themselves into volleyball nets, reminding the rest of us what it is to inhabit a body so new it can still forget its edges.

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Light-walker 2

Illumination

Change, Self-discovery, Uncategorized By June 21, 2020 No Comments

I believe that as humans we are built for all things. All feelings. All experiences. I believe this with the fervor of someone who has swung the pendulum of experience pretty wildly for most of my 40 or so years.

Joy. Passion. Victimhood. Oppressive control. Hilarity. Co-dependency. Murderous rage. Apathy. Profound, spine-tickling inspiration. The range of experience here on earth is enormous, and we are wired for all of it.

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