i get to see this every.single.night. it is by far my favorite time of the day. tonight, my love sat with me on a bench on the pier and snuggled under a blanket during the show.


journal pages

i did a layout in my art journal from the other day's post and kinda love it.  the kite string is precious...


in my wish jar...

i want to dance with d and laugh at the movies and eat ice cream on the beach. i want to fly a kite and watch the sunset and bake cookies~no, rice krispie treats~and get a sugar high. i want to feel calm...not worry about debt or my to do list or the {shoulds} that are attacking my soul. i want simplicity, tea with honey and grilled chicken breasts over charcoal. i want pink lemonade and a long straw, kids on swings, and lots of art. i want to take pictures of beautiful things...and not-so-beautiful things...and drive fast with the windows down and sing LOUD. i want my sister back and my family back and i want to be seven at willow knolls and not know about 9-11 and murder and health insurance and pain. i want out {a get out of jail free card} a quiet place to write and read and hope and avoid reality. i want connection and understanding, a place where friends sit around the campfire sharing stories. i want comfort~the arms of my lover, my best friend~to be rocked gently to sleep and awaken anew.



sometimes i can't interpret my own writing when i read over the entries in my notebook. natalie goldberg says that her handwriting changes when she's really in the groove. i can see this now in my own writing practice; over the course of a few months i have filled two notebooks and when i'm truly in the zone...it is nearly illegible. i also find that when i read over the entries i barely remember the words that have been formed by my heart. writing as natalie has taught me, i don't use my brain. at least, not the part of my brain that tells me to cross my t's and use proper grammar. i just GO.

i've started writing on self-created prompts intended for use in my memoir. for 20-30 minutes at a stretch, i am submerged again in my grief, struggling to come up for air. i find myself dreaming now of death and loss; i rarely remember dreams usually, but these have been vivid in my hazy awakening. in one, it is me who is being stalked...a hit out for me and i am aware of the impending violence. last night, a second dream replayed my sister's death, but this time it was expected, a lengthy hospitalization or something. my family was all gathered together when the call came that she was gone.  we still sat in disbelief.

it will be interesting to see how the coming months affect me emotionally, as i dig through lost memories of that dark time. it's been almost 7 years now...and i find it more and more difficult to remember that girl and what she must have been thinking. it's amazing how much is wiped from my memory, how our brain can protect us from trauma, yet leave gaping holes in our histories.  i'm starting to paint again...above is a mixed media piece i worked on last weekend. i think my art goes hand-in-hand with the writing...some things just can't be expressed through words. i am remembering that i am a creative being, that our move to the island was to nurture that spirit inside of me. i am finally beginning to explore her more fully, to stretch into this space i have been granted and settle in for the long haul.



to me, they signify commitment--a journey toward truth, authenticity, a simpler life. in the past, dreadlocks have been linked to several religious movements; today many refer to their spiritual journeys when talking about the decision to dread. i believe for me, they will become a constant reminder to be patient while i find my way along this path. i've learned that they go through their own stages of growth, tightening and locking together, getting stronger and changing form. there will be days when they look crazy...and could take more than a year to become fully mature. i feel that this is precisely what i've been struggling with: the getting there. those times when i know exactly what i want and become obsessed with the destination, the outcome, that i forget about the moment in which i am immersed right now.

i believe that this commitment is one of many that i am making for the long haul. to get my PhD, to write my memoir--dreams that will not materialize overnight. no more instant gratification...i am committing to the life i've been talking about, the long winding road toward the future. i am choosing to begin a new path, to write the next chapter.

and to stop brushing my hair.
my husband actually put them in for me...over 10 hours of hard labor for these babies!  you can check out a few photos from the process here.


take flight

i will always remember my first big girl bike. specifically, that it was pink. and this surprises me, because i don't remember being a particularly pink kinda girl. but the bike was brand spankin' new and it was mine. it had a slick banana seat, patterned with miniature flowers and sparkles inside the shiny top coat. the handlebars had rubber grips and i'm pretty sure there were streamers bursting out from the ends. i had learned to ride on a bike with training wheels, but this beauty would never be bogged down with such childish accoutrements. this was only for girls who could hold it steady, push off with one foot, and churning the pedals faster…take flight.



beauty cradled us in her magnificent arms, rocking slowly to the sounds of the sea, the glitter on the water.


restless extremes

i carry a lot of polarities inside of me, always vying for attention, one slowly gaining ground only to be taken over by a surge in its opponents' strength. at this point in my life, it is my desire to become a full-time-bohemian-nomad, living a creative lifestyle vs. my financially responsible professional self who wants to be sure my resume can hold water in the future. this has been a constant struggle throughout my life.

i am a wanderer. i love new places, adventures, challenges, and i can't find them working a 9-5 job in an american city. i've known this since i was sitting in a cubicle in the offices of Carat ICG on michigan avenue. back then, i read articles of women adventurers, working as scuba instructors in exotic oceans across the globe. of business owners and travel writers and national geographic photographers. i envied them, yearned for the opportunity to live a life of excitement and adventure. to take the road less traveled by, to be daring, original, to blaze my own path. and i still do this—a dozen years later—craving the untraditional, eager to explore new possibilities, distant lands; seeking fresh ways to share my gifts, learn new skills, expand my mind.

these extremes have become much more apparent over the last three years, as i've been forced to reconcile my wild-child dreams with a marriage and a master's degree. my more stable husband is a study in rationalization, master of pro/con lists and back-up back-up plans. he leaves no room for unexpected contingencies. and after two years of study, i felt the need to actually use my social work degree, to work at a respectable job and make money. but the more i do so, the more i realize…this is not the life i was born to live.



hayley had a large trampoline just outside her back door, which was always covered in leaves and sticks, strewn across the dark fabric. one day we brushed all the debris from the top and began to bounce. higher and higher until she captured something from the sky and brought it down to eye level. it was an ugly thing, dark in color, an almost circle. she encouraged me to collect one for myself; intrigued, i did as i was told and soared into the leaves to pluck one for myself. cross-legged on the warm surface, we cracked open our treasures and i discovered a grotesque collection of seeds inside. i had no idea what to do—believing mine was rotten, or not ripened yet—i frowned in disappointment at my selection. but as i peered over to hayley, the smile on her lips showed that this was not the case. ours were identical, and she quickly used her fingers like a spoon to scoop out the soft insides. i followed her lead and allowed the foreign flavors to tickle my tongue before crunching down on the tough seeds. i thought i might die of pleasure—the zing of the fruit, the warm australian evening, this exotic flavor dancing with my taste buds. "what is this?" i begged. her broad smile widened as she said "passion fruit."



loneliness. my eyes well up as i scribble the word on the page, surprised by it—not the tears, but the naming. it is odd as i feel them trickle down my nose and cheek. i suppose the aftershocks of so much emotion and searching and expectation. but what am i afraid of—this sharing of myself? why was i so scared to reach out, to admit i was lonely, that i needed more to fill my hollow heart?

my face feels hot, the mercury rising in this crowded room, tucked among strangers and new friends. the letting go i promised myself. the slow, aching steps toward healing. the cracking wide open—bleeding onto the page, the words blurry through my salt rimmed eyes. i want to write about heartbreak, my sister's little green urn, about emptiness and pain. i want to write about the long treacherous trail, the broken bones, the torn layers, the shattering of the life i knew. i want to feel it all, let it consume me, envelope me in its cozy mohair embrace. to nourish my cracked soul, fill in the tiny spaces with the nectar of understanding.

i want to see the truth, to be fully present to every hope, wish, desire. to stop stuffing it all back inside the box, desperately pulling at the bow, tying it up all pretty like a new gift. it is inevitable, the bow will not remain—the box crumbles away, decayed and rotted. but it's there inside, still glowing, shining, that tiny green sphere of hope—energy—growing slowly each day. fueled by my fellow artisans, healed by the universe; ready, waiting, pulsing, breathing.

calm. without the layers it is peaceful, free. nothing to stand in the way of the continuous circular journey. i am approaching the curve, it has been coming slowly, but i am closer now. i see the bend, the shift, the opportunity. i will not backpedal, not press the brakes. i will not be alone.
this is something i wrote last november in my workshop at kripalu....i just found it in my notebook. wow.