Posts tagged life
on the tangle
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a pile of processing... 

almost every morning i enter the tangle. i walk straight into the jungle of the tall plant that reminds me of a cornfield, crunching it down with my boots. the phragmites bends easily as i make a small circular path for the electronet fencing, but i often have to rip at overgrown bittersweet and grape tangled around one other. this area i am creating is where the sheep will graze. the hard part is carrying the electronet fencing with me as i place it along the small path -- it is always a small tangle.

for weeks, i tried new methods of wrapping the thin wire mesh and poles to make it easier on myself, but no matter my effort it would still tangle or get caught on the ground or a piece of litter left unveiled by the sheep's grazing. i used to be frustrated by this, but i decided to use this as a time to practice radical acceptance.

radical acceptance for each time i managed to step my foot through the fencing making it impossible to move forward only realizing that I was the tangle, radical acceptance for the time i literally tripped myself and fell face first into the grass, radical acceptance for the few times i zapped myself on the fence, radical acceptance for all the times i set up the fence and realized it was just alittletooshort to reach the other end and then had to go back and move each pole a little bit to make it fit, radical acceptance for all the ways i realized the only thing that would allow everything to untangle was patience and s l o w i n g  down.

moving the fence has become my morning meditation. i think of our interconnectedness, to each other and the earth and the problems and the hope. the beauty and terror all swirling around paradoxically together.

i imagine that with every little tangle i manage to overcome by patience, that this radiates outwards. that a little bit of spaciousness can be added to the web of everything. 

on change

I was driving back from a wedding in Connecticut yesterday. I took a wrong turn and ended up taking a long way home through windy roads of Connecticut and Massachusetts and finally landed in New York again. It was a beautiful drive. I noticed the reds and yellows of the leaves and it hit me that fall is nearly here. Of course, time has been hurtling forward all along, but it took the bright leaves to notice the change.

There have been so many changes in the past year.

I've spent a lot of time in the motions of these changes. Traveling, packing, moving, leaving my friends, making new friends, walking new streets, working with bouts of loneliness, playing more instruments, climbing new mountains, learning new sounds and patterns... painting, so many things.

I've been spending more time journaling, long-hand. In a way, I think this reflection time is when I take the time to "sit" with all of this change.

A few weeks ago, I was visiting some friends in NYC. The G train doors closed and I heard someone say, "Kim!" really loudly. I looked across from me and I instantly recognized the face. It was the bright face of one of the students that I mentored a few years ago. He recognized me and told me that he remembered our activities, that he was applying for colleges, that his sister was 12 now and that she was 4 when I met her. We were loud, everyone was looking but there was a genuine feeling of joy for all of the passengers. They didn't seem to mind that our conversation carried on across from each other. He told me that the edible color wheel was his favorite project and I laughed and said it was a terrible idea. "Too much frosting and sugar...", but he said it was fun and was glad to run into me; he remembered my "big smile".

After wards, I cried (I'm tearing up now re-remembering this) and laughed and my heart was full. To be honest, I nearly forgotten that time in my life - the weekends of rushing to take cabs to the community center in Astoria (I was always late) and the walks and meeting friends after; I'd always reflect on my projects and tell stories about how the kids like this or hated that.

Here I am, so many years and a different city later. I still do music and art with kids, but it's not quite the same and I'm not sure it every would be, but it was a good reminder to keep doing it. Running into him also reminded me that I like reflecting in this space too.

So much has happened since my last writing of the Christmas video and maybe I'll share it, but maybe I won't.

It is all okay, everything is okay.

Change happens fast and slow at the same time and like most things, it's full of multiple, opposing feelings. 

learning to fly

In a few months, we will be leaving NYC. We will be moving upstate to Troy, NY. The decision to do this has been a two year meditation and I can't say it was my own to begin with. But alas, I admit that it is not sustainable (financially, yes it is) for five creatures (3 humans, 2 cats) to live in a railroad apartment for the rest of our lives. How I'd love for things to never change and I'm terrified about moving to a smaller city and leaving my friends and everything that NYC has made me. For I love the city's grit and grime and my love and hate relationship with it. There are days when I look around and think, I could never leave this place for I am able to feel large and small at the exact same time. I've managed to create a wonderful community of friends and yet, I could also wander the streets and know nobody and vice versa. Such a change from the square mile town I grew up in. Then there are moments when people are terribly rude on the subway and yell at you for trying to be kind (for simply trying to remedy the situation of an overcrowded train during rush hour). And in this moment, it takes everything in your power to hold your hand back from throwing your coffee directly onto their Kindle and you briefly think, I can't wait to get the fuck out of NYC. But in the next moment, you will watch a stranger help carry a stroller up the stairs and instantly your faith in goodness and love is restored, because hope springs eternal. 

But living upstate will be okay too. I know this. A few months ago, we explored the area and found massive mountains and a waterfall. It was a day was full of elements, literally. It was as if Mother Nature was experiencing the same roller coaster and expressing it in rain and snow and sunshine. We found a waterfall with a tiny mountain of ice collecting at the bottom. While I know we may never see that waterfall in the same way (as that moment) again, I am hopeful that exploring the nature in the area will feed me in a different way. It will also be a slower pace of life and after two weeks in Europe (more on that who knows when) I think I will welcome this. I'll also *hopefully* have my own art studio! Yay!

As I enjoy these last few months of NYC and navigate my feelings. I realize I just have to let go because I cannot control what will happen or how it will turn out and in doing so, I miss out on so much in the present.

So, onward I move. Somewhere between flight and fear and all things beautiful and terrifying.Here's a little video of that day of elements near Troy....

P.S. I read the following story a few weeks ago and it really moved me.

Sometimes I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings. I'm either hanging on to a trapeze bar swinging along or, for a few moments in my life, I'm hurtling across space in between trapeze bars.

Most of the time, I spend my life hanging on for dear life to my trapeze-bar-of-the-moment. It carries me along a certain steady rate of swing and I have the feeling that I'm in control of my life. I know most of the right questions and even some of the right answers. But once in a while, as I'm merrily (or not so merrily) swinging along, I look ahead of me into the distance, and what do I see? I see another trapeze bar swinging toward me. It's empty, and I know, in that place that knows, that this new trapeze bar has my name on it. It is my next step, my growth, my aliveness going to get me. In my heart-of-hearts I know that for me to grow, I must release my grip on the present, well known bar to move to the new one.

Each time it happens to me, I hope (no, I pray) that I won't have to grab the new one. But in my knowing place I know that I must totally release my grasp on my old bar, and for some moment in time hurtle across space before I can grab onto the new bar. Each time I am filled with terror. It doesn't matter that in all my previous hurtles across the void of unknowing, I have always made it. Each time I am afraid I will miss, that I will be crushed on the unseen rocks in the bottomless chasm between the bars. But I do it anyway. Perhaps this is the essence of what the mystics call the faith experience. No guarantees, no net, no insurance policy, but you do it anyway because somehow, to keep hanging onto that old bar is no longer on the list of alternatives. And so for an eternity that can last a microsecond or a thousand lifetimes, I soar across the dark void of "the past is gone, the future is not yet here." It's called transition. I have come to believe that it is the only place that real change occurs. I mean real change, not the pseudo-change that only lasts until the next time my old buttons get punched.

I have noticed that, in our culture, this transition zone is looked upon as a "no-thing", a no-place between places. Sure the old trapeze-bar was real, and that new one coming towards me, I hope that's real too. But the void in between? That's just a scary, confusing, disorienting "nowhere" that must be gotten through as fast as unconsciously as possible. What a waste! I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing, and the bars are illusions we dream up to avoid, where the real change, the real growth occurs for us. Whether or not my hunch is true, it remains that the transition zones in our lives are incredibly rich places. They should be honored, even savored. Yes, with all the pain and fear and feelings of being out-of-control that can (but not necessarily) accompany transitions, they are still the most alive, most growth-filled, passionate, expansive moments in our lives.

And so, transformation of fear may have nothing to do with making fear go away, but rather with giving ourselves permission to "hang- out" in the transition between trapeze bars. Transforming our need to grab that new bar, any bar, is allowing ourselves to dwell in the only place where change really happens. It can be terrifying. It can also be enlightening, in the true sense of the word. Hurtling through the void, we just may learn how to fly.

From The Essene Book of Days by Danaan Parry

a mess of a manifesto
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//My friend, Lauren, started a google community called, Creativity Hour, which has been a great way to stay held accountable for my own creativity through the inspiration of everyone's works. She suggested we all create Manifestos for 2016.

Honest to goodness, I started this in January, but managed to LOSE it twice. Once I left the brightly painted paper with "spaciousness" and notes about playing and kindness on the floor of my office and managed to lose it again while en route from the office to the art studio. So it's possible the manifesto is floating around the Lower East Side or melted in the snow. Hopefully it will provide inspiration wherever it ended up. Also, yes, you read that correctly ... I joined an art studio in January and it has been life-changing. I love being around other artists and ending my work day with painting.

The photo above is my (second!) painted mess of a manifesto which was written in my journal. I've been doing less online writing and more handwritten journaling. I highly recommend doing this first thing in the morning before the to-do lists and cell phone scrolling take over (which is fascinating to notice how strong the urge is).

In any case, below is the full manifesto in an easier-to-read fashion since the piece above is a mess and may be difficult to read online. Also, I purposely chose to use a piece of paper with a tear ... it became a way to remind myself to embrace the unknown.

... 2016 (and beyond!) ...

s   p   a   c   i   o   u   s   n   e   s   s ... because the in-between moments will allow for deep soul searching or just reveal themselves! Continued love for your relationship ❤, #sparklepartners forever! write down the magical stories of the operators of your heart strings ... more moments of playfulness, love, listening, and being open to others. Allow YOURself to see beyond the surface or judgements (esp. around social/political thoughts -- we can all be ourselves). Remember our interconnectedness especially in challenging moments ... challenge negative thinking and the inner critic. Be Yourself. Really Listen. Don't respond too quickly, let the stories and information land first. Put the phone down more! -- less random scrolling when people leave the table or whatever the situation is -- notice how strong the urge is to reach and then pay attention to the real moments. In fact, shut the phone OFF after a certain time and start the day with a quiet moment. Being overwhelmed leads to the random scrolling/need for distraction because you need to tune out, but really you just need to tune in. Call home more often. Call Diane too, find her another cat. Continued volunteering and community engagement. Keep doing work that makes a difference. Continued listening to your wisest self. Be MAGNANIMOUS. Be an architect of peace. Continue the loving kindness practice. Write more letters. More sincere compliments, notice people's goodness. Leave notes of kindness for strangers. Face fear directly - don't let it consume you. Continue tending and growing the garden of friends, wherever the home base lands ~ remember it's really in your heart. Explore creative movement or just make room for self time and care. Practice German. Pick up the guitar, play the piano. Keep singing. Embrace your voice. Handle issues and challenging moments when they appear instead of creating lists of things to fret over, you miss out on so many little details doing this. Wake up earlier, the morning light is worth it. Keep exploring nature. Remember gratitude. Trust your heart to navigate the overwhelming days and when the multiple, opposing feelings take over. Stay organized, but don't get lost in your lists or use "planning mind" as a distraction. Continue finding the balance of planning for the future, reflecting on the past, and staying present. Morning kitty snuggles, beach days, park days, lazy days. Grow the collections of feathers, flowers, shells, rocks, but give some away too -- leave them as little gifts. Paint the worlds in your mind. Believe in yourself and the innate goodness of all. Remember love, love, love. Drink more water. Be open to change, including the thoughts and scary things for 2016. When fear takes over, try to remember your breath and how you are connected to everything -- the scary moment won't last forever, none of them will. Don't be saddened by this, just try to be with it all. Feel it all. 

goodness and gold
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//

There are so many stories of pain in this world. My heart breaks for all of the senseless shootings, environmental destruction, our endless need for consumption, and the list of hurts could go on ... BUT! 

I really believe that if we could all just pause...
allow for more
s  p  a  c  i  o  u  s  n  e  s  s
feel into our breath, we'd remember that we are *all* connected.
To this earth and to each other.

I may not have any answers for the world's issues, but I can be a light and send well-wishes and hope this positive energy can make a difference.

//

I am thankful for the train ride to the expansive mountains. They provide a sense of renewal and remind me to keep believing in love and goodness for all living beings.

Full set of photos here and a beautiful read on re-thinking the need to fight violence with violence.  

Decorate the House
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The past year or so has been an absolute whirlwind. I haven't spent that much time writing about it partly because it felt like a dream and also because of my ongoing, internal debate on sharing and the digital space.

But I actually like to pause and reflect on things. It allows me to really remember my gratitude for the moment -- even if the moment has passed.

Sometimes I need that pause because there are times I get worked up about the future, somehow feeling like I need to plan my next move or the next "big thing". My "planning-mind" has always been a weird place for me to escape to, but I've been trying to challenge it.

Because the truth is, the past year was full of "big things". I quit my full-time job and started working part-time to allow myself more time for art. I used to daydream about time and how I'd spend it, but when actually given some extra hours it was much harder than I thought. So I worked too hard, too long, barely did any art and found myself in a slight creative block (which I'm finally coming out of).

I am one that (unfortunately) learns lessons in difficult ways. It can take me several loops before I see the right path, even if it's flashing neon pink. It likely took me losing balance, to realize I needed to find a balance, all with an underlying lesson of remembering to be kind to myself.

Sometimes it seems like there's a dance of life -- a balancing act of living in the present, reflecting on the past, and planning for the future. Staying too long in one area can upset another.In a recent conversation with a friend, I had an epiphany that I need to "decorate the house". I realized that I've been looking so far ahead that I haven't really settled into all the (amazing!) things happening now (like the fact that I married the love of my life!!).

It's like when you move into an apartment and you don't fully decorate because you know (think) you'll be moving soon... it's temporary.But I actually think it's important to decorate. To make it your own.So here's to decorating the house -- the house of my life. The current space full of change and finding balance, which is often still scary and unknown, but also oh-so-good.

Here are some old moments from the past year that are worth remembering.
A beautiful hike last September.
Thanksgiving in Iowa and very memorable sunrise-sledding. 
Christmas in Marco.
Ringing in 2015. 
Snow days forever--this past winter really did drag on. 
But then spring finally came! ... and I got married (another post on this to follow). 

Friend time with new friends, old friends, and now newly-connected friends.  

a little reflection
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//

It's interesting to look back at old posts on this space. Some moments are cringeworthy because they remind me of the times when I tried so hard, leaving a certain melancholy hidden in overly happy writing.Part of me that wishes I could erase large parts of my past because sometimes I hate thinking that there was ever anything before this effortless happiness I've found. But I realize that sometimes it takes going in a few circles before you realize that there really is a simplicity to it all. It likely took all those turns in order for me to figure out what was most important.Be true to yourself. Be honest with what you want.

I wish I'd done this sooner - truly - because ever since I gave myself permission to be me, I've been happier than I've ever been and I'm just so, so thankful. ♥

**pictured: a midnight birthday kiss while playing with light and open shutters. the second photo shows what it's like to drop your phone...