Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Devon Crosby-Helms: Doing things that scare you

i love this girl's blog and have tried her tasty recipes. i had to post a link to her latest entry because i flippn love it and by the time i reached the end i felt inspired and it's important to be inspired but to act on it - to go there, to the red line - is as scary as it is rewarding. enjoy the read!

Devon Crosby-Helms: Doing things that scare you: "I don't normal consider myself someone who has many fears. In fact, I cannot bring to mind anything that I truly fear. I like to challenge ..."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Little Talks

I was listening to some music as I prepped for home and when I landed on this tune I couldn't stop listening.  Of Monsters & Men are a fairly new group out of Iceland - and recently won Iceland's nationwide battle of the bands competition.  Can't find their album anywhere and it turns out they're not signed....yet.  Very beautiful melodies and almost all acoustic save for one guitar.  I get a kick out of watching the video - from the tattooed hand of the accordionist, to the black cat wall decal just below the curtain, and the crazy hand portrait...there are treasures both visually and harmoniously throughout this little trinket of goodness.  It's no wonder my suitcase has yet to be filled and my clothes are still all over my bed!


Monday, December 20, 2010

silent night

walking home this evening from a friend's birthday dinner and I - despite not being able to feel my toes due to thin socks and frye boots - felt like walking forever.  tonight is the first snowfall in boston!  it is absolutely beautiful outside.  i think i'll sleep with my shades tilted up towards the snowy heavens.  

silent night, holy night
all is calm all is bright

when i sing this part of the Silent Night, I get that kid feeling all over again.  I'm giddy and happy and peaceful.  And I am so excited to be home for the holidays.  it's a small winter wonderland this evening.  and there will be many more more snowfalls (and much larger ones) to come.  but this is the first.  and the first snow is always special.

i just had to share.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

(i'll) sleep tonight.

thursday evening i sat behind the driver’s seat somewhere on storrow drive, stuck in traffic at 11pm*.  I was trying to get to the airport to pick up my twin, who’d just flown in from Boulder for Christmas...and i was going to be very late.  i hate being late.  i think about what it’s like to arrive somewhere and how, climbing off a bus or out of an airport gate and seeing a familiar face smiling or jumping around excitedly makes you feel and it’s an awesome feeling.  i  knew tonight mary would be sitting on her bag by the automatic doors at southwest, looking out the window for me and the pressure mounted.  ugh, why can’t this car fly?  as i scanned the radio stations wishing i had my self-titled,  “i eat i ate i oat” mixed CD with kickbutt tunes I speed-dialed Pois for an alt route.  no dice.  I must wait through traffic.  by midnight, Moxy Mini swung into Terminal E where Miller Kay and Miller Mary joyously reunited, all frustration tossed into the New England winter winds.  ALAS!!!  My Twin!!
*to everyone who plans on night driving around the highways and biways of boston the next few days: beware the construction on the Science Museum Bridge and in the tunnel!  you’ll sit for 47 minutes as I did.  be sure to have good music.
This whole week was filled to the brim with events - between holiday parties and meeting friends out for a bite and prepping for mary miller, I was never in bed before 1am on any given night.  It was great but felt like a giant food + drink marathon!  I love the holiday season, but I also find that it means compromising a bit in order to stay healthy or do the things you love.  I, however, did nothing of the sort.  I ran once on Monday and then sailor-dived into the rest of the week knowing it would be late, and I wasn’t going to suffer through winter winds or gym crowds for the rest of the week.  Nope.  So I owned that and worked it :)
The weekend started off with a bang: Friday night we celebrated our dear friend Claire’s birthday.  The three of us had dinner at a nice italian restaurant in Beacon Hill, caught up on life and then met up with a larger group of really great humans at Towne.  It was fun to see all the people who came out to celebrate with Claire:  friends from New Balance, Saucony, from the Marathon expo circa 2005, and friends met through friends who were now good friends, etc.  The next few hours were drinks and the entire desert menu and laughter.  At the end of the night a small handful remained, one got a picture with a very drunk Bronson Arroyo, and then we each took cabs to our respective burrows.  Another late night, but very very very worth it.  I love that girl and I love her friends.  Happy Birthday, Pois!!
Next was Saturday.  Mary and I laid around for a very long time, catching up on Boulder and work and training.   Finally, at 1pm, we went out for a nice 90min run around the river.  She’s got a Garmin heart rate monitor and, according to her training schedule, needed to be sure she stayed under 150 heart rate.   It was clear she’d need to lead because I have no idea how to keep a run easy without constant reminders to myself, which I rarely can remember to do.  I was amazed at how consistent we were in our pace.  Then it was off to Christmas shop, eat stuff, more shopping and general absorption of the holiday season.  Couples and families, wrapped warmly from head to toe walking around with giant holiday bags under twinkling city lights.  Saxaphones being played on the street by the CVS, Bing Crosby being played from a window on Newbury Street.  I love the Christmas.
Today it was church service at Reunion (i am loving up on this church so much.  what wonderful cool humans), brunch with more good friends, and then dark rich beautiful coffee on my bed whilst Mary packed for home.  It’s 5:38pm and she’s on a bus to Portsmouth, where mom and dad will greet her and my bro, Pete will have driven down from Portland to surprise her (she doesn’t know it yet).  I love that girl so much and am looking forward to joining them at the end of the week.  Until then, it’s holiday party detox, maybe some tea and lots of sleep (who am I kidding.  bring on the hot chocolate! the wine! the figgy pudding!)...

Monday, December 6, 2010

a winter song + ode to the treadmill

tonight i headed straight for the gym after work.  I knew today was going to be a blistering 32 degrees outside (dropping to 27 tonight), and since I don’t typically leave work until after 5pm, it’s most definitely dark.  So, unless I’m meeting Pois on the river, it’s tough to go home, strap on the winter gear and head out into the wind alone.  
But as I climbed the stairs from the Copley T stop and headed up Boylston to my brand new gym, I tasted the sharp, sweet ice of winter.  It caught me right between the tonsils.  It was lovely.  I was tempted to turn on my heels and beeline it to the apt for some my first bitter cold run out on the river, but beat back the urge and thought maturely, “right, just get in the doors, find a treadmill without one of those stupid tv screens and you’ll be in the clear. it’s too dark and too cold and you’re too alone for a river run.”  Smart Kay.  Tonight’s workout was an easy 5mi (easy is NOT typically the word I would use to describe a treadmill workout because all my mind wants to do is be entertained and after watching skinny legs and faceless arms pumping for the better part of 35 minutes, it gets o-l-d).  But I had a solid play list and my mind actually wanted to not think for a while. So I zoned.
I feel like this time last year I wrote a lot about my “dready tready” workouts.  How annoying-yet-necessary the gym was in the cold, short days of winter.  Wow, how time flies!  On the coattails of being thankful, I need to give some credit to the treadmill - more specifically, The Woodway, “For the Long Run”.  This sucker is made up of slabs of rubber tread that “give” a bit when you run, making it feel like trail but without all the obstacles.  I love them.  So while my heart beats for the outdoors, on the days I need four walls and an electronic machine to make my heart race, I will head to the gym, and I will honor the belt of tread.
Ode to the Treadmill
As much as the day’s cologne from the hairy man beside me burns 
my nostrils and perms my hair, you’re not so bad.  
You keep me honest, but I hate it when you tell me 
I’m running a slower pace than I expected.  I think sometimes you’re lying.  
But you’re a computer, so probably not.
You set my pace - for long runs, for tempos, for speedwork.  
And though I know my limits, your “+” button gets me excited.  
I stretch those limits with you and feel accomplished 
when I can round off the minutes on the clock.  
And even when I crank you up to 2.5%, you don’t mock me when I start wheezing.
I throw my feet off either side of your belt a lot and you don’t judge me, 
I set goals and break thresholds and you don’t second-guess my actions.  
You don’t ask me where I am when I opt for the outdoors
You’re not jealous, but you kick my ass with no strings attached and
you do the job well. and when i hit stop, you boast my stats for a hot minute 
and i feel like a champion, or
i feel that i have moved well, and the sweaty cologne man is sideways glancing at our air-high-five. and he thinks it’s crazy but
he doesn’t know how i just ran up God’s mountains in my mind and raced 
cheetahs with my lungs and opened up in a hard rain while 
fluorescent lights tried their brightest to remind me the that I was 
on a treadmill.  But tonight, I was on stage with Phoenix when my run was written.
and it’s those rare occasions when I go there, go anywhere, that I love you most.
tonight's best:  "right where it starts it ends, oh! and then we start the end..." ilovethissong. 6:14....wait for it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

For the things are only things

i haven’t felt much like writing lately.  i’m not sure why, it may well be the weather, the changing darkness, the busyness of the holidays.  but i’m here and i will do my very best to spread some kay miller love all up in this joint.  
i know i wrote that i would share what I am thankful for.  i will.  that post means so much to me i almost feel like i don’t know where to begin, and so I haven’t.  but rest assured you shall see a post about it soon.
this weekend, I hung out with some of my greatest friends.  Kimmie, Fo, Maynard and JB.  We’d all played soccer at UMaine, our times there having overlapped at one point or another, and the tie that binds us - along with a large handful of other Incredibles - is as strong today as it was when we toed the line at the start of a match.  I love that I have them.  
Fo just recently moved to Narragansett (and lives right next door to another friend of mine, Brian, who gave her the hookup!  I love it when worlds expand!).  So anyway, Fo (her real name is Carolyn), moved down there for a job opportunity and having no real plans for the weekend, Kim + I jumped in a car, flipped on some serious dance party tunes and rocked the highway to, well...not-the-city.  I love beach towns in winter.  We never ended up walking the beach (my absolute FAVORITE thing to do) because a certain friend forgot. to. bring. a. coat.  But I digress.  So Saturday night we found ourselves sitting cross-legged on Carolyn's couch, giant glasses of wine in hand, shining light into our lives and offering sage advice (or wine-laden advice), both of which are extremely useful.  Then we hit the Mew’s - a very Killington-looking pub with dollar bills stuck to the walls and men with big beards and flannel shirts.  Well, okay not all of them had beards.  We had a great time, with more friends joining us and we found ourselves with the last car in the lot.
The next day we headed up to Providence for some dark coffee with JB.   Jen Buckley (JB, JBucks, Jibs, etc) is a real doctor as well as one of the most clear-headed, humble, brilliantly insightful humans I’ve ever met. The coffee was poured, the conversations were long and we wrapped it up with a solid commitment to write a book together.  I’m working out my chapter in my head.  I’ll let you know when it’s out.
jb, kmills + kimmie post coffee awesomeness
Anyway, as we were leaving to head back to The Bean, I noticed a quote tacked to a board in her kitchen.  It read, “Imperfect Simplicity.  Finding the beauty in the worn, the misshapen, and the everyday.” I quickly wrote it down on her Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island Progress Notes notepad .  It made a lot of sense.  
hospital note pad and my prescription.

Imperfect Simplicity.  When I go to coffee shops, my first instinct is to look at their scones.  If they look completely unique - you know the ones with all the nooks and crannies - then I know the place is going to be good, because whoever made those scones allowed them to take on their own shape in the oven.  The ones with the perfect convection oven shapes bore me.   This quote convicted me because more often than not in my real life I sometimes feel that everything needs to be perfect before I start.  Things need order and semblance and I need some sort of heads up that the end turns out okay.  For instance, I haven’t done a triathlon yet because I haven’t spent a ton of time on a bike.  I’m missing out on the experience because I desire to be good at the thing before I even try.  That’s so backwards. How can I look at life and desire perfection in one sense, and look at a blueberry scone and pray for imperfection?  Well, it’s obvious that one has more of an impact on my life ( One IS my life). And this is when I laugh at myself because honestly THIS is how I rationalize: give me food and I can give you an analogy:) 
The best part is that I can look at these things I want to have so perfectly arranged, and I can see all the energy I’ve used up just trying to make them take a certain shape. And they’re never perfect anyway.  Too hard!  If Perfect Complexity or Imperfect Simplicity were filters for how to live life, the latter seems much more freeing.  So this week I’m taking baby steps in those pockets of my life that need it most.  When I head to my coffee shop in the morning and I see the bumpy scone in the glass case, it will be a reminder to embrace imperfect.  It’s gonna taste good.
a delicious scone from the beach pea bakery, kittery, me.  very imperfect + delicious.

my salvation lies in your love

i love my family.  i miss you, moo.  next year, perhaps you'll be here, too?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

thanks, V.

One of my dear friends came to town this weekend with a belated birthday present.  Knowing just HOW MUCH I love poetry and the art of writing in general (she - having been my roommate for the better four years - has heard me recite my fair share of Robert Frost as I putzed about the apartment), she handed me the collection, “Prayers & Run-on Sentences” by Stuart Kestenbaum.   I was stoked, though I’d never heard of him before today - a shame since he’s a poet from Deer Isle, off the coast of my Maine.  After sitting with this book for the early part of my Sunday eve, I’ve already got a favorite.  I love this one.  Write more later.  Probably about giving thanks.  I have a lot, after all, to be thankful for....and it’s almost Thanksgiving.
if you don’t like or know how to read poetry, there’s really no trick.  no need to pause at the line breaks; just read it as you would one long (run-on) sentence.  and don’t think so hard:)
enjoy, you.

Our problem - may I include you? - is that we
don’t know how to start, how to just close 
our eyes and let something dance between
our hearts and our lips, we don’t know how
to skip across the room only for the joy of the leap.
We walk, we run, but what happened to the skip
and its partner, the gallop, the useless and imaginary
way we could move through space, the horses we
rode before we knew how to saddle up, before we
had opinions about everything and just loved
the wind in our faces and the horizon in our eyes.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

little lion man.

thursday night
mumford + sons
clay, claire, kevin, kay.  
a foursome whose names keep hard “C" sounds and make alliteration a job.
king charles
cadillac sky
turns out the opening bands have hard “C” sounds, too.  stars aligned.  i like that saying only because i think of stars in a straight line across a galaxy above our earth but have no real belief that it would effect human behavior.  
kay, claire, kevin, clay, king charles, cadillac sky.  
amazing openers and one of the best shows i’ve seen at the house of blues ever.
I don’t care about bandwagons or how Mumford’s blown up in recent months
how they fill the venues
how people talk
i only wish i’d seen them when they filled small houses because the intimacy that came from 1,000+ humans staring at a stage watching 4 guys who are covered in passion was just as real as if i sat on the edge of my couch and watched them break banjo strings in my living room.
at one point king charles, cadillac sky and mumford were all on stage together. it was the encore.  the banjos found each other, the bass sunk into slow sorrow and the fiddles winked and twinkled as the kick drums pulsed.  harmonies, bearded men bellowing into shared microphones, leaning shoulders and backs into each other as if the sounds escaped between their ribs touching
and we’re beaming under lights and singing, too
all of us and the balcony.
a crowd of consonance 
another hard “c”, more stars form a straight line somewhere in this universe above us
i found myself standing staring in awe at the awesomeness 
how music brings us to each other
we ate burgers at 1am
we lost kevin.
we cabbed home and my head told my heart....
and awake my soul.....
and little lion man.

i couldn't find a good video from boston, so i went with this one from london's apollo taken about a month ago. the energy from the crowd is just as amazing here. singing with the band made for a great night.  fun fun times.

Yoga Love

I’m sitting on my couch with tea and a pile of chocolate callets from Trader Joe’s on my lap.  Peering into my freezer, I was surprised to find just how much dark chocolate I’ve hoarded.  If Trader’s runs out, come find me.  I will hook you up with my Willy Wonkian amounts of cocoa bean goodness.
Anyway, it’s been a while, twelveohsix.  I haven’t told you this yet, but my running shoes are getting a bit of a rest since I’ve started doing yoga.  Yes.  I’ve gone every day for the last week and am loving the way it makes my mind feel.  A whole different kind of work out.  I mean don’t get me wrong;  I still take down the river most mornings, but I needed a supplement, a change of scene.   And that scene looks like the up side of the orange Prana mat that I haven’t unrolled in two years.
I’ve tried my fair share of yoga; Bikram, Baptiste.....and generally after a day or three I’m over it.  Too much pressure to be good at it.  When I think of yoga, i think of really fit humans doing crazy poses with their eyes closed.  I once went on a yoga retreat with my cousins to a place called, Kripalu, in the Berkshires.  Everyone had names that sounded like a long prayer and always ended in a vowel.  I signed up for 5 classes and with the exception of the final class, felt like I was passing the “beginner” test.  I could glide through without being found out.  If the instructor came near me (I watched for feet out of the corner of my eye no matter where my head was supposed to be) and if he was anywhere near me, I’d just hold my breath and gut out whatever pose was supposed to happen, no matter the pain.  See, I was not a real practicer.  I was an ex-athlete with limited range of motion and a real competitive edge; a cocktail for yogic disaster.  The last class at the Kripalu Institute for Bendy People spent a good deal of time honing the dragon breath.  That sounded easy.  But my awesome cousin, Molly,  left after ten minutes, consumed in a fit of giggles due to a classroom full of extremely intense dragon breathing.  She flew out so fast and I was left to fend for myself in a room amongst hardcore yogis with beards and women that looked like they’d taken wheatgrass shots every day of their lives.  I was both jealous, fearful, and on the brink of renaming myself Kayalushana.    This was in 2004.
A week ago, I decided to take up yoga again and on Friday night, found myself in a class called, “Freedom Joy Yoga”. With a name like that, I was a little skeptical.  But I have a two-week pass and was determined to try every class that was offered before my time was up, so that I could decide if it was worth the monthly payments... Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Prana Flow all the other classes had been very awesome and I was actually getting limber and feeling stronger on my runs.  This was one of the only classes I hadn’t tried yet.  But when I read the description, I was even more skeptical: Inspired by Forrest and Vinyasa Yoga, this class will be set to an uplifiting Indie, Dance and House Music playlist. Tap into your potential energy and strength. Ride the waves of breath and rhythm. Let loose and relax your mind. Be prepared to move, sweat, and have fun! All levels are welcome!
Oh man.  This had Kripalu Dragon Breath giggle fit written all over it.  But heck.  Here we go.  People, Peeps, Humans with hearts.  THIS class was awesome.  Awesome.  
So we’re going through flow, only instead of typical chime/gong/waterfall relaxation music, it was all house music...house music was blasting the brick walls and bouncing off 27 pairs of shins as we cobra’d and downward dogged our way to freedom.  I’m sweating my spandexed toosh off.  I’m starting to smile.  This is flippn cool.  Then.  Then Peter Crowley, our inspiring and energetic instructor dims the paper lantern lights until we’re in complete darkness and says, “okay, we have 15 minutes...” 15 minutes of what?  I wonder. He hits a few buttons on his macbook and serious serious house music reverberates off the walls.  “you can move your mats, you can move around the room, but dance, people!  Let it all out.  All your frustrations, your anxiety, your emotions, your work week, your life...dance it all out.  Let it GO....”
I stood there, unsure of what exactly let it go meant.  
My eyes adjusted to the dark and I saw the silhouettes of others in front of me starting to pulse and move to the beat of the music, their arms wailing above their heads, their feet jumping and heads bouncing.  Curvy bodies, stick straight bodies, ponytails, bald men, old people, young people short, tall, you name it.  All of them, dancing to a beat they heard outside, but hearing the release the pulse the hum of their own music inside.   My arms started, then my hips and my legs until everything all of me the underside of my feet to to the top of my head buzzed with complete and utter happiness.  I love to dance and so I danced.  I danced and danced and danced and leapt and, as many made their way around the room dancing their own form of freedom, I stepped once or twice off my mat and laughed out loud at the absurdity, the expanse of it all.  My heart swelled.  This was such a foreign feeling; a breach of what i assumed yoga always meant; a serious silent torture that felt good only at the end when you lay on your back for a few silent minutes.
This. Was. Awesome.
Minutes later we slowed to the sounds of Janet Jackson’s “Love Will Never Do Without You”, stepped back onto our mats and continued to practice.  We were one unit now.  We flowed in silence but I caught the smile of the guy next to me, and found myself keeping to the beat of the music.  Peter encouraged us through Warrior Three and I tried a shoulder stand and thought about the hand stand (in due time, Miller).  45 minutes later, we lay on our mats.  I was exhausted and drenched in sweat.  
I guess what I found was that things aren’t always the way they are supposed to be.  And that what they’re “supposed” to be is very often the story we make up in our heads. Maybe because of experience, or because someone told us this was how it was.  And so we live right there in our borders.  But maybe we take a risk.  We use house music instead of waterfalls to stretch to the sky and open our chests....We step off our mat and dance....in the dark, with strangers.  And yoga, with all it’s silences and ohms and namastes, becomes more.  Becomes bigger.  This class brought me a little closer to the me.  And I think that’s the goal, after all.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

oh! rapid eye movement + running

i’m having a terrible time getting up for my morning runs recently.  first of all, it’s very COLD.  The last four days have been hitting 33ºF at least.  And it’s DARK.  And by dark I mean as dark as the inside of my eyelid dark which i would prefer to experience under my pillowy comforter rather than stepping out into the freezing pre-dawn skylids of 6:15am.  And you know what?  running in the cold dark is LONELY.  Sure, there are runners out on the river.  but during this time of year, much less this time of day, we’re all doing the shoulders-up-shuffle, mouths and hands covered up by dark poly/cotton blends.  we don’t talk.  we squint.  we blow wet into our jackets and get our breath beat up by frosty New England winds.  we watch our lung mist pulse out behind us in helpless trails.  Our cheeks get stung by gusts.  our exposed ankles get bitten by Jack Frost’s nasty Uncle.  You want to know what makes New Englanders tough?  Ask a runner in winter.
I do everything I can to make the transition from R.E.M to RUN that much easier for my morning war.  I set my clothes out: sports bra, shirt, longsleeve, vest, 3/4 pants (i’m a warrior), socks, shoes, gloves, glasses, headband, done.  I set my alarm 15 minutes before I’ll actually get up since I’m very aware that I hit the snooze button at least three times before I swing my legs over the side and plod to the teeth-brushing station.  During these three snooze button hits, my brain tries to wrap my head around why.  And then does some serious recon work.   Why are you going out there now, Kay?  you could just wait until after work.  It will be warmer, and maybe you can leave early or just go do some yoga.  Go take that class.  Don’t work out.  Why run?  
At that point, it’s do or die.  For the sake of this blog, let’s say it’s a day I get up:)  And then it becomes Too Quickly and after about a mile of chugging along my blood starts to warm up and course and thin and pulse and move and my ankles aren’t cold and my skin stings but it’s the good kind and tears bead up in the outer corners of my eyes and I feel my chin getting numb even with the jacket over it.  But I’m good.  I’m fine.  I’m 3 miles out and I can turn around now.  By this time, the sun is cresting the cityscape and I am in full throttle.  keys toggling in my right hand, shoulders down, breath come easy.  I pass a runner.  we smile the same acknowledgement and i realize his morning probably felt a lot like mine did...does...do.  
I come home, throw the coffee on, thank my psoas for healing, thank my heart for beating thank my shoes for holding, thank my heater for working, thank my God for making cold days and warm days and hard days and joy days.  Everything shakes out.  Even under an eyelid sky.
my mizzys in lighter skies.  

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oh, Change if you can't be bound.

Hi Dear Friends + Perfect Strangers,

I wanted to share with you a monologue/quote that I'd heard tonight.  Okay, it's got a bit of sadness to it, but look at it for what it means.  Consider that maybe it's not grief for you, but fear, or self-esteem, or un-joy or whatever the texture is of the goop we get stuck in in life.  I think it's beautiful and true and cuts right to the quick of what defines moving forward.  I'm on this "moving forward" kick I think since I've now lived a solid amount of life and continue to refine how I live it.  For how I choose to clean up and prioritize my intentions.  For myself, for who I am becoming, and very importantly, for who I give myself to daily.  That and a quatrilion other reasons that I've known, never known and/or one day I'm sure I will know in very heart-achingly real and exacting ways.  This started off as an email to my closest, dearest friends.  Those who know me.  Aside from family, friends and faith, there are three things in life I fall back on: Quotes, Coffee and Running.  When I was in high school, I collected my favorite Reader's Digest quotes, and others I picked up randomly from conversations or literature.  I once filled an entire journal with quotes.  I started love letters with them.  I recited them to our soccer team before games.  While many people lift their noses at using "other people's words" to help define or articulate meaning, i think it's a beautiful way of recycling emotion or communication we cannot ourselves define at a given moment.  So yes, a quote for you tonight.  

"You're grieving not only for what you lost, but for the life you had envisioned.  You're grieving the future; for all of the plans and dreams you had in your head.  Now that's all gone.  There is this wonderful saying, "You have to give up the life you've planned to find the life that's waiting for you."  All our lives we grow by giving up things.  By loss, by moving on.  Big Things, little ones.  How we handle those losses really defines who we are.

All you need is a place where you can talk out loud; where you can hear what you really think.  What YOU think.  What you want to do and what you don't want to do.  And you'll know when it's time to move on.

If you don't acknowledge and feel it, it will never get out of your way.  Unacknowledged feelings are like a drunken cousin at a family reunion; they never shut up so you can hear anyone else and you have to be able to hear what's next in your life, what path you might want to travel down.  You have to be able to see what's there, what's right there, right in front of your eyes."


Saturday, October 23, 2010

if this were a song I would make it taste like what grace is. and it would be as long as the hill is home. there would be a bridge that sounds like dreams and three chords that sound like what it feels like when we try something beautiful and it stays in our chest forever.

I'm currently sitting barefoot propped up on my couch, thankful for my last minute decision to forgo an early morning run in exchange for a mug of coffee, the latest New Yorker and the beginnings of writing a much-needed post about all the hearts.

All the hearts?” you ask. Let me explain.  Two weeks ago, I journeyed to Tuftonboro, NH to volunteer at Camp Meridian, a free three-day camp for kids with heart disease.  Last year, while in the throes of figuring out where my Life was headed next, an old friend asked if I could pinch hit as a bunk counselor.  I had no idea what i was in for but I packed a sleeping back, warm clothes, a head lamp and headed out to shake hands with one of the best weekends of my life.

This year was just as amazing as the first.  Some new faces, another adventure, great weather and a very special three days.  Our theme was the Midnight Train to Mombassa.  We were the Leopards, one of three groups who were working to bring the spirit of the drum back to the Chief so the animals, upon hearing the song of the drum, could once again return to their sacred land. I actually get really excited about this stuff - like right there with the kids in the woods in the dark examining the feather wondering, "what could this BE?!"  I'm still a child.  All good fun.  
I could write about how the kids were the most amazing, inspirational humans I’d ever encountered.  How the staff at Merrowvista (the 600-acre property run through AYF that hosts Camp Meridian) draw straws/throw their names in a hat/arm wrestle in the hopes that they get pulled to work the camp.  And every single one of them are flippn kickarse and have no problem jumping on a table or breaking out into song just because they feel like it. I could tell you about the property, the rolling hills and cabins tucked away in slumbering forests, and how when you wake up in the middle of the night the sound of silence is so loud that you’re not sure if you’re actually awake or asleep.  And all of these things would be true and viable and absolutely part of the reason this camp is awesome. 
But the real reason i love this camp, the real real real reason I love this camp is because the people who bring this camp to life believe in it.  I mean really BELIEVE in the good that it is.  With all of their heart they believe it.  And the day that one year ends is the day the planning begins for the following year. 

There are very few times in my life that I’ve seen passion.  I mean, sure, I’ve seen desire and love and dedication - all in parts.  I’ve been loyal to my work, my job, my friends.  But I don’t know that I’ve experienced a dedication to a dream that is seeing the fruits of its labor.  I hope one day I will see or come to know what that fierce passion and dedication feels like.   When you see someone who is completely and entirely determined to push through any barrier because of what they believe in; they are driven by a strength, an energy, a grace, a power, a love that stems from a source that runs far deeper than surface or practice or habit.  That kind of passion is so fully part of who they are that you can’t break them off from it to see what they look like without it.  They just, well, they’ve given who they are to it.  And it is beautiful to bear witness.

 I’m excited for next year.  The kids are growing up and that’s cool (and sad).  Mark won’t be there (he’s in high school now!), Tiffany and her yellow crocs better make an appearance, Sydney will be in the teen group (woot!) and I, well, I hope I have the blessed chance to walk into Danforth with a sleeping bag under my arms, a headlamp on my head, an appetite the size of a black bear (camp food; addictive. so is the coffee), looking for the markers to draw bunk posters, high-fiving super amazing humans that I’ll have the supreme honor of working alongside, and of course, the kids who...are just really cool kids.  Really awesome kids with futures as big as their smiles.  As big as their hearts.

ps. I know this may sound dorky, but almost every night since camp, I've worn the cloth strip the kids were given the final night (wearing it on my wrist in the pix of me and Syd doing our best Charlie's Angel pose).  The three different fabrics represent the three teams from the weekend; the Zebras, Leopards and Cheetahs.  And signifies the characteristics kids learned throughout the various activities; putting others before self, believing in yourself, stretching the boundaries of what you know to be true, hope, possibility, encouragement, hard work and a lot a lot a LOT of fun.   Wearing it reminds me of what matters most. 
it's too easy to forget those things! 

the road home, nh