Friday, July 27, 2012

fighting routine.

We live in a City that is constantly demanding of us.  Ride the subway, walk to work, work, lunch break (if you're lucky), walk back from work, ride the subway, get home, make dinner, meet friends for dinner, eat dinner, evening routine, sleep, start again.  Evening routine...  Routine.

It's a funny thing this routine because, although we desperately need it in order to stay organized, sane, and "accomplished," it can often take away our appreciation for life.

In his book Aleph, Paulo Coehlo wrote:
I had been allowing myself to be slowly poisoned by routine; showers were merely a matter of washing my skin clean, meals were for feeding my body, and the sole purpose of walks was to avoid heart problems in the future.
Now things are changing, imperceptibly, but they are changing.  Meals are times when I can venerate the presence and the teachings of friends, walks are once again meditations on the present moment, and the sound of water in my ears silences my thoughts, calms me, and makes me relearn that it is these small daily gestures that brings us closer to God, as long as I am able to give each gesture the value it deserves.

Do we value, even in the small things, that which makes us grateful?
Do we take the time to perceive things that seem so mundane to the untrained eye?
What do we have to do to start changing our routine?

Those small things make us alive.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

an amazing mom.

Words are tears that have been written down.  Tears are words that need to be shed.  Without them, joy loses all its brilliance and sadness has no end.  Thank you, then, for your tears. - Paulo Coehlo

Of the tears I shed this summer, the most meaningful were those shared with my sister, as I bid her farewell.

She carefully maneuvered herself out of the car so as not to hit her 8 month pregnant belly on the steering wheel.  She left the door ajar so that my sleeping niece wouldn't be awakened by the sound of the slamming door.  She came around to the back to "help" me with my luggage, but really just to say good-bye.

"She's a good girl, you know?" I said, as I peered into her car seat through the back window. Her sleeping face angelic.  

"Yah, I know."

I didn't know how to say the next few words without the tears eating my words.  But I knew I had to.

"It's because of you.  You''re a good mom."

She looks away, trying not to meet my eyes with hers.  Knowing that if she does, the tears will not hold back and will stay sitting neatly on her eyelids.

"You're an amazing mom.  She has amazing parents.  It's because of you two."

I pulled my little sister into my arms and we both cried.

I wish we said these things more often.

Thank you, then, for your tears.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

my own space

When I used to dream of living alone I had these romanticized pictures of me, coming home to my very clean apartment, hanging my key up in the right place, placing my shoes where they belong, listening to classical music and reading a book for hours.  I knew my place would be where I did the things that made me feel calm, at peace, and happy.

And then I moved.

It was a whirlwind of attempting to build furniture, spending hours trying to get my wireless hooked up before caving and calling in for help, dusty shelves, clothes on the floor, setting up my AC, setting up my AC again, figuring out how to make my AC quieter, fitting all my things into small nooks and crannies so they fit, lamenting the end of natural sunlight, and realizing that my kitchen will be where I indeed apply my make up because the bathroom is just too small.

But then tonight, was magical.  I came home exhausted and in a grouchy mood.  I'll get a massage (always my "go-to"), I thought.  It's right in my neighborhood, a block away - so I did.
I came home, ate some left overs, glanced at my arts and crafts box, and decided tonight was going to be the night I would make my dreams come true.

I cleared everything away, put on really calming music (as opposed to GLEEK on TV as background noise), and sat down on my rug with a bunch of materials. I worked away, enjoying my space, filling it with positivity and kindness.  I picked up a watercolor brush and then noticed the ever terrifyingly goofy smile that had spread across my face.  A content smile.  A smile that made me laugh.

I finished my piece, cleaned up, crawled into bed, and began to blog.  This very blog right here in fact.  And all of a sudden I have realized - this is all I ever wanted when I dreamed of living alone.  A space that I can fill with my things, in my way, to do the things that I want to do...

Until I am ready to share again, I'm going to enjoy this teeny box I have carved out of New York City.


How do people make choices in their lives?
Do circumstances usually lead you somewhere or do you pick up and move and make a bold, bold choice because your heart feels like it's the right thing to do.
I moved for school, for a job, for a boy, to volunteer, to be involved.  I moved because something drew me there.  Not because I realized what it is I want, what it is that makes me happy, and moved to make that reality.
How do you know when you are just done with a place?  When it is just time to move on because you have outgrown it and you know that the things that make you happy are no longer there?  How do you know when the risk is enough?  How do you know when what your losing is worth it?  How do you know?


Forgiveness is a salve, they say.  Forgiveness helps to heal the pain and allows you to grow and mature and move forward.  But what if you feel like you are the one that needs the apology?  What if you feel like, in order to move forward, you need not be the one to make the first move?
You can't control another person's movement.  You can't force someone to feel remorse, to come to you, to apologize, to try and mend.  It's not your place.  So then how do you forgive?
How do you move past when every memory forces anger and pain?
How do you stop yourself from being stuck.  Because the only one hurting is you.  In the end, it is your well-being that is compromised.  In the end it is you who suffers.
But yet you have to forgive.  You have to do whatever you need to do to forgive and move past.  Because holding on only hurts you and no one else.  Remembering only makes you the victim.  And being the victim stifles your movement forward.
Somehow you must get to a place where you can truly forgive.  Mainly it's forgiving your own self.  And healing from the emotions that haunt.

silence and nobility

Talking and talking.  Too much talking.  
Sometimes it just leads to nowhere.  You re-hash and re-think and re-consider every move.
And sometimes, when you don't want it to, it leads to talking about things that you really should not be talking about.  It brings up old memories, old feelings, unkind words, and a lot of pain.  
Rumi, the ultimate mystic and poet, wrote: 
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field.  
I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”

Maybe that's TOO poetic, too deep.  Maybe it's just about being more aware and conscious of the words that you utter.  It's the words that effect and play on your soul.  They can uplift or bring down.  
And it is one thing to talk about your own experiences and your own thoughts and ideas but it is a little different when those words become about others, which can so often be the case.

Paulo Coehlo: If you spend too much time trying to find out what is good or bad about someone else, you'll forget your own soul and end up exhausted and defeated by the energy you have wasted in judging others.

True.  Hard to control, but true.  It's a constant, constant reminder to oneself.  Awareness.  Silence.  Thinking before speaking.  Comfortable in silence and in maintaining it.  

Being noble.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I just recently began reading the book Aleph, by Paulo Coelho - author of The Alchemist and one of my most favorite writers.  He inspires in me the desire to do my own writing.  He inspires me to dream of my house on the beach where I will one day sit and write - stopping only when my kids come home from school.  One day...

This book is about his spiritual journey - the longing of his soul.  The journey that soul undertakes in search for something greater.  And most probably I'll quote him a lot in the coming months.  Blue pen marks have covered the chapters of the book that I have read so far.  Marks from the pen borrowed from the girl in the yellow shirt sitting next to me in a small cafe in Park Slope.

Reading, sipping coffee, biting into a chocolate croissant, heart soaring, thoughts racing.  The world disappeared for only a split seconds at a time.  Moments of 'Aleph' - the point at which everything is in the same place at the same time.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mona G

I spent 5 straight days with my lovely cousin Mona G.  Her and I grew up together.  We fought when we were little, we pinched each others cheeks until somehow the red marks we left decided who needed to share which toy.

We grew apart and then back together and ended up being roommates in college.  Then I moved away from Tucson and stayed away for many many years.  Then she got married and moved away.  And although we always always stayed in touch and love each other even when we aren't in touch - it had been a long time since we spent time together.

Mona G and I are as different as two people come.  In her words: I'm wings and a beer and you're a salad and a martini.  We disagree on almost everything to the point of it being comical.  We are shocked by what the other really loves and enjoys.  But at the core, we love each other.

So the summer of 2012 Mona G and I got to have 5 whole days together.  Road tripping across the coast of California from one tip to another.  We laughed, we talked, we shared memories (well I shared the memories and she listened - she can't remember anything for the life of her), and we filled each other in.  We shared stories from the last few years, slowly drawing one another into the details of the others life.  I remembered how generous and hilarious and genuinely kind-hearted my cousin is.  I witnessed what a wonderful wife she has become and understood how very deeply she cares for the students she teaches.

For as different as we are, the core remains the same.  The love at the core.

I feel grateful for our reunion.  For being able to once again remember how very lucky I am for the people in my life who allow me to grow and encourage me to be who I am.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


For the majority of this trip I have been around other people.  My cousin joined me for a portion of it - which I am ever grateful for - and I stayed with friends, visited with friends, and just hung out.  But the last 4 days of my trip have been all about me.  Flying solo.  Thinking, living in the moment, being true to whatever I want to do.  I eat whatever and whenever I want.  I stop the car off the side of the road to snap a picture, I sit for hours at a time - sometimes doing nothing at all.

There is this incredibly freeing feeling that has become norm.  There are moments I am scared.  A split second when I stop and say - I'm alone.  And then that passes.  Because I know it's momentary and I should enjoy it while I have it.

I wake in a hotel room by myself.  I use the hotel gym! - I don't know WHEN the last time was that I had the time nor desire to use a hotel gym.  I go for a swim.  I sit outside on the patio just 30 minutes until check out because I can.  I have no one telling me I have to go get ready.  I have no one to feel accountable to but myself.  It's purely and refreshingly me.  And I kinda like me.

I know this won't last long.  I know that this is a slice, a small sliver of time where I live in this moment and live alone.  But instead of worrying if it'll be my constant state, I have make a conscious decision to relish it.  These are the moments that make up our big beautiful lives.  And we have a choice to make in each of those moments.  Enjoy it?  Or constantly anticipate something bigger and better?

Today, I'm choosing to enjoy.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

this moment.

I have not had time to blog.
But have had plenty of time to think.

A trip that leads me no where and yet everywhere all at the same time.
Pure freedom.  Deciding in the moment.

Letting realties and stresses slip away.

Needing space and needing time.
Sleeping.  Living in the moment.  Being.

It's been a while.

Monday, July 2, 2012

my teeny tiny little one

The day after my niece was released from the hospital, she had to be taken back.  They had to place her under a blue lamp to counter the small bit of jaundice she had.  She was teeny tiny - just a little over 6 pounds and her small frame was lost in the incubator type bed they placed her in.  She only had her diapers on and even those were too big for her.  Having only had been released from the womb a mere 24 hours prior, she was still used to the tight fetal position she has grown in for the past 9 months so any sudden movements from her flailing limbs only woke her up and ignited bouts of tears and a small cry that back then seemed so loud but now only pales in comparison to what her lungs can produce.

That night I stood vigil over her bed.  I held her tiny arms and legs in place so that she would not be awoken and so that her tiny frame could rest easy.  I stood for hours, positioning myself perfectly so that my hands held her body in place giving the illusion of the world she had just escaped.  And I studied her tiny little perfect face, where her nose points and the corners of her eyes meet.  And that pensive look she had, even back then - even when she was sleeping.

Tonight as we drove home, her in her car seat and me sitting next to her in the back, I watched her side profile and was immediately reminded of that night.  Her features are still the same.  I placed my hand on the side of her car seat in order to have a closer look.  Her eyes still as intent, her mouth still as dainty and fragile, her eyes now wide with excitement.  Without flinching she picked up her hand and wrapper her palm and tiny fingers around my thumb.  And she just held on, tight.

I can't believe how big she has gotten.  But she will always be that teeny tiny thing to me.


We had brunch this morning at the home of a lovely, lovely couple - Jim and Deb.  They moved out to Arizona about 8 years ago and being in their home now you would think they have lived in the Southwest for years and years.  Intricate wooden cabinets line their kitchen shelves and their Arizona sunroom houses mosaic tiles and a wooden rocking chair that tells you you're someplace special each time it glides back and forth.

They made fresh banana pancakes, like the ones that Jack Johnson speaks of, and had an array of homemade jams to accompany the meal.  The smell of hazelnut coffee is in the air as their blue eyed cat Miso lounges on the floor.  Their home envelopes you and you get the feeling like you are about to learn something new.  

Today I learned about Zentangle.  Apparently Zentangle is "a way of creating beautiful images from repetitive patterns. It is fun and relaxing. Almost anyone can use it to create beautiful images. It increases focus and creativity, provides artistic satisfaction along with an increased sense of personal well being."  Deb told me it is one of the best things she has ever done - all you need is a small scrap piece of paper, a pencil, and a fine-point black marker.  You start small and create a pattern and then continue adding on from there.  She said that it creates such calm and you feel incredibly focused and serene.  Shown here is one of her creations.  

Day 4 of my summer travels and I stumbled upon this.  Something new to try in my crazy, crazy City back home.