love love love

i believe we are living on the precipice of the next phase of our species. and i’m with such good people, people who cry hard and laugh harder. and do one to move through the other, rolling across the full emotional span in epic waves. we feel what’s gaping and yawning underneath both of those releases, that scale of lovegrief that can’t be captured in any words i know…we let it be in our eyes, at our core.

the more i learn/remember how to feel, the more in love i fall with the particular aliveness that only sparks between us. that met longing felt when the interior world unfolding in me comes to a border and longs to be porous, expansive, vast, one, multitudes. this opening, these moments, this work, this makes a viable future possible.

today i remembered a song i was taught over a decade ago:

“oh i say thank you
oh i say thank you
oh great spirits
in this way
i long to give my life to you
in love and devotion
in love and devotion”
(this was taught to me as a gwitch’in song from haida gwaii)

even now, especially now, with a mask over my mouth and a storm at my back, i am learning what i must realize in myself, what i must defend and protect, what i must cultivate in the face of fear and death and supremacy: love, love, love.

2013: reminders

i resist the resolution thing. it feels like the epitome of trying instead of doing. if nothing else has changed but the number in our random count of time, then why should i expect my way of being to truly change?

and yet there are things that i know increase my quality of life, and that of my loved ones. so instead of resolutions for the year, here are some reminders:

hydration makes my skin look delicious, makes me feel limber, keeps me young, invites my body to function with ease.

yoga gives me capacity to breathe and be present in my life, and feel the longing in my limitations.

spending time with my family grounds me, focuses me on changes i can actually invest in long-term in myself and our relationships, and keeps me humble.

singing is my happy place. writing songs and poetry about my experiences in the world continues to be my primary form of journaling, if im not singing, writing, and otherwise making art, something fundamental in me has gotten too quiet.

love is abundant and healing and i know how to do it and i have so much still to learn and experience. stay open.

i am a practice ground for abundance.

i don’t know how to recreate my own miraculous existence, so i must be celebratory, tender and in awe of this body, these days, this worldview, this moment in which i am living, and these people who love me.

every day, waste less and less.

<3

from the big city, a summer tease

coming to you live from nyc…i have spent several days with my family, which is always a blessing, though never easy. it takes work to love people and be loved, staying present to people as they are, and not tucking parts of yourself away to stay loved by them.

my nephew could already get a nobel peace prize for the way he has impacted our family dynamic. what is important has shifted (again), and our desire to see him feels like more of a universal truth than any of our differences. i want to run away with him to a land where our only decision is what game to play, and what to learn. i regularly remember all the dreams i had of him before he came, and i wish i could videotape every moment with him and loop it constantly; i want my memory back for this person.

in other news, i had a good long talk with my sister and brother-in-law the other night, and as we drifted around content including irish history, carl sagan, organizing and life, i said “we can reconcile ourselves to a whole new truth if we have enough curiosity…we once thought the earth was flat.” we all thought it was a noteworthy thing to say, made possible by the collective brilliance of the conversation.

in local detroit news, i’ve been really thinking about colonization lately, and how we could begin a new practice. what would it mean to not be colonized, and to not be colonizing? what would it mean to look at detroit and see everything that is growing and building there – not see empty space to be bought, sold, stolen and traded. where i now live, i am humbled by how useless my privilege is in the long run. i was mostly taught to talk and think [and i vacillate between being skilled and clumsy in those regards], but not how to do – how to grow, build, survive. i am finally learning some things that only time and need can teach you. and in the coming battle against the mayor’s plan to colonize segments of detroit for financial gain, which will destroy longstanding communities, the most valuable quality any organizer will have is actually their time spent living in detroit – because what is happening now has happened before. so many times.

the past few days have been balmy-to-hot on the east coast, and i stripped down and pretended i lived in different places, with different, lighter burdens. i am so aware now of time spent not working. it is joyous and necessary to any life balance. warm weather increases my capacity to not work…this tease of summer has uplifted my spirit, and i may just make it to real summer without pause.

** unexpected political commentary**

the healthcare reform bill just passed. its late at night, but it’s a major moment for obama and his supporters. i, personally, am not in a phase where i can be very excited about uber-compromised reforms. trying to watch the process, track the votes and the silly small-minded petty bullshit behavior literally disgusts me – our transformative politic is supposed to include a body of folks who will make 200 amendments on a bill and still not a one of them vote for it? where are the representatives of poor people in their districts? that said, i really like that pre-existing conditions and lifetime limitation restrictions are gone. that will have real life impacts on myself and people i love. its mundane and ugly, but “this is what change looks like…” obama came out to tell us the bedtime story, and for tonight, i will let that rock me to sleep.

sloth and celebration and remembrance

i’m wondering if there is any way to write a blog that touches on both gaza and mariah carey gracefully. i haven’t written in a while, because i have been taking a moment.

i spent most of the last week in a mumu and pajama pants playing abstract chase and surprise games with my nephew, old school nintendo and nerts with my family, EASILY not looking at email, facebook or twitter. this intentional sloth is part of our familial bonding process. watching movies, cooking and saying to each other, “i haven’t gotten dressed in X days!” is our big annual tradition.

this year i took a major step and had my partner join me, for what was her first christmas ever, and our first christmas with outside witnesses. early early on christmas morning i crept downstairs by myself and i felt what i understood to be nostalgia in the truest sense. i was the first one awake, just like when i was a kid. i was always the one to do reconnaissance to see what santa had brought to each of us. i remember being the big sister, the surprise and mystery of it all. i remember our dog for the years she was with us, pulling at the ornaments at the bottom of the tree and a couple of times pulling the whole thing over, which just upset her completely. i remember our first christmas after she died and how i kept looking for her to be under the tree. i remember christmases when we visited extended family and christmases when i didn’t want to…i felt the peace i have towards them all now. i just felt this weight of time, measured by these rituals of giving and anticipating and repeating, laying down the path of shared memory for our family. and now our family is growing in every direction, with new paths being laid down; none of us are children now, my baby sister is pregnant with her second child and the changes are so continuous and fast that there’s barely time to remember, to cherish, to honor the safe and loving place my parents created for us.

over the week, a new line of thinking and writing crystalized, which i want to explore in the coming decade. i can’t quite put it into words here, but it has a lot to do with the art of family as a central building block of community, learning how to be in the tension and familiarity of family, to work through, to find the right levels for that unconditional love when there are very complex and opposing politics and life choices present. i’m giving myself at least 10 years to flesh it out 🙂

i know i have been working too much because i completely missed that mariah carey came out with a new album. she long ago gave up singing the way i most loved – really blaring through her pipes like she had access to some unlimited source of air that didn’t require breathing. but i am still unexplainably pleased by her little soft high sounds, and at the very least should know when she releases an album.

i used to always pride myself on my personal sustainability, my commitment to weekends, hours spent making art and listening to music. i realized on the flight to see my folks that the last time i had spent a day not working was in the hospital…and while there i was wishing i could do work the whole time.

there is so so much work to do. not because of the places i work, which are a lot but manageable…but because of the world in which we live. there is not enough time in the day to do the work of justice, locally, internationally. i don’t even try to hold it all in my heart at one time, i don’t think humans are actually capable of maintaining both sanity AND awareness of our total suffering at the same time. but there are political moments that arise that need response – fighting, grieving, educating.

last year, right after christmas, israel launched an attack on gaza. this year, i am returning from vacation to reminders that we must remember this atrocity, which continues, as the oppression and violence against palestinian people is a daily practice by the israeli government, financially backed by the u.s. my friend angel is in cairo, in part of an effort to get medical supplies to gaza. i’m leaving now to attend a solidarity event here in detroit, and in 2010 will be working with the u.s. academic and cultural boycott of israel throughout the year, with events at the allied media conference and the us social forum to continuously escalate the pressure on the u.s. to withdraw financial and military support to the vicious government of israel.

through like an arrow

last night the matriarch of my father’s family had a double stroke. she is strong in a way that no one else i have ever met is strong. she has played a key role in raising just about everyone, her house has been the community, the safe space, the place to fall. she is ancient and mobile and tiny and her whole face is a huge grin.

in the middle of telling my staff about her at our lock-in today, we noticed that the ruckus mascot, otherwise known as megan’s dog spiff (who has had a broken leg in a purple cast for three months now), was trying to make love to a heart shaped pillow. further proof that any set of circumstances or feelings, from grief to the absurd, can exist in a single moment.

the department of home security listed ruckus as “extremist” and a “cyber attack” threat. responsive thoughts abound. mainly, when you point one finger at someone, the rest of your fingers are pointing back at yourself.

the first day of our lock-in was amazing, exciting…we’re brewing up some good trouble. sadly, i brought a soup that was completely too spicy, folks swallowed it all but we all knew i coulda done better.

i went and got my brows done and got a pedicure. every time i do anything like this, i hear nina simone singing “the other woman” in my head.

i went for a swim to work off some energy. on the way to the pool i heard that song again, “blame it on the alcohol”. this time it made me angry, as anyone who has ever been assaulted under the influence, or loved someone who experienced that, should be. especially this line:

Shawty got drunk, thought it all was a dream
So i made her say i, i i

What I hear the singer saying is, blame it on the alcohol if I turn that dream into a nightmare. Not sexy at all.

So I swam that off, and then sat around hearing some friends talk about the ways people can jerk each other around and hurt each other in the process of learning to love. Vulnerability can feel so many ways. It might be the heat, but I can’t build up a dramatic energy in my heart. Everyone deserves love, to be treated well. But love comes like oxygen, all around you if you give into it, and in an emergency, you have to give it to yourself first before you can really be of help to anyone else.

I can stay present and keep moving forward, some things are within my control and most aren’t. I feel I moved through this day so steadily, like I released myself through it, through it like an arrow. That’s the only way to hold loss and love and life in 24 hot hours.