Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dreams - Mary Oliver

When the rain is over
I go to the woods.
The path is a swamp, the trees still dripping.
And the creeks!
Only last week they poured smoothly,
Curled like threads about the mossy stones
And sang with the voices of birds.

Now they are swollen and driven with muds and
They gallop and steam
As though, crazed by this week of rain,
They sense ahead--and desire it--
A new life in a new land
Where vines tumble thick as ship-ropes,
The ferns grow tall as trees!

They remind me of something, some other travelers--
Two great-uncles who went west years ago
And got lost in Colorado
Looking for the good life.
I have a picture of them; each is smiling,
Glad to be young and strong.
But you never know, traveling, around what bend
The dreams will curve to an end,
And what will happen then.

It was a long time ago.
Still, watching the tame creeks boil away,
My heart in sympathy pounds like a quick hoof.
I think with pride of my uncles who went west
Full of hope and vision;
I think they became healthy as animals, and rich
as their dreams
Before they turned some corner and became
Two graves under the leaves.

Monday, July 5, 2010

One Year Later

When I graduated from college back in May '09, I felt hazy about what I would do next. Except when I looked at things from the angle of what I wouldn't do. My internal dialogue sounded something like this: I won't sell my soul and spirit to the 9 to 5 convention. I won't drive myself into the ground with commitment and responsibility to something I'm not passionate about. I won't get the job that sounds good but feels miserable... I won't, I won't, I won't!

Thinking about it now, it reminds me of a scene from the movie Milk when someone confronts Harvey Milk about running such a negative campaign. Milk is told (I'm paraphrasing), "You don't win campaigns by pointing out everything that's bad or by saying what you won't stand for--You win campaigns by creating an inspired vision--something people can hold onto--something people can have hope in and stand behind and fight for--not against."

So I have a secret to share: I've been tossing around ideas. Big ideas. Big, inspired, juicy, exciting ideas. And I've been having these moments of truth where I find myself asking: Why not jump in and get messy with what I love? What do I have to lose? How bad could it really get? Maybe my resistance (and the tug-of-war I have with it) has created just the right combination of space and obligation. Maybe I could really pull it off--a life of authentic pursuit, not just a life of authentic resistance.

Unfortunately, I think we all might be able to guess what my gremlins have to say about my big, juicy dreams...

If you begin working for your own inspired vision you will fail, hate it, suck at it, or die from it. Plain and simple. This is not a laughing matter. Why are you chuckling? YOU SUCK! YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED TO CHUCKLE! (And I meant it... You will die).

Talk about a discouraging internal psyche! Whew! (And I apologize for the scary caps!) But it's the truth--we all have them. The monsters. The goblins. The internal pests that are trying to protect us from failure and scraped knees. The scary caps!

Still. There is another voice that's been nudging me lately. She is much kinder, and sounds something like this...

Apply for the grant. You have all the support you need. You are talented enough with so many beautiful ideas. Your work will make a difference AND you'll feel amazing doing it. Even if (when!) it doesn't go perfectly--you'll learn from it. It will be an important process. You can do it. You can do it. Do it, sweetie. You won't regret it!

So I thought I'd let you know where I am tonight. Somewhere in between fear and trust, with a heart that knows there is nothing authentic without both, and a soul that's hopeful for balance between the two. This is no easy place to be. It feels much like standing at a ledge and readying myself to jump. How will it feel? Terrifying like crashing? Or liberating like flying? Maybe a bit of both is necessary.

I'm mustering the courage to say it's almost time to find out.

What about you? Do you feel yourself teetering between fear and trust? Has your heart reconciled and learned to take leaps? I'd love to hear your story in email, snail mail or comments below. Truly.

And here's one for the big joyful wishes...

May you greet them each with deep trust and knowing, that all the right ones come true.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

why we build the wall

this entire album is extremely powerful. the first of it's kind folk-opera called "hadestown". check it out!