By Coming Here

I have realized that my imagination is more important than my opinion, that I can persevere even when I don’t want to, that how things begin is seldom how they end. I have discovered that there is more anger and pain in the world than imaginable, that we have forgotten much about joy, but that many discoveries are just a moment away. I have witnessed the universal longing for connection and the various ways that individuals seek to reach out, that it is often easier to reach forward to the distant stranger than to reach across the room to someone who shares your life.

Daily we move furiously past the familiar faces we don't slow to meet because we think what we want is further down the road, and we tell ourselves that we must race to get there or else. Or else. Or else we will be here with what we don’t quite want. Wanting what we have is a lost art because we believe the commercials of endless promises laced with temptation. Or endless temptation laced with promises.

We are more confused than we admit.

But somehow at some point in some day something sneaks in. A sunset glowing red and orange. A small child waddling with chubby little legs in a soggy and sagging bathing suit. A glimpse of dolphins leaping through the air. These small things invite us back, remind us of what to celebrate. A taste against our tongue. A stranger holding the door. A task accomplished. And if we go to sleep with these small things in our mind, we stand a chance. We wake up with a smile and savor more of the next day because we’ve digested a clue.

And we cling to this sensation of nourishing fullness that fills our chest, to this encounter with happy. We think that if we could bottle and sell it, we would be rich because everyone wants this same feeling. But despite our promises to self, despite our desire, the fullness vanishes, drifts away into the air. We just can’t hold on.

The feeling roams looking for a home in need, and when you’re lucky it descends upon you.


Care to Lend a Hand?

In a few weeks I will participate in LA Bloggers Live by getting onstage and reading my words.

The big question: what to read?

I’ve been bouncing around, revisiting some of my older posts, the ones many of you may never have read because they showed up before we became acquainted. Some of these are early posts, and thus may seem loose and flabby before my tightening exercises worked some magic, but still...

Some possibilities…

(the time my dog and computer broke on the same day)

Inside the Animal Kingdom
(some key things I’ve learned from my dog)

Safe Deposit Box Buddy
(my attempt at becoming a grownup...minus the political tag, which feels dated)

Car Talk
(insight on how we Angelenos use our horns and might better communicate)

(how moms get out of whack and how I tried to climb back)

I promise this isn't just a way to avoid writing and send you back to old posts (though wouldn't that be clever). I need your help and beloved guidance. If you were to see me march forward and use my voice, what would you like to hear? (and rumor has it that the reading may live as a recording archived online at some point.)

And if you’ve read something else that stuck in your brain that you want to suggest, please do. Really. Please do. And then there's the option of requesting a new post, but that simply can't be guaranteed.

Finally, if you are a local, come out and join the fun…

And thank you in advance to all who offer up advice.


Last Kiss

If I had known it was to be my last kiss for a year I would have paid greater attention. I would have made it linger or been more inventive. I might have drawn my partner in closer or kept my eyes open to seek a hint of what he was thinking. I might have done a lot of things, but I wouldn’t have pulled away so casually as if the next kiss were waiting for me the next day from the next partner, the one I imagined really wanting me and I really wanting in return, the one with whom I would share a kiss unlike the kiss with the one filling in during a gap where we each found ourselves far from love.

I wonder if during my last kiss, my kissing partner thought of his future girlfriend as his lips touched mine or if he could bury himself in our moment. Had I known I would go kissless for a year, I might have asked that question as we pulled apart, for his answer could have made the kiss significant beyond its lastness, transformed it to a wondrous incident to add to the pages of my life, one to be underlined in pink highlighter, the time I learned what a man was thinking.

But I didn’t ask because I didn’t know. I didn’t know how kissless I would become. And now, a year later, I wonder where all my unused kisses have gone. Are they annoyed and hanging at a bus stop hoping to find someone else to carry them on to an adventure, or are they enjoying a little time for self in the shallow end of a pretty pool with palm trees overhead and waitresses with cocktail trays circling in colorful sarongs and bikini tops? Maybe they’ve enjoyed the time away, a sparing from all the kissing that wasn’t quite right. Or maybe my unused kisses are right here inside me lying dormant waiting to spring forth like a budding virus.

Some days I tell myself that I am the discerning restaurant patron who waits patiently to encounter a tasty dish, that my patience improves my palate by not deadening it with wrong encounters. Those are the strong days, the days I don't ask questions, but just go about my business until the next kiss appears.



How do you have faith?

If you turn to religion, how do you justify the suffering? If your answer is a bigger picture, I want to discuss the pain of the detail in the bottom right corner. If your answer is closed eyes, how do you quiet the observations of the dreaming mind? If your answer is one foot in front of the other, how do you do that? Really. How do you? How is the motion sufficient? How do you feel that you’re doing enough?

I know I should walk out my door and pursue my life, but confusion blocks my way. I know that I should trust that all works out, but I don’t know how, for even if it works out for me I ache over wounded children and generations haunted by war. I know I should have faith, but after driving into so many brick walls that my front bumper now sits exhausted in the back seat, I fear I do not see properly.

Existential crisis and I are one. We wake and make coffee together. He takes cream. I drink it black. We both use wooden stirrers even though mine is just for the calming effect the soothing motion offers, the same way I look at a conductor’s baton and find it more satisfying than the music.

Some say suffering is inevitable and I shouldn’t feel sad about how the world motors on. But I do. I can’t accept inevitable. I must believe that it can be better, profoundly better. I fear we have been lulled into acceptance, into shrugging our shoulders and saying, “Human nature.” If human nature is so cruel, how tragic. And if not, we should stage a worldwide rally to claim our true nature. We should stand up and say, “Not one more day of violence. Not one more day of hostility.” We should stop marching towards commercial gain and throw a picnic where we mobilize for the beautiful world we dare imagine, for if we don’t, soon our imaginations will be consumed by ghastly images that massacre optimism.

Or maybe that’s just me. There are wonderful people who reach out to cure the harm and don't get discouraged. But isn’t the mopping up exhausting? Can’t we launch a global campaign of preventative medicine of good? If it sounds like whining, is it whining? Or is it just appropriate introspection to seek to evolve the species?