In January of 2016 I decided to start keeping a space where I think, through writing, about my experiences in the world.
Writing on Easter, I can reopen, rebirth my intentions to write.
I can do whatever I want.
I am reborn like these flowers I painted.
I can eat chocolate and listen to Mahler and lay around rejoicing and loving all that arises.
The flowering of all these years, all these Easters.
All the easters of candy and pretty dresses and family dinners.
The echoes I feel of these people who have loved me; the men I've loved and been my true self with; my sisters in life; the people who built this city and this country; all my ancestors who lived and died for me: thank you. Thinking of my grandpa Westadt especially today, but thank you to all of you.
May I be a bright and vibrant living thing and may my seeds ripen to their highest potential, to honor you.
Methinks we have hugely mistaken this matter of Life and Death. Methinks that what they call my shadow here on earth is my true substance. Methinks that in looking at things spiritual, we are too much like oysters observing the sun through the water, and thinking that thick water the thinnest of air. Methinks my body is but the lees of my better being. In fact take my body who will, take it I say, it is not me. And therefore three cheers for Nantucket; and come a stove boat and stove body when they will, for stave my soul, Jove himself cannot.
-Moby Dick. I've been listening to http://www.mobydickbigread.com/
I had the most incredible dream last night. So incredible that I didn't want to get out of bed, and as I type this I'm hoping I'll be able to go back to the magical place I was in last night.
Foolishly I didn't write this down earlier, so I'm only left with fragments - something about Denmark, and a little girl always dressed in fabulous purple outfits and accessories.
I was somewhere else and surrounded by others.
Someone was sort of coaching me in this most incredible activity that I will try to describe. I was lined up with other people in a sort of regimented activity, so it wasn't really private. As I write this now it occurs to me that it was really similar to rock climbing or bungee jumping.
But basically I was jumping really high up, doing a backflip, falling really far, maybe diving into water, and coming back up. I probably did it 4 times or so.
But the point of it is that I fully felt it in my body. It was the most incredible magical feeling, like flying, floating. But also it was as if I was gathering wisdom as it was happening.
There are no words really.
It was more like journeying than anything else.
But it was so amazing and I'm so very grateful that it happened.
I missed my self-imposed Sunday deadline last week, but I let myself off easy by saying 'I'm like a jade plant now'.
Deep into last December I acquired two new plants and a bundle of palo santo from a Mexican hippie on 11th Street. The jade plant needs water every two weeks, and the jagged cactus (whose name I don't know) every three, according to my man. So, lapsed from my writing I thought: It's ok... I'm just me, I'm like the jade plant.
Usually I think of myself as tropical plant. I need more sun than most but I can withstand lots of (metaphorical) rain, and I love the ocean. I'm happiest when I'm jungle-jangle surrounded with beauty. Heartsick to console myself I've thought, I'm like the day-lily plant in the corner of my well-worn apartment, working hard to withstand the alternate cold and steam of this NYC life. It droops and brightens - I droop and brighten. Sometimes my limbs hang low and limp, but they stay green, and if you give me a day or two of peace I'll bounce back.
This is all to say that for now I am a jade plant. I'm figuring this blog out, figuring out this commitment to writing, but the point is just to write, so I am here. Every week, every other week, every day, whatever. I am a Mexican hippie on 11th Street, burning palo santo.
Last week I saw the Picasso show at MoMA. The show is so remarkable, because: He was so free. Always re-inventing himself, always changing. I was particularly taken with the ceramic work inthe 6 or 7th room. Already in his 60's, famous, overflowingwomen and friends, power and masculinity, judgement and mire, there he stood - presumably somewhere beautiful in France- and let himself make a fat whimsical anthropomorphic vessel, paint it a pretty Continental blue motif, admire it, and it keepit moving. You can almost smell the glee. Ah, just to be so fully free in expressing oneself!
So. I am a jade plant, I am Picasso. I am here. My obsessions these past few weeks have been learning about classical music, Christian mysticism (this!), El Camino de Santiago, and continuing with my hapless guitar playing.
Here's a song, 'Windy Lady':
Windy lady, what could he offer you? Empty hands, empty hands/ Empty hands to say he would give it all to the water/Empty hands, empty hands/ Empty hands to say he would give it all to the water/ Just like lovers do/Just like lovers do.
Empty hands/empty hands./ Empty hands to say he would give it all to the water. What would mama say?/ What would mama say?/ Empty hands, empty hands/ Empty hands to say he would give it all to the water/ Just like lovers do/Just like lovers do.
Empty hands/ Trembling hands./ Trembling hands to say he would throw it all in the water./Empty hands, empty hands/ Windy lady, wouldyou give it all to the water?/ Just like lovers do/ What do lovers do?
Empty hands, empty hands./ Take your hands in mine and we'll throw it all in the water/ Empty hands, empty hands/ Empty hands to say we could throw it all in the water/ Just like lovers do/ Just like lovers do/ Empty hands, Empty hands/ Windy lady.
I vowed to set my new year's intentions on the new moon, January 9. And it was wise to wait for that moment, because when they day came so many things I had been clinging to fell away and I was somehow cleansed of the need to add on more and more to fill my time and 'goals' to have for the new year. I was able to see that actually I want to simplify. What do I want to do in 2016? It's not run a half marathon or master 12 recipes. It's simply to be myself, be present, build community, serve others, share my gifts, create, write.
I intend to write in this space on Sundays, to kind of keep track of what ideas and things I'm exploring. I thought this week I'd write about Christianity. It was just Three Kings Day, the Epiphany, and I got to celebrate with my Puerto Rican family. I've been reading Gilead by Marilynne Robinson and reading up about Thomas Merton and I have humility on the mind.
The humility of winter. I'm craving winter this year. I want to go dormant, clear, calm, sleepy. Relax into cooking and building for the flourishing in the spring I trust will come.
When the time came to write though, I wrote a song. I have no idea how to play the guitar and I can't carry a tune. But my brother-in-law gave me a guitar yesterday, and tonight I started strumming. Here's what came out. It's called 'Heaven Knows':
Well first you swerved/ upon my dock/ then you just fell completely/ I had just one line/ could toss you down/ so you could rise/ and see me.
And I seemed young/ out on the shore/ but then you did just/ meet me/ And your ship sails/ tomorrow morn/ for now we'll talk/ discretely
Cos heaven knows/ and mercy too/ you could love me/and I could love you/ Yes heaven knows/ and mercy too/ you could love me/ and I could love you (2x)
You're a fool for knots/ and treasures torn/ your hair's not shorn/ your mouthy is salty/ But as we watched/ the moon was born/ It rocked the sea/ so sweetly
And we were young/ out on the shore/ although you did just/ meet me/ Your ship sails/ out in the morn/ for now we'll dance/ discretely
Cos heaven knows/ and mercy too/ that you love me/ and I love you/ Yeah heaven knows/ and mercy too/ that you love me/ and I love you. (2x)
Our eyes were locked/ the music poured/ the gulls all flocked/ but we're not sleepy/Then from the north/ they cried all aboard/ and you swore/ you'd never forget me
But you were young/ out on the shore/ and, well, you did/ just/ meet me/Your ship sailed/ that very morn/ and I slipped off/ discretely
But heaven knows/ and mercy too/ that you loved me/ and I loved you/ Yeah heaven knows/ and mercy too/ that you loved me/ and I loved you/ Yes heaven knows/ and mercy too/ you loved me/ I sure loved you/ Yeah heaven knows/ and mercy too/ you loved me; I loved you too.