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Coffee Date

20 Jan

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After the reinvention of Red’s coffee shop in Santa Barbara’s funk zone, Goleta Coffee Company has been my favorite coffee shop. I don’t come too often, because there are so many more that are closer to where I live. But I really just love this place, feel instantly at ease, cozy, and energized by all the visual eccentricities. I adore places like this. A little industrial, a little mismatched and haphazard, and if you can’t have an outdoor patio, then yes please to the fireplace surrounded by booths and a couch. Some of the furniture is quite hideous, and there’s a crazy red paisley rug on the concrete floor under the sofa, but these things make me want to camp out for hours all the same. I’m really here to do some IIN coursework, which I’m excited to get started (who ever predicted I would say that about school!), but I was listening to one of Jen Lee’s Retrospective podcasts, (where she has conversations with so many different people with different backgrounds and different kinds of work about how they got where they are, stories from their life and what drives, inspires and provokes thought in them.) on the way over here. She interviewed a novelist, Diana Spechler in the one I listened to this morning, and I was so captivated by this conversation. It just sparked so many thoughts in me.. Those kinds of mind-boggling, open-ended, questioning thoughts about why the society is in the state and shape that it is, and how achingly delicate and impressionable the human mind can be, and how long we can hold on to healable wounds that we try not to realize are there. It made me think about how so many people are in such desperate need for connection, whether they realize it or not. And how overwhelming that need seems sometimes, and by that I mean the need in the world. How great the need is for mentors. The need for, not even service and resources and organizing committees, but for one individual to sit with another individual and be able to hold a space of patience and honesty and unconditional love. For a conversation.
I guess, for me anyways, it always comes back to conversation. So much can be healed through conversation with another. Through entering into a real conversation with yourself about how you’re making your home in the world and what is or isn’t nourishing you. A conversation with the scarier parts of the secret wishes and judgments that we try to keep locked inside ourselves so that the world stays properly balanced on our own self determined axis.
And I don’t think the power even lies in finding the answer. I think back to how many friends and former homeless shelter clients, and even fictional characters (which you know were based on real emotions) have said, if only I knew why I do this! Why do I have this pattern, this reflex, why do I keep myself here, why do I do this to myself… if I only knew why, maybe I could do something about it. It sounds almost like just another mind trick to keep yourself stationary, doesn’t it? Safe in the obvious truth that until you figure out the answer… there’s nothing that can possibly be done differently.
I think fixating on the answer is a stalling technique. And I think the real power lies in the conversation. In the attempt to understand. In the willingness to hold a dialogue with yourself or someone else, or in prayer or in meditation, and to ask the difficult questions, “the questions that have no right to go away” (David Whyte). To always try to have that courageous conversation. It opens up those dark and messy places, it brings them into the light, little by little, until they don’t feel so taboo anymore. Until the twisted and aching, the hidden and seemingly shameful are finally recognized as passing, malleable, and so unavoidably human and common and cyclical. I don’t know how it happened, that unpleasant feelings became so unmentionable. Like excitement and enthusiasm and affection and satisfaction are the most acceptably universal feelings. But shame… loneliness, and despair and numbness and uncertainty and even sometimes desire… struggle… how did those feelings get exiled? To the land of no-that-never-happens-to-me or don’t-you-mention-that-out-loud-because-it-might-make-people-uncomfortable… to see or talk about an emotion that has a story attached to it. Its all just so stupidly common. From drug addictions, to body image and disordered eating, to the aftermath of feeling abandoned by a parent to the regular old longing for things to be shaken up a little.

How the mind reels.
I may have ended up in a very different place than the podcast started me out with. But isn’t that just how thoughts are. They tip and they pour into other thoughts, which tumbled out in various directions and trip over personal histories and experiences before being sifted into new or rehashed notions.
And I just had to get that all out onto a page, even a virtual one, so that I can focus on learning dietary theories and planning out my February.

Thanks for having coffee with me.

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Worlds Collide

4 Jan

I’m sitting in the Mesa coffee shop. Laughing to myself because I sit here smelling the coffee, sipping my mint tea, I have a headache, which I can only attribute to the two chili dogs, one corn dog and order of chili cheese fries that I sucked down at noon from Weinerschnitzel. But I digress… I’m sitting in the Good Cup. And I’ve already seen three people I used to hang out with downtown in my partying days. Another one that looks familiar… and it’s strange to see these faces in this different context and this different time in my life. I wonder if the Mesa is where everyone goes to settle down after they party? Or if it’s just where people go to try and hide out from familiar places, ironically. And then I look around at all the people in here… mid-twenties… mid-thirties… over fifty… And wonder if they’re all brought back to those crazy times in their lives when they run into a memory trigger. And if they sit, smelling the coffee, in front of their laptops… looking around at all the faces and marveling at how things have changed. And how young and wild we all were at one time or another.

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Dear Friend

16 Oct

Dear Friend,

Here I am. Escaping for just a moment. Not sure what to say… but knowing I want to throw a lifeline out there. This week has been hard. I’m pretty worn out. But I have a little break, and a warm cup of roobios tea, so here I am.

I’ve been sick this week. So have Mark and the baby. Add some troubled teething sleep, and a recent transition from two naps to one (the baby, not me) and I’d gladly give up a day’s paycheck (or two) just to sleep through my shift.

I don’t want to ruminate… really, I don’t…

I’m just trying to figure out how to pull off all the things I want to pull off while I’m feeling stretched so thin.

Mark reminded me that it’s been an uncharacteristically busy week… family in town, friends in town, a birthday party to plan, several recent trips.

What am I really thinking…

Just so you know, the biggest reason that I write is to find out what I’m actually thinking, underneath the day-to-day happenings and the familiar records that play in my head. Sometimes, I think we all try and save ourselves some brain power by playing the same tracks over and over… slightly varied versions of the same story… to come to our reliably quick conclusion and our seemingly simple solution [not enough sleep, not enough time in the day, not the right groceries in the house][need more sleep, to organize my time more efficiently, to buy more almond butter and tofurkey and bread]… rather than sitting with a question or feeling a little bit longer than is comfortable, to see if it’s really anything else. Writing helps me to do this.

Do, or do not. There is no try.

I think there is a fine line between being gentle and compassionate towards yourself… and using your own circumstances as excuses to avoid putting yourself on the line.

I think of people I know, friends, who approach their lives in a way that appears so courageous. My friend Mary who moved to New York, and is now an off-broadway actress, directing and choreographing on the side. My friend Jenna, who quit a very good paying job to take part in a home-based essential oil business that she and her husband must build themselves. Or my cousin Izzy, who moved to Japan to be a freaking ninja!

Now… none of these lives are for me. I don’t want to be an actress, a martial arts expert, or a salesperson. But still, I’m so impressed by these people. People that I know, who didn’t come from particularly out of the ordinary backgrounds. To have initiated and begun living out these goals that just seem even too incredulous to say out loud. But they seem to tackle it with the same methodology that I would plan dinner with…

Buy these groceries, chop this, mix that, sprinkle in a little of this, simmer for some time, serves and boom, I’m living my dream!

I don’t need to move to the other side of the globe, or the continent, or even make $10,000 a month.

Right now, I just want to create a rhythm and flow to my days and weeks so that I can portion off enough time for some soulcare, some newness, some activity, some rest, some planning for the future… and still have energy for playing and cuddling and adventures here and there.

Oh, and if someone can please invent a barometer that can let me know when to remind myself, “Hey, you’re the mother of a one year old… brew a cup of coffee, grab some baby snuggles and stay home all day, it’s okay.”

or

“Hey! Stop whining, get off your ass and make things happen! You’re a mom, nat an inmate.”

that would be great…

at least until I can fine tune my own temperature reader…

Thanks for listening.

<;3, E

Coffee Date

27 Feb

coffee in italy

If we were to grab a cup of coffee somewhere… I would hope it would be a shop that’s a little bit funky.  With couches and club chairs that are a little beat up, and hopefully a fireplace, and some old vintage tin signs on the walls.

I would probably have to order an herbal tea, although I would long for coffee in my cup, because although most coffee shops have non-dairy creamers now, very few have non-dairy, non-soy creamers.

We would pull up a couch or a chair, and gaze at the fire for a second.  I’d pull my feet up onto the chair to get a little more cozy, take a deep breath, look you in the eyes and smile.  Partly because I feel at home in coffee shops, and partly because I feel so comfortable with you.

I would tell you how we really should do this more often, and I would mean it with all my heart.

I would tell you about how I ate a handful of trail mix at work the other day, and mid dried kiwi, I realized it much have sugar in it.  But I would also be sure to say that I was tempted to eat the garlic bread that came with my quinoa pasta yesterday, but resisted.  Small victories, right?

I would tell you that I have been thinking so much about the future lately.  Where to live, how  to live, where my baby will go to school, how to make sure we’re laying the foundations for the kind of life we want to be in day to day, and that sometimes those thoughts are overwhelming.

I would tell you that this coming Thursday, is the last day until March 31st where both Mark and I are not working.  That of the four weekends this next month, two weekends I work straight through, and the other two weekends, either he has a conference or I have a workshop.  I would be clear in saying that I’m SO excited for these workshops… for the travel up to the bay area that they require, and for the workshop itself… but I would also admit that having that little time together worries me a little, and is not a pattern I want to set up.

I would tell you how we talk about how we want to be intentional with the time that we do have together.  The couple hours after Mason goes to bed and before we fall into ours.  And how sometimes, like last night, we do a great job working on a project together, talking, poking fun at each other, until we get too tired to do so anymore… but how a lot of the time, we’re so in need of a break by the end of the day that it’s blog reading and hulu watching, next to each other.

I would take another deep breath, and a sip of tea, and I’d ask about you.  How your days are going, how you’re juggling everything.  Are you excited about where you’re headed? Are you nervous? I would ask you if you ever get that little voice in your head trying to tell you that you need to reconsider, and what you do about it.

I’d tell you that Mason’s skin was started to smooth out.  The baby softness was returning, even after a few days of these oils, and this diet.  And then we gave him some milk over this weekend while I was at work, that I had pumped at the beginning of the month, before I started eating this way.  And didn’t realize what we had done until his little cheeks started to roughen up again, and a rash spread across his chubby little legs.  Blast!

But my eyes would light up as I tell you how excited I am, because that means that it is working!  That he won’t have to just learn to live with it because food really does heal if you pay attention to what it is you’re eating.

And as I start to sparkle with possibility, I would tell you how I want to do everything.  I want to live in Portland or Corvallis, and Kent and Brooklyn, and Venice and Tuscany, and maybe even in Providence Rhode Island… just to try it out.  I would say that I want to write for a living, start an etsy shop, get a degree in Nutrition, do more yoga, knit more prolifically, read more books, give my baby all the time and attention he wants, spend more time cuddling with my husband like we did when we first started dating, take Ruby on long walks…. you would laugh at mean little as I almost start vibrating with excitement when I think of all these things.  And then when I pause to take another breath… I would say that I’m trying to learn how to pace myself.  To readjust and tame the nudge inside me that makes me feel like I should try to do all of these things at once.   And pick a couple each day, or each moment.  So that my time has a bit of focus.

After my rambling comes to a close… we would sit and sip for a few moments.  Each thinking of our own string of possibilities.

And we would catch eyes again and smile.

And of course the time would run out too soon.

We would gather up our bags, I would probably take my tea to go, since I’m such a slow drinker.  Cast a longing glance at the pastry display, and walk with you to the front.  I’d give you a big hug, say, “it was good to see you”

And we should definitely do this again soon.


<post inspired by Casey Wiegand>