Thursday, September 29, 2005

Surge of expectancy

Something is moving underneath. Yes, I am always stirred, searching, reaching for more... but something is definitely afoot and I know it well. That feeling when on the verge of re-awakening, of breaking through to the next level.

On one hand, nothing is changed, yet inside, I feel a surge of expectancy stronger than I have felt in some time. Fear still plagues me like a consuming disease. Reservation taunts my logic. Hesitation threatens to keep me from ever reaching my full potential.

And yet... something is moving. Has always been there. It has burst forth in my life at numerous times, though never stayed. But soon it is going to explode, surprising me with its force, refusing to let me hold it in anymore.

This is passion... passion with wisdom. Passion with direction. Passion that is holistic and free, not leaving any part of me behind.

Monday, September 26, 2005


"Junebug": a film haunting me since I saw it a couple weeks ago. Justine and I watched it one afternoon after wandering around the Embarcadero. I wanted to see it since reading glowing reviews about first time director, Phil Morrison. It moved us so that we took Dan to see it two nights later.

It's subtle, simple, refreshingly slow. Family dynamics, misunderstanding, understanding beyond words, discovering surprising places in each other. How well it portrayed the difference in marriages between the parents and brothers... the tension of different values and lives coupled with the similarities.

Amy Adams - what a joy her performance was! Such purity of heart and intention... like a child. She broke my heart and reminded me of the depth behind a seemingly naive demeanor.

There are numerous scenes that haunt: many with Amy Adams. But also the scene at the church potluck singing "Softly and Tenderly". You could feel the collective silence in the theater as everyone was struck by this profoundly simple, deep moment.

The film captured the intense pain and longing we feel in family relationships to go beyond the invisible walls keeping us from freely loving each other, with tender abandon; without all the wounds we've inflicted on one another...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Silence that Speaks

I just read "Virgin Time: In Search of the Contemplative Life", by Patricia Hampl, and a few passages running through my mind. Reading them was not radically different than other passages I have read by kindred spirit authors, but it's still always a joy to stumble across something that invokes the response: "That is SO me!"

"Spiritual life wasn't a quest, it was a disappearing act. I wanted... to fade, to vanish. But I was afraid that sounded macabre, though I didn't feel morbid. It was something else: sink, swim, fly, die, that mystic urge from all those years ago..."

"I was inside. Inside what? Within what I am seeking: the silence that speaks."

"My university friends were writers, artists. I saw those from Lutheran and Episcopalian backgrounds go in for Eastern meditation in a big way, finding someting genuine in the stripped-down style of Zen, something indisputably better than the Scotch-before-dinner habits of their Episcopal priest... They loved the bare bones of Zen, and they clawed at their Christian cages, thrusting imitation Basho poems between the bars."

"Some people speak of prayer as a need to surrender. All that swooning of the mystics, giving over to the Divine Lover. Bernini's St. Teresa in her ecstasy, still scandalizing the rationalists with the orgasmic joy of her prayer. But surrender doesn't say it - and even in silence, how I need a thing said. What is that impulse that has always been there, refuting logic and requiring song?

It must be instinct for praise. A ferocious appetite for humility which we intuit is a proper recognition of our truth: We are not simply made, but embraced. Sing a new song to the Lord, for he has made you. Made you to sing. Surrender - surrender even your voice, enter this silence. And become song.

I have always had a powerful sense of something pulsing which I could not name but also could not deny: a dynamic existence beyond me, yet in me. Spirit it is called - and why not? The invisible essence that is everywhere, including within ourselves...

This rich experience of life is not personal, though it is interior. It is an aspect of what we know to be the Divine, to be God - who was called in Hebrew, the first language of our tradition, Yahweh. That is, Our Integrity. I wished to find this Integrity."

The book is far from amazing, yet contains some wonderful moments. How I love the passage about song... I well relate to St. Teresa and her mystical experience of God.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Wonder... and the Night

Wonder is not precisely Knowing
And not precisely Knowing not ~
A beautiful but bleak condition
He has not lived who has not felt...
- Emily Dickinson, poem # 1331

Wonder... how often I have known it. It permeates my life. Just the sight of the moon alone is enough to send me into ecstasies, soaring the night sky.

Dan once told me years ago, long before we dated, that I had the depth of a midnight sky behind the stars: endless, unfathomable. His poetry sang to me and I knew that though my depth may be inifinite, alas, so, too, are my faults.

Glimpsing the fog rolling in front of a full moon the other night made my heart leap with the possibility, romance, adventure, and beauty of life. As always, seeing the night sky restores the strong urge in me to get lost forever in the depth of night. Darkness does not depress me. I come alive in the night time hours and respond to melancholy. It brings joy, not despair to my soul. Here's to lush, profound melancholy.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Sleepless Nights

Ah, this summer of insanity… and privileges. Visits from my best friend and family are life giving. Other close friends’ visits have added delightful memories to my storehouse. Weddings and trips were plentiful, with my brother’s wedding the highlight.

Likewise, communion with our local friends has been rich. Nights mixing “creative” cocktails or eating fondue, talking about books, relationships and life with Dave & Becca. Weeknight walks followed by a warm cup of tea, connecting soul to soul with Chelsea as she stops by on her way home from work. Movie nights and bonfires on the beach with our “urban tribe”. Four of the always fabulous Stern Grove Festival concerts, replete with picnics. Wine tasting at our favorite new bar, the cozy, classy Hidden Vine, in the basement of a boutique hotel. Sunday lunches with “the tribe” at Carrie’s charming place either inside or out in her little garden. A rousingly inspiring Arts Night. Dinners with friends at Town Hall, Moki Sushi, Fog City Diner, Blowfish Sushi, Blue Plate and others spots in the endlessly amazing SF dining scene. Kabuki Hot Springs with Kristy (my first massage! Heavenly!) Writing group in Berkeley carries on. Regularly playing music at church under the capable direction of the musical wunderkind, Dave.

As always, Dan and I continue to share adventures around our beloved Bay Area, savoring things we love. We’ve shared a few picnics on our roof this summer – on Labor Day, we made the best meal yet of any we’ve cooked: a seared sushi grade Ahi– from the best butcher ever, Drewes’ Brothers- with grilled nectarine and red onion skewers (so much juicy flavor from the fruit), drizzled with a balsamic sauce we made, a side of roasted zucchini with pine nuts, parmesan and a sweet glaze, accompanied by a perfect Chardonnay I bought last week in Sonoma at Alexander Valley Vineyards. Jazz at Yoshi’s. Hikes in Marin. “The Overcoat” at A.C.T. – yeah, half price tickets!! Always the concerts: Sufjan Stevens (with Dave, Becca & Natashia). Medeski, Martin & Wood at the spectacular Villa Montalvo. A couple excellent films in a (thus far) lackluster film year: “The Constant Gardner” and “Junebug” (saw that one twice – haven’t done that in a long while). Nights reading together with soothing or rousing music playing, or listening to Dan play piano.

My life is made up of so many good things. I am surrounded by things that inspire and challenge me. I adore my Dan. I know incredible friends. My family is the dearest. Creative goals are always dissatisfied in me yet most other goals are met in beautiful ways and that is no small feat. Even still, I feel a deep sadness within. Longing rages on. Always.

Last night, I was awake over two hours in the middle of the night, even as my Dad and sister are staying with us and I have a full week of visiting and work. I awoke and couldn’t sleep. The sadness and brevity of life were, once again, haunting my sleepless moments. I HATE feeling the impending closeness of death but am aware of it more and more as the years fly by. It’s morbid, it’s painful, yet it’s very real. I don’t want to face it. I cannot bear the loss of anyone in my family. I was thinking what I would do if I lost my father and the loss is too great to comprehend. With any family member. Or Dan.

I contemplated my selfishness and weaknesses and the burdened me painfully. I seem to get worse as I get older… or is it that I am aware of my faults more and more? Either way, it’s agonizing feeling as if you are ‘slipping’ instead of ripening with “old age”. How I want to not only ripen but blossom, pour out, explode into radiance.

I ache for my thirties to be a time of coming into my own in a most explosive way. Will this occur or is comfortable deterioration in order? You know I have always raged against complacency. Someone who no longer grows, learns or challenges themselves is someone I feel very sorry for – and someone I never wish to be. Yet I wonder if I am fated to live out my worst fears with such a strong personality as mine and very specific loves and hates. How can I not get irritable and unbearable as an old woman?

May wisdom and grace temper my passion. I value fire and vision. But I also crave balance and discernment. I have all these things but oft times, passion wins out and overrides my deliberation. I prefer this. I do not wish to live cautiously. Yet what better a person than a fiery powerhouse who uses her vision at the right times and in the right place, feeding the fiery vision while becoming more whole with quiet and nurture?

I cannot do this for myself. It seems hopeless. May God see fit to grant this gift to me.