Headlines from coast to coast state the current crisis in our leadership better than I could…of course you might want to dig a bit and read past the headlines, but if you’re pressed for time, these statements might be all you need to gauge the American opinion of who exactly is at our helm.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”– Harriet Tubman
These inspirational quips are easy to find as they roll along our feed like waves, but can easily hit the wall of our own stupid shit. I mean, do we honestly believe we can live out our dreams? Sure chosen folk like Oprah and Kobe seem to, and possibly my mother did, but what about you, or me? Can we push away doubt? Acquire a room of one’s own where we dare those dreams into action? I’ve known plenty of people with talent and possibility who crashed right into a waterfall of negative behaviors and let their own potential rush away. Maybe it’s the demons in their head, maybe it’s just their crap circumstances, regardless, they let their internal passions subside to a trickle. They put down the paint brush. They stop dancing. They quit imagining and believe something less about themselves, something more tragic. They’ve heard the sad tale so long they write one of their own.
What do you believe about yourself? Can you just pretend for one sunny moment that you are all that you envision you are? That the job you do is one that utilizes your full creative potential? That your future is in your own hands? Quite a mission if we feel tossed from day to day. But here’s the thing: why not choose to believe in the best outcome? I mean, seriously, what do you have to lose? Life is spinning by fast and then faster, so why not harness that rotation into your own glowing projection on this earth?
I know what you are up against. Whispers of “women can’t write, women can’t paint” have been heard even before Woolf penned those words in 1927. But even timid Lily defied that sentiment, right? Regardless of gender or age we can get trapped by societal misconceptions, from being the fat one or the stupid one or the talent-less one or just plain lazy and unlucky, we play out those limiting roles. Instead, how about we stand up to our own self-doubt as magnificently as Lily does in To the Lighthouse? “Yes, she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigue, I have had my vision.”
Flying away from the City of Angels is never easy for me. My children live down there. And, besides the strings knotted between us, the city is built on dreams. Uber drivers write good screenplays. Waitresses are ready to hit the airwaves. Surfers design apps to cure loneliness. Seems everyone in Los Angeles is joined in believing in a vision beyond their current limitations. Over time, West Coast magic can break even hardened East Coast Northerns. Truly. Beyond Hollywood, there are garage bands making harmony and coffee shop plot lines and glittery dreams aplenty crisscrossing freeways. Even with Trump’s fatalistic fire and fury, one can reach for the stars here, believe in a better tomorrow, and let his improvisational rhetoric fall flat below. Maybe it’s the sunshine and palm trees, maybe it’s just a collective Los Angeles agreement that everyone should have the chance to change their world.
How about just for today you suspend your cynicism? The desperate voice in your chatter? Imagine something grander for your tomorrow. Be willing to turn off despair. Count your blessings. Start speaking out loud what you hold locked within. Believe we each have the ability to transform our dreams into reality if we follow our joy. Put that in your mind. Remember when all seems impossible. Joy. Latch onto that with me and together let’s dance right into a better world.
We’ve just turned another page in the calendar and suddenly it’s August! In most places a solid stretch of hot and sunny highlights but printed right at the top of the next page we can spy Labor Day, staring us down, directing us to hence forth pack away the beach gear and white pants and halt the impromptu deck parties. Wait, you say? Haven’t even really got your summer on yet? It’s time people. Seriously, winter is coming… in every way. Best advice? Fill up your every available second with fun-shine and play-dates and recharge that battery! First stop? Head to your local farmer’s market and get a pile of organic local fruit and spend a dreamy morning eating clean and light. Nothing says summer like a ripe peach, right? Find one today to share, or not. And the rest of the day will be heavenly.
“…One can’t stay sad very long in such an interesting world, can one?” ― L.M. Montgomery, . The words of the headstrong and spunky orphan Anne have rung out to her countless readers since Canadian author Montgomery first published her international success of a novel in 1908. Not only did Anne’s delight over all things take over my imagination, but began my love affair with Prince Edward Island, both the setting of the Anne novels and the home of Lucy Maud Montgomery herself. Spending a week exploring PEI only reminded me of the renewing power of the natural world and its calming effects on one’s psyche.
Currently on top of the world, on the edge of the world. Post delayed just a bit longer…
There are moments in one’s past that stand the test of time. They shine while all the rest muddies. They remain as beacons which illuminate all your future achievements. Sometimes you know in advance, other times it is only in reflection, but those moments grow roots throughout your life and cannot be disentangled from who you are, ever. Receiving my MA from Middlebury’s Bread Loaf School of English is such a moment for me. One for which I read and wrote and thought and worked harder than anything to reach. Of course there are many people who steered me to that pinnacle, but there was one woman who did so through her own extraordinary passion to enliven and enrich the learning of every student, whether we were in her classroom or for those in classrooms we would return to in the fall, she supported me to be my own teacher-researcher, to gather my own anecdotes, all in the service of being a better teacher. This notion seemed novel at first, the idea that a teacher could guide herself and use her own students’ feedback in such an endeavor, but Dixie Goswami’s commitment empowered me more than any educational program I had been in before, or since, and continues to direct my practice even now, two decades later.
Last week I checked off my last have-to on my to-do list. Last, for now. During the other 11 months there is almost always a frantic side to me. A rushing. An inability to breathe deeply. Racing from bed to shower to work to workout to errands and chores and stuff to more work to finally bed for months on end. Doesn’t most everyone live such a manic pace? But this week, this July first Monday morning came and drifted into afternoon then into dusky evening, and besides lacing my sneakers for a hilly hot mid-day run, deliciously meandering, I did nothing that felt like a job. Just flitted from one spot to another following sunbeams like a roadside daisy. By evening my lungs were tired from use. Oh July, you are a glorious celebratory month of lazy hazy daydreams.