Wild

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“…To believe that I didn’t need to reach with my bare hands anymore. To know that seeing the fish beneath the surface of the water was enough…”

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“…How wild it was, to let it be.”

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Lessons From an Open Mic

Last night—at about 6:55—I spontaneously decided to chug up the hill to take in a free open mic session, slated to begin at 7:30. I’ve decided that what I love so very much about open mics, is the vulnerability that rests at their core. People are BRAVE to get up there and project their voices and strum their guitar strings and bare their souls.

Sure, certain performances go off much smoother than others; while some have slightly cringe-worthy moments, others show the weighted advantage of having already booked studio time and album releases. But these sessions also come with such an element of delightful surprise. Raw talent is revealed in the most unexpected places.

Yes, I admit I prejudged a lot of the folks who gathered in that circle before the tea lights were ignited and the event officially launched. It was a bit of a ragtag gang, and I sensed in my heart that many of these kids (cos some of them truly were just kids) had been high school misfits or societal outcasts. But I loved thinking about how music might’ve just been then their life raft, their savior. (I pictured hours and hours of practice in the sanctuary of a bedroom, a basement, a cluttered garage.)

Last night there was the shy but outrageously talented Japanese girl who killed it on the piano, her second performance ever in the States; there was the tiny but mighty man who strolled up with an unexpected swagger and took charge of the “stage” with a confident presence and soulful bellow; there was the scrawny, bowl cut-donning kid who I would’ve unfairly pegged as “just” a gamer or Trekkie, rather than the owner one of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever heard. (His cover of a Decemberists song was off the charts.)

The bottom line: Vulnerability is hard, but vulnerability is so darn beautiful.

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*watch & listen*

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“Walking. I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.”~Linda Hogan (b. 1947), Native American writer

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Foggy Mornin’ Fuel

Jet lag had me up WAY earlier than planned (OY), so I’m trying to embrace the early start, fueled by warming coffee and the sweet, soothing voice of Anderson East. Have a good day, friends!

Coast2Coast Redux

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I am just back from D.C., which means it’s time for yet another wordy, cryptic ‘Ode to Transitions’ blog. It’s practically tradition now. There’s something beautiful in the predictability of such things, eh:)?

I thought the torn-ness I feel between the two coasts (my two homes) should dissipate with time. Logically, the space between should feel like less of a big deal, right?

And yet, for some reason, this time when home, I sometimes felt off-kilter and conflicted, not able to easily, gracefully, maturely deal. I know in my very being that I am in the right place out here. (I sense it in my bones, and amazing signs/”coincidences” upon my return last night confirmed it loud and clear. Thank you, Universe.) And yet… why does the distance sometimes feel so glaring? Why do tinges of guilt remain for living so far? Why can’t I say “see you later/soon” stoically, without feeling like my heart is being wrung out like a goshdarn washcloth?

When I am back east now, the passing of time feels apparent—the city has changed, people have changed, people have moved on. The flood of memories—mostly good, a couple less-good—hide in every crevice of the beautiful, historic, highly-electric and often-stiff buttoned-up city I for so long called home. Ghosts of the past dance on unexpected street corners; joyful recollections jump out from the least predictable spaces.

I cannot help but think of the me I was and the me I am (and the me I aspire to be), and I am so grateful for changes and leaps and fed-up-ness and bravery. I look at it all with a new, fresher lens, and I see how I listened, successfully moving toward happiness and a more authentic me. But of course, part of me also longs for those sacrifices that come along with the change, and I pine for those moments in time that were wonderful and magical—and cannot ever again be replicated in just that way.

Today, I’d like to be wrapped up in warm fleece on my parents’ cozy couch, because there is something nourishing and incredible about *home* that cannot be found anywhere else on earth. But instead, I’m a million miles away—on the other side of the country—having a pleasant, back-to-reality, ease-in day, in a place where the people are so dang kind and the pace is just. so. much. more. ME.

l ate lunch at one of my favorite cafes, where the bright-eyed server asked about my morning, and then I came to my favorite coffee shop for a quick meeting; here joyful baristas mix expensive and tasty coffee concoctions as they bop along to overhead tunes. I’m seated across from funky, feather-bubble fixtures that dangle in the window, looking out at clouds rolling across the lake, the bobbing masts of sailboats and the edge of a cityscape now happily imprinted on my brain.

Maybe the transition back will never feel easy, and maybe I will always leave behind pieces of my heart wherever I roam. Today I will try to focus on the gift of having two homes and the eternal gratitude I feel that—in two (very different Washingtons)—I love deeply and feel deeply loved.

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