Sunday, November 20, 2011

Quite the Opposite?

Those who live within their means suffer from a lack of imagination – Oscar Wilde 

I don't mean to tarnish the memory of Mr. Wilde, (I've paid my respects), but when I saw this quote, I couldn't help but disagree strongly. Yes, things were much, much different in his time, but I saw this quote on a bottle of fragrance sticks in a bathroom in my office building, so the sentiment must still ring true for some people. 

I would say, were I a wild author, that those who live within their means are masters of their imagination and know how to craft and create in ways that respect, nourish, and hearten. It is so easy to live outside our means. Most of us carry a small piece of plastic that grants us access to things we can't afford and lifestyles too big and fast to keep up with.  As we move into an economy that forces us to make choices and possibly go without that third flat screen for the basement, we are re-learning how to live within the small window of universe we were blessed with. 

This doesn't mean embellishment doesn't have a place in the window, but those embellishments are starting to look different. Homemade, handcrafted, presented with intention and love. And those elements require some degree of imagination, don't they? 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Little Corners of my New World

Moving has certainly made it difficult to post regularly, but I am now settling into a routine and able to carve out a little time to write and respond. There are still boxes everywhere, and we're waiting on our dinner table made from the gym floor of a local high school, but this place already feels warm and inviting. I love coming home to people, sharing our days, sharing meals, or sharing the quiet. It feels like  a simple pairing of comfort and consistency as I seep my spirit into the corners of my new world. 

And I've had this song stuck in my head for days.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Everyday Phenomenon

Once, when I was walking to work and talking to my mother on the phone, I looked up in the sky and saw this:

It was a strange beam of light that wasn't moving. I said, "Hold on, Mom, it looks like the sky has a hole in it." 

I stood and stared for bit, wondering what it could possibly be. A falling satellite? A rocket shooting into space so far away it appeared to be still? I couldn't for the life of me figure it out. I let it sit in my mind as a strange phenomenon, a crazy coincidence of light and sky that created that magic just for me. 

I walked ahead a few blocks and looked up again. It turns out it was the morning sun reflecting off a building behind a thick curtain of fog. The fog had cleared and the reflection was now blinding. I looked back down to the concrete sidewalk stretched out in front of me. 

While the strange bolt in the sky didn't turn out to be aurora borealis or frozen lightning, it reminded me that we can experience wonderful, ethereal and breath-snatching things in the everyday, if we just look up once in a while. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

How Do You Feel the Fear?

Feel the fear and do it anyway. – Almost every woman in my family at one point or another

Today I am moving from my tiny, one-person studio in a conveniently located part of town to a four-bedroom farm house with three other people in a much more residential neighborhood. I feel a lot of anxiety and fear around the move. I am afraid of letting go of the conveniences around me (close co-op grocery store, quick bus ride to work). I am afraid of being uncomfortable living with other people. I am afraid of not everyone being happy all the time and feeling (imagined) pressure to fix it. I am afraid I am making a mistake. 

I was speaking to a friend about the move, sharing my fears of not being able to walk to a grocery store in two minutes if I forget an ingredient for dinner, and co-habitating with people who may not like me. He told me that, right out of high school, the band he played with moved into "the band house." They turned the living room into a soundproof studio, instruments and equipment spilling over into the kitchen and hallways. It had been their dream: state-of-the-art equipment available 24/7 to make music and do what they loved best. But he found that suddenly, the appeal was gone. What was once something so rare and precious ("We have an hour before my mom gets home to make all the noise we can!") had lost its sheen. He found his love for music again once he moved out of the house. You've probably heard him here, here and here

I know I will be letting go of a lot of convenience when I leave this apartment, and what I am feeling now is a fear of the unknown. But, I have made a choice to be more intentional. This move forces me to be more deliberate, more conscious, and is a step towards crafting the life that I want: one forged from my hands and heart. So the things I used to do regularly out of convenience will require more preparation and thought. And that is more than okay. It is brilliantly good. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cantor and Choir

There's something exciting about so many people being quiet all at once. You can quote me on that. –Compline Companion  

Sunday evening, I attended Compline service for the first time. We entered into the cavernous cathedral, the steady quiet pressing on our ears, and took our seats on the outer wall. People filled the pews, sat leaning against that skyscraper columns, and laid down on the floor on blankets and pillows. It was not an uncomfortable silence—there was a wholeness to it. 

When the men in the Compline Choir started singing, I felt their voices gently vibrate my spine and I was moved to tears. The sound was so much bigger than me, than all all the people, than the cathedral. I felt small and connected, grateful for the sounds enveloping me. It was a really great way to start my week, reminding me that, despite potential challenges ahead, there is something moving above and beyond me, willing me back to its open arms when I stray too far and and get lost in my head.