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My sister recently experienced the pain of a miscarriage. It happened while in Mexico several destructive earthquakes shook the foundation of people’s lives. This is for her.

for Monica

in the trembling, the plates made new space
that wasn’t there before.
this movement, unexpected and harsh
left the living cradling in shock and then,
weeping in sorrow.
dreams and plans had once stood brick by brick
where the rubble heaps are large. branches that reached high sit broken below, in places they don’t belong.
and although the sun continues to rise, time stands painfully still.

but, the plates made new space
that wasn’t there before.
and amidst the chaos and panic, a small glimmer emerges.
sun beam and moonshine rests upon once darkened corners.
looking up, the sky seems to stretch long and wide.

in the absence, presence is elevated. 
a word, a touch, a smile takes on larger meaning.
the laughter of a child is a sound of hope.
kindness of strangers helps heal.
loss breaks us open and in that there is air, there is light.
yes, the vacuum feels brutally empty still, but some days the message comes in clearly: “create again.”

and so with courage, with humble conviction,
we blow away the dust to forget, pick up the pieces to remember,
and do just that.

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San Miguel de Allende came to us like a wish come true. For a bit over a year, David and I had felt the swell of population, the pressurization of inflated prices, the unsettling political demise. My four year return to life in the United States confirmed a lot of things for me:

  1. The Bay Area had lost a bit of charm for me.
  2. Life didn’t have to be this hard.
  3. I thrive seeing the world from new places.

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rosary-rear-view-mirrorthe rosary swaying on his review mirror was familiar to me in the way that growing up with religious objects are. i sank in the back seat, my small suitcase beside me, ready to be home.

polite exchanges revealed information i really didn’t ask for: he’s married, two years in the U.S., has a 7 month old, and apparently devout in his faith.

my smile and “how nice” response to his being a father prompted him to ask the double-punch question: do you have kids-are you married? a quick no-no is my usual reply, relieving both interviewer and me from emotional entanglement.

but this time, i offered more.

“no”…and, “actually, I’m going through a divorce.”

why I opened up like that, i don’t truly know. maybe it slipped. maybe it was in hopes for a sympathetic word. maybe it was the presence of the dangling cross turning the Chevvolet Cruze into a confessional.

“oh, i’m so sorry.”

there it was. sympathy.

this sincerity was followed by the question: did you marry out of love?

when affirmed, it was clear the driver had a mission, a message. in his culture, marriage is prearranged and love follows. it’s chosen and maintained. in his faith, marriage is sacred. divorce is not an option. in his view, i needed to be prayed for so that we could reconcile and remain married.

my eyes glazed over the freeway signs, the trees and buildings blurring. my heart became weighted with every word. my mind wondered: what is this?

as i closed the door to a “God bless”, my steps leading closer to the front door unlocked my grief. at the doorway, open, loving arms wrapped my sobbing self, until my spirit quieted.

with a propensity to read into most things as divine nudges, i thought more about my viceral reaction. what was it about this that upset me so much?

it was the rubbing of a healing wound. it was the overt crossing of personal boundaries. it was the religion+judgement combination that i’ve always struggled with. it was the failure story loop.

i truly believe my driver was operating from a definition of goodness and care; that he wished wellness and salvation for me.

but, the unexpected exchange left me raw and without desire to judge, rate, or allot stars to an uber evangelist.

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blackbird in copenhagenThe record player spins on a well worn mid century modern dresser, akin to the cafe’s chairs and orb chandeliers. It’s all intentionally unpretentious with framed Hendrix posters and bathroom graffiti. These are pieces from Danish homes, second hand finds found on every other block. The Beatles serenade this 8AM morning, perfect melodies suitable for the melancholic gray outside, the romantic candlelight inside.

This pure artistry of a place, this mingling of quiet conversations in a foreign language with background latte making, this cozy nook where I write…this will forever, I believe, spoil future cafe moments.

Oakland FallThe trees are hinting a seasonal change. Walking around the Mission in a tank top and flip flops on a late October day, you would think otherwise though. You’d think the microclimates once explaining the need for layers in San Francisco are made up. You’d question the use of an umbrella. You’d feel there’s no such thing as seasons in California.

Still, the trees push to tell another story, to encourage the spirit of upcoming holidays, to finally give us the chance to wear boots and a scarf. It is with their dazzling color shifts, that we’re given a sign for what’s ahead. To prepare for darkening days and the upcoming cold with warming hearths and hearty soups. To open our homes and bask in communal gatherings. To add light with candles and window decor and the gift of giving.

Cyclical patterns offer a comfort we crave. Just knowing that day follows night, spring follows winter, high tide follows low, helps us feel thethered to a consistency that feels familiar, that feels like our breath.

This simple fact is important. Because in a world that shows us again and again that we are not in control, we tend to cling to the few consistencies life offers, whether inspired by humanity or nature. The rituals help us make sense of our time here, the sequence of seasons harness the apprenhension that comes with the unknown.

But what if the signs are not evident? What if we’re not notified of what is to come? What if the what we’ve counted on disappears?

Certainly, we’ve all had this experience. After years at a company, the position we had is no longer there. A healthy loved one gets terminally ill. An unexpected expense puts us in debt. A  long-term relationship takes on another form.

The feeling is unsettling.

This spinning of events out of our reach is possibly what causes the most suffering. If doing the “right” thing and showing commitment do not guarantee us the things we thought, how can we trust the path ahead?

I once heard the idea of having “faith in the unfolding” and it struck a chord in me. What if we just let things happen to us without harsh judgement or guilt? What if we embraced our vulnerabilty and lowered expectations? What if we let go of the worry and fear that comes with life’s detours and simply had faith that things were unfolding just the way they were meant to?

What if we stopped looking at the trees to monitor our timelines and just observed them for their simple beauty?

Would we feel more at peace?

FullSizeRenderI received this written meditation some time ago from a beautiful friend. To me, it is a prayer. In a time of change, the change of relationship (with a person, with a work situation, with a life path), it soothes and empowers. I’ve kept it to myself but have been feeling compelled to share it out to others here. It is my hope that healing and new perspective is offered through it. 

Guides & Angels (you can substitute in whatever speaks to you),

The relationship between ________ and me is passing from one phase to the next. It has entered the great mystery of death and rebirth.

O Guides & Angels, give guidance to me. For I am now alone with the joys and sorrows of my past ties. Guide me to see beyond my blindness and to let go of attachments, so that I may move freely through the passage from what was, to what is to be.

May the power of unconditional forgiveness embrace me.

May I be clear and unafraid amid the karmic winds that surround me.

May I know all sounds as my own sound.

May I know all lights as my own light.

May I know all pain and pleasure to be transient.

O Guides & Angels, help my heart to be open. And, may the thought of loving kindness guide me to choose a new path that will benefit myself and others.

May the sound of this prayer emanate in all directions. May these thoughts become my thoughts. My all doubts dissolve. May the power of my love be strong and clear.

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