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“Flash” by J.T. Kade

Joining the rest of America a couple of days ago, I viewed the Access Hollywood video of heinous remarks about women further damning any trace of morality/humanity in someone holding the title of U.S. Presidential nominee.

I closed my laptop. I cried.

These were not tears of fear or sadness though. They were tears of rage.

This had been some time coming. The build up of so many months being force fed filth, stupidity, and degradation stoked a burning anger that could no longer be neglected or ignored. My coping mechanisms had lost their affect. I had tried to engross myself in work, to avoid the media as much as possible, to hope hard that this was all one awful prank.

I’m not proud of this. My responses were wrapped up in a smallness that give a false sense of escape. Beyond my tipping point, the physical reaction of a racing heart, sick stomach and tears told me I was duping myself. Ignorance is not bliss.

I admire those engaging in the uncomfortable conversations online and around the dinner table. I am inspired by people like my boyfriend who leap into the grossness of injustice, the ugliness of racism and sexism with a roar and bite. I seek to emulate folks with an activist spirit like journalist and writer, Courtney Martin, who credits an upbringing of creating importance around honorable rebellion. In a recent On Being interview, she shares:

“So one of the things I feel like my parents really entrusted me with was this idea that you should trust your own outrage. And sort of being able to honor that anger, to me, is one of the most important muscles of a rebel.”

Not everyone joins the rebellion in the same way; I know this and respect it.

But, for the sake of my four year old niece who is one of America’s next generation of empowered and respected women, for the millions of immigrants that continue to contribute greatly to a beautifully diverse culture and incredible work ethic, for the belief that my country is capable of modeling social progress, open-armed tolerance, and environmental responsibility, I will  trust my own outrage.

I will honor this anger.

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Christine40thBirthday_0067This was written to present to my guests at my recent 40th. Such a memorable occasion this party was, that I had to share it here:

My 30s started much like this. Theme party. A mix of 80s music and salsa. Contagious positive energy.

Throughout the decade, life shared it’s sense of fun and mystery, wonder and risk, gasps and cheers. Pulled in from the audience, I was no longer a spectator, watching safely from my seat, sipping on soda whispering opinionated comments to companions. I was an animated participant , taking on varying roles when called to.

The tight rope walker steadies herself in intention. The rules are simple. 1. Make it across to point B. 2. Do not stop for too long. 3. Do NOT look down. There’s no other course of action, really. No other choice. It’s a matter of focus and determination to get an end result. If doubt enters, she feels it in the rope. Slight trembles can shift into rapid shakes. This can make for a graceless performance. People will hold their breath. People will stare. It’s ok. She takes a moment to fix her gaze, to relax into her path. She will get there.

Upon first glance, no one knows the extreme pliability of the contortionist. Just like everyone, she stands in line, maneuvers through crowded streets, sits in cafes with friends. It is in moments of tough choice, moments of compromise and negotiation that she twists herself, one limb at a time until the upright body distorts into something unrecognizable. Only while maintaining the form of her soul, is her flexible nature beautiful.

The magician is a master of illusion and surprise. In playful spirit, she keeps people guessing ; wondering what else can be pulled out of that hat. At times, the enchantment disguises other things: self-doubt, loneliness, fear. At times, there is nothing left up her sleeves. Standing there vulnerably, palms open, the tricks disappear. What you see is what you get.

Possibly the most valiant performer is the lion tamer. Poised and commanding, she looks at the beast in the eye. Sure, there are traces of fear in her as she walks forward; it growling, intimidating. In a last ditch attempt to put her in her place, it bares it’s sharp teeth wide. The struggle is inward and for a moment, she stops to take a deep breath. Then, with new found conviction, she raises her voice above its noise that sharply quiets into a softened purr.

The clown is the comic relief. She’s a reminder that throughout this string of acts there’s humor to release suspense, to tame fears. She embraces the ridiuclous and encourages belly laughter. While juggling many things, she maintains a smile, knowing all too well that this thing can’t be taken too seriously. She is the wild color that brightens the show.

I suppose the inspiration for this party was a mix of things: the artsy venue, an excuse to dress up, my love of Natalie Merchant…
It all just made sense to me. That, while these last couple of years, in particular have been topsy-turvy, unexpectected, and a bit of a spectacle…life is strangely wonderful. I expect my 40s to be no less of the greatest show on earth.

photo (23)Marianne/ 37

What is something you’re grateful for?

Where I am: Northern CA, in a tiny cottage near the ocean in the middle of nowhere…kind of…simple, quiet, lush, easy, authentic and real. Peaceful…mmm, peaceful.

Who is someone you’re grateful for?

My parents. You. Hmm, I mean, a long list…Timothy, Kara, Kara’s parents, all my friends who are just supportive and open and get it.

What part of your body do you love?

My hands. My shoulders and this whole area (she motions the span of her clavicle)…my hair (laughing); I have a long list.

What advice would you give someone who is feeling low?

How can you flip what’s making you unhappy into something to your advantage? Whatever is making you low, can you re-write the story to make it to your advantage? How do make an asset of what’s making you feel down?


 

You know when a song just seems like it reached into the pit of you, feeling around and gathering the most shiny pieces? When it strikes a cord of longing or tranquility, grief or knowing? Recently this one poured onto me while on a run.

Says a lot about where I am.

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In the morning by the sea
As the fog clears from the sand
I have no money in my hand
I have no home, I have no land
But it doesn’t trouble me
As I lay beside the fire
I am easy to inspire
There is little I require

I wasn’t yours and you weren’t mine
Though I’ve wished from time to time
We had found a common ground
Your voice was such a welcome sound
How the emptiness would fill
With the waves and with your song
People find where they belong
Or keep on

Through the never-ending maze
Where the way is seldom clear
There is no map or compass near
I drive a ship I can not steer
Through the bleak and early morn
Where a stronger will is sworn
Where the moments move so slow
And seem to never you let go

When my hands are old and ache
And my memory flickers dim
And my bones don’t hold my skin
And there’s no place I haven’t been
I’ll recall the days were few
That is all that I can do
Feel the carvings in the tree
That gave shape for you and me

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There is a large, glass, barn door that slides, making an entire wall an opening to the garden. It’s part of my home and it’s glorious. I’ve gotten used to bumble bees and flies temporarily buzzing in, making their circles before finding their way back out to freedom. They’re quick visitors.

Three days ago, Craig arrived from Cartagena. It’s been a long anticipated reunion interlaced with both apprehension and joy. Six months apart can do that…create a meeting of feelings that ordinarily do not share space. As we had our first morning together, we made lunch in the kitchen, the glass door opened. In zoomed something much larger than a bee.

Hovering across the glass ceiling was a hummingbird, wings beating so fast they sounded like a mini helicopter. She was instantly desperate to find the exit, and seeing the sky above her, was puzzled that she could not lift above the glass barrier. Back and forth, she flew with urgency. Little did she know that lowering a few centimeters would put her in line with the door’s opening.

It was frustrating to watch.

At moments, she found a ledge near the ceiling to rest. She was exhausted. We wondered how we could help. For a while, we left the room and waited to see if our absence calmed her into the right movement. Concerned she’d wear herself out, we opted for a more hands-on approach. With a broom and teamwork, we managed to gently guide her out.

Relief experienced, I stepped outside expecting to see her perch on a branch and shake off the traumatic moments. But, no. Instead, she flew higher and higher until I worried aloud: “I’m afraid she’s flying so high she will fall out of the sky!” Craig laughed at this and we finished our lunch.

A few years ago, Craig’s mom gave me a book about Animal Totems which gave meanings behind the reasons certain animals appear in your life or your dreams. It’s fascinating, really. I decided to look up what the significance of a humming bird is, and found the following:

  • Lightness of being, enjoyment of life
  • Being more present
  • Independence
  • Bringing playfulness and joy in your life
  • Lifting up negativity
  • Swiftness, ability to respond quickly
  • Resiliency, being able to travel great distances tirelessly

Honestly, this speaks to me and where both Craig and I are in our lives. Our time apart has encouraged some large questions about who we are, what we want, and how we envision our lives. These are not comfortable questions. They are scary. They are maddening. They are necessary.

While the humming bird’s visit shared a message in her simple presence, it also gave us something more: permission to continue our upward flight.

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Luang Prabang is a set for so many fascinating story lines. There are people of all walks of life passing through, staying for a time, settling in. There are dreamers, adventurers, lost souls and truth seekers. There are artists, do-gooders, partiers, and floaters. There are entrepreneurs, free spirits, escape artists, and risk-takers. Some kept to themselves. Many congregated in small but vivacious spaces to share in the experience of being right then, right there.

One of these places is the Ikon Club.

I feel lucky to have frequented this place and shared a friendship with it’s owner, Lisa. Watching her creative video of the genesis and character of Ikon makes me smile and wish I was sitting on a stool there right now.

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