06 December 2016

Dear Worthy Self,

You have been through so much, and even now, so many words spoken your way still carry such strong gravity, continue to awaken the sad, broken, abandoned, and shameful heart. Yet, you forge on. You're finding that the lump in your throat comes in like a wave with a heavy undertow, attempting to take you, but then it recedes, and somehow, you are able to once again find your footing and your resolve. You persevere in ways many others have not, cannot, will not, would not. Do you realize it half the time, Worthy Self? You are strong, and you are able.

27 April 2016


This is my last week of teaching adults. Tonight, I taught GED math, and I learned a lot about how ingesting camel meat, milk, and urine makes you smarter. And how back home, women's families are given camels as dowry. I had a table of Somali men who have grown to be my buddies. We giggle a lot, we talk excitedly ,almost the verge of angrily, about math problems that give trouble, and we complain about Donald Trump. I will miss one man in particular, Hassan. He is 67 and smokes like a chimney and has many gold teeth and a fantastic accent and is just plain a nice man.

Tomorrow, which is almost today, I will teach intermediate English as a Second Language. This is my least favorite. It is the middle child in my week and in the ESL curricula. I will miss making the grouchy, tired, and tough Somali moms laugh. I will especially miss Olga, a Mexican student, and Dili, a student from Tajikistan, both beautiful women inside and out.

Thursdays are my favorite. Beginning ESL. This is a huge class, and I feel like I'm performing, and I adore making them laugh. I will miss especially Amina, because she's just a disorganized lovable sweetheart, Abdi, because his rotting teeth smiles and intelligence warm my heart, and Mariam, because she's been with me since that class was just three women. All my faves are from Somalia.

Today, I wore my hair in a ponytail, a rare occurrence these days. I had on a lavender shirt I love and bright pink lipstick. I am giving off a weird air these days, getting lots of compliments on my appearance. Today, I was smiley and genuinely happy to see everyone, and likewise, I believe. At one point, during break, two men from intermediate class were glancing in my direction. One said to me, "We are looking at you because today you are especially beautiful." I feel loved. Thank you to my equally beautiful students.

These pictures are unrelated, from a drive through the country, but I needed to get out my thoughts of leaving my beloved North Minneapolis school. I will miss it.

They are related though, because it's remarkable these myriad cultures ended up in this quiet state way up north. Here we are.

25 April 2016

On retreat, part 2

As stated previously, I took these pictures in a clandestine manner. We weren't allowed our phones during the retreat. I kept mine on "airplane mode," so it was basically just a functioning clock and camera. I can't help but take pictures of beautiful things in nature, things I may never see again. Things perhaps not many people notice, but I do. I love those little things.

I'm not saying I'm extraordinary; nobody is. We're all just here, trying to do the best we can. Prince died. Prince was just a mortal being. We all are.

"Maybe this 'obviously real' self is actually maintained through linking our continual self-referential commentaries and is supported by our pervasive social agreements about the reality and significance of this self. We pay attention to aspects of our experience that seem relevant to our self. We engage the world with all sorts of dramas about our self. We take all this as self-evident proof of having a solid, continuing self" (73). 

Quotations are from a helpful book I read called Already Free by Bruce Tift.

"If we're not paying attention to our sensations, we will probably be captured by our historic dramas. They are fascinating. They're very convincing in their appearance" (174).

"We may discover that the most satisfying life is one that is fully lived rather than one in which we've accumulated the most experiences" (193).

"Coming into relationship with whatever we are actually feeling in the moment--existential aloneness, aging, the truth of limitations, the experience of pain, anxiety/grief/anger, or the experiences of unconditional kindness and of freedom" (305).

"Discard nothing; appreciate everything" (319).

24 April 2016

On retreat, part 1

So, a lot to digest mentally after this retreat. First of all, I arrived to find out that it was one of "noble silence," meaning no speaking to other retreatants, NOR even looking at others in the eye. That was hard for a lonely soul like me, craving human connection.

At first. Then I understood better.

The last hour of the retreat we were allowed to speak to each other. An older woman came up to me and said, "The other day you were sitting on the grass by the beach [which, as an aside, ended secretly with me getting stabbed in the butt with many burrs]." She continued, "The wind was blowing, and your hair was flowing, and you looked absolutely beautiful, and I wanted to say something." There I was in old, faded yoga pants, unkempt, wild frizz hair, and not a lick of makeup. In other words, I wasn't trying, wasn't even conscious of my appearance. And, I was informed I was beautiful. The essence which is me. What a wonderful thing to tell a lonely girl sitting on the beach with burrs poking through her yoga pants.

All pictures hereafter were taken surreptitiously.

06 April 2015

Spring Starts

"And beauty is a form of genius--is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation." --Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

24 March 2015

Leaves, Flowers, Snowflakes, Human Beings, Depression

"No two people have the same depression. Like snowflakes, depressions are always unique, each based on the same essential principles but each boasting an irreproducibly complex shape." - Andrew Solomon, The Noonday Demon

08 March 2015

The Melt

"Let yourself recall again and again what for you is the most important thing. Perhaps you long to realize the truth of who you are, to love well, to touch peace, or live more from presence." - Tara Brach True Refuge