Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Poignant People

Sometimes people drift into your life, and then they are there awhile before you realize the tides changed when they arrived. One such person sent me a note this weekend that made my spirit waver. He has seen me struggle both at work and with my health, and it meant a lot that he noticed and cared enough to say anything. And he made me think...

Within me is the worry that people born of my make and model are destined for torture. I’ve been deliberating specifically today on whether there is a life I can choose to lead that will bring me to a path of peace, not sickness and utter overwhelming life adherence to a burning notion of safety. Is it possible to choose a dedication that both sustains and inspires me? That alone should be the ultimate goal of humanity, but we tend to allow the forceful systems of society to assault us in an opposing trajectory.

I decided this week to surrender to this breeze that swept by. I heard slight sounds of encouragement speaking, softly parading ideas of simplicity and solitude. In an honest and earnest moment I realized that I haven’t truly been alone in what feels like years. And now that I see this, I have the chance to grasp the best of two worlds I have known; the world of withdrawn dissolution, spiritual, lonely, yet productive, and the world of quiet companionship, full of acceptance, dedication and sacrifice.

There are lives out there that are honorable influences for us all. And while there is no perfect answer to the meaning of being alive, felicity is a human quality that is not only achievable, but also natural. So by stripping away skin that is not natural, the complexion of the spirit cleanly and smoothly reveals itself.

When life, death, and regret face you with its unreadable glassy eyes, thoughts begin to resemble understanding in a truer sense. Material things, false words, crazy fallacies begin to lose their grasp. I remember facing death 6 years ago, my hunger and realization of the world around me became only a charade and hallucination. People, words, advertisements, money danced around me and I was the ghost lingering in the center, staring at Josh cemented to a hospital bed. When I thought he was going to die, time itself began to move in slow motion. Nothing more mattered that whole year, not angry kids I worked with, not awkward wedding plans, not the size of my jeans or condition of my car. When you see life at its most vulnerable, you yourself have the opportunity to become vulnerable and reflective.

There are no enemies to be had, only enemies to be made. I know I can hold no one but myself accountable for my feelings or the sick setting my surroundings can become. Because change should be for the good, it shouldn’t be feared. I don’t dismay that my body won’t sustain, but I do grudge the passing of time. So this should be an inspiration to live moments for moments, to hold ourselves accountable for these moments, and to hope our moments seep into the spatial quality of our world. Our light then can diffuse through our cracks, not be sucked from our cavities.

Awareness is a gift. Now we just need the gift of a trampoline to bounce us when we jump, shooting us wherever it is we will land.

Our Recent New York, New York Journey

This beautiful face you may not recognize is that of our friend Michelle that joined us in the travels. She was about to partake in her first genuine skateboard display shop/sushi bar sake bomb.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

South Indian Dinner

Sunday we spent some time with some friends of ours that are originally from southern India. We introduced ourselves five years ago when we recognized their accents as being from that region. When we met it didn't seem like our trip to India had been that distant, but now time has definitely lapsed.

It's been 8 years since Josh and I first started getting to know each other. I can imagine where we were eight years ago today, the beginning of February. It was just starting to get really warm in India, we were probably on the train to Maduraii by after spending a month in Nagercoil, preparing for classes in Indian Geography, Religion, and History. Evenings were spent on rooftops drinking King Fisher beer, listening to our (tape!) walkmans, writing emails to family that rarely made it past Indian electrical glitches, and eating homemade curries, briyanis, and dosas.

Anytime we spend with our Michigan Indian friends we are transported to the days of sweat on our brows, cameras by our sides, thoughts racing through our heads about global issues. It's good to remember days that were so molding to who we are now and to the relationship that we have.

Here are photos of our friends and the day we spent- them trying to teach us about cooking, and an afternoon with bloated rice bellies, watching Bollywood films and nodding off to the smell of tea and curry.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Pain to Peace

Let's just be honest here. I'm a slightly prideful person. But I have a feeling that everyone, in some way, has a bit too much pride for healthy existence. My husband and I seem to have a clear channel of communication even when our single selfish selves get the best of us. We come around, apologize, remember the days before we were married that we swore fighting could never happen between us. And I certainly don't have a lot of pride with my appearance anymore. The staff at work laughed at me on Friday because of my attire. I had to explain that the shiny black button up shirt was from a friend of my sister's five years ago, the pants were from my housemates sister, the tshirt was from a festival Josh and I went to, and the boots are a hiking staple bought back in 1998. But when it comes to putting my stress on other people by asking for help, it stresses me out even more.

The past six months have been really tough in that this healthy 28 year old has had to eliminate exercise beyond walking and deal with feeling shabby about 70% of my days. I've had the flu and a case of mono that just went on and on and on. I'm not sure if it was brought on by the late nights, getting home between 3-5am, or the gray, cold Michigan days, or the stress of lifestyle changes. But 70% of the past six months has been spent full of exhaustion, disbelief, and cold and flu symptoms. So this weekend, when I started to get a cold, I decided to amp up my vitamins, oregano, kumbucha, and sleep. Because I was so congested I boiled some water on the stove, threw a towel over my head, and stuck my head in the cavity made by towel and pot. I was really enjoying my own personal steam bath until I dropped my towel in the water and then decided to drop the towel directly on my leg. As a result I've burned myself. To what degree, I have no idea. I should just call my childhood best friend's husband who is a surgeon, but no, here's the pride I was talking about earlier. This morning, 15 hours after the episode, I walk around in circles in the kitchen, I call my father who is a family minister, my sister who is a veterinarian (and does know some things), my husband who is an artist, but I don't just dial Joseph the surgeon's number. But really, he's not my personal surgeon. It's not like he doesn't work 60 hours a week as it is.

So I'll call him. I promise. It's just rough when you feel like you don't have much to offer in return, like, "Hey! joseph! Give us a call if you ever have any questions about Robert Smithson or Richard Serra! Or if I can help you understand the difference between ales and lagers. We're your experts!" I suppose it feels like I'm asking Joseph to be responsible for the fact that we don't have health insurance. And that's not fair. But they always tell me to call, never worry, it's always fine. I should believe them. And I should move on to one more thought, the title to this post.

I finished another book by Paulo Coelho, the author of the Alchemist. This book that I read comments on pain and how if you avoid the pain, and if you don't allow yourself to live that pain through until the pain can no longer be felt, until you've risen about that pain, you can't have the value of peace that comes through the pain. These past months, as I've labored on in less then perfect health, there have been thoughts, processes that I've worked through, that I wouldn't have had time for if it wasn't for the pain. I have a long way to go, but I realize that I've been given the gift of a different perspective because of all this irritating sick time. I didn't succumb to hours spent in a gym or running (knowing that my body could handle the muscle recovery), and I didn't spend hours busying myself with tasks that swaddle themselves in lies about needing to get done. I simply stayed quiet and still and read many books in the time that I couldn't be rushing. And so while I hate that my immune system is weaker than any other 28 year old I know in my functioning society, and I hate the fact that I somehow pored boiling water on my knee, I can move past that. I can simply hate the fact that I don't have health insurance, yet embrace the fact that life has surrounded me with knowledgeable and loving people who as much as I hesitate asking for help, are always willing.

And I love the fact that when I feel most rushed and as though the world will cave in if I don't finish all those tasks on my list, but then am pounded to my bed by the weight of sickness or burns, peace kind of sidesteps in. And I think I'm just going to let it. And call my personal surgeon.