Reflection on a Puddle, Boston, 2006. Photo by Rich Cave.
“Our task is to say a holy yes to the real things of our life as they exist – the real truth of who we are: several pounds overweight, the gray, cold street outside, the Christmas tinsel in the showcase, the Jewish writer in the orange booth across from her blond friend who has black children. We must become writers who accept things as they are, come to love the details, and step forward with a yes on our lips so there can be no more noes in the world, noes that invalidate life and stop these details from continuing.” Natalie Goldberg
It’s Christmas Eve! Merry Christmas!
The last couple of days I’ve been bundled up in bed, drinking my Gypsy Cold Care tea, barely moving, not even checking mail and blogs. At one point I was upset for missing vacation time, but suddenly I realized this is the perfect time to surrender and be sick. Let my body rest and soak in the deliciously warm, fluffy bed, with a nice book at hand and my wonderful man pampering me all day long. Aren’t I truly lucky? Being away from obligations has its good side too. :D
I’m re-reading Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. I figured that since I have a blog now, I better pay some respect to my readers and do the best job I can. Funny thing is though, that when I glanced all the way down my bookshelves, I suddenly caught sight of the numerous books on writing that I own. I couldn’t ignore them. They were a clear reflection of myself and they were starring right back at me. So I gently stepped into my memory to search for the reasons why I’ve been buying these books, when I haven’t written in years…
I found out that I’ve been seeking these books because they make me feel relaxed and at ease in my eagerness and need to express. Somehow I’ve always felt that I belonged in the writer’s world, where it is vital to caress all the details in life. I remembered also, that writing was a significant part of me while living in Brazil. I devoured Portuguese literature, I poured my heart out in my journals, I worked as a copywriter for a couple of Ad Agencies and I even wrote a Play once.
But you see, for the last eleven years I’ve been away from “Portuguese”, and I can’t do as good of a job with it anymore. And even though I think and dream in English these days, I never felt entitled to write in English, because it is not my first language. How could I do a good job at it? Guess what happened? I stopped writing.
On the flip side, here I am, guys. Willing to do it badly. And this was a big splash for me: to see that I am doing it now, even though I wasn’t thinking about the writing itself when I started. If I had intended to write, I probably would never have posted an entry. It’s too scary. The key is that I dove into this experience heart first. My intention was solely to share, because I realized how much I’ve benefited from reading other blogs and learning how we are all deeply connected.
What I’m wondering however, is if this knowledge can be used in other areas where I’m expecting myself to do well. Like painting, for instance. Can we ever just play and do what we like and what we are called to do without the pressure to excel? Why don’t we trust ourselves and have more fun?
I’ll still create a space to encourage travel here, as I originally promised. But I must say this whole thing is taking a life of its own. I’m going to let it run wildly for a while to see if there are more hidden desires waiting to surface. I want this blog to be a reflection of real life experiences and this is one of them. Realizing I want to write about whatever comes up. I want to let my guard down with the words and fly with them to unexpected places.
It is like traveling after all, sometimes we make arrangements to go somewhere but mid-way, we tweak and change the itinerary a bit. This is happening here. Will you come with me?
And how about you? Is there anything you’re overlooking because of fear of doing it badly? What is the creative voice inside you saying? Open your heart and let that voice come out. We need to do these things because they make us feel alive, not because we need to be successful at them. (I need to repeat this to myself a hundred times a day!)
I want to thank the readers of this blog so far, and a few inspiring, kind, talented souls and mentors, that encouraged me to take action and begin this journey to find my own voice. Thanks to all of you, I’m starting to enjoy the colors in my own reflection.
Archive for December, 2006
Guatemalan Worry Dolls, 2006
I wanted to share with you a little secret from the road: Worry Dolls.
I found them in Guatemala a couple of years ago. The indigenous Mayans make these cute colorful dolls out of scrap materials. They believe that before going to bed, you should write down your worries and put them in the tiny box. While you sleep, the little dolls will take your worries away.
Isn’t that quite handy? And sweet?!
I started using them and then I learned that my favorite authors Anne Lamott and Sark make and use something similar which they call “God Box”. Sark mentions it in her book Transformation Soup: Healing for the Splendidly Imperfect.
Now, you might not believe in it at first, because I didn’t. But there is something to be said about writing it down and letting it go. Why not give it a try? Once I got pass my skepticism and believed in it, it worked for me indeed!
If anyone needs a worry doll box to get started, I’ll be glad to ship the 8 extra ones I have, to the 8 lucky ones that ask first.
Put your worries out there and watch them disappear while miracles unfold…
* ps: Maryam, because of your post yesterday, I have one saved up for you :)
Lonely goat, Kochi, 2004
One of the only negative things about leading a gypsy life is the fact that you can’t avoid leaving loved ones behind.
During the holiday season, I usually feel a bit sad. I question my reasons for choosing adventures away from home. I try to convince myself that I wouldn’t feel complete even if I had all the special people in the world around me. I persuade myself to believe that feeling whole is a state of mind. I am a Capricorn, after all. The surefooted, hardy goat. I find my security in the cliffs and heights of the far distances.
The truth however, is that I don’t like being a loner at heart. I like sharing and celebrating moments together. I feel guilty and I wish I could always be there for those who love me unconditionally and nonstop.
So, today I dedicate this entry to all the dear ones that are physically far, but who I bring in my heart wherever I go.
I bring with me all the exquisite
tight hugs we’ve ever shared.
All the heart to heart conversations
till the wee hours of the night.
Campfires, open sky and stars…
I bring those secrets told
with a smile of embarrassment
and the ones revealed in laughter.
Our walks on the beach with
the breeze gently ruffling our hair,
the humidity on our skin
and the silver highlights on the waves,
while we splashed around freely and unbent.
I bring our dreams and our confessions
whispered on the porch
and the samba playing next door.
Skipping class to lay out in the sun,
jumping rope, playing cards, bowling…
The rhythm of our dance is in my heartbeat.
I bring along our rides together
and when we sang to the radio
at the top of our lungs.
The late night drives down the coast
and strawberry shakes in the morning after.
I bring that dinner we managed to schedule
just barely, in between fligths.
I bring your cards, letters, emails, messages,
the many long distance calls we exchanged
and especially, the love you never ceased to send my way
in all these years…
I also bring the happiness in your voice
every time you heard from me
and the tears rolling down our cheeks
at every good bye…
Not knowing for sure
when we’d see each other again.
I thank you for being right here for me
in the memories I bring no matter what.
I believe that you and I don’t simply exist in the world
but the world and you exist within me…
Even when I feel like a lonely goat.
And BIG thanks to all the Poetry Thursday gals, who are inspiring me and pushing me to open up and dare my way with a poem! This is a first. And it feels gooooood.