Saturday, December 31, 2011

New York City in 4 Nights

I arrived on Canal Street in NYC after 10 hours sitting on a bus from Bangor, Maine. I was tired. But as soon as I met my friend, Debbie and her friend, Charlie, at a bar near Union Square, a second wave of energy from the city itself arrived. Afterwards, we went back to Debbie's Brooklyn Apt. near Prospect Park and talked and talked and she gave us Tarrot card readings. Uncannily, even after shuffling, Charlie and I were delt nearly an identical hand, but all my cards were upside down and his were rightside up. Whatever that means.

Tuesday, it rained. I worked on some contract graphic design work and took it easy, processing, writing, meditating, reading. When Debbie got home, she, Charlie and I went to a really neat Slavic Soul music show at a venue called Barbe in Brooklyn. So many young, artsy people. The place was packed and the music was great. We walked home through Prospect Park.

Wednesday dawned sunny and I took the free ferry to Staten Island to see what that was like. Beautiful views, good to be on the ocean. When Debbie got home that night, I read her a poem I'd written and she said she had to read me something. She read Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.  I need to keep reading that book. I fell asleep feeling truly blessed.

Thursday, I walked and walked and loved every minute of it. Through Central Park, along Lexington Ave, to Columbus Circle and concluded in a cafe waiting for my friend Katie. When she arrived, we braved the insane crowds to catch a glimpse of Rockefeller Center and Times Square. The line for Madeleine's famous bakery where we ate last time I saw her here, was just too long. So we went to a donut plant instead and then on to Pho Grand for delicious pho and spring rolls. Such a nice, cozy atmosphere. It was so good catching up with Katie!

My last morning in NYC this time around, I got to see the matinee showing of Hansel & Gretal at the MET Opera for free because Katie had a ticket and couldn't go. The set design alone was steller and so was the show. I sat outside in the sun watching the pigeons and the people, soaking up the sun and the atmosphere for an hour afterwards before making my way to the airport.

I arrived back in NM at 11pm and spent the night at a friends so I wouldn't have to drive back to Santa Fe so late. The book beside my friends bed, where I slept, was called Writing Down Your Soul. Interesting, I thought. So I opened it up. The quote on the page I opened to read:

"Things are not happening to you, they are happening for you. If you want to ask, 'Why is this happening to me?' ask instead: 'Why did my soul call this forth?'"

An incredibly meaningful and fitting note to go to sleep with. And to begin the New Year with!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Who am I? I am that place of stillness and love at the center. I am not the careless comments. I am not the expectations and images placed on me. I am not the chatter in my head. I am not the negative feelings or the positive feelings that sway back and forth like seaweed with the high and low tides of the day. I am not the books I have read, the tests I have taken, the degrees I have undertaken. I am not the good poem I wrote or the bad poem I wrote. I am not the stylish clothes people may notice me for sometimes and I am not the reserved, self-absorbed bad-hair-day person people may judge me for at other times. I am not any of those things although I can identify and be identified by them. I am deeper than all of those projections and reflections, as are we all. We are the stillness, presence and love simply being underneath, always, steady, grounding.

NYC is not the hustle and bustle,
The Honking horns and clamor,
Raised voices across street corners,
Glitz and glamor, skyline, poverty,
New York is not even
The statue of liberty,
The big apple, the place to be,
Although we identify New York
As all of these things.
What is New York then?
New York, like you and me,
is the serene presence,
steady love, simple stillness,
Underneath that surface-sense.

Friday, December 23, 2011


I flew to Maine for Christmas. My brother came too, from Bellingham, WA. My sister is already at home, since she goes to College an hour away from my parent's house anyway. This is the first Christmas in 3 years that the whole family is together and it is wonderful. There are great meals galore - hungarian mushroom soup and polenta made by my sister yesterday, romatoff chicken and vegetables, Buffalo meatball stew, French Toast, brussel sprouts and kale from my parent's garden, and we are still a few days from Christmas.

It is snowing today. We were supposed to visit my grand-mother an hour away, but we will go tomorrow instead when the weather is better. It looks like we will have a white Christmas!

Today is Friday. I spent Sunday night in Albuquerque at Teresa's the morning before flying to Maine. I am grateful to live near one of the interns from my 11-week spiritual retreat this summer. I went to dinner with Teresa, and Andee - another friend who works at The Center for Action and Contemplation where the retreat/internship happened. We ate at Baily's on the Beach, my new favorite restaurant, voted 2011 best new restaurant in Albuquerque. The food is eclectic and affordable and the coconut cream pie is so delicious. Despite all of this goodness, I couldn't quite summon my normal, cheery happy self to the table because of a very recent and kind of unexpectedly quick ending to a relationship I was more hopeful about than any other I have been in. There is a saying though, "Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want." I've had relatively little experience with relationships and I have suffered from them less than most people my age. There is a certain flatness that permeates life for a while after a disappointed ending like that, maybe its due from chemical withdrawal in addition to the severing of emotional and spiritual chords that have been formed invisibly between two people.

I know that the best and most dependable healer is time and the ability, with time, to willingly give all those negative emotions: disappointment, anger, sadness, self-sabotage, confusion, pain, all over to whoever you relate to as your spirit guide. It just seems to take time to relinquish all of that, realizing in the process of letting it go, the clarity and resolution that were invisible when you were still attached and clinging and trying to explain it all to yourself, the other-no-longer-half, or friends.

The plane ride, I knew, could either be a time of peace or a time of obsession and the choice was mine. I chose peace, meditated, read healing books and wrote poetry. I love traveling and it has always made me remember and feel that I have no control, that control is an illusion, and that my life is in the care of larger hands than my own.

Monday night, my oldest friend from my first year of kindergarten, Jenni, picked me up from the Portland airport. It was wonderful to see Jenni in a really great, happy, stable place in her life. We still have such a soul connection after knowing each other a good 23 years. She is a counselor now, so it was especially helpful to process things with her. On Tuesday, we went shopping together in Freeport and Portland. I am pleased a Trader Joe's came to Portland this past year! Then, Jenni took me to the Concord Trailways bus station and I took the bus from Portland to Bangor, ME. Mom picked me up in Bangor and drove me the final leg to Mariaville, to the same house I grew up in. Pop, Vivian and the dogs welcomed me. My brother, Joe, and his girlfriend Lauren, arrived the next day, Wednesday.

Last night, Thursday, I met up with six friends from high school in Bangor. I see a few of the friends once or twice a year, but a few of them I hadn't seen since high school. We concluded the evening at a cute and cozy piano bar downtown called Nocturnum where they serve pear cider and coffee mead. It was very good to see everyone and to feel the kindness and bond we still have for each other. And it was good to get out and be refreshed with different perspectives of living and looking at the world.

Lately, I've been feeling, for the first time in my life, the desire to put down roots instead of wander. I will always love to travel and I know I will do it throughout the rest of my life, but it has ceased to be the priority and motivation for my journey. Something else is taking shape and I can feel my life being redirected. I am open and excited for the redirection and I believe that, as John O'Donohue says, "There is an unseen life that dreams us. It knows our true direction and destiny. We can trust ourselves more than we realize and we need have no fear of change."

I woke up today feeling the abundance of good friendships and loving, wise family in my life. The world looks bright again. Last year, I didn't have a word starting the year, but looking back, the word could have been "Experience." My word for 2012 is "Guided."

Out of My Hands


To write through this haze,
It is winter, the darkest days,
The soltice in three, then brightening,
To stay with any object, thing,

That reminds me, charged with emotion
Until it holds no charge over me.
The book lent, in my hands,
The keys still in purse pocket,

The couple kissing in line,
I choose peace on this plane.
There is only engine hum sound.
We are above cloud-compressed ground.


I hold it gently, lightly
In the palm of my hand,
Maybe if I make a wish,
And blow my will like an eyelash,
Love will land somewhere quietly
And sprout into reality,
Feathers taking roots,
And growing down,
And roots taking feathers,
And flying forth unbound.

- Jeanne, on the plane home

Saturday, November 26, 2011


To see, really, reality.
Snap. Bolt. Thunderclap.
To ask authentically,
Not only to notice the gaps,

About ourselves, our thoughts,
But with equal intensity,
To find where we are caught,
In our minds, justifying,

Denying. Lying. Asleep.
Regarding the exterior goings on.
A world view we cling to keep,
A structure we don't believe gone,

As if truth were a thing we could mold,
Or dreams were a body we could hold.

Remember, the dynamic
Of sunrays on a child,
Playfully dancing, frantic,
Lit-up eyes, delighted, wild?

The shadows on the wall have shifted
From potted plant to silhouetted window blind
My mind has wandered, drifted,
Restless imaginings uncollected, unwind

Down the roots of trees,
Along streams and veins,
Into Earth and memory,
Through untested terrain.

Transitioning to repetition,
And habits of being,
Yet longing for vision,
Of what is there, but unseen.

Navigating the solitary,
Necessary, tundra inside,
Arriving at a tributary,
Fed by something greatly alive.

Extending a toe toward the moon,
And finding the stars applauding,
This gesture, intention to move,
The wildflowers gently nodding.

From stationary stance,
To gusty, liberating slide,
Down those dramatic glances,
Into honey comb and hive,

And nonsense and fragments,
Strung together like lies,
Revealing the butterfly of descent,
To be in the rise.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Way of Jellyfish

A raft of trust,
In a sea of unsettlement,
In the gusts of thought,
What, if anything, is meant
By the turbulence of words unsent?
All of the unheard jellyfish,
A floating pink array,
Wishing with their tentacles,
For her to find her way,
Not to somewhere safe, respectable,
Not to shore as you might guess,
Not to any certain place, in fact,
But, gracefully, with lightness,
toward steadying her craft.

Friday, November 18, 2011


I am re-remembering, again, the extreme importance of being excited with life. Of being thrilled for the possibilities. Life has soooo much to offer. The surprises and discoveries, the harder things to learn, even, the limitless wonders and unexpected simple pleasures, the weaknesses that are also the strengths - they are enough to keep us humming inside and out all day if we only knew and re-remembered them more!

I opened up a book about poetry this morning and a quote jumped out at me:
"What is to give light must endure burning" - Viktor Frankle (author of Man's Search for Meaning)

Monday, November 14, 2011

"Gift from the Sea" Notes from a year and a half ago, found now

I am looking back at the beginning of my journal as I am about to use up the last pages and start a new one. In the first few pages of this old one, I notice my notes from reading the wonderful book "Gift from the Sea" by Anne Morrow dated March 2010. Those notes were written when I started this journal over a year and a half ago. Then, I was still living in Austin and reading that book at my grandmothers in Wimberley; it is one of her favorites. I lost the journal a few pages in and I started a new one. I found this lost journal and started writing in it again a few months ago, and now I've almost used it up because I go through journals quickly. Its interesting to have a journal with some entries from over a year and a half ago alongside entries written within the last few months - and to have the older notes line up so much more perfectly with where I am at now then where I was at then:

"What makes us hesitate and stumble? It is fear, I think that makes one cling nostalgically to the last moment or to clutch greedily at the next...But how to exorcize it? It can only be exorcized by its opposite, love. When the heart is flooded by love there is no room for fear, for doubt, for hesitation" (106)

"A larger rhythm, a natural swinging of the pendulum between sharing and solitude; between the intimate and the abstract; between the particular and the universal, the near and the far" (106)

"When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility, yet this is exactly what so many of us demand." (108)

"We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity, when the only continuity possible in life, as in love, in in growth, in fluidity - in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.

The only real security is not owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping even.

Live in the present relationship and accept it as it is now.

For it is only framed in space that beauty blooms. Only in space are events and objects and people - unique and significant - and therefore beautiful" (115)

"Patience - faith - openness, is what the sea has to teach. Simplicity - solitude - intermittency" (127)

Playing with Fire and Water

Ocean eyes I can dive deeply into
Finding myself reflected back
Inside an obsidian center,
My gaze intersected by meridian blue
And the sound of the sea within
The nautilus maze of my ear.

I am writing by a stream,
Now, Dear, do you know?
Water rushes clear under ragged snow,
And over glistening mica sand.
I recall your heart flushing,
Equally alive, rising, falling,
Beneath my fully opened hand,
As I breathed the words in jest,
"Don't even play with fire."
Maybe what I meant in earnest was,
Let the flames burn faster, higher,
Lighter, brighter, not consuming us,
but renewing, lasting through us.

Thoughts and Feelings

Yesterday was one of those floating dream days where every moment seemed inspired and as new as the light green shoots of grass passing up through the old ones. The hours were all that much more magical because I woke up not knowing or having planned a thing that would happen in them. The day could therefore become itself, created spontaneously. Malleably. Unfolding. I awoke in downtown Santa Fe seeing the sun strike through the line of wine glasses on the window ledge. By late morning, we are sitting in conversation and sunlight at a French cafe taking bites of delicious pear and mixed-berry claffouties - the namesake of the cafe. Later, still in sunlight, we are talking on the apartment patio, traffic and pedestrians pass by out of focus to me as I am wrapt up in communication - verbal and unspoken. An hour later, inside to use the restroom, he says: "Control is not real." I feel thats it exactly that I've been struggling how to bring to the surface. Yes, control is an illusion.

The conversation has built an energy, tangible almost.

Later, the sun is going down. Energy has been spent. I want to go for a walk before the beautiful day turns to night. How about going somewhere for a glass of wine? Soon we are walking to Maria's New Mexican Restaurant, a good walk that uses up the last of the daylight. I realize we have not eaten anything, but air and words, since the pastries this morning. During some point in the walk, he states: "There is no meaning." I am startled for a second, though I don't know if I show it. Then I realize what he means and that I have come to the same conclusion at one time or another. There is no meaning, but the meaning you create. I decided a long time ago that I love meaning and I love creating meaning out of everything that happens in my life. Everyone creates their own meaning. Or they don't. You will only have as  much meaning in your life as you create out of it. This day has been so special partly because I have found so much meaning in the simplicity of it. We settle into a new conversation over pina coladas, enchiladas, tamales, chile rellenos.

After concluding the night with a witty, funny comedy, newly released and titled, "Arthur", I feel a tinge of sadness that the day is over, accompanied by a rush of gratitude. Bittersweet.

I remember another comment he made during the day, when we were outside still talking on the patio. He said, "Thoughts and feelings are the same thing." Do we think they are separate because we have been brought up thinking this way? A thought comes to me now, later, not in his company anymore, maybe thoughts and feelings are the same energies just at different stages of development...

I take a while to process and reflect. If I speak too soon about something, the thoughts will come out only partly formed. Writing always helps me with the development of feelings to thoughts and vice versa. Maybe that is one of the reasons why I write.

The challenge becomes to be moved

Nature always moves me.

Behind my house.
Up sand and scrub.
Through arroyos and gravel roads.
The sky at my back, stares dark grey,
weighted and waiting to spill.
But only a few sprinkles press my cheeks.
And I walk further still, alone,
than I ever have before.
Past even the lone gates
with security enforced signs.
The heavy slate sky arrests my breath,
I stop to take it in,
before I turn.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Transition to Winter

Above: Snow Clouds in New Mexico

Transition. Life is a transition. Sometimes, I feel more like I'm in a transitory state, but even when I don't feel like I am, I still am. We are always transitioning from one stage to another. Right now, I seem to be pausing in my life and I am trying to wait patiently for knowledge of which way I am meant to turn next. Waiting can be uncomfortable because of the insecurity that uncertainty invites in all too easily.

I don't want to be waiting around wasting energy and creative opportunities. Life is too short. Once again, the best thing to do is take a deep breath and remain aware of the connection to Grace that is always there and to stay in that alignment as much as possible.

It is easy to get discouraged and to question oneself. To question one's abilities and talents of actually finding a sustainable career that one loves and that one can make a living from and still give back. I guess there comes a point to settle down and do that. Is that where I'm moving toward? I trust that I will find work which will allow and challenge me to use my gifts to create beauty in this world...

We can only be at where we are at.

Transition to Winter

Transition. Life is a transition. Sometimes, I feel more like I'm in a transitory state, but even when I don't feel like I am, I still am. We are always transitioning from one stage to another. Right now, I seem to be pausing in my life and I am trying to wait patiently for knowledge of which way I am meant to turn next. Waiting can be uncomfortable because of the insecurity that uncertainty invites in all too easily.

I don't want to be waiting around wasting energy and creative opportunities. Life is too short. Once again, the best thing to do is take a deep breath and remain aware of the connection to Grace that is always there and to stay in that alignment as much as possible.

It is easy to get discouraged and to question oneself. To question one's abilities and talents of actually finding a sustainable career that one loves and that can make a living from and still give back. I guess there comes a point to settle down and do that. Is that where I'm moving toward? I trust that I will find work which will allow and challenge me to use my gifts to create beauty in this world...

We can only be at where we are at.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Notes from the week

I went for a hike with James, Adam and Christina last weekend to the top of Pedernal, that flat-backed mountain portrayed in Georgia O'Keefe paintings. So, so beautiful! We camped out along the chama river the night before. In the morning, James and I woke up earlier than everyone else and visited Christ in the Desert Monastery, driving down the dirt road beside the river and the turning cottonwood trees under blue blue sky. We arrived in time to sit in on 20 minutes of the service, followed by silent meditation. I felt like it was exactly what I needed. We noticed a tarantula migrating on the road on the way back.

Poem from earlier in the week:

I'm back to staring at the yellow walls
that bite me if I touch them.
Release me from the halls
running from one end to the other.
Send me peace of mind
and surprises to discover.
I realize I am restless,
Consuming chips and chocolate.
Close those eyes and go to sleep,
Falling deep below the blips of thought,
The requests to know not what,
Into gratitude for the resting and the letting.

From 10/26:
I dreamt last night. I was fashioning little log float rafts for 20 people. We were going to head out across the ocean for the next 6 weeks. I hid my camera and belongings up in a palm tree. The place of departure was the same place in a dream a few months ago in which a tsunami slammed ashore and I held onto to a tree, underwater, submerged, until it passed.

I just finished the profoundly thought-provoking book, "Love is Stronger than Death" by Cynthia Bourgeault. Its an incredible account of conscious love and the bond that continues to develop beyond the grave. Here are just a few of the many memorable quotes:

"Hence, the core of all spiritual practice lies in teaching us not to identify with our psychological reactions to everything" (107)

"Dying to self...awakening to self: the two paths exist in creative tension within us" (134)

"Soul work with an authentic soul partner can be messy, untidy, frequently turbulent. The beloved holds a key possessed by no on else, which allows him or her to plunge deeper into the other's psychic realms than any other human being, to unlock dungeons that even the beloved cannot open alone" (138)

"True love demands sacrifice because true love is a transforming force and is really the birth pangs of union at a higher level" (147)

"The very intensity of the desire they have to give all to the other will become the bridge on which they cross from passion to compassion" (150)

"I want it because I think it helps him; he wants it because he thinks it helps me. After a while, who gives what or why doesn't matter anymore, only the giving itself matters" (172)

"Love remains and deepens, but its form renews itself in a different way. What you really do today is to put your lives in the service of love itself: to let the material of your own selves - your hopes and fears, imitations and shadows, your intimate jostling up against each other - become the friction that polishes you both to pure diamonds" (188 - marriage sermon)

"If the way is opening, keep on walking" (209)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I'm in.

Today, I worked at the dressage stable, as I have now for the past month. As always, I enjoy being near the horses. The work fits perfectly for where I am right now, in transition. In the most peaceful, accepting beautiful transition through the unknown that I have ever experienced in my life. Gone is the doubt, anxiety, restlessness that seemed to be lurking behind closed closets of my mind. It took a lot of closet cleaning during this past summers' spiritual retreat to sweep out the uncertainty - or a lot of the future anxiousness anyway. I learned that as long as I maintain awareness and live my life in as conscious a connection to Source/God/Sprit as I can, all is well and will continue to be well.

Two months ago, I was in the midst of exploring Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Now, I'm living in the best house in my favorite little city of Santa Fe, with the most amazing house mates. I'm working part-time with horses and part time with design. Eventually, the design work will grow, but I'm happily enjoying the free time right now.

Tonight, I went to a Santa Fe business/networking meeting with the owner of KLA Concepts whom I do some contract work for. I met  a nice writer lady. As we were talking about poetry, she said, "Oh, there's a reading at Collected Works [bookstore] right now. Michael Dickman. Want to go?" I really did, so I headed over there with her and I'm glad I went. Now, as I often do after listening to someone pour out poetry aloud, I feel inspired to write in my journal.

Tonight, I caught up with my housemate, C. We joke that we always have a daily update. But we've missed the past few days, so we were so excited to see each other in the house at 7:30 pm, with no one else about, so we could catch up on life. Over the best bluebell ice-cream flavor of course: banana pudding, complete with vanilla wafers. A boy nicknamed her hot pants. I told her she should call him hot dish, since he is from Minnesota. Soon, there will be a hot dish/hot pants birthday party for him!

I myself am in love! For only the 2nd time in my life (the first time was a year and a half ago in Taiwan) It is the most beautiful feeling in the world, isn't it? I was completely unprepared to meet anyone I would fall in love with in Santa Fe. And now it is happening. Isn't that how it works?

My heart somersaulted when I got a text from him a few moments ago: "I am in love with you." Perhaps its that poetry reading that guides my response: "I'm in. I'm in love. I'm in love with you. You."

I am listening to Andrew Bird now. On this listen, for the first time, I realize how similar this band is to another of my favorites, Breathe Owl Breathe. All of my 4 house mates are home now, in the kitchen. I smell pizza. My room is cozy and warm from the space heater. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for life. This love I feel transcends all, wraps itself around my feet, making it easy to walk on clouds, on water, on parched earth, on dirty floors. I imagine the mist of it enveloping others - friends, strangers - and lifting them a little too. Someday, if I'm really lucky, I will feel this love for everyone.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Imagine, two hummingbirds,
Building a fire together,
Delicately selecting kindling
of straw and spider web
and horse hair, and those
nearly translucent aspen leaves,
creating that base,
attentively adding the logs,
the breath of their wing beats
igniting the flame,
that leaps, alighting, ahead
into ruby-throated blaze.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Slumber awake

Cream curtains draped in light. Its morning. As I look closer, I notice tiny creases and window pane shadows on fabric. The curtain length lingers on the floor, too long to hang completely. I've woken up on a soft leather couch, quieter and warmer than usual, at my friend's house. We had a girl's slumber party, eating salad, cucumber sandwiches, cake, drinking ginger and watermelon elixirs prepared by Sarah, talking until 2am. No one else is awake. I cannot sleep later than 8:30. Not with the energizing sun streaming hello through blank slate curtains, as if saying today is open to possibilities and whims of the imagination, to hiking in the mountain magic of snow and aspens, to reading with tea near a fireplace, to taking some time for journaling, to talking to my sister.

The girls are up now, murmuring in a bedroom. The dogs too, barking playfully in the back yard. Already, so much joy in the day.

I woke up feeling officially settled back in to Santa Fe, a month after moving back. A cohesian of friends and social time, work and creative pursuits. Funny how it takes a while to develop that rhythm that determines the quality of fitting in a place, of belonging.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fall Folliage (in the Northern Hemisphere)

We hiked to Lake Katherine, by the Santa Fe Ski Basin and Baldy, on Sunday -14 miles total through turning aspen and warm sun. I had never been all the way to the lake before. After a picnic lunch at our destination, a few of us meditated on rocks, but unfortunately had to put up with intruders who did not respect the inherent silence of the space. Still, things were still, for the most part, in my mind and my heart felt awake.

A new friend and fellow hiker lent me the movie "Howl" starring James Franco as Allen Ginsberg. My housemates and I watched the film when I returned from the hike. Really, all I felt like doing after 8 hours of tramping (as New Zealanders say), was watching a movie and passing out. Howl, along with the mountain-climb, however, required me to write this poem before falling asleep:

Fall Foliage

Not to be dulled
But to be polished!
To reflect the gold
Of sunlight intersecting
Autumn aspen, to hold
Palms open, inviting.
To brush dust from
Hearts, brightening.
To notice a leaf,
Part from a tree,
Alight on air, hover,
Settle in front of me.
Not to be muted,
But to live life full-color!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Leaping in Dreams

Last night, I dreamt. I awoke with the dream on my tongue. I was an observer of myself in the dream - as if I were being filmed inadvertently by a video camera. I could see half of my face in profile up close in the screen - like I was standing right beside the filmer. We were both watching the action unfold on a snow-capped peak before us. A spotted, shaggy mountain goat entered the screen and leapt from the cliff's edge! Why? Why? Why? It fell out of range of the camera as a snow leopard entered the shot. The leopard leapt after the goat, but realizing its peril, twisted in the air to land safely back on the ledge again licking its lips. No! I don't want this.

The scene rewound. This time I see the goat running and leaping, but, this time, the goat realized its predicament and twisted in the air to land safely back on the ledge again. The snow leopard leapt full-force after the goat and fell. The camera panned down to follow the leopard where it landed on all fours on a ledge far below, without injury.

The entire dream feels paused in my mind, surreal and realistic. The scene of the mountain definitely derives from the album cover, depicting a mountain, for a band called Painted Palms that will be couch surfing at my house tomorrow night.

And, strangely, their ethereal music played in the background of this dream filled with snow leopards, mountains, goats and leaping into the abyss.

AIGA Webinar: Reinventing the Magazine Experience for the Digital Era

With Callie Neylon, Colin Fleming, Lindsay Powell.

My Notes:

Digital Publishing. How does digital change books and the authorship process? From scroll to screen, the book is shedding its corpus. Digital is changing the process - making it more liberating and approachable. The shift to the new medium isn't scary, its just managing the workflow that is probably the biggest challenge.

Pre-artifact: writer + ideas + readers
Artifact: dynamic screens, maybe codex
Post-artifact: social media, global

You can now publish without the middleman - the publisher

Integrating, sharing + content. Not adding interactivity unless it enhances the story on another, more personal level. The new medium allows us to reach new audience members. Publishers really want to be on tablets.
- huge consideration about workflow
- also the opportunity to review how we do things!
- the conversation is now about what else do we add to headline + copy? Bringing the idea of User Experience. What is your communication about navigation of where your content is?
- All of these base design skills of telling the story need to be retained and translated to the new technology.

DPS - Digital Publishing Suite, using InDesign CS5.5 to design the layout. But with a single click, you can add video, movement, a slide show, cross-fades with no programming needed. Building these types of interactions is really easy in InDesign. Using the new DPS tools in InDesign creates beautiful, interactive digital publications! So Exciting!!

- designing a visual language with consistent icons for tapping and navigation, etc. The translation to digital is more tightly related to the horizontal spreads in a magazine. The ability to tell the story through motion as well!

InCopy is a sister application to InDesign, which allows editors to edit copy, but not the layout.

Tools: Image-sequence tool. There is a tool called folio builder in InDesign to build/construct layouts and assemble the files into folios for publishing digitally online. Go to AIGA website and look at resources for posts and writeup to questions from prior webinars to learn more of the tools/technology.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What is right now like?

What is right now like?
The walls are yellow
Like lemon merengue pie.
The house sounds quiet,
Most room mates are camping.
My lips feel dry.
My throat seems scratchy,
as if tickled by grass.
My mom says to imagine
My throat coated by matted
Soft, green, enzyme-giving grass.
So I do, and I wash the image down
With honeyed chai rooibos tea.
Right now is peaceful.
I am right where I would like to be.
Right now is happening to me.

I Won't Find Myself When I'm Looking

I won't find myself
when I'm looking for who I am.
My mind is not the place
from which to understand
what number represents me
on the enneagram.
When I pick my head up
When I become present again,
When I stop the search,
My self will be silently observing,
Lying still on a dock between water and sky,
The pylons locked down into earth for support.
The purple-fringed clouds passing by,
Bringing apple-smell and fall forth,
Soon darkness telling stars to light,
And owl calling some of me to flight,
While part of me is always resting, smiling,
On that dock, planted, between water and sky.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


I went to an AIGA workshop this morning at the Santa Fe Complex. The topic was "Expiramentations in Typography"and it was a kind of photographic typographic scavenger hunt for letterforms around the rail yard area. Each of us had to look for and photograph the 3 letter forms, which we drew from a pile on the table, around town. Some of the replicas people found were surprisingly identical in font, color and composition. We shared everyone's around the table in conclusion.

In addition, we were asked to form a chosen word through photography. The project example given was writing the word orange with a bunches of oranges in the supermarket and photographing the result. As a group, we decided the word of our workshop would be "inspire". These assignments all sounded quite familiar to me and off I went feeling like I was doing my MFA coursework again. I found the letters inspire in shadows. Shadows of grass stalks and bike parts and fence posts. I could almost have done the entire word in bike parts and would have had there been time or if my piece had been for a bike company.

Afterwards, I migrated to a cafe with a few of the other participants. One woman I talked to a lot was from Northern Ireland, has operated a successful graphic design studio in London, sustains herself on design work in Santa Fe now and satisfies herself with sculpture and art work. It was great to talk to them all. We bounced around the idea of starting a design collaborative studio in Santa Fe. How necessary this is! And members could be any kind of designers, not just graphic designers. There are so many freelance designers in Santa Fe. It would be fantastic to share a space, maybe one of those modern lofts over on Second Street. We could all share ownership of the building and work stations, help each other out, bring clients in, collaborate on fitting projects, pass along work to others who would be better at it or when we were swamped. There would be a healthy competitiveness and motivation, but no possessiveness. I want to be involved in creating such a design co-op and I think it will happen! It would also allow designers to have a base to come and return to when they need to travel and recharge (me!). I don't know why, but I feel incredibly idealistic and full of ideas today. A chandelier suspended from the ceiling of the world. 

Oh, and I found some awesome awesome shoes on sale today during my "inspire" search! There was a 70% off side-walk sale at "On Your Feet" and I could not resist Fly London shoes made in Portugal, regularly $163 on sale only for today for $52, and so comfortable and different! Look, see:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Two times to meet someone

I went to a mix event for young professionals in Santa Fe this week. It took place in a train car with pizza for all. The rain started coming down hard outside. I didn't really meet anyone.

The next night, I went to an art reception at a young, contemporary gallery at the Eggman & Walrus. Immediately I made a new friend. The funny thing is, she was at the mix event the night before at the exact same time I was, but I did not see her there. We are going to meet again soon to share design portfolios and ideas. She's a graphic designer too and recently graduated from a diploma program in Vancouver BC, where I just visited and loved. Collaboration and inspiration and sharing will be good.

Today, I went for a solo hike. I started at the Borrego Trail up toward the Santa Fe ski basin. And went to the left to Bear Wallow. It was so beautiful walking along the creek. I decided to go on a loop. I assumed it would circle back around to where I started, but just to make sure I asked a nice couple and they confirmed my hope. So I continued. But somehow I missed the turn-off and found myself going back around the same circle where I ran into the same couple again. They recognized me from before and were heading the way I wanted to go now so I talked and walked with them the rest of the way back. I think I made another friend or interesting connection. The lady I walked with studied at RISD 20 years ago and she and her partner just moved to Santa Fe 8 months ago. She told me about her spiritual quest and the energy work that she does and how nature called her to it and time in massage therapy school helped her to not only see energy, but also set boundaries. When we got back to our cars, she gave me her business card. It reads "Intuitive Reader/Angel & Guide Portraits."

It took me two encounters to meet these two people. Interestingly they both represent my dual paths: design/career and the spiritual/life.

After hiking, I went to the cultural, art event happening at the rail yard park. I love how there is always something like this happening in Santa Fe for me to do. Up and coming artists presented innovative booths. I went to the Art See booth to get my free pass to see the last day of the current exhibition at Site Santa Fe. Biology/art-like hand-made flowers, mushrooms and other botanicals were pinned to black walls. From a distance, they reminded me of reindeer lichen on a rock; they also made me think of jelly fish in the depths of the sea or cells under a microscope.

I just picked up a c.d. C at my CAC internship this past summer gave me. Its been sitting on my shelf. And I just looked over and thought I should listen to it now so that's what I'm about to do. Its by a poet David Whyte and called "Finding Courage and Clarity through Poetry."

Monday, September 12, 2011

Today is another Monday...

...and I am laying in the sun on some hay bales in the yard by the horno. Thinking, I do indeed feel called to do design work infused with poetry. I went for a long walk this morning, up behind the house. There is no one in that expanse, only scrub brush, sand, a random pile of ash where someone had a fire. There are markers to find my way: a line of rock and stumps, a barbed wire fence, a tattered, faded prayer flag stretched from one pinon tree to the next, a chain-link fence - downed in one part so I can pass over, a green, metal, pad-locked gate that I climb to reach the tarred road. Only a few cars pass me by the whole time on the main road. When I've walked down it far enough, I retrace my steps and follow the landmarks back home. I don't want to to get up from these hay bales in the sun. The sky is blue, the air crisp with an autumn breeze already. I'm enjoying the free time while I have it.

AIGA Santa Fe Design Lecture Series w/Justin Ahrens of Rule29

Justin Ahrens of Rule29, 42 miles west of Chicago, speaking at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe Saturday, 9/10/11

My notes:

You can live anywhere and be great at being a creative

As creatives, we are aware of stores of our lives, whether we know it or not.

Importance of seeing the stories. There is something about your story and the way you grew up that you apply to your creative work.

How many of you think design can change the world? How many of you think you can change the world with design?

To See - to notice something you weren't looking for.
How do you keep that feeling of seeing something for the first time, of seeing things you weren't looking for, in your life?

Look back, when can you recall someone doing something that made you see differently?

In our career path, we all get to a point where we want to do something bigger. "I want to do something bigger, something more, there's got to be a way I can use my creative skills to make a difference"

Life in Abundance - organization in Africa Justin went to work with

Before we can act/do, we first have to see the world differently. To "be the change you wish to see in the world" (- Ghandi) we first have to see differently

* We can and NEED  to help other see

Part of seeing and being open gives you opportunities. How design can change you and those around you. How can we do things that will feed our soul in our day to day work?

Design Matters. We are able to see things differently as creatives in terms of concepts and strategy.

Being thoughtful gives dignity. And dignity is often all the poor have left.

"seeing" keeps you open to the unexpected.

Concept of story, seeing and doing things differently, how can we help tell the clients story differently and help them see their story differently?

Creatives have the ability to "see" into the future.

Practice PAUSING everyday to force yourself to get into the space of seeing something differently.

Blog: rock, paper, ink

Practice everyday, finding a partner and each taking a picture of something mundane to share with one another and step outside yourselves. Its about taking that time to see the things around you.

Don't ever stop having FUN!

Inniative: stories matter...go out into your community and find a story, this helps you to become a better story teller. Under 5 min. story.

Justin shares a story/video clip of an artist named Wendy. She talks about art and about loosing her sight to retinitus pigmentosis. This is the same disease my dad suffers from.

The Give Inniative

Not just seeing with your eyes, but with your heart!  Every day goal of seeing differently and pausing. Ask your self, have you done this, daily. You should have a personal project to express your own creativity.

Threadless - T-Shirt Co. in Chicago

Don't forget, you are awesome! (seriously!)

[I want to do something big. What does big mean to me though? Big can be small. Doing the small things with an open heart is huge! Big comes from the simplest things so much of the time.]

Sometimes its the really small adjustments that bring everything in line. Its the minor.

A year from now, if you actually do all this, you will be different. You're design will be different.

Albuquerque Rescue Mission - mentioned by audience member

You can't own all of what needs to be changed in the world, all of the tragedy. Incremental processing

Part 2: Where Life and Creativity Meet

Designers are traditionally really bad business people. Do you remember what got you into design? into creativity? [for me, writing poetry and being the author/illustrator/creator of little books in k-5, I still have a lot of those]

Remember what you dream about.
work hard and have fun! make out, laugh, dance.
Make lists, set criteria. Write pros/cons of things you're struggling with. You need to create space for yourself to listen. What really matters to you? When you're naked, its hard to hide who you are. Be that transparent with the things in your life you really want or with the things in your life that aren't working. Be honest. Are you in your work?

How can you be more you?
blog - speak human

Have a group of counselors
Get life perspective
Learn, network, reciprocate
Have quarterly updates of where you are with your goals

Who is on your personal list of advisors?

Make specific criteria
Open yourself to your advisors to give you advice.

Read book: Linchpin by Seth Godings

Have a set of rules you stick to and make decisions based on. Have some criteria at the start so you don't go where you shouldn't

From a prof. standpoint, Justin's 3 criteria for taking work:
1) Will it be profitable?
2) Will it be fun?
3) Will it attract other work?

Has to fit at least two of those criteria for Justin to take the project.

[define profitable. In monetary terms, experience doing something in my field, learning, establishing relationship, gaining experience]

Check out 37 Signals

Balance is a state of mind; its your perspective

What guides you? Professionally? Personally? Are you living that life to honor those things?

Balance is unique for each person.

Make choices. Maybe you're going to make a little less $ for a little while. We can have fun and love what we do.

Book: Love Both Ways

"Sometimes we just don't know what we are trying to change" - Stuart Wilde

Take time to become a student of yourself.

You want to gain a new perspective? Take time to interact with someone different than you. You have to constantly change your mind about things. Experience new things. Sometimes, you think you know what you want and that you have it all figured out. Get out of your comfort zone.

If it is something that interests you, chances are it is good to do.

What do you want to change? If you could change anything in the world, what would it be?

Donald Miller, book: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

Start when you get home!

Just be you!

When do you think you became a designer?

Book by Justin Ahrens: Life Kerning

* For us to be EVOLVING, we need to be PURPOSEFUL.

The community part of AIGA is magic. If you have true passion for what you are doing, things will work out in the end.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Oregon, the end of the trail...for now.

Where I left off: with my friend, Kat at the crumpet shop in Seattle! Yes, well, after delicious crumpets (I tried the Vermont maple butter with walnuts and ricotta and Kat ordered the orange marmalade with blue cheese), Kat left for work, so I explored Ballard - the neighborhood in Seattle where she lives. Its such a cool place! I walked down to the Locks to see the fish and the 100-year-old gates that open and shut to moderate water levels for boats to pass. That first night, Kat and I caught up over Vietnamese food. It was wonderful to see her again after eight years! As she said, "it is amazing when you can meet someone after not seeing them for a very long time, and you don't miss a beat." With Kat, as with Diana, I could talk about and feel understood/listened to regarding spiritual conversations.

The next day, Kat and I went to the Wallace Creek Falls area, about an hour from Seattle for a hike. The waterfall reward at the top looked magical in the misty rain. I'm sad for such a short trip in WA, but my amtrak train to Portland awaited and Kat dropped me off there.

My friend Freddie, who I met 3 years ago in Santa Fe, met me at the Portland Amtrak station and right away took me to see the views for happy hour at the Portland City Grill. Afterwards, we migrated to Huber's for Spanish coffee. Yum. Freddie always knows where to go. The entire time with him, I was treated to a different kind of lifestyle, that I wouldn't necessarily want, but that I can definitely appreciate and enjoy. Its always good to be with company that works hard and plays hard, doesn't get bored, and knows how to share their good fortune. We certainly covered a lot of ground in a couple of days since Freddie was off for the most part from his job at Intel.

One day, we went on a tour of all the falls. The area hosts the biggest concentration of waterfalls in the world, including the famous Multnomah Falls. So the bright and sunny day consisted of cruising the gorgeous winding, landscaped roads, stopping to hike a short ways to a fall, and then driving a little ways to the next one, maybe stopping to sample some shilled white wine. I think we saw 6-7 falls in total, yet the day did not feel rushed at all.

We made it back to Portland in time to watch a free Portland Symphony Orchestra concert on the waterfront, complete with canon fire and fireworks. But this is not all! After the music ended, we went on to the Hawthorne Theater, where Freddie had planned for us to see a Burlesque show. I had somehow never seen one before, and probably wouldn't have chosen to see one. But this is the thing about traveling and knowing so many different people, you get a glimpse into their taste and get to see things you would not normally. The Burlesque show was highly entertaining and full of talent. And then, after this, we met up with a few of Freddie's friends at a nearby bar before calling that the end of my first FULL day in Portland. I thought I have a tendency to pack things in, but Freddie more than matches me. And after my internship this summer, I don't think I have such a tendency to do that packing in on my own any more. Doing a lot is great fun for a sprint, but not a long-distance time-frame.

The next day, Freddie took me to the Oregon coast! It is filled with such amazing rock formations! I felt like I was in New Zealand again, around the Haystack rock area. Even thought the day was sunny, the wind on the coast blew very cold, yet we walked along the sand of Cannon Beach for about 45 minutes. That seaside walk was one of the nicest parts of the day. Then, we went on to the very touristy town of Seaside, and then on to Astoria, where one of my favorite movies was filmed - The Goonies. Here, I also got to climb 164 steps to the top of a tower to view the amazing vista of sea, land and bridges. I loved being near the ocean, soaking up the sun, salt, spray. My fix until I leave New Mexico again.

That night, we went to a couchsurfing meet up at The Kennedy School. This venue is a large, prep-type school buidling that a local brewery has turned into a series of restaurants and bars within the existing classrooms. There's a boiler room bar, a detention room bar, a soaking pool, a room for smoking pipes. I met some really awesome, friendly couchsurfers. Everyone in Portland seems to want to be your friend. Its one of the easiest places to start a conversation. Here, it seems like people have no fear of saying their thoughts aloud for a stranger to engage with if they want.

The next morning I said good bye to Freddie and many thanks! I spent some time at the Portland Saturday Market. And had to make a stop at the famous Voodoo doughnuts, just to see and sample the novelty of their doughnuts, which in all truth, taste just like any other doughnuts. The difference is in the presentation and creativity of such things as fruitloop and oreo cookie covered doughnuts or maple bacon. Still, the best taste-wise doughnut place I have ever been to is in the Mission District of San Francisco.

Then, I took a bus to my friend E's house in the Alberta St. neighborhood. I met E. last fall at a Glitter party in Santa Fe. He's from Portland and has since moved back after attending St. John's College in Santa Fe. It was good to see him happy in his home turf and experience a glimpse into a complete opposite lifestyle from Freddie's. All of E's room mates were at Burning Man, so E invited me along to a Burning Man celebration party at one of his friend's houses. His friend's name was "The Craw".

Before, I embarked on this unknown adventure however, I wandered about the up and coming Alberta St. district while E ran some errands (and yes, his real name is E). This was a cool area with great shops and good places to eat. I happily found a pair of black leather, waterproof and insulated winter boots made in Canada for $20! I've been searching for some for so long and at every Buffalo Exchange I've been to in the Pacific Northwest, so one mission accomplished on Alberta St. I wandered into one of the best icecream places I've ever been too, both presentation-wise (old-fashioned style) and taste (I ordered one scoop of strawberry honey balsamic and one scoop of salted vanilla with strands of home-made caramel!).

Okay, now on to the Burning Man party. I had already decided to take a cab back when I was ready to go, but luckily I ended up being able to catch a ride with someone else leaving early at 1am since my flight was leaving the next morning. We arrived early at the party at 8:30 for some reason. Soon people started coming in in costume. E lent me his shiny silver pants, which fit surprisingly well, and someone else lent me their bunny ears, I wore my magenta shirt, my new black boots and one of E's belts. I would have been much more dressed up had I had my own stuff. Unfortunately about an hour in, a girl kindly told me my pants were ripped! so I changed into an extra pair of shorts and apologetically told E. He relieved my guilt by telling me that the pants had already previously been ripped by him, so it was just the poor patching coming undone! Anyway, at about 9:30, we all watched the burning taking place live on the giant projector in the living room basement. It was cool to see, since I'd heard so much about burning man and have been tempted to go for the experience, but had never actually seen any live footage. It was also interesting to be there watching the streaming with so many people who have been there multiple times and who have multiple friends there this time around.

After the finale, everyone kind of migrated to the back yard where a bunch of talented individuals were slinging and performing with balls of fire. I enjoyed some interesting conversations and then left before the craziness really began. I got a great night sleep and was surprised to see E walk in the door at 7:30am when I was trying to meditate. He gave me a ride to the airport and filled me in on the expected late-night happenings. So I got to the airport with someone who had not slept for 20 hours and that was my exit from Portland, as crazy as it began.

But all went well, other than my 4.5 year old macbook pro finally deciding to die on the plane ride home, and now I'm back in Santa Fe believe it or not with the intention of simplifying things, twice-daily meditation, and trusting that all will be well, listening, going through the doors that open to me and not banging on the ones that close.

I went to the Santa Fe burning man last night, called Zozobra. This event way precedes the Burning Man people think of today, as it has been a Santa Fe tradition for 89 years! I sent out my glooms to leave behind and set my intentions for this  fourth return to Santa Fe.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Being in Vancouver, Bellingham and Seattle

Today, I am in Ballard, a funky, residential neighborhood of Seattle which feels a little more like Bellingham and Fairhaven. I'm staying with Kat, a friend from my first year and a half at Lake Erie College in Ohio who I met when I was still studying Equine Science. I haven't seen Kat since 2003. We both ended up switching our careers from equine science because neither of us were feeling fulfilled with that as a calling. Now, Kat is in the Physician's Assistant field and I'm in the creative field. We have both done a great amount of traveling and exploring since 2003. Kat is headed to a month in Nepal soon.

It is funny how I can look back at 2003/2004 and see one of those important crossroads that changed my life and made it what it is today. I'm so grateful not only that the foresight came to me to transfer to College of the Atlantic that year, but that I was aware enough to listen and follow that direction.  Now I feel like I'm in a real discerning/cross roads place again where possibly another big shift in direction could happen in 2012, 8 years later!

It is interesting to be traveling during this period. I'm very happy I decided to complete/continue this trip I started, even though I had second thoughts about its being excessive. I had an amazing time seeing Vancouver. When I arrived at my first couchsurfer's (her name is Katie) place right near the ocean, we immediately headed out to a BBQ at one of her friend's houses. I rode her bike with her cat in a crate on the back and she rollerbladed in front of me. I had so much fun biking for 40 minutes at night in Vancouver. The BBQ was low-key. Two of Katie's friends were from Taiwan and the 3rd was married to one of the others so our dinner conversation focused on our shared love of traveling through that awesome country.

The next day, Katie took me paddle-boarding in the bay for 3 hours! What a blast! Perfect blue skies, passing by tourism, but not getting sucked into it, getting super exercise and all for free because Katie had access to the paddle-boards through her job.

Katie worked the next day, so I explored Vancouver on my own. I walked about 6 hours all the way from her house near Kit's Beach, up the coast to UBC and back. Then, after saying thanks and bye to Katie, I hopped on a bus and headed to my new couchsurfer's in a different part of town near Nanaimo and Broadway. This couchsurfer, Christina, was so cool and welcoming. She was dressed in all different colors, sparkles and funky hair things getting ready to go to a show. We had time before she left for a great home-cooked dinner together in her back yard over interesting conversation.

While Christina worked the following day, I took her advice and passed quickly through downtown to spend the majority of the afternoon in Stanley Park amid tall mossy trees, sunlight, lily pad ponds and random sculptures with ninja-like black squirrels and sedate Canadian Geese.

My brother and his girlfriend, Lauren, drove up from their home in Bellingham to meet me and Christina for a dinner of sushi and gelato in a park. Then I gave my thanks and goodbyes to Christina and headed off with Joe and Lauren to find a camping spot in the Canadian Rockies for the night. Of course it was Friday and everything was booked! Somehow, we ended up down a logging trail trying to follow directions to a campsite. We stumbled across a modern university campus in the middle of the woods before re-entering the logging road. To our delight, we found a trailhead pull-off with a side trail that dead-ended with a flat mountain top where we set up camp for the night. It was so perfect the way that worked out and we avoided a crowded RV infested public campground and stayed somewhere for free waking up to quiet and a snow-peaked mountain view.

For some reason, my brother was in an unsociable mood the next day. Lauren and I ended up hanging out and talking a lot, determined to enjoy the beauty surrounding us nonetheless. We all went for a couple-hour hike on Four Lakes Trail around Alice Lake and went swimming briefly in the cool water. We stopped by the free Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge on the drive back to Bellingham. Lauren and I picked up some food for the grill and made a really good meal at the appt. That, and watching Pineapple Express cheered my brother up. Lauren went out for an hour to see a great little Bellingham band, The Librarians, play at a The Wine Bar in downtown before calling it a night.

In the morning, Lauren made delicious blueberry pancakes and Joe applied his genius to helping me wish some computer problems, which was incredibly nice of him. Lauren and I went thrift-store roaming for a little bit then all 3 of us had a relaxing, lovely lunch in the sunshine at a cafe in Fairhaven before I had to leave for my bus to Seattle. I wish I could have stayed longer! But my friend, Diana, who I went to school with at College of the Atlantic, was expecting me.

And it was great to see Diana again, and again, I wish I could have stayed with her longer. She made a flavorful Indian meal for us when I arrived and we talked for a while. She recently got back from seeing her family in India. In the morning, we went to my favorite place for breakfast, The Crumpet Shop. I had a nice day walking around Pike's Place Market and the sculpture garden while she worked. We got to go to a restorative free yoga class in her appt. building gym in the evening. Then the yoga teacher brought us to a Kirtan assembly at an amazing community house in the Columbia City neighborhood. We stayed at the Kirtan for 2 hours and it was a very spiritual yet intense singing/prayer experience with a group of people who were extremely bonded already. I am grateful to have shared a window into such a community again, having just left a very bonded yet very different spiritual community myself. I could feel the same sort of intentional energy to "be who we really are" in this group as well and I could feel the experience helping to keep my own candle burning. It was a necessary match.