the need for speed.

i’ve watched this movie in every format possible.  from my ratty old VH tape, recorded from the tv.  to my dad’s living room, cranking up the surround sound so i could drown in jet wash.  i even flew solo and went to see it at the IMA’s summer night movies a couple summers ago, singing and quoting the movie along with my peers.

but 3D IMAX was by far the best experience i’ve ever had watching Top Gun.

from the beginning, you’re thrust into this film where everything is intensified by both the 3D effects and the size of the IMAX screen.  you feel like you’re in the cock-pit, swirling through space.  you’re so close to Tom Cruise you can reach out and touch his sweat-beaded forehead.  the laughs are more intense, as you feel strangely awkward during the larger than life sex-scene, and the tears readily available when ole’ Goose smashes into the canopy and falls, limp-bodied, down to sea.

initially, i was expecting to see a crisp, cleaned-up rendition of my 80’s classic, but was pleasantly surprised to see the grainy film of my youth.  it felt strangely like home, like somethings will always stay the same no matter what else changes.

and on the way out, i couldn’t resist this:

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the eve of the eve.

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“to a better year.”

this was me a year ago, at a New Year’s Eve party my friend and i hosted.  in front of the lens of the photobooth, we danced, and wrote posters and celebrated the end.  and the beginning.

my biggest desire: a better year.

so here i sit on the eve of the eve of the end of this year i hoped would be “better,” and have to admit that it was in so many ways.  hard but good.  stinking of death but robust with life.  i entered this year a broken (and broke!) wreck, and am walking out of it at peace with my ever-healing mess.

this year saw a few different guys who laid claim to my heart, a devastating separation from a good friend, a bike accident, the long-anticipated Superbowl come and gone, goodbye to an old dream and hello to a new job, a sickness that made me afraid i might ultimately lose my father, yoga and 12-step groups, dating and falling in love, reconciliation and renewed friendship.

whew.  that’s a mouthful.

still, with all this (and so much more), i sit in a state of slight disbelief that this year is nearly over. as remarkable as this year has been, it’s end is approaching with very little fanfare.  i will rise tomorrow, and go to work, and check emails and eat lunch.  and apart from spending the evening party hopping from one hopping party to another, it will look just like any other day.

i think this is why it’s been hard for me to reflect on the year.  i’ve been trying, though without much effort, to think of what my new year should focus on, what is the burning desire i want to see fulfilled?  what is my “to a better year” for 2013?

i still do not have a clear answer, but the word “contentment” floats lazily and peacefully to the surface.  i cannot yet tell if this is my desire or where i find myself or if its something i should try to center on.  but still, it sits on the edge of my mind and lingers, like the smell of lotion after a bath.

here are some other words that i’d like to focus on during this coming year:

cook.
whole and wholesome meals.  for fun and for serious.  even when i don’t want to.  especially when i don’t want to.

practice.
patience.  hospitality.  yoga.  learning to let go.  grace for myself.  sitting still. observance of the gifts of the seasons (rest and reflection in the winter, preparation and planting in the spring, growth and giant living in the summer, harvest and ending in the fall).

find.
that place where my strengths and passions intersect.  endurance.  healing.

tend.
myself.  my home.  a garden.  the yard.  a peaceful space. those pesky finances.

celebrate.
victories, big and small.  my 30th birthday!

love.
myself.  my sweet B.  those around me.  wildly.  fully.  in risky ways.  all those quiet and subtle places only i am privy to.  even when it’s hard.

so, here’s to 2013, and all the unknown wonders and experiences it has to offer!

update.

“Sometimes the only way to return is to go where the winds will take you….

In both good and bad ways, I find myself sitting in a place I never would have anticipated or expected even just a few months ago.  I no longer live in Fountain Square (my first “home” in years), but on the Near East side (which I surprisingly love).  I’ve stepped out of the formality of my intentional community (so no more family dinners).   I’m getting ready to leave the non-profit world for corporate America/desk job.  I live with a cat.

Oh, and I’m single.  Once again.

“…to let go of all you cannot hold onto…”

I’ve mentioned in previous posts my discovery and study of Ayurveda, an ancient methodology out of India that focuses on holistic emotional/mental/physical health.  Well, I found a guy in the city who’s actually studied to be a practitioner.  I got so excited I just scheduled an appointment on a whim, unaware of cost.  Fortunately, he allowed me to have a very short session for a portion of the price.

The timing of the appointment couldn’t have been more perfect, as I was wrestling through the emotional wreck of this last relationship.  In just 15 minutes he hit the nail on the head:

“If he’s gone, then let him go darling.”

I began to cry and he offered me kleenex and the opportunity to lay on the floor and cry if I wanted.  I chose to stay in my chair as he gently and tenderly encouraged me to stop finding my identity in my relationships and focus on becoming whole.

“You need to learn to love yourself.”

I asked him if he could see right through me.

Learning to love myself has been the journey I’ve been on for the last year and a half.  I can (kind of) grasp God’s love for me, and fairly practiced at loving others and, occasionally, allowing them to love me.  But loving myself has been a foreign concept.  I left him knowing my first step would be to end a relationship where I felt abandoned, disrespected and unloved.  I spent the afternoon thinking about how I could learn to love myself, what that practice would look like.  Here’s a rough draft:

1. Mainstream activities–Do one job.  Pick just 1-2 hobbies.  Don’t overcommit to meetings or other engagements.

2. Don’t engage in situations or relationships where I might feel pressured to give more than I can.  A good friend of the family always said, “He who puts the most into a relationship gets the least out.”  This has been true in my experience, especially recently, and I’m exhausted by it.

3. Acknowledge that there are certain foods that will promote my health and others that will seek to destroy it.  This is so much more than a “diet,” it’s about realizing that my body needs certain conditions to thrive.

4. Move–run, do yoga, take walks in nature.  Treat my body with respect.

5. Respect my sexuality–remember that my body is a gift I can choose to give, a precious commodity that someone must earn my respect in order to deserve.  It is not a substitute for real intimacy.

6. Take care of my finances–being financially sound is just as much an aspect of being healthy as anything else.

7. Hold myself with gentleness and tenderness–i have always driven myself to do/be more, but it is important, even crucial, for me to acknowledge that I am spread way too thin.  In the last 2 months, I’ve experienced being hit by a car, fighting with a good friend, moving, changing jobs, going through a break-up…several, if not all, of which are factors for depression.  I need to rest.  I need grace and mercy to be applied like salve to my wounded spirit.  Who can I expect to give this to me, if not me?

Yesterday, the training school presented which brought back a flood of emotions and thoughts.  Training school was and will always be a pivotal point in my life, so it was weird to be sitting there thinking about how it was me on that stage a year ago.  And it was two years ago that I was wrestling with the decision to even do training school.  And then all the things that have happened in those two years, the ways I’ve grown and changed.  Like a kid marking my height on the closet wall, I was surprised to see how I’ve grown.

And how much more growing there is to do.

That was probably the most surprising realization…as amazing and intense as TS was for me, the growing/changing/wondering continue beyond.

On a different note, I ran my 5th 1/2 marathon this past Saturday.  Or rather, ran/walked.  It was my 5th on the 5th of May.  Classic.  Couldn’t have planned that better if I’d tried.  This was also my fourth Mini-Marathon in a row and the one thing I’ve always wanted was a pic of me kissing the bricks on the Speedway; finally got my pic.  The second is of my and my one-time running partner, Megan, after crossing the finish line together.

“…for the hope beyond the blue.”
-lyrics by Josh Garrels 

As I shared with my dear brother, Teddy, last week, I try to remind myself that these times of upheaval and change are when we do the most growing.  That if we desire to closer to the people we were created to be, we should celebrate these times of change.

That does not mean I always do, but living is a process, after all….

 

i run this town.

anytime i move, or go on vacation for that matter, one of the most important baptismal acts for me is to go on a run.  some of my most legendary (to me, anyway) have been these runs.  i never feel quite settled in a place until i’ve conquered its sidewalks in my running shoes, explored its twists and turns, seen its houses first hand.

today, after a sluggish afternoon, i decided it was time.  strapped on the shoes, loaded pandora on my phone and started north, toward a park i knew was nearby.

then it happened, the thing i always fear when i don’t know an area: i got lost.  (i can guarantee my bf is cringing as he reads this, given his high opinion of my new neighborhood).  i was doing fine for blocks, made turns in the general direction of my house, thought i was on the right track.  afterall, i knew the major streets and can generally find my way around the city.  i passed by Jefferson…Jefferson, i thought.  that sounds familiar.  Hamilton, another familiar name.  sweet park.  great little waterway, wonder if that’s the White River.  i just kept running.

eventually, though, the streets didn’t sound familiar anymore.  strangely enough, i wasn’t panicking.  i found myself outside  a park, in the midst of an adorable little neighborhood called Windsor Place.  a woman was walking up to the library when i stopped her to ask how close i was to Rural Ave.

“oh, very close,” she said, smiling.  her gray hair swept up into a loose bun, a too pink shade of gloss on her lips.  “just go down that street and you’ll run into 10th, then you can find Rural.”  i thanked her and went in the direction she suggested.  eventually, i began to recognize the street names again, but realized quickly (and with quite a bit of chuckle) that i was over a mile from home, when i thought i might be just around the corner.

getting lost was not really the tragedy i’ve always anticipated; in fact, it was really quite refreshing and i got to see what was really there.  not just burned out houses and gang graffiti, but also moms holding their babes on the front porch, a woman calling out to her man as he made his way to the bus stop.  brilliant spring flowers in bloom.  little girls playing “kitchen” in the backyard.  a sweet woman going to the library.  lots of redone homes overlooking the park.  incredible greenery like i wouldn’t expect in the city. life is just as it is everywhere, despite the poverty or threat of gangs.  life is flowing.

getting lost forced me to pay attention to my environment.  of course i’d heard of a street named Jefferson; it’s only one of the major intersections on 10th street on the way to my house, but i’d never paid it much attention before.  and then Hamilton is next.  i won’t forget those easily.

getting lost reminded me that i really do love this city.  which is why i run this town.  to rediscover, every time i put on those shoes, every inch of this place i love.

i run this town
because i love this town.

upheaval and the never-ending search for home.

(longest title for a blog i’ve ever written.)

Friday was rough.
it started out really strong, as i excitedly packed my entire room and moved most of it to the new house.  as time went on, though, something deep down broke, like a busted pipe, and out poured a fountain of tears and grief.

it was as if, for the first time, i really allowed myself to feel what i’d been suppressing for 7 mos, to feel the end of something that was supposed to have so much promise and potential, to grieve the loss of a friend.

at one point, while i was at the gallery alone, i just walked out to the parking pad outside our door and cried.  the sky, it seemed, was on my side, gray and cloudy.  we mourned together.

later that night, after the day was done, i tried to go “home,” but that has never really been my home.  with all the tension and anger and frustration that’s happened within its walls, i could not find any comfort.  the idea of driving out to Lebanon, to go past my childhood home hatched and i set off.

i cried all the way there.  the man called to ask what was going on, and my only real response:  “i’m so tired of feeling so fucking homeless.”

“you’re not homeless,” he pleaded, “come to me.”  i decided to follow through with my plan, but assured him i would be there soon.

the roads were dark, but i could still see this land that was once so familiar to me.  the fields, the gravel roads that led to the homes of friends, now long gone–moved or dead.  the more i looked, the more i realized just how different everything is.  it was like driving through a ghost town.

finally i turned on 700 W, and the very sight of the sign sent me into deep tears.  i don’t know why, but when i’m feeling especially rootless, going back to this place helps me grieve.  i cry for the family we had, for the memories in pine trees and corn fields, for the time when my family was together and i had a place i could fall back on.

i went past the house twice, noting the change in landscape and neighbors’s houses.  then i pointed my car back toward Indy, toward the man waiting for me to come back off the edge.  as i got closer and closer to him, i felt something new spring up.  something a lot like hope.

that’s the thing about upheaval…it’s terribly traumatic, and no life can come with out a forging process.  but just as the ground is turned up and over, again and again, until it’s suitable for planting, often our lives needs the same kind of motion.  a turning up and over and crushing in of everything we knew, so that something new can spring up.

maybe home is only ever in the arms of someone who loves you.

transition.

this is a morning for Intelligentsia and crepes, the Coldplay station on Pandora, kicking my feet up on the desk as i search the recesses of my soul for words to articulate how i’m feeling.

it was also a morning for confusion, miscommunication and hurt feelings as the man and I had our first…well,something.  disagreement, misunderstanding, whatever.  we finally had a good, what he called “compromising convo” and agreed that things are moving really fast.  not in a bad way, it’s just overwhelming at times.

but it’s mostly really….natural.  it’s like i was walking along and i looked up, and there he was.  like our paths just naturally intersected and became one.  since we’ve met we’ve spent a considerable amount of time together, sharing both the elaborarte and the ordinary moments of life.  going to plays, eating lots of food, watching our fav shows (Glee and New Girl), mopping up the gallery when the floor flooded.  it’s been really sweet.

i wrote awhile back about not feeling like parts of my life fit me anymore (read here), and that feeling is even more exaggerated in this time of transition.  i’m moving from my house and even my neighborhood within in the next couple weeks.  i haven’t spent any significant time with my friend family, but have been able to have good conversations with new friends i don’t know as well.  my life hasn’t be devoid of community; it just hasn’t looked the same.

i’m in no way saying i’m ok with scrapping my old situations/friends, but i do find myself in a place of needing some serious breathing room.  i look at all those things that used to be so familiar to me as though they are strangers, distant blots on the horizon behind me.  meanwhile, i keep pressing forward toward those things i’ve yet to know fully, those things that have become more familiar.

perhaps home is really a moving target.

hitting restart.

i’ve been itching for change, as i’ve written about ad nauseum.

still, change is upon me and i can’t look at it.  like strangers in a waiting room, we stare at the walls opposite us, not making eyes.  to meet eyes would have to equal acknowledgement.

a friend mentioned today needing to hit the restart button.
i could resonate.   except i hit that button months ago, and it feels like it’s not taking.  as he noted, maybe it already has and i just haven’t noticed.

then came another discussion/disagreement with my roommate about out living situation.  we moved into our own place in the fall and it’s been turbulent since day one.   we’ve been friends, close friends, for a long time, but there are some injuries that go too deep, some misunderstandings that can’t be overcome.   day after day, week after week, our wounds have been bumping up and rubbing against each other’s, scratching off the thinly-formed scabs.

now, here we stand, at an impass.  unable to go any further on this fitful journey, deciding to part ways.  we’re hitting the restart buttons, and i’m moving again for the upteenth time in the last ten years.

i would be more okay with the restart button if it didn’t make me a vagabond wanderer, always in search of my home.

in the fall, during a considerably stressful time, i biked to Beech Grove, to the monastery.  i couldn’t say why, but something in my heart pulled me to the prayer labyrinth in their yard.  the prayer labyrinth is a giant maze-like thing that winds around and around, until you reach the middle.  as you make your way in, the goal is to pray for something that you should be letting go off, a search-me type prayer.  you should have something in mind when you reach the middle, and then stay there–kneeling, standing, laying down–until you’re able to let go.  as you make your way out, you pray for the courage to walk forward without picking back up that thing you’ve laid down.

as i made my way in on that rainy, gray morning, i couldn’t think of anything i needed to let go off.  i grew more and more frustrated as i got closer to the middle with no revelations.  finally, i got to the middle and found myself in child’s pose, my forehead to the ground, and i let my mind be still. an image of my friend’s couch came to mind, a place where i feel like i can be myself.  where i can cry or laugh or just sleep.  everything within me wanted to be on that couch.  then i heard it: a still voice whisper,

“i’ll be your couch.”  i burst into tears at the comforting words of my Father.
“i’ll be your home,” he continued.

i need that memory now, when “home” is up for grabs and i’m feeling displaced.  the promise that i’ll always have a couch to find comfort in, and arms that welcome me back.