I've scribbled the alphabet for meaning since I can remember.
Mark Lawrence's tiled art.
I recently shared with a client and friend the importance of No.
“I learned that in order for me to say yes to everything,” I explain to her on a sunny Thursday, “I had to say No. Without boundaries we really cannot be boundless.”
I know. It’s pretty esoteric, yet if you think about it — it’s true. For instance, you want to be helpful, because, you know it’s the right thing to do, but if you are helpful to others in a way that you are hurting yourself - are you being helpful?
If you say, “No, I cannot go out to dinner with you tonight because I really need to take care of things at home, but next Thursday or the following Tuesday would work and I would love to see you!”
That is awesome. Not a big enough example? I know.
That was on purpose because I have watched countless people simply say “yes” because they think it’s the right thing to do even though they don’t feel the yes. Passive aggressive company does nothing for no one. It’s truly a double negative.
I was in a steady stream of Yes’s last Thursday. It was unreal + probably uneventful to anyone but me -- and that is what made it magical. Practical Magic. I was on my way to car shop - but I really wasn’t feeling it. So I rerouted and created some errands (literally) near the car dealerships to get me in the vicinity physically in hopes that I would emotionally catch up. It’s a pretty neat trick. Set up your mind-space, especially before a large commitment like that because if you are a mess, your decision will be too.
Here's the short-listed magic: I stopped in REI to complain about my not-old-enough to be broken Chaco’s and I got a new pair, which was completely unexpected. At the register the cashier told me to it would cost $6.50, until he chuckled.
“What?” I asked.
“You actually have a $6.50 credit with REI. Your shoes are totally free.”
We both stared at each other in disbelief.
“I mean -“ I shrugged at him feeling totally guilty and wrong, and stunned.
“Enjoy them,” he laughed, “they are clearly yours.”
Then I went to Barnes & Noble and bought this book, which I posted about. Next stop was Target where a woman who is hired to “help people find what they need, but no one knows I exist,” found me a great e.l.f cruelty lipstick.
The spree of help was small, and it still deeply altered my mood and propelled me from one joyful task to the next. I shared as much at the Sit in Your Center’s circle of women that night, who all helped me see myself easily traveling ahead, leaving me giddy with tactical support.
Saturday came and as I waded through paperwork, loan options, and what have you I had a mini-galactic melt-down, but my boyfriend helped lift me back in to sanity. Eventually, all the i’s were dotted and t’s were crossed. I knew exactly which car I was off to buy — and I drove off to buy a very specific car. Magic.
“Hi, I’m Allan.”
“Kate,” I respond with a firm handshake. “There is a 2013 Honda Fit on your lot that I would like to see.”
“Okay, we are on stop sell, but let me confirm that and I will be right back.”
A what? I thought and braced myself for a ridiculous stop sell campaign upgrade to a whatever was out of my price range apparently now called a "stop sell."
“Yes, we are on stop sell,” he said as soon as he sat down.
“I cannot sell you that vehicle.”
“What? You won’t sell me the Honda Fit on your lot?”
He looked me in the eye, crossed his hands on the desk, and said, “No.”
“What about the 2014?”
“What about a used CRV?”
“No. I cannot sell you a CRV from 2007 - 2011.”
“But across the street — where all those new Fit’s are being sold — they confirmed you had two, and sent me over here.”
“Well they shouldn’t have, and I am sorry they wasted your time. If you were my sister, I would tell you not to buy anything until May. We at Conicelli have to be responsible for our customer’s safety and the integrity of our name.”
“This is a recall?”
“Yes, on the airbags.”
“Yes, things,” he clears his throat, “happen to people.”
We talked for a few more minutes. He shook my hand, apologized and told me he would follow-up. I walked out befuddled and sat in my borrowed car to google.
Indeed, things happened to people: they died.
I was shocked.
I was shocked ready to buy a car, and now I wasn’t.
I was shocked that the used car salesman wouldn’t sell me a car.
I was humbled that the used car salesman wouldn’t sell me the car.
I was grateful.
I don't know what to do next - still working that out as I type - and I have to trust the No.
Sometimes that is all we know: We just have to trust the No.
I am in love with Dimitra Milan. You will be too. Check her out: here
I am actually paying more attention to + craving more art, more beauty in my life. Perhaps it is the city-ness I am in that gives birth to a need to create beauty. I rather think it is also connected to a wrangling for more.
More - not in the limited field of consumption - but in expanding the breadth of a horizon. Fuller. Not just more. Deeper. Not just faster. More in every part of my being. I notice right before a major change, there is more doubt. Louder, nastier, snarling doubt.
You would think I have mastered this now - it's still a process.
When I doubt, some with opinions that propel my doubt further and faster than I can imagine arise seemingly out of no where, a blaring tuba of doubt -- as do silent whispers of faith. Knowing which voice is which - is helpful. So helpful.
It is a skill set: listening. Listening to others and to your Self.
Aside from art, maintaining a clear and healthy mindset is most helpful.
Do I meditate? Yes.
Does it make a difference? Yes.
Is it fancy? No.
Can anyone do it? Yes.
Is it a quick fix? No.
Right now, I have been reminding myself of how far I have come (that above painting is called "Running the Distance." I urge you to check out Dimitra. You'll never believe how old she is); and if that, then.
If I ____________, then I can _________.
If I learned how to tango, then I can try yoga.
If I spoke up to my boss, then I can tell my partner how I really feel about moving to Montana.
If I tried Ethiopian food, then I can try reducing McDonald's in my diet.
You get the picture. Give yourself some credit and use that well earned pride to broaden your horizon. Life is hard enough, don't add to the weight.
Look for the positive. The possibility. Listen to your Voice. Know Your Voice, and move from there. Happy Beginnings (and endings) to you.
Stay in touch,
Written on Kaua’i, January 2016
I should have driven straight to town because really it was time to do all the things that needed to be done: clean and register the car, get batteries, find my rain boots in an upturned storage unit, prepare for another sojurn off island, and find some time to relax.
First, was Hemingway’s café in Kapa’a to organize and prioritize with a latte and croissant. Apparently even more firstly – which is not a word -- was Kealia, my favorite beach. Turning the wheel to the left (the opposite direction of the coffee shop) - in the sputtering rain and beat-up jeans, without my my trusty canine sidekick, Ahonui, was a little sad. It’s her favorite beach, too. It’s where she has romped countless mornings with good friends because community always finds a way. She was back on the Mainland. There were a lot of things that were missing that morning – which was why I was there.
In my friend Damini’s #Landphotojourney – we were focusing on the Heart as it pertains to Nature. I had taken a few photos already (to share in our multimedia group; the class runs again in the Spring season) and was actually a little tickled to share a photo of my beloved beach. The beach I went to when I didn’t want to (ie, cold and sluggish morning dog walks); it was the beach I went to when I needed to reconnect, or when I was so lost I needed some place to put my tears. It was – it is – a good friend.
I snapped a few pictures; then tucked my phone away. I had heard there were whales yesterday morning and hoped to see them. It is such a rush to see those magnificent animals.
Scanning the horizon revealed nothing in particular, except one bird diving far off on the horizon. Then another. They’re there, I thought. The whales. They’re there. The birds are eating the flush of the fish from the air bubble. They are there.
But I didn’t see one. So I doubted and chastised myself.
They aren’t there – you just want to pretend they are. Say that you felt them.The anger was noticeably disproportionate.
I did feel them. I mean I thought I did. And then I thought maybe I didn’t. And then I thought I probably would have loved to see a post of one in my #Photolandjourney, which meant not really wanting to see them for just myself and I let the whole damn thing go.
I didn’t need to see them.
I wanted to though.
Then I realized needing to see them and knowing they are there are two completely different things. I thought about how many beautiful loves that are still felt in my life but they aren’t seen, and yet they are no less present for me. Perhaps, now in the beating of my heart and the curves of my bones they are even more with me than ever before. I couldn’t see them with my eyes now, only my heart.
It’s like that. When you can see something all the time, you almost miss it. But when you cannot see something and you have to be present for a glimpse, the slightest whisper counts and you feel the moment in a whole new way.
I climbed towards the end of the beach stretch to clamber up the rocks because they are there. I noticed a man sitting on a log staring out at the ocean.
I slip off my sweater and drop my phone on driftwood as I continue closer to the water.
“You see them?” the happy man in his bathing suit, beach hat and slippers yells to me.
“Yup, I see’em.” I knew before I saw.
“We are so lucky.”
“Yup, we sure are,” I smile. There was a happy male whale, side slapping his fin, breaching – from my horizon – just left of the rocks. I watched him. I thanked him. I thanked Kauai for continuously giving me so much, and I let my mind land on those that no longer can be seen, but have changed the very course of my life as the whale, leapt out of the water – full arc – perfect.
“Look to see what you saw,” he would say. He would say his grandmother said it: “Look to see what you saw.”
I saw that you commit to your heart and keeping moving until your eyes can catch up and see the horizon in front of you. To not lean only on what can be known, but trust with all your might what can be felt.
Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.
- Omar Khayyam
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