I've scribbled the alphabet for meaning since I can remember.
Big Sur, CA photo taken by my (now) Beloved.
Truth be told I have spent some moments (read: days) reflecting (read : all the currents of emotions) on the threshold that is 40. I am happy to say that today, my birth day, I am standing in gratitude. This list is purposefully mashed up because to do it in a hierarchical order is shmeh. Many of you who know me know that I rely heavily on gratitude to keep my canoe sailing in the right direction. So take a cruise through - lots of hyperlinks.
Happy Day to You! xo, Kate
3. Brown paper packages tied up with string (wink)
4. Conversations with dear friends that include wild laughter and comfortable silence
5. The perfect latte, Kealia early morning ocean + chicken teriyaki musubi
6. This clever coffee thing and the guy who makes my coffee in it
7. A smile from a stranger
8. Dogs, dogs, and dogs
10. Sanjusangendo Temple, Kyoto
12. Diner breakfasts
14. Silence (Did I already say that? my bad.)
15. Gold hoops
16. Newness - from restaurants to countries to ideas
18. My family
19. Finding the perfect word, whether written by self or other
20. Friends that know you before you were the you that you are now - whenever that it is
21. A yoga class that makes you sleep better at night
22. Essential oils
23. Apple bananas
25. Here + here
26. Dr. Seuss: One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
27. Being Seen
28. Unexpected cards in mail (sending + receiving)
29. Dancing that makes you remember - and forget
30. Driving on a sunny day, singing
31. The moment when the struggle clicks in to grace
32. A little deck in Waimanalo
34. This Bruce Springsteen song
35. Cucumber water
36. Tiffins with these reusable rainbow jawns
37. Hugs that change your day
38. Having a purpose
39. Scampering in the woods
40. My life
There I was driving, listening to a Chase Jarvis podcast when I verbally exclaimed:
“Yes, #$%in’ Marie Forleo said it! Yes!”
And just like that, I was given permission and it felt amazing. Truly.
What am I talking about?
For years — years — I have cringed when people ask me what I do.
Why? Because I don’t have a cocktail party answer, and in today’s society, everybody wants an answer that they can nibble, comparatively digest, and label.
“Ah, I do Lomilomi.”
“I’m in the healing arts.”
“I am in Wellness.”
“I teach a Polynesian philosophy on wellness,” which has been the closest attempt at accessible language.
Then I hear a wildly successful woman say, “I used to cringe when people asked me what I did.”
I swear I stared at the radio speakers and said: Hallelujah.
I was not crazy. I was not alone and I don’t have to have a cocktail answer for my life. Marie Forleo was doing life coaching before anyone had heard of it, which is why she is now one of the Queens of life-coaching.
Now that is liberating because you have to dig deep to stand tall when no one can put you in a socially acceptable peg — and that my friend is priceless. Not easy, but priceless.
What you don’t have to do, once you do the excavation of finding your self (which is endless, by the way), is smudge up your brilliance and duck your head to make someone else feel taller. I am not sure why we do this, but we do, especially women.
Tip: The next time you are at a party, ask someone what they enjoy. Or what is one thing they love. Don’t lead with, “What do you do?” and see how (and if) the conversation changes. Sometimes, when I am here on the East Coast, I want to remind everyone we are more than the work that we do. Some people love their work; some people don’t; some just don’t want to talk about it, so, let’s remind each other that we are small and infinitely interesting universes —- even at cocktail parties.
Kate is on the East Coast writing, sharing lomi + teaching workshops, her coaching sessions are a bit eclectic, but her clients are everywhere. zip an email if interested in learning more.
I’ve seen the meme: Not my circus. Not my monkeys.
Today, in the Wissahickon Park : It was not my duck.
Let me explain.
I was chatting with a friend of mine, how we were noticing lots of women friends of ours were similarly going through some change in our lives. Not that change, necessarily, but a change.
It’s a subtle change with far reaching possibility. So subtle it really is a mere feeling, a whisper.
But the whisper seems to be something like: Do more by doing less. Or maybe it’s be more by doing less. Something of that configuration.
To jump track on quantitative accomplishment in a world that is hell-bent on doing can make one think they are going crazy. So we often, don't.
More being is not about laziness, yet it can feel like laziness in a society that lauds doing to the point that we alternate Starbucks for Redbull, mid-day switch to bourbon and topped off with Zoloft at night, as the norm — as long as we are doing (insert forced smile and a go-get-um air punch) then everything must be a-okay.
Guess what? It’s not working.
Maybe you are one of the lucky ones that is figuring it out now, so you feel completely inadequate because there is no paradigm for change and you feel alone. That’s just it — there is no paradigm for change. When we are safe to speak our vulnerability in a circle of trusted peers, we may just learn that there are a pop-corning few others that are feeling just as we are feeling. You are not alone.
I attended a talk last night at Palo Santo, where Vraja Kishor talked about us all being rays of consciousness off the root of consciousness. It’s like that. It’s also like the 100 monkey theory (which has been debunked yet is still widely cited). Sometimes a whole bunch of people simply start to notice that it is time to do things differently. Sometimes things don't make sense. Sometimes we have to feel the bravery of doing something all alone to realize that we are indeed - not alone.
My friend mentioned, “That if you can see the path ahead of you - then it is not your path.”
Yup. Sometimes as life gets better or bigger it simultaneously becomes more nuanced. Or maybe life is life and we just have the ability to notice more when we give our selves more space to do so.
Moments after she had mentioned the unseen, the felt path that must be forged and trusted before it is understood or even seen; a path that appears as you are the only one going down it — I saw a pair of ducks fly off into the sky. So beautiful.
Next, I noticed this itty bit baby duckling paddling its little legs off to get up stream. She was tiny. She was headed right for a rip current that she swirled into, almost capsized over from, and got brought back right to the ebb where she started. It was heartbreaking and memorizing to watch.
She journeyed forth again. Swimming, avoiding the ebb and now hopping on to a giant rock. What the little baby duck couldn’t see - but we could - was that if she stayed close to the water she would have a larger, more dangerous rip ahead that would surely send her downstream at best and probably much worse.
“I cannot stand here," I declare and wade into the water, aiming to get closer to the duck, to help. My girlfriend heads closer up to the rip current to see what could be done and how to help the duck scout ahead. Noticeably neither of us dashed right for the duckling.
Her husband sat down and watched. Why? Well he realized what took us a few more minutes and a pair of wet shoes to realize: This is Nature.
As much as we wanted to help - something still held us back as we watched innate tenacity in action, and while we panicked for the duck — she headed straight on up stream as fast as she could, out of sight.
You cannot save anyone, not even a duck.
We reflected how our intervening could have even hurt our beloved duckling, dragging her further off course — even in our desire to help - this was not our circus, or our journey and in all our knowingness - we knew nothing. There is also the reality we don’t like to think of: Perhaps this duckling was a runt and like it or not lives perish, relationships perish, jobs dissipate, death is constantly upon us.
So while we can, we may want to consider taking a moment to set some space for being, and being sure we are headed to our heart’s destination, for that gives us the fortitude to face and overcome the inevitable rip currents. Our focused intent enables that no matter what - like that little duck — we carry on the best that we can. For sometimes the help we so desperately seek in this moment to make life easier could, actually take us further away from our precious destination, home.
I learned a lot from that little duck — just watching her be who she is.
"There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more." - Lord Byron
"Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them."
- Rabindranath Tagore
Speaking of creating space to hear what needs to be heard, we have 2 upcoming workshops in the Philly Area:
Sit In Your Center: A Woman's Retreat in meditation, movement and intention based in Aloha
June 4th at The Humble Lion Doylestown, Pa click here to register
June 5th at Thrive Wellness, Malvern, Pa click here to register
We had dishes I detested (read, hated).
I have set-up so many homes, given away, borrowed, bought more dish-sets than I can remember. It doesn’t matter, I told myself. The dishes. I don’t have to like them. They are just dishes - move along.
You know, the things that I eat my daily nourishment upon where I send a subtle message to my body how much I respect and honor it (read, strong personal belief system about said dishes). Hated the dishes.
One especially sweet Wednesday night, I walked over took all the dishes and walked them out to the curb. Yes, just like that: one fell swoop.
“Do we have new—“ my fella asks me, logically thinking of what he will be eating off of.
“Nope. I just can’t - “ I swish my hand.
End of conversation. The dishes are gone.
If you want to change a habit in your life - create some space for the new, at some point, you simply have to do it.
Fast forward, 24 hours later I am downstairs in the basement, going through an old box and find a set of dishes.
No, I don’t love these dishes, yet I do detest them less than the dishes that the garbage man took away. So I bring them upstairs and gratefully (<— key point) place them in the kitchen cabinet. Because these dishes are a step closer to where I want to go.
They effortlessly appeared (read, I forgot I even had them), when I made myself available to finding them. We take one step — and the world rushes towards us. What other resources do we forget that we have because we simply don’t make space to find or have it revealed to us?
Five days after that, my mother brings me a few boxes of my belongings that I had stashed from my last East Coast home. Do you want to guess what is in there?
Yes, a set of dishes.
And I like these dishes even more than the last — and I am still not there - yet I am closer.
Are you wondering — Kate just go buy the dishes?
It’s not really about the dishes.
This is what my Grandmom (read, Mom-mom if you are from Philly) said to me this weekend as we're celebrating her 85th birthday and doing cross-word puzzles in the car.
Are you calling something in to your own life? Have you made the space for the first option to show up? When the first option shows up do you complain, or do you remember how eye exams go?
“Kate, A or B?”
“And now, B or C?”
“Great, and now, C or D?”
And on we walk through the alphabet of our lives, getting better one step at a time.
Don't overthink it.
Do set-up your intention.
Do surround yourself with authentic accountability (a friend, a Facebook group, a Coach). Do just one thing.
Follow me on Insta. I’m sharing things that bring me to #sitinyourcenter
Want more? Read Mark Manson's awesome post about passion.
I was watching Happy, the documentary, last night. The experts (in the movie) talked about people’s expectations of when good things finally happen, they will stay happy: their life will change for the permanent “good.” In reality, the good thing happens, and then they are back down from the high.
To further this, the experts explained that people think when bad things happen, their life will stay that way, and that isn’t true either. [This is not to trivialize the tragedies or traumas in life; this is to have you consider that life is constantly changing.] The present moment is constantly becoming a new experience even if the mind is repeating the past. So how we look and what we look for is a big indicator of what we experience, at least that is what those experts said.
I write a good deal about looking at things differently. There are plenty of articles and studies that prove what you look for you will find. Meaning if you love old Toyota pick up trucks, you will see them more than someone who doesn’t; you are looking through and finding your preferred perspective constantly reconfirming and validating it. What you look for, you see.
About two months ago, I borrowed my photog friend’s car while he was in San Fran; the trade-off was to pick him up when he returned - at 2 am. No problem. I propped myself on the couch and Netflix’ed to keep awake until the plane landed.
I pulled in to the cell phone waiting lot, where there were a few other cars, and waited for his text of arrival. It came. I turned the car on. Correction: I attempted to turn the car on.
me: Is there any reason you car might not start?
Eventhough the truth was glaring in the cell-phone blue light, it was 2 am, so I continued to turn the key, turn the key, turn the key to no avail.
I stumble out of the car in disbelief and frustration. There was a van two spots over from me, and I notice the car next to it, hood up, with jumper cables attached.
“Your battery died too?” I over emote.
The man looks at me and motions to the first van, "I'm just getting one installed," he answers curtly. My eyes adjust in the dark. The car had died next to a van that read: Mobile Battery Install.
I was standing next to a battery installation van.
“Are you…do you really?” I walk closer.
“Yes ma’am, I can help you in a minute,” the friendly technician sings out into the dark.
I stood there in the horrible orange fluorescent light and thought: This is unbelievable.
I ask you this, my friend: Is it unbelievable that the car died or that it died right next to the solution?
I never finished reading Surprise, but I really enjoyed it and plan to (I had grabbed it out of the library over the summer along with this and this couldn’t finish them all in 14 days; yes, sometimes I eat books). I was reminded of it when watching Happy; it referenced the fact that doing things different and differently —even just going home from work a different way — is a way to generate happiness.
How? Well, when we are in the same environment, doing the same thing all the time, the brain stops scanning said environment for possibility: Nothing to see here, Bob.
When the landscape changes; however, that same brain scans for the new - the possible - possibly the happy?
Have you ever walked a friend to your favorite coffeeshop and they point out something? Oh look at that: flower, painting, vintage shop, cookie shelf.
And you say, “Huh, I never saw that before.”
It’s like that.
I had a good friend once redefine the presence of Ganesha, the Hindu god. She said, “People explain him as a remover obstacles. Well,” she explains in her soft southern lilt, “ya’ll ain’t removing obstacles. Obstacles are a way - a part - of life. Ganesha is a guy that is gonna tell you the way out, through, around, or how to survive said obstacle.”
I loved that. I love that. And she has the chutpazh to prove her wisdom.
(Did you know that Gaensha is a manifestation of a form of traits to cultivate in ourself? So if an elephant god doesn’t work for you as a metaphor, maybe St.Jude does, or an oak tree does, or whatever inspires you on - think about that).
So when the obstacle comes is it possible you can be parked right next to Grace?
I hope so.
I hope you see so.
Cherish by Dimitra Milan
- kate brenton
the heavy hinds of the tigress,
sink down to Earth;
an escape of contented air
rolls off her pink tongue,
her audacious chest heaves twice
in the sunny surrender
to the wild yes.
*poem written after a week in the Creative and one Full, Full Moon.
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
A little bit of a story....
I moved to Hawaii six years ago; I am basing out of Philadelphia for a chunk of 2016 because it feels good, so I need a real coat.
You know: a real coat.
My old, light blue Marshall’s steal, got peed on New Year’s eve by my good friend’s dog.
I knew the coat was a goner, but living frugally I thought maybe it was salvageable.
“Babe,” my boyfriend says into the phone as I drive to work.
“Sorry, but your coat exploded inside the washer.”
“Well hopefully your new one will come -“
“Tonight!” I cheer and hang up after properly thanking him for cleaning up the coat carnage.
Right after Christmas, right before I committed to hunkering down in old Philly for a bit, we were out shopping and I saw a killer coat, ostentatious in its look and its price.
I bought it.
Then returned it 22 minutes later because it was out of my price range and I would find a better coat later, I reasoned. I began noticing every coat everyone around me was wearing all the time, settling in on my friend, Isabelle’s recommendation.
“It’s the best coat ever!” she explains. “So warm. My last one ripped on a freak accident and my husband bought me a new one. Same coat. I love it.”
Perfect. I zeroed in on that coat to the chagrin of all others. Even when I went online and searched Uniqlo’s website and the coat she described purchasing eleven days earlier was not there.
Uniqlo? I text her.
I click on the coat I wanted the coat to be: a longish, warm, light coat. It looks short online, but since Isabelle bought one and I saw her coat, I figure it must just look distorted and click purchase. I select two day shipping, comforted it will arrive when the temperatures are said to drop.
I am not much of a shopper - anymore. I used to be, but in Kaua’i, whatever you don’t use molds. And no one really cares what your shoes are like because you are barefoot, and most of the time Nature is your adornment and — don’t get me wrong people dress beautifully — but if you don’t dress beautifully you aren’t judged the same way you are back East (yes, I said), and the distance gave me a bit of a reprieve from that keeping up with the Jonses’ thing, and so I just didn’t.
Admittedly, when I am on the Mainland for stretches I can swing into caring more about my wardrobe, but it doesn’t matter too, too much so I am not as easily tortured as I once was.
I need a coat that is practical, but enjoyable. I need a coat in my budget. I need a coat I would love though, too. Right? I mean haven’t we all heard about the Simple Joys of Tidying Up?
The coat came late. I froze my ass off in 19 degree weather and when it finally did come, it was as short as it looked on the website and not what I had deluded myself into seeing.
“So you are keeping the coat?” my boyfriend asks.
“But you are wearing it -“
“I tucked the tags in,” I show him.
He wisely opens, then closes his mouth and makes us some coffee.
I mean I love the little coat.
I want to keep the little coat.
I need an oh-my-gawd-it’s-freezing-and-I-am-walking-my-dog coat, and this ain’t it.
“So you are moving back to Philly?” an unknown yogi asks me as we both stand in-line for the bathroom.
“No. I am basing out of Philly.”
“What does that mean?”
“Well, it means I have shifted my base for a bit so I can kinda stretch out to create.”
“Oh, so you have to move back?” she tilts her head sympathetically.
“Um - no. Wait, isn’t this where you live? Aren’t you glad to be here?”
I shut my mouth, I have learned most people aren’t happy where they are - no matter where they are. I hear it all the time: It’s too hot, too cold, too loud, too quiet, too boring, too stimulating, too too. I have also learned people only want quantifiable answers. Tell them you are allowing for the open - endedness of life, and you are deemed to be qualified as flighty or marvelous, but not simple existing. Even in small-talk the unknown is apparently intolerable as an answer.
It’s not about the coat, you see. It’s about it all.
It’s about sitting down to sketch out my priorities for 2016 and realizing the best outreach for my focus, my commitment, is best served in my birth town until it’s not, and the issue doesn’t have to be confused and sliced up to make it more palatable for others.
You see, I wrote out my vision, and I allowed myself to make my choices based on my priorities. Sounds simple because it is. Often when we don’t take the time to set priorities we can make decisions on misleading whims, or emotional on-slaughts, rather than just taking the next step.
That’s it. So I moved my base to strengthen my outreach, grow my writing + inspiring, spend time with family while supporting my hanai family back home. I booked my month long trip and plan for my late year return to Hawaii. Now I rejoice in the propagation of lomilomi in the City of Brotherly Love, and the birth of the Sit In Your Center series. It feels right. When you take the time to get quiet, you can hear what is being said. But, apparently I couldn’t hear the simplicity of buying a coat.
So, I return the short coat.I churned about it on my way to hike with a friend in the Wissahickon. I thought how awesome it would be if I could manifest just that one coat.
And, I did.
I parked in a 20 minute loading zone and I ran into a store on Chestnut Street in downtown Philadelphia (unheard of) and corralled a willing staff worker to lead me to the one, long, warmer coat that was in my size and I scampered down the very cool, downtown steps to the cashier, and I told her I had 11 minutes left on my parking, to return the short coat, and buy the new long coat, that was not Isabelle’s coat, but close enough - like a dog with a bone of attachment.
We both laugh.
“Here’s your receipt,” she urges.
I almost didn’t take it, but I remember I am choosing to be more careful and deliberate, so I carefully fold it into my pocket and zip down Chestnut, hopping into the car and very proud of what I had so easily found for myself.
“Is it warm enough?” my friend Angela asks.
We both know the answer is no.
“Enough,” I say.
“It’s all about layering,” Angela offers and we walk along through the trees.
I mean the coat is fine. I see that I try to keep it away from sharp objects — it feels as if I cough right, it will rip.
I say nothing for awhile and I also stop wearing the coat. The weather has warmed.
“It’s going to drop again,” my wise man warns.
“I know — this coat —“ I whine.
“Don’t they say the fourth time is a charm?” he laughs.
At this point I am embarrassed for myself to myself. Sure, I manifested an awesome story of one coat — such a popular term these days, manifest. But what and where was I manifesting from? From clarity or illusion? And when what I created was not enough was I going to stop there because it all seems a little too ridiculous?
If my priority was a clear launchpad to move forward from, and a warm coat to live in while doing it, why was I making it all so difficult and pretending what was not enough was?
And where else did this tendency lie? You see, it’s never what we think it is about. It’s about it all.
I thought that I should not be wasting so much time on a coat because of all the stories I was caught up in except the for the truth of the present moment: I was cold and I needed a coat. If I couldn’t admit and attend to basic self-care, nothing else was going to flourish. It is that simple.
I walk back in to the first store where it all began just after Christmas, to get the original coat. I pick it up and it’s not as heavy as I remember, and it’s not as warm as I need.
There are tons of other coats, so I start digging. I finally find a full, dark purple, quality (brand purposefully omitted) coat, that fits just right, and looks nice — looks like me.
This is what easy feels like, I thought. Finally.
It’s not about the coat — it never was.
Keep going. Whatever you are seeking is seeking you, and the steps you take to get there are a merit of your tenacity and when you prove that you are serious, on a good day, a little grace falls. So when it does, celebrate it; shout it from the rooftops and for goodness sake’s share it, because what we perpetuate grows and we are worth it all. We are all enough for the wild things we want to be, and we have enough to keep going and stretching to make them so.
There are no choices that are really a detour that will take you far from where you’re wanting to —be because your Inner Being is always guiding you to the next, and the next, and the next. So don’t be concerned that you may make a fatal choice, because there aren’t any of those. You are always finding your balance.
It’s a never ending process. —Abraham
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