• This Is the Power of Surrender

    Friday, July 24, 2020 No tags Permalink

     It’s been a long time since a book has stuck with me so completely as Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. I finished it days ago but I still find myself a little verklempt. I’ve never read anything like this book in my entire life. I laid in bed for over an hour upon finishing it, just tossing and turning and thinking about everything I had just consumed. It is one of the most aesthetically pleasing, and at the same, time terrifying piece of literature I’ve ever read. I still don’t think I can put my feelings into words, but I can say this book was a cathartic experience for me, and the irony of the word “catharsis” being a Greek rooted word is not lost on me, because if this book is anything it’s a modern-day Greek tragedy.

    Nietzsche has theory is that the ancient Greeks attained such a high level of culture mainly due to their personal struggle between the opposing philosophies of Apollo and Dionysus; Apollo being the god of art, and thus, stagnation, while Dionysus is the god of debauchery and barbarism, and thus, action. This struggle between appreciation for art and culture and a zeal for living is what Nietzsche credits for the Greeks’ impressive progress. He also believed that the only way we can progress today is to swing the pendulum toward Dionysus.

    “Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it. And what could be more terrifying and beautiful, to souls like the Greeks or our own, than to lose control completely? To throw off the chains of being for an instant, to shatter the accident of our mortal selves?”


    We don’t like to admit it, but the idea of losing control is one that fascinates controlled people more than almost anything.

    Remember the cheesy 80s movie Dirty Dancing? When Johnny tells Baby ‘You gotta hold the frame”. When a good lead takes a hold of me, it is only the slightest touch that tells me where I need to go. It’s in their innate confidence, the way they own and control their space. In the arms of a strong lead who holds the frame, I can let go of the relentless turn of my thoughts, of the need to control, of the way life holds me inside of myself. I can become so entirely embodied that there is no longer myself, my partner, the room. There is only the all and the everything of bodies and sensation and freedom. This is the power of surrender, of acquiescence. Give me this in the world, in the spaces where no one else exists. And when I let go, fully let go, I am infinite.

    Surrender by Fleur de Lisa on Flickr
  • Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.

    Friday, February 16, 2018 No tags Permalink

    Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author’s words reverberating in your head.
    — Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies

    I plan on becoming a crazy book lady when I am old.  Instead of being surrounded by cats, like a crazy cat lady, I’ll have my books.  With books you are never lonely and you can be transported to anywhere in the world.  As Jorge Luis Borges says, “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”

    Continue Reading…

  • Hello June!

    Thursday, June 1, 2017 No tags Permalink


      • Good Things
    • haircuts
    • the ocean air
    • waterfalls
    • falling asleep under the stars
    • farmers markets
    • when you step outside in the morning and the air seems fresher and crisper than it does during the day
    • trampolines
    • ice cream
    • car rides and night-time adventures
    • the sounds of nature
    • feeling the wind in your hair
    • long bicycle rides
    • the beach at night
    • picnics under the shade of a tree
    • lying in a field of flowers
    • fireworks
    • brightly painted toe nails
    • good company
    • making a wish on a dandelion
    • driving with the windows rolled down
    • flowers
    • reading in the sunshine
    • cold brew iced coffee on the patio
    • naps
    • summer rain and the sun shining through your half-drawn blinds in the morning
    • people who give hugs with a little squeeze at the end
    • outdoor cinemas
    • movies that make you laugh
    • movies that make you cry
    • movies that make you do both
    • how every single day the sky looks different
    • clear blue skies that remind you of the endless possibilities that life has to offer
    • listening to songs that you listened to when you were younger
    • dusk
    • days like these
    • hope
    • now

    “…I want first of all – in fact, as an end to these other desires – to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central cor to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact – to borrow from the language of the saints -to live ‘in grace’ as much of the time as possible. I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony…”
    ― Anne Morrow Lindbergh

    “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. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. 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, is 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 in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits – islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.”
    ― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

  • The Winds of Change

    Wednesday, March 29, 2017 No tags Permalink

    I feel those winds of change a-blowing. I don’t know in what way just yet, but I feel it. Do you ever have that sense? It’s a strange sensation when it’s so vague and nebulous. But, hey, it is what it is.   Change can be a good thing, if we let it be. I have been feeling boxed in and really dissatisfied with many aspects of my life, so perhaps change is in order.

    We live in difficult times. Life sometimes seems like a roiling and turbulent river threatening to drown us and destroy the world. Why, then, shouldn’t we cling to the certainty of the shore, and to our familiar patterns and habits? Because, as Pema Chödrön teaches, that kind of fear-based clinging keeps us from the infinitely more satisfying experience of being fully alive. The teachings she presents that are known as the “Three Commitments” provide a wealth of wisdom for learning to step right into the river: to be completely, fearlessly present even in the hardest times, the most difficult situations. When we learn to let go of our protective patterns and do that, we begin to see not only how much better it feels to live that way, but, as a wonderful side effect, we find that we begin to naturally and effectively reach out to others in care and support.

    Continue Reading…

  • Reasons to Stay Alive

    Monday, March 20, 2017 No tags Permalink

    The World is increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness isn’t very good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more? How do you sell an anti-ageing moisturizers? You make someone worry about ageing. How do you get people to vote for a political party? You make them worry about immigration. How do you get them to buy insurance? By making them worry about everything. How do you get them to have plastic surgery? By highlighting their physical flaws. How do you get them to watch a TV show? By making them worry about missing out. How do you get them to buy a new smartphone? By making them feel like they are being left behind. To be calm becomes a kind of revolutionary act. To be happy with your own non-upgraded existence. To be comfortable with our messy, human selves, would not be good for business.


    “How to stop time: kiss.
    How to travel in time: read.
    How to escape time: music.
    How to feel time: write.
    How to release time: breathe.”
    ― Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive

    Continue Reading…

  • Reclaim the Truth

    Monday, January 16, 2017 No tags Permalink

    I started reading Brené Brown’s books after I watched one of her TED Talks.  I’m currently reading The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. I’ve read more than my fair share of “self-help” literature, so I can assert with conviction that this book is not a  self-help book. Instead, it’s a revelation book. Each chapter triggered numerous “ah-ha!” moments for me, because Dr. Brown goes a step (or two, or five) beyond the common way of looking at or framing an issue to show the interconnectedness of elements that stall or sabotage our efforts to live a more satisfying life. Instead of the “that doesn’t quite resonate” vibe I often get from self-help books, Dr. Brown’s perspectives ring true, and she re-labels certain attitudes and experiences in a way that’s both startling and, importantly, hopeful. She gleans her insights from her research centered on living a “wholehearted” life, which grew out of her previous  study of “shame.” The results that Dr. Brown presents in this brief, easily-readable book are nothing short of fascinating, and they function not as a how-to manual for quickly fixing an out-of-balance life, but as a set of powerful tools with which to cultivate a richer, more fully engaged and connected life.

    Each day we face a barrage of images and messages from society and the media telling us who, what, and how we should be. We are led to believe that if we could only look perfect and lead perfect lives, we’d no longer feel inadequate. So most of us perform, please, and perfect, all the while thinking, What if I can’t keep all of these balls in the air? Why isn’t everyone else working harder and living up to my expectations? What will people think if I fail or give up? When can I stop proving myself?

    In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown  shares what she’s learned from a decade of research on the power of Wholehearted Living–a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.
    In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough, and to go to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.

    This is the kind of book that I buy several copies and hand out to everyone that I know and love.  <3

  • Self-loving

    Friday, January 6, 2017 No tags Permalink

    “When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits – anything that kept me small.

    My judgement called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving.”

    ― Kim McMillen

    Continue Reading…

  • B-I-N-G-O

    Sunday, December 25, 2016 No tags Permalink

    Oh wow, I really love this! I think I may have already done enough of these to hit bingo. 😊 I especially laughed at “declined an invitation” because there’s no way I could have survived going to all the parties I was invited to this year.

    Just the other night I stayed in, made hot cocoa and read my annual Christmas traditional read, David Sedaris’ Holidays on Ice. Containing short stories such as “Dinah, the Christmas Whore”, it’s  probably not suited for everyone’s sense of humor, but I love it!

  • If

    Sunday, November 6, 2016 No tags Permalink



    “Death is a strange thing. People live their whole lives as if it does not exist, and yet it’s often one of the great motivations for the living. Some of us, in time, become so conscious of it that we live harder, more obstinately, with more fury. Some need its constant presence to even be aware of its antithesis. Others become so preoccupied with it that they go into the waiting room long before it has announced its arrival. We fear it, yet most of us fear more than anything that it may take someone other than ourselves. For the greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by. And leave us there alone.”

    “We always think there’s enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding on to words like ‘if’.”
    ― Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove

    The trouble is, we always think we have time, done we? It’s a lie we tell ourselves that allows us to put off doing the things that frighten us. It’s a lie that keeps us from living our most authentic life. It’s a lie that makes us weep with regret when we finally realize it’s too late. Because sometimes it really is too late.

    i just read this book this weekend, as I needed a diversion. But, like many good novels, it also prompted me to think. A book didn’t have to be non-fiction in order to teach you something. I also discovered that there is a movie based on the novel, and I definitely want to see it soon.

    Everything in this life is linked. Everything.

  • Lily and the Octopus

    Monday, October 24, 2016 No tags Permalink

    “I think of how dogs are witnesses. How they are present for our most private moments, how they are there when we think of ourselves as alone. They witness our quarrels, our tears, our struggles, our fears, and all of our secret behaviors that we have to hide from our fellow humans. They witness without judgment.” –Lily and The Octopus by Steven Rowley

    I’ve outlived several pets, and all that grieving has taught me that if you want to continue to love and be loved by animals, you’ve got to learn to manage the pain of that loss.

    Lily’s owner, Ted, is a single man. There are flashbacks to his last rocky human relationship, but mostly we learn that Lily completes him. Thursday nights they talk about cute boys, Sunday nights they eat pizza and Friday nights they play Monopoly. And Lily talks, too. Her words come out in enthusiastic flurries, with every sentence in all caps and every word followed by an exclamation point, as when they’re eating ice cream together: “WHAT! IS! THIS! CLOUD! THAT! YOU’RE! LICKING! I! LOVE! TO! LICK! THINGS! WOULD! I! LIKE! TO! LICK! THAT!

    Only when Ted starts to lose Lily does he see that, while he’s indeed loved her more than anything, he’s also used her to keep himself out of the other parts of life: romance, family, and work.

    “Because dogs live in the present. Because dogs don’t hold grudges. Because dogs let go of all of their anger daily, hourly, and never let it fester. They absolve and forgive with each passing minute. Every turn of a corner is the opportunity for a clean slate. Every bounce of a ball brings joy and the promise of a fresh chase.”

    Keep a box of tissues by your side as you read this book; they’ll come in handy, trust me. I typically read before bed, but after two nights of sobbing uncontrollably while reading, I decided that this was not bedtime reading material for me.  😉  I’m not good at crying, whatever that means.  I was taught not to cry and by taught I mean punished if I did.  So for years, I didn’t cry.  Now I do cry, but it is a painful, gut wrenching experience, and I rarely cry in front of anyone else.  And even though this book made me cry, it also made me laugh.  If you love dogs, this is a must read.

    Continue Reading…

  • Two Chairs

    Monday, September 5, 2016 No tags Permalink


    This looks heavenly to me. Peace and quiet. Fresh air.  No internet or mobile phones.  Books, music, good company. Two chairs by the fire at night. The moon hung low above the water and a million stars shining brighter than ever before.  A simple, cozy cabin, but with a comfortable bed and a big bathtub. All the better for this:

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  • Hello, June!

    Wednesday, June 1, 2016 No tags Permalink


    I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June. – L.M. Montgomery

    I’m so happy to welcome my favorite month! The sun is shining, the days are long, it’s warm, the peonies are in bloom. What’s not to love? ❤️

    So far my June is off to a good start. My favorite lunch (tacos, of course) with my favorite guy. Then a nice walk on the Monon Trail and ice cream. I adore ice cream, but don’t eat it often anymore. As a child growing up, we had ice cream every night in the summertime as a bedtime snack.   And none of us we the least bit fat. Actually, my older sister and I were skinny as a rail.  We always had dinner (or as my parents call it, supper) very early. 5:00 p.m.  So by bedtime, I was ready for my nightly ice cream. Sometimes my best friend and I would pick some of the wild strawberries that grew in the woods by my house and we’d put that those on the ice cream. No store bought berries taste like those.

    Now I like to go to the farmer’s market and find “real”‘berries. The first crop of this year is going into some homemade strawberry sorbet. I’m going to top it with a balsamic reduction. The tart and the sweet together is perfect.


    It’s time to get out my annual June read, Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

    “Don’t wish me happiness
    I don’t expect to be happy all the time…
    It’s gotton beyond that somehow.
    Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor.
    I will need them all.”
    ― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

    Gift from the sea

  • This is How

    Saturday, May 28, 2016 No tags Permalink


    I read This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diáz today. I laughed, I sighed, and most of the time I wanted to knock some sense into the main character, Yunior.  But I loved this quote.

  • Then Come Back

    Tuesday, April 19, 2016 No tags Permalink


    “Reading a poem in translation,” wrote Bialek, “is like kissing a woman through a veil”.  Translation is a kind of transubstantiation; one poem becomes another. You choose your philosophy of translation just as you choose how to live: the free adaptation that sacrifices detail to meaning, the strict crib that sacrifices meaning to exactitude. The poet moves from life to language, the translator moves from language to life; both like the immigrant, try to identify the invisible, what’s between the lines, the mysterious implications.”
    ― Anne Michaels, Fugitive Pieces

    I read the novel Fugitive Pieces this weekend and it was full of such lovely, lovely words. it was an enook borrowed from the library, but I need to buy my own paper copy. So many beautifully written passages there.

    In the passage above, the author speaks of something I often think about: what’s lost (and sometimes found) in translation.

    Many of my favorite poems and novels weren’t originally written in English. It’s interesting to read different translations by different translators. Sometimes the outcome can vary so much.

    Today on NPR there was a story about  a new book of Pablo Neruda’s “lost” poems.  Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda is presented with the Spanish text, full-color reproductions of handwritten poems, and dynamic English translations.


    Crossing the sky I near
    the red ray of your hair.
    Of earth and wheat I am and as I close-in
    your fire kindles itself
    inside me and the rocks
    and flour ignite.
    That’s why my heart
    expands and rises
    into bread for your mouth to devour,
    and my blood is wine poured for you.
    You and I are the land with its fruit.
    Bread, fire, blood and wine
    make up the earthly love that sears.

  • Break Your Ropes

    Sunday, March 20, 2016 No tags Permalink



    To Be A Slave Of Intensity

    Friend, hope for the guest while you are alive.
    Jump into experience while you are alive!
    Think…and think…while you are alive.
    What you call ‘salvation’ belongs to the time before death.

    If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive,
    do you think
    ghosts will do it after?

    The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic
    Just because the body is rotten –
    that is all fantasy.
    What is found now is found then.
    If you find nothing now,
    you will simply end up with an apartment in the City of Death.
    If you make love with the divine now, in the next life you will have the face of satisfied desire.

    So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is,
    Believe in the Great Sound!

    Kabir says this: When the guest is being searched for, it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that does all the work.
    Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.


    Methods are strategies, and strategies do not open the heart’s door. It has to be blown open by a great wind, the wind of love, which is the only thing that will truly carry you away. Kabir tells us to jump, to break your ropes, to plunge into the truth. This is all you can do when you have come to the end of your rope, to the end of all your strategies, and don’t know what else to do. It is a surrender, a falling in; not an act or an initiative, but a willing yielding to what is and has always been.

    Continue Reading…

  • Bits and Bobs

    Thursday, January 28, 2016 No tags Permalink

    FullSizeRender (7)

    I read this quote yesterday and I absolutely love it! I need reminders like that, especially this time of year. I was talking with a patient this morning and telling me how January makes me feel “blah”. He calls everybody darling. He said, “darling, come with me” and grabbed my hand. We went out the front door and stood in the sunshine. He had me close my eyes and told me to breathe in the sunshine and exhale out all the b.s. He made my day, and I made sure to tell him that. Little things like that can change an entire day. I’ll try to do my best to pay it forward. 🙂


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  • Dreaming With Open Eyes

    Monday, January 18, 2016 No tags Permalink


    “I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.”

    ― Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane 

    And this is why I’ll take the company of a good book over the company of most people any day of the week.  A book is always there for you, and, if you choose well, a book rarely disappoints.


    When reading, we don’t fall in love with a character’s appearance. We fall in love with their words, their thoughts, and their hearts.  We fall in love with their souls.  The world would be a better place if we operated like this all the time

    This made me laugh:


  • From Poem after Carlos Drummond de Andrade

    Tuesday, December 29, 2015 No tags Permalink


    Life got its tentacles around you,
    its hooks into your heart,
    and suddenly you come awake as if for the first time, and
    you are standing in a part of the town where the air is
    sweet—your face flushed, your chest thumping, your
    stomach a planet, your heart a planet, your every organ a
    separate planet, all of it a piece though the pieces turn
    separately, O silent indications of the inevitable, as among
    the natural restraints of winter and good sense, life blows
    you apart in her arms.

    -Marvin Bell

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