And For No Reason

A poem inspired by a Hafiz Poem of the same title for my brother, Joey

And for no reason

I write to you on old index cards

except for the reason that you did the same as soon as you could form the letters

‘I Love Beccu’

Master of Phoenetics

with the humor only the King of Pudding or Tuna could muster

You took me to a Midsummer Night’s Dream in roller disco in New York

where all my 1970s flashing-light-fantasies came true

You became the mountain

and the sea

before I was ready for your ephemeral exit

now you’re everywhere in everything

the library book arriving just in time

to save me from the insomnia of sorrow

the quick reflex catching my glasses before they fall

into a watery grave

the mega giant hummingbird visiting the lavender

I say, “Thanks Joey”

Thanks for my broken heart

for loving you as a brother and a son

for rollerskating in the living room

for pointing to the radio and telling me it’s time

for dancing after dishes

our last hug one year ago

Me telling you

I need you to stay

I know what it is not to want to show up

We need you

I love you

And so you gave us one more year

A year of embraces

and another birthday

laughter through the magic of machines

I hold you now

My good luck charm

even as the possibility of a Hafiz verse undoes my grieving heart

and for no reason

I choose to be again

waiting for you to help me find my keys

Of Hope, Waffles, Writing and Kindness

Hello My Bountiful and Beautiful Readers!
I’ve had so many blog posts rolling around in my head and have also wanted to share that 5, count ’em, FIVE friends of mine have started wildly different podcasts since our world has shifted. You can scroll down to the bottom of this post to see the thumbnails and find them on your favorite platform!
Thank you so much to those of you who joined the Coming Together While Living Apart Conference–I saw your names in the chat and it gave me that boost of confidence I needed as I journeyed through an amazing day.

What’s up with me? What’s up with you?

WRITING WRITING WRITING

I left social media for six months to work on the sequel to The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderon: A Globetrotting Magical Mystery of Courage, Food & Friendship. It is going great! Selma’s 5th birthday is August 8, 2020. Mark the date and do something magical for yourself that day! Or read my book or gift it to someone! 

I’m a lucky duck as I have joined the Patreon account of 88 Cups of Tea. The creative director, Yin Chang, hosts write-in sessions called “Tea Time with Yin” and I’m in one right now! In case you’re a new reader, Yin Chang is the host of the podcast 88 Cups of Tea. She brings a level of enthusiasm and curiosity to interviews with writers of diverse backgrounds and genres and always leaves me with so much inspiration! It’s like having a portable M.F.A. in my phone 24-7. And the writers in the community are so inspiring, welcoming and full of resources too. I recently learned about Heather Demetrios FREE 30-day Flow Lab and I start that tomorrow. She has a bunch of wonderful free resources available on her site. I also had a geek attack when I stumbled upon this conversation with David Abram in Dr. Sharon Blackie’s This Mythic Life. 

Another book to book conversation I’ve listened to twice is between Alicia Keys and Sue Monk Kidd. If you’re a writer, you might want to join the Author Accelerator Inside Outline webinar on August 14.  My new editor and I are delving into this and other resources as we excitedly collaborate to finish my second novel!

I have also been reading, reading, reading. Right now I’m enthralled with Louise Erdrich’s The Night Watchman. She is the author that made me decide to pursue writing for the rest of my life. It was her book, The Beet Queen, that was the deciding factor for me. She has an ability to create characters who live outside the books. When I read her work, I think about them and I wonder what they’re doing in that moment or what they will do next. That is the absolute magic of her work. I aspire to create that kind of relationship for you with my characters as well. Another book I’m enjoying now is Darius the Great is not Okay by Adib Khorram. There’s an immediate empathy for Darius and his inner journey as well as an actual family journey to Iran that has kept me gripped. I have also completed the Aru Shah series by Roshani Chokshi and the Storm Runner Series by J.C. Cervantes and finished Rebecca Roanhorse’s Race to the Sun —- all wonderful adventures that have taken me through action and Hindu, Mayan and Navajo mythology, respectively.  

And please remember the new section of my blog called, “Will You Take My Hand?” It’s chock full of Black Lives Matter-related resources for BIPOC and more.

WAFFLES WAFFLES WAFFLES

Lots of folks have been making sourdough (did it), cooking more at home and finding their way through our new normal. I have lots of cooks and bakers that I follow and will save that for another blog post down the road. I have a deep affection for waffles but have never owned a [working] waffle iron until now. My favorite waffle mix is Simple Mills. I add vanilla extract and lemon zest to the batter. The one above got a little crispy and was delicious!

Who cares?

Here’s the lesson in the waffles…they were always this treat that I got outside of the home. (Yes, I know about frozen waffles and they have their own nostalgia for me but they just don’t do the trick.) I borrowed a neighbor’s waffle iron one weekend to see what it felt like to make waffles at home. It was easy and brought me so much joy. AND I watched Scooby-Doo cartoons while eating them on Saturday morning. My husband sat there right with me in his own waffle heaven and said, “Let’s get the same waffle iron right now!” It was a little over $20 and it has brought this “diner brunch” experience into our home. And I can’t wait to try some savory waffle recipes!

When I think about wishes and dreams and embodiment–a.k.a. borrow the waffle maker, see how you feel making them at home–it reminds me of how I have, in small incremental steps, done this sort of thing my whole life. I love the water, the ocean and nature. While living in Chicago–I looked for that sweet weedy flower pushing its way through the concrete. I found time to walk by the Lake and I went to the recreation center to swim. None of these experiences were the full deep immersive hiking and boogie boarding life that I have now. But I wanted this life so badly. And so I created pieces of it with my imagination and with the ingredients available to me.  Then I saved, planned, wished and LET GO. There’s a surrender experience to wishing that involves releasing “grasping energy.” The grasping energy keeps you in a tailspin of why you don’t have the job/home/partner/money/peace that you want.

To that end, bringing it back to the waffles, find something small and free that offers you the seed of experiencing what you want. My mentor, Lindsey Pera, calls this the prism process. I had been doing this my whole life, thanks to my imagination and doggedness. It has led to my greatest travel adventures to Spain, France and Italy–mostly for free. My husband really wants to go back to Italy and you can catch him practicing his Italian with free YouTube videos every single day. If you want to learn more about my journey to manifesting magic, you might enjoy my Secrets from the Olive Grove post 

This is me in front of La Torre Rossa in Itri, Italy. The tower dates back to the 13th century and the giant wheel below is part of the olive pressing process–and you can see my book just hanging out there. I’ve been deep in the writing sections in Italy and as a result have been cooking Italian dishes, drying my gorgeous oregano from the garden and drinking a glass or two of Italian wine!

All this manifesting hasn’t been as easy as it may look. Upon reflection, it could have been easier, if I rested in a level of trust and ease. And another element is focus. To that end, you might want to check out this video by Dandapani. He offers free mental health tools on his site as well. I have been using his app for a tiny short daily journal in the evening and at night. I also have enjoyed this loving kindness meditation on Insight Timer by Manoj Dias. This meditation is powerful as it helps you to direct loving kindness to yourself and then to others. If you are hard on yourself, it’s especially helpful in exercising your kindness muscle toward your own precious heart. I also have listened to lots of meditations by Andrew Johnson as well. Oh and I just did the loving kindness meditation today (on the same site) by Heather Demetrios (of the Flow Lab mentioned above) where you send loving kindness to yourself and to other writers! Very cool. 

Finally, I share with you this photo taken just the other day in a moment of ecstasy, gratitude and pause. I am in the water, mermaiding it up and knowing that this kiddo from Philly who got to body surf in the ocean at the Jersey shore a few times each summer — can now smell the salt water of the Pacific and jump in the pool daily. I know this is all a gigantic privilege. While in some sense, I could say that I have paid a lot of dues in grief and trauma–I don’t have to justify my joy for this life and you don’t have to justify your quest for happiness. Take those small measured steps into the life you’ve always wanted for your heart, mind, body and soul. The world needs you to realize your dreams, no matter how big or small. They are part of why you were put here on this earth.
And for some tools to realize your dreams, I present to you…my amazing friends! 

Your Sacred Wild Soul: Monica Garcia and M. Ruth McCants are two PhDs who will give you a level of love, compassion, clarity and straight talk about what’s moving through our universe at the moment through the lens of Tarot and Astrology. Monica is one of my best friends and has a superpower for empathy and intuitive insight. And Ruth knows astrology like she was born with it in her DNA.  

Walk Inn Beauty: Ho’omalamalama Brown and I co-facilitate a monthly mastermind together. She is an amazing and inspiring human who touches upon Hawaiian culture (you get to learn a new word each episode), and generational wisdom about health, wealth and relationships, creativity, planning and so much more. Her episodes are short and sweet and joyful.

She Will Not Be Silenced Women’s Leadership Podcast: Keisha Shields and I spent one full year together in an intimate mastermind experience led by Lindsay Pera. Keisha has given me some of the most profound and insightful advice for my life and business as it relates to my personal story and the legacy I want to leave in this world. Her gentle and direct approach comes through in the episodes I have enjoyed.

Hey Girl, Thrive: Samaria Williams partnered with Akiva Harris, both therapists in this recently launched podcast. In full transparency, I haven’t listened yet! There are only two episodes so far–but I will say this: Samaria was a featured speaker in the conference I just co-hosted for the Intergenerational Grief panel and she is a lovely, compassionate and knowledgeable human being. She has held my hand through some painful moments and done it with grace, faith and again, a deep knowing of my suffering and how to help me out of it.

The Giant PauseCatherine Solomons is co-owner of 28 Well Hung in London and is doing such important work in the world for our food systems and the earth. She’s brilliant. Her podcast focuses on: “Creativity in a time of corona. Inspiring responses during lockdown of local business and communities – mainly in South London – pivoting and thriving in the strangest of times.” 

One day, Catherine said this to me, 

You are the cosmic mother that you need. You are ancient and complete.

I was all, “whaaaaaa???” And honestly, I wrote it down on a piece of paper and kept it front and center for weeks. Just yesterday when I was navigating some disappointment in a loved one and the hurt was a familiar old hurt, I paused, noticed and observed my feelings rather than cause my own deep suffering (all over again because let’s face it, I’m an expert at that). I remembered what she said. Through all of our wounds and grief, we can heal ourselves with compassion and ascend into a new level of consciousness so that we don’t have to live in the past and be limited by it. And also, WAFFLES!

Sending you love with butter and syrup! Go forth and build that life. YOU DESERVE IT!