Wednesday, December 17, 2008

the delay of love

today marked the beginning of a new era (well, for me at least). video chat. the world of distant friends revealed at a 10 second delay. this morning I sat across from sara's pixelated head.
we compared the glory of our morning hairdos and gave each other tours. she showed me the snow outside her michigan home and then she taught me the secret to making "christmas coffee", which I am now drinking as I write this (*hint* whiskey and cream). we laughed, danced and rested our faces on our hands a lot. it was weird, it made me simultaneously wish I was there with her and feel okay about the fact that I wasn't.

technology. we connect in bytes. but you can't measure love in megabytes.

nowadays we are able to connect with greater ease to more people but are we connecting as deeply? in the days of the pony express, wirey little guys, often orphans, would put their lives in peril to deliver love letters. now people deliver news of great import in seconds through handheld devices. "I'm engaged." the tiny screen reads. "I'm moving." the glowing box says. I have recieved very serious news in a very unserious way lately. with technology we are given new ways of communicating and that is amazing and something to be celebrated, but I think it is also important to check ourselves every once in a while and say, I am communicating more than ever, but am I connecting?

with friends spread out all over the place, I am thankful for the internet and cell phones, but I am also determined to write letters and buy plane tickets, and perhaps even build the compound in tennessee that I have been dreaming of where all my friends bring their brilliant brains and handicraft and we collectively create a home. no need for video chat or "can you hear me now" phone calls. just a bunch of friendly faces sitting around drinking christmas coffee together and enjoying the clear sound of each other's stories. until then, I will settle for technology.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

this I believe

I recently had the fortune of coming across this I believe. what started as an NPR radio program has now become two books, a podcast, a community movement, and much much more. it's quite inspiring to hear the beliefs of all types of people and in turn to reconnect with and think about your own beliefs. I believe I have more than one belief, but when I decided to write my own this I believe essay, this is what came out:

I believe in asking questions. as a child I grew up in a religion built on blind faith. no room for thought or doubt, only endless submission to a big bearded guy in the sky that seemed incapable of making something as delightful as the trees I climbed or as funny as the creatures I found digging in the dirt. "he" was a god to fear. a god with a long list of rules to be followed. it never made any sense to my curious mind and wild heart. when I was 10, my family moved from the flat of the heartland to the mountains of the northwest. the simple act of changing our scenery in turn changed our entire lives.

through the relocation we set about establishing a new belief system, one that was unconstrained by fundamentalism and its answers for everything and instead rooted in the fundamental truth of questioning the answers. I watched my parents discover their own truths and was in turn given the space to find my own. slowly our lives moved away from who we were taught we should be while we worked passionately and often awkwardly towards figuring out who we wanted to be. through the process I always trusted myself and my good intentions as I renegotiated my relationship with "god". in the end, I learned that to find god, I didn't need a building with a cross, or a stale cracker and a glass of grape juice; I didn't need the gibber gabber of tongue speak or the monotony of a well practiced prayer. god was everywhere. god was in me and in everything and everyone. god was to be found in the act of loving myself and everyone I met no matter how differently they believed. god wasn't the answer, god was the asking.

it is this belief that has separated me and my immediate family from the family we came from. they do not see god in me. they do not believe there is a place for me in their heaven. but that is fine. for me, heaven has been the new life my family was given -- the life we gave ourselves. the chance to change -- to fully realize the life that I want to live not limited by false judgment and intolerance but liberated through understanding and acceptance. a life of endless discovery and rediscovery. I believe in a life that seeks less answers and instead delights in the freedom to question the endless wow and infinite mystery of living.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

full heart empty pockets

my amazing pal jamie is currently in the process of applying to graduate school for poetry. she says it's because of the economy, and because she wants to enter into a highly lucrative field, seeing as getting her bachelors in acting didn't pay off, except for that one honda commercial she did. I told her that I think it's a great idea. and then we laughed.

oh the economy.

I would be a liar if I didn't tell you right now that every day I fight the urge to break down in a fury of fear for the encroaching doom that seems eminent. sara and I have been known to use iceland's economic state as a comfort for our own. we are not alone in our struggles. and the debt, oh the debt, the adding and never subtracting. it has kept me up at nights. but why? my bank went bankrupt. and now my credit card company can't keep it together. why should I care that I owe them some dough? and WHAT IS THE WORST CASE SENARIO? what could possibly be so terrible? moving back in with the folks? two people that I respect very very much are currently living with their parents. let's not forget that my dad makes great coffee every morning and then pours quality wine at night. and my mom, well shoot, that woman lives to make her kids happy -- pancakes every day of the week if I so requested. the point is not that I am going to move back home, the point is that if I couldn't pay my bills, as I am so afraid I will not be able to, what is it that I am fearing would happen? bankrupcy? there are worse things. homelessness? I wouldn't be homeless -- besides my parents, there are always the parents of my homeless friends. I think what I am really afraid of is not being able to get sushi when I am craving it or taking a trip to mexico in january because I feel like a drink on the beach. what I am having a hard time with is the lack of freedom that the shackles of debt so expertly applies. joan didion said it best,

"The secret point of money and power in America is neither the things that money can buy nor power for power's sake... but absolute personal freedom, mobility, privacy. It is the instinct which drove America to the Pacific, all through the nineteenth century, the desire to be able to find a restaurant open in case you want a sandwich, to be a free agent, live by one's own rules."

and that is what I want, the luxury to live by my own rules, but why is that a luxury? how has freedom been given a monotary value? and how can I fight against a system that I don't actually believe in? I don't believe that money will make me happy. I don't believe that I need money to live a rich life. I don't believe that debt is an excuse for giving into a job that I hate. so what is it that I can do to free myself from buying into the widespread panic that I can't afford to accept?...
fighting it everyday. talking with friends who share my sentiments. taking trips I can't afford, but also can't afford to miss out on. selling my bone marrow. participating in medical studies. dog sitting and baby walking. singing on street corners. charging people money to watch me talk about nothing on the internet. picking free fruit off the trees in LA and selling it for a reasonable price. shaving jg's head and selling his locks at a premium price. laughing at myself everytime I start to worry about the ecomony, reminding myself that the u.s. of a. owes A LOT more money than I do. partaking in a lot of free activities like writing to friends and looking through photographs and waving at cute kids in strollers and remembering what really matters. the fact is, and this is what I have to remember, you can't put a price on rockin' in the free world.