orcas island

a new container

March 9, 2016 - Daily Notes

It’s like all in one weekend I outgrew my old container. Now I’m sitting out here in the open air wondering how on earth I’m going to build a new one big enough to hold my life again.

I said this to a best friend on the phone last night.

She said she feels it too. Vulnerable. Excited. Full of potential. Terrified. Do you know this feeling? I think it is also called "growth." Which makes sense because it is March. Spring is arriving. The plants are doing it too. We are all outgrowing our containers. It feels fast, but in truth we've been stirring in the dark soil for the whole long winter. It's time now.

I came home from Orcas Island on my birthday Monday afternoon and it felt like I had dreamed the whole thing. I found myself sitting in an ever-widening circle of women on Sunday night, listening to stories, making connections, and feeling myself become part of a healing that runs deep and wide, from Eastsound to Washington, D.C., and beyond. I sat with them for five hours. I was exactly where I needed to be.

I had not told any of these beautiful women who gathered one by one around a little table in the back corner of the New Leaf Cafe that my dream for the past three years has been to one day have a home and a partner and a life on the island. It's a tender vision, an early-stage composition with only a few sweet notes drawn onto the music page. Too personal to detail or mention in passing to strangers for fear it might get lost before I can write it down. But they knew. They knew.

I do not know how to build this new container yet. Last weekend the old one fell away and my friend on the phone last night reminded me this uncomfortable feeling is not bad, it's good. It's necessary. It's okay. We must witness our growth stages for what they are, not straight lines protected by the same four walls until completed, but winding roads and stop-start-stop-start sensations. There are going to be moments, months, maybe even years where the vision is not completed, so we shed old shell after old shell, like a snail moving forward through time.

Breathe, I remind myself. Go slow. Go fast when it's warranted. Pay attention. Say yes when it feels right. Say no thank you when it feels wrong. Building this new container will take time. Composing our lives is the work of...well, it's the work of a lifetime.

Happy Spring.


wild peace

March 6, 2016 - Daily Notes

This morning I woke to the sound of a nautical church bell softly clanging in the distance and at the same moment I saw my iPhone screen light up with a text message from my friend Cicely.

"Soak up the wild peace of the island," she wrote.

Wild peace. These two words seem like opposites but when combined they form a radically new understanding, a deeper meaning, a richer reality. That is exactly what this island is. Wildly peaceful. Peacefully wild.

Her words were fitting, too, because I spent yesterday listening to fourteen TEDx talks in a row, live at Orcas Center, and the theme was "Best of Both Worlds : The Potential in Polarity." Among other things, I learned:

  • Creativity is not a function of intelligence or IQ. It is a path that begins with mastering a craft, being willing to surrender preconceptions, and having some technique for looking inward. (Stephan Schwartz)
  • Curiosity didn't kill the cat, it turned him into a panther. (Lily Fangz)
  • The flow of energy through a system acts to organize that system and batteries that are not fully recharged are what drains off-grid solar power systems. (Eric Youngren)
  • In contrast to a leaf, the internet is a toddler's toy. At the cellular level, plants look and act like people and galaxies. When you play back the recorded sound of a caterpillar crunching a leaf, plants literally cringe. (Robert Dash)
  • Music is the space between the notes. (Jake Perrine)
  • Enlightenment is an inherently destructive process; psilocybin and other psychedelic compounds may play an important role in enhancing mental health and creativity. (Katherine McLean)
  • The voice in the Mackelmore Thriftshop chorus, "I'm gonna pop some tags, only got $20 in my pocket," is actually a unicorn. (Mike "The Wanz" Wansley) 
  • "Speak to them from your heart," are the words of advice a native elder gave to a member of the Tulalip, Apache and Yaqui just before she gave her TEDx talk (Deborah Parker)

Today I spent three hours hiking around Mountain Lake, quietly absorbing what I'd learned. I felt my own heart there, in the trees.

After visiting a beautiful property where we may hold a retreat for Lucia in the autumn, I took the turn for Mount Constitution and drove to the lookout where I paused for a moment. I wanted to quietly, soulfully, intentionally honor my birthday. To smile and celebrate being alive, while no one was looking.

We must honor these milestones in life. Even if things don't look the way we expected they would. We must be willing to surrender our preconceived notions, look inward, stay curious, trust nature, listen to the silence, fall apart completely, recharge our batteries fully, know we are unicorns, and speak from our hearts.

I cannot wait to spend another year sharing inspiration and connecting. My birthday candle wishes tonight (thanks to several incredible new women friends here) included an old one and a bold one: world peace and wild peace. We'll see if it all comes true. Thank you for being part of Lucia.