Monday, July 21, 2014

Moment By Moment

As the months turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into days, I have watched time speed up and slow down, compress and expand to fit every detail of the last moments of my time in Houston.

There has been momentous celebrations, like the time we rode the bus with Dawson for the last time. Dawson determined to ride a total of 65 bus lines before the end of the year, and we were with him to celebrate the last one!

There was the time we ran around in the Splash Pad because it was hot.

There was the time Erica and I went hunting for art, butterflies, and frozen yogurt. 


There was a party celebrating our time in Houston.

There were bitter sweet goodbyes at our church, Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. 

This week finishes my time at the Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation. Next week we will be gathering for a retreat to help us reflect on our time in Houston. Then I'll be heading back to Phoenix. 

The thoughts and emotions bundling within me are hard to express in words. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Let Us Go Then, You and I

LET us go then, you and I, 
When the evening is spread out against the sky 
Like a patient etherized upon a table; 
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets, 
The muttering retreats 
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels 
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells: 
Streets that follow like a tedious argument 
Of insidious intent 
To lead you to an overwhelming question…. 
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?” 
Let us go and make our visit.

And indeed there will be time 
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street, 
Rubbing its back upon the window panes; 
There will be time, there will be time 
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet; 
There will be time to murder and create, 
And time for all the works and days of hands 
That lift and drop a question on your plate; 
Time for you and time for me, 
And time yet for a hundred indecisions, 
And for a hundred visions and revisions, 
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

- From "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot

Two weeks left,
and my heart skips beats
anticipating what is still here 
and what is yet to come,
and my stomach crumbles upon itself
reminding me that I am helpless 
in so many ways,
and my mind fails me;
my body fails me,
and I must lean on those around me,
resting on community,
and laughter,
and late nights,
and reflection,
and intention, 
walking ever deeper into myself 
and into all. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Now I Become Myself

Now I become myself. It's taken 
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people's faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
'Hurry, you will be dead before-'
(What? Before you reach the morning?
Or the end of the poem is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
The black shadow on the paper
Is my hand; the shadow of a word
As thought shapes the shaper
Falls heavy on the page, is heard.
All fuses now, falls into place
From wish to action, word to silence,
My work, my love, my time, my face
Gathered into one intense
Gesture of growing like a plant.
As slowly as the ripening fruit
Fertile, detached, and always spent,
Falls but does not exhaust the root,
So all the poem is, can give,
Grows in me to become the song,
Made so and rooted by love.
Now there is time and Time is young.
O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move.
I, the pursued, who madly ran,
Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun! 

- May Sarton

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

In the Right Light

"In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary."
- Aaron Rose  

We ran for cover from the torrential downpour that threatened our blankets, our clothes, our hair. 
We laughed and played and wrapped ourselves up in cold wet blankets and found some friends with a tent. 

We found some balance. 
We lost our balance. 
We found some light. 

Late nights of heart and sadness and conflict. 
Lots of comfort. 

Only three weeks left. 

How did this happen so quickly? 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

An Unexpected Route

While filling out my application for Mission Year, I came across the question: How would others describe you?

I know how I'd like others to see me, but how do they actually see me? I didn't know. So I went to my brother and asked him. 

How would you describe me? 

He paused a moment then said, "Well, you like to have a plan. It doesn't have to be your plan. You just like to have a plan." 

I hadn't really thought about it before, but he was right. I liked to have a plan, a guide, a direction and a destination. I still do. I love mapping out my route, creating a plan that maximizes my time, that gets me to where I need to be, doing what I need to do, in the time I want to do it. 

Community and bus routes severely limited my planning ability. I suddenly had to run my plans by six other people; I had to coordinate my schedule with theirs; I couldn't just go when I needed to go; I had to wait for the bus; I had to walk in the sweaty heat; I had to ask co-workers for rides to the post office and to the vet; I had to rely on others and be flexible. 

I'd like to say that all this experience with community, learning about white privilege, of savior complexes, of systematic injustices, of bus routes, of bike riding, of planning without a personal vehicle has taught me to let go, to allow things to happen as they will, to lessen my grip on control. 

But that's not really true. 

The Go-and-Do mentality is prominent in my family, from my dad's dad who still volunteers and is always trying to help as many people as he can, to my mom's mom who has retired twice and refuses to really stop working in her 70's, to my dad who is losing his health because his heart to take care of people is bigger than his ability for self care. Working ourselves to sickness and exhaustion seems to be normal in my family. 

I know I don't want that. I want to find ways of balancing, of giving without depleting myself, of learning that I do not have to control everything within reach.  I want to live a long life of service and relationships, with less anxiety and panic attacks. 

It's going to be an every day lesson. It's going to take accountability from close friends in community. It's going to take insight. And perhaps a therapist. But it's possible. It's possible to learn to let go. 

I practice on my yoga mat, I practice in my relationships, I practice in community. It's an every day, every moment practice. 

All the above rambling was inspired by this view today:

The train was blocking my normal walking route to work, so I got on the 11 Bus because it has air conditioning. The bus driver waited the required length of time then detoured around the train. She had to skip the stop I needed, so I ended up getting off a bit farther than I wanted and had to walk over the highway. I paused for a moment to enjoy an out of the ordinary view that I don't get to enjoy often. 

It felt nice to say at the moment, "Slow down. This is unexpected and it's ok. It's going to be ok."