Tag Archives: pain is polite

to inform

when i am listening to someone talk about art, and they begin to tell me what informs the painting, i feel my heart pick up the pace. this question of where does it come from always motivates me to look deeper, to press in. i begin by noticing all of these elements that i had missed previously and suddenly, this art is no longer just in front of me, but rather is it is in and through me and we are cut from the same dna.

i have been pondering this today. what informs my life? from where do i derive my energy or strength? what are the influences which lead me to believe one thing or another? this question of what informs my life is complicated.

motherhood has informed much of my adult life. perhaps only for certain seasons, like now, in which i find myself slightly sleep deprived with an achy back. in other seasons, it was my friends: long talks into the night, walking to the grocery store in the snow, or crying through movies. those places where the air is actually thin and as the celts believed, the divine peeks through. most days, being awake to the vast needs of marginalized people is more than enough to inform my life.

and whether or not i like it, pain informs much of my life and the lives of everyone i know. and humans have a great capacity for running away from pain, from avoiding anything that we see as negative.

as i thought about what informs my life today, i realized that even after all this time, i am prone to try and avoid pain. maybe i always will try. but now, i can see in my life, more than ever before, what beautiful and fierce works of art that are made when i allow pain to season and develop my life. the pain digs and carves inside me, and then those holes become cisterns and wells to be filled with divine compassion and love. compassion that otherwise would not exist.

on the days when i forget what those cisterns are for, i try to fill them with anything i can.

but today, i remember why they are there and their role of informing my life. and then i wait for each one to fill.

my boss swears that one day i will write a really good book. we’ll see. maybe by the time i am ready to write it, everyone’s cisterns will be old news.


i love this quote

“When we feel lonely we keep looking for a person or persons who can take our loneliness away. Our lonely hearts cry out, “Please hold me, touch me, speak to me, pay attention to me.” But soon we discover that the person we expect to take our loneliness away cannot give us what we ask for. Often that person feels oppressed by our demands and runs away, leaving us in despair. As long as we approach another person from our loneliness, no mature human relationship can develop. Clinging to one another in loneliness is suffocating and eventually becomes destructive. For love to be possible we need the courage to create space between us and to trust that this space allows us to dance together.”

Henri Nouwen

home, home again

living in the land of re-entry!  i know where my toothbrush is, so that’s good…one less thing.

it’s a busy little mekaan mubarik.  we’re building an art studio!! whoo hoo! 🙂

the brewing in my heart over vacation has left me with an ache, a desire for learning how to do art therapy well.  my relationships in the refugee community are well established and now, i believe it’s time for two things:  fluency in arabic and a greater understanding of how to do art therapy.  next steps in the world!

i have seen over and over again how essential my creativity is to my emotional and spiritual health.  and it’s shocking even now to me how easily i allow my creativity to fall by the wayside.  but that’s out!  really.  creativity is not optional.

that is all. 🙂

ready . . .

or not . . . here it comes!

summer!!!  so excited.  even though i still work through the summers (makes me miss my public school teaching days a little), it’s a more relaxed schedule.  there’s the kids’ fun funday-ness, soccer camps, a trip to space camp maybe?  fireflies, the beach, and all the sunshine i can stand.

i realized this morning that there are so many things that have happened in the last 4 months.  so so so many.  and while some of them were painful and hard, all of them have been productive.  in my soul, that is.

so here i am, last day of april, open handed for what’s next.  it’s going to be good i’m sure.


while you were sleeping . . . probably . . .

i had a baby!  🙂

and it was great.  wicked hard, but that’s why they call it labor.   it was exactly what i wanted, water birth and all.  there was this realization post birth that in labor, i was in this cocoon between my husband and our doula. and it was easily the safest place i’ve ever been, even though it was the hardest emotionally and physically.

we were built for intimacy and community in the middle of our pain.  don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

baby girl is doing well, adjusting to the outside.  after all that waiting, it’s funny, i read today on her newborn report that she actually scored more like a baby at 39 weeks gestation, even though by the calendar  i was 41 weeks pregnant.  so that’ll teach me to watch a calendar.  not that i’ll need to again.  i’m good.

she’s the sweetest angel and i love her so much.  her big sister e is completely enamored.  so much so that i was pretty grateful that school started back today, just so i didn’t have to have so much “help.”  🙂  really, though, e loves being a big sister.  we’re sure that the newness will eventually wear off, but for now, we let her pick out t’s clothes and hold her whenever possible.  i’m still not sure that e realizes t isn’t actually a doll.

t’s due to wake up any minute now, so i will close with a picture.  that’s what you were hoping for anyway.

sleepy bean, post ped's visit
sleepy bean, post ped’s visit

it’s been one week…

  • since we found out baby’s a girl.
  • since i couldn’t stop naming our little one
  • since baby girl has made all of her kickboxing efforts known, we went from flutters to ouchies in like days.
  • since ellie has been well. the cough that won’t go away, volume 2012.
  • since i got yelled at by someone who’s supposed to be a professional.  so much for that.
  • since i last asked myself the question of whether or not i would be responsible for the world or detach with love.
  • since i noticed that it’s really hard for me to really create on my days off.  i want to, but i keep getting stuck.
  • since i went to a baby swap and came back with really cute newborn clothes in pink.

upside down and right side up

i’ve heard it said that being a mother is like having your heart walk around outside your body.  that’s true for me.

so yesterday when k called me and said “i need you at st. mary’s ER now.  e fell on the playground”  i didn’t question or ask for details.  i just drove.  luckily i was in a friend’s car so i was a little more cautious about stop lights than i would have been in my own.

and she was okay.  lots of blood and nausea, but a clean CT scan and 3 stitches later, we were sent home with a paper about what to do if you’ve got a concussion.

and she’s fine. we’re fine.  and not in the denial sort of plugging our ears kind of fine, but a genuine, life will be okay.  don’t get me wrong, i was scared for her yesterday.  i’ve seen grey’s anatomy, and all those worst case scenarios are bound to come up in moments of panic.  but they didn’t for us yesterday, and i’m eternally grateful for that.

the thing is that things like this can send you for a loop.  spiraling into existential crises (should we ever let her go to another park ever again?  what sort of mother gets nauseated from the sight of an open wound on her child’s forehead?  will anyone ever be able to go to an ER and get help right away when people aren’t even a little busy and just sitting around laughing about a ball game?)

it’s hard to be patient when things are upside down, or perhaps while things are on their way to being right side up again.  liminal space is not fun.  but it is always the beginning of amazing.

things i’m learning:

  • i’m a mom, through and through.  i mother my child, my family, my friends, other people’s kids, volunteers, refugees, and interns.  and i can’t change that about myself and am more and more convinced that i don’t really want to.
  • my little girl is amazing.  i love her so much and she stuns me sometimes with how brave and cool she is.
  • it’s okay when things are upside down because it’s about turning the prism over and over, looking for a new perspective.  i wasn’t made for just one angle.
  • i may know a thing or two about some things, and it’s okay to be smart about some things.