Category Archives: colourfulQUOTES

Looking for Love


A friend recently told me that in some parts of Latin America, Valentine’s Day is known as the Day of Love AND Friendship. Often though, instead of friendship, we reserve this little heart-shaped holiday only for romantic love, meaning many of us miss out. Deliberately! I know you’re thinking, “Says the girl who is newly single.” Sure, sure, I suppose that’s one reason I want to be more inclusive, but really, I’m not simply talking about the holiday-more about love period. It seems we spend our lives looking for a partner. If that quest doesn’t work out, in our understandable disappointment, we lose sight of all the other forms of love that surround us.

On Being recently aired an episode which illuminated this for me. Krista Tippett interviewed Kate Braestrup, a Universalist Unitarian chaplain for the game warden in Maine. In her work, she witnesses many atrocities, and yet she sustains herself by finding love. She says:

“I don’t look for God or God’s work in magic or in tricks or in, you know, saying “this is what I want” and then I get it. I look for God’s work always in how people love each other, in just the acts of love that I see around me.”

She describes in the interview how even amidst tragedy, you can see the love in the situation by the people who surround the person who is suffering. It doesn’t mean seeing love in every action, because there is certainly violence and oppression in the world. But when a community of people reach out in compassion to the person who has been hurt or to the family that has experienced loss, that is love-the beauty within the pain.

Let’s be real. Last year was tough for me personally. The New Year came in 2012 and I remember announcing that it was going to be a banner year. Then, my mom had a stroke, I got divorced, and Nancy moved to a far off land called Boston. “Banner” indeed.

Needless to say, the grief cycle and I became quite well acquainted. I was actually thinking of designing a game with a little wheel that you can spin, and a slick game show voice announces, “What stage of the grief cycle are you on now? Denial! Depression! No! Back to denial!” Let’s just say in the last 3 months, I’ve cried twice in Target. Good grief. (Ha! A pun!)

Looking back, I can see that despite all of these tough life-changing events, in the moments I felt my worst, the giant universe seemed to send me love in all sorts of little ways. An unknown postman once walked with me across campus and performed an entire standup routine for me, complete with props. Other friends welcomed me onto their patios for summer drinks and therapy sessions. During some of my darker moments, a new cohort warmly welcomed me into their tight-knit community theater. I received notes from family and friends at just the times I needed them. Two different strangers paid for my over-priced coffee addiction. Free coffee. Twice.

So on this Valentine’s Day, I am grateful. My eyes are open to see the love that “radiates and overflows upon the outward world.” Thank you for doing that for me, friends and you lovelies I don’t even know. Universe, be mine.

Something New: Oh, To Be a Three Year Old

Remind me again who said, “It is never too late”? Oh that’s right, Nancy did. And Anthony Hopkins. And my great aunt who decided to start painting at 50. And my mom who started learning to play an instrument in her 60s. The people I find inspiring have all decided to pursue something new at an age when people often settle comfortably into their routines. I love these brave souls. I want to BE them–from a distance. In principle, “It is never too late” is beautiful. In practice, it is self-imposed torture.

And age is so relative! I’m in agony, and I’m 34. I can’t imagine being 74 and putting myself out there. Please, at 18, I thought it was already too late. Regardless, with each new pursuit, I feel like I’m in a dance class for toddlers. Except I’m not a toddler, so while the skill level is absolutely appropriate, I stand out a bit amongst all the little tykes. When I wear my pink tutu inside out, forget the choreography, and bump into the 2 and 3 year-olds beside me, it’s not precious and adorable. It’s awkward and maybe a little painful-especially for those poor kiddoes.

And yet, this is what I desperately wanted for this year: to stop living out of my fear and instead live period, which ultimately means stepping out of my comfort zone and making mistakes along the way. I never could have predicted last March just how many lessons that goal would afford me:

  • Rejecting perfectionism
  • Embracing play
  • Enjoying the journey (I heard some of you gag, but you know it’s true.)
  • Giving up people pleasing
  • Re-framing “failure”

I haven’t figured these out by any means, but at least my eyes are finally open to them. And more importantly-this time-I’m not fleeing. Regardless of the outcome, I’m letting “everything happen to me: beauty and terror.” (My thanks to Rilke.)

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City Rain

Some of the most vibrant days happen while it’s raining.
Must remind myself to look.

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Women are Crazy, Irrational, and Overly Sensitive

How many times have I heard people say these things in reference to women and girls?  Please. How many times have I said those things to describe myself? Believing the “you’re just overreacting” mantras, we completely discount our own emotions–to the point we don’t even know them anymore. My friend and sister-in-law Sarah sent me this article yesterday, and I thought it was so good I read it twice. For those of you feeling a bit tentative, I can assure you, it’s written by a man. So no over-emotionalism here.

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“The Single Story Creates Stereotypes”

In one of my favorite TED Talks, Chimamanda Adichie, a Nigerian author, speaks poignantly about the problem with the single story. She describes how when we learn only one perspective or meet only one person, we often allow that one interaction to become representative of the whole. We make everything black and white, refusing to acknowledge the many shades of gray. In doing so, we prevent ourselves from seeing the many facets that exist within a person, a community, a nation.

Who Needs Candy When You Can Have Cranberry Chèvre

The holiday season is here, and my life is complete. Trader Joes is once again offering their delightful Cranberry Chèvre:

“This tongue tantalizing, visually appealing bûche de bonheur (“log of bliss”) is a French-American cheese fusion perfect for a fête. We start with a fresh, creamy goat cheese log made according to traditional techniques from quality milk collected on independent family farms in Wisconsin. Then we hand-roll it in vibrant candied cranberries. The tartness of the berries complements the natural tanginess of the cheese. Perfect for an amuse-bouche or paired with post-meal port, this cheese delights at $3.99 for each eight ounce log.”

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Putrid Colours

For the last…wow, two months now…I’ve basically become the antithesis of  “embracing colour.” I’ve obstinately been trying to think of all the colours I hate.

  • Originally, the runner up in this sad little game was purple. I had definitively told a former roommate that I disliked her favorite colour. Purple, I thought, was really trying too hard to be cute. Immediately after my bold declaration, however, I discovered that I actually had several purple things in my possession. That very week in fact, I had added a purple sweater AND shirt to my wardrobe. And now most recently, I’ve planned to paint my bedroom purple. Clearly, my decisiveness was misplaced.
  • Then I thought certainly peach would be my  answer. How could anyone like this colour? It’s not really brown. It’s not really pink. It doesn’t even know who it wants to be as a colour. But, then I remembered how good a friend looks in this colour and another has an adorable bag this exact shade. I had to concede that in each of those cases, peach looked both natural and earthy.
  • That left me with the mysterious chartreuse. I thought I abhorred this colour. I thought it looked like semi-digested green vegetables or even worse a squished bug. Later, I purchased my most favorite pants while I was in India. Yes. They are chartreuse.

Why all this colour hatred? Life just hasn’t seemed all that vibrant. I’ve been feeling burnt out, missing my far-flung family and friends, discouraged by the tragedies that seem to accost the people I love on a daily basis. I am not naiively attempting to convert these difficult experiences into happy little occasions or some sort of twisted life lesson by searching for the meaning behind the difficulties. I am struck though with a quote from a TED talk Nancy recently posted.

How do you allow yourself to accept the ugliness of life while seeing those around you suffer? I don’t have this figured out, but perhaps the answer rests in that quote somehow. So for now, I will choose at the very least to acknowledge the putrid colours with the hope that more pleasing colours are ahead…for all of us.

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Courageous YOU

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