The Marvelous Crumb

Follow Joy. Find Belonging.

Category: Inspiration + Meaningful Work (page 1 of 2)

It’s time to catch “feels”

Today is my favorite kind of day. It is cool and grey. There’s no determining where the sun may be in the blank-slate sky, and all the fall colors of the all plants are impossibly vivid  —  flaming tree, mottled vine, confident evergreen. I’m wrapped in cotton and wool, sipping mint tea and intermittently gazing out at the display.

It is quiet.

Some have asked about my fondness for cloudy Bay-area weather. Isn’t it depressing? Don’t I long for the sun? For me, this grey is comforting. It puts me in touch with my world and with myself. It’s like turning down the volume and feeling the bass. Ah, there it is, what’s been here all along — a constant hum, an ever-present drumming. It vibrates my whole being and in this, I remember that I am part of something.

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For all the other “late bloomers”

Last Sunday, I turned 36. And even though life does not look like what I imagined it would at this age — no house, no babies, no pets, no partner — I’m not ashamed of my years.

There’s a settledness that has arrived, a trusting in the unfolding. And in this resting, I’ve discovered something unexpected.  By unwinding from expectations of how I should be, what I should have and how I should be living, I’m finding a celebration of what is.

It’s like bushwhacking through dense jungle in search of water while standing in a fresh, sparkling pool. If we could just stop looking ahead, we might find relief by simply looking around.

This relief is remembering that life doesn’t have to look like anything other than what it is. I don’t have to be anyone other than who I am. Everything is abundantly enough.

Yes, there is heartbreak.
Yes, there is tragedy.
The planet is dying, our systems are broken. There are bills and deadlines and people who let us down, don’t show up and don’t seem to care.

But this, the glittering pool I’m talking about, is the cool water of restoration. It is the ever-present antidote of enoughness. We lose it in our quest to “measure up” and find in the reclaiming of rooting down.

This aging process, for me, has been a journey of reconnecting to the person I’ve always been. It’s learning to let go of the stories and fear of judgment and instead trusting and cautiously bringing forth an unbridled me-ness.

I believe that this is what the world is asking of us. The house, the children, the robust social presence, the thriving business, the perfect partner — sure, fine — but this is not what we’re living for. Striving for only these results in a world that does not work.

Instead, we’re being asked to show up with our quivering me-ness as the only means for building a world based on authentic connection. It’s about love — for self and planet. I know, there’s that ubiquitous L word, but there’s just no beating around the bush here.

Sometimes this looks like “not knowing.”
Sometimes this looks like being “a late bloomer.”
Sometimes this looks like “not having your shit together.”
Sometimes this looks like not having “grown up.”

If you, like myself, sometimes feel “behind,” and worry that your unconventional existence may prove disastrous down the road, may I offer another possibility? What if you are really a trailblazer? The tip of the wave hurdling through space and in this journey paving the way for a more congruous, more alive way of living? How brave. How revolutionary.

TAP YOUR UNBRIDLED YOU-NESS

What are the practices that bring you to yourself? Make your energetic presence swell? Remind you that you are part of something?

I’m being brought to myself when I slow down. Walk instead of drive. Soak in the late afternoon light. Stop to smell things. Look up. Listen without racing ahead. Collect leaves. Write with an actual pen.

I’m on the right path when I feel a little scared. Before I press publish.  Asking for support. Showing up at an event alone. Facilitating a group. Planning a workshop. Asking for what I’m worth. Making a boundary.

I am free when I let myself have “it.” Dancing in the front row. Wearing a tutu. Glittering myself. Reading my work allowed. Dressing by mood. Saying how I really feel. Savoring something delicious.

My heart is open when I drop my agenda. Observing strangers in moments of tenderness. Talking to my niece. Listening to a beautiful piece of music.

What are these practices for you?

 

Noticing “No Ways” and Dancing in the Cracks

Last week I led a flash mob on a BART Train.

Heading to San Francisco.
On the long stretch when the train dives under the Bay.
I asked riders and friends to shake their arms and legs.
To take deep breaths followed by long sighs.
To tap dance down the aisle between the seats, and to move their bodies slow and smooth like the seaweed floating on the waves in the Bay above our heads.

This train where we often cram in, press to strangers arms and legs, but carefully avoid each other’s eyes.
Where I plug in, head down, legs crossed, arms folded and pray no one sits next to me.

What would happen by opening up in this way?

I practiced what I might say. There would be no room for timidity. The train is loud. Alone in my living room, I yelled, trying and discarding tones and words like blouses on a dressing room floor. Which would cloak me in confidence?

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Power is not a 4-letter word

Power

These days “power” seems synonymous with money, violence and fear.

It conjures images of Wall Street greed, banker bailouts, Kim Jong-un, Putin and #45.

Rather than strategizing or bargaining for power (which is how I’ve believed it is obtained), I’ve actively done the opposite – admonishing and pushing it away.

Power? No, thank you.
I am compassionate.
I am a champion of the powerless!
I believe in humanity.

Actively seeking power has seemed in direct opposition to these ideas. Seeking power meant slithering into back rooms, turning a blind eye, conjuring dirty deals and peddling cheap goods. It meant selling out. If I am granted power it will come when I’m busy doing other things – things that have merited its arrival. Otherwise, I’m content to humbly toil.

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A new mantra: I want it and I’m gonna have it

apple of want

I want it and I’m gonna have it!

A friend of mine proclaimed this casually in conversation a few months ago, and it’s stuck with me ever since.

I remember a feeling of awe.
She was so confident
So clear
So assured

With her statement, it felt like she was reaching up for the shiny red apple in the tree and plucking it without apology.

What would it feel like to be so bold?

It wasn’t that she was asking for anything particularly outlandish (in this case, a quiet space away from her husband so she could focus on her book) but that, in all my hoping and plotting for my own kinds of freedom, I’d never strung those words together – not even in the privacy of my own diary.

Rather than reaching for my own apples, somehow I’d learned to acquiesce into hoping someone else might pluck them for me. When I’d shown my worth, this person would hand one over to me approvingly and I would bask in a glow of acceptance and appreciation.

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How do you slay your morning dragons?

Morning Dragon

Hello day
Please be slow and gentle
Inspired and efficient
Curious and kind
I’m already scared of the doing

I’m thinking about morning routines.

Specifically, how might I create an environment that would help me start the day feeling prepared, confident and motivated rather than drowning in the overwhelm and anxiousness I experience now. Many days after waking, I wish nothing more than to go back to sleep. I lie in bed petrified of the day ahead,  willing myself into a thin dreamy fantasy that takes me away from the world and all its troubles, the mounting projects,  competing engagements, and people who need my time. Sometimes I’m in this limbo for 10 minutes. When there’s a particularly challenging something,  it’s more like an hour.

 

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If you’ve also got a serious case of the feels (for all the reasons)

 

Floating on a raft in the Gulf

I wasn’t exactly terrified in this moment, but how perfect for illustration purposes?

Anyone else been feeling it lately?

I’ve been waking up in the night wrestling with fear – my least favorite feel. It’s the usual suspects: money, livelihood, housing, Trump. Nothing seems settled. Nothing seems sure. In these moments it’s like I’m on a flimsy inflatable pool raft (bought on sale at the local CVS), floating in the middle of a dark, formidable and very deep ocean. There is no one around. It’s nighttime. How will small frantic me ever get back to the sunny, inhabited shore? There’s not even a paddle.

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For anyone else outside the corporate career lane

Corporate bowling lane

This month I had an intuitive reading.

These happen with regularity in my world. I consider them like bumpers on a bowling lane warning of possible pitfalls along my path. Often after a reading I’m encouraged, inspired, and I feel more grounded. “Yes,” I believe “All of this is leading somewhere. I’m not spinning in vain.”

You see, on many days, because I’m outside the regularity of a 9-to5 gig, I feel like the bowling ball – rolling round and round seemingly going nowhere but sparkling all the way. These readings remind me there’s a much bigger lane beneath me and, low and behold, I’m hurdling down it. Whoa! Even better, the alley is full, and if I listen I can hear pins knocking and balls skidding all around. I’m truly not alone in this crazy game.

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I’m not a perfectionist, I just want to “get it right”

Perfectionist Headstand Prep

I’ve never considered myself a perfectionist.

I didn’t think it was a gene my messy, fun-loving family possessed.

While growing up, B-average grades were regularly praised.

Our home answering machine message was a secondary rhyming “family rap” in which we all wrote a line and ended with an exuberant “oh yeah!” No one found this embarrassing.

Outfits for family pictures were coordinated with a request to wear any shade of “purple pastel.” Naturally, interpretations varied.

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My unconventional (yet effective) writing process

Writing outside with a cup of tea.

Writing is best done outside with a cup of tea.

When I begin any new writing project, I’m filled with fear

I doubt my capabilities

I question how I arrived in this predicament

What will come out?

Will it be any good?

Do I have anything original to say?

Why couldn’t I just be a numbers person and settle into a cush office job manipulating Excel spreadsheets? But alas …

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