25 January, 2011

Why DO They Use Artificial Turf In Iowa Stadiums?

Des Moines sure knocked my socks off. Tomorrow is my last full day here, and I'll say I never expected to have such amazing experiences.

I have grown so much in this place, thus I've learned a lot--about myself, my path, this life.

I had invaluable adventures, created impressionable memories, and met so many new souls, all of which enlightened me.

Being around my niece and nephew, and watching these small humans in their stages of total dependency and attachment, I also developed this huge understanding about love. I have begun to see how love is the foundation of all the basic human needs. Our needs for touch, affection, physicality, affirmation. If we're lucky, we get adequate amounts in our childhoods. But now as adults, outside of our homes and away from the comfort of family, we still need just as much. We need to feel other bodies. We like someone close to us when we fall asleep. We crave attention. Eyes that notice us. We need kisses. We want someone to grab us. To hold us tight when we need a good cry.
So we find it in the places we can, and we hope those sources are trustworthy and healthful to us; places of substance.

And I think it's ok that way.I think when we find ourselves in those moments of uninhibited love with another human, we get a glimpse and a taste of God's character--its perfection and wholeness.

As far as my own inner discovery goes, I've realized I naturally see the highest potential in people. This can be destructive, as I live in a world of idealism and don't always acknowledge where people actually are, but I'm working on the balance. The true beauty in this gift surfaces when you choose to see the possibilities for all the human life around you, because then you have the power to make people's lives a little better, in the simplest of ways. Namely because you help people to see the abundant light in themselves.

I'm rambling, and being extremely nostalgic because I have spent a few months loving people here and now it is time once again to be on my way. As some of my favorite artists have said,

"I move on to another day, to a whole new town with a whole new way (Modest Mouse)"
and I feel "like a rolling stone, with no direction home (Bob Dylan)" but I will continue, because "you pass through places and places pass through you, but you carry em' with you on the soles of your travelin' shoes (The Be Good Tanyas)"
"If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be travelling on, now,
'Cause there's too many places I've got to see.
But, if I stayed here with you
Things just couldn't be the same (Lynyrd Skynyrd).

Oh, and the answer to the blog title is "to keep the cheerleaders from grazing." Had to throw one Iowa joke in here...I am still a Minnesota gal' ;)

16 January, 2011

She's Just The Sweetest Thing

I noticed my last couple posts were somewhat dark and twisty...maybe not so dark, but a little dreary if nothing else.

I was thinking about how fulfilling my life has been (and continues to be), how much joy I experience daily, and how there is an overflow of love and an abundance of community for me, no matter where I lay my head down on this earth.

How should one person be so fortunate?

All this led me to think about one person. Someone who grew up without getting the support and affirmation that I've always known, but yet turned into the most stable vessel of unconditional love and acceptance that I've ever even heard of. Her big heart beats, and emulates the spirit of God consistently day in and day out, as she serves everyone around her with a joy and willingness that I pray will one day become my own.

Last year she had a moment of crisis, as her life took a change and she found herself questioning her role in the world. She thought about new career options, more schooling; any kind of change. None of it fit though, and for a while she remained restless. As we all knew however, she would soon have something concluded, and our role would simply be to give her the room to move in whatever direction she needed. It was her turn to have room. She had spent the past 25+ years raising a family, our family, putting herself last 110% of the time.

Ma always has that look about her in the morning. It'll be 9 o'clock, I'll be groggily stumbling into the kitchen sniffin' for my french press, and she has already been awake for 4 hours. Normally, you can tell she has taken care of herself
1) spiritually--surrendered her day to the Lord
2) physically--gone to the gym and eaten her daily dose of eggs
3) mentally--done 30 min worth of reading, while thoroughly enjoying her 20oz of coffee
(really, the coffee part could be in all three categories <3>
but throughout the month or so when she was feeling restless and looking for more to do, her face didn't have the same calm about it. Then she hit her moment of enlightenment, realized she had not truly submitted her restlessness and uncertainty over to her Master, and everything changed drastically. Within a couple months, her days were busy from start to finish. Once again, her time became dedicated to the well-being of others, as she went from meeting to meeting counseling other women, giving herself to the world emotionally and physically and spiritually.

I have gotten to have a mother that knows how to love, despite not being taken care of as a child.
I have been raised by a woman that values compassion, forgiveness, and stability--and she has taught me to do the same.
My mother gave up her plans at 24, because she believes in giving your all to whatever you're doing.
She lost her first son, but proceeded to choose to be a mother and a wife. She made herself present, constantly.
She accepted me without hesitation, no matter what terrifyingly stupid choices I was making (am making, will make, etc.).
Ma showed me her unwaivering confidence in my character, which has given me the strength I need to be the woman I'm meant to be for the world.

Maybe it's the fact that soon I'm going to be somewhere quite far for quite a while, or maybe it's just because she is the kind of woman that puts an imprint on your heart. Regardless, my mom has been on my mind a whole lot these days...

I wish the whole world could get enough time for a cup of coffee with that woman, because everyone who sits down with her stands up feeling encouraged, motivated, inspired. She makes new friends feel loved simply by speaking their names, and for all of us who get the privilege of knowing her intimately, we know we have been blessed by the Divine.

Love you ma. More than I can even come close to articulating.

09 January, 2011

Lesson 1: What To Do If You're Drowning

One day I'll show you the song that goes with this. But it's a nice little ditty, nonetheless.

"Lost in a sea of light and dark,
he stood with his back to me as I became my own worst enemy.
My sheets got stained with tears he made.
So I left town, packed my life into a black composition notebook,
and swore he would never touch this heart again.

Darlin' you were drownin',
in your foolish, prideful ways.
I fought so long, stood too strong,
but now my legs and back are shaking,
and I'm in need of a resue too.
Could ya' be my savior? Could you?
No, I think not.

Showed up in the foreign place on the cold November blue,
knew not more than a face or two, but could finally hold the moon.
Then he showed up, squeezed my hand and held me harder than is healthy to.
Called me his Angel, he was more than grateful.
It made me remember, how it could be better, lyin' next to someone who feels
their own heart ache.
He knows how to believe in somethin'
counts to three,
never lies to me,
and already offered me his key.

Burr it's getting colder.
Burr it's getting colder.

But when darkness falls, he is like the rest.
At the end of the night, he's more sunk than most.
Chokes down the liquor, shuts down the world,
gettin' high on nicotine and vodka,
his legs are crampin' up underneath the weight of it all.

Darlin' you're drownin',
in your compulsions, which stem from your sadness.
I could fight so long, I know how to stand strong,
but in a breath I'll be gone,
and it's my turn,
to have someone step in
and rescue me this time.

Cuz I'm drownin'
We're all drownin'
Just dronwin'
Without You."